Saturday, August 20, 2016

Truth Is Above Sectarian Dogmatism

The Student:
    Fixed in their pet beliefs,
    these divers wranglers bawl—
    "Hold this, and truth is yours";
    "Reject it, and you're lost."

    Thus they contend, and dub
    opponents "dolts" and "fools."
    Which of the lot is right,
    when all as experts pose?

The Buddha:
    Well, if dissent denotes
    a "fool" and stupid "dolt,"
    then all are fools and dolts,
    —since each has his own view.

    Or, if each rival creed
    proves lore and brains and wit,
    no "dolts" exists,—since all
    alike are on a par.

    I count not that as true
    which those affirm, who call
    each other "fools."—They call
    each other so, because
    each deems his own view "Truth."

The Student:
    What some style "truth," the rest
    call empty lies;—strife reigns.
    Pray, why do anchorites
    not speak in unison?

The Buddha:
    There's one sole "Truth" (not two),
    to know which bars men's strife.
    But such a motley crowd
    of "truths" have they evolved,
    that anchorites, weakly,
    speak not in full accord.

The Student:
    What makes these "experts" preach
    "truths" so diverse? Is each
    inherited? or just
    a view they've framed themselves?

The Buddha:
    Apart from consciousness,
    no diverse truths exist.
    —Mere sophistry declares
    this "true," and that view "false."

    The senses' evidence,
    and works, inspire such scorn
    for others, and such smug
    conviction he is right,
    that all his rivals rank
    as "sorry, brainless fools." . . .

    Delight in their dear views
    makes sectaries assert
    that all who disagree
    "miss Purity and err."

    These divers sectaries
    —these sturdy advocates
    of private paths to bliss—
    claim Purity as theirs
    alone, not found elsewhere.
    Whom should the sturdiest
    venture to call a "fool,"
    when this invites the like
    retort upon himself?

    Stubborn in theories
    which they themselves devised,
    these wrangle on through life,
    —Leave then dogmatic views
    and their attendant strife! . . .

    No dogmatist can win,
    by self-concocted views,
    the way to Purity.
    Mere prepossessions point
    his road to "Light"; he "sees"
    his old-time "Purity."

    No "Brahmin true" attains
    the goals by mere research;
    no partisan is he,
    nor brother-sectary;
    all vulgar theories
    —which others toil to learn—
    he knows, but heeds them not.

    From earthly trammels freed,
    aloof from party broils,
    at peace where peace has fled,
    the unheeding sage ignores
    what others toil to learn.

    From former cankers purged,
    with no fresh growths afoot,
    from lusts and dogmas free,
    quit too of theories,
    he goes his stainless way,
    devoid of self-reproach.


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