Started reading the book ‘The Art of Living’ by S.N. Goenka – the leading teacher of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Sayagji U Ba Khin – I was caught by the following:
“The highest authority is one’s own experience of truth. Nothing should be accepted on faith alone; we have to examine to see whether it is logical, practical, beneficial. Nor having examined a teaching by means of our reason it is sufficient to accept it as true intellectually. If we are to benefit from the truth, we have to experience it directly. Only then we can know that it is really true.”
And just before that, words by the Buddha:
“Do not simply believe whatever you are told, or whatever has been handed down from past generations, or what is common opinion, or whatever the scriptures say. Do not accept something as true merely by deduction or inference, or by considering outward appearances, or by partiality for a certain view, or because it is plausibility, or because your teacher tells you it is so. But when you yourselves directly know ‘these principle are unwholesome, blameworthy, condemned by the wise; when adopted and carried out they lead to harm and suffering’ then you should abandon them. And when you yourselves directly know ‘these principle are wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise; when adopted and carried out they lead to welfare and happiness’ then you should accept and practice them.”
Being born in a Catholic country such as Italy, that’s not the message I received when I was a kid, a teenager or a young adult. I only met that amazing teaching rather recently and still I’m highly affected by it. This is a great memo to myself, hope you can benefit from it as well.