Episode 82: Right View

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“So we end up with what the Buddha taught in his first teaching, which is called the Eightfold Path, when he said, ‘have Right View.’ Right View is having no particular, fixed view, which means seeing that all views are limited, that no particular view is the only view. They’re all restricted, they’re all limited, they’re all fragmented. Actually the right view is no view.” ~ Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel from Big Mind · Big Heart

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Right View

“So we end up with what the Buddha taught in his first teaching, which is called the Eightfold Path, when he said, ‘have Right View.’ Right View is having no particular, fixed view, which means seeing that all views are limited, that no particular view is the only view. They’re all restricted, they’re all limited, they’re all fragmented. Actually the right view is no view.” ~ Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel from Big Mind · Big Heart

Right View. Reminds me of a story S.N. Goenka (well, a recording of him anyway :) shared during the 10-day Vipassana course I attended.

Imagine six blind guys. They’ve never seen an elephant before and are each touching a different part of the big ol’ animal describing what an elephant is.

The first blind man grabs the tail and says the elephant is like a rope. The second one grabs the leg and is certain the elephant is like a pillar while the third touches the trunk and thinks the elephant is like a tree branch. The others go for different parts and have different perspectives (the back is like a throne; the tusk is like a spear; the ear is like a hand fan).

Now, what’s fascinating is that they’re all *100%* sure they’re *100%* right and can’t understand how someone else can have such a wildly different understanding of something that is SO obvious to them!

Enter: the limitation of thinking your perspective is the absolute truth. :)

Ken Wilber likes to talk about “partial truths” and reminds us that no one is smart enough to be either 100% right OR 100% wrong. There’s always a partial truth to a perspective — no matter how limited. AND, there’s always a partial limitation to a truth, no matter how profound.

We get in trouble when we think our perspective is 100% right.

Genpo tells us: “That is why from the beginning it’s really important that you learn to shift perspectives. That alone is going to help tremendously in your life. Just imagine the next time you get into an argument with your partner or spouse, and you are able to let go of your view and open up to the possibility that there might just be another perspective on the situation — her view, or his view. The moment you do that, it sets you free.”

Powerful stuff. Try it out the next time you find yourself in an argument with someone — whether it’s at work or at home. Odds are the tension comes from you getting lock