William B. Turner
2 min readSep 24, 2022
The Buddha

A leit motif of my writing on the Buddhist path is that it is littered with paradoxes. A really big, annoying one is that awakening, both how to to it and the effects of it, defy description, but the best way humans have to communicate with each other is through language.

We need words, but no words will do.

I sometimes think that I should stop writing about the Buddhist path because you should stop reading about it and just practice instead.

There are lots of other people out there who would likely continue to write about the Buddhist path if I stopped doing so, and you would likely keep reading, but it bears emphasizing that trying to achieve a goal, trying to improve yourself, is the problem, not the solution.

Ajahn Sumedho talks about how he doubts most people would believe him if he told them that they are already perfect. In a world with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in it, perfection is hard to see.

But don’t worry about any situation or events that you have no control over. If I knew the magic phrase that would cause all humans to awaken at once, I would utter it. Or, I would not be here as such because, if such a phrase existed, the Buddha would have uttered it during his lifetime and dramatically changed all of human history for the past 2,600 years, with who knows what specific effects.

Words ain’t gonna do it, but words are all we have, insofar as we want to communicate with each other about the Buddhist path, which I obviously very much want to do.

The most important words I can say are the ones I end almost every post with: Keep up your consistent meditation practice.

I hope to start a Buddhist Vihara as a site where people can visit for meditation courses and long retreats. You may help by donating here. My thanks to everyone who has already donated.

William B. Turner

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.