Search the Poetry Chaikhana site:
Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
Several challenging statements here about essence and change, but I particularly want to focus on the final stanza:
Buddhas say emptiness
Is relinquishing opinions.
Believers in emptiness
Clearly, sunyata or "emptiness" is what Nagarjuna wants us to come to terms with. Why then does he throw it back in our faces with the statement that "Believers in emptiness / Are incurable"?
One must meet reality without a mental overlay of projection and assumption. "Belief" is the intense clinging to an assumption of what something means. Belief, in other words, is a sort of mental insistence that things are a certain way and fit into a certain framework -- all without truly knowing. That approach can help in the early stages of seeking, but it becomes a major stumbling block further along the journey. Belief becomes a barrier to knowing.
Belief always has something of yourself mixed in it. Belief is a swirling mix of what others have taught and your own limitations of mind, experience, and ego. To know truth, we must remove our ourselves from the process of perception.
Belief may initially point us in a good direction, but that's when the work starts: We must actually make the journey. And all along the way, we must constantly test what we notice and test ourselves against those initial beliefs. Untested belief becomes brittle, and ever more opaque.
Yet so many refuse to loosen their grip on belief in order make the actual journey and test their beliefs against direct perception. It's easier -- and, for the ego, safer -- to believe, rather than to know. This is why those who "believe" in emptiness (or Nirvana or Heaven or God) are "incurable."
It's a troubling teaching given by masters and mystics everywhere: Always better to know than to believe.
|Please support the Poetry Chaikhana, as well as the authors and publishers of sacred poetry, by purchasing some of the recommended books through the links on this site. Thank you!|
M. Granger's original poetry, stories and commentaries are Copyright ©
2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
All other material is copyrighted by the respective authors, translators and/or publishers.