Does it really Matter if it is True or Not

books-education-school-literature-48020.jpegBy Desmond Yeoh SC

As spiritual seekers we hunger for spiritual truths from teachers, books and other sources. As we accumulate spiritual teachings, we must always ask one important question, “Does it really matter whether it is true or not?” For example, if we learn that there are 41, 42 or 48 levels of hell; does this knowledge help us to bring more happiness in our life? Can we apply it in our daily life or spiritual practice?  If not, let us not waste time doing further investigation into the matter.

If we subject all the knowledge we gather to this golden question, we will find that there is really only a handful of knowledge that is truly helpful. To be useful, the teaching must be a practical tool that we can apply in our life. We should not gather knowledge just so that we can show that we are conversant in the area. This may add to our pride and become an obstacle to our practice.

Some knowledge may even cause unnecessary worry and fear. Learning too much about hell can do that. We do not need to scare ourselves into doing good. The insight that good deeds is the cause of future happiness is enough. Fear is not necessary on the spiritual path.

The difference between knowledge and insight is the ability to apply what we have learned in our daily life. Insights remove negative behaviour, thinking patterns or habits. If we think about all our negativities as pebbles we carry in a sack with us all the time; then every insight allows us to remove a pebble from the sack, thus making it lighter. Knowledge does not do that but may even add pebbles into the sack.

Spiritual insight is like a mirror which helps us to look at ourselves. It causes us to reflect on our past negative actions and thoughts and see the errors in them. It becomes a tool which we can apply to stop us from repeating the same mistakes and bringing more suffering into our life. Knowledge produces scholars while insights yield enlightened masters.

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