Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/30/2015

Understanding the Teachings

211. Those who take a discourse rightly, conforming to both the letter and the spirit, they are responsible for the good and the welfare of many, for the good, the welfare and the happiness of gods and men. Moreover, they create great good and help establish the Dhamma.

Anguttara Nikaya I.69

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An issue has arisen quite suddenly that had caused one of my longtime acquaintances in the Dhamma to separate from the community which he helped found. Although the reasons for this are not entirely clear to me I believe it has much to do with being attached to certain viewpoints or perspectives on the Dhamma. Sadly, or is a phenomenon I have seen time and again and to which none of its are immune.

I have parted ways with groups and teachers based on my own understandings of the Teachings only to later cone to the opinion that, even if I still don’t agree with their views, I yet want to maintain the friendship and fellowship of people dedicated to the Dhamma. So, I have somewhat softened over the years and have learned that the skills I learned in college as a philosophy major should be checked at the door of the Dhamma if I hope to make real progress along the path.

What do I mean? Simply that if my thinking is imbued with greed and hatred then it doesn’t matter how high or lofty my understanding of the Dhamma may seem because I am still missing the point. Throughout my days at university I embodied a certain academic arrogance and perpetrate acts of intellectual violence in my peers and professors whenever I could. Shamefully, I was most often motivated by a desire to be right and prove others wrong rather than pursuing a truth that I did not believe existed. I am forever grateful to the Tisarana for saving me from myself and wish the best to all of us caught in a thicket of views.


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