Monday, March 11, 2013
People come to Buddhism looking for answers, but Buddhism is not about giving you some easy formula. It's all about you needing to question yourself. When you think you've got it, that's when you especially need to question it--and if you don't question it right away, you'll run into situations that will make you question it, if you're fortunate. Life is always throwing monkey wrenches into the machinery of your calculating mind.
--From Get Real, Rev. Patti Nakai
This is a wonderful quote, and I wish more people who weren't Buddhist could actually understand Reverend Nakai's words--as a Buddhist reverend myself, I'm often surprised that non-Buddhists believe I should have a life where monkey wrenches are never thrown....in fact, monkey wrenches shouldn't even exist!
The prevailing thought is, You're a Buddhist, can't you just peace out?
I feel foolish sometimes talking about Great Doubt, and Not Knowing, of "needing to ask the question yourself".
Not asking the question myself is akin to holding my breath, that's simply how awareness plays out, but to those unfamiliar with the practice, the big question is, Well, if it doesn't answer any questions for you, what the hell good is it?
That's certainly a valid question, but not one that has much bearing on Buddhism, because Buddhism is about experiential knowing, about setting out on a discovery mission, turning over rocks in the path and really taking a look from a different perspective, not the perspective you've been conditioned to expect, or the perspective that keeps everything in its place, forever.
And then when you think you are on a path, you realize there isn't even that--"No Extinguishing, No Path, No Wisdom and No Gain...."*
It's not easy to remain open to asking yourself questions, because the ego self is a big know-it-all and would like to remain right about everything and questioning is a serious challenge! Many times the ego self says, "Rely on me, I've been here before, I know all about this", and we wind up reacting to something as we might have as a 4 year old, except we are now inhabiting a 54 year old body.
After such a moment, and sure, we all have them sometimes (even the Buddhist Priest), and after compassionately nurturing that 4 year old so that it is relieved and released, we can acknowledge that even just a whisper of a question is enough.
Even a whispered question can be heard.