A Fine Line Between Truth and Dogma



“One day Mara, the Buddhist god of ignorance and evil, was traveling through the villages of India with his attendants. He saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up in wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him.

Mara’s attendants asked what that was and Mara replied, “A piece of Truth.”

“Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of the truth, o evil one?” his attendants asked.

“No,” Mara replied. “Right after this they usually make a belief out of it.”

From Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, Christina Feldman & Jack Kornfield.

This delightful story from the Buddhist tradition illuminates, instantly, the question of enlightenment versus belief.

This story shines a light so thoroughly, yet in such an unassuming manner. This may be the greatest gift that story, itself, holds for us – like a magician who tells us to look one way, while switching cards with the other hand – story can offer us the perfect amount of misdirection until the trick is revealed. We are educated about our assumptions, and the opposite and complementary truth, in one swift, jovial blow.

Here, we are initiated into the truth that where there is light, there is an accompanying darkness. There is balance, in all things. Often, our cultural paradigm tells us there is only yang, only light, only striving, only creating – even beliefs.

Gracefully it points to the shadow realm of ideas without dogma, and, moments of insight without a concrete story to which they become anchored. We all know what happens when we anchor something – it doesn’t move with the current – safety and stagnation at the same time.

What is it like to live a life where we may carry a look of wonder on our face, without creating a belief about it to explain, or justify, its value?

Can we live freely upon the currents?

If we must anchor for a time, will we remember how to become released?



PS – How do you balance between safety and stagnation in your own life?


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