We all have suffering. If we look deeply into the nature of that suffering, we can see the causes and conditions near and far that have brought it about.
Beyond the Self contains Thich Nhat Hanh’s original translation of the Sutra on the Middle Way, as well as his commentary on how we can use this teaching to gain better understanding of non-duality. The core teaching provides a way to navigate our suffering and difficulties and find peace of mind and contentment.
The Middle Way is not caught in pairs of opposites, such as being and nonbeing; coming and going; birth and death; same and different; exists and does not exist. These are ideas we need to go beyond. Shakespeare said, “To be, or not to be: that is the question.” But in Buddhism, we go beyond the idea of being and not being. Because we have wrong views, we have wrong perceptions, and because of those wrong perceptions we think that this world is real, or that this world is not real.
The phrase “wrong view” itself is not exactly accurate. Relatively speaking, there are right views and there are wrong views. But if we look more deeply, we see that all views are wrong views. No view can ever be the truth. It is just the view from one point; that is why it is called a “point of view.” If we go to another point, we will see things differently and realize that our first view was not entirely right. Buddhism is not a collection of views. It is a practice that helps us eliminate wrong views. The quality of our views can always be improved. From the viewpoint of the ultimate reality, Right View is the absence of all views.