Friday, November 26, 2010

The Tao of Dark Sages - Chapter 21, Part 2

The Tao of Dark Sages
by Scott Bradley

Gabi: I understand all of what you’ve said and agree, but surely Grasshopper is either helping people or harming them and isn’t it important which it is?

Sue-tzu: It may be to those helped or harmed. Scott-tzu’s awareness of his aversion has enabled him to realize that to have an opinion and internal debate regarding Grasshopper is to negate the very thing in himself that gives rise to the aversion. Grasshopper’s method appears to be trampling on the essence of harmony with the Tao: non-doing, selflessness, anonymity. Yet to oppose it is to engage in the same.

And we are not to care whether he hurts or harms the spiritual journey of those he teaches?

At some level, yes, we care. But what are we to do? Write a polemic condemning his teaching and thereby become the same as he and all the other debaters and truth-knowers? We must let things be as they are. And have we not all been captive to ignorance (and still are)? Haven’t we been ‘harmed’ by teachings that really just continued to hold us in bondage? Would we be where we are today without them? And yet, here we are, nearly perfect!

Scott-tzu: Speak for yourself!

And remember, too, Gabi, that hurt and harm are as relative as anything else. There’s the story of the misfortune that befell a young man. He broke his leg, and bemoaned his fate. But then soldiers arrived looking to forcibly induct more soldiers and were obliged to pass him by. I can’t remember it all, but he went from one event to the next declaring one thing a boon and having it turn to misfortune and declaring another a misfortune and having it turn to good fortune.

Who’s to say, maybe learning from Grasshopper is exactly what someone needs at the moment, if only to be released from it later. You called it a spiritual journey, and it is. And as such, it will be, like any adventure, full of misadventure — wrong turnings, dead ends, false starts, contradictions. And, as always, what difference does it really make in any case? Happy or sad, enlightened or unenlightened, alive or dead?

All that matters, and that in a very relative sense, is quality of life, and Grasshopper’s placebo or morphine — if that be what they are — might be the best his disciples would otherwise receive. How many people out of the world’s billions will discover true freedom in any case?

If you're interested in reading more from this series by Scott Bradley, go here.

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