October 10, 2009

Come and See

Perhaps because of our Judeo-Christian background, we have a tendency to regard doubt as something shameful, almost as an enemy. We feel that if we have doubts, it means that we are denying the teachings and that we should really have unquestioning faith. Now in certain religions, unquestioning faith is considered a desirable quality. But in the Buddha-dharma, this is not necessarily so. Referring to the dharma, the Buddha said, “ehi passiko,” which means “come and see,” or “come and investigate,” not “come and believe.” An open, questioning mind is not regarded as a drawback to followers of the Buddha-dharma. However, a mind that says, “This is not part of my mental framework, therefore I don't believe it,” is a closed mind, and such an attitude is a great disadvantage for those who aspire to follow any spiritual path. But an
open mind, which questions and doesn't accept things simply because they are said, is no problem at all.

–Ani Tenzin Palmo, from “Necessary Doubt,” Tricycle, Summer 2002

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CoCreatr's picture

Where do we draw a line what is a "closed mind"? We don't. It is a label to incite emotion over different viewpoints. Why finger-point at all?

alan's picture

A closed mind will accept nothing new. That is why we call it closed. What about a person who has constructed a mental framework for what to allow in, and what to reject? we could say he is following the the Buddha's advise.
Why the anti-intellectualism? Why the insistence on relaxing the rational mind?
This kind of feel-good stuff dilutes the Dhamma and is getting rather dull, if I may say so.

Buddha never said our inherent nature is pure, and the path is not about re-discovering anything.