20 August 2011

Always Already

So twenty-some years ago in grad school I was introduced to the work of a philosopher that I took to with such abandon, I read just about everything I could.

Last year I was passed a .pdf of a work of a neuroscientist-turned-Buddhist-nun who had incorporated a lot of that same philosopher's work into her own.

Each of us had resonated with something in that work.  Each of us ended up in practice.

I have to wonder whether some folk are just – how to put it – disposed toward the Dharma from early on.  They might not know it as "The Dharma" along the way, but their basic intuition is never far out of step with it.

They may practice the religion they were raised in, but they focus on aspects of it that most of their coreligionists probably don't.

They may end up in academic or scientific studies, trying with the resources of the human intellectual fund to probe and give expression to what they know but cannot say.

They may not even put religious or intellectual expression on it at all.  They may walk the woods, sit on the bus, go about their trades, unwittingly giving shape to their lives and their families in line with what we clumsily label, "The Four Noble Truths."

I have found men and women of the Way in all kinds of non-Buddhist contexts, and I have found charlatans and dandies and dolts clad in robes and sitting in Buddhist temples. 

The truth is the truth and is not confined to this address or that practice.  It is always already here, the open secret, discernible in and among the myriad shapes and forms by all with but eyes to see and ears to hear.

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