Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Learning to swim

A wise Mahayana take on the famous image of Buddhist teachings and practices as a raft (I hadn't realized before how Hinayana/Theravada the image is, or what a nirvana is samsara deconstruction of it might look like):

When we study Buddhism, we learn about the view and the meditation as supports for encouraging us to let go of ego and just be with things as they are. ...
These supports are often likened to a raft. You need the raft to cross the river, to get to the other side; when you get over there, you leave the raft behind. That’s an interesting image, but in experience it’s more like the raft gives out on you in the middle of the river and you never really get to solid ground. This is what is meant by becoming a child of illusion.
Pema Chödrön, Start Where Your Are:
A Guide to Compassionate Living
(Boston: Shambhala, 2003 [1994]), 33-34

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