“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances.”
Buddha Shakyamuni apparently said this.
But who is to say that Buddha was actually enlightened and did actually say this? Did Buddha Shakyamuni actually write any books? Maybe a bunch of hippies from thousands of years ago imagined it and thought it would be cool if they invented a being who appeared infallible yet was beyond the ordinary appearances and sensory perceptions of the conventional world? But some would say that there is a lineage and there is a history of this glorious enlightened being.
Do we have to directly experience something to believe in it? Obviously not; as we know history no longer exists yet it was real and it did exist. Did man really land on the moon? The media told me so. Have I checked? No, I am happy to believe this conventional ‘fact’ yet many people believe otherwise. Why do people believe in ghosts or reincarnation?
Being a scientist involves relying on certain methods that others can test and validate: Psychologists are scientists of behaviour (actions and responses that can be observed directly) and scientists of the mind who study internal states and processes (these are often inferred from observable measured responses). Evidence to validate scientific conclusions referring to inner phenomena are not easily obtained.
I ask myself:
What are you asking me to believe? How do you know? What is the evidence? What other possibilities and alternative viewpoints are there? What constitutes a reasonable thought-out conclusion? What is most beneficial to believe?
Self-actualization and real experience from ones own investigations are extremely valuable since there is no benefit in probing things to the point of impotence of clear thinking but the proof of anything really lies in experiencing it for oneself. Then again science doesn’t really prove anything does it? How do we find the middle-way between being objective and being subjective?
Perhaps there are more questions than answers. This is good news.