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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

An Honest Doubt, by Kyogen Carlson

Picking up on the Zen doubt thread from way back:

With an honest doubt we can recognize the imperfections in things, weigh them against their merits, and understand the value of a teaching or a practice. Eventually an honest doubt, along with gentle faith, will lead to an understanding of the real perfection, which lies hidden in all things. Religious traditions, and Zen is no different, is made up of individuals with strengths and weaknesses, faults and foibles, and, of course, the potential for enlightenment. If faith permits us to see enlightenment manifesting around us, and in the actions of others, honest doubt permits us to accept human nature as it is. The miracle of transformation that Zen training works upon us requires both of these. Gently accepting our own limitations, we can at last come to know enlightenment at work within ourselves too. To understand honest doubt, though, there is something else to consider. An honest doubt is one that is directed inwardly as much, if not more so, than it is toward outward things. To hold an honest doubt is to first say to oneself 'I could be wrong,' and then, secondly, to admit that 'They could be wrong, too.'


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