The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

The Dharma Of Proust?

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The Dish

Pico Iyer argues that Proust was an “accidental Buddhist,” quoting from Within a Budding Grove to illustrate his point:

“We do not receive wisdom,” [the painter] Elstir tells the narrator (who has just realized that “this man of genius, this sage” is a “foolish, corrupt little painter” in another context), “we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us.” Could the Buddha, enjoining his disciples to “Be a lamp unto yourselves,” have phrased it any better? Or: “If there were no such thing as habit, life might appear delightful to those of us who are constantly under the threat of death—that is to say, to all mankind.” I can’t think of a clearer formulation of the Western Buddhist’s teachings that habit is how we keep ourselves away from truth, imprisoned in our heads…

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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