Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on January 20, 2015

The following began as a comment to yesterday's discussion, but we it perhaps warrants more discussion, so here it is again, with its own comments.

To me The Dharma is natural law, just as in Mother Nature's laws, yet "dharma" insight is more encompassing than modern science's understanding of natural law, which stops at physical things like the Law of Gravity. Dharma seems to be a superset of natural law in that it also addresses emotional, psychological, and spiritual issues, which modern science continues to ignore or remains shy of. However, Hard Science is slowly softening and coming around to the Soft Sciences. Sharing discussions like this hastens that process.

What I understand is that all of these cultural uses and Buddhist rituals that we are discussing here are what are called "relative truths." They are relatively true because they help us to get from here to there on the surface of life, but are to be distinguished from those truths that are absolutely true, regardless of what sect, culture, or trappings we are embedded in. These are called, of course, "absolute truths." The dharma represents absolute truth in this analogy, but we have to be careful not to get too absolute about it, either.

I first learned this from my teacher (a Tibetan rinpoche) when I asked him about astrology, which all Tibetans seem to use. He said that astrology was one of the limbs of the yoga, but not the root itself. The Dharma is the root of the yoga. Astrology, as a relative truth, can help us get from here to there on the surface of our life-sphere, but it will not take us toward the center. Only the dharma, so he said, can do that, and that is why it is an absolute truth. It will absolutely take us toward the center of the sphere.

My take is that the absolute is embedded in the relative, just as the center of a sphere is embedded within its entire periphery. Every point on the surface of a sphere is relative (can be related) to any other point, and relative ease or relative insight has great value, but it is temporary. However, all points on that surface of a sphere have a single and absolute relation to the center – identical in nature.

There is nothing wrong with relative truths like astrology. They can help us to get comfortable in life, and relatively improve our position. As an astrologer for fifty years, astrology (and all the other oracles) can be a great help in adjusting our direction or situation, and even in locating our particular dharma, so they are not to be belittled. Relative truth has real value, just not absolute value.

In my opinion, the problem many people appear to have is thinking that the dharma is something beyond this world of samsara that we live in, something separate, and somehow better. They discriminate the dharma from what they consider non-dharma. As the Zen Buddhists might say, "Big mistake!"

The dharma is not a thing, not an end to reach, but rather a process. It is not something to find and someday get to, but rather our way of going anywhere. It is not which rituals we practice, but how we practice them or do anything. That is why we have the term "realization," because somewhere in time, some fine day, we realize that there is nowhere to get to, because we are already there. We realize. Or, as Chuck Berry sang, "No particular place to go."

Anyway, that's how I see it.