The first question:
Am I a restless, confused buddha and only need to accept right now the peculiar nature of my buddhahood, or is it different from and comes after all this stuff happening now?
You are a buddha from the very beginning, as everybody else is. Buddhahood is the source and the goal. You are a buddha from the very beginning, and you will remain a buddha to the very end. The only question is of recognizing it, not of realizing it. Real, it is already; real it is. Realization is not the question, but recognition, a turning in. That is the meaning of the word conversion: turning upon oneself.
Consciousness is continuously engaged by objects. It moves outwards. Its engagement, its commitment, is to the without. When you disengage it from the without and allow it to fall within itself the recognition arises. Then you start tasting your being for the first time. You have been tasting the other for millions of your lives, and the other only keeps you occupied; nothing else ever happens. The other only keeps you engaged with toys. And as you are engaged with the other, the other is engaged with you – because you are the other for him or her.
To look at the other and forget oneself is ignorance. To remember oneself and forget the other is awakening. And once you have become awakened to yourself, recognized your buddhahood, then you can look outside too. Then never again is the other to be found. If you have come to know who you are, the other disappears in that very knowledge.
This is the paradoxical nature of self-recognition: when you recognize the self, the self disappears, and with the self, the other. The other cannot exist without the self. I-thou exists as a pair. They are not two words, it is a pair-word. You cannot separate them. You go on looking at the other; in the shadow the I is created. And you remain engaged with the other, and you go on falling into new traps, new games. The other is the world.
But you are too concerned with turning on. You are turned on by the other. You become excited with the other, you want to explore the other; hence you continue moving always in the other and remain unrecognized, remain unremembered, remain unaware. Buddhahood is nothing but becoming engaged with oneself. And once you know who you are the I disappears, and with the disappearance of the I, the you, thou, the other, disappears. Then it is all one. There is nothing in and nothing out. That is what is called enlightenment.
You ask me,