Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Place for Doubt

By Robert Buswell:

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were fostered in no small measure by the certitude of a handful of religious zealots that their religious beliefs alone were right and all others wrong. In early Buddhist texts like the Atthakavagga (The Octets), the Buddha bemoaned the pernicious hold that extremist views, and especially religious blind faith, have on people. By presuming that only my beliefs, practices, and perceptions are correct and unassailable implies that all others ipso facto are incorrect and controvertible.

As the tenth anniversary of this heinous act of religious terror approaches, it is perhaps refreshing that an eminent figure in a tradition that places doubt at the very core of religious teaching and practice will be visiting New York City. He is Ven. Jinje Seonsa, the leading Korean Zen (Seon) master of his generation.

In Buddhism, by abandoning the personal point of view that is the self (atman), the Buddhist experiences a state that transcends dichotomies such as enemy and friend, orthodox and heretical, and thus clings to nothing from this conditioned world. Even attachment to "Buddhism" itself, the Buddha says, must ultimately be abandoned to truly understand Buddhism. Attachment to views is considered to be the root source of the disputes that separate one group from another and lead to conflict, a position certainly taken to the extreme by the 9/11 attackers....

Read the full column here at The Huffington Post

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