Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Serenity and Simplicity-The Rhetoric of "Clarifying the Natural State"

When have we before been privileged to read such a simultaneously accessible and soothing text in this class? It was such a surprise and a delight to start reading and realize--hey, this book is written in a conversational and encouraging tone. I don't feel lost or confused. I actually feel hopeful! Hopeful about understanding the reading, but also a little hopeful about life.

This reading is constructed with the sort of list-like organization I have come to expect from Buddhist texts, but the lists are at the head of the sections, as organizational pieces, rather than interrupting the flow of the text. It reads very much like an instruction manual, or a self-help book. Follow this step, then that step. Take breaks. Really, it's advice for any kind of learning of a skill. And specific pointers! If you are drowsy, be cooler--if you are antsy, be warmed. I also enjoy that the reading seems to be as help to the lama, the teacher. It has sort of behind the scenes hints for how to help an initiate, cautions against teaching by telling, "pointing-out", series of steps to follow.

The text is both eminently practical and deeply thoughtful, two bedfellows that rarely meet, and a pleasure to read. Quite a difference from Tantra!

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