I’m writing from a print shop, not my usual home base, because today is a dakini day. Nothing horrible today, although the dakinis are associated, Tibetan Buddhism, with many things from minor mischief to plagues, war, famine. Today my keyboard broke just before I was about to meditate.
So here I am, with the staff here loudly chopping paper, and quietly copying fliers for some customer.
Last time, I wrote a bit about inquiry/belief, and the problem of inquiry becoming easily a belief system. No brilliant insight in regards to that one. The best I could do was to figure out that the problem, in a sense, with belief systems, is dogma, a rigid attitude. So, as long as inquiry, or traditional beliefs, for that matter, are somewhat flexible and artful, there’s no problem.
On to the end of this particular “Knowledge” chapter.
“Our space has been taken away from us. Our time has been filled with various useless tasks. Our resources and bodies have been polluted. But none of these situations can compare with having our human intelligence- our discerning capacity- channeled, locked away, shut down” Tarthang Tulku, “Time, Space, and Knowledge”
This follows the discussion of belief systems. This is a kind of lower level critique in terms of history, and human approaches to knowledge. It’s similar to the critique of samsara on a more nuts and bolts, or psychological level. It’s poiting out the problem in a general, yet penetrating way.
There were times when this would have had more of an impact on me. Maybe the fact that I’ve “committed” to a certain path makes this kind of criticism less moving. But it does make a lot of sense, and it has its merits. Human have both created great culture and wisdom traditions, and lousy cultural slop, and confused distortions of wisdom. Just think of all of the wars and terrible things that have happened in the name of great religions (religions that should be safegaurds against those very kinds of violence and confusion- and this includes Buddhism, there have been clashes among Buddhists as well as the better known Crusades, and so forth).
Confusion and limited approaches to knowledge have been propagated throughout history. Rinpoche writes that we are “tired” of this on some level, deeply tired- as if we’ve witnessed it all, all of the confusion and failed attempts at enlightenment, and have gotten jaded. I find this interesting. He then writes that the old approaches will not work, UNLESS we take an active hand in our knowledge, and question things for ourselves. So it’s not that TSK is the only way, or that all traditional wisdom teachings are flawed beyond repair, but that we have to do some personal investigating, some questioning, some work (and, I guess some play, although that’s not my strong point).
So I’ll leave it there. That’s about the end of the chapter. As the book goes on, we’ll move slowly through lower knowledge and its connections to higher knowledge, then second-level knowledge, then Great Knowledge again.
Quotes used with permission from Dharma Publishing. Books available from Dharma Publishing.