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Conformism and Drudgery

A look at drudgery and slavery. It can be very fit to question a lot, also first-hand.

Buddhism and Slavery

In the Apannaka Sutta Buddha says that the one who is on the right path delights in concord, cleanses his mind, and "abstains from accepting male and female slaves."

The Blessed One instructs similarly in the Kevatta Sutta, "To Kevatta", where he describes how a monk is to live: He abstains from the taking of life, merciful, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. He lives not by stealth but by means of a self that has become pure. He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed. He abstains from damaging seed and plant life, abstains from accepting male and female slaves, and from goats and sheep. He abstains from mutilating, executing, imprisoning, highway robbery and plunder. [Excerpts]

Buddha enlarges on the subject in the Samannaphala Sutta, "The Fruit of the Contempative Life":

Buddha asked a king consider a slave who leaves him without permission to live as a homeless monk, and what the king would do when others rat on the slave and tell the king where to find him.

"I should bow down to him, invite him to a seat, and provide him with righteous safety, defence, and protection," said the king.

Buddha said further, "A monk abstains from abusive speech and idle chatter, from accepting male and female slaves, elephants, cattle, and fraud. He abstains from mutilating, executing, imprisoning, highway robbery, plunder, and violence. He abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as palmistry, male slaves, female slaves - he abstains from wrong livelihood, from composing poetry, from calculating auspicious dates for marriages, from bringing forth flames from the mouth. For he has [to do with] mindfulness and alertness." [Excerpted]

The codes of behaviour are stricter for monks than for lay persons.

Buddha also signals in the Lochitta Sutta that the way lies in being released from slavery and confinements, giving an example of someone who thinks, "Before, I was a slave . . . Now I am released from that slavery, subject to myself, not subject to others, freed, able to go where I like." "Because of that he would gain joy and experience happiness," adds Buddha. [MN 39:134 and DN 11-12]. It is also in the Maha-Assapura Sutta (The Greater Discourse at Assapura) MN 39]

In his basic design, the eightfold path, Buddha also calls for avoiding blameworthy trades such as dealing in slavery, and instead getting wholesome attitudes and some fit and decent occupation. It could be too bad to take the dignity from folks, and also in the light of karma (repercussions)

Slave trading is not fit for monks and lay Buddhists according to central words by Buddha, especially the Eightfold Path, point 5. The question is whether slavery is debasing or not.

Slavery existed at the time of Buddha among non-Buddhists, among lay followers, and monks in later centuries. The Adiya Sutta (see below) show it occurred in Buddha's day. See also, for more examples, the Aputtaka Sutta, Velama Sutta, Muluposatha Sutta, Nagara Sutta, Dhananjali Sutta.

How were the goings in ancient Egypt, then?

The Israelites that chose to settle in Egypt during hard times and get helped there, later groaned and moaned against what the Bible describes as slavery there. But in the light of modern research, slavery was not widespread in Egypt. Slavery in Egypt seems to have been fairly rare before the Ptolemaic period, and was not a dominant fixture either. At present it is maintained that the workmen who built the mighty pyramids, for example, were not slaves either.

It is maintained that the lot of slaves in the ancient Egyptian society was rarely as bad as that of slaves in other societies. In Egypt, treating a slave well was a moral duty. And during pharaoh times no slave markets seem to have existed. However, conquests in Nubia, Canaan and Syria brought in many prisoners of war that were enslaved or absorbed into the army.

The period of enslavement was often limited. Debt slaves or prisoners of war were at times set free after serving for a certain period. Some Egyptians were sold into slavery because of debts or sold themselves to escape poverty. Some slaves regained their freedom through their own efforts, others were bought out of it, and in some cases through a combination of these two ways. On the whole, slaves were frequently not happy being slaves - that is a main point.

Formerly groaning Israelites themselves took to capturing slaves and keeping them once they took over the land of Canaanites by holocausts. There they claimed that God had instituted the forms of slavery they kept up. [A, B, C, D]

If you groan against slavery, you should try not not to keep it up once you get into power.

Christian Slavery and Shady "Deals of God"

The Bible's God, its old laws, Jesus and Paul all accept slavery. [Exodus 21:20-21; Matthew 20:26-27; Titus 2:9].

Was Jesus an angel of goodness, then? He never said he was. And what is more, there is no ideal slavery. [Mark 10;17-8].

Jesus teaches further that killing someone else for the gross transgressions of others is righteousness, and his "Father Jehovah" - who instituted both slavery and vicarious sacrifice, including scapegoating - he called "righteous Father" when he himself was about to be sacrificed for the transgressions of Jews without being keen on it. [Genesis 22; John 17:25].

Those are murky teachings. For one thing, the whole design of saving the Jews, failed. And second, sacrificing innocent animals to atone for the misdeeds of others, is far from righteousness, it is heinous. And killing off innocent people so as to let many great criminals escape well-deserved punishment, that is mean or criminal activity. Buddha shows far better ways of conduct to adjust to; thank heavens for that.

Is everything nice, decent and going fine today? "Perfect" bullying, robbery, stealing, killing and cursing may work contrary to what it looks like. The marring slave taker may next be loved much like royalty by brainwashed, overpowered victims, and that is alarming. Unconcern helps wrongdoers to get away with a great deal. Are they "chosen fraud people" nowadays? [◦Link]

Very few found slavery to be unnatural or immoral until the second half of the 1700s, writes Encyclopaedia Britannica. Yet, the European colonization movement of the second half of the 1800s put an end to slavery in many parts of Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. [Ebu, "slavery"]

Guru Rinpoche, or Padmasambhava
Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche

Sheep-Slavery and Buddha's Teachings

The Law of Jews says yes to slavery, and Jesus vouces for it in Matthew 5:17-19. (Cf. Exodus 21:20-21; Matthew 20:26-27; Titus 2:9). Buddha teaches attentiveness and a deep life-style where much of value is built up by moral living - by living up to moral norms and basics that he also teaches. [Link] Also, there are things to avoid, in part because they might be risky for one's future fare. Dealing in male and female slaves means that true and benevolent Dharma is being extinguished, teaches Buddha. The Sutta about "The Total Extinction of the Dharma": [◦Link].

It is also a firm understanding of the Noble Eightfold Path (Gentle Middle Way) of Buddhism that right livelihood abandons trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings. This includes slave trading, prostitution, buying and selling children or adults, and much else detrimental to health and welfare of beings. [Buddhist Middle Way]

In another place Buddha teaches that righteous wealth righteously gained provides the owner and his slaves with pleasure and satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly . . . "He provides his mother and father with pleasure and satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his children, his wife, his slaves, servants, and assistants with pleasure and satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly," says Buddha. [Adiya Sutta, "Benefits to be Had From Wealth". Emphasis added]

Buddhist monks with honest and pure hearts are not to own male and female slaves. They are to avoid stealing and abstain from taking what is not given to them, and so on. They keep aloof from stabbing, beating, chaining, attacking, plundering and oppressing, says Buddha in early scriptures.

Lay members of Buddhism are to train their own minds and explore the better teachings and explain them in tune with Buddha's sensible advice. Laying up wealth and funds is fine, Buddha teaches, but such things should be used for better things than empty and vain boasts and shallow show-offs, but for a rewarding, fulfilling life. I should say it is rewarding - perhaps on a higher plane - to set slaves free and provide for their future thriving and satisfaction by such as a plot of land that sustains each former slave family. [Link]

How to conduct oneself wisely in matters of the heart and other matters? One is to put the best of wise teachings into a coherent practice. These regulations are for all followers of Gautama Buddha: the five fundamentals of fine behaviour for laypersons and monks and nuns alike:

  1. Abstain from harming any sentient, breathing life;
  2. Abstain from stealing;
  3. Abstain from sexual misconduct (improper or illicit sexual relations);
  4. Abstaining from false speech, including lying and deceiving;
  5. Abstain from the use of intoxicating drinks and drugs and other causes of great heedlessness.

It is favourable and recommended to use things basically in their relation to enlightenment and the Dharma (fit teachings; righteous deals, etc.); and learn teachings that help happiness and success [c.f. e.g. Link A and Link B ]. There ought to be no room for a life of depraved ceremony-and-party-infested glamour and rigmarole in it.

"To read and not to understand is to pursue and not take (German)."

Alternatives to sheepish self-maiming: Dwell well and do good if you can

First things first: Learning to take pleasure in the Self is a good teaching. To do it well, you may need the well functioning human body also. Many gurus do not teach you should pluck out your eye and tear off other parts of the body if you are merely tempted. Thank heavens for that. With Jesus-for-Jews-only it is different, in that he speaks for self-maimings and self-mutilatons like mad. It can't be good. Try instead to do good if you can. Now consider: "It's deep guilt that makes a man work and a woman give birth." That is "working and birthing Adam and Eve" for us.

Regardless of that, some seem to make their lives miserable, and move into mean towns. With very well laid out towns it is different. Vastu or Maharishi's Vastu seeks to redress it. [◦Maharishi Vastu Architecture]

To top

TO TOP

Against Great Harm

Old and new stances or positions that lead to a marred or wasted life are worse than those who do not allow you to excel in what you are doing to live all right. Stances that lead astray and stances that followers are willing to go to war for and die for if necessary, may both cost lives.

It is good to be abreast of happenings. Maing wise and sagacious modifications of Buddha's teachings are okayed by Buddha himself, and so is free enough enquiry. In the groundbreaking Kalama Sutta, Buddha allows for the right to be tentative, and advocates it in some ways. Blind and dogmatic faith is not advocated, but a provisional one that is allied to fair discernment and proper investigations is fit. Buddha says anyone is free to test out his teachings and accommodate according to own findings, sagaciously and much reservedly at best. It is best to stick to good things wisely found, and dispense with much else; that is a key to his thinking. He says that to learn from the best and modify parts of it to make the best things serve you where you are, is what to do, as finding out of many things first-hand can cost awfully much and in many ways. Buddha also teaches that it is wise to make a proper examination before committing to anyone or anything. [Kalama Sutta]

It is fit to go for a way of life by adhering to teachings that are "excellent in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end," as Buddha says his own teachings are. Some things in life look excellent at first, only to disappoint or tame later. Some things in life look excellent at first, only to give a more and more hollow fare later on. When the goings are not jolly and decent any longer, it is high time to consider possible better ways, and diagnose the problem or problems. Hopefully it is not too late.

From living your Buddhism you may learn tall lessons. Some of them may be consistently in harmony with other teachings you have come across, such as rigorous scientific procedures of handling hypotheses and theories; parts of it are just etched out above. What we let into our deep minds can form our future by our living. It had better be decent and all right.

Stealing and Foul Language is Low: The Path

Wheel of dharma

Gautama Buddha does not advocate stealing and killing and robbery and foul language. He teaches a Noble Eightfold Path, also called the Middle Path, "free from pain and torture, from groaning and suffering". It consists of:

  1. Right understanding,
  2. Right mindedness. Right understanding and mindedness together are wisdom.
  3. Right speech,
  4. Right action,
  5. Right living. Right speech, action and living are morality.
  6. Right effort,
  7. Right attentiveness,
  8. Right contemplation: Right effort, attentiveness and contemplation are "concentration".

Right speech is abstaining from lying; from tale-bearing; from harsh language; and vain talk. Right action is abstaining from killing; abstaining from stealing (etc.), and should go along with right understanding and attentiveness. And Right living abandons trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm to other living beings. This includes slave trading, prostitution, buying and selling children or adults, and much else that is openly or covertly detrimental to health and welfare of beings. [More]

"I set forth the Truth. As I reveal it to you, so act!" Buddha is credited with saying.

There is an old Buddhist saying, translated by Paul Carus - good to remember: "salvation is not obtained by harshness." [Paul Carus. Amitabha. A Story of Buddhist Theology, ch. 8. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1906.]

The eight "wheel-spokes" (listed above) could help much in a life, once their central, handed-over meanings are examined and put wisely to use. The reason is that the approach is systemic; includes main levels of humans and human living; and allows for both worldly progress and benefits for self-help, also for more subtle and accruing benefits and development by adhering to a general life-style.

Adhering to the Needs of One's Family First

Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one's mind: this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

You don't have to consider yourself a Buddhist to adhere to higher principles of living. It is said that charity starts at home, but it does not have to end there. First things first: the home is where the heart is.

Family life may be draining, good and tough - it depens. There are some who choose the lot of monks or nuns instead. Some get locked up in monasteries, as was the case in Tibet in earlier times: Bright children were not choosers in the matter: monks took them from their families and trained them to become monks or scribes instead. "It is a fool who cannot hide his wisdom."

Aim at proficiency, skilfulness, too

A proficient Buddhist will try to live up to the basic and helpful teachings of Buddha, and also the Dharma (Dhamma). More specifically, in the moral code of Buddhism, these Five Precepts are counted as valid for all Buddhists, laypersons included:

Avoid killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speach, and using intoxicants.

Good instructions on how to meditate deeply without pondering should be the first thing in focus. Gentle support from other Buddhists ought to be good, too.

Strangely, in one sutra Buddhist lay followers are allowed to have slaves. "Strangely" because slaverly goes against the Gentle Middle Way as decreed by Buddha. And yet the Adiya Sutta (Benefits to be Had From Wealth) says that when the disciple of the noble ones uses righteous wealth righteously gained, it "provides himself with pleasure and satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his mother and father with pleasure and satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his children, his wife, his slaves, servants, and assistants with pleasure and satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly."

How to please and satisfy a slave? Weigh and consider. It helps to set him or her free give former slaves enough ground to support them and their families, one may suggest. At any rate, in common Buddhism the rules laid down for lay people are not as severe and many as all the rules for monks. Lay Buddhists are expected to exercise proper, fit action and effort, and pay heed to suitable parts of the ethics for monks too, for the sake of getting a better life or future by such means.

The rules for Buddhist monks and nuns are many and in part severe. Excerpts from the 3rd, 4th, 5th steps above: Buddhist monks with honest and pure hearts are not to own male and female slaves. They are to avoid stealing, and abstain from taking what is not given to them, and from adornments and embellishments. They keep aloof from stabbing, beating, chaining, attacking, plundering and oppressing.

There are many more things Buddha says "avoid" to - for your own long-range good, hopefully - such as "Refrain from killing living creatures; from taking what is not given, and from false speech." These are three of the basic counsels enjoined on any Buddhist. To monks and nuns they are more severe than just counsels.

Consider that if you violate the human rights of others - animals might be considered here too - you do not give evidence of kindheartedness (metta), and could be amassing ameasure of bad karma. Karma is said to be transmitted from one existence (life) to another (a future life somewhere) until it has reapened: that is the teaching in a nutshell. [Narada, 359]

Fit for family living

Some of Buddha's discourses are aimed at benefitting lay persons, and most lay persons may derive many benefits from living in their own family and making the best out of that. Kindness goes deep, and service too. It helps a lot to manifest them in the ways that Buddha points out and regulates. Lay persons are to train their own minds first and not be disturbed as to how other people act. Lay members should explore the better teachings and, as far as they are able, explain them in tune with Gautama Buddha's sensible advice - especially to relatives and friends.

Man is to care for his family with a wise and sympathetic mind. He is also to learn how to serve his parents, how to live with wife and children, how to control oneself well enough, and how to manifest Buddha (that is out of his heart, his depths), and deeply go for sane wisdom and proficiency. There may lie hope and improved conditions in being earnest in putting a wise teaching into practice in some skilful way or ways.

Parents should do five things for their children: avoid doing anything evil, set an example of good deeds, give them an education, arrange for their marriage, and let them inherit the wealth at the proper time. Lay members should follow the five precepts for good behaviour: not to harm any sentient life, not to steal, to live a pure [and sensible] life, not to lie or deceive, and not to use intoxicants.

It is good to value things and use them in their relation to Awakening (Enlightenment) and the Dharma by fit conduct and being fair while "going" towards the Great Goal.

One is to learn teachings that helps happiness and success in life on a good foundation: Buddha exposes admirably who are friends and how to be one. One is to learn to prepare oneself for a living so as to support and enable a family in honour, act morally upright and learn good methods for living and steady progress in dhyana, contemplation. Having deep consideration for the best teachings helps.

If a lay believer is later carried away by wickeness, he will become harmful and obnoxious; then his mind has become defiled.

[Based on Goddard, Dwight. The Teaching of Buddha, the Buddhist Bible. (1934). Ch 2, "Lay members"]

Adhere Well to "Buddha-Doings"

What a man does, and establishes, may reflect his real motives and values over and above his professed teachings, ideals and so on. Buddha says that what he teaches, he does, and what he does, he teaches. That may be found to be jolly good to the degree that what he does and teaches serve good life on and up, and to the degree that living conditions today allow for a life in the wilderness during the rainy season - In other words, sane adaptations may be called for. For example, specifics of Buddha's monk-alone-in-the-jungle teachings do not apply where there is no jungle. There are many such cases where skilful adaptations are needed.

You may find you cannot avoid pondering what might have been the essence at the back of things Buddha talked for and instituted about 2500 years ago. Consider it in the light of what happened in Buddhism after Buddha's demise as well. Monks settled in monasteries that served them, had servants that served them, and some monasteries profited for a while - in the physical realms - from lots of slaves or half-slaves, until Buddhism went under in its homeland, India.

There is, further, a reason not to accept in faith everything that has come down to us and attributed to Buddha. Many devout believers have not been duly informed that Buddha did not put down anything in writing. He taught orally. What is more, Buddhism was at first based on oral transmissions alone. Disciples in time wrote down and arranged what is supposed to be his sayings and talks, but many years could have passed between hearing teachings and writing them down.

Besides, in antiquity they put words in his mouth too, for if he had said all that is now attributed to him, he might not have had time for all that. The canon is so vast. This fact makes in useful to search out sayings that seem to be the most authentic and keep at least some provisional reserve toward other sayings. Also, it is better to stand above the sectarian. Sectarians and their schools or cults do not refrain from putting words in Buddha's mouth by texts that were at least partially invented long after he was gone, even centuries after his demise.

One needs to know about how Buddhist texts developed over time to be able to follow up decently - decently to yourself - the most plausible Buddha teachings, and a fit and good tradition that allows you to accomplish and accrue what is taught to be the most beneficial. For we do not exist for the sect or school of Buddhism, but are free to let the good parts of Buddhism serve our sound development, rather. That is how Buddha wanted to be honoured. He says it right out among his last words on earth.

In the Mahaparinibbanasuttanta (The Large Text on Buddha's Demise) Buddha is recorded to have said to his aide-de-camp Ananda:

DHARMA WHEEL Even though it is not blossoming-time, trees are standing in full bloom. They let fall a dense and mild shower of flowers over me to honour the truth-arriver [Tathagatha]. From heaven the most beautiful mandarava flowers fall in honour of the truth-arriver. The air is filled with heavenly song and music in honour of the truth-arriver.

But that is not how to honour, respect and deeply heed the truth-arriver [Tathagatha], Ananda. The monk, nun, layman or laywoman who lives the teaching [Dharma] in all his behaviour, he or she honours me the most, and shows me the greatest respect, Ananda. Therefore, train yourselves to live the teachings and live decently in everything, Ananda! . . .

Be energetic and work hard to reach the most sublime goal [Bsa 115-16, 118, 126, emphasis added]

These are about his last words.

The task today is to select the best of the teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha and make the best out of the selections. That challenge does not have to be difficult, once you have got deep principles for approaching the field called decent or appropriate living and stick to it to your ability and even better, for that matter.

For example, you should not think that building a stupa or tower or something else in stone in honour of yourself or Buddha - whatever - is the most valuable use of your resources. To the contrary. A castle of bone is worth more than one of stone. That is, if you really help a living being - yourself is the centre in your universe - you do better than dealing in stiffened edifices, generally speaking. Even though a stupa or temple is costy, and may be a decent marking of something in a society, it is not as valuable as right living. Make it proper and solid living. One's perspective has to be right; in these matters too.

Now you have been informed that the good Buddhist is not necessarily the one who erects edifices over his lost manhood or things like that, but the one who tries to be a good himself or herself, as judged by the central teachings.

Dealing with Attributed Sayings and Wrong Clues

Sayings by Buddha are attributed to him. We cannot be absolutely certain that he stood for everything he seems to forbid and recommend, but there are some things among them that most Buddhist scholars agree on. And, once again, a decent approach to such matters counts much.

Do not be hemmed in by complications dictated by others if you can avoid them. There are not a few rules and regulations for monks that appear to have been added later, for example. There is such a vast amount of Buddhist scriptures too, some from the early centuries.

Wrong Clues Are not Great Boons

There is not one, completely unified Buddhism, but many forms or variants of it. Hopefully you arrive at the best of the stances very early in life, to save yourself lost time and effort, embarrassments, and unhealthy rules to obey. It may not help you very much to waste time on less that fine pursuits and endeavours. You want to benefit and gain moskha (freedom in Norvana) yourself, and not be subjected to unnecessary restrictions and demands by sectarians or sectarian outlooks. Show yourself enough respect in this too; that could be best.

Most ancient variants of Buddhism agree on basic matters. That makes it much easier. The oldest extant school appears to be Theravada Buddhism. It contains old Buddhist scriptures that seem close to what Buddha really stood for. By carefully comparing old and essential Buddhist writings one may get an idea of what Buddha stood for along general lines, all rooted in the ancient oral transmission, later recordings, and other features and processes involved. Thus, we can be reasonably sure of some basic stances, less sure of others. There is good reason to try and find out what Buddha stood for behind the cloaks of modifications and additions - as well as behind the masks of legends that grew around him. Take a good look at how Buddha lived himself. Many clues are there for interpreters of his messages too. Well, you can hopefully do it, Buddha himself showed a way. [Reminders]

Differing ways (vehicles) of Buddhism, and their differing schools and sects and traditions, try to benefit from statements that appear to canonise or legitimise such ways, schools, sects, and traditions. That could be expected.

Tall, Guarded Basis

What has been cursorily showed above from the early Buddhist fare, is laid bare in great detail in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It points out that there is disagreement among scholars about when Buddha's was born and died, but disagreements do not stop there. In the centuries following the founder's death, Buddhism developed in two directions after being one sect among many in a culture - the Vedic culture - that allowed for a wide range out outlooks.

The two great directions in Buddhism are called the lesser and the greater vehicles, or, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. It could be good to select your winning elements from both of them. It is also good to know that Tantric Buddhism arose in the homeland of Buddhism: This Esoteric Buddhism (Vajrayana) is aiming at liberation more speedily through sound yoga practices.

Followers of the Mahayana and Tantric Buddhist traditions accept many words from Theravada collections as "words of the Buddha". And Buddhist ethics remained basically the same through all of it, and so did its basic structure. Buddhism did not negate its basic principles: Instead they were rethought and reformulated, and a central nucleus stands out, one that is marked by continuity. Beings evolve in the right direction when they get away from blunt conditioning and wrong "kegs". A human life is fit for unfolding Enlightenment.

Not all elements of Buddhism are found in other sects and schools in India from the time of Buddha, but many distinguished concepts are. Many doctrines in pre-Buddhist India were generally accepted in Buddhism too, also as parts of a basis for the moral life. All of these could be cherished as information to study and maybe adjust to "for a while - for some time" to get first-hand experiences of a fare.

Two ancient, Vedic doctrines stand out in early Buddhism too: That of karma (giving back), and that of rebirth. They are shared with other Indian religions and schools. Suppose you study them and say, "With my limited knowledge of any afterlife and of the very subtle effects of actions, have I got any reason not to dismiss these two elements of the teachings?" Well, yes, and that is where cleverness sets in. You should be guarded, and therefore you are free to think and act on what could bring great boons and safeguards against possible failures. Thus:

To be on the safe side, do great deeds according to Gautama Buddha's handed-over stipulations of how and when to, and stick to lax frivolity as you can. Both could be needed.

Suppose: "If we don't believe in an afterlife, we may do stupid things and harm our future existence if there is such a thing as an afterlife and many other lives somehow. But if we adjust to the theory of karma (that actions have consequences, and some for a long time) in a good way, and of many rebirths, we may get the best out of these uncertainties as long as we lack direct, first-hand insight into them." This is so because Buddha advocates having a very good life too. He is not just negating things, as can be seen in many ancient texts. Also, one may add, "When in doubt, win the trick," as Edmund Hoyle puts it, speaking of playing bridge.

Mind development and culture of oneself are highly important elements of Buddha's foremost teachings, and development, self-culture, and tact is helped by fruitful living. Buddha specifies many central parts of it in sutras I have extracted on this site, with permission. [Ebu "Buddhism"]

Discern Too

A MONET
A fine painter learns to study and discern well as he goes along and composes his painting. Claude Monet (1840-1926) did it too; he was not merely "an eye", as another painter said. [Coti]

The ability to discern is a boon. Cleverness alone will not do all right. Stick to the at times tedious process of living a tenet provisionally and allied with a tradition, and see what you find as you discern very well between three phases - beginning, the short-hand strech, and the long-term stretch. It would not be good if a good first phase is succeeded by ruin and incompetence in the next phases, for example.

Great haste may perhaps not help much in it: Some good things may take things to develop inside and arise to awareness. Remember "One Man's Buddhism" accords with Gautama Buddha's handed over "idealism". It should be fair and fit to see or discern what is good and becoming in associates and whatever we meet with, but without idyllisations. Idyllisations can bring regrets.

Basically healthy, aesthetic pleasures may trigger off wrong responses in those who try to tame themselves and cover it. Also, difference of opinion makes possible more than horse races.

Life Cycle Perspectives Often Help

Some difference of opinion may be easily resolved, as seen from this: Youngsters are preoccupied with sex, adults tire of it, and corpses don't make much of it. Monk living is closer to death than to youthful outlets in this.

What is natural for one, may not feel natural to another. Monkish curbing of all natural delights will not do for sexy householders - not for children either. And greatly developed ones have something in common with children; they have kept their Inner Child nature. Accordingly, be great enough to go along with things little children appreciate. Nudes and all right breasts are great to many little children, at any rate. Much of it shows up as Tantra art in Buddhism too.

Tantra means "Loom". It is a loom of treatises in not a few Buddhist, Hindu, and Jaina sects. Some spell out copulation details that are not well known. Shuddhananda Bharati writes in the preface of Sir John Woodroffe's Tantraraja Tantra on making the best of element, and of one's sexual and carnal being. It should be plain and simple. Is it?

Contents


Fit Buddhism, Literature  

Ap: Mieder, Wolfgang (main editor), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback). New York : Oxford University Press, 1996.

Bsa: Lie, Kaare A, tr. Buddhas samtaler: De lange tekstene. Digha Nikaya. Bind 2. Det store bindet: Mahavagga (Conversations of Buddha: The Long Texts. Digha Nikaya, Vol 2. The Large Volume: Mahavagga). Oslo: Solum Forlag, 2005.

Cot: Shankaranarayan, S. The Ten Great Cosmic Powers. 2nd ed. Pondicherri: Dipti, 1975.

Coti: Spate, Virginia. The Colour of Time: Claude Monet. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992.

Ebu: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2010 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2010.

Gas: Woodroffe, Sir John. Garland of Letters. 6th ed. Madras: Ganesh, 1974 (?).

Geta: Pandit, M. Gems from the Tantras. 2nd Series. Madras: Ganesh, 1970.

Kuo: Pandit, M. Kundalini Yoga. 5th ed. Madras: Ganesh, 1972.

Pakk: Pandit, M. Gems from the Tantras. Madras: Ganesh, 1969.

Tata: Woodroffe, Sir John. Tantraraja Tantra. 3rd ed. Madras: Ganesh, 1971.

Tiy: Evans-Wentz, Walter Yeeling, ed. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Tog: Woodroffe, Sir John, tr. Tantra of the Great Liberation (Mahanirvana Tantra). New York: Dover, 1972.

Notes

A. André Dollinger. Ancient Egypt: Slavery, its causes and practice. 2000.
reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/timelines/topics/slavery.htm

B. Jimmy Dunn: Slaves and Slavery in Ancient Egypt.. 1999-2003.
www.touregypt.net/featurestories/slaves.htm

C. The Ancient Egypt Site. Slavery.
www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html

D. WikiAnswers. What was ancient Egyptian slavery like?

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