Thus Have I Heard

Andrew Schelling

parting words

Thus have I heard
Once the eminent Buddhist scholar Edward Conze
known for his translations
of Perfect Wisdom,
visited UC Santa Cruz to lecture
He spent the entire period
lambasting those who thought Buddhist
insight might be achieved
by eating organic food walking barefoot
burning incense or otherwise
assuming outward display
rather than the fierce study required by
intricate old texts, sutras which demand
many decades of devoted
meditation to yield up
their secrets. At the end of the
lecture one young, barefooted
man at the back of the room
thanking the visitor for his
insights inquired, “Dr. Conze—could
you say a word on the role
of arrogance in Buddhist practice?”
Arrogance, snapped the scholar—
arrogance is the last
to drop away

Andrew Schelling has published 17 books of poetry, translation, and essay. He teaches at Naropa University in Colorado and at Deer Park Institute in India.

Image: John Stezaker, Mask IV 2005, collage, 21 x 17 cm, 8.3 x 6.7 inches.

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fightclubbuddha's picture

Perhaps the eminent scholar had experienced what Dogen referred to as dropping away of the dropping away.