Tuesday, August 12, 2008

contrasting perspectives

Faced with finite resources, what do you do? You hoard. Jump into action and get as much as you possibly can. This aspect of human nature has been demonstrated many times, and described as the concept of scarcity in economics.

Faced with unlimited possibility, what do you do? Nothing.

My reasoning may be imperfect, but it seems to me that Buddhists are leaning towards the side of infinite possibility. Thich Nhat Hanh on the subject, from a selection I originally posted in 2005-09-15:

The Third Door of Liberation is aimlessness, apranihita. There is nothing to do, nothing to realize, no program, no agenda. This is the Buddhist teaching about eschatology. Does the rose have to do something? No, the purpose of a rose is to be a rose. Your purpose is to be yourself. You don't have to run anywhere to become someone else... There is no need to put anything in front of us and run after it. We already have everything we are looking for, everything we want to become... Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. ...there is "nothing to attain." ...enlightenment is already in us. We don't have to search anywhere. We don't need a purpose or goal... We are at peace in the present moment, just seeing the sunlight streaming through our window or hearing the sound of the rain... Aimlessness and nirvana are one... The practice of apranihita, aimlessness, is the practice of freedom.

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