August 27, 2010

The Power of an Open Question - Absolute Certainty

If we think about it, life resists definition. How can we truly know things that continuously change, are impossible to pin down, and are always open to interpretation? Can we, for instance, ever reach absolute conclusions about the redness of a flower, a moment of grief, or the meaning of the universe?

We're lucky that the Buddha didn't simply reach a conclusion or settle for an answer. The world is full of answers. If you ask a simple question, you can get a million of them, no problem. In fact, think of how many conclusions we reach each day: think about all of our likes and dislikes, our views about the world, who we think we are and who we decide we want to be. But have we ever been able to reach a point of absolute certainty about anything?

- Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, The Power of an Open Question

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel’s Tricycle Retreat starts in 10 days on! Join the Tricycle Community to enjoy the retreat and get her book at 30% off.

[image: Martin LaBar]

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Samantabhadra's picture

but, but, but! ...


its too quiet!

and thats boring - lets go twitter some more

Philip Ryan's picture


You can find the complete article as a downloadable PDF here:

It has been available since the issue was published in May 2010.

Erik Meier Carlsen's picture

I'm deeply disappointed, I ordered the summer-issue of Tricycle from my home in High North - in Denmark, I received it today and read with entutiasm the wonderfull commentary by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (which I hade the great blessing to meet and receive teachings and innitiations from in Copenhagen, 34 years ago) on the text from Mipham Rinpoche. In the end of the article you promised, that I couold read the full text on, but this doesn't seem to be possible. Why this broken promise?

Chana Dennis's picture

Very well put statement by Elizabeth! Maybe it is in the questions we continually create, that the answers keep multiplying. :) Really, in meditation we seem to be able to stop the questioning part of the mind, so why not do it all day. Maybe practice walking meditation in a busy park, or a mall. Learn to keep the mind open and free of questions, and therefore the hunger and need for answers. Then their is direct perception of things the way they really are. This reminds me the realm of the "hungry ghost". Never satisfied with what is, but always conjuring dissatisfaction, like the image of "Golam" in "Lord of the Rings". When the mind begins to hunger for an answer, why not be aware that we are responsible for creating the question. :)


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