Truth is not what we believe truth to be. Whatever we see, whatever we hear, whatever we think, whatever we believe is not truth. Truth manifests beyond that. We might say that our religion is truth, but our religions are no more than a set of beliefs, and beliefs can never be truth, only conventional wisdom based on something that we read or heard, or our own past experience. Belief can never be truth, just as reading about something and repeating it can never capture the experience, and even religious experiences always seems to follow our heritage and culture; our conditioning. Those are not truth either; they only condition truth.

Truth is not a vision, a feeling, or any of a multitude of epiphanies that can impinge upon our minds. We might think that we have experienced some kind of truth, but it is not the authentic truth that has the power to free us. Pseudo truths only bind us to whatever experience or epiphany we have experienced, and which we re-live and talk about for the rest of lives, Authentic truth, on the other hand, leaves nothing that can be talked about, and the memory of it impossible to verbalize. It leaves us completely free from concept, and completely free to go on with our lives unencumbered.

Truth is not ourselves. We are not truth. We are illusion, a fantasy of many truths combined to create the false. There is a body. There is a mind in which consciousness arises, that perceives things, that thinks, that experiences and remembers, that discerns and feels, but this body and mind with all its individual characteristics are but singularities that when combined create the false.

From the elements of the earth the body is created, but the mind creates a self. From a pile of bricks and mortar a house is created, but the mind creates a home. And from an enlightenment experience of a sage, a saint is created, but the mind creates a religion.

Mind is a drama queen with its tendency to enlarge things beyond their reality. This fraud is an attempt to provide psychological security, and it works fine most of the time, but when it all falls away, as it will someday, then the real truth comes out. And if the mind is not ready for authentic truth, the mind must then either shut down or rise again to relive it all. The endless cycle of birth and death, the endless cycle of causation, of cause and effect, the endless cycle of rebirth.

Truth is such a liberating thing. Not secondhand truth that is dictated to us through some tradition or religion which we blindly follow, but truth that results from no agendas, hidden or otherwise within ourselves - truth that frees our minds. Truth that is never contentious.

If we remove all the encumbrances, all the things that entrap and imprison our minds and cause contention and disagreement, then we might get down to it; this authentic truth, a truth that transcends all of mankind's ideas of truth. A real truth that blows away the falsities that we must desperately cling to in life because we have never really touched this authentic truth.

Are you free? Really free or do you still have some ideal that you cling to, be it a person, an idea, a cause, a belief. That is not freedom, that is bondage. Only in emptiness is the true freedom found, and since emptiness is a concept that the mind cannot get its arms around, emptiness goes undiscovered and uninvestigated.

What then is the cost of truth, the cost of freedom?


Author's Bio: 

Anagarika Eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of “A Year to Enlightenment.” His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.