Readings in Eastern

Philosophy
An Open Source Text
Edited by
Lee Archie
John G. Archie
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open Source Text
Edited by Lee Archie and John G. Archie
Version 0.1 Edition
Published March, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Lee Archie, John G. Archie
GFDL
The current version, Version 0.1, of this open source textbook in philosophy is a work-in-progress and is
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Image Credits. The images in this work have been adapted from the original by
resizing, cropping, and processing.
Preface, “Why Open Source?"”. Tabulae Rudolphinae : quibus astronomicae. . . by Johannes Kepler,
1571-1630, NOAA Photo Library (http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/). Historic C&GS Collection,.
Chapter 1, Bhagavad Gita. India—Benares—Monkey Temple, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection
[LC-USZ62-125561]; Ruins in Delhi, Caleb Wright, India and Its Inhabitants, 1869; Ornate Royal Carriage,
Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-35122]; An Expanding Bubble in Space (alt-detail) [HSTI #PROO-04],
GRIN National Aeronautics and Space Administration (http://grin.hq.nasa.gov); An Expanding Bubble in
Space (alt-detail) [HSTI #PROO-04]; The Cat’s Eye Nebula (alt-detail) [HSTI #PRC 95-01A] National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (http://grin.hq.nasa.gov). Golden Temple, India, Frank and Frances
Carpenter Collection [LC-USZ62-5828]; Village in Punjab, Farm Security Administration
[LC-USW33-043106-ZC]; Temples of Jammu from distance, World’s Transportation Commission, William
Henry Jackson [W7-483].
Chapter 2, “Paper On Hinduism”. Vivekananda; City on the Mountains—India, William Henry Jackson,
World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-471]; Delhi—Ruins of Shershak, William
Henry Jackson, World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-506]; Riverfront, William
Henry Jackson, World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-587]; Delhi—Cashmere Gates,
William Henry Jackson, World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-507].
Chapter 3, “The Four Noble Truths”. Yogi, View of Benares, and Crossing Over, from William Butler, Land
of the Veda: Being Personal Reminiscences of India, New York: Calton & Lanahan, 1872; Deer Park, Library
of Congress.
Chapter 4, “The Noble Eightfold Path”. Brahmin Reading, Caleb Wright, India and Its Inhabitants,
Cincinnati, Ohio: J.A. Brainerd, 1858. Indonesia-—Java-—Jogjakarta [i.e. Yogyakarta]. Temple
ruins—details of sculpted figures, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress
[LC-USZ62-95443]; Buddhist Temple, Cambodia, French Postcard, 1905; Photographic Views of
Thailand—Temple Wat Prakeu-—Bangkok, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-5322]; Rice boat on the
Irrawaddy heading for Rangoon, World’s Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-599];
Buddhist Room, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., Library of Congress [LC-D4-72635].
Chapter 5, Dhammapada. Bronze Buddha, The American Cyclopædia; China, Kiangsu Province, Soochow,
Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-104037]; China-Burma Highway,
U. S. Public Health Service, Library of Congress [USW33-043086-ZC]; Chinese Built Suspension Bridge,
Szechwan Province, ChinaFrank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress
[LC-USZ62-104037]; Bronze Statue of Amida Nyorai, Denjiro Hasegawa, photographer, Library of Congress
[LC-USZ62-98646]; Hong Kong Dock Workers, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress
[LC-US262-118505]; Reclining Buddha, Views of Thailand, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-5320]; Hong
Kong Sampans, Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-118501]; Hong
Kong Rickshaw, Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-118508]; F.
Boileau, Photograph album of the Boileau family’s voyage from England to Australia (1894-1895).
Chapter 6, Doctrine Of the Mean.Confucius, Thoemmes Press (http://www.thoemmes.com/gallery.htm);
Chinese Gentleman’s Garden, A Pavilion in Pun-Ting-Qua’s Garden; One of the Inner Gates of Peking;
Temple of the Five Hundred Gods, The Willow-Pattern Bridge, Great Gateway, Temple of Confucius, from J.
Thompson. The Straits of Malacca, Indo-China, and China; or, Ten years’ travels, adventures, and residence
abroad New York: Harper & Brothers, 1875. Wood engravings by J. D. Cooper.
Chapter 7, Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu, 18th century French Print; Thirty Spokes, Library of Congress; China
Vases, James D. McCabe, The Illustrated History of the Centennial Exhibition Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
National Publishing Company, 1876; Street Scene, Chefang China U. S. Public Health Service
[LC-USW33-043083-ZC]; Lotus Flower, Library of Congress; Eddies [theb2710]
Chapter 8, The Ten Oxherding Pictures. Ox, Gottsho-Schleishner Collection, Library of Congress
[US-USZC2-4153]; Both sets of Ten Oxherding Pictures are from Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Manual of Zen
Buddhism, 1934.
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Table of Contents
“Preface” ............................................................................................................... i
Why Open Source?......................................................................................... i
A Note about Selections ................................................................................ ii
1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla.......................................................... 1
Ideas of Interest from the Bhagavad Gita ..................................................... 2
The Reading Selection from Bhagavad Gita................................................. 4
Arjuna’s Dilemma................................................................................. 4
Transcendental Knowledge................................................................... 5
Path of Service...................................................................................... 7
Path of Renunciation with Knowledge ................................................. 8
Path of Renunciation............................................................................. 9
Path of Meditation .............................................................................. 11
Self-Knowledge and Enlightenment ................................................... 11
The Eternal Spirit................................................................................ 13
Supreme Knowledge and the Big Mystery......................................... 13
Manifestation of the Absolute ............................................................ 15
Vision of the Cosmic Form................................................................. 15
Path of Devotion ................................................................................. 17
Creation and the Creator..................................................................... 18
Three Modes of Material Nature ........................................................ 19
The Supreme Being ............................................................................ 20
Divine and the Demonic Qualities...................................................... 22
Threefold Faith ................................................................................... 23
Salvation through Renunciation.......................................................... 24
Epilogue—Lord Krishna’s Last Sermon ............................................ 28
Topics Worth Investigating.......................................................................... 29
2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda ........................................... 31
Ideas of Interest from “Paper on Hinduism” ............................................... 32
The Reading Selection from “Paper on Hinduism” .................................... 32
[Introduction]...................................................................................... 33
[The Vedas] ......................................................................................... 33
[The Concept of Creation] .................................................................. 33
[Soul, Karma, and Reincarnation] ...................................................... 34
[Soul and Nature]................................................................................ 36
[The Goal of Hinduism]...................................................................... 37
[The Unity of the Universe]................................................................ 40
[Hinduism and World Religions]........................................................ 40
Topics Worth Investigating.......................................................................... 45
v
3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”............................................................. 47
Ideas of Interest from “The Four Noble Truths” ......................................... 48
The Reading Selection from “The Four Noble Truths” .............................. 49
[Introduction]...................................................................................... 49
First Truth: The Noble Truth of Suffering.......................................... 50
The Five Groups of Existence.................................................... 51
Dependent Orgination of Consciousness ................................... 51
The Three Characteristics of Existence ..................................... 52
The Three Warnings................................................................... 54
Samsara, The Wheel of Existence ............................................. 54
Second Truth: The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering................ 56
The Threefold Craving............................................................... 56
Heaping up of Present Suffering................................................ 57
Heaping Up of Future Suffering ................................................ 58
Inheritance of Deeds (Karma) ................................................... 58
Third Truth: The Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering............. 59
Dependent Extinction of All Phenomena .................................. 59
Nirvana ...................................................................................... 60
The Arahat, or Holy One ........................................................... 60
The Immutable ........................................................................... 61
Fourth Truth: The Noble Truth of the Path that Leads to the Extinction
of Suffering—The Two Extremes and the Middle Path............. 61
Topics Worth Investigating.......................................................................... 62
4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha ...................................................... 64
Ideas of Interest from “The Noble Eightfold Path”..................................... 65
The Reading Selection from “The Eightfold Path”..................................... 66
The Eightfold Path.............................................................................. 66
The Eightfold Path—First Step—Right Understanding..................... 67
Unprofitable Questions .............................................................. 67
The Sotapan, or “Stream-Enterer”............................................. 69
The Two Understandings ........................................................... 70
Complete Deliverance................................................................ 71
Past, Present, and Future............................................................ 73
Dependent Origination............................................................... 74
Karma: Rebirth—Producing and Barren ................................... 75
Second Step: Right Mindedness ......................................................... 76
Third Step: Right Speech.................................................................... 76
Fourth Step: Right Action................................................................... 77
Fifth Step: Right Living...................................................................... 79
Sixth Step: Right Effort ...................................................................... 79
Five Methods of Expelling Evil Thoughts ................................. 80
Seventh Step: Right Attentiveness...................................................... 81
vi Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Contemplation of the Body........................................................ 82
The Ten Blessings ...................................................................... 84
Contemplation of the Feelings ................................................... 85
Contemplation of the Mind........................................................ 85
Contemplation of Phenomena (Mind-objects)........................... 86
Nirvana Through Watching Over Breathing.............................. 88
Eighth Step: Right Concentration....................................................... 90
The Four Trances ....................................................................... 91
Development of the Eightfold Path—Confidence and
Right-Mindedness (2nd Step)............................................ 92
Morality (3rd, 4th, 5th Step) ...................................................... 92
Control of the Senses (6th Step) ................................................ 93
Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness (7th Step) .................... 93
Absence of the Five Hindrances ................................................ 94
The Trances (8th Step) ............................................................... 94
Insight (1st Step) ........................................................................ 94
Nirvana ...................................................................................... 94
The Silent Thinker ..................................................................... 95
The True Goal ............................................................................ 95
Topics Worth Investigating.......................................................................... 97
5. The Dhammapada (abridged) ........................................................................ 99
Ideas of Interest from The Dhammapada.................................................. 100
The Reading Selection from The Dhammapada ....................................... 101
Chapter I: The Twin Verses .............................................................. 101
Chapter II: On Earnestness ............................................................... 102
Chapter III: Thought ......................................................................... 103
Chapter IV: Flowers.......................................................................... 104
Chapter V: The Fool ......................................................................... 105
Chapter VI: The Wise Man (Pandita)............................................... 105
Chapter VII: The Venerable (Arhat) ................................................. 106
Chapter VIII: The Thousands ........................................................... 107
Chapter IX: Evil................................................................................ 108
Chapter X: Punishment..................................................................... 109
Chapter XI: Old Age......................................................................... 109
Chapter XII: Self............................................................................... 110
Chapter XIII: The World................................................................... 111
Chapter XIV: The Buddha (The Awakened)..................................... 111
Chapter XV: Happiness .................................................................... 113
Chapter XVI: Pleasure...................................................................... 114
Chapter XVII: Anger ........................................................................ 115
Chapter XVIII: Impurity................................................................... 116
Chapter XIX: The Just ...................................................................... 117
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text vii
Chapter XX: The Way ...................................................................... 118
Chapter XXI: Miscellaneous ............................................................ 119
Chapter XXII: The Downward Course............................................. 120
Chapter XXIII: The Elephant ........................................................... 121
Chapter XXIV: Thirst ....................................................................... 122
Chapter XXV: The Bhikshu (Mendicant) ......................................... 123
Chapter XXVI: The Brahmana (Arhat)............................................ 125
Topics Worth Investigating........................................................................ 128
6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius ................................................ 130
Ideas of Interest from “The Doctrine of the Mean” .................................. 131
The Reading Selection from “The Doctrine of the Mean”........................ 131
[Instruction for the Path of Duty] ..................................................... 132
[The Course of the Mean]................................................................. 132
[Chün Tzu—The Superior Man]....................................................... 135
[Hsiao—Filial Piety] ........................................................................ 136
[Te—Power by which Men are Ruled; Moral Example] .................. 139
[The Five Relationships]................................................................... 139
[Rules of Government] ..................................................................... 140
[Rules for Success and Sincerity] ..................................................... 142
[Virtue].............................................................................................. 145
[Institutions and Ceremony of the Ruler] ......................................... 147
[Chün Tzu and Perfect Virtue] .......................................................... 148
Topics Worth Investigating........................................................................ 150
7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu .......................................... 152
Ideas of Interest from The Tao Te Ching ................................................... 153
The Reading Selection from The Tao Te Ching......................................... 154
Part I. The Tao Te Ching. .................................................................. 154
Part II. The Tao Ching....................................................................... 161
Topics Worth Investigating........................................................................ 171
8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki....................... 172
Ideas of Interest from “The Ten Oxherding Pictures”............................... 173
The Reading Selection from “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” .................... 173
Preliminary ....................................................................................... 174
The Ten Oxherding Pictures, I. by Kaku-an..................................... 175
I. Searching for the Ox............................................................. 175
II. Seeing the Traces................................................................. 176
III. Seeing the Ox..................................................................... 176
IV. Catching the Ox.................................................................. 177
V. Herding the Ox .................................................................... 177
VI. Coming Home on the Ox’s Back....................................... 178
VII. The Ox Forgotten, Leaving the Man Alone ..................... 178
viii Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
VIII. The Ox and the Man Gone out of Sight .......................... 179
IX. Returning to the Origin, Back to the Source...................... 180
X. Entering the City with Bliss-bestowing Hands ................... 180
The Ten Oxherding Pictures, II. ....................................................... 181
1. Undisciplined ....................................................................... 181
2. Discipline Begun.................................................................. 182
3. In Harness ............................................................................ 182
4. Faced Round ........................................................................ 183
5. Tamed................................................................................... 183
6. Unimpeded........................................................................... 184
7. Laissez Faire ........................................................................ 184
8. All Forgotten........................................................................ 185
9. The Solitary Moon ............................................................... 185
10. Both Vanished .................................................................... 186
Topics Worth Investigating........................................................................ 186
Index.................................................................................................................. 188
Colophon........................................................................................................... 193
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text ix
“Preface”
Why Open Source?
Tabulae Rudolphinæ: quibus astronomicæ. . . by Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630, NOAA
Many classic works in Eastern philosophy are accessible via online sources on the
Internet. Fortunately, many of the influential and abiding works are in the public
domain; these readings provide a convenient way to produce quality learning ex-
periences for almost anyone seeking information and help. Our present collection
of edited readings is free but subject to the legal notice following the title page.
By placing these selections in the public domain under the GFDL, the editors are,
in effect, "open-sourcing" this product, in part, to minimize costs to interested
students of philosophy and, in part, to make the readings widely available in a
form convenient to a variety of readers. Moreover, users themselves can improve
the product if they wish to do so. Viewed in this way, the release of these readings
is, in a genuine sense, a small test of the Delphi effect in open-source publishing.
This particular edition is not a completed work. It is the first step in the devel-
opment of the open-source text. The development model of Readings in Eastern
Philosophy is loosely patterned on the “release early, release often” model champi-
i
“Preface”
oned by Eric S. Raymond.
1
With the completion of version 1.0, various formats of
this work can be made available for distribution. If the core reading and commen-
tary prove useful, the successive revisions, readings, commentary, and other im-
provements by users can be released in incrementally numbered “stable”versions.
A Note about Selections
Some reading selections in this collection of papers have deletions of text im pas-
sim; in addition, the ideas are often examined out of their literary and historical
context. The main focus for our approach to philosophy, however, is not so much
on historical understanding as it is on the use of germinal ideas to spark thinking
about some significant issues of life and thought.
In general, as the difficulty of the reading increases, the length of the selection as-
signed for reading should decrease. For example, the abridged Bhagavad Gita and
the Dhammapada probably should not be read in one sitting. The main consider-
ation for selection and inclusion in this short text is to introduce primary sources
accessible to a wide variety of readers, including high school and homeschooling
students. In addition to this core set of readings, supplementary readings are in
process of publication.
Please send questions or inquiries of interest to the “Editors” at
<philbook@philosophy.lander.edu>
1. Eric Raymond. The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly & Associates, 1999.
Online at The Cathedral and the Bazaar (http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/).
ii Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 1
Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry
Bhalla
Monkey Temple, Benares, India, adapted from Library of Congress
About the author. . .
Harry Bhalla provides the following introduction to his summarized version of the
Bhagavad Gita:
The Gita says: “Do your duty to the best of your ability without worrying about
the results. A farmer has control over how he works his land, yet no control over
the harvest. But, he cannot expect a harvest if he does not work his land.”
Perceive that God is present equally in all beings. Treat all beings equally.
The four goals of human life are:
Doing one’s duty;
Earning wealth;
Material and sensual enjoyment (with senses under control);
1
Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla
Attaining salvation.
The aim of the Gita doctrine is to lead one to tranquility, happiness and equanimity.
No rituals are prescribed. The Gita says that the world needs different religions,
cults and deities to meet the vastly different needs of individuals.
1
About the work. . .
The Bhagavad Gita
2
is a part of the Mahabharata. At the beginning of the Gita, Ar-
juna is confronted with the moral decision of regaining his kingdom knowing full
well that friends, teachers, and relatives will lose their lives. Krishna, the incarna-
tion of the god Vishnu and Brahman, disguises himself as Arjuna’s charioteer and
offers his guidance to Arjuna. Krishna’s advice is based on the relation between
the individual-self and Atman (the ultimate Self) and the relation between nature
and Brahman (ultimate reality). Indeed, as Krishna explains, Atman is Brahman.
Krishna further traces out the various paths to ultimate knowledge and the conse-
quent realization of Atman for the individual. Different paths or yogas are shown
to be appropriate for different psychological types—personalities predisposed to
intellect, action, devotion, or meditation.
From the reading. . .
“I do not wish to kill my seniors, spiritual leaders, and relatives who are
ready to kill us, even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, let alone for
this earthly kingdom, O Krishna.”
1. Note: In the reading selection, the numbers in parentheses are the chapter numbers and verse
numbers respectively, of the Bhagavad Gita.
2. Bhagavad Gita. Summarized by Harry Bhalla. Gita For Free (www.gita4free.com).
2 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla
Ideas of Interest from the Bhagavad Gita
1. How does Krishna justify the assertion, “The wise grieve neither for the living
nor for the dead”?
2. In the present fight against Arjuna’s relatives, what reason does Krishna pro-
vide for the conclusion that Arjuna is actually a fortunate warrior?
3. According to Krishna, what is the proper attitude we should have while at-
tending to our duty? How can fear of failure be an impediment to success?
4. According to Krishna, what are the two major stumbling blocks to self-realization?
Why do you think that this is so?
5. How does Krishna explain why we sin in spite of our best efforts to avoid sin?
6. Compare the path of renunciation with the path of service. Which path, if any,
is preferrable?
7. Does the path of contemplation preclude a need for work? State supporting
reasons for your conclusion.
8. Does it matter, according to Krishna, what gods one believes in? Would Kr-
ishna allow for belief in a jealous god who would cause harm to those would
believe in other gods?
9. Krishna states, "I am death. . . I have already destroyed all these warriors. You
are only an instrument, O Arjuna." Explain what he means.
10. Contrast divine and demonic people. Is the difference in character due only to
karma? Is there any correlation between these contrasting types of people and
the personality types outlined in accordance with the various paths or yogas?
11. Explain Krishna’s description of the modes of material nature.
12. Recount Krishna’s summary of how to attain self-realization by means of
work, knowledge, devotion, and meditation.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 3
Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla
Ruins in Delhi, Caleb Wright
The Reading Selection from Bhagavad
Gita
Arjuna’s Dilemma
Circa 3000 BC, cousins went to war over inheritance of a kingdom. Their armies
were made up of relatives, teachers, and respected community leaders. Arjuna was
a renowned warrior recognized as a master archer. His childhood friend Lord Kr-
ishna agreed to be Arjuna’s charioteer.
Arjuna became bewildered upon seeing people he loved and respected ready to
battle, and said: “I desire neither victory, nor pleasure or kingdom, O Krishna.
What is the use of a kingdom, or enjoyment, or even life because all those for
whom we desire kingdom, enjoyment, and pleasure are standing here for battle,
ready to give up their lives?” (1.32-33)
“I do not wish to kill my seniors, spiritual leaders, and relatives who are ready
4 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla
to kill us, even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, let alone for this earthly
kingdom, O Krishna.” (1.34-35)
Transcendental Knowledge
“It would be better indeed, to live on alms in this world than to slay these noble
personalities, because by killing them I would enjoy wealth and pleasure stained
with their blood. (2.05) We do not know which alternative, to fight or to quit, is
better for us. Further, we do not know whether we shall conquer them or they will
conquer us. We should not even wish to live after killing our relatives.” (2.06)
Lord Krishna said: “You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief, and yet speak
words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. (2.11)
There was never a time when these monarchs, you or I did not exist, nor shall we
ever cease to exist in the future. (2.12) The soul acquires another body after death.
(2.13) The invisible Spirit is eternal. The visible physical body is transitory. (2.16)
The Spirit pervades this entire universe and is indestructible. No one can destroy
the imperishable Spirit. (2.17) The physical bodies of the eternal, immutable, and
incomprehensible Spirit are perishable. Therefore, fight for your right as your duty,
O Arjuna. (2.18) The Spirit is neither born nor does it die at any time. It does not
come into being, or cease to exist. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval.
The Spirit is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. (2.19-20) Just as a person
puts on new garments after discarding old ones, the living entity or the individual
soul acquires a new body after casting away the old body.” (2.22)
“Even if you think that the physical body takes birth and dies perpetually, even
then O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this. Death is certain for the one who is
born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament
over the inevitable but pray for the salvation of the departed soul.” (2.26-27).
From the reading. . .
“Only fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get an opportunity of an unsought war
that is like an open door to heaven.”
“Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver like this. There is
nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. (2.31) Only fortunate
warriors, O Arjuna, get an opportunity of an unsought war that is like an open door
to heaven.” (2.32) War fought to reestablish morality is considered righteous, not
war fought for dominance.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 5
Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla
“If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your
reputation, and incur sin. (2.33) People will talk about your disgrace forever. To
the honored, disgrace is worse than death. (2.34) You will go to heaven if killed in
the line of duty, or you will enjoy kingdom on earth if victorious. Therefore, get
up with determination to fight, O Arjuna. (2.37) Just do your duty to the best of
your ability without becoming discouraged by the thought of the outcome which
may be success or failure, gain or loss, victory or defeat. By doing your duty with
this attitude, you will not incur sin or Karmic bondage.” (2.38)
“The resolute determination of Self-realization is not formed in the minds of those
who are attached to pleasure and power, and whose judgment is obscured by rit-
ualistic activities. (2.44) Become free from pairs of opposites, be ever balanced
and unconcerned with the thought of acquisition and preservation. Rise above the
three modes of Material Nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) and be Self-
conscious, O Arjuna. (2.45) To a God-realized person scripture is as useless as a
river in a flooded area. Scripture is only an aid to God-realization, not needed after
one has realized God.” (2.46)
From the reading. . .
“An uncontrolled mind distracts the intellect as a storm sways a ship from
its path.”
“You have control over doing your respective duty, but no control or claim over the
result. Fear of failure, from being emotionally attached to the fruit of work, is the
greatest impediment to success because it robs efficiency by constantly disturbing
the equanimity of mind.” A farmer is responsible for working his land yet has
no control over the harvest. But, if he does not work his land he cannot expect
a harvest. “The boundary of one’s jurisdiction ends with the completion of one’s
duty. Do your duty to the best of your ability, O Arjuna, with your mind attached
to the Lord, abandon worry and attachment to the results. Remain calm in both
success and failure. Such selfless service brings peace and equanimity of mind.”
(2.48)
Lord Krishna further said: “The mind and intellect of a person become steady
who is neither elated by getting desired results, nor perturbed by undesired results.
(2.57) Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise
person striving for perfection. (2.60) One should fix one’s mind on God with loving
contemplation after bringing the senses under control. One’s intellect becomes
steady when one’s senses are under complete control.” (2.61)
“A disciplined person, enjoying sense objects with senses that are under control
6 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla
and free from attachment and aversion, attains tranquility. (2.64) An uncontrolled
mind distracts the intellect as a storm sways a ship from its path. (2.67) A person
who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desire, that enter the mind, like rivers
into an ocean which is ever being filled but is not disturbed by the rivers, can alone
achieve peace, not the one who strives to satisfy such desires.” (2.70)
Self-realization is to know one’s relationship with the Supreme Lord and His true
transcendental nature. A Self-realized person does not need rituals to reach God.
Path of Service
Arjuna asked: “If You consider that acquiring transcendental knowledge is better
than working, then why do You want me to engage in this horrible war, O Kr-
ishna?”
Lord Krishna said: “I have stated a twofold path of spiritual discipline in the past.
The path of Self-knowledge for the contemplative ones, and the path of unselfish
work for all others. (3.03) One does not attain freedom from bondage of Karma by
merely abstaining from work. No one attains perfection by merely giving up work,
because no one can remain inactive even for a moment. The forces of Nature drive
everyone to action.” (3.04-05)
“People get confused and think that leading a life devoted to scriptural study, con-
templation, and acquiring transcendental knowledge may be better for spiritual
progress than doing one’s worldly duty. A God-realized person does not consider
oneself the doer of any action, but only an instrument in the hands of the Divine for
His use. Both metaphysical knowledge and selfless service are means to attain the
Supreme Being. These two paths are not separate, but complimentary. O Arjuna,
do your duty to the best of your ability as a service to God.” (3.09)
From the reading. . .
“After knowing the transcendental science, O Arjuna, you shall not again
become deluded like this.”
Lord Krishna said: “There is nothing unattained that I should obtain, yet I engage
in action. (3.22) For, if I do not engage in action relentlessly, O Arjuna, people
would follow My path (example), in every way. These worlds would perish if I do
not work, and I shall be the cause of confusion and destruction of all these people.
(3.23-24) Do your duty and dedicate all work to God in a spiritual frame of mind;
become free from ego, mental grief and the compulsion to satisfy all desires. (3.30)
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Likes and dislikes are two major stumbling blocks, on the path to Self-realization.”
(3.34) Control over attachment, and aversion, is needed to attain peace of mind and
tranquility.
Arjuna said: “O Krishna, what impels one to commit sin as if forced against one’s
will?” (3.36)
Lord Krishna said: "It is lust born of passion that becomes anger when unfulfilled.
Lust is insatiable and is a great devil. Know it as an enemy. (3.37) The senses,
the mind, and the intellect are said to be the abode of lust; with these it deludes a
person by veiling Self-knowledge. (3.40) Therefore, O Arjuna, by controlling the
senses first, control this devil of material desire that destroys Self-knowledge and
Self-realization." (3.41)
"The senses are said to be superior to the body, the mind is superior to the senses,
the intellect is superior to the mind, transcendental knowledge is superior to the in-
tellect, and the Self is superior to transcendental knowledge. (3.42) Thus, knowing
the Self to be superior to the intellect, and controlling the mind by the intellect that
is purified by spiritual practice, one must kill this mighty enemy, lust, O Arjuna."
(3.43)
Path of Renunciation with Knowledge
Lord Krishna said: “Both you and I have taken many births. I remember them all,
O Arjuna, but you do not. (4.05) Though I am eternal, immutable, and the Lord
of all beings, yet I manifest Myself by controlling Material Nature using My own
divine potential energy.”
“Whenever there is decline of Dharma (Righteousness) and predominance of Adharma
(Unrighteousness), O Arjuna, then I manifest Myself. I appear from time to time
for protecting the good, for transforming the wicked, and for reestablishing world
order (Dharma).” (4.07-08)
“With whatever motive people worship Me, I fulfill their desires accordingly. Peo-
ple worship Me with different motives. (4.11) The one whose mind and senses
are under control, and who understands that he cannot control the outcome of his
actions, does not incur sin (Karmic reaction) by doing bodily action. (4.21) A re-
nunciant who is content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will, who is
unaffected by pairs of opposites, like victory and defeat, free from envy, equani-
mous in success and failure is not bound by Karma.” (4.22)
“People perform sacrifice in many different ways. The one, who considers ev-
erything as a manifestation, or an act of God, shall realize God. (4.24) Those
who perform selfless service obtain the nectar of Self-knowledge as a result of
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their sacrifice and attain the Supreme Being. Acquiring transcendental knowledge
is superior to any material sacrifice such as giving charity. Purification of mind
and intellect eventually leads to the dawn of transcendental knowledge and Self-
realization, which is the sole purpose of any spiritual practice.” (4.33)
Ornate Royal Carriage, adapted from Library of Congress
“After knowing the transcendental science, O Arjuna, you shall not again become
deluded like this. With this knowledge you shall see the entire creation within your
own higher Self, and thus within Me. (4.35) Even if one is the most sinful of all sin-
ners, one shall yet cross over the ocean of sin by the raft of Self-knowledge alone.
(4.36) There is no purifier in this world like the true knowledge of the Supreme
Being. One discovers this knowledge from within in due course, when one’s mind
is cleansed of selfishness by selfless service. (4.38) The one who has faith in God,
is sincere in selfless practice, and has control over the mind and senses, gains
this transcendental knowledge. Having gained this knowledge, one quickly attains
supreme peace and liberation.” (4.39)
Path of Renunciation
Arjuna asked: “O Krishna, You praise the path of transcendental knowledge, and
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also the path of selfless service, which is better of the two?” (5.01)
Lord Krishna said: “The path of Self-knowledge and the path of selfless service
both lead to the supreme goal. But, of the two, the path of selfless service is supe-
rior to the path of Self-knowledge, because it is easier to practice. (5.02) The wise
see no difference between the renunciation of selfish activities, and the perfor-
mance of one’s worldly duty without attachment to the result. Renunciation does
not mean becoming a hermit. (5.04) Selfless service is the goal, and renunciation
is the means.”
One is a true renunciant and enlightened who:
1. Does all work as an offering to God abandoning attachment to the results;
2. Enjoys sensual pleasures with mind and senses under control;
3. Sees one and the same Spirit in all beings. Looks at a learned person, an
outcast, even an animal with equal eye, and can feel the pain and pleasure of
others as one’s own;
4. Neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant, nor grieves on obtaining the
unpleasant and is tranquil in pleasure and disappointment, in honor and dis-
grace;
5. Finds happiness with the Supreme Being, who rejoices the Supreme Being
within, who is illuminated by Self-knowledge and remains ever steadfast with
the Supreme Self;
6. Acts beyond personal selfish motives has neither attachment nor aversion for
anything.
7. Has discovered the joy of spiritual knowledge, and whose mind is in union
with God.
Such a person is not bound by Karma though engaged in work, and attains eternal
bliss.
From the reading. . .
“Perceive the same Self (or spirit) abiding in every being, and all beings
abiding in the Self.”
“The Lord neither creates the urge for action, nor the feeling of doership, nor the
attachment to the result of action in people. The power of Material Nature does all
this.” (5.14)
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From the reading. . .
“Perceive the same Self (or spirit) abiding in every being, and all beings
abiding in the Self.”
Path of Meditation
Lord Krishna said: “One does not become a renunciant by merely not lighting the
fire, or by abstaining from work. (6.01) For the wise, who seek to attain equa-
nimity of mind, selfless service is said to be the means. Equanimity leads to Self-
realization. (6.02) One attains perfection by renouncing attachment to the fruit of
work, and to selfish desire. (6.04) One can elevate or degrade oneself by one’s own
mind. The mind becomes a friend to the one who has control over it, and an enemy
to the one who is controlled by the mind.” (6.05-06)
“Perceive the same Self (or spirit) abiding in every being, and all beings abiding
in the Self. (6.29) Those who see Me in everything and see everything in Me, are
not separated from Me and I am not separated from them. (6.30) Undoubtedly, O
Arjuna, the mind is restless and very difficult to control, but it can be subdued by
sincere spiritual practice and by detachment.” (6.35)
Arjuna said: “The faithful one who deviates from the path of meditation due to an
un-subdued mind—what is the destination of such a person, O Krishna? (6.37)
Does he not perish like a dispersing cloud, O Krishna, having lost both heav-
enly and worldly pleasures, without support and bewildered on the path of Self-
realization?” (6.38)
Lord Krishna said: “There is no destruction, O Arjuna, for the one who tries to
attain perfection either here or hereafter. A transcendentalist is never put to grief,
My dear friend. (6.40) The less evolved unsuccessful one is reborn in the house of
the pious and prosperous after attaining heaven and living there for many years.
The highly evolved unsuccessful one does not go to heaven, but is born in a spir-
itually advanced family. A birth like that is very difficult to obtain in this world.
(6.41-2) There, one regains the knowledge acquired in the previous life, and strives
again to achieve perfection, O Arjuna. (6.43) The most devoted of all is the one
who lovingly remembers Me with faith, and whose mind is ever absorbed in Me.”
(6.47)
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Self-Knowledge and Enlightenment
Lord Krishna said: “O Arjuna, listen to how you shall know Me fully without any
doubt, with your mind absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, and trying to reach
Me.” (7.01)
“Material Nature or matter is My lower energy. My other higher energy is the Spirit
by which this entire universe is sustained, O Arjuna. (7.05) Know that all creatures
have evolved from this twofold energy; and the Supreme Spirit is the source of
origin as well as dissolution of the entire universe. (7.06) There is nothing higher
than the Supreme Being, O Arjuna. Everything in the universe is strung on the
Supreme Being, like jewels strung on a necklace.” (7.07)
From the reading. . .
“Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity—using whatever name, form,
and method—with faith, I make their faith steady in that deity.”
“Knowthat three modes of Material Nature—goodness, passion, and ignorance—also
emanate from Me. I am not dependent on, or affected by, the modes of Material
Nature; but the modes of Material Nature are dependent on Me. (7.12) Human
beings are deluded by various aspects of these three modes of Material Nature;
therefore, they do not understand Me, I am eternal and above these modes.” (7.13)
“This divine power (Maya) of Mine, consisting of three states of mind or matter,
is very difficult to overcome. Only those who surrender unto Me easily cross over
this Maya. (7.14) Four types of virtuous ones worship or seek Me, O Arjuna. They
are:”
• the distressed,
• the seeker of Self-knowledge,
• the seeker of wealth, and
• the enlightened one who has experienced the Supreme Being. (7.16)
“The wise surrender to Me by realizing—after many births—that everything in the
universe and the world is nothing but My manifestation. Such a great soul is very
rare.” (7.19)
“Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity—using whatever name, form, and
method—with faith, I make their faith steady in that deity. Endowed with steady
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faith they worship that deity, and obtain their wishes through that deity. Those
wishes are granted by Me.” (7.22)
The Eternal Spirit
Arjuna said: “O Krishna, who is the Eternal Being or the Spirit? What is the nature
of the Eternal Being? What is Karma? Who are mortal beings? And who are Tem-
poral Beings? Who is the Supreme Being, and how does He dwell in the body?
How can You, the Supreme Being, be remembered at the time of death by those
who have control over their minds, O Krishna?” (8.01-2)
Lord Krishna said: “The eternal and immutable Spirit of the Supreme Being is also
called the Eternal Being or the Spirit. The inherent power of cognition and desire
of the Eternal Being (Spirit) is called the nature of the Eternal Being. The creative
power of the Eternal Being (Spirit) that causes manifestation of the living entity
is called Karma. (8.03) Various expansions of the Supreme Being are called Tem-
poral Beings. The Supreme Being also resides in the inner psyche of all beings as
the Divine Controller. (8.04) Thought of whatever object that predominates during
one’s lifetime, one remembers that object at the end of life and achieves it. (8.06)
Therefore, always remember Me and do your duty. You shall certainly attain Me if
your mind and intellect are ever focused on Me.” (8.07) You will remember your
ultimate goal in life at the time of death. Do not just set your mind on The Supreme
Being but set Him as your ultimate Goal.
“I am easily attainable, O Arjuna, by that ever-steadfast devotee who always thinks
of Me. (8.14) The dwellers of all the worlds up to and including heaven and the
world of the creator are subject to the miseries of repeated birth and death. But,
after attaining Me, O Arjuna, one does not take birth again.” (8.16)
Supreme Knowledge and the Big Mystery
Lord Krishna said: “I shall reveal to you, who do not disbelieve, the most profound
secret transcendental knowledge together with transcendental experience. Having
known this you will be freed from the miseries of worldly existence. (9.01) This
Self-knowledge is the king of all knowledge, is the most secret, is very sacred, it
can be perceived by instinct, conforms to righteousness (Dharma), is very easy to
practice, and is timeless.” (9.02)
“This entire universe is an expansion of Mine. All beings depend on Me. I do not
depend on them, and am not affected by them. (9.04) Perceive that all beings re-
main in Me—without any contact or without producing any effect—as the mighty
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wind moving everywhere, eternally remains in space. (9.06) I create the entire
multitude of beings again and again with the help of My Material Nature. These
beings are under the control of the modes of Material Nature. (9.08) These acts of
creation do not bind Me, O Arjuna, because I remain indifferent and unattached
to those acts. (9.09) The divine kinetic energy (Maya) with the help of Material
Nature creates all animate and inanimate objects under My supervision, and thus
the creation keeps on going, O Arjuna.” (9.10)
An Expanding Bubble in Space, adapted from NASA
“I personally take care of both spiritual and material welfare of those ever-steadfast
devotees who always remember and adore Me with single-minded contemplation.
(9.22) O Arjuna, even those devotees who worship the deities with faith, they also
really worship Me. (9.23) Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water with
devotion; I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted. (9.26) O
Arjuna, whatever you do, eat, give, or sacrifice, do it as an offering to Me.” (9.27)
A dedicated heart full of devotion is needed to obtain God’s grace, not rituals.
From the reading. . .
“O Arjuna, whatever you do, eat, give, or sacrifice, do it as an offering to
Me.”
“The Self is present equally in all beings. There is no one hateful or dear to Me.
But, those who worship Me with love and devotion are very close to Me, and I am
also very close to them. (9.29) Even if the most sinful person resolves to worship
Me with single-minded loving devotion, such a person must be regarded as a saint
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because of making the right resolution. (9.30) O Arjuna, My devotee shall never
perish or fall down.” (9.31) There is no unforgivable sin or sinner.
“Anybody can attain the Supreme Abode by just surrendering unto My will with
loving devotion, O Arjuna. (9.32) Always think of Me, be devoted to Me, worship
Me, and bow down to Me. Thus uniting yourself with Me by setting Me as the
supreme goal and the sole refuge, you shall certainly come to Me.” (9.34)
Manifestation of the Absolute
“Neither the celestial controllers, nor the great sages know My origin, because I
am the origin of celestial controllers and great sages also. (10.02) One who knows
Me as the unborn, without a beginning or an end, and the Supreme Lord of the uni-
verse, is considered wise among mortals, and becomes liberated from the bondage
of Karma.” (10.03)
“Discrimination, Self-knowledge, non-delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control
over mind and senses, tranquility, pleasure, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonvio-
lence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, disgrace, all these diverse
qualities in human beings arise from Me alone. (10.04-05) I am the source of all.
Everything originates from Me. Understanding this, the wise ones worship Me
with love and devotion. (10.08). I give knowledge and understanding of the meta-
physical science to those who are ever united with Me and lovingly adore Me, by
which they come to Me.” (10.10)
Arjuna said: “O Krishna, I believe all that You have told me to be true. O Lord,
neither the celestial controllers nor the demons comprehend Your glory. (10.14) O
Creator and Lord of all beings, God of all celestial rulers, the Supreme person, and
Lord of the universe, no one understands You. You alone know Yourself.” (10.15)
Lord Krishna said: “O Arjuna, now I shall explain to you My prominent divine
manifestations, because My manifestations are endless.” (10.19) “There is no end
to My divine manifestations, O Arjuna. Whatever is endowed with glory, bril-
liance, and power; know that to be the manifestation of a very small fraction of
My splendor. (10.41) I continually support the entire universe by a small fraction
of My divine energy.” (10.42)
Vision of the Cosmic Form
Arjuna said: “O Lord, You are as You have said; yet I wish to see Your divine
cosmic form, O Supreme Being. (11.03) O Lord, if You think it is possible for me
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to see Your universal form, then, O Lord of the devotees, show me Your transcen-
dental form.” (11.04)
Lord Krishna said: “O Arjuna, behold My hundreds and thousands of multifarious
divine forms of different colors and shapes. Behold all the celestial beings, and
many wonders never seen before. Also behold the entire creation animate, inan-
imate, and whatever else you like to see all at one place in My body. (11.05-07)
You will not be able to see Me with your physical eye; therefore, I give you the
divine eye to see My majestic power and glory.” (11.08)
Arjuna saw the entire universe, divided in many ways, but standing as all in One,
and One in all in the transcendental body of Krishna, the Lord of celestial rulers.
(11.13) Arjuna said: “I believe You are the Supreme Being to be realized. You are
the ultimate resort of the universe. You are the Spirit, and protector of the eternal
order. (11.18) O Lord, You pervade the entire space between heaven and earth in
all directions. Seeing Your marvelous and terrible form, the three worlds tremble.”
(11.20)
The Cat’s Eye Nebula, adapted from NASA
Lord Krishna said: “I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world. I have come
here to destroy all these people. Even without your participation in the war, all
the warriors standing arrayed in the opposing army shall cease to exist. (11.32)
Therefore, get up and attain glory. Conquer your enemies, and enjoy a prosperous
kingdom. I have already destroyed all these warriors. You are only an instrument,
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O Arjuna.” (11.33)
“O Arjuna, neither by study of scriptures, nor by austerity, nor by charity, nor by
ritual, can I be seen in the form as you have seen Me. (11.53) However, through
single minded devotion I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and
also can be reached. (11.54) One who does his worldly duty for Me, to whom I am
the supreme goal, who is my devotee, free from attachment and without enmity
towards living beings, realizes Me.” (11.55)
Path of Devotion
Lord Krishna said: “Those ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith
by fixing their mind on a personal form of God, I consider them to be the best
devotees. (12.02) Those who worship the unchangeable, the inexplicable, the in-
visible, the omnipresent, the inconceivable, the unchanging, the immovable, and
the formless impersonal aspect of God; restraining all senses, even-minded under
all circumstances, engaged in the welfare of all creatures, also attain God.” (12.03-
04)
From the reading. . .
“I have already destroyed all these warriors. You are only an instrument, O
Arjuna”
“Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their minds on an impersonal,
unmanifest, and formless Absolute because comprehension of the unmanifest by
embodied beings is attained with difficulty.” (12.05)
“For those who worship the Supreme with unswerving devotion as their personal
God, offer all actions to Me, intent on Me as the Supreme, and meditate on Me; I
swiftly become their savior from the world that is an ocean of death and transmi-
gration, O Arjuna.” (12.06-07) True devotion is intense love for God.
“Therefore, focus your mind on Me, and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone
through meditation and contemplation. Thereafter you shall certainly attain Me.
(12.08) If you are unable to focus your mind steadily on Me, then long to attain
Me by practice of any spiritual discipline; such as a ritual, or deity worship that
suits you. (12.09) If you are unable even to do any spiritual discipline, then be
intent on performing your duty just for Me. You shall attain perfection by doing
your prescribed duty for Me—without (selfish) attachment—just as an instrument
to serve and please Me. (12.10) If you are unable to do your duty for Me, then just
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surrender unto My will; renounce the attachment to, and the anxiety for, fruit of
all work by learning to accept all results as God’s grace, with equanimity.” (12.11)
“Transcendental knowledge of the scriptures is better than mere ritualistic practice;
meditation is better than scriptural knowledge; renunciation of selfish attachment
to the fruit of work is better than meditation; peace immediately follows renuncia-
tion of selfish motives.” (12.12)
“One who does not hate any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, free from
the notion of ‘I’ and ‘my,’ even-minded in pleasure and disappointment, forgiving;
ever content, who has subdued his mind, whose resolve is firm, whose mind and
intellect are engaged on dwelling upon Me, who is devoted to Me, is dear to Me.
(12.13-14) The one by whom others are not perturbed and who is not perturbed by
others, who is free from joy, envy, fear, and anxiety, is also dear to Me. (12.15) One
who is without desire, wise, impartial, and free from anxiety; who has renounced
the doership in all undertakings; such a devotee is dear to Me. (12.16) The one
who remains the same towards friend or foe, in honor or disgrace, in heat or cold,
in pleasure or disappointment; who is free from attachment; who is indifferent to
censure or praise; who is quiet, and content with whatever one has; unattached to
a place, a country, or a house; equanimous, and full of devotion that person is dear
to Me. (12.18-19) But those faithful devotees, who set Me as their supreme goal
and follow—or just sincerely try to develop—the above-mentioned nectar of moral
values are very dear to Me.” (12.20)
Creation and the Creator
“O Arjuna, know Me to be the creator of all creation. The true understanding of
both the creator and the creation is considered by Me to be transcendental knowl-
edge. (13.02) The physical body with all its attributes including intellect, mind,
sense organs, abilities, and all human emotions; steadfastness in acquiring knowl-
edge of the Spirit, and seeing the omnipresent Supreme Being everywhere is said
to be Self-knowledge. That which is contrary to this is ignorance.” (13.09-11)
“The Supreme spirit is all pervading, and omnipresent. (13.13) He is the perceiver
of all sense objects without physical sense organs; unattached, and yet the sus-
tainer of all; devoid of the three modes of Material Nature, and yet the enjoyer
of the modes of Material Nature by becoming a living entity. (13.14) He is inside
as well as outside all beings, animate and inanimate. He is incomprehensible be-
cause of His subtlety. He resides in one’s inner psyche as well as far away in the
Supreme Abode. (13.15) He is undivided, and yet appears to exist as if divided in
all beings. He is the object of knowledge, and appears as the creator, sustainer, and
destroyer of all beings. (13.16) Know that both the Material Nature and the Spiri-
tual Being are without beginning. All manifestations and the three dispositions of
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mind and matter, called modes, are born of Material Nature. Material Nature is
said to be the cause of production of physical body and organs of perception and
action. Spirit (or Consciousness) is said to be the cause of experiencing pleasure
and disappointment.” (13.19-20)
“Spiritual Being enjoys three modes of Material Nature by associating with Ma-
terial Nature. Attachment to the three modes of Material Nature is caused by pre-
vious Karma, which also causes birth of living entity in good and evil wombs.
(13.21) The Spirit in the body is the witness, the guide, the supporter, the enjoyer,
and the controller. (13.22) Whatever is born animate or inanimate, know them to
be born from the union of Spirit and matter, O Arjuna.” (13.26)
“The one who sees the same eternal Supreme Lord dwelling as Spirit within all
mortal beings truly sees. (13.27) When one beholds one and the same Lord existing
equally in every being, one does not injure anybody, because one considers every
thing as one’s own self; and thereupon attains Salvation. (13.28) The one who
perceives that all work is done by the power of Material Nature truly understands,
and thus does not consider oneself as the doer. (13.29) The moment one discovers
diverse variety of beings and their different ideas abiding in One, and coming
out from ‘That’ alone, one attains the Supreme Being. (13.30) Just as one sun
illuminates the entire world, similarly, Spirit gives life to the entire creation, O
Arjuna.”(13.33)
“They who perceive—with an eye of Self-knowledge—the difference between cre-
ation (or the body) and the Creator (or the Spirit) as well as know the technique
of liberation (through Selfless service, Knowledge, Devotion or Meditation) of the
living entity from the trap of divine illusory energy (Maya), attain the Supreme.”
(13.34)
Three Modes of Material Nature
“My Material Nature is the womb of creation wherein I place the seed of Con-
sciousness from which all beings are born, O Arjuna. (14.03) Goodness, passion,
and ignorance—these three modes or ropes of Material Nature bind the eternal
individual soul to the body, O Arjuna. (14.05) Of these, the mode of goodness is
illuminating and good, because it is pure. The mode of goodness attaches the liv-
ing entity to happiness and knowledge. The mode of passion is characterized by
intense craving for sensual pleasure and greed, and is the source of material de-
sire, attachment, and restlessness. The mode of passion binds the living entity to
the fruit of work. (14.07) The mode of ignorance, the deluder of living entity, is
born of inertia. It binds living entity to carelessness, laziness, and excessive sleep.”
(14.08)
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“When one perceives no doer other than the power of the Supreme Being in the
form of the modes of Material Nature, and know That which is above and beyond
these modes; then they attain Nirvana or Salvation.” (14.19)
Arjuna said: “What is the mark of those who have transcended the three modes of
Material Nature, and what is their conduct? How does one transcend these three
modes of Material Nature, O Lord Krishna?” (14.21)
Lord Krishna said: “One who neither hates the presence of enlightenment, activ-
ity, and delusion; nor desires for them when they are absent; who remains like a
witness without being affected by the modes of Material Nature, and stays firmly
attached to the Lord without wavering thinking that the modes of Material Nature
only are operating.” (14.22-23)
“The one who depends on the Lord and is indifferent to pleasure and disappoint-
ment; to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the dear and the un-
friendly are alike; who is of firm mind, who is calm in censure and in praise. The
one who is indifferent to honor and disgrace; who is impartial to friend and foe,
and who has renounced the sense of doership and ownership—is said to have tran-
scended the modes of Material Nature.” (14.24-25)
“The one who offers service to Me with love and unswerving devotion transcends
three modes of Material Nature, and becomes fit for Salvation (Nirvana).” (14.26)
The Supreme Being
“Those who are free from pride and delusion, who have conquered the evil of
attachment, who are constantly dwelling on the Supreme Being with senses under
control, who understand dualities of pleasure and disappointment. Such wise ones
reach My Supreme Abode. (15.05) The individual soul in the body of living beings
is the integral part of the universal Spirit, or Consciousness. The individual soul
associates with the six sensory faculties of perception including the mind, and
activates them.” (15.07)
From the reading. . .
“I am seated in the inner psyche of all beings.”
“Just as air takes aroma away from a flower; similarly, the individual soul takes
the six sensory faculties from the physical body it casts off during death to a new
physical body it acquires. (15.08) The living entity enjoys sensual pleasure using
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six sensory faculties of hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell, and mind. The devotees
striving for perfection behold the living entity abiding in their inner psyche as
consciousness.”
“I am seated in the inner psyche of all beings. Memory, Self-knowledge, and the
removal of doubt and wrong notions about God come from Me. I am verily that
which is to be known by the study of all the Vedas. I am, indeed, the author as well
as the student of the Vedas(Scriptures).” (15.15)
“There are two entities in the cosmos: The changeable Temporal Beings, and the
unchangeable Eternal Being (the Spirit). All created beings are subject to change,
but the Spirit does not change. (15.16) The Supreme Being (or the Absolute) is
beyond both the Temporal Beings and the Eternal Beings. That Supreme Being is
also called the Absolute Reality that sustains both the Temporal and the Eternal by
pervading everything. (15.17) Because the Supreme Being is beyond both Tempo-
ral and Eternal Beings; therefore, He is known in this world and in the scriptures
as the Supreme Being (Absolute Reality, Truth, Super-soul). (15.18) The wise who
truly understand the Supreme Being, worship Him whole-heartedly. (15.19) Thus
this most secret transcendental science of the Absolute has been explained by Me.
Upon understanding this, one becomes enlightened, and all of one’s duties are ac-
complished, O Arjuna.”(15.20)
Golden Temple, adapted from Library of Congress
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Divine and the Demonic Qualities
Lord Krishna said: “Fearlessness, purity of inner psyche, perseverance in devotion
of Self-knowledge, charity, sense restraint, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity,
honesty, nonviolence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, ab-
staining from malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, freedom from greed,
gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness, splendor, forgiveness, fortitude, clean-
liness, absence of malice, and absence of pride are some of the qualities of those
endowed with divine virtues, O Arjuna.” (16.01-03)
“Basically, there are only two types of human beings in this world, the divine,
and the demonic. (16.06) People of demonic nature do not know what to do and
what not to do. They neither have purity nor good conduct nor truthfulness. (16.07)
They think the world is unreal, without a substratum, without a God, and without
an order. (16.08) Adhering to this wrong atheist view, these degraded souls—with
small intellect and cruel deeds—are born as enemies for the destruction of the
world. (16.09) Filled with insatiable desires, hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance; hold-
ing wrong views due to delusion; they act with impure motives. (16.10) Obsessed
with endless anxiety lasting until death, considering sense gratification their high-
est aim, convinced that sensual pleasure is everything. (16.11) Bound by hundreds
of ties of desire and enslaved by lust and anger; they strive to obtain wealth for the
fulfillment of sensual pleasure.”
“They think: ‘I have gained this today, I shall fulfill this desire; I have this much
wealth, and will have more wealth in the future. (16.13) That enemy has been
slain by me, and I shall slay others also. I am the Lord. I am the enjoyer. I am
successful, powerful, and happy. (16.14) I am rich and born in a noble family. No
one is equal to me. I shall perform sacrifice, I shall give charity, and I shall rejoice.’
Thus deluded by ignorance, bewildered by many fancies, entangled in the net of
delusion, and addicted to the enjoyment of sensual pleasure, they fall into foul hell.
(16.16) Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with pride and intoxication of wealth; they
perform religious services only in name, for show, and not according to scriptural
injunction.” (16.17)
“These malicious people cling to egoism, power, arrogance, lust, and anger; and
hate Me who dwells in their own bodies and those of others. (16.18) I hurl these
haters, cruel, sinful, and mean people into cycles of rebirth in the wombs of demons
again and again. (16.19) O Arjuna, entering the wombs of demons birth after birth,
the deluded ones sink to the lowest hell without ever attaining Me” (until their
minds change for the better, by the causeless mercy of the Lord). (16.20)
“Lust, anger, and greed are the three gates of hell leading to the downfall (or
bondage) of an individual. Therefore, one must learn to give these up. (16.21)
Speaking ill of others is a terrible sin, because, it pollutes the mind of the speaker
without any beneficial effect. Perform your duty following scriptural injunction.”
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(16.24).
Threefold Faith
Arjuna said: “What is the mode of devotion of those who perform spiritual practice
with faith but without following scriptural injunction, O Krishna? Is it in the mode
of goodness, passion, or ignorance?” (17.01)
From the reading. . .
“One can become whatever one wants to be, if one constantly contemplates
on the object of desire with faith.”
Lord Krishna said: “The natural faith of embodied beings is of three kinds: good-
ness, passion, and ignorance. Nowhear about these fromMe. (17.02) OArjuna, the
faith of each is in accordance with one’s own natural disposition that is governed
by Karmic impressions. A person is known by faith. One can become whatever
one wants to be, if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith.”
(17.03)
People in the mode of goodness:
• Like healthy, juicy foods;
• Undertake selfless work without attachment to results (austerity of deed);
• Worship celestial controlling forces (guardian angels, Devas or Gods);
• Speak inoffensively, in a pleasant, beneficial, and truthful manner (austerity of
speech) (17.15);
• Study scriptures;
• Are gentle, equanimous, think pure thoughts, exercise self control (austerity of
thought);
• Give charity as a matter of duty, to deserving candidates, without any expecta-
tion.
In the mode of passion, people:
• Like food that is extreme in taste (overly spicy, salty, or sweet);
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• Worship supernatural rulers and demons;
• Perform selfless service (austerity) for show, to gain respect, honor, or reverence
that yields uncertain and temporary results (17.18);
• Give charity with expectation of something in return.
• People in the mode of ignorance:
• Enjoy unhealthy foods and drinks;
• Worship ghosts and spirits;
• Are hypocritical and egoistic;
• Perform austerity with self-torture, or for harming others;
• Give charity to the unworthy.
“Whatever is done without faith whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, or any
other act is useless. It has no value here or hereafter, O Arjuna.” (17.28)
Village in Punjab, adapted from Library of Congress
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Salvation through Renunciation
Arjuna said: “I wish to know the nature of renunciation and sacrifice, and the
difference between the two, O Lord Krishna.” (18.01)
Lord Krishna said: “The sages define renunciation as abstaining from all work for
personal profit. The wise define sacrifice as the sacrifice of, and the freedom from,
selfish attachment to the fruit of all work. (18.02) Giving up one’s duty is not
proper. The abandonment of obligatory work is due to delusion, and is declared
to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.07) The embodied beings are unable to com-
pletely abstain from work; therefore, one who renounces the selfish attachment to
the fruit of work is considered a renunciant.” (18.11)
The five causes, for the accomplishment of all actions are: (18.13-14)
• The physical body, the seat of Karma
• The modes of Material Nature, the doer;
• The eleven organs of perception and action, the instruments;
• Various bio-impulses, or life forces;
• The presiding controlling forces or deities of the eleven organs.
“Whatever action, whether right or wrong, one performs by thought, word, and
deed; these are the five causes.” (18.15)
Threefold driving force to an action are:
• The subject;
• The object;
• The knowledge of the object.
Three components of action are: (18.18)
• The eleven organs (six sense organs: ear, skin, eye, tongue, nose, and the mind;
and five organs of action: mouth, hand, leg, anus, and urethra);
• The act;
• The agent or the modes of Material Nature.
The four goals of human life designed for gradual and systematic growth of the
individual and progress of society are (18.34):
• Doing one’s duty;
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• Earning wealth;
• Material and sensual enjoyment (with senses under control);
• Attaining salvation.
In the mode of goodness one:
• Possesses the knowledge by which one sees a single (undivided) immutable
Reality in all beings;
• Performs obligatory duty without likes and dislikes, or attachment to the result;
• Enjoys sensual pleasure with senses under control
• Is free from attachment, non-egotistic, has resolve and enthusiasm, and is un-
perturbed in success or failure;
• Has intellect by which one understands the path of work and the path of renun-
ciation, right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation;
• as the resolve by which one manipulates functions of the mind and senses for
God-realization;
• Enjoys pleasure from spiritual practice resulting in cessation of all sorrows;
• Enjoys pleasure that comes by the grace of Self-knowledge.
In the mode of passion one:
• Sees different realities of various types among all beings as separate from one
another;
• Abandons duty merely because it is difficult, or because of fear of bodily trou-
ble; (18.08)
• Performs action with ego, selfish motives, and with too much effort;
• Is impassioned, attached to the fruit of his work, greedy, violent, impure, and is
affected by joy and sorrow;
• Cannot distinguish between righteousness (Dharma) and unrighteousness (Adharma),
and right and wrong action;
• Craves for the fruit of work, clings to duty, accumulating wealth and enjoyment
with great attachment;
• Enjoys sensual pleasure without control over the senses.
In the mode of ignorance one:
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• Has worthless knowledge by which one clings to one single effect (such as the
body) as if that is everything;
• Abandons obligatory work due to delusion; (18.07)
• Undertakes action because of delusion; disregarding consequences, loss, or in-
jury to others;
• Is undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, wicked, malicious, lazy, depressed, and pro-
crastinating;
• Accepts unrighteousness (Adharma) as righteousness (Dharma), has intellect
which is covered by ignorance;
• Does not give up sleep, fear, grief, despair, and carelessness;
• Considers the body or oneself as the sole agent due to imperfect knowledge.
“There is no being, either on earth or among the celestial controllers in heaven,
who can remain free from these three modes of Material Nature.” (18.40)
“Human labor is categorized as intellectuals, administrators (or protectors), busi-
nessmen, and unskilled workers based on the qualities inherent in people’s nature
and their make up. (18.41) One can attain the highest perfection by devotion to
one’s natural work. Listen to Me how one attains perfection while engaged in one’s
natural work.” (18.45)
“One attains tranquility, freedom from bondage of Karma, and attains the Supreme
Being by:”
• Renouncing selfish attachment to the fruit of work;
• Performing one’s natural duty, to the best of one’s ability, for the Supreme Be-
ing;
• Purifying the intellect by spiritual practice;
• Subduing the mind and senses with firm resolve;
• Giving up likes and dislikes;
• Enjoying solitude;
• Eating lightly;
• Controlling mind, speech, and organs of action;
• Taking refuge in detachment;
• Relinquishing egotism, violence, pride, lust, anger, and proprietorship;
• Becoming free from the notion of “I, me, and my.”
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“Absorbed in the Supreme Being, the serene one neither grieves nor desires; be-
coming impartial to all beings, one obtains the highest devotional love for the
Supreme Being. (18.54) By devotion one truly understands Me in essence and
merges into Me. (18.55) Mentally offer all actions to Me and be devoted to Me. Be
calm and always fix your mind on Me. (18.57)”
“If due to ego you think: ‘I shall not fight’; this resolve of yours is in vain. Your
own nature will compel you to fight. (18.59) O Arjuna, you are controlled by your
own nature-born Karmic impressions. Therefore, you shall do even against your
will what you do not wish to do out of delusion.” (18.60)
“The Supreme Lord—as the controller abiding in the inner psyche of all beings—causes
them to work out their Karma. We are puppets of our own Karma.” (18.61)
“Set aside all meritorious deeds and religious rituals, and just surrender completely
to My will with firm faith and loving devotion. I shall liberate you from all sin, the
bond of Karma. Do not grieve.” (18.66)
“This knowledge should never be spoken to one who is devoid of austerity, who is
without devotion, who does not desire to listen, who speaks ill of Me, or does not
believe in God.”
“The one who shall propagate this supreme secret philosophy, the transcendental
knowledge of the Gita, amongst My devotees, shall be performing the highest de-
votional service to Me, and shall certainly come to Me. No other person shall do
more pleasing service to Me, and no one on earth shall be dearer to Me. (18.68-69)
I promise the study of this sacred dialogue of ours will be equivalent to worship-
ping Me with knowledge-sacrifice.” (18.70)
“Whoever hears this sacred dialogue with faith and without cavil becomes free
from sin, and attains salvation.” (18.71)
“O Arjuna, did you listen to this with single-minded attention? Has your delusion
born of ignorance been completely destroyed?” (18.72)
Arjuna said: “By Your grace my delusion is destroyed, I have gained Self-knowledge,
my confusion with regard to the body and the Spirit is dispelled and I shall obey
Your command.”; (18.73)
Epilogue—Lord Krishna’s Last Sermon
At the end of another long sermon comprising of more than one thousand verses,
disciple Uddhava said: “O Lord Krishna, I think the pursuit of God as You nar-
rated to Arjuna, and now to me, is very difficult indeed, for most people; because
it entails control of unruly senses. Please tell me a short, simple, and easy way
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to God-realization.” Lord Krishna upon Uddhava’s request gave the essentials of
Self-realization as follows:
• Do your duty, to the best of your ability, for Me without worrying about the
outcome.
• Remember Me at all times.
• Perceive that God is within every living being. Mentally bow down to all beings
and treat all beings equally.
• Perceive through the activities of mind, senses, breathing, and emotions that the
power of God is within you at all times, and is constantly doing all the work
using you as a mere instrument and a trustee.
From the reading. . .
“There is no unforgivable sin or sinner.”
Jammu Temples at a Distance, adapted from Library of Congress
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Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla
Topics Worth Investigating
1. What do you suppose is the rationale behind Krishna’s declaration “Only for-
tunate warriors, O Arjuna, get an opportunity of an unsought war that is like
an open door to heaven”? Can you locate evidence that this same belief is a
tenet of Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism?
2. Krishna relates, “The senses are said to be superior to the body, the mind
is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, transcendental
knowledge is superior to the intellect, and the Self is superior to transcendental
knowledge.” Explicate the use of the term “superior” in this passage. Is this
sense of “superior” a non-naturalistic use of the word? Explain.
Does the found sense of “superior” illuminate the meaning of the phrase “[t]he
mind becomes a friend to the one who has control over it”—as if there is
something else that controls the mind?
3. On the one hand, an important tenet of the path of renunciation is, in Kr-
ishna’s words, “Do all work as an offering to God abandoning attachment to
the results.” On the other hand, an important tenet of modern psychology is
the visualization of results as an aid to improvement. Can these two ways of
understanding actions be made logically consistent and practically helpful?
4. If all work were to be done, as the path of renunciation implies, “as an offering
to God abandoning attachment to the results,” then would it follow that no task
is any more important than any other task? Would it also follow that we should
not so much seek to help others for their own sake as we should seek to help
others as an offering?
5. How are sacrifice and self-defeating behavior to be distinguished? Is the main
difference in worship?
6. Explain as clearly as possible what Krishna means when he states, “O Arjuna,
you are controlled by your own nature-born Karmic impressions.” When Kr-
ishna continues with “ We are puppets of our own karma,” does this imply
that we do not have free will?
7. As described in the Gita, what is self-realization and how is it attained?
30 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 2
“Paper on Hinduism” by Swami
Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda, (detail)
About the author. . .
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), humanist and social reformer, attended Calcutta
University and later studied the Vedas, Upanishads, Sufism, the Bible, Sikhism
and Buddhism with Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa. Perhaps, more than any other
individual, Vivekananda is credited with introducing and explaining the universal
teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads to the unaquainted Western World.
31
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
About the work. . .
Vivekananda’s “Paper on Hinduism,”
1
was read at the World Parliament on Reli-
gions in 1893. Vivekananda’s addresses at this congress emphasized the belief that
no one religion is superior to another. In his opening address, He quoted the Gita:
“As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their
water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different
tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.” He
taught that all religions are different ways of undersanding and different paths to
the same goal and strongly opposed bigotry and fanaticism.
From the reading. . .
“Where is the common basis upon which all these seemingly hopeless con-
tradictions rest?”
Ideas of Interest from “Paper on
Hinduism”
1. According to Vivekananda what is the cosmology expressed in the Vedas?
2. What are the reasons Vivekananda offers for the belief that the universe was
not created?
3. How does Vivekananda explain reincarnation and past lives? What is his ex-
planation for why we cannot remember past lives?
4. Why does Hinduism reject the notion that we are all sinners?
5. According to Vivekananda, what is the main goal of Hinduism?
6. How does the use of mental imagery and physical representation give rise to
the charge of idolatry, superstition, and bigotry in world religions?
7. How does Hinduism account for the major differences among the world reli-
gions?
1. Swami Vivekananda. “Paper on Hinduism,” World’s Parliament on Religions, 1893.
32 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
The Reading Selection from “Paper on
Hinduism”
[Introduction]
Three religions now stand in the world which have come down to us from time pre-
historic—Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism. They have all received tremen-
dous shocks, and all of them prove by their survival their internal strength. But
while Judaism failed to absorb Christianity and was driven out of its place of birth
by its all-conquering daughter, and a handful of Parsees is all that remains to tell
the tale of their grand religion, sect after sect arose in India and seemed to shake
the religion of the Vedas to its very foundations, but like the waters of the sea-
shore in a tremendous earthquake it receded only for a while, only to return in an
all-absorbing Hood, a thousand times more vigorous, and when the tumult of the
rush was over, these sects were all sucked in, absorbed and assimilated into the
immense body of the mother faith. From the high spiritual flights of the Vedanta
philosophy, of which the latest discoveries of science seem like echoes, to the low
ideas of idolatry with its multifarious mythology, the agnosticism of the Buddhists
and the atheism of the Jains, each and all have a place in the Hindu’s religion.
Where then, the question arises, where is the common center to which all these
widely diverging radii converge? Where is the common basis upon which all these
seemingly hopeless contradictions rest? And this is the question I shall attempt to
answer.
[The Vedas]
The Hindus have received their religion through revelation, the Vedas. They hold
that the Vedas are without beginning and without end. It may sound ludicrous to
this audience, how a book can be without beginning or end. But by the Vedas no
books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered
by different persons in different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before
its discovery, and would exist if all humanity forgot it, so is it with the laws that
govern the spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits
and the Father of all spirits were there before their discovery, and would remain
even if we forgot them.
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Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
[The Concept of Creation]
The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis, and we honor them as perfected
beings. I am glad to tell this audience that some of the very greatest of them were
women.
From the reading. . .
“Then, if there was a time when nothing existed, where was all this mani-
fested energy? ”
Here it may be said that these laws as laws may be without end, but they must have
had a beginning. The Vedas teach us that creation is without beginning or end. Sci-
ence is said to have proved that the sum total of cosmic energy is always the same.
Then, if there was a time when nothing existed, where was all this manifested en-
ergy? Some say it was in a potential form in God. In that case God is sometimes
potential and sometimes kinetic, which would make Him mutable. Everything mu-
table is a compound and everything compound must undergo that change which
is called destruction. So God would die, which is absurd—Therefore, there never
was a time when there was no creation.
If I may be allowed to use a simile, creation and creator are two lines, without
beginning and without end, zoning parallel to each other. God is the ever-active
providence, by whose power systems after systems are being evolved out of chaos,
made to run for a time, and again destroyed. This is what the Brahmin boy repeats
every day:
The sun and the moon, the Lord created like the suns and the moons of previous cycles.
[Soul, Karma, and Reincarnation]
And this agrees with modern science. Here I Stand and if I shut my eyes, and try to
conceive my existence, “I,” “I,” “I,” what is the idea before me? The idea of a body.
Am I, then, nothing but a combination of material substances? The Vedas declare,
“No” I am a spirit living in a body: I am not the body. The body will die, but I
shall not die. Here I am in this body; it will fall, bull shall go on living. I had also
a past. The soul was not created, for creation means a combination, which means
a certain future dissolution. If then the soul was created, it must die. Some are
born happy, enjoy perfect health with beautiful body, mental vigor, and all wants
supplied. Others are born miserable; some are without hands or feet; others again
are idiots, and only drag on a wretched existence. Why, if they are all created, why
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does a just and merciful God create one happy and another unhappy, why is He so
partial? Nor would it mend matters in the least to hold that those who are miserable
in this life will be happy in a future a one. Why should a man be miserable even
here in the reign of a just and merciful God?
In the second place, the idea of a creator God does not explain the anomaly, but
simply expresses the cruel fiat of an all-powerful being. There must have been
causes, then, before his birth, to make a man miserable or happy and those were
his past actions.
Are not all the tendencies of the mind and the body accounted for by inherited
aptitude? Here are two parallel lines of existence - one of the mind, the other of
matter. If matter and its transformations answer for all that we have, there is no ne-
cessity for supposing the existence of a soul. But it cannot be proved that thought
has been evolved out of matter; and if a philosophical monism is inevitable, spiri-
tual monism is certainly logical and no less desirable than a materialistic monism;
but neither of these is necessary here.
From the reading. . .
“why does a just and merciful God create one happy and another unhappy,
why is He so partial?”
We cannot deny that bodies acquire certain tendencies from heredity, but those
tendencies only mean the physical configuration through which a peculiar mind
alone can act in a peculiar way. There are other tendencies peculiar to a soul caused
by his past actions. And a soul with a certain tendency would, by the laws of
affinity, take birth in a body which is the fittest instrument for the display of that
tendency. This is in accord with science, for science wants to explain everything by
habit, and habit is got through repetitions. So repetitions are necessary to explain
the natural habits of a new born soul. And since they were not obtained in this
present life, they must have come down from past lives.
There is another suggestion. Taking all these for granted, how is it that I do not
remember anything of my past life? This can be easily explained. I am now speak-
ing English. It is not my mother tongue; in fact, no words of my mother tongue are
now present in my consciousness; but let me try to bring them up, and they rush
in. That shows that consciousness is only the surface of mental ocean, and within
its depths are stored up all our experiences. Try and struggle, they would come up.
and you would be conscious even of your past life.
This is direct and demonstrative evidence. Verification is the perfect proof of a
theory, and here is the challenge thrown to the world by the Rishis. We have dis-
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Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
covered the secret by which the very depths of the ocean of memory can be stirred
up—try it and you would get a complete reminiscence of your past life.
So then the Hindu believes that he is a spirit. Him the sword cannot pierce—him
the fire cannot burn—him the water cannot melt—him the air cannot dry. The
Hindu believes that every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere but
whose center is located in the body, and that death means the change of the center
from holy to body. Nor is the soul bound by the conditions of matter.
[Soul and Nature]
In its very essence, it is free, unbounded, holy, pure, and perfect. But somehow or
other it finds itself tied down to matter and thinks of itself as matter. Why should
the free, perfect, and pure be thus under the thraldomof matter, is the next question.
How can the perfect soul be deluded into the belief that it is imperfect? We have
been told that the Hindus shirk the question and say that no such question can
be there—Some thinkers want to answer it by positing one or more quasi-perfect
beings, and use big scientific names to fill up the gap. But naming is not explaining.
The question remains the same. How can the perfect become the quasi-perfect;
how can the pure, the absolute change even a microscopic particle of its nature?
But the Hindu is sincere. He does not want to take shelter under sophistry. He is
brave enough to face the question in a manly fashion; and his answer is: “I do
not know. I do not know how the perfect being, the soul, came to think of itself as
imperfect, as Joined to and conditioned by matter.” But the fact is a fact for all that.
It is a fact in everybody’s consciousness that one thinks of oneself as the body. The
Hindu does not attempt to explain why one thinks one is the body. The answer that
it is the will of God is no explanation. This is nothing more than what the Hindu
says, “I do not know.”
Well, then, the human soul is eternal and immortal, perfect and infinite, and death
means only a change of center from one body to another. The present is determined
by our past actions, and the future by the present. The soul will go on evolving
up or reverting back from birth to birth and death to death. But here is another
question: Is man a tiny boat in a tempest, raised one moment on the foamy crest
of a billow and dashed down into a yawning chasm the next, rolling to and from
at the mercy of good and bad actions—a powerless, helpless wreck in an ever-
raging, ever-rushing, uncompromising current of cause and effect—a little moth
placed under the wheel of causation, which rolls on crushing everything in its way
and waits not for the widow’s tears or the orphan’s cry? The heart sinks at the idea,
yet this is the law of nature.
36 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
City on the Mountains—India, Library of Congress
[The Goal of Hinduism]
Is there no hope? Is there no escape?—was the cry that went up from the bottom
of the heart of despair. It reached the throne of mercy, and words of hope and
consolation came down and inspired a Vedic sage, and he stood up before the world
and in trumpet voice proclaimed the glad tidings: “Hear, ye children of immortal
bliss! even ye that reside in higher spheres! I have found the Ancient One who
is beyond all darkness, all delusion: knowing Him alone you shall be saved from
death over again.” “Children of immortal bliss”—what a sweet, what a hopeful
name! Allow me to call you, brethren, by that sweet name—heirs of immortal
bliss—yea, the Hindu refuses to call you sinners. We are the Children of God, the
sharers of immortal bliss, holy and perfect beings. Ye divinities on earth—sinners!
It is a sin to call a man so; it is standing libel on human nature. Come up, O lions,
and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free,
blest and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not
you the servant of matter.
Thus it is that the Vedas proclaim not a dreadful combination of unforgiving laws,
not an endless prison of cause and effect, but that at the head of all these laws, in
and through every particle of matter and force, stands One, “by whose command
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Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain and death stalks upon the earth.”
And what is His nature?
He is everywhere, the pure and formless One, the Almighty and the All-merciful.
“Thou art our father, Thou art our mother, Thou art our beloved friend, Thou art
the source of all strength; give us strength. Thou art He that beareth the burdens
of the universe; help me bear the little burden of this life.” Thus sang the Rishis of
the Veda. And how to worship Him? Through love. “He is to be worshiped as the
one beloved, dearer than everything in this and the next life.”
From the reading. . .
“The present is determined by our past actions, and the future by the present.
The soul will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth to birth and
death to death. ”
This is the doctrine of love declared in the Vedas, and let us see how it is fully
developed and taught by Krishna whom the Hindus believe to have been God in-
carnate on earth.
He taught that a man ought to live in this world like a lotus leaf, which grows in
water but is never moistened by water; so a man ought to live in the world—his
heart to God and his hands to work.
It is good to love God for hope of reward in this or the next world, but it is better
to love God for love’s sake; and the prayer goes: “Lord, I do not want wealth nor
children nor learning. If it be Thy will, I shall go from birth to birth; but grant me
this, that I may love Thee without the hope of reward—love unselfishly for love’s
sake.”
One of the disciples of Krishna, the then Emperor of India, was driven from his
kingdom by his enemies and had to take shelter with his queen, in a forest in the
Himalayas and there one day the queen asked how it was that he, the most virtuous
of men, should suffer so much misery. Yudhishthira answered, “Be hold, my queen,
the Himalayas, how grand and beautiful they are; I love them. They do not give me
anything but my nature is to love the grand, the beautiful, therefore I love them.
Similarly, I love the Lord. He is the source of all beauty, of all sublimity. He is
the only object to beloved; my nature is to love Him, and therefore I love. I do not
pray for anything; I do not ask for anything. Let Him place me wherever He likes.
I must love Him for love’s sake. I cannot trade in love.”
The Vedas teach that the soul is divine, only held in the bondage of matter; per-
fection will be reached when this bond will burst, and the word they use for it
38 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
is, therefore, Mukti—freedom, freedom from the bonds of imperfection, freedom
from death and misery—And this bondage can only fall off through the mercy of
God, and this mercy comes on the pure. So purity is the condition of His mercy.
How does that mercy act? He reveals Himself to the pure heart; the pure and the
stainless see God, yea, even in this life; then and then only all the crookedness of
the heart is made straight. Then all doubt ceases. He is no more the freak of a terri-
ble law of causation. This is the very center, the very vital conception of Hinduism.
The Hindu does not want to live upon words and theories, If there are existences
beyond the ordinary sensuous existence, he wants to come face to face with them.
If there is a soul in him which is not matter, if there is an all-merciful universal
Soul, he will go to Him direct. He must see Him, and that alone can destroy all
doubts. So the best proof a Hindu sage gives about the soul, about God, is: “I
have seen the soul; I have seen God.” And that is the only condition of perfection.
The Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain
doctrine or dogma, but in realizing—not in believing, but in being and becoming.
Thus the whole object of their system is by constant struggle to become perfect,
to become divine, to reach God, and see God; and this reaching God, seeing God,
becoming perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect, constitutes the religion
of the Hindus.
And what becomes of a man when he attains perfection? He lives a life of bliss
infinite. He enjoys infinite and perfect bliss, having obtained the only thing in
which man ought to have pleasure, namely God, and enjoys the bliss with God.
So far all the Hindus are agreed. This is the common religion of all the sects of
India; but then perfection is absolute, and the absolute cannot be two or three. It
cannot have any qualities. It cannot be an individual. And so when a soul becomes
perfect and absolute, it must become one with Brahman, and it would only realize
the Lord as the perfection, the reality, of its own nature and existence, the existence
absolute, knowledge absolute, and bliss absolute. We have often and often read this
called the losing of individuality and becoming a stock or a stone.
“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”
I tell you it is nothing of the kind. If it is happiness to enjoy the consciousness
of this small body, it must be greater happiness to enjoy the consciousness of two
bodies, the measure of happiness increasing with the consciousness of an increas-
ing number of bodies, the aim, the ultimate of happiness, being reached when it
would become a universal consciousness.
Therefore, to gain this infinite universal individuality, this miserable little prison—individuality
must go. Then alone can death cease when I am one with life, then alone can mis-
ery cease when I am one with happiness itself, then alone can all errors cease
when I am one with knowledge itself; and this is the necessary scientific conclu-
sion. Science has proved to me that physical individuality is a delusion, that really
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 39
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
my body is one little continuously changing body in an unbroken ocean of matter,
and Advaita (unity) is the necessary conclusion with my other counterpart, Soul.
Delhi—Ruins of Shershak, Library of Congress
[The Unity of the Universe]
Science is nothing but the finding of unity. As soon as science would reach per-
fect unity, it would stop from further progress, because it would reach the goal.
Thus chemistry could not progress farther when it would discover one element out
of which all others could be made. Physics would stop when it would be able to
fulfill its services in discovering one energy of which all the others are hut mani-
festations, and the science of religion become perfect when it would discover Him
who is the one life in a universe of death, Him who is the constant basis of an
ever-changing world, One who is the only Soul of which all souls are but delusive
manifestations. Thus is it, through multiplicity and duality, that the ultimate unity
is reached. Religion can go no farther. This is the goal of all science.
All science is bound to come to this conclusion in the long run. Manifestation, and
not creation, is the word of science today; and the Hindu is only glad that what he
has been cherishing in his bosom for ages is going to be taught in more forcible
language and with further light from the latest conclusions of science.
40 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
[Hinduism and World Religions]
Descend we now from the aspirations of philosophy to the religion of the ignorant.
At the very outset, I may tell you that there is no polytheism in India. In every
temple, if one stands by and listens, one will find the worshipers applying all the
attributes of God, including omnipresence. to the images. It is not polytheism, nor
would the name henotheism explain the situation.
“The rose, called by any other name, would smell as sweet.” Names are not expla-
nations.
I remember, as a boy, hearing a Christian missionary preach to crowd in India.
Among other sweet things he was telling them was, that if he gave a blow to their
idol with his stick. what could it do? One of his hearers sharply answered, “If I
abuse your God, what can He do?” “You would be punished,” said the preacher,
“when you die.” “So my idol will punish you when you die,” retorted the Hindu.
The tree is known by its fruits. When l have seen amongst them that are called
idolaters, men, the like of whom, in morality and spirituality and love, I have never
seen anywhere, l stop and ask myself, “Can sin beget holiness?”
Superstition is a great enemy of man, but bigotry is worse. Why does a Christian
go to church? Why is the cross holy? Why is the face turned toward the sky in
prayer? Why are there so many images in the Catholic Church? Why are there so
many images in the minds of Protestants when they pray? My brethren, we can
no more think about anything without a mental image than we can live without
breathing. By the law of association the material image calls up the mental idea
and vice versa. This is why the Hindu uses an external symbol when he worships.
He will tell you. it helps to keep his mind fixed on the Being to whom he prays. He
knows as well as you do that the image is not God, is not omnipresent. finer all,
how much does omnipresence mean to almost the whole world? It stands merely
as a word, a symbol. Has God superficial area? If not, when we repeat that word
“omnipresent,” we think of the extended sky. or of space—that is all.
From the reading. . .
“Therefore, to gain this infinite universal individuality, this miserable little
prison—individuality must go. ”
As we find that somehow or other, by the laws of our mental constitution, we
have to associate our ideas of infinity with the image of the blue sky, or of the
sea, so we naturally connect our idea of holiness with the image of a church, a
mosque, or a cross. The Hindus have associated the ideas of holiness, purity, truth,
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Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
omnipresence, and such other ideas with different images and forms. But with this
difference that while some people devote their whole lives to their idol of a church
and never rise higher, because with them religion means an intellectual assent to
certain doctrines and doing good to their fellows, the whole religion of the Hindu
is centered in realization. Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols
or temples or churches or books are only the supports, the helps, of his spiritual
childhood; but on and on he must progress.
He must not stop anywhere. “External worship, material worship” so say the scrip-
tures, “is the lowest stage,” struggling to rise high, mental prayer is the next stage,
but the highest stage is when the Lord has been realized. Mark, the same earnest
man who is kneeling before the idol tells you, “Him the sun cannot express, nor
the moon, nor the stars, the lightning cannot express Him, nor what we speak of
as fire; through Him they shine.” But he does not abuse anyone’s idol or call its
worship sin. He recognizes in it a necessary stage of life. “The child is father of
the man.” Would it be right for an old man to say that childhood is a sin or youth
a sin?
If a man can realize his divine nature with the help of an image, would it be right to
call that a sin? Nor, even when he has passed that stage, should he call it an error.
To the Hindu, man is not travelling from error to truth, but from truth to truth,
from lower to higher truth. To him all the religions from the lowest fetishism to the
highest absolutism, mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize
the Infinite, each determined by the conditions of its birth and association, and
each of these marks a stage of progress; and every soul is a young eagle soaring
higher and higher, gathering more and more strength till it reaches the Glorious
Sun.
Unity in variety is the plan of nature, and the Hindu has recognized it. Every other
religion lays down certain fixed dogmas and tries to force society to adopt them.
It places before society only one coat which must fit Jack and John and Henry, all
alike. If it does not fit John or Henry he must go without a coat to cover his body.
The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realized, or thought of,
or stated through the relative, and the images, crosses, and crescents are simply so
many symbols—so many pegs to hang spiritual ideas on. It is not that this help is
necessary for everyone, but those that do not need it have no right to say that it is
wrong. Nor is it compulsory in Hinduism.
One thing I must tell you. Idolatry in India does not mean anything horrible. It is
not the mother of harlots. On the other hand, it is the attempt of undeveloped minds
to grasp high spiritual truths. The Hindus have their faults, they sometimes have
their exceptions; but mark this, they are always for punishing their own bodies, and
never for cutting the throats of their neighbors. If the Hindu fanatic burns himself
on the pyre, he never lights the fire of Inquisition. And even this cannot be laid
42 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
at the door of his religion any more than the burning of witches can be laid at the
door of Christianity.
Riverfront, Library of Congress
To the Hindu, then, the whole world of religions is only a travelling, a coming up,
of different men and women, through various conditions and circumstances, to the
same goal. Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man, and the
same God is the inspirer of all of them. Why, then, are there so many contradic-
tions? They are only apparent, says the Hindu. The contradictions come from the
same truth adapting itself to the varying circumstances of different natures.
It is the same light coming through glasses of different colors. And these little
variations are necessary for purposes of adaptation. But in the heart of everything
the same truth reigns. The Lord has declared to the Hindu in His incarnation as
Krishna: “I am in every religion as the thread through a string of pearls. Wherever
thou seest extraordinary holiness and extraordinary power raising and purifying
humanity, know thou that I am there.” And what has been the result? I challenge
the world to find, throughout the whole system of Sanskrit philosophy, any such
expression as that the Hindu alone will be saved and not others. Says Vyasa, “We
find perfect men even beyond the pale of our caste and creed.” One thing more.
How, then, can the Hindu, whose whole fabric of thought centers in God, believe
in Buddhism which is agnostic, or in Jainism which is atheistic?
The Buddhists or the Jains do not depend upon God; but the whole force of their
religion is directed to the great central truth in every religion, to evolve a God out
of man. They have not seen the Father, but they have seen the Son. And he that
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Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
hath seen the Son bath seen the Father also.
This, brethren, is a short sketch of the religious ideas of the Hindus. The Hindu may
have failed to carry out all his plans, but if there is ever to be a universal religion, it
must be one which will have no location in place or time; which will be infinite like
the God it will preach, and whose sun will shine upon the followers of Krishna and
of Christ, on saints and sinners alike; which will not be Brahminic or Buddhistic,
Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these. and still have infinite
space for development; which in its catholicity will embrace in infinite arms, and
find a place for, every human being from the lowest grovelling savage, not far
removed from the brute, to the highest man towering by the virtues of his head
and heart almost above humanity, making society stand in awe of him and doubt
his human nature. It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or
intolerance in its polity, which will recognize divinity in every man and woman,
and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity
to realize its own true, divine nature.
Offer such a religion and all the nations will follow you. Asoka’s council was a
council of the Buddhist faith. Akbar’s, though more to the purpose, was only a
parlor meeting. It was reserved for America to proclaim to all quarters of the globe
that the Lord is in every religion.
May He who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura-Mazda of the Zoroastrians,
the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heaven of
the Christians, give strength to you to carry out your noble idea! The star arose in
the East; it travelled steadily towards the West, sometimes dimmed and sometimes
effulgent, till it made a circuit of the world, and now it is again rising on the very
horizon of the East, the borders of the Sanpo
2
, a thousand fold more effulgent than
it ever was before.
Hail Columbia, motherland of liberty! It has been given to thee, who never dipped
her hand in her neighbor’s blood, who never found out that the shortest way of
becoming rich was by robbing one’s neighbors, it has been given to thee to march
at the vanguard of civilization with the flag of harmony.
From the reading. . .
“To the Hindu, man is not travelling from error to truth, but from truth to
truth, from lower to higher truth. To him all the religions from the lowest
fetishism to the highest absolutism, mean so many attempts of the human
soul to grasp and realize the Infinite. . . ”
2. A Tibetan name for the Bramaputra River.
44 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
Cashmere Gates, Library of Congress
Topics Worth Investigating
1. What are the common features of the world religions discussed by Vivekananda?
2. Alfred North Whitehead writes about the relation between religion and sci-
ence:
Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as
does science. Its principles may be eternal, but the expression of those principles
requires continual development.. . . The great point to be kept in mind is that
normally an advance in science will show that statements of various religious
beliefs require some sort of modification. It may be that they have to be expanded
or explained, or indeed entirely restated. If the religion is a sound expression of
truth, this modification will only exhibit more adequately the exact point which
is of importance.
3
3. Alfred North Whitehead. Science and the Modern World. New York: Macmillan, 1925.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 45
Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda
Explain whether Vivekananda would agree or disagree with Whitehead’s as-
sessment.
3. Samuel Taylor Coleridge observes the following relationships between philos-
ophy, history, and religion. Contrast Vivekananda’s view and your view with
Coleridge’s.
A religion, that is, a true religion, must consist of ideas and facts both; not of
ideas alone without facts, for then it would be mere Philosophy; nor of facts
alone without ideas, of which those facts are symbols, or out of which they arise,
or upon which they are grounded: for then it would be mere History.
4
4. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “Table Talk, November 20, 1831” in Collected Works. Ed. Kathleen
Coburn, Princeton, N..J.: Princeton University Press, 1990.
46 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 3
Buddha’s “The Four Noble
Truths”
Yogi, detail from The Land of the Veda
About the author. . .
In his Buddha, The Word,
1
Paul Carus (1852-1919) compiled some of the fun-
damental teachings of the Buddhist Canon. The selection here, “The Four Noble
Truths,” is briefly abridged and composes an excellent introduction to Buddhist
thought. At the World Parliament of Religions in 1893, Carus became deeply in-
fluenced by Eastern philosophies and published a number of works seeking to
bridge Western and Eastern thought.
1. Paul Carus. Buddha, The Word. 1915.
47
Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
About the book. . .
After his enlightenment, Buddha elucidated the “Four Noble Truths” in his first
instruction to his disciples; briefly stated, these truths explain how (1) all who live
suffer, (2) suffering is a result of self, (3) suffering can be avoided, and (4) suffering
can be extinguished by the “Eightfold Path.” The reading selection after this one
continues Carus’ compilation of Buddha’s teaching with the “Eightfold Path.”
From the reading. . .
“Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara; not to be discovered is any
first beginning of beings, who, obstructed by ignorance, and ensnared by
craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths.”
Ideas of Interest from “The Four Noble
Truths”
1. Describe in general terms the Four Noble Truths.
2. Name and describe the groups of consciousness. Is the Consciousness Group,
itself, one of the groups of consciousness or is it dependent upon the other
groups? Explain.
3. If the self or Ego-entity is not real, then how does the illusion of it arise and
of what kind of phenomena is it composed? Explain Buddha’s comparison of
the self to an ocean wave.
4. What are the Three Warnings? Of what is it that they warn?
5. What is Samsara and how is it related to the First Noble Truth? Describe “the
Wheel of Existence.”
6. Name and describe the kinds of craving that form the origin of suffering?
What is the cause of evil choices and actions?
7. Describe how one escapes from the “Wheel of Existence.” How is suffering
to be overcome?
48 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
8. What exactly is being sought in Buddhism? Is awakening or realization just
annihilation of the self? What, then, is Nirvana? Can one experience Nirvana
while living?
The Reading Selection from “The Four
Noble Truths”
[Introduction]
Thus has it been said by the Buddha, the Enlightened One: It is through not under-
standing, not realizing four things, that I, Disciples, as well as you, had to wander
so long through this round of rebirths. And what are these four things? They are
the Noble Truth of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering, the Noble
Truth of the Extinction of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Path that leads to the
Extinction of Suffering.
As long as the absolutely true knowledge and insight as regards these Four Noble
Truths was not quite clear in me, so long was I not sure, whether I had won that
supreme Enlightenment which is unsurpassed in all the world with its heavenly
beings, evil spirits and gods, amongst all the hosts of ascetics and priests, heav-
enly beings and men. But as soon as the absolutely true knowledge and insight as
regards these Four Noble Truths had become perfectly clear in me, there arose in
me the assurance that I had won that supreme Enlightenment unsurpassed.
From the reading. . .
And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to death,
that also you cannot escape it?
And I discovered that profound truth, so difficult to perceive, difficult to under-
stand, tranquilizing and sublime, which is not to be gained by mere reasoning, and
is visible only to the wise.
The world, however, is given to pleasure, delighted with pleasure, enchanted with
pleasure. Verily, such beings will hardly understand the law of conditionality, the
Dependent Origination of every thing; incomprehensible to them will also be the
end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away
of craving; detachment, extinction, Nirvana.
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
Yet there are beings whose eyes are only a little covered with dust: they will un-
derstand the truth.
First Truth: The Noble Truth of Suffering
What, now, is the Noble Truth of Suffering?
Birth is suffering; Decay is suffering; Death is suffering; Sorrow, Lamentation,
Pain, Grief, and Despair, are suffering; not to get what one desires, is suffering; in
short: the Five Groups of Existence are suffering.
What, now, is Birth? The birth of beings belonging to this or that order of beings,
their being born, their conception and springing into existence, the manifestation
of the groups of existence, the arising of sense activity—this is called Birth.
And what is Decay? The decay of beings belonging to this or that order of beings;
their getting aged, frail, grey, and wrinkled; the failing of their vital force, the
wearing out of the senses—this is called Decay.
And what is Death? The parting and vanishing of beings out of this or that order of
beings, their destruction, disappearance, death, the completion of their life-period,
dissolution of the groups of existence, the discarding of the body-—this is called
Death.
And what is Sorrow? The sorrow arising through this or that loss or misfortune
which one encounters, the worrying oneself, the state of being alarmed, inward
sorrow, inward woe—this is called Sorrow.
And what is Lamentation? Whatsoever, through this or that loss or misfortune
which befalls one, is wail and lament, wailing and lamenting, the state of woe and
lamentation this is called Lamentation.
And what is Pain? The bodily pain and unpleasantness, the painful and unpleasant
feeling produced by bodily contact—this is called Pain.
And what is Grief? The mental pain and unpleasantness, the painful and unpleasant
feeling produced by mental contact—this is called Grief.
And what is Despair? Distress and despair arising through this or that loss or mis-
fortune which one encounters, distressfulness, and desperation—this is called De-
spair.
And what is the “suffering of not getting what one desires?” To beings subject to
birth there comes the desire: “O that we were not subject to birth! O that no new
birth was before us!” Subject to decay, disease, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain,
grief, and despair, the desire comes to them: “O that we were not subject to these
50 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
things! O that these things were not before us!” But this cannot be got by mere
desiring; and not to get what one desires, is suffering.
The Five Groups of Existence
And what, in brief, are the Five Groups of Existence? They are Corporeality, Feel-
ing, Perception, [mental] Formations, and Consciousness.
From the reading. . .
“. . . the belief in an Ego-entity is merely an illusion”
Any corporeal phenomenon, whether one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty
or low, far or near, belongs to the Group of Corporeality; any feeling belongs to the
Group of Feeling; any perception belongs to the Group of Perception; any mental
formation belongs to the Group of Formations; all consciousness belongs to the
Group of Consciousness.
[Our so-called individual existence is in reality nothing but a mere process of these
“bodily and mental” phenomena, which since immemorial times was going on be-
fore one’s apparent birth, and which also after death will continue for immemorial
periods of time. In the following, we shall see that these five Groups, or Khand-
has—either taken separately, or combined—in no way constitute any real “Ego-
entity,” and that no Ego-entity exists apart from them, and hence that the belief in
an Ego-entity is merely an illusion. Just as that which we designate by the name
of “chariot,” has no existence apart from axle, wheels, shaft, and so forth: or as
the word “house” is merely a convenient designation for various materials put to-
gether after a certain fashion so as to enclose a portion of space, and there is no
separate house-entity in existence:—in exactly the same way, that which we call a
“being,” or an “individual,” or a “person,” or by the name is nothing but a chang-
ing combination of physical and psychical phenomena, and has no real existence
in itself.]—
Dependent Orgination of Consciousness
Now, though one’s eye be intact, yet if the external forms do not fall within the
field of vision, and no corresponding conjunction takes place, in that case there
occurs no formation of the corresponding aspect of consciousness. Or, though one
eye be intact, and the external forms fall within the field of vision, yet if no cor-
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
responding conjunction takes place, in that case also there occurs no formation of
the corresponding aspect of consciousness. If, however, one’s eye is intact, and the
external forms fall within the field of vision, and the corresponding conjunction
takes place, in that case there arises the corresponding aspect of consciousness.
Hence, I say: the arising of consciousness is dependent upon conditions; and with-
out these conditions, no consciousness arises. And upon whatsoever conditions the
arising of consciousness is dependent, after these it is called.
Consciousness whose arising depends on the eye and forms, is called “eye-consciousness.”
Consciousness whose arising depends on the ear and sound, is called “ear-consciousness.”
Consciousness whose arising depends on the olfactory organ and odors, is called
“nose-consciousness.”
Consciousness whose arising depends on the tongue and taste, is called “tongue-
consciousness.”
Consciousness whose arising depends on the body and bodily contacts, is called
“body-consciousness.”
Consciousness whose arising depends on the mind and ideas, is called “mind-
consciousness.”
Whatsoever there is of “corporeality” in the consciousness thus arisen, that be-
longs to the Group of Corporeality. there is of “feeling”—bodily ease, pain, joy,
sadness, or indifferent feeling—belongs to the Group of Feeling. Whatsoever there
is of “perception”—visual objects, sounds, odors, tastes, bodily impressions, or
mind objects—belongs to the Group of Perception. Whatsoever there are of men-
tal “formations” impression, volition, etc.—belong to the Group of Mental For-
mations. Whatsoever there is of “consciousness” therein, belongs to the Group of
Consciousness.
And it is impossible that any one can explain the passing out of one existence,
and the entering into a new existence, or the growth, increase, and development
of consciousness, independent of corporeality, feeling, perception, and mental for-
mations.
The Three Characteristics of Existence
All formations are “transient”; all formations are “subject to suffering”; all things
are “without an Ego-entity.” Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, percep-
tion is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient.
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And that which is transient, is subject to suffering; and of that which is transient,
and subject to suffering and change, one cannot rightly say: “This belongs to me;
this am I; this is my Ego.”
A View of Benares, from The Land of the Veda
Therefore, whatever there be of corporeality, of feeling, perception, mental forma-
tions, or consciousness, whether one’s own or external, whether gross or subtle,
lofty or low, far or near, one should understand, according to reality, and true wis-
dom: “This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Ego.”
Suppose, a man who is not blind, were to behold the many bubbles on the Ganges
as they are driving along; and he should watch them, and carefully examine them.
After carefully examining them, they will appear to him empty, unreal, and unsub-
stantial. In exactly the same way, does the monk behold all the corporeal phenom-
ena, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and states of consciousness—whether
they be of the past, or the present, or the future, far, or near. And he watches them,
and examines them carefully; and, after carefully examining them, they appear to
him empty, void, and without an Ego.
Whoso delights in corporeality, or feeling, or perception, or mental formations, or
consciousness, he delights in suffering; and whoso delights in suffering, will not
be freed from suffering. Thus I say
How can you find delight and mirth,
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Where there is burning without end?
In deepest darkness you are wrapped!
Why do you not seek for the light?
Look at this puppet here, well rigged,
A heap of many sores, piled up,
Diseased, and full of greediness,
Unstable, and impermanent!
Devoured by old age is this frame,
A prey of sickness, weak and frail;
To pieces breaks this putrid body,
All life must truly end in death.
The Three Warnings
Did you never see in the world a man, or a woman, eighty, ninety, or a hundred
years old, frail, crooked as a gable roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tot-
tering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair,
or bald-headed, wrinkled, with blotched limbs? And did the thought never come
to you that also you are subject to decay, that also you cannot escape it?
Did you never see in the world a man, or a woman, who being sick, afflicted, and
grievously ill, and wallowing in his own filth, was lifted up by some people, and
put to bed by others? And did the thought never come to you that also you are
subject to disease, that also you cannot escape it?
Did you never see in the world the corpse of a man, or a woman, one, or two, or
three days after death, swollen up, blue-black in color, and full of corruption? And
did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to death, that also you
cannot escape it?
Samsara, The Wheel of Existence
Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara; not to be discovered is any first
beginning of beings, who, obstructed by ignorance, and ensnared by craving, are
hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths.
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From the reading. . .
“Long time have you suffered the death of father and mother, of sons, daugh-
ters, brothers, and sisters. And whilst you were thus suffering, you have,
verily, shed more tears upon this long way than there is water in the four
oceans.”
[Samsara—the Wheel of Existence, lit., the “Perpetual Wandering”—is the name
by which is designated the sea of life ever restlessly heaving up and down, the
symbol of this continuous process of ever again and again being born, growing
old, suffering, and dying. More precisely put: Samsara is the unbroken chain of
the fivefold Khandha-combinations, which, constantly changing from moment to
moment, follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of
time. Of this Samsara, a single lifetime constitutes only a vanishingly tiny fraction;
hence, to be able to comprehend the first noble truth, one must let one’s gaze rest
upon the Samsara, upon this frightful chain of rebirths, and not merely upon one
single lifetime, which, of course, may be sometimes not very painful.]
Which do you think is the more: the flood of tears, which weeping and wailing
you have shed upon this long way—hurrying and hastening through this round of
rebirths, united with the undesired, separated from the desired this, or the waters
of the four oceans?
Long time have you suffered the death of father and mother, of sons, daughters,
brothers, and sisters. And whilst you were thus suffering, you have, verily, shed
more tears upon this long way than there is water in the four oceans.
Which do you think is the more: the streams of blood that, through your being
beheaded, have flowed upon this long way, or the waters in the four oceans?
Long time have you been caught as dacoits, or highwaymen, or adulterers; and,
through your being beheaded, verily, more blood has flowed upon this long way
than there is water in the four oceans.
But how is this possible?
Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara; not to be discovered is any first
beginning of beings, who, obstructed by ignorance, and ensnared by craving, are
hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths.
And thus have you long time undergone suffering, undergone torment, undergone
misfortune, and filled the graveyards full; verily, long enough to be dissatisfied
with all the forms of existence, long enough to turn away, and free yourselves
from them all.
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
Second Truth: The Noble Truth of the Origin of
Suffering
What, now, is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering? It is that craving which
gives rise to fresh rebirth, and, bound up with pleasure and lust, now here, now
there, finds ever fresh delight.
[In the absolute sense, it is no real being, no self-determined, unchangeable, Ego-
entity that is reborn. Moreover, there is nothing that remains the same even for two
consecutive moments; for the Five Khandhas, or Groups of Existence, are in a state
of perpetual change, of continual dissolution and renewal. They die every moment,
and every moment new ones are born. Hence it follows that there is no such thing
as a real existence, or “being” (Latin esse), but only as it were an endless process,
a continuous change, a “becoming,” consisting in a “producing,” and in a “being
produced”; in a “process of action,” and in a “process of reaction,” or “rebirth.”
This process of perpetual “producing” and “being produced” may best be com-
pared with an ocean wave. In the case of a wave, there is not the slightest quantity
of water traveling over the surface of the sea. But the wave structure, that hastens
over the surface of the water, creating the appearance of one and the same mass of
water, is, in reality, nothing but the continuous rising and falling of continuous, but
quite different, masses of water, produced by the transmission of force generated
by the wind. Even so, the Buddha did not teach that Ego-entities hasten through
the ocean of rebirth, but merely life-waves, which, according to their nature and
activities (good, or evil), manifest themselves here as men, there as animals, and
elsewhere as invisible beings.]
The Threefold Craving
There is the “Sensual Craving,” the “Craving for Eternal-Annihilation.” “Exis-
tence,” the “Craving for Self-Annihilation.”
[The “Craving for Eternal Existence,” according to the Visuddhi-Magga, is inti-
mately connected with the so-called “Eternity-Belief,” i.e., the belief in an abso-
lute, eternal, Ego-entity persisting independently of our body.
The Craving for Self-Annihilation is the outcome of the so-called “Annihilation-
Belief,” the delusive materialistic notion of an Ego which is annihilated at death,
and which does not stand in any causal relation with the time before birth or after
death.]
But, where does this craving arise and take root? Wherever in the world there are
delightful and pleasurable things, there this craving arises and takes root. Eye, ear,
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
nose, tongue, body, and mind, are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving
arises and takes root.
Visual objects, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily impressions, and mind-objects, are
delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root.
Consciousness, sense impression, feeling born of sense impression, perception,
will, craving, thinking, and reflecting, are delightful and pleasurable: there this
craving arises and takes root. If, namely, when perceiving a visual object, a sound,
odor, taste, bodily impression, or a mind object, the object is pleasant, one is at-
tracted; and if unpleasant, one is repelled.
Thus, whatever kind of “Feeling” one experiences, pleasant, unpleasant, or indif-
ferent—one approves of, and cherishes the feeling, and clings to it; and while do-
ing so, lust springs up; but lust for feelings, means Clinging; and on Clinging, de-
pends the “Process of Becoming”; on the Process of Becoming (Karma-process),
depends (future) “Birth”; and dependent on Birth, are Decay and Death, Sorrow,
Lamentation, Pain, Grief, and Despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering.
This is called the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering.
Heaping up of Present Suffering
Verily, due to sensuous craving, conditioned through sensuous craving, impelled
by sensuous craving, entirely moved by sensuous craving, kings fight with kings,
princes with princes, priests with priests, citizens with citizens; the mother quarrels
with the son, the son with the mother, the father with the son, the son with the
father; brother quarrels with brother, brother with sister, sister with brother, friend
with friend. Thus, given to dissension, quarreling and fighting, they fall upon one
another with fists, sticks, or weapons. And thereby they suffer death or deadly pain.
Crossing Over, detail from The Land of the Veda
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And further, due to sensuous craving, conditioned through sensuous craving, im-
pelled by sensuous craving, entirely moved by sensuous craving, people break into
houses, rob, plunder, pillage whole houses, commit highway robbery, seduce the
wives of others. Then, the rulers have such people caught, and inflict on them vari-
ous forms of punishment. And thereby they incur death or deadly pain. Now, this is
the misery of sensuous craving, the heaping up of suffering in this present life, due
to sensuous craving, conditioned through sensuous craving, caused by sensuous
craving, entirely dependent on sensuous craving.
Heaping Up of Future Suffering
And further, people take the evil way in deeds, the evil way in words, the evil
way in thoughts; and by taking the evil way in deeds, words, and thoughts, at the
dissolution of the body, after death, they fall into a downward state of existence,
a state of suffering, into perdition, and the abyss of hell. But, this is the misery
of sensuous craving, the heaping up of suffering in the future life, due to sensu-
ous craving, conditioned through sensuous craving, caused by sensuous craving,
entirely dependent on sensuous craving.
Not in the air, nor ocean-midst,
Nor hidden in the mountain clefts,
Nowhere is found a place on earth,
Where man is freed from evil deeds.
Inheritance of Deeds (Karma)
For, owners of their deeds (karma) are the beings, heirs of their deeds; their deeds
are the womb from which they sprang; with their deeds they are bound up; their
deeds are their refuge. Whatever deeds they do-good or evil-of such they will be
the heirs.
And wherever the beings spring into existence, there their deeds will ripen; and
wherever their deeds ripen, there they will earn the fruits of those deeds, be it in
this life, or be it in the next life, or be it in any other future life.
There will come a time, when the mighty ocean will dry up, vanish, and be no
more. There will come a time, when the mighty earth will be devoured by fire,
perish, and be no more. But, yet there will be no end to the suffering of beings,
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
who, obstructed by ignorance, and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening
through this round of rebirths.
Third Truth: The Noble Truth of the Extinction of
Suffering
What, now, is the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering? It is the complete
fading away and extinction of this craving, its forsaking and giving up, the libera-
tion and detachment from it.
But where may this craving vanish, where may it be extinguished? Wherever in the
world there are delightful and pleasurable things, there this craving may vanish,
there it may be extinguished.
From the reading. . .
“This, truly, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all for-
mations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of
craving: detachment, extinction—Nirvana.”
Be it in the past, present, or future, whosoever of the monks or priests regards the
delightful and pleasurable things in the world as “impermanent,” “miserable,” and
“without an Ego,” as a disease and cancer; it is he who overcomes the craving.
And released from Sensual Craving, released from the Craving for Existence, he
does not return, does not enter again into existence.
Dependent Extinction of All Phenomena
For, through the total fading away and extinction of Craving, Clinging is extin-
guished; through the extinction of clinging, the Process of Becoming is extin-
guished; through the extinction of the (karmic) process of becoming, Rebirth is
extinguished; and through the extinction of rebirth, Decay and Death, Sorrow,
Lamentation, Suffering, Grief, and Despair, are extinguished. Thus comes about
the extinction of this whole mass of suffering.
Hence, the annihilation, cessation, and overcoming of corporeality, feeling, per-
ception, mental formations, and consciousness, this is the extinction of suffering,
the end of disease, the overcoming of old age and death.
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
[The undulatory motion, which we call wave—which in the spectator creates the
illusion of a single mass of water moving over the surface of the lake—is pro-
duced and fed by the wind, and maintained by the stored-up energies. After the
wind has ceased, and no fresh wind again whips up the water, the stored-up en-
ergies will gradually be consumed, and the whole undulatory motion come to an
end. Similarly, if fire does not get new fuel, it will become extinct. just so, this
Five-Khandha-process—which, in the ignorant worldling, creates the illusion of
an Ego-entity—is produced and fed by the life-affirming craving, and maintained
for some time by means of the stored-up life-energies. Now, after the fuel, i.e., the
craving and clinging to life, has ceased, and no new craving impels again this Five-
Khandha-process, life will continue as long as there are still life-energies stored
up, but at their destruction at death, the Five-Khandha-process will reach final ex-
tinction.
Thus, Nirvana or “Extinction” (Sanskrit: to cease blowing, to become extinct),
may be considered under two aspects:
1. “Extinction of Impurities,” reached at the attainment of Arahatship, or Holiness,
which takes place during the life-time.
2. “Extinction of the Five-Khandha-process,” which takes place at the death of the
Arahat.]
Nirvana
This, truly, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all formations, the
forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving: detachment,
extinction—Nirvana.
Enraptured with lust, enraged with anger, blinded by delusion, overwhelmed, with
mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at others’ ruin, at the ruin of both parties,
and he experiences mental pain and grief. But, if lust, anger, and delusion are given
up, man aims neither at his own ruin, nor at others’ ruin, nor at the ruin of both
parties, and he experiences no mental pain and grief. Thus is Nirvana immediate,
visible in this life, inviting, attractive, and comprehensible to the wise.
The extinction of greed, the extinction of anger, the extinction of delusion: this,
indeed, is called Nirvana.
The Arahat, or Holy One
And for a disciple thus freed, in whose heart dwells peace, there is nothing to be
added to what has been done, and naught more remains for him to do. Just as a
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so, neither forms, nor
sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired, nor
the undesired, can cause such an one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is
deliverance.
And he who has considered all the contrasts on this earth, and is no more disturbed
by anything whatever in the world, the Peaceful One, freed from rage, from sorrow,
and from longing, he has passed beyond birth and decay.
The Immutable
There is a realm, where there is neither the solid, nor the fluid, neither heat, nor
motion, neither this world, nor any other world, neither sun, nor moon. This I
call neither arising, nor passing away, neither standing still nor being born, nor
dying. There is neither foothold, nor development, nor any basis. This is the end
of suffering.
There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this
Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world
of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible.
But since there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is
escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed.
Fourth Truth: The Noble Truth of the Path that
Leads to the Extinction of Suffering—The Two
Extremes and the Middle Path
To give oneself up to indulgence in sensual pleasure, the base, common, vulgar,
unholy, unprofitable; and also to give oneself up to self-mortification, the painful,
unholy, unprofitable: both these two extremes the Perfect One has avoided, and
found out the Middle Path, which makes one both to see and to know, which leads
to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nirvana.
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
Deer Park, Library of Congress
From the reading. . .
“There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not
this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from
the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be
possible.”
Topics Worth Investigating
1. The Zen Master Bankei said:
Learn to abide in the Unborn for thirty days, and from there on, even if you don’t
want to—whether you like it or not—you’ll just naturally have to abide in the
Unborn.. . . That way you’ll be living buddhas here today, won’t you?
2
2. Peter Haskel. Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei New York: Grove Press,
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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”
Explain Master Bankei’s instruction in terms of the realm of the “Immutable.”
2. Explain Buddha’s doctrine of the “Middle Path” between the two extremes of
pleasure and self-mortification. How does the Buddha’s Middle Path compare
with Confucius’ Doctrine of the Mean?
While there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be
said to be in the state of Equilibrium. When those feelings have been stirred,
and they act in their due degree, there ensues what may be called the state of
Harmony. This Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human
actings in the world, and this Harmony is the universal path which they all should
pursue.
Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order
will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and
flourish.
3
3. Explain Buddha’s conception of holiness. What forms the consciousness of
the Arhat? Why does the holy person seem to have no hindrances?
4. In the Apology, Socrates states when he has been sentenced to death:
. . . we are quite mistaken in supposing death to be an evil.. . .
Death is one of two things. Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no con-
sciousness of anything, or, as we are told, it is really a change—a migration of
the soul from this place to another. Now if there is no consciousness but only a
dreamless sleep, death must be a marvelous gain.
4
Contrast Socrates’ notion of “annihilation” with Buddha’s notion of extinction
or Nirvana.
1984, 19.
3. Confucius. “Doctrine of the Mean.” 500 BC. Translated by James Legge.
4. Socrates’ Defense (Apology). Translated by Hugh Tredennick. In Plato: The Collected Dia-
logues. Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1969, 25.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 63
Chapter 4
“The Noble Eightfold Path” by
Buddha
Brahmin Reading, Caleb Wright, India and Its Inhabitants
About the author. . .
Attending the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago was a life-changing event
for Paul Carus (1852-1919). Not only did Swami Vivekananda (whose paper on
Hinduism is in this text) present many talks at this congress, but also D. T. Suzuki
(whose chapter on the ox-herding pictures is also here) translated a paper for the
event. Carus and Suzuki later worked together on the translation of the Tao te
Ching as well as several other works.
64
Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
About the work. . .
In his Buddha, The Word,
1
Paul Carus compiles the fundamental teachings of the
Buddha: the four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and Buddha’s sermons and
advice to his disciples. In this reading, Buddha explains how nirvana can result
from the discipline of the Noble Eightfold Path. In his teachings, Buddha did not
claim divine authority, instead he emphasizes that each person should trust his own
experience.
From the reading. . .
“It is the Noble Eightfold Path, the way that leads to the extinction of suf-
fering. . . ”
Ideas of Interest from “The Noble
Eightfold Path”
1. List and briefly describe the central characteristics of each of the steps of the
Eightfold Path.
2. Explain the parable of the poisoned arrow. Do you think metaphysical ques-
tions are worth pursuing? What harm does Buddha think attends metaphysical
questioning?
3. Why is the middle path described as “the perfect path”? Why do you think the
middle path is given this name?
4. Explain the basis of self-illusion. Does the quest for happiness perpetuate self-
illusion? Does Buddha believe the ego is annihilated at death?
5. Who is the Sotapan? Describe the fetters from which the Sotapan or “stream-
enterer” has freed himself.
6. How does Buddha describe the Arahat?
7. What are the arguments Buddha advances to the conclusion that there is no
ego?
1. Paul Carus. Buddha, The Word. 1915.
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Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
8. Explain the teaching of “dependent origination.” Is this teaching a metaphys-
ical view of the world?
9. Describe the four-fold characteristics of wrong speech.
10. What are the five methods Buddha describes to avoid harmful thoughts?
11. What are the ten blessings which result from contemplation of the body?
12. What are the differences between thought or thinking and consciousness?
13. Which of the steps are reflective of morality? Why is meditation and not moral
conduct the most important aspect of the Eightfold path?
14. What is the difference between mindfulness and non-attachment? What is the
true goal of the holy life?
The Reading Selection from “The
Eightfold Path”
The Eightfold Path
It is the Noble Eightfold Path, the way that leads to the extinction of suffering,
namely:
1. Right Understanding, 2. Right Mindedness, which together are Wisdom.
3. Right Speech, 4. Right Action, 5. Right Living, which together are Morality.
6. Right Effort, 7. Right Attentiveness, 8. Right Concentration, which together are
Concentration.
This is the Middle Path which the Perfect One has found out, which makes one
both to see and to know, which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment,
to Nirvana.
Free from pain and torture is this path, free from groaning and suffering; it is the
perfect path.
Truly, like this path there is no other path to the purity of insight. If you follow this
path, you will put an end to suffering.
But each one has to struggle for himself, the Perfect Ones have only pointed out
the way.
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Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
Give ear then, for the Immortal is found. I reveal, I set forth the Truth. As I reveal
it to you, so act! And that supreme goal of the holy life, for the sake of which, sons
of good families rightly go forth from home to the homeless state: this you will,
in no long time, in this very life, make known to yourself, realize, and make your
own.
The Eightfold Path—First Step—Right
Understanding
What, now, is Right Understanding? It is understanding the Four Truths. To under-
stand suffering; to understand the origin of suffering; to understand the extinction
of suffering; to understand the path that leads to the extinction of suffering: This is
called Right Understanding.
Or, when the noble disciple understands what is karmically wholesome, and the
root of wholesome karma; what is karmically unwholesome, and the root of un-
wholesome karma, then he has Right Understanding.
[“Karmically unwholesome” is every volitional act of body, speech, or mind which
is rooted in greed, hatred, or delusion, and produces evil and painful results in this
or any future form of existence.]. . .
What, now, is “karmically wholesome?”
In Bodily Action it is to abstain from killing; to abstain from stealing; and to ab-
stain from unlawful sexual intercourse.
In Verbal Action it is to abstain from lying; to abstain from tale-bearing; to abstain
from harsh language; and to abstain from frivolous talk.
In Mental Action it is absence of covetousness; absence of ill-will; and right un-
derstanding.
And what is the root of wholesome karma? Absence of greed (unselfishness) is a
root of wholesome karma; absence of anger (benevolence) is a root of wholesome
karma; absence of delusion (wisdom) is a root of wholesome karma.
Or, when one understands that corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formation,
and consciousness, are transient [subject to suffering, and without an Ego], also in
that case one possesses Right Understanding.
Unprofitable Questions
Should anyone say that he does not wish to lead the holy life under the Blessed
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Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
One, unless the Blessed One first tells him, whether the world is eternal or tem-
poral, finite or infinite; whether the life principle is identical with the body, or
something different; whether the Perfect One continues after death, and so on such
a man would die, ere the Perfect One could tell him all this.
It is as if a man were pierced by a poisoned arrow, and his friends, companions, or
near relations, should send for a surgeon; but that man should say: “I will not have
this arrow pulled out, until I know who the man is that has wounded me: whether
he is a noble, a priest, a citizen, or a servant”; or: “what his name is, and to what
family he belongs”; or: “whether he is tall, or short, or of medium height.” Verily,
such a man would die, ere he could adequately learn all this.
Therefore, the man who seeks his own welfare, should pull out this arrow—this
arrow of lamentation, pain, and sorrow.
From the reading. . .
“If there really existed the Ego, there would be also something which be-
longed to the Ego.”
For, whether the theory exists, or whether it does not exist, that the world is eternal,
or temporal, or finite, or infinite—certainly, there is birth, there is decay, there
is death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair, the extinction of which,
attainable even in this present life, I make known unto you.
There is, for instance, an unlearned worldling, void of regard for holy men, igno-
rant of the teaching of holy men, untrained in the noble doctrine. And his heart is
possessed and overcome by Self-Illusion, by Skepticism, by attachment to mere
Rule and Ritual, by Sensual Lust, and by will; and how to free himself from these
things, he does not really know.
[Self-Illusion may reveal itself as “Eternalism” or “Eternity-belief” i.e., the belief
that one’s Ego is existing independently of the material body, and continuing even
after the dissolution of the latter; or as “Annihilationism,” or “Annihilation-belief”
i.e., the materialistic belief that this present life constitutes the Ego, and hence that
it is annihilated at the death of the material body.]
Not knowing what is worthy of consideration, and what is unworthy of considera-
tion, he considers the unworthy, and not the worthy.
And unwisely he considers thus: “Have I been in the past? Or. have I not been in
the past? What have I been in the past? How have I been in the past? From what
state into what state did I change in the past?—Shall I be in the future? Or, shall
I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future?
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From what state into what state shall I change in the future?” And the present also
fills him with doubt: “Am I? Or, am I not? What am I? How am I? This being,
whence has it come? Whither will it go?” And with such unwise considerations,
he falls into one or other of the six views, and it becomes his conviction and firm
belief: “I have an Ego”; or: “I have no Ego”; or: “With the Ego I perceive the Ego”;
or: “With that which is no Ego, I perceive the Ego”; or: “With the Ego I perceive
that which is no Ego.” Or, he falls into the following view: “This my Ego, which
can think and feel, and which, now here, now there, experiences the fruit of good
and evil deeds; this my Ego is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change,
and will thus eternally remain the same.”
If there really existed the Ego, there would be also something which belonged to
the Ego. As, however, in truth and reality, neither the Ego, nor anything belonging
to the Ego, can be found, is it not therefore really an utter fool’s doctrine to say:
“This is the world, this am I; after death, I shall be permanent, persisting, and
eternal?”
These are called mere views, a thicket of views, a puppet show of views, a toil of
views, a snare of views; and ensnared in the fetter of views, the ignorant worldling
will not be freed from rebirth, from decay, and from death, from sorrow, pain,
grief, and despair; he will not be freed, I say, from suffering.
The Sotapan, or “Stream-Enterer”
The learned and noble disciple, however, who has regard for holy men, knows the
teaching of holy men, is well trained in the noble doctrine, he understands what
is worthy of consideration, and what is unworthy. And knowing this, he considers
the worthy, and not the unworthy. What suffering is, he wisely considers. What
the origin of suffering is, he wisely considers; what the extinction of suffering is,
he wisely considers; what the path is that leads to the extinction of suffering, he
wisely considers.
And by thus considering, three fetters vanish, namely: Self-illusion, Skepticism,
and Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual. But those disciples in whom these three
fetters have vanished have “entered the Stream,” have forever escaped the states of
woe, and are assured of final enlightenment.
More than any earthly power,
More than all the joys of heaven,
More than rule o’er all the world,
Is the Entrance to the Stream.
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And, verily, those who are filled with unshaken faith in me, all those have entered
the stream.
Indonesian Temple Ruins, Library of Congress
There are ten “Fetters” by which beings are bound to the wheel of existence. They
are: Self-Illusion, Skepticism, Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual, Sensual Lust,
Ill-will, Craving for the World of pure Form, Craving for the Formless World,
Conceit, Restlessness, Ignorance.
A Sotapan, or “Stream-Enterer” i.e. “one who has entered the stream leading to
Nirvana,” is free from the first three fetters.
A Sakadagamin, or “Once-Returned”—namely to this sensuous sphere—has over-
come the 4th and 5th fetters in their grosser form. An Anagamin, or “Non-Returner,”
is wholly freed from the first five fetters, which bind to rebirth in the sensuous
sphere; after death, whilst living in the sphere of pure form, he will reach the goal.
An Arahat, or perfectly “Holy One,” is freed from all fetters.]
The Two Understandings
Therefore, I say, Right Understanding is of two kinds:
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1. The view that alms and offerings are not useless; that there is fruit and result,
both of good and bad actions; that there are such things as this life, and the next
life; that father and mother as spontaneously born beings (in the heavenly worlds)
are no mere words; that there are monks and priests who are spotless and perfect,
who can explain this life and the next life, which they themselves have understood:
this is called the “Mundane Right Understanding,” which yields worldly fruits, and
brings good results.
2. But whatsoever there is of wisdom, of penetration, of right understanding, con-
joined with the Path—the mind being turned away from the world, and conjoined
with the path, the holy path being turned away from the world, and conjoined with
the path, the holy path being pursued;—this is called the “Ultramundane Right Un-
derstanding,” which is not of the world, but is ultramundane, and conjoined with
the Path.
[Thus, there are two kinds of the Eightfold Path: the “mundane,” practiced by the
“worldling”; and the “ultra-mundane,” practiced by the “Noble Ones.”]
Now, in understanding wrong understanding as wrong, and right understanding as
right, one practices Right Understanding [1st step]; and in making efforts to over-
come wrong understanding, and to arouse right understanding, one practices. Right
Effort [6th step]; and in overcoming wrong understanding with attentive mind, and
dwelling with attentive mind in the possession of right understanding, one prac-
tices Right-Attentiveness [7th step]. Hence, there are three things that accompany
and follow upon right understanding, namely: right understanding, right effort, and
right attentiveness.
Complete Deliverance
Now, if any one should put the question, whether I admit any view at all, he should
be answered thus:
The Perfect One is free from any theory, for the Perfect One has understood what
corporeality is, and how it arises, and passes away. He has understood what feeling
is, and how it arises, and passes away. He has understood what perception is, and
how it arises, and passes away. He has understood what the mental formations are,
and how they arise, and pass away. He has understood what consciousness is, and
how it arises, and passes away. Therefore, I say, the Perfect One has won complete
deliverance through the extinction, fading-away, disappearance, rejection, and get-
ting rid of all opinions and conjectures, of all inclination to the vainglory of “I”
and “mine.”
Whether Perfect Ones [Buddhas] appear in the world or whether Perfect Ones do
not appear in the world, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and
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fixed law: that all formations are “impermanent” that all formations are “subject to
suffering”; that everything is “without an Ego.”
[The word sankhara (formations) comprises all things which have a beginning
and an end, the so-called created, or “formed” things, i.e., all possible physical and
mental constituents of existence.] A corporeal phenomenon, a feeling, a percep-
tion, a mental formation, a consciousness, that is permanent and persistent, eternal
and not subject to change: such a thing the wise men in this world do not recognize;
and I also say, there is no such thing.
And it is impossible that a being possessed of Right Understanding should regard
anything as the Ego.
Now, if someone should say that Feeling is his Ego, he should be answered thus:
“There are three kinds of feeling: pleasurable, painful, and indifferent feeling.
Which of these three feelings, now, do you consider your Ego?” At the moment
namely of experiencing one of these feelings one does not experience the other
two. These three kinds of feelings are impermanent, of dependent origin, are sub-
ject to decay and dissolution, to fading-away and extinction. Whosoever, in expe-
riencing one of these feelings, thinks that this is his Ego, will, after the extinction
of that feeling, admit that his Ego has become dissolved. And thus he will consider
his Ego already in this present life as impermanent, mixed up with pleasure and
pain, subject to rising and passing away.
If any one should say that Feeling is not his Ego, and that his Ego is inaccessible
to feeling, he should be asked thus: “Now, where there is no feeling, is it there
possible to say: ‘This am I?’”
Or, someone might say: “Feeling, indeed, is not my Ego, but it also is untrue that
my Ego is inaccessible to feeling; for it is my Ego that feels, for my Ego has
the faculty of feeling.” Such a one should be answered thus: “Suppose, feeling
should become altogether totally extinguished; now, if there, after the extinction
of feeling, no feeling whatever exists, it is then possible to say: ‘This am I?’”
To say that the mind, or the mind-objects, or the mind-consciousness, constitute
the Ego; such an assertion is unfounded. For an arising and a passing away is seen
there; and seeing this, one should come to the conclusion that one’s Ego arises and
passes away.
It would be better for the unlearned worldling to regard this body, built up of the
four elements, as his Ego, rather than the mind. For it is evident that this body may
last for a year, for two years, for three years, four, five, or ten years, or even a hun-
dred years and more; but that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness,
is continuously, during day and night, arising as one thing, and passing away as
another thing.
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Therefore, whatsoever there is of corporeality, of feeling, of perception, of men-
tal formations, of consciousness, whether one’s own or external, gross or subtle,
lofty or low, far or near; there one should understand according to reality and true
wisdom: “This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Ego.”
[To show the Egolessness, utter emptiness of existence, Visuddhi-Magga XVI
quotes the following verse:
Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there;
Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it;
The Path is, but no traveler on it is seen.]
Past, Present, and Future
If, now, any one should ask: “Have you been in the past, and is it untrue that you
have not been? Will you be in the future, and is it untrue that you will not be? Are
you, and is it untrue that you are not?”—you may say that you have been in the
past, and it is untrue that you have not been; that you will be in the future, and it is
untrue that you will not be; that you are, and it is untrue that you are not.
In the past only the past existence was real, but unreal the future and present ex-
istence. In the future only the future existence will be real, but unreal the past and
present existence. Now only the present existence is real, but unreal the past and
future existence.
Verily, he who perceives the Dependent Origination, perceives the truth and he
who perceives the truth, perceives the dependent origination. For, just as from the
cow comes milk, from milk curds, from curds butter, from butter ghee, from ghee
the scum of ghee; and when it is milk, it is not counted as curds, or butter, or
ghee, or scum of ghee, but only as milk; and when it is curds, it is only counted
as curds—just so was my past existence at that time real, but unreal the future and
present existence; and my future existence will be at one time real, but unreal the
past and present existence; and my present existence is now real, but unreal the
past and future existence. All these are merely popular designations and expres-
sions, mere conventional terms of speaking, mere popular notions. The Perfect
One, indeed, makes use of these, without, however, clinging to them.
Thus, he who does not understand corporeality, feeling, perception, mental forma-
tions and consciousness according to reality [i.e., as void of a personality, or Ego],
and not their arising, their extinction, and the way to their extinction, he is liable
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to believe, either that the Perfect One continues after death, or that he does not
continue after death, and so forth.
Verily, if one holds the view that the vital principle [Ego] is identical with this
body, in that case a holy life is not possible; or, if one holds the view that the vital
principle is something quite different from the body, in that case also a holy life is
not possible. Both these two Extremes the Perfect One has avoided, and shown the
Middle Doctrine, saying:
Dependent Origination
On Delusion depend the Karma-Formations. On the karma-formations depends
Consciousness [starting with rebirth-consciousness in the womb of the mother].—On
consciousness depends the Mental and Physical Existence.—On the mental and
physical existence depend the Six Sense-Organs.—On the six sense-organs de-
pends the Sensory Impression.—On the sensory impression depends Feeling.—On
feeling depends; Craving.—On craving depends Clinging. On clinging depends
the Process of Becoming.—On the process of becoming [here: karma process] de-
pends Rebirth.—On rebirth depend Decay and Death, sorrow, lamentation, pain,
grief and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering. This is called the noble
truth of the origin of suffering.
Buddhist Temple, Cambodia, from 1905 French Postcard
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In whom, however, Delusion has disappeared and wisdom arisen, such a disci-
ple heaps up neither meritorious, nor demeritorious, nor imperturbable Karma-
formations.
Thus, through the entire fading away and extinction of this Delusion, the Karma-
Formations are extinguished. Through the extinction of the Karma-formations,
Consciousness [rebirth] is extinguished. Through the extinction of consciousness,
the Mental and Physical Existence is extinguished. Through the extinction of the
mental and physical existence, the six Sense—Organs are extinguished. Through
the extinction of the six sense-organs, the Sensory Impression is extinguished.
Through the extinction of the sensory impression, Feeling is extinguished. Through
the extinction of feeling, Craving is extinguished. Through the extinction of crav-
ing, Clinging is extinguished. Through the extinction of clinging, the Process of
Becoming is extinguished. Through the extinction of the process of becoming,
Rebirth is extinguished. Through the extinction of rebirth, Decay and Death, sor-
row, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are extinguished. Thus takes place the
extinction of this whole mass of suffering. This is called the Noble Truth of the
Extinction of Suffering.
Karma: Rebirth—Producing and Barren
Verily, because beings, obstructed by Delusion, and ensnared by Craving, now
here now there seek ever fresh delight, therefore such action comes to ever fresh
Rebirth.
And the action that is done out of greed, anger and delusion, that springs from
them, has its source and origin there: this action ripens wherever one is reborn;
and wherever this action ripens, there one experiences the fruits of this action, be
it in this life, or the next life, or in some future life.
However, through the fading away of delusion through the arising of wisdom,
through the extinction of craving, no future rebirth takes place again.
For the actions, which are not done out of greed, anger and delusion, which have
not sprung from them, which have not their source and origin there—such actions
are, through the absence of greed, anger and delusion, abandoned, rooted out, like
a palm-tree torn out of the soil, destroyed, and not liable to spring up again.
In this respect one may rightly say of me: that I teach annihilation, that I propound
my doctrine for the purpose of annihilation, and that I herein train my disciples;
for, certainly, I do teach annihilation—the annihilation, namely, of greed, anger
and delusion, as well as of the manifold evil and unwholesome things.
[“Dependent Origination” is the teaching of the strict conformity to law of every-
thing that happens, whether in the realm of the physical, or the psychical. It shows
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how the totality of phenomena, physical and mental, the entire phenomenal world
that depends wholly upon the six senses, together with all its suffering—and this
is the vital point of the teaching is not the mere play of blind chance, but has an
existence that is dependent upon conditions; and that, precisely with the removal
of these conditions, those things that have arisen in dependence upon them—thus
also all suffering—must perforce disappear and cease to be.]
Second Step: Right Mindedness
What, now, is Right Mindedness? It is thoughts free from lust; thoughts free from
ill-will; thoughts free from cruelty. This is called right mindedness.
Now, Right Mindedness, let me tell you, is of two kinds: 1. Thoughts free fromlust,
from ill-will, and from cruelty:—this is called the “Mundane Right Mindedness,”
which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.
2. But, whatsoever there is of thinking, considering, reasoning, thought, ratioci-
nation, application—the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and
conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued—: these “Verbal Operations”
of the mind are called the “Ultramundane Right Mindedness” which is not of the
world, but is ultra mundane, and conjoined with the paths.
Now, in understanding wrong-mindedness as wrong, and right-mindedness as right,
one practices Right Understanding [1st step]; and in making efforts to overcome
evil-mindedness, and to arouse right-mindedness, one practices Right Effort [6th
step]; and in overcoming evil-mindedness with attentive mind, and dwelling with
attentive mind in possession of right-mindedness, one practices Right Attentive-
ness [7th step]. Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon
right-mindedness, namely: right understanding, right effort, and right attentive-
ness.
Third Step: Right Speech
What, now, is Right Speech? It is abstaining from lying; abstaining from tale-
bearing; abstaining from harsh language; abstaining from vain talk.
There, someone avoids lying, and abstains from it. He speaks the truth, is devoted
to the truth, reliable, worthy of confidence, is not a deceiver of men. Being at a
meeting, or amongst people, or in the midst of his relatives, or in a society, or in
the king’s court, and called upon and asked as witness, to tell what he knows, he
answers, if he knows nothing: “I know nothing”; and if he knows, he answers: “I
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know”; if he has seen nothing, he answers: “I have seen nothing,” and if he has
seen, he answers: “I have seen.” Thus, he never knowingly speaks a lie, neither for
the sake of his own advantage, nor for the sake of another person’s advantage, nor
for the sake of any advantage whatsoever.
He avoids tale-bearing, and abstains from it. What he has heard here, he does not
repeat there, so as to cause dissension there; and what he heard there, he does not
repeat here, so as to cause dissension here. Thus he unites those that are divided;
and those that are united, he encourages. Concord gladdens him, he delights and
rejoices in concord, and it is concord that he spreads by his words.
He avoids harsh language, and abstains fromit. He speaks such words as are gentle,
soothing to the ear, loving, going to the heart, courteous and dear, and agreeable to
many.
[In Majjhima-Nikaya, No. 21, the Buddha says: “Even, O monks, should robbers
and murderers sawthrough your limbs and joints, whoso gave way to anger thereat,
would not be following my advice. For thus ought you to train yourselves:”
“‘Undisturbed shall our mind remain, no evil words shall escape our lips; friendly
and full of sympathy shall we remain, with heart full of love, and free from any
hidden malice; and that person shall we penetrate with loving thoughts, wide, deep,
boundless, freed from anger and hatred.’”]
He avoids vain talk, and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accor-
dance with facts, speaks what is useful, speaks about the law and the discipline;
his speech is like a treasure, at the right moment accompanied by arguments, mod-
erate and full of sense. This is called right speech. Now, right speech, let me tell
you, is of two kinds: 1. Abstaining from lying, from tale-bearing, from harsh lan-
guage, and from vain talk; this is called the “Mundane Right Speech,” which yields
worldly fruits and brings good results.
2. But the abhorrence of the practice of this four-fold wrong speech, the abstaining,
withholding, refraining therefrom—the mind being holy, being turned away from
the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued—: this is called
the “Ultramundane Right Speech”, which is not of the world, but is ultramundane,
and conjoined with the paths.
Now, in understanding wrong speech as wrong, and right speech as right, one
practices Right Understanding [1st step); and in making efforts to overcome evil
speech and to arouse right speech, one practices Right Effort [6th step]; and in
overcoming wrong speech with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind
in possession of right speech, one practices Right Attentiveness [7th step]. Hence,
there are three things that accompany and follow upon right attentiveness.
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Fourth Step: Right Action
What, now, is Right Action? It is abstaining from killing; abstaining from stealing;
abstaining from unlawful sexual intercourse.
There, someone avoids the killing of living beings, and abstains from it. Without
stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is anxious for the welfare of all
living beings.
He avoids stealing, and abstains from it; what another person possesses of goods
and chattels in the village or in the wood, that he does not take away with thievish
intent.
He avoids unlawful sexual intercourse, and abstains from it. He has no intercourse
with such persons as are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sis-
ter or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor, lastly, with
betrothed girls.
This is called Right Action.
Temple Wat Prakeu
Now, Right Action, let me tell you, is of two kinds: 1. Abstaining fromkilling, from
stealing, and from unlawful sexual intercourse—this is called the “Mundane Right
Action,” which yields worldly fruits and brings good results. But the abhorrence of
the practice of this three-fold wrong action, the abstaining, withholding, refraining
therefrom—the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined
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with the path, the holy path being pursued—: this is called the “Ultramundane
Right Action,” which is not of the world, but is ultramundane, and conjoined with
the paths.
Now, in understanding wrong action as wrong, and right action as right, one prac-
tices Right Understanding [1st step]; and in making efforts to overcome wrong
action, and to arouse right action, one practices Right Effort [6th step]; and in
overcoming wrong action with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind
in possession of right action, one practices Right Attentiveness [7th step]. Hence,
there are three things that accompany and follow upon right action, namely: right
understanding, right effort, and right attentiveness.
Fifth Step: Right Living
What, now, is Right Living? When the noble disciple, avoiding a wrong way of
living, gets his livelihood by a right way of living, this is called Right Living.
Now, right living, let me tell you, is of two kinds: 1. When the noble disciple,
avoiding wrong living, gets his livelihood by a right way of living—this is called
the “Mundane Right Living,” which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.
2. But the abhorrence of wrong living, the abstaining, withholding, refraining
therefrom—the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined
with the path, the holy path being pursued—: this is called the “Ultramundane
Right Living,” which is not of the world, but is ultramundane, and conjoined with
the paths.
Now, in understanding wrong living as wrong, and right living as right, one prac-
tices Right Understanding [1st step]; and in making efforts to overcome wrong liv-
ing, to arouse right living, one practices Right Effort [6th step]; and in overcoming
wrong living with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession
of right living, one practices Right Attentiveness [7th step]. Hence, there are three
things that accompany and follow upon right living, namely: right understanding,
right effort, and right attentiveness.
Sixth Step: Right Effort
What, now, is Right Effort? There are Four Great Efforts: the effort to avoid, the
effort to overcome, the effort to develop, and the effort to maintain.
What, now, is the effort to avoid? There, the disciple incites his mind to avoid the
arising of evil, demeritorious things that have not yet arisen; and he strives, puts
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forth his energy, strains his mind and struggles.
Thus, when he perceives a form with the eye, a sound with the ear, an odor with
the nose, a taste with the tongue, a contact with the body, or an object with the
mind, he neither adheres to the whole, nor to its parts. And he strives to ward off
that through which evil and demeritorious things, greed and sorrow, would arise, if
he remained with unguarded senses; and he watches over his senses, restrains his
senses.
Possessed of this noble “Control over the Senses,” he experiences inwardly a feel-
ing of joy, into which no evil thing can enter. This is called the effort to avoid.
What, now, is the effort to Overcome? There, the disciple incites his mind to over-
come the evil, demeritorious things that have already arisen; and he strives, puts
forth his energy, strains his mind and struggles.
He does not retain any thought of sensual lust, ill-will, or grief, or any other evil
and demeritorious states that may have arisen; he abandons them, dispels them,
destroys them, causes them to disappear.
Five Methods of Expelling Evil Thoughts
If, whilst regarding a certain object, there arise in the disciple, on account of it,
evil and demeritorious thoughts connected with greed, anger and delusion, then the
disciple should, by means of this object, gain another and wholesome object. Or,
he should reflect on the misery of these thoughts: “Unwholesome, truly, are these
thoughts! Blameable are these thoughts! Of painful result are these thoughts!” Or,
he should pay no attention to these thoughts. Or, he should consider the compound
nature of these thoughts. Or, with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the
gums, he should, with his mind, restrain, suppress and root out these thoughts; and
in doing so, these evil and demeritorious thoughts of greed, anger and delusion
will dissolve and disappear; and the mind will inwardly become settled and calm,
composed and concentrated.
This is called the effort to overcome.
From the reading. . .
“One may enjoy the different ‘Magical Powers.’”
What, now, is the effort to Develop? There the disciple incites his will to arouse
meritorious conditions that have not yet arisen; and he strives, puts forth his energy,
strains his mind and struggles.
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Thus he develops the “Elements of Enlightenment,"” bent on solitude, on detach-
ment, on extinction, and ending in deliverance, namely: Attentiveness, Investiga-
tion of the Law, Energy, Rapture, Tranquility, Concentration, and Equanimity. This
is called the effort to develop.
What, now, is the effort to Maintain? There, the disciple incites his will to maintain
the meritorious conditions that have already arisen, and not to let them disappear,
but to bring them to growth, to maturity and to the full perfection of development;
and he strives, puts forth his energy, strains his mind and struggles.
Thus, for example, he keeps firmly in his mind a favorable object of concentration
that has arisen, as the mental image of a skeleton, of a corpse infested by worms, of
a corpse blue-black in color, of a festering corpse, of a corpse riddled with holes,
of a corpse swollen up.
This is called the effort to maintain.
Truly, the disciple who is possessed of faith and has penetrated the Teaching of the
Master, he is filled with the thought: “May rather skin, sinews and bones wither
away, may the flesh and blood of my body dry up: I shall not give up my efforts so
long as I have not attained whatever is attainable by manly perseverance, energy
and endeavor!”
This is called right effort.
The effort of Avoiding, Overcoming,
Of Developing and Maintaining:
These four great efforts have been shown
By him, the scion of the sun.
And he who firmly clings to them,
May put an end to all the pain.
Seventh Step: Right Attentiveness
What, now, is Right Attentiveness? The only way that leads to the attainment of
purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief,
to the entering upon the right path and the realization of Nirvana, is the “Four
Fundamentals of Attentiveness.” And which are these four? In them, the disciple
dwells in contemplation of the Body, in contemplation of Feeling, in contemplation
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of the Mind, in contemplation of the Mind-objects, ardent, clearly conscious and
attentive, after putting away worldly greed and grief.
Contemplation of the Body
But, how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body? There, the disciple
retires to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to a solitary place, sits himself down,
with legs crossed, body erect, and with attentiveness fixed before him.
With attentive mind he breathes in, with attentive mind he breathes out. When
making a long inhalation, he knows: “I make a long inhalation”; when making
a long exhalation, he knows: “I make a long exhalation.” when making a short
inhalation, he knows: “I make a short inhalation”; when making a short exhalation,
he knows: “I make a short exhalation.” Clearly perceiving the entire [breath]-body,
“I will breathe in”: thus he trains himself; clearly perceiving the entire [breath]-
body, “I will breathe out”: thus he trains himself. Calming this bodily function,
“I will breathe in”: thus he trains himself; calming this bodily function, “I will
breathe out”: thus he trains himself.
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body, either with regard to his own person,
or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the body arises; beholds how it
passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body. “Abody is there—”
“A body is there, but no living being, no individual, no woman,
no man, no self, and nothing that belongs to a self; neither a
person, nor anything belonging to a person”—
this clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and mindful-
ness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the
disciple dwell in contemplation of the body.
And further, whilst going, standing, sitting, or lying down, the disciple understands
the expressions: “I go”; “I stand”; “I sit”; “I lie down”; he understands any position
of the body.
[The disciple understands that it is not a being, a real Ego, that goes, stands, etc.,
but that it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: “I go,” “I stand,” and so
forth.]
And further, the disciple is clearly conscious in his going and coming; clearly con-
scious in looking forward and backward; clearly conscious in bending and stretch-
ing; clearly conscious in eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; clearly conscious
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in discharging excrement and urine; clearly conscious in walking, standing, sitting,
falling asleep and awakening; clearly conscious in speaking and in keeping silent.
From the reading. . .
“. . . it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: ‘I go,’ ‘I stand,’. . . ”
“In all the disciple is doing, he is clearly conscious: of his intention, of his advan-
tage, of his duty, of the reality.”
And further, the disciple contemplates this body from the sole of the foot upward,
and from the top of the hair downward, with a skin stretched over it, and filled with
manifold impurities: “This body consists of hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews,
bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, bowels,
stomach, and excrement; of bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, lymph, tears, semen,
spittle, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, and urine.”
Just as if there were a sack, with openings at both ends, filled with all kinds of
grain—with paddy, beans, sesamum and husked rice—and a man not blind opened
it and examined its contents, thus: “That is paddy, these are beans, this is sesamum,
this is husked rice”: just so does the disciple investigate this body.
And further, the disciple contemplates this body with regard to the elements: “This
body consists of the solid element, the liquid element, the heating element and
the vibrating element.” Just as a skilled butcher or butcher’s apprentice, who has
slaughtered a cow and divided it into separate portions, should sit down at the
junction of four highroads: just so does the disciple contemplate this body with
regard to the elements.
And further, just as if the disciple should see a corpse thrown into the burial-
ground, one, two, or three days dead, swollen-up, blue-black in color, full of cor-
ruption he draws the conclusion as to his own body: “This my body also has this
nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.” And further, just as if the disci-
ple should see a corpse thrown into the burial-ground, eaten by crows, hawks or
vultures, by dogs or jackals, or gnawed by all kinds of worms—he draws the con-
clusion as to his own body: “This my body also has this nature, has this destiny,
and cannot escape it.”
And further, just as if the disciple should see a corpse thrown into the burial-
ground, a framework of bones, flesh hanging from it, bespattered with blood, held
together by the sinews; a framework of bones, stripped of flesh, bespattered with
blood, held together by the sinews; a framework of bones, without flesh and blood,
but still held together by the sinews; bones, disconnected and scattered in all direc-
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tions, here a bone of the hand, there a bone of the foot, there a shin bone, there a
thigh bone, there the pelvis, there the spine, there the skull—he draws the conclu-
sion as to his own body: “This my body also has this nature, has this destiny, and
cannot escape it.”
And further, just as if the disciple should see bones lying in the burial ground,
bleached and resembling shells; bones heaped together, after the lapse of years;
bones weathered and crumbled to dust;—he draws the conclusion as to his own
body: “This my body also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.”
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body, either with regard to his own person,
or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the body arises; beholds how it
passes away; beholds the arising and passing of the body. “A body is there” this
clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and mindfulness;
and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the dis-
ciple dwell in contemplation of the body.
The Ten Blessings
Once the contemplation of the body is practiced, developed, often repeated, has
become one’s habit, one’s foundation, is firmly established, strengthened and well
perfected, one may expect ten blessings:
Over Delight and Discontent one has mastery; one does not allow himself to be
overcome by discontent; one subdues it, as soon as it arises. One conquers Fear
and Anxiety; one does not allow himself to be overcome by fear and anxiety; one
subdues them, as soon as they arise. One endures cold and heat, hunger and thirst,
wind and sun, attacks by gadflies, mosquitoes and reptiles; patiently one endures
wicked and malicious speech, as well as bodily pains, that befall one, though they
be piercing, sharp, bitter, unpleasant, disagreeable and dangerous to life. The four
“Trances,” the mind bestowing happiness even here: these one may enjoy at will,
without difficulty, without effort.
One may enjoy the different “Magical Powers.” With the “Heavenly Ear,” the pu-
rified, the super-human, one may hear both kinds of sounds, the heavenly and
the earthly, the distant and the near. With the mind one may obtain “Insight into
the Hearts of Other Beings” of other persons. One may obtain “Remembrance of
many Previous Births.” With the “Heavenly Eye,” the purified, the super-human,
one may see beings vanish and reappear, the base and the noble, the beautiful and
the ugly, the happy and the unfortunate; one may perceive how beings are reborn
according to their deeds.
One may, through the “Cessation of Passions,” come to know for oneself, even in
this life, the stainless deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom.
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Contemplation of the Feelings
But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings?
In experiencing feelings, the disciple knows: “I have an indifferent agreeable feel-
ing,” or “I have a disagreeable feeling,” or “I have an indifferent feeling,” or “I
have a worldly agreeable feeling,”< or “I have an unworldly agreeable feeling”
or “I have a worldly disagreeable feeling,” or “I have an unworldly disagreeable
feeling,” or “I have a worldly indifferent feeling,” or have an unworldly indifferent
feeling.
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the feelings, either with regard to his own per-
son, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the feelings arise; beholds how
they pass away; beholds the arising and passing away of the feelings. “Feelings are
there”: this clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and
mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus
does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings.
From the reading. . .
“. . . and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world.”
[The disciple understands that the expression “I feel” has no validity except as an
expression of common speech; he understands that, in the absolute sense, there are
only feelings, and that there is no Ego, no person, no experience of the feelings.]
Contemplation of the Mind
But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind? The disciple knows
the greedy mind as greedy, and the not greedy mind as not greedy; knows the an-
gry mind as angry, and the not angry mind as not angry; knows the deluded mind
as deluded, and the undeluded mind as undeluded. He knows the cramped mind as
cramped, and the scattered mind as scattered; knows the developed mind as devel-
oped, and the undeveloped mind as undeveloped; knows the surpassable mind as
surpassable, and the unsurpassable mind as unsurpassable; knows the concentrated
mind as concentrated, and the unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated; knows the
freed mind as freed, and the unfreed mind as unfreed.
[“Mind” is here used as a collective for the moments of consciousness. Being iden-
tical with consciousness, it should not be translated by “thought.” “Thought” and
“thinking” correspond rather to the so-called “verbal operations of the mind”; they
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are not, like consciousness, of primary, but of secondary nature, and are entirely
absent in all sensuous consciousness, as well as in the second, third and fourth
Trances. (See eighth step).]
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind, either with regard to his own person,
or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how consciousness arises; beholds how
it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of consciousness. “Mind is
there”; this clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and
mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus
does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind.
Contemplation of Phenomena (Mind-objects)
But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the phenomena? First, the
disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena, of the “Five Hindrances.”
He knows when there is “Lust” in him: “In me is lust”; knows when there is
“Anger” in him: “In me is anger”; knows when there is “Torpor and Drowsiness”
in him: “In me is torpor and drowsiness”; knows when there is “Restlessness and
Mental Worry” in him: “In me is restlessness and mental worry”; knows when
there are “Doubts” in him: “In me are doubts.” He knows when these hindrances
are not in him: “In me these hindrances are not.” He knows how they come to arise;
knows how, once arisen, they are overcome; knows how, once overcome, they do
not rise again in the future.
[For example, Lust arises through unwise thinking on the agreeable and delight-
ful. it may be suppressed by the following six methods: fixing the mind upon an
idea that arouses disgust; contemplation of the loathsomeness of the body; control-
ling one’s six senses; moderation in eating; friendship with wise and good men;
right instruction. Lust is forever extinguished upon entrance into Anagamiship;
Restlessness is extinguished by reaching Arahatship; Mental Worry, by reaching
Sotapanship.]
And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena, of the five
Groups of Existence. He knows what Corporeality is, how it arises, how it passes
away; knows what Feeling is, how it arises, how it away; knows what Perception
is, how it arises, how it passes away; knows what the Mental Formations are, how
they arise, how they pass away; knows what Consciousness is, how it arises, how
it passes away.
And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena of the six
Subjective-Objective Sense-Bases. He knows eye and visual objects, ear and sounds,
nose and odors, tongue and tastes, body and touches, mind and mind objects; and
the fetter that arises in dependence on them, he also knows. He knows how the
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fetter comes to arise, knows how the fetter is overcome, and how the abandoned
fetter does not rise again in future.
And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena of the seven
Elements of Enlightenment. The disciple knows when there is Attentiveness in
him; when there is Investigation of the Law in him; when there is Energy in him;
when there is Enthusiasm in him; when there is Tranquility in him; when there is
Concentration in him; when there is Equanimity in him. He knows when it is not
in him, knows how it comes to arise, and how it is fully developed.
And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena of the Four
Noble Truths. He knows according to reality, what Suffering is; knows according
to reality, what the Origin of Suffering is; knows according to reality, what the
Extinction of Suffering is; knows according to reality, what the Path is that leads
to the Extinction of Suffering.
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the phenomena, either with regard to his own
person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the phenomena arise; be-
holds howthey pass away; beholds the arising and passing away of the phenomena.
Phenomena are there; this consciousness is present in him because of his knowl-
edge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the
world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the phenomena.
Rice Boat, Library of Congress
The only way that leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow
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and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief, to the entering upon the right path,
and the realization of Nirvana, is these four fundamentals of attentiveness.
Nirvana Through Watching Over Breathing
“Watching over In-and Out-breathing” practiced and developed, brings the four
Fundamentals of Attentiveness to perfection; the four fundamentals of attentive-
ness, practiced and developed bring the seven Elements of Enlightenment to per-
fection; the seven elements of enlightenment, practiced and developed, bring Wis-
dom and Deliverance to perfection.
But how does Watching over In-and Out-breathing, practiced and developed, bring
the four Fundamentals of Attentiveness to perfection?
I. Whenever the disciple is conscious in making a long inhalation or exhalation,
or in making a short inhalation or exhalation, or is training himself to inhale or
exhale whilst feeling the whole [breath]-body, or whilst calming down this bodily
function—at such a time the disciple is dwelling in “contemplation of the body,”
of energy, clearly conscious, attentive, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For,
inhalation and exhalation I call one amongst the corporeal phenomena.
II. Whenever the disciple is training himself to inhale or exhale whilst feeling
rapture, or joy, or the mental functions, or whilst calming down the mental func-
tions—at such a time he is dwelling in “contemplation of the feelings,” full of
energy, clearly conscious, attentive, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For,
the full awareness of in—and outbreathing I call one amongst the feelings.
III. Whenever the disciple is training himself to inhale or exhale whilst feeling the
mind, or whilst gladdening the mind or whilst concentrating the mind, or whilst
setting the mind free—at such a time he is dwelling in “contemplation of the
mind,” full of energy, clearly conscious, attentive, after subduing worldly greed
and grief. For, without attentiveness and clear consciousness, I say, there is no
Watching over in-and Out-breathing.
IV. Whenever the disciple is training himself to inhale or exhale whilst contem-
plating impermanence, or the fading away of passion, or extinction, or detachment
at such a time he is dwelling in “contemplation of the phenomena,” full of energy,
clearly conscious, attentive, after subduing worldly greed and grief.
Watching over In-and Out-breathing, thus practiced and developed, brings the four
Fundamentals of Attentiveness to perfection. But how do the four Fundamentals
of Attentiveness, practiced and developed, bring the seven Elements of Enlighten-
ment to full perfection?
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Whenever the disciple is dwelling in contemplation of body, feeling, mind and phe-
nomena, strenuous, clearly conscious, attentive, after subduing worldly greed and
grief—at such a time his attentiveness is undisturbed; and whenever his attentive-
ness is present and undisturbed, at such a time he has gained and is developing the
Element of Enlightenment “Attentiveness”; and thus this element of enlightenment
reaches fullest perfection.
And whenever, whilst dwelling with attentive mind, he wisely investigates, exam-
ines and thinks over the Law—at such a time he has gained and is developing the
Element of Enlightenment “Investigation of the Law”; and thus this element of
enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
And whenever, whilst wisely investigating, examining and thinking over the law,
his energy is firm and unshaken—at such a time he has gained and is developing
the Element of Enlightenment “Energy”; and thus this element of enlightenment
reaches fullest perfection.
And whenever in him, whilst firm in energy, arises supersensuous rapture—at such
a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Rapture”;
and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
From the reading. . .
“. . . just as if the disciple should see a corpse thrown into the burial-ground,
one, two, or three days dead, swollen-up. . . he draws the conclusion as to his
own body: ‘This my body also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot
escape it.. . . ’”
And whenever, whilst enraptured in mind, his spiritual frame and his mind be-
come tranquil—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of En-
lightenment “Tranquility”; and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest
perfection.
And whenever, whilst being tranquilized in his spiritual frame and happy, his mind
becomes concentrated—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Ele-
ment of Enlightenment “Concentration”; and thus this element of enlightenment
reaches fullest perfection. And whenever he thoroughly looks with indifference on
his mind thus concentrated—at such a time he has gained and is developing the
Element of Enlightenment “Equanimity.”
The four fundamentals of attentiveness, thus practiced and developed, bring the
seven elements of enlightenment to full perfection.
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Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
But how do the seven elements of enlightenment, practiced and developed, bring
Wisdom and Deliverance to full perfection? There, the disciple is developing the
elements of enlightenment: Attentiveness, Investigation of the Law, Energy, Rap-
ture, Tranquility, Concentration and Equanimity, bent on detachment, on absence
of desire, on extinction and renunciation.
Thus practiced and developed, do the seven elements of enlightenment bring wis-
dom and deliverance to full perfection.
Just as the elephant hunter drives a huge stake into the ground and chains the wild
elephant to it by the neck, in order to drive out of him his wonted forest ways and
wishes, his forest unruliness, obstinacy and violence, and to accustom him to the
environment of the village, and to teach him such good behavior as is required
amongst men: in like manner also has the noble disciple to fix his mind firmly to
these four fundamentals of attentiveness, so that he may drive out of himself his
wonted worldly ways and wishes, his wonted worldly unruliness, obstinacy and
violence, and win to the True, and realize Nirvana.
Eighth Step: Right Concentration
What, now, is Right Concentration? Fixing the mind to a single object (“One-
pointedness of mind”): this is concentration.
The four Fundamentals of Attentiveness (seventh step): these are the objects of
concentration.
The four Great Efforts (sixth step): these are the requisites for concentration.
The practicing, developing and cultivating of these things: this is the “Develop-
ment” of concentration.
[Right Concentration has two degrees of development: 1. “Neighborhood-Concentration,”
which approaches the first trance, without however attaining it; 2. “Attainment
Concentration,” which is the concentration present in the four trances. The at-
tainment of the trances, however, is not a requisite for the realization of the Four
Ultramundane Paths of Holiness; and neither Neighborhood-Concentration nor
Attainment-Concentration, as such, in any way possesses the power of conferring
entry into the Four Ultramundane Paths; hence, in them is really no power to free
oneself permanently from evil things. The realization of the Four Ultramundane
Paths is possible only at the moment of insight into the impermanency, miser-
able nature, and impersonality of phenomenal process of existence. This insight
is attainable only during Neighborhood-Concentration, not during Attainment-
Concentration.
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He who has realized one or other of the Four Ultramundane Paths without ever
having attained the Trances, is called a “Dry-visioned One,” or one whose pas-
sions are “dried up by Insight.” He, however, who after cultivating the Trances has
reached one of the Ultramundane Paths, is called “one who has taken tranquility
as his vehicle.”]
The Four Trances
Detached from sensual objects, detached from unwholesome things, the disciple
enters into the first trance, which is accompanied by “Verbal Thought,” and “Ru-
mination,” is born of “Detachment,” and filled with “Rapture,” and “Happiness.”
This first trance is free from five things, and five things are present. When the
disciple enters the first trance, there have vanished [the 5 Hindrances]: Lust, Ill-
will, Torpor and Dullness, Restlessness and Mental Worry, Doubts; and there are
present: Verbal Thought, Rumination, Rapture, Happiness, and Concentration. And
further: after the subsiding of verbal thought and rumination, and by the gaining
of inward tranquility and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from verbal
thought and rumination, the second trance, which is born of Concentration, and
filled with Rapture and Happiness.
And further: after the fading away of rapture, he dwells in equanimity, attentive,
clearly conscious; and he experiences in his person that feeling, of which the Noble
Ones say: “Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind”—thus he enters
the third trance. And further: after the giving up of pleasure and pain, and through
the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure
and pain, into the fourth trance, which is purified by equanimity and attentiveness.
[The four Trances may be obtained by means of Watching over In-and Out-breathing,
as well as through the fourth sublime meditation, the “Meditation of Equanimity,”
and others.
From the reading. . .
“That unshakable deliverance of the heart: that, verily, is the object of the
Holy Life, that is its essence, that is its goal. ”
The three other Sublime Meditations of “Loving Kindness,” “Compassion”, and
“Sympathetic Joy” may lead to the attainment of the first three Trances. The “Ceme-
tery Meditations,” as well as the meditation “On Loathsomeness,” will produce
only the First Trance. The “Analysis of the Body” and the Contemplation on
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the Buddha, the Law, the Holy Brotherhood, Morality, etc., will only produce
Neighborhood-Concentration.]
Develop your concentration: for he who has concentration understands things ac-
cording to their reality. And what are these things? The arising and passing away
of corporeality, of feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.
Thus, these five Groups of Existence must be wisely penetrated; Delusion and
Craving must be wisely abandoned; Tranquility and Insight must be wisely devel-
oped.
This is the Middle Path which the Perfect One has discovered, which makes one
both to see and to know, and which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlighten-
ment, to Nirvana. And following upon this path, you will put an end to suffering.
Development of the Eightfold Path—Confidence and
Right-Mindedness (2nd Step)
Suppose a householder, or his son, or someone reborn in any family, hears the
law; and after hearing the law he is filled with confidence in the Perfect One. And
filled with this confidence, he thinks: “Full of hindrances is household life, a refuse
heap; but pilgrim life is like the open air. Not easy is it, when one lives at home,
to fulfill in all points the rules of the holy life. How, if now I were to cut off hair
and beard, put on the yellow robe and go forth from home to the homeless life?”
And in a short time, having given up his more or less extensive possessions, having
forsaken a smaller or larger circle of relations, he cuts off hair and beard, puts on
the yellow robe, and goes forth from home to the homeless life.
Morality (3rd, 4th, 5th Step)
Having thus left the world, he fulfills the rules of the monks. He avoids the killing
of living beings and abstains from it. Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of
sympathy, he is anxious for the welfare of all living beings.—He avoids stealing,
and abstains from taking what is not given to him. Only what is given to him he
takes, waiting till it is given; and he lives with a heart honest and pure.—He avoids
unchastity, living chaste, resigned, and keeping aloof from sexual intercourse, the
vulgar way.—He avoids lying and abstains from it. He speaks the truth, is devoted
to the truth, reliable, worthy of confidence, is not a deceiver of men.—He avoids
tale-bearing and abstains from it. What he has heard here, he does not repeat there,
so as to cause dissension there; and what he has heard there, he does not repeat
here, so as to cause dissension here. Thus he unites those that are divided, and those
that are united he encourages; concord gladdens him, he delights and rejoices in
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concord, and it is concord that he spreads by his words.—He avoids harsh language
and abstains from it. He speaks such words as are gentle, soothing to the ear,
loving, going to the heart, courteous and dear, and agreeable to many.—He avoids
vain talk and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts,
speaks what is useful, speaks about the law and the disciple; his speech is like a
treasure, at the right moment accompanied by arguments, moderate, and full of
sense.
He keeps aloof from dance, song, music and the visiting of shows; rejects flowers,
perfumes, ointments, as well as every kind of adornment and embellishment. High
and gorgeous beds he does not use. Gold and silver he does not accept. Raw corn
and meat he does not accept. Women and girls he does not accept. He owns no male
and female slaves, owns no goats, sheep, fowls, pigs, elephants, cows or horses,
no land and goods. He does not go on errands and do the duties of a messenger.
He keeps aloof from buying and selling things. He has nothing to do with false
measures, metals and weights. He avoids the crooked ways of bribery, deception
and fraud. He keeps aloof from stabbing, beating, chaining, attacking, plundering
and oppressing.
He contents himself with the robe that protects his body, and with the alms with
which he keeps himself alive. Wherever he goes, he is provided with these two
things; just as a winged bird, in flying, carries his wings along with him. By fulfill-
ing this noble Domain of Morality he feels in his heart an irreproachable happiness.
Control of the Senses (6th Step)
Now, in perceiving a form with the eye—a sound with the ear—an odor with the
nose—a taste with the tongue—a touch with the body—an object with his mind,
he sticks neither to the whole, nor to its details. And he tries to ward off that which,
by being unguarded in his senses, might give rise to evil and unwholesome states,
to greed and sorrow; he watches over his senses, keep his senses under control. By
practicing this noble “Control of the Senses” he feels in his heart an unblemished
happiness.
Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness (7th Step)
Clearly conscious is he in his going and coming; clearly conscious in looking for-
ward and backward; clearly conscious in bending and stretching his body; clearly
conscious in eating, drinking, chewing and tasting; dearly conscious in discharging
excrement and urine; clearly conscious in walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep
and awakening; clearly conscious in speaking and keeping silent.
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Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
Now, being equipped with this lofty Morality, equipped with this noble “Control of
the Senses,” and filled with this noble “Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness,”
he chooses a secluded dwelling in the forest, at the foot of a tree, on a mountain, in
a cleft, in a rock cave, on a burial ground, on a woody table-land, in the open air,
or on a heap of straw. Having returned from his alms-round, after the meal, he sits
himself down with legs crossed, body erect, with attentiveness fixed before him.
Absence of the Five Hindrances
He has cast away Lust; he dwells with a heart free from lust; from lust he cleanses
his heart.
He has cast away Ill-will; he dwells with a heart free from ill-will; cherishing love
and compassion toward all living beings, he cleanses his heart from ill-will.
He has cast away Torpor and Dullness; he dwells free from torpor and dullness;
loving the light, with watchful mind, with clear consciousness, he cleanses his
mind from torpor and dullness.
He has cast away Restlessness and Mental Worry; dwelling with mind undisturbed,
with heart full of peace, he cleanses his mind from restlessness and mental worry.
He has cast away Doubt; dwelling free from doubt, full of confidence in the good,
he cleanses his heart from doubt.
The Trances (8th Step)
He has put aside these five Hindrances and come to know the paralyzing corrup-
tions of the mind. And far fromsensual impressions, far fromunwholesome things,
he enters into the Four Trances.
Insight (1st Step)
But whatsoever there is of feeling, perception, mental formation, or conscious-
ness—all these phenomena he regards as “impermanent,” “subject to pain,” as
infirm, as an ulcer, a thorn, a misery, a burden, an enemy, a disturbance, as empty
and “void of an Ego”; and turning away from these things, he directs his mind
towards the abiding, thus: “This, verily, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely
the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading
away of craving; detachment, extinction: Nirvana.” And in this state he reaches
the “Cessation of Passions.”
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Nirvana
And his heart becomes free from sensual passion, free from the passion for ex-
istence, free from the passion of ignorance. “Freed am I!”: this knowledge arises
in the liberated one; and he knows: “Exhausted is rebirth, fulfilled the Holy Life;
what was to be done, has been done; naught remains more for this world to do.”
Forever am I liberated,
This is the last time that I’m born,
No new existence waits for me.
This, verily, is the highest, holiest wisdom: to know that all suffering has passed
away.
This, verily, is the highest, holiest peace: appeasement of greed, hatred and delu-
sion.
The Silent Thinker
“I am” is a vain thought; “I am not” a vain thought; “I shall be” is a vain thought; “I
shall not be” is a vain thought. Vain thoughts are a sickness, an ulcer, a thorn. But
after overcoming all vain thoughts, one is called “silent thinker.” And the thinker,
the Silent One, does no more arise, no more pass away, no more tremble, no more
desire. For there is nothing in him that he should arise again. And as he arises no
more, how should he grow old again? And as he grows no more old, how should
he die again? And as he dies no more, how should he tremble? And as he trembles
no more, how should he have desire?
The True Goal
Hence, the purpose of the Holy Life does not consist in acquiring alms, honor, or
fame, nor in gaining morality, concentration, or the eye of knowledge.
And those, who formerly, in the past, were Holy and Enlightened Ones, those
Blessed Ones also have pointed out to their disciples this self-same goal, as has
been pointed out by me to my disciples. And those, who afterwards, in the future,
will be Holy and Enlightened Ones, those Blessed Ones also will point out to
their disciples this self-same goal, as has been pointed out by me to my disciples.
However, Disciples, it may be that (after my passing away) you might think: “Gone
is the doctrine of our Master. We have no Master more.” But you should not think;
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Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
for the Law and the Discipline, which I have taught you, Will, after my death, be
your master.
The Law be your light,
The Law be your refuge!
Do not look for any other refuge!
Disciples, the doctrines, which I advised you to penetrate, you should well pre-
serve, well guard, so that this Holy Life may take its course and continue for ages,
for the weal and welfare of the many, as a consolation to the world, for the happi-
ness, weal and welfare of heavenly beings and men.
Buddhist Room, Library of Congress
From the reading. . .
“That unshakable deliverance of the heart: that, verily, is the object of the
Holy Life. . . ”
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Topics Worth Investigating
1. Explain whether you think that the notion of “karmically wholesome” as used
in this reading is meant primarily in a moral (i.e., having to do with right
and wrong) or in a psychological sense (i.e., having to do with behavioral
consequences).
2. Could it be argued that suffering ought not be extinguished? Doesn’t suffer-
ing actually serve a helpful service in life? For example, Franz Kafka writes,
“Suffering is the positive element in this world, indeed it is the only link be-
tween this world and the positive.”
2
Or Miguel de Unamuno writes, “There is
no true love save in suffering, and in this world we have to choose either love,
which is suffering, or happiness.. . . Man is the more man—that is, the more
divine—the greater his capacity for suffering, or rather, for anguish.”
3
3. Discuss whether or not you think Buddha would agree with Krishnamurti’s
distinction between “introspection” and “awareness”:
Introspection is self-improvement and therefore introspection is self-centeredness.
Awareness is not self-improvement. On the contrary, it is the ending of the self,
of the “I,” with all its peculiar idiosyncrasies, memories, demands, and pursuits.
In introspection there is identification and condemnation. In awareness there is
no condemnation or identification; therefore, there is no self-improvement. There
is a vast difference between the two.
4
4. Explain how the achievement of non-attachment in Buddhism is unlike Søren
Kierkegaard’s ethico-religious stage embodying the “ teleological suspension
of the ethical” or Friedrich Nietzsche’s master morality of “standing beyond
good and evil.”
5. After studying this chapter, do you think the following criticism of Buddhism
by Immanuel Kant is well founded?
We men know very little a priori, and have our senses to thank for nearly all our
knowledge. Through experience we know only appearances. . . but not the modum
noumenon. . . not things as they are in themselves. . . God knows all things as they
are in themselves a priori and immediately through an intuitive understanding.. . .
If we were to flatter ourselves so much as to claim that we know the modum
2. Franz Kafka. Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings. Trans. Ernst Kaiser and Eithne
Wilkins. New York: Schocken Books,1954.
3. Miguel de Unamuno. The Tragic Sense of Life. Trans. J. E .C. Flitch. New York: Macmillan,
1921.
4. Jiddu Krishnamurti. “On Awareness,” in First and Last Freedom. New York: Harper & Row,
1975.
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Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha
noumenon, then we would have to be in community with God so as to participate
immediately in the divine ideas. To expect this in the present life is the business
of mystics and theosophists. Thus arises the mystical self-annihilation of China,
Tibet, and India, in which one is under the delusion that he will finally be dis-
solved in the Godhead.
5
6. Explain and amplify the meaning of Pirsig’s assertion:
The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital
computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain
or in the petals of a flower.
6
7. Buddha states the Noble Eightfold Path is “the way that leads to the extinction
of suffering.” Is it clearly the case that suffering ought to be extinguished? For
example, Kafka writes:
Suffering is the positive element in this world, indeed it is the only link between
this world and the positive.
7
Is Kafka referring to the same kind of suffering as is the Buddha?
5. Immanuel Kant. Lectures on Philosophical Theology. Trans. Allen W. Wood and Gertrude
M. Clark. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1978. 86.
6. Robert M. Pirsig. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. New York: William Morrow,
1974.
7. Franz Kafka. Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings. Trans. Ernst Kaiser and Eithne
Wilkins. New York: Schocken Books, 1954.
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Chapter 5
The Dhammapada (abridged)
Bronze Buddha, The American Cyclopædia
About the author. . .
After Buddha’s death, purportedly under the guidance of Kasyapa, Buddha’s dis-
ciples gathered to record orally the thoughts of their teacher in order that the in-
sights of his spiritual truth would not be lost or changed. The resulting collection of
sayings, the Dhammapada, was passed on from generation to generation; several
versions of these verses survive as recorded in different languages. The Dhamma-
pada is generally considered among the most popular and best-loved Buddhist
scriptures. Max Müller says, “I cannot see any reason why we should not treat the
verses of the Dhammapada, if not as the utterances of Buddha, at least as what
were believed by the members of the council under Asoks, 242 B.C., to have been
the utterances of the founder of their religion.”
1
1. Quoted in James Freeman Clarke. Ten Great Religions New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1871-3.
xiii.
99
Chapter 5. The Dhammapada (abridged)
About the work. . .
In the The Dhammapada: A Collection of Verses (abridged),
2
the Buddha’s philos-
ophy is presented in over 400 verses. The scripture notes that people seek pleasure
for themselves but experience suffering as a direct result of seeking their self-
interest. Buddha believes that suffering ceases when the self is extinguished. The
experiences of each person are consequences of past thoughts and actions; con-
sequently, enlightenment or awakening as an escape from the seemingly endless
cycles of life is as precious as it is rare.
From the reading. . .
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. . . ”
Ideas of Interest from The Dhammapada
1. Explain why Buddha believes hatred will cease when the world knows we will
come to an end. What is the meaning of the phrase, “we will come to an end”?
2. What is the importance of mindfulness or earnestness? Why is thoughtlessness
to be feared?
3. In what ways do wise persons fashion themselves? How does a wise person
differ from a foolish person?
4. Name and characterize the five “lower fetters.” Which are to be cut off? Do
you see any relation between the five bonds
3
and the five lower fetters?
5. Describe the Arhat. What are the five “higher fetters” which an Arhat aban-
dons?
6. Why do you think the Bhikshu seeks separation from this world rather than
seeking to do good works and deeds within this world?
7. According to the The Dhammapada, how is suffering to be overcome?
2. The Dhammapada: A Collection of Verses. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1881. Translated from
the Pauli by F. Max Müller. Sacred Books of the East. Edited by F. Max Müller. Translated by
Various Oriental Scholars. Volume X, Part I.
3. The five bonds are greed, hatred, delusion, false views, and conceit. Ed.
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Chapter 5. The Dhammapada (abridged)
8. Explain the metaphor of the tabernacle. Do you think the law mentioned
throughout the The Dhammapada is natural law or moral law or some combi-
nation of the two?
9. Which of the following courses of action should be preeminent for you: seek-
ing to help others with their duties or seeking to do your own duties? Explain
why this is the case.
10. What do you think this verse from the The Dhammapada means: “. . . [T]here
is no happiness higher than rest”?
11. Why, according to the The Dhammapada, should no one love anything? What
does Buddha say about desire?
12. What do you think is meant by the phrase, “There is no path through the
air. . . ”?
13. Contrast the Brahmana (Arhat) with the Bhikshu (Mendicant).
The Reading Selection from The
Dhammapada
Chapter I: The Twin Verses
1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our
thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought,
pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.
2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our
thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought,
happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.
3. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”—in those who
harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease.
4. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”—in those who do
not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease.
5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an
old rule.
6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here;—but those who
know it, their quarrels cease at once.
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7. He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in
his food, idle, and weak, Mara (the tempter) will certainly overthrow him, as the
wind throws down a weak tree.
8. He who lives without looking for pleasures, his senses well controlled, moderate
in his food, faithful and strong, him Mara will certainly not overthrow, any more
than the wind throws down a rocky mountain.. . .
13. As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an
unreflecting mind.
14. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house, passion will not break
through a well-reflecting mind.. . .
17. The evil-doer suffers in this world, and he suffers in the next; he suffers in both.
He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done; he suffers more when going on
the evil path.
18. The virtuous man is happy in this world, and he is happy in the next; he is
happy in both. He is happy when he thinks of the good he has done; he is still
more happy when going on the good path.. . .
Chapter II: On Earnestness
21. Earnestness is the path of immortality (Nirvana), thoughtlessness the path of
death. Those who are in earnest do not die, those who are thoughtless are as if dead
already.. . .
23. These wise people, meditative, steady, always possessed of strong powers, at-
tain to Nirvana, the highest happiness.. . .
27. Follow not after vanity, nor after the enjoyment of love and lust! He who is
earnest and meditative, obtains ample joy.
28. When the learned man drives away vanity by earnestness, he, the wise, climb-
ing the terraced heights of wisdom, looks down upon the fools, serene he looks
upon the toiling crowd, as one that stands on a mountain looks down upon them
that stand upon the plain.. . .
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31. A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in earnestness, who looks with fear on
thoughtlessness, moves about like fire, burning all his fetters, small or large.
32. A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in reflection, who looks with fear on
thoughtlessness, cannot fall away (from his perfect state)—he is close upon Nir-
vana.
Chapter III: Thought
33. As a fletcher makes straight his arrow, a wise man makes straight his trembling
and unsteady thought, which is difficult to guard, difficult to hold back.
34. As a fish taken from his watery home and thrown on dry ground, our thought
trembles all over in order to escape the dominion of Mara (the tempter).
35. It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing
wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness.. . .
From the reading. . .
“Those who are in earnest do not die, those who are thoughtless are as if
dead already.”
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39. If a man’s thoughts are not dissipated, if his mind is not perplexed, if he has
ceased to think of good or evil, then there is no fear for him while he is watchful.
40. Knowing that this body is (fragile) like a jar, and making this thought firm like
a fortress, one should attack Mara (the tempter) with the weapon of knowledge,
one should watch him when conquered, and should never rest.
41. Before long, alas! this body will lie on the earth, despised, without understand-
ing, like a useless log.
42. Whatever a hater may do to a hater, or an enemy to an enemy, a wrongly-
directed mind will do us greater mischief.
43. Not a mother, not a father will do so much, nor any other relative; a well-
directed mind will do us greater service.
Chapter IV: Flowers
44. Who shall overcome this earth, and the world of Yama (the lord of the de-
parted), and the world of the gods? Who shall find out the plainly shown path of
virtue, as a clever man finds out the (right) flower?
45. The disciple will overcome the earth, and the world of Yama, and the world of
the gods. The disciple will find out the plainly shown path of virtue, as a clever
man finds out the (right) flower.
46. He who knows that this body is like froth, and has learnt that it is as unsub-
stantial as a mirage, will break the flower-pointed arrow of Mara, and never see
the king of death.
47. Death carries off a man who is gathering flowers and whose mind is distracted,
as a flood carries off a sleeping village.
48. Death subdues a man who is gathering flowers, and whose mind is distracted,
before he is satiated in his pleasures.
49. As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its colour
or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.. . .
58, 59. As on a heap of rubbish cast upon the highway the lily will grow full of
sweet perfume and delight, thus the disciple of the truly enlightened Buddha shines
forth by his knowledge among those who are like rubbish, among the people that
walk in darkness.
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China-Burma Highway, (detail) Library of Congress
Chapter V: The Fool
60. Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long
is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.
61. If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him
firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool.
62. “These sons belong to me, and this wealth belongs to me,” with such thoughts
a fool is tormented. He himself does not belong to himself; how much less sons
and wealth?. . .
66. Fools of little understanding have themselves for their greatest enemies, for
they do evil deeds which must bear bitter fruits.. . .
71. An evil deed, like newly-drawn milk, does not turn (suddenly); smouldering,
like fire covered by ashes, it follows the fool.. . .
74. “May both the layman and he who has left the world think that this is done by
me; may they be subject to me in everything which is to be done or is not to be
done,” thus is the mind of the fool, and his desire and pride increase.
75. “One is the road that leads to wealth, another the road that leads to Nirvana;”
if the Bhikshu, the disciple of Buddha, has learnt this, he will not yearn for honour,
he will strive after separation from the world.
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Chapter VI: The Wise Man (Pandita)
76. If you see an intelligent man who tells you where true treasures are to be found,
who shows what is to be avoided, and administers reproofs, follow that wise man;
it will be better, not worse, for those who follow him.. . .
78. Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have
virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men.. . .
80. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow;
carpenters bend a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves.
81. As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, wise people falter not amidst blame
and praise.
82. Wise people, after they have listened to the laws, become serene, like a deep,
smooth, and still lake.
83. Good people walk on whatever befall, the good do not prattle, longing for
pleasure; whether touched by happiness or sorrow wise people never appear elated
or depressed.
84. If, whether for his own sake, or for the sake of others, a man wishes neither for
a son, nor for wealth, nor for lordship, and if he does not wish for his own success
by unfair means, then he is good, wise, and virtuous.
85. Few are there among men who arrive at the other shore (become Arhats); the
other people here run up and down the shore.. . .
89. Those whose mind is well grounded in the (seven) elements of knowledge, who
without clinging to anything, rejoice in freedom from attachment, whose appetites
have been conquered, and who are full of light, are free (even) in this world.
Chapter VII: The Venerable (Arhat)
90. There is no suffering for him who has finished his journey, and abandoned
grief, who has freed himself on all sides, and thrown off all fetters.
91. They depart with their thoughts well-collected, they are not happy in their
abode; like swans who have left their lake, they leave their house and home.
92. Men who have no riches, who live on recognised food, who have perceived
void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana), their path is difficult to understand,
like that of birds in the air.
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93. He whose appetites are stilled, who is not absorbed in enjoyment, who has
perceived void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana), his path is difficult to un-
derstand, like that of birds in the air.
94. The gods even envy him whose senses, like horses well broken in by the driver,
have been subdued, who is free from pride, and free from appetites.
95. Such a one who does his duty is tolerant like the earth, like Indra’s bolt; he is
like a lake without mud; no new births are in store for him.
96. His thought is quiet, quiet are his word and deed, when he has obtained freedom
by true knowledge, when he has thus become a quiet man.
97. The man who is free from credulity, but knows the uncreated, who has cut all
ties, removed all temptations, renounced all desires, he is the greatest of men.. . .
Chapter VIII: The Thousands
100. Even though a speech be a thousand (of words), but made up of senseless
words, one word of sense is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.
101. Even though a Gatha (poem) be a thousand (of words), but made up of sense-
less words, one word of a Gatha is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.
102. Though a man recite a hundred Gathas made up of senseless words, one word
of the law is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.
103. If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another
conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.. . .
109. He who always greets and constantly reveres the aged, four things will in-
crease to him, viz. life, beauty, happiness, power.. . .
111. And he who lives a hundred years, ignorant and unrestrained, a life of one
day is better if a man is wise and reflecting.
112. And he who lives a hundred years, idle and weak, a life of one day is better if
a man has attained firm strength.
113. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing beginning and end, a life of one
day is better if a man sees beginning and end.
114. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the immortal place, a life of one
day is better if a man sees the immortal place.
115. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the highest law, a life of one
day is better if a man sees the highest law.
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Chinese Built Suspension Bridge, Szechwan Province, China, (detail) Library of
Congress
Chapter IX: Evil
116. If a man would hasten towards the good, he should keep his thought away
from evil; if a man does what is good slothfully, his mind delights in evil.
117. If a man commits a sin, let him not do it again; let him not delight in sin: pain
is the outcome of evil.
118. If a man does what is good, let him do it again; let him delight in it: happiness
is the outcome of good.
119. Even an evil-doer sees happiness as long as his evil deed has not ripened; but
when his evil deed has ripened, then does the evil-doer see evil.
120. Even a good man sees evil days, as long as his good deed has not ripened; but
when his good deed has ripened, then does the good man see happy days.
121. Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto
me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the fool becomes full
of evil, even if he gather it little by little.
122. Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh
unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the wise man
becomes full of good, even if he gather it little by little.. . .
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124. He who has no wound on his hand, may touch poison with his hand; poison
does not affect one who has no wound; nor is there evil for one who does not
commit evil.
From the reading. . .
“Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow;
carpenters bend a log of wood; good people fashion themselves.”
125. If a man offend a harmless, pure, and innocent person, the evil falls back upon
that fool, like light dust thrown up against the wind.
126. Some people are born again; evil-doers go to hell; righteous people go to
heaven; those who are free from all worldly desires attain Nirvana.. . .
Chapter X: Punishment
129. All men tremble at punishment, all men fear death; remember that you are
like unto them, and do not kill, nor cause slaughter.
130. All men tremble at punishment, all men love life; remember that thou art like
unto them, and do not kill, nor cause slaughter.
131. He who seeking his own happiness punishes or kills beings who also long for
happiness, will not find happiness after death.
132. He who seeking his own happiness does not punish or kill beings who also
long for happiness, will find happiness after death.
133. Do not speak harshly to anybody; those who are spoken to will answer thee
in the same way. Angry speech is painful, blows for blows will touch thee.
134. If, like a shattered metal plate (gong), thou utter not, then thou hast reached
Nirvana; contention is not known to thee.
135. As a cowherd with his staff drives his cows into the stable, so do Age and
Death drive the life of men.
136. A fool does not know when he commits his evil deeds: but the wicked man
burns by his own deeds, as if burnt by fire.. . .
145. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow;
carpenters bend a log of wood; good people fashion themselves.
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Chapter 5. The Dhammapada (abridged)
Chapter XI: Old Age
146. How is there laughter, how is there joy, as this world is always burning? Why
do you not seek a light, ye who are surrounded by darkness?
147. Look at this dressed-up lump, covered with wounds, joined together, sickly,
full of many thoughts, which has no strength, no hold!
148. This body is wasted, full of sickness, and frail; this heap of corruption breaks
to pieces, life indeed ends in death.. . .
151. The brilliant chariots of kings are destroyed, the body also approaches de-
struction, but the virtue of good people never approaches destruction,—thus do
the good say to the good.
152. A man who has learnt little, grows old like an ox; his flesh grows, but his
knowledge does not grow.
153, 154. Looking for the maker of this tabernacle, I shall have to run through a
course of many births, so long as I do not find (him); and painful is birth again and
again. But now, maker of the tabernacle, thou hast been seen; thou shalt not make
up this tabernacle again. All thy rafters are broken, thy ridge-pole is sundered; the
mind, approaching the Eternal (visankhara, Nirvana), has attained to the extinction
of all desires.
155. Men who have not observed proper discipline, and have not gained treasure
in their youth, perish like old herons in a lake without fish.
156. Men who have not observed proper discipline, and have not gained treasure
in their youth, lie, like broken bows, sighing after the past.
Chapter XII: Self
157. If a man hold himself dear, let him watch himself carefully; during one at
least out of the three watches
4
a wise man should be watchful.
158. Let each man direct himself first to what is proper, then let him teach others;
thus a wise man will not suffer.
159. If a man make himself as he teaches others to be, then, being himself well
subdued, he may subdue (others); one’s own self is indeed difficult to subdue.
160. Self is the lord of self, who else could be the lord? With self well subdued, a
man finds a lord such as few can find.
4. I.e., the “three watches” are when we are young, middle-aged, and old, Ed..
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161. The evil done by oneself, self-begotten, self-bred, crushes the foolish, as a
diamond breaks a precious stone.
162. He whose wickedness is very great brings himself down to that state where
his enemy wishes him to be, as a creeper does with the tree which it surrounds.
163. Bad deeds, and deeds hurtful to ourselves, are easy to do; what is beneficial
and good, that is very difficult to do.. . .
165. By oneself the evil is done, by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left
undone, by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself, no one
can purify another.
From the reading. . .
“Come, look at this glittering world, like unto a royal chariot; the foolish are
immersed in it, but the wise do not touch it.”
166. Let no one forget his own duty for the sake of another’s, however great; let a
man, after he has discerned his own duty, be always attentive to his duty.. . .
Chapter XIII: The World
168. Rouse thyself! do not be idle! Follow the law of virtue! The virtuous rests in
bliss in this world and in the next.. . .
170. Look upon the world as a bubble, look upon it as a mirage: the king of death
does not see him who thus looks down upon the world.
171. Come, look at this glittering world, like unto a royal chariot; the foolish are
immersed in it, but the wise do not touch it.
172. He who formerly was reckless and afterwards became sober, brightens up this
world, like the moon when freed from clouds.
173. He whose evil deeds are covered by good deeds, brightens up this world, like
the moon when freed from clouds.
174. This world is dark, few only can see here; a few only go to heaven, like birds
escaped from the net.. . .
178. Better than sovereignty over the earth, better than going to heaven, better than
lordship over all worlds, is the reward of the first step in holiness.
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Chapter XIV: The Buddha (The Awakened)
179. He whose conquest is not conquered again, into whose conquest no one in
this world enters, by what track can you lead him, the Awakened, the Omniscient,
the trackless?
Bronze Statue of Amida Nyorai, Library of Congress, Denjiro Hasegawa, photog-
rapher
180. He whom no desire with its snares and poisons can lead astray, by what track
can you lead him, the Awakened, the Omniscient, the trackless?
181. Even the gods envy those who are awakened and not forgetful, who are given
to meditation, who are wise, and who delight in the repose of retirement (from the
world).
182. Difficult (to obtain) is the conception of men, difficult is the life of mortals,
difficult is the hearing of the True Law, difficult is the birth of the Awakened (the
attainment of Buddhahood).
183. Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one’s mind, that is the
teaching of (all) the Awakened.. . .
185. Not to blame, not to strike, to live restrained under the law, to be moderate
in eating, to sleep and sit alone, and to dwell on the highest thoughts,—this is the
teaching of the Awakened.
186. There is no satisfying lusts, even by a shower of gold pieces; he who knows
that lusts have a short taste and cause pain, he is wise;
187. Even in heavenly pleasures he finds no satisfaction, the disciple who is fully
awakened delights only in the destruction of all desires.
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188. Men, driven by fear, go to many a refuge, to mountains and forests, to groves
and sacred trees.
189. But that is not a safe refuge, that is not the best refuge; a man is not delivered
from all pains after having gone to that refuge.
190. He who takes refuge with Buddha, the Law, and the Church; he who, with
clear understanding, sees the four holy truths:—
191. Viz. pain, the origin of pain, the destruction of pain, and the eightfold holy
way that leads to the quieting of pain;—
192. That is the safe refuge, that is the best refuge; having gone to that refuge, a
man is delivered from all pain.
193. A supernatural person (a Buddha) is not easily found, he is not born every-
where. Wherever such a sage is born, that race prospers.. . .
Chapter XV: Happiness
197. Let us live happily then, not hating those who hate us! among men who hate
us let us dwell free from hatred!
198. Let us live happily then, free from ailments among the ailing! among men
who are ailing let us dwell free from ailments!
199. Let us live happily then, free from greed among the greedy! among men who
are greedy let us dwell free from greed!
200. Let us live happily then, though we call nothing our own! We shall be like the
bright gods, feeding on happiness!
201. Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered is unhappy. He who has given up
both victory and defeat, he, the contented, is happy.
202. There is no fire like passion; there is no losing throw like hatred; there is no
pain like this body; there is no happiness higher than rest.
From the reading. . .
“Let, therefore, no man love anything; loss of the beloved is evil. Those who
love nothing and hate nothing, have no fetters.”
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203. Hunger is the worst of diseases, the body the greatest of pains; if one knows
this truly, that is Nirvana, the highest happiness.
204. Health is the greatest of gifts, contentedness the best riches; trust is the best
of relationships, Nirvana the highest happiness.
205. He who has tasted the sweetness of solitude and tranquility, is free from fear
and free from sin, while he tastes the sweetness of drinking in the law.
206. The sight of the elect (Arya) is good, to live with them is always happiness;
if a man does not see fools, he will be truly happy.
207. He who walks in the company of fools suffers a long way; company with
fools, as with an enemy, is always painful; company with the wise is pleasure, like
meeting with kinsfolk.
208. Therefore, one ought to follow the wise, the intelligent, the learned, the much
enduring, the dutiful, the elect; one ought to follow a good and wise man, as the
moon follows the path of the stars.
Chapter XVI: Pleasure
209. He who gives himself to vanity, and does not give himself to meditation,
forgetting the real aim (of life) and grasping at pleasure, will in time envy him
who has exerted himself in meditation.
210. Let no man ever look for what is pleasant, or what is unpleasant. Not to see
what is pleasant is pain, and it is pain to see what is unpleasant.
211. Let, therefore, no man love anything; loss of the beloved is evil. Those who
love nothing and hate nothing, have no fetters.
212. From pleasure comes grief, from pleasure comes fear; he who is free from
pleasure knows neither grief nor fear.
213. From affection comes grief, from affection comes fear; he who is free from
affection knows neither grief nor fear.
214. From lust comes grief, from lust comes fear; he who is free from lust knows
neither grief nor fear.
215. From love comes grief, from love comes fear; he who is free from love knows
neither grief nor fear.
216. From greed comes grief, from greed comes fear; he who is free from greed
knows neither grief nor fear.
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217. He who possesses virtue and intelligence, who is just, speaks the truth, and
does what is his own business, him the world will hold dear.
218. He in whom a desire for the Ineffable (Nirvana) has sprung up, who is sat-
isfied in his mind, and whose thoughts are not bewildered by love, he is called
urdhvamsrotas (carried upwards by the stream).
219. Kinsmen, friends, and lovers salute a man who has been long away, and re-
turns safe from afar.
220. In like manner his good works receive him who has done good, and has gone
from this world to the other;—as kinsmen receive a friend on his return.
Chapter XVII: Anger
221. Let a man leave anger, let him forsake pride, let him overcome all bondage!
No sufferings befall the man who is not attached to name and form, and who calls
nothing his own.
222. He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver;
other people are but holding the reins.
From the reading. . .
“Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with thy hand! ”
223. Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him
overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!
224. Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these
three steps thou wilt go near the gods.
225. The sages who injure nobody, and who always control their body, they will
go to the unchangeable place (Nirvana), where, if they have gone, they will suffer
no more.
226. Those who are ever watchful, who study day and night, and who strive after
Nirvana, their passions will come to an end.
227. This is an old saying, O Atula, this is not only of to-day: “They blame him
who sits silent, they blame him who speaks much, they also blame him who says
little; there is no one on earth who is not blamed.”
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228. There never was, there never will be, nor is there now, a man who is always
blamed, or a man who is always praised.. . .
234. The wise who control their body, who control their tongue, the wise who
control their mind, are indeed well controlled.. . .
Hong Kong Dock Workers, (detail) Library of Congress
Chapter XVIII: Impurity
. . . 237. Thy life has come to an end, thou art come near to death (Yama), there is
no resting-place for thee on the road, and thou hast no provision for thy journey.
238. Make thyself an island, work hard, be wise! When thy impurities are blown
away, and thou art free from guilt, thou wilt not enter again into birth and decay.
From the reading. . .
“There is no path through the air, a man is not a Samana by outward acts.”
239. Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self, as a smith blows off the
impurities of silver one by one, little by little, and from time to time.
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240. As the impurity which springs from the iron, when it springs from it, destroys
it; thus do a transgressor’s own works lead him to the evil path.
241. The taint of prayers is non-repetition; the taint of houses, non-repair; the taint
of the body is sloth; the taint of a watchman, thoughtlessness.. . .
243. But there is a taint worse than all taints,—ignorance is the greatest taint. O
mendicants! throw off that taint, and become taintless!
244. Life is easy to live for a man who is without shame, a crow hero, a mischief-
maker, an insulting, bold, and wretched fellow.
245. But life is hard to live for a modest man, who always looks for what is pure,
who is disinterested, quiet, spotless, and intelligent.. . .
249. The world gives according to their faith or according to their pleasure: if a
man frets about the food and the drink given to others, he will find no rest either
by day or by night.
251. There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare
like folly, there is no torrent like greed.
252. The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself is difficult to per-
ceive; a man winnows his neighbour’s faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides,
as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler.
253. If a man looks after the faults of others, and is always inclined to be offended,
his own passions will grow, and he is far from the destruction of passions.
254. There is no path through the air, a man is not a Samana by outward acts. The
world delights in vanity, the Tathagatas (the Buddhas) are free from vanity.
255. There is no path through the air, a man is not a Samana by outward acts. No
creatures are eternal; but the awakened (Buddha) are never shaken.
Chapter XIX: The Just
256, 257. A man is not just if he carries a matter by violence; no, he who distin-
guishes both right and wrong, who is learned and leads others, not by violence,
but by law and equity, and who is guarded by the law and intelligent, he is called
just.. . .
261. He in whom there is truth, virtue, love, restraint, moderation, he who is free
from impurity and is wise, he is called an elder.
262. An envious greedy, dishonest man does not become respectable by means of
much talking only, or by the beauty of his complexion.
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263. He in whom all this is destroyed, and taken out with the very root, he, when
freed from hatred and wise, is called respectable.
264. Not by tonsure does an undisciplined man who speaks falsehood become a
Samana; can a man be a Samana who is still held captive by desire and greediness?
265. He who always quiets the evil, whether small or large, he is called a Samana
(a quiet man), because he has quieted all evil.. . .
270. A man is not an elect (Ariya) because he injures living creatures; because he
has pity on all living creatures, therefore is a man called Ariya.
271, 272. Not only by discipline and vows, not only by much learning, not by
entering into a trance, not by sleeping alone, do I earn the happiness of release
which no worldling can know. Bhikshu, be not confident as long as thou hast not
attained the extinction of desires.
Chapter XX: The Way
273. The best of ways is the eightfold; the best of truths the four words; the best of
virtues passionlessness; the best of men he who has eyes to see.
274. This is the way, there is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence.
Go on this way! Everything else is the deceit of Mara (the tempter).
275. If you go on this way, you will make an end of pain! The way was preached
by me, when I had understood the removal of the thorns (in the flesh).
276. You yourself must make an effort. The Tathagatas (Buddhas) are only preach-
ers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mara.
277. “All created things perish,” he who knows and sees this becomes passive in
pain; this is the way to purity.
278. “All created things are grief and pain,” he who knows and sees this becomes
passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.
279. “All forms are unreal,” he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain;
this is the way that leads to purity.
280. He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and
strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thought are weak, that lazy and idle man
will never find the way to knowledge.
281. Watching his speech, well restrained in mind, let a man never commit any
wrong with his body! Let a man but keep these three roads of action clear, and he
will achieve the way which is taught by the wise.
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282. Through zeal knowledge is gotten, through lack of zeal knowledge is lost;
let a man who knows this double path of gain and loss thus place himself that
knowledge may grow.
283. Cut down the whole forest (of lust), not a tree only! Danger comes out of the
forest (of lust). When you have cut down both the forest (of lust) and its under-
growth, then, Bhikshus, you will be rid of the forest and free!
284. So long as the love of man towards women, even the smallest, is not destroyed,
so long is his mind in bondage, as the calf that drinks milk is to its mother.
285. Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with thy hand! Cherish the road
of peace. Nirvana has been shown by Sugata (Buddha).
286. “Here I shall dwell in the rain, here in winter and summer,” thus the fool
meditates, and does not think of his death.
287. Death comes and carries off that man, praised for his children and flocks, his
mind distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.
288. Sons are no help, nor a father, nor relations; there is no help from kinsfolk for
one whom death has seized.
289. A wise and good man who knows the meaning of this, should quickly clear
the way that leads to Nirvana.
Chapter XXI: Miscellaneous
290. If by leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure, let a wise man leave
the small pleasure, and look to the great.
291. He who, by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for himself, he,
entangled in the bonds of hatred, will never be free from hatred.
292. What ought to be done is neglected, what ought not to be done is done; the
desires of unruly, thoughtless people are always increasing.
293. But they whose whole watchfulness is always directed to their body, who do
not follow what ought not to be done, and who steadfastly do what ought to be
done, the desires of such watchful and wise people will come to an end.
294. A true Brahmana goes scatheless, though he have killed father and mother,
and two valiant kings, though he has destroyed a kingdom with all its subjects.. . .
296. The disciples of Gotama (Buddha) are always well awake, and their thoughts
day and night are always set on Buddha.. . . 297. —on the law. . . 298. —on the
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church. . . 299. —on the body. . . 300. —in compassion. . . [and] 301. —in medi-
tation. . .
304. Good people shine from afar, like the snowy mountains; bad people are not
seen, like arrows shot by night.
305. He alone who, without ceasing, practises the duty of sitting alone and sleeping
alone, he, subduing himself, will rejoice in the destruction of all desires alone, as
if living in a forest.
Views of Thailand—[Reclining Buddha], Library of Congress
Chapter XXII: The Downward Course
306. He who says what is not, goes to hell; he also who, having done a thing, says
I have not done it. After death both are equal, they are men with evil deeds in the
next world.
307. Many men whose shoulders are covered with the yellowgown are ill-conditioned
and unrestrained; such evil-doers by their evil deeds go to hell.
308. Better it would be to swallow a heated iron ball, like flaring fire, than that a
bad unrestrained fellow should live on the charity of the land.. . .
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313. If anything is to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it vigorously! A
careless pilgrim only scatters the dust of his passions more widely.
314. An evil deed is better left undone, for a man repents of it afterwards; a good
deed is better done, for having done it, one does not repent.. . .
318. They who forbid when there is nothing to be forbidden, and forbid not when
there is something to be forbidden, such men, embracing false doctrines, enter the
evil path.
319. They who know what is forbidden as forbidden, and what is not forbidden as
not forbidden, such men, embracing the true doctrine, enter the good path.
Chapter XXIII: The Elephant
320. Silently shall I endure abuse as the elephant in battle endures the arrow sent
from the bow: for the world is ill-natured.
321. They lead a tamed elephant to battle, the king mounts a tamed elephant; the
tamed is the best among men, he who silently endures abuse.
322. Mules are good, if tamed, and noble Sindhu horses, and elephants with large
tusks; but he who tames himself is better still.. . .
325. If a man becomes fat and a great eater, if he is sleepy and rolls himself about,
that fool, like a hog fed on wash, is born again and again.
326. This mind of mine went formerly wandering about as it liked, as it listed, as
it pleased; but I shall now hold it in thoroughly, as the rider who holds the hook
holds in the furious elephant.
327. Be not thoughtless, watch your thoughts! Draw yourself out of the evil way,
like an elephant sunk in mud.
328. If a man find a prudent companion who walks with him, is wise, and lives
soberly, he may walk with him, overcoming all dangers, happy, but considerate.
329. If a man find no prudent companion who walks with him, is wise, and lives
soberly, let him walk alone, like a king who has left his conquered country be-
hind,—like an elephant in the forest.
330. It is better to live alone, there is no companionship with a fool; let a man walk
alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes, like an elephant in the forest.
331. If an occasion arises, friends are pleasant; enjoyment is pleasant, whatever be
the cause; a good work is pleasant in the hour of death; the giving up of all grief is
pleasant.
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332. Pleasant in the world is the state of a mother, pleasant the state of a father,
pleasant the state of a Samana, pleasant the state of a Brahmana.
333. Pleasant is virtue lasting to old age, pleasant is a faith firmly rooted; pleasant
is attainment of intelligence, pleasant is avoiding of sins.
Chapter XXIV: Thirst
334. The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper; he runs from life to life,
like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest.
335. Whomsoever this fierce thirst overcomes, full of poison, in this world, his
sufferings increase like the abounding Birana grass.
336. He who overcomes this fierce thirst, difficult to be conquered in this world,
sufferings fall off from him, like water-drops from a lotus leaf.. . .
341. A creature’s pleasures are extravagant and luxurious; sunk in lust and looking
for pleasure, men undergo (again and again) birth and decay.
342. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; held in fetters and
bonds, they undergo pain for a long time, again and again.
343. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; let therefore the men-
dicant drive out thirst, by striving after passionlessness for himself.. . .
Hong Kong Sampans, (detail) Library of Congress
345. Wise people do not call that a strong fetter which is made of iron, wood, or
hemp; far stronger is the care for precious stones and rings, for sons and a wife.. . .
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348. Give up what is before, give up what is behind, give up what is in the middle,
when thou goest to the other shore of existence; if thy mind is altogether free, thou
wilt not again enter into birth and decay.
349. If a man is tossed about by doubts, full of strong passions, and yearning only
for what is delightful, his thirst will grow more and more, and he will indeed make
his fetters strong.
350. If a man delights in quieting doubts, and, always reflecting, dwells on what
is not delightful (the impurity of the body, &c.), he certainly will remove, nay, he
will cut the fetter of Mara.. . .
352. He who is without thirst and without affection, who understands the words
and their interpretation, who knows the order of letters (those which are before and
which are after), he has received his last body, he is called the great sage, the great
man.. . .
356. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by passion: therefore
a gift bestowed on the passionless brings great reward.
357. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by hatred: therefore a
gift bestowed on those who do not hate brings great reward.
From the reading. . .
“When you have understood the destruction of all that was made, you will
understand that which was not made.”
358. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by vanity: therefore a
gift bestowed on those who are free from vanity brings great reward.
359. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by lust: therefore a
gift bestowed on those who are free from lust brings great reward.. . .
Chapter XXV: The Bhikshu (Mendicant)
361. In the body restraint is good, good is restraint in speech, in thought restraint
is good, good is restraint in all things. A Bhikshu, restrained in all things, is freed
from all pain.. . .
365. Let him not despise what he has received, nor ever envy others: a mendicant
who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.
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366. A Bhikshu who, though he receives little, does not despise what he has re-
ceived, even the gods will praise him, if his life is pure, and if he is not slothful.
367. He who never identifies himself with name and form, and does not grieve over
what is no more, he indeed is called a Bhikshu.
368. The Bhikshu who acts with kindness, who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha,
will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural desires, and happiness.
369. O Bhikshu, empty this boat! if emptied, it will go quickly; having cut off
passion and hatred thou wilt go to Nirvana.
370. Cut off the five (senses), leave the five, rise above the five. A Bhikshu, who has
escaped from the five fetters, he is called Oghatinna, “saved from the flood.”. . .
372. Without knowledge there is no meditation, without meditation there is no
knowledge: he who has knowledge and meditation is near unto Nirvana.
373. A Bhikshu who has entered his empty house, and whose mind is tranquil,
feels a more than human delight when he sees the law clearly.
374. As soon as he has considered the origin and destruction of the elements
(khandha)
5
of the body, he finds happiness and joy which belong to those who
know the immortal (Nirvana).
375. And this is the beginning here for a wise Bhikshu: watchfulness over the
senses, contentedness, restraint under the law; keep noble friends whose life is
pure, and who are not slothful.
376. Let him live in charity, let him be perfect in his duties; then in the fulness of
delight he will make an end of suffering.. . .
380. For self is the lord of self, self is the refuge of self; therefore curb thyself as
the merchant curbs a good horse.
381. The Bhikshu, full of delight, who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha will reach
the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural desires, and happiness.
382. He who, even as a young Bhikshu, applies himself to the doctrine of Buddha,
brightens up this world, like the moon when free from clouds.
5. I.e., the five kinds of things which make up living things: material forms, feelings, percep-
tions, mental forms, and consciousness. Ed.
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Chapter XXVI: The Brahmana (Arhat)
383. Stop the stream valiantly, drive away the desires, O Brahmana! When you
have understood the destruction of all that was made, you will understand that
which was not made.
384. If the Brahmana has reached the other shore in both laws (in restraint and
contemplation), all bonds vanish from him who has obtained knowledge.
385. He for whom there is neither this nor that shore, nor both, him, the fearless
and unshackled, I call indeed a Brahmana.
386. He who is thoughtful, blameless, settled, dutiful, without passions, and who
has attained the highest end, him I call indeed a Brahmana.
387. The sun is bright by day, the moon shines by night, the warrior is bright in
his armour, the Brahmana is bright in his meditation; but Buddha, the Awakened,
is bright with splendour day and night.
388. Because a man is rid of evil, therefore he is called Brahmana; because he
walks quietly, therefore he is called Samana; because he has sent away his own
impurities, therefore he is called Pravragita (Pabbagita, a pilgrim).. . .
391. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not offend by body, word, or thought,
and is controlled on these three points.. . .
395. The man who wears dirty raiments, who is emaciated and covered with veins,
who lives alone in the forest, and meditates, him I call indeed a Brahmana.. . .
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397. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut all fetters, who never trembles, is
independent and unshackled.
398. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut the strap and the thong, the chain
with all that pertains to it, who has burst the bar, and is awakened.. . .
400. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is free from anger, dutiful, virtuous, with-
out appetite, who is subdued, and has received his last body.
401. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not cling to pleasures, like water on
a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a needle.
402. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, even here, knows the end of his suffering,
has put down his burden, and is unshackled.
403. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose knowledge is deep, who possesses wis-
dom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and has attained the highest end.
404. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and from
mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but few desires.
405. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who finds no fault with other beings, whether
feeble or strong, and does not kill nor cause slaughter.
406. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is tolerant with the intolerant, mild with
fault-finders, and free from passion among the passionate.
407. Him I call indeed a Brahmana from whom anger and hatred, pride and envy
have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle.
408. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who utters true speech, instructive and free
from harshness, so that he offend no one.
409. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who takes nothing in the world that is not given
him, be it long or short, small or large, good or bad.
410. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who fosters no desires for this world or for the
next, has no inclinations, and is unshackled.
411. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has no interests, and when he has under-
stood (the truth), does not say How, how? and who has reached the depth of the
Immortal.
412. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world is above good and evil, above
the bondage of both, free from grief from sin, and from impurity.
413. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is bright like the moon, pure, serene,
undisturbed, and in whom all gaiety is extinct.
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Chapter 5. The Dhammapada (abridged)
414. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has traversed this miry road, the impass-
able world and its vanity, who has gone through, and reached the other shore, is
thoughtful, guileless, free from doubts, free from attachment, and content.
415. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world, leaving all desires, travels
about without a home, and in whom all concupiscence is extinct.
416. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, leaving all longings, travels about without
a home, and in whom all covetousness is extinct.
417. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, after leaving all bondage to men, has
risen above all bondage to the gods, and is free from all and every bondage.
418. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has left what gives pleasure and what
gives pain, who is cold, and free from all germs (of renewed life), the hero who
has conquered all the worlds.
419. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows the destruction and the return of
beings everywhere, who is free from bondage, welfaring (Sugata), and awakened
(Buddha).
420. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose path the gods do not know, nor spirits
(Gandharvas), nor men, whose passions are extinct, and who is an Arhat (venera-
ble).
421. HimI call indeed a Brahmana who calls nothing his own, whether it be before,
behind, or between, who is poor, and free from the love of the world.
422. Him I call indeed a Brahmana, the manly, the noble, the hero, the great sage,
the conqueror, the impassible, the accomplished, the awakened.
423. HimI call indeed a Brahmana who knows his former abodes, who sees heaven
and hell, has reached the end of births, is perfect in knowledge, a sage, and whose
perfections are all perfect.
From the reading. . .
“Give up what is before, give up what is behind, give up what is in the mid-
dle, when thou goest to the other shore of existence; if thy mind is altogether
free, thou wilt not again enter into birth and decay.”
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Chapter 5. The Dhammapada (abridged)
Entrance to Buddhist Temple, from photograph by F. Boileau
Topics Worth Investigating
1. A verse of the Dhammapada states “The evil-doer suffers in this world, and he
suffers in the next; he suffers in both. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he
has done; he suffers more when going on the evil path.” Yet, it seems evident
that some evil-doers do not suffer at all—in fact, some evil-doers seem gen-
uinely happy and fulfilled. In what ways do such persons suffer? How is it that
the good person sees “evil days,” and the bad person sees “happiness.” Also,
doesn’t it seem odd that if there is no self, there is something that suffers?
2. With regard to pleasure, the Dhammapada states “Even in heavenly pleasures
he finds no satisfaction, the disciple who is fully awakened delights only in
the destruction of all desires.” How do you think the Buddha would respond
to the following analysis by Rilke?
Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the
pure sensation with which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending expe-
rience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all
knowing. And not our acceptance of it is bad; the bad thing is that most people
misuse and squander this experience and apply it as a stimulant at the tired spots
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Chapter 5. The Dhammapada (abridged)
of their lives and as distraction instead of a rallying toward exalted moments.
6
In light of your response consider verse 290 of the The Dhammapada: “If by
leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure, let a wise man leave the
small pleasure, and look to the great.”
3. Does the desire for enlightenment obviate the possibility of enlightenment?
The The Dhammapada says, “Even in heavenly pleasures he finds no satisfac-
tion, the disciple who is fully awakened delights only in the destruction of all
desires.” Explain this apparent paradox.
4. Contrast the role of the various forms of “love” in Chapter 12 (“Govinda”) of
Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha with the forms discussed in the The Dhamma-
pada.
5. What are the similarities between the chapter “The Elephant” in the The Dhamma-
pada and “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Kaku-an as discussed by Daisetz
Teitaro Suzuki?
6. Rainer Maria Rilke. “Letter, July 16, 1903” in Letters to a Young Poet. Mineola, N.Y.:Dover,
2002.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 129
Chapter 6
“The Doctrine of the Mean” by
Confucius
Confucius, Thoemmes
About the author. . .
Confucius (551-479 B.C.) sought to impose an integrated socio-ethical order in an
attempt to secure the peace among warring states in China. Several talented and
influential disciples adopted Confucius’ philosophy during his time, but apparently
Confucius, himself, never obtained the opportunity to apply his cultural changes
from high office. Confucius thought the foundation of social order is to be based
on the jen or “human-heartedness” of the chün tzu or “superior man.” The path to
jen, the highest virtue, is reached through the practice of li, the principles of social
order. The ruler is an ideal man or superior man, a chün tzu, who governs by jen.
Confucius’ ideas gained influence through successive generations of his students
and were finally adopted during the Han dynasty six centuries later.
130
Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
About the work. . .
In the “The Doctrine of the Mean,”
1
one of the writings attributed to Confucius,
many of the central doctrines of Confucianism are elaborated. The characteristic
of jen is articulated in terms of a cluster of related moral terms including the Five
Relationships, the principle of reciprocity (the Golden Rule), and various forms of
virtue. The heart of Confucianism is explained here as the adoption of the poli-
cies of inculcating virtue in people by the example of tradition and the jen of the
superior person.
From the reading. . .
“There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more mani-
fest than what is minute.”
Ideas of Interest from “The Doctrine of the
Mean”
1. List some of the essential characteristics of the chün tzu or superior man. Does
Confucius allow that women become superior persons? Explain your answer.
2. Interpret the Confucius’ description of the cultivation of energy according to
the Mean.
3. What is the principle of reciprocity?
4. Speculate as to the reasons filial piety (hsiao) is necessary in a stable and
ordered society.
5. What are the duties of universal obligation? How are they related to the three
universally binding virtues?
6. Relate the description of benevolence jen with the development of character
and filial piety.
7. According to Confucius, how is virtue obtained by the ideal person?
1. Confucius. “Doctrine of the Mean.” 500 BC. Translated by James Legge.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
The Reading Selection from “The Doctrine
of the Mean”
[Instruction for the Path of Duty]
What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature; an accordance with this nature
is called The Path of duty; the regulation of this path is called Instruction.
The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path.
On this account, the superior man does not wait till he sees things, to be cautious,
nor till he hears things, to be apprehensive.
There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than
what is minute. Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself, when he is
alone.
While there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be
said to be in the state of Equilibrium. When those feelings have been stirred, and
they act in their due degree, there ensues what may be called the state of Harmony.
This Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human actings in the
world, and this Harmony is the universal path which they all should pursue.
Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order
will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and
flourish.
[The Course of the Mean]
Chung-ni said, “The superior man embodies the course of the Mean; the mean man
acts contrary to the course of the Mean.
“The superior man’s embodying the course of the Mean is because he is a superior
man, and so always maintains the Mean. The mean man’s acting contrary to the
course of the Mean is because he is a mean man, and has no caution.”
The Master said, “Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Mean! Rare have
they long been among the people, who could practice it!”
The Master said, “I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not walked in:—the
knowing go beyond it, and the stupid do not come up to it. I know how it is that
the path of the Mean is not understood:—The men of talents and virtue go beyond
it, and the worthless do not come up to it.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
“There is no body but eats and drinks. But they are few who can distinguish fla-
vors.”
The Master said, “Alas! How is the path of the Mean untrodden!” The Master said,
“There was Shun:—He indeed was greatly wise! Shun loved to question others,
and to study their words, though they might be shallow. He concealed what was
bad in them and displayed what was good. He took hold of their two extremes,
determined the Mean, and employed it in his government of the people. It was by
this that he was Shun!”
The Master said “Men all say, ‘We are wise’; but being driven forward and taken
in a net, a trap, or a pitfall, they know not how to escape. Men all say, ‘We are
wise’; but happening to choose the course of the Mean, they are not able to keep it
for a round month.”
The Master said “This was the manner of Hui:—he made choice of the Mean, and
whenever he got hold of what was good, he clasped it firmly, as if wearing it on
his breast, and did not lose it.”
The Master said, “The kingdom, its states, and its families, may be perfectly ruled;
dignities and emoluments may be declined; naked weapons may be trampled under
the feet; but the course of the Mean cannot be attained to.”
Tsze-lu asked about energy.
The Master said, “Do you mean the energy of the South, the energy of the North,
or the energy which you should cultivate yourself?
“To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others; and not to revenge unrea-
sonable conduct:—this is the energy of southern regions, and the good man makes
it his study.
“To lie under arms; and meet death without regret:—this is the energy of northern
regions, and the forceful make it their study.
“Therefore, the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, without being weak.—How
firm is he in his energy! He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either
side.—How firm is he in his energy! When good principles prevail in the govern-
ment of his country, he does not change from what he was in retirement. How firm
is he in his energy! When bad principles prevail in the country, he maintains his
course to death without changing.—How firm is he in his energy!”
The Master said, “To live in obscurity, and yet practice wonders, in order to be
mentioned with honor in future ages:—this is what I do not do.
“The good man tries to proceed according to the right path, but when he has gone
halfway, he abandons it:—I am not able so to stop.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
“The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all
unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret.—It is only the sage who is
able for this.”
The way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.
From the reading. . .
“I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not understood:—The men of
talents and virtue go beyond it, and the worthless do not come up to it.”
Common men and women, however ignorant, may intermeddle with the knowl-
edge of it; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage does not
know. Common men and women, however much below the ordinary standard of
character, can carry it into practice; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which
even the sage is not able to carry into practice. Great as heaven and earth are, men
still find some things in them with which to be dissatisfied. Thus it is that, were the
superior man to speak of his way in all its greatness, nothing in the world would
be found able to embrace it, and were he to speak of it in its minuteness, nothing
in the world would be found able to split it.
It is said in the Book of Poetry,
2
“The hawk flies up to heaven; the fishes leap in
the deep.” This expresses how this way is seen above and below.
The way of the superior man may be found, in its simple elements, in the inter-
course of common men and women; but in its utmost reaches, it shines brightly
through Heaven and earth.
The Master said “The path is not far from man. When men try to pursue a course,
which is far from the common indications of consciousness, this course cannot be
considered The Path.
“In the Book of Poetry, it is said, ‘In hewing an ax handle, in hewing an ax handle,
the pattern is not far off. We grasp one ax handle to hew the other; and yet, if we
look askance from the one to the other, we may consider them as apart.’ Therefore,
the superior man governs men, according to their nature, with what is proper to
them, and as soon as they change what is wrong, he stops.
“When one cultivates to the utmost the principles of his nature, and exercises them
on the principle of reciprocity, he is not far from the path. What you do not like
when done to yourself, do not do to others.
2. The Book of Poetry is an anthology of about three hundred poems written by unknown authors
between 1100 and 600 BC; the compilation was later entitled Shijing. Ed.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
[Chün Tzu—The Superior Man]
“In the way of the superior man there are four things, to not one of which have I as
yet attained.—To serve my father, as I would require my son to serve me: to this I
have not attained; to serve my prince as I would require my minister to serve me:
to this I have not attained; to serve my elder brother as I would require my younger
brother to serve me: to this I have not attained; to set the example in behaving to a
friend, as I would require him to behave to me: to this I have not attained. Earnest
in practicing the ordinary virtues, and careful in speaking about them, if, in his
practice, he has anything defective, the superior man dares not but exert himself;
and if, in his words, he has any excess, he dares not allow himself such license.
Thus his words have respect to his actions, and his actions have respect to his
words; is it not just an entire sincerity which marks the superior man?”
The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not
desire to go beyond this.
Chinese Gentleman’s Garden, J. D. Cooper
In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth
and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low
position. Situated among barbarous tribes, he does what is proper to a situation
among barbarous tribes. In a position of sorrow and difficulty, he does what is
proper to a position of sorrow and difficulty. The superior man can find himself in
no situation in which he is not himself.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
In a high situation, he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. In a low situation,
he does not court the favor of his superiors. He rectifies himself, and seeks for
nothing from others, so that he has no dissatisfactions. He does not murmur against
Heaven, nor grumble against men.
Thus it is that the superior man is quiet and calm, waiting for the appointments of
Heaven, while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky occur-
rences.
The Master said, “In archery we have something like the way of the superior man.
When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the
cause of his failure in himself.”
The way of the superior man may be compared to what takes place in traveling,
when to go to a distance we must first traverse the space that is near, and in as-
cending a height, when we must begin from the lower ground.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “Happy union with wife and children is like the
music of lutes and harps. When there is concord among brethren, the harmony is
delightful and enduring. Thus may you regulate your family, and enjoy the pleasure
of your wife and children.”
The Master said, “In such a state of things, parents have entire complacence!”
The Master said, “How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that
belong to them!
“We look for them, but do not see them; we listen to, but do not hear them; yet
they enter into all things, and there is nothing without them.
“They cause all the people in the kingdom to fast and purify themselves, and array
themselves in their richest dresses, in order to attend at their sacrifices. Then, like
overflowing water, they seem to be over the heads, and on the right and left of their
worshippers.
“It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘The approaches of the spirits, you cannot surmise;
and can you treat them with indifference?’
“Such is the manifestness of what is minute! Such is the impossibility of repressing
the outgoings of sincerity!”
[Hsiao—Filial Piety]
The Master said, “How greatly filial was Shun! His virtue was that of a sage; his
dignity was the throne; his riches were all within the four seas. He offered his
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
sacrifices in his ancestral temple, and his descendants preserved the sacrifices to
himself.
“Therefore having such great virtue, it could not but be that he should obtain the
throne, that he should obtain those riches, that he should obtain his fame, that he
should attain to his long life.
A Pavilion in Pun-Ting-Qua’s Garden, J. D. Cooper
“Thus it is that Heaven, in the production of things, is sure to be bountiful to them,
according to their qualities. Hence the tree that is flourishing, it nourishes, while
that which is ready to fall, it overthrows.
“In the Book of Poetry, it is said, ‘The admirable amiable prince displayed con-
spicuously his excelling virtue, adjusting his people, and adjusting his officers.
Therefore, he received from Heaven his emoluments of dignity. It protected him,
assisted him, decreed him the throne; sending from Heaven these favors, as it were
repeatedly.’
“We may say therefore that he who is greatly virtuous will be sure to receive the
appointment of Heaven.”
The Master said, “It is only King Wan of whom it can be said that he had no cause
for grief! His father was King Chi, and his son was King Wu. His father laid the
foundations of his dignity, and his son transmitted it.
“King Wu continued the enterprise of King T’ai, King Chi, and King Wan. He
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
once buckled on his armor, and got possession of the kingdom. He did not lose the
distinguished personal reputation which he had throughout the kingdom. His dig-
nity was the royal throne. His riches were the possession of all within the four seas.
He offered his sacrifices in his ancestral temple, and his descendants maintained
the sacrifices to himself.
“It was in his old age that King Wu received the appointment to the throne, and
the duke of Chau completed the virtuous course of Wan and Wu. He carried up the
title of king to T’ai and Chi, and sacrificed to all the former dukes above them with
the royal ceremonies. And this rule he extended to the princes of the kingdom,
the great officers, the scholars, and the common people. If the father were a great
officer and the son a scholar, then the burial was that due to a great officer, and
the sacrifice that due to a scholar. If the father were a scholar and the son a great
officer, then the burial was that due to a scholar, and the sacrifice that due to a great
officer. The one year’s mourning was made to extend only to the great officers, but
the three years’ mourning extended to the Son of Heaven. In the mourning for a
father or mother, he allowed no difference between the noble and the mean.
The Master said, “How far-extending was the filial piety of King Wu and the duke
of Chau!
“Now filial piety is seen in the skillful carrying out of the wishes of our forefathers,
and the skillful carrying forward of their undertakings.
“In spring and autumn, they repaired and beautified the temple halls of their fa-
thers, set forth their ancestral vessels, displayed their various robes, and presented
the offerings of the several seasons.
“By means of the ceremonies of the ancestral temple, they distinguished the royal
kindred according to their order of descent. By ordering the parties present accord-
ing to their rank, they distinguished the more noble and the less. By the arrange-
ment of the services, they made a distinction of talents and worth. In the ceremony
of general pledging, the inferiors presented the cup to their superiors, and thus
something was given the lowest to do. At the concluding feast, places were given
according to the hair, and thus was made the distinction of years.
“They occupied the places of their forefathers, practiced their ceremonies, and
performed their music. They reverenced those whomthey honored, and loved those
whom they regarded with affection. Thus they served the dead as they would have
served them alive; they served the departed as they would have served them had
they been continued among them.
“By the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth they served God, and by
the ceremonies of the ancestral temple they sacrificed to their ancestors. He who
understands the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, and the meaning
of the several sacrifices to ancestors, would find the government of a kingdom as
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
easy as to look into his palm!”
From the reading. . .
“Now filial piety is seen in the skillful carrying out of the wishes of our
forefathers, and the skillful carrying forward of their undertakings.”
[Te—Power by which Men are Ruled; Moral
Example]
The Duke Ai asked about government.
The Master said, “The government of Wan and Wu is displayed in the records,—the
tablets of wood and bamboo. Let there be the men and the government will flour-
ish; but without the men, their government decays and ceases.
“With the right men the growth of government is rapid, just as vegetation is rapid
in the earth; and, moreover, their government might be called an easily-growing
rush.
“Therefore the administration of government lies in getting proper men. Such men
are to be got by means of the ruler’s own character. That character is to be culti-
vated by his treading in the ways of duty. And the treading those ways of duty is
to be cultivated by the cherishing of benevolence.
“Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity, and the great exercise of it
is in loving relatives. Righteousness is the accordance of actions with what is right,
and the great exercise of it is in honoring the worthy. The decreasing measures of
the love due to relatives, and the steps in the honor due to the worthy, are produced
by the principle of propriety.
“When those in inferior situations do not possess the confidence of their superiors,
they cannot retain the government of the people.
“Hence the sovereign may not neglect the cultivation of his own character. Wishing
to cultivate his character, he may not neglect to serve his parents. In order to serve
his parents, he may not neglect to acquire knowledge of men. In order to know
men, he may not dispense with a knowledge of Heaven.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
[The Five Relationships]
“The duties of universal obligation are five and the virtues wherewith they are
practiced are three. The duties are those between sovereign and minister, between
father and son, between husband and wife, between elder brother and younger, and
those belonging to the intercourse of friends. Those five are the duties of univer-
sal obligation. Knowledge, magnanimity, and energy, these three, are the virtues
universally binding. And the means by which they carry the duties into practice is
singleness.
From the reading. . .
“The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not him-
self.”
“Some are born with the knowledge of those duties; some know them by study;
and some acquire the knowledge after a painful feeling of their ignorance. But the
knowledge being possessed, it comes to the same thing. Some practice them with
a natural ease; some from a desire for their advantages; and some by strenuous
effort. But the achievement being made, it comes to the same thing.”
The Master said, “To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge. To practice
with vigor is to be near to magnanimity. To possess the feeling of shame is to be
near to energy.
“He who knows these three things knows how to cultivate his own character.
Knowing how to cultivate his own character, he knows how to govern other men.
Knowing how to govern other men, he knows how to govern the kingdom with all
its states and families.
[Rules of Government]
“All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have
nine standard rules to follow;—viz., the cultivation of their own characters; the
honoring of men of virtue and talents; affection towards their relatives; respect
towards the great ministers; kind and considerate treatment of the whole body of
officers; dealing with the mass of the people as children; encouraging the resort of
all classes of artisans; indulgent treatment of men from a distance; and the kindly
cherishing of the princes of the states.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
One of the Inner Gates of Peking, J. D. Cooper
“By the ruler’s cultivation of his own character, the duties of universal obligation
are set forth. By honoring men of virtue and talents, he is preserved from errors
of judgment. By showing affection to his relatives, there is no grumbling nor re-
sentment among his uncles and brethren. By respecting the great ministers, he is
kept from errors in the practice of government. By kind and considerate treatment
of the whole body of officers, they are led to make the most grateful return for
his courtesies. By dealing with the mass of the people as his children, they are led
to exhort one another to what is good. By encouraging the resort of an classes of
artisans, his resources for expenditure are rendered ample. By indulgent treatment
of men from a distance, they are brought to resort to him from all quarters. And by
kindly cherishing the princes of the states, the whole kingdom is brought to revere
him.
“Self-adjustment and purification, with careful regulation of his dress, and the not
making a movement contrary to the rules of propriety this is the way for a ruler
to cultivate his person. Discarding slanderers, and keeping himself from the se-
ductions of beauty; making light of riches, and giving honor to virtue—this is the
way for him to encourage men of worth and talents. Giving them places of honor
and large emolument. and sharing with them in their likes and dislikes—this is the
way for him to encourage his relatives to love him. Giving them numerous officers
to discharge their orders and commissions:—this is the way for him to encourage
the great ministers. According to them a generous confidence, and making their
emoluments large:—this is the way to encourage the body of officers. Employing
them only at the proper times, and making the imposts light:—this is the way to en-
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
courage the people. By daily examinations and monthly trials, and by making their
rations in accordance with their labors:—this is the way to encourage the classes
of artisans. To escort them on their departure and meet them on their coming; to
commend the good among them, and show compassion to the incompetent:—this
is the way to treat indulgently men from a distance. To restore families whose line
of succession has been broken, and to revive states that have been extinguished; to
reduce to order states that are in confusion, and support those which are in peril; to
have fixed times for their own reception at court, and the reception of their envoys;
to send them away after liberal treatment, and welcome their coming with small
contributions:—this is the way to cherish the princes of the states.
“All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have the
above nine standard rules. And the means by which they are carried into practice
is singleness.
[Rules for Success and Sincerity]
“In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous
preparation there is sure to be failure. If what is to be spoken be previously deter-
mined, there will be no stumbling. If affairs be previously determined, there will
be no difficulty with them. If one’s actions have been previously determined, there
will be no sorrow in connection with them. If principles of conduct have been
previously determined, the practice of them will be inexhaustible. “When those
in inferior situations do not obtain the confidence of the sovereign, they cannot
succeed in governing the people. There is a way to obtain the confidence of the
sovereign;—if one is not trusted by his friends, he will not get the confidence of
his sovereign. There is a way to being trusted by one’s friends;—if one is not obe-
dient to his parents, he will not be true to friends. There is a way to being obedient
to one’s parents;—if one, on turning his thoughts in upon himself, finds a want of
sincerity, he will not be obedient to his parents. There is a way to the attainment of
sincerity in one’s self;—if a man do not understand what is good, he will not attain
sincerity in himself.
“Sincerity is the way of Heaven. The attainment of sincerity is the way of men.
He who possesses sincerity is he who, without an effort, hits what is right, and
apprehends, without the exercise of thought;—he is the sage who naturally and
easily embodies the right way. He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what
is good, and firmly holds it fast.
“To this attainment there are requisite the extensive study of what is good, accurate
inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the
earnest practice of it.
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“The superior man, while there is anything he has not studied, or while in what
he has studied there is anything he cannot understand, Will not intermit his labor.
While there is anything he has not inquired about, or anything in what he has in-
quired about which he does not know, he will not intermit his labor. While there
is anything which he has not reflected on, or anything in what he has reflected on
which he does not apprehend, he will not intermit his labor. While there is any-
thing which he has not discriminated or his discrimination is not clear, he will not
intermit his labor. If there be anything which he has not practiced, or his practice
fails in earnestness, he will not intermit his labor. If another man succeed by one
effort, he will use a hundred efforts. If another man succeed by ten efforts, he will
use a thousand.
“Let a man proceed in this way, and, though dull, he will surely become intelligent;
though weak, he will surely become strong.”
When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed
to nature; when we have sincerity resulting fromintelligence, this condition is to be
ascribed to instruction. But given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence;
given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity.
Temple of the Five Hundred Gods, J. D. Cooper
It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under
heaven, who can give its full development to his nature. Able to give its full devel-
opment to his own nature, he can do the same to the nature of other men. Able to
give its full development to the nature of other men, he can give their full devel-
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
opment to the natures of animals and things. Able to give their full development
to the natures of creatures and things, he can assist the transforming and nourish-
ing powers of Heaven and Earth. Able to assist the transforming and nourishing
powers of Heaven and Earth, he may with Heaven and Earth form a ternion.
Next to the above is he who cultivates to the utmost the shoots of goodness in him.
From those he can attain to the possession of sincerity. This sincerity becomes
apparent. From being apparent, it becomes manifest. From being manifest, it be-
comes brilliant. Brilliant, it affects others. Affecting others, they are changed by
it. Changed by it, they are transformed. It is only he who is possessed of the most
complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can transform.
It is characteristic of the most entire sincerity to be able to foreknow. When a
nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be happy omens; and when it
is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens. Such events are seen in the
milfoil and tortoise, and affect the movements of the four limbs. When calamity or
happiness is about to come, the good shall certainly be foreknown by him, and the
evil also. Therefore the individual possessed of the most complete sincerity is like
a spirit.
Sincerity is that whereby self-completion is effected, and its way is that by which
man must direct himself.
Sincerity is the end and beginning of things; without sincerity there would be noth-
ing. On this account, the superior man regards the attainment of sincerity as the
most excellent thing.
The possessor of sincerity does not merely accomplish the self-completion of him-
self. With this quality he completes other men and things also. The completing
himself shows his perfect virtue. The completing other men and things shows his
knowledge. But these are virtues belonging to the nature, and this is the way by
which a union is effected of the external and internal. Therefore, whenever he—the
entirely sincere man—employs them,—that is, these virtues, their action will be
right.
Hence to entire sincerity there belongs ceaselessness.
Not ceasing, it continues long. Continuing long, it evidences itself.
Evidencing itself, it reaches far. Reaching far, it becomes large and substantial.
Large and substantial, it becomes high and brilliant.
Large and substantial;—this is how it contains all things. High and brilliant;—this
is how it overspreads all things. Reaching far and continuing long;-this is how it
perfects all things.
So large and substantial, the individual possessing it is the co-equal of Earth. So
high and brilliant, it makes him the co-equal of Heaven. So far-reaching and long-
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continuing, it makes him infinite.
Such being its nature, without any display, it becomes manifested; without any
movement, it produces changes; and without any effort, it accomplishes its ends.
The way of Heaven and Earth may be completely declared in one sentence.—They
are without any doubleness, and so they produce things in a manner that is unfath-
omable.
The way of Heaven and Earth is large and substantial, high and brilliant, far-
reaching and long-enduring.
The Heaven now before us is only this bright shining spot; but when viewed in its
inexhaustible extent, the sun, moon, stars, and constellations of the zodiac, are sus-
pended in it, and all things are overspread by it. The earth before us is but a handful
of soil; but when regarded in its breadth and thickness, it sustains mountains like
the Hwa and the Yo, without feeling their weight, and contains the rivers and seas,
without their leaking away. The mountain now before us appears only a stone; but
when contemplated in all the vastness of its size, we see how the grass and trees
are produced on it, and birds and beasts dwell on it, and precious things which
men treasure up are found on it. The water now before us appears but a ladleful;
yet extending our view to its unfathomable depths, the largest tortoises, iguanas,
iguanodons, dragons, fishes, and turtles, are produced in it, articles of value and
sources of wealth abound in it.
[Virtue]
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “The ordinances of Heaven, how profound are they
and unceasing!” The meaning is, that it is thus that Heaven is Heaven. And again,
“How illustrious was it, the singleness of the virtue of King Wan!” indicating that
it was thus that King Wan was what he was. Singleness likewise is unceasing.
How great is the path proper to the Sage!
Like overflowing water, it sends forth and nourishes all things, and rises up to the
height of heaven.
All-complete is its greatness! It embraces the three hundred rules of ceremony, and
the three thousand rules of demeanor.
It waits for the proper man, and then it is trodden.
Hence it is said, “Only by perfect virtue can the perfect path, in all its courses, be
made a fact.”
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
Therefore, the superior man honors his virtuous nature, and maintains constant
inquiry and study, seeking to carry it out to its breadth and greatness, so as to
omit none of the more exquisite and minute points which it embraces, and to raise
it to its greatest height and brilliancy, so as to pursue the course of the Mean. He
cherishes his old knowledge, and is continually acquiring new. He exerts an honest,
generous earnestness, in the esteem and practice of all propriety.
Thus, when occupying a high situation he is not proud, and in a low situation he is
not insubordinate. When the kingdom is well governed, he is sure by his words to
rise; and when it is ill governed, he is sure by his silence to command forbearance
to himself. Is not this what we find in the Book of Poetry,—“Intelligent is he and
prudent, and so preserves his person”?
The Willow-Pattern Bridge, J. D. Cooper
The Master said, Let a man who is ignorant be fond of using his own judgment;
let a man without rank be fond of assuming a directing power to himself; let a man
who is living in the present age go back to the ways of antiquity;—on the persons
of all who act thus calamities will be sure to come.
To no one but the Son of Heaven does it belong to order ceremonies, to fix the
measures, and to determine the written characters.
Now over the kingdom, carriages have all wheels, of the same size; all writing is
with the same characters; and for conduct there are the same rules.
One may occupy the throne, but if he have not the proper virtue, he may not dare
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to make ceremonies or music. One may have the virtue, but if he do not occupy
the throne, he may not presume to make ceremonies or music.
[Institutions and Ceremony of the Ruler]
The Master said, “I may describe the ceremonies of the Hsia dynasty, but Chi can-
not sufficiently attest my words. I have learned the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty,
and in Sung they still continue. I have learned the ceremonies of Chau, which are
now used, and I follow Chau.”
He who attains to the sovereignty of the kingdom, having those three important
things, shall be able to effect that there shall be few errors under his government.
However excellent may have been the regulations of those of former times, they
cannot be attested. Not being attested, they cannot command credence, and not
being credited, the people would not follow them. However excellent might be
the regulations made by one in an inferior situation, he is not in a position to be
honored. Unhonored, he cannot command credence, and not being credited, the
people would not follow his rules.
Therefore the institutions of the Ruler are rooted in his own character and conduct,
and sufficient attestation of them is given by the masses of the people. He examines
them by comparison with those of the three kings, and finds them without mistake.
He sets them up before Heaven and Earth, and finds nothing in them contrary to
their mode of operation. He presents himself with them before spiritual beings, and
no doubts about them arise. He is prepared to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred
ages after, and has no misgivings.
His presenting himself with his institutions before spiritual beings, without any
doubts arising about them, shows that he knows Heaven. His being prepared, with-
out any misgivings, to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages after, shows that
he knows men.
Such being the case, the movements of such a ruler, illustrating his institutions,
constitute an example to the world for ages. His acts are for ages a law to the
kingdom. His words are for ages a lesson to the kingdom. Those who are far from
him look longingly for him; and those who are near him are never wearied with
him.
It is said in the Book of Poetry,—“Not disliked there, not tired of here, from day
to day and night tonight, will they perpetuate their praise.” Never has there been a
ruler, who did not realize this description, that obtained an early renown throughout
the kingdom.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
Chung-ni handed down the doctrines of Yao and Shun, as if they had been his
ancestors, and elegantly displayed the regulations of Wan and Wul taking them as
his model. Above, he harmonized with the times of Heaven, and below, he was
conformed to the water and land.
He may be compared to Heaven and Earth in their supporting and containing, their
overshadowing and curtaining, all things. He may be compared to the four seasons
in their alternating progress, and to the sun and moon in their successive shining.
All things are nourished together without their injuring one another. The courses
of the seasons, and of the sun and moon, are pursued without any collision among
them. The smaller energies are like river currents; the greater energies are seen in
mighty transformations. It is this which makes heaven and earth so great.
It is only he, possessed of all sagely qualities that can exist under heaven, who
shows himself quick in apprehension, clear in discernment, of far-reaching intel-
ligence, and all-embracing knowledge, fitted to exercise rule; magnanimous, gen-
erous, benign, and mild, fitted to exercise forbearance; impulsive, energetic, firm,
and enduring, fitted to maintain a firm hold; self-adjusted, grave, never swerving
from the Mean, and correct, fitted to command reverence; accomplished, distinc-
tive, concentrative, and searching, fitted to exercise discrimination.
All-embracing is he and vast, deep and active as a fountain, sending forth in their
due season his virtues.
All-embracing and vast, he is like Heaven. Deep and active as a fountain, he is like
the abyss. He is seen, and the people all reverence him; he speaks, and the people
all believe him; he acts, and the people all are pleased with him.
Therefore his fame overspreads the Middle Kingdom, and extends to all barbarous
tribes. Wherever ships and carriages reach; wherever the strength of man pene-
trates; wherever the heavens overshadow and the earth sustains; wherever the sun
and moon shine; wherever frosts and dews fall:—all who have blood and breath
unfeignedly honor and love him. Hence it is said,—“He is the equal of Heaven.”
[Chün Tzu and Perfect Virtue]
It is only the individual possessed of the most entire sincerity that can exist under
Heaven, who can adjust the great invariable relations of mankind, establish the
great fundamental virtues of humanity, and know the transforming and nurturing
operations of Heaven and Earth;—shall this individual have any being or anything
beyond himself on which he depends?
Call him man in his ideal, how earnest is he! Call him an abyss, how deep is he!
Call him Heaven, how vast is he!
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Who can know him, but he who is indeed quick in apprehension, clear in discern-
ment, of far-reaching intelligence, and all-embracing knowledge, possessing all
Heavenly virtue?
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “Over her embroidered robe she puts a plain single
garment,” intimating a dislike to the display of the elegance of the former. Just so,
it is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it
daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety,
while he daily goes more and more to ruin. It is characteristic of the superior man,
appearing insipid, yet never to produce satiety; while showing a simple negligence,
yet to have his accomplishments recognized; while seemingly plain, yet to be dis-
criminating. He knows how what is distant lies in what is near. He knows where
the wind proceeds from. He knows how what is minute becomes manifested. Such
a one, we may be sure, will enter into virtue.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “Although the fish sink and lie at the bottom, it is
still quite clearly seen.” Therefore the superior man examines his heart, that there
may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction
with himself. That wherein the superior man cannot be equaled is simply this,—his
work which other men cannot see.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “Looked at in your apartment, be there free from
shame as being exposed to the light of Heaven.” Therefore, the superior man, even
when he is not moving, has a feeling of reverence, and while he speaks not, he has
the feeling of truthfulness.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “In silence is the offering presented, and the spirit
approached to; there is not the slightest contention.” Therefore the superior man
does not use rewards, and the people are stimulated to virtue. He does not show
anger, and the people are awed more than by hatchets and battle-axes.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “What needs no display is virtue. All the princes
imitate it.” Therefore, the superior man being sincere and reverential, the whole
world is conducted to a state of happy tranquility.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “I regard with pleasure your brilliant virtue, making
no great display of itself in sounds and appearances.” The Master said, “Among
the appliances to transform the people, sound and appearances are but trivial in-
fluences. It is said in another ode, ‘His Virtue is light as a hair.’ Still, a hair will
admit of comparison as to its size. ‘The doings of the supreme Heaven have neither
sound nor smell.’ That is perfect virtue.”
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
From the reading. . .
“Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity, and the great exer-
cise of it is in loving relatives.”
Great Gateway, Temple of Confucius, J. D. Cooper
Topics Worth Investigating
1. Examine carefully how Confucius’ Doctrine of the Mean differs from Aris-
totle’s Doctrine of the Mean as discussed in Book II 6-7 of the Nicomachean
Ethics:
3
In everything that is continuous and divisible it is possible to take more, less, or
an equal amount, and that either in terms of the thing itself or relatively to us; and
the equal is an intermediate between excess and defect. By the intermediate in the
3. Aristotle. Ethica Nicomachea. Book II Chapter 6 Lines 25-35. Translated by Richard
McKeon.
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Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius
object I mean that which is equidistant from each of the extremes, which is one
and the same for all men; by the intermediate relatively to us that which is neither
too much nor too little—and this is not one, nor the same for all. For instance, if
ten is many and two is few, six is the intermediate, taken in terms of the object; for
it exceeds and is exceeded by an equal amount; this is the intermediate according
to arithmetical proportion. But the intermediate relatively to us is not to be taken
so; if ten pounds are too much for a particular person to eat and two to little, it
does not follow that the trainer will order six pounds; for this also is perhaps too
much for the person who is to take it, or too little—too little for Milo,
4
too much
for the beginner in athletic exercises.
2. Analyze how Confucius’ statement of the principle of reciprocity (“What you
do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others”) differs from the
Golden Rule expressed in Matthew 7:12 and in Luke 6:31. In your answer,
You might wish to consult the logical relation of contraposition in a logic
textbook in order to compare the various formulations.
3. Confucius writes, “The superior man does what is proper to the station in
which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this.” Does this statement imply
that the superior man follows the philosophy of ethical relativism? Cannot his
actions be objectively determined?
4. Explain “the outgoings of sincerity” according to this citation from the Book
of Poetry, “The approaches of the spirits, you cannot surmise; and can you
treat them with indifference?”
4. A famous wrestler
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Chapter 7
Selections from The Tao Te
Ching by Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu, 18th Century French Print
About the author. . .
Lao Tzu (6th. cent. B.C.), according to Chinese legend, was an imperial court
keeper of the archives. As an old man, discouraged with honesty of those around
him, he left to go to the mountains of Tibet but was accosted at Kwan Yin (Hank
Pass) by the guard Yin Hsi at the western border of China. The guard demanded
that Lao Tzu present his teachings before he could pass. Puportedly, at that time,
Lao Tzu composed the eighty-one verses of the Tao Te Ching.
152
Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
About the work. . .
The name Tao Te Ching
1
can be translated as “classic of the way and power of
excellence.” The Tao Te Ching expresses the harmony and simplicity of natural
action; in point of fact, the scripture expresses the doctrine of not striving pur-
posely—a kind of non-action or wu-wei. The goal of life is for each person to be
one with Tao, the underlying source of the unity of nature.
Although some parts of the Tao Te Ching might have been written in the 6th cen-
tury, probably most of the scriptual-text dates from around the 3rd century B.C.
From the reading. . .
“The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the sake of doing it), and so
there is nothing which it does not do.”
Ideas of Interest from The Tao Te Ching
1. What are the two aspects of the Mystery described in Chapter 1?
2. Explain the doctine of wu-wei or non-action.
3. What is meant by the assertion that “The highest excellence is like (that of)
water.” Provide examples with your explanation.
4. What is meant by leaving a vessel unfilled? Why should “a vessel” be left
unfilled? How is it that emptyness is useful?
5. What are some of the moral qualities of the sage?
6. Describe of what the happiness of attaining to the Tao consists.
7. Explain what it means to “hide the light of [your] procedure” or to leave no
traces. Is this notion a kind of ecological behavior?
8. If the Tao does nothing for the sake of doing it, then how is it that there is
noting it does not do.?
1. Lao Tzu. The Tao Te Ching. Trans. James Legge. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1891.
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Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
9. Discuss whether the movement of Tao is by contrarties or by contradictories.
Try to ascertain why this would be so.
10. What are the relations between Tao and individual contentment or societal
peace?
11. Discuss the possibility of “doing nothing” on purpose? How does this trick of
language give insight into “the Way” for excellence? Moreover, how is it in
such a life, “the tiger [finds no] place in which to fix its paws”?
12. How are gentleness, economy, and modesty in accord with Tao?
The Reading Selection from The Tao Te
Ching
Part I. The Tao Te Ching.
Ch. 1
1. The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name
that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.
2. (Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth;
(conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all things.
3. Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
4. Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development takes place,
it receives the different names. Together we call them the Mystery. Where the
Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful.
Ch. 2
1. All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing this they have
(the idea of) what ugliness is; they all know the skill of the skilful, and in doing
this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is.
2. So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the
other; that difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other; that length
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Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other; that (the ideas of) height
and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other; that the musical notes
and tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another; and that
being before and behind give the idea of one following another.
3. Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and conveys his
instructions without the use of speech.
From the reading. . .
“The highest excellence is like (that of) water.”
4. All things spring up, and there is not one which declines to show itself; they
grow, and there is no claim made for their ownership; they go through their pro-
cesses, and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). The work is ac-
complished, and there is no resting in it (as an achievement).
The work is done, but how no one can see;
’Tis this that makes the power not cease to be.
Ch. 7
1. Heaven is long-enduring and earth continues long. The reason why heaven and
earth are able to endure and continue thus long is because they do not live of, or
for, themselves. This is how they are able to continue and endure.
2. Therefore the sage puts his own person last, and yet it is found in the foremost
place; he treats his person as if it were foreign to him, and yet that person is pre-
served. Is it not because he has no personal and private ends, that therefore such
ends are realised?
Ch. 8
1. The highest excellence is like (that of) water. The excellence of water appears
in its benefiting all things, and in its occupying, without striving (to the contrary),
the low place which all men dislike. Hence (its way) is near to (that of) the Tao.
2. The excellence of a residence is in (the suitability of) the place; that of the mind
is in abysmal stillness; that of associations is in their being with the virtuous; that
of government is in its securing good order; that of (the conduct of) affairs is in its
ability; and that of (the initiation of) any movement is in its timeliness.
3. And when (one with the highest excellence) does not wrangle (about his low
position), no one finds fault with him.
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Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty space (for the axle),
that the use of the wheel depends.
Ch. 9
1. It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full. If
you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve
its sharpness.
2. When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe. When
wealth and honours lead to arrogancy, this brings its evil on itself. When the work
is done, and one’s name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is
the way of Heaven.
Ch. 11
1. The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty space (for the
axle), that the use of the wheel depends. Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is
on their empty hollowness, that their use depends. The door and windows are cut
out (from the walls) to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space (within),
that its use depends. Therefore, what has a (positive) existence serves for profitable
adaptation, and what has not that for (actual) usefulness.
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Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Vases, James D. McCabe
Ch. 14
1. We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it “the Equable.” We listen to
it, and we do not hear it, and we name it “the Inaudible.” We try to grasp it, and do
not get hold of it, and we name it “the Subtle.” With these three qualities, it cannot
be made the subject of description; and hence we blend them together and obtain
The One.
2. Its upper part is not bright, and its lower part is not obscure. Ceaseless in its
action, it yet cannot be named, and then it again returns and becomes nothing.
This is called the Form of the Formless, and the Semblance of the Invisible; this is
called the Fleeting and Indeterminable.
From the reading. . .
“The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty space (for the
axle), that the use of the wheel depends.”
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Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
3. We meet it and do not see its Front; we follow it, and do not see its Back. When
we can lay hold of the Tao of old to direct the things of the present day, and are
able to know it as it was of old in the beginning, this is called (unwinding) the clue
of Tao.
Ch. 20
1. When we renounce learning we have no troubles.
The (ready) “yes,” and (flattering) “yea;”—
Small is the difference they display.
But mark their issues, good and ill;—
What space the gulf between shall fill?
What all men fear is indeed to be feared; but how wide and without end is the
range of questions (asking to be discussed)!
2. The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if enjoying a full banquet, as
if mounted on a tower in spring. I alone seem listless and still, my desires having
as yet given no indication of their presence. I am like an infant which has not yet
smiled. I look dejected and forlorn, as if I had no home to go to. The multitude of
men all have enough and to spare. I alone seem to have lost everything. My mind
is that of a stupid man; I am in a state of chaos.
Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be benighted. They
look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull and confused. I seem to be carried
about as on the sea, drifting as if I had nowhere to rest. All men have their spheres
of action, while I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer. (Thus) I
alone am different from other men, but I value the nursing-mother (the Tao).
Ch. 22
1. The partial becomes complete; the crooked, straight; the empty, full; the worn
out, new. He whose (desires) are few gets them; he whose (desires) are many goes
astray.
2. Therefore the sage holds in his embrace the one thing (of humility), and mani-
fests it to all the world. He is free from self-display, and therefore he shines; from
self-assertion, and therefore he is distinguished; from self-boasting, and therefore
his merit is acknowledged; from self-complacency, and therefore he acquires supe-
riority. It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world
is able to strive with him.
3. That saying of the ancients that “the partial becomes complete” was not vainly
spoken:—all real completion is comprehended under it.
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Ch. 23
1. Abstaining from speech marks him who is obeying the spontaneity of his nature.
A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; a sudden rain does not last for
the whole day. To whom is it that these (two) things are owing? To Heaven and
Earth. If Heaven and Earth cannot make such (spasmodic) actings last long, how
much less can man!
2. Therefore when one is making the Tao his business, those who are also pursuing
it, agree with him in it, and those who are making the manifestation of its course
their object agree with him in that; while even those who are failing in both these
things agree with him where they fail.
3. Hence, those with whom he agrees as to the Tao have the happiness of attain-
ing to it; those with whom he agrees as to its manifestation have the happiness of
attaining to it; and those with whom he agrees in their failure have also the happi-
ness of attaining (to the Tao). (But) when there is not faith sufficient (on his part),
a want of faith (in him) ensues (on the part of the others).
Ch. 24
He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does
not walk (easily). (So), he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts
his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit
acknowledged; he who is self- conceited has no superiority allowed to him. Such
conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Tao, are like remnants of food, or a
tumour on the body, which all dislike. Hence those who pursue (the course) of the
Tao do not adopt and allow them.
From the reading. . .
“It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world
is able to strive with him.”
Ch. 25
1. There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before
Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing
no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be
regarded as the Mother of all things.
2. I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Tao (the Way or
Course). Making an effort (further) to give it a name I call it The Great.
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3. Great, it passes on (in constant flow). Passing on, it becomes remote. Having
become remote, it returns. Therefore the Tao is great; Heaven is great; Earth is
great; and the (sage) king is also great. In the universe there are four that are great,
and the (sage) king is one of them.
4. Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven
takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its being what it is.
Ch. 27
1. The skilful traveller leaves no traces of his wheels or footsteps; the skilful
speaker says nothing that can be found fault with or blamed; the skilful reckoner
uses no tallies; the skilful closer needs no bolts or bars, while to open what he
has shut will be impossible; the skilful binder uses no strings or knots, while to
unloose what he has bound will be impossible. In the same way the sage is always
skilful at saving men, and so he does not cast away any man; he is always skilful
at saving things, and so he does not cast away anything. This is called “Hiding the
light of his procedure.”
2. Therefore the man of skill is a master (to be looked up to) by him who has not
the skill; and he who has not the skill is the helper of (the reputation of) him who
has the skill. If the one did not honour his master, and the other did not rejoice in
his helper, an (observer), though intelligent, might greatly err about them. This is
called “The utmost degree of mystery.”
Ch. 29
1. If any one should wish to get the kingdom for himself, and to effect this by
what he does, I see that he will not succeed. The kingdom is a spirit-like thing, and
cannot be got by active doing. He who would so win it destroys it; he who would
hold it in his grasp loses it.
2. The course and nature of things is such that
What was in front is now behind;
What warmed anon we freezing find.
Strength is of weakness oft the spoil;
The store in ruins mocks our toil.
Hence the sage puts away excessive effort, extravagance, and easy indulgence.
Ch. 32
1. The Tao, considered as unchanging, has no name.
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2. Though in its primordial simplicity it may be small, the whole world dares not
deal with (one embodying) it as a minister. If a feudal prince or the king could
guard and hold it, all would spontaneously submit themselves to him.
From the reading. . .
“The skilful traveller leaves no traces of his wheels or footsteps.”
3. Heaven and Earth (under its guidance) unite together and send down the sweet
dew, which, without the directions of men, reaches equally everywhere as of its
own accord.
4. As soon as it proceeds to action, it has a name. When it once has that name,
(men) can know to rest in it. When they know to rest in it, they can be free from
all risk of failure and error.
5. The relation of the Tao to all the world is like that of the great rivers and seas to
the streams from the valleys.
Ch. 37
1. The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the sake of doing it), and so there
is nothing which it does not do.
2. If princes and kings were able to maintain it, all things would of themselves be
transformed by them.
3. If this transformation became to me an object of desire, I would express the
desire by the nameless simplicity.
Simplicity without a name
Is free from all external aim.
With no desire, at rest and still,
All things go right as of their will.
Part II. The Tao Ching.
Ch. 38
1. (Those who) possessed in highest degree the attributes (of the Tao) did not (seek)
to show them, and therefore they possessed them (in fullest measure). (Those who)
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Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
possessed in a lower degree those attributes (sought how) not to lose them, and
therefore they did not possess them (in fullest measure).
2. (Those who) possessed in the highest degree those attributes did nothing (with a
purpose), and had no need to do anything. (Those who) possessed them in a lower
degree were (always) doing, and had need to be so doing.
3. (Those who) possessed the highest benevolence were (always seeking) to carry
it out, and had no need to be doing so. (Those who) possessed the highest righ-
teousness were (always seeking) to carry it out, and had need to be so doing.
4. (Those who) possessed the highest (sense of) propriety were (always seeking)
to show it, and when men did not respond to it, they bared the arm and marched
up to them.
5. Thus it was that when the Tao was lost, its attributes appeared; when its at-
tributes were lost, benevolence appeared; when benevolence was lost, righteous-
ness appeared; and when righteousness was lost, the proprieties appeared.
6. Now propriety is the attenuated form of leal-heartedness and good faith, and is
also the commencement of disorder; swift apprehension is (only) a flower of the
Tao, and is the beginning of stupidity.
7. Thus it is that the Great man abides by what is solid, and eschews what is flimsy;
dwells with the fruit and not with the flower. It is thus that he puts away the one
and makes choice of the other.
Ch. 40
1. The movement of the Tao
By contraries proceeds;
And weakness marks the course
Of Tao’s mighty deeds.
2. All things under heaven sprang from It as existing (and named); that existence
sprang from It as non-existent (and not named).
Ch. 43
1. The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes the hardest; that
which has no (substantial) existence enters where there is no crevice. I know
hereby what advantage belongs to doing nothing (with a purpose).
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From the reading. . .
“There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition; no calamity greater
than to be discontented with one’s lot; no fault greater than the wish to be
getting.”
2. There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the
advantage arising from non-action.
Ch. 46
1. When the Tao prevails in the world, they send back their swift horses to (draw)
the dung-carts. When the Tao is disregarded in the world, the war-horses breed in
the border lands.
2. There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition; no calamity greater than to be
discontented with one’s lot; no fault greater than the wish to be getting. Therefore
the sufficiency of contentment is an enduring and unchanging sufficiency.
Ch. 47
1. Without going outside his door, one understands (all that takes place) under the
sky; without looking out from his window, one sees the Tao of Heaven. The farther
that one goes out (from himself), the less he knows.
2. Therefore the sages got their knowledge without travelling; gave their (right)
names to things without seeing them; and accomplished their ends without any
purpose of doing so.
Ch. 48
1. He who devotes himself to learning (seeks) from day to day to increase (his
knowledge); he who devotes himself to the Tao (seeks) from day to day to diminish
(his doing).
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Street Scence, Chefang China, Library of Congress
2. He diminishes it and again diminishes it, till he arrives at doing nothing (on
purpose). Having arrived at this point of non-action, there is nothing which he
does not do.
3. He who gets as his own all under heaven does so by giving himself no trouble
(with that end). If one take trouble (with that end), he is not equal to getting as his
own all under heaven.
Ch. 49
1. The sage has no invariable mind of his own; he makes the mind of the people
his mind.
2. To those who are good (to me), I am good; and to those who are not good (to
me), I am also good;—and thus (all) get to be good. To those who are sincere
(with me), I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere (with me), I am also
sincere;—and thus (all) get to be sincere.
3. The sage has in the world an appearance of indecision, and keeps his mind in a
state of indifference to all. The people all keep their eyes and ears directed to him,
and he deals with them all as his children.
Ch. 50
1. Men come forth and live; they enter (again) and die.
2. Of every ten three are ministers of life (to themselves); and three are ministers
of death.
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3. There are also three in every ten whose aim is to live, but whose movements tend
to the land (or place) of death. And for what reason? Because of their excessive
endeavours to perpetuate life.
4. But I have heard that he who is skilful in managing the life entrusted to him for
a time travels on the land without having to shun rhinoceros or tiger, and enters a
host without having to avoid buff coat or sharp weapon. The rhinoceros finds no
place in him into which to thrust its horn, nor the tiger a place in which to fix its
claws, nor the weapon a place to admit its point. And for what reason? Because
there is in him no place of death.
Ch. 51
1. All things are produced by the Tao, and nourished by its outflowing operation.
They receive their forms according to the nature of each, and are completed accord-
ing to the circumstances of their condition. Therefore all things without exception
honour the Tao, and exalt its outflowing operation.
2. This honouring of the Tao and exalting of its operation is not the result of any
ordination, but always a spontaneous tribute.
3. Thus it is that the Tao produces (all things), nourishes them, brings them to
their full growth, nurses them, completes them, matures them, maintains them,
and overspreads them.
4. It produces them and makes no claim to the possession of them; it carries them
through their processes and does not vaunt its ability in doing so; it brings them to
maturity and exercises no control over them;—this is called its mysterious opera-
tion.
Ch. 56
1. He who knows (the Tao) does not (care to) speak (about it); he who is (ever
ready to) speak about it does not know it.
2. He (who knows it) will keep his mouth shut and close the portals (of his nostrils).
He will blunt his sharp points and unravel the complications of things; he will
attemper his brightness, and bring himself into agreement with the obscurity (of
others). This is called “the Mysterious Agreement.”
From the reading. . .
“(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy,
and does things that would become great while they are small. ”
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3. (Such an one) cannot be treated familiarly or distantly; he is beyond all consid-
eration of profit or injury; of nobility or meanness:—he is the noblest man under
heaven.
Ch. 63
1. (It is the way of the Tao) to act without (thinking of) acting; to conduct affairs
without (feeling the) trouble of them; to taste without discerning any flavour; to
consider what is small as great, and a few as many; and to recompense injury with
kindness.
2. (The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy, and
does things that would become great while they are small. All difficult things in
the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy, and all
great things from one in which they were small. Therefore the sage, while he never
does what is great, is able on that account to accomplish the greatest things.
3. He who lightly promises is sure to keep but little faith; he who is continually
thinking things easy is sure to find them difficult. Therefore the sage sees difficulty
even in what seems easy, and so never has any difficulties.
Ch. 64
1. That which is at rest is easily kept hold of; before a thing has given indications
of its presence, it is easy to take measures against it; that which is brittle is easily
broken; that which is very small is easily dispersed. Action should be taken be-
fore a thing has made its appearance; order should be secured before disorder has
begun.
2. The tree which fills the arms grew from the tiniest sprout; the tower of nine
storeys rose from a (small) heap of earth; the journey of a thousand li commenced
with a single step.
3. He who acts (with an ulterior purpose) does harm; he who takes hold of a thing
(in the same way) loses his hold. The sage does not act (so), and therefore does no
harm; he does not lay hold (so), and therefore does not lose his bold. (But) people
in their conduct of affairs are constantly ruining them when they are on the eve of
success. If they were careful at the end, as (they should be) at the beginning, they
would not so ruin them.
4. Therefore the sage desires what (other men) do not desire, and does not prize
things difficult to get; he learns what (other men) do not learn, and turns back to
what the multitude of men have passed by. Thus he helps the natural development
of all things, and does not dare to act (with an ulterior purpose of his own).
Ch. 66
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1. That whereby the rivers and seas are able to receive the homage and tribute of
all the valley streams, is their skill in being lower than they;—it is thus that they
are the kings of them all. So it is that the sage (ruler), wishing to be above men,
puts himself by his words below them, and, wishing to be before them, places his
person behind them.
2. In this way though he has his place above them, men do not feel his weight, nor
though he has his place before them, do they feel it an injury to them.
3. Therefore all in the world delight to exalt him and do not weary of him. Because
he does not strive, no one finds it possible to strive with him.
Ch. 38
1. All the world says that, while my Tao is great, it yet appears to be inferior (to
other systems of teaching). Now it is just its greatness that makes it seem to be
inferior. If it were like any other (system), for long would its smallness have been
known!
Lotus, Library of Congress
2. But I have three precious things which I prize and hold fast. The first is gentle-
ness; the second is economy; and the third is shrinking from taking precedence of
others.
3. With that gentleness I can be bold; with that economy I can be liberal; shrinking
from taking precedence of others, I can become a vessel of the highest honour.
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Now-a-days they give up gentleness and are all for being bold; economy, and are
all for being liberal; the hindmost place, and seek only to be foremost;—(of all
which the end is) death.
4. Gentleness is sure to be victorious even in battle, and firmly to maintain its
ground. Heaven will save its possessor, by his (very) gentleness protecting him.
Ch. 68
He who in (Tao’s) wars has skill
Assumes no martial port;
He who fights with most good will
To rage makes no resort.
He who vanquishes yet still
Keeps from his foes apart;
He whose hests men most fulfil
Yet humbly plies his art.. . .
Thus we say, “He ne’er contends,
And therein is his might.”
Thus we say, “Men’s wills he bends,
That they with him unite.”
Thus we say, “Like Heaven’s his ends,
No sage of old more bright.”
Ch. 71
1. To know and yet (think) we do not know is the highest (attainment); not to know
(and yet think) we do know is a disease.
2. It is simply by being pained at (the thought of) having this disease that we are
preserved from it. The sage has not the disease. He knows the pain that would be
inseparable from it, and therefore he does not have it.
Ch. 72
1. When the people do not fear what they ought to fear, that which is their great
dread will come on them.
2. Let them not thoughtlessly indulge themselves in their ordinary life; let them
not act as if weary of what that life depends on.
3. It is by avoiding such indulgence that such weariness does not arise.
4. Therefore the sage knows (these things) of himself, but does not parade (his
knowledge); loves, but does not (appear to set a) value on, himself. And thus he
puts the latter alternative away and makes choice of the former.
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Ch. 77
1. May not the Way (or Tao) of Heaven be compared to the (method of) bending
a bow? The (part of the bow) which was high is brought low, and what was low
is raised up. (So Heaven) diminishes where there is superabundance, and supple-
ments where there is deficiency.
2. It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance, and to supplement defi-
ciency. It is not so with the way of man. He takes away from those who have not
enough to add to his own superabundance.
3. Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all under heaven?
Only he who is in possession of the Tao!
From the reading. . .
“(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy,
and does things that would become great while they are small. ”
4. Therefore the (ruling) sage acts without claiming the results as his; he achieves
his merit and does not rest (arrogantly) in it:—he does not wish to display his
superiority.
Ch. 38
There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking
things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it;—for
there is nothing (so effectual) for which it can be changed.
2. Every one in the world knows that the soft overcomes the hard, and the weak
the strong, but no one is able to carry it out in practice.
3. Therefore a sage has said,
“He who accepts his state’s reproach,
Is hailed therefore its altars’ lord;
To him who bears men’s direful woes
They all the name of King accord.”
4. Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical.
Ch. 79
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1. When a reconciliation is effected (between two parties) after a great animosity,
there is sure to be a grudge remaining (in the mind of the one who was wrong).
And how can this be beneficial (to the other)?
2. Therefore (to guard against this), the sage keeps the left-hand portion of the
record of the engagement, and does not insist on the (speedy) fulfilment of it by
the other party. (So), he who has the attributes (of the Tao) regards (only) the
conditions of the engagement, while he who has not those attributes regards only
the conditions favourable to himself.
3. In the Way of Heaven, there is no partiality of love; it is always on the side of
the good man.
Ch. 81
1. Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere. Those who are skilled (in
the Tao) do not dispute (about it); the disputatious are not skilled in it. Those who
know (the Tao) are not extensively learned; the extensively learned do not know it.
2. The sage does not accumulate (for himself). The more that he expends for others,
the more does he possess of his own; the more that he gives to others, the more
does he have himself.
3. With all the sharpness of the Way of Heaven, it injures not; with all the doing in
the way of the sage he does not strive.
From the reading. . .
“(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy,
and does things that would become great while they are small. ”
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There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking
things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it. . . ,
Library of Congress
Topics Worth Investigating
1. Compare and contrast the Western doctrine of polar opposites with the Eastern
doctrine of yin—yang. Are these doctrines metaphysical or logical or both?
2. Clarify the doctine of wu-wei or non-action. The The Tao Te Ching empha-
sizes “there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). The work is ac-
complished and there is no resting in it (as an achievement).” Contrast this
idea with that of the Bhagavad Gita, to do “all work as an offering to God
abandoning attachment to the results.”
3. The The Tao Te Ching states “The law of the Tao is its being what it is.”
In what ways is this remark profound and not an empty tautology? Is the
Tao considered in this manner analogous to the Western notion of the laws of
nature?
4. Contrast the political advice for the strategy of winning in the The Tao Te
Ching with Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s The
Art of War.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 171
Chapter 8
“The Ten Oxherding Pictures”
by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Ox, (detail) Library of Congress
About the author. . .
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966) is an influential scholar of Japanese Buddhist
thought and one of the first persons to introduce Buddhism to the West. He is
perhaps best known for his description of Zen history and practice in Zen Bud-
dhism. The existentialist Martin Heidegger, the psychologists Carl Jung and Erich
Fromm, and the musician John Cage, all acknowledge D. T. Suzuki’s influence on
their work and thought.
172
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
About the work. . .
In his Manual of Zen Buddhism,
1
D. T. Suzuki has compiled gathas and prayers,
dharanis, and sutras from Zen Masters used in monastery life. The “Ten Oxherding
Pictures” is drawn from Chapter IV of that anthology which is entitled “From
the Chinese Masters.” The ox-herding pictures represent the stages of progress or
levels of realization in zen practice. The ordinary, everyday self doing everyday
activities can reveal the “true self” through enlightenment. The ox-herder does not
retreat from the world.
From the reading. . .
“ He now knows that. . . the objective world is a reflection of the Self.”
Ideas of Interest from “The Ten Oxherding
Pictures”
1. What does the ox symbolize in the various series of ox-herding pictures? Why
was this animal chosen for this metaphor?
2. In Kaku-an’s account, what is meant by “seeing” or “finding” the traces?
3. Why does the ox require herding? How in life does one “herd the ox”?
4. What is the relation between “gain and loss” and “the taming of the ox”?
5. What is the signification of the “marketplace”?
6. Once enlightenment is attained, do we remain aloof from the everydayness of
the world?
7. What does Kaku-an mean by returning to the Origin or the Source?
1. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki. Manual of Zen Buddhism. 1934.
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Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
The Reading Selection from “The Ten
Oxherding Pictures”
Preliminary
The author of these “Ten Oxherding Pictures” is said to be a Zen master of the
Sung Dynasty known as Kaku-an Shi-en (Kuo-an Shih-yuan) belonging to the
Rinzai school. He is also the author of the poems and introductory words attached
to the pictures. He was not however the first who attempted to illustrate by means
of pictures stages of Zen discipline, for in his general preface to the pictures he
refers to another Zen master called Seikyo (Ching-chu), probably a contemporary
of his, who made use of the ox to explain his Zen teaching. But in Seikyo’s case
the gradual development of the Zen life was indicated by a progressive whitening
of the animal, ending in the disappearance of the whole being. There were in this
only five pictures, instead of ten as by Kaku-an. Kaku-an thought this was some-
what misleading because of an empty circle being made the goal of Zen discipline.
Some might take mere emptiness as all important and final. Hence his improve-
ment resulting in the “Ten Oxherding Pictures” as we have them now.
According to a commentator of Kaku-an’s Pictures, there is another series of the
Oxherding Pictures by a Zen master called jitoku Ki (Tzu-te Hui), who apparently
knew of the existence of the Five Pictures by Seikyo, for jitoku’s are six in number.
The last one, No. 6, goes beyond the stage of absolute emptiness where Seikyo’s
end: the poem reads:
Even beyond the ultimate limits there extends a passageway,
Whereby he comes back among the six realms of existence;
Every worldly affair is a Buddhist work,
And wherever he goes he finds his home air;
Like a gem he stands out even in the mud,
Like pure gold he shines even in the furnace;
Along the endless road [of birth and death] he walks sufficient unto himself,
In whatever associations he is found he moves leisurely unattached.
Jitoku’s ox grows whiter as Seikyo’s, and in this particular respect both differ from
Kaku-an’s conception. In the latter there is no whitening process. In Japan Kaku-
an’s Ten Pictures gained a wide circulation, and at present all the oxherding books
reproduce them. The earliest one belongs I think to the fifteenth century. In China
however a different edition seems to have been in vogue, one belonging to the
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Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Seikyo and Jitoku series of pictures. The author is not known. The edition con-
taining the preface by Chu-hung, 1585, has ten pictures, each of which is preceded
by Pu-ming’s poem. As to who this Pu-ming was, Chu-hung himself professes ig-
norance. In these pictures the ox’s colouring changes together with the oxherd’s
management of him. The quaint original Chinese prints are reproduced below, and
also Pu-ming’s verses translated into English.
Thus as far as I can identify there are four varieties of the Oxherding Pictures: (1)
by Kaku-an, (2) by Seikyo, (3) by Jitoku, and (4) by an unknown author.
Kaku-an’s "Pictures" here reproduced are by Shubun, a Zen priest of the fifteenth
century. The original pictures are preserved at Shokokuji, Kyoto. He was one of
the greatest painters in black and white in the Ashikaga period.
The Ten Oxherding Pictures, I. by Kaku-an
I. Searching for the Ox
The beast has never gone astray, and what is the use of searching for him? The
reason why the oxherd is not on intimate terms with him is because the oxherd
himself has violated his own inmost nature. The beast is lost, for the oxherd has
himself been led out of the way through his deluding senses. His home is receding
farther away from him, and byways and crossways are ever confused. Desire for
gain and fear of loss burn like fire; ideas of right and wrong shoot up like a phalanx.
Alone in the wilderness, lost in the jungle, the boy is searching, searching!
The swelling waters, the far-away mountains, and the unending path;
Exhausted and in despair, he knows not where to go,
He only hears the evening cicadas singing in the maple-woods.
From the reading. . .
Things oppress us not because of an objective world, but because of a self-
deceiving mind.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 175
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
1. Searching for the Ox. 2. Seeing the Traces., D. T. Suzuki
II. Seeing the Traces
By the aid of the sutras and by inquiring into the doctrines, he has come to un-
derstand something, he has found the traces. He now knows that vessels, however
varied, are all of gold, and that the objective world is a reflection of the Self. Yet,
he is unable to distinguish what is good from what is not, his mind is still confused
as to truth and falsehood. As he has not yet entered the gate, he is provisionally
said to have noticed the traces.
By the stream and under the trees, scattered are the traces of the lost;
The sweet-scented grasses are growing thick--did he find the way?
However remote over the hills and far away the beast may wander,
His nose reaches the heavens and none can conceal it.
III. Seeing the Ox
The boy finds the way by the sound he hears; he sees thereby into the origin of
things, and all his senses are in harmonious order. In all his activities, it is mani-
festly present. It is like the salt in water and the glue in colour. [It is there though
not distinguishable as an individual entity.] When the eye is properly directed, he
will find that it is no other than himself.
176 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
On a yonder branch perches a nightingale cheerfully singing;
The sun is warm, and a soothing breeze blows, on the bank the willows are green;
The ox is there all by himself, nowhere is he to hide himself;
The splendid head decorated with stately horns what painter can reproduce him?
3. Seeing the Ox. 4. Catching the Ox., D. T. Suzuki
IV. Catching the Ox
Long lost in the wilderness, the boy has at last found the ox and his hands are on
him. But, owing to the overwhelming pressure of the outside world, the ox is hard
to keep under control. He constantly longs for the old sweet-scented field. The
wild nature is still unruly, and altogether refuses to be broken. If the oxherd wishes
to see the ox completely in harmony with himself, he has surely to use the whip
freely.
With the energy of his whole being, the boy has at last taken hold of the ox:
But how wild his will, how ungovernable his power!
At times he struts up a plateau,
When lo! he is lost again in a misty unpenetrable mountain-pass.
V. Herding the Ox
When a thought moves, another follows, and then another-an endless train of
thoughts is thus awakened. Through enlightenment all this turns into truth; but
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 177
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
falsehood asserts itself when confusion prevails. Things oppress us not because of
an objective world, but because of a self-deceiving mind. Do not let the nose-string
loose, hold it tight, and allow no vacillation.
The boy is not to separate himself with his whip and tether,
Lest the animal should wander away into a world of defilements;
When the ox is properly tended to, he will grow pure and docile;
Without a chain, nothing binding, he will by himself follow the oxherd.
5. Herding the Ox. 6. Coming Home on the Ox’s Back., D. T. Suzuki
VI. Coming Home on the Ox’s Back
The struggle is over; the man is no more concerned with gain and loss. He hums
a rustic tune of the woodman, he sings simple songs of the village-boy. Saddling
himself on the ox’s back, his eyes are fixed on things not of the earth, earthy. Even
if he is called, he will not turn his head; however enticed he will no more be kept
back.
Riding on the animal, he leisurely wends his way home:
Enveloped in the evening mist, how tunefully the flute vanishes away!
Singing a ditty, beating time, his heart is filled with a joy indescribable!
That he is now one of those who know, need it be told?
178 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
VII. The Ox Forgotten, Leaving the Man Alone
The dharmas are one and the ox is symbolic. When you know that what you need
is not the snare or set-net but the hare or fish, it is like gold separated from the
dross, it is like the moon rising out of the clouds. The one ray of light serene and
penetrating shines even before days of creation.
Riding on the animal, he is at last back in his home,
Where lo! the ox is no more; the man alone sits serenely.
Though the red sun is high up in the sky, he is still quietly dreaming,
Under a straw-thatched roof are his whip and rope idly lying.
7. The Ox Forgotten, Leaving the Man Alone. 8. The Ox and the Man Gone out of
Sight., D. T. Suzuki
VIII. The Ox and the Man Gone out of Sight
All confusion is set aside, and serenity alone prevails; even the idea of holiness
does not obtain. He does not linger about where the Buddha is, and as to where
there is no Buddha he speedily passes by. When there exists no form of dualism,
even a thousand-eyed one fails to detect a loop-hole. A holiness before which birds
offer flowers is but a farce.
2
2. It will be interesting to note what a mystic philosopher has to say about this: “A man shall
become truly poor and as free from his creature will as he was when he was born. And I say to
you, by the eternal truth, that as long as ye desire to fulfil the will of God, and have any desire
after eternity and God; so long are ye not truly poor. He alone hath true spiritual poverty who
wills nothing, knows nothing, desires nothing.”—(From Eckhart as quoted by Inge in Light, Life,
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 179
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
All is empty-the whip, the rope, the man, and the ox:
Who can ever survey the vastness of heaven?
Over the furnace burning ablaze, not a flake of snow can fall:
When this state of things obtains, manifest is the spirit of the ancient master.
IX. Returning to the Origin, Back to the Source
From the very beginning, pure and immaculate, the man has never been affected
by defilement. He watches the growth of things, while himself abiding in the im-
movable serenity of nonassertion. He does not identify himself with the maya-like
transformations [that are going on about him], nor has he any use of himself [which
is artificiality]. The waters are blue, the mountains are green; sitting alone, he ob-
serves things undergoing changes.
To return to the Origin, to be back at the Source—already a false step this!
Far better it is to stay at home, blind and deaf, and without much ado;
Sitting in the hut, he takes no cognisance of things outside,
Behold the streams flowing-whither nobody knows; and the flowers vividly red-for
whom are they?
9. Returning to the Origin, Back to the Source. 10. Entering the City with Bliss-
bestowing Hands, D. T. Suzuki
and Love.)]
180 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
X. Entering the City with Bliss-bestowing Hands
His thatched cottage gate is closed, and even the wisest know him not. No glimpses
of his inner life are to be caught; for he goes on his own way without following the
steps of the ancient sages. Carrying a gourd
3
he goes out into the market, leaning
against a staff
4
he comes home. He is found in company with wine-bibbers and
butchers, he and they are all converted into Buddhas.
Bare-chested and bare-footed, he comes out into the market-place;
Daubed with mud and ashes, how broadly he smiles!
There is no need for the miraculous power of the gods,
For he touches, and lo! the dead trees are in full bloom.
From the reading. . .
“He is found in company with wine-bibbers and butchers, he and they are
all converted into Buddhas.”
The Ten Oxherding Pictures, II.
1. Undisciplined
With his horns fiercely projected in the air the beast snorts,
Madly running over the mountain paths, farther and farther he goes astray!
A dark cloud is spread across the entrance of the valley,
And who knows how much of the fine fresh herb is trampled under his wild hoofs!
3. Symbol of emptiness (sunyata).
4. No extra property he has, for he knows that the desire to possess is the curse of human life.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 181
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
1. Undisciplined. 2. Discipline Begun, D. T. Suzuki
2. Discipline Begun
I am in possession of a straw rope, and I pass it through his nose,
For once he makes a frantic attempt to run away, but he is severely whipped and whipped;
The beast resists the training with all the power there is in a nature wild and ungoverned,
But the rustic oxherd never relaxes his pulling tether and ever-ready whip.
3. In Harness
Gradually getting into harness the beast is now content to be led by the nose,
Crossing the stream, walking along the mountain path, he follows every step of the leader;
The leader holds the rope tightly in his hand never letting it go,
All day long he is on the alert almost unconscious of what fatigue is.
182 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
3. In Harness. 4. Faced Round., D. T. Suzuki
4. Faced Round
After long days of training the result begins to tell and the beast is faced round,
A nature so wild and ungoverned is finally broken, he has become gentler;
But the tender has not yet given him his full confidence,
He still keeps his straw rope with which the ox is now tied to a tree.
5. Tamed
Under the green willow tree and by the ancient mountain stream,
The ox is set at liberty to pursue his own pleasures;
At the eventide when a grey mist descends on the pasture,
The boy wends his homeward way with the animal quietly following.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 183
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
5. Tamed. 6. Unimpeded., D. T. Suzuki
6. Unimpeded
On the verdant field the beast contentedly lies idling his time away,
No whip is needed now, nor any kind of restraint;
The boy too sits leisurely under the pine tree,
Playing a tune of peace, overflowing with joy.
7. Laissez Faire
The spring stream in the evening sun flows languidly along the willow-lined bank,
In the hazy atmosphere the meadow grass is seen growing thick;
When hungry he grazes, when thirsty he quaffs, as time sweetly slides,
While the boy on the rock dozes for hours not noticing anything that goes on about him.
184 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
7. Laissez Faire. 8. All Forgotten, D. T. Suzuki
8. All Forgotten
The beast all in white now is surrounded by the white clouds,
The man is perfectly at his case and care-free, so is his companion;
The white clouds penetrated by the moon-light cast their white shadows below,
The white clouds and the bright moon-light-each following its course of movement.
9. The Solitary Moon
Nowhere is the beast, and the oxherd is master of his time,
He is a solitary cloud wafting lightly along the mountain peaks;
Clapping his hands he sings joyfully in the moon-light,
But remember a last wall is still left barring his homeward walk.
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 185
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
9. The Solitary Moon. 10. Both Vanished., D. T. Suzuki
10. Both Vanished
Both the man and the animal have disappeared, no traces are left,
The bright moon-light is empty and shadowless with all the ten-thousand objects in it;
If anyone should ask the meaning of this,
Behold the lilies of the field and its fresh sweet-scented verdure.
From the reading. . .
“If anyone should ask the meaning of this, Behold the lilies of the field and
its fresh sweet-scented verdure.”
Topics Worth Investigating
1. Compare the two sets of the ox-herding pictures. What are the essential differ-
186 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
ences of interpretation? Is the commentary to the first series a reliable guide
to what you understand to be an effective way to progress in zen practice?
2. Do you think that the ox-herding pictures are more representative of the Hi-
nayana or Mahayana Buddhist traditions?
3. Explain the characteristics of the progress toward enlightenment, step by step,
as implied by the second series ox-herding pictures.
4. If our Buddha-nature is already perfect, why is enlightenment sought?
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 187
Index
action, 161
adharma, 8
Advaita, 40
agnosticism, 33
anger, 115
annihilation, 56
doctrine of, 75
Arahat, 60, 70
Arhat, 106
Arjuna, 4
Arya, 114
atheism, 22, 33
attachment, 11
to results, 6
attentiveness, 88
awakening, 123
awareness, 97
beauty, 141, 154
Bhikshu, 103, 123
birth, 50
blessings, 84
body
physical, 5
Brahmana, 125
breath, 82, 88
Buddha, 49, 99, 112, 179
disciple of, 104
Buddha-nature, 187
Buddhas, 66, 71
Buddhism, 33, 100
criticims of, 97
Cage, John, 172
Carus, Paul, 47, 64
carving, 58
caste system, 27
causality, 39
chance, 76
chaos, 34
character, 140
Christ, 44
Christianity, 41
Chung-ni, 132
chün tzu, 148
superior man, 132
concentration, 66, 90
Confucianism, 131
Confucius, 130
consciousness, 35, 51, 57, 72
control
over results, 6
corporeality, 53
creation, 34
acts of, 14
death, 5, 36, 50, 101, 104, 119
decay, 50
Delphi effect, i
delusion, 74
demonic people, 22
dependent origination, 73, 75
desires, 154, 175
despair, 50
detachment, 20
Dhammapada, 99
dharma, 8, 179
discipline, 6
disgrace, 6
DocBook, ?
dualism, 179
dukkha, 52, 74, 50
(see also Four Noble Truths)
extinction of, 75
duty, 5, 111, 140
earnestness, 102
Eckhart, Meister, 179
ego, 7, 68, 82, 51
(see also self)
and feelings, 72
as an ocean wave, 56
Buddhism, 69
egoism, 24
Eightfold Path, 66, 113, 118
right action, 78
188
right attentiveness, 81
right concentration, 90
right effort, 79
right living, 79
right mindedness, 76
right speech, 76
right understanding, 67
two kinds of, 71
emptiness, 156, 181
emptyness, 174
energy, 133
enlightenment, 49, 90, 173, 177, 186
equanimity, 11
equilibrium of mind, 63, 132
eternal being, 13
evil, 58, 79, 111, 156
evil-doer, 102, 108, 128
existence, 56, 154
characteristics of, 52
groups of, 51, 86, 174
faith, 23, 159
family, 136
fear
overcoming, 104
feelings, 57, 85
fetters
the ten, 70
filial piety, 136
First Noble Truth, 50
five relationships, 135, 140
fools, 105, 114
formless, 159
Four Noble Truths, 48, 49, 67, 87, 113
Fourth Noble Truth, 61
freedom, 7
friendship, 106
Fromm, Erich, 172
gentleness, 167
GFDL, i
God, 98, 179
paradox of creation, 34
golden rule
Confucian, 134
government, 139
rules of, 140
grief, 50
happiness, 39, 102, 109, 113
harmony of mind, 63, 132
hatred, 113
overcoming, 101
health, ??
Heidegger, Martin, 172
hell, 109
Buddhism, 120
hindrances, 94
Hinduism, 33
lack of dogma, 39
Hinudism
not henotheism, 41
holiness, 41, 60, 95, 179
hsiao, 136
filial piety, 138
Hui, 133
hunger, 114
idolatry, 42
ignorance, 18, 117
illusion, 111
(see also samsara)
impurity, 116
Indira, 107
infinity, 41
institutions of the ruler, 147
intellect, 6
introspection, 97
Jainism, 33
jen, 130
benevolence, 139
jitoku Ki, 174
Judaism, 33
Jung. C. G., 172
just person, 117
Kafka, Franz, 97
Kaku-an, 174
Kant, Immanuel, 97
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 189
karma, 8, 10, 13, 19, 28, 36, 58, 67,
109
thought, 101
Kasyapa, 99
Kepler, Johannes, i
Kierkegaard, Søren, 97
King Wu, 137
knowledge, 104
transcendental, 7, 18
Krishna, 4, 38, 43
Krishnamurti, Jiddu, 97
lamentation, 50
language, 107
Lao Tzu, 152
law
of conditionality, 49
(see also Karma)
of Tao, 160
learning, 163
li, 130
rules of propriety, 141
love, 114
magic, 84
Mara, 102, 103, 118
master, 160
maya, 12, 14, 19
mean, doctrine of, 132
mediation, 91
meditation, 82, 112
and knowledge, 124
mercy, 39
metaphysics, 7
Middle Path, 66, 92
mind, 85
monks
rules of, 92
morality, 66
Muki, 39
Müller, F. Max, 100
natural law, 75
nature, 10, ??
modes, 12, 19
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 97
nirvana, 60, 65, 102, 106, 124
non-action, 153, 163
non-attachment, 97
offerings, 14
old age, 54, 110
omnipresence, 41
opposites, 6, 8
origin, 49, 154, 176, 180, 73
(see also dependent origination)
ox-herding pictures, 181
pain, 50
passion, 8, 113
path
of contemplation, 7
of devotion, 17
(see also yoga, bhakti)
of meditation, 11
of renunciation, 8, 25
of self-knowledge, 7
of service, 7
path of duty, 132
(see also Bhakti-Yoga)
peace, 59
peace of mind, 7, 8
perception, 51
philosophy
Sanskrit, 43
Vedanta, 33
pleasure, 6, 102, 114
poisoned arrow
parable of, 68
posssessions, 170
prayer, 117
propriety, 162
psyche, 18
punishment, 109
Raymond, Eric S., ii
realization, 173
rebirth, 75
(see also reincarnation)
rebirths, 55
190 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
(see also reincarnation)
reincarnation, 8, 35, 49, 68, 74, 84,
109, 110
religion
universal, ??
universality of, 42
renunciation, 10
rest, 113
right understanding, 71
Rishis, 34
ritual, 7
sacrifice, 8
sage, 158, 166
Samana, 118
Samsara, 54, 70
sankhara, 72
sansara, 120
science, 34, 40
Second Noble Truth, 56
Seikyo, 174
self, 8, 14, 53, 110, 124, 175
freedom from, 18
illusion of, 68
self-consciousness, 6
self-mortification, 61
self-realization, 6, 9
essentials of, 29
selfless service, ??
sensations, ??
senses, 6, 93
control of, 8
shame, 140
Shijing, 134
Shubun, 175
Shun, 133
simplicity, 161
sin, 8, 15, 37
sincerity, 142, 164
skill, 165
sorrow, 50
Sotapan, 69
soul, 5
Hinduism, 34
spirit
eternal, 5
stream-enterer, 69
(see also Sotapan)
success
rules of, 142
suffering, 48, 55, 87, 95, 97, 106, 66
(see also dukkha)
Supreme Being, 12
Suzuki, D. T., 64, 172
Tao, 153, 159
possessing, 161
Tathagatas, 118
te
virtue, 132
The Book of Poetry, 134
Third Noble Truth, 59
thoughts, 121, 177
three warnings, 54
Threefold Craving, 56
time
reality of, 73
trances, 91
truth, 49, 67, 176, 179
Tsze-lu, 133
Unamuno, Miguel de, 97
unity, 40
urdvamsrotas, 115
vanity, 102, 114
Vedas, 33
victory, 113
virtue, 102, 140
virtues, 22
visankhara, 110
Vishnu, 2
Vivekananda, Swami, 64
Vyasa, 43
war
righteous, 5
water, 155, 169
wheel, 36
Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 191
of existence, 174
wisdom, 66, 95
World Parliament of Religions, 47
World Parliment of Religions, 64
worship, 8, 38
wu-wei, 153
Yama, 104
yi
righteousness, 139
yoga
karma, 6
zen, 172
Zoroastrianism, 33
192 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text
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Image Credits. The images in this work have been adapted from the original by resizing, cropping, and processing.
Preface, “Why Open Source?"”. Tabulae Rudolphinae : quibus astronomicae. . . by Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630, NOAA Photo Library (http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/). Historic C&GS Collection,. Chapter 1, Bhagavad Gita. India—Benares—Monkey Temple, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection [LC-USZ62-125561]; Ruins in Delhi, Caleb Wright, India and Its Inhabitants, 1869; Ornate Royal Carriage, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-35122]; An Expanding Bubble in Space (alt-detail) [HSTI #PROO-04], GRIN National Aeronautics and Space Administration (http://grin.hq.nasa.gov); An Expanding Bubble in Space (alt-detail) [HSTI #PROO-04]; The Cat’s Eye Nebula (alt-detail) [HSTI #PRC 95-01A] National Aeronautics and Space Administration (http://grin.hq.nasa.gov). Golden Temple, India, Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection [LC-USZ62-5828]; Village in Punjab, Farm Security Administration [LC-USW33-043106-ZC]; Temples of Jammu from distance, World’s Transportation Commission, William Henry Jackson [W7-483]. Chapter 2, “Paper On Hinduism”. Vivekananda; City on the Mountains—India, William Henry Jackson, World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-471]; Delhi—Ruins of Shershak, William Henry Jackson, World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-506]; Riverfront, William Henry Jackson, World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-587]; Delhi—Cashmere Gates, William Henry Jackson, World Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-507]. Chapter 3, “The Four Noble Truths”. Yogi, View of Benares, and Crossing Over, from William Butler, Land of the Veda: Being Personal Reminiscences of India, New York: Calton & Lanahan, 1872; Deer Park, Library of Congress. Chapter 4, “The Noble Eightfold Path”. Brahmin Reading, Caleb Wright, India and Its Inhabitants, Cincinnati, Ohio: J.A. Brainerd, 1858. Indonesia-—Java-—Jogjakarta [i.e. Yogyakarta]. Temple ruins—details of sculpted figures, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress

[LC-USZ62-95443]; Buddhist Temple, Cambodia, French Postcard, 1905; Photographic Views of Thailand—Temple Wat Prakeu-—Bangkok, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-5322]; Rice boat on the Irrawaddy heading for Rangoon, World’s Transportation Commission, Library of Congress [W7-599]; Buddhist Room, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., Library of Congress [LC-D4-72635]. Chapter 5, Dhammapada. Bronze Buddha, The American Cyclopædia; China, Kiangsu Province, Soochow, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-104037]; China-Burma Highway, U. S. Public Health Service, Library of Congress [USW33-043086-ZC]; Chinese Built Suspension Bridge, Szechwan Province, ChinaFrank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-104037]; Bronze Statue of Amida Nyorai, Denjiro Hasegawa, photographer, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-98646]; Hong Kong Dock Workers, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-US262-118505]; Reclining Buddha, Views of Thailand, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-5320]; Hong Kong Sampans, Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-118501]; Hong Kong Rickshaw, Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection, Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-118508]; F. Boileau, Photograph album of the Boileau family’s voyage from England to Australia (1894-1895). Chapter 6, Doctrine Of the Mean.Confucius, Thoemmes Press (http://www.thoemmes.com/gallery.htm); Chinese Gentleman’s Garden, A Pavilion in Pun-Ting-Qua’s Garden; One of the Inner Gates of Peking; Temple of the Five Hundred Gods, The Willow-Pattern Bridge, Great Gateway, Temple of Confucius, from J. Thompson. The Straits of Malacca, Indo-China, and China; or, Ten years’ travels, adventures, and residence abroad New York: Harper & Brothers, 1875. Wood engravings by J. D. Cooper. Chapter 7, Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu, 18th century French Print; Thirty Spokes, Library of Congress; China Vases, James D. McCabe, The Illustrated History of the Centennial Exhibition Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Publishing Company, 1876; Street Scene, Chefang China U. S. Public Health Service [LC-USW33-043083-ZC]; Lotus Flower, Library of Congress; Eddies [theb2710] Chapter 8, The Ten Oxherding Pictures. Ox, Gottsho-Schleishner Collection, Library of Congress [US-USZC2-4153]; Both sets of Ten Oxherding Pictures are from Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Manual of Zen Buddhism, 1934.

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................ 37 [The Unity of the Universe]......................................................................................................................................... ii 1............................................... i Why Open Source?....................................................................................... 7 Path of Renunciation with Knowledge ............ 4 Transcendental Knowledge...... 2 The Reading Selection from Bhagavad Gita............................................ 45 v ...... 15 Vision of the Cosmic Form..................... 33 [The Vedas] ............................................ 15 Path of Devotion ......... 33 [The Concept of Creation] ................................................................ 19 The Supreme Being ................................Table of Contents “Preface” ....................................................... 1 Ideas of Interest from the Bhagavad Gita ............................. 29 2.................. 8 Path of Renunciation................................... 4 Arjuna’s Dilemma........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Ideas of Interest from “Paper on Hinduism” .......... 5 Path of Service ............................. and Reincarnation] ..................... i A Note about Selections ......... 22 Threefold Faith ......... 18 Three Modes of Material Nature ...... 32 The Reading Selection from “Paper on Hinduism” ................................................................................................................................................. 34 [Soul and Nature]..................... 13 Supreme Knowledge and the Big Mystery ... 36 [The Goal of Hinduism]........... “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda ................................................................................................. 9 Path of Meditation ......................................... 40 [Hinduism and World Religions]................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Manifestation of the Absolute ................................ 23 Salvation through Renunciation....................... 11 The Eternal Spirit......................................................................................................................................... 24 Epilogue—Lord Krishna’s Last Sermon .......... 17 Creation and the Creator......................................................................................................................... 28 Topics Worth Investigating ....................... 11 Self-Knowledge and Enlightenment......... 40 Topics Worth Investigating ............................................................................................................ 33 [Soul.......................................................... Karma....................................................................................................... 20 Divine and the Demonic Qualities.............. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla ............................................................................................ 32 [Introduction]............................................................

.. 57 Heaping Up of Future Suffering ............................................................. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” ....... 66 The Eightfold Path—First Step—Right Understanding ...................................................................................... 79 Five Methods of Expelling Evil Thoughts ................... 79 Sixth Step: Right Effort ....................................................................................................................................... 61 Fourth Truth: The Noble Truth of the Path that Leads to the Extinction of Suffering—The Two Extremes and the Middle Path...................... 59 Dependent Extinction of All Phenomena ........................................................................................................................................................................... 76 Third Step: Right Speech......................................................................... 48 The Reading Selection from “The Four Noble Truths” ............................................................................................................................................................... 52 The Three Warnings..... 59 Nirvana .................................. 58 Third Truth: The Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering.. 65 The Reading Selection from “The Eightfold Path”... 54 Samsara............................................................................................................................................................................................................... 76 Fourth Step: Right Action........................................................... Present............................................................................................................................ 51 Dependent Orgination of Consciousness ................................... 56 Heaping up of Present Suffering ........................................ 58 Inheritance of Deeds (Karma) .............. 80 Seventh Step: Right Attentiveness................ 64 Ideas of Interest from “The Noble Eightfold Path”....... “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha .......................................... 67 Unprofitable Questions ................. or Holy One .... 67 The Sotapan.......... 71 Past....................................... 73 Dependent Origination............................... or “Stream-Enterer” ................... 66 The Eightfold Path .................................. 74 Karma: Rebirth—Producing and Barren ........................ 75 Second Step: Right Mindedness ........................................................................ 49 First Truth: The Noble Truth of Suffering .. 51 The Three Characteristics of Existence .......... and Future ................................................................ 49 [Introduction].. 54 Second Truth: The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering ................................... 77 Fifth Step: Right Living............ 50 The Five Groups of Existence.............................................................. 62 4........ 81 vi Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .................................................... 61 Topics Worth Investigating ............................................................................. 47 Ideas of Interest from “The Four Noble Truths” ............................... The Wheel of Existence ...................... 69 The Two Understandings ..... 60 The Arahat.................... 70 Complete Deliverance............................................. 56 The Threefold Craving... 60 The Immutable .................................................3..............................................

...... 106 Chapter VIII: The Thousands .............................................. 5th Step) ......... 86 Nirvana Through Watching Over Breathing........................................................................................................................... 108 Chapter X: Punishment................ 103 Chapter IV: Flowers............... 92 Morality (3rd..... 107 Chapter IX: Evil......................................................... The Dhammapada (abridged) ....................... 93 Absence of the Five Hindrances ............................... 84 Contemplation of the Feelings .............. 104 Chapter V: The Fool ......................... 95 The True Goal ................................ 110 Chapter XIII: The World............................................................................................................ 94 The Silent Thinker ............................... 105 Chapter VI: The Wise Man (Pandita)................ 95 Topics Worth Investigating ........................................................................... 99 Ideas of Interest from The Dhammapada.............................................................................................................................................. 105 Chapter VII: The Venerable (Arhat) ..................................................................... 114 Chapter XVII: Anger ................................................................................................................... 85 Contemplation of Phenomena (Mind-objects)........................................ 94 Insight (1st Step) ............................................................................ 111 Chapter XV: Happiness ............................... 101 Chapter I: The Twin Verses ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4th............................... 88 Eighth Step: Right Concentration........................... 117 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text vii .......................................................................................................... 100 The Reading Selection from The Dhammapada .......................................................... 94 The Trances (8th Step) ............................................................ 101 Chapter II: On Earnestness ............. 97 5................................. 109 Chapter XI: Old Age........ 94 Nirvana ................................ 91 Development of the Eightfold Path—Confidence and Right-Mindedness (2nd Step)........................................................... 90 The Four Trances ............................................. 102 Chapter III: Thought .......................... 93 Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness (7th Step) ...................................................... 82 The Ten Blessings ...................................................................... 92 Control of the Senses (6th Step) ................Contemplation of the Body ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 111 Chapter XIV: The Buddha (The Awakened)................................................................................... 116 Chapter XIX: The Just ............................................................ 115 Chapter XVIII: Impurity................... 109 Chapter XII: Self................................ 85 Contemplation of the Mind .................... 113 Chapter XVI: Pleasure................................................

...................................... The Tao Ching..... I. Moral Example] ............................................................... 142 [Virtue]... 175 II................................................................ 136 [Te—Power by which Men are Ruled......................................................................................................... Coming Home on the Ox’s Back ............. 178 VII..................... Seeing the Traces......... 123 Chapter XXVI: The Brahmana (Arhat).............. 147 [Chün Tzu and Perfect Virtue] ................................... 140 [Rules for Success and Sincerity] ................................................... 121 Chapter XXIV: Thirst ............................................................................................................................................... 139 [The Five Relationships]......................................................... Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu ..................................... 177 V............. 177 VI................ “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki..................... 139 [Rules of Government] .................. 135 [Hsiao—Filial Piety] ............... 178 viii Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text ..................................................................... 175 I.. 131 [Instruction for the Path of Duty] ................. 130 Ideas of Interest from “The Doctrine of the Mean” ....................................................................................................... “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius ........................................... 118 Chapter XXI: Miscellaneous ................................................... by Kaku-an ......... 132 [Chün Tzu—The Superior Man].. 154 Part II...................... 172 Ideas of Interest from “The Ten Oxherding Pictures”.............................................................................Chapter XX: The Way ..................................................... Catching the Ox................. 152 Ideas of Interest from The Tao Te Ching ................ The Tao Te Ching... 173 The Reading Selection from “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” ................................................................................................ 131 The Reading Selection from “The Doctrine of the Mean”..... 161 Topics Worth Investigating .......................... 122 Chapter XXV: The Bhikshu (Mendicant) ...... The Ox Forgotten.................. Searching for the Ox................................................. 153 The Reading Selection from The Tao Te Ching............................................................................................................ 174 The Ten Oxherding Pictures................... 171 8.................................... Herding the Ox ............... 148 Topics Worth Investigating .......... 173 Preliminary ...................................................... 176 IV..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 154 Part I............................ ................................................................................................... 145 [Institutions and Ceremony of the Ruler] ......................................................................................................... 120 Chapter XXIII: The Elephant ........... 176 III................................ 128 6........... Seeing the Ox ...... 125 Topics Worth Investigating ......... 150 7.................... 132 [The Course of the Mean].......... Leaving the Man Alone ................................. 119 Chapter XXII: The Downward Course ....

............................................................................................................................. 188 Colophon ................................... 186 Topics Worth Investigating .......... Tamed..................... The Solitary Moon ...... 181 2................................. 185 9..................................................................................... 182 3................................................ 184 8........... Unimpeded ............................................................ Laissez Faire .......................................................................................................... 185 10. II................. ................................................ 180 The Ten Oxherding Pictures................... 183 5....... All Forgotten ................ 184 7......... Undisciplined .................. Faced Round .......... 181 1.......................... The Ox and the Man Gone out of Sight . Entering the City with Bliss-bestowing Hands . 180 X....... 183 6.................................................... Both Vanished ......................... Discipline Begun.VIII.. 193 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text ix ............................................................................................................................................................... 182 4................. Back to the Source........................................... In Harness ............................................ 186 Index .............................. Returning to the Origin....................................................... 179 IX..

“Preface” Why Open Source? Tabulae Rudolphinæ: quibus astronomicæ. . in part. to minimize costs to interested students of philosophy and. By placing these selections in the public domain under the GFDL. in part. in effect. in a genuine sense. Fortunately. Viewed in this way. Moreover. "open-sourcing" this product. these readings provide a convenient way to produce quality learning experiences for almost anyone seeking information and help. Our present collection of edited readings is free but subject to the legal notice following the title page. a small test of the Delphi effect in open-source publishing. NOAA Many classic works in Eastern philosophy are accessible via online sources on the Internet. the release of these readings is. . release often” model champi- i . This particular edition is not a completed work. many of the influential and abiding works are in the public domain. users themselves can improve the product if they wish to do so. The development model of Readings in Eastern Philosophy is loosely patterned on the “release early. by Johannes Kepler. the editors are. It is the first step in the development of the open-source text. to make the readings widely available in a form convenient to a variety of readers. 1571-1630.

Eric Raymond. In addition to this core set of readings. For example.“Preface” oned by Eric S. 1999. various formats of this work can be made available for distribution. commentary.1 With the completion of version 1. A Note about Selections Some reading selections in this collection of papers have deletions of text im passim. If the core reading and commentary prove useful. Online at The Cathedral and the Bazaar (http://www. In general. is not so much on historical understanding as it is on the use of germinal ideas to spark thinking about some significant issues of life and thought. Sebastopol.catb. readings. the successive revisions. Please send questions or inquiries of interest to the “Editors” at <philbook@philosophy. CA: O’Reilly & Associates. supplementary readings are in process of publication.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/). The main focus for our approach to philosophy. including high school and homeschooling students. in addition.0. however. the ideas are often examined out of their literary and historical context. the abridged Bhagavad Gita and the Dhammapada probably should not be read in one sitting. the length of the selection assigned for reading should decrease. and other improvements by users can be released in incrementally numbered “stable”versions. ii Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Raymond. as the difficulty of the reading increases.edu> 1.lander. The Cathedral and the Bazaar. The main consideration for selection and inclusion in this short text is to introduce primary sources accessible to a wide variety of readers.

Treat all beings equally. A farmer has control over how he works his land. Material and sensual enjoyment (with senses under control). Benares. . . yet no control over the harvest. he cannot expect a harvest if he does not work his land. Earning wealth.Chapter 1 Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Monkey Temple. 1 . adapted from Library of Congress About the author. India. Harry Bhalla provides the following introduction to his summarized version of the Bhagavad Gita: The Gita says: “Do your duty to the best of your ability without worrying about the results. But.” Perceive that God is present equally in all beings. The four goals of human life are: Doing one’s duty.

“I do not wish to kill my seniors. . happiness and equanimity. disguises himself as Arjuna’s charioteer and offers his guidance to Arjuna. 2 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . . From the reading. Gita For Free (www. Atman is Brahman. and relatives who are ready to kill us.com). or meditation.Chapter 1. let alone for this earthly kingdom. No rituals are prescribed. the incarnation of the god Vishnu and Brahman. action. At the beginning of the Gita.” 1.1 About the work. The aim of the Gita doctrine is to lead one to tranquility. devotion. Indeed. the numbers in parentheses are the chapter numbers and verse numbers respectively. even for the sovereignty of the three worlds. . O Krishna. teachers. as Krishna explains. of the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita2 is a part of the Mahabharata. Krishna’s advice is based on the relation between the individual-self and Atman (the ultimate Self) and the relation between nature and Brahman (ultimate reality). cults and deities to meet the vastly different needs of individuals. Note: In the reading selection. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Attaining salvation. spiritual leaders. Bhagavad Gita. Krishna further traces out the various paths to ultimate knowledge and the consequent realization of Atman for the individual. Summarized by Harry Bhalla. Different paths or yogas are shown to be appropriate for different psychological types—personalities predisposed to intellect. 2. and relatives will lose their lives.gita4free. . Arjuna is confronted with the moral decision of regaining his kingdom knowing full well that friends. Krishna. The Gita says that the world needs different religions.

Is the difference in character due only to karma? Is there any correlation between these contrasting types of people and the personality types outlined in accordance with the various paths or yogas? 11. knowledge. How does Krishna justify the assertion. "I am death. I have already destroyed all these warriors. In the present fight against Arjuna’s relatives.Chapter 1. 12." Explain what he means. . according to Krishna. and meditation. Does the path of contemplation preclude a need for work? State supporting reasons for your conclusion. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 3 . what reason does Krishna provide for the conclusion that Arjuna is actually a fortunate warrior? 3. According to Krishna. Explain Krishna’s description of the modes of material nature. 10. You are only an instrument. devotion. O Arjuna. if any. Contrast divine and demonic people. what is the proper attitude we should have while attending to our duty? How can fear of failure be an impediment to success? 4. . How does Krishna explain why we sin in spite of our best efforts to avoid sin? 6. “The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead”? 2. is preferrable? 7. Recount Krishna’s summary of how to attain self-realization by means of work. Krishna states. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Ideas of Interest from the Bhagavad Gita 1. Compare the path of renunciation with the path of service. what are the two major stumbling blocks to self-realization? Why do you think that this is so? 5. Does it matter. 8. what gods one believes in? Would Krishna allow for belief in a jealous god who would cause harm to those would believe in other gods? 9. Which path. According to Krishna.

What is the use of a kingdom. or even life because all those for whom we desire kingdom. spiritual leaders. His childhood friend Lord Krishna agreed to be Arjuna’s charioteer. teachers. and pleasure are standing here for battle. Arjuna was a renowned warrior recognized as a master archer. cousins went to war over inheritance of a kingdom. enjoyment.32-33) “I do not wish to kill my seniors. and said: “I desire neither victory. nor pleasure or kingdom. and respected community leaders. Caleb Wright The Reading Selection from Bhagavad Gita Arjuna’s Dilemma Circa 3000 BC. O Krishna.Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Ruins in Delhi. Arjuna became bewildered upon seeing people he loved and respected ready to battle. and relatives who are ready 4 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . or enjoyment. Their armies were made up of relatives. ready to give up their lives?” (1.

O Krishna. you should not grieve like this.” “Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver like this. we do not know whether we shall conquer them or they will conquer us.” (2.12) The soul acquires another body after death. “Only fortunate warriors.” (2.19-20) Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding old ones. or cease to exist. We should not even wish to live after killing our relatives.06) Lord Krishna said: “You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief. get an opportunity of an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven.18) The Spirit is neither born nor does it die at any time. and incomprehensible Spirit are perishable. (2. O Arjuna.05) We do not know which alternative.” (1. you or I did not exist. (2. (2. the living entity or the individual soul acquires a new body after casting away the old body. fight for your right as your duty. Further. There is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war.17) The physical bodies of the eternal.34-35) Transcendental Knowledge “It would be better indeed. (2. The visible physical body is transitory.Chapter 1. permanent.” (2.11) There was never a time when these monarchs. Therefore. and yet speak words of wisdom.16) The Spirit pervades this entire universe and is indestructible. O Arjuna. (2. (2. (2.32) War fought to reestablish morality is considered righteous. not war fought for dominance. is better for us. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. Therefore. It does not come into being. No one can destroy the imperishable Spirit.” (2. (2. and birth is certain for the one who dies. It is unborn. From the reading.26-27). let alone for this earthly kingdom. O Arjuna.22) “Even if you think that the physical body takes birth and dies perpetually. . even for the sovereignty of the three worlds. (2. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla to kill us. The Spirit is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. to fight or to quit. even then O Arjuna.31) Only fortunate warriors. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 5 .13) The invisible Spirit is eternal. immutable. because by killing them I would enjoy wealth and pleasure stained with their blood. to live on alms in this world than to slay these noble personalities. Death is certain for the one who is born. . nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. get an opportunity of an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. eternal. and primeval. you should not lament over the inevitable but pray for the salvation of the departed soul.

“An uncontrolled mind distracts the intellect as a storm sways a ship from its path. lose your reputation. if he does not work his land he cannot expect a harvest. and whose judgment is obscured by ritualistic activities.38) “The resolute determination of Self-realization is not formed in the minds of those who are attached to pleasure and power.60) One should fix one’s mind on God with loving contemplation after bringing the senses under control. be ever balanced and unconcerned with the thought of acquisition and preservation. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla “If you will not fight this righteous war. One’s intellect becomes steady when one’s senses are under complete control.Chapter 1. you will not incur sin or Karmic bondage. abandon worry and attachment to the results.46) From the reading. and incur sin. .37) Just do your duty to the best of your ability without becoming discouraged by the thought of the outcome which may be success or failure. Scripture is only an aid to God-realization.” (2. but no control or claim over the result. disgrace is worse than death. passion and ignorance) and be Selfconscious. victory or defeat.” (2. enjoying sense objects with senses that are under control 6 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .33) People will talk about your disgrace forever. Therefore. or you will enjoy kingdom on earth if victorious.48) Lord Krishna further said: “The mind and intellect of a person become steady who is neither elated by getting desired results.44) Become free from pairs of opposites. (2.34) You will go to heaven if killed in the line of duty. not needed after one has realized God. (2.” (2. is the greatest impediment to success because it robs efficiency by constantly disturbing the equanimity of mind. (2. (2.45) To a God-realized person scripture is as useless as a river in a flooded area. (2.” A farmer is responsible for working his land yet has no control over the harvest. Do your duty to the best of your ability. Rise above the three modes of Material Nature (goodness. Remain calm in both success and failure. . nor perturbed by undesired results. with your mind attached to the Lord. forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection. Such selfless service brings peace and equanimity of mind. get up with determination to fight. Fear of failure. (2. then you will fail in your duty.61) “A disciplined person.” “You have control over doing your respective duty. By doing your duty with this attitude. O Arjuna. gain or loss.” (2. (2. O Arjuna. To the honored. “The boundary of one’s jurisdiction ends with the completion of one’s duty. But. from being emotionally attached to the fruit of work.57) Restless senses. O Arjuna. O Arjuna.

Both metaphysical knowledge and selfless service are means to attain the Supreme Being. O Krishna?” Lord Krishna said: “I have stated a twofold path of spiritual discipline in the past.23-24) Do your duty and dedicate all work to God in a spiritual frame of mind.” (3. “After knowing the transcendental science. people would follow My path (example). not the one who strives to satisfy such desires. O Arjuna. These two paths are not separate. do your duty to the best of your ability as a service to God. These worlds would perish if I do not work. (3. you shall not again become deluded like this.30) Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 7 . The forces of Nature drive everyone to action. then why do You want me to engage in this horrible war. become free from ego. if I do not engage in action relentlessly. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla and free from attachment and aversion. O Arjuna. (2. (3. A God-realized person does not consider oneself the doer of any action. . like rivers into an ocean which is ever being filled but is not disturbed by the rivers. attains tranquility.09) From the reading.22) For. in every way. The path of Self-knowledge for the contemplative ones.04-05) “People get confused and think that leading a life devoted to scriptural study. Path of Service Arjuna asked: “If You consider that acquiring transcendental knowledge is better than working. (2. No one attains perfection by merely giving up work. . contemplation. because no one can remain inactive even for a moment. (3.70) Self-realization is to know one’s relationship with the Supreme Lord and His true transcendental nature.” (3. but only an instrument in the hands of the Divine for His use.03) One does not attain freedom from bondage of Karma by merely abstaining from work.” (2.64) An uncontrolled mind distracts the intellect as a storm sways a ship from its path.” Lord Krishna said: “There is nothing unattained that I should obtain. can alone achieve peace. (3. and the path of unselfish work for all others. but complimentary. A Self-realized person does not need rituals to reach God. O Arjuna. and I shall be the cause of confusion and destruction of all these people. that enter the mind.67) A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desire. mental grief and the compulsion to satisfy all desires.Chapter 1. and acquiring transcendental knowledge may be better for spiritual progress than doing one’s worldly duty. yet I engage in action.

shall realize God.37) The senses. or an act of God. Arjuna said: “O Krishna. transcendental knowledge is superior to the intellect.41) "The senses are said to be superior to the body. O Arjuna. like victory and defeat.Chapter 1.” (3. knowing the Self to be superior to the intellect. does not incur sin (Karmic reaction) by doing bodily action. O Arjuna. immutable.05) Though I am eternal.21) A renunciant who is content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will. the intellect is superior to the mind. The one. I appear from time to time for protecting the good.” (4. for transforming the wicked.34) Control over attachment. (3. what impels one to commit sin as if forced against one’s will?” (3. (4. People worship Me with different motives. (4." (3. lust. (3.43) Path of Renunciation with Knowledge Lord Krishna said: “Both you and I have taken many births. and the intellect are said to be the abode of lust. who is unaffected by pairs of opposites. but you do not. and who understands that he cannot control the outcome of his actions. (4. and controlling the mind by the intellect that is purified by spiritual practice. with these it deludes a person by veiling Self-knowledge. O Arjuna. Know it as an enemy.” (4. one must kill this mighty enemy. and the Self is superior to transcendental knowledge. who considers everything as a manifestation. on the path to Self-realization.11) The one whose mind and senses are under control. by controlling the senses first. and the Lord of all beings." (3.42) Thus. and aversion.07-08) “With whatever motive people worship Me. I remember them all. control this devil of material desire that destroys Self-knowledge and Self-realization.36) Lord Krishna said: "It is lust born of passion that becomes anger when unfulfilled.40) Therefore.” “Whenever there is decline of Dharma (Righteousness) and predominance of Adharma (Unrighteousness). the mind. (3. O Arjuna. I fulfill their desires accordingly.24) Those who perform selfless service obtain the nectar of Self-knowledge as a result of 8 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .22) “People perform sacrifice in many different ways. yet I manifest Myself by controlling Material Nature using My own divine potential energy. is needed to attain peace of mind and tranquility. equanimous in success and failure is not bound by Karma. then I manifest Myself. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Likes and dislikes are two major stumbling blocks. (4. Lust is insatiable and is a great devil. and for reestablishing world order (Dharma). the mind is superior to the senses. free from envy.

” (4. and Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 9 . adapted from Library of Congress “After knowing the transcendental science. is sincere in selfless practice. With this knowledge you shall see the entire creation within your own higher Self.35) Even if one is the most sinful of all sinners.39) Path of Renunciation Arjuna asked: “O Krishna.36) There is no purifier in this world like the true knowledge of the Supreme Being.” (4. Purification of mind and intellect eventually leads to the dawn of transcendental knowledge and Selfrealization.33) Ornate Royal Carriage. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla their sacrifice and attain the Supreme Being. and has control over the mind and senses. Acquiring transcendental knowledge is superior to any material sacrifice such as giving charity. one shall yet cross over the ocean of sin by the raft of Self-knowledge alone. (4. One discovers this knowledge from within in due course. You praise the path of transcendental knowledge. one quickly attains supreme peace and liberation.38) The one who has faith in God. O Arjuna. which is the sole purpose of any spiritual practice. (4. Having gained this knowledge. you shall not again become deluded like this.Chapter 1. gains this transcendental knowledge. when one’s mind is cleansed of selfishness by selfless service. (4. and thus within Me.

3.Chapter 1. . and attains eternal bliss. From the reading. who rejoices the Supreme Being within. of the two. Enjoys sensual pleasures with mind and senses under control. Finds happiness with the Supreme Being.04) Selfless service is the goal. nor grieves on obtaining the unpleasant and is tranquil in pleasure and disappointment. which is better of the two?” (5. Neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla also the path of selfless service. who is illuminated by Self-knowledge and remains ever steadfast with the Supreme Self. (5.” (5.01) Lord Krishna said: “The path of Self-knowledge and the path of selfless service both lead to the supreme goal. Such a person is not bound by Karma though engaged in work. The power of Material Nature does all this. and can feel the pain and pleasure of others as one’s own. nor the attachment to the result of action in people. and whose mind is in union with God.” One is a true renunciant and enlightened who: 1. Looks at a learned person.02) The wise see no difference between the renunciation of selfish activities. and the performance of one’s worldly duty without attachment to the result. 4. 6. 2. Does all work as an offering to God abandoning attachment to the results. Renunciation does not mean becoming a hermit. and all beings abiding in the Self. nor the feeling of doership. and renunciation is the means. Acts beyond personal selfish motives has neither attachment nor aversion for anything. in honor and disgrace.” “The Lord neither creates the urge for action. even an animal with equal eye. the path of selfless service is superior to the path of Self-knowledge. an outcast. 7. . But. (5. Has discovered the joy of spiritual knowledge.14) 10 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . because it is easier to practice. “Perceive the same Self (or spirit) abiding in every being. 5. Sees one and the same Spirit in all beings.

The mind becomes a friend to the one who has control over it.” (6. and strives again to achieve perfection. and to selfish desire. having lost both heavenly and worldly pleasures. (6.01) For the wise. selfless service is said to be the means. one regains the knowledge acquired in the previous life.29) Those who see Me in everything and see everything in Me. (6.41-2) There. A birth like that is very difficult to obtain in this world. (6. for the one who tries to attain perfection either here or hereafter.47) Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 11 .43) The most devoted of all is the one who lovingly remembers Me with faith. O Arjuna.04) One can elevate or degrade oneself by one’s own mind. A transcendentalist is never put to grief. (6.” Path of Meditation Lord Krishna said: “One does not become a renunciant by merely not lighting the fire. O Krishna? (6. (6. O Arjuna. and all beings abiding in the Self. (6. My dear friend. who seek to attain equanimity of mind. but is born in a spiritually advanced family.05-06) “Perceive the same Self (or spirit) abiding in every being. (6. are not separated from Me and I am not separated from them. (6. O Krishna.” (6. O Arjuna.35) Arjuna said: “The faithful one who deviates from the path of meditation due to an un-subdued mind—what is the destination of such a person. The highly evolved unsuccessful one does not go to heaven. and an enemy to the one who is controlled by the mind.40) The less evolved unsuccessful one is reborn in the house of the pious and prosperous after attaining heaven and living there for many years.” (6.Chapter 1.37) Does he not perish like a dispersing cloud. .30) Undoubtedly. the mind is restless and very difficult to control. “Perceive the same Self (or spirit) abiding in every being. . but it can be subdued by sincere spiritual practice and by detachment. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla From the reading. without support and bewildered on the path of Selfrealization?” (6. and whose mind is ever absorbed in Me. or by abstaining from work.02) One attains perfection by renouncing attachment to the fruit of work. Equanimity leads to Selfrealization.38) Lord Krishna said: “There is no destruction. and all beings abiding in the Self.

consisting of three states of mind or matter. they do not understand Me.” (7. the seeker of wealth. and the enlightened one who has experienced the Supreme Being. O Arjuna.” “Know that three modes of Material Nature—goodness.13) “This divine power (Maya) of Mine. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Self-Knowledge and Enlightenment Lord Krishna said: “O Arjuna.05) Know that all creatures have evolved from this twofold energy. O Arjuna. Such a great soul is very rare. and method—with faith.19) “Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity—using whatever name.06) There is nothing higher than the Supreme Being. Everything in the universe is strung on the Supreme Being. and method—with faith.” (7. is very difficult to overcome. form. taking refuge in Me.” (7. “Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity—using whatever name. . or affected by. I make their faith steady in that deity. I am eternal and above these modes. like jewels strung on a necklace. (7. passion.Chapter 1. the seeker of Self-knowledge. and the Supreme Spirit is the source of origin as well as dissolution of the entire universe. (7. the modes of Material Nature. listen to how you shall know Me fully without any doubt. They are:” • • • • the distressed. Endowed with steady 12 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . (7.12) Human beings are deluded by various aspects of these three modes of Material Nature. My other higher energy is the Spirit by which this entire universe is sustained.07) From the reading. I make their faith steady in that deity. and trying to reach Me. O Arjuna.16) “The wise surrender to Me by realizing—after many births—that everything in the universe and the world is nothing but My manifestation. I am not dependent on. . form.14) Four types of virtuous ones worship or seek Me. with your mind absorbed in Me. (7. and ignorance—also emanate from Me. Only those who surrender unto Me easily cross over this Maya.” (7. therefore. (7. but the modes of Material Nature are dependent on Me.01) “Material Nature or matter is My lower energy.

it can be perceived by instinct. The Supreme Being also resides in the inner psyche of all beings as the Divine Controller. O Arjuna. (8.03) Various expansions of the Supreme Being are called Temporal Beings. O Krishna?” (8. The inherent power of cognition and desire of the Eternal Being (Spirit) is called the nature of the Eternal Being.” (8. (9. and how does He dwell in the body? How can You. is very sacred. Having known this you will be freed from the miseries of worldly existence. (8. You shall certainly attain Me if your mind and intellect are ever focused on Me.04) Thought of whatever object that predominates during one’s lifetime. conforms to righteousness (Dharma). (8. The creative power of the Eternal Being (Spirit) that causes manifestation of the living entity is called Karma. and is timeless. (9.01) This Self-knowledge is the king of all knowledge. who do not disbelieve.” (8. the Supreme Being. All beings depend on Me.22) The Eternal Spirit Arjuna said: “O Krishna. Those wishes are granted by Me. Do not just set your mind on The Supreme Being but set Him as your ultimate Goal.01-2) Lord Krishna said: “The eternal and immutable Spirit of the Supreme Being is also called the Eternal Being or the Spirit. and obtain their wishes through that deity. is the most secret. But.” (9. the most profound secret transcendental knowledge together with transcendental experience. one does not take birth again. after attaining Me.Chapter 1.07) You will remember your ultimate goal in life at the time of death. O Arjuna.16) Supreme Knowledge and the Big Mystery Lord Krishna said: “I shall reveal to you.” (7. I do not depend on them.06) Therefore. who is the Eternal Being or the Spirit? What is the nature of the Eternal Being? What is Karma? Who are mortal beings? And who are Temporal Beings? Who is the Supreme Being. (8. always remember Me and do your duty. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla faith they worship that deity. and am not affected by them.02) “This entire universe is an expansion of Mine. “I am easily attainable. one remembers that object at the end of life and achieves it. be remembered at the time of death by those who have control over their minds. by that ever-steadfast devotee who always thinks of Me.14) The dwellers of all the worlds up to and including heaven and the world of the creator are subject to the miseries of repeated birth and death. is very easy to practice.04) Perceive that all beings remain in Me—without any contact or without producing any effect—as the mighty Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 13 .

(9. O Arjuna. a flower. . not rituals. (9. (9.22) O Arjuna. eternally remains in space. (9. even those devotees who worship the deities with faith.Chapter 1. There is no one hateful or dear to Me. give. or water with devotion. (9. whatever you do.27) A dedicated heart full of devotion is needed to obtain God’s grace.” (9.08) These acts of creation do not bind Me. From the reading. eat.10) An Expanding Bubble in Space.23) Whosoever offers Me a leaf. But.06) I create the entire multitude of beings again and again with the help of My Material Nature. O Arjuna. give. These beings are under the control of the modes of Material Nature. eat. do it as an offering to Me. they also really worship Me. I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted.” (9. (9. do it as an offering to Me. adapted from NASA “I personally take care of both spiritual and material welfare of those ever-steadfast devotees who always remember and adore Me with single-minded contemplation.26) O Arjuna. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla wind moving everywhere. those who worship Me with love and devotion are very close to Me. whatever you do. (9.09) The divine kinetic energy (Maya) with the help of Material Nature creates all animate and inanimate objects under My supervision. “O Arjuna. and I am also very close to them. or sacrifice. . and thus the creation keeps on going.29) Even if the most sinful person resolves to worship Me with single-minded loving devotion. such a person must be regarded as a saint 14 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .” “The Self is present equally in all beings. fruit. because I remain indifferent and unattached to those acts. or sacrifice.

fame. pleasure. (10.04-05) I am the source of all. “Anybody can attain the Supreme Abode by just surrendering unto My will with loving devotion. My devotee shall never perish or fall down. (9. You are as You have said. (10. because I am the origin of celestial controllers and great sages also. death. brilliance. O Lord.” (10. yet I wish to see Your divine cosmic form.10) Arjuna said: “O Krishna. neither the celestial controllers nor the demons comprehend Your glory. the Supreme person.03) “Discrimination. fearlessness.31) There is no unforgivable sin or sinner. I believe all that You have told me to be true.” (9. without a beginning or an end.” (10.Chapter 1. nonviolence.” (10. (10. O Supreme Being.14) O Creator and Lord of all beings.19) “There is no end to My divine manifestations. is considered wise among mortals. non-delusion. and power. because My manifestations are endless. Understanding this.30) O Arjuna. birth. tranquility.” (10. you shall certainly come to Me. (10. worship Me. (11.” (9. control over mind and senses. forgiveness.32) Always think of Me.41) I continually support the entire universe by a small fraction of My divine energy. by which they come to Me. if You think it is possible for me Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 15 . God of all celestial rulers.42) Vision of the Cosmic Form Arjuna said: “O Lord.” (10. the wise ones worship Me with love and devotion.03) O Lord. know that to be the manifestation of a very small fraction of My splendor. and bow down to Me. O Arjuna. (9. nor the great sages know My origin. disgrace. O Arjuna.08). equanimity. fear. (10.02) One who knows Me as the unborn. austerity. I give knowledge and understanding of the metaphysical science to those who are ever united with Me and lovingly adore Me.34) Manifestation of the Absolute “Neither the celestial controllers. Everything originates from Me. be devoted to Me. truthfulness. and the Supreme Lord of the universe. no one understands You. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla because of making the right resolution. contentment. and Lord of the universe. Thus uniting yourself with Me by setting Me as the supreme goal and the sole refuge.15) Lord Krishna said: “O Arjuna. Self-knowledge. now I shall explain to you My prominent divine manifestations. and becomes liberated from the bondage of Karma. charity. You alone know Yourself. all these diverse qualities in human beings arise from Me alone. Whatever is endowed with glory.

and One in all in the transcendental body of Krishna. and many wonders never seen before.” (11. O Lord of the devotees. and protector of the eternal order. the three worlds tremble. Even without your participation in the war. You are the Spirit.08) Arjuna saw the entire universe. the mighty destroyer of the world. then. I have come here to destroy all these people.05-07) You will not be able to see Me with your physical eye.Chapter 1. You are only an instrument.04) Lord Krishna said: “O Arjuna. I give you the divine eye to see My majestic power and glory. adapted from NASA Lord Krishna said: “I am death.18) O Lord. Also behold the entire creation animate. I have already destroyed all these warriors.32) Therefore. Behold all the celestial beings. therefore. Conquer your enemies. the Lord of celestial rulers. and whatever else you like to see all at one place in My body. (11.20) The Cat’s Eye Nebula. divided in many ways.” (11. inanimate. and enjoy a prosperous kingdom. Seeing Your marvelous and terrible form. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla to see Your universal form. You are the ultimate resort of the universe. You pervade the entire space between heaven and earth in all directions.” (11. behold My hundreds and thousands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes. show me Your transcendental form.13) Arjuna said: “I believe You are the Supreme Being to be realized. (11. get up and attain glory. (11. (11. but standing as all in One. all the warriors standing arrayed in the opposing army shall cease to exist. 16 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .

realizes Me.” (11. (12. the immovable. through single minded devotion I can be seen in this form. engaged in the welfare of all creatures. and meditate on Me.54) One who does his worldly duty for Me. (11. the inconceivable.” (12. then long to attain Me by practice of any spiritual discipline. “Therefore. offer all actions to Me. and the formless impersonal aspect of God.08) If you are unable to focus your mind steadily on Me. (11. then be intent on performing your duty just for Me. and also can be reached. nor by ritual. I consider them to be the best devotees. the invisible. the unchanging. and formless Absolute because comprehension of the unmanifest by embodied beings is attained with difficulty. who is my devotee. .Chapter 1.55) Path of Devotion Lord Krishna said: “Those ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on a personal form of God.10) If you are unable to do your duty for Me.” (11. (12. such as a ritual. the omnipresent. even-minded under all circumstances.33) “O Arjuna. nor by charity. Thereafter you shall certainly attain Me. and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone through meditation and contemplation. You shall attain perfection by doing your prescribed duty for Me—without (selfish) attachment—just as an instrument to serve and please Me.05) “For those who worship the Supreme with unswerving devotion as their personal God.53) However. restraining all senses. the inexplicable.” (12. to whom I am the supreme goal. . intent on Me as the Supreme. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla O Arjuna. I swiftly become their savior from the world that is an ocean of death and transmigration. or deity worship that suits you.02) Those who worship the unchangeable.06-07) True devotion is intense love for God. free from attachment and without enmity towards living beings. then just Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 17 .0304) From the reading. neither by study of scriptures. You are only an instrument.09) If you are unable even to do any spiritual discipline. O Arjuna” “Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their minds on an impersonal. O Arjuna. focus your mind on Me. unmanifest. can be known in essence. (12. (12. “I have already destroyed all these warriors. can I be seen in the form as you have seen Me. also attain God.” (12. nor by austerity.

(12.Chapter 1. forgiving. All manifestations and the three dispositions of 18 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . who is devoted to Me.14) He is inside as well as outside all beings. animate and inanimate. sense organs. The true understanding of both the creator and the creation is considered by Me to be transcendental knowledge. and content with whatever one has. who is free from attachment. impartial. renunciation of selfish attachment to the fruit of work is better than meditation. renounce the attachment to. and appears as the creator. who is friendly and compassionate.11) “Transcendental knowledge of the scriptures is better than mere ritualistic practice. mind. a country. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla surrender unto My will.18-19) But those faithful devotees.15) He is undivided. who is quiet.” (13. whose mind and intellect are engaged on dwelling upon Me. who is free from joy. in honor or disgrace. whose resolve is firm. and yet the enjoyer of the modes of Material Nature by becoming a living entity. abilities. (12. peace immediately follows renunciation of selfish motives.20) Creation and the Creator “O Arjuna.’ even-minded in pleasure and disappointment. and all human emotions.13) He is the perceiver of all sense objects without physical sense organs. who is indifferent to censure or praise. (13.16) The one who remains the same towards friend or foe. unattached to a place. in pleasure or disappointment. He resides in one’s inner psyche as well as far away in the Supreme Abode. wise. fruit of all work by learning to accept all results as God’s grace.15) One who is without desire. meditation is better than scriptural knowledge.02) The physical body with all its attributes including intellect.13-14) The one by whom others are not perturbed and who is not perturbed by others.” (12. is dear to Me. and seeing the omnipresent Supreme Being everywhere is said to be Self-knowledge. such a devotee is dear to Me.” (12. and the anxiety for. (12. (13. He is the object of knowledge.12) “One who does not hate any creature. (12. is also dear to Me. devoid of the three modes of Material Nature. envy.” (12. sustainer. equanimous. in heat or cold. know Me to be the creator of all creation. fear. and full of devotion that person is dear to Me. and free from anxiety. ever content. (13. with equanimity. and anxiety. (13. or a house. who set Me as their supreme goal and follow—or just sincerely try to develop—the above-mentioned nectar of moral values are very dear to Me. (13. who has renounced the doership in all undertakings. unattached.09-11) “The Supreme spirit is all pervading.16) Know that both the Material Nature and the Spiritual Being are without beginning. and yet the sustainer of all. who has subdued his mind. He is incomprehensible because of His subtlety. and destroyer of all beings. and omnipresent. steadfastness in acquiring knowledge of the Spirit. free from the notion of ‘I’ and ‘my. and yet appears to exist as if divided in all beings. That which is contrary to this is ignorance.

and coming out from ‘That’ alone. The mode of goodness attaches the living entity to happiness and knowledge.28) The one who perceives that all work is done by the power of Material Nature truly understands. called modes.27) When one beholds one and the same Lord existing equally in every being. the guide.08) Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 19 . similarly. the supporter. and the controller. attachment. because one considers every thing as one’s own self.33) “They who perceive—with an eye of Self-knowledge—the difference between creation (or the body) and the Creator (or the Spirit) as well as know the technique of liberation (through Selfless service. and thereupon attains Salvation. Material Nature is said to be the cause of production of physical body and organs of perception and action. It binds living entity to carelessness. which also causes birth of living entity in good and evil wombs. Knowledge. (13. The mode of passion is characterized by intense craving for sensual pleasure and greed.29) The moment one discovers diverse variety of beings and their different ideas abiding in One. laziness. O Arjuna. the deluder of living entity. know them to be born from the union of Spirit and matter.” (13. Spirit gives life to the entire creation. is born of inertia. (14. (13. O Arjuna.07) The mode of ignorance.21) The Spirit in the body is the witness.30) Just as one sun illuminates the entire world. (13. are born of Material Nature. one attains the Supreme Being. and excessive sleep.” (13.Chapter 1. because it is pure.”(13. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla mind and matter. one does not injure anybody.22) Whatever is born animate or inanimate. (13.” (13. and ignorance—these three modes or ropes of Material Nature bind the eternal individual soul to the body. O Arjuna. the mode of goodness is illuminating and good. Spirit (or Consciousness) is said to be the cause of experiencing pleasure and disappointment. and restlessness. (14. (13. passion. O Arjuna.05) Of these. and thus does not consider oneself as the doer.26) “The one who sees the same eternal Supreme Lord dwelling as Spirit within all mortal beings truly sees. (14. Attachment to the three modes of Material Nature is caused by previous Karma. (13. The mode of passion binds the living entity to the fruit of work.” (14. and is the source of material desire.34) Three Modes of Material Nature “My Material Nature is the womb of creation wherein I place the seed of Consciousness from which all beings are born.03) Goodness.19-20) “Spiritual Being enjoys three modes of Material Nature by associating with Material Nature. Devotion or Meditation) of the living entity from the trap of divine illusory energy (Maya). the enjoyer. attain the Supreme.

” (14. and who has renounced the sense of doership and ownership—is said to have transcended the modes of Material Nature.” (14. (15. or Consciousness. (15. and stays firmly attached to the Lord without wavering thinking that the modes of Material Nature only are operating. O Lord Krishna?” (14.26) The Supreme Being “Those who are free from pride and delusion. activity.08) The living entity enjoys sensual pleasure using 20 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .21) Lord Krishna said: “One who neither hates the presence of enlightenment. . “I am seated in the inner psyche of all beings. then they attain Nirvana or Salvation. and know That which is above and beyond these modes.07) From the reading. who have conquered the evil of attachment. who is of firm mind. The one who is indifferent to honor and disgrace. and delusion. and gold are alike.” (14.24-25) “The one who offers service to Me with love and unswerving devotion transcends three modes of Material Nature. Such wise ones reach My Supreme Abode. and what is their conduct? How does one transcend these three modes of Material Nature. who understand dualities of pleasure and disappointment.” (14. who remains like a witness without being affected by the modes of Material Nature.05) The individual soul in the body of living beings is the integral part of the universal Spirit. nor desires for them when they are absent. and activates them. . to whom a clod. The individual soul associates with the six sensory faculties of perception including the mind.” “Just as air takes aroma away from a flower.22-23) “The one who depends on the Lord and is indifferent to pleasure and disappointment. similarly. who is impartial to friend and foe. a stone. who are constantly dwelling on the Supreme Being with senses under control. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla “When one perceives no doer other than the power of the Supreme Being in the form of the modes of Material Nature.” (15. who is calm in censure and in praise.Chapter 1.19) Arjuna said: “What is the mark of those who have transcended the three modes of Material Nature. to whom the dear and the unfriendly are alike. and becomes fit for Salvation (Nirvana). the individual soul takes the six sensory faculties from the physical body it casts off during death to a new physical body it acquires.

touch. therefore. Self-knowledge.” (15. indeed. The devotees striving for perfection behold the living entity abiding in their inner psyche as consciousness. Upon understanding this. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla six sensory faculties of hearing. smell. and the removal of doubt and wrong notions about God come from Me. taste.” “I am seated in the inner psyche of all beings. Memory. Super-soul). and mind. (15. and all of one’s duties are accomplished.Chapter 1. worship Him whole-heartedly.19) Thus this most secret transcendental science of the Absolute has been explained by Me. I am verily that which is to be known by the study of all the Vedas. the author as well as the student of the Vedas(Scriptures). O Arjuna.17) Because the Supreme Being is beyond both Temporal and Eternal Beings.16) The Supreme Being (or the Absolute) is beyond both the Temporal Beings and the Eternal Beings. Truth. sight. one becomes enlightened. but the Spirit does not change.”(15. That Supreme Being is also called the Absolute Reality that sustains both the Temporal and the Eternal by pervading everything. I am.20) Golden Temple. He is known in this world and in the scriptures as the Supreme Being (Absolute Reality. and the unchangeable Eternal Being (the Spirit). All created beings are subject to change. adapted from Library of Congress Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 21 . (15. (15. (15.18) The wise who truly understand the Supreme Being.15) “There are two entities in the cosmos: The changeable Temporal Beings.

they act with impure motives. renunciation. (16. (16. (16. and hate Me who dwells in their own bodies and those of others. I shall give charity. honesty. I am successful. power. lust.20) “Lust.” “They think: ‘I have gained this today. (16. austerity. I am the enjoyer. (16.10) Obsessed with endless anxiety lasting until death. fortitude. arrogance.” 22 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .18) I hurl these haters. study of scriptures. powerful. absence of malice.’ Thus deluded by ignorance. splendor. it pollutes the mind of the speaker without any beneficial effect. and I shall slay others also. Perform your duty following scriptural injunction.14) I am rich and born in a noble family. convinced that sensual pleasure is everything.01-03) “Basically. (16. they fall into foul hell. the divine. I shall perform sacrifice. stubborn.13) That enemy has been slain by me. perseverance in devotion of Self-knowledge.19) O Arjuna. They neither have purity nor good conduct nor truthfulness. they strive to obtain wealth for the fulfillment of sensual pleasure. absence of anger. forgiveness. Therefore. I shall fulfill this desire. I am the Lord. these degraded souls—with small intellect and cruel deeds—are born as enemies for the destruction of the world. there are only two types of human beings in this world. entangled in the net of delusion. cruel. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Divine and the Demonic Qualities Lord Krishna said: “Fearlessness. sense restraint. and the demonic. truthfulness. entering the wombs of demons birth after birth. sinful. (16. they perform religious services only in name.11) Bound by hundreds of ties of desire and enslaved by lust and anger.07) They think the world is unreal.” (16. (16. O Arjuna. modesty. sacrifice. because.09) Filled with insatiable desires. bewildered by many fancies. and will have more wealth in the future. without a substratum. charity. and without an order. filled with pride and intoxication of wealth. (16.06) People of demonic nature do not know what to do and what not to do. and not according to scriptural injunction.21) Speaking ill of others is a terrible sin. the deluded ones sink to the lowest hell without ever attaining Me” (until their minds change for the better. equanimity. anger. by the causeless mercy of the Lord). nonviolence. pride. and anger. (16. abstaining from malicious talk. and addicted to the enjoyment of sensual pleasure. and happy.” (16. (16. freedom from greed. one must learn to give these up. considering sense gratification their highest aim. and greed are the three gates of hell leading to the downfall (or bondage) of an individual. compassion for all creatures. cleanliness. hypocrisy.Chapter 1. and I shall rejoice. and arrogance. (16. absence of fickleness.17) “These malicious people cling to egoism. for show. purity of inner psyche. No one is equal to me. without a God. and mean people into cycles of rebirth in the wombs of demons again and again. I have this much wealth.08) Adhering to this wrong atheist view. (16.16) Self-conceited. and absence of pride are some of the qualities of those endowed with divine virtues. holding wrong views due to delusion. gentleness.

In the mode of passion. Undertake selfless work without attachment to results (austerity of deed). or ignorance?” (17. Speak inoffensively. Study scriptures. passion. O Krishna? Is it in the mode of goodness. . and ignorance. “One can become whatever one wants to be.” Lord Krishna said: “The natural faith of embodied beings is of three kinds: goodness. without any expectation. in a pleasant. to deserving candidates. A person is known by faith. the faith of each is in accordance with one’s own natural disposition that is governed by Karmic impressions.Chapter 1.15). beneficial. Give charity as a matter of duty. Threefold Faith Arjuna said: “What is the mode of devotion of those who perform spiritual practice with faith but without following scriptural injunction. if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith. Now hear about these from Me. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 23 .24). exercise self control (austerity of thought).” (17. Devas or Gods). and truthful manner (austerity of speech) (17.02) O Arjuna.03) People in the mode of goodness: • • • • • • • Like healthy. if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith. Are gentle. equanimous. people: • Like food that is extreme in taste (overly spicy. (17. or sweet). Worship celestial controlling forces (guardian angels. passion. One can become whatever one wants to be. think pure thoughts. salty. . Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla (16.01) From the reading. juicy foods.

honor. or reverence that yields uncertain and temporary results (17. O Arjuna.” (17. austerity. Perform austerity with self-torture. or for harming others. or any other act is useless. Perform selfless service (austerity) for show.Chapter 1. Give charity to the unworthy. “Whatever is done without faith whether it is sacrifice. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla • • • • • • • • • Worship supernatural rulers and demons. Are hypocritical and egoistic. Give charity with expectation of something in return. Worship ghosts and spirits.18). charity. It has no value here or hereafter. People in the mode of ignorance: Enjoy unhealthy foods and drinks. to gain respect. adapted from Library of Congress 24 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .28) Village in Punjab.

tongue. hand. nose.15) Threefold driving force to an action are: • • • The subject. therefore.” (18. the doer. the seat of Karma The modes of Material Nature. and urethra).Chapter 1. and is declared to be in the mode of ignorance. one who renounces the selfish attachment to the fruit of work is considered a renunciant. skin. word.01) Lord Krishna said: “The sages define renunciation as abstaining from all work for personal profit. The agent or the modes of Material Nature.02) Giving up one’s duty is not proper. and the difference between the two.” (18. O Lord Krishna. (18. The presiding controlling forces or deities of the eleven organs. and five organs of action: mouth. and deed.11) The five causes. Three components of action are: (18. leg. The act. or life forces. anus. the instruments.18) • • • The eleven organs (six sense organs: ear. The eleven organs of perception and action. one performs by thought.34): • Doing one’s duty. selfish attachment to the fruit of all work. The four goals of human life designed for gradual and systematic growth of the individual and progress of society are (18. The wise define sacrifice as the sacrifice of. The object.07) The embodied beings are unable to completely abstain from work. for the accomplishment of all actions are: (18.” (18. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla Salvation through Renunciation Arjuna said: “I wish to know the nature of renunciation and sacrifice. “Whatever action. and the freedom from. whether right or wrong. Various bio-impulses. and the mind. eye. The abandonment of obligatory work is due to delusion. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 25 . The knowledge of the object. these are the five causes.13-14) • • • • • The physical body. (18.

and with too much effort. selfish motives. Has intellect by which one understands the path of work and the path of renunciation. violent. greedy. In the mode of goodness one: • • • • • • • • Possesses the knowledge by which one sees a single (undivided) immutable Reality in all beings. accumulating wealth and enjoyment with great attachment. In the mode of ignorance one: 26 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and is affected by joy and sorrow. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla • • • Earning wealth. Attaining salvation.Chapter 1. Material and sensual enjoyment (with senses under control). as the resolve by which one manipulates functions of the mind and senses for God-realization. or because of fear of bodily trouble. non-egotistic. and right and wrong action. clings to duty. bondage and liberation. Craves for the fruit of work. Performs obligatory duty without likes and dislikes. has resolve and enthusiasm.08) Performs action with ego. Enjoys pleasure from spiritual practice resulting in cessation of all sorrows. impure. attached to the fruit of his work. Enjoys pleasure that comes by the grace of Self-knowledge. In the mode of passion one: • • • • • • • Sees different realities of various types among all beings as separate from one another. or attachment to the result. Is impassioned. (18. fear and fearlessness. Enjoys sensual pleasure without control over the senses. Cannot distinguish between righteousness (Dharma) and unrighteousness (Adharma). Abandons duty merely because it is difficult. Enjoys sensual pleasure with senses under control Is free from attachment. right and wrong action. and is unperturbed in success or failure.

Listen to Me how one attains perfection while engaged in one’s natural work. anger. Eating lightly. Considers the body or oneself as the sole agent due to imperfect knowledge. wicked. or injury to others. depressed. fear. loss.45) “One attains tranquility. stubborn. and my. has intellect which is covered by ignorance. freedom from bondage of Karma. speech.07) Undertakes action because of delusion.” (18. Giving up likes and dislikes. Taking refuge in detachment. businessmen.” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 27 .41) One can attain the highest perfection by devotion to one’s natural work. “There is no being. Does not give up sleep. Purifying the intellect by spiritual practice. and carelessness. and attains the Supreme Being by:” • • • • • • • • • • • Renouncing selfish attachment to the fruit of work. Is undisciplined. violence. Becoming free from the notion of “I. disregarding consequences. Accepts unrighteousness (Adharma) as righteousness (Dharma). and proprietorship. who can remain free from these three modes of Material Nature. and unskilled workers based on the qualities inherent in people’s nature and their make up. me.” (18. (18. malicious. Subduing the mind and senses with firm resolve. lazy. administrators (or protectors). pride. vulgar. lust. Performing one’s natural duty. Enjoying solitude.Chapter 1. despair. for the Supreme Being. Abandons obligatory work due to delusion. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla • • • • • • • Has worthless knowledge by which one clings to one single effect (such as the body) as if that is everything. grief. either on earth or among the celestial controllers in heaven. Relinquishing egotism.40) “Human labor is categorized as intellectuals. and organs of action. to the best of one’s ability. (18. Controlling mind. and procrastinating.

60) “The Supreme Lord—as the controller abiding in the inner psyche of all beings—causes them to work out their Karma. who speaks ill of Me. for most people. disciple Uddhava said: “O Lord Krishna. (18. you are controlled by your own nature-born Karmic impressions. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla “Absorbed in the Supreme Being. the bond of Karma.55) Mentally offer all actions to Me and be devoted to Me. and easy way 28 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . this resolve of yours is in vain. I have gained Self-knowledge.” (18. Your own nature will compel you to fight. Therefore. and shall certainly come to Me. (18. and just surrender completely to My will with firm faith and loving devotion. (18.68-69) I promise the study of this sacred dialogue of ours will be equivalent to worshipping Me with knowledge-sacrifice.71) “O Arjuna. (18. Do not grieve.”.59) O Arjuna. We are puppets of our own Karma. did you listen to this with single-minded attention? Has your delusion born of ignorance been completely destroyed?” (18. the transcendental knowledge of the Gita.” (18.” (18.73) Epilogue—Lord Krishna’s Last Sermon At the end of another long sermon comprising of more than one thousand verses. Please tell me a short. Be calm and always fix your mind on Me. who is without devotion. simple. (18. because it entails control of unruly senses. amongst My devotees. one obtains the highest devotional love for the Supreme Being.Chapter 1. (18. is very difficult indeed. shall be performing the highest devotional service to Me.” “The one who shall propagate this supreme secret philosophy.61) “Set aside all meritorious deeds and religious rituals.” (18. and now to me. or does not believe in God. I shall liberate you from all sin.66) “This knowledge should never be spoken to one who is devoid of austerity. I think the pursuit of God as You narrated to Arjuna. my confusion with regard to the body and the Spirit is dispelled and I shall obey Your command. who does not desire to listen.57)” “If due to ego you think: ‘I shall not fight’. and no one on earth shall be dearer to Me. the serene one neither grieves nor desires. and attains salvation.70) “Whoever hears this sacred dialogue with faith and without cavil becomes free from sin.” (18. No other person shall do more pleasing service to Me. you shall do even against your will what you do not wish to do out of delusion.54) By devotion one truly understands Me in essence and merges into Me. becoming impartial to all beings.72) Arjuna said: “By Your grace my delusion is destroyed.

From the reading. . and is constantly doing all the work using you as a mere instrument and a trustee.” Lord Krishna upon Uddhava’s request gave the essentials of Self-realization as follows: • • • • Do your duty. senses. Perceive that God is within every living being. adapted from Library of Congress Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 29 . Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla to God-realization. to the best of your ability. and emotions that the power of God is within you at all times.Chapter 1. . Mentally bow down to all beings and treat all beings equally.” Jammu Temples at a Distance. “There is no unforgivable sin or sinner. Remember Me at all times. Perceive through the activities of mind. for Me without worrying about the outcome. breathing.

Chapter 1. Bhagavad Gita retold by Harry Bhalla

Topics Worth Investigating
1. What do you suppose is the rationale behind Krishna’s declaration “Only fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get an opportunity of an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven”? Can you locate evidence that this same belief is a tenet of Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism? 2. Krishna relates, “The senses are said to be superior to the body, the mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, transcendental knowledge is superior to the intellect, and the Self is superior to transcendental knowledge.” Explicate the use of the term “superior” in this passage. Is this sense of “superior” a non-naturalistic use of the word? Explain. Does the found sense of “superior” illuminate the meaning of the phrase “[t]he mind becomes a friend to the one who has control over it”—as if there is something else that controls the mind? 3. On the one hand, an important tenet of the path of renunciation is, in Krishna’s words, “Do all work as an offering to God abandoning attachment to the results.” On the other hand, an important tenet of modern psychology is the visualization of results as an aid to improvement. Can these two ways of understanding actions be made logically consistent and practically helpful? 4. If all work were to be done, as the path of renunciation implies, “as an offering to God abandoning attachment to the results,” then would it follow that no task is any more important than any other task? Would it also follow that we should not so much seek to help others for their own sake as we should seek to help others as an offering? 5. How are sacrifice and self-defeating behavior to be distinguished? Is the main difference in worship? 6. Explain as clearly as possible what Krishna means when he states, “O Arjuna, you are controlled by your own nature-born Karmic impressions.” When Krishna continues with “ We are puppets of our own karma,” does this imply that we do not have free will? 7. As described in the Gita, what is self-realization and how is it attained?

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Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text

Chapter

2

“Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda, (detail)

About the author. . .
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), humanist and social reformer, attended Calcutta University and later studied the Vedas, Upanishads, Sufism, the Bible, Sikhism and Buddhism with Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa. Perhaps, more than any other individual, Vivekananda is credited with introducing and explaining the universal teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads to the unaquainted Western World.

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Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda

About the work. . .
Vivekananda’s “Paper on Hinduism,”1 was read at the World Parliament on Religions in 1893. Vivekananda’s addresses at this congress emphasized the belief that no one religion is superior to another. In his opening address, He quoted the Gita: “As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.” He taught that all religions are different ways of undersanding and different paths to the same goal and strongly opposed bigotry and fanaticism.

From the reading. . . “Where is the common basis upon which all these seemingly hopeless contradictions rest?”

Ideas of Interest from “Paper on Hinduism”
1. According to Vivekananda what is the cosmology expressed in the Vedas? 2. What are the reasons Vivekananda offers for the belief that the universe was not created? 3. How does Vivekananda explain reincarnation and past lives? What is his explanation for why we cannot remember past lives? 4. Why does Hinduism reject the notion that we are all sinners? 5. According to Vivekananda, what is the main goal of Hinduism? 6. How does the use of mental imagery and physical representation give rise to the charge of idolatry, superstition, and bigotry in world religions? 7. How does Hinduism account for the major differences among the world religions?
1. Swami Vivekananda. “Paper on Hinduism,” World’s Parliament on Religions, 1893.

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Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text

Chapter 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda

The Reading Selection from “Paper on Hinduism”
[Introduction]
Three religions now stand in the world which have come down to us from time prehistoric—Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism. They have all received tremendous shocks, and all of them prove by their survival their internal strength. But while Judaism failed to absorb Christianity and was driven out of its place of birth by its all-conquering daughter, and a handful of Parsees is all that remains to tell the tale of their grand religion, sect after sect arose in India and seemed to shake the religion of the Vedas to its very foundations, but like the waters of the seashore in a tremendous earthquake it receded only for a while, only to return in an all-absorbing Hood, a thousand times more vigorous, and when the tumult of the rush was over, these sects were all sucked in, absorbed and assimilated into the immense body of the mother faith. From the high spiritual flights of the Vedanta philosophy, of which the latest discoveries of science seem like echoes, to the low ideas of idolatry with its multifarious mythology, the agnosticism of the Buddhists and the atheism of the Jains, each and all have a place in the Hindu’s religion. Where then, the question arises, where is the common center to which all these widely diverging radii converge? Where is the common basis upon which all these seemingly hopeless contradictions rest? And this is the question I shall attempt to answer.

[The Vedas]
The Hindus have received their religion through revelation, the Vedas. They hold that the Vedas are without beginning and without end. It may sound ludicrous to this audience, how a book can be without beginning or end. But by the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery, and would exist if all humanity forgot it, so is it with the laws that govern the spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the Father of all spirits were there before their discovery, and would remain even if we forgot them.

Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text

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” “I. “No” I am a spirit living in a body: I am not the body. where was all this manifested energy? Some say it was in a potential form in God. . Some are born happy. If I may be allowed to use a simile. where was all this manifested energy? ” Here it may be said that these laws as laws may be without end. which would make Him mutable.” what is the idea before me? The idea of a body. some are without hands or feet. Here I am in this body. but they must have had a beginning. “I. Everything mutable is a compound and everything compound must undergo that change which is called destruction. The body will die. Karma. Why. nothing but a combination of material substances? The Vedas declare. If then the soul was created. and try to conceive my existence. This is what the Brahmin boy repeats every day: The sun and the moon. The Vedas teach us that creation is without beginning or end. “Then. it must die. which means a certain future dissolution.” “I. the Lord created like the suns and the moons of previous cycles.Chapter 2. I am glad to tell this audience that some of the very greatest of them were women. it will fall. Then. and only drag on a wretched existence. if they are all created. and all wants supplied. there never was a time when there was no creation. if there was a time when nothing existed. bull shall go on living. In that case God is sometimes potential and sometimes kinetic. Here I Stand and if I shut my eyes. God is the ever-active providence. [Soul. I had also a past. Others are born miserable. and Reincarnation] And this agrees with modern science. . Am I. by whose power systems after systems are being evolved out of chaos. if there was a time when nothing existed. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda [The Concept of Creation] The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis. enjoy perfect health with beautiful body. From the reading. creation and creator are two lines. which is absurd—Therefore. why 34 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . but I shall not die. So God would die. Science is said to have proved that the sum total of cosmic energy is always the same. The soul was not created. then. mental vigor. without beginning and without end. for creation means a combination. others again are idiots. and again destroyed. and we honor them as perfected beings. zoning parallel to each other. made to run for a time.

there is no necessity for supposing the existence of a soul. . but simply expresses the cruel fiat of an all-powerful being. And a soul with a certain tendency would. So repetitions are necessary to explain the natural habits of a new born soul. the other of matter. before his birth. and habit is got through repetitions. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda does a just and merciful God create one happy and another unhappy. how is it that I do not remember anything of my past life? This can be easily explained. then. take birth in a body which is the fittest instrument for the display of that tendency.one of the mind. they must have come down from past lives. Try and struggle. in fact. And since they were not obtained in this present life. Verification is the perfect proof of a theory. for science wants to explain everything by habit. . There is another suggestion. but those tendencies only mean the physical configuration through which a peculiar mind alone can act in a peculiar way. and within its depths are stored up all our experiences. It is not my mother tongue. I am now speaking English. and here is the challenge thrown to the world by the Rishis.Chapter 2. to make a man miserable or happy and those were his past actions. Are not all the tendencies of the mind and the body accounted for by inherited aptitude? Here are two parallel lines of existence . but let me try to bring them up. There must have been causes. no words of my mother tongue are now present in my consciousness. If matter and its transformations answer for all that we have. From the reading. and you would be conscious even of your past life. why is He so partial?” We cannot deny that bodies acquire certain tendencies from heredity. But it cannot be proved that thought has been evolved out of matter. That shows that consciousness is only the surface of mental ocean. “why does a just and merciful God create one happy and another unhappy. they would come up. There are other tendencies peculiar to a soul caused by his past actions. spiritual monism is certainly logical and no less desirable than a materialistic monism. Taking all these for granted. the idea of a creator God does not explain the anomaly. We have disReadings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 35 . This is direct and demonstrative evidence. This is in accord with science. Why should a man be miserable even here in the reign of a just and merciful God? In the second place. but neither of these is necessary here. and if a philosophical monism is inevitable. why is He so partial? Nor would it mend matters in the least to hold that those who are miserable in this life will be happy in a future a one. by the laws of affinity. and they rush in.

and death means only a change of center from one body to another. How can the perfect soul be deluded into the belief that it is imperfect? We have been told that the Hindus shirk the question and say that no such question can be there—Some thinkers want to answer it by positing one or more quasi-perfect beings. perfect and infinite. ever-rushing. raised one moment on the foamy crest of a billow and dashed down into a yawning chasm the next. But somehow or other it finds itself tied down to matter and thinks of itself as matter. and the future by the present. it is free. The Hindu does not attempt to explain why one thinks one is the body. But naming is not explaining. how can the pure. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda covered the secret by which the very depths of the ocean of memory can be stirred up—try it and you would get a complete reminiscence of your past life. The present is determined by our past actions.” But the fact is a fact for all that. Him the sword cannot pierce—him the fire cannot burn—him the water cannot melt—him the air cannot dry.” Well. He is brave enough to face the question in a manly fashion. and that death means the change of the center from holy to body. which rolls on crushing everything in its way and waits not for the widow’s tears or the orphan’s cry? The heart sinks at the idea. unbounded. 36 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . uncompromising current of cause and effect—a little moth placed under the wheel of causation. [Soul and Nature] In its very essence. came to think of itself as imperfect. the soul. and perfect. So then the Hindu believes that he is a spirit. “I do not know. the human soul is eternal and immortal. perfect. then. But here is another question: Is man a tiny boat in a tempest. This is nothing more than what the Hindu says. The answer that it is the will of God is no explanation. as Joined to and conditioned by matter.Chapter 2. and use big scientific names to fill up the gap. The question remains the same. Nor is the soul bound by the conditions of matter. the absolute change even a microscopic particle of its nature? But the Hindu is sincere. I do not know how the perfect being. helpless wreck in an everraging. and pure be thus under the thraldom of matter. Why should the free. yet this is the law of nature. The soul will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth to birth and death to death. pure. It is a fact in everybody’s consciousness that one thinks of oneself as the body. How can the perfect become the quasi-perfect. is the next question. holy. He does not want to take shelter under sophistry. rolling to and from at the mercy of good and bad actions—a powerless. The Hindu believes that every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere but whose center is located in the body. and his answer is: “I do not know.

holy and perfect beings. Thus it is that the Vedas proclaim not a dreadful combination of unforgiving laws. and he stood up before the world and in trumpet voice proclaimed the glad tidings: “Hear. ye are not matter. the sharers of immortal bliss. it is standing libel on human nature. all delusion: knowing Him alone you shall be saved from death over again. brethren. O lions. but that at the head of all these laws. you are souls immortal. It reached the throne of mercy. not you the servant of matter. matter is your servant.” “Children of immortal bliss”—what a sweet. “by whose command Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 37 . blest and eternal. in and through every particle of matter and force. not an endless prison of cause and effect. stands One. spirits free. by that sweet name—heirs of immortal bliss—yea. Library of Congress [The Goal of Hinduism] Is there no hope? Is there no escape?—was the cry that went up from the bottom of the heart of despair.Chapter 2. ye are not bodies. what a hopeful name! Allow me to call you. and shake off the delusion that you are sheep. Ye divinities on earth—sinners! It is a sin to call a man so. We are the Children of God. ye children of immortal bliss! even ye that reside in higher spheres! I have found the Ancient One who is beyond all darkness. the Hindu refuses to call you sinners. and words of hope and consolation came down and inspired a Vedic sage. Come up. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda City on the Mountains—India.

that I may love Thee without the hope of reward—love unselfishly for love’s sake. help me bear the little burden of this life. and therefore I love. the most virtuous of men. Similarly. I love the Lord. so a man ought to live in the world—his heart to God and his hands to work. and let us see how it is fully developed and taught by Krishna whom the Hindus believe to have been God incarnate on earth. only held in the bondage of matter. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda the wind blows. Yudhishthira answered.” From the reading. the Almighty and the All-merciful. I do not want wealth nor children nor learning. And how to worship Him? Through love. I do not ask for anything. “He is to be worshiped as the one beloved. perfection will be reached when this bond will burst. was driven from his kingdom by his enemies and had to take shelter with his queen. Let Him place me wherever He likes. . I love them.” Thus sang the Rishis of the Veda. therefore I love them. ” This is the doctrine of love declared in the Vedas.” And what is His nature? He is everywhere. the then Emperor of India. Thou art He that beareth the burdens of the universe. in a forest in the Himalayas and there one day the queen asked how it was that he. I do not pray for anything. the clouds rain and death stalks upon the earth. He is the source of all beauty. my nature is to love Him. “The present is determined by our past actions. Thou art our beloved friend. . dearer than everything in this and the next life. but it is better to love God for love’s sake. and the future by the present. the beautiful.” The Vedas teach that the soul is divine. “Be hold. Thou art the source of all strength. give us strength. the fire burns. They do not give me anything but my nature is to love the grand. I cannot trade in love.Chapter 2. If it be Thy will. which grows in water but is never moistened by water. and the word they use for it 38 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . I shall go from birth to birth. the Himalayas. should suffer so much misery. of all sublimity. Thou art our mother. and the prayer goes: “Lord. how grand and beautiful they are. I must love Him for love’s sake.” One of the disciples of Krishna. He is the only object to beloved. It is good to love God for hope of reward in this or the next world. the pure and formless One. “Thou art our father. The soul will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth to birth and death to death. but grant me this. my queen. He taught that a man ought to live in this world like a lotus leaf.

constitutes the religion of the Hindus. How does that mercy act? He reveals Himself to the pure heart. if there is an all-merciful universal Soul. He is no more the freak of a terrible law of causation. It cannot be an individual. He enjoys infinite and perfect bliss. Therefore. but in realizing—not in believing. If there is a soul in him which is not matter. it must be greater happiness to enjoy the consciousness of two bodies. and enjoys the bliss with God.” I tell you it is nothing of the kind. to gain this infinite universal individuality. becoming perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect. the very vital conception of Hinduism. If it is happiness to enjoy the consciousness of this small body. about God. This is the very center. If there are existences beyond the ordinary sensuous existence. So far all the Hindus are agreed. and see God. the measure of happiness increasing with the consciousness of an increasing number of bodies. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda is. that really Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 39 . Thus the whole object of their system is by constant struggle to become perfect. it must become one with Brahman. being reached when it would become a universal consciousness. We have often and often read this called the losing of individuality and becoming a stock or a stone. of its own nature and existence. So the best proof a Hindu sage gives about the soul. namely God. even in this life. “He jests at scars that never felt a wound. Then all doubt ceases. So purity is the condition of His mercy. Then alone can death cease when I am one with life. And so when a soul becomes perfect and absolute. therefore. He must see Him. The Hindu does not want to live upon words and theories. knowledge absolute. and this mercy comes on the pure.Chapter 2.” And that is the only condition of perfection. then alone can misery cease when I am one with happiness itself. to become divine. This is the common religion of all the sects of India. seeing God. but in being and becoming. he will go to Him direct. and bliss absolute. The Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma. the pure and the stainless see God. It cannot have any qualities. the reality. the existence absolute. and that alone can destroy all doubts. Science has proved to me that physical individuality is a delusion. having obtained the only thing in which man ought to have pleasure. and the absolute cannot be two or three. yea. but then perfection is absolute. And what becomes of a man when he attains perfection? He lives a life of bliss infinite. is: “I have seen the soul. freedom from death and misery—And this bondage can only fall off through the mercy of God. then and then only all the crookedness of the heart is made straight. this miserable little prison—individuality must go. and this reaching God. Mukti—freedom. and this is the necessary scientific conclusion. I have seen God. he wants to come face to face with them. then alone can all errors cease when I am one with knowledge itself. and it would only realize the Lord as the perfection. the aim. freedom from the bonds of imperfection. the ultimate of happiness. to reach God.

Religion can go no farther. Library of Congress [The Unity of the Universe] Science is nothing but the finding of unity. Manifestation. 40 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and not creation. One who is the only Soul of which all souls are but delusive manifestations. Him who is the constant basis of an ever-changing world. This is the goal of all science. Thus chemistry could not progress farther when it would discover one element out of which all others could be made. Delhi—Ruins of Shershak. Physics would stop when it would be able to fulfill its services in discovering one energy of which all the others are hut manifestations. All science is bound to come to this conclusion in the long run. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda my body is one little continuously changing body in an unbroken ocean of matter. through multiplicity and duality. Thus is it. As soon as science would reach perfect unity. because it would reach the goal. is the word of science today. and Advaita (unity) is the necessary conclusion with my other counterpart. and the science of religion become perfect when it would discover Him who is the one life in a universe of death. that the ultimate unity is reached. it would stop from further progress.Chapter 2. Soul. and the Hindu is only glad that what he has been cherishing in his bosom for ages is going to be taught in more forcible language and with further light from the latest conclusions of science.

we have to associate our ideas of infinity with the image of the blue sky. In every temple. I remember. to gain this infinite universal individuality. called by any other name. I may tell you that there is no polytheism in India. The Hindus have associated the ideas of holiness. truth. what could it do? One of his hearers sharply answered. so we naturally connect our idea of holiness with the image of a church. as a boy.” retorted the Hindu. this miserable little prison—individuality must go. “The rose. He will tell you.” said the preacher. . “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda [Hinduism and World Religions] Descend we now from the aspirations of philosophy to the religion of the ignorant. including omnipresence. “when you die. Among other sweet things he was telling them was. one will find the worshipers applying all the attributes of God. Has God superficial area? If not. or a cross. I have never seen anywhere. that if he gave a blow to their idol with his stick. the like of whom. it helps to keep his mind fixed on the Being to whom he prays. This is why the Hindu uses an external symbol when he worships. hearing a Christian missionary preach to crowd in India. what can He do?” “You would be punished. l stop and ask myself. At the very outset. a symbol. or of space—that is all.” Names are not explanations. From the reading. when we repeat that word “omnipresent. finer all. but bigotry is worse. how much does omnipresence mean to almost the whole world? It stands merely as a word.” “So my idol will punish you when you die. The tree is known by its fruits. would smell as sweet. By the law of association the material image calls up the mental idea and vice versa. to the images. It is not polytheism. When l have seen amongst them that are called idolaters. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 41 . “If I abuse your God. “Can sin beget holiness?” Superstition is a great enemy of man.Chapter 2. a mosque. or of the sea. if one stands by and listens. Why does a Christian go to church? Why is the cross holy? Why is the face turned toward the sky in prayer? Why are there so many images in the Catholic Church? Why are there so many images in the minds of Protestants when they pray? My brethren. purity. ” As we find that somehow or other. “Therefore. we can no more think about anything without a mental image than we can live without breathing. . He knows as well as you do that the image is not God. nor would the name henotheism explain the situation. by the laws of our mental constitution. men. is not omnipresent.” we think of the extended sky. in morality and spirituality and love.

Chapter 2. nor the stars. would it be right to call that a sin? Nor. but from truth to truth. It is not that this help is necessary for everyone. He recognizes in it a necessary stage of life. but the highest stage is when the Lord has been realized. because with them religion means an intellectual assent to certain doctrines and doing good to their fellows. the whole religion of the Hindu is centered in realization. material worship” so say the scriptures. To the Hindu. but on and on he must progress. Every other religion lays down certain fixed dogmas and tries to force society to adopt them. the helps. Mark. or stated through the relative. it is the attempt of undeveloped minds to grasp high spiritual truths. On the other hand. but those that do not need it have no right to say that it is wrong. of his spiritual childhood. “Him the sun cannot express. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda omnipresence. from lower to higher truth. each determined by the conditions of its birth and association. even when he has passed that stage. and never for cutting the throats of their neighbors. It is not the mother of harlots. mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the Infinite. If it does not fit John or Henry he must go without a coat to cover his body. they are always for punishing their own bodies. Idols or temples or churches or books are only the supports. “is the lowest stage. or thought of. should he call it an error. It places before society only one coat which must fit Jack and John and Henry. and every soul is a young eagle soaring higher and higher. To him all the religions from the lowest fetishism to the highest absolutism. he never lights the fire of Inquisition. He must not stop anywhere. But with this difference that while some people devote their whole lives to their idol of a church and never rise higher. through Him they shine. The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realized. and the images. the lightning cannot express Him.” But he does not abuse anyone’s idol or call its worship sin. and each of these marks a stage of progress. The Hindus have their faults. Idolatry in India does not mean anything horrible. gathering more and more strength till it reaches the Glorious Sun. and crescents are simply so many symbols—so many pegs to hang spiritual ideas on.” Would it be right for an old man to say that childhood is a sin or youth a sin? If a man can realize his divine nature with the help of an image. man is not travelling from error to truth. they sometimes have their exceptions. and the Hindu has recognized it. but mark this. nor what we speak of as fire. all alike. crosses. “External worship.” struggling to rise high. Unity in variety is the plan of nature. nor the moon. Nor is it compulsory in Hinduism. And even this cannot be laid 42 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . If the Hindu fanatic burns himself on the pyre. Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. and such other ideas with different images and forms. “The child is father of the man. mental prayer is the next stage. One thing I must tell you. the same earnest man who is kneeling before the idol tells you.

of different men and women. They have not seen the Father. then. believe in Buddhism which is agnostic. How. then.Chapter 2. And he that Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 43 . and the same God is the inspirer of all of them. then. whose whole fabric of thought centers in God. Why. And these little variations are necessary for purposes of adaptation. throughout the whole system of Sanskrit philosophy. Library of Congress To the Hindu. Riverfront. are there so many contradictions? They are only apparent. “We find perfect men even beyond the pale of our caste and creed. to the same goal. The contradictions come from the same truth adapting itself to the varying circumstances of different natures. It is the same light coming through glasses of different colors. Says Vyasa. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda at the door of his religion any more than the burning of witches can be laid at the door of Christianity. the whole world of religions is only a travelling. any such expression as that the Hindu alone will be saved and not others.” One thing more. The Lord has declared to the Hindu in His incarnation as Krishna: “I am in every religion as the thread through a string of pearls.” And what has been the result? I challenge the world to find. but the whole force of their religion is directed to the great central truth in every religion. says the Hindu. or in Jainism which is atheistic? The Buddhists or the Jains do not depend upon God. But in the heart of everything the same truth reigns. a coming up. can the Hindu. Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man. through various conditions and circumstances. to evolve a God out of man. know thou that I am there. but they have seen the Son. Wherever thou seest extraordinary holiness and extraordinary power raising and purifying humanity.

. the Father in Heaven of the Christians. it has been given to thee to march at the vanguard of civilization with the flag of harmony. but from truth to truth. which in its catholicity will embrace in infinite arms. till it made a circuit of the world. is a short sketch of the religious ideas of the Hindus. The Hindu may have failed to carry out all his plans. and whose whole scope. Akbar’s. which will not be Brahminic or Buddhistic. “To the Hindu. who never found out that the shortest way of becoming rich was by robbing one’s neighbors. To him all the religions from the lowest fetishism to the highest absolutism. but the sum total of all these. which will recognize divinity in every man and woman. A Tibetan name for the Bramaputra River. and still have infinite space for development. It was reserved for America to proclaim to all quarters of the globe that the Lord is in every religion. the Jehovah of the Jews. This. . the Buddha of the Buddhists. Christian or Mohammedan. and whose sun will shine upon the followers of Krishna and of Christ. May He who is the Brahman of the Hindus. the Ahura-Mazda of the Zoroastrians. it travelled steadily towards the West. a thousand fold more effulgent than it ever was before. motherland of liberty! It has been given to thee. the borders of the Sanpo2. to the highest man towering by the virtues of his head and heart almost above humanity. divine nature.Chapter 2. who never dipped her hand in her neighbor’s blood. and find a place for. . on saints and sinners alike. sometimes dimmed and sometimes effulgent. every human being from the lowest grovelling savage. though more to the purpose. and now it is again rising on the very horizon of the East. not far removed from the brute. 44 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Offer such a religion and all the nations will follow you. it must be one which will have no location in place or time. which will be infinite like the God it will preach. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda hath seen the Son bath seen the Father also. man is not travelling from error to truth. ” 2. making society stand in awe of him and doubt his human nature. Asoka’s council was a council of the Buddhist faith. It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity. . From the reading. was only a parlor meeting. whose whole force. will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its own true. but if there is ever to be a universal religion. Hail Columbia. give strength to you to carry out your noble idea! The star arose in the East. from lower to higher truth. mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the Infinite. brethren.

or indeed entirely restated. .3 3. Alfred North Whitehead. . this modification will only exhibit more adequately the exact point which is of importance. If the religion is a sound expression of truth. 1925. The great point to be kept in mind is that normally an advance in science will show that statements of various religious beliefs require some sort of modification. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 45 .Chapter 2. Alfred North Whitehead writes about the relation between religion and science: Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as does science. New York: Macmillan. Science and the Modern World. It may be that they have to be expanded or explained. What are the common features of the world religions discussed by Vivekananda? 2. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda Cashmere Gates. Its principles may be eternal. but the expression of those principles requires continual development.. Library of Congress Topics Worth Investigating 1.

Chapter 2. A religion. 1990. must consist of ideas and facts both. nor of facts alone without ideas.: Princeton University Press. a true religion. of which those facts are symbols. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. that is. or out of which they arise. “Paper on Hinduism” by Swami Vivekananda Explain whether Vivekananda would agree or disagree with Whitehead’s assessment. November 20. 3. Ed.J.4 4. or upon which they are grounded: for then it would be mere History. history. 46 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and religion. Contrast Vivekananda’s view and your view with Coleridge’s. Kathleen Coburn. for then it would be mere Philosophy. not of ideas alone without facts. “Table Talk. N. 1831” in Collected Works.. Princeton. Samuel Taylor Coleridge observes the following relationships between philosophy.

Carus became deeply influenced by Eastern philosophies and published a number of works seeking to bridge Western and Eastern thought.Chapter 3 Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” Yogi. The Word. 1915.” is briefly abridged and composes an excellent introduction to Buddhist thought. Buddha. . In his Buddha. “The Four Noble Truths. 1. At the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. Paul Carus. The Word. 47 .1 Paul Carus (1852-1919) compiled some of the fundamental teachings of the Buddhist Canon. The selection here. detail from The Land of the Veda About the author. .

and (4) suffering can be extinguished by the “Eightfold Path. What are the Three Warnings? Of what is it that they warn? 5.” 6. not to be discovered is any first beginning of beings. (2) suffering is a result of self. Is the Consciousness Group. itself. 3. briefly stated.Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” About the book. are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. then how does the illusion of it arise and of what kind of phenomena is it composed? Explain Buddha’s comparison of the self to an ocean wave. . “Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara. . Describe how one escapes from the “Wheel of Existence. and ensnared by craving. who. 2. Name and describe the groups of consciousness. What is Samsara and how is it related to the First Noble Truth? Describe “the Wheel of Existence.” How is suffering to be overcome? 48 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Buddha elucidated the “Four Noble Truths” in his first instruction to his disciples. Describe in general terms the Four Noble Truths. (3) suffering can be avoided. these truths explain how (1) all who live suffer.” The reading selection after this one continues Carus’ compilation of Buddha’s teaching with the “Eightfold Path. After his enlightenment. one of the groups of consciousness or is it dependent upon the other groups? Explain.” From the reading. obstructed by ignorance.” Ideas of Interest from “The Four Noble Truths” 1. . Name and describe the kinds of craving that form the origin of suffering? What is the cause of evil choices and actions? 7. 4. If the self or Ego-entity is not real. .

had to wander so long through this round of rebirths. the Dependent Origination of every thing. not realizing four things. delighted with pleasure. . the Enlightened One: It is through not understanding. that also you cannot escape it? And I discovered that profound truth. there arose in me the assurance that I had won that supreme Enlightenment unsurpassed. Verily. whether I had won that supreme Enlightenment which is unsurpassed in all the world with its heavenly beings. As long as the absolutely true knowledge and insight as regards these Four Noble Truths was not quite clear in me. extinction. the Noble Truth of the Path that leads to the Extinction of Suffering. the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth. is Nirvana? Can one experience Nirvana while living? The Reading Selection from “The Four Noble Truths” [Introduction] Thus has it been said by the Buddha. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 49 . the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. But as soon as the absolutely true knowledge and insight as regards these Four Noble Truths had become perfectly clear in me. and is visible only to the wise. then. detachment. however. evil spirits and gods. so long was I not sure. as well as you. incomprehensible to them will also be the end of all formations. such beings will hardly understand the law of conditionality. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” 8. difficult to understand. which is not to be gained by mere reasoning. is given to pleasure. From the reading. And what are these four things? They are the Noble Truth of Suffering. the fading away of craving. The world. What exactly is being sought in Buddhism? Is awakening or realization just annihilation of the self? What. amongst all the hosts of ascetics and priests. Disciples. enchanted with pleasure. heavenly beings and men. . tranquilizing and sublime. And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to death. that I. Nirvana. the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering.Chapter 3. so difficult to perceive.

is the Noble Truth of Suffering? Birth is suffering. Lamentation. pain. grief. Pain. the worrying oneself. Grief. and despair. frail.Chapter 3. wailing and lamenting. And what is Death? The parting and vanishing of beings out of this or that order of beings. What. And what is Sorrow? The sorrow arising through this or that loss or misfortune which one encounters. Sorrow. and wrinkled. the painful and unpleasant feeling produced by mental contact—this is called Grief. not to get what one desires. the desire comes to them: “O that we were not subject to these 50 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . And what is Despair? Distress and despair arising through this or that loss or misfortune which one encounters. and desperation—this is called Despair. lamentation. is suffering. disappearance. And what is Lamentation? Whatsoever. And what is the “suffering of not getting what one desires?” To beings subject to birth there comes the desire: “O that we were not subject to birth! O that no new birth was before us!” Subject to decay. the wearing out of the senses—this is called Decay. their conception and springing into existence. now. inward woe—this is called Sorrow. and Despair. the state of being alarmed. Death is suffering. now. their getting aged. the painful and unpleasant feeling produced by bodily contact—this is called Pain. the arising of sense activity—this is called Birth. through this or that loss or misfortune which befalls one. First Truth: The Noble Truth of Suffering What. is Birth? The birth of beings belonging to this or that order of beings. the state of woe and lamentation this is called Lamentation. death. sorrow. grey. disease. inward sorrow. distressfulness. And what is Grief? The mental pain and unpleasantness. in short: the Five Groups of Existence are suffering. is wail and lament. Decay is suffering. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” Yet there are beings whose eyes are only a little covered with dust: they will understand the truth. their destruction. are suffering. dissolution of the groups of existence. the failing of their vital force. death. And what is Pain? The bodily pain and unpleasantness. the manifestation of the groups of existence. their being born. And what is Decay? The decay of beings belonging to this or that order of beings. the completion of their life-period. the discarding of the body-—this is called Death.

yet if the external forms do not fall within the field of vision. [mental] Formations. . the belief in an Ego-entity is merely an illusion” Any corporeal phenomenon. Feeling. and Consciousness. any mental formation belongs to the Group of Formations. and has no real existence in itself.” and that no Ego-entity exists apart from them. In the following. and the external forms fall within the field of vision. Or. .Chapter 3. or Khandhas—either taken separately. though one’s eye be intact. From the reading. and hence that the belief in an Ego-entity is merely an illusion. we shall see that these five Groups. in brief. and no corresponding conjunction takes place. Perception.” or an “individual. which since immemorial times was going on before one’s apparent birth. shaft. though one eye be intact. . are the Five Groups of Existence? They are Corporeality. gross or subtle. lofty or low. “. any perception belongs to the Group of Perception. and so forth: or as the word “house” is merely a convenient designation for various materials put together after a certain fashion so as to enclose a portion of space. [Our so-called individual existence is in reality nothing but a mere process of these “bodily and mental” phenomena. belongs to the Group of Corporeality. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” things! O that these things were not before us!” But this cannot be got by mere desiring. whether one’s own or external. is suffering. wheels. The Five Groups of Existence And what. and there is no separate house-entity in existence:—in exactly the same way. Just as that which we designate by the name of “chariot. .” has no existence apart from axle.” or a “person. or combined—in no way constitute any real “Egoentity. and not to get what one desires. that which we call a “being. any feeling belongs to the Group of Feeling.]— Dependent Orgination of Consciousness Now.” or by the name is nothing but a changing combination of physical and psychical phenomena. yet if no corReadings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 51 . in that case there occurs no formation of the corresponding aspect of consciousness. and which also after death will continue for immemorial periods of time. all consciousness belongs to the Group of Consciousness. far or near.

or the growth. joy. one’s eye is intact. And upon whatsoever conditions the arising of consciousness is dependent. perception is transient. odors. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” responding conjunction takes place. belongs to the Group of Consciousness. perception. I say: the arising of consciousness is dependent upon conditions.” Consciousness whose arising depends on the body and bodily contacts. bodily impressions. and mental formations. consciousness is transient. and the entering into a new existence. And it is impossible that any one can explain the passing out of one existence. or mind objects—belongs to the Group of Perception. Whatsoever there is of “consciousness” therein. and development of consciousness. The Three Characteristics of Existence All formations are “transient”. Whatsoever there is of “perception”—visual objects. 52 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .” Consciousness whose arising depends on the ear and sound.” Whatsoever there is of “corporeality” in the consciousness thus arisen. Hence. sounds. Whatsoever there are of mental “formations” impression.Chapter 3.” Consciousness whose arising depends on the olfactory organ and odors. however. feeling is transient. is called “mindconsciousness. no consciousness arises. Consciousness whose arising depends on the eye and forms. mental formations are transient. is called “body-consciousness. is called “ear-consciousness.” Consciousness whose arising depends on the tongue and taste. and the external forms fall within the field of vision. all things are “without an Ego-entity. is called “eye-consciousness.” Consciousness whose arising depends on the mind and ideas. sadness. there is of “feeling”—bodily ease. etc. and without these conditions. pain. tastes. all formations are “subject to suffering”. is called “tongueconsciousness. or indifferent feeling—belongs to the Group of Feeling. If. volition. feeling. is called “nose-consciousness. and the corresponding conjunction takes place. in that case also there occurs no formation of the corresponding aspect of consciousness.” Corporeality is transient. increase. in that case there arises the corresponding aspect of consciousness. independent of corporeality. after these it is called.—belong to the Group of Mental Formations. that belongs to the Group of Corporeality.

and examines them carefully. far or near. is subject to suffering. perception. or consciousness. does the monk behold all the corporeal phenomena. or near. were to behold the many bubbles on the Ganges as they are driving along. or the present. and whoso delights in suffering. or feeling. according to reality. of feeling. they appear to him empty. Whoso delights in corporeality. from The Land of the Veda Therefore. and without an Ego. And he watches them. and unsubstantial. he delights in suffering. one cannot rightly say: “This belongs to me. whether gross or subtle.Chapter 3. and carefully examine them. this am I not. and true wisdom: “This does not belong to me. and of that which is transient. this is my Ego. after carefully examining them. and he should watch them.” Suppose. feelings. one should understand. lofty or low. mental formations. this am I. far. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 53 . and states of consciousness—whether they be of the past. mental formations. whatever there be of corporeality. and subject to suffering and change. or consciousness. or mental formations. In exactly the same way. this is not my Ego. and. perceptions. will not be freed from suffering. After carefully examining them. unreal. a man who is not blind. Thus I say How can you find delight and mirth. whether one’s own or external. they will appear to him empty. or the future. void. or perception. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” And that which is transient.” A View of Benares.

obstructed by ignorance. All life must truly end in death. blue-black in color. grey and scanty hair. or two. infirm. To pieces breaks this putrid body. and full of corruption? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to death. and grievously ill. was lifted up by some people. one. with blotched limbs? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to decay. who being sick. are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. youth long since fled. weak and frail. or a woman. afflicted. or a hundred years old. resting on crutches. ninety. A heap of many sores. wrinkled. Diseased. with broken teeth.Chapter 3. that also you cannot escape it? Did you never see in the world the corpse of a man. 54 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and impermanent! Devoured by old age is this frame. piled up. and ensnared by craving. with tottering steps. and wallowing in his own filth. or three days after death. swollen up. or a woman. well rigged. who. or bald-headed. The Three Warnings Did you never see in the world a man. The Wheel of Existence Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” Where there is burning without end? In deepest darkness you are wrapped! Why do you not seek for the light? Look at this puppet here. frail. or a woman. that also you cannot escape it? Samsara. and full of greediness. eighty. crooked as a gable roof. that also you cannot escape it? Did you never see in the world a man. not to be discovered is any first beginning of beings. and put to bed by others? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to disease. Unstable. A prey of sickness. bent down.

verily. Of this Samsara.Chapter 3. the “Perpetual Wandering”—is the name by which is designated the sea of life ever restlessly heaving up and down. verily. and filled the graveyards full. verily. suffering. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 55 . one must let one’s gaze rest upon the Samsara. which weeping and wailing you have shed upon this long way—hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. or highwaymen. But how is this possible? Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara. growing old. and sisters. and ensnared by craving. and. of course. lit. and free yourselves from them all. or the waters in the four oceans? Long time have you been caught as dacoits. and sisters. constantly changing from moment to moment. you have. and not merely upon one single lifetime. you have. united with the undesired. upon this frightful chain of rebirths.] Which do you think is the more: the flood of tears. have flowed upon this long way. . are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. of sons. which. long enough to turn away. a single lifetime constitutes only a vanishingly tiny fraction. may be sometimes not very painful.” [Samsara—the Wheel of Existence. more blood has flowed upon this long way than there is water in the four oceans. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” From the reading. or adulterers. not to be discovered is any first beginning of beings. shed more tears upon this long way than there is water in the four oceans. undergone misfortune. through your being beheaded. and dying. “Long time have you suffered the death of father and mother. Which do you think is the more: the streams of blood that. And whilst you were thus suffering. And whilst you were thus suffering. the symbol of this continuous process of ever again and again being born. follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of time. of sons. And thus have you long time undergone suffering. daughters. verily. More precisely put: Samsara is the unbroken chain of the fivefold Khandha-combinations. .. which. long enough to be dissatisfied with all the forms of existence. to be able to comprehend the first noble truth. hence. who. brothers. undergone torment. obstructed by ignorance. through your being beheaded. or the waters of the four oceans? Long time have you suffered the death of father and mother. shed more tears upon this long way than there is water in the four oceans. brothers. daughters. separated from the desired this.

in a “process of action. finds ever fresh delight. or Groups of Existence. and elsewhere as invisible beings. of continual dissolution and renewal.” the “Craving for Self-Annihilation. bound up with pleasure and lust. eternal. which. for the Five Khandhas. are in a state of perpetual change.” “Existence.” or “rebirth. masses of water. now. nothing but the continuous rising and falling of continuous. or “being” (Latin esse). Egoentity that is reborn. a “becoming. Ego-entity persisting independently of our body. a continuous change.” This process of perpetual “producing” and “being produced” may best be compared with an ocean wave.” consisting in a “producing. no self-determined.” and in a “process of reaction.” i. in reality. The Craving for Self-Annihilation is the outcome of the so-called “AnnihilationBelief. there is nothing that remains the same even for two consecutive moments.Chapter 3.” according to the Visuddhi-Magga. it is no real being. is intimately connected with the so-called “Eternity-Belief. [In the absolute sense. according to their nature and activities (good. But the wave structure. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” Second Truth: The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering What. but quite different. In the case of a wave. Even so. Eye. is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering? It is that craving which gives rise to fresh rebirth. Moreover. now there. unchangeable. but only as it were an endless process. there as animals..e.” the “Craving for Eternal-Annihilation.” and in a “being produced”.” the delusive materialistic notion of an Ego which is annihilated at death. creating the appearance of one and the same mass of water. there is not the slightest quantity of water traveling over the surface of the sea. and which does not stand in any causal relation with the time before birth or after death. is. They die every moment. manifest themselves here as men. produced by the transmission of force generated by the wind. Hence it follows that there is no such thing as a real existence.] But. the Buddha did not teach that Ego-entities hasten through the ocean of rebirth. 56 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . where does this craving arise and take root? Wherever in the world there are delightful and pleasurable things. and every moment new ones are born.” [The “Craving for Eternal Existence. that hastens over the surface of the water. the belief in an absolute. ear. or evil). but merely life-waves. there this craving arises and takes root. and.] The Threefold Craving There is the “Sensual Craving. now here.

lust springs up. sister with brother. brother with sister. means Clinging. Heaping up of Present Suffering Verily. one is repelled. and while doing so. Lamentation. will. odor. Visual objects. and mind-objects. pleasant. and cherishes the feeling. Pain. tastes. and if unpleasant. a sound. the object is pleasant. sticks. smells. and mind. This is called the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. tongue. conditioned through sensuous craving. kings fight with kings. sense impression. they fall upon one another with fists. given to dissension. quarreling and fighting. Crossing Over. feeling born of sense impression. one is attracted. the son with the father. bodily impressions. taste. and Despair. Thus. Grief. Thus. namely. brother quarrels with brother. or weapons.Chapter 3. the son with the mother. or a mind object. and dependent on Birth. friend with friend. and reflecting. impelled by sensuous craving. perception. And thereby they suffer death or deadly pain. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering. priests with priests. Sorrow. and clings to it. are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root. unpleasant. sounds. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” nose. depends (future) “Birth”. due to sensuous craving. the father with the son. are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root. thinking. or indifferent—one approves of. princes with princes. detail from The Land of the Veda Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 57 . but lust for feelings. when perceiving a visual object. depends the “Process of Becoming”. are Decay and Death. and on Clinging. If. entirely moved by sensuous craving. craving. Consciousness. are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root. on the Process of Becoming (Karma-process). whatever kind of “Feeling” one experiences. citizens with citizens. bodily impression. body. the mother quarrels with the son.

the heaping up of suffering in this present life. the evil way in words. the evil way in thoughts. rob. pillage whole houses. commit highway robbery. due to sensuous craving. nor ocean-midst. plunder. or be it in any other future life. impelled by sensuous craving. the heaping up of suffering in the future life. and the abyss of hell. But. words. Inheritance of Deeds (Karma) For. they fall into a downward state of existence. Now. Nowhere is found a place on earth. due to sensuous craving. people break into houses. seduce the wives of others. Where man is freed from evil deeds. and inflict on them various forms of punishment. the rulers have such people caught. And thereby they incur death or deadly pain. 58 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . But. conditioned through sensuous craving. heirs of their deeds. Heaping Up of Future Suffering And further. at the dissolution of the body. conditioned through sensuous craving. with their deeds they are bound up. Not in the air. and by taking the evil way in deeds. and wherever their deeds ripen. when the mighty ocean will dry up. entirely dependent on sensuous craving. due to sensuous craving. caused by sensuous craving. people take the evil way in deeds. this is the misery of sensuous craving. and be no more. when the mighty earth will be devoured by fire. and thoughts. There will come a time. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” And further. there they will earn the fruits of those deeds. after death. and be no more. And wherever the beings spring into existence. entirely dependent on sensuous craving. a state of suffering. vanish. There will come a time. conditioned through sensuous craving. Nor hidden in the mountain clefts. Whatever deeds they do-good or evil-of such they will be the heirs. their deeds are the womb from which they sprang. there their deeds will ripen. Then.Chapter 3. perish. be it in this life. their deeds are their refuge. into perdition. or be it in the next life. caused by sensuous craving. owners of their deeds (karma) are the beings. yet there will be no end to the suffering of beings. this is the misery of sensuous craving. entirely moved by sensuous craving.

Hence. it is he who overcomes the craving. now. there it may be extinguished. Grief. is the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering? It is the complete fading away and extinction of this craving. or future. and overcoming of corporeality. Suffering. the end of disease. Third Truth: The Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering What. and consciousness. the fading away of craving: detachment. perception. cessation. . Rebirth is extinguished. the overcoming of old age and death. From the reading. and through the extinction of rebirth. this is the Highest. And released from Sensual Craving. the liberation and detachment from it. released from the Craving for Existence.Chapter 3. through the extinction of clinging.” as a disease and cancer. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 59 . there this craving may vanish. is the Peace.” “miserable. Clinging is extinguished. truly. are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. Sorrow. through the total fading away and extinction of Craving. where may it be extinguished? Wherever in the world there are delightful and pleasurable things. are extinguished. Lamentation. mental formations. Thus comes about the extinction of this whole mass of suffering. the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth. But where may this craving vanish. he does not return. its forsaking and giving up. obstructed by ignorance. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths” who.” and “without an Ego. this is the extinction of suffering. “This. Dependent Extinction of All Phenomena For. namely the end of all formations. present. . Decay and Death. and ensnared by craving. extinction—Nirvana. feeling. whosoever of the monks or priests regards the delightful and pleasurable things in the world as “impermanent. the Process of Becoming is extinguished. through the extinction of the (karmic) process of becoming. does not enter again into existence. the annihilation.” Be it in the past. and Despair.

Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”

[The undulatory motion, which we call wave—which in the spectator creates the illusion of a single mass of water moving over the surface of the lake—is produced and fed by the wind, and maintained by the stored-up energies. After the wind has ceased, and no fresh wind again whips up the water, the stored-up energies will gradually be consumed, and the whole undulatory motion come to an end. Similarly, if fire does not get new fuel, it will become extinct. just so, this Five-Khandha-process—which, in the ignorant worldling, creates the illusion of an Ego-entity—is produced and fed by the life-affirming craving, and maintained for some time by means of the stored-up life-energies. Now, after the fuel, i.e., the craving and clinging to life, has ceased, and no new craving impels again this FiveKhandha-process, life will continue as long as there are still life-energies stored up, but at their destruction at death, the Five-Khandha-process will reach final extinction. Thus, Nirvana or “Extinction” (Sanskrit: to cease blowing, to become extinct), may be considered under two aspects: 1. “Extinction of Impurities,” reached at the attainment of Arahatship, or Holiness, which takes place during the life-time. 2. “Extinction of the Five-Khandha-process,” which takes place at the death of the Arahat.]

Nirvana
This, truly, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving: detachment, extinction—Nirvana. Enraptured with lust, enraged with anger, blinded by delusion, overwhelmed, with mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at others’ ruin, at the ruin of both parties, and he experiences mental pain and grief. But, if lust, anger, and delusion are given up, man aims neither at his own ruin, nor at others’ ruin, nor at the ruin of both parties, and he experiences no mental pain and grief. Thus is Nirvana immediate, visible in this life, inviting, attractive, and comprehensible to the wise. The extinction of greed, the extinction of anger, the extinction of delusion: this, indeed, is called Nirvana.

The Arahat, or Holy One
And for a disciple thus freed, in whose heart dwells peace, there is nothing to be added to what has been done, and naught more remains for him to do. Just as a 60 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text

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rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so, neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired, nor the undesired, can cause such an one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance. And he who has considered all the contrasts on this earth, and is no more disturbed by anything whatever in the world, the Peaceful One, freed from rage, from sorrow, and from longing, he has passed beyond birth and decay.

The Immutable
There is a realm, where there is neither the solid, nor the fluid, neither heat, nor motion, neither this world, nor any other world, neither sun, nor moon. This I call neither arising, nor passing away, neither standing still nor being born, nor dying. There is neither foothold, nor development, nor any basis. This is the end of suffering. There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible. But since there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed.

Fourth Truth: The Noble Truth of the Path that Leads to the Extinction of Suffering—The Two Extremes and the Middle Path
To give oneself up to indulgence in sensual pleasure, the base, common, vulgar, unholy, unprofitable; and also to give oneself up to self-mortification, the painful, unholy, unprofitable: both these two extremes the Perfect One has avoided, and found out the Middle Path, which makes one both to see and to know, which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nirvana.

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Chapter 3. Buddha’s “The Four Noble Truths”

Deer Park, Library of Congress

From the reading. . . “There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible.”

Topics Worth Investigating
1. The Zen Master Bankei said:
Learn to abide in the Unborn for thirty days, and from there on, even if you don’t want to—whether you like it or not—you’ll just naturally have to abide in the Unborn.. . . That way you’ll be living buddhas here today, won’t you?2 2. Peter Haskel. Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei New York: Grove Press,

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Explain Master Bankei’s instruction in terms of the realm of the “Immutable.” 2. Explain Buddha’s doctrine of the “Middle Path” between the two extremes of pleasure and self-mortification. How does the Buddha’s Middle Path compare with Confucius’ Doctrine of the Mean?
While there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be said to be in the state of Equilibrium. When those feelings have been stirred, and they act in their due degree, there ensues what may be called the state of Harmony. This Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human actings in the world, and this Harmony is the universal path which they all should pursue. Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.3

3. Explain Buddha’s conception of holiness. What forms the consciousness of the Arhat? Why does the holy person seem to have no hindrances? 4. In the Apology, Socrates states when he has been sentenced to death:
. . . we are quite mistaken in supposing death to be an evil.. . . Death is one of two things. Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything, or, as we are told, it is really a change—a migration of the soul from this place to another. Now if there is no consciousness but only a dreamless sleep, death must be a marvelous gain.4

Contrast Socrates’ notion of “annihilation” with Buddha’s notion of extinction or Nirvana.

1984, 19. 3. Confucius. “Doctrine of the Mean.” 500 BC. Translated by James Legge. 4. Socrates’ Defense (Apology). Translated by Hugh Tredennick. In Plato: The Collected Dialogues. Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969, 25.

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Chapter 4 “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Brahmin Reading. T. . Attending the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago was a life-changing event for Paul Carus (1852-1919). Caleb Wright. 64 . Carus and Suzuki later worked together on the translation of the Tao te Ching as well as several other works. Not only did Swami Vivekananda (whose paper on Hinduism is in this text) present many talks at this congress. but also D. India and Its Inhabitants About the author. . Suzuki (whose chapter on the ox-herding pictures is also here) translated a paper for the event.

6. Does the quest for happiness perpetuate selfillusion? Does Buddha believe the ego is annihilated at death? 5.1 Paul Carus compiles the fundamental teachings of the Buddha: the four Noble Truths. . . and Buddha’s sermons and advice to his disciples. the way that leads to the extinction of suffering. Buddha did not claim divine authority. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha About the work. Why is the middle path described as “the perfect path”? Why do you think the middle path is given this name? 4. Do you think metaphysical questions are worth pursuing? What harm does Buddha think attends metaphysical questioning? 3. The Word. instead he emphasizes that each person should trust his own experience. “It is the Noble Eightfold Path. the Eightfold Path. 2. ” Ideas of Interest from “The Noble Eightfold Path” 1. Who is the Sotapan? Describe the fetters from which the Sotapan or “streamenterer” has freed himself. Explain the parable of the poisoned arrow. Paul Carus. Buddha. Explain the basis of self-illusion. How does Buddha describe the Arahat? 7. In his teachings. List and briefly describe the central characteristics of each of the steps of the Eightfold Path. . Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 65 . . In this reading. In his Buddha. . The Word. From the reading. 1915. .Chapter 4. Buddha explains how nirvana can result from the discipline of the Noble Eightfold Path. What are the arguments Buddha advances to the conclusion that there is no ego? 1.

which together are Morality. Free from pain and torture is this path. the way that leads to the extinction of suffering. If you follow this path. 6. the Perfect Ones have only pointed out the way. which together are Concentration. Right Action. which leads to peace. Truly. Right Speech.Chapter 4. like this path there is no other path to the purity of insight. 2. which makes one both to see and to know. you will put an end to suffering. free from groaning and suffering. 66 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . 5. 8. 7. Describe the four-fold characteristics of wrong speech. Right Effort. 4. to enlightenment. namely: 1. which together are Wisdom. 3. Which of the steps are reflective of morality? Why is meditation and not moral conduct the most important aspect of the Eightfold path? 14. What are the differences between thought or thinking and consciousness? 13. What are the ten blessings which result from contemplation of the body? 12. Right Mindedness. Right Concentration. This is the Middle Path which the Perfect One has found out. Right Living. to discernment. 10. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha 8. What are the five methods Buddha describes to avoid harmful thoughts? 11. Right Attentiveness.” Is this teaching a metaphysical view of the world? 9. Right Understanding. to Nirvana. But each one has to struggle for himself. What is the difference between mindfulness and non-attachment? What is the true goal of the holy life? The Reading Selection from “The Eightfold Path” The Eightfold Path It is the Noble Eightfold Path. Explain the teaching of “dependent origination. it is the perfect path.

and consciousness. In Verbal Action it is to abstain from lying. to abstain from harsh language. speech. and produces evil and painful results in this or any future form of existence. when one understands that corporeality. for the sake of which. absence of ill-will. The Eightfold Path—First Step—Right Understanding What. [“Karmically unwholesome” is every volitional act of body. when the noble disciple understands what is karmically wholesome. or mind which is rooted in greed. and right understanding.Chapter 4. now. and to abstain from unlawful sexual intercourse.]. what is karmically unwholesome. feeling. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Give ear then. then he has Right Understanding. in no long time. realize. to abstain from stealing. I reveal. . and without an Ego]. also in that case one possesses Right Understanding. Or. To understand suffering. to understand the origin of suffering. so act! And that supreme goal of the holy life. absence of delusion (wisdom) is a root of wholesome karma. to understand the extinction of suffering. absence of anger (benevolence) is a root of wholesome karma. make known to yourself. Unprofitable Questions Should anyone say that he does not wish to lead the holy life under the Blessed Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 67 . is “karmically wholesome?” In Bodily Action it is to abstain from killing. and the root of unwholesome karma. or delusion. and the root of wholesome karma. and to abstain from frivolous talk. . As I reveal it to you. are transient [subject to suffering. mental formation. is Right Understanding? It is understanding the Four Truths. in this very life. sons of good families rightly go forth from home to the homeless state: this you will. In Mental Action it is absence of covetousness. hatred. And what is the root of wholesome karma? Absence of greed (unselfishness) is a root of wholesome karma. perception. to understand the path that leads to the extinction of suffering: This is called Right Understanding. for the Immortal is found. What. to abstain from tale-bearing. now. Or. and make your own. I set forth the Truth.

” For. ignorant of the teaching of holy men. pain. or of medium height. pain. sorrow. an unlearned worldling. such a man would die. he considers the unworthy. by Sensual Lust. And unwisely he considers thus: “Have I been in the past? Or. and hence that it is annihilated at the death of the material body. or near relations.” Verily. there would be also something which belonged to the Ego. whether the world is eternal or temporal. and what is unworthy of consideration. companions.] Not knowing what is worthy of consideration. It is as if a man were pierced by a poisoned arrow. a citizen. ere he could adequately learn all this. attainable even in this present life. or as “Annihilationism.” or “Annihilation-belief” i. or something different. and so on such a man would die. for instance. void of regard for holy men. by attachment to mere Rule and Ritual. whether the life principle is identical with the body. by Skepticism. and to what family he belongs”. a priest. shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? 68 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . unless the Blessed One first tells him. the extinction of which. should send for a surgeon. [Self-Illusion may reveal itself as “Eternalism” or “Eternity-belief” i. the belief that one’s Ego is existing independently of the material body.e. I make known unto you. There is. or infinite—certainly. whether the theory exists. should pull out this arrow—this arrow of lamentation. there is death. the man who seeks his own welfare. and his friends. and by will. or a servant”. whether the Perfect One continues after death. and continuing even after the dissolution of the latter. or finite. or temporal. or: “whether he is tall. and how to free himself from these things. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha One. ere the Perfect One could tell him all this. “If there really existed the Ego. or whether it does not exist. untrained in the noble doctrine. finite or infinite. . From the reading. have I not been in the past? What have I been in the past? How have I been in the past? From what state into what state did I change in the past?—Shall I be in the future? Or. until I know who the man is that has wounded me: whether he is a noble. Therefore.Chapter 4. lamentation. and not the worthy. . that the world is eternal.. or: “what his name is. or short. the materialistic belief that this present life constitutes the Ego. there is decay. but that man should say: “I will not have this arrow pulled out. he does not really know. there is birth.e. and despair. And his heart is possessed and overcome by Self-Illusion. and sorrow.. grief.

however. this my Ego is permanent. who has regard for holy men. eternal. in truth and reality. As. from decay. a puppet show of views. What suffering is. the ignorant worldling will not be freed from rebirth. now here.” Or. he understands what is worthy of consideration. and from death. experiences the fruit of good and evil deeds. he wisely considers. a toil of views. not subject to change. and ensnared in the fetter of views. or: “With the Ego I perceive that which is no Ego. there would be also something which belonged to the Ego. More than all the joys of heaven. Skepticism. this am I. whence has it come? Whither will it go?” And with such unwise considerations. and which. and it becomes his conviction and firm belief: “I have an Ego”. But those disciples in whom these three fetters have vanished have “entered the Stream. I perceive the Ego”. I shall be permanent. from sorrow. after death. I say. neither the Ego. three fetters vanish. and despair. grief. and not the unworthy. knows the teaching of holy men. he wisely considers. he falls into the following view: “This my Ego. he wisely considers. And by thus considering. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha From what state into what state shall I change in the future?” And the present also fills him with doubt: “Am I? Or. he will not be freed. and eternal?” These are called mere views. or: “With the Ego I perceive the Ego”. from suffering. am I not? What am I? How am I? This being.” If there really existed the Ego. or “Stream-Enterer” The learned and noble disciple. And knowing this. which can think and feel. More than any earthly power. pain. he wisely considers. is it not therefore really an utter fool’s doctrine to say: “This is the world.Chapter 4. Is the Entrance to the Stream. namely: Self-illusion. More than rule o’er all the world. and Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual. or: “With that which is no Ego. What the origin of suffering is. persisting. and are assured of final enlightenment. now there. what the path is that leads to the extinction of suffering. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 69 . he falls into one or other of the six views. nor anything belonging to the Ego. and will thus eternally remain the same. The Sotapan. he considers the worthy. and what is unworthy. however. what the extinction of suffering is. a snare of views. a thicket of views. is well trained in the noble doctrine. stable. can be found.” have forever escaped the states of woe. or: “I have no Ego”.

] The Two Understandings Therefore. Ignorance. all those have entered the stream. he will reach the goal. whilst living in the sphere of pure form. or “Stream-Enterer” i. or perfectly “Holy One. Sensual Lust. Right Understanding is of two kinds: 70 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Conceit. which bind to rebirth in the sensuous sphere. An Anagamin. Restlessness. A Sakadagamin. verily.” is wholly freed from the first five fetters. Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual. or “Once-Returned”—namely to this sensuous sphere—has overcome the 4th and 5th fetters in their grosser form. Craving for the Formless World.” is free from the first three fetters. They are: Self-Illusion.Chapter 4. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha And. or “Non-Returner. A Sotapan. Library of Congress There are ten “Fetters” by which beings are bound to the wheel of existence.e. Ill-will. those who are filled with unshaken faith in me. Indonesian Temple Ruins. after death. Craving for the World of pure Form. I say. “one who has entered the stream leading to Nirvana. An Arahat. Skepticism.” is freed from all fetters.

and conjoined with the path. fading-away. it still remains a firm condition. in understanding wrong understanding as wrong. of penetration. the holy path being pursued. and in making efforts to overcome wrong understanding. that father and mother as spontaneously born beings (in the heavenly worlds) are no mere words. and the next life. and how they arise. But whatsoever there is of wisdom. and right understanding as right. there are three things that accompany and follow upon right understanding.Chapter 4. rejection. one practices Right-Attentiveness [7th step]. Hence.” practiced by the “Noble Ones.” which is not of the world. that there are monks and priests who are spotless and perfect. which they themselves have understood: this is called the “Mundane Right Understanding. the holy path being turned away from the world. conjoined with the Path—the mind being turned away from the world. He has understood what consciousness is. namely: right understanding. and conjoined with the Path. there are two kinds of the Eightfold Path: the “mundane. The view that alms and offerings are not useless.”] Now. and brings good results. and in overcoming wrong understanding with attentive mind. he should be answered thus: The Perfect One is free from any theory.” which yields worldly fruits. and getting rid of all opinions and conjectures. and the “ultra-mundane. both of good and bad actions. and dwelling with attentive mind in the possession of right understanding. Right Effort [6th step]. who can explain this life and the next life. and to arouse right understanding. He has understood what perception is. for the Perfect One has understood what corporeality is. and passes away. one practices. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha 1. if any one should put the question. He has understood what the mental formations are. [Thus. that there is fruit and result. the Perfect One has won complete deliverance through the extinction. and right attentiveness. and passes away. and conjoined with the path. of right understanding. and how it arises. and how it arises. one practices Right Understanding [1st step]. but is ultramundane. and how it arises. 2.” Whether Perfect Ones [Buddhas] appear in the world or whether Perfect Ones do not appear in the world. and pass away. of all inclination to the vainglory of “I” and “mine. I say. Complete Deliverance Now. that there are such things as this life.” practiced by the “worldling”. whether I admit any view at all. and passes away. Therefore. and passes away. disappearance. and how it arises. right effort. an immutable fact and Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 71 .—this is called the “Ultramundane Right Understanding. He has understood what feeling is.

will. the so-called created. indeed. or ten years. or mind. For it is evident that this body may last for a year. These three kinds of feelings are impermanent. a perception. Now. and seeing this. after the extinction of that feeling. for my Ego has the faculty of feeling. i. And thus he will consider his Ego already in this present life as impermanent. and passing away as another thing. subject to rising and passing away. is it there possible to say: ‘This am I?’” Or. a mental formation. are subject to decay and dissolution. thinks that this is his Ego. constitute the Ego. a feeling. all possible physical and mental constituents of existence. there is no such thing.e. And it is impossible that a being possessed of Right Understanding should regard anything as the Ego. If any one should say that Feeling is not his Ego. and indifferent feeling. to fading-away and extinction. no feeling whatever exists. and that his Ego is inaccessible to feeling. 72 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . for two years. after the extinction of feeling. is not my Ego. but it also is untrue that my Ego is inaccessible to feeling. if there. one should come to the conclusion that one’s Ego arises and passes away. but that which is called thought. or the mind-objects. Whosoever. feeling should become altogether totally extinguished. five. he should be answered thus: “There are three kinds of feeling: pleasurable. mixed up with pleasure and pain. someone might say: “Feeling. admit that his Ego has become dissolved. where there is no feeling. is continuously. it is then possible to say: ‘This am I?’” To say that the mind. as his Ego. in experiencing one of these feelings. he should be asked thus: “Now. for it is my Ego that feels.] A corporeal phenomenon. built up of the four elements. such an assertion is unfounded. during day and night. now. if someone should say that Feeling is his Ego. It would be better for the unlearned worldling to regard this body.” [The word sankhara (formations) comprises all things which have a beginning and an end. now. arising as one thing. do you consider your Ego?” At the moment namely of experiencing one of these feelings one does not experience the other two.Chapter 4. of dependent origin. and I also say. For an arising and a passing away is seen there. Which of these three feelings. for three years. eternal and not subject to change: such a thing the wise men in this world do not recognize. that is permanent and persistent. rather than the mind. or consciousness. four.. or even a hundred years and more.” Such a one should be answered thus: “Suppose. or the mind-consciousness. painful. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha fixed law: that all formations are “impermanent” that all formations are “subject to suffering”. a consciousness. or “formed” things. that everything is “without an Ego.

] Past. that you will be in the future. but no doer of the deed is there. it is not counted as curds. their extinction. perceives the dependent origination. of perception. whatsoever there is of corporeality.e. any one should ask: “Have you been in the past. Now only the present existence is real. but unreal the past and future existence. but unreal the past and future existence. but not the man that enters it. or ghee. it is only counted as curds—just so was my past existence at that time real.. no sufferer is found. mere popular notions. and Future If.Chapter 4. whether one’s own or external. gross or subtle. makes use of these. For. but unreal the future and present existence. or butter. and it is untrue that you are not. mere conventional terms of speaking. that you are. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Therefore. as void of a personality. and is it untrue that you are not?”—you may say that you have been in the past. there one should understand according to reality and true wisdom: “This does not belong to me. from curds butter. The Perfect One. but unreal the past and present existence. lofty or low. from butter ghee. perceives the truth and he who perceives the truth. Present. but unreal the past and present existence.” [To show the Egolessness. however. but no traveler on it is seen. and is it untrue that you have not been? Will you be in the future. and my present existence is now real. but only as milk. Thus. of feeling. far or near. and it is untrue that you have not been. he is liable Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 73 . or scum of ghee. utter emptiness of existence. and is it untrue that you will not be? Are you. Visuddhi-Magga XVI quotes the following verse: Mere suffering exists. clinging to them. he who perceives the Dependent Origination. Verily. and my future existence will be at one time real. In the past only the past existence was real. perception. The Path is. from milk curds. indeed. just as from the cow comes milk. this is not my Ego. and when it is curds. and the way to their extinction. but unreal the future and present existence. from ghee the scum of ghee. and when it is milk. and it is untrue that you will not be. of consciousness. or Ego]. now. and not their arising. feeling. he who does not understand corporeality. In the future only the future existence will be real. The deed is. mental formations and consciousness according to reality [i. Nirvana is. of mental formations. without. this am I not. All these are merely popular designations and expressions.

—On consciousness depends the Mental and Physical Existence. On the karma-formations depends Consciousness [starting with rebirth-consciousness in the womb of the mother].Chapter 4. and shown the Middle Doctrine. in that case also a holy life is not possible. On clinging depends the Process of Becoming.—On the process of becoming [here: karma process] depends Rebirth. Verily.—On craving depends Clinging. if one holds the view that the vital principle is something quite different from the body. Buddhist Temple.—On the six sense-organs depends the Sensory Impression. This is called the noble truth of the origin of suffering.—On rebirth depend Decay and Death. grief and despair. and so forth. or that he does not continue after death. sorrow. if one holds the view that the vital principle [Ego] is identical with this body. in that case a holy life is not possible. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering. from 1905 French Postcard 74 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .—On the sensory impression depends Feeling. pain. Both these two Extremes the Perfect One has avoided.—On feeling depends. lamentation.—On the mental and physical existence depend the Six Sense-Organs. or. either that the Perfect One continues after death. Craving. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha to believe. Cambodia. saying: Dependent Origination On Delusion depend the Karma-Formations.

This is called the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering. through the extinction of craving. which are not done out of greed. Consciousness [rebirth] is extinguished. that I propound my doctrine for the purpose of annihilation. Rebirth is extinguished. which have not their source and origin there—such actions are. Through the extinction of the six sense-organs. Through the extinction of craving. the Sensory Impression is extinguished. however. the Mental and Physical Existence is extinguished. obstructed by Delusion. Decay and Death. I do teach annihilation—the annihilation. therefore such action comes to ever fresh Rebirth. anger and delusion. pain. anger and delusion. Through the extinction of the Karma-formations. nor demeritorious. rooted out. or in some future life. Through the extinction of the mental and physical existence. as well as of the manifold evil and unwholesome things. or the psychical. Thus takes place the extinction of this whole mass of suffering. now here now there seek ever fresh delight. lamentation. no future rebirth takes place again. anger and delusion. Through the extinction of rebirth. which have not sprung from them. [“Dependent Origination” is the teaching of the strict conformity to law of everything that happens. sorrow. through the fading away of delusion through the arising of wisdom. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha In whom. there one experiences the fruits of this action. Thus. nor imperturbable Karmaformations. or the next life. In this respect one may rightly say of me: that I teach annihilation. For the actions. through the absence of greed. Through the extinction of feeling. Through the extinction of clinging. and wherever this action ripens. anger and delusion. for. Through the extinction of consciousness. and ensnared by Craving. and that I herein train my disciples. Clinging is extinguished. destroyed. It shows Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 75 . grief and despair are extinguished. of greed. the six Sense—Organs are extinguished. the Process of Becoming is extinguished. Feeling is extinguished. And the action that is done out of greed. and not liable to spring up again. the KarmaFormations are extinguished. Through the extinction of the process of becoming. because beings. abandoned. whether in the realm of the physical. namely. Karma: Rebirth—Producing and Barren Verily. has its source and origin there: this action ripens wherever one is reborn. through the entire fading away and extinction of this Delusion. be it in this life. Through the extinction of the sensory impression. such a disciple heaps up neither meritorious. Craving is extinguished. However. Delusion has disappeared and wisdom arisen. like a palm-tree torn out of the soil. certainly. that springs from them.Chapter 4.

but has an existence that is dependent upon conditions. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha how the totality of phenomena. ratiocination. or in a society. This is called right mindedness. and to arouse right-mindedness. and from cruelty:—this is called the “Mundane Right Mindedness. but is ultra mundane. if he knows nothing: “I know nothing”. Being at a meeting. and right-mindedness as right. and abstains from it. together with all its suffering—and this is the vital point of the teaching is not the mere play of blind chance. let me tell you. 2. namely: right understanding. the holy path being pursued—: these “Verbal Operations” of the mind are called the “Ultramundane Right Mindedness” which is not of the world. and that. and if he knows. Hence. Now. thought. he answers: “I 76 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . thoughts free from ill-will.] Second Step: Right Mindedness What. in understanding wrong-mindedness as wrong. and right attentiveness. thoughts free from cruelty. and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right-mindedness. is of two kinds: 1. abstaining from talebearing. and in making efforts to overcome evil-mindedness. those things that have arisen in dependence upon them—thus also all suffering—must perforce disappear and cease to be. Thoughts free from lust. one practices Right Understanding [1st step]. worthy of confidence.Chapter 4. is Right Speech? It is abstaining from lying. one practices Right Effort [6th step]. whatsoever there is of thinking. is Right Mindedness? It is thoughts free from lust.” which yields worldly fruits and brings good results. application—the mind being holy. or in the king’s court. to tell what he knows. is devoted to the truth. and conjoined with the paths. Third Step: Right Speech What. He speaks the truth. precisely with the removal of these conditions. considering. physical and mental. reasoning. and in overcoming evil-mindedness with attentive mind. abstaining from harsh language. or amongst people. But. from ill-will. abstaining from vain talk. is not a deceiver of men. one practices Right Attentiveness [7th step]. and called upon and asked as witness. and conjoined with the path. being turned away from the world. he answers. someone avoids lying. there are three things that accompany and follow upon right-mindedness. Right Mindedness. There. now. reliable. Now. right effort. or in the midst of his relatives. now. the entire phenomenal world that depends wholly upon the six senses.

21. 2. but is ultramundane. he answers: “I have seen. Hence. one practices Right Effort [6th step]. Now. speaks about the law and the discipline. and free from any hidden malice. What he has heard here. soothing to the ear. he never knowingly speaks a lie.” Thus. whoso gave way to anger thereat. there are three things that accompany and follow upon right attentiveness. would not be following my advice. the abstaining. one practices Right Attentiveness [7th step].” and if he has seen. he delights and rejoices in concord. if he has seen nothing. from harsh language. in accordance with facts.’”] He avoids vain talk. deep. He speaks such words as are gentle. and abstains from it. and abstains from it. so as to cause dissension there. For thus ought you to train yourselves:” “‘Undisturbed shall our mind remain. This is called right speech. with heart full of love. freed from anger and hatred. and abstains from it. he does not repeat there. and in overcoming wrong speech with attentive mind. withholding. nor for the sake of another person’s advantage. and what he heard there. he encourages. one practices Right Understanding [1st step). moderate and full of sense. O monks. and those that are united. and that person shall we penetrate with loving thoughts. and conjoined with the path. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha know”. and agreeable to many. refraining therefrom—the mind being holy. going to the heart. and conjoined with the paths. loving.” which yields worldly fruits and brings good results. no evil words shall escape our lips. at the right moment accompanied by arguments. friendly and full of sympathy shall we remain. and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right speech. boundless.Chapter 4. speaks what is useful. and right speech as right. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 77 . in understanding wrong speech as wrong. Abstaining from lying. Now. [In Majjhima-Nikaya. He speaks at the right time. and it is concord that he spreads by his words. should robbers and murderers saw through your limbs and joints. which is not of the world. he does not repeat here. right speech. let me tell you. Concord gladdens him. his speech is like a treasure. is of two kinds: 1. so as to cause dissension here. being turned away from the world. courteous and dear. No. he answers: “I have seen nothing. neither for the sake of his own advantage. the Buddha says: “Even. and from vain talk. He avoids tale-bearing. He avoids harsh language. from tale-bearing. the holy path being pursued—: this is called the “Ultramundane Right Speech”. Thus he unites those that are divided. But the abhorrence of the practice of this four-fold wrong speech. wide. this is called the “Mundane Right Speech. nor for the sake of any advantage whatsoever. and in making efforts to overcome evil speech and to arouse right speech.

that he does not take away with thievish intent.” which yields worldly fruits and brings good results. and abstains from it. This is called Right Action. with betrothed girls. full of sympathy. abstaining from stealing. nor.Chapter 4. withholding. he is anxious for the welfare of all living beings. nor with married women. sister or relatives. Right Action. nor female convicts. refraining therefrom—the mind being holy. Abstaining from killing. from stealing. He has no intercourse with such persons as are still under the protection of father. what another person possesses of goods and chattels in the village or in the wood. being turned away from the world. mother. lastly. and abstains from it. let me tell you. He avoids unlawful sexual intercourse. and from unlawful sexual intercourse—this is called the “Mundane Right Action. Without stick or sword. now. someone avoids the killing of living beings. abstaining from unlawful sexual intercourse. the abstaining. and abstains from it. brother. and conjoined 78 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Temple Wat Prakeu Now. But the abhorrence of the practice of this three-fold wrong action. There. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Fourth Step: Right Action What. is Right Action? It is abstaining from killing. conscientious. is of two kinds: 1. He avoids stealing.

2. avoiding wrong living. this is called Right Living. Hence. one practices Right Understanding [1st step]. and to arouse right action. When the noble disciple. but is ultramundane. one practices Right Effort [6th step]. now. one practices Right Understanding [1st step]. But the abhorrence of wrong living. being turned away from the world. refraining therefrom—the mind being holy.Chapter 4. the abstaining. the effort to overcome. one practices Right Effort [6th step]. but is ultramundane. Hence. let me tell you. Now. and conjoined with the paths. the effort to develop. is Right Effort? There are Four Great Efforts: the effort to avoid. namely: right understanding. puts Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 79 . gets his livelihood by a right way of living. What. and conjoined with the path. and the effort to maintain. the holy path being pursued—: this is called the “Ultramundane Right Action. and right action as right. and right attentiveness. the disciple incites his mind to avoid the arising of evil. one practices Right Attentiveness [7th step]. is of two kinds: 1. and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right living. Now. and in overcoming wrong action with attentive mind. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha with the path. is Right Living? When the noble disciple. and right living as right. one practices Right Attentiveness [7th step]. there are three things that accompany and follow upon right living. and conjoined with the paths. avoiding a wrong way of living. right living.” which is not of the world.” which yields worldly fruits and brings good results. is the effort to avoid? There.” which is not of the world. right effort. and right attentiveness. Sixth Step: Right Effort What. to arouse right living. and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right action. demeritorious things that have not yet arisen. namely: right understanding. and in overcoming wrong living with attentive mind. Now. in understanding wrong action as wrong. and he strives. Fifth Step: Right Living What. right effort. and in making efforts to overcome wrong living. gets his livelihood by a right way of living—this is called the “Mundane Right Living. withholding. the holy path being pursued—: this is called the “Ultramundane Right Living. there are three things that accompany and follow upon right action. and in making efforts to overcome wrong action. now. now. in understanding wrong living as wrong.

truly. anger and delusion will dissolve and disappear. he should. a sound with the ear. 80 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . ill-will. he neither adheres to the whole. with his mind. into which no evil thing can enter. now. puts forth his energy. when he perceives a form with the eye. whilst regarding a certain object. nor to its parts. destroys them. Possessed of this noble “Control over the Senses. “One may enjoy the different ‘Magical Powers. This is called the effort to overcome. This is called the effort to avoid. gain another and wholesome object. What. with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the gums. he should pay no attention to these thoughts. is the effort to Develop? There the disciple incites his will to arouse meritorious conditions that have not yet arisen. strains his mind and struggles. these evil and demeritorious thoughts of greed. Or. restrains his senses. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha forth his energy. now.Chapter 4. and he strives. demeritorious things that have already arisen. He does not retain any thought of sensual lust. if he remained with unguarded senses. would arise. greed and sorrow. are these thoughts! Blameable are these thoughts! Of painful result are these thoughts!” Or. an odor with the nose. evil and demeritorious thoughts connected with greed. anger and delusion. he should consider the compound nature of these thoughts. . or any other evil and demeritorious states that may have arisen. then the disciple should. dispels them. is the effort to Overcome? There. restrain. on account of it. .” he experiences inwardly a feeling of joy. From the reading. or an object with the mind. puts forth his energy. a contact with the body. and he watches over his senses.’” What. or grief. Or. there arise in the disciple. he abandons them. composed and concentrated. a taste with the tongue. Five Methods of Expelling Evil Thoughts If. the disciple incites his mind to overcome the evil. and in doing so. and he strives. strains his mind and struggles. And he strives to ward off that through which evil and demeritorious things. and the mind will inwardly become settled and calm. Thus. strains his mind and struggles. he should reflect on the misery of these thoughts: “Unwholesome. suppress and root out these thoughts. Or. causes them to disappear. by means of this object.

and ending in deliverance. in contemplation Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 81 . and Equanimity.Chapter 4. he is filled with the thought: “May rather skin. and not to let them disappear. on extinction. the disciple who is possessed of faith and has penetrated the Teaching of the Master. of a corpse riddled with holes. of a festering corpse. Concentration. Rapture. This is called the effort to maintain. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Thus he develops the “Elements of Enlightenment. Seventh Step: Right Attentiveness What. puts forth his energy. Truly. Tranquility. to maturity and to the full perfection of development. in contemplation of Feeling. namely: Attentiveness. on detachment. the disciple incites his will to maintain the meritorious conditions that have already arisen. Investigation of the Law. to the entering upon the right path and the realization of Nirvana. may the flesh and blood of my body dry up: I shall not give up my efforts so long as I have not attained whatever is attainable by manly perseverance. and he strives. he keeps firmly in his mind a favorable object of concentration that has arisen. the scion of the sun. now. to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation. of a corpse infested by worms. Energy. is the effort to Maintain? There. This is called the effort to develop. Of Developing and Maintaining: These four great efforts have been shown By him. now. but to bring them to growth. May put an end to all the pain. is Right Attentiveness? The only way that leads to the attainment of purity. What."” bent on solitude. for example. Thus. And he who firmly clings to them. of a corpse blue-black in color. is the “Four Fundamentals of Attentiveness.” And which are these four? In them. the disciple dwells in contemplation of the Body. Overcoming. of a corpse swollen up. as the mental image of a skeleton. strains his mind and struggles. sinews and bones wither away. to the end of pain and grief. energy and endeavor!” This is called right effort. The effort of Avoiding.

when making a short exhalation. standing. with legs crossed. stands. And further. he knows: “I make a long exhalation. he knows: “I make a short inhalation”. and tasting. With attentive mind he breathes in. no woman. beholds the arising and passing away of the body. clearly conscious in looking forward and backward. how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body? There. Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body. “I lie down”.” “I stand.. nor anything belonging to a person”— this clear consciousness is present in him. to the foot of a tree. clearly perceiving the entire [breath]body. with attentive mind he breathes out. or to other persons.” Clearly perceiving the entire [breath]-body. drinking.] And further. “I will breathe in”: thus he trains himself. chewing. clearly conscious and attentive. ardent. the disciple retires to the forest. no self. “I will breathe out”: thus he trains himself. Calming this bodily function. no individual. the disciple understands the expressions: “I go”. unattached to anything in the world. he knows: “I make a long inhalation”. sits himself down. “A body is there—” “A body is there. after putting away worldly greed and grief. He beholds how the body arises. when making a long exhalation. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha of the Mind. because of his knowledge and mindfulness. or to both. “I stand”.” when making a short inhalation. sitting. beholds how it passes away. calming this bodily function. Contemplation of the Body But. “I will breathe out”: thus he trains himself. but no living being. but that it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: “I go. that goes. a real Ego. clearly conscious 82 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . neither a person. “I sit”. no man. “I will breathe in”: thus he trains himself. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body. clearly conscious in bending and stretching. etc. body erect. When making a long inhalation. whilst going. and he lives independent. or to a solitary place. and with attentiveness fixed before him. and nothing that belongs to a self. either with regard to his own person.Chapter 4.” and so forth. [The disciple understands that it is not a being. or lying down. he understands any position of the body. the disciple is clearly conscious in his going and coming. clearly conscious in eating. in contemplation of the Mind-objects. he knows: “I make a short exhalation.

thus: “That is paddy. it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: ‘I go. . bespattered with blood. this is sesamum. this is husked rice”: just so does the disciple investigate this body. of his duty. “. sweat. lungs. kidneys. filled with all kinds of grain—with paddy.” And further. intestines. lymph. falling asleep and awakening. a framework of bones. eaten by crows. tears. bones. blood. clearly conscious in walking. sesamum and husked rice—and a man not blind opened it and examined its contents.” Just as if there were a sack. stomach. blue-black in color. or gnawed by all kinds of worms—he draws the conclusion as to his own body: “This my body also has this nature. but still held together by the sinews. . sitting. flesh. by dogs or jackals. full of corruption he draws the conclusion as to his own body: “This my body also has this nature. two. of the reality. a framework of bones. has this destiny. without flesh and blood. who has slaughtered a cow and divided it into separate portions. and filled with manifold impurities: “This body consists of hairs. beans. just as if the disciple should see a corpse thrown into the burial-ground. nails. bespattered with blood. spleen. . swollen-up. he is clearly conscious: of his intention. with openings at both ends. has this destiny. spittle.’. these are beans. and excrement. teeth. should sit down at the junction of four highroads: just so does the disciple contemplate this body with regard to the elements. the disciple contemplates this body from the sole of the foot upward. nasal mucus. or three days dead. stripped of flesh. the liquid element.” Just as a skilled butcher or butcher’s apprentice. a framework of bones. bowels. . the disciple contemplates this body with regard to the elements: “This body consists of the solid element. the heating element and the vibrating element. oil of the joints. and cannot escape it. clearly conscious in speaking and in keeping silent. and urine.Chapter 4. heart. phlegm. held together by the sinews. standing. liver. . skin. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha in discharging excrement and urine. bones. ” “In all the disciple is doing. semen.” And further. just as if the disciple should see a corpse thrown into the burialground. of his advantage. held together by the sinews. diaphragm. . one.” And further. with a skin stretched over it. sinews. disconnected and scattered in all direcReadings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 83 . and cannot escape it. And further. and from the top of the hair downward. And further. marrow. From the reading. pus. of bile. hawks or vultures. just as if the disciple should see a corpse thrown into the burialground. flesh hanging from it.’ ‘I stand.

Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body. one does not allow himself to be overcome by discontent. there a shin bone. as soon as it arises. developed. The four “Trances. one may perceive how beings are reborn according to their deeds. one’s foundation. there a bone of the foot. and he lives independent. and cannot escape it. unpleasant. the beautiful and the ugly. patiently one endures wicked and malicious speech. one may hear both kinds of sounds. bones weathered and crumbled to dust. even in this life. the super-human. has this destiny. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha tions.” With the “Heavenly Ear. as well as bodily pains. bitter. either with regard to his own person. there the pelvis. disagreeable and dangerous to life.” come to know for oneself. “A body is there” this clear consciousness is present in him. With the mind one may obtain “Insight into the Hearts of Other Beings” of other persons. attacks by gadflies. is firmly established. or to other persons. one may see beings vanish and reappear. has this destiny.Chapter 4. because of his knowledge and mindfulness. 84 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and cannot escape it. He beholds how the body arises. one may expect ten blessings: Over Delight and Discontent one has mastery. or to both. one subdues them.” the purified. though they be piercing. beholds the arising and passing of the body.” And further. without effort. here a bone of the hand. through the “Cessation of Passions.” the purified. One may. has become one’s habit. bleached and resembling shells. bones heaped together. as soon as they arise. the distant and the near. just as if the disciple should see bones lying in the burial ground. there a thigh bone. One may enjoy the different “Magical Powers. One may obtain “Remembrance of many Previous Births. the super-human. beholds how it passes away.” With the “Heavenly Eye.” Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body. one does not allow himself to be overcome by fear and anxiety. mosquitoes and reptiles. the deliverance through wisdom. the heavenly and the earthly. unattached to anything in the world. the happy and the unfortunate.—he draws the conclusion as to his own body: “This my body also has this nature. the stainless deliverance of mind. The Ten Blessings Once the contemplation of the body is practiced. sharp.” the mind bestowing happiness even here: these one may enjoy at will. One conquers Fear and Anxiety. strengthened and well perfected. after the lapse of years. hunger and thirst. without difficulty. wind and sun. One endures cold and heat. often repeated. the base and the noble. that befall one. there the spine. one subdues it. there the skull—he draws the conclusion as to his own body: “This my body also has this nature.

” or “I have a worldly agreeable feeling.” “Thought” and “thinking” correspond rather to the so-called “verbal operations of the mind”. unattached to anything in the world. and the undeveloped mind as undeveloped. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings. no person. knows the developed mind as developed. and the unfreed mind as unfreed. no experience of the feelings. it should not be translated by “thought.” or have an unworldly indifferent feeling.Chapter 4. Being identical with consciousness. knows the deluded mind as deluded. they Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 85 . beholds the arising and passing away of the feelings. knows the freed mind as freed.] Contemplation of the Mind But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind? The disciple knows the greedy mind as greedy. . and he lives independent. knows the angry mind as angry. and the not angry mind as not angry. he understands that.” or “I have an indifferent feeling. He knows the cramped mind as cramped. or to both.” or “I have a worldly indifferent feeling. and the unsurpassable mind as unsurpassable. .” or “I have an unworldly disagreeable feeling.” or “I have a disagreeable feeling. “. . there are only feelings. and the not greedy mind as not greedy. He beholds how the feelings arise. knows the concentrated mind as concentrated. or to other persons. and that there is no Ego. and he lives independent.”< or “I have an unworldly agreeable feeling” or “I have a worldly disagreeable feeling. unattached to anything in the world. beholds how they pass away. . [“Mind” is here used as a collective for the moments of consciousness.” [The disciple understands that the expression “I feel” has no validity except as an expression of common speech. because of his knowledge and mindfulness. and the unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated. From the reading. in the absolute sense. and the undeluded mind as undeluded. either with regard to his own person. the disciple knows: “I have an indifferent agreeable feeling. “Feelings are there”: this clear consciousness is present in him. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Contemplation of the Feelings But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings? In experiencing feelings. Thus he dwells in contemplation of the feelings. knows the surpassable mind as surpassable. and the scattered mind as scattered.

or to both.” He knows when there is “Lust” in him: “In me is lust”. He knows eye and visual objects. by reaching Sotapanship. of primary. or to other persons. third and fourth Trances. because of his knowledge and mindfulness. this clear consciousness is present in him. friendship with wise and good men. knows when there is “Torpor and Drowsiness” in him: “In me is torpor and drowsiness”. knows what the Mental Formations are. he also knows. either with regard to his own person. tongue and tastes. once arisen. “Mind is there”. and he lives independent. once overcome. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind. mind and mind objects.” He knows how they come to arise. Lust arises through unwise thinking on the agreeable and delightful. knows when there are “Doubts” in him: “In me are doubts. Restlessness is extinguished by reaching Arahatship. how it away. knows when there is “Anger” in him: “In me is anger”. of the “Five Hindrances. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha are not. how it passes away. how it passes away. contemplation of the loathsomeness of the body. And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena of the six Subjective-Objective Sense-Bases. knows what Consciousness is. knows how. Mental Worry. knows what Feeling is. knows how. unattached to anything in the world. nose and odors. but of secondary nature. beholds the arising and passing away of consciousness. right instruction. how it arises. body and touches.] And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena. Lust is forever extinguished upon entrance into Anagamiship. knows what Perception is. how it passes away. how it arises. knows when there is “Restlessness and Mental Worry” in him: “In me is restlessness and mental worry”. of the five Groups of Existence. they do not rise again in the future. He knows how the 86 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .” He knows when these hindrances are not in him: “In me these hindrances are not. and are entirely absent in all sensuous consciousness. [For example. He beholds how consciousness arises. ear and sounds. He knows what Corporeality is. controlling one’s six senses. it may be suppressed by the following six methods: fixing the mind upon an idea that arouses disgust.] Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind. like consciousness. Contemplation of Phenomena (Mind-objects) But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the phenomena? First. how they pass away. they are overcome. how it arises.Chapter 4. how it arises. and the fetter that arises in dependence on them. (See eighth step). how they arise. moderation in eating. the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena. as well as in the second. beholds how it passes away.

when there is Equanimity in him. and he lives independent. what the Origin of Suffering is. knows according to reality.Chapter 4. And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena of the seven Elements of Enlightenment. either with regard to his own person. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha fetter comes to arise. The disciple knows when there is Attentiveness in him. or to other persons. when there is Investigation of the Law in him. when there is Concentration in him. when there is Tranquility in him. And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the phenomena of the Four Noble Truths. Rice Boat. He beholds how the phenomena arise. to the overcoming of sorrow Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 87 . beholds the arising and passing away of the phenomena. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the phenomena. Phenomena are there. Library of Congress The only way that leads to the attainment of purity. and how it is fully developed. knows according to reality. Thus he dwells in contemplation of the phenomena. what the Extinction of Suffering is. what Suffering is. when there is Enthusiasm in him. He knows according to reality. knows how the fetter is overcome. when there is Energy in him. and how the abandoned fetter does not rise again in future. He knows when it is not in him. beholds how they pass away. unattached to anything in the world. or to both. knows according to reality. this consciousness is present in him because of his knowledge and mindfulness. knows how it comes to arise. what the Path is that leads to the Extinction of Suffering.

II. For. attentive. attentive.” full of energy. there is no Watching over in-and Out-breathing. IV.Chapter 4. Whenever the disciple is training himself to inhale or exhale whilst feeling the mind. or detachment at such a time he is dwelling in “contemplation of the phenomena. or in making a short inhalation or exhalation. is these four fundamentals of attentiveness. clearly conscious. brings the four Fundamentals of Attentiveness to perfection. to the end of pain and grief. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha and lamentation. or is training himself to inhale or exhale whilst feeling the whole [breath]-body.” full of energy. For. Whenever the disciple is training himself to inhale or exhale whilst contemplating impermanence. and the realization of Nirvana. after subduing worldly greed and grief. or whilst gladdening the mind or whilst concentrating the mind. clearly conscious. practiced and developed. attentive. the seven elements of enlightenment. bring the four Fundamentals of Attentiveness to perfection? I. or whilst calming down the mental functions—at such a time he is dwelling in “contemplation of the feelings.” full of energy. Whenever the disciple is conscious in making a long inhalation or exhalation. to the entering upon the right path. clearly conscious. attentive. the four fundamentals of attentiveness.” of energy. III. I say. Nirvana Through Watching Over Breathing “Watching over In-and Out-breathing” practiced and developed. practiced and developed. practiced and developed bring the seven Elements of Enlightenment to perfection. brings the four Fundamentals of Attentiveness to perfection. For. or joy. bring Wisdom and Deliverance to perfection. Watching over In-and Out-breathing. Whenever the disciple is training himself to inhale or exhale whilst feeling rapture. bring the seven Elements of Enlightenment to full perfection? 88 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . or whilst calming down this bodily function—at such a time the disciple is dwelling in “contemplation of the body. But how do the four Fundamentals of Attentiveness. thus practiced and developed. after subduing worldly greed and grief. or the mental functions. after subduing worldly greed and grief. or extinction. But how does Watching over In-and Out-breathing. after subduing worldly greed and grief. or whilst setting the mind free—at such a time he is dwelling in “contemplation of the mind. clearly conscious. inhalation and exhalation I call one amongst the corporeal phenomena. or the fading away of passion. practiced and developed. without attentiveness and clear consciousness. the full awareness of in—and outbreathing I call one amongst the feelings.

and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection. And whenever he thoroughly looks with indifference on his mind thus concentrated—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Equanimity. mind and phenomena.” The four fundamentals of attentiveness. And whenever. thus practiced and developed. his energy is firm and unshaken—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Energy”. and whenever his attentiveness is present and undisturbed. clearly conscious. And whenever in him. after subduing worldly greed and grief—at such a time his attentiveness is undisturbed. just as if the disciple should see a corpse thrown into the burial-ground. . whilst enraptured in mind. whilst dwelling with attentive mind. . his mind becomes concentrated—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Concentration”. And whenever. strenuous. . and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection. . . at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Attentiveness”.Chapter 4. From the reading. and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection. whilst being tranquilized in his spiritual frame and happy. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Whenever the disciple is dwelling in contemplation of body. And whenever. examining and thinking over the law. examines and thinks over the Law—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Investigation of the Law”. he draws the conclusion as to his own body: ‘This my body also has this nature. his spiritual frame and his mind become tranquil—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Tranquility”. swollen-up. feeling. . ’” And whenever. “. bring the seven elements of enlightenment to full perfection. and cannot escape it. two. .. he wisely investigates. and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection. one. and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 89 . . whilst wisely investigating. attentive. or three days dead. whilst firm in energy. has this destiny. arises supersensuous rapture—at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment “Rapture”. and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

in order to drive out of him his wonted forest ways and wishes. and to teach him such good behavior as is required amongst men: in like manner also has the noble disciple to fix his mind firmly to these four fundamentals of attentiveness. Energy.” which is the concentration present in the four trances. in any way possesses the power of conferring entry into the Four Ultramundane Paths. now. as such. the disciple is developing the elements of enlightenment: Attentiveness. in them is really no power to free oneself permanently from evil things. developing and cultivating of these things: this is the “Development” of concentration. is not a requisite for the realization of the Four Ultramundane Paths of Holiness. without however attaining it. This insight is attainable only during Neighborhood-Concentration. and win to the True. so that he may drive out of himself his wonted worldly ways and wishes. The four Fundamentals of Attentiveness (seventh step): these are the objects of concentration. The four Great Efforts (sixth step): these are the requisites for concentration.” which approaches the first trance. and impersonality of phenomenal process of existence. 90 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Rapture. “Neighborhood-Concentration.Chapter 4. on extinction and renunciation. bring Wisdom and Deliverance to full perfection? There. obstinacy and violence. Just as the elephant hunter drives a huge stake into the ground and chains the wild elephant to it by the neck. The realization of the Four Ultramundane Paths is possible only at the moment of insight into the impermanency. obstinacy and violence. and realize Nirvana. not during AttainmentConcentration. Investigation of the Law. miserable nature. [Right Concentration has two degrees of development: 1. his wonted worldly unruliness. and to accustom him to the environment of the village. Tranquility. do the seven elements of enlightenment bring wisdom and deliverance to full perfection. is Right Concentration? Fixing the mind to a single object (“Onepointedness of mind”): this is concentration. Concentration and Equanimity. on absence of desire. 2. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha But how do the seven elements of enlightenment. and neither Neighborhood-Concentration nor Attainment-Concentration. practiced and developed. however. Eighth Step: Right Concentration What. The attainment of the trances. The practicing. Thus practiced and developed. bent on detachment. hence. “Attainment Concentration. his forest unruliness.

Torpor and Dullness.” is born of “Detachment. that is its goal.” and “Happiness. . is called “one who has taken tranquility as his vehicle. And further: after the fading away of rapture. “That unshakable deliverance of the heart: that.Chapter 4.” and “Rumination. and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha He who has realized one or other of the Four Ultramundane Paths without ever having attained the Trances. From the reading. the disciple enters into the first trance. clearly conscious. Rapture. into the fourth trance. And further: after the subsiding of verbal thought and rumination. is the object of the Holy Life. and filled with Rapture and Happiness. Doubts. verily.” or one whose passions are “dried up by Insight. detached from unwholesome things. there have vanished [the 5 Hindrances]: Lust. which is accompanied by “Verbal Thought. of which the Noble Ones say: “Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind”—thus he enters the third trance. and Concentration.”] The Four Trances Detached from sensual objects. is called a “Dry-visioned One. and “Sympathetic Joy” may lead to the attainment of the first three Trances.” and filled with “Rapture. and by the gaining of inward tranquility and oneness of mind. the “Meditation of Equanimity. ” The three other Sublime Meditations of “Loving Kindness. Illwill. that is its essence. he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain.” and others. attentive. Happiness. he dwells in equanimity.” This first trance is free from five things. who after cultivating the Trances has reached one of the Ultramundane Paths. The “Cemetery Meditations. Restlessness and Mental Worry. as well as through the fourth sublime meditation. And further: after the giving up of pleasure and pain. The “Analysis of the Body” and the Contemplation on Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 91 .” He. he enters into a state free from verbal thought and rumination. however. [The four Trances may be obtained by means of Watching over In-and Out-breathing. When the disciple enters the first trance. which is born of Concentration. and five things are present. and there are present: Verbal Thought. . and he experiences in his person that feeling. which is purified by equanimity and attentiveness.” as well as the meditation “On Loathsomeness.” will produce only the First Trance. the second trance. Rumination.” “Compassion”.

Morality. he delights and rejoices in 92 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and which leads to peace.—He avoids tale-bearing and abstains from it. will only produce Neighborhood-Concentration. and abstains from taking what is not given to him. when one lives at home. 5th Step) Having thus left the world.—He avoids unchastity. the vulgar way. mental formations and consciousness. is not a deceiver of men. he cuts off hair and beard. put on the yellow robe and go forth from home to the homeless life?” And in a short time. He speaks the truth. and goes forth from home to the homeless life. concord gladdens him. he does not repeat there. he does not repeat here.—He avoids lying and abstains from it. conscientious. Only what is given to him he takes. Delusion and Craving must be wisely abandoned. he is anxious for the welfare of all living beings. to fulfill in all points the rules of the holy life. This is the Middle Path which the Perfect One has discovered. living chaste. reliable.] Develop your concentration: for he who has concentration understands things according to their reality. Not easy is it. having given up his more or less extensive possessions. Development of the Eightfold Path—Confidence and Right-Mindedness (2nd Step) Suppose a householder. puts on the yellow robe. 4th. And filled with this confidence. And following upon this path. or someone reborn in any family. etc. hears the law. the Holy Brotherhood. perception. which makes one both to see and to know. so as to cause dissension there. to enlightenment. How. and keeping aloof from sexual intercourse. He avoids the killing of living beings and abstains from it.. And what are these things? The arising and passing away of corporeality.—He avoids stealing. to Nirvana. is devoted to the truth. Morality (3rd. if now I were to cut off hair and beard. resigned. full of sympathy. so as to cause dissension here. Thus. but pilgrim life is like the open air. he thinks: “Full of hindrances is household life. and those that are united he encourages.Chapter 4. What he has heard here. the Law. to discernment. waiting till it is given. worthy of confidence. of feeling. and after hearing the law he is filled with confidence in the Perfect One. you will put an end to suffering. and what he has heard there. a refuse heap. Tranquility and Insight must be wisely developed. having forsaken a smaller or larger circle of relations. Without stick or sword. or his son. these five Groups of Existence must be wisely penetrated. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha the Buddha. Thus he unites those that are divided. and he lives with a heart honest and pure. he fulfills the rules of the monks.

and it is concord that he spreads by his words. to greed and sorrow. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 93 . he sticks neither to the whole. carries his wings along with him. Raw corn and meat he does not accept. dearly conscious in discharging excrement and urine. and agreeable to many. Control of the Senses (6th Step) Now. and full of sense. deception and fraud. as well as every kind of adornment and embellishment. clearly conscious in eating. sheep. no land and goods. By practicing this noble “Control of the Senses” he feels in his heart an unblemished happiness. sitting. falling asleep and awakening. his speech is like a treasure. drinking. chaining. nor to its details. He contents himself with the robe that protects his body. in accordance with facts. in perceiving a form with the eye—a sound with the ear—an odor with the nose—a taste with the tongue—a touch with the body—an object with his mind. He owns no male and female slaves. soothing to the ear. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha concord. keep his senses under control. song.Chapter 4. rejects flowers. chewing and tasting. He keeps aloof from dance. Women and girls he does not accept. He avoids the crooked ways of bribery. moderate. standing. Wherever he goes. just as a winged bird. fowls. by being unguarded in his senses. metals and weights. beating. attacking. He speaks at the right time. cows or horses. And he tries to ward off that which. courteous and dear.—He avoids vain talk and abstains from it. He has nothing to do with false measures. might give rise to evil and unwholesome states. at the right moment accompanied by arguments. clearly conscious in speaking and keeping silent. High and gorgeous beds he does not use. in flying. music and the visiting of shows. going to the heart. pigs. clearly conscious in walking. clearly conscious in bending and stretching his body. He keeps aloof from buying and selling things. speaks about the law and the disciple. plundering and oppressing. He keeps aloof from stabbing. loving. and with the alms with which he keeps himself alive. Gold and silver he does not accept. he watches over his senses. He does not go on errands and do the duties of a messenger. clearly conscious in looking forward and backward. speaks what is useful.—He avoids harsh language and abstains from it. He speaks such words as are gentle. he is provided with these two things. By fulfilling this noble Domain of Morality he feels in his heart an irreproachable happiness. owns no goats. Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness (7th Step) Clearly conscious is he in his going and coming. perfumes. elephants. ointments.

he sits himself down with legs crossed.” 94 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . with watchful mind. or on a heap of straw. in a rock cave. is the Peace. as an ulcer.Chapter 4. an enemy.” “subject to pain. he cleanses his heart from ill-will. He has cast away Ill-will. a disturbance. or consciousness—all these phenomena he regards as “impermanent. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Now. in the open air. Insight (1st Step) But whatsoever there is of feeling. the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth. at the foot of a tree. loving the light. with attentiveness fixed before him. he dwells with a heart free from ill-will. Absence of the Five Hindrances He has cast away Lust. verily. the fading away of craving. he dwells free from torpor and dullness. He has cast away Torpor and Dullness. after the meal. a thorn. he cleanses his mind from torpor and dullness. dwelling with mind undisturbed.” and filled with this noble “Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness. he dwells with a heart free from lust. The Trances (8th Step) He has put aside these five Hindrances and come to know the paralyzing corruptions of the mind. he directs his mind towards the abiding. and turning away from these things. He has cast away Doubt. with clear consciousness. as empty and “void of an Ego”. in a cleft. from lust he cleanses his heart. he cleanses his mind from restlessness and mental worry. dwelling free from doubt.” And in this state he reaches the “Cessation of Passions. body erect. detachment. this is the Highest. far from unwholesome things. Having returned from his alms-round. a burden. he enters into the Four Trances. full of confidence in the good. thus: “This. he cleanses his heart from doubt. namely the end of all formations. on a burial ground. cherishing love and compassion toward all living beings. He has cast away Restlessness and Mental Worry. on a mountain.” as infirm.” he chooses a secluded dwelling in the forest. perception. a misery. being equipped with this lofty Morality. with heart full of peace. And far from sensual impressions. on a woody table-land. extinction: Nirvana. equipped with this noble “Control of the Senses. mental formation.

Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 95 . The Silent Thinker “I am” is a vain thought. Disciples. verily.” Forever am I liberated. However. the purpose of the Holy Life does not consist in acquiring alms. We have no Master more. “I am not” a vain thought. holiest peace: appeasement of greed. has been done. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Nirvana And his heart becomes free from sensual passion. the Silent One. and he knows: “Exhausted is rebirth. how should he grow old again? And as he grows no more old. This is the last time that I’m born. free from the passion of ignorance. were Holy and Enlightened Ones. fulfilled the Holy Life. For there is nothing in him that he should arise again.” But you should not think. as has been pointed out by me to my disciples. nor in gaining morality. This. is the highest. how should he die again? And as he dies no more. a thorn. “I shall be” is a vain thought. This.” And the thinker. And as he arises no more. in the future. as has been pointed out by me to my disciples. But after overcoming all vain thoughts. is the highest. how should he have desire? The True Goal Hence. what was to be done. in the past. how should he tremble? And as he trembles no more. an ulcer. honor. does no more arise. who formerly. no more desire. who afterwards. No new existence waits for me. naught remains more for this world to do. those Blessed Ones also have pointed out to their disciples this self-same goal. will be Holy and Enlightened Ones. “I shall not be” is a vain thought. or the eye of knowledge. concentration. no more tremble. it may be that (after my passing away) you might think: “Gone is the doctrine of our Master.Chapter 4. no more pass away. free from the passion for existence. holiest wisdom: to know that all suffering has passed away. one is called “silent thinker. hatred and delusion. Vain thoughts are a sickness. And those. or fame. verily. “Freed am I!”: this knowledge arises in the liberated one. those Blessed Ones also will point out to their disciples this self-same goal. And those.

. as a consolation to the world. well guard. after my death. the doctrines. Buddhist Room. ” 96 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . weal and welfare of heavenly beings and men. verily. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha for the Law and the Discipline. for the weal and welfare of the many. “That unshakable deliverance of the heart: that. for the happiness. Library of Congress From the reading. which I have taught you. be your master. which I advised you to penetrate. is the object of the Holy Life.Chapter 4. so that this Holy Life may take its course and continue for ages. . The Law be your light. . The Law be your refuge! Do not look for any other refuge! Disciples. . Will. you should well preserve.

“There is no true love save in suffering. indeed it is the only link between this world and the positive. which is suffering. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 97 . New York: Schocken Books. 2. If we were to flatter ourselves so much as to claim that we know the modum 2. 3. God knows all things as they are in themselves a priori and immediately through an intuitive understanding.. memories. Trans. Miguel de Unamuno. there is no self-improvement. or happiness.”2 Or Miguel de Unamuno writes. having to do with right and wrong) or in a psychological sense (i. .”3 3. for anguish. and pursuits. Trans.. “On Awareness. . or rather. . Could it be argued that suffering ought not be extinguished? Doesn’t suffering actually serve a helpful service in life? For example. In awareness there is no condemnation or identification. . There is a vast difference between the two.4 4. J. 1975. and in this world we have to choose either love. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha Topics Worth Investigating 1. On the contrary. Flitch. New York: Harper & Row. After studying this chapter. the more divine—the greater his capacity for suffering. . New York: Macmillan. therefore.e. Franz Kafka. it is the ending of the self. Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings.e.” in First and Last Freedom. do you think the following criticism of Buddhism by Immanuel Kant is well founded? We men know very little a priori. Awareness is not self-improvement. . Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. of the “I. 1921.. Through experience we know only appearances.1954. Explain how the achievement of non-attachment in Buddhism is unlike Søren Kierkegaard’s ethico-religious stage embodying the “ teleological suspension of the ethical” or Friedrich Nietzsche’s master morality of “standing beyond good and evil. . . not things as they are in themselves. and have our senses to thank for nearly all our knowledge. In introspection there is identification and condemnation. E . but not the modum noumenon.C.. “Suffering is the positive element in this world.Chapter 4. having to do with behavioral consequences). 4. Franz Kafka writes. The Tragic Sense of Life.” with all its peculiar idiosyncrasies. Man is the more man—that is. demands. Explain whether you think that the notion of “karmically wholesome” as used in this reading is meant primarily in a moral (i. . Discuss whether or not you think Buddha would agree with Krishnamurti’s distinction between “introspection” and “awareness”: Introspection is self-improvement and therefore introspection is self-centeredness. Jiddu Krishnamurti.” 5. .

5 6. 6. Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings. Immanuel Kant. 98 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Tibet. 86. resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower. 1978. Pirsig. Allen W. New York: Schocken Books. Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Robert M. Kafka writes: Suffering is the positive element in this world. the Godhead. New York: William Morrow.Y. Clark. Trans. 1974. Thus arises the mystical self-annihilation of China. and India. Buddha states the Noble Eightfold Path is “the way that leads to the extinction of suffering. Lectures on Philosophical Theology. indeed it is the only link between this world and the positive. Explain and amplify the meaning of Pirsig’s assertion: The Buddha. then we would have to be in community with God so as to participate immediately in the divine ideas.6 7. Ithaca. N. Wood and Gertrude M.” Is it clearly the case that suffering ought to be extinguished? For example.: Cornell University Press. To expect this in the present life is the business of mystics and theosophists.Chapter 4.7 Is Kafka referring to the same kind of suffering as is the Buddha? 5. 1954. Trans. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Franz Kafka. “The Noble Eightfold Path” by Buddha noumenon. in which one is under the delusion that he will finally be dissolved in the Godhead. 7.

The Dhammapada is generally considered among the most popular and best-loved Buddhist scriptures. to have been the utterances of the founder of their religion.C. the Dhammapada. 99 . several versions of these verses survive as recorded in different languages. 1871-3. at least as what were believed by the members of the council under Asoks. Ten Great Religions New York: Houghton Mifflin. . was passed on from generation to generation. After Buddha’s death. xiii. Max Müller says. The American Cyclopædia About the author. Quoted in James Freeman Clarke. .”1 1. 242 B.Chapter 5 The Dhammapada (abridged) Bronze Buddha.. purportedly under the guidance of Kasyapa. “I cannot see any reason why we should not treat the verses of the Dhammapada. Buddha’s disciples gathered to record orally the thoughts of their teacher in order that the insights of his spiritual truth would not be lost or changed. if not as the utterances of Buddha. The resulting collection of sayings.

false views. hatred. What is the meaning of the phrase. Sacred Books of the East. The experiences of each person are consequences of past thoughts and actions. . Oxford: Clarendon Press. What is the importance of mindfulness or earnestness? Why is thoughtlessness to be feared? 3. Name and characterize the five “lower fetters. Explain why Buddha believes hatred will cease when the world knows we will come to an end. Translated by Various Oriental Scholars. . Buddha believes that suffering ceases when the self is extinguished.” Which are to be cut off? Do you see any relation between the five bonds3 and the five lower fetters? 5. According to the The Dhammapada. ” Ideas of Interest from The Dhammapada 1. and conceit. The five bonds are greed. 3. . Translated from the Pauli by F. . Max Müller.Chapter 5. enlightenment or awakening as an escape from the seemingly endless cycles of life is as precious as it is rare. In the The Dhammapada: A Collection of Verses (abridged). What are the five “higher fetters” which an Arhat abandons? 6. From the reading. . Part I. delusion. The Dhammapada (abridged) About the work. . The Dhammapada: A Collection of Verses. In what ways do wise persons fashion themselves? How does a wise person differ from a foolish person? 4. Edited by F.2 the Buddha’s philosophy is presented in over 400 verses. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. 1881. Volume X. how is suffering to be overcome? 2. “we will come to an end”? 2. consequently. The scripture notes that people seek pleasure for themselves but experience suffering as a direct result of seeking their selfinterest. 100 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Ed. Why do you think the Bhikshu seeks separation from this world rather than seeking to do good works and deeds within this world? 7. Describe the Arhat. Max Müller.

like a shadow that never leaves him. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love. The Dhammapada (abridged) 8.Chapter 5. [T]here is no happiness higher than rest”? 11. 6. What do you think this verse from the The Dhammapada means: “. as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.”—in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease. ”? 13. 2. What do you think is meant by the phrase. should no one love anything? What does Buddha say about desire? 12. pain follows him. Do you think the law mentioned throughout the The Dhammapada is natural law or moral law or some combination of the two? 9. . it is made up of our thoughts. he defeated me. he beat me. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here. 5. “He abused me. he defeated me. 10. he robbed me. Contrast the Brahmana (Arhat) with the Bhikshu (Mendicant). . “He abused me. it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought. . All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts. 4. according to the The Dhammapada. he robbed me. The Reading Selection from The Dhammapada Chapter I: The Twin Verses 1.—but those who know it. this is an old rule. their quarrels cease at once. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought. happiness follows him.”—in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease. . Explain the metaphor of the tabernacle. 3. “There is no path through the air. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 101 . All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts. he beat me. Which of the following courses of action should be preeminent for you: seeking to help others with their duties or seeking to do your own duties? Explain why this is the case. Why.

. . . his senses uncontrolled. he suffers more when going on the evil path. 28. as one that stands on a mountain looks down upon them that stand upon the plain.. . looks down upon the fools. serene he looks upon the toiling crowd. Chapter II: On Earnestness 21. passion will break through an unreflecting mind. 18. Mara (the tempter) will certainly overthrow him.. 102 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . thoughtlessness the path of death.. passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind. any more than the wind throws down a rocky mountain. He is happy when he thinks of the good he has done. climbing the terraced heights of wisdom. he is still more happy when going on the good path. . Earnestness is the path of immortality (Nirvana). the wise. . 23. him Mara will certainly not overthrow. meditative. . as the wind throws down a weak tree. faithful and strong. 17. . The Dhammapada (abridged) 7.. he is happy in both. . attain to Nirvana. his senses well controlled. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house. He who lives looking for pleasures only. Those who are in earnest do not die. 14. always possessed of strong powers. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done. . 13.. immoderate in his food. The virtuous man is happy in this world. and weak. The evil-doer suffers in this world. . he. nor after the enjoyment of love and lust! He who is earnest and meditative. steady. When the learned man drives away vanity by earnestness. moderate in his food. These wise people. idle. He who lives without looking for pleasures. . and he is happy in the next. 8. Follow not after vanity. As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house. the highest happiness. and he suffers in the next.Chapter 5. . those who are thoughtless are as if dead already. 27. obtains ample joy. he suffers in both.

small or large. “Those who are in earnest do not die. 34. difficult to hold back. which is difficult to guard.. As a fish taken from his watery home and thrown on dry ground. The Dhammapada (abridged) China. Kiangsu Province. a wise man makes straight his trembling and unsteady thought. From the reading. 35. . who looks with fear on thoughtlessness. 32. Library of Congress 31. As a fletcher makes straight his arrow. rushing wherever it listeth. our thought trembles all over in order to escape the dominion of Mara (the tempter). . A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in reflection. moves about like fire. Chapter III: Thought 33.” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 103 . . A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in earnestness. It is good to tame the mind.Chapter 5. burning all his fetters. those who are thoughtless are as if dead already. . who looks with fear on thoughtlessness. a tamed mind brings happiness. cannot fall away (from his perfect state)—he is close upon Nirvana. Soochow. which is difficult to hold in and flighty.

and has learnt that it is as unsubstantial as a mirage. 49. Knowing that this body is (fragile) like a jar. and whose mind is distracted. so let a sage dwell in his village. Who shall overcome this earth. Chapter IV: Flowers 44. like a useless log. 46. Not a mother. 43. thus the disciple of the truly enlightened Buddha shines forth by his knowledge among those who are like rubbish. and never see the king of death. 58. The Dhammapada (abridged) 39. and the world of the gods. 104 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . as a clever man finds out the (right) flower? 45. among the people that walk in darkness. and the world of Yama. one should watch him when conquered. one should attack Mara (the tempter) with the weapon of knowledge. without understanding. 48. before he is satiated in his pleasures. As on a heap of rubbish cast upon the highway the lily will grow full of sweet perfume and delight. despised. or an enemy to an enemy. as a clever man finds out the (right) flower. a welldirected mind will do us greater service. The disciple will overcome the earth. Whatever a hater may do to a hater. 40. Death carries off a man who is gathering flowers and whose mind is distracted. As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower.Chapter 5. and making this thought firm like a fortress. and the world of Yama (the lord of the departed). 47. 42. He who knows that this body is like froth. or its colour or scent. alas! this body will lie on the earth. as a flood carries off a sleeping village. The disciple will find out the plainly shown path of virtue. Before long. and should never rest.. If a man’s thoughts are not dissipated. 59. . 41. and the world of the gods? Who shall find out the plainly shown path of virtue. a wronglydirected mind will do us greater mischief. if his mind is not perplexed. if he has ceased to think of good or evil. Death subdues a man who is gathering flowers. will break the flower-pointed arrow of Mara. then there is no fear for him while he is watchful. nor any other relative. . not a father will do so much.

he will not yearn for honour. Long is the night to him who is awake.” with such thoughts a fool is tormented. like newly-drawn milk. the disciple of Buddha.. . “May both the layman and he who has left the world think that this is done by me. . and his desire and pride increase. smouldering. let him firmly keep to his solitary journey. does not turn (suddenly). .” thus is the mind of the fool. (detail) Library of Congress Chapter V: The Fool 60. . “One is the road that leads to wealth. he will strive after separation from the world. . has learnt this. how much less sons and wealth?. “These sons belong to me. 66. 75. 61. there is no companionship with a fool. for they do evil deeds which must bear bitter fruits. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 105 . Fools of little understanding have themselves for their greatest enemies. like fire covered by ashes. it follows the fool. or his equal. long is a mile to him who is tired. An evil deed. The Dhammapada (abridged) China-Burma Highway. may they be subject to me in everything which is to be done or is not to be done. and this wealth belongs to me. 71. If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better. 74. He himself does not belong to himself..Chapter 5. . another the road that leads to Nirvana.” if the Bhikshu. 62. long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.

rejoice in freedom from attachment. .. and if he does not wish for his own success by unfair means. If. Chapter VII: The Venerable (Arhat) 90. who without clinging to anything. wise people falter not amidst blame and praise. who have perceived void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana). it will be better. 82. are free (even) in this world. do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends. If you see an intelligent man who tells you where true treasures are to be found. they leave their house and home. longing for pleasure. the other people here run up and down the shore. and virtuous. Few are there among men who arrive at the other shore (become Arhats). have for friends the best of men. then he is good. who has freed himself on all sides. a man wishes neither for a son. nor for wealth. for those who follow him. who live on recognised food. 83. 84. 92. 89. . . like swans who have left their lake. fletchers bend the arrow. and administers reproofs. not worse. who shows what is to be avoided. Wise people. 78. 80. and who are full of light. smooth. . or for the sake of others. They depart with their thoughts well-collected. As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind.. nor for lordship. like a deep. 85. whose appetites have been conquered. whether touched by happiness or sorrow wise people never appear elated or depressed. wise. Those whose mind is well grounded in the (seven) elements of knowledge. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like). Good people walk on whatever befall. the good do not prattle. 81. and thrown off all fetters.. . like that of birds in the air. 91. follow that wise man. 106 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . whether for his own sake. become serene.Chapter 5. and abandoned grief. There is no suffering for him who has finished his journey. . carpenters bend a log of wood. they are not happy in their abode. and still lake. Do not have evil-doers for friends. Men who have no riches. their path is difficult to understand. after they have listened to the laws. wise people fashion themselves. The Dhammapada (abridged) Chapter VI: The Wise Man (Pandita) 76.

one word of a Gatha is better. and free from appetites. a life of one day is better if a man sees the immortal place. he becomes quiet. but knows the uncreated. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 107 . have been subdued. a life of one day is better if a man is wise and reflecting. when he has obtained freedom by true knowledge. beauty. Even though a speech be a thousand (of words). The Dhammapada (abridged) 93. like that of birds in the air. which if a man hears.. His thought is quiet.Chapter 5. 96. he is the greatest of conquerors. 112. four things will increase to him. like horses well broken in by the driver. not seeing the highest law. who is free from pride. 97.. quiet are his word and deed. life. Chapter VIII: The Thousands 100. Though a man recite a hundred Gathas made up of senseless words. 111. one word of the law is better. viz. He whose appetites are stilled. not seeing beginning and end. 113. The gods even envy him whose senses. power. 115. idle and weak. . . And he who lives a hundred years. And he who lives a hundred years. who has perceived void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana). he becomes quiet. The man who is free from credulity. And he who lives a hundred years. and if another conquer himself. . 114. his path is difficult to understand. he becomes quiet. And he who lives a hundred years. which if a man hears. he is like a lake without mud. a life of one day is better if a man has attained firm strength. He who always greets and constantly reveres the aged. when he has thus become a quiet man. who is not absorbed in enjoyment. no new births are in store for him. like Indra’s bolt. but made up of senseless words. not seeing the immortal place. 103.. he is the greatest of men. And he who lives a hundred years. 94. a life of one day is better if a man sees beginning and end. renounced all desires. happiness. 109. one word of sense is better. which if a man hears. . who has cut all ties. Even though a Gatha (poem) be a thousand (of words). 95. 102. 101. but made up of senseless words. . If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men. ignorant and unrestrained. a life of one day is better if a man sees the highest law. . removed all temptations. Such a one who does his duty is tolerant like the earth.

as long as his good deed has not ripened. It will not come nigh unto me. If a man would hasten towards the good. let him not delight in sin: pain is the outcome of evil. let him do it again. 120. the wise man becomes full of good.Chapter 5. but when his good deed has ripened. Let no man think lightly of good. Even an evil-doer sees happiness as long as his evil deed has not ripened. 121. if a man does what is good slothfully. let him not do it again. . saying in his heart. If a man does what is good. 118. If a man commits a sin. his mind delights in evil. saying in his heart. but when his evil deed has ripened. even if he gather it little by little. Szechwan Province. even if he gather it little by little. the fool becomes full of evil. 108 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . It will not come nigh unto me.. then does the evil-doer see evil. China. let him delight in it: happiness is the outcome of good. 119. then does the good man see happy days. Let no man think lightly of evil. . 117. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled. he should keep his thought away from evil. 122. (detail) Library of Congress Chapter IX: Evil 116. Even a good man sees evil days. The Dhammapada (abridged) Chinese Built Suspension Bridge. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled.

remember that thou art like unto them. From the reading. Some people are born again. All men tremble at punishment. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 109 . like light dust thrown up against the wind. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like). contention is not known to thee. . 136. and innocent person. The Dhammapada (abridged) 124.. 145. then thou hast reached Nirvana. “Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like). blows for blows will touch thee. will find happiness after death. 135. may touch poison with his hand.. righteous people go to heaven. Angry speech is painful. those who are free from all worldly desires attain Nirvana. carpenters bend a log of wood. All men tremble at punishment. evil-doers go to hell. . He who seeking his own happiness punishes or kills beings who also long for happiness. . pure. fletchers bend the arrow. all men fear death. . nor cause slaughter. 126. and do not kill. remember that you are like unto them. nor cause slaughter. 130. 133. He who seeking his own happiness does not punish or kill beings who also long for happiness. thou utter not. If a man offend a harmless. poison does not affect one who has no wound. Do not speak harshly to anybody. good people fashion themselves. Chapter X: Punishment 129. . 132. 134. as if burnt by fire. and do not kill.Chapter 5.” 125. so do Age and Death drive the life of men. all men love life. will not find happiness after death. 131. good people fashion themselves. If. A fool does not know when he commits his evil deeds: but the wicked man burns by his own deeds. carpenters bend a log of wood. like a shattered metal plate (gong). those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. He who has no wound on his hand. . As a cowherd with his staff drives his cows into the stable. the evil falls back upon that fool. nor is there evil for one who does not commit evil. fletchers bend the arrow.

thou hast been seen. sighing after the past. sickly. 159.. 4. The brilliant chariots of kings are destroyed. but the virtue of good people never approaches destruction. which has no strength. and have not gained treasure in their youth. his flesh grows. the “three watches” are when we are young. 158. lie. the mind. middle-aged. 152. 160. but his knowledge does not grow. perish like old herons in a lake without fish. and frail. no hold! 148. the body also approaches destruction. Ed. Look at this dressed-up lump. and have not gained treasure in their youth. this heap of corruption breaks to pieces. All thy rafters are broken. joined together. approaching the Eternal (visankhara. But now. one’s own self is indeed difficult to subdue.Chapter 5. full of many thoughts. . covered with wounds. has attained to the extinction of all desires. How is there laughter. life indeed ends in death.e. thou shalt not make up this tabernacle again. Self is the lord of self. Men who have not observed proper discipline. If a man make himself as he teaches others to be. ye who are surrounded by darkness? 147. like broken bows.. and old. Nirvana). If a man hold himself dear. so long as I do not find (him). 151. thus a wise man will not suffer. 155.. thy ridge-pole is sundered. I shall have to run through a course of many births. then let him teach others. The Dhammapada (abridged) Chapter XI: Old Age 146. grows old like an ox. Let each man direct himself first to what is proper. let him watch himself carefully. This body is wasted. being himself well subdued. maker of the tabernacle. 153. full of sickness. then. during one at least out of the three watches4 a wise man should be watchful. Looking for the maker of this tabernacle. a man finds a lord such as few can find. he may subdue (others). I. 110 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . who else could be the lord? With self well subdued.—thus do the good say to the good. . Men who have not observed proper discipline. Chapter XII: Self 157. and painful is birth again and again. 154. as this world is always burning? Why do you not seek a light. 156. A man who has learnt little. how is there joy.

Better than sovereignty over the earth. as a creeper does with the tree which it surrounds. This world is dark. Chapter XIII: The World 168. no one can purify another. Rouse thyself! do not be idle! Follow the law of virtue! The virtuous rests in bliss in this world and in the next. be always attentive to his duty. but the wise do not touch it. the foolish are immersed in it. brightens up this world. He whose evil deeds are covered by good deeds. like the moon when freed from clouds. The evil done by oneself.. what is beneficial and good. He who formerly was reckless and afterwards became sober. 165. better than lordship over all worlds. 163. few only can see here. by oneself one suffers. by oneself one is purified. look at this glittering world. self-begotten. . self-bred. Let no one forget his own duty for the sake of another’s. “Come. a few only go to heaven. . ..Chapter 5. the foolish are immersed in it. By oneself the evil is done. The Dhammapada (abridged) 161. like unto a royal chariot. look upon it as a mirage: the king of death does not see him who thus looks down upon the world. 162. 171.” 166. . by oneself evil is left undone. 170. . Look upon the world as a bubble. better than going to heaven. 172. .. after he has discerned his own duty. however great. . like unto a royal chariot. that is very difficult to do. let a man. 178. like the moon when freed from clouds. and deeds hurtful to ourselves. like birds escaped from the net. are easy to do. Come. From the reading. 174. 173. brightens up this world. He whose wickedness is very great brings himself down to that state where his enemy wishes him to be. . as a diamond breaks a precious stone. but the wise do not touch it. . Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 111 . Purity and impurity belong to oneself. Bad deeds. . look at this glittering world. crushes the foolish. is the reward of the first step in holiness..

. by what track can you lead him. by what track can you lead him. who are given to meditation. Even in heavenly pleasures he finds no satisfaction. Not to commit any sin. to do good. the trackless? Bronze Statue of Amida Nyorai. to sleep and sit alone. the Awakened. the trackless? 181. 185. 186. the Omniscient. . The Dhammapada (abridged) Chapter XIV: The Buddha (The Awakened) 179. to be moderate in eating. . difficult is the hearing of the True Law. Difficult (to obtain) is the conception of men. Denjiro Hasegawa. the Omniscient. He whom no desire with its snares and poisons can lead astray. difficult is the birth of the Awakened (the attainment of Buddhahood). photographer 180. Library of Congress.Chapter 5.—this is the teaching of the Awakened. into whose conquest no one in this world enters. He whose conquest is not conquered again. There is no satisfying lusts. not to strike. difficult is the life of mortals. he who knows that lusts have a short taste and cause pain. 183. he is wise. 182. and to purify one’s mind. even by a shower of gold pieces. 112 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened. and to dwell on the highest thoughts. the disciple who is fully awakened delights only in the destruction of all desires. 187. Not to blame. and who delight in the repose of retirement (from the world). the Awakened. to live restrained under the law. who are wise. Even the gods envy those who are awakened and not forgetful.

to groves and sacred trees.. That is the safe refuge. he is not born everywhere. He who takes refuge with Buddha. not hating those who hate us! among men who hate us let us dwell free from hatred! 198. But that is not a safe refuge.” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 113 . . there is no pain like this body. no man love anything. feeding on happiness! 201. 193. a man is delivered from all pain. Victory breeds hatred. . Men. with clear understanding. the destruction of pain. . free from greed among the greedy! among men who are greedy let us dwell free from greed! 200. the Law. From the reading. He who has given up both victory and defeat. there is no happiness higher than rest. though we call nothing our own! We shall be like the bright gods. that race prospers. free from ailments among the ailing! among men who are ailing let us dwell free from ailments! 199. pain. that is the best refuge. loss of the beloved is evil. go to many a refuge. he who. to mountains and forests. Viz. Let us live happily then. A supernatural person (a Buddha) is not easily found. driven by fear. “Let. . that is not the best refuge. he. The Dhammapada (abridged) 188. for the conquered is unhappy. There is no fire like passion. have no fetters. and the Church. Let us live happily then. 202. Let us live happily then. is happy. the origin of pain. Let us live happily then.Chapter 5. Those who love nothing and hate nothing. the contented. Chapter XV: Happiness 197.— 192. a man is not delivered from all pains after having gone to that refuge. sees the four holy truths:— 191. having gone to that refuge. therefore. 189. Wherever such a sage is born. 190. and the eightfold holy way that leads to the quieting of pain. there is no losing throw like hatred.

Not to see what is pleasant is pain. contentedness the best riches. have no fetters. while he tastes the sweetness of drinking in the law. 206. 114 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . forgetting the real aim (of life) and grasping at pleasure. he will be truly happy. trust is the best of relationships. he who is free from love knows neither grief nor fear. is free from fear and free from sin. if a man does not see fools. if one knows this truly. 216. from affection comes fear. from greed comes fear. he who is free from affection knows neither grief nor fear. the learned. From lust comes grief. he who is free from greed knows neither grief nor fear. Hunger is the worst of diseases. is always painful. the dutiful. company with fools. From pleasure comes grief. Chapter XVI: Pleasure 209. Those who love nothing and hate nothing. one ought to follow a good and wise man. and does not give himself to meditation. He who walks in the company of fools suffers a long way. like meeting with kinsfolk. the highest happiness. He who has tasted the sweetness of solitude and tranquility. and it is pain to see what is unpleasant. 205. 204. from love comes fear. the body the greatest of pains. from pleasure comes fear. he who is free from lust knows neither grief nor fear. From affection comes grief. company with the wise is pleasure. therefore. 210.Chapter 5. the much enduring. or what is unpleasant. Let. he who is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear. the intelligent. the elect. Health is the greatest of gifts. From love comes grief. from lust comes fear. The Dhammapada (abridged) 203. 211. From greed comes grief. 215. no man love anything. 212. one ought to follow the wise. Therefore. to live with them is always happiness. 207. The sight of the elect (Arya) is good. 213. 208. as the moon follows the path of the stars. Nirvana the highest happiness. that is Nirvana. He who gives himself to vanity. as with an enemy. Let no man ever look for what is pleasant. 214. loss of the beloved is evil. will in time envy him who has exerted himself in meditation.

who study day and night. let him overcome the greedy by liberality. like an autumn lotus. and returns safe from afar. there is no one on earth who is not blamed. The sages who injure nobody. In like manner his good works receive him who has done good. and has gone from this world to the other. and who calls nothing his own. by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods. and does what is his own business. do not yield to anger. “Cut out the love of self. the liar by truth! 224. him I call a real driver. . this is not only of to-day: “They blame him who sits silent. their passions will come to an end. O Atula. and who strive after Nirvana. and lovers salute a man who has been long away. He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot. who is just. with thy hand! ” 223. other people are but holding the reins.Chapter 5. From the reading. speaks the truth. let him forsake pride. let him overcome evil by good. and who always control their body. friends. where. This is an old saying. . they will go to the unchangeable place (Nirvana). He who possesses virtue and intelligence. 226. who is satisfied in his mind. Speak the truth. give. if thou art asked for little. 220. 219. 225.” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 115 . The Dhammapada (abridged) 217. if they have gone. 222. Let a man overcome anger by love. and whose thoughts are not bewildered by love. He in whom a desire for the Ineffable (Nirvana) has sprung up. let him overcome all bondage! No sufferings befall the man who is not attached to name and form. Kinsmen. 218.—as kinsmen receive a friend on his return. 227. Those who are ever watchful. he is called urdhvamsrotas (carried upwards by the stream). they also blame him who says little. Let a man leave anger. Chapter XVII: Anger 221. they blame him who speaks much. they will suffer no more. him the world will hold dear.

237. 238. . little by little. (detail) Library of Congress Chapter XVIII: Impurity . as a smith blows off the impurities of silver one by one. .Chapter 5. be wise! When thy impurities are blown away. who control their tongue. there never will be. . . work hard. thou wilt not enter again into birth and decay. From the reading. and thou art free from guilt. Make thyself an island. and thou hast no provision for thy journey.. there is no resting-place for thee on the road. . Hong Kong Dock Workers. and from time to time. 116 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . are indeed well controlled. thou art come near to death (Yama). . a man who is always blamed. There never was. the wise who control their mind.” 239. The Dhammapada (abridged) 228. The wise who control their body. . nor is there now. 234. Thy life has come to an end.. Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self. a man is not a Samana by outward acts. “There is no path through the air. or a man who is always praised. .

there is no shark like hatred. 249. the taint of the body is sloth. . his own passions will grow. 245. 251. a mischiefmaker.. a crow hero. There is no path through the air.—ignorance is the greatest taint. he who is free from impurity and is wise. No creatures are eternal. but by law and equity. a man winnows his neighbour’s faults like chaff. virtue. . bold. The Dhammapada (abridged) 240.Chapter 5. 261. The fault of others is easily perceived. quiet. If a man looks after the faults of others. but that of oneself is difficult to perceive. dishonest man does not become respectable by means of much talking only. who always looks for what is pure. . 257. . a man is not a Samana by outward acts. there is no torrent like greed. an insulting. and become taintless! 244. the taint of houses. not by violence. and he is far from the destruction of passions. He in whom there is truth.. love. destroys it. thus do a transgressor’s own works lead him to the evil path. the Tathagatas (the Buddhas) are free from vanity. 255. there is no snare like folly. 243. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 117 . The taint of prayers is non-repetition. But there is a taint worse than all taints. 254. and who is guarded by the law and intelligent. he who distinguishes both right and wrong. . 241. but his own fault he hides.. and is always inclined to be offended. spotless. But life is hard to live for a modest man. There is no path through the air. but the awakened (Buddha) are never shaken. . restraint. A man is not just if he carries a matter by violence. O mendicants! throw off that taint. and wretched fellow. non-repair. moderation. he is called an elder. who is learned and leads others. 252. Chapter XIX: The Just 256. as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler. and intelligent. 262. no. Life is easy to live for a man who is without shame. who is disinterested. 253. An envious greedy. There is no fire like passion. he is called just. As the impurity which springs from the iron. The world gives according to their faith or according to their pleasure: if a man frets about the food and the drink given to others. a man is not a Samana by outward acts. or by the beauty of his complexion. The world delights in vanity. the taint of a watchman. thoughtlessness. he will find no rest either by day or by night. when it springs from it.

not only by much learning. he. whether small or large. If you go on this way. Watching his speech. He in whom all this is destroyed. be not confident as long as thou hast not attained the extinction of desires. Chapter XX: The Way 273. 280.” he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain. The Tathagatas (Buddhas) are only preachers. . well restrained in mind. Go on this way! Everything else is the deceit of Mara (the tempter). “All created things are grief and pain. this is the way that leads to purity. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mara. 276. 274. He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise. A man is not an elect (Ariya) because he injures living creatures. this is the way to purity. 272. not by sleeping alone. 281. “All forms are unreal. because he has quieted all evil. because he has pity on all living creatures. 277.” he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain.. Bhikshu. He who always quiets the evil. he is called a Samana (a quiet man). The Dhammapada (abridged) 263. Not by tonsure does an undisciplined man who speaks falsehood become a Samana. when freed from hatred and wise. 279. and he will achieve the way which is taught by the wise. 271. You yourself must make an effort. 118 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . not by entering into a trance. “All created things perish. is full of sloth. is called respectable. 275. who. and taken out with the very root. the best of virtues passionlessness.” he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain. whose will and thought are weak. . let a man never commit any wrong with his body! Let a man but keep these three roads of action clear. that lazy and idle man will never find the way to knowledge. do I earn the happiness of release which no worldling can know. The best of ways is the eightfold. 264. this is the way that leads to purity. Not only by discipline and vows. though young and strong. therefore is a man called Ariya. 278. the best of truths the four words. the best of men he who has eyes to see. 270. there is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. can a man be a Samana who is still held captive by desire and greediness? 265. This is the way. you will make an end of pain! The way was preached by me.Chapter 5. when I had understood the removal of the thorns (in the flesh).

—on the law. The disciples of Gotama (Buddha) are always well awake. If by leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure. nor a father. 288. through lack of zeal knowledge is lost. 285. So long as the love of man towards women. here in winter and summer. The Dhammapada (abridged) 282. by causing pain to others. then. —on the Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 119 . wishes to obtain pleasure for himself. even the smallest. though he has destroyed a kingdom with all its subjects. 296. who do not follow what ought not to be done. 297. let a wise man leave the small pleasure. what ought not to be done is done.Chapter 5. the desires of such watchful and wise people will come to an end. 298. Nirvana has been shown by Sugata (Buddha). 292. let a man who knows this double path of gain and loss thus place himself that knowledge may grow. so long is his mind in bondage. Through zeal knowledge is gotten. is not destroyed. A wise and good man who knows the meaning of this.. Death comes and carries off that man. 294. and two valiant kings. as a flood carries off a sleeping village. not a tree only! Danger comes out of the forest (of lust). 291.. there is no help from kinsfolk for one whom death has seized. . he. He who. his mind distracted. the desires of unruly. But they whose whole watchfulness is always directed to their body. 286. A true Brahmana goes scatheless. What ought to be done is neglected. will never be free from hatred. you will be rid of the forest and free! 284. Sons are no help. with thy hand! Cherish the road of peace. “Here I shall dwell in the rain. . Bhikshus. like an autumn lotus. thoughtless people are always increasing. 289. entangled in the bonds of hatred.” thus the fool meditates. . . though he have killed father and mother. and their thoughts day and night are always set on Buddha. Chapter XXI: Miscellaneous 290. Cut out the love of self. and who steadfastly do what ought to be done. 283. . 293. as the calf that drinks milk is to its mother. 287. When you have cut down both the forest (of lust) and its undergrowth. should quickly clear the way that leads to Nirvana. nor relations. and look to the great. Cut down the whole forest (of lust). . and does not think of his death. praised for his children and flocks.

—in meditation. Library of Congress Chapter XXII: The Downward Course 306. 307. 308. 304. will rejoice in the destruction of all desires alone. . having done a thing. . . Many men whose shoulders are covered with the yellow gown are ill-conditioned and unrestrained. practises the duty of sitting alone and sleeping alone. 300. He who says what is not. . He alone who. like arrows shot by night.Chapter 5. they are men with evil deeds in the next world. he. such evil-doers by their evil deeds go to hell. 299. subduing himself.. Better it would be to swallow a heated iron ball. . 305. without ceasing. . than that a bad unrestrained fellow should live on the charity of the land. he also who. says I have not done it. goes to hell. as if living in a forest. 120 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . —on the body. like the snowy mountains. . —in compassion. . bad people are not seen. Views of Thailand—[Reclining Buddha]. like flaring fire. The Dhammapada (abridged) church. After death both are equal. [and] 301. . Good people shine from afar. .

like a king who has left his conquered country behind. embracing the true doctrine. . with few wishes. enter the good path. and noble Sindhu horses. 327. 318. is wise. enjoyment is pleasant. let him walk alone. but he who tames himself is better still. is wise. if tamed. 325. Mules are good. let him commit no sin. but I shall now hold it in thoroughly. This mind of mine went formerly wandering about as it liked. embracing false doctrines. 322.. let a man do it. and elephants with large tusks. friends are pleasant. like an elephant sunk in mud. An evil deed is better left undone.—like an elephant in the forest. They lead a tamed elephant to battle.. let a man walk alone. Be not thoughtless. and lives soberly. . enter the evil path. watch your thoughts! Draw yourself out of the evil way. 321.Chapter 5. and what is not forbidden as not forbidden. for having done it. whatever be the cause. there is no companionship with a fool. happy. They who know what is forbidden as forbidden. The Dhammapada (abridged) 313. the giving up of all grief is pleasant. . that fool. he who silently endures abuse. 331. It is better to live alone. 329. Silently shall I endure abuse as the elephant in battle endures the arrow sent from the bow: for the world is ill-natured. but considerate. Chapter XXIII: The Elephant 320. a good work is pleasant in the hour of death. and lives soberly. a good deed is better done. let him attack it vigorously! A careless pilgrim only scatters the dust of his passions more widely. If an occasion arises. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 121 . one does not repent. If a man becomes fat and a great eater. 314. is born again and again. if he is sleepy and rolls himself about. such men. for a man repents of it afterwards. If anything is to be done. and forbid not when there is something to be forbidden. he may walk with him. as it listed. If a man find a prudent companion who walks with him. 328. as it pleased. 330. overcoming all dangers. 326. the tamed is the best among men. as the rider who holds the hook holds in the furious elephant. the king mounts a tamed elephant. . If a man find no prudent companion who walks with him. 319. like a hog fed on wash. such men. They who forbid when there is nothing to be forbidden. like an elephant in the forest.

run about like a snared hare. they undergo pain for a long time. . 122 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . driven on by thirst. 343. pleasant the state of a Samana. Pleasant in the world is the state of a mother. Chapter XXIV: Thirst 334. again and again. full of poison. or hemp. his sufferings increase like the abounding Birana grass. he runs from life to life. in this world. Men. run about like a snared hare. The Dhammapada (abridged) 332. 342. pleasant is a faith firmly rooted. pleasant the state of a father. . pleasant is avoiding of sins. let therefore the mendicant drive out thirst. The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper. . pleasant the state of a Brahmana. Whomsoever this fierce thirst overcomes. .. 336. difficult to be conquered in this world.Chapter 5. . held in fetters and bonds. 333. Pleasant is virtue lasting to old age. by striving after passionlessness for himself. wood. A creature’s pleasures are extravagant and luxurious. 335. sufferings fall off from him. He who overcomes this fierce thirst. far stronger is the care for precious stones and rings. (detail) Library of Congress 345. for sons and a wife. Hong Kong Sampans. like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest. . 341. men undergo (again and again) birth and decay.. driven on by thirst. like water-drops from a lotus leaf. Wise people do not call that a strong fetter which is made of iron. pleasant is attainment of intelligence.. sunk in lust and looking for pleasure. Men.

and yearning only for what is delightful. Give up what is before. restrained in all things. thou wilt not again enter into birth and decay. 356. 365..). He who is without thirst and without affection. . nay. when thou goest to the other shore of existence. nor ever envy others: a mendicant who envies others does not obtain peace of mind. . in thought restraint is good. . . he has received his last body. give up what is in the middle.Chapter 5. he will cut the fetter of Mara. and he will indeed make his fetters strong. . give up what is behind. The fields are damaged by weeds. is freed from all pain. he is called the great sage. .. If a man delights in quieting doubts. mankind is damaged by lust: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from lust brings great reward. the great man. Chapter XXV: The Bhikshu (Mendicant) 361. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 123 . “When you have understood the destruction of all that was made. The fields are damaged by weeds. 359. full of strong passions. . 350. Let him not despise what he has received. his thirst will grow more and more. who understands the words and their interpretation. . If a man is tossed about by doubts. The fields are damaged by weeds. 349. if thy mind is altogether free. he certainly will remove. A Bhikshu. mankind is damaged by hatred: therefore a gift bestowed on those who do not hate brings great reward. always reflecting. dwells on what is not delightful (the impurity of the body.” 358. who knows the order of letters (those which are before and which are after). good is restraint in speech. . and. &c. you will understand that which was not made.. In the body restraint is good. . The fields are damaged by weeds. good is restraint in all things.. 352. mankind is damaged by vanity: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from vanity brings great reward. mankind is damaged by passion: therefore a gift bestowed on the passionless brings great reward. From the reading. The Dhammapada (abridged) 348. 357.

Let him live in charity. 382. . 124 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . even as a young Bhikshu. . contentedness.. who has escaped from the five fetters. like the moon when free from clouds. O Bhikshu. he indeed is called a Bhikshu. and consciousness. A Bhikshu. A Bhikshu who has entered his empty house. 370. 369. 374. without meditation there is no knowledge: he who has knowledge and meditation is near unto Nirvana. then in the fulness of delight he will make an end of suffering. mental forms. if his life is pure. the five kinds of things which make up living things: material forms.Chapter 5. though he receives little. full of delight. A Bhikshu who. leave the five. keep noble friends whose life is pure. will reach the quiet place (Nirvana). brightens up this world.”. 368. He who never identifies himself with name and form. who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha. .. and happiness. having cut off passion and hatred thou wilt go to Nirvana. For self is the lord of self. and does not grieve over what is no more. let him be perfect in his duties. who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha will reach the quiet place (Nirvana). The Bhikshu who acts with kindness. even the gods will praise him. self is the refuge of self. Ed. 372. The Dhammapada (abridged) 366. 381. feels a more than human delight when he sees the law clearly. and who are not slothful. cessation of natural desires. he is called Oghatinna. 376. 5. Without knowledge there is no meditation. and whose mind is tranquil. he finds happiness and joy which belong to those who know the immortal (Nirvana). The Bhikshu. As soon as he has considered the origin and destruction of the elements (khandha)5 of the body. I. “saved from the flood. and if he is not slothful. rise above the five. And this is the beginning here for a wise Bhikshu: watchfulness over the senses. therefore curb thyself as the merchant curbs a good horse. applies himself to the doctrine of Buddha. perceptions. Cut off the five (senses). empty this boat! if emptied. and happiness. feelings. it will go quickly. .e. restraint under the law. 380. He who. 367. 375. cessation of natural desires. 373. does not despise what he has received.

(detail) Library of Congress Chapter XXVI: The Brahmana (Arhat) 383. The sun is bright by day. without passions. dutiful. the Brahmana is bright in his meditation. 395. because he has sent away his own impurities. O Brahmana! When you have understood the destruction of all that was made. word. but Buddha.. The man who wears dirty raiments.. . 388. I call indeed a Brahmana. drive away the desires. Stop the stream valiantly. He for whom there is neither this nor that shore. or thought. therefore he is called Brahmana. therefore he is called Samana. the warrior is bright in his armour. the Awakened. . 386. and is controlled on these three points. blameless. the fearless and unshackled. Because a man is rid of evil. and who has attained the highest end. a pilgrim). all bonds vanish from him who has obtained knowledge.Chapter 5. him. . settled. The Dhammapada (abridged) Hong Kong Rickshaw. because he walks quietly. and meditates. him I call indeed a Brahmana. . 387. the moon shines by night. . nor both. . is bright with splendour day and night. 391. who lives alone in the forest. 385. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not offend by body. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 125 . If the Brahmana has reached the other shore in both laws (in restraint and contemplation). him I call indeed a Brahmana. He who is thoughtful. you will understand that which was not made. 384. who is emaciated and covered with veins. therefore he is called Pravragita (Pabbagita..

and has received his last body. and does not kill nor cause slaughter. virtuous. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is tolerant with the intolerant. and is unshackled. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut all fetters. the chain with all that pertains to it. without appetite. 411. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who takes nothing in the world that is not given him. who is subdued. undisturbed. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who finds no fault with other beings. knows the end of his suffering. who frequents no houses. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has no interests. so that he offend no one. pride and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose knowledge is deep. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who fosters no desires for this world or for the next. 401. 408. 404. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and from mendicants. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut the strap and the thong. and has but few desires. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not cling to pleasures. small or large. The Dhammapada (abridged) 397. serene. like a mustard seed on the point of a needle. pure. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is free from anger. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is bright like the moon. 398. instructive and free from harshness. is independent and unshackled. who never trembles. . mild with fault-finders. and from impurity. and is awakened. free from grief from sin. dutiful. has no inclinations. good or bad. has put down his burden. 403. 402. Him I call indeed a Brahmana from whom anger and hatred. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world is above good and evil. 410. and has attained the highest end. 405. above the bondage of both. . 126 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . 407.Chapter 5. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who utters true speech. 406. 400. how? and who has reached the depth of the Immortal. and in whom all gaiety is extinct. who possesses wisdom. and when he has understood (the truth).. does not say How. 413. be it long or short. even here. whether feeble or strong. and free from passion among the passionate. like water on a lotus leaf. 409. who has burst the bar. 412. who knows the right way and the wrong. and is unshackled.

leaving all longings. the noble. the impassable world and its vanity. is thoughtful. nor men. and is free from all and every bondage. give up what is in the middle. Him I call indeed a Brahmana.Chapter 5. has risen above all bondage to the gods. leaving all desires. 419. and content. if thy mind is altogether free. 418. welfaring (Sugata). 415. is perfect in knowledge. . Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows the destruction and the return of beings everywhere. 416. 423. whose passions are extinct. who has gone through. 417. and awakened (Buddha). “Give up what is before. 421. and who is an Arhat (venerable). and free from all germs (of renewed life). Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has left what gives pleasure and what gives pain. whether it be before. has reached the end of births. and in whom all covetousness is extinct. the impassible. after leaving all bondage to men. travels about without a home. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who. 422. when thou goest to the other shore of existence. and in whom all concupiscence is extinct. behind. the awakened. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has traversed this miry road. and whose perfections are all perfect. the manly. a sage. 420. nor spirits (Gandharvas). Him I call indeed a Brahmana who. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world. who is free from bondage. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows his former abodes. The Dhammapada (abridged) 414. the great sage. free from attachment. . the conqueror. From the reading. the hero who has conquered all the worlds. free from doubts. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who calls nothing his own.” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 127 . and reached the other shore. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose path the gods do not know. who is cold. travels about without a home. give up what is behind. who is poor. and free from the love of the world. the hero. or between. the accomplished. guileless. who sees heaven and hell. thou wilt not again enter into birth and decay.

” Also. In what ways do such persons suffer? How is it that the good person sees “evil days.Chapter 5. he suffers more when going on the evil path. Boileau Topics Worth Investigating 1. doesn’t it seem odd that if there is no self.” How do you think the Buddha would respond to the following analysis by Rilke? Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation with which a fine fruit fills the tongue. And not our acceptance of it is bad. it is a great unending experience. he suffers in both. the fullness and the glory of all knowing. which is given us. the Dhammapada states “Even in heavenly pleasures he finds no satisfaction. and he suffers in the next. there is something that suffers? 2. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done. it seems evident that some evil-doers do not suffer at all—in fact. a knowing of the world.” and the bad person sees “happiness.” Yet. With regard to pleasure. from photograph by F. A verse of the Dhammapada states “The evil-doer suffers in this world. the bad thing is that most people misuse and squander this experience and apply it as a stimulant at the tired spots 128 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . The Dhammapada (abridged) Entrance to Buddhist Temple. the disciple who is fully awakened delights only in the destruction of all desires. some evil-doers seem genuinely happy and fulfilled.

Chapter 5. The Dhammapada (abridged) of their lives and as distraction instead of a rallying toward exalted moments. What are the similarities between the chapter “The Elephant” in the The Dhammapada and “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Kaku-an as discussed by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki? 6.:Dover. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 129 . Mineola. 1903” in Letters to a Young Poet. “Even in heavenly pleasures he finds no satisfaction. July 16. let a wise man leave the small pleasure. the disciple who is fully awakened delights only in the destruction of all desires. 2002. Contrast the role of the various forms of “love” in Chapter 12 (“Govinda”) of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha with the forms discussed in the The Dhammapada. Does the desire for enlightenment obviate the possibility of enlightenment? The The Dhammapada says.” 3.Y.” Explain this apparent paradox. 4. N. and look to the great. Rainer Maria Rilke. 5.6 In light of your response consider verse 290 of the The Dhammapada: “If by leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure. “Letter.

Thoemmes About the author.) sought to impose an integrated socio-ethical order in an attempt to secure the peace among warring states in China. the highest virtue. Confucius’ ideas gained influence through successive generations of his students and were finally adopted during the Han dynasty six centuries later. . himself.” The path to jen. never obtained the opportunity to apply his cultural changes from high office. a chün tzu. The ruler is an ideal man or superior man. but apparently Confucius. Confucius thought the foundation of social order is to be based on the jen or “human-heartedness” of the chün tzu or “superior man. . Confucius (551-479 B.C.Chapter 6 “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius Confucius. is reached through the practice of li. who governs by jen. Several talented and influential disciples adopted Confucius’ philosophy during his time. 130 . the principles of social order.

”1 one of the writings attributed to Confucius. List some of the essential characteristics of the chün tzu or superior man. The heart of Confucianism is explained here as the adoption of the policies of inculcating virtue in people by the example of tradition and the jen of the superior person. “There is nothing more visible than what is secret. “Doctrine of the Mean. the principle of reciprocity (the Golden Rule). 2. 7. Confucius. What is the principle of reciprocity? 4. Speculate as to the reasons filial piety (hsiao) is necessary in a stable and ordered society.” Ideas of Interest from “The Doctrine of the Mean” 1.Chapter 6. how is virtue obtained by the ideal person? 1. According to Confucius.” 500 BC. . Relate the description of benevolence jen with the development of character and filial piety. Translated by James Legge. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 131 . and various forms of virtue. . Interpret the Confucius’ description of the cultivation of energy according to the Mean. 3. . and nothing more manifest than what is minute. 5. . The characteristic of jen is articulated in terms of a cluster of related moral terms including the Five Relationships. What are the duties of universal obligation? How are they related to the three universally binding virtues? 6. From the reading. many of the central doctrines of Confucianism are elaborated. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius About the work. Does Confucius allow that women become superior persons? Explain your answer. In the “The Doctrine of the Mean.

The mean man’s acting contrary to the course of the Mean is because he is a mean man. and has no caution. and nothing more manifest than what is minute. to be apprehensive. While there are no stirrings of pleasure. I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not understood:—The men of talents and virtue go beyond it.Chapter 6. When those feelings have been stirred. it would not be the path. 132 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . the mean man acts contrary to the course of the Mean. and so always maintains the Mean. there ensues what may be called the state of Harmony. “The superior man embodies the course of the Mean. the superior man does not wait till he sees things. and they act in their due degree. On this account. “I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not walked in:—the knowing go beyond it. The path may not be left for an instant. or joy. when he is alone. the mind may be said to be in the state of Equilibrium.” The Master said. to be cautious. Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself. the regulation of this path is called Instruction. There is nothing more visible than what is secret. who could practice it!” The Master said. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius The Reading Selection from “The Doctrine of the Mean” [Instruction for the Path of Duty] What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature. Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection. “Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Mean! Rare have they long been among the people. anger. [The Course of the Mean] Chung-ni said. This Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human actings in the world. and all things will be nourished and flourish. and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth. sorrow. and the worthless do not come up to it. nor till he hears things. an accordance with this nature is called The Path of duty. If it could be left. “The superior man’s embodying the course of the Mean is because he is a superior man. and this Harmony is the universal path which they all should pursue. and the stupid do not come up to it.

But they are few who can distinguish flavors.—How firm is he in his energy! When good principles prevail in the government of his country. but being driven forward and taken in a net. and meet death without regret:—this is the energy of northern regions. “To live in obscurity. “Alas! How is the path of the Mean untrodden!” The Master said. but when he has gone halfway. “To lie under arms. as if wearing it on his breast.” The Master said. ‘We are wise’. Men all say. its states. and its families. and whenever he got hold of what was good. without being weak. “Therefore. “Do you mean the energy of the South. but the course of the Mean cannot be attained to. and did not lose it. a trap. The Master said. ‘We are wise’. “The kingdom. He took hold of their two extremes. the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony. He concealed what was bad in them and displayed what was good. and not to revenge unreasonable conduct:—this is the energy of southern regions. though they might be shallow. or a pitfall. determined the Mean. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius “There is no body but eats and drinks. and the forceful make it their study. It was by this that he was Shun!” The Master said “Men all say.—How firm is he in his energy!” The Master said. and to study their words. naked weapons may be trampled under the feet. they know not how to escape. and yet practice wonders. may be perfectly ruled. and employed it in his government of the people.” The Master said “This was the manner of Hui:—he made choice of the Mean. How firm is he in his energy! When bad principles prevail in the country. dignities and emoluments may be declined. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 133 . and the good man makes it his study. or the energy which you should cultivate yourself? “To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others. they are not able to keep it for a round month.Chapter 6. but happening to choose the course of the Mean. he does not change from what he was in retirement. “There was Shun:—He indeed was greatly wise! Shun loved to question others.—How firm is he in his energy! He stands erect in the middle. “The good man tries to proceed according to the right path. he maintains his course to death without changing.” The Master said. the energy of the North. without inclining to either side. he abandons it:—I am not able so to stop. in order to be mentioned with honor in future ages:—this is what I do not do. he clasped it firmly.” Tsze-lu asked about energy.

—It is only the sage who is able for this. Though he may be all unknown. reaches wide and far. however ignorant. yet in its utmost reaches. 134 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . “In the Book of Poetry. . the fishes leap in the deep.” This expresses how this way is seen above and below. and as soon as they change what is wrong. The Master said “The path is not far from man. he stops.Chapter 6. ‘In hewing an ax handle. he feels no regret.2 “The hawk flies up to heaven.’ Therefore. yet in its utmost reaches. there is that which even the sage does not know. We grasp one ax handle to hew the other. unregarded by the world. it is said. nothing in the world would be found able to split it. men still find some things in them with which to be dissatisfied. From the reading. When men try to pursue a course. if we look askance from the one to the other. can carry it into practice. It is said in the Book of Poetry. the compilation was later entitled Shijing. What you do not like when done to yourself. may intermeddle with the knowledge of it. “I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not understood:—The men of talents and virtue go beyond it. this course cannot be considered The Path. in hewing an ax handle. and were he to speak of it in its minuteness. and yet is secret. . in the intercourse of common men and women. we may consider them as apart. nothing in the world would be found able to embrace it. according to their nature. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius “The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. there is that which even the sage is not able to carry into practice. “When one cultivates to the utmost the principles of his nature. but in its utmost reaches. which is far from the common indications of consciousness. and the worthless do not come up to it. the superior man governs men. were the superior man to speak of his way in all its greatness. do not do to others. Great as heaven and earth are. however much below the ordinary standard of character. in its simple elements. and exercises them on the principle of reciprocity. and yet.” Common men and women. with what is proper to them. The way of the superior man may be found. it shines brightly through Heaven and earth. Thus it is that. Ed.” The way which the superior man pursues. the pattern is not far off. The Book of Poetry is an anthology of about three hundred poems written by unknown authors between 1100 and 600 BC. 2. Common men and women. he is not far from the path.

“The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius [Chün Tzu—The Superior Man] “In the way of the superior man there are four things. is it not just an entire sincerity which marks the superior man?” The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is. In a poor and low position. and careful in speaking about them. he has anything defective. Situated among barbarous tribes. as I would require my son to serve me: to this I have not attained. in his practice. to set the example in behaving to a friend. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 135 . to serve my prince as I would require my minister to serve me: to this I have not attained. to serve my elder brother as I would require my younger brother to serve me: to this I have not attained. he does not desire to go beyond this. in his words. Thus his words have respect to his actions. In a position of sorrow and difficulty. The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not himself. he dares not allow himself such license. he does what is proper to a position of sorrow and difficulty. Cooper In a position of wealth and honor. and if. J.—To serve my father. he has any excess. Chinese Gentleman’s Garden. to not one of which have I as yet attained. as I would require him to behave to me: to this I have not attained. Earnest in practicing the ordinary virtues. the superior man dares not but exert himself. he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. he does what is proper to a situation among barbarous tribes. and his actions have respect to his words. he does what is proper to a poor and low position. if.Chapter 6. D.

and array themselves in their richest dresses. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius In a high situation. he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. “How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that belong to them! “We look for them.Chapter 6. his riches were all within the four seas. nor grumble against men. we listen to. In a low situation. and seeks for nothing from others. you cannot surmise. “How greatly filial was Shun! His virtue was that of a sage. and there is nothing without them. He rectifies himself. in order to attend at their sacrifices. “They cause all the people in the kingdom to fast and purify themselves. like overflowing water. while the mean man walks in dangerous paths. but do not see them. Thus it is that the superior man is quiet and calm.” The way of the superior man may be compared to what takes place in traveling. Then. The Master said. He does not murmur against Heaven. and on the right and left of their worshippers. and in ascending a height. waiting for the appointments of Heaven. When the archer misses the center of the target. ‘The approaches of the spirits. and can you treat them with indifference?’ “Such is the manifestness of what is minute! Such is the impossibility of repressing the outgoings of sincerity!” [Hsiao—Filial Piety] The Master said. parents have entire complacence!” The Master said.” The Master said. When there is concord among brethren. when to go to a distance we must first traverse the space that is near. “In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. they seem to be over the heads. when we must begin from the lower ground. so that he has no dissatisfactions. Thus may you regulate your family. “Happy union with wife and children is like the music of lutes and harps. He offered his 136 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. looking for lucky occurrences. the harmony is delightful and enduring. yet they enter into all things. his dignity was the throne. “It is said in the Book of Poetry. and enjoy the pleasure of your wife and children. but do not hear them. “In such a state of things. It is said in the Book of Poetry. he does not court the favor of his superiors.

It protected him. and his descendants preserved the sacrifices to himself. as it were repeatedly.’ “We may say therefore that he who is greatly virtuous will be sure to receive the appointment of Heaven. ‘The admirable amiable prince displayed conspicuously his excelling virtue. it is said. and King Wan. adjusting his people. “Therefore having such great virtue. that he should attain to his long life. in the production of things. His father laid the foundations of his dignity.” The Master said.Chapter 6. that he should obtain those riches. J. and adjusting his officers. D. while that which is ready to fall. Cooper “Thus it is that Heaven. and his son was King Wu. it nourishes. he received from Heaven his emoluments of dignity. and his son transmitted it. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius sacrifices in his ancestral temple. Therefore. He Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 137 . according to their qualities. “In the Book of Poetry. “King Wu continued the enterprise of King T’ai. decreed him the throne. is sure to be bountiful to them. it could not but be that he should obtain the throne. it overthrows. “It is only King Wan of whom it can be said that he had no cause for grief! His father was King Chi. A Pavilion in Pun-Ting-Qua’s Garden. King Chi. assisted him. sending from Heaven these favors. that he should obtain his fame. Hence the tree that is flourishing.

and the duke of Chau completed the virtuous course of Wan and Wu. and his descendants maintained the sacrifices to himself. The one year’s mourning was made to extend only to the great officers. He offered his sacrifices in his ancestral temple. If the father were a scholar and the son a great officer. By ordering the parties present according to their rank. and thus something was given the lowest to do. he allowed no difference between the noble and the mean. “It was in his old age that King Wu received the appointment to the throne. He carried up the title of king to T’ai and Chi. and loved those whom they regarded with affection. and by the ceremonies of the ancestral temple they sacrificed to their ancestors. and sacrificed to all the former dukes above them with the royal ceremonies. they distinguished the royal kindred according to their order of descent. and the skillful carrying forward of their undertakings. but the three years’ mourning extended to the Son of Heaven. set forth their ancestral vessels. In the mourning for a father or mother. “They occupied the places of their forefathers. and thus was made the distinction of years. they repaired and beautified the temple halls of their fathers. His riches were the possession of all within the four seas. Thus they served the dead as they would have served them alive. they distinguished the more noble and the less. would find the government of a kingdom as 138 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and presented the offerings of the several seasons. and got possession of the kingdom. “How far-extending was the filial piety of King Wu and the duke of Chau! “Now filial piety is seen in the skillful carrying out of the wishes of our forefathers. and performed their music. the inferiors presented the cup to their superiors. By the arrangement of the services.Chapter 6. and the common people. At the concluding feast. places were given according to the hair. then the burial was that due to a scholar. They reverenced those whom they honored. displayed their various robes. and the sacrifice that due to a great officer. and the meaning of the several sacrifices to ancestors. In the ceremony of general pledging. And this rule he extended to the princes of the kingdom. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius once buckled on his armor. He did not lose the distinguished personal reputation which he had throughout the kingdom. the great officers. The Master said. “By means of the ceremonies of the ancestral temple. If the father were a great officer and the son a scholar. the scholars. His dignity was the royal throne. and the sacrifice that due to a scholar. they served the departed as they would have served them had they been continued among them. they made a distinction of talents and worth. “By the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth they served God. “In spring and autumn. then the burial was that due to a great officer. He who understands the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth. practiced their ceremonies.

The Master said. they cannot retain the government of the people. Such men are to be got by means of the ruler’s own character. he may not neglect to serve his parents. Righteousness is the accordance of actions with what is right. In order to serve his parents. their government might be called an easily-growing rush. “Hence the sovereign may not neglect the cultivation of his own character. Wishing to cultivate his character. and the great exercise of it is in loving relatives. That character is to be cultivated by his treading in the ways of duty. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 139 . and the great exercise of it is in honoring the worthy. And the treading those ways of duty is to be cultivated by the cherishing of benevolence. but without the men. The decreasing measures of the love due to relatives.—the tablets of wood and bamboo. just as vegetation is rapid in the earth. and the skillful carrying forward of their undertakings. “With the right men the growth of government is rapid. “When those in inferior situations do not possess the confidence of their superiors. “The government of Wan and Wu is displayed in the records. In order to know men. “Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity. “Now filial piety is seen in the skillful carrying out of the wishes of our forefathers. Let there be the men and the government will flourish. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius easy as to look into his palm!” From the reading. and the steps in the honor due to the worthy.Chapter 6.” [Te—Power by which Men are Ruled. are produced by the principle of propriety. he may not dispense with a knowledge of Heaven. . “Therefore the administration of government lies in getting proper men. their government decays and ceases. he may not neglect to acquire knowledge of men. Moral Example] The Duke Ai asked about government. and. . moreover.

are the virtues universally binding. these three. Some practice them with a natural ease. respect towards the great ministers. and those belonging to the intercourse of friends. between father and son. and some by strenuous effort. Those five are the duties of universal obligation. he knows how to govern other men. kind and considerate treatment of the whole body of officers. From the reading. affection towards their relatives. some from a desire for their advantages. “To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge. magnanimity. the cultivation of their own characters. and energy. But the achievement being made.” “Some are born with the knowledge of those duties. To possess the feeling of shame is to be near to energy. [Rules of Government] “All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have nine standard rules to follow. between elder brother and younger. some know them by study. dealing with the mass of the people as children. And the means by which they carry the duties into practice is singleness. But the knowledge being possessed. “He who knows these three things knows how to cultivate his own character. encouraging the resort of all classes of artisans. and some acquire the knowledge after a painful feeling of their ignorance.” The Master said. the honoring of men of virtue and talents. it comes to the same thing. . and the kindly cherishing of the princes of the states. . “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius [The Five Relationships] “The duties of universal obligation are five and the virtues wherewith they are practiced are three.—viz. between husband and wife. Knowledge.Chapter 6. To practice with vigor is to be near to magnanimity. The duties are those between sovereign and minister.. it comes to the same thing. “The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not himself. 140 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Knowing how to govern other men. indulgent treatment of men from a distance. Knowing how to cultivate his own character. he knows how to govern the kingdom with all its states and families.

J. there is no grumbling nor resentment among his uncles and brethren.Chapter 6. By showing affection to his relatives. According to them a generous confidence. and the not making a movement contrary to the rules of propriety this is the way for a ruler to cultivate his person. “Self-adjustment and purification. D. Giving them numerous officers to discharge their orders and commissions:—this is the way for him to encourage the great ministers. By kind and considerate treatment of the whole body of officers. Employing them only at the proper times. and sharing with them in their likes and dislikes—this is the way for him to encourage his relatives to love him. By indulgent treatment of men from a distance. his resources for expenditure are rendered ample. Cooper “By the ruler’s cultivation of his own character. they are brought to resort to him from all quarters. they are led to exhort one another to what is good. and making their emoluments large:—this is the way to encourage the body of officers. By dealing with the mass of the people as his children. Giving them places of honor and large emolument. and making the imposts light:—this is the way to enReadings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 141 . with careful regulation of his dress. and giving honor to virtue—this is the way for him to encourage men of worth and talents. Discarding slanderers. By honoring men of virtue and talents. And by kindly cherishing the princes of the states. they are led to make the most grateful return for his courtesies. he is kept from errors in the practice of government. By respecting the great ministers. By encouraging the resort of an classes of artisans. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius One of the Inner Gates of Peking. and keeping himself from the seductions of beauty. making light of riches. the whole kingdom is brought to revere him. he is preserved from errors of judgment. the duties of universal obligation are set forth.

Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius

courage the people. By daily examinations and monthly trials, and by making their rations in accordance with their labors:—this is the way to encourage the classes of artisans. To escort them on their departure and meet them on their coming; to commend the good among them, and show compassion to the incompetent:—this is the way to treat indulgently men from a distance. To restore families whose line of succession has been broken, and to revive states that have been extinguished; to reduce to order states that are in confusion, and support those which are in peril; to have fixed times for their own reception at court, and the reception of their envoys; to send them away after liberal treatment, and welcome their coming with small contributions:—this is the way to cherish the princes of the states. “All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have the above nine standard rules. And the means by which they are carried into practice is singleness.

[Rules for Success and Sincerity]
“In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure. If what is to be spoken be previously determined, there will be no stumbling. If affairs be previously determined, there will be no difficulty with them. If one’s actions have been previously determined, there will be no sorrow in connection with them. If principles of conduct have been previously determined, the practice of them will be inexhaustible. “When those in inferior situations do not obtain the confidence of the sovereign, they cannot succeed in governing the people. There is a way to obtain the confidence of the sovereign;—if one is not trusted by his friends, he will not get the confidence of his sovereign. There is a way to being trusted by one’s friends;—if one is not obedient to his parents, he will not be true to friends. There is a way to being obedient to one’s parents;—if one, on turning his thoughts in upon himself, finds a want of sincerity, he will not be obedient to his parents. There is a way to the attainment of sincerity in one’s self;—if a man do not understand what is good, he will not attain sincerity in himself. “Sincerity is the way of Heaven. The attainment of sincerity is the way of men. He who possesses sincerity is he who, without an effort, hits what is right, and apprehends, without the exercise of thought;—he is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast. “To this attainment there are requisite the extensive study of what is good, accurate inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the earnest practice of it. 142 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text

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“The superior man, while there is anything he has not studied, or while in what he has studied there is anything he cannot understand, Will not intermit his labor. While there is anything he has not inquired about, or anything in what he has inquired about which he does not know, he will not intermit his labor. While there is anything which he has not reflected on, or anything in what he has reflected on which he does not apprehend, he will not intermit his labor. While there is anything which he has not discriminated or his discrimination is not clear, he will not intermit his labor. If there be anything which he has not practiced, or his practice fails in earnestness, he will not intermit his labor. If another man succeed by one effort, he will use a hundred efforts. If another man succeed by ten efforts, he will use a thousand. “Let a man proceed in this way, and, though dull, he will surely become intelligent; though weak, he will surely become strong.” When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed to nature; when we have sincerity resulting from intelligence, this condition is to be ascribed to instruction. But given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence; given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity.

Temple of the Five Hundred Gods, J. D. Cooper It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can give its full development to his nature. Able to give its full development to his own nature, he can do the same to the nature of other men. Able to give its full development to the nature of other men, he can give their full develReadings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 143

Chapter 6. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius

opment to the natures of animals and things. Able to give their full development to the natures of creatures and things, he can assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth. Able to assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth, he may with Heaven and Earth form a ternion. Next to the above is he who cultivates to the utmost the shoots of goodness in him. From those he can attain to the possession of sincerity. This sincerity becomes apparent. From being apparent, it becomes manifest. From being manifest, it becomes brilliant. Brilliant, it affects others. Affecting others, they are changed by it. Changed by it, they are transformed. It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can transform. It is characteristic of the most entire sincerity to be able to foreknow. When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be happy omens; and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens. Such events are seen in the milfoil and tortoise, and affect the movements of the four limbs. When calamity or happiness is about to come, the good shall certainly be foreknown by him, and the evil also. Therefore the individual possessed of the most complete sincerity is like a spirit. Sincerity is that whereby self-completion is effected, and its way is that by which man must direct himself. Sincerity is the end and beginning of things; without sincerity there would be nothing. On this account, the superior man regards the attainment of sincerity as the most excellent thing. The possessor of sincerity does not merely accomplish the self-completion of himself. With this quality he completes other men and things also. The completing himself shows his perfect virtue. The completing other men and things shows his knowledge. But these are virtues belonging to the nature, and this is the way by which a union is effected of the external and internal. Therefore, whenever he—the entirely sincere man—employs them,—that is, these virtues, their action will be right. Hence to entire sincerity there belongs ceaselessness. Not ceasing, it continues long. Continuing long, it evidences itself. Evidencing itself, it reaches far. Reaching far, it becomes large and substantial. Large and substantial, it becomes high and brilliant. Large and substantial;—this is how it contains all things. High and brilliant;—this is how it overspreads all things. Reaching far and continuing long;-this is how it perfects all things. So large and substantial, the individual possessing it is the co-equal of Earth. So high and brilliant, it makes him the co-equal of Heaven. So far-reaching and long144 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text

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continuing, it makes him infinite. Such being its nature, without any display, it becomes manifested; without any movement, it produces changes; and without any effort, it accomplishes its ends. The way of Heaven and Earth may be completely declared in one sentence.—They are without any doubleness, and so they produce things in a manner that is unfathomable. The way of Heaven and Earth is large and substantial, high and brilliant, farreaching and long-enduring. The Heaven now before us is only this bright shining spot; but when viewed in its inexhaustible extent, the sun, moon, stars, and constellations of the zodiac, are suspended in it, and all things are overspread by it. The earth before us is but a handful of soil; but when regarded in its breadth and thickness, it sustains mountains like the Hwa and the Yo, without feeling their weight, and contains the rivers and seas, without their leaking away. The mountain now before us appears only a stone; but when contemplated in all the vastness of its size, we see how the grass and trees are produced on it, and birds and beasts dwell on it, and precious things which men treasure up are found on it. The water now before us appears but a ladleful; yet extending our view to its unfathomable depths, the largest tortoises, iguanas, iguanodons, dragons, fishes, and turtles, are produced in it, articles of value and sources of wealth abound in it.

[Virtue]
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “The ordinances of Heaven, how profound are they and unceasing!” The meaning is, that it is thus that Heaven is Heaven. And again, “How illustrious was it, the singleness of the virtue of King Wan!” indicating that it was thus that King Wan was what he was. Singleness likewise is unceasing. How great is the path proper to the Sage! Like overflowing water, it sends forth and nourishes all things, and rises up to the height of heaven. All-complete is its greatness! It embraces the three hundred rules of ceremony, and the three thousand rules of demeanor. It waits for the proper man, and then it is trodden. Hence it is said, “Only by perfect virtue can the perfect path, in all its courses, be made a fact.”

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Let a man who is ignorant be fond of using his own judgment. He cherishes his old knowledge. seeking to carry it out to its breadth and greatness. Now over the kingdom. To no one but the Son of Heaven does it belong to order ceremonies.—on the persons of all who act thus calamities will be sure to come. and so preserves his person”? The Willow-Pattern Bridge. When the kingdom is well governed. when occupying a high situation he is not proud. and maintains constant inquiry and study. and is continually acquiring new. and for conduct there are the same rules. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius Therefore. and to determine the written characters.Chapter 6. the superior man honors his virtuous nature. to fix the measures. but if he have not the proper virtue. so as to omit none of the more exquisite and minute points which it embraces. he may not dare 146 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . One may occupy the throne. Is not this what we find in the Book of Poetry. all writing is with the same characters. He exerts an honest. and in a low situation he is not insubordinate. in the esteem and practice of all propriety. he is sure by his words to rise. D. and to raise it to its greatest height and brilliancy. Cooper The Master said. Thus. let a man who is living in the present age go back to the ways of antiquity.—“Intelligent is he and prudent. of the same size. he is sure by his silence to command forbearance to himself. carriages have all wheels. so as to pursue the course of the Mean. J. let a man without rank be fond of assuming a directing power to himself. generous earnestness. and when it is ill governed.

It is said in the Book of Poetry. to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages after. but if he do not occupy the throne. Not being attested. illustrating his institutions. and finds nothing in them contrary to their mode of operation. that obtained an early renown throughout the kingdom. Unhonored. they cannot be attested. [Institutions and Ceremony of the Ruler] The Master said. He presents himself with them before spiritual beings. he may not presume to make ceremonies or music. He examines them by comparison with those of the three kings. and no doubts about them arise. His acts are for ages a law to the kingdom.” He who attains to the sovereignty of the kingdom. One may have the virtue. which are now used.” Never has there been a ruler. and finds them without mistake. Those who are far from him look longingly for him. shall be able to effect that there shall be few errors under his government. and I follow Chau. shows that he knows Heaven. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 147 . who did not realize this description.—“Not disliked there. the people would not follow them. but Chi cannot sufficiently attest my words. He sets them up before Heaven and Earth. and sufficient attestation of them is given by the masses of the people. and those who are near him are never wearied with him. not tired of here. His words are for ages a lesson to the kingdom. without any doubts arising about them. he is not in a position to be honored. However excellent might be the regulations made by one in an inferior situation. I have learned the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty. constitute an example to the world for ages. the movements of such a ruler. shows that he knows men. His presenting himself with his institutions before spiritual beings. the people would not follow his rules. from day to day and night tonight. However excellent may have been the regulations of those of former times. Such being the case. will they perpetuate their praise. and in Sung they still continue. I have learned the ceremonies of Chau. they cannot command credence. and not being credited. His being prepared. “I may describe the ceremonies of the Hsia dynasty. and not being credited. He is prepared to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages after. having those three important things. Therefore the institutions of the Ruler are rooted in his own character and conduct. without any misgivings. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius to make ceremonies or music. he cannot command credence. and has no misgivings.Chapter 6.

accomplished. and the people all believe him. the greater energies are seen in mighty transformations. All-embracing is he and vast.” [Chün Tzu and Perfect Virtue] It is only the individual possessed of the most entire sincerity that can exist under Heaven. wherever the heavens overshadow and the earth sustains. and searching. and the people all are pleased with him. distinctive. he is like Heaven. and the people all reverence him. It is only he. and of the sun and moon. impulsive. clear in discernment. He is seen. The smaller energies are like river currents. as if they had been his ancestors. magnanimous. benign. fitted to command reverence. He may be compared to Heaven and Earth in their supporting and containing. fitted to exercise forbearance. Therefore his fame overspreads the Middle Kingdom. and below. fitted to maintain a firm hold. all things. and elegantly displayed the regulations of Wan and Wul taking them as his model. All things are nourished together without their injuring one another. how vast is he! 148 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . wherever frosts and dews fall:—all who have blood and breath unfeignedly honor and love him.Chapter 6. he is like the abyss. It is this which makes heaven and earth so great. establish the great fundamental virtues of humanity. never swerving from the Mean. of far-reaching intelligence.—“He is the equal of Heaven. deep and active as a fountain. grave. Hence it is said. who can adjust the great invariable relations of mankind. and mild. and extends to all barbarous tribes. self-adjusted. he was conformed to the water and land.—shall this individual have any being or anything beyond himself on which he depends? Call him man in his ideal. concentrative. how earnest is he! Call him an abyss. and enduring. fitted to exercise rule. he acts. energetic. firm. and correct. he speaks. who shows himself quick in apprehension. Wherever ships and carriages reach. he harmonized with the times of Heaven. wherever the sun and moon shine. wherever the strength of man penetrates. and know the transforming and nurturing operations of Heaven and Earth. generous. are pursued without any collision among them. and to the sun and moon in their successive shining. their overshadowing and curtaining. The courses of the seasons. Above. and all-embracing knowledge. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius Chung-ni handed down the doctrines of Yao and Shun. All-embracing and vast. possessed of all sagely qualities that can exist under heaven. fitted to exercise discrimination. Deep and active as a fountain. sending forth in their due season his virtues. how deep is he! Call him Heaven. He may be compared to the four seasons in their alternating progress.

” The Master said. He does not show anger.’ That is perfect virtue. clear in discernment. and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety. while showing a simple negligence. while he daily goes more and more to ruin. He knows how what is minute becomes manifested. even when he is not moving. “What needs no display is virtue. It is characteristic of the superior man. “In silence is the offering presented. He knows how what is distant lies in what is near. there is not the slightest contention.” Therefore the superior man does not use rewards. It is said in the Book of Poetry.” Therefore. “Although the fish sink and lie at the bottom. has a feeling of reverence. making no great display of itself in sounds and appearances.” Therefore the superior man examines his heart. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius Who can know him. the superior man being sincere and reverential. a hair will admit of comparison as to its size. it is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue. but he who is indeed quick in apprehension. and the spirit approached to. he has the feeling of truthfulness. “Over her embroidered robe she puts a plain single garment. “Looked at in your apartment. while it daily becomes more illustrious. ‘His Virtue is light as a hair. and the people are awed more than by hatchets and battle-axes. He knows where the wind proceeds from. the whole world is conducted to a state of happy tranquility. “Among the appliances to transform the people. the superior man. That wherein the superior man cannot be equaled is simply this. It is said in the Book of Poetry. Just so.” Therefore. yet to be discriminating.’ Still. we may be sure.—his work which other men cannot see. It is said in another ode. and while he speaks not.” intimating a dislike to the display of the elegance of the former. and the people are stimulated to virtue. It is said in the Book of Poetry. that there may be nothing wrong there. will enter into virtue. It is said in the Book of Poetry. of far-reaching intelligence. Such a one. it is still quite clearly seen. while seemingly plain. and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction with himself. possessing all Heavenly virtue? It is said in the Book of Poetry. “I regard with pleasure your brilliant virtue. and all-embracing knowledge.Chapter 6.” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 149 . sound and appearances are but trivial influences. ‘The doings of the supreme Heaven have neither sound nor smell. All the princes imitate it. It is said in the Book of Poetry. appearing insipid. yet never to produce satiety. yet to have his accomplishments recognized. be there free from shame as being exposed to the light of Heaven.

. Cooper Topics Worth Investigating 1. Examine carefully how Confucius’ Doctrine of the Mean differs from Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean as discussed in Book II 6-7 of the Nicomachean Ethics:3 In everything that is continuous and divisible it is possible to take more. or an equal amount. Book II Chapter 6 Lines 25-35. . J. and that either in terms of the thing itself or relatively to us. Ethica Nicomachea. By the intermediate in the 3. less. “Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius From the reading. D. and the equal is an intermediate between excess and defect.” Great Gateway. and the great exercise of it is in loving relatives. 150 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Translated by Richard McKeon. Aristotle.Chapter 6. Temple of Confucius.

Chapter 6. Analyze how Confucius’ statement of the principle of reciprocity (“What you do not like when done to yourself. for it exceeds and is exceeded by an equal amount. In your answer. for this also is perhaps too much for the person who is to take it. which is one and the same for all men. “The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is. he does not desire to go beyond this. this is the intermediate according to arithmetical proportion. Confucius writes. if ten is many and two is few. “The Doctrine of the Mean” by Confucius object I mean that which is equidistant from each of the extremes. You might wish to consult the logical relation of contraposition in a logic textbook in order to compare the various formulations. do not do to others”) differs from the Golden Rule expressed in Matthew 7:12 and in Luke 6:31. “The approaches of the spirits. six is the intermediate.4 too much for the beginner in athletic exercises. you cannot surmise. A famous wrestler Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 151 . it does not follow that the trainer will order six pounds. 3. and can you treat them with indifference?” 4. taken in terms of the object. if ten pounds are too much for a particular person to eat and two to little. 2. But the intermediate relatively to us is not to be taken so. by the intermediate relatively to us that which is neither too much nor too little—and this is not one.” Does this statement imply that the superior man follows the philosophy of ethical relativism? Cannot his actions be objectively determined? 4. or too little—too little for Milo. nor the same for all. Explain “the outgoings of sincerity” according to this citation from the Book of Poetry. For instance.

18th Century French Print About the author.Chapter 7 Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Lao Tzu.). B. As an old man. at that time. he left to go to the mountains of Tibet but was accosted at Kwan Yin (Hank Pass) by the guard Yin Hsi at the western border of China. according to Chinese legend.C. 152 . The guard demanded that Lao Tzu present his teachings before he could pass. Lao Tzu (6th. Puportedly. was an imperial court keeper of the archives. cent. . discouraged with honesty of those around him. Lao Tzu composed the eighty-one verses of the Tao Te Ching. .

the scripture expresses the doctrine of not striving purposely—a kind of non-action or wu-wei. then how is it that there is noting it does not do. . Describe of what the happiness of attaining to the Tao consists. The name Tao Te Ching1 can be translated as “classic of the way and power of excellence. 1891. 3. . James Legge. Lao Tzu.” The Tao Te Ching expresses the harmony and simplicity of natural action. From the reading. the underlying source of the unity of nature.” Provide examples with your explanation. 7. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 153 .Chapter 7. If the Tao does nothing for the sake of doing it. Is this notion a kind of ecological behavior? 8. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu About the work. Although some parts of the Tao Te Ching might have been written in the 6th century. in point of fact. . What are the two aspects of the Mystery described in Chapter 1? 2. Trans. . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Explain what it means to “hide the light of [your] procedure” or to leave no traces. The Tao Te Ching. “The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the sake of doing it). What are some of the moral qualities of the sage? 6.C. The goal of life is for each person to be one with Tao. 4. and so there is nothing which it does not do. What is meant by the assertion that “The highest excellence is like (that of) water. probably most of the scriptual-text dates from around the 3rd century B.? 1. What is meant by leaving a vessel unfilled? Why should “a vessel” be left unfilled? How is it that emptyness is useful? 5.” Ideas of Interest from The Tao Te Ching 1. Explain the doctine of wu-wei or non-action.

4. 2. Try to ascertain why this would be so. it is really the same. (Conceived of as) having no name. If its deep mystery we would sound. 2 1. 2. Ch. Discuss whether the movement of Tao is by contrarties or by contradictories. it is the Originator of heaven and earth. All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful. they all know the skill of the skilful. economy. Together we call them the Mystery. and modesty in accord with Tao? The Reading Selection from The Tao Te Ching Part I. 10. Under these two aspects. Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful. 3. Its outer fringe is all that we shall see. The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The Tao Te Ching. (conceived of as) having a name. “the tiger [finds no] place in which to fix its paws”? 12. Discuss the possibility of “doing nothing” on purpose? How does this trick of language give insight into “the Way” for excellence? Moreover. Always without desire we must be found. What are the relations between Tao and individual contentment or societal peace? 11. and in doing this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is. So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other. But if desire always within us be. how is it in such a life. it is the Mother of all things. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name. but as development takes place. it receives the different names. How are gentleness.Chapter 7. that difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other. and in doing this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is. Ch. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 9. 1 1. that length 154 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .

And when (one with the highest excellence) does not wrangle (about his low position). Ch. that of the mind is in abysmal stillness. that (the ideas of) height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other. they grow. and in its occupying. but how no one can see. the low place which all men dislike. “The highest excellence is like (that of) water. 8 1. they go through their processes. 3. no one finds fault with him. ’Tis this that makes the power not cease to be. The work is accomplished. and yet it is found in the foremost place. and yet that person is preserved. All things spring up. 2. 7 1. and there is not one which declines to show itself. 2. Is it not because he has no personal and private ends. he treats his person as if it were foreign to him. From the reading. and that being before and behind give the idea of one following another. Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything. without striving (to the contrary). that the musical notes and tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another. themselves.Chapter 7. and conveys his instructions without the use of speech. that of associations is in their being with the virtuous. The highest excellence is like (that of) water. 3. The work is done. and that of (the initiation of) any movement is in its timeliness.” 4. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other. that of (the conduct of) affairs is in its ability. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 155 . and there is no claim made for their ownership. and there is no resting in it (as an achievement). The reason why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue thus long is because they do not live of. . The excellence of a residence is in (the suitability of) the place. . Therefore the sage puts his own person last. that of government is in its securing good order. or for. and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). Heaven is long-enduring and earth continues long. This is how they are able to continue and endure. Hence (its way) is near to (that of) the Tao. that therefore such ends are realised? Ch. The excellence of water appears in its benefiting all things.

When the work is done. this brings its evil on itself. and one’s name is becoming distinguished. When wealth and honours lead to arrogancy. The door and windows are cut out (from the walls) to form an apartment. The thirty spokes unite in the one nave. than to attempt to carry it when it is full. that the use of the wheel depends. Ch. that its use depends. their possessor cannot keep them safe. 2. Therefore. 9 1. the point cannot long preserve its sharpness. It is better to leave a vessel unfilled. 11 1. what has a (positive) existence serves for profitable adaptation. Clay is fashioned into vessels. 156 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu The thirty spokes unite in the one nave. but it is on the empty space (for the axle). When gold and jade fill the hall. that their use depends. to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven. If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened. that the use of the wheel depends. but it is on the empty space (for the axle). and what has not that for (actual) usefulness. Ch. but it is on their empty hollowness. but it is on the empty space (within).Chapter 7.

and we do not see it. and hence we blend them together and obtain The One.” With these three qualities. this is called the Fleeting and Indeterminable. it yet cannot be named. and we do not hear it. . but it is on the empty space (for the axle). James D. From the reading. and its lower part is not obscure. “The thirty spokes unite in the one nave. This is called the Form of the Formless. 14 1. and then it again returns and becomes nothing. Ceaseless in its action. that the use of the wheel depends. McCabe Ch. and do not get hold of it.” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 157 . and we name it “the Subtle. and we name it “the Inaudible. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Vases. and the Semblance of the Invisible.” We listen to it. 2. Its upper part is not bright. . it cannot be made the subject of description. and we name it “the Equable.” We try to grasp it. We look at it.Chapter 7.

2. as if enjoying a full banquet. and therefore his merit is acknowledged. and therefore he acquires superiority. The partial becomes complete. new. like a rude borderer. drifting as if I had nowhere to rest. They look full of discrimination. he whose (desires) are many goes astray. and are able to know it as it was of old in the beginning. 22 1. but I value the nursing-mother (the Tao). and manifests it to all the world. the crooked. 20 1. The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased. I alone seem to have lost everything. while I alone am dull and confused. as if mounted on a tower in spring. from self-boasting. Ch. from self-complacency. I look dejected and forlorn. The (ready) “yes. My mind is that of a stupid man. this is called (unwinding) the clue of Tao. good and ill. We meet it and do not see its Front. while I alone seem dull and incapable. the worn out. straight. I am in a state of chaos. It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him. we follow it. (Thus) I alone am different from other men. as if I had no home to go to. and therefore he is distinguished. When we can lay hold of the Tao of old to direct the things of the present day. That saying of the ancients that “the partial becomes complete” was not vainly spoken:—all real completion is comprehended under it.Chapter 7.— What space the gulf between shall fill? What all men fear is indeed to be feared. All men have their spheres of action. Ch. When we renounce learning we have no troubles. I alone seem listless and still. The multitude of men all have enough and to spare. while I alone seem to be benighted.” and (flattering) “yea. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled. He whose (desires) are few gets them. from self-assertion. full. Ordinary men look bright and intelligent. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 3. He is free from self-display. my desires having as yet given no indication of their presence.”— Small is the difference they display. Therefore the sage holds in his embrace the one thing (of humility). 3. the empty. I seem to be carried about as on the sea. 158 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . but how wide and without end is the range of questions (asking to be discussed)! 2. But mark their issues. and do not see its Back. and therefore he shines.

Therefore when one is making the Tao his business.conceited has no superiority allowed to him. To whom is it that these (two) things are owing? To Heaven and Earth. and I give it the designation of the Tao (the Way or Course). Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 159 . Hence those who pursue (the course) of the Tao do not adopt and allow them. 23 1. (So). he who is self. and those who are making the manifestation of its course their object agree with him in that. There was something undefined and complete. he who asserts his own views is not distinguished. 3. “It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him. . are like remnants of food. How still it was and formless. standing alone. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Ch.Chapter 7. Abstaining from speech marks him who is obeying the spontaneity of his nature. or a tumour on the body. 2. reaching everywhere and in no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of all things. agree with him in it. 24 He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm. a want of faith (in him) ensues (on the part of the others). viewed from the standpoint of the Tao. Making an effort (further) to give it a name I call it The Great. which all dislike. Ch. while even those who are failing in both these things agree with him where they fail. those with whom he agrees as to the Tao have the happiness of attaining to it. and undergoing no change. (But) when there is not faith sufficient (on his part).” Ch. . Hence. he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged. how much less can man! 2. he who displays himself does not shine. those with whom he agrees as to its manifestation have the happiness of attaining to it. Such conditions. A violent wind does not last for a whole morning. 25 1. From the reading. those who are also pursuing it. If Heaven and Earth cannot make such (spasmodic) actings last long. coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. a sudden rain does not last for the whole day. and those with whom he agrees in their failure have also the happiness of attaining (to the Tao). I do not know its name.

it passes on (in constant flow). it becomes remote. Great. 2. Hence the sage puts away excessive effort. The kingdom is a spirit-like thing. Having become remote. Man takes his law from the Earth. and easy indulgence. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 3. the skilful reckoner uses no tallies. In the same way the sage is always skilful at saving men. the Earth takes its law from Heaven. and so he does not cast away any man. 4. an (observer). Ch. while to open what he has shut will be impossible. 160 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Therefore the man of skill is a master (to be looked up to) by him who has not the skill. Heaven takes its law from the Tao. he is always skilful at saving things. I see that he will not succeed. 27 1. he who would hold it in his grasp loses it.” Ch. might greatly err about them. and the (sage) king is one of them. Heaven is great. 32 1. The Tao. and the (sage) king is also great. and he who has not the skill is the helper of (the reputation of) him who has the skill. Ch. Earth is great. and cannot be got by active doing. This is called “The utmost degree of mystery. The law of the Tao is its being what it is. What warmed anon we freezing find. has no name. and to effect this by what he does. the skilful binder uses no strings or knots. extravagance. If the one did not honour his master. Therefore the Tao is great. 29 1. He who would so win it destroys it. it returns. Passing on. while to unloose what he has bound will be impossible. If any one should wish to get the kingdom for himself.Chapter 7. and the other did not rejoice in his helper. The skilful traveller leaves no traces of his wheels or footsteps. considered as unchanging. and so he does not cast away anything.” 2. In the universe there are four that are great. The store in ruins mocks our toil. the skilful closer needs no bolts or bars. Strength is of weakness oft the spoil. though intelligent. the skilful speaker says nothing that can be found fault with or blamed. This is called “Hiding the light of his procedure. The course and nature of things is such that What was in front is now behind.

Ch. From the reading. and therefore they possessed them (in fullest measure). which. 3. the whole world dares not deal with (one embodying) it as a minister. it has a name.Chapter 7. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 2. All things go right as of their will. If a feudal prince or the king could guard and hold it. they can be free from all risk of failure and error. 5. at rest and still. If this transformation became to me an object of desire. without the directions of men. Ch. When they know to rest in it.” 3. all things would of themselves be transformed by them. Though in its primordial simplicity it may be small. Heaven and Earth (under its guidance) unite together and send down the sweet dew. The Tao Ching. When it once has that name. 2. . Part II. all would spontaneously submit themselves to him. With no desire. (Those who) Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 161 . The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the sake of doing it). . I would express the desire by the nameless simplicity. (men) can know to rest in it. 38 1. Simplicity without a name Is free from all external aim. “The skilful traveller leaves no traces of his wheels or footsteps. and so there is nothing which it does not do. The relation of the Tao to all the world is like that of the great rivers and seas to the streams from the valleys. As soon as it proceeds to action. If princes and kings were able to maintain it. 4. 37 1. (Those who) possessed in highest degree the attributes (of the Tao) did not (seek) to show them. reaches equally everywhere as of its own accord.

and had need to be so doing. and had need to be so doing. 2. Ch. swift apprehension is (only) a flower of the Tao. It is thus that he puts away the one and makes choice of the other. the proprieties appeared. when benevolence was lost. 4. 43 1. All things under heaven sprang from It as existing (and named). they bared the arm and marched up to them. (Those who) possessed them in a lower degree were (always) doing. benevolence appeared. and therefore they did not possess them (in fullest measure). that which has no (substantial) existence enters where there is no crevice. when its attributes were lost. (Those who) possessed the highest benevolence were (always seeking) to carry it out. (Those who) possessed in the highest degree those attributes did nothing (with a purpose). righteousness appeared. 3. and had no need to be doing so. 2. and had no need to do anything. And weakness marks the course Of Tao’s mighty deeds. Thus it is that the Great man abides by what is solid. 162 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . 40 1. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu possessed in a lower degree those attributes (sought how) not to lose them. 7. The movement of the Tao By contraries proceeds. 5. Now propriety is the attenuated form of leal-heartedness and good faith. I know hereby what advantage belongs to doing nothing (with a purpose). and when righteousness was lost. that existence sprang from It as non-existent (and not named). and eschews what is flimsy. 6. (Those who) possessed the highest righteousness were (always seeking) to carry it out. Thus it was that when the Tao was lost. and is the beginning of stupidity. The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes the hardest. and when men did not respond to it.Chapter 7. and is also the commencement of disorder. dwells with the fruit and not with the flower. its attributes appeared. Ch. (Those who) possessed the highest (sense of) propriety were (always seeking) to show it.

.” 2. the less he knows. Ch. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu From the reading. 2. no calamity greater than to be discontented with one’s lot. 2. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 163 . Therefore the sufficiency of contentment is an enduring and unchanging sufficiency. no fault greater than the wish to be getting. one sees the Tao of Heaven. the war-horses breed in the border lands. “There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition. 48 1. The farther that one goes out (from himself). There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition. . Ch. he who devotes himself to the Tao (seeks) from day to day to diminish (his doing). no calamity greater than to be discontented with one’s lot. When the Tao prevails in the world. 46 1. and the advantage arising from non-action. without looking out from his window. There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words. one understands (all that takes place) under the sky.Chapter 7. gave their (right) names to things without seeing them. Ch. they send back their swift horses to (draw) the dung-carts. Without going outside his door. 47 1. no fault greater than the wish to be getting. and accomplished their ends without any purpose of doing so. When the Tao is disregarded in the world. Therefore the sages got their knowledge without travelling. He who devotes himself to learning (seeks) from day to day to increase (his knowledge).

He diminishes it and again diminishes it. Men come forth and live. Ch. Having arrived at this point of non-action. and to those who are not good (to me). He who gets as his own all under heaven does so by giving himself no trouble (with that end). I am also sincere. he makes the mind of the people his mind. The sage has in the world an appearance of indecision. To those who are good (to me). If one take trouble (with that end). and he deals with them all as his children. I am good. 3.Chapter 7.—and thus (all) get to be sincere. The people all keep their eyes and ears directed to him. and three are ministers of death. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Street Scence. there is nothing which he does not do. and to those who are not sincere (with me). till he arrives at doing nothing (on purpose). 2. and keeps his mind in a state of indifference to all. Library of Congress 2. 3. I am also good. 49 1.—and thus (all) get to be good. 2. Ch. he is not equal to getting as his own all under heaven. Chefang China. To those who are sincere (with me). I am sincere. 164 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . The sage has no invariable mind of his own. 50 1. Of every ten three are ministers of life (to themselves). they enter (again) and die.

. Therefore all things without exception honour the Tao. and bring himself into agreement with the obscurity (of others). and exalt its outflowing operation. it brings them to maturity and exercises no control over them. 3. This is called “the Mysterious Agreement. The rhinoceros finds no place in him into which to thrust its horn. And for what reason? Because of their excessive endeavours to perpetuate life. nor the weapon a place to admit its point. But I have heard that he who is skilful in managing the life entrusted to him for a time travels on the land without having to shun rhinoceros or tiger. nourishes them. nor the tiger a place in which to fix its claws. 2. 4. “(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy. he who is (ever ready to) speak about it does not know it. but whose movements tend to the land (or place) of death. completes them. This honouring of the Tao and exalting of its operation is not the result of any ordination. 56 1. brings them to their full growth. 4. Ch.Chapter 7. And for what reason? Because there is in him no place of death. it carries them through their processes and does not vaunt its ability in doing so. They receive their forms according to the nature of each. and overspreads them. . Thus it is that the Tao produces (all things). He (who knows it) will keep his mouth shut and close the portals (of his nostrils). 51 1.” From the reading. He who knows (the Tao) does not (care to) speak (about it).—this is called its mysterious operation. and nourished by its outflowing operation. Ch. matures them. maintains them. and are completed according to the circumstances of their condition. and does things that would become great while they are small. He will blunt his sharp points and unravel the complications of things. There are also three in every ten whose aim is to live. It produces them and makes no claim to the possession of them. nurses them. 2. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 3. All things are produced by the Tao. he will attemper his brightness. but always a spontaneous tribute. ” Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 165 . and enters a host without having to avoid buff coat or sharp weapon.

before a thing has given indications of its presence. and all great things from one in which they were small. The sage does not act (so). and therefore does no harm. he learns what (other men) do not learn. All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy. 4. 63 1. Ch. that which is very small is easily dispersed. the journey of a thousand li commenced with a single step. and does not prize things difficult to get. and a few as many. is able on that account to accomplish the greatest things. he who takes hold of a thing (in the same way) loses his hold. (Such an one) cannot be treated familiarly or distantly. he who is continually thinking things easy is sure to find them difficult. He who lightly promises is sure to keep but little faith. Ch. Therefore the sage desires what (other men) do not desire. and to recompense injury with kindness. (The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy. Thus he helps the natural development of all things. as (they should be) at the beginning. (It is the way of the Tao) to act without (thinking of) acting. he is beyond all consideration of profit or injury. and therefore does not lose his bold. The tree which fills the arms grew from the tiniest sprout. to consider what is small as great. to conduct affairs without (feeling the) trouble of them. of nobility or meanness:—he is the noblest man under heaven. and does things that would become great while they are small. 2. Therefore the sage. Action should be taken before a thing has made its appearance. (But) people in their conduct of affairs are constantly ruining them when they are on the eve of success. and turns back to what the multitude of men have passed by. that which is brittle is easily broken. he does not lay hold (so). they would not so ruin them. the tower of nine storeys rose from a (small) heap of earth. 64 1. 66 166 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and so never has any difficulties. order should be secured before disorder has begun. That which is at rest is easily kept hold of. Ch. 3. 3. If they were careful at the end. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 3. to taste without discerning any flavour. 2. He who acts (with an ulterior purpose) does harm. it is easy to take measures against it. and does not dare to act (with an ulterior purpose of his own). Therefore the sage sees difficulty even in what seems easy.Chapter 7. while he never does what is great.

Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 167 . I can become a vessel of the highest honour. nor though he has his place before them. Therefore all in the world delight to exalt him and do not weary of him.—it is thus that they are the kings of them all. 2. So it is that the sage (ruler). puts himself by his words below them. In this way though he has his place above them. All the world says that. 3. shrinking from taking precedence of others. With that gentleness I can be bold. and the third is shrinking from taking precedence of others. places his person behind them. The first is gentleness. Ch. with that economy I can be liberal. while my Tao is great. and. That whereby the rivers and seas are able to receive the homage and tribute of all the valley streams. the second is economy. do they feel it an injury to them. 3. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 1. wishing to be above men. no one finds it possible to strive with him. But I have three precious things which I prize and hold fast. Now it is just its greatness that makes it seem to be inferior. it yet appears to be inferior (to other systems of teaching). for long would its smallness have been known! Lotus. wishing to be before them. If it were like any other (system). Because he does not strive. Library of Congress 2. is their skill in being lower than they. 38 1. men do not feel his weight.Chapter 7.

“Men’s wills he bends. and are all for being liberal. and therefore he does not have it. Ch. . The sage has not the disease. Thus we say. “He ne’er contends. No sage of old more bright. It is simply by being pained at (the thought of) having this disease that we are preserved from it. 71 1. He who fights with most good will To rage makes no resort. loves. not to know (and yet think) we do know is a disease. by his (very) gentleness protecting him. He whose hests men most fulfil Yet humbly plies his art. economy. but does not parade (his knowledge). Heaven will save its possessor. 2. but does not (appear to set a) value on. 68 He who in (Tao’s) wars has skill Assumes no martial port. the hindmost place.. and seek only to be foremost. 4. . Therefore the sage knows (these things) of himself. To know and yet (think) we do not know is the highest (attainment). And therein is his might. that which is their great dread will come on them. He who vanquishes yet still Keeps from his foes apart.” Ch. 168 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . 2. He knows the pain that would be inseparable from it. “Like Heaven’s his ends. 72 1. himself. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Now-a-days they give up gentleness and are all for being bold. and firmly to maintain its ground. let them not act as if weary of what that life depends on. When the people do not fear what they ought to fear. Let them not thoughtlessly indulge themselves in their ordinary life.—(of all which the end is) death. It is by avoiding such indulgence that such weariness does not arise. Ch.” Thus we say.” Thus we say.Chapter 7. That they with him unite. 3. Gentleness is sure to be victorious even in battle. 4. And thus he puts the latter alternative away and makes choice of the former.

3. He takes away from those who have not enough to add to his own superabundance. Ch. 3. 79 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 169 . and what was low is raised up.Chapter 7. Therefore the (ruling) sage acts without claiming the results as his.—for there is nothing (so effectual) for which it can be changed. To him who bears men’s direful woes They all the name of King accord. and does things that would become great while they are small. Therefore a sage has said. Every one in the world knows that the soft overcomes the hard. “He who accepts his state’s reproach. May not the Way (or Tao) of Heaven be compared to the (method of) bending a bow? The (part of the bow) which was high is brought low. he achieves his merit and does not rest (arrogantly) in it:—he does not wish to display his superiority. (So Heaven) diminishes where there is superabundance. Ch. 38 There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water. and to supplement deficiency. It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance. It is not so with the way of man. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Ch. and supplements where there is deficiency. ” 4. Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical. 77 1. and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it. and the weak the strong. . 2. but no one is able to carry it out in practice. 2. “(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy. Is hailed therefore its altars’ lord.” 4. . Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all under heaven? Only he who is in possession of the Tao! From the reading.

(So). and does things that would become great while they are small. “(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy. ” 170 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . and does not insist on the (speedy) fulfilment of it by the other party. while he who has not those attributes regards only the conditions favourable to himself. there is no partiality of love. The sage does not accumulate (for himself). Sincere words are not fine. From the reading. Therefore (to guard against this). fine words are not sincere. the sage keeps the left-hand portion of the record of the engagement. Those who know (the Tao) are not extensively learned. it injures not. In the Way of Heaven. 2.Chapter 7. the more does he possess of his own. Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 1. with all the doing in the way of the sage he does not strive. . he who has the attributes (of the Tao) regards (only) the conditions of the engagement. 81 1. Ch. it is always on the side of the good man. the more that he gives to others. Those who are skilled (in the Tao) do not dispute (about it). 3. there is sure to be a grudge remaining (in the mind of the one who was wrong). When a reconciliation is effected (between two parties) after a great animosity. . With all the sharpness of the Way of Heaven. And how can this be beneficial (to the other)? 2. 3. the disputatious are not skilled in it. the extensively learned do not know it. The more that he expends for others. the more does he have himself.

Clarify the doctine of wu-wei or non-action.” In what ways is this remark profound and not an empty tautology? Is the Tao considered in this manner analogous to the Western notion of the laws of nature? 4. Are these doctrines metaphysical or logical or both? 2. The The Tao Te Ching emphasizes “there is no expectation (of a reward for the results).” 3. . Contrast the political advice for the strategy of winning in the The Tao Te Ching with Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.” Contrast this idea with that of the Bhagavad Gita. Compare and contrast the Western doctrine of polar opposites with the Eastern doctrine of yin—yang. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 171 . . The work is accomplished and there is no resting in it (as an achievement). . Selections from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water. The The Tao Te Ching states “The law of the Tao is its being what it is.Chapter 7. to do “all work as an offering to God abandoning attachment to the results. and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it. Library of Congress Topics Worth Investigating 1.

. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966) is an influential scholar of Japanese Buddhist thought and one of the first persons to introduce Buddhism to the West. Suzuki’s influence on their work and thought. the psychologists Carl Jung and Erich Fromm. He is perhaps best known for his description of Zen history and practice in Zen Buddhism. .Chapter 8 “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki Ox. The existentialist Martin Heidegger. 172 . and the musician John Cage. (detail) Library of Congress About the author. all acknowledge D. T.

what is meant by “seeing” or “finding” the traces? 3. “ He now knows that. Suzuki has compiled gathas and prayers. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki About the work. and sutras from Zen Masters used in monastery life.Chapter 8. . The ox-herder does not retreat from the world. . Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki. The “Ten Oxherding Pictures” is drawn from Chapter IV of that anthology which is entitled “From the Chinese Masters.” Ideas of Interest from “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” 1. the objective world is a reflection of the Self. . What does the ox symbolize in the various series of ox-herding pictures? Why was this animal chosen for this metaphor? 2. The ordinary. Manual of Zen Buddhism. What is the relation between “gain and loss” and “the taming of the ox”? 5. dharanis. What does Kaku-an mean by returning to the Origin or the Source? 1. . . 1934. Once enlightenment is attained. . do we remain aloof from the everydayness of the world? 7. T. Why does the ox require herding? How in life does one “herd the ox”? 4. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 173 . In his Manual of Zen Buddhism. What is the signification of the “marketplace”? 6. In Kaku-an’s account. everyday self doing everyday activities can reveal the “true self” through enlightenment.1 D. From the reading.” The ox-herding pictures represent the stages of progress or levels of realization in zen practice.

goes beyond the stage of absolute emptiness where Seikyo’s end: the poem reads: Even beyond the ultimate limits there extends a passageway. He is also the author of the poems and introductory words attached to the pictures. And wherever he goes he finds his home air. for jitoku’s are six in number. Some might take mere emptiness as all important and final. No. According to a commentator of Kaku-an’s Pictures. In whatever associations he is found he moves leisurely unattached. The earliest one belongs I think to the fifteenth century.Chapter 8. Like pure gold he shines even in the furnace. probably a contemporary of his. The last one. ending in the disappearance of the whole being. In Japan Kakuan’s Ten Pictures gained a wide circulation. There were in this only five pictures. for in his general preface to the pictures he refers to another Zen master called Seikyo (Ching-chu). there is another series of the Oxherding Pictures by a Zen master called jitoku Ki (Tzu-te Hui). 6. Every worldly affair is a Buddhist work. Hence his improvement resulting in the “Ten Oxherding Pictures” as we have them now. In China however a different edition seems to have been in vogue. In the latter there is no whitening process. Kaku-an thought this was somewhat misleading because of an empty circle being made the goal of Zen discipline. Like a gem he stands out even in the mud. He was not however the first who attempted to illustrate by means of pictures stages of Zen discipline. Jitoku’s ox grows whiter as Seikyo’s. one belonging to the 174 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Whereby he comes back among the six realms of existence. and at present all the oxherding books reproduce them. and in this particular respect both differ from Kaku-an’s conception. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki The Reading Selection from “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” Preliminary The author of these “Ten Oxherding Pictures” is said to be a Zen master of the Sung Dynasty known as Kaku-an Shi-en (Kuo-an Shih-yuan) belonging to the Rinzai school. Along the endless road [of birth and death] he walks sufficient unto himself. But in Seikyo’s case the gradual development of the Zen life was indicated by a progressive whitening of the animal. who apparently knew of the existence of the Five Pictures by Seikyo. who made use of the ox to explain his Zen teaching. instead of ten as by Kaku-an.

Kaku-an’s "Pictures" here reproduced are by Shubun. Exhausted and in despair. Searching for the Ox The beast has never gone astray. From the reading. The original pictures are preserved at Shokokuji. He only hears the evening cicadas singing in the maple-woods. (2) by Seikyo. The beast is lost. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki Seikyo and Jitoku series of pictures. each of which is preceded by Pu-ming’s poem.Chapter 8. and also Pu-ming’s verses translated into English. I. Thus as far as I can identify there are four varieties of the Oxherding Pictures: (1) by Kaku-an. and what is the use of searching for him? The reason why the oxherd is not on intimate terms with him is because the oxherd himself has violated his own inmost nature. The quaint original Chinese prints are reproduced below. for the oxherd has himself been led out of the way through his deluding senses. The edition containing the preface by Chu-hung. 1585. In these pictures the ox’s colouring changes together with the oxherd’s management of him. . and (4) by an unknown author. The author is not known. (3) by Jitoku. lost in the jungle. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 175 . by Kaku-an I. . the boy is searching. He was one of the greatest painters in black and white in the Ashikaga period. searching! The swelling waters. His home is receding farther away from him. Alone in the wilderness. Desire for gain and fear of loss burn like fire. Chu-hung himself professes ignorance. he knows not where to go. The Ten Oxherding Pictures. Things oppress us not because of an objective world. the far-away mountains. ideas of right and wrong shoot up like a phalanx. and byways and crossways are ever confused. and the unending path. As to who this Pu-ming was. has ten pictures. a Zen priest of the fifteenth century. but because of a selfdeceiving mind. Kyoto.

By the stream and under the trees. It is like the salt in water and the glue in colour. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki 1. Yet. 2. [It is there though not distinguishable as an individual entity. Suzuki II. D. he has come to understand something.. it is manifestly present. Seeing the Traces. his mind is still confused as to truth and falsehood.Chapter 8. and all his senses are in harmonious order. however varied. Seeing the Ox The boy finds the way by the sound he hears. he sees thereby into the origin of things. His nose reaches the heavens and none can conceal it. Seeing the Traces By the aid of the sutras and by inquiring into the doctrines. and that the objective world is a reflection of the Self. he has found the traces. As he has not yet entered the gate. he is provisionally said to have noticed the traces. Searching for the Ox. He now knows that vessels. scattered are the traces of the lost. he is unable to distinguish what is good from what is not. 176 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . The sweet-scented grasses are growing thick--did he find the way? However remote over the hills and far away the beast may wander.] When the eye is properly directed. are all of gold. T. III. he will find that it is no other than himself. In all his activities.

4. but Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 177 . “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki On a yonder branch perches a nightingale cheerfully singing. V. He constantly longs for the old sweet-scented field. Catching the Ox Long lost in the wilderness. how ungovernable his power! At times he struts up a plateau. The ox is there all by himself. the ox is hard to keep under control. another follows. T. If the oxherd wishes to see the ox completely in harmony with himself. the boy has at last found the ox and his hands are on him. Seeing the Ox..Chapter 8. The splendid head decorated with stately horns what painter can reproduce him? 3. he has surely to use the whip freely. The wild nature is still unruly. on the bank the willows are green. The sun is warm. and altogether refuses to be broken. Herding the Ox When a thought moves. Through enlightenment all this turns into truth. and then another-an endless train of thoughts is thus awakened. But. With the energy of his whole being. When lo! he is lost again in a misty unpenetrable mountain-pass. Suzuki IV. nowhere is he to hide himself. and a soothing breeze blows. Catching the Ox. D. owing to the overwhelming pressure of the outside world. the boy has at last taken hold of the ox: But how wild his will.

Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki

falsehood asserts itself when confusion prevails. Things oppress us not because of an objective world, but because of a self-deceiving mind. Do not let the nose-string loose, hold it tight, and allow no vacillation.
The boy is not to separate himself with his whip and tether, Lest the animal should wander away into a world of defilements; When the ox is properly tended to, he will grow pure and docile; Without a chain, nothing binding, he will by himself follow the oxherd.

5. Herding the Ox. 6. Coming Home on the Ox’s Back., D. T. Suzuki

VI. Coming Home on the Ox’s Back
The struggle is over; the man is no more concerned with gain and loss. He hums a rustic tune of the woodman, he sings simple songs of the village-boy. Saddling himself on the ox’s back, his eyes are fixed on things not of the earth, earthy. Even if he is called, he will not turn his head; however enticed he will no more be kept back.
Riding on the animal, he leisurely wends his way home: Enveloped in the evening mist, how tunefully the flute vanishes away! Singing a ditty, beating time, his heart is filled with a joy indescribable! That he is now one of those who know, need it be told?

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VII. The Ox Forgotten, Leaving the Man Alone
The dharmas are one and the ox is symbolic. When you know that what you need is not the snare or set-net but the hare or fish, it is like gold separated from the dross, it is like the moon rising out of the clouds. The one ray of light serene and penetrating shines even before days of creation.
Riding on the animal, he is at last back in his home, Where lo! the ox is no more; the man alone sits serenely. Though the red sun is high up in the sky, he is still quietly dreaming, Under a straw-thatched roof are his whip and rope idly lying.

7. The Ox Forgotten, Leaving the Man Alone. 8. The Ox and the Man Gone out of Sight., D. T. Suzuki

VIII. The Ox and the Man Gone out of Sight
All confusion is set aside, and serenity alone prevails; even the idea of holiness does not obtain. He does not linger about where the Buddha is, and as to where there is no Buddha he speedily passes by. When there exists no form of dualism, even a thousand-eyed one fails to detect a loop-hole. A holiness before which birds offer flowers is but a farce.2
2. It will be interesting to note what a mystic philosopher has to say about this: “A man shall become truly poor and as free from his creature will as he was when he was born. And I say to you, by the eternal truth, that as long as ye desire to fulfil the will of God, and have any desire after eternity and God; so long are ye not truly poor. He alone hath true spiritual poverty who wills nothing, knows nothing, desires nothing.”—(From Eckhart as quoted by Inge in Light, Life,

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All is empty-the whip, the rope, the man, and the ox: Who can ever survey the vastness of heaven? Over the furnace burning ablaze, not a flake of snow can fall: When this state of things obtains, manifest is the spirit of the ancient master.

IX. Returning to the Origin, Back to the Source
From the very beginning, pure and immaculate, the man has never been affected by defilement. He watches the growth of things, while himself abiding in the immovable serenity of nonassertion. He does not identify himself with the maya-like transformations [that are going on about him], nor has he any use of himself [which is artificiality]. The waters are blue, the mountains are green; sitting alone, he observes things undergoing changes.
To return to the Origin, to be back at the Source—already a false step this! Far better it is to stay at home, blind and deaf, and without much ado; Sitting in the hut, he takes no cognisance of things outside, Behold the streams flowing-whither nobody knows; and the flowers vividly red-for whom are they?

9. Returning to the Origin, Back to the Source. 10. Entering the City with Blissbestowing Hands, D. T. Suzuki

and Love.)]

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X. Entering the City with Bliss-bestowing Hands
His thatched cottage gate is closed, and even the wisest know him not. No glimpses of his inner life are to be caught; for he goes on his own way without following the steps of the ancient sages. Carrying a gourd3 he goes out into the market, leaning against a staff4 he comes home. He is found in company with wine-bibbers and butchers, he and they are all converted into Buddhas.
Bare-chested and bare-footed, he comes out into the market-place; Daubed with mud and ashes, how broadly he smiles! There is no need for the miraculous power of the gods, For he touches, and lo! the dead trees are in full bloom.

From the reading. . . “He is found in company with wine-bibbers and butchers, he and they are all converted into Buddhas.”

The Ten Oxherding Pictures, II.
1. Undisciplined
With his horns fiercely projected in the air the beast snorts, Madly running over the mountain paths, farther and farther he goes astray! A dark cloud is spread across the entrance of the valley, And who knows how much of the fine fresh herb is trampled under his wild hoofs!

3. 4.

Symbol of emptiness (sunyata). No extra property he has, for he knows that the desire to possess is the curse of human life.

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181

Discipline Begun. The leader holds the rope tightly in his hand never letting it go. All day long he is on the alert almost unconscious of what fatigue is. 182 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . walking along the mountain path.Chapter 8. 2. 3. In Harness Gradually getting into harness the beast is now content to be led by the nose. T. But the rustic oxherd never relaxes his pulling tether and ever-ready whip. D. and I pass it through his nose. For once he makes a frantic attempt to run away. The beast resists the training with all the power there is in a nature wild and ungoverned. Undisciplined. Discipline Begun I am in possession of a straw rope. he follows every step of the leader. Suzuki 2. but he is severely whipped and whipped. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki 1. Crossing the stream.

A nature so wild and ungoverned is finally broken. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 183 . “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki 3. Faced Round After long days of training the result begins to tell and the beast is faced round. T. 4. The ox is set at liberty to pursue his own pleasures. But the tender has not yet given him his full confidence. Tamed Under the green willow tree and by the ancient mountain stream. The boy wends his homeward way with the animal quietly following. At the eventide when a grey mist descends on the pasture. Suzuki 4. 5. he has become gentler..Chapter 8. In Harness. He still keeps his straw rope with which the ox is now tied to a tree. D. Faced Round.

The boy too sits leisurely under the pine tree. 6. No whip is needed now. D. Playing a tune of peace. While the boy on the rock dozes for hours not noticing anything that goes on about him.Chapter 8. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki 5. Laissez Faire The spring stream in the evening sun flows languidly along the willow-lined bank.. 184 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . Unimpeded On the verdant field the beast contentedly lies idling his time away. Unimpeded. When hungry he grazes. as time sweetly slides. T. overflowing with joy. In the hazy atmosphere the meadow grass is seen growing thick. when thirsty he quaffs. 7. Tamed. nor any kind of restraint. Suzuki 6.

“The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki 7. Clapping his hands he sings joyfully in the moon-light. Suzuki 8. The white clouds and the bright moon-light-each following its course of movement. The man is perfectly at his case and care-free. But remember a last wall is still left barring his homeward walk. Laissez Faire. All Forgotten. The white clouds penetrated by the moon-light cast their white shadows below. and the oxherd is master of his time. D. The Solitary Moon Nowhere is the beast. so is his companion. 8.Chapter 8. 9. All Forgotten The beast all in white now is surrounded by the white clouds. T. He is a solitary cloud wafting lightly along the mountain peaks. Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 185 .

. The bright moon-light is empty and shadowless with all the ten-thousand objects in it. . 10. Both Vanished Both the man and the animal have disappeared. Behold the lilies of the field and its fresh sweet-scented verdure.Chapter 8.” Topics Worth Investigating 1. If anyone should ask the meaning of this. Behold the lilies of the field and its fresh sweet-scented verdure.. D. T. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki 9. “If anyone should ask the meaning of this. From the reading. Suzuki 10. Both Vanished. no traces are left. Compare the two sets of the ox-herding pictures. What are the essential differ186 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . The Solitary Moon.

step by step. Explain the characteristics of the progress toward enlightenment. as implied by the second series ox-herding pictures. If our Buddha-nature is already perfect. why is enlightenment sought? Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 187 . Do you think that the ox-herding pictures are more representative of the Hinayana or Mahayana Buddhist traditions? 3. 4. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki ences of interpretation? Is the commentary to the first series a reliable guide to what you understand to be an effective way to progress in zen practice? 2.Chapter 8.

179 discipline. 50 (see also Four Noble Truths) extinction of. 50 Delphi effect. 5 Brahmana. 141. 119 decay. 78 188 . 60. 179 ego. 47. 82. 111. 97 beauty. 33. 154 Bhikshu. 103. 72 as an ocean wave. 74. 132 chün tzu. 115 annihilation. 50. 132 concentration. 41 Chung-ni. Paul. 131 Confucius. 56 doctrine of. 50 detachment. 66. 179 dukkha. 88 awakening. 35. 11 to results. 71 Buddhism. 106 Arjuna. 33 attachment. 118 right action. 57. 27 causality. 97 Cage. 179 disciple of. 75 desires. 84 body physical. 66. 22. 99 dharma. 56 Buddhism. 64 carving. 20 Dhammapada. 34 acts of. 8. 6 DocBook. 140 Christ. 6 corporeality. 8 Advaita. 7. 104 Buddha-nature. 102 Eckhart. 72 control over results. 161 adharma. 148 superior man. 24 Eightfold Path. 49. 172 Carus. 14 death. 175 despair. 125 breath. 100 criticims of. 50 blessings.Index action. 52. John. 113. 34 character. 36. 130 consciousness. 5. 74 demonic people. 99. 40 agnosticism. 44 Christianity. ? dualism. 187 Buddhas. 112. 82. Meister. 22 dependent origination. 51. 53 creation. 90 Confucianism. 69 egoism. 140 earnestness. 73. 51 (see also self) and feelings. 39 chance. 70 Arhat. 68. 4 Arya. 66. 114 atheism. 123 awareness. 75 Arahat. 75 duty. i delusion. 5. 88 Buddha. 76 chaos. 104. 101. 58 caste system. 6 attentiveness. 33 anger. 6 disgrace. 154. 123 birth.

136 filial piety. 18. 13 evil. 133 hunger. 102. 128 existence. 154 characteristics of. 104 feelings. 108. 111 (see also samsara) impurity. 23. 60. 117 illusion. 50 happiness. 140 fools. 114 formless. 56. 11 equilibrium of mind. 132 eternal being. 97 Kaku-an. 90 right effort. 51. 116 Indira. 49. 120 hindrances. 49. 172 just person. 138 Hui. 114 idolatry. 181 emptyness. 97 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 189 . 41 holiness. 172 gentleness. 109. 48. 111. 61 freedom. 97 Jainism. 95. 6 introspection. 179 hsiao. 134 government. 79. 39 Hinudism not henotheism. ?? Heidegger. 94 Hinduism. 156 evil-doer. 76 right understanding. 174 energy. 52 groups of. 70 filial piety. 136 First Noble Truth. 117 Kafka. 147 intellect. 76 right speech. 107 infinity. 33 lack of dogma. 109 Buddhism. 101 health. 87. 105. 113 overcoming. 102. 174 Kant. 98. 81 right concentration. 85 fetters the ten. 71 emptiness. 159 family. G.right attentiveness. 173. 174 faith. 86. 7 friendship. 133 enlightenment. 33 jen. 156. 67. 79 right living. 42 ignorance. 159 Four Noble Truths. C. Erich. 186 equanimity. 177. 63. 113 Fourth Noble Truth. Franz. 136 fear overcoming. 140 grief. i God. 57. 34 golden rule Confucian. 50 five relationships. 63. 106 Fromm. Immanuel. 58. 41. 132 hatred. 90. 113 harmony of mind. 135. 67 two kinds of. 167 GFDL. Martin. 179 paradox of creation. 139 jitoku Ki. 41 institutions of the ruler. 33 Jung. 174 Judaism. 130 benevolence. 79 right mindedness.. 39. 172 hell. 139 rules of.

109 thought. 18 punishment. 101 Kasyapa. 13. 14 old age. 65. 173 rebirth. 51 philosophy Sanskrit. 153. 132 mediation. 130 rules of propriety. 10. F. 66 Muki. 39 metaphysics. 43 Krishnamurti. 18 Krishna. 75 (see also reincarnation) rebirths. 114 poisoned arrow parable of. 7 path of duty. 8. 99 Kepler. 19 mean. 112 and knowledge. 100 natural law. 17 (see also yoga. 141 love. 66. 97 offerings. bhakti) of meditation. Max. 41 opposites. 11 of renunciation. Jiddu. 60. 50 language. 7 of devotion. 102. Johannes. 102. 132 (see also Bhakti-Yoga) peace. 19 Nietzsche. 170 prayer. i Kierkegaard. 84 Mara. 59 peace of mind. 75 nature. 106. 162 psyche. Eric S. Friedrich. 36. 92 morality. 12. 7. 97 lamentation. 160 maya. 97 King Wu. 110 omnipresence. 103. 8. 82. 7 of service. 14. 124 non-action. 33 pleasure. 137 knowledge. 73 (see also dependent origination) ox-herding pictures. 7 Middle Path. 181 pain. 67. 7. ii realization. 176. 68 posssessions. 43 Vedanta. 97 nirvana. doctrine of. Søren. 124 mercy. 160 learning. 117 propriety. 55 190 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . 118 master. 180. 107 Lao Tzu. 91 meditation. 38. 113 path of contemplation.. 39 Müller. 163 li. 6. 114 magic. 4. 92 mind. 6. 50 passion. 163 non-attachment. 49 (see also Karma) of Tao. 12. 8 origin. 104 transcendental. ?? modes. 58. 25 of self-knowledge. 10. 154.karma. 85 monks rules of. 8. 28. 109 Raymond. 102. 19. 152 law of conditionality. 49. 54. 8 perception.

9 essentials of. 155. 124. 115 vanity. 55. 142 suffering. 161 sin. 84.(see also reincarnation) reincarnation. 33 victory. 159 possessing. 118 te virtue. Swami. 12 Suzuki. 164 skill. T. 66 (see also dukkha) Supreme Being. 56 Seikyo. 102. D. 161 Tathagatas. ?? universality of. 5 stream-enterer. 7 sacrifice. 8 shame. 106. 110. 15. 179 Tsze-lu. ?? sensations. 42 renunciation. 71 Rishis. 34 ritual. 43 war righteous. 5 water. 133 Unamuno. 54 Threefold Craving. 102. 134 Shubun. 2 Vivekananda. 6. 72 sansara. 165 sorrow. 37 sincerity. 49. 64. 10 rest. 109. 8. 68 self-consciousness. 114 Vedas. 97 unity. 166 Samana. 169 wheel. 120 science. 93 control of. 110 Vishnu. 97. Miguel de. 8.. 158. 133 simplicity. 172 Tao. 175 freedom from. ?? senses. 36 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text 191 . 67. 5 Hinduism. 118 Samsara. 61 self-realization. 132 The Book of Poetry. 49. 70 sankhara. 59 thoughts. 29 selfless service. 50 Sotapan. 113 right understanding. 14. 175 Shun. 134 Third Noble Truth. 87. 91 truth. 74. 176. 95. 69 (see also Sotapan) success rules of. 22 visankhara. 113 virtue. 110 religion universal. 6 self-mortification. 8. 54. 142. 34 spirit eternal. 140 virtues. 18 illusion of. 35. 48. 40 urdvamsrotas. 177 three warnings. 73 trances. 140 Shijing. 69 soul. 64 Vyasa. 174 self. 53. 34. 68. 6. 40 Second Noble Truth. 56 time reality of. 8 sage. 121. 153.

33 192 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text . 172 Zoroastrianism. 8. 66. 139 yoga karma. 64 worship. 174 wisdom. 38 wu-wei.of existence. 153 Yama. 104 yi righteousness. 95 World Parliament of Religions. 6 zen. 47 World Parliment of Religions.

This publication is based on Open Source DocBook.openforge.index The xml. The functionality of DocBook is such that the same file can be published on the Web. .3. printed as a standalone report.xml # openjade -t sgml \ -d /usr/share/sgml/docbook/dsssl-stylesheets/\ html/docbook. # collateindex. the document was processed to reader.dsl -V html-index \ /usr/share/sgml/docbook/dsssl-stylesheets/dtds/\ decls/xml. reprinted as part of a journal.pl -o index. processed into an audio file. .dcl \ reader. or converted to most other media types.2 TeX 3. a system of writing structured documents using SGML or XML in a presentation-neutral form using free programs.dcl declaration implicitly. 193 . More information about DocBook can be found at DocBook Open Repository (http://docbook.com). jade will have a "-t xml" option that would map to "-t sgml" internally and add the xml.14159 The PDF version was generated from reader.dsl is a local stylesheet) with a multi-step process.pdf (where eastern.pdf by the following series of command line arguments using Mandrake Linux 9.xml HTML. Commands Used in Preparation.dcl file is used as a preamble to the actual xml document. changed into Braille. Second.2: First. This book was prepared with openjade 1.xml to reader. Perhaps. .pl -N -o index. in future.xml # collateindex.Colophon DocBook. the index was prepared with. .

oasis-open. so check the more recent version on the Web at DocBook: The Definitive Guide (http://docbook.org/docbook/xml/).org/tdg/en/html/docbook.dcl \ -t sgml reader. See Dave Pawson’s XSL-FO.xml \ # pdftex "&pdfjadetex" reader. . CA: O’Reilly. instead of the process used here.html). . and Bob Stayton’s DocBook XSL: The Complete Guide. DocBook XML is available at OASIS—XML (http://www.dcl \ reader. Sebastopol. emphasis in DocBook is shifting to using the XSL-FO language to create PDF from XML.html had the command line argument. 2003.org/docbook/mailinglist/) and Norman Walsh’s DocBook: The Definitive Guide published by O’Reilly.xml Stylesheets.tex # pdftex "&pdfjadetex" reader. and help are available with the docbook-apps mailing list (http://www. Norman Walsh’s text is a bit outdated.tex Processing to reader. 2002. CA: Sagehill. 194 Readings in Eastern Philosophy: An Open-Source Text .# openjade -V tex-backend -t tex -d eastern. As additional features are developing. formatting.tex # pdftex "&pdfjadetex" reader.dsl /usr/share/sgml/docbook/dsssl-stylesheets/\ dtds/decls/xml. Santa Cruz.dsl \ /usr/share/sgml/docbook/dsssl-stylesheets/dtds/\ decls/xml.oasis-open. # openjade \ -d /usr/share/sgml/docbook/dsssl-stylesheets/html/\ docbook.

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