From: Unfettered Question 24
Jeff: What does evolution or karma hang upon? What wakes up? Who or what makes the effort?
Ken: There's a rather graphic image which is sometimes invoked when people ask these kinds of questions. When you have an arrow in your eye, you generally don't ask who shot it. The kinds of questions that you pose here come from standing back and looking and trying to understand practice or Buddhism, or karma or evolution.
You can't really understand this. I mean you can come to a conceptual understanding, but it has the relationship to chocolate ice cream that a description of chocolate ice cream has: you can read about it but you don't actually taste it.
If these are questions that are really burning in you, then let them burn. Don't try to find the answers. Let the questions burn in you until you are burned up, basically. That is very much how Zen tradition would approach this.
What wakes up? Well, you can translate that question or put it in different forms--what dies? Or you can make it very simple. When you look at a book or a flower, what experiences looking at a book or looking at a flower? What experiences the flower?
The answers to these questions is not an explanation or a description. When you look in this way, you'll experience a shift in attention. And, as you are able to rest in that shift, you'll find a way of knowing that you may not know at this point, a way of knowing opening up in which the kinds of questions that you're asking look very, very different. I don't really want to go any further at this point because to do so runs the risk of stirring the waters in a way which will not be helpful to you.
Take any of these questions; let it burn deeply inside. Don't look for a cognitive or intellectual or conceptual answer. Rather rest in the shift that any of these questions produces, and see what happens there.