Source: via net
Source: via net
A Billy Graham story:
A little child was playing one day with a very valuable vase. He put his hand into it and could not withdraw it. His father too, tried his best, but all in vain. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Now, my son, make one more try. Open your hand and hold your fingers out straight as you see me doing, and then pull.”
To their astonishment the little fellow said, “O no, father. I couldn’t put my fingers out like that, because if I did I would drop my penny.
But what fascinated me most was Nagarjuna’s stress on what my guru referred to as ‘the Killer Time Gap.’ Now Eastern philosophy rests on the twin concepts of karma and reincarnation; since volumes have been written on these concepts, I will simply say here that karma is defined as the movement of the mind (thought) and what it produces in terms of speech and action; the consequences are inevitable and come later—whether a second later, lifetimes down the road, or anywhere in-between. According to Nagarjuna, it is this lethal time gap between our thought, speech and action (karma/doing) and the ensuing results of those actions that is responsible for all the suffering of humanity.
Take the act of killing for instance: If, as I lowered my foot to crush a bug, my own ribs started to break, I’d likely be too terrified of my own well-being to ever kill again, right? Or if, just after I’d stolen ten bucks from you, someone stole a thousand out of my wallet, I might put the action and the consequence together (since they came so close on the heels of each other) and the fear of being punished so quickly and severely might urge me to never ever steal again, right?
Only a few of us are born virtuous; the rest of us are a mix of darkness and light and therefore prey to all the temptations of the world. And yet, unless we are criminally insane or prone to masochism, we would all be perfectly moral if there was no gap between our actions and the consequences of those actions.
Right now (I am writing this post in October 2016) the US Presidential Debate rages on and all sorts of filth relating to the actions of both major candidates is rising up in a tidal wave to hurt not just them, but their families, associates, their respective parties, and all those peripherally involved in this major drama. Now, had either of these two candidates known (at the time they did what they did) that their past sins would rise up to bite them in the butt—too too right in the thick of their fight for a powerful office—would they have blithely gone ahead and done what they did? I think not—it was that killer time gap that allowed both to believe they would ever have to pay the karmic piper—and how wrong they both were.
What we do about this time gap in our own lives? I can only speak for myself. First I forged for myself a strong foundation of reality (known as the “view). In doing so, I digested the meaning of karma so well that in time I became convinced that nothing but nothing goes unrecorded in the vast reservoir of consciousness. This perennial awareness of how reality works now makes me careful in how I think, speak and act; if I make mistakes, as I often do, then I am quick to make amends—to offer an apology or do whatever is necessary to compensate for the hurt or trouble I have caused—for it is said that an amend performed minus the ego is said to wipe out the original bad act. Gradually, as this wisdom seeps into our consciousness, we become organically beautiful people and our happiness and peace quotient rises into the heavens. The beauty of living in such a way is that the whole cosmos benefits.
Source: miraprabhu.wordpress.com and art.thewalters.org
Source: image from Big Boss 10
These are from பழமொழி நானூறு (Four hundred Proverbs). Since most of its content is similar to Naaladiyaar (an anthology of 4-liners compiled by jain monks in the post-sangam period), it is thought to be be written in the following period, possibly around 4th Century AD. These four hundred proverbs were collated and written in verse by the poet Mundrurai Arayanar (முன்றுரை அரையனார்).
தக்காரோடு ஒன்றி, தமராய் ஒழுகினார்;
மிக்காரால்’ என்று, சிறியாரைத் தாம் தேறார்;-
கொக்கு ஆர் வள வயல் ஊர!-தினல் ஆமோ,
அக்காரம் சேர்ந்த மணல்?
“They were one with the virtuous, lived like kith and kin,
hence they’re good too”, saying so no one will befriend them (the not virtuous);
Oh man from the town where paddy fields are full of cranes,
can one eat sand mixed with sugar?
பெரிய நட்டார்க்கும் பகைவர்க்கும், சென்று,
திரிவு இன்றித் தீர்ந்தார்போல் சொல்லி, அவருள்
ஒருவரோடு ஒன்றி ஒருப்படாதாரே,
இரு தலைக் கொள்ளி என்பார்.
When a close friend and his foe have a fight, one who goes and talks to both as if he is their friend and incites them,
making sure that they don’t reconcile, is said to be a torch lit in both ends (doubly dangerous).
Civilization is the foundation of every successful culture. It permits us to live in safety, without being crippled by fear. It’s the willingness to discuss our differences, not to fight over them. Civilization is efficient, in that it permits every member of society to contribute at her highest level of utility. And it’s at the heart of morality, because civilization is based on fairness.
The civilization of a human encampment, a city or town where people look out for one another and help when help is needed is worth seeking out.
We’re thrilled by the violent video of the iguana and the snakes, partly because we can’t imagine living a life like that, one where we are always at risk.
To be always at risk, to live in a society where violence is likely—this undermines our ability to be the people we seek to become.
Over the last ten generations, we’ve made huge progress in creating an ever more civilized culture. Slavery (still far too prevalent) is now seen as an abomination. Access to information and healthcare is better than it’s ever been. Human culture is far from fully civilized, but as the years go by, we’re getting better at seeing all the ways we have to improve.
And this can be our goal. Every day, with every action, to make something more civilized. To find more dignity and possibility and opportunity for those around us, those we know and don’t know.
Hence the imperative. Our associations, organizations and interactions must begin with a standard of civility. Our work as individuals and as leaders becomes worthwhile and generous when we add to our foundation of civilization instead of chipping away at it.
The standard can come from each of us. We can do it. We can speak up. We can decide to care a little more. We can stand up to the boss, the CEO, or the elected representative and say, “wait,” when they cross the line, when they pursue profit at the cost of community, when they throw out the rules in search of a brawl instead. The race to the bottom and the urge to win at all costs aren’t new, but they’re not part of who we are and ought to be.