David Foster Wallace was well aware of Buddhism via his connection to Jay L. Garfield. This is clear.
I find his speech, “this is water”, both inspiringly insightful and utterly heart-breaking for in the end to killed himself.
He saw past the veils of cultural pleasantries and into the second truth, the source of life’s dissatisfaction—self-concern or ego-grapsing to use more Buddhist parlance.
We need more people like Wallace. People that will tell it as it is. Without the BULL SHIT!
And he is right. It is difficult to talk about. Most people do not want to hear about it. Truth of suffering!? What suffering? Life is great. But we know these are mere words.
And he also correct when he says, “this is not about religion.” But then neither was the Buddha’s message. “This is suffering. This is its cessation.”
And he went on to say, “Do not believe me out of respect. Test it for yourself.”
He made a claim, an empirical claim, and asked us to test it for ourselves. Choice! People. I’ve stressed it here more than a few times—older readers might even say too often!
We lost a great and troubled writer when David choose out of the “rat-race” by killing himself. What a shame! There was an alternative. And this alternative does not require faith in anything other than yourself.
You are your own protector. Who else will be that protector. And you are also your worse enemy. For you wish for happiness and yet run to suffering—to borrow from one of the greatest sages of all recorded time.
Now, you know what needs to be done. Go. Do it!