When complexity makes knowledge difficult to attain we are an organism that substitutes knowledge with beliefs. Then we become susceptible to manipulation and ideology and follow false prophets. Public policy becomes shaped by irrational beliefs rather than knowledge or facts.
To many on the religious right, religious freedom only matters if it supports a right-wing political agenda. Indeed for years, extreme-right Christian groups have been misusing religious freedom to do everything from discriminating against LGBTQ people to denying access to reproductive health care. Far from a legitimate effort to protect the right to worship freely, religious freedom has been manipulated into another tool in the Christian nationalist playbook to circumvent any law or regulation they see fit. Tribal badges of identity, not of thought. It was never about religious freedom. It was always a right-wing political agenda, cloaked in faith.
In the last 43 years, anti-abortion activists, have committed at least 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 956 known threats of harm or death, 614 stalking incidents and four kidnappings, according to the National Abortion Federation. The supposedly “pro-life” movement has bombed 42 abortion clinics, set fire to 194 and made 667 bomb threats.
Zen Buddhism, among many other things, is a secret collection of questions, stories, aphorisms, and teachings leading to an enlightened state. A novice can only learn the secret interpretations through years of exploration and passage with a master while embracing deep meditation (za-zen). So much of the Buddha’s wisdom was communicated orally and it took hundreds of years for the cumulative knowledge to be recorded. Learning from my master and believing that when you share your knowledge you gain immortality I have tried to record and present to you some of the essence of the teaching.
“Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.”
Wisdom cannot be compartmentalized.
Most of the books about Buddhism that I have read over a long duration fall into three distinct categories. The first is the complex scholarly thesis that delves into the esoteric origins and workings of the Buddhist philosophies. Many terms in foreign languages are used and practical application is generally overlooked. The other category is the simplistic, one saying on a badly illustrated page, containing an almost cliché’ adage. Very few of the sayings can be applied or utilized in today’s societies. The third category are the texts known as Sutras which were written by the followers of Siddhartha as he became known as the Buddha, the enlightened one. The sutras were collections of the Buddha’s lectures and dialogues and are chanted by Buddhists worldwide because they embody wisdom.
All I have, since I am old, is the wisdom of a lifetime.
I do not presume to tell you how to read or learn but simply convey my master’s instructions. The life force and primal knowledge is always present within you. So you can use these books any way you want but to gain more insight into yourself do not read the book as a novel. When after just a few pages or adages some idea or words strike you as significant, close the book and savor the thoughts. You might even take the time to memorize the words and internalize the lesson. Pick the book up some other day and repeat the process. You will find that the wisdom within takes time to incubate and it can be enough for a stage of life. All knowledge is integrated and there is no sequence or priority of expressions in this book. Therefore the linked chapters and numbers are put there only for your convenience.