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

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

THIS LIFE: THE NATURAL BARDO 129she realized that there was nowhere to run to, because whatshe was really trying to run away from was herself.I told her that doubt is not a disease, but merely a symptomof a lack of what we in our tradition call "the View,"which is the realization of the nature of mind, and so of thenature of reality. When that View is there completely, therewill be no possibility for the slightest trace of doubt, for thenwe'll be looking at reality with its own eyes. But until wereach enlightenment, I said, there will inevitably be doubts,because doubt is a fundamental activity of the unenlightenedmind, and the only way to deal with doubts is neither to suppressnor indulge them.Doubts demand from us a real skillfulness in dealing withthem, and I notice how few people have any idea how topursue doubts or to use them. Isn't it ironic that in a civilizationthat so worships the power of deflation and doubt, hardlyanyone has the courage to deflate the claims of doubt itself, todo as one Hindu master said: turn the dogs of doubt on doubtitself, to unmask cynicism and to uncover the fear, despair,hopelessness, and tired conditioning it springs from? Thendoubt would no longer be an obstacle, but a door to realization,and whenever doubt appeared in the mind, a seekerwould welcome it as a means of going deeper into the truth.There is a story I love about a Zen master. This master hada faithful but very naive student, who regarded him as a livingbuddha. Then one day the master accidentally sat down on aneedle. He screamed, "Ouch!" and jumped into the air. Thestudent instantly lost all his faith and left, saying how disappointedhe was to find that his master was not fully enlightened.Otherwise, he thought, how would he jump up andscream out loud like that? The master was sad when he realizedhis student had left, and said: "Alas, poor man! If only hehad known that in reality neither I, nor the needle, nor the'ouch' really existed."Don't let us make the same impulsive mistake as that Zenstudent. Don't let us take doubts with exaggerated seriousness,or let them grow out of proportion, or become black-andwhiteor fanatical about them. What we need to learn is howslowly to change our culturally conditioned and passionateinvolvement with doubt into a free, humorous, and compassionateone. This means giving doubts time, and giving ourselvestime to find answers to our questions that are notmerely intellectual or "philosophical," but living and real andgenuine and workable. Doubts cannot resolve themselves

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