Ayya Khema, the German Buddhist nun, had a wonderful definition for insight: “Understood Experience.”
To me, that so nicely illuminates what Truth, and the search for it, is all about.
I would never call myself wise (more likely a fool), but I have lived some three score and change years by now and I have, throughout—on some level or another, by some path or another—searched for truth.
Looking back, then looking forward, and then looking up and down and around: I arrive at one conclusion: Most religions, as practiced today, bind (or attempt to).
Well, of course they do; after all, that’s what the word means: its roots reach all the way down to Old French, and its Latin cousin, where it still means: to bind, obligation, or bond.
When I think of religion such as what I grew up with, the word dogma comes a-sailing: the “believe, or else” of it all. But any truth (or dogma disguised as one) that needs a variously invented and decorated Hell to scare you into believing is suspect, methinks.
Insight is understood experience, Ayya Khema’s true words.
During the sixteenth century, didn’t the established priesthood (from the Pope on down) fight tooth and nail to prevent the Bible from seeing an English translation? Perish the thought that the man on the street would read and understand—rather than sheepishly nod at the spouted and priestly Latin.
Anything to keep Truth hidden from view: believe, or else.
To me, there is, and can ever only be, one true religion: that religion, or wisdom, or path that points and guides and helps you see for yourself.
Insight is understood experience.
Such insight, such Truth, will never erode. It is unassailable, no matter how many weapons the priesthood marshals and trains upon you to make you come to your senses and accept their Truth. Understood experience will survive any onslaught of dogma, for you know. There is no jewel more precious.
Belief will only carry you so far, and faith can carry you no farther. In the end you must find out for yourself, and you must know: understood experience.
The teacher who teaches you how to look, and perhaps points you in the right direction (but does no looking for you), is a good teacher.
The religion that teaches you how to look, and perhaps points you in the right direction (but preaches no dogma), is a good religion.
Is the only true religion.
For insight, don’t forget, is understood experience. And is, forever, yours.