A long and for the most part a well written post by the Times and Seasons was written a few days ago. I know many of you will probably not read the full article and so we wanted to point out some of the best aspects of the article. When you have time, please take the time to read the full piece about the relationship between religious doubt and consecration.
Start with the critical things. Pull out the arrows of suffering. Counteract the poison.
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.
Regardless of how your questions get answered, the Buddha tells him, still there is suffering, still there is sickness, still there is aging, still there is worry and distress and fear, still there is death. It is the work of addressing all this in this very world that I teach.
Know your responsibility
“Let me put it this way: it is not your responsibility to prove things that only God can prove.
“Your business is to pay attention, to care for the world pressing in on you, and pull out that arrow thickly smeared with poison before you and those you love die from the wound. You business is to sacrifice all of it. Your business is consecration. And you have to consecrate everything, not just part. Even your doubts and questions need to be consecrated. Even Mormonism itself must consecrated and returned. This work is more than enough.
The Truth of Mormonism
“And it is the accomplishment of just this work that Mormonism is itself aiming at. If you want to know the truth about Mormonism, don’t aim at Mormonism. Aim at accomplishing the work that Mormonism is itself aimed at.”
Read the entire article at Times and Seasons.