From the beginning there never was a secret, every mystery you have ever wondered about has been hidden in plain sight.

We are the Ātmeśvara Mārga School, and if we took ourselves seriously enough to have an "official" voice, this would be it. We are dedicated to the process of human integration, of moving from the segregated, mechanistic, conditioned state, to the Integrated, unconditioned state of the awake, adult human.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Rest of the Story

There is a story of Gautama that is usually only told in part. The part that is spoken of is often quoted by people who would like to make a spiritual path that is comfortable for them, one where they can pick and choose their lessons.

"The Buddha asked his disciples how they would get across a river. 'With a boat', they replied. The Buddha asked, 'When you arrived at the other shore, would you carry the boat with you or would you leave it on the margin?', The disciples replied,'We would leave it on the margin and go on without it'.The Buddha said,'In the same way, when you arrive at the other side of the river, you may leave the boat of doctrine and practice.'"

Here is the rest of the story:

Buddha and his disciples came to a river and taking a boat, crossed. The Buddha then delivered the parable given above. The disciples, understanding the meaning of the story, left the boat and followed Buddha on his journey. In a few hours they came to another river. Buddha sat under a tree laughing, and waited for his disciples to go back and fetch the boat they left on the shore of the first river.

It is not a "thing" that you get, it is a process.
It doesn't matter what poetry you quote
The poet means what he means,
not what you wish he meant.

No matter how often you call a weed a rose,
You will never change its scent.
And the only river that matters
Is the one that you find at the end of your life.

The question is, when you reach the banks,
Have you developed the strength and discipline
You will need to make it to the other side.
Or will you be swept away into oblivion.

Thinking about enlightenment
is not the same as being awake.
The map is not the territory,
but if you insist that you are in
Ifsfahan when you are in Shiraz,
you will never make it to Mecca,
no mater how good your map is.

The saddest ones of all Are the ones who,
thinking they see the shore,
Leave the boat in the middle of the river.
And then tell us that breathing water
Is enlightenment.


Menduir said...

Re: picking and choosing lessons

I get the impression that there is a distinction between picking and choosing lessons on a spiritual path ... and picking and choosing among different spiritual paths.

Is there a way to know when your dissatisfaction is a result of wanting the path to be easier or a result of being on the wrong path and needing to find a new one? Without getting into specifics, how can you know whether a dissatisfaction with, say, Christianity requires gritting your teeth and obeying the rules and lessons ... or requires stepping off that path and stepping onto a new one?

~ Jas.

Janet said...

That is a good question. I think it depends on where you are in your development and what your intentions are. At some point, there is no need for a path, and it becomes just the journey. What you refer to sounds like more of a reactive or reflexive response.

When we squirm away from a lesson that is uncomfortable, we're missing out on an opportunity to let friction burn away another bit of conditioning.