[Buddha-l] the 4 ages: age of alone

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Mon Jun 21 09:12:58 MDT 2010

On Jun 21, 2010, at 8:58 AM, Timothy Smith wrote:

> I think 'home' here is a metaphor for wholeness, for the lost connection with the )Self which, I might venture,
> is the source of all dissatisfaction.

Being an anti-holistic kind of guy, my preference would be to take home (which is obviously metonymic) to stand for whatever it is one believes (usually falsely) will provide, could provide, did provide or is providing comfort and safety and security. One of my favorite lines in Buddhist literature is in one of the Perfection of Wisdom texts. A paraphrase of that line is: "If one can realize that there is no place in the vast 3000-world system, not even a place the size of a single atom, that one can call home, and in that realization not be terrified, then one is ready to be a bodhisattva."

As long as one has a yearning for a homeland, even one the size of an atom, one is destined to be miserable. (I submit the entirety of human history as my evidence for that claim.) Like you, Timothy, I think there is a tremendous value in nostalgia, as there is in melancholy (as opposed to clinical depression), because it makes one aware of one's not yet being ready to be a bodhisattva. Aspiration begins in awareness if inadequacy. In this I find myself influenced by James Hollis, especially his book "Swamplands of the Soul."

sent from my home

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