Jesse wrote:Lately I've been troubled by the inability of meditation, and spirituality in general to produce any real tangible truth about reality. Even if all attachment is severed, does that negate the importance of "figuring out", what reality is?
No matter how much I try, i can't let go of my searching for answers to life's big questions. In a way, I feel as if letting go of the search is in a way, betraying myself. I know it seems absurd, but before I die I would like to understand life itself, is there some ultimate purpose to it? If not, is it purposeless? Is a lack of purpose a purpose in itself? At the moment, I feel as if the third option might be the closest to the truth. No purpose is the purpose, an open ended existence where anything and everything is possible.
Anyway, I haven't figured out how to console the differences between the path Buddhism offers and this search. I almost feel as if they are contradictory. Yet I am drawn to both. In your experiences which do you believe is a more worthwhile en-devour?
Would satisfying your ultimate desire, and perhaps even purpose of your existence be more important, or achieving some measure of realization? I imagine you can 'take' neither with you once death arrives, so which is really more important?
Sorry to jump in the debate this late, but it's an interesting subject.
In a way, you are kind of internalizing a debate that has taken lace in Buddhism since Medieval Asia. Schools such as T'ien-t'ai/Tendai were completely focused on scholarly pursuit of the darma. The Tendai school, while over shadowed by other schools of Buddhism nowadays, was the most dominant, most influential, most powerful schools of Buddhism during this time. It left its mark on all forms of East Asian Buddhsim in one way or another. Eventually, after a few centuries of academic debate dominating the Buddhist scene, monks became dissatisfied with their lack of personal practice and wanted to penetrate the Dharma first hand. This movement gave rise to the incorporation of Zen practices in combination with Tendai at first, and then the development of fully independent Zen schools. It also helped give rise the Pure Land Buddhism. Monks and lay people wanted less intellectualism and something personal and real. And then for many centuries to follow, Buddhist schools kind of went through this teeter-totter: Schools get "revitalized" and energized for a century or so and focus on certain practice (meditation, chanting, whatever) and then the gradually fade into a period of intellectual pursuit, and then it begins all over again, etc.
So, what you are trying to do is decide is something that even the institution of Buddhism itself can't figure out. "WWBD?: What Would Buddhism Do?" I think there is nothing wrong to have periods where you intellectually pursue the dharma and periods where you pursue it more actively in practice. And there is nothing wrong with doing both at the same time, because historically speaking this is what Buddhism itself has done.