What is here is always here. It’s not a question of whether truth can be gained or lost. The truth, being true, is ever present. It’s the only thing that’s ever present!
The first mark of falsity is temporality – it comes and goes. Whatever comes and goes might seem true for a while – it might appear to be fact – but ultimately, it’s as false as whatever doesn’t appear in the slightest.
That which is real is not something which can come into being and go out of being. Being being itself, it is always existent; being being itself, it is always here. This is the one thing to get. All other things are transitory, not worth their weight in water, but this reality is worth all other things and much more besides.
All our lives we spend running after transitory things. Why? We’ve been duped into believing that happiness is to be found in things that come and go. But if we find happiness in the things that come to us, is it not clear that that happiness will go when they go?
Letting our happiness rely on the transitory is not wise behaviour. What would be wise would be to find happiness that is permanent, unchanging, everlasting, and ever present. What a wonder, then, that the sages unanimously declare that the reality itself is happiness!
That thing which neither comes nor goes, which is always here, and which is not alien to anyone, is the very thing that we’ve been calling “happiness.” Peace of mind, serenity, divine bliss, ecstasy – these are other names we’ve used to point to that same happiness which is always here as the reality itself.
The error was on our part: we believed happiness to be distant, other, passing, and an object to be gained through effort. The truth is otherwise: it is nearer than near, not distinct from ourselves, never departing, and not to be “gained.” We do not “gain” happiness; we recognise it.
This is how the rich man can lament his lot while the poor man is satisfied. Happiness is not in material wealth or worthwhile experience, but in simple recognition of the truth of things. Happiness is the truth. In recognition of the truth, we discover eternal happiness.
To recognise it, we must discover our own selves – for, as has already been said, whatever is true must be true for all things, including whatever we might be. Our own truth is the truth of the world. Being so, our own truth is happiness itself. Finding the truth of ourselves, we find happiness. Remaining with this recognition, we are eternally blissful. This is the fact of the matter.
The wise are those who have tasted the experience of nothingness and have recognised that whatever is good, noble, worthwhile and pleasing is nothingness itself. The wise have entered the void and lost themselves to it. They are the void.
The void has no worries; the void has no questions. The void is never disappointed, nor is it overjoyed. The void is always appointed to its proper task; it is always joyous in its appointment!
The void performs its function and thinks nothing of it. The void is perfect in every way, for there is nothing about it to be imperfect in any way. The void, being empty, is incapable of failing. The void, being empty, is incapable of error.
Whatever passes through the void passes through unobstructed; what is not to pass through is not grasped for. Thus, the suffering of desire is not present. That which is fitting is allowed; that is all. Thus we can see that all righteousness comes from this void nature.
In this way, the wise are eternally righteous. What might be deemed unrighteous behaviour coming from them is clearly only of the manner of teaching others the way beyond imperfection. That is to say: it is perfectly right for the moment; human intransigence alone deems it unrighteous. Thus Woden might perform countless “unrighteous” deeds in order to teach us what true righteousness is. He will take upon himself the ire of others in order to elucidate the proper way of things.
This is the activity of the wise: ever in keeping with the real thing, they are incapable of putting one toe out of line. Humans might put the line far off in the distance, in a place unbecoming to it; but the wise know where the line is, and tread it gently, without effort. Humans will thus err to perceive right behaviour as wrong; but the wise see that even supposedly “righteous” behaviour on the part of the ignorant can be wrong in the context of the moment.
Many holy books say that killing is wrong; but it is the intent to murder for gain that is wrong, not the mere act of taking life. Many holy books say that adultery is wrong; but it is the intent to sleep with a married person out of lust that is wrong, not the mere act of conjoining sexually. Many holy books say that to take the name of the Lord in vain is wrong; but it is the intent to disparage holiness and goodness that is wrong, not the mere act of uttering the word.
In every case of unrighteousness, there is ill intention involved. In every case of righteousness, there is right intention involved. Right intention might not seem good; it might even seem evil. But the fact remains that it is right. If it is right to punish the criminal, the criminal will be punished; if it is right to destroy the temple, the temple will be destroyed.
The righteous one will slap the unwary, shout down the arrogant, ignore the blusterous and worship the unclean, as far as it is fitting for the moment. This is because what is right is dictated by circumstance: and the one who truly knows the circumstances is the one who is by nature in tune with this present moment.
Being empty of all conceit, the wise one is fully aware of all that is present now. Being thus aware, the right course of action is clear. Being clear, it is taken – for nobody knowingly takes what they believe to be the wrong course of action. Rather, they are confused as to what is right and wrong, for they are full of ideas about rightness and wrongness! The wise one is empty of such ideas. They know what is right not by rote, but by direct insight. They do not hamper their way with notions and nagging thoughts.
Thus should you be – for this is not something impossible for anyone, but everyone is capable of living like this. Destroy all that is weighty and timebound and come to the place of pure seeing. It is not difficult, but you must persevere in your efforts to be clear of confusion and fully attentive to what is real, right now. In time it will be habitual.
This is true freedom – not the freedom to do what you want, but the freedom to do what you must. So say the wise. Be as you are – naturally wise – and do away with arguments and interpretations. The reality is as it is. It is right that we give ourselves over to it, like corpses to the pire. We are fit only for burning.