Eastern Metaphors of Eternal

Finally, the attacker transforms himself into Dharma, the Lord of Duty. These are the three things by which we are bound: desire, as Freud tells us; fear and aggression, as Adler and Nietzsche tell us; and duty, as our clergymen and social scientist tell us. These are the bounds from which the Buddha is breaking. The tempter, as the Lord Dharma, says, "What are you doing sitting here? Why are you not at your work, which is that of being a prince and governing?" And the Buddha simply touches the earth with his hand - you have seen this pose in Buddha images - and the Earth herself, the Goddess World, the all-encircling universe, calls out, "This is my beloved son who through many, many lives has given, given, given of himself without thought, and he is eligible of this position."

Then the elephant on which the Lord Dharma is seated bows before the Buddha, the army disperses and, as dawn rises on the new day, the Buddha achieves illumination. The illumination so stuns him - it is an opening of the world - that he sits there for seven days. Then he steps away for seven days, regarding the spot where he had sat. Then for seven days he walks back and forth integrating what he has learned. Then he goes and sits beneath a tree and he thinks, This cannot be taught. And that is the first doctrine of Buddhism: it cannot be taught. No experience can be taught. All that can be taught is the way to an experience. Hence the essence of Buddhism is something that is implicit in ourselves and is to be achieved through experience; it cannot be delivered to us like a package. No sooner does he have this illumination than the deities themselves - Indra and Brahma, the lords of the old Vedic pantheon - come down and they say, "Teach."


Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal; Page 123

Joseph Campbell

ISBN-13: 978-1577314035