Good Books, in Theory

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

– Albert Einstein

The teachings of great spiritual figures such as the Buddha are practical, not theoretical. The Buddha will say beautifully, “I have no theories.” It’s one of his most disarming statements. He did not engage in intellectual discussion, and often he would meet questions with a noble silence.

The scriptures are meant for translation into our daily lives over a long period of years. And in order to practice the teachings of the Compassionate Buddha, or any other teacher, we need an immense tool like meditation by which we can work on our consciousness. In this, it is not of much help to have only an intellectual understanding.

The Buddha doesn’t talk about theory. Like all great teachers, he says, “These are things that you can verify for yourself.” He is a supreme scientist who will say, “Undertake this experiment and discover the results for yourself.”

Excerpt from Easwaran, E. (2005). Words to Live By, A Daily Guide to Leading an Exceptional Life. Nilgiri Press, Tomales, CA, 312

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