BASIC SANITY

In contrast to the traditional medical model of disturbances, the Buddhist approach is founded on the belief that basic sanity is operative in all states of mind. Confusion, from this point of view, is two-sided: it creates a need, a demand for sanity. This hungry nature of confusion is very powerful and very important. The demand for relief or sanity that is contained in confusion is, in fact, the beginning point of Buddhism. That is what moved Buddha to sit beneath the bodhi tree twenty-five hundred years ago — to confront his confusion and find its source — after struggling vainly for seven year in various ascetic yogic disciplines.

Basically, we are faced with a similar situation now in the West. Like Siddhartha before he became the Buddha, we are confused, anxious, and hungry psychologically. Despite a physically luxurious prosperity, there is a tremendous amount of emotional anxiety. This anxiety has stimulated a lot of research into various types of psychotherapy, drug therapy, behavior modification, and group therapies. From the Buddhist viewpoint, this search is evidence of the nature of basic sanity operating within neurosis.

From OCEAN OF DHARMA: 365 Teachings on Living Life with Courage and Compassion, number 34.

  — Chögyam Trungpa (1939 – 1987), Tibetan Buddhist teacher.