June 14th, 2010

Dhammapada (13) - The World

Do not live in the world,
In distraction and false dreams.
Outside the dharma.
Arise and watch.
Follow the way joyfully
Through this world and beyond.
Dhammapada (13) - The World

"The world" means different things to different people, and sometimes, different things to a single person.
Taoists, Buddhists, and scientists all ask us to look at the world "as it is."
But the worlds they see are different.
I have caught glimpses of all three worlds and find it hard to choose among them.

Generally, I prefer the Taoist world, where the villages are small, the distances among them vast, and both the villages and the spaces between are simple and beautiful..  Behind the seeming chaos of greed, politics, and conflicting egos there is a natural harmony which we could see if we would only look with dispassion and quietness.

The Buddhist world is "a mirage, a bubble", in and of itself, it is meaningless, an illusion.  Real meaning must be sought within the true self and beyond what most eyes can see.  The world can only be understood in terms of one's own attitude toward it, an attitude purified by a life of virtue and wakefulness.  This view is attractive to me also, as is the scientists view which is most logical and most lacking in meaning.

Monotheists both love the world (God's creation) and hate it (Satan's realm, the world of fleshly pleasures).  Among the monotheists, the mystics seem to love the world most, hate it least, and, like Taoists, Buddhists, and scientists, regard it as less important.

When i think of "the world" i most often thing of Teilhard de Chardan's Mass on the World and Soloviev's "Three Meetings" (with Sophia, the personification of YHWH's wisdom); and I also think of all the natures mystics from  Li Po to John Muir who have found "infinity in a grain of sand, and eternity in an hour"

Bless this world, and all who dwell in it.  May we respect one another's right to be here.  Amen