Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum -- I think that I think, therefore I think that I am
Oderint dum metuant [Caligula] Let them hate as long as they fear. Nemo sine vitio est -- No one is without fault Visit Hall of Torque for reading entertainment from games I've played. Scroll down to the Writers Nook and look for Wotan's story-telling under HoT authors & stories.
In the true reality of life as viewed from the enlightened state of being of an ordinary person - free of all delusion, superstition and darkness - all things are equal, transcending distinctions and differences between subject and object, self and others, mind and body, the spiritual and the material. In its true aspect, life is infinitely expansive and eternal, without beginning or end. Life is dynamic, it is wisdom and compassion, it embodies the principle of the indivisibility of life and death, it is a universal law. The cosmos is not so big that life cannot embrace it, nor a particle of matter so small that life cannot be contained within it.
These are good questions to ask ourselves about the culture that we live in now, wherever in the world that may be. Don't you think?
Equally striking is the drama of Shakyamuni halting the plans of the imperial state of Magadha to exterminate the Vajjian republics. In the presence of the minister of Magadha, who had come with brazen intent to inform Shakyamuni of the planned invasion, Shakyamuni asked his disciple seven questions about the Vajjians. With some elaboration, these are:
Do they (the Vajjians) value discussion and dialogue? Do they value cooperation and solidarity? Do they value laws and traditions? Do they respect their elders? Do they respect children and women? Do they respect religion and spirituality? Do they value people of culture and learning, whether they be Vajjian or not? Are they open to such influences from abroad?
The answer to each of these questions was "yes." Shakyamuni then explained to the minister of Magadha that so long as the Vajjians continue to observe these principles, they will prosper, and not decline. Thus, he explained, it will be impossible to conquer them.
These are the famous "seven principles preventing decline," the seven guidelines by which communities prosper, expounded by Shakyamuni during his last travels. 16.
It is interesting to note the parallels with contemporary efforts to establish security, not through military might, but through the promotion of democracy, social development and human rights.
Unfortunately for the Vrijis, while the Buddha saw that it would not be advisable to march against them at that time, he also saw how they might be made vulnerable in the future if they could be undermined from within and from what I remember that is exactly what happened.
While the Buddha always seemed to do what he could to convince people to "stop killing" and to "avoid war," he also remained strictly "apolitical" and never chose sides. He also never tried to use his spiritual authority to tell kings (and brahmins) what to do; he simply taught the Dharma and left it to the conscience of his lay followers to decide how to act saying, “do as you think fit,” before they departed.
I am just not sure I get, "... the parallels with contemporary efforts to establish security, not through military might, but through the promotion of democracy, social development and human rights." This strategy has not gone well in the 20th and 21 century so perhaps you can provide some examples?
"I am just not sure I get, "... the parallels with contemporary efforts to establish security, not through military might, but through the promotion of democracy, social development and human rights." This strategy has not gone well in the 20th and 21 century so perhaps you can provide some examples? [/quote]"
Great points P!per! I had been looking for this quote for a while and found it in an essay by Daisaku Ikeda. I believe his references to those points you mention should be clarified and based on reading other works by him and his common themes, think what he meant in this context; 1. Promotion of democracy - not capitalism or a representative republic (or corporate collaboration with government)but a direct democratic process. 2. Social development - cultural exchanges on every level, educational, artistic etc. 3. Human rights - freedom from war and nuclear threats, tolerance towards other lifestyles, soft power strategies etc. This of course at this time, is an ongoing process among many different groups and not anyway near where it needs to be. I read that when Shakyamuni first arose from his awakened understanding, that he perceived a common "arrow piercing everyone's breast". That was an attachment to difference's. In the common reality that we share in this phenomenal world, our limited perceptions and viewpoints help create and maintain this attachment. "Different fish swimming in the same ocean of life'. Because of this, it becomes easy to focus on the differences between us (and "them") even though those differences are shallow. And use them to justify our actions against "them". History is loaded with such philosophies; Manifest Destiny, Eugeneics, Descendants of the Sun Goddess etc... against the savages, pagans, non-believers etc. Confronting actions that are harmful to others and the environment just for some group's personal gain, Creating dialogues to bridge gaps in understanding and tolerances, being an example in one's conduct and response to situations that could lead to hostility are just some of the actions we can all take. What do you think? :-)
Sounds great. It really does but when people can't find good paying jobs and put food on their table to feed their children without working 50-60 hrs a week on minimum wage salaries (at least in North America) and when their own governments sold out an entire manufacturing industry to Asia for higher Corporate profits, these long term philosophies (although important) tend to be overshadowed by the reality of hungry children, bill collectors and the perpetual frustration of poverty. Anxiety is an energy and it always is released. When people can't afford to release it in positive ways it inevitably released in negative ways.
As much as the Buddha was correct with his 7 points (he also then used these points to teach his lay followers on how to make his religion last forever, he then wrote other 7 points on other subjects and preached all of them until his death... or rebirth) not much has really changed. We still live in a world where people live well by taking advantage of other people who then in turn live less fortunate lives. Yes overall we do live more peaceful and less chaotic lives if you are so lucky to be born in the western world but I wonder how the people in Uganda would answer as they live in shanty towns with rivers of sewage outside their front door.
I love the Eastern philosophies (Hinduism, Buddhism,Confucianism and especially Taoism,) because they are written so poetically however the discourse is almost always done by the highly educated and preached upon the workers of the land. In our modern age of debt economic serfdom it should be remembered that the Buddha himself was a very rich prince who was highly educated himself and preached to illiterate farmers. It is funny that after all these thousands of years their beautiful bamboo written verses have almost disappeared in modern south east Asia.
So if your asking me if I think that people need to be responsible for their own decisions in a Karma Ki sort of way then I love it and agree with you .
We are completely on the same page P!per! When I went back to the site and read the rest of Mr. Ikeda's speech I realized he answers your questions as well. Ultimately, we are intrinsically connected to each other and our environment. Our personal circumstances at this present moment, are the sum total of every cause we have made, in every area of our lives; physical, mental, material and spiritual, in our past. That's our present effect, but while experiencing it we can at the same moment make another cause to change that effect in our future. What determines what cause we will make depends on our intrinsic nature, habits and desires. The higher our life condition is, the more value creating causes we tend to make. And because we are so connected to our environment that it actually reflects our current life condition, we can see the direction our life condition is taking us. For example; when you're angry, you project anger, feel anger, look angry and that anger reflects back to you in your environment. Now, not changing anything about who you are but taking action through, prayer, meditation, chanting, rational thought, etc... and elevating your life condition out of anger to at least a state of tranquility (look calm, feel calm, project calm etc...) you change your environment to that state. When we are weak or in a negative state of being , it's easy to be influenced by our environment, but when we take action we can influence our environment positively. I put the link to that speech here for anyone interested, please let me know what you think about it?
*Applause* You have just blown my mind Mr. greykin. While our tones may have been different we were on the same frequency. Yours is the voice of life experience and wisdom while mine rawness and verdancy.
... For example; when you're angry, you project anger, feel anger, look angry and that anger reflects back to you in your environment. Now, not changing anything about who you are but taking action through, prayer, meditation, chanting, rational thought, etc... and elevating your life condition out of anger to at least a state of tranquility (look calm, feel calm, project calm etc...) you change your environment to that state. ...
You have brilliantly taken a difficult philosophical principle and have explained it in laymen terms. BRAVO! Projecting of ones emotion is something that many can never wrap their minds around. If people were to keep score of all their thoughts throughout one day and scored their thoughts into two groups being positive and negative, the winning emotion is what is being projected into the universe and so that emotion is what the universe then projects back.
A person's reality is the sum of all their decisions yet it can be changed with but a single thought. People can live their entire lives trying to to elevate from the state of anger to that of one notch higher. It is not an easy challenge and many people give up because when they look at all the numbers from 1 to 1,000 and realize that they are only at 100 they cannot conceive themselves rising that much higher to make any difference in their life. It is unfortunate because their failure is really a trick of the mind and a matter of perception. One notch higher than the state of anger can have unimaginable positive consequences, for example; if you were on a ship from NYC to London and the compass was one degree off course, the ship would end up in the Mediterranean sea. That is a huge difference! One grain of sand can become a mountain, a raindrop into an ocean. Little changes can have great effects.
I just read the first 2 paragraphs from your link. I have saved it and I'll read it when I have the time to give it the attention it deserves. Thank you for this joyous conversation.
Dear P!per, I think it's a great and unfortunately rare event when those who have seeking minds can illuminate each others path. I am impressed by your clarity and insight, not to mention knowledge of Buddhist and Eastern philosophies. Thank you for this opportunity to dialogue on these things :-)! I used to use the analogy of the practical application of using a philosophy in your life being similar to using a tool. Recently however, I think of it being more like using a vehicle. In some way you learn how to operate the vehicle (the practice) and then you use the vehicle to go from where you are, to where you want to be (your goals). You need to maintain the vehicle and refuel it periodically (the tune up and motivation) but the real value of the vehicle, is in its daily use. It's nice to look under the hood and see how the vehicle works (the theory), but it's more important to drive it! :-) greykin
"You have brilliantly taken a difficult philosophical principle and have explained it in laymen terms."(quote)
Thank you P!per! There's a saying, "A fly on the tail of a horse, can travel a thousand miles". I'm not that clever (ask anyone who knows me , even though I may think I am from time to time )So my translation of this quote is that even if you have no special or great ability, if you have the use of a good philosophy as a tool (or vehicle!) you can go further than what would be normally possible for you. That's me, I'm that fly hanging on for dear life! To have the luck to have had great mentors in my life, whose philosophies I have used to travel and improve myself with.
Wiccans have a saying: everything you send out is returned to you three-fold. Life is how you perceive it. Yes, bad things do happen to good people, but if all you concentrate on is the bad, that's all you'll see.
"You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence." -Abraham Lincoln.