Buddha is our inherent nature—our buddha nature—and what that means is that if you’re going to grow up fully, the way that it happens is that you begin to connect with the intelligence that you already have. It’s not like some intelligence that’s going to be transplanted into you. If you’re going to be fully mature, you will no longer be imprisoned in the childhood feeling that you always need to protect yourself or shield yourself because things are too harsh. If you’re going to be a grown-up—which I would define as being completely at home in your world no matter how difficult the situation—it’s because you will allow something that’s already in you to be nurtured. You allow it to grow, you allow it to come out, instead of all the time shielding it and protecting it and keeping it buried. Someone once told me, When you feel afraid, that’s ‘fearful buddha.’ That could be applied to whatever you feel. Maybe anger is your thing. You just go out of control and you see red and the next thing you know you’re yelling or throwing something or hitting someone. At that time, begin to accept the fact that that’s enraged buddha. If you feel jealous, that’s jealous buddha. If you have indigestion, that’s buddha with heartburn. If you’re happy, happy buddha; if bored, bored buddha. In other words, anything that you can experience or think is worthy of compassion; anything you could think or feel is worthy of appreciation.
Pema Chödrön