‘I acquired not even the least thing’ says the Diamond Sūtra
‘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’?’
Alighting on Shūnyam won’t make you rich, famous or even better-looking.
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.
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, [where Intelligence is defined as ‘Goal-Orientation’], plan, purpose, penalty and prize, are self-evident implacable verities to the to the modern graduate who moves proudly to a Pavlovian shimmy.
Success, defined in your own context, reinforces your cherished, modeled views, races you to the wrong goal-post. The fuel of Failure.
‘The words of the preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity’. [Ecclesiastes 1]
[The Hebrew hevel is most poetically translated [as in the above King James Version] as ‘Vanity’; more didactically as ‘Meaningless’ and ‘Mere Futility’; and most literally as ‘Mere Breath’. Poets see deeper than scholars.]
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.
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.’
And the donkey always gets a carrot after the unload. So what’s the carrot?