I had meant to write several posts about Reb’s retreat in quick succession and then get back to the book but I am (pathetic excuse) too busy – working on the second edition of my textbook Consciousness: An Introduction. It is extremely hard work (though I love doing it) and just doesn’t leave time for much else.
I guess the final conclusion for the retreat was that the next day, after that upsetting ceremony, Reb gave another of his extraordinary lectures and talked about the choice the historical Buddha faced.
This choice was between saying nothing because he knew that the truth could not be put into words (vehicles, stories, instructions and the like) and making up ways of saying something, such as ways of pointing people towards the unsayable truth, giving them prescriptions to follow that might help them follow the way he had taken, and so on. What to do? Hence the story that the Buddha thought we are like lotus flowers rising out of the mud and his teachings might help people still down in the pond slime.
My instinct is always to prefer the truth in the silence – but then I would never have learned to meditate or practice mindfulness had someone not begun explaining it to me and urged me on. So – very, very reluctantly – I accept that that horrible ceremony and those impossible vows may have some justification.
But … to other things.
To all of you out there reading this blog (the graph tells me there are quite a few of you!). Shall I now stop? You have all seen enough of the book, and had a chance to join in an interesting discussion, and that might be quite enough. Shall we call it a day ??
Or does anyone want me to put up the last few chapters and carry on to the end? Let me know!