Speak No Evil – Philosophy

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Why is there so much evil in the world? To bemoan the evil so prevalent today is to fail to take account of our part. The walls we build around ourselves create an illusion of separateness. Our egos dwell there and crave power, authority, and dominion – stings of the serpent’s venom. The fundamental duality of good and evil is then taken as a law unto itself. Although it will not be stayed in its course, on a large, cosmic scale, evil derives from a blockage of a circulation of vital energy. Here, in this post, I’ve decided to address evil through quotes that I have come to admire on this topic. I hope they will be useful and interesting to the reader.  Eve

 

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From the viewpoint of the initiate seeking wisdom, evil is dissipation, a scattering of one’s energies and attention, whereas good is that which leads to spiritual concentration, that is to unity.

 

A permanent idea of good and evil can be formed in man only in connection with a permanent aim and a permanent understanding. If a man understands that he is asleep and if he wishes to awake, then everything that helps him to awake will be good and everything that hinders him, everything that prolongs his sleep, will be evil. But this is so only for those who want to awake, that is, for those who understand that they are asleep. Those who do not understand that they are asleep and those who can have no wish to awake, cannot have understanding of good and evil. And as the overwhelming majority of people do not realize and will never realize that they are asleep, neither good nor evil can actually exist for them.

-G. I. Gurdjieff.

 

Must I do all the evil I can before I learn to shun it? Is it not enough to know the evil to shun it? If not, we should be sincere enough to admit that we love evil too much to give it up.

– Mohandas K. Gandhi

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The idea of sacred medicine teaches us that the universe is conscious only to conscious man, and that there are states of being in which universally active forces can reach my body from within my body. These forces cannot act upon my body from without, except as my body is part of organic life on earth with its great cycles of life, death, fertilization, and decay. The ego cannot battle against that either in nature or in the body. body. …

Man in the state of egoism is crushed by the universe, both actually and in theory. The ego alone, with all its bodily habits to support it, lives in a hostile universe because it constantly fights to preserve itself. It is a euphemism to speak of the universe of modern science as unalive, non-living. We call it a dead universe because we are unable to bear that our state of consciousness evokes a hostile universe. Traditional man was clearer about the enmity we gather when we live severed from a higher consciousness. It is a lawful enmity to be sure, not directed to me personally, but it is a genuine enmity and to communicate this, it is not so far from the mark to speak of evil spirits and of punishment.

– Jacob Needleman

 

 

 

 

“Impermanence” – Inspirational Quotations

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My friend Steven keeps a wonderful  collection of  “wisdom nuggets” on his website. I often sit and read them, when time permits. I particularly like this small article from Mahatma Gandhi. The words, profound as always, tell us the importance of understanding the  impermanent nature of life.  ~ Brilliant!

“There is an indefinable mysterious power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it. It is this unseen power which makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses. It transcends the senses. But it is possible to reason out the existence of God to a limited extent…

“I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves, and re-creates. That informing power or spirit is God. . . . For I can see that in the midst of death, life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists; in the midst of darkness, light persists. Hence I gather that God is life, truth, light.”

Mahatma Gandhi, as quoted by his grandson

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IMPERMANENCE

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The Buddha taught that there are three characteristics of facts of existence. They are generally found in all that exists and so they can tell us something about the nature of existence.

The three characteristics of existence taught by the Buddha are impermanence, suffering and impersonality. Here is an article on Impermanence from Buddha World, an on line Buddhist Community.


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The Buddha taught that all existence is impermanent because there is nothing internal or external whatsoever which is permanent, stable, lasting,not subject to decay and destruction, and forever the same. Everything changes continuously. Existence is like the flowing water of a river or the burning flame of a candle, which is never the same in two consecutive moments.

Our body,for instance, is made up of material elements such as flesh, bones and blood, which are impermanent. From the moment of our birth, the body constantly undergoes change. The human mind, too, is dependent on many factors. It is in constant change. It is like a monkeys forever jumping about, never still for even a moment. The neither the body nor the mind is permanent and unchanging.

Science teaches that apparently permanent objects like the oceans, continents,mountain ranges and even the earth, the sun and the solar system are constantly changing and will some day become extinct. When all these are also subject to change and destruction, one cannot doubt the impermanence of life. Life can end at any moment. No one can avoid death and the destruction of the body.

Understanding the characteristic of impermanence benefits people in two important ways. Firstly, it can improve human relationships and activities. Secondly, it can encourage people to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

Often people find that they make mistakes in their relationships with other because they fail to take into account the changes that constantly occur in themselves and others. Often friendships die because one or both parties fail to realize that their friend’s personality, interests and attitudes have changed.

When one realizes that people and situation are impermanent and constantly changing, one will approach each moment of a relationship with an open mind. One will be able to react to each new situation without clinging to outdated ideas about people. Relationships can then develop fruitfully. Success in life depends on one’s ability to adapt to change in situations and to make the most of new opportunities arising.

Having understood that youth , health , material well-being and even life itself are impermanent, people should then make the most of those favorable circumstance while they last. This means that they need to practice the Noble Eightfold Path in order to achieve happiness and Enlightenment. The Buddha’s last words were :

“Subject to change are all things,
Strive on with diligence.”