Search for Truth (part three)

How you develop strategies in seeking your truth are influenced by criteria already present in your mind that you are able to use as tools for this search. However, if they remain unexamined or you are using faulty premises, you might arrive at some strange ideas about truth and falsity that bear no relationship to reality. Contrary to some pop philosophies, there are actual realities and truths that need to be penetrated in order to evolve. The reason we seek truth is not to have a fancy new way to personalize our life, feel important by creating a new truth or just wanting to be different from everybody else in a faceless world.

Other criteria used for understanding truth are books of wisdom or everyday wisdom sayings. I recently read about Benjamin Franklin and some of the books that he wrote. He also himself collected sayings of his time, about crops and about the nature of people, trust, and other interesting topics gathered into regular almanacs to guide others in everyday life. Aphorisms such as "
A penny saved is a penny earned," and other sayings can range from folk wisdom, common sense reminders, and even things that your grandmother said that are still rolling around in the recesses of your memory waiting to be used. For example, recently someone begged his friend to help him get a cat out of a tree, but the friend refused and said, "How many cat skeletons do you see up in trees?"

Books of wisdom such as the Bible, the Upanishads or the Pali Canon are used by billions as important resources for reading about true things. However, even the holy books can be misunderstood and misused to actually harm others by applying personal agenda such as anger toward others. I heard that at time of the crusades, based upon biblical injunctions, spiritual people would do awful things because felt it was connected to wisdom and the truth of spiritual life and salvation they read about in holy books. On the other hand, we are influenced by others as we observe others behaviors and positive changes because they were reading and thinking about the information they found in books of wisdom such as religious scriptures, this is a traditional method of developing discrimination. As we read sacred books describing reality and new perceptions to train our minds we become refreshed and reminded to our original nature of clarity and openness.

Certainly, we can easily see that there are different kinds of truths for different situations without confusion. For example, you might say "
Eat from the four different food groups in order to stay healthy," or, "Do not eat yellow snow." You might say, "Meditate regularly and correctly for health." These three different kinds of truth relate to different situations still generally regarding health. And so, in different situations, you have diverse valuations that you place upon truth. Skillful actions developed over a great length of time help us understand which truth to apply to which situation.

Another important aspect of learning how to learn about truth is regarding or thinking about what is sacred or holy in order to develop respect for our emerging truth or wisdom seeking new thinking. In the Oriental system, we are very careful to not disrespect higher truth or religion or inner development because these are the systems that we will pass through and be trained in for further development. There are “
titers” of trust, reliance, and respect for guidance that we need to have in our “spiritual blood stream” in order to transcend. In the West, often people will mention Je Tsongkhapa, founder of the Geluk tradition, or Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, and then maybe make a joke. Oriental people or long time practitioners could become offended and feel that the criteria that that person is using are no good so be very careful not to make any jokes about holy objects if you wish to have community or spiritual friends now or in the future. We feel that there is an inauspicious energy created and this would be like taking holy objects and rubbing them in the dirt.

In Western educational thinking, some maintain a sincere and careful attitude toward their search for truth, and then turn around and make a cynical joke about it. Perhaps they are not exactly sure that what they are searching for is valid or acceptable, and so they make some kind of rude remark toward what is sacred. The value and understanding of what is sacred and holy and how to maintain a seriousness is difficult for some Western practitioners. A dynamic of self-criticism or cynicism is probably already present in you. Some might want to say something serious and sacred, and then not want to feel that it is so serious that you cannot have fun with it, and so they do both, and mix it all together. This makes a search for truth like a ride on a roller coaster in the way many new practitioners think about holy and sacred objects. To be continued…


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