From the Diamond Sūtra:
‘Then Subhuti asked Buddha: World-honored One, in the attainment of the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment did Buddha make no acquisition whatsoever?
Buddha replied: Just so, Subhuti. Through the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment I acquired not even the least thing; therefore it is called ‘Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment.’
‘Hey! 30 years on the Mat and not even a spot of shamanic-power? A short bolt of ecstasy? A minor miracle or two? ‘Peace of Mind’?’
Truth is an imperative for those who seek it. You seek it because you find yourself seeking it. And it is not compromised by payoffs and penalties. If it was, it would just be another mundane modeled construction.
In this less than luminous Age, plan, purpose, penalty and prize, are self-evident implacable verities to the to the modern graduate who moves proudly to a Pavlovian shimmy.
The old Biblical saw about the rich man entering the kingdom of heaven and the camel negotiating the eye of a needle happens to be true. Why so? Success, defined in your own context, reinforces your cherished, modeled views, views held on the presumption of a Separated ‘Self’. Worldly success races you to the wrong goal-post.
Shūnyam lies at the end of the road where every such last view, however benign, however trivial, has been gutted empty. The more dramatically and consistently you fail, the closer you approach the vicinity of Shūnyam. The fuel of Failure.
Ultimately, such binaries as Achievement and Failure, Compliance and Defiance are all deeply modeled-views, that is, views predicated on the presumption of a Separated ‘Self’. It is what keeps the donkey moving.
Alighting on Shūnyam won’t make you rich, famous or even better-looking. And there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The rainbow ends where you stand right now. The Symbol’s full circle.
When Socrates asks Parmenides to relate his own long odyssey, he first goes silent. Then:
‘I feel like the old race horse at Ibycus, who trembles at the start of the chariot race knowing from long experience what is in store for him.’
About right. The trek is not for the intellectual tourist or the levitating mystic. The View doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come quick. Hold-on to your day-job if you are not sure.
[Well, a carrot perhaps. The donkey always gets a carrot after the unload. So what’s the carrot?]