Planting Our Own Gardens

From time to time, reflecting on the idea of fundamentalism, I realize that my idea of what that actually is, has been gradually changing and evolving over the years. Before, it  just meant a particular group of religious people, with a narrow and insular view of spirituality.

Now it occurs to me that… taking fundamentalism simply to mean the inflexible mind unwilling to look outside its own interpretation of things, this would mean that this is something we are all guilty of at certain times in our lives. We all have categories of thought that have become stratified, so to speak. We all have, to some degree or other, some views that we are absolutely certain must correspond to things exactly as they are. We may even, though we may not admit this to others or even to ourselves, secretly believe that others cannot see as well as we do.

Sri Ramakrishna said “Everyone believes only his watch keeps the right time.” In this sense, and including the idea that no two human egos may experience the world in exactly the same way, there must literally be as many different “fundamentalisms” as there are human minds in existence. Our growth proceeds to the degree we are willing to admit that our view is no more likely to represent reality than those of any other.

As the Sixth Zen Patriarch has said, “The Great Way is not difficult for those without fixed views.” Our task is not to see how many weeds we can see in another’s garden,but to diligently busy ourselves in humbly weeding our own.

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