Coming Home

Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha! ~ The Heart Sutra

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~ T S Eliot, Four Quartets

We want The Absolute. Whether we call it Truth, Beauty, God or One, it is what we imagine to be beyond our own finitude in the (non)experience of completeness, perfection, nirvana or, as one recovered alcoholic I know calls it in fond memory: oblivion.

We seek It in faith like homesick children seeking refuge in Once Upon a Time, oriented toward Its pregnant absence as in a déjà vu, naïvely expecting that, upon remembering It, we will be magically transformed, in a Holy Communion, finding ourselves home at last. But we never do.

As long as we pursue the Absolute as a thing that is “out there”, we ground It in a world of objects that, in faith, was the very thing we had wished to transcend. So the more we try to grasp It, the further it recedes, eluding us over and over until we expire disappointed and unsatisfied like a dog tired of chasing its tail.

Immanuel Kant short-circuited the loop by postulating God and immortality as objects of moral faith that exist in the mind as things-in-themselves. In this he substituted belief for faith and bridged the gap between man and the Absolute. Science strives to do the same, but by capturing It with knowledge. Both are dogma.

In Buddhism, as in Spinozism, the Absolute is right here. It is not elsewhere. So there is no gap to bridge. All is sub specie aeternitatis, “under the aspect of eternity”. It is the thinking, not the thought; the knowing, not the known.

We Are It.

Comments

  1. if one looks at life as an experience, and experience is ongoing, then each moment is a new experience and there is noting absolute. I think I finally understand the C.S.Lewis quote!!

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