In Praise of Virtue

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

’Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric.
George Washington - Farewell Address
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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When a noble disciple contemplates upon the Enlightened
One, at that time his mind is not enwrapped in lust, nor in
hatred, nor in delusion. At such a time his mind is rightly
directed towards the Perfect One (Tathāgata). And with a
rightly directed mind the noble disciple gains enthusiasm
for the goal, enthusiasm for the Dhamma, gains the delight
derived from the Dhamma. In him thus delighted, joy arises;
to one who is joyful, body and mind become calm; calmed in
body and mind, he feels at ease; and if at ease, the mind fi nds
concentration. Such a one is called a noble disciple who among
humanity gone wrong, has attained to what is right; who
among a humanity beset by troubles, dwells free of troubles.
AN 6:10
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C. S. Lewis
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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For those who prefer to ponder a Theravadin Sīla view & practice, go the Sīla section.
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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To see a man fearless in dangers, untainted with lusts, happy in adversity, composed in a tumult, and laughing at all those things which are generally either coveted or feared, all men must acknowledge that this can be from nothing else but a beam of divinity that influences a mortal body.
Seneca (died 65 AD)
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Self respect is not a matter of what you are doing in your life, but rather of how you are doing it. It requires that you bring quality and virtue into each action, whatever that action may be.
Rajyogini Dadi Janki (d. 2020)
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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To reform a world, to reform a nation, no wise man will undertake; and all but foolish men know, that the only solid, though a far slower reformation, is what each begins and perfects on himself.
—Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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We will begin from those things which for our instruction are primary. These are perspicuous and evident to all, and though they do not apprehend the power and essence of virtue, yet according to common conceptions about virtue they awaken our desire for good through certain aphorisms, familiar to many, expressed in accordance with the visible images of real beings. These are thus set forth:

(1) As we live through the soul, it must be said that by the virtue of this we live well; just as, since we see through the eyes, it is by the virtue of these that we see well.
(2) It must not be thought that gold can be injured by rust, or virtue tainted by baseness.
(3) We should betake ourselves to virtue as to an inviolable temple, in order that we may not be exposed to any ignoble insolence of the irrational element of the soul.
(4) We should confide in virtue as in a chaste wife, but trust fortune as we would a fickle mistress.
(5) It is better that virtue should be received with poverty, than wealth with vice; and frugality with health, than abundance with disease.
(6) As much food is injurious to the body, so is much wealth pernicious to the soul evilly inclined or disposed.
(7) It is equally dangerous to give a sword to a madman, and power to a depraved man.
(8) Just as it is better for a purulent part of the body to be burned than to remain diseased, so it is also better for a depraved man to die than to live.
(9) The theorems of philosophy are to be enjoyed as much as possible, as if they were ambrosia and nectar; for the pleasure arising from them is genuine, incorruptible and divine. Magnanimity they are also able to produce, and though they cannot make us eternal beings, yet they enable us to obtain a scientific knowledge of eternal natures.
(10) If vigour of the senses is desirable, much more should prudence be sought; for it is as it were the sensitive vigour of our practical intellect. And as by the former we are protected from deception in sensations, so through the latter we avoid false reasoning in practical affairs.
(11) We shall worship the deity rightly, if we render our intellect pure from all vice, as from a certain stain or disgrace.
(12) We should adorn a temple with gifts, but the soul with disciplines.
(13) As prior to the greater mysteries the lesser are delivered, so a disciplinary training must precede the study and acquisition of philosophy.
(14) The fruits of the earth are indeed annually imparted, but the fruits of philosophy at every part of the year.
(15) Just as land must be specially cultivated by him who wishes to obtain from it the best fruit, so the soul should be most carefully and attentively cultivated, in order that it may produce fruit worthy of its nature.
Iamblichus, Exhortation to Philosophy
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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It is more important to want to do good than to know the truth.
Petrarch, "On His Own Ignorance and That of Many Others"
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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He who in the present state
Vanquishes as much as possible
A corporeal life, through the exercise of
The cathartic virtues,
Passes in reality into
The fortunate islands of the soul,
And lives surrounded with
The bright splendours of truth
And wisdom proceeding from
The sun of good.


Thomas Taylor, Essay on the Eleusian and Bacchic Mysteries
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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In the present stages of spiritual experience, the believer's interior comfort, and his exterior lustre, greatly depend on the position of his heart toward the uncreated sun of righteousness. How obscure and benighted are our views, and how languid our exercise of grace, when an unbelieving, a worldly, or a careless spirit, interrupts our walk with God! But, if the out-goings of our souls are to him, and if the in-pourings of his blessed influence be felt, we glow, we kindle, we burn, we shine.
Augustus M. Toplady (d. 1778)
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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The Demon of commerce is preparing with his extended savage arm to crush the votaries of truth, and depopulate the divine retreats of philosophy. Rise then ye liberal few, and vindicate the dignity of ancient wisdom. Bring truth from her silent and sacred concealments, and vigorously repel the growing empire of barbaric taste, which bids fair to extinguish the celestial fire of philosophy and to bury the divine light of mind, in the sordid gloom of sense....

There yet remains an inheritance for the lovers of wisdom in the regions of intellect, those fortunate islands of truth, where all is tranquil and serene, beyond the power of chance, and the reach of change. Let us then fly from hence my friends, to those delightful realms, for there, while connected with body, we may find a retreat from the storms and tempests of a corporeal life. Let us build for ourselves the raft of virtue, and departing from this region of sense, like Ulysses from the charms of Calypso, direct our course by the light of ideas, those bright intellectual stars, through the dark ocean of a material nature, until we arrive at our father's land. For there having divested ourselves of the torn garments of mortality, as much as our union with body will permit, we may resume our natural appearance: and may each of us at length recover the ruined empire of his soul.
Thomas Taylor (d. 1835)
Last edited by Nicholas Weeks on Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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The law of cause and effect is inexorable and unrelenting. You reap a harvest of suffering, poverty, pain and sorrow, because you have sown the seed of evil in the past. You reap a harvest of plenty and bliss owing to your sowing of seeds of good.
Sivananda
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face.
Don't trust that idea.
Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.
Dickens
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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The ideological conflicts in the human race, among all people, and
particularly among Jews, are based on the issues of morality. Everyone
knows that wisdom and talent refer to capacity, to strengthen the
intellectual or practical capacities. Morality seeks to perfect the human
will that it seek the good. If man's capacity should increase but his will
for the good remain undeveloped, then the increase in his powers can
only lead to disaster. When the love of self rises beyond the equitable
through the loss of moral sensitivity, it is bound to make life more difficult
to the extent that one's powers increase, and this love itself, being without
a proper base in the spiritual, eternal life, will degenerate progressively
to crude and ugly desires. On the other hand, with a good moral state,
which engenders refinement of soul, a higher sense of holiness and a love
for people, it becomes possible for man to structure the limited forces
operative in his humble capacities in such a way that they will engender
good and blessing for him and the world.
From The Essential Writings of Abraham Isaac Kook
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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