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The parting of the ways

One quite well known Buddhist scripture is the Dhammapada, a Theravada text.

"Dhamma" = Pali = Truth. ("Dharma" in Sanskrit, in Mahayana scriptures)

"Pada" = Pali = Path.

So Dhammapada, the Path of Truth.

It opens with a chapter called "The Pairs" and here are the first six verses:-
1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow

3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.[/i]

Obviously, there is no claim that this is God speaking. We are left to consider the words. To reflect. No coercion. No threats of damnation if we do not "believe" the words.

So "mind precedes all mental states". In contrast the Christian Bible begins:-

[i]In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

Immediately we have dualism. God and "his" creation. The possibility of estrangement. Potentially a need to bridge a gap. Division. "Us" and "them", sheep and goats - it all follows, just as the wheel will follow the foot of the ox!

My own path has always involved a heart felt wish - even a need - to heal all divisions. The division foreshadowed here in the opening verses of two of our worlds great Faith Traditions:- Mind precedes all mental states [b]v[/b] In the beginning God.

I have found that the great mystics of our world point the way towards this healing. That grace is the gel, in as much as we [i]are already one[/i], that the divide simply does not exist. That "salvation" is not a choice, not an attainment, never anything earned, but is a [i]given[/i] to be [i]realised[/i] each in our own way, according to our own particular uniqueness as human beings.

Lines from Genjokoan, written by the 13th century zen master Dogen:-

[i]Therefore, if there are fish that would swim or birds that would fly only after investigating the entire ocean or sky, they would find neither path nor place. When we make this very place our own, our practice becomes the actualization of reality (genjōkōan). When we make this path our own, our activity naturally becomes actualized reality (genjōkōan). This path, this place, is neither big nor small, neither self nor others. It has not existed before this moment nor has it come into existence now. Therefore [the reality of all things] is thus.[/i]

That is it.

May true Dharma continue.
No blame. Be kind. Love everything.
oldundieslover · 70-79, M
Fascinating and thank you.....I never realised til recently that Buddhism originated in the Northen plains of the Indus in an area now known as Pakistan....it did not originate in China but was exportd over the years...the life image of the Buddha is just an image concocted by the local religion and Alexander The Great.....the culture and architecture is quite Hellenic....I lived and worked in that area for over a year not knowing...the Centre was Taxila

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