Friday, 18 July 2014

Apparently The Buddha Understood That The Sauce For The Goose Was Not Always The Right Sauce For The Gander

O monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me.

My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct experience...
My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto or worship.
My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river. 

Only a fool would carry the raft around after he had already reached the other shore of liberation.

If you were to follow the Dharma purely out of love for me or because you respect me, I would not accept you as disciple. But if you follow the Dharma because you have yourself experienced its truth, because you understand and act accordingly - only under these conditions have you the right to call yourself a disciple of the Exalted One.

From Old Path, White Clouds by Thich Nath Hanh
Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one's mind, this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Some Call The Agent God ~ Others Call The Agent Karma ~ The Old Wisdom Teaches That If We Do Not Live In Righteousness We Will Pay A Heavy Price

God’s Indictment of His People

Hear now what the Lord is saying, “Arise, plead your case [a]before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.  “Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the Lord has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute.
With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves?  Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
The voice of the Lord will call to the city— and it is sound wisdom to fear Your name:
“My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.  “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam.  “My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled. And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal,
So [b]that you might know the righteous acts of the Lord.” What God Requires of Man
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love [c]kindness, and to walk [d]humbly with your God?
“Hear, O tribe. Who has appointed [e]its time?
“Is there yet a man in the wicked house, along with treasures of wickedness and a [f]short measure that is cursed? “Can I justify wicked scales And a bag of deceptive weights? “For the rich men of the [g]city are full of violence, her residents speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. “So also I will make you sick, striking you down, desolating you because of your sins.
“You will eat, but you will not be satisfied, and your [h]vileness will be in your midst. You will try to remove for safekeeping, but you will not preserve anything, and what you do preserve I will give to the sword. “You will sow but you will not reap. You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil; And the grapes, but you will not drink wine.
“The statutes of Omri and all the works of the house of Ahab are observed; And in their devices you walk. Therefore I will give you up for destruction and [i]your inhabitants for derision, and you will bear the reproach of My people.”
 Micah 6:1 Lit with
Micah 6:5 Lit to know
Micah 6:8 Or loyalty
Micah 6:8 Or circumspectly
Micah 6:9 Lit it
Micah 6:10 Lit shrunken ephah
Micah 6:12 Lit her
Micah 6:14 Or possibly garbage or excreta
Micah 6:16 Lit her

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Arabian Wisdom, by John Wortabet, [1913] ~ These Proverbs Have Much In Common With Those Found In The Hebrew And Christian Sacred Scriptures

Ignorance, Folly

Ignorance is the greatest poverty.
Ignorance is death in life.
There is no evil so great as ignorance.
          Folly is an incurable disease.
A foolish man is like an old garment, which if you patch it in one place becomes rent in many other places.
It is just as allowable to blame a blind man for want of sight as to blame a fool for his folly.
To bear the folly of a fool is indeed a great hardship.
The best way to treat a fool is to shun him.
The fool is an enemy to himself—how can he then be a friend to others?
An ignorant man is highly favoured, for he casts away the burden of life, and does not vex his soul with thoughts of time and eternity.
The most effectual preacher to a man is himself. A man never turns away from his passions unless the rebuke comes from himself to himself.

The Genre Is 'Wisdom Literature' It Is Found Throughout History In Every Culture That Had Writing ~ This Was Found Within The Hebrew Bible ~ Woman Wisdom Was Needed For Creation ~ Now She Is Needed For Survival

Proverbs 8 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

Doth not wisdom call? And understanding give forth her voice?At the head of high places by the way, Between the paths she hath stood,At the side of the gates, at the mouth of the city, The entrance of the openings, she crieth aloud,`Unto you, O men, I call, And my voice [is] unto the sons of men.

Understand, ye simple ones, prudence, And ye fools, understand the heart,Hearken, for noble things I speak, And the opening of my lips [is] uprightness.For truth doth my mouth utter, And an abomination to my lips [is] wickedness.In righteousness [are] all the sayings of my mouth, Nothing in them is froward and perverse.All of them [are] plain to the intelligent, And upright to those finding knowledge.

10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold.11 For better [is] wisdom than rubies, Yea, all delights are not comparable with it.12 I, wisdom, have dwelt with prudence, And a knowledge of devices I find out.13 The fear of Jehovah [is] to hate evil; Pride, and arrogance, and an evil way, And a froward mouth, I have hated.14 Mine [is] counsel and substance, I [am] understanding, I have might.15 By me kings reign, and princes decree righteousness,16 By me do chiefs rule, and nobles, All judges of the earth.17 I love those loving me, And those seeking me earnestly do find me.18 Wealth and honour [are] with me, Lasting substance and righteousness.19 Better [is] my fruit than gold, even fine gold, And mine increase than choice silver.20 In a path of righteousness I cause to walk, In midst of paths of judgment,21 To cause my lovers to inherit substance, Yea, their treasures I fill.

22 Jehovah possessed me -- the beginning of His way, Before His works since then.23 From the age I was anointed, from the first, From former states of the earth.24 In there being no depths, I was brought forth, In there being no fountains heavy [with] waters,25 Before mountains were sunk, Before heights, I was brought forth.26 While He had not made the earth, and out-places, And the top of the dusts of the world.27 In His preparing the heavens I [am] there, In His decreeing a circle on the face of the deep,28 In His strengthening clouds above, In His making strong fountains of the deep,29 In His setting for the sea its limit, And the waters transgress not His command, In His decreeing the foundations of earth,30 Then I am near Him, a workman, And I am a delight -- day by day. Rejoicing before Him at all times,31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth, And my delights [are] with the sons of men.

32 And now, ye sons, hearken to me, Yea, happy are they who keep my ways.33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and slight not.34 O the happiness of the man hearkening to me, To watch at my doors day by day, To watch at the door-posts of my entrance.35 For whoso is finding me, hath found life, And bringeth out good-will from Jehovah.36 And whoso is missing me, is wronging his soul, All hating me have loved death!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

From Before The Tale Of The Good Samaritan To Today The Clergy (Of Any Faith) Rarely Come Off Well ~ Seems They Have Forgotten To Do Justice, Love Mercy And Walk Humbly Far Too Often

Scottish Folktales

The Minister and the Fairy

Not long since, a pious clergyman was returning home, after administering spiritual consolation to a dying member of his flock. It was late of the night, and he had to pass through a good deal of uncanny land. He was, however, a good and a conscientious minister of the Gospel, and feared not all the spirits in the country. On his reaching the end of a lake which stretched along the roadside for some distance, he was a good deal surprised at hearing the most melodious strains of music. Overcome by pleasure and curiosity, the minister coolly sat down to listen to the harmonious sounds, and try what new discoveries he could make with regard to their nature and source. He had not sat many minutes before he could distinguish the approach of the music, and also observe a light in the direction from whence it proceeded gliding across the lake towards him. Instead of taking to his heels, as any faithless wight would have done, the pastor fearlessly determined to await the issue of the phenomenon. 

As the light and music drew near, the clergyman could at length distinguish an object resembling a human being walking on the surface of the water, attended by a group of diminutive musicians, some of them bearing lights, and others instruments of music, from which they continued to evoke those melodious strains which first attracted his attention. The leader of the band dismissed his attendants, landed on the beach, and afforded the minister the amplest opportunities of examining his appearance. He was a little primitive-looking grey-headed man, clad in the most grotesque habit the clergyman had ever seen, and such as led him at once to suspect his real character. He walked up to the minister, whom he saluted with great grace, offering an apology for his intrusion. The pastor returned his compliments, and, without further explanation, invited the mysterious stranger to sit down by his side. The invitation was complied with, upon which the minister proposed the following question:—“Who art thou, stranger, and from whence?”

To this question the fairy, with downcast eye, replied that he was one of those sometimes called Doane Shee, or men of peace, or good men, though the reverse of this title was a more fit appellation for them.

Originally angelic in his nature and attributes, and once a sharer of the indescribable joys of the regions of light, he was seduced by Satan to join him in his mad conspiracies; and, as a punishment for his transgression, he was cast down from those regions of bliss, and was now doomed, along with millions of fellow-sufferers, to wander through seas and mountains, until the coming of the Great Day. What their fate would be then they could not divine, but they apprehended the worst. “And,” continued he, turning to the minister, with great anxiety, “the object of my present intrusion on you is to learn your opinion, as an eminent divine, as to our final condition on that dreadful day.” 

Here the venerable pastor entered upon a long conversation with the fairy, touching the principles of faith and repentance. Receiving rather unsatisfactory answers to his questions, the minister desired the “sheech” to repeat after him the Paternoster, in attempting to do which, it was not a little remarkable that he could not repeat the word “art,” but said “wert,” in heaven. Inferring from every circumstance that their fate was extremely precarious, the minister resolved not to puff the fairies up with presumptuous, and, perhaps, groundless expectations. 

Accordingly, addressing himself to the unhappy fairy, who was all anxiety to know the nature of his sentiments, the reverend gentleman told him that he could not take it upon him to give them any hopes of pardon, as their crime was of so deep a hue as scarcely to admit of it. On this the unhappy fairy uttered a shriek of despair, plunged headlong into the loch, and the minister resumed his course to his home.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Some Say There Is White And Black Magic ~ But The Old Stories Hold A Different Truth ~ The White Or The Black Is Found Within The People Not The Magic

Scottish Folktales

The Weird of the Three Arrows

Sir James Douglas, the companion of Bruce, and well known by his appellation of the “Black Douglas,” was once, during the hottest period of the exterminating war carried on by him and his colleague Randolph, against the English, stationed at Linthaughlee, near Jedburgh. He was resting, himself and his men after the toils of many days’ fighting-marches through Teviotdale; and, according to his custom, had walked round the tents, previous to retiring to the unquiet rest of a soldier’s bed. He stood for a few minutes at the entrance to his tent contemplating the scene before him, rendered more interesting by a clear moon, whose silver beams fell, in the silence of a night without a breath of wind, calmly on the slumbers of mortals destined to mix in the melĂ©e of dreadful war, perhaps on the morrow. As he stood gazing, irresolute whether to retire to rest or indulge longer in a train of thought not very suitable to a warrior who delighted in the spirit-stirring scenes of his profession, his eye was attracted by the figure of an old woman, who approached him with a trembling step, leaning on a staff, and holding in her left hand three English cloth-shaft arrows.

“You are he who is ca’ed the guid Sir James?” said the old woman.
“I am, good woman,” replied Sir James. “Why hast thou wandered from the sutler’s camp?”
“I dinna belang to the camp o’ the hoblers,” answered the woman. “I hae been a residenter in Linthaughlee since the day when King Alexander passed the door o’ my cottage wi’ his bonny French bride, wha was terrified awa’ frae Jedburgh by the death’s-head whilk appeared to her on the day o’ her marriage. What I hae suffered sin’ that day” (looking at the arrows in her hand) “lies between me an’ heaven.”
“Some of your sons have been killed in the wars, I presume?” said Sir James.
“Ye hae guessed a pairt o’ my waes,” replied the woman. “That arrow” (holding out one of the three) “carries on its point the bluid o’ my first born; that is stained wi’ the stream that poured frae the heart o’ my second; and that is red wi’ the gore in which my youngest weltered, as he gae up the life that made me childless. They were a’ shot by English hands, in different armies, in different battles. I am an honest woman, and wish to return to the English what belongs to the English; but that in the same fashion in which they were sent. The Black Douglas has the strongest arm an’ the surest ee in auld Scotland; an’ wha can execute my commission better than he?”

“I do not use the bow, good woman,” replied Sir James. “I love the grasp of the dagger or the battle-axe. You must apply to some other individual to return your arrows.”

“I canna tak’ them hame again,” said the woman, laying them down at the feet of Sir James. “Ye’ll see me again on St. James’ E’en.”

The old woman departed as she said these words.

Sir James took up the arrows, and placed them in an empty quiver that lay amongst his baggage. He retired to rest, but not to sleep. The figure of the old woman and her strange request occupied his thoughts, and produced trains of meditation which ended in nothing but restlessness and disquietude. Getting up at daybreak, he met a messenger at the entrance of his tent, who informed him that Sir Thomas de Richmont, with a force of ten thousand men, had crossed the Borders, and would pass through a narrow defile, which he mentioned, where he could be attacked with great advantage. Sir James gave instant orders to march to the spot; and, with that genius for scheming, for which he was so remarkable, commanded his men to twist together the young birch-trees on either side of the passage to prevent the escape of the enemy. This finished, he concealed his archers in a hollow way, near the gorge of the pass. The enemy came on; and when their ranks were embarrassed by the narrowness of the road, and it was impossible for the cavalry to act with effect, Sir James rushed upon them at the head of his horsemen; and the archers, suddenly discovering themselves, poured in a flight of arrows on the confused soldiers, and put the whole army to flight. In the heat of the onset, Douglas killed Sir Thomas de Richmont with his dagger.

Not long after this, Edmund de Cailon, a knight of Gascony, and Governor of Berwick, who had been heard to vaunt that he had sought the famous Black Knight, but could not find him, was returning to England, loaded with plunder, the fruit of an inroad on Teviotdale. Sir James thought it a pity that a Gascon’s vaunt should be heard unpunished in Scotland, and made long forced marches to satisfy the desire of the foreign knight, by giving him a sight of the dark countenance he had made a subject of reproach. He soon succeeded in gratifying both himself and the Gascon. Coming up in his terrible manner, he called to Cailon to stop, and, before he proceeded into England, receive the respects of the Black Knight he had come to find, but hitherto had not met. The Gascon’s vaunt was now changed; but shame supplied the place of courage, and he ordered his men to receive Douglas’s attack. Sir James assiduously sought his enemy. He at last succeeded; and a single combat ensued, of a most desperate character. But who ever escaped the arm of Douglas when fairly opposed to him in single conflict? Cailon was killed; he had met the Black Knight at last.
“So much,” cried Sir James, “for the vaunt of a Gascon!”

Similar in every respect to the fate of Cailon, was that of Sir Ralph Neville. He, too, on hearing the great fame of Douglas’s prowess, from some of Gallon’s fugitive soldiers, openly boasted that he would fight with the Scottish Knight, if he would come and show his banner before Berwick. Sir James heard the boast and rejoiced in it. He marched to that town, and caused his men to ravage the country in front of the battlements, and burn the villages. Neville left Berwick with a strong body of men; and, stationing himself on a high ground, waited till the rest of the Scots should disperse to plunder; but Douglas called in his detachment and attacked the knight. After a desperate conflict, in which many were slain, Douglas, as was his custom, succeeded in bringing the leader to a personal encounter, and the skill of the Scottish knight was again successful. Neville was slain, and his men utterly discomfited.

Having retired one night to his tent to take some rest after so much pain and toil, Sir James Douglas was surprised by the reappearance of the old woman whom he had seen at Linthaughlee.

“This is the feast o’ St. James,” said she, as she approached him. “I said I would see ye again this nicht, an’ I’m as guid’s my word. Hae ye returned the arrows I left wi’ ye to the English wha sent them to the hearts o’ my sons?”

“No,” replied Sir James. “I told ye I did not fight with the bow. Wherefore do ye importune me thus?”

“Give me back the arrows then,” said the woman.

Sir James went to bring the quiver in which he had placed them. On taking them out, he was surprised to find that they were all broken through the middle.

“How has this happened?” said he. “I put these arrows in this quiver entire, and now they are broken.”

“The weird is fulfilled!” cried the old woman, laughing eldrichly, and clapping her hands. “That broken shaft cam’ frae a soldier o’ Richmont’s; that frae ane o’ Cailon’s, and that frae ane o’ Neville’s. They are a’ dead, an’ I am revenged!”

The old woman then departed, scattering, as she went, the broken fragments of the arrows on the floor of the tent.