|Chapter 3||The Old Man||12|
|Chapter 4||Living in the World -||20|
|Chapter 6||The Field of Duty||36|
|♦ Teaching 1||42|
|♦ The Renunciation of Action||43|
|♦ The man of discipline||44|
|♦ Knowledge and Judgment||47|
|♦ The Infinite Spirit||49|
|♦ The Sublime Mystery||50|
|♦ Fragments of Divine Power||52|
|♦ The Vision of Krishna’s Totality||53|
|♦ Knowing the Field||55|
|♦ The Triad of nature’s Qualities||56|
|♦ The True Spirit of Man||57|
|♦ The Divine and Demonic Man||58|
|♦ Three Aspects of Faith||59|
|Chapter 7||Knowing Thyself and the Release from Suffering||64|
|♦ The Kena Upanishad||67|
|♦ The Katha Upanishad||68|
|♦ The Mundaka Upanishad||72|
|♦ The Aitareyea Upanishad||73|
|♦ The Taitiriya Upanishad||73|
|♦ The Prashna Upanishad||76|
|♦ The Chandogya Upanishad||76|
|♦ The Isha Upanishad||78|
|♦ The Shevetashvatara Upanishad||78|
|♦ The Amritabindu Upanishad||80|
|♦ The Paramahanmsa Upanishad||80|
|Chapter 8||Suffering and Salvation||84|
|Chapter 9||The Two Buddhisms||94|
|♦ So What Happens when you Die?||94|
|♦ Joy and Suffering, Causes and Effects||106|
|♦ The Mahayana and Deification of Buddha||110|
|♦ The Eternal Buddha||113|
|♦ The Dependent Origination||119|
|♦ Impermanency and Egolessness||119|
|♦ The Theory of Mind-only||120|
|♦ Real State of Things||124|
|♦ The Middle Way||124|
|♦ The Mind of Purity||125|
|♦ Buddha Nature||126|
|♦ Reality and Human Life||128|
|♦ Amida Buddha’s Vows||129|
|♦ Search for Truth||131|
|♦ The Ways of Practice||132|
|♦ The Way of Faith||134|
|♦ Sacred Aphorisms||135|
|♦ Duties of the Brotherhood||135|
|♦ Lay Followers||136|
|♦ The Black Book||138|
|Chapter 10||The Unity of One||142|
|♦ Rites and the Great White Elephant||148|
|♦ Laws and Rites||157|
|♦ The Highest Good and Grumblers||161|
|♦ The Word of God||166|
All men seem to agree what Paradise on earth ought to be. It's a Peaceful place where there is no suffering. People live longer and are happy. And they are in the full communion of God (or the gods). No hunger, no thirst, and no war seem to be the prevailing Hopes of Paradise.
Most men also seem to agree on the basic precepts teaching how Paradise can come to the earth. For they include rudimentary values, and these values can best be summarized in the Ten Commandments. Among them are:
- You shall not kill
- You shall not lie
- You shall not covet your neighbors things
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall love one another as you love yourself
- You shall love God with your whole heart and soul
Just as the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Biblical Creed, so too are they the foundation of Buddha's Creed. By both creeds, if one obeys the Ten Commandments, we will have Paradise on earth. Even if the major commandments, as shown above, are obeyed, we will be on the path to Paradise! If all men were to respect them and obey them there would be Paradise. For if there is no killing, there can be no war; certainly, in terms of the modern era, the remaining endangered species would be fully protected. If there is no lying, there is no cause for suspicion of another's deeeds. All men would trust one another. And with trust comes an abiding harmony in social relations. If all men do not covet their neighbor's belongings, there would be no envy, and because there would be no envy there would be no Pride. Nor would there be an outgrowth of Greed. And because these things would not exist, there would be no robbery. Again, we would have cause to believe that all men could exist together in harmony.
Recognizing that many fights and wars have been started over competition for the female sex, with the ban on Adultery we have the assurance that no man need fear losing his wife and family to another. All men obeying this commandment, then, could rest in Peace, knowing that their neighbor respects their domain.
The commandment to love one another completes the scenario of a Peaceful and Harmonious World. While we have all the elements of Harmony in place with the other commandments, the commandment to love one another assures the right attitude to be held in dealing with all men. Don't say or do anything to them that you would not have them do unto you.
Finally, we have the relationship between God (or nature) and Man giving us the proper attitude to be held concerning our environment. For our environment is viewed as a Manifestation of God. Treat it with disrespect and you will offend God. For all things are equally treasured by God, since they are manifestations of Himself. By keeping one's focus upon Him, loving His Manifestation in your life with your complete heart and soul, one maintains the proper bearing in relating to all things. One becomes in harmony with his environment and because one is in harmony with the environment one is also in harmony with God. These manifestations of God reflected in men may be reduced to simple precepts such as doing justice, having mercy, and being charitable. These things, the rabbis of the Oral Torah concluded, are not much to ask.
These things, if all men would obey them, would bring, without a doubt, a Paradise on earth. And these precepts sum up what the God of the Bible, Jesus the Christ, and Buddha talked about. And since they are all in agreement on these issues we can now proceed to compare how each perceived the actual bringing about of the Paradise and what it truly means to man. Those of you who wish to review the Biblical view of these things in greater detail may wish to consult our other work, Hidden Pavilions.
There are two things to be considered in discussing Salvation. First there is the Salvation of life. When life is threatened it needs a Savior. When a City is threatened by a barbarous hoard it calls out for a Savior. But there is yet another Salvation perceived by man; and that involves a Promise from the Great Spirit that the suffering one now endures on earth will be removed, and one will live in the hereafter, in Heaven, without suffering.
The precept of Heaven sets the theme of what a Paradise ought to be. And in the formulation of a Paradise on earth it is concluded that whatever is in Heaven ought to be duplicated. So God decided to one day establish a duplicate of His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven – according to the Bible. In establishing the Kingdom is the criteria that the Spirit does not die but continues, awaiting a resurrection of the Body in a future day. In the Bible the Resurrection is contemplated in a time period called The Latter Days; and those days are a Day of Judgment, when both the living and the dead are judged. Those determined by God to not be in accord with his Way are judged to be burned in an eternal lake of fire or burning pit. The epiphany of this day of Judgment occurs with the Battle of Gog and Magog against Jerusalem, the Holy City of the God of the Bible. That battle is called Armageddon. It is a day when God says He will take out His Wrath against all those who were against His People Israel [Isaiah. 49.25-26, 54.17; Deut. 30.7,32.43].
The Hindu Religion has a slight variation to this theme. It views the bringing of Paradise upon earth through the transmigration of the Soul, where after death the soul is reincarnated into some other living form, hopefully a human being, and given an opportunity to purge the sins of its former life. The human soul, in this regard, must pass from body to body, life to life, until it reaches perfection, having removed all the causes of human suffering from it. Once it reaches this point it achieves a oneness with God or the Great Spirit. Having reached this Oneness, in a complete state of Peace, one no longer is required to be reincarnated and, rather, remains in union with God. Although Buddha recognizes this state of the transmigration of the Soul, he says you can get there in one easy step, in this life, and thereby release yourself from the problem of having to endure further suffering. And he describes that goal as reaching Nirvana, the ultimate state of being. Originally the precept of Nirvana was simply a state of Final Extinction, involving no future life, no Paradise, as such, and neither requiring the acknowledgment of God. In later Buddhist precepts it meant being one with God. In the formative Nirvana state one loses his identity. That makes sense, because if one is identified in the Oneness of God, one cannot have a separate identity; otherwise one would be separate from God. Rather than waiting for your next reincarnation, the Buddhists say you can achieve that Oneness of Spirit right now.
It just so happens the God of the Bible had the same idea. That's what is intended in His Precept of His Kingdom on earth. In the Precept He intends to live in all men, their being His Vessels which He desires to fill; and in the union man and God would become as One. Over the Union God contemplated setting up One Man, a Savior, to rule as King for Him. And He would set up his throne in Jerusalem. In later Buddhism the Buddha Himself becomes the same sort of Savior.
Jesus, whose name in Hebrew means "Savior," who is also called the Christ or Anointed One of God (the Greek and English renderings for the Hebrew word Messiah), coincidentally had the same idea. Except there was a small condition put upon the precept of the Kingdom: Jesus said that He was the Savior and that He would return to establish the Kingdom, God's Paradise on earth. He said, "I am the Way and I am the Light. He who believeth in me shall have everlasting life." Christ expected and prayed [John 17.11, 21 ff] all men to become like Him. All men would become the Body of Christ, or Christs, however you wish to look at it; and when that day comes the Kingdom of Heaven, or Paradise, would reign on earth.
By another coincidence the Buddhists had the same thought. They say that Buddha is the Savior of the World and those who follow His Way and His Enlightenment would have everlasting life, and this too would bring Paradise on earth. Again, in the formative Buddhist religion, the theme of everlasting life and Paradise seems to be missing, since Nirvana then meant Final Extinction.
The Hindu religion produced the Buddha. He emerged about the time of the captivity of the Jews to Babylon, circa 600 B.C. Almost six hundred years later Jesus Christ emerged, saying similar precepts that Buddha had said. It is extremely doubtful Buddha had any influence upon Jesus' precepts. Rather, another possibility in the coincidence of their precepts is applicable. Through independent sources and causes of their precepts they voiced identical precepts concerning Salvation and the institution of Paradise. And the religions derived from both of them claimed to establish each of them, Buddha and Jesus, as the World's Savior, causing us now to choose which of them is the True Savior. Between the two religions we then have a source of irritation, or conflict. We must therefore keep in mind that the cause of our consternation to make a choice between the Two Saviors reduces down to another thing which they both preached against. That thing is Vanity. Somehow Vanity has interpolated himself into the two religions.
Tracing the origin of this Vanity is not difficult. One of the major differences between the God of the Bible and the supreme God(s) of the Hindu religion and Buddhism is the fact that the God of Abraham, as expressed in the Bible, has no name. Rather, He is called YHWH or Jehova, meaning, "I Am." That's it. He simply exists eternally and there is no name sufficient to describe Him. He is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit, concluded Jesus. The rabbis of the Oral Torah concluded the same, recognizing seventy-two names but reducing them down to the fact that no matter how you try to describe God He is ineffable.
In reviewing the identities of the Hindu Pantheon we can see the difficulty of describing the Supreme God of that Pantheon, assuming each of the gods of the pantheon are really just manifestations of the One God. In formulating such a Pantheon there would always be a need to create another god to show a particular manifestation of The One God which had been overlooked or now needed. The Brahmans resolved this by describing The One God as the Universal Self, for which there is no name, no limitation, whose form is ineffable, and who is Infinite in nature. So in the Bible and Vedic Literature we see that the name of The One God is truly ineffable. Putting a name on Him or attributing to Him various manifestations seems to be a vain task with no end. The Buddhists, being based on the Hindu religion, came to the same realization.
The ultimate Godhead according to Buddha can only be described, or discovered, through a process which Buddha describes as Enlightenment. It is claimed that the Buddha reached the Place of Enlightenment, which is, in later Buddhist thinking, Oneness with God. Buddha, in fact, becomes the identification of God's Process or Way of Enlightenment. Buddha is not only the Savior but also the element of the Godhead which reflects the True Way.
By coincidence, the Messiah of the Bible and Jesus, who claims that personification, represent the same idea or precept. The precept is described in the Book of Enoch and the Book of Isaiah, more specifically, as the Light of the Gentile [Isaiah 42, 49, and 61] whose attribute is that he is a Great Light which manifests himself midst the Gentile (nations of the world) in the Last Days. In the epiphany the world sees him as the Judge and King Messiah. He judges the world with righteousness, for example, and defends the afflicted and the poor. The precepts relating to this are simply addressed in Psalm 12.5 ff.
Since Jesus and Buddha seem to agree on all matters concerning the Way to God's Light, or the path of Enlightenment, their teachings being that path, we must look at the path through their common eyes. And what we see is this: We must rid ourselves of the glaucoma of Vanity. They were both against Vanity, so they, themselves, cannot be Vain. If they are not Vain, then, holding a relationship in common with the Godhead, they have no need of a name. So we must strip the name from them to understand the nature of the Godhead. What does this leave us? It leaves only the teachings of the ineffable, nameless Godhead. And by following this teaching, being the same as of Buddha or Christ, we offend no one; neither do we challenge the Godhead to decide a vain thing: the name of, or Person of, the Enlightenment. Therefore, we may conclude (for the sake of Unity) that the True Path is the Voice of Unity stemming from the breath of a teaching brought in unison from separate mouths. And it makes no difference whether it now comes from Buddha or from Christ, for if you follow that teaching you will achieve the goal of that teaching: namely, unison with the One God.
Both Christ and Buddha said that every man has Salvation in Him. We shall call it Salvation in order to get away from names. Actually, in the teaching of Christ, we would say, every man has a Christ nature in him. All one must do is let it live. In Buddha's teaching we are told that every man has a Buddha nature in him, that every man has the capability of being a Buddha. All man must do is let that Buddha nature (or Christ nature) live. Keep in mind that when we use the term "man" we refer to the precept in the first chapters of Genesis, referring to the creation of man: let us create Adam (man) in our image; so male and female created He them. Our man is the one personification called, male and female.
Again, if the teachings of both Christ and Buddha agree, we can conclude, to avoid vanity, that we must rename those teachings into a Unity of One and thus we can now refer to this thing which is in all men as the Savior Nature. All men inherently have the nature of the Savior in them. All they must do is allow that Savior Nature to live. And this is what we mean by Salvation for all men.
Having stripped the name of the Savior from those who cling to vain things, trying to claim the Savior for themselves as some sort of exclusive Divine Right or Pride, we can say that the Savior Nature will bring Salvation to all men because we have now addressed all men.
In Hidden Pavilions, we addressed how Muhammed fully endorses the Teachings of the Bible and views the Moslem religion as an umbrella or bridge over the Christian and Jewish faiths. Calling upon this unity of faith we can proceed to bring the Buddhists into the Union. And that seems, to our eyes, a rather simple task. All we must do, in proceeding to this juncture, is to isolate the major differences between Christ, the Bible, and Buddha and reconcile them. Once they are reconciled we can have no further cause for dispute as to which religion is the True Religion. For we must always keep in mind that the one distinction of the God of the Bible is his Claim that all men will bow down unto Him and call unto Him with a common consent; and, perhaps most importantly, that God decided from the beginning He would be called by No Name. With no name to identify Him, we are forced to try to reconcile His Identity through only one manifestation: His Word. Wheresoever we see His Word, we know that therein He is to be found. And if we find that both Christ and Buddha spoke in unison according to that Word we can only conclude that they spoke with the voice of enlightenment which came from a source which has No Name. And since they are, in the flesh, lesser manifestations of that Source, it would occur to us that any identification of that Source by the exclusivity of either or both names would be viewed as placing a limitation on that Source: i.e., it would be viewed as placing a limitation on God. Now who among you can claim he has The Enlightenment to place a limitation on God?
In our other books we refer to The Old Man. I referred to Him as my teacher and guide. I'm not the first to do so. For it is a truth that we all learn from some wise Old Sage before us, i.e., The Old Man.
In the Bible is an Old Man who calls Himself God. He carries a name which is ineffable; a name which no one knows. He is limitless in His Wisdom and Being. This is The Old Man. Anyone who attempts to limit Him, by placing an image on Him or His Being, commits the sin of sins, crime of crimes.
Saying that He cannot communicate with anyone else than the Children of Israel is the same as making an image of Him. He is in this way limited in His Being. The truth, whether He can communicate with non-Jews, of course, is laid in what He said (in prophesy): that when He scatters Israel He will turn His face to another! The Apostle Paul attempted to capitalize on that Truth, of God turning His Face to another people [Isaiah 65.15,16]. Paul and His followers would now be the receptacle, The Chosen People of God. The Chosen People is a Vehicle by which God's Wisdom would be known through all the world. But Paul, by extolling his own being and position, calling Himself and his followers The Chosen People, placed another limitation on God (and defied the promise of Deut. 30.1-7 by denying the final redemption of the Jews). When Paul made this Vain Claim, he gave cause to another Protestant: The prophet, Mohammed, took exception to this business of claiming to be the Chosen People by whom God speaks and said that God can communicate with any people He chooses. If He so desires He can send an apostle, or prophet, or Messenger (angel in Hebrew means messenger), whichever you prefer, to any nation. In so many words Mohammed said that God had asked Him to give a message to His Nation, the Arabs. Mohammed, through the Koran (meaning "recital") called himself the apostle to the Arabs. That message, the Koran, confirmed that what the Bible said was true, as we have discussed in Hidden Pavilions.
From this discussion we can see that the Cause of Salvation seems to become refined through the Protestants who protest the Misuse of God's Word. Jesus protested against the Jew's Hypocrisy. Paul later came along and through his protest translated the name of the Chosen People from the Jews to the Gentile (the rest of the world). Muhammed came along about five hundred years after Paul and protested that a messenger of God could be sent to any people, reconfirming the scriptures given to the Jews and Christ. In these protests, we can common strategies in Paul and Muhammed, with both, it appears, attempting to limit God by their own position. The Koran addresses issues that separate the world into believers and non-believers (infidels). Several verses in the Koran advocate the destruction of infidels, such as:
Koran Repentance 9.20 Those that have embraced the faith and fled their homeland and fought for Allah's cause with their wealth and their persons are held in higher regard by Allah. It is they who shall triumph. Their Lord has promised them joy and mercy, and gardens of eternal bliss where they shall dwell forever. Allah's reward is great indeed.
9.116 ...Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will figtht for His cause, slay, and be slain. Such is the true pledge which he has made them in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Koran. And who is more true to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the supreme triumph.
Koran, Women 4.91 Others you will find who seek security from you as well as from their own people. Whenever they are called back to idol-worship they plunge into it headlong. If these do not keep their distance from you, if they neither offer you peace nor cease their hostilities against you, lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.
4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
4.98 He that flies his homeland for the cause of Allah shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by Allah.
4.104 Seek out your enemies relentlessly.
Paul also placed a limitation on God by claiming God's Word (called Paul's Gospel) and the title of The Chosen People, called the elect or saints of God, for Himself. In the Crusades of the 11th - 13th centuries both faiths clashed in a bloody duel. This duel has once again surfaced, with extremist Christians and extremist Muslims Crusading, claiming the authority to kill and dominate nations and peoples for God.
By comparison, we can see how Buddha also was a Protestant against Hindu religious and social practices. In his protest he made no initial claim to represent the Chosen People of God. Later Buddhist teachers, however, translated Buddha from a man to the personification of God Himself. And they, like the Paulists who translated Jesus into God, placed a limitation or constraint upon God's Being.
The message here is if you speak for God, make sure you do not put a limitation on His Being. That is, you must be in concordance with the already stated precepts of God. Conversely we can say that one who speaks in concordance with the Precepts of God is One with God. The Bible asks, How can Two walk together except they be agreed ? To establish a baseline for agreement, we used for our measure of walking with God the precept of The Old Man. Wheresoever His Precepts occur there He is.
At the core of His Precepts are these:
- The Peacemakers are the Children of God
- The last may be First and the First may be Last
- The Meek shall inherit the earth
- The High shall be made low and the Low shall be made high
- The Vain shall be humbled
- The Humbled shall be exalted.
Buddha agrees with these precepts and expands upon them. About the same time Buddha lived and taught there is another Old Man who taught in China. His name is Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu means in Chinese, The Old Man. He said:
I.l The way that can be spoken of
is not the constant way;
The name that can be named
is not the constant name.
The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The opening words of the book of John the Apostle are: First there was the Word. And the Word was Light . Lao Tzu describes this as The Way. This term is from where the creed of Taoism comes. The Way is the ineffable way. It cannot be described. And to observe its secrets one must rid oneself of desires:
I.3 Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets.
But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.
Buddha concluded almost the same thing; however, Buddha resolved that desire produces an evil thing called Suffering. And because he considered Suffering the root of all problems, Buddha departed from Lao Tzu's conclusion and said that one ought to rid oneself of all desire. We tend to agree with Lao Tzu. It is not your desires which get you into trouble. It is your actions. Lao Tzu says that it is better for a sage to not act. His model of leadership is to rule from behind the train (in his days the columns of an army). He would agree with Jesus' saying: "Take the lowest seat in the House to avoid the possibility of the householder being offended in you and throwing you out." Lao Tzu said that the quickest way to death is to go to the head of the train and raise yourself above others. Someone is bound to desire to pull you down. So Lao Tzu's concept of leadership is a passive, feminine leadership. In the sublime secrets of the Way is the observation that opposites tend to cancel each other out; when one goes forward one often finds oneself turned back; when one falls backward one often finds oneself further ahead than one was before.
VII.19 Therefore the sage puts his person last and it comes first,
Treats it as extraneous to himself and it is preserved.
Is it not because he is without thought of self that he is able to accomplish his private ends?
II.5 Thus Something and Nothing produce each other;
The difficult and the easy complement each other;
The long and the short off-set each other;
The high and the low incline towards each other;
Note and sound harmonize with each other;
Before and after follow each other.
6. Therefore the sage kept to the deed that consists in taking no action and practises the teaching that uses no words.
7. The myriad creatures rise from it yet it claims no authority;
It gives them life yet claims no possession;
It benefits them yet exacts no gratitude;
It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit.
It is because it lays claim to no merit
That its merit never deserts it.
8. Not to honor men of worth will keep the people from contention; not to value goods which are hard to come by will keep them from theft; not to display what is desirable will keep them from being unsettled of mind.
The Way is ineffable: unlimited, constant yet constantly changing between opposites. In terms of Wisdom, it is an outpouring from Heaven. Who can contain it? The Bible notes God saying, "If I were to open all of my doors and windows there is not enough in you to contain me." So Lao Tzu observes:
V.15 Is not the space between heaven and earth like bellows?
It is empty without being exhausted:
The more it works the more comes out.
16. Much speech leads inevitably to silence.
Better to hold fast to the void.
So the Bible says, I will make the Wisdom of the Wise Men Perish; they shall put their hands over their mouths. And The Way is like:
XXVII 60. One who excels in travelling leaves no wheel tracks;
One who excels in speech makes no slips;
One who excels in reckoning uses no counting rods;
One who excels in shutting uses no bolts, yet what he has shut cannot be opened.
One who excels in tying uses no cords, yet what he has tied cannot be undone.
61. Therefore the sage always excels in Saving People, and so abandons no one; always excels in saving things, and so abandons nothing.
This is called following one's discernment.
62. Hence the good man is the teacher the bad learns from;
And the bad man is the material the good works on.
68. Therefore the sage avoids excess, extravagance, and arrogance.
XXXII.72 The way is forever nameless.
Though the uncarved block is small
No one in the world dare claim its allegiance.
Should Lords and Princes be able to hold fast to it
The myriad creatures will submit of their own accord,
heaven and earth will unite and sweet dew will fall,
And the people will be equitable, though no one so decrees...
73. The Way is to the world as the River and the Sea are to rivulets and streams.
XXXVI.79 This is called subtle discernment:
The submissive and weak will overcome the hard and strong.
81. The way never acts yet nothing is left undone....
The nameless uncarved block
Is but freedom from desire,
And if I cease to desire and remain still
The empire will be at peace of its own accord.
XLIII.98 The most submissive thing in the world can ride roughshod over the hardest in the world
– that which is without substance entering that which has no crevices.
99. That is why I know the benefit of resorting to not action.
The teaching that uses no words, the benefit of resorting to not action,
these are beyond the understanding of all but a very few in the world.
100. Your name or your person, Which is dearer?
Your person or your goods,
Which is worth more?
Gain or loss, Which is a greater bane?
That is why excessive meanness
Is sure to lead to great expense;
Too much store
is sure to end in immense loss.
And you will suffer no disgrace;
Know when to stop
And you will meet with no danger.
You can then endure.
XLV.103 Limpid and still,
One can be a leader in the empire.
XLVI.104 When the way prevails in the empire, fleet-footed horses are relegated to ploughing the fields;
when the way does not prevail in the empire, war-horses breed on the border.
105. There is no crime greater than having too many desires;
There is no disaster greater than not being content;
There is no misfortune greater than being covetous.
Hence, in being content, one will always have enough.
XLVII.106 Without stirring abroad
One can know the whole world;
Without looking out of the window
One can see the way of Heaven.
The further one goes
The less one knows.
107. Therefore the sage knows without having to stir,
Identifies without having to see,
Accomplishes without having to act.
XLVIII.108 In the pursuit of learning one knows more every day;
In the pursuit of the Way one does less every day.
One does less and less until one does nothing at all,
and when one does nothing at all there is nothing that is undone.
109. It is always through not meddling that the empire is won.
Should you meddle, then you are not equal to the task of winning the empire.
XLIX.110 The sage has no mind of his own.
He takes as his own the mind of the people.
111. Those who are good I treat as good.
Those who are not good I also treat as good.
In so doing I gain in goodness.
Those who are of good faith I have faith in.
Those who are lacking in good faith I also have faith in.
In so doing I gain in good faith.
LII.118. Block the openings,
Shut the doors,
And all your life you will not run dry.
Unblock the openings,
Add to your troubles,
And to the end of your days you will be beyond salvation.
LIII.120 Were I possessed of the least knowledge, I would, when walking on the great way, fear only paths that lead astray.
The great way is easy, yet people prefer by-paths.
121 The court is corrupt,
The fields are overgrown with weeds,
The granaries are empty;
Yet there are those dressed in fineries,
With swords at their sides,
Filled with food and drink,
And possessed of too much wealth.
This is known as taking the lead in robbery.
Far indeed is this from the way.
LV.125 One who possesses virtue in abundance is comparable to a new born babe:
Poisonous insects will not sting it;
Ferocious animals will not pounce on it;
Predatory birds will not swoop down on it.
Its bones are weak and its sinews supple yet its hold is firm.
It does not know of the union of male and female, yet its male member will stir:
This is because its virility is at its height.
It howls all day yet does not become hoarse:
This is because its harmony is at its height.
To know harmony is called the constant;
To know the constant is called discernment.
LVIII136 Therefore the sage is square-edged but does not scrape,
Has corners but does not jab,
Extends himself but not at the expense of others,
shines but does not dazzle.
LXIII.148 Make the small big and the few many;
do good to him who has done you an injury.
149. Lay plans for the accomplishment of the difficult before it becomes difficult;
Make something big by starting with it when small.
150. Therefore it is because the sage never attempts to be great that he succeeds in becoming great.
LXIV.152 It is easy to maintain a situation while it is still secure;
It is easy to deal with a situation before symptoms develop...
Deal with a thing while it is still nothing;
Keep a thing in order before disorder sets in.
153. A tree that can fill the span of a man's arms
Grows from a downy tip...
154 Therefore the sage, because he does nothing, never ruins anything;
and, because he does not lay hold of anything, loses nothing.
156. Therefore the sage desires not to desire
And does not value goods which are hard to come by;
Learns to be without learning
And makes good the mistakes of the multitude.
LXVI.161 Therefore the sage takes his place over the people yet is no burden;
takes his place ahead of the people yet causes no obstruction.
That is why the empire supports him joyfully and never tires of doing so.
162 It is because he does not contend that no one in the empire is in a position to contend with him.
LXXIII.179 The way of heaven
Excels in overcoming though it does not contend,
In responding though it does not speak,
In attracting though it does not summon,
In laying plans though it appears slack.
The net of heaven is cast wide.
Though the mesh is not fine, yet nothing ever slips through.
LXXII.174 When the people lack a proper sense of awe,
Then some awful visitation will descend upon them.
LXXVII.184 Is not the way of heaven like the stretching of a bow?
The high it presses down,
The low it lifts up;
The excessive it takes from,
The deficient it gives to.
It is the way of heaven to take from what has in excess in order to make good what is deficient.
The way of man is otherwise.
It takes from those who are in want in order to offer this to those who already have more than enough.
Who is there that can take what he himself has in excess and offer this to the empire?
Only he who has the way.
185 Therefore the sage benefits them yet exacts no gratitude,
Accomplishes his task yet lays claim to no merit.
Is this not because he does not wish to be considered a better man than others?
LXXXI.194 Truthful words are not beautiful;
Beautiful words are not truthful.
Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.
He who knows has no wide learning; he who has wide learning does not know.
This is a sampling of The Old Man, Lao Tzu. His message is clear. Be humble and don't get caught up in your successes. Control your desires, know when to stop, and be content with your blessings. Do not be covetous of what others have. Love one another as yourself and forgive your enemies. Do good to your enemies so that you can take on more good to your own being. Be charitable in all things, always helping those who are deficient: the poor, the destitute. Keep your eyes on the ineffable way and do not represent yourself as the Truth as you widen your learning. For he who claims he has learning does not know! The more you learn the more there is to know. So be like a valley, a passive thing and a receptacle to the ever-flowing waters. Let them flow through you but don't attempt to contain them. Lead by following, and claim no glory for yourself. This is the message too of the Bible; and we conclude here with the suggestion: Remember Lot's Wife....
Lao Tzu talked about separating yourself from the problem of desire. Desire leads to conflict. To remove conflict, control your desire. The ultimate form of this expression is to acknowledge that some sort of fate prevails and inaction is often better than action. Learning is merely a process of revealing how unlearned one really is. Thus, we find the height of Taoism expressed in one who recognizes he is unlearned, though many will call him the most learned man on earth. These two things, inaction and unlearning, symbolize the complacent man who is at peace with all things. He becomes a Hermit.
Another man, who lived about the same time in China as Lao Tzu, was Confucius. Confucius incorporated the thesis of the Old Man into a somewhat different perspective. Confucius recognized that the world is in need of good leadership and those gifted with Righteousness ought to lead. He saw an ideal world governed by a thing called The System. The System is that which maintained continuity and order in society. It prevailed above all things and, in a manner of speaking, was the sublime order of Heaven.
The first charge God gave to Adam in the Bible was to name the plants and animals. It seems that man has taken this so much to heart that he can't get away from trying to categorize everything he sees, even God. The Bible says you cannot assign a nomenclature to God. He has no name and no specific manifestation. This is what Lao Tzu was talking about. His wisdom is dim, barely seen, and a haze before our eyes. Yet, according to the Bible, the day will come when His Wisdom will be seen and His Glory with it. I think Lao Tzu would agree with this precept, because if we deny that prophesy of the Bible it is the same as placing a limitation on God, the Ineffable One. The Way, incidentally, is described as the Ineffable One: The One, the Unity, which maintains the order of all things and is the source of all things. And that thing is the constant of which Lao Tzu spoke. Lao Tzu was not offended by those who maintained shrines to their gods. But he observed, in a manner of speaking, that those who maintain such shrines are often the same whose graves are plowed over. Defending shrines doesn't get you anywhere, and eventually that thing which you were defending becomes a place where someone is drawing their plow. Certainly the Bible addresses this. The shrine which Solomon insisted upon building for God, though God was content living in his Tabernacle, a mobile tent, was sacked and burnt both by the Babylonians and the Romans. After it was sacked by Rome not even a stone from its foundation could be discerned, even to this day. These things were, we might add, prophesied by the very God for which the Shrine was dedicated. The message here, once again, is to not put constraints on God. What He sees as beautiful is not what you see is beautiful. In fact, in the Bible He says, "I am not like you; I don't think like you." So it is I have, in Hidden Pavilions and The Tempting, asked why men try to put constraints upon Him and speak for Him. Those who do this can be easily brought down. The Catholic church has seen these affects. See On the Breakage of the Holy Catholic Church. Let us give you yet another example.
You shall see that Buddha is largely in agreement with all the precepts of the Old Man in the Bible and, I might add, The Old Man, Lao Tzu. But, like Paul, either he or his disciples thought to put his name on his teaching. For some reason men like to deify their great teachers. Then we have a problem, because now the teacher becomes in competition with God Himself, or in the case of Lao Tzu's terminology, The Way. When you do that, you're asking for trouble. For there is always someone who will resent the Glorification and come to cut you down. That's The Way. Let those who have ears, hear.
In the creed of Buddha the disciples who have passed his teachings down to us have identified Buddha with the very essence of Enlightenment itself. Lao Tzu uses the word Discernment for Enlightenment . We prefer the word Discernment.
Now I am not a student of Lao Tzu. Quite frankly I just read him today. So if I have missed some points that ought to have been offered, or treated some precepts inadequately, I hope that his scholars will forgive me. But I think Lao Tzu touched a small piece of God. And that piece was the precept of being without identity. Certainly, the scholars of Lao Tzu today will be the first to tell you that they don't even know whether such a man by the name of Lao Tzu ever existed! No statement could have been more glorious to Lao Tzu's ears! We shall explain this in a moment, if you have not already picked it up from the selections from Lao Tzu which we offered above.
Buddha identified the highest state of enlightenment as Nirvana. It is a potential state of nonbeing. That is the state to which he said he aspired. Later Buddhist thought construed it to mean One with the source of Enlightenment. In other terms we can say it meant being One with God; or in Taoist terms One with the Ineffable One. To simplify this, let's call it being One with God. For all recognize that the discernment or enlightenment comes from some ineffable source. That source is identified with Creation and Salvation. Since, in the Bible, He has no name, it should not offend anyone that we identify Him with the Bible from time to time.
To say that Buddha represents the sum totality of Enlightenment, even being identified with the One Source, is to put a limitation upon that One Source. For Buddha was a man. And to create an image of Buddha as being a representation, or manifestation, of that Source is ridiculous. The same is True in the case of the Christ. Once you have put an image upon it, it limits God. It is easy to see the truth in this. Those who watch for the return of the Buddha will compare anyone who competes with that image to the image of the Buddha, whatever that image happens to be in the minds of men. The same is true of Christ. And we asked in Hidden Pavilions of those watching for the return of Christ, whom are you watching for? I doubt any pastor who says he knows what he is watching for really understands what it is and what it looks like. But that's a complaint we have fully covered in Hidden Pavilions and need not dwell upon here.
Quite frankly, it is easier to watch for another Lao Tzu. Perhaps we're being a bit too sublime; perhaps those who read us will go to their windows to watch for an old China-man to answer to this speculation. But the Paulists will say, Lao Tzu was an old man and he was Chinese; He can't be the Messiah. The Messiah was only about 33 years old! This is where our first problem in discerning comes in. Others are simply watching for some whispy, ephemeral image to appear in the clouds – another limitation upon God, who, incidentally, never made such a prophesy. It was Paul who made the prophesy and He has yet to be acknowledged as a prophet of God. That is to say, a foundation of the prophets in the Bible is that God confirms his servants (the prophets); for we are told:
Numbers 23.19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man , that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
The Buddhists take a slightly different track. They acknowledge that Buddha can appear anywhere, at any time, without the intervention of prophets. And you measure the Buddha by what he says. Jesus said, incidentally, that you will know Him by His Word, and he fortold, in Luke 21, his Second Coming.
Lao Tzu didn't care what you thought about him one way or another. But it is important to recognize that he paid homage to those who went before him. He took no credit for himself. If there is any teacher who has walked this earth who is closer in identity to God, it is Lao Tzu. But I am still ignorant of many things, and I must qualify this because it may be that someone, somewhere, showed the wisdom of God unselfishly. Not being aware of any others at this moment, I use Lao Tzu as my model of a teacher who spoke of the One and was content to take a back seat, so to speak, leaving the world to speculate even whether he ever actually did exist. I applaud him, because I cannot do the same, owing to the restrictions placed upon me by my society.
This is something many fail to realize. If a man's teachings are offered to society, it is for the good of society. It is to help them and to guide them. The supreme guide of all these teachings is Humility. To be true to the Teaching one has to offer Himself without credits due. For the supreme offering is that which is done without expecting anything in return as a reward to the Self. It is completely Selfless. What then is greater: A man who teaches with his name upon the teachings or one who teaches without a name? We submit that The One who teaches without a name is closer to God. These things being considered, this is what we mean by Nomenclature : We hope that one day you will see that there is no need for a name in good works. For with a name attached to them they become translated from the sublime guide to good works and become the foci of a shrine. A shrine needs to be protected. And then we have lost the intent of the good works....
There is, by coincidence, another like Lao Tzu, who is prophesied in the Bible. His name is The Word and He has a name written which is known only to himself (Rev. 20.12). I have asked Christians in my work Hidden Pavilions to think about this.....
Lao Tzu is reported to have lived circa 551- 479 B.C. The earliest record, The meeting, records an interesting comment by Lao Tzu:
The Meeting : Lao Tzu was a native of the Ch'u Jen Hamlet in the Li Village of Hu Hsien in the State of Ch'u. His surname was Li, his personal name was Erh and he was styled Tan. He was the Historian in charge of the archives in Chou.
When Confucius went to Chou to ask to be instructed in the rites by him, Lao Tzu said, 'What you are talking about concerns merely words left by people who have rotted along with their bones. Furthermore, when a gentleman is in sympathy with the times he goes out in a carriage, but drifts with the wind when the times are against him. I have heard it said that a good merchant hides his store in a safe place and appears to be devoid of possessions, while a gentleman, though endowed with great virtue, wears a foolish countenance. Rid yourself of your arrogance and your lustfulness, your ingratiating manners and your excessive ambitions. They are all detrimental to your person. This is all I have to say to you'
Confucius and Lao Tzu were basically in agreement on humility and the virtues of controlling your desires. But Confucius disagreed with Lao Tzu as far as the extent one must control his desires. Lao Tzu modeled the perfect control on inaction. Confucius recognized that man is born into the world and through the interchange of man with man and his world actions will prevail. To Confucius, man must live with the world, not flee from it, becoming a hermit like Lao Tzu. So through Confucius we are given a compromise dictum showing how man can become the model of mankind, called by James R. Ware to be Great Man. Great Man is the perfect model of the Disciplined Man. The term, Great Man , to us, seems to be too vague in representing this ideal. We prefer to call him The Disciplined Man. For the reality of the Disciplined Man is that he either has full control over his desires and acts responsibly or he does not. If he does not exhibit full control, then he cannot be The Disciplined Man. We use this term for another reason. Later we shall explore the Hindu mind ,and there we will become introduced to the term of the Disciplined Man again. Also, we thought the terms used by Ware for Manhood at its best and Man at its best could probably be better rendered through the term Discipline and Disciplined Man. Where the term Sky was used by Ware we chose to use the term, Heaven, because the context of the many applications of the term Sky do in fact have attributes considered to be of Heaven. Thus, we have taken these liberties with the text in order to focus on the principle orientation of the work: to produce a fully disciplined man who is functional in society while exhibiting full control over his personal being and desires. And being consistent with the System, which must be in conformance to Heaven, the Disciplined Man becomes truly a Son of Heaven.
The Disciplined Man is he who recognizes that he is born into a world manifesting a System and Rites. Both the System and the Rites are important to maintaining order (and Peace). The Disciplined Man, then, must fully respect and obey the System and the Rites, functioning within them in a responsible manner, whilst maintaining the proper attitude of humility and control over one's desires. Like Lao Tzu, Confucius saw the Vain person as a threat to the state. If you must lead, make sure you do not block the view of those following behind you, he would say. Lao Tzu would agree, but probably add the admonition: don't lead at all; let things take care of themselves. But if you must take the position of leadership do it with constraint and respect for the System and Rites. This would not, of course, be the goal of the Disciplined Man. The ultimate goal of the disciplined man would be a position of complete disassociation from the material world and Self Desires. In reality, we shall see that Lao Tzu and Confucius were not of conflicting doctrines. In fact one ought to apply the Way of Lao Tzu whilst observing the doctrine of Confucius. Then, when the Way becomes unclear, in following Confucius's path, the Way of Lao Tzu, called Taoism, can bring you back to the righteous, disciplined path. This is our observation on the matter, but you can be the judge for yourself. Our quotations come from The Sayings of Confucius , Translated by James R. Ware, Mentor Books, New American Library, New York, New York. Again, wherever you see the term Disciplined Man, note that Ware's translation calls it Great Man; where you see the term Sky, we opted for the word Heaven.
11. "I have yet to meet a steadfast person."
"There's Shen Ch'ang!"
"Shen Ch'an is covetous, so how can we call him steadfast?"
16. "Kun-sun Ch'iao possessed four virtues characteristic of the Disciplined Man: humility, respect for superiors, graciousness toward dependents, and a sense of justice toward subordinates."
25. "Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of clever talk, domineering manner, and over-deference, and I am ashamed of them too. He was also ashamed to act friendly toward a man while inwardly angry with him, and so am I."
26. Once when Yen Hui and Chung Yu were with him, the Master said, "Why don't you each tell me what you desire most?"
Chung Yu said, "I desire carriages, horses, clothes, and furs in such abundance that I could share them with my friends, and if they were damaged I would not be angry."
Yen Hui replied, "I should like never to boast of my abilities nor let my good deeds be known."
Chung Yu then said, "I should like to learn what the Master desires most."
"I should like to bring security to the aged, to be loyal to my friends, to be affectionate with the young."
1.2. "Jan Yung would make a good king."
Jan Yung then asked Confucius' opinion of kung-sun Chih.
"He is adequate but simple."
"To rule simply while remaining personally respectful is certainly to be approved. Yet simple action accompanied by personal simplicity would be carrying simplicity too far."
"What Jan Yung says is correct."
4. ..."I have always understood The Disciplined Man does everything possible to help the poor but nothing to enrich the rich."
When Fan Hsu asked for a definition of wisdom the Master replied, "If a man encourages the people to apply themselves to justice, if he respects the spirits of the departed and the divinities but is not too familiar with them, we can say that he is wise."
When he asked about Discipline at its best, the reply came, "He who concentrates upon the task and forgets about reward may be called The Disciplined Man.
30. Tuan-mu Tz'u inquired, "What would you say if someone were to spread gifts widely in order to help all of the people? Could such an individual be called The Disciplined Man?"
"How could such a thing be achieved by mere Disciplined Man? The wisest of men would be required! Even the sages Yao and Shun complained on this score! I would describe Disciplined Man like this: What it desires as its own role, it assigns to others. The success it desires for itself it causes its fellow-men to attain. Ability to draw analogies from oneself may be called the secret of The Disciplined Man."
1. "I transmit but I do not create; I am sincerely fond of the ancient. I would compare myself to our Old P'eng who was fond of talking about the good old days."
11. "Isn't it only you and I, Yen Hui, who are capable of this: When given employment, to work; when discarded, to live quietly?"
Chung Yu then inquired, "If you were in charge of the army, whom among us would you take with you?"
"I would not take along one who, like a raving tiger or a raging torrent, would recklessly throw away his life. What is required is someone keenly conscious of responsibility, someone fond of accomplishment through orderly planning."
12. "If one could seek the higher goal through riches, I would follow that way even if it meant being a carriage driver. Since it cannot be sought thus, I will continue to follow the way of the ancients, which I love.
13. The Master was cautious in regard to three things: fastings and purifications, battles, and illness.
16. "To eat only vegetables without meat, to drink only water, to have only one's bent arm as a pillow: there can be joy in such a life. But to become rich and honored through injustices: for me such joy may be compared to an evanescent cloud."
21. The Master did not speak of anomalies, feats of strength, rebellions, or divinities.
27. The Master fished with a hook but not with a net. He did not shoot his arrow at a sitting bird.
33. "I give the best that is in me, just as others do, but as for personifying The Disciplined Man in service to the state, that I have not yet achieved.
37. "Disciplined Man is completely at ease; Petty Man is always on edge."
4. When Tseng Ts'an was on his deathbed Chung-sun Chieh visited him, and Tseng Ts'an said, "When a bird is about to die its cry is mournful, but when a man is about to die his words are practical. Now there are three things of value which The Disciplined Man draws from the System: In his actions he avoids violence and disrespect; in his appearance he seeks sincerity; in the tenor of his speech he avoids vileness and vulgarity. The utensils used in the sacrifices he leaves to the care of those in charge."
10. "He who is fond of bravery but complains of poverty is going to create disorder."
13. "In all sincerity and fidelity be fond of learning. Even if you die in its defense, become skilled in System. Do not enter a state which is tottering. Do not remain in a state which is in rebellion. If the world is following System, let yourself be seen therein; if not, live in hiding. If a state is following System, it is a disgrace to be in poverty and low estate therein; if not, it is a disgrace to be rich and honored therein."
16. To be less than upright and at the same time foolhardy, to be less than diligent and at the same time immature, to be unreliable and at the same time incompetent: I have nothing to teach about such things."
18. "How exalted was the way in which Shun and Yu ruled the world! They did so with detachment."
1. The Master rarely spoke of profit; his attachment was to fate and to The Disciplined Man.
10. When the Master received a man dressed in mourning, or an official, or a blind man, even though they were younger, he would always rise. When passing them, he would do so quickly.
16. "In public serve one's superior's and in private serve one's father and elder brothers. Be zealous in carrying out funeral arrangements. Do not come under the influence of alcohol. These are not problems for me."
25. "Put loyalty and reliability first. Have no friends inferior to yourself. If you have faults do not fear self-improvement."
2. Jan Yung asked about The Disciplined Man.
"When away from home act as respectfully as you would toward an important guest; handle the people as respectfully as you would the grand sacrifice. Do not do to others what you would not desire yourself. Then you will have no enemies either in the state or in your own home."
"I am not very diligent, but this is exactly what I am going to do."
13. "In hearing cases I am like everyone else. The important thing, however, is to see to it that there are not cases!"
"The Disciplined Man is dignified but not proud. Petty Man is proud but not dignified."
28. Chung Yu asked, "What must a man be like to merit the title of gentleman?"
"The man who is frank, meticulous, and accommodating may be called a gentleman. Friends are frank and meticulous; brothers are accommodating."
13. In asking Kung-ming Chia about Kung-sun Chih the Master said, "Is it true that he neither spoke, smiled, nor took?"
"Your informant has exaggerated. When the time was right he spoke, and people did not weary of his words. When happy he smiled, but people did not weary of it. When it was proper he took things, but people did not weary of his taking."
"Like that! He couldn't have been like that!"
23. "The Disciplined Man reaches complete understanding of the main issues; Petty Man reaches complete understanding of the minute details."
24. "Formerly men studied for self-improvement; today men study for the sake of appearances."
25. Ch'u Yuan sent a messenger to Confucius, who sat down with him and inquired about his master, "Why has he sent you?"
"My master is desirous of lessening his faults, but he has not yet succeeded."
27. "The Disciplined Man follows a three-lane path in none of which do I qualify: The Disciplined Man, which has no concerns; wisdom, which has no doubts; courage, which is fearless."
But Tuan-mu Tz'u spoke up, "The Master is his own path."
30. "Be not concerned over men's not knowing of you; be concerned rather over your failings."
31. "Not to anticipate fraud, and not to expect falsehood, yet at the same time to be the first to perceive their presence - that is to become one of the highest caliber!"
38. When Chung Yu arrived to spend the night at Shih-men the gatekeeper asked, "Where are you coming from?"
"There's a man who is undertaking something even though he knows it can't be done!"
41. "If those at the top are fond of the rites, the people are easy to direct."
43. Yuan Jang remained crouched in Confucius' presence.
"Not to be obedient while a child; not to set a good example when grown up; and not to die when one has grown old: this is to be a source of decay!" Thereupon he struck him on the leg with his staff.
2. In Ch'en, owing to warfare, Confucius and his party were deprived of food. His followers fell so ill that they could not rise. Chung Yu then became angry and said, "Can The Disciplined Man too be reduced to the last extremity?"
"The disciplined Man can indeed be reduced to the last extremity, but when Petty Man is so reduced he loses all self-control."
3. "Tuan-mu Tz'u, do you think of me as a man who knows about things as the result of wide study?"
"Yes. Am I wrong?"
"Yes. I have one thing, and upon it all the rest is strung."
9. "The strong-willed gentleman who is The Disciplined Man never seeks life at the expense of The Disciplined Man, but there are cases where his life is given for the accomplishment of The Disciplined Man."
12. "If a man does not give thought to problems which are still distant, he will be worried by them when they come nearer."
15. "If a man is sparing in his reproaches of others while he heaps them upon himself, he will certainly keep away resentments."
17. "Those who can be in a group all day and, without speaking of justice, give themselves over solely to their own little kindnesses – such people would certainly have difficulty achieving the ideal I set."
18. "He whose very substance is justice, whose actions are governed by the rites, whose participation in affairs is compliant, and whose crowning perfection is reliability - that man is The Disciplined Man."
21. "The Disciplined Man demands it of himself; Petty Man, of others."
27. "Just as a clever remark can ruin another's Excellence, so, if there is the slightest impatience, a grand scheme can be ruined."
31. "I once went all day without food and all night without sleep to enable me to think. I found no advantage in it; it's best to study."
32. "The Disciplined Man calculates in terms of System, not in terms of the earning of a living! Agriculture is inspired by the fear of hunger; study, by an interest in salary. The Disciplined Man is concerned about System, not about poverty!"
37. "The Disciplined Man does not show a blind persistence in his practice of uprightness."
38. "As you serve your prince give precedence to his interest; think of your
"When the world is following System, then the rites, the music, punitive expeditions, and attacks are all determined by the Son of Heaven, that is, the king. Otherwise, these things emanate from the feudal lords. When they emanate from the feudal lords they will probably last ten generations. If it's from the grand gentlemen, they will last five generations. A family steward can control the destinies of a realm for three generations. But if the world is following System, affairs will not be in the hands of the grand gentlemen, and ordinary men will not be criticizing the state."
4. "Three friends benefit us; three harm us. The upright friend, the devoted, and the learned benefit us. The fawning friend, the flattering, and the too eloquent harm us."
5. "Three pleasures benefit us; three harm us. The pleasure of keeping to the proprieties of the rites and music, of speaking of other's competencies, of having many friends of the highest caliber benefit us. The pleasure of reveling in pleasures, in idle wandering, in the delights of the banquet table harm us."
9. "Those born with an understanding of the universe belong to the highest type of humanity. Those who understand it as the result of study come second. Those who study it with great difficulty come third. And the people,who find it too difficult to attempt study, come last."
10. "There are nine things of which The Disciplined Man must be mindful: to see when he looks, to hear when he listens, to have a facial expression of gentleness, to have an attitude of humility, to be loyal in speech, to be respectful in service, to inquire when in doubt, to think of the difficulties when angry, to think of justice when he sees an advantage."
1. Yang Hu wanted to receive Confucius, and when he did not go to visit, he sent him a suckling pig. Confucius then went to call upon him, after choosing a moment when he would not be at home, but he met him along the way. Yang Hu then said, "Come! Let us have a talk. Can we call a person The Disciplined Man if he lets his state wallow in confusion while he keeps a jewel of wisdom concealed within his bosom?"
"Can we call a man wise if he is prompt to miss every opportunity when he really likes to do things?"
"The days and months are indeed passing, and the years play no favorites!"
"You're right. I'll accept public office."
2. "In our natures we approximate one another; habits put us further and further apart.
"The only ones who do not change are sages and idiots."
5. Chuan-sun Shih asked about The Disciplined Man.
"He who in this world can practice five things may indeed be considered The Disciplined Man."
"What are they?"
"Humility, magnanimity, sincerity, diligence, and graciousness. If you are humble, you will not be laughed at. If you are magnanimous, you will attract many to your side. If you are sincere, people will trust you. If you are diligent, you will be successful. If you are gracious, you will get along well with your subordinates."
9. "By rites we certainly don't mean gems and silks! And by music we certainly don't mean bells and drums! These are merely the externals.!
ll. "Continuous re-adaptation to suit the whims of others undermines Excellence."
13. "It's impossible to serve the prince with an inferior colleague! Before getting the post he will be fearful of getting it, and once he gets it he will be fearful of losing it. Being foolishly fearful of losing it, there are no ends to which he will not go."
17. "I prefer to say nothing."
Then Tuan-mu Tz'u spoke up. "If the Master says nothing, how shall we transmit him?"
"Heaven says nothing! Yet the four seasons proceed under its sway, and all creation comes into being thanks to it. Heaven says nothing!"
6...."flowing on and on, the whole world is like you. And who is going to change it? Instead of following in the train of a gentleman who flees from one wouldn't you do better to join with those who flee the world completely and live as hermits?" And he went on hoeing.
Chung Yu then left and reported. Confucius replied sadly, "We can't be one with the birds and the beasts. And if I don't join with the wanderers, with whom shall I join? If the world were following System, I should not be doing my part to reform it."
8. The following lived as private citizens: Po-i, Shu-ch'i, Yu Chung, I-i, Chu Chang, Chan Huo, and Shao-lien. The Master said of them, "Po-i and Shu-ch'i did not flinch in their resolution; they have never disgraced themselves."
Of Chan Huo and Shao-lien he said that they had lacked resolution and incurred self-disgrace, but it was simply that they were men who spoke in accord with high principles and acted in keeping with their concerns. He said of Yu Chung and I-i, that they lived privately and remained silent; they maintained a personal purity and their abstention from public office was in keeping with prevailing conditions. And he continued, "I am different from these men. I take life as it comes."
3. Pu Shang's pupils asked Chuan-sun Shih about the formation of friendships, so he asked them, "What does Pu Shang say on the subject?"
"He says, ' Make friendships with those you approve, and reject those whom you disapprove.'"
"That differs from what I was taught. The Disciplined Man, although giving his respect to men of the highest caliber, maintains a proper regard for all. While reserving his praises for the competent, he is compassionate toward the less able. If I am a man of the highest caliber, there is no one toward whom I am unable to maintain a proper regard. If I am not a man of the highest caliber, my fellow-men will reject me. There must be no rejection of my fellow-men.
5. Pu Shang said, "He who is daily conscious of his lacks and every month checks to see that he is neglecting none of his abilities - that man is indeed fond of learning."
7. Pu Shang said, "Just as artisans inhabit the market place to ply their trades, so The Disciplined Man studies to improve his doctrine."
9. Pu Shang said, "There are three facets to The Disciplined Man. Looked at from a distance he seems stern; at close range he is pleasant; as we listen to his words they are clear-cut."
10. Pu Shang said, "The Disciplined Man does not work a people until he has won their confidence, otherwise they will feel that he is severe with them. He does not remonstrate with a superior until he has won his confidence, otherwise he will feel that he is maligned."
11. Pu Shang said, "Who keeps strictly within bounds when Excellence is of great importance may waver in cases where it is of lesser importance."
12. Yen Yen said, "Pu Shang's pupils know how to sprinkle and sweep, how to answer questions, and how to enter and withdraw. But these are mere details; they are totally lacking in the fundamentals. What can we do with them?"
When this was reported to Pu Shang, he replied, "Yen Yen is mistaken! The ways of The Disciplined Man are transmitted to the superior, but from the inferior they are withheld. People are of different types, as are plants and trees. In the ways of The Disciplined Man there must be no deceit. Only the sage possesses them in all completeness!"
17. Tseng Ts'an said, "I once heard it said by the Master that even if a man had never once done a thing wholeheartedly, he must do so at the death of a parent."
21. Tuan-mu Tzx'u said, "The faults of The Disciplined Man may be compared to eclipses of the sun and moon. While they are being committed everyone sees them, but once he changes everyone gazes up at him in respect."
23. Shu-sun Chou-Ch'ou said to the grand gentlemen at court, "Tuan-mu Tzu is of higher caliber than Confucius."
When Tzu-fu Ho reported this to Tuan-mu Tz'u, he replied, "Let me use for comparison a dwelling with its surrounding wall. The wall around my house is shoulder high, so that anyone can look over and see its good points. The Master's is considerably higher. Unless one enters by the gate, it is impossible to see the beauties of the ancestral temple, the richness of the appointments. And at times there are indeed few who reach the gate! The gentlemen's remarks are uncalled for!"
25. Ch'en K'ang said to Tuan-mu Tz'u, "You are too humble. Confucius wasn't of higher caliber than you!"
"Just as The Disciplined Man may be considered wise because of some one word, so, because of some one word, one may be considered ignorant. Our inability to reach the peak occupied by the Master may be compared to our inability to reach Heaven by stairs. If the Master had been in charge of a state or a household, the situation would have been such that what he would establish was established. When he would lead into System, there was instant progress in that direction; when he wished to bring tranquility, it arrived immediately; when he organized a movement, all acted in one accord. His life was a source of splendor; his death, of grief. So how can we hope to reach the eminence he occupies?"
..."The Disciplined Man is gracious without bribery. He can work people without making them resentful. He has desires, but he is not greedy. He is dignified, but not proud. He inspires awe, but he is not brutal."
"What do you mean by the first of these?"
"To treat as advantageous what the people find advantageous, isn't this being gracious without bribery? If we put to work only those who can properly be put to work, who will be resentful? If a man, out of desire for The Disciplined Man, achieve it, how can he be greedy? The Disciplined Man, without regard to quantity and size, is not slothful - isn't that to be dignified but not proud? The Disciplined Man keeps his clothes and hat straight and his glances respectful. And because of his seriousness, people feel a reverence as they look up at him - isn't this to inspire awe without brutality?"
"What are the four evils?"
"To put to death for the lack of instructions: this is cruelty. To expect accomplishment without proper advisement: this is outrageousness. To insist upon completion after instructions to proceed slowly: this is deterioration. To promise a reward but to begrudge its payment: this is pettiness."
3. "Who fails to recognize fate can never become The Disciplined Man. Who fails to follow the rites can never play his proper role. Who does not know the value of words will never come to understand his fellow-men."
Arjuna found himself in a chariot on a great battlefield. In the chariot with him was his driver. And his driver was the Great Spirit. In the Hindu Sanskrit language he was called Krishna.
All men, from time immemorial, have sought this, that when one is faced with going into battle to defend one's Way of life, one's family and friends, that the Great Spirit will be there with them to guide them and protect them. From village to village, Society to Society, and Civilization to Civilization, this Great Spirit is the thing which is the Creator and the Destroyer (Re: Isaiah 45.7: "I form the light, and create darkeness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.")
He, who is the One in which all things are and One in all things, the holder of truth and the reason for being; it is He whom all men call upon to be with them in the time of trouble.
In the Bible He is called The Holy One of Israel. Christian doctrine, under the guidance of Paul, in my opinion, thought to rename Him to remove His Exclusivity to the Jews. So they called Him the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. Actually, Christ referred to Him by this name, calling him also the Comforter. It was a fitting name, because now He could belong to anyone. This is, again, what we meant earlier about nomenclature. Man likes to assign names to everything and put everything into its own proper category. And in this he does not stop at God; rather, he puts his own particular mark on God as well. Regardless, we shall find, despite the exclusivity on God from culture to culture, His Teachings and Guidance always remain the same. And the day is soon come when all men will recognize His Signature upon man, how He left his mark upon all men. And when that day comes, then and only then, will man come to understand more than just a fragment of God.
So when Arjuna came to realize who his chariot driver was, being a manifestation of the One, he realized what he was seeing was still but a fragment of the One Eternal Unity of Being and nonbeing.
The practical aspects of life always come home to roost on the battlefield. The teachings of Confucius, Lao Tzu, Christ, and others, which speak of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, loving even your enemies, humility, and the doctrine of nonviolence; all of these things and the things which relate to them, become challenged upon the battlefield.
The challenge which Arjuna faced was not just a normal run-of-the-mill battle. For on the other side of the field, facing his own army, was his kin. Like in the Arthurian episode, where King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table face off in battle against his cousin, Sir Launcelot, of France, so too did Arjuna face the determination that he must go to war against his own family. In the Arthurian Legend, all of the troops, those of Britain, and those of Sir Launcelot, of France, were cousins. At the end of the battle, near Dover, we see King Arthur standing midst the field with most of his great knights lying dead around him. The battle had destroyed not only his family, but also the Round Table.
The Round Table was composed of Knights of Virtue. They extolled fealty and duty, doing one's honor for the sake of a Good Cause. The Fealty of the Round Table broke down. Sir Launcelot had been caught in a love affair with King Arthur's wife, Queen Guenever. King Arthur misunderstood the nature of the affair, being mislead by his advisors. He determined that he must go to war with Sir Launcelot to preserve his honor. Sir Launcelot had committed adultery with the King's Wife. But the morals of that day are not clear. Even King Arthur had exhibited some unusual violations of conduct, in regard to Victorian Manners, by fornicating with his own sister. King Arthur had a son by his own sister, even though he was married to the Queen! And we see that the Codes of Virtue, though high and esteemed and setting a code of Chivalry around which the Western World was created, were still lacking and imperfect. For they did not prevent a family to go to battle against itself and shed its own blood. The System, the thing of which Confucius spoke, was imperfect in this regard.
We mention this as a background to the thing that Arjuna faced. Though the causes may have been different, they still boil down to the fact that someone on one side of the family offended the other. The only solution seemed to be War. Most nations, being a family unto themselves, have experienced this. America had its Civil War. That war came about through a breakdown in the system which held everything together in the Unity of One. The rivers of blood, of cousin against cousin, brother against brother, and father against son, never poured in such great effusion as it did in that day in American history.
When the call to Duty comes, when a decision must be reached to resolve the conflict, someone must make the decision to go forth into battle. And the decision is not an easy decision, for in such a case man is forced to shed the blood of even those whom he loves the most. In the case of Arthur, Sir Launcelot was one of his most beloved of kin. And from the other side we can say that no man ever loved a King or a family member more than the love Sir Launcelot had for King Arthur.
King Arthur and Sir Launcelot were highly imprinted with Christian virtues. The entire code of Chivalry was based upon those virtues. And those virtues all come down to one thing: loving one another. That is the highest virtue, apart from loving God; and in the midst of this Code is yet another code of Adventure: Of defending the rights of others, rescuing fair maidens from the towers of wicked knights, and defending the poor against the excesses of the rich. These highest virtues we see in Sir Galahad, who is pledged to defend Chivalry and has taken a vow of complete chastity. No woman could come between him and his performance of Sacred Duty. He is like the Disciplined Man of whom Confucius taught. He performs his Duty without regard to reward for himself. He is detached and does what must be done, though he would fain avoid it.
The epic of Arjuna is the same type of teaching and very rich in the considerations one must reconcile when one faces relatives across the field of battle. Suddenly the Order of the Family, or, as in the Arthurian Legend, The Order of the Round Table, is thrown aside and Chaos now beckons all parties into the field. And all the Virtues of Peace, Humility, Goodwill to men, nonviolence and loving even one's enemies get sacrificed to the Abyss of bloodshed.
The epic of Arjuna, called the Bhagavad-Gita, has little to do with the battle. Rather, it focuses upon the meaning of life and the handling of conflict which always occurs in the road of life. It is hard, living within the System, or the Order, however you wish to name it, to avoid conflict. Lao Tzu came up with the solution of Asceticism. He opted to remove himself completely from the Order, body and soul. Once detached one will be faced with no cause to require any kind of action; and, therefore, one would be removed from the prospect of doing harm to others. This seems to be Lao Tzu's precept of Salvation, which we will later see is very close to Buddha's precept of Salvation.
Confucius finds it hard to imagine Society continuing through the habit of the hermit. After all, people have to eat and provide shelter for themselves. To do this they must act. They cannot be a hermit, dependent upon others to fill their rice bowl or provide them clothing and shelter when they need it. We can best describe this problem by virtue of a small parable. We call it the parable of the Rice Bowl Station.
A man came to a village, which was in a continual state of conflict. Blood was being shed on every street; and if there were any village which represented Chaos, this one merited the distinction. And the Villagers were now ready for guidance on a Better Order. To resolve the conflict the man convinced all the people in the village that they must give up the causes of conflict, which produce suffering, and take up the role of the Ascetic. This would produce a Perfect Order. Every villager, to remove suffering and conflict, from which we find the causes of greed and self-interest, which in turn produce conflict, must from henceforth remove themselves from the village and live like hermits, begging for their food, clothing and shelter.
"How could such a thing be practical?" they all asked. Certainly someone had to work in the village to produce the necessities of life from which the Hermits could exist. So the man came up with this suggestion: They would build a Station from which the necessities would be dispensed. Every man, woman and child would be required to work in the station for two years out of their life. He showed them how a minimum number of workers could provide for the entire village, which now would become predominantly Ascetics begging their food from the Station. And with a minimum amount of Service to this New Order all men could look forward to being freed from Social obligations after their two years of Service were up.
The first few years the Order worked quite well. But then there came into the order the Seeds of Discontent. Workers in the Station started to feel that they were doing more than their fair share and ought to be rewarded more than others, some of whom were in fact sluggards. So they began to modify the rules of the Station to provide for a New Order, allowing some to be rewarded for their Service more than others. When this happened, fewer and fewer people desired to go the Way of the Ascetic. Though they held the Way of the Ascetic as an ideal, it was not practical, for they could not live with themselves in a state of inaction. In truth, they all liked to be doing some kind of work, and the Station satisfied that desire. So fewer and fewer left the station, and if forced to leave, to uphold the Order of the Ascetic, most of them protested. Finally, they all agreed that those who would desire to reach the Order of the Ascetic may do so. And the Village turned back to what it had formerly been in the days previous to the establishment of the Station. And soon the division of Work and its rewards got the better of them and Chaos began once again to walk its streets.
The man returned to the village, seeing it had gone back to its old ways. "How to create Order out of Chaos?" he wondered. He thought about this quite a bit and then offered this suggestion: Make for yourselves an Order which is neither too restrictive nor too permissive. It should impose restraint but also allow freedom. Then he left.
The village decided to allow those who had reached the highest peak in the society to become officially recognized rulers. They elected a King. The first King was a good king. He was neither too restrictive nor too permissive. There was order in the streets. He died and his son took over as King. He forgot the rule the man had left with the village and began to be too restrictive. And the people began to cry out against him. He died and his son continued on the same path, being ever more restrictive and creating an Order which favored the nobility, leaving the unfortunate mass of the village in poverty. The masses saw they had become slaves. So the day came that they took up arms against their oppressors.
After the Chaos of war was over and a New Order was ready to be established the man returned again to the village. He pointed out that to make the system more equitable they ought to let the General Will of the Village set the Order. So they all got together to elect a King who would have a limited term of dominion over the Order. This worked out well on the first two elections. But in successive elections the desires of Greed began to infiltrate the Order, and the rewards of the Society began to once again be biased towards those who had the most greed, with the masses once again being reduced to mere slaves of those who controlled them. This occurred through the following process: Those elected to office found that rhetoric and persuasion were not always the easiest means of getting elected. They found that the villagers could easily be bought. So they began buying their offices; and he who attained the highest offices was usually the one who could raise the most money to purchase the office. And because the motives now had turned to Greed and away from the basic principles the man had set for the village, making the highest Virtue for the Order to be neither too restrictive nor too permissive, the new officers neglected the masses needs. For they were no longer dependent upon satisfying needs, to get elected, but upon purchasing the office. Being neglectful of the masses and concerned about their own stations in life, the officers allowed crime to once again walk the streets of the village. Soon Chaos returned fully to the village and it was no longer safe to walk the streets at night. Robbery and murder were rampant, and no man's life was sacred. The people began to cry out, "The System is too Permissive!"
Then they took up arms once again to overthrow the Oppressive Order. They sent a messenger to call back the man who had been their guide. But the man could not be found and never again returned to the village.
The life of a village is a paradox. One may formulate good teachings which will produce Order and Harmony and many may follow them. But there are always a few in the village who don't put much stock in them and prefer to create their own rules for their own self-interest. In the Christian community we see how those who are elected to rule over it have changed the rules from the life of an Ascetic and poverty, as Christ taught them, to the justification of palaces and great riches. The rules got changed by those who are able to justify the rules because of their own petty interests. Popes went to war; Bishops put people on the rack; and Cardinals slept in the bed of Hitler. So the teachings and the rules seem ultimately to be only for the benefit of those who can manipulate them to their best advantage. And they oppress all those below them. The masses suffer. Ultimately, we see, there is a need for a New Order, not to force the masses into obedience and the realization of Duty to the All, but to control those who would exercise the opportunity to plunder the rites, the traditions, the peace, and the welfare of the community.
We shall see, in reviewing all the great teachings of man, that there was this one common interest: of maintaining Order and providing for the common welfare of the whole. The rules all agree and emphasize the virtues of Goodwill, loving one another, humility, etc. Christ, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and others could all review the rules from one village to another, one society to another, and they would all agree that the rules are constant wheresoever you go. Christ would have difficulty objecting to Confucius' teachings and certainly would approve of Lao Tzu's ideas. They were all saying the same thing as it pertains to one's interaction with his fellow man.
When the Indo-Aryan people began to flood in successive waves out of the steppes of Russia, above the Black Sea, circa 1900 B.C., a series of Oral Traditions came with them. And somewhere around 1200 B.C. the Moral Epic unfolded. Among the Greeks we have the Illiad and the Odessy. Among the Indians we have a rich compilation of Oral Tradition surfacing in multiple books of hymns, ritual texts of the Brahmans, the Rig Veda, another collection called the Upanishads, an Epic called the Ramayana , and the one hundred thousand verse epic called the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata concerns the story of a legendary King Bharata and the sixth book of that volume, the Bhagavad-Gita, is the focus upon which we shall now dwell. Those interested in reading the Rig Veda from the point of view of a Banquet with the gods may wish to read my work, Banquet of the Gods.
Like their Greek and German cousins, the Aryan Invaders going into India were horsed nomads, recognizing no walls. Any walled city before them gave them occasion to sack and pillage, to make off with its women and children as slaves, and, perhaps more importantly, to make off with their gold. Like the Greeks and other European peoples, their most powerful gods were gods of war. In the end they justified violence.
In the Indian Epics, though composed around Violent themes, there is the continual search for a moral code which would lead away from violence. By comparison, we see that Confucius and Lao Tzu, though they teach against violence, and though Confucius lived during a violent time of war, the theme of war does not become the central thesis from which his doctrine is established. This is partly due to the fact that the Chinese have always known there is safety in numbers. Though they feared war and the invasion of barbarians, such as the Mongols, and built the Great Wall to keep them out, the prevailing System of the Chinese taught that anyone who attempts to conquer China will, in fact, end up being absorbed by China. Their numbers and their System would overcome any invader. This is taught by the illustration of the Mongols who, like the Aryan Invaders in India, had no formal bureaucracy, a limited system of writing, no concept of accounting, and no background in the things necessary to sustain a sedentary community. All they knew was hunting and herding. The Mongols, though established in their conquest as princes over the Chinese people, had to depend upon the System and Rites already in practice to maintain Order. Being dependent upon the Chinese officers running the country, they found their own race having to intermarry with the Chinese nobility. Through the intermarriage the Mongols were able to sustain control, ruling, so to speak, indirectly. But the intermarriage was their downfall, for after a few generations those who were in fact in power had become Chinese! Their dress was Chinese, their Customs were Chinese,their music and literature was Chinese, and their language was Chinese. In a matter of a few generations the Mongol invaders were completely absorbed and became Chinese! So it is we can see that Confucius would have his orientation to the recognition of the Order which sustained that eternal thing called China. Working within the Order was the key to Salvation.
The Aryan invaders in India had a similar problem. The Indian Civilizations which they conquered were agrarian, like the Chinese, and the institutions and Order which they conquered would soon absorb them as well. And somehow in the syncretization the mix of the violent warriors and their traditions and the Order they conquered became, in the final assessment, dedicated to Nonviolence. This has now flowed from India and functioned a great deal to set the New World Order in which we now live. The waves of the Indian Epic and its morality reached the American shores and in the matter of a generation of men, through the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others like him, the US was turned upside down. The blacks rose up against the American Order, saying it was not equitable as it claims and introduced a new Order of Equity. That order acknowledged that all men are equal and have a right to participate in the American Order and benefit from all the freedoms and opportunities available.
The Bhagavad-Gita, being just one of many books from India, has in many ways had an influence on modern American culture. And because of its influence we can no longer consider it a foreign epic in literature, to be read only by an esoteric few. Rather, the epic now holds as firm a foundation in our own history, influencing us even perhaps as much as the Magna Carta. For every man can stand tall today in America and claim his inalienable right of Equality in the System. When he stands making the proclamation he holds up the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., who taught us nonviolent action; and Dr. King learned it from Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi learned the Code of nonviolent action from the Bhagavad-Gita and other Hindu sources. So this epic is the Source, why we are conducting ourselves in a nonviolent mode today. (1)
Arjuna, a prince, is in the field of battle, about to annihilate his own family. The Great Spirit is with Him and responds to Arjuna's doubts and concerns about the virtue of the war and the blood of his own family which he is about to cause to be shed. On his side are the sons of Pandu and on the other side the sons of Pandava. The epic explains that the battle is about to ensue, because in the Pandava army is Drupada's son, whose is intent upon revenge. We do not know the cause of his desire for revenge:
13. Standing on their great chariot
yoked with white stallions,
Krishna and Arjuna, Pandu's son,
sounded their divine conches.
18. The noise tore the hearts
of Dhirarashtra's sons,
and tumult echoed
through heaven and earth.
19. Arjuna, his war flag a rampant monkey,
saw Dhirarashtra's sons assembled
as weapons were ready to clash,
and he lifted his bow.
20. He told his charioteer:
halt my chariot
between the armies!
28. Dejected, filled with strange pity,
he said this:
"Krishna, I see my kinsmen
gathered here, wanting war.
29. My limbs sink,
my mouth is parched,
my body trembles,
the hair bristles on my flesh.
30. The magic bow slips
from my hand, my skin burns,
I cannot stand still,
my mind reels.
31. I see omens of chaos,
Krishna; I see no good
in killing my kinsmen
32. Krishna, I seek no victory,
or kingship or pleasures.
What use to us are kingship,
delights, or life itself?
33. We sought kingship, delights,
and pleasures for the sake of those
assembled to abandon their lives
and fortunes in battle.
34. They are teachers, fathers, sons,
and grandfathers, uncles, grandsons,
fathers and brothers of wives,
and other men of our family.
35. I do not want to kill them
even if I am killed, Krishna;
not for kingship of all three worlds,
much less for the earth!
37. Honor forbids us to kill
our cousins, Dhirarashtra's sons;
how can we know happiness
if we kill our own kinsmen?
38.The greed that distorts their reason
blinds them to the sin they commit
in ruining the family, blinds them
to the crime of betraying friends.
39. How can we ignore the wisdom
of turning from this evil
when we see the sin
of family destruction, Krishna?
40. When the family is ruined,
the timeless laws of family duty
perish; and when duty is lost,
chaos overwhelms the family.
41. In overwhelming chaos, Krishna,
women of the family are corrupted;
and when women are corrupted,
disorder is born in society.
43. The sins of men who violate
the family create disorder in society
that undermines the constant laws
of caste and family duty.
44. Krishna, we have heard
that a place in hell
is reserved for men
who undermine family duties.
45. I lament the great sin
we commit when our greed
for kingship and pleasures
drives us to kill our kinsmen.
Renunciation of Action:
13. Renouncing all actions with the mind,
the masterful embodied self
dwells at ease in its nine-gated fortress –
it neither acts nor causes action.
14. The Lord of the world
does not create agency or actions,
or a union of fruits with actions;
but his being unfolds into existence.
15. The lord does not partake
of anyone's evil or good conduct;
knowledge is obscured by ignorance,
so people are deluded.
16. When ignorance is destroyed
by knowledge of the self,
then, like the sun, knowledge
illumines ultimate reality.
17. That becomes their understanding,
their self, their basis, and their goal,
and they reach a state beyond return,
their sin dispelled by knowledge.
18. Learned men see with an equal eye
a scholarly and dignified priest,
a cow, an elephant, a dog,
and even an outcaste scavenger.
19. Men who master the worldly world
have equanimity –
they exist in the infinite spirit,
in its flawless equilibrium.
20. He should not rejoice in what he loves
nor recoil from what disgusts him;
secure in understanding, undeluded, knowing
the infinite spirit, he abides in it.
21. Detached from external contacts,
he discovers joy in himself;
joined by discipline to the infinite spirit,
the self attains inexhaustible joy.
22. Delights from external objects
are wombs of suffering;
in their beginning is their end,
and no wise man delights in them.
23. A man able to endure
the force of desire and anger
before giving up his body
is disciplined and joyful.
24. The Man of Discipline has joy,
delight and light within;
becoming the infinite spirit,
he finds the pure calm of infinity.
25. Seers who can destroy their sins,
cut through doubt, master the self,
and delight in the good of all creatures
attain the pure calm of infinity.
26. The pure calm of infinity
exists for the ascetic
who disarms desire and anger,
controls reason, and knows the self.
27. He shuns external objects,
fixes his gaze between his brows,
and regulates his vital breaths
as they pass through his nostrils.
28. Truly free is the sage who controls
his senses, mind, and understanding,
who focuses on freedom
and dispels desire, fear, and anger.
29. Knowing me as the enjoyer
of sacrifices and penances, lord of all worlds,
and friend of all creatures,
he finds peace.
The Man of Discipline:
1. One who does what must be done
without concern for the fruits
is a man of renunciation and discipline,
not one who shuns ritual fire and rites.
2. Know that discipline, Arjuna,
is what men call renunciation;
no man is disciplined
without renouncing willful intent.
3. Action is the means for a sage
who seeks to mature in discipline;
tranquility is the means
for one who is mature in discipline.
4. He is said to be mature in discipline
when he has renounced all intention
and is detached
from sense objects and actions.
5. He should elevate himself by the self,
not degrade himself;
for the self is its own friend
and its own worst foe.
6. The self is the friend of a man
who masters himself through the self,
but for a man without self-mastery,
the self is like an enemy at war.
7. The higher self of a tranquil man
whose self is mastered
is perfectly poised in cold or heat,
joy or suffering, honor or contempt.
8. Self-contented in knowledge and judgment,
his senses subdued, on the summit of existence,
impartial to clay, stone, or gold,
The Man of Discipline is disciplined.
9. He is set apart by his disinterest
toward comrades, allies, enemies,
neutrals, nonpartisans, foes, friends,
good and even evil men.
10. A man of discipline should always
discipline himself, remain in seclusion,
isolated, his thought and self well controlled
without possessions or hope.
11. He should fix for himself
a firm seat in a pure place,
neither too high nor too low,
covered in cloth, deerskin, or grass.
12. He should focus his mind and restrain
the activity of his thought and senses;
sitting on that seat, he should practice
discipline for the purification of the self.
13. He should keep his body, head,
and neck aligned, immobile, steady;
he should gaze at the tip of his nose
and not let his glance wander.
14. The self tranquil, his fear dispelled,
firm in his vow of celibacy, his mind restrained,
let him sit with discipline,
his thought fixed on me, intent on me.
15. Disciplining himself,
his mind controlled,
a Man of Discipline finds peace,
the pure calm that exists in me.
16. Gluttons have no discipline,
nor the man who starves himself,
nor he who sleeps excessively
or suffers wakefulness.
17. When a man disciplines his diet
and diversions, his physical actions,
his sleeping and waking,
discipline destroys his sorrow.
20. When his thought ceases,
checked by the exercise of discipline,
he is content within the self,
seeing the self through himself.
21. Absolute joy beyond the senses
can only be grasped by understanding;
when one knows it, he abides there
and never wanders from this reality.
23. Since he knows that discipline
means unbinding the bonds of suffering,
he should practice discipline resolutely,
without despair dulling his reason.
24. He should entirely relinquish
desires aroused by willful intent;
he should entirely control
his senses with his mind.
25. He should gradually become tranquil,
firmly controlling his understanding;
focusing his mind on the self,
he should think nothing.
26. Whenever his faltering mind
he should restrain it
and bring it under self-control.
27. When his mind is tranquil, perfect joy
comes to the man of discipline;
his passion is calmed, he is without sin,
being one with the infinite spirit.
29. Arming himself with discipline,
seeing everything with an equal eye,
he sees the self in all creatures
and all creatures in the self.
30. He who sees me everywhere
and sees everything in me
will not be lost to me,
and I will not be lost to him.
31. I exist in all creatures,
so the Disciplined Man devoted to me
grasps the Oneness of life;
wherever he is, he is in me.
32. When he sees identity in everything,
whether joy or suffering,
through analogy with the self,
he is deemed a man of pure discipline.
37. When a man has faith, but no ascetic will,
and his mind deviates from discipline
before its perfection is achieved,
what way is there for him, Krishna?
38. Doomed by his double failure,
is he not like a cloud split apart,
unsettled, deluded on the path
of the infinite spirit?
40. Arjuna, he does not suffer
doom in this world or the next;
any man who acts with honor
cannot go the wrong way, my friend.
41. Fallen in discipline, he reaches
worlds made by his virtue, wherein he dwells
for endless years, until he is reborn
in a house of upright and noble men.
42 Or he is born in a family
of disciplined men;
the kind of birth in the world
that is very hard to win.
43. There he regains a depth
of understanding from his former life
and strives further
to perfection, Arjuna.
45. The man of discipline, striving
with effort, purified of his sins,
perfected through many births,
finds a higher way.
46. He is deemed superior
to men of penance,
men of knowledge, and men of action;
be a Man of Discipline, Arjuna!
(1) The Tapestry of One was first published January 16, 1990, in a different world than the world-wide distress among nations that exists now, in November 2005.