I found this cartoon on the web, and found it poignantly funny and accurate. It actually gave rise to my realizing how skewed all of our views can be.
Everything we see and think is based on perceptions from our own personal and very limited point of view. And to each of us, this is complete reality!
But how do we see more clearly and universally when we only have these limited senses with which to gain knowledge? How did the Buddha do it?
I’m fairly certain that it was not some magical influence of the Bodhi tree that he sat beneath when he reached enlightenment.
But fortunately, the Buddha did lay out very clear and detailed instructions on how we can awaken for our current state of limited understanding.
Now I have read quite a bit of the teachings, and I believe I gain understanding the more I study.
But ultimately, I think that Buddha gave us a perfect example by how he became enlightened and how he lived his life after his awakening.
The first glaringly apparent example to me is how he meditated. Day after day, year after year, Siddhārtha Gautama, sat and practiced silence and observation of the mind and body. This is the same image that is almost always seen when we see a statue or image of the Buddha. I think this is a powerful tell-tale sign of what we need to do. Sit down, be quiet, settle our minds and bodies and just be observers. How wonderful and how simple.
Now obviously, when we do sit and meditate, we often find it more difficult than we initially thought. But I see this as clear evidence that we are only seeing this with our own limited view. With attachments, perceptions, delusions, and perversions. Just like the rhinoceros in the cartoon, we can only see things one way.
Oddly enough, one of my favorite sutta’s is all about the rhinoceros. It is titled the Khaggavisana Sutta, and I would encourage each of you to read it when you have time.
Secondarily, and equally important, the Buddha gave an example with his life after he was enlightened. His life was dedicated to the benefit of all living beings; with unconditional loving kindness, equanimity, and compassion.
When I see the image of Buddha, this too is what comes to my mind.
His path, his teachings and his example.
For now I accept my limited view and perspective, but with an awareness of its limits and scope. With practice and determination, perhaps one day I will clearly see everything.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.