Being and Becoming: Beyond Peace and Into Peace
This article by Dr. Marc Gafni was featured on patheos Public Square as part of their Best Practices for Peace in 2015 series in January 2015.
“Ignorance is not clueless; it is insightful, but only partially so. Ignorance is to take part of the story and make it into the whole.”
In Buddhism, there is a beautiful articulation of mystical realization called peace. It is called One Taste. One Taste means that underneath it all, there is a unified field of awareness. This One Taste is not only eternal, it is eternity itself. It is unchanging radical presence that is both the ground and substance of All-That-Is.
What does One Taste feel like? What does it taste like? Christian mystic Thomas Aquinas reminds us, citing King David in the Psalms: “Taste and see that God is good.” What does this good taste feel like? It feels like peace, stillness, bliss, ease, sweetness, elixir of honey, unconditional love, detachment, profound depth of calm, richly textured silence of presence. In the depth of I am awareness, all is exactly as it needs to be, and nothing could or should be any different than it is.
This is the good promised by most guides on the spiritual path. This is the intention of the Buddhist teaching that invites you to take refuge in the Buddha. These promises are real and true, however, they simply are not the whole story of peace. To teach them as the whole story is spiritual ignorance. Ignorance is not knowing nothing. Ignorance is not clueless; it is insightful, but only partially so. Ignorance is to take part of the story and make it into the whole.
To experience peace you must paradoxically experience urgency. Let me explain. There is not One Taste but two, which are but two faces of the One. The Second Taste is not eternal and unchanging. Rather, it is dynamic and changing every moment. The Second Taste is not just peace, bliss, and quiet. It is wild, filled with cacophonies of sound, color, and texture, and makes the most beautiful, roaring, piercing music that you could ever imagine. It is not just silence; it is the eloquence and gorgeousness of great speech. It is not unconditional sweet loving, but passionate, stormy, and wild loving that makes uncompromising demands, even as it gives uncompromising gifts. A changeless reality that is absolute quiet and stillness—this is One Taste. Changing the world, the surge of emergence that begins with the big bang, makes loud and often raucous noise—this is the Second Taste that is grounded in, and moves beyond, the First Taste.