The Third Thought

Continuing on with the Five Thoughts, the third goes thus: We must protect ourselves from error by excluding greed from our minds.

While it is obvious that one eats primarily for need not indulgence in greed and to be woofing down ones grub mindlessly is a mistake, however there is a primary mistake. The word exclude is the pointer here. To exclude greed, to exclude anything is to set something apart and separate. In the relative sense exercising greed keeps up the illusion of separation and at the same time ultimately it’s not possible to prise apart the Universe

During the retreat a few weeks ago I suggested to one of the guests that he might have a question to ask during one of our public question and answer ‘teas’. Sure enough he did and it gave me an opportunity to make a point which relates very much to the matter of excluding.

What Question?
An honoured monk suggests I
Might have an interesting
Question or two
But really what else
Is there to ask
Besides how to solve
The Great Matter
And this bothersome “I”?

What Reply?
In this unfractured universe
where can this
“bothersome”*
be found?
Why expend so much
energy looking for fractures
in this unfractured
unfracturable
whole?

Many thanks to Puerhan, come and visit us again. Not sure about the ‘honoured monk’ though. Uh! There I go trying to fracture the universe again…

BTW The Great Matter refers to the question of life and death.

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2 thoughts on “The Third Thought”

  1. “What else is there to ask…?” is a question that has come up for me at times in relation to Buddhist practice. I have questions for those who are more experienced than I am, but I hold back rom asking because I assume such questions arise out of my own unclear view, and that what I really need is to practice more.

    Are questions really of any use?

    Wait, that’s a question…

  2. Tom,
    Yes, questions are of use. They open doors which one didn’t even know were there. We are taught to listen carefully and answer the question at the deepest level. Not necessarily answering the question asked nor the one in the back of the questioners mind but the one in the heart. The question that words find had to express.

    Anyway, yes asking questions helps oneself, helps the person receiving the question to dig deeper and also helps others if the question is asked in public. Thanks for asking the question!

    As for clarifying ones view. Well, taking refuge in the Sangha (asking questions) is basically about exercising trust. Trust in the depths of oneself and ‘another’. Trust is a hard one. Growing out of growing trust is the realization that the viewer and the view are immaculate, and that can be trusted. That’s when asking questions becomes really important, believe me.

    So there you go Tom, thanks for helping me dig deeper, here on a wet and windy hillside in Northumberland.

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