"At some point, we must each, at some point in our lives, accept, as Cassius says to Brutus in Julius Caesar, that the fault 'is not in our stars, but in ourselves.' Dealt the brain we are, born into the family we are, into the era and culture we can only claim as our own, we must make our own way forward, becoming as Hesse's Siddhartha says, our own teachers, taking from those we meet along the way what words, what wisdom will help us make sense of the world and find our place and purpose in that world." Jim Burke’s blog http://jimburke.typepad.com/
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Why Should I Care?
“Frankly, we’re still scratching our heads. The million dollar question is how enlightenment relates to knowledge. Siddhartha rejects teacher after teacher, saying that they can’t teach him anything about enlightenment. In Chapter Three, he says to the Buddha:
"You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realizations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! And – thus is my thought, oh exalted one, – nobody will obtain salvation by means of teachings! You will not be able to convey and say to anybody, oh venerable one, in words and through teachings what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!"
So that’s cool. Siddhartha knows that essential truths cannot be taught; they must be learned through life experience. We empathize. You can sit in lecture hall all you want and study your calculus, philosophy, psychology, etc., but halfway into your third leg cramp, you’ll likely come to the conclusion that all this knowledge is useless without wisdom.
So there – studying and learning is useless.
Argh! Wait – that’s not where we were going with this. Are you ready for the big "but"? Even Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, studies. He studies the game, he studies his opponents, and he connects his studies to his throw – and that’s what makes him Tom Brady. In other words, surgeons who studied in medical school are more likely to heal sick people than surgeons who didn’t. And Siddhartha studies. He studies with the Brahmans, he studies with the Samanas, he studies with Kamaswami and Kamala, and he studies with Vasudeva.
So while you can’t just sit in a lecture hall and learn about philosophy, you also can’t just go out into the world and live without the build-up of knowledge. It’s about a balance between learning and living. And when you think about Siddhartha that way, you should definitely, definitely care.”
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