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Doubt

By Henri Van Zeyst

An uncertainty of mind can produce only a lack of understanding. But, doubt must not be confused with a withholding of judgement, of consent and support, which is the attitude of an open mind. An open mind can be alert and thus be aware of the many influences and conditions which tend to prejudice the mind and make it incline towards, and decide on issues which are not relevant.

A mind hi doubt is a mind which is inclined to disbelieve, and this inclination is already an obstacle to understanding. An open mind will be aware of those obstacles and therefore not be inclined or prejudiced.

Whereas investigation of facts (dhamma-vicaya) may lead to discovery, mere doubt as perplexity (vichikiccha) brings about a wavering state of mind, which cannot decide one way or the other, because of its lack of understanding.


When there is doubt in the mind, it is a symptom of confusion-a lack of understanding of the real issue. The confusion is about certain means or methods which become so important that the object of action is obscured. All political parties promise to help the poor man, but they cannot unite and thus be of actual help, because they are divided as to the means; and thus there is confusion, opposition and conflict. But if the issue is clearly understood, action can follow immediately, and such action is not the result or the reaction to a party manifesto.

Doubt, therefore, seeks a solution without understanding and that leads to perplexity, confusion and conflict without solution. Doubt seeks certainty, safety* security for the mind, and that brings about prejudice in favour of the 'self. The open mind which does not seek a solution is alert and is thereby able to see clearly without prejudicial doubt, without confusing the issues; and so, through direct investigation ib understands with clear insight and without inclination facts as facts, doubts as doubts, false as false; and thus see the truth.


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