Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Womb: Heaven or Hell?

It's interesting, the different perspectives that different teachers bring to different subjects. I had just finished reading Deshung Rinpoche III's description of life in the womb from his book, The Three Levels of Spiritual Perception. Suffice it to say that Rinpoche doesn't view the womb as any place to spend a Saturday night: the womb is a dark, restricted place into which the budding consciousness is crammed; it is subject to the motions and whims of its mother; at birth, it is drawn forcibly into the world, literally kicking and screaming all the way.

Then I read this month's issue of Shambhala Sun, which focuses on the Venerable teacher Thicht Naht Hahn. Thay lays out a guided meditation that involves seeing the womb as a comforting place, where you were loved and cared for. He uses the umbilical cord as a metaphor for seeing the spiritual umbilical cords you have to all other people and all other phenomena in the world.

And I asked myself: Which one of these teachers is right?

Then it occurred to me: Isn't the point of Buddhism that neither of these teachers is wrong?

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