Thursday, 19 November 2009

Freeing oneself up

Years ago, in Bangkok, Thailand, I used to spend the first Sunday afternoon of the month at the nearby headquarters of the World Fellowship of Buddhists where meditation practice was taught in English by monks from Wat Pah Nanachat, the International Forest Monastery in Northeast Thailand. I particularly remember a speech by Ajahn Sumedho, an American monk, who ended it by saying: Should you have come to the conclusion that what I have been telling you sounds interesting to you then you must probably have got me completely wrong. Because a lot of things are interesting. But that is not the point. What you need to ask yourself is whether what I have been telling you is helpful for you.

To look for what is helpful is indeed good advice. Helpful for me is for example this insight by Richard Rorty (in Cultural Otherness): "… the emphasis falls less on knowing than on imagining, more on freeing oneself up than on getting something right."

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