Hungry, empty, dissatisfied,
incomplete. Sensing the absence of something essential. Knowing what we
lack; feeling what we do not know. These are the precious jewels of our
experience as human beings, for they lead directly to the path of knowledge
If you engage
in travel you will arrive.
-Ibn Arabi (1165-1240)
When the need to know
becomes stronger than the need to be, when our immediate surroundings
cannot fulfill our desire to see beneath the world of appearances, when
the comforts of home become oppressive and counter-productive, we have
no choice but to engage in travel. The four pages of the book on display
here describe such a journey. It tells the story of a young man named
Sudhana who is compelled by the very source of Wisdom (personified by
Manjushri) to set out on a path that takes him through a series of encounters
with various teachers and spiritual guides, eventually leading to enlightenment.
It has functioned as a source of inspiration and motivation for Buddhists
and spiritual seekers for the past two millennia.
In the end, none of
his teachers have the ultimate answer for him, forcing Sudhana to continually
move on and reminding us that incomplete efforts and even failures are
priceless elements in an accumulated whole, and that living with a sound
question is more important than possessing a temporary answer. The path
is always more valuable than the destination.