Thursday, January 5, 2012

do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind...

Like a piece of scrap paper floating down a city gutter ... maybe it's a gum wrapper ... maybe it's a $100 bill, but how many times has it offered itself up, whether as useful or useless, since it was first enunciated by, among others, Gautama Buddha?

Do good. Refrain from evil. And purify the mind.
As a gum wrapper, it has been conceived as a virtuous injunction. As a hundred-dollar bill, it has been the foundation of a life's work. The ways of appreciating or dismissing such a suggestion are myriad. Over and over and over again, this refrigerator magnet for a happy and peaceful life has been offered. Some find it useful. Some useless. Some write pious essays. Some talk themselves blue in the face. Some make it their business. Others puke.

The litter floats down the gutter of the mind, washing, washing, washing away. Not better, not worse, just floating by, carrying with it no particular imperative or threat. For some, it is a real bell-ringer. For others, a passing bit of flotsam.

Again and again and again and again the offerings pass by. Always. The emphasis or neglect is entirely up to the on-looker. Virtue is not the point. The point is what is true and there is only one person who can determine that. Someone will always collect enough flotsam to fashion a religion or a spiritual movement or a reason to gather for coffee and cookies. But in the end, there is only one person who can suss out the truth.

It is not more or less important than the other flotsam.

"Man without God is like a fish without a bicycle."

Or perhaps it is vitally important.

"Man without God is like a fish without a bicycle."

Your life. Your choice.

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