Saturday, September 8, 2012

Trust Yourself

Scott Bradley

It is proper to doubt. Do not be led by holy scriptures, or by mere logic or inference, or by appearances, or by the authority of religious teachers. But when you realize that something is unwholesome and bad for you, give it up. And when you realize that something is wholesome and good for you, do it.
(Gautama Siddhartha; The Enlightened Mind; and following, as per Mitchell)
Here we have some excellent advice from Gautama, aka, the Buddha — or at least we are told he wrote it. We might begin our proper doubt here. Having done so, we are still left with excellent advice.
When you see the unborn, uncreated, unconditioned, you are liberated from everything born, created, and conditioned.
Proper doubt leads us to ask if there is such a thing, and how we might ever know that there is. Proper doubt, to my thinking, would ask, even upon the event of the hypothetical experience, if one could so definitively describe it. Still doubting, how would the experience be any different? It is the experience that matters, not the interpretation. Or does doubt preclude having the experience? Unfortunately, if I read the literature correctly, we are told it does.

Consider what is entailed in arriving at this experience. This has little to do with popular Buddhism; religious observance does not lead to enlightenment. Only a life completely dedicated to having this experience could, according to the literature, achieve it, and that dedication precludes a 'normal' life. This is why there are monasteries. If one must so completely throw one's life into the pursuit, with little chance of success (buddhas being exceedingly rare creatures), doubt, it seems to me, would have to be cast aside. One must believe. And though most seem able to do so, few believe strongly enough to apply their belief in truth. And if belief proves to be so ineffectual, perhaps doubt might have been a more effective means after all.
Be a lamp to yourself. Be your own confidence. Hold to the truth within yourself, as to the only truth.
'Gautama' was certainly a wise fellow. If you are looking for 'liberation', look within. Hsin-Hsin Ming. Trust the heart-mind. This is all we have. One commentator describes Zhuangzi's philosophical goal as "pure experience", by which he means, if I understand him aright, experience unshackled from concepts. "What if you depended on nothing at all? Then your wandering would be free and unfettered indeed."

“Be a lamp to yourself.” Enjoy the inward journey. You need not import alien concepts.

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

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