Monday, December 19, 2011

Great Smiles

Scott Bradley


From Thomas Merton's Asian Journal about his visit to the great stone Buddhas carved from the mountain at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka:
I am able to approach the Buddhas barefoot and undisturbed, my feet in the 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.
There is something wonderfully encouraging in that the ultimate experience might best be represented by a subtle smile. It makes one smile. No doubt one could see these buddha-smiles on line. Those pictured in Merton's journal move me; never would I have believed I would wish to meditate on an 'idol'!

And these words, "has seen through every question without trying to discredit anyone or anything — without refutation — without establishing some other argument"—these are for me a mind-rending expression of the heart of openness. True insight is received transcendent of all negation, and thus stands beyond negation, there being nothing to negate. There is no true value in arriving at a point of view through the negation of other points of view. And any point of view which feels the need to do so is essentially the same as that which it seeks to negate.

With no thing to lose, having no thing to defend, how could we not help but smile?

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

1 comment:

  1. "With no thing to lose, having no thing to defend".

    I resonate with this state of mind of not defending, but I am not sure that state of being is always absent of refuting. Refuting doesn't necessarily mean defending, though most of the time it does. Can we be in a state of mind where we are not defending while refuting?

    ReplyDelete

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