14 Sep 2007 |
Posted by Lama Surya Das | 1 Comment.
It’s back to school week here, and the scent of autumn is in the air. This morning I am remembering that the sage & teacher known as The Buddha used to address all of ‘his students’ as worthy young’uns (being less mature in enlightened wisdom’s development and realization). Higher education is meant to educe the best in us; why settle for anything less? So, friends: What have we learned today? Answer: If we don’t learn the lessons we might get left back, and even have to be reborn again and again until we do!
It’s worth reflecting on the lessons now and then, I believe. Trying to grok the principles as well as the facts, read between the lines, and connect the dots, helps us to understand both how things actually are as well as how they appear and function, and turns our experiences into meaningful insights, which are helpful to us now and later. We all have many experiences, but without reflection and attentive awareness we don’t glean the accompanying wisdom of experience as we age and mature. While most of us wish to become wise Elders, sadly some become just jaded old fools who’ve too often been treating their own life as a mere To Do list or acquisition list.
So the next series of questions: Are we enhancing our competencies and developing life skills and even ourSelves: our inner being and authentic selves? Are we Learning or just earning? Are we striving to become better people and contribute to a better world, for us and the generations to follow—or just thinking about what we can get for ourselves here and now? Are we contributing our gifts and talents, or hiding, hoarding and even squandering them? I think a good zen conundrum for today is this: How to grow in acceptance, forbearance, patience, tolerance and love even as we strive to edify and transform ourselves and this benighted world.
Information gathering augmented with a bit of thinking and strategizing is not enough. The intellect is a good tool but a poor master, and we are too often in its thrall. Learning, reflection and analysis through investigation, questioning and introspection go a long way towards helping us develop the spiritual intelligence and consciousness that is latent within each and all of us. Herein rests the true catalyst for an authentic higher education.
Then taking what we’ve Learned, and trying it on and out through our actions, we can learn to integrate Dharma–liberating wisdom—into daily life, making it part of ourselves, for the betterment of one and all.
This is the premise and promise of a transformative spiritual life or Higher Education.