The Pope Instructs Us to Ask Who Am I?
In the Zen school there is a commonly used koan, "Who am I?" or "What am I?"
Similarly, "What is your original face before you were born?" or What is your original face before your parents were born?" Or, "Before the question ‘Who am I?’ arises, what are you?"
These are questions you use in meditation to penetrate through fixed false thoughts of delusion. Without going into the details, you need to know that Zen Buddhists use this contemplation method to tie up thoughts and then abandon them. So do Tibetan Buddhists. Hindus and Sufis also use this practice technique.
Here’s the biggie: Pope Jean Paul II also said Christians should ponder this question (source: Hakuin on Kensho, Albert Low, p. 73). So we also have a Catholic Pope telling Christians to use this cultivation technique.
The sage Nisargadatta instructed: "Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?’ After all, the only fact that you are sure of it is that you are. The ‘I am’ is certain. The ‘I am this’ is not. Struggle to find out what you are in reality." [Source: I am That, trans. Maurice Frydman, Durham: NC, Acorn Press, 1973, p. 70].
Ramana Maharshi, another enlightened sage, said,
Just another meditation method you can use.
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