Thursday, January 15, 2009
This picture is provided by: Derick
The problem with Eastern philosophies and religions is that while they have been translated and interpreted many times, they have rarely being understood and assimilated.
See: Lost in translation Part II
While we have lots of scholars and students of Eastern mysticism, we have but very few buddhas.
We too often forget that “buddha”is first and foremost an adjective, a title not a noun, or person.
We should properly say Gautama the Buddha not Gautama Buddha, since he was “a Buddha” not “the Buddha”.
What Gautama Buddha envisioned in his moment of enlightenment was a recipe not a dogma.
Gautama did not aim to be a scholar, a philosopher or a writer.
His quest and great achievement was his own enlightenment.
His teachings and philosophy are only incidental not central to his achievement.
Buddhism is not a dogma; it is neither a philosophy nor a religion.
Buddhism is a practical approach to enlightenment.
It makes no sense to study piano or crocheting if you want to become a cook, does it?
There is no point in studying Buddhism if you don’t understand what the point of Buddhism is.
Buddhism is the path to enlightenment.
The whole purpose of embracing its teachings is to attain satori, nirvana, awakening, enlightenment.
The student of Buddhism doesn’t have anything to learn and the Zen master has nothing to teach.
The Zen master throws the student into the waters of metaphysics not to study the water and discover its secrets but in the hope the student will forget about the water and start swimming.
Every time the student floats up to the surface thinking “I got it!” the master pushes him back under the water., where the student struggles again to breath and urgently seeks the surface, just to be met by the same adamant master and be pushed back into the depths of his despair.
This game goes on and on, until one day the student realizes that there is no secret, that the teacher has nothing to teach and he has nothing to learn.
And then his struggle is over and he “rows, rows, rows his boat, happily down the stream…”
Let me put it this way, since we are mostly westerners here:
Life is like driving a car. The problem of life is that we get scared and we step on the brakes but we have to keep up with the traffic at the same time, so we are forced to step on the gas.
This creates the stress of life that we all feel. The “suffering” everybody is talking about is because we are running our car with both feet on the brakes and the gas at the same time.
Buddhism doesn’t teach you anything, doesn’t give you anything you already don’t have. Buddhism simply teaches us:
“Take your foot off the brakes! Have faith. Everything is going to be OK!”
Here is another parable you may find interesting: Row, row, row your boat…
So, are you ready for a swim?