Truth-seking and Path-following – A moral conundrum for the Ardant Buddhist.
Posted on October 20th, 2015

R Chandrasoma

The Tathāgata was a Seeker of the Truth before his enlightenment – and his career as the Great Expositor was preceded by a dialectical interaction with the leading saintly intellects of the day. The Jaina Teachings provided the initial stimulus for his path-breaking spiritual innovations and the Brahaminic wisdom of the day was an everpresent background against which he set his revolutionary teachings on Anatta and Anicca. The point to stress is that he was a quester of the truth before he turned discoverer of the path. The earnest Buddhist Pilgrim or Devotee of today is faced with a puzzling choice – must he, like the Great Teacher, seek the truth before adopting a creed or Follow the Path that  the Enlightened One had discovered and luminously set forth for the good of all? Seemingly all established religions set forth a path that must be traversed before the attainment of that spiritual and moral excellence that is the necessary pre-requisite for a fulfilled life. Must it not be conceded, however, that a huge gulf separates the Seeker from the mere Follower? As that Modern Sage Krishnamurti puts it ‘Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices’.

We say all this because the Buddhists of Sri Lanka are fast becoming Path Followers and that questing metaphysical spirit – the desire to know the truth through personal endevour – has all but gone. Earnest seekers of the Truth must tussle with the enemy of ignorance by reviewing all pretenders to this truth – including those beliefs and systems of thought that seem greatly at variance with the enthroned beliefs of their own religion. In this day and age Science is religion’s chief adversary – and for a sincere Buddhist to set aside or overlook this high achievement in secular matters is not merely odd but perilous. In our country contrariness is equated with the heretical and to hew to a well-known path of lofty indifference to anything outside the professed orthodoxy seems to be the accepted wisdom – the wisdom of only looking backwards.   Orthodox Monks of the Sinhala Tradition speak glibly of Heavens and Hells –  glorious Abodes for the Worthy and Punishment Centres of extraordinary cruelty for the Wicked. This phantasmagoric vision of ethical re-balancing in distant worlds is an acient but  childish dream – but it persists in the kind of debased folk-Buddhism that the masses  are made to believe. In the latter, Karmic Merit is treated as a transferable commodity and placatory ‘poojas’ for the gods play a foremost role in the pious endevours of the lackadaisical Buddhist masses of our country.  Above all, an Ecclesiastical Brotherhood of Renunciants – the Monks – now play the role of the Exclusive Interpreters of the Doctrine (Saerdotalism). Religious Services – not the pursuit of the Sacred Truth – is at the heart of the new orthodoxy. That this is a truly lamentable metamorphosis of a great religion that has illumined the lives of countless millions will be conceded by all who treasure the truth as against the trumpery of a show-piece public religion for the masses. A concluding word on Buddhism – it is an awakening to transcendence – the aqustion of a spiritual vision that makes the worldly and mundane a distraction in the great task of being one with the Absolute. (Nirvana)

2 Responses to “Truth-seking and Path-following – A moral conundrum for the Ardant Buddhist.”

  1. charithsls Says:

    I do not think there is a moral conundrum for a true follower of Buddhism.Please do not persuaded by what other Buddhist masses of our country do with silly poojas & talks etc but seek your own liberation. We like to ‘look at others’ but not within. Be practical than looking at it superficially then you understand the inner values of it. I do not think at all, the science is religion’s chief adversary, not for Buddhism, may be true for Abrahamic religions. One day the man found ‘the fire’ by rubbing two stones (science) & today the man has found planes & mobiles. What is the big difference? none, the same Dukka reigns! Science makes the person the most inactive one, the ‘fearful one within’ awaiting the inevitable to happen. He has no hope of liberation.Life is just an accident & is & will be just a ‘waste’ & a burden for them, living for the sake of been born. The present West following the science, is a good example, a life of wealth & indulgence but aimless wondering with pitiful ends. Truth can be discovered before the Path only by a Buddha.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Great article RC.

    I find JUDDU KRISHNAMURTI way ahead of Buddha in truth seeking. He has clearly seperated the FOLLOWER from the SEEKER.

    Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism can only create followers.

    I recommend them to read THE FIRST AND LAST FREEDOM, THE FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE to start their truth seeking act.

    It is KARMA nonsense that has taken the true value of Buddhism out of it turning it BACK to HINDUISM.

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