This is a qualification of future writings about Buddhism that I’ll refer folks too, lest they take me as a traditional “authority” on the subject…..
[In this and subsequent postings, I’ll be writing about Buddhism, but such writings of mine always need to be qualified. I’m not a Buddhist scholar, for example, nor am I at all “enlightened” and thus speaking from deep interior knowledge. Yet I am a sincere student of this particular path of spiritual development (as well as other paths I’ve been involved with in the past), and I am a scientist, someone who tries to write as clearly and truthfully as I can. I also know there is immense variation in Buddhism because of the many branches of it, so anything I say on the order of “Buddhists believe…” Or “Buddhists practice…” can undoubtedly be contradicted by the beliefs and practices of some branch of Buddhism. So all my comments should be considered as my current understanding, subject to change as my understanding gets better. I write them as a way of helping to clarify my understanding – while recognizing that much more than intellect is often involved in real understanding.
Readers and students tell me that my reflections on these sorts of things often stimulate them to think about them more deeply, or understand them more deeply, so I offer them in the spirit of stimulation. But don’t take them as any final, authoritative understanding, they’re just my best understanding at the time of writing.
I should probably repeat this qualification at the beginning of anything I write about Buddhism, but that would get pretty awkward, so I’ll just hyperlink to these qualifications in the future articles.]