Thursday, October 16, 2008

Buddhism Between Extremes

Buddhism Between Extremes Image

It is said that the Buddha did not inform or instruct others about the Dharma, but rather he proclaimed the truth, or more exactly, he revealed it. We can't give the truth to someone as an object, we can only point to it, inviting inspection. It is in that spirit that we can hear or read a teaching and then look at our own lives, at our own experiences to see whether anything might have been revealed about them.

In the Buddhist texts there are phrases depicting the response of people hearing a teaching: "That which was overturned has been righted, the hidden revealed, the way has been shown to one who was lost, a lamp has been held up in the darkness." In the end, we can't hold on to the teachings as an identity or an object, we cannot become attached to them because in some strange sense there is nothing to claim. There's no commodity we can take with us. There is only our lives, whether we live them wisely or whether we live them in ignorance. And this is everything.

The Buddha said once, "I do not argue with the world. It is the world which argues with me." Many times the Buddha was asked what he thought about a certain teacher, or a certain presentation or doctrine. He would often say things like, "Look to see if the path, if the practice, leads to the complete ending of greed, hatred, and delusion in your lives. And if it does, you can trust it. Look to see whether it leads to the end of suffering. Look for yourselves." That is our invitation and responsibility.

by Sharon Salzberg

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