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Lions Roar : September 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2006 46 modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.” That quote may be apocryphal, but if the attribution is accurate, Einstein may have been inspired in part by these memorable lines that conclude the Diamond Sutra: Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, A flash of lightning in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream. After looking outward, a Buddhist is compelled to look within, and through meditation recognizes the truth of the ephemerality, the arising and falling, of all labile phenomena, whether that be our thoughts and feelings, nations, or situa- tions we judge from our relative perspectives to be “good” or “bad.” From the moment of our birth we have been dying, and one day this universe itself will experience proton death. Black holes will eventually evaporate into photons, leaving only a void from which (perhaps) another, different universe will arise. All that men and women have done will be as if it never was. There is nothing to which we can cling or be attached, including our passionately held “views” on matters political, scientific, or spiritual. Even Buddhism—especially Buddhism—knows it is sub- ject to change. Instead, what is required of practitioners, first and foremost, is what I call “epistemological humility,” and an egoless listening to all that is around us, for attentive lis- tening is an act of love. Arnold Toynbee recognized this in 1947, and in a remarkably Eastern way, when he wrote in A Study of History that “The music that the rhythm of Yin and Yang beats out is the song of creation; and we shall not be misled into fancying ourselves mistaken because, as we give ear, we can catch the note of creation alternating with the note of destruction. ... If we listen well we shall perceive that, when the two notes collide, they produce not a discord Yin and Yang, Yang and Yin