I’m currently reading The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau. In it, Yasutani-Roshi, in his interviews with students, talks about the world as a reflection of the self. When you die the universe dies with you. As you look out at the world, all you see is you. What I see is me, what you see is you. We are not separate from what we experience. What we experience is all that we are. Feeling like we are separate from the world around us is our delusion.
We are not mirrors, but, like mirrors, our minds reflect reality. As we add our thoughts, opinions, and judgements we distort the reflection and create the illusion of a separate self. That sense of separation causes our pain.