Holy Grail / Middle Way

Analysis of the Holy Grail is difficult.  It is inarguably an academic pursuit, since it has played an important role in the history of the Christian religion, and therefore, the world.  Expeditions have been forged seeking it.  It has been mythicized in endless written works, which have branded themselves as both real or imaginative.  But, like Noah's Ark, or the Ark of the Covenant, it is nonetheless something which, despite its effect on the course of human events, may or may not have ever been.  As a result, it must cause us as people to question the true nature of reality.  If something which never truly existed can cause such grand ripples in the universal pond, then what makes an object which one can touch any more real?  Some things can live forever without ever living for a moment.  Even the life of Christ, himself, has been questioned by a few scholars, mostly in the past couple centuries.  But even if Christ the man didn't live, which is probably untrue, it can nonetheless be argued that no other man has lived so much as he, due to his deep presence in the hearts and souls of so many millions for so many centuries.  At night, we dream dreams which we think are real, in which fictional characters we've never seen manifest and speak to us.  As Plato said, the reality of an object, or person, is relative to the magnitude of its employment.  Real objects, which are unused, which are never thought upon, lose their very existence.  Conversely, unreal concepts, those which are constantly thought of, become real.  Jesus, Mary and the Grail, these are things we imagine, which none of has truly encountered in our realm and yet, they are as real as real can be.

The Grail is utterly incomparable.  If it were only a question of actually finding the physical object, things would be so much simpler.  Unfortunately, however, the quest for the Holy Grail isn't like one which seeks treasure or a tomb.  Rather, it is a question.  We would practically end our search in supreme satisfaction just to know with assurance what it actually is.  No other object has been hypothesized to be concepts so diverse, from a royal lineage, to a cup containing wine, to a cup containing blood.  As an idea which developed in the second millennia, so long after the existence of Christ, it is surprising that it has endured so perennially in the religious dogma.  It is not mentioned in the Bible, yet every Priest, Minister or everyday Christian is familiar with its folklore as if it was.  Many people wrongly, or perhaps correctly, equate it with what is called the Holy Chalice, the vessel referenced in The Book of Matthew from which Jesus served wine at the Last Supper.  But, the Holy Grail is supposed to be much more, the giver of magical powers which also caught Christ's blood as it drip down from him as he hung upon the Cross.  So, not only are we unsure about its existence, and its identity, but even its very mythology has become clouded with another separate one.

The quest for Holy Grail is not a personal one.  In the Middle Ages, it was one left to the aristocracy, the Knights Templar, or the Church.  It was not a battle to be fought by the everyman.  If the Grail was to be actually discovered, he could be sure that he would be notified, and indirectly reap whatever benefits he may as a Christian or subject of the throne.  Perhaps, an English farmer dreamed of finding it one day in an empty field, and winning its immense power.  But, he would also know that would probably only happen if he were the part of some grand destiny.  A few probably had the gaul to think that they were that man.  But, most would never dare raise their sights so high.  So, the power which this grail was said to contain could never be obtained.  Eternal power was not something which the average Christian believed himself worthy of owning.  The Christian lived his good life of charity in the light of Jesus, and his life, be it of happiness or pain, was to be rewarded with the celestial infinity of the afterlife.  The power which the Grail grants should only be for the deserved dead, and impossible for the living.

In Buddhism, however, there is indeed an ultimate quest, endeavored by most every pious believer and done so constantly.  The path towards enlightenment is the true path of life, and, as in life, rewards are not only given upon completion.  To follow the way is its own consummate pleasure, knowing that at one moment, any moment during the waking life, an inner peace may be obtained which is on par with any power possible to be bestowed from some magical object.  Few have been said to reach this plateau, however it is not only the hubristic idealist who thinks himself capable.  Any person who follows the way is taking the shortest possible route to this end.  
The Buddhist knows that enlightenment is not only reserved for the dead.  There should, however, be no differentiation at all between the good deeds of the Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or otherwise.  The best men of any religion have the same exact motivations, which are compassion and amity.  Perhaps it is only at the moment where the soul is like that of one passed on that real wisdom is granted.  Some believe that level of spirit to be procurable prior to death.

When one achieves tranquility and leaves their living body, they see a kaleidoscope of imagery in their mind's eye.  To say that one sees colors and shapes, hears sounds, and has feelings would be erroneous, because one isn't even aware of themselves having any sensory input at all.  They exist wholly, while outside of the Universe, and outside of time.  Numbers and letters lose their concreteness, achieve fluidity, and are seen for what they are truly.  Colors, shapes and sounds are ideas which we know affect the live brain differently depending on how they are constructed.  In the floating void of enlightenment, we see that our Alphabet and Numbers are the same.  Each of them possesses its own intrinsic and eternal power of output.  Maybe a 3 is a C, which is like a Red, which is like a Circle.  Maybe 12th letter L is like a Violet.  The Triangle could be Golden, the Pentagon might be filled with falling sands of Blue.  The last letter Z is the ending beginning, and the first letter A is the beginning ending.  Such are the bountiful, ecstatic joys of truly knowing that everything is not important, and nothing matters a lot.

The Knights Templar wandered the Earth, bound to search for a vessel of immeasurable power, the Holy Grail.  They climbed mountains, hoping that on the other side could be their destination.  They rode their horses in a line, in silence, praying that they might be delivered to salvation, their joint goal, around the next turn.  At a stream, they bent down to drink, hoping it would be the last drink they'd have to take before their appeals were heeded.  Sitting wearily around a fire in the restless night, they ate slowly, so they could listen on watch at all times.  There was never laughter, for none wanted to attract any bad luck.  Despite their lack of a real existence, none ever questioned the necessity of their positions in the linearity of history.  They lived their lives without pride and without want.  None saw futility in their quest, each maintained steadfast.  The Knight, he feels like he possesses a knowledge which is impossible to impart.  And it is his possession of this knowledge which allows him to continue on despite knowing that there is no ultimate destination for him and his brigade.  He knows that W is the 23rd letter.  He knows that M is the 13th, that the first is A, that the last is the 26th, Z.  He often meditates on the 7th, G, which his organization holds in the highest devotion.  He thinks of the 6-sided hexagon with a quiet reverence, remarking to himself that the wonders of the living God are manifold and endless.  When he thinks of the 9th letter I, he wonders about the nature of the expansive celestial objects, and his mind soars.  Riding on his horse for hours daily, he sometimes picks a single number, any number from small to large, and prays upon it, wondering if it may be true name of God.

A group of Buddhist monks are thousands of miles away, walking in a short line.  Their pace is according to a child monk who leads their way.  They don't have horses, but they also aren't worried about covering any great distance.  They too will scale majestic mountains, but are not desperate to be over them with immediacy.  They have no destination, nor any object whose discovery would mark the end of their journey.  At night, they don't make a fire.  They eat what rice is given to them by villagers.  They are never seen sleeping.  The men behind the child, they have nothing in their minds but the child, and his quest.  They pray for his power.  The child is mindful of that, though not impressed with himself over it.  He is more humbled by the thought of the worn, bearded Knight who wanders another similar path in a distant land.  The child monk knows that he and the Knight are engaged in a race, together.  Still, though, the child monk knows that even if the Knight were to arrive at his destination first, he has not necessarily lost the race.  The child monk doesn't know how to read or write, but he is not any less powerful for it.  He is aware that this ignorance maintains his innocence, and gives him an advantage.  The Knight often envies this position, for he knows that even though the child monk can imagine what it may be like to have this knowledge, the Knight cannot imagine what it is like to not.