Thursday, 30 October 2008

Buddha said....'Hold fast to nothing'.....what could he have meant?

For the past 3 weeks the quote from the Buddha which I have started this post with has been constantly in my mind. 'Hold fast to nothing, or no thing' what could he have meant. For Buddhists the theory of attachment is central to Buddhist philosophy. This is clinging onto things or events that are pleasant and avoiding things or events that are unpleasant. However a thing or an event is not pleasant or unpleasant of itself. It is the interpretation we put on it that determines whether we view it as pleasant or unpleasant. It is the view we have of it that dictates whether or not we pursue and cling to it or avoid it (could be anything). But this view is not real it is only an interpretation. The point of view we have about things, is not real but we treat it like it is real. My point of view is not just my point of view it's the Truth. It's the way life REALLY is.

This clinging onto a view as reality and not simply as a view is what I believe Buddha was speaking about when he said 'hold fast to nothing'. Why 'nothing' because 'no thing is real', everything is based on interpretation. When we cling to something that is not real, we suffer. We suffer because we are making real what is unreal. By not 'holding to anything' we are recognising that what we think of as real is not so and in this realization is freedom.

I would assert that it is this clinging to points of views as Truth and not interpretation that is at the root of the intolerances in the world. What would the world look like if there was a mass giving up that points of view are the Truth- the way things REALLY ARE. For one, there would be more tolerance as people saw the lunacy of clinging to something that is not real. There would be an ease and freedom as the suffering that comes with making something that is unreal, real disappears. Buddhism speak of a concept called Avidya or ignorance, but this is not ignorance in the way that it is normally understood. This is an ignorance that distorts the nature of reality. I assert that the point of view is the source of this ignorance. The source of the ignorance is being convinced that the point of view is real.

The power of the point of view and the importance of 'not holding fast' cannot be underestimated. Our point of view gives us the life that we have. My point of view has given me the life that I have. My point of view is that I am a spiritual teacher and what I have pulled towards me have been spiritual teachings and realizations. But I am clear that this is only what my point of view has pulled for because it supports the point of view that I put in place when I was a young girl. The point of view comes first and then comes the experiences to support it.

Yet I am human and I operate in the world. How is it possible to function in life without having a point of view? The point of view is expressed in opinions, judgements. To be realistic, as humans we will always have a point of view. The important thing is to manage it. What this means for me is to take the responsibility for my point of view as just a point of view. My point of view is no more or less important than anyone elses' it is only a point of view.

This insight is coming at just the right time for me. I am sure at the launch of my book next week that there will be many points of view coming at me. I can remain unattached and free only if I remain vigilant to the notion that everything that is said to me and that I say is.....only a point of view.

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