Unfindable and still there

 

For people new to inquiry, and the Living Inquiries in particular, a fear may come up: If something is unfindable, does it mean it doesn’t exist? If what I took myself to be is unfindable, who am I? How will I be able to function?

Unfindable doesn’t mean doesn’t exist. And something can be unfindable and still be functional in an ordinary sense.

For instance, take a pen. Look at the word “pen”. Is that word the pen? Look at the pen. Is the colors the pen? Is the outline the pen? Is the texture the pen? Feel it. Is that sensation the pen? Click it. Is that sound the pen? Write with it. Is the lines on the paper the pen? Can you find the pen? Can you find an actual object called a pen?

It may be unfindable. And doesn’t it still write? Can’t you still use it, as before?

That’s how it is with just about anything. We can look for it. See that it’s unfindable, after thorough looking. And it’s still functional. I’ll still answer if someone says my name. I’ll still go to the doctor if my body shows unusual symptoms or is in pain. I’ll still be as good of a steward of my life as I am able to.

My body, hunger, and breakfast may all be unfindable, and I’ll still eat breakfast when I am hungry.

This is the middle way. This is one way the middle way of Buddhism can be understood.

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