Thoughts to ponder…
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm any hostility.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Here is an excellent article by Andrew Olendzki on “Where the Action Is.”
And a Chinese story:
Winning the Battle
One day, Zengzi 曾子(a philosopher and student of Confucius, 505-436 BCE) met Zixia 子夏, another student of Confucius, in the street and carefully looking him over, asked, “In the past you had many illnesses and were always thin and weak. You seem to have gained weight and look energetic too.” Zixia replied, “I have recently won a battle, so I feel very happy and have gained weight as a result.”
Not understanding him Zengzi asked, “What do you mean?”
Zixia replied, “One day I was reading about Yao (唐堯, 2353-2234 BCE.) , Yu (大禹, the legendary founder of the Xia Dynasty that began in 2205 BCE) and Tang (商湯, 1617 -1588 BCE). After reading their viewpoints on morality, friendship and loyalty, I found I appreciated their views and wanted to be a good person. However, when I walked down the street and saw so many tantalizing things, and observed other people living in luxury, my desire for material things was stimulated and I wanted to make more money. These two opposing thoughts constantly fought inside my mind and I could not find any peace. I was not able to eat or rest well, lost weight and incurred many illnesses.
“Who won the battle?” Zengzi inquired.
Zixia quickly answered, “Yao, Yu and Tang’s views on morality, friendship and loyalty won. As you can now see, I have gained weight.”
This is a quote from Dharma Master Cheng Yen:
“Always listen to Right Views. If our views are correct, out of many things we hear, we will identify what is right and what is wrong. “In a group of three, at least one is my teacher.” When we hear the right counsel, from a wise person, we will be grateful and will practice it in our daily living. When we hear something wrong, we must be vigilant and avoid led onto a deviant path. A person who can clearly discern right from wrong is a wise person. A good way to explain our wisdom and our mind is to use the analogy of mirror. If the mirror is wiped clean and clear, we can clearly distinguish between different colors and forms in its reflection. But if the mirror becomes blurry, we cannot clearly see the external conditions. This path should be level and straight, but if the mirror is off, we may follow the wrong path. The mind is like a mirror. If it is polished clean, it can clearly reflect external conditions so we will not be deluded. Thus we must constantly tidy up our minds. If we are free of defilements and deviance, we will not commit wrongs. Wrongdoings and misguided perspectives arise from ignorance and blindness.”