On my morning run I listened to this podcast with host Michael Taft of Deconstructing Yourself talking with Buddhist teacher Culadasa (John Yates), author of The Mind Illuminated. It was a great discussion of the deepest realizations that come through meditation, from a Buddhist point of view.
What I find particularly fascinating in these kinds of discussions is the high level of overlap, commonality, and universality I see among spiritual traditions. Take, for instance the Buddha’s concept of yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṃ, or “seeing things as they really are.” In my Mormon background the founder-prophet Joseph Smith also spoke of the same phenomenon.
I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are. (D&C 5:13)
And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come. (D&C 93:24)
Wherefore, [the Spirit] speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old. (Jacob 4:13)
Perhaps Buddha was one of those “prophets of old” that Joseph had in mind.
I believe, based on my experiences, that the world’s religions are not teaching many different things, but teaching largely the same thing from many different perspectives, using a host of various metaphors, analogies, allegories, techniques, but at times we can see that universal truth come through more plainly in their teachings.
“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.”
How wonderful would it be if we could see that all our spiritual traditions, and even scientific pursuits, are really just different ways of seeking the perception and understanding of truth, things as they really are. How much division, conflict, contention, war, injustice, could come to an end, if we could see that we are all seeking after the same thing, love and life, just in a multitude of different ways.
We are the One seeking the One, it is only our egos that think we are seeking something unique and special, different and apart from the rest of the world. No, we are It, seeking It. And when we’ve found It, we realize it was our Self, and all of us are part of that same Self. As Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “The One you are looking for is the One who is looking.”