When I was young I used to say philosophy is an inquiry for ultimate answers.
Now I cannot say it. It is an inquiry for endless questions...............
Bertrand Russel at age 80
- A dear friend of mine recently spoke of her sense of wonder as she prepared to sit in with a group of UU elders that were going to conduct a "Bible study". She is unfamiliar with the Bible and with going to church. In our discourse she presented this experience with a mixture of awe and angst sensing that there was a whole wide world of Christendom that she was totally unfamiliar with. It was one more reminder for her that her spiritual life was not outlined in books or something that could be easily shared with others. If pressed, she will describe her spiritual practice as something that is little defined. She is meditative, contemplative and honors the universe with gratitude. And I state, "What more is there"? Within the world of spiritual and philosophical seekers there is a drive to study, understand and examine their practice. Scriptures, Sutras, self help books; they are all read and chewed on and discussed and dissected beyond recognition and nothing is gained.
- I assure you.
When Te' Shan experienced his awakening, it is reported that he burned all his Zen books, discourses and commentaries saying, "Even to plumb the full depths of all your knowledge it would be no more than a piece of hair lost in the vastness of the great void; and however important your experience in things worldly it is even less than a single drop of water cast into a vast valley."
- Within the pages of this blog I have expressed my own angst and struggle in trying to figure out the "answers to the questions pointing me in a crooked line". My mind and library are filled with volumes of books on multiple subjects: Zen and Tao. Christian and mystic. Buddhist and Vedic. World religions and philosophy. And yet the number of books and words that fill my head cannot make me any "closer to fine". It leads me further away.
- "Let my doubts be cleared" - Devi to Shiva
- Osho indicates that this is all the result of having a doubting mind. Seekers do just that. They seek: Ask questions. Look for answers. But Osho states that all of our questioning only leads to more questions. There are never any sufficient answers. We just keep on asking questions and our doubting mind is never cleared of the debris of doubt. Where then are we to do?
- We are to stop! To follow the way of non-doing. This is not some passive aspect of going with the flow. It is being rather less like a leaf floating down a stream but of one sailing with the flow. There is a difference. And there is a learning, but it is a learning through letting go and meditative contemplation and awareness.. It is cultivated through meditative contemplation and gratitude.
In the history of Chinese civilisation, no significant scientific advances came as a result of Confucian studies. They were scholastics, and a scholastic in those times was one who went by the book, who believed what the ancient text or the ancient scriptures said, and who studied them and became proficient in them like a rabbi or a Christian theologian.
But mystics have never been very interested in theology. Mystics are interested in direct experience, and therefore - although you may laugh at them and say they are not scientific - they are empirical in their approach. And the taoists, being mystics, were the only great group of ancient Chinese people who seriously studied nature. They were interested in its principles from the beginning, and their books are full of analogies between the taoist way of life and the behaviour of natural forces seen in water, wind, or plants and rocks.(Alan Watts)