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Philosophy understands sympathetically but does not agree practically with the Buddha's consistent refusal to explain the ultimate realization. His counsel to disciples was: "What word is there to be sent from a region where the chariot of speech finds no track on which to go? Therefore to their questionings offer them silence only."

It is certainly hard to capture this transcendental indefinable experience in prosaic pen-and-ink notes. But is it really so impossible for the initiate to break his silence and voice his knowledge in some dim finited adumbration of the Infinite? To confess that intellectually we know nothing and can know nothing about the Absolute is understandable. But to say that therefore we should leave its existence entirely out of our intellectual world-view, is not. For although the exact definition and direct explanation of words are unable to catch the whole of this subtle experience within their receiving range because they are turned into ordinary human intellectual emotional and physical experience, they may nevertheless evoke an intuitive recognition of its beauty; they may suggest to sensitive minds a hint of its worth and they may arouse the first aspiration towards its attainment for oneself.

Why if this state transcends thinking, whether in words or pictures, have so many mystics nevertheless written so much about it? That they have protested at the same time the impossibility of describing the highest levels of their experience does not alter this curious fact. The answer to our question is that to have kept completely silent and not to have revealed that such a unique experience is possible and that such a supreme reality is existent would have been to have left their less fortunate fellow men in utter ignorance of an immensely important truth about human life and destiny. But to have left some record behind them, even if it would only hint at what it could not adequately describe, would be to have left some light in the darkness. And even though an intellectual statement of a super-intellectual fact is only like an indirect and reflected light, nevertheless it is better than having no light at all.

So long as men feel the need to converse with other men on this subject, so long as masters seek to instruct disciples in it, and so long as fortunate seers recognize the duty to leave some record--even if it be an imperfect one--of their enlightenment behind them for unfortunate humanity, so long will the silence have to be broken, despite Buddha, and the lost word uttered anew.

-- Notebooks Category 28: The Alone > Chapter 2: Our Relation To the Absolute > # 59

-- Perspectives > Chapter 28: The Alone > # 1

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