Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Xin-Xin Ming III: Truth

Scott Bradley


"Do not seek for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions."
"If you wish to know the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything."

One reason these verses from the Xin-Xin Ming speak so powerfully to me is because I am a man of many opinions. What could be more difficult than to actually live this, if only for a moment?

I often catch myself grinding my teeth about something or another and when I question myself as to why the answer will mostly be that the 'cause' is the 'truth'. It is true that that person's behavior is incorrect for such and such reason. Yet, this 'truth' is as far removed from the truth to which Seng-Ts'an alludes as it is possible to be.

The truth of opinion has its corresponding opposite, the false. The Republicans have their truths which are the negation of the truths of the Democrats, and vice versa. We choose and hold our opinions in agreement with one or the other. But, for the most part, it's the Republicans who are wrong, who twist the facts beyond what reason will bear. I don't say this facetiously; I mean it. That's my opinion. If we want to talk politics, this is the realm in which we must work, the realm of opinion. Like most everything, it has its proper place.

The truth of Seng-Ts'an, on the other hand, really has nothing to do with truth at all. What is it? We cannot say. It has absolutely nothing to do with words at all. If it could be expressed in words, it would only be opinion. "All is one; One is all." This is opinion. There are multitudes who hold a different opinion. Seng-Ts'an's truth transcends all this and we see its shadow in his statement that even this One does not exist. This truth is experiential and subjective; no words could possibly suggest it, for there is nothing objective to say.

We know all this. But to experience it we would have to first free ourselves from the realm of opinion.

If we were able to do so, would we then be unable to have and express opinions? I don’t think so. We would simply be able to do so with the emotional detachment that would not vilify others of different opinion. Romney, for instance, would not be evil, but just an overly ambitious, mean-spirited elitist. I still have a lot of work to do.

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

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