Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anonymous 2A: Condemned By Heaven

Anonymous 2A:
Condemned By Heaven

by Scott Bradley

It was asked whether the 'doctrine' of not-knowing was not in fact a belief and thus an obstacle to my path. I responded by saying that it certainly could be, and sometimes is, but that it need not necessarily be so. I then made reference to the idea of being 'condemned by Heaven' as a means to understanding that we are as we are as a matter 'fate', and that we do not all have the same capabilities. 'Confucius' thus declares himself unable to follow the 'Taoist' path because he feels he must follow the way of the ancients as he understands them.

It was subsequently asked if 'condemned by Heaven' might not also be a belief and thus a hindrance. My reply is the same as previously stated — it can be, but need not necessarily be so. Yet, there is a sense in which it is a belief and a hindrance, in every case. In fact, there is nothing I say here that is not. Life and words are a messy business (another belief) and there is no way to do them that I can see other than to be and get messy.

There is a sense in which this problem resolves itself to the essential problem of Awakening (a belief), namely the paradox that one does not find it by seeking, yet one must seek it to find it. Seeking is, in a sense, the antithesis of what one seeks; how then could it be the way to finding it? I glibly like to say that there are no means to the end, only the end. One cannot become free by exercising unfreedom. This is that irresolvable paradox.

This is where the concept (and belief) of upaya, 'skillful means', enters in. These are exercises which, though themselves not one with the intended 'goal', are useful in the realization of that goal. What makes them 'skillful' is not only their efficacy in creating an opportunity for awakening to happen (meditation, for example), but also the awareness in which one exercises them. In the pursuit of transcendence, one exercises transcendence when one realizes that the pursuit itself is not transcendence.

Not only can belief in not-knowing be a hindrance to one's path, but having a path at all can be a hindrance. In fact, a path is necessarily antithetical to the 'goal'. Unless, of course, one decides that there is no goal, and that the concept of Awakening is the true hindrance. In this case, life becomes pilgrimage. The path is the end. The process is the 'goal'. And this is essentially my belief.

I mess about with this Enlightenment Nut, seeing if I can crack it, but it is the messing about that is for me the true value of the endeavor. I am learning and growing and enjoying myself and expect to die doing the same. I don't need to arrive. I just "hand it all over to the unavoidable". We don't need no eff-ing Enlightenment, mon. All is well.

Thanks for the stimulating questions.

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

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the honest and thoughtful answer back.

    One more question; Do you believe that a person can be set free and transformed through spiritual awakening from the deep-seated-inward-heart that subconsciously controls our thoughts and behavior?


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