“Aware of our limitations, we have decided to insist on the small portion of knowledge that we can claim as our own, even if it means accepting as inevitable the endless not-knowing that surrounds it.” Tarthang Tulku, Dynamics of Time and Space
Like a sun surrounded by inky space, lower knowledge seems to not penetrate enough- it has its own light, but somehow that doesn’t reach far enough. It actually seems to bring the inkiness along with it, as “not-knowing,” a sense of boundary of unknown that goes along with all lower insight.
This one will be brief so that I can eat my lunch and then sit around and do nothing. I try to schedule time to do that, nothing, these days; it seems to work out pretty well.
Last time I wrote about objections to lower knowledge as subjective, responses to this problem, the way TSK claims to both accept and elevate itself above these problems with lower knowledge, and “only mindings”/just thinking. The latter was presented as all experiences being only mind activity of some sort, and I presented an alternative version, that experience may be minding, but it’s also very rich and full.
“The world of human affairs has been run largely on beliefs. Most fundamental among our beliefs is the view that we are lacking something in our lives, and must ‘get’ fulfillment.”
I like this. What follows is a general critique of systems of belief, attempts to find fulfillment in these systems and approaches, whether exoteric or esoteric. What is implied is that naturalness, and inquiry are what is needed in order to find fulfillment.
Generally, I find this approach works. Contemplation of the inquiring kind, being natural, as opposed to artificially dependent on codes of behavior, seem good. But the obvious objection seems to be- isn’t this in itself another belief system? What separates it? Just that there is so much questioning? That doesn’t satisfy me.
There are positive and negative things about this approach, I think, in TSK. In many places, Rinpoche looks at historic trends, with a large scope, a wide angle lens, and analyzes things. This can create a kind of perspective shift, and it can reveal truths about how people function. At the same time, TSK is not separate from all of this. How could it be?
At that point, a few things need to happen. Wisdom needs to penetrate further, like the sun in the beginning. We can’t just find a paradox and let it go, there’s something else going on with paradoxes. Also, it’s good to practice, whatever your practice is. When I get lost in my own thoughts, just sitting and meditating is good (it’s always good, but that’s one particular instance when it is useful, I think, or one thing it helps with).
So I’ll leave it there. There is certainly a situation of knowledge bounded by a space of not-knowing: the belief/inquiry problem. Time to go eat, and then waste some time.
Quotes used with permission from Dharma Publishing. Books available from Dharma Publishing.