Sunday, April 02, 2006

Holographic teachings from the Buddha?

When you read the texts that relate the teachings of the Buddha, you find some very short passages. They can seem fragmentary and it can be tempting to doubt their authenticity. However, I've long felt that the Buddha taught very precisely to his audience knowing that they could tune in so effectively that a few choice words sufficed to prompt progress to Enlightenment, whereas if read conventionally out of context they would appear odd and make little impact. So I wrote a short essay [with a long title of]: Observations on how kamma affects listeners and its implication for interpreting the Buddha's teachings.

In that essay I thought intuitively of holography as a good analogy for how one can recover the whole from fragments: just as a certain beam of light shone against the fringe pattern on a photographic film can reconstruct a faithful 3D representation of the original object, so the Buddha knew that the listener could penetrate the specially recorded words of the Dhamma teachings and reconstruct the essence of Enlightenment by tuning in (or 'shining the right beam').

Sorry if this is expressed clumsily.

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