13th June 2003
Hiya P ..
Can we cultivate virtuous qualities ?
That which is cultivated, can it ever be virtuous?
That which is cultivated is always from a need.
The need may be a profound need or a profane one.
But there will always be a stake, in a cultivated activity, response or behaviour.
Rather, an activity, a responding, a behaving, which has no stake to be achieved, even the stake of the responding being accoladed or even acknowledged, whether it "works", "succeeds", etc etc, ........such a behaviour, such an existing will automatically be virtuous, even if it does not "fit" into what are the usual definitions of virtue.
Thus the issue, is not in being virtuous, but in examining, the stake that one has, in any situation, whether that be a spiritual pursuit or a material hankering.
Stake is nothing but the "me-entity" at work.
Running an orphanage, collecting poor destitute starving orphans from the streets and looking after them, because of the brownie ponts you hope it will get you opposite St Peter at Pearly Gates, it's a bargain campaign that you are running, that's all.
There was this man who did not know swimming, and as usual is the case, fell into a well.
And started drowning.
Screaming for help, while gulping water and thrashing about, deep in the well, .........hearing all the noise, comes a wandering Buddhist
The Buddhist looks down at the struggling drowning man and observes in a grave voice "Sansar is suffering. You have an opportunity to see this and escape the wheel of Life. Don't miss the opportunity".
And walks away.
Cursing all Buddhist to hell and damnation, the drowning man keeps screaming for help.
Comes along a Confucian.
Observing the drowning man the Confucian observes "This is what happens, when proper procedures are not followed and a correct behaviour is not observed. I will immediate send a notice to the state, for a proper instruction manual to be kept in all wells, so that if a man falls, he will know exactly what is to be done".
And walks away.
Cursing all Confucians to hell and damnation, the drowning man keeps screaming for help.
Comes along a Advaitist, who observes the drowning man and comments " All is maya".
And walks away.
Week with all the water he has gulped in, the drowning man, not knowing, who or what the hell is Maya, is resigned to his fate.
Just about to take the final gulp of air, comes along a Christian.
Observes the situation and immediately the Christian, unbundles a rope, which he carries all the time for such situations, throws it down, shouts at the drowning man, to hold on to the rope and slowly, hauls the man up to safety.
Gasping for breath, and in profound gratitude, the saved man thanks his benefactor and says "Only yours is the true religion. Please tell me what is it?"
Replies the Christian "It's really the only path, the path of Lord Jesus. And my brother, it is I who should thank you, for it's been a month since I collected any good deeds and I was running a bit short with my score opposite my Lord.
If ever you wish to fall again into the well, here's the address of the parish, where normally I preach, please don't forget to let me know in advance.
Also if any of your relatives or friends, would like to jump into the well, I would truly appreciate, if in the name of the Lord, you keep me in your options of saviours to be contacted in advance.
For your information, while I specialize in wells, I can even do buildings on fire, orphanages.
You by any chance, are you an orphan, as that will get me double bonus?".
Can we be completely honest and truthful with ourselves , and if not how can we claim to be honest and truthful with other people ?
No, you cannot.
Completely honest and truthful is exploring and exploding the personal stake in the situation, any situation.
Are these just relative terms , used in oiling the wheels of our society (aruus) ; but have no meaning when dealing with the absolute.
When there is a recognition of beauty as "beautiful" there is already ugliness;
When there is a recognition of virtue as "good", there is already evil.