Something about the self

With some questions we
just can’t help our-
Buddhists answer one way.
Hindus answer another.
Both say we’ve got the wrong idea
of what the self is or isn’t.
I’m not sure what to think…except…
that they, that we, are likely all a bit off
in our estimation.

Is it a bit like when in
the Boy Scouts, on a camping
trip, the older scouts would make the
younger scouts excited about snipe hunting?
And so off we’d go
looking for something we could never find
because it didn’t exist,
though we were convinced that there must be some-
thing to which “snipe” refers.

What kind of freedom did we achieve, once
we knew the truth?

Or is it more like when in
earnest, the fool takes a tour
of the university’s buildings, visits
classrooms, talks to professors and students,
but after all is said and done he remarks,
“This is all nice, but where’s this thing,
the university? I want to see it”?

What does he achieve, once
he realizes his mistake?

It has long struck me as funny, or,
perhaps, better: enlightening,
that Buddhists do their thing,
enter their deep states,
and Hindus do their thing,
enter their deep states,
yet the first come away empty handed—and this leads
to awakening,
freedom from samsara,
and the second come away with the most substantial
thing possible—and this leads
to awakening,
freedom from samsara.

Perhaps they’re really answering
different questions, though they’d swear they’re not.
Is one realizing we’d long been on a snipe hunt?
Is one coming back from a snipe hunt proudly holding a rabbit?
Or are they, are we, just playing the fool?

One thought on “Something about the self

  1. I don’t find it foolish. If you think about Christmas and believing in Santa Claus, your parents don’t tell you you are stupid for having believed in something for ‘x’ long. At least with my mother, it was me asking questions, and upon receiving the truth, the disappointment, I was rewarded with the opportunity to use my imagination to perpetuate his existence for my younger siblings. Whether or not the path we choose leads to where we think it does, there’s a certain serenity in saying “I chose this for myself and this is where it should take me, and I am excited.” and knowing that whether or not it comes out the way it should, you have a destination, you know, ultimately, where you wish to end up.
    In my best estimation, which role you fill on said path is the most important part. Are you a lone antagonist, using your personal journey to meditate on your decisions, weigh options, and think for yourself? Are you a leading antagonist, disguising your questioning by perpetuating the belief to the masses and using their belief to strengthen your own? Are you a sheep, a character nonessential to the antagonist as an ally, but you make him/her your compass on your path? Whichever role you fill (and they all must be filled) there are pros and cons, but I find it hard to believe many find peace as sheep.
    In the deepest darkness, in the midst of torture, there are things that anchor you to yourself, your sanity. If on your journey, your destination is powerful enough to be that anchor for you in your greatest time of need…I don’t find it an unworthy cause at all.

    The poetry is well written in my opinion. I like that you are direct and resonating, asking questions and allowing their impact to create the flow and weight of your words. Unlike others’ methods to maintain a sense of mystery to create questions, to suggest weight. You cannot read this poem and shrug it off, where you can with the others.

    I’m not schooled in Philosophy or Literature… I just like poetry =)

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