Here’s the second question from Glenn Wallis’ approach to working with Buddhist texts (from Basic Teachings of the Buddha):

What limitations do I impose on the text?  For example, would I be willing to do the practices that may be required for a thorough understanding of the text?

 I’m no scholar of Buddhist texts so my work with this question would be, in itself, a limiting of the texts as a meta-document.  One of things I do struggle with are the repetitions among various collections but also an anxiety that I’m not picking up the subtleties that may also be contradictions.  That aside, it makes for interesting self-revelation to sense into the hitch of the in-breath, the slight clutch at the throat or belly when I encounter a teaching that just doesn’t mesh with the way I believe the world should work.  That initial arising of doubt or culturally-based rejection points to a rich understanding of my own limitations, my own willingness to push my edge.

The validity or veracity of the text can be in question; hoisting 2,600 year-old teachings into the present poses many difficulties.  But for now let’s suppose that isn’t so much the issue as is cultivating wisdom.   If the intent is to develop trust in my intuitive understanding, it helps to notice these moments of resistance.  Then it is important to turn towards this self that is stepping back as ask the question again – of a different subject:

What am I imposing on myself?  

2 thoughts on “question-2

  1. Your question, “what am I imposing?” brings it alive, at least in my experience. I like to read the old texts, especially those in the Pali Canon.

    And I never worry about developing a “thorough understanding” of them, since at any given time, I will only have the understanding that I have. This changes over time, and sometimes my understanding seems “more thorough” and other times “less thorough.”

    In this way, studying the texts is studying the self. And I’m much more interested in developing a “thorough understanding” of the self.

  2. …”develop[ing] trust in [our] intuitive understanding…” seems to be the crux of any “path.” Does it feel “right”, is there resonance here, does it speak to my heart kind of questions. And most importantly, does it bring me back to a sense of Self (True Nature/Buddha Nature), or is it just polishing the ego…

    “toe-dipping” is good for this development of intuition, for absorbing and just playing in the rain, for staying open and finding the wisdom in it…

    Nice exploration.

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