Knowledge and Obstacle

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“Often it is our own knowledge that is the biggest obstacle to us touching suchness. That is why it’s very important to learn how to release our own views. Knowledge is the obstacle to knowledge. If you are dogmatic in your way of thinking, it is very difficult to receive new insights, to conceive of new theories and understandings about the world.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

I really like the Parable of the Raft from Buddha.

A man was trapped on one side of the river. This side is very dangerous while the other side is safe. In order to get to the safe place, he used the material he can find around him to make a simple raft. He lied on the raft and used his arms and legs as the oars to safely get himself across the river to the safe side.

Buddha then said to his disciples that if this man, after he was safe, thought to himself that this raft saved my life so i’m going to carry it on my back and take it with me wherever i go on the land.

“What do you think of him?” Buddha asked.

His disciples answered “he is stupid.”

Buddha continued “What if he just thought to himself that this raft saved my life when i was in danger. I’m so grateful of it. Now I’m safe and on the land. This raft has no use for me anymore. I’m going to thank it and leave it here and continue my journey. What do you think of him?”

“This is more wise.” said his disciples.

Buddha concluded “This is like my teachings to you which works like the raft to help you cross the river but not for seizing hold of.”

A lot of debates and arguments in the world caused by the stubbornness of what teaching is right or wrong. The reason we are drawn to one spiritual teaching is that it helps us with our current confusion. The spiritual practice serves as a raft to take us across the turbulent water to the safe shore.

We do not mock others at how shabby their rafts are or how different they are than ours. As long as it is the raft that can take us to the safe shore, it is a good raft.

Like what Thich Nhat Hanh said “knowledge is the obstacle to knowledge. ” If we get stuck in insisting only one spiritual principle is the road to enlightenment, we will never be able to see through the limitation of it.

I believe it takes many different ideas and principles to stir one’s mind so that our perception can actually change and see things from the different angles. I

It is only practical that we take the vehicles that suit the terrains that we are currently on.

Spirituality, as what Buddha taught, is about everyday practicality, not about theological debates. After all, the true miracle is not walking on water or flying in the air. The TRUE miracle is WALKING ON EARTH.

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