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Buddhism in the News


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Do Not Cling to Truth Either

"The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new."

~Pema Chodron

James's comment: I think that too often we as "Buddhists" cling to the idea of being a "Buddhist" rather then just being and sitting in the clear light of universal truth.

We sometimes also get hung up in the trappings of "Buddhism." We think that we are close to enlightenment or that we are advancing because we "do" all the "right things." We light incense, we bow to a Buddha statue, we ring a bell, chant mantras, shave our heads and wear the right robes.

However, these things are simply fingers pointing to the moon and not the moon itself as the Buddha taught.

Being too caught up in these symbols of the dharma we begin to become so entangled up in them that we can easily forget that there are many other fingers that are capable of pointing to the moon as well. The five fingers on ones hand are like different religions that all point to the same universal condition or truth. Taken by themselves they appear to be seperate and different but when we look deeper we see that they all blend down into the same hand of ultimate truth. Without the thumb for example we can not have a full hand or full truth in our example.

The thumb is no better or no less then the other fingers.

It is important to look outside "Buddhism" to appreciate other shades of the same, interdependant truth so that we might eliminate any feelings of seperateness from other people and their faithes.

I hope I made sense and didn't just get entangled in too many words which is something I need to avoid as one of my last posts taught me.

-Peace to all beings-

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marieroshi said...

Well said, James. I myself, sometimes, just a little, when I'm not being mindful, kinda of sorta find myself slightly looking down my nose at other people's religions. Your words are a bold reminder that we must be loving and accepting of everyone, regardless of their religion.

"James" said...

Marieroshi: Yeah, sometimes I struggle too with negative words and attitudes against other religions--mostly Christianity. It is something that I work on with this kind of meditation and I am finding it is helping.

ACey said...

I just wish (as gently as possible) that you had phrased yourself differently e.g. "*some* buddhists, including myself" as opposed to "WE as buddhists".

Not quite a technicality since I've been working on the various issues you highlight or merely suggest for at least a dozen years. I find 'elitist buddhism' not to *be* buddhism at all, and I feel very blessed to have met many others who have the same sense of not-connecting with that particular problem, which is so entirely self-designed. Nobody says buddhists *have* to be this way except [certain] buddhists themselves.

Just a thought, as opposed to a lecture, criticism, or a pointing finger.

"James" said...

ACey: You're right. I should have said, "Some buddhists, including myself." I apologize for any confusion or frustration my choice of words may have caused. :)

I bow to you.

TDharma said...

completely understood, James. if only this concept were held more by all religious beliefs, our world would hold much less strife.

i think sometimes buddhism puts non-buddhists off because they perceive that very elitism and are intimidated, whereas true practice would make the buddhist the least intimidating person in the world!

His holiness the Dali Lama encourages westerners to go back to embrace the religion they were raised in, that there is meaning and deep connection with the religion they grew up with.

"James" said...

Tara: This is very true. I try my best to show a good example of Buddhism but I don't always do that I must admit. It is something that I work on quite a bit. I don't want to come off as elitist in anyway.

I also agree with HH on honoring the tradition you grew up in. I use to look down my nose at the Christian church I grew up in a lot but lately I've been trying to see the good in it instead of the bad.

I still have moments though where I judge negatively against Christianity and I need to keep working on that bad habit.

bobby hickman said...

pray for bob hickman

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