Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reflections on "Letter to a CES Student"

There's a terrific post by Adam Miller up at Times and Seasons - "Letter to a CES Student." it's a good way for faithful and/or questioning Latter-day Saints to look at the gospel.

I liked this section:

Let me tell a story about the Buddha.
A young man comes to see the Buddha. And this young man has taken up “the training life,” he’s attempting to follow the Buddha’s instructions about how to wake up and stop sleep-walking through his own life.
He begins on the path and starts doing the hard work, but then he gets distracted when he realizes that, though the Buddha has given him some clear instructions about what to do as he practices, the Buddha hasn’t given him any answers to even the most basic religious questions: Is this the only world? Is there a soul separable from the body? Is there life after death? Etc. So he abandons his training and resolves to track down the Buddha and demand answers.
When he finally finds the Buddha and rattles off his questions, the Buddha shakes his head. Then he roars. Then he tells the following story.
You, my friend, the Buddha says, are a like a man who has been shot with an arrow, thickly smeared with poison. Wounded and dying, that man’s friends gather round to remove the arrow and help counteract the poison. But the man refuses to pull the arrow out until he’s first had some questions answered.
Who shot him? What tribe is the shooter from? Is he tall or short? Fat or skinny? Warrior or peasant? What color is his hair? What kind of bow did he use? Made of what kind of wood? Strung with what kind of material? What kind of arrow was used? With what kind of arrowhead? What kind of string fastened the arrowhead to the shaft of the arrow? And on and on. The questions pile up.
The man may have a right to ask all these questions but, the Buddha says, that doesn’t really matter here because before he’ll get any of those answers, he’ll be dead. The poison will kill him.
You are like this man, the Buddha tells his student. You are suffering and dying. And you can demand answers to all these speculative questions if you like — but if you do, you’ll die before you ever get any answers.

I have faith in the gospel, even if I don't have all the answers. And the forward goals of the gospel - to love one another, to serve our fellow man, etc. - are the most important aspects of it.

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