January 15, 2021


Roan Mountain Fence Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain Highlands, Carver’s Gap, Tennessee
The Buddha's first great discovery
was "All life is suffering."
It gets better.
His second great discovery
was "The way to freedom from suffering
is to not care about anything."
That's it.
Buddhism in two sentences.
Get those down
and you are as enlightened
as the Buddha was.

Or, you could just say, 
"Suffering is just part of it,
don't let it get in your way!"

Or, "If you take anything too seriously,
it will rob you of all the rest!"

Or, "Finding the balance point
between too much and too little
is the trick to having it made!"

The Buddha talked about finding 
the balance point. 
He called it "The Third Way."
Sometimes, "The Middle Way."
And recommended living between
too much and too little in all things
great and small.

Now, you really have all it takes
to be a Buddha.

And, the Buddha would agree.
He would say, "Everybody is a Buddha!"
And he would be right about that.
It is a potential for us all, anyway.

Finding the balance point
creates harmony throughout our life,
and carries over into all the world.



Big Creek Spring 04/15/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, North Carolina
One person's religion
is another person's folly.
Absolute truth is a very relative thing.

And so it is said
that true religion
does not take itself seriously
or impose itself on others,
and laughs at the very idea
of having the last word
about anything.

The best science,
like the best religion,
looks askance at everything
pretending to be a fact.
An absolute fact
is laughed out of the room.

The most factual thing you can think of
is factual only under certain conditions.

Put a banana in a jar
and tighten the lid.
Wait two weeks
and tell me what you have in the jar.

Things change.
That is an absolute fact.
So far as we know.
The fact of things changing
doesn't change.
So far as we know.

Everything that is so
is so
so far as we know.

So what?

So back off
and reconsider.
Sit quietly
and reflect.
See how our seeing
is impacting our life,
and look to see
what all is there.

There is how we see things,
and there is how things are.
And it is easy to think
the two are one,
and difficult to separate
the one into two.

So do the work.
And see how that changes things.
Softens things.
Moves things toward
and life.

For the sake of life.



Roaring Fork Oil Paint Rendered — Roaring Fork Auto Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Truth that is too true is intolerable,
and sentenced to death.

Examples are everywhere.
Jesus was crucified because
he spoke a truth that was too true to be true
("The father and I are one,"
for one).

Galileo was forced to recant
his declarations about the earth, sun and stars.

Darwin is still despised in some circles
for his truth about evolution.

Racial equality is anathema to white supremacists. 

Climate change and vaccinations are ridiculed
by their deniers.

The list is long and incredibly sad.

How will we ever be One
when we cannot acknowledge the same truth?

Colonel Nathan R. Jessup's,
"You can't handle the truth!"
is the truest truth that has ever been spoken,
and he speaks to us all,
and to himself,
because there is a truth even he cannot handle.

"There is the way things are,
and there is the way things also are,
and that's the way things are!"

We don't want to consider the "also are."
We just want to say,
"THIS is the way things are!"
and let that be that.

Yin is balanced by Yang,
and Yang by Yin.
And "Truth is found between the hands,"
(On the one hand this,
and on the other hand that,
and on the other hand, that over there...")

And that leaves us with being lenient,
open to 
and tolerant of,
what is also true
on all levels 
at all times.

And firmly opposed to
what is not true,
in all times and places.

Working that out
pushes us to the brink,
and we walk a fine line
across a slippery slope,
along a dangerous path
like a razor's edge.

The work of truth
is not for the faint of heart.
Or the narrow-minded.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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