In an earlier post, we took up the first pillar of Zen practice: faith. Today I’d like to share some thoughts on the second pillar: great doubt. As I mentioned in that prior posting, it is not necessary to practice Zen to explore doubt and employ what this exploration reveals to derive more meaning and fulfillment in our daily lives.
When we examine the notion of doubt, we come to question why suffering and violence exist in our world. On some level, we grasp that sickness, aging and death are all an integral part of the fabric of life. But we question why suffering and violence seem to be so prevalent on planet earth. We wonder why we create suffering for ourselves, for others, and ultimately, how we do harm to our planet.
Doubt arises when the feeling of knowing we usually rely on fails us. Doubt leads us questioning our very existence. “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” We may try to ignore these questions, but they refuse to leave us, festering under the surface of our consciousness. Often they fuel a spiritual or existential quest.
We will take up the third pillar, great determination, when look at how we might begin this quest in my next post.