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Monday, May 17, 2010

Wave and Water

Couple walks along the surfline at sunrise - Ocracoke Island, NCYour Head Trucker isn't very well read in Buddhist theology; but here's something I found over on Sullivan's blog - and I like it a lot.
When we look at the ocean, we see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer lasting or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, the wave also lives the life of water. It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water. It would think, "Some day I will have to die. This period of time is my life span, and when I arrive at the shore, I will return to nonbeing."

These notions will cause the wave fear and anguish. A wave can be recognized by signs -- beginning or ending, high or low, beautiful or ugly. In the world of the wave, the world of relative truth, the wave feels happy as she swells, and she feels sad as she falls. She may think, "I am high!" or "I am low!' and develop superiority or inferiority complexes, but in the world of the water there are no signs, and when the wave touches her true nature -- which is water -- all of her complexes will cease, and she will transcend birth and death.
--Thich Nhat Hanh
Of course instead of saying "return to nonbeing," one could say "return to God" and for my money, arrive at the same place:  the end of all strife and all striving; the perfect fulfillment of every desire in that Love that moves the stars - as Dante put it:  the glorious, eternal Beatific Vision.  Eternal rest.  The peace you long for in the depth of your heart, even though you might call it by another name.

Sullivan says the same thing I'm trying to express, in his own way:
I have two intuitions about what happens when I die. The first is that I cannot know in any way for sure; and I surely know that whatever heaven is, it is so beyond our human understanding that it is perhaps better not to try an answer. The second is that I will continue to exist in my essence but more firmly and completely enveloped in the love and expanse of God, as revealed primarily in the life of Jesus.

I guess you can believe there is nothing there (atheism/agnosticism); or that there is something there into which everything dissolves - human and divine - which is a kind of non-material unity of love and compassion (Buddhism). Faith gives me the hope of the Christian alternative to both, that we will remain who we are, the unique objects of God's love, and yet part of such a miraculous sea of divine love, we will be both ourselves and yet far less limited by ourselves, freed from the sin that keeps us from knowing one another, forgiving one another and loving one another and loving God as parent, child and spirit. . . .

So I do not believe our consciousness is utterly different after death than now. I believe, with Saint Paul, that this is the same divine experience, but through a glass darkly. I believe it is Love, because Jesus showed me so. And I await with great fear because I am human and I await with great hope because of the incarnation and resurrection of God in human history.

To philosophize is to learn how to die.

To believe is to hope for light in the face of "some blackness coming toward us."
The thing is, it's a mystery we can sense but never prove. Guess we'll all find out the straight of it when we get there, huh boys.

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