May 14, 2010

Great Purpose

He who commits himself to the Way must be equipped with three essentials. A great root of faith, a great ball of doubt, and a great tenacity of purpose. Lacking any one of them, he is like a tripod with only two legs.

By "great root of faith" is meant the firm conviction that the practice of reason alone can carry one to the perfection of Ultimate Enlightenment. With the practice of reason great doubts about life and death will crystallize. Yet even though you become a great ball of doubt, you will be unable to break it apart unless you constantly work on it with a great burning tenacity of purpose.

The practice of the Way is like making fire by friction. The essential thing as you rub wood against stone is to apply continuous all-out effort. If you stop when you see the first trace of smoke, you will never get even a flicker of fire, even though you may rub away for a thousand years.

Don't think the commitments and pressing duties of normal life leave you no time to go about forming a ball of doubt. If a man, while pushing his way through a busy marketplace, drops some bank notes onto the ground, will he just leave them there and forget about them, just because he is in a crowded place? Of course not. He would be down there frantically pushing and shoving with tears in his eyes trying to find them. Yet what is a bit of money compared with Great Enlightenment?

The worldly man needs a great purpose to motivate him - if he wants to achieve anything much. Likewise does the spiritual man require Great Purpose to provide the force necessary to relinquish his ego.

— Kevin Solway