MCTB Conclusion to Part I

People have noticed a decrease in the importance of poetry to our society. It has been said that our desire for more information, faster images and quick sound bites is increasing. We are searching faster and faster, perhaps at the expense of looking more deeply.

Rather than sitting with a Shakespeare sonnet for a few minutes, just pondering the beauty and meaning of it, we might read ten of them quickly and then feel a bit befuddled. Similarly, one might read though a dense little work like this one without stopping to ponder each paragraph along the way and thus perhaps get little out of it. Just so, we may be constantly trying to find the next teacher, book, spiritual scene, technique, incense, mantra, costume, or doctrine that will get us the Big E. Quick results are actually possible, though there are no promises about the speed of progress that can be given. Real progress will only come when we settle into the basics, into this moment, and go deep.

These lists are good sources of the basic teachings that are sufficient to do the trick. Go deeply into them, or find them in another form, perhaps in another tradition, and go deeply into them. Slow down. Settle into these simple truths, reflect, and then practice with diligence!

Good teachers can help; they are nearly a necessity and so are highly recommended, but you must do the work yourself. You must understand, and then you will have to do this again and again. Get used to it, as it can be quite an adventure.

It is sometimes hard for people to believe that right there in their experience is what they are looking for. It is right here, right now, in your own experience, in your own heart, mind and body. It is these sensations right now that are just soaked with the truth.

Forgive me, but one more time up on my soapbox. There is so much completely useless and harmful sectarianism in the spiritual world, within Buddhism and between Buddhism and the other spiritual traditions. People can get so into their particular trip and get all down on the other perfectly good spiritual trips. This is faith out of balance causing rigid adherence to dogma, isn't it? This is a lack of understanding of what the basics are and what are just the inevitable cultural trappings and individual emphases of each tradition.

These are the basics. Wherever you find a tradition with the components of even one of these lists, regardless of what they are called or how they are formulated, you find a tradition with the potential to awaken. Sure, there is a lot of junk spirituality out there, but there is also a lot of really good stuff.

Again, each tradition has its strengths and weaknesses, and some may have cultural trappings and ornamentation that you like or don't like, but don’t make a big deal about this.

Instead, keep the basics in the front of your mind. Each valid tradition can help us gain further insight into the truth, and perhaps we will resonate with one teaching or tradition at one time and another some time later. Alternately, we can pick one tradition, not be sectarian about it, and go deep into it, into the simplicity and clarity of its basics, using its extrapolations, elaborations and interpretations to go back more deeply into the simple truths. We can engage with the ordinary world, with the truth of this moment, and this will empower us and may awaken us.

May this writing be of benefit to you and all beings, and may you and all beings realize the simple truth of things in this lifetime.

MCTB Introduction to Parts II and III