Here’s the third question to ask as we dig into our relationship with the teachings texts of the Buddha (as far as we may know them):
Would I be willing to alter my life in the way the text is suggesting?
Often, the answer – and a superficial one – is to say, No. I feel challenged by Wallis’ call to sit in the dynamic of a good question.
Learning takes place at the point of tension between credulous appreciation and wary dismissal.
He points out that we are experts at the dichotomies. We thrive at the nadir and zenith of the acceptance/rejection continuum. And we are loath to abandon this immediate stance. And that’s just fine.
Whatever it is, your response to a word, passage, or text is the very lifeblood of reading. It is in your response that your relationship to the world of the suttas is formed, developed, and fulfilled or unfulfilled.
The art of discovery lies in the willingness to open – not so much to the answers but to the question.