David Riley

I am a Dharma Teacher and Meditation Instructor.

The theme of The Endless Further is the spiritual journey. In 1930, the great Indian poet, musician and playwright, Rabindranath Tagore gave a series of lectures at Manchester College, Oxford, later published as The Religion of Man. In these lectures, Tagore spoke of civilization’s “constant struggle for a great Further,” referring of course to the instinct that motivates us to go beyond, to break out of our shell of limitations – our thirst for knowledge. Tagore called it our “ceaseless adventure of the Endless Further.”

Tagore was not referring to a spiritual journey per se, however as a decidedly spiritual man, he understood that our journey, whether it be to intellectual knowledge or spiritual awakening, has no final destination; there is only the journey itself. In wayfaring, we might think that there is an eventual horizon that forms the limit of our experience and aspirations, that we will arrive at some place. But this is the real “it,” where we are right now, this very life, a place where the horizon is always ahead. In the meditation practice called mindfulness (anapanasati) we realize peace in the timeless reality of now, and yet in each present moment there is another present moment unfolding.

In Buddhism, the stated goal is enlightenment. I like to use the word “awakening” because it implies continuous development. When Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, he did not stop growing, learning, awakening. When he reached Nirvana, he realized that he had not gone anywhere, for Nirvana is nothing other than this saha or mundane world. Buddha knew about the endless further.

No one should be disheartened about this lack of final destination, for as Basho wrote, “Everyday is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

Comments are welcome and encouraged.