At school I excelled at science. However, when I was 18 I heard a curious story which went something like this:
Once upon a time in ancient India, many people were searching for this thing called 'the Truth'. They knew that what they perceieved with their senses wasn't true, yet they could not escape it. They had been trying to see reality for a long time, but nobody had found it. But one day, a man called Siddhartha Gautama claimed to have succeeded.
His mind was at peace - totally free of suffering. Apparently he also had some psychic abilities like being able to see what's happening in other parts of the world, or teleport, or warp time and space, which is cool I suppose. They called him Buddha - "the enlightened one".
He taught others what he knew, and some of them understood, and they practiced as he directed. Some achieved the same state as he and taught yet others, and so on.
When I heard this story, I immediately knew that I had to find the Truth for myself.
I was also puzzled at why I'd never heard of it before. If Buddha found a 'truth' that:
- is beyond what we can discover with our senses;
- permanently frees the discoverer from suffering and apparently also from the usual rules of physics;
- is learnable so that others can verify his findings;
- has been verified by many others over the last ~2500 years;
why isn't literally everyone talking about it all the time?
I started by reading:
- Zen Flesh, Zen Bones - a collection including zen anecdotes, koans, and a depiction of the stages of awareness a practitioner goes through.
- Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel - a westerner learning Zen from a master in Japan and describing his experiences.
- Buddha and his friends by S. Dhammika & Susan Harmer - a graphic novel depicting the life of the Buddha.
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle - A modern guide to spiritual enlightenment.
- Loving What Is by Byron Katie - Introduces a form of inquiry to identify, question and undo unhelpful thoughts.
this post seems very conceited or something