Friday, July 15, 2011


"If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims." The Dalai Lama, XIV

I have a friend, a theologically-liberal Christian, who said she was speaking with a more evangelical fellow who pointed out in the Bible the very verse that specified why he knew, the source of his certainty. She said the ironic thing about it was that this very same verse was one she used to specify her need for the eternal search, why she always questioned the Universe and found any personal sense of certainty resistant to words. If I extrapolate that experience, I find the same thing happening throughout the philosophical areas of my life. There are parties and schools of thought, often at odds with one another, in every endeavor. I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with that. In fact, I think there is something very right with that, because it shows that we are human, that we have the faculties of critical thought, and that we use them to individualize the things that are important to us. What does bother me are the self-righteous, the ones who know (whatever it is they know), because what they typically know is that they are right and everyone else is accordingly wrong.

Don't misunderstand. I also have my personal philosophies, my unique style, or styles. And there are other philosophies, schools-of-thought, styles, that I don't like or agree with. However, I am trying in my later life to not publicly criticize those whose philosophies are different from mine. I certainly can't improve myself, my art, or my philosophy by demonstrating how wrong others are. I am, rather, trying to approach things with an empty cup, so that perhaps I may learn something. By taking this approach I am indeed learning new and interesting things. And, as you may imagine, I am meeting a good deal of confusion as they run together, and a lot of resistance from those who think one should find a box and stay in it. As far as confusion, that is OK; confusion is good. It's a reason to examine my practices and look closely at my life and my art. As far as the resistance--so what? I've never fit very well into any parenthetical references. There is certainly no sense in beginning now.

For my friends and acquaintances who love their certainty, their partisanship, their hard-fast denominational allegiance. Bless you. Honestly. I am doing what works for me, because I found after trying many years that I just don't conform to anything very well. And I am pleased if you are doing what works for you. I am not criticizing partisanship, I'm just saying it's not for me.

Now, let's go practice whatever it is we practice.