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  1. Do you consider that the person who pursues spirituality (or interspirituality, I don’t know the difference) will suffer more, the same or less than the man in the street who pursues his or her unexamined objectives?

    I’m trying to get at a hidden assumption that may be there in your text and that of many others who pursue a spiritual path, namely that it’s necessary to go against the grain of nature in us, the animality in us if you will, to reach the spiritual prize.

    Or is it, as I suspect, that there is a particular kind of suffering which hits some and not others: a kind of suffering for which a remedy is identified, namely spirituality: which is a kind of human invention.

    I don’t mean that the goal of spirituality is a human invention. I take that to be a given, like all the other beauties of this world. But I suggest that in the context of this particular kind of suffering, spirituality is a path or a remedy just as an aspirin is a remedy for a headache.

    If this is the case then spirituality is downgraded from a universal good, the crown of human endeavour, to something that appears to soothe the pain of some people. And then a lot of the literature would be hype by which a minority justifies itself to the majority.

    I’m not sure that I hold to the view outlined above, and I am not demanding that you refute it. But it might be worth considering, to see what kind of case could be adduced for one view or another.

  2. Tom,

    Thank you for the wonderful insight in your post. The whole idea of ending suffering is one that has caught me over and over and over again as I have pursued zazen and perhaps zen buddhism as a whole with a sort of fervor that belies a very persisent gaining mind. I feel the truth of your wisdom as evidenced in this post.


    1. Thanks very much Raymond. Yes, the gaining mind seems to asset itself at every turn! Just to know this we can relax and not take it seriously. My warmest regards. Tom

  3. Tom,
    Thanks for the refreshing reminder. I’ll see how much I live it today…

  4. Once again, you have managed to say EXACTLY what I was needing to hear! It’s amazing really. These past few days have been difficult for me, strangely. I say strangely because nothing has happened to which my melancholy can be attributed. Just the realization of all the broken souls surrounding my life. Such thoughts get me down regularly which is self-defeating since nothing can be done (or blamed) for this “normal” negativity. And then I read your recent blog reminding us that life IS suffering! So no wonder I feel frustrated just being me. Just living life. Just breathing. I love this line, it’s genius really: “What if instead of getting it together, we allowed life to be fully tragic? Isn’t this humility?” Thanks for offering the exact perspective needed. I shall now suffer with a bit more understanding. :)

  5. Hi Tom

    re: “The heightened and extended practice of Buddhist nonattachment empties to self into nothingness; it is in this nothingness that we find peace. It is in this nothingness that Christian mystics find God.”

    Yes indeed.

    Guanzi: “If you carefully clear its home, the essence will come in by itself.” chapter 49

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