Certainty in Buddhism


We can all remember at least one occasion where we have been SO RIGHT, then proved SO WRONG. We held one idea or fact that we were resolutely certain about, then, upon cross examination we were proved absolutely, demonstrably, profoundly wrong. At best, it’s a little embarrassing. At worse it can be dangerous to ourself and others.

Until we discover we’re wrong, we feel just the same as if we’d been right. The same. No different. The moon is made of cheese feels exactly the same as the moon not being made from cheese - at least until we discover it’s not made of cheese.

It’s like that cartoon with Wylie E Coyote chasing the roadrunner off the cliff. The roadrunner is a bird, so it can fly, but the coyote can’t fly. It’s not until the roadrunner points out that the coyote has run off the cliff, and can’t fly, does the coyote feel any different. He looks down, realizes his error and then plummets to the ground - always to come back in the next scene - broken, but not out.

There seems to be no internal cues that we may be wrong, only embarrassing external cues. I think back to grade nine. It was the first year in high school and one of my first math tests. I got such a bad mark. Algebra simply eluded me. I just didn’t get it it. It was so embarrassing.

The teacher actually pointed out how wrong I was by putting the question(s) up on the chalkboard then making me try to figure it out again! In front of the class - while standing - chalk in hand - at the blackboard. I stood there looking stupid, powerless to do anything. I felt naked. I still didn’t have the answer - how the hell could I? I only just got the paper back and didn’t know my errors until two minutes earlier!

The lesson learned that day was not how to solve math problems, but that being wrong is going to result in embarrassment and false accusations of; laziness, sloth, low intellect, poor reading skills and even some allusions about one’s parentage. No sir, being right was far better than being wrong. Being right is how we succeed in life. Being right is how we get ahead. I dare say that is a lesson we all learned, and learned well, at an early age.

”Excerpt From: Ed Horner. “Certainty in Buddhism.” iBooks.

#Buddhism #certainty

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