Thursday, February 25, 2010


An email from a young man today informed me that he believed in spirits and angels and asked me what I thought of that from a Buddhist perspective. "This the the highest belief one could have," he asserted. And further, "I would like to meet someone who believes in bodhisattvas or angels like I do and is not a mere slave of his belief."

Aside from the obvious confusions he faced, I was struck by the touching nature of seeking out a superlative in life.

There is, for example, a Zen-oriented book called, "The Supreme Doctrine." The Jews sometimes refer to themselves as "the chosen." Hitler described blond and blue eyed Aryans as the best. I believe there are several American Indian tribes whose tributes to themselves include the use of the words, "the people." And lots of religious texts I have long since forgotten refer to the "highest" or the "best" or "most complete" or some other superlative designation for a particular way or faith or activity.

It's a curious matter -- superlatives.

And all I can think of is that where there are superlatives, there is ego. I don't mean that as a criticism. Just as an observation that might prove useful the next time a superlative walked into anyone's life. Ego frequently means difficulty and sorrow so maybe superlatives would be worth checking out and digesting a bit.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Adam.

    It might be that the 'Supreme Dharma' is a special case in that you have to be the Complete and Thorough Loser to really get it.

    If it's really that good, it must be worth begging for.