How’s That Working Out For You?

From 365 Tao:  Daily Meditations by Den Ming-Dao

Dismount your donkey at the summit.

Some places in this world are very hard to climb, and people use animals. Each person can only ride one, and each animal might have a different name. The riders go up the trail in different orders, and they discuss their varying opinions about their experiences.  They may even have conflicting opinions: One traveller may think the trip thrilling, another may find it terrifying, and a third may find it banal.

At the summit all the travellers stand in the same place.  Each of them has the same chance to view the same vistas.  The donkeys are put to rest and graze; they are not needed anymore.

We all travel the path of Tao.  The donkeys are the various doctrines that each of us embraces.  What does it matter which doctrine we embrace as long as it leads us to the summit?  Your donkey might be a Zen donkey, mine might be a Tao donkey.  There are Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and even Agnostic donkeys.  All lead to the same place.  Why poke fun at others over the name of their donkey?  Aren’t you riding one yourself?

We should put aside both the donkeys and our interim experiences once we arrive at the summit.  Whether we climbed in suffering or joy is immaterial; we are there.  All religions have different names for the ways of getting to the holy summit.  Once we reach the summit, we no longer need names, and we can experience all things directly.

Question: Is your ‘donkey’ (operating system/ideology/mindset) facilitating your arrival at the summit?

Tyler Durden: Oh, I get it. It’s very clever.
Narrator: Thank you.
Tyler Durden: How’s that working out for you?
Narrator: What?
Tyler Durden: Being clever.
Narrator: … Great.
Tyler Durden: Keep it up, then.

Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)


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