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tariki
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Hello everyone,

 

At risk of exhausting the patience of anyone, another quote from Thomas Merton, words spoken by him not long before his untimely death.

 

True communication on the deepest level is more than a simple sharing of ideas, conceptual knowledge, or formulated truth...............And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless, it is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers and sisters, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.

 

(The "sisters" has been added to save Merton's blushes)

 

I thought I would begin another thread on the "Wisdom Tradition" of Buddhism. As Buddhism is very much like Christianity in its sheer scope (Therevada, Mahayana etc etc) what I would like to offer is more a collage of images drawn from my own journey, images offered for communion - in the sense above - with those who identify more with the revelation of God in Jesus.

 

Therefore what is offered is not a resume of the "Four Noble Truths" or "The Noble Eight Fold Path", nor any attempt to argue for their "truth", but just words that have been an inspiration to me.

 

Hopefully others here can draw on them and offer their own "images" of Christianity and some truly fruitful dialogue can result.

 

Blessings to you all

Derek

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Hello everyone,

 

At risk of exhausting the patience of anyone, another quote from Thomas Merton, words spoken by him not long before his untimely death.

 

True communication on the deepest level is more than a simple sharing of ideas, conceptual knowledge, or formulated truth...............And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless, it is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers and sisters, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.

 

(The "sisters" has been added to save Merton's blushes)

 

(snip)

 

Blessings to you all

Derek

 

Derek,

 

I recopied this part of your post because at 4:30AM my time it is so moving. The simplicity yet depth of his words communicate in simple structure what is beyond and at the heart of communications that i so often forget or get lost from among the noise of words.

 

Joseph

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Thank you Joseph for what I see to be encouragement to continue with this.

 

To kick off, further words from Thomas Merton, also written on his Asian "pilgrimage", that capture the heart of Buddhism. Merton is in an area in Sri Lanka known as Polonnaruwa which contains many statues of the Buddha and his disciples.

 

 

The vicar general, shying away from "paganism," hangs back and sits under a tree reading the guidebook. I am able to approach the Buddhas barefoot and undisturbed, my feet in wet grass, wet sand. Then the silence of the extraordinary faces. The great smiles. Huge and yet subtle. Filled with every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing, the peace not of emotional resignation but of Madhyamika, of sunyata, that has seen through every question without trying to discredit anyone or anything - without refutation - without establishing some other argument. For the doctrinaire, the mind that needs well-established positions, such peace, such silence, can be frightening. I was knocked over with a rush of relief and thankfulness at the obvious clarity of the figures.................looking (at them) I was suddenly, almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious. The queer evidence of the reclining figure, the smile, the sad smile of Ananda standing with arms folded.....The thing about all this is that there is no puzzle, no problem, and really no "mystery". All problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters is clear. The rock, all matter, all life, is charged with dharmakaya.....everything is emptiness and everything is compassion.

 

Maybe a few words here and there that need further explanation (certainly for myself!), hopefully this will come later.

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Hi Derek, I think this thread is an inspired idea - and well executed, you can't go wrong with Thomas Merton.

The differences notwithstanding, I am very much impressed by the commonalities, and as you pointed out the opportunities for communion, between Buddhism, especially Shin, and Christianity. And I must say that reading your posts and thoughts over the last several months have enhanced by interest in Pure Land, and Thomas Merton is becoming to me more and more a bridge between the two faiths, as I think is evident he is for you as well.

But add some diversity to our selections, I'd like to quote something from the mystic known only by the pseudonym Dionysius, whose works I have just begun to devour.

 

With our minds made prudent and holy, we offer worship to that which lies hidden beyond thought and beyond being. With a wise silence we do honor to the inexpressible. We are raised up to the enlightening beams of the sacred scriptures, and with these to illuminate us, with our beings shaped to songs of praise, we behold the divine light, in a manner befitting us, and our praise resounds for that generous Source of all holy enlightenment, a Source which has told us about itself in the holy words of scripture. We learn, for instance, that it is the cause of everything, that it is the origin, being, and life. To those who fall away it is the voice calling, "Come back!" and it is the power which raises them up again. It refurbishes and restores the image of God corrupted within them. It is the sacred stability which is there for them when the tide of unholiness is tossing them about. It is safety for those who made a stand. It is the guide bringing upward those uplifted to it and is the enlightenment of the illuminated. Source of perfection for the being made perfect, source of divinity for those being deified, principle of simplicity for those turning toward simplicity, point of unity for those made one; transcendently, beyond what is, it is the Source of every source. Generously and as far as may be, it gives out a share of what is hidden. (Pseudo-Dionysius The Complete Works 51)

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Mike,

 

Many thanks for your quote from the writer known as pseudonym Dionysius. The "image" that comes to mind from the Buddhist texts is from the Udana 8:3, from the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism....

 

There is, monks, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, monks, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.

 

Once the Mahayana branch of Buddhism is approached, the language becomes more picturesque! Theravada seems to me to merely point, seeking to encourage the committed to experience the "reality" themselves, rather than risk creating pictures in the mind that could distort from the very beginning.

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Derek,

 

I especially like this one from Thomas Merton. I had just read it tonight.

 

"The more I am able to affirm others, to say 'yes' to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.

 

I will be a better Catholic, not if I can refute every shade of Protestantism, but if I can affirm the truth in it and still go further. "

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Another "snapshot" offered here, from the pen of Joseph Goldstein, entitled "Buddhist Paths"....

 

The Buddha did not teach Buddhism. He taught the Dharma, the law. He did not teach a set of beliefs or dogmas, or systems that have arbitrarily to be accepted. Through his own experience of enlightenment, he pointed the way for each of us to experience the truth within ourselves. During the forty years of his teaching, he used many different words and concepts to point to the truth. The words or concepts are not the truth itself; they are merely a pointing to a certain kind of experience. In the Buddha's time, because of the force of his wisdom and skill, generally people did not confuse the words for the experience. They heard what the Buddha had to say, looked within, and experienced the truth in their own minds and bodies.

 

As time went on and people started to practice less, they began to mistake the words for the experience. Different schools arose, arguing over concepts. It is as if in attempting to explain the light on a full moon night one points up at the moon. To look at the finger, rather than the moon, is to misunderstand the pointing. We should not confuse the finger for the moon, nor confuse the words pointing to the truth for the experience itself.

 

Well, that's it for the moment. I'm a sensitive soul and sometimes need time-out to absorb and reflect, else I get "full-up" and can't see the wood for the trees. But threat or promise, I'll be back.......

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  • 2 weeks later...

You are not able to wander for long on any Buddhist Forum without being accosted with the following quote from the Kalama Sutta, part of the Theravada Canon of Scripture. It is often quoted with approval as some sort of "free thinkers" charter - as opposed to the "dogmatism" perceived to be found in some other Religions - yet the words "commended by the wise" actually sets some sort of parameter to just how "free" our thought should be!

 

Do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in scriptures or with conjecture or with logical inference or with weighing the evidence or with liking for a view after pondering over it or with someone else's ability or with the thought "The monk is our teacher." When you know in yourselves: "These things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness," then you should practice and abide in them....

 

Just who we consider the wise actually are would be something I need to ponder over.

 

And I've just spotted the bit about "pondering over a view".......hey, this is getting a little close to home..... :o

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Joseph,

 

I once beagn a thread on a Buddhist Forum asking just who are the wise. The usual mish mash of answers. I found the idea expressed by Suzuki Roshi worth pondering (!!!!).."Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity." Jack Kornfield said of these words.......This remarkable statement tells us that enlightenment cannot be held by anyone. It simply exists in moments of freedom. We all seem to have such moments, and by there very nature "we" are never there to take the "credit" or to "enjoy" them!

 

Then there are the words of Jesus...By their fruits shall you know them.

 

(Though this would all dependupon just what we consider "fruit" to be!)

 

Derek

:)

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Derek,

 

For what it is worth, from subjective experience, i would agree with what Suzuki Roshi had to say.

 

The fruits of the spirit in Christianity are of course listed by Paul in Galatians though Jesus is not recorded speaking them as a list. I would guess Buddhism would have no problem with them?

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

Galatians 5:22-23

 

Joseph

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Derek,

 

For what it is worth, from subjective experience, i would agree with what Suzuki Roshi had to say.

 

The fruits of the spirit in Christianity are of course listed by Paul in Galatians though Jesus is not recorded speaking them as a list. I would guess Buddhism would have no problem with them?

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

Galatians 5:22-23

 

Joseph

 

Thanks for the list of "fruit", certainly no problem with anything there..........apart from "producing" such fruit in my own life! My little proviso was because I once heard an ardent soul once say that the "fruit" consisted of "souls won for Christ". Well, nothing wrong with that in some ways.........

 

:)

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One of my favorite Buddhist authors is Stephen Batchelor, who often comes into a lot of stick on Buddhist Forums forhis "agnostic" attitude towards such "truths" as rebirth. Being that way inclined myself, I see no problem. One of his books is "Buddhism Without Beliefs" which opens with a short passage concerning the dictinction between the "Four Noble Truths" as something to "believe in" as distinct from how they are actually spoken of in the Theravada Canon itself, as truths to be acted upon (Note, Stephen Batchelor uses the word "anguish" rather then "suffering" for the Buddhist "dukkha")

 

".....the crucial distinction that each truth requires being acted upon in its own particular way (understanding anguish, letting go of its origins, realizing its cessation, and cultivating the path) has been relegated to the margins of specialist doctrinal knowledge. Yet in failing to make this distinction, four enobling truths to be acted upon are neatly turned into four propositions of fact to be believed. The first truth becomes: "Life is Suffering", the second: "The Cause of Suffering is Craving" - and so on. At precisely this juncture, Buddhism becomes a religion. A Buddhist is someone who believes these four propositions.......and are thus distinguished from Christians, Muslims, and Hindus, who believe different sets of propositions."

 

To my mind this distinction exists within all faiths in various forms and ways. It also seems to me that if we people of faith acted upon such distinctions, seeking the true heart of our faith, we perhaps could all meet at the centre, instead of arguing on the perimeter of the circle! Well, easier said than done.........

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I have a little time today, so here is another "image" of Buddhism, a small excerpt that gives the flavour of the Theravada texts. It is from the Majjhima Nikaya, or "The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha" Chapter 63. (I suppose one could transpose "Malunkaputta" with anyone approaching the Buddha's words.)

 

Suppose, Malunkyaputta, a man were wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and companions brought a surgeon to treat him. The man would say: "I will not let the surgeon pull out the arrow until I know the name and clan of the man who wounded me; whether the bow that wounded me was a long bow or a crossbow; whether the arrow that wounded me was hoof-tipped or curved or barbed.

 

All this would not be known to that man and meanwhile he would die. So too, Malunkyaputta, if anyone should say: "I will not lead the noble life under the Buddha until the Buddha declares to me whether the world is eternal or not eternal, finite or infinite; whether or not an awakened one continues or ceases to exist after death," that would still remain undeclared by the Buddha and meanwhile that person would die.

 

Here are the words of Stephen Batchelor, a modern Western Buddhist, as he reflects upon this passage......

 

Dharma practice requires the courage to confront what it means to be human. All the pictures we entertain of heaven and hell or cycles of rebirth serve to replace the unknown with an image of what is already known. To cling to the idea of rebirth can deaden questioning.

 

Failure to summon forth the courage to risk a nondogmatic and nonevasive stance on such crucial existential matters can blur our ethical vision. If our actions in the world are to stem from an encounter with what is central in life, they must be unclouded by either dogma or prevarication. Agnosticism is no excuse for indecision. If anything, it is a catalyst for action; for in shifting concern away from a future life and back to the present, it demands an ethics of empathy rather than a metaphysics of hope and fear.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Time for another "image" of Buddhism.....or is it Buddism..

 

Anyway, a short excerpt from a book by Jack Kornfield, who is a modern Western meditation master, who learnt his "trade" in Thailand.

 

He is speaking about learning the art of bowing.......After I had been in the monastery for a week of two, one of the senior monks pulled me aside and said..."In this monastery you must not only bow when entering the meditation hall and receiving teachings from the master, but also when you meet your elders." As a Westerner, and wanting to act correctly, I asked who my elders were. "It is traditional that all who are older in ordination time are your elders," I was told. It took only a moment to realize that meant everybody!

 

So I began to bow to them. Sometimes it was just fine - there were quite a few wise and worthy elders in the community. But sometimes it felt ridiculous. I would encounter some 21 year old monk, full of hubris, who was there only to please his parents or to eat better food than he could at home, and I had to bow because he had been ordained the week before me. Or I had to bow to a sloppy old rice farmer who had come to the monastery the season before on the farmer's retirement plan, who chewed betel nut constantly and had never meditated a day in his life. It was hard to pay reverence to these fellow forest dwellers as if they were great masters.

 

Yet there I was bowing, and becasue I was in conflict, I sought to make it work. Finally, as I prepared yet again for a day of bowing to my "elders", I began to look for some worthy aspect of each person I bowed to. I bowed to the wrinkles around the retired farmer's eyes, for all the difficulties he had seen and suffered through and triumphed over. I bowed to the vitality and playfulness in the young monks, the incredible possibilities each of their lives held yet ahead of them.

 

I began to enjoy bowing. I bowed to my elders. I bowed before I entered the dining hall and as I left. I bowed as I entered my forest hut, and I bowed at the well before taking a bath. After some time bowing became my way - it was just what I did. If it moved, I bowed to it.

 

Jack Kornfield drew this lesson from his experience.....

 

To bow to the fact of our life's sorrows and betrayals is to accept them: from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine.

 

He then quotes the Persian poet Rumi....

 

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meaness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

 

Still treat each guest honorably,

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Buddhist exhortation to spread the Dharma...........from the Theravada Scriptures.

 

Go forth, O monks, to bless the many, to bring happiness to the many, out of compassion for the world; go forth for the welfare, the blessing, the happiness of all beings.........Go forth and spread the teaching that is beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful in the end.

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Just a few images of the Pure Land...........

 

First a poem.

 

(This poem was written by a woman who was looking after her husband who suffered from Alzheimers)

 

Assumptions and expectations

Of what I can and should do

Must be erased from my mind.

An inner voice reminds me,

"Be more sensitive and understanding."

 

His trousers, T-shirt and long-sleeved flannel shirt

Are placed side by side on top of the bed.

He turns them around and around,

Examining them closely.

 

Not knowing the difference

Between front and back,

He wears his T-shirt reversed,

And inside out at times.

When buttoning his flannel shirt

The buttons are not in alignment

With the button holes.

 

While cooking breakfast,

I look towards the hallway.

He has walked out of the bedroom

Through the hallway to the dining room.

 

He is standing beside the chair

Wearing the shirts and boxer shorts only,

Thinking he is properly dressed

To sit at the table to eat his meal.

 

He looks like a little boy.

His innocence is so revealing

It warms my heart.

I smile and tell him

What he has forgotten to wear;

He looks at my face and chuckles

As a glimmer of awareness dawns.

 

Together, we put on his khaki trousers,

Embraced in the centerless circle

Of Boundless Life.

 

 

 

 

Second, a short verse by Saichi....(I suppose you could call him a Pure Land "saint", but that's not really the word)

 

(Darkness "illuminates" light, light illuminates darkness. In a sense, the path becomes the arrival.....)

 

O Saichi, what is your joy?

The world of delusion is my joy.

It contains the seeds of relishing the Dharma.

Namu-Amida-Butsu is blooming everywhere.

 

 

 

And finally a short extract from the book "Tariki: Embracing Despair, Discovering Peace." by Hiroyuki Itsuki.........

 

 

The Other Power (Tariki) derives from the true and full acceptance of the reality that is within us and surrounds us. It is not a philosophy of passivity or iresponsibility, but one of radical spiritual activity, of personal, existential revolution. Its essence is the spontaneous wondrous force that gives us the will to act, to "do what man can do and then wait for heaven's will." Importantly, Other Power is a power that flows from the fundamental realization that, in the lives we live, we are already enlightened. This enlightenment does not come easily. It is born of the unwelcome understanding that, despite our protestations, we are insignificant, imperfect beings, born to a hell of suffering that defines human existence. But in this hell, we sometimes excounter small joys, friendship, the kind acts of strangers, and the miracle of love. We experience moments when we are filled with courage, when the world sparkles with hopes and dreams. There are even times when we are deeply grateful to have been born. These moments are paradise. But paradise is not another realm; it is here, in the very midst of the hell of this world. Other Power, a power that transcends theological distinctions, avails us of these moments. In the endless uncertainties of contemporary life, Other Power confers upon us a flexibility of spirit, an energy to feel joy, and the respite of peace.

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After the all too brief excursion to the Pure Land, another Boodist image, drawn from the Theravada Texts....which claim, rightly or wrongly, to record the actual words of the historical Buddha. This is drawn from the Majjhima Nikaya (or The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha).

 

Wise and unwise attention, what is declared and what is undeclared...

 

This is how he attends unwisely: "Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what did I become in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I become in the future? Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the present thus: "Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where will it go?"

 

When he attends unwisely in this way, one of six views arise in him. The view "self exists for me" arises in him as true and established; or the view "no self exists for me" arises in him as true and established; or the view "I perceive self with self" arises in him as true and established; or the view "I perceive not-self with self" arises in him as true and established; or the view "I perceive self with not-self" arises in him as true and established; or else he has some such view as this: "It is this self of mine that speaks and feels and experiences here and there the result of good and bad actions; but this self of mine is permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and it will endure as long as eternity." This speculative view is called the thicket of views, the wilderness of views, the contortion of views, the vacillation of views, the fetter of views. Fettered by the fetter of views, the untaught ordinary person is not freed from.......suffering, I say.

 

He attends wisely: "This is suffering"; he attends wisely "This is the origin of suffering"; he attends wisely "This is the cessation of suffering"; he attends wisely "This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering."

 

Again, remember what I have left undeclared as undeclared and remember what I have declared as declared. And what have I left undeclared? "The world is eternal"- I have left undeclared. "The world is not eternal" - I have left undeclared. "The world is finite" - I have left undeclared. "The world is infinite" - I have left undeclared. "The soul is the same as the body" - I have left undeclared. "The soul is one thing and the body is another" - I have left undeclared. "After death an enlightened one exists" - I have left undeclared. "After death an enlightened one does not exist" - I have left undeclared. "After death an enlightened one both exists and does not exist" - I have left undeclared. "After death an enlightened one neither exists not does not exist" - I have left undeclared.

 

Why have I left this undeclared? Because it is unbeneficial, it does not belong to the fundamentals of the holy life, it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. That is why I have left it undeclared. And what have I declared? "This is suffering", "This is the origin of suffering", "This is the cessation of suffering", "his is the way leading to the cessation of suffering".

 

Well anyone who as read this far (congratulations!) can perhaps understand just why I sneaked off to the Pure Land and the easy path of faith (though as one wise sage once said, "though few there be who walk it")

 

But some words of wisdom from Thomas Merton......

 

Therefore there is a definite place for disciplines based on an I - Thou relationship between the disciple and master, between the believer and God. It is precisely in familiarity with liturgical worship and moral discipline that the beginner finds his identity, gains a certain confidence from his spiritual practice, and learns to believe that the spiritual life has a goal that is definitely possible of attainment. But the progressive must also learn to relax his grasp on his conception of what that goal is and "who it is" that will attain it. To cling too tenaciously to the "self" and its own fulfillment would guarantee that there would be no fulfillment at all.

 

And my apologies for all the "he's" and "his's".............I'm sure some of this at least should also be applicable to the female of the species.......

 

:P

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Words, words, words - so many on this thread and the forum. :blink:

 

Somedays I think I should spend a week combing the threads for nuggets and create a book of the new canon, "ProgXian" or something.

 

These are the nuggets I take with me from here today :D

 

posted by Joseph

 

I especially like this one from Thomas Merton. I had just read it tonight.

 

"The more I am able to affirm others, to say 'yes' to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.

 

tariki posted

 

Jack Kornfield

enlightenment cannot be held by anyone.

[enlightenment] simply exists in moments of freedom.

 

Stephen Batchelor

".....the crucial distinction that each truth requires being acted upon in its own particular way

 

understanding anguish,

letting go of its origins,

realizing its cessation, and

cultivating the path

 

Rumi

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

 

'til the next harvest

Thanks

Dutch

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having received a little encouragement, I'll offer another "image". Some words here by the Theravada Elder, Nyanaponika Thera. It was his book, "The Vision of Dharma" - a collection of various essays he had written over the years - that first encouraged me to take the Buddhist way seriously, and to begin meditating. I think I was lucky in finding Nyanaponika Thera first, because there is much in Buddhism about "transcending the opposites". Zen is full of such talk, and full of those who waffle about the "cypress tree in the garden" as some sort of "answer" to any question.........maybe there is a world of difference between an empty mind and an empty mind! I may have fallen for some of the waffle, but hopefully I was saved from most..............

 

Anyway, here are some words by my early mentor on the subject.......

 

 

One should, however, know well and constantly bear in mind that the relinquishing of both sides, the transcending of the opposites, is the final goal — a goal which comes at the end of a long journey. Because this journey unavoidably leads through the ups and downs of samsara, the traveler will repeatedly encounter the play of opposites, within which he will have to make his choices and select his values. He must never attempt to soar above the realm of opposites while ill-equipped with feeble wings or else his fate, like that of Icarus, will be a crash landing. For a time, to the best of his knowledge and strength, he must firmly choose the side of the "higher" against the "lower," following what is beneficial from the standpoint of the Dhamma and avoiding what is harmful. But he should regard his choices and values as a raft, not clinging to them for their own sake, always ready to leave them behind to embark on the next phase of the journey. While still on the mundane plane, he must never forget or belittle the presence within himself of the "lower," the dark side of his nature, and he must learn to deal with this wisely, with caution as well as firmness.

 

To cross the ocean of life and reach "the other shore" safely, skill is needed in navigating its currents and cross-currents. In adapting oneself to those inner and outer currents, however, one must always be watchful. The currents can be powerful at times and one must know when it is necessary to resist them. Sometimes right effort has to be applied to avoid or overcome what is evil and to produce and preserve what is good. At other times it is wise to restrain excessive and impatient zeal and revert to a receptive attitude, allowing the processes of inner growth to mature at their own rate. By wisely directed adaptation we can learn to give full weight to both sides of every situation — to the duality in our own nature and in the objective circumstances we face. Only by confronting and understanding the two sides within one's own experience can one master and finally transcend them.

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I have a simple question based on the assumption of diversity in human nature. What if my own temperament already contains within it a tendency (now conscious desire) to transcend opposites?

 

minsocial,

 

I have no doubt that there is in fact an anti Mahayana/Zen bias built into Nyanaponika's words. Not that he would necessarily deny the possibility of "instant" enlightenment/trnscending of the opposites (there are documented instances of such within the Theravada Scriptures) but owing to his seeing - even at the time he was writing - many instances of a pseudo-enlightenment being claimed by some within the Western world.

 

From a Buddhist perspective we would all be at different stages of "development", and therefore there is no reason to hold back! I would only say - and what do I know? - in my understanding it has virtually nothing to do with the will as "desire".

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