The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

128 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGphilosophies, or anything that is done in simple goodwill orwith an innocent heart.The Buddha summons us to another kind of doubt, "likeanalyzing gold, scorching, cutting, and rubbing it to test itspurity." For that form of doubt that really would expose us tothe truth if we followed it to the end, we have neither theinsight, the courage, nor the training. We have been schooledin a sterile addiction to contradiction that has robbed usrepeatedly of all real openness to any more expansive andennobling truth.In the place of our contemporary nihilistic form of doubt,then, I would ask you to put what I call a "noble doubt," thekind of doubt that is an integral part of the path towardenlightenment. The vast truth of the mystical teachingshanded down to us is not something that our endangeredworld can afford to dismiss. Instead of doubting them, whydon't we doubt ourselves: our ignorance, our assumption thatwe understand everything already, our grasping and evasion,our passion for so-called explanations of reality that haveabout them nothing of the awe-inspiring and all-encompassingwisdom of what the masters, the messengers of Reality, havetold us?This kind of noble doubt spurs us onward, inspires us, testsus, makes us more and more authentic, empowers us, anddraws us more and more within the exalting energy field ofthe truth. When I am with my masters, I ask them again andagain the questions I need answers to. Sometimes I don't getclear answers, but I do not doubt them or the truth of theteachings. Sometimes I may doubt my own spiritual maturityor my ability to really hear the truth in a way that I couldfully understand, and more often I press on asking and asking,until I do get a clear answer. And when that answer comes,and rings strongly and purely in my mind, and my heartresponds to it with a shock of gratitude and recognition, thena conviction is inspired in me that the derision of a world ofdoubters could not destroy.I remember one winter, when I was driving with one ofmy students from Paris down to Italy on a clear and moonlitnight. She worked as a therapist, and had undergone manydifferent kinds of training. What she had realized, she told me,was that the more knowledge you have, the more doubts itgives rise to, and the subtler the excuses for doubting wheneverthe truth begins to touch you deeply. She had tried manytimes, she said, to run away from the teachings, but finally

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