BUDDHA SAID

By William Markiewicz

"Whenever one awakes and finds the beautiful, then one knows indeed what beauty is."

I didn't know that Buddha was an aesthete. One old movie shows Buddha starting his quest with monks/martyrs who inflicted various tortures on themselves as a way to higher spiritual levels. One outcome, of course, was rejection of physical beauty.. One Kurdish Guru whose name I don't remember, I believe he was Sufi, claimed: we can admire a beautiful village, but at a higher level of consciousness we do realise that the beauty of the village has no importance. And what about art? For the Eastern Orthodox, Icons are the gate to faith, and for me their beauty is magic. One famous Japanese anti-Zen Guru (sorry, his name I don't remember either) claimed that "those Zen people think over their heads." So, tendencies and counter-tendencies clash in all aspects of human spirituality. Intuition, faiths, are like guides who tempt but can't be caught. This reminds me of a tale either inspired by or taken from Ancient Greece. One wizard implored the goddess (I believe Pallas Athena) to reveal the Truth to him. The goddess showed him the Truth completely covered with veils and told him: "Come back in one year and I'll remove one veil." He did so and the Truth shone with a new light. This happened year by year, as the Truth shone more and more and the wisdom and fame of the wizard grew. Finally the time came when only one veil remained and the Truth shone with almost unbearable light. The goddess uncovered the Truth and the wizard cried! "I see nothing!" the goddess said vengefully and with disdain: "As you see, you fool, the mortal can never see the naked Truth!" The wizard implored: O cruel goddess give me death" - which she did.

By the way: if everything is relative, perhaps the naked truth doesn't exist . . .

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