Getting Beyond Spiritual Teachings

Posted on 1 August 2005

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Teachings are intended to be helpful to us, of course. Sometimes, though, our thinking mind can get tied up in knots with them, especially the more paradoxical of the mystical teachings. When this happens, it might be helpful to remember that all teachings are “fingers pointing to the moon” and are not absolute truths about ultimate reality. Their value rests in their effectiveness to help us practice and realize, and that will depend on each individual and where they are at.

For example, the teaching that Reality can not be grasped by the mind can be useful if it helps us see and let go of mental grasping. But if we grasp onto “Reality can not be grasped by the mind” and make it into some “truth” then we have turned the teaching itself into an obstacle. Our conceptual minds then get all twisted up in paradoxes. If we simply follow the instruction to let go of grasping, though, the teaching has served its intended purpose.

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