A Dance to Remember


We all have stories to tell about special events that become milestones in our lives and worthy of sharing. We find affiliation with others when we share these experiences as they give us perspectives that might not otherwise be considered. I imagine there are stories that we would rather not like to share due to the growing pains we have all encountered in our lives, but I think sharing stories even if they are awkward can possibly help others. I learn from others experiences, and maybe others can learn from mine. We find compelling stories in movies, magazines, t.v. shows, and other media all the time. For me, I have a fond memory of my first slow dance. It encompasses a little background, to understand the motives and times of the event that depicts a more vivid chronicle for the reading audience.

As a child growing up I was shy and quiet and that disposition also carried over into some of my teenage years. In the spectrum of self-esteem I scored more on a lower scale of self-acceptance as opposed to a higher scale back in those days. Thinking about what I now know, I would have to say that many of my peers were probably suffering from a similar self-doubt, although they just showed it in dramatically different ways. The braggart’s and bullies of my time were just trying to over-compensate for their self-doubt, or in the case of the bullies; they probably encountered some form of domestic violence in the home. I imagine that those prone to be bullies may be correlated with either a type 8 or a type 6 disposition for enneagram candidates (See Rizo/Hudson http://www.enneagraminstitute.com).

During that early period in my life, I like many others have struggled with self-doubt as shown by the attributing anxieties of the world around us: Family life, Friends and other Social Support Groups, Maturation, and so forth. Most noticeable were the kids around me during those times since that was the environment most recognizable and most important. There was much angst among many of the other kids I had to occasionally run into. Overall the years were fairly tame compared to some stories that you hear about in other schools that make the papers and news-casts, nevertheless, we had a few individuals that seemed to make everyone’s recollection of those years a little more apparent. The bullies, the athletic jocks, the stoner’s, the social’s, the privileged (ones with money), and the less fortunate (with lower incomes) were all represented as in most schools.

Specifically in Junior High School or now called middle school, the demography changed one year when they started shipping some kids from another school in Murphy Canyon over to my school. I believe it had something to do with budgetary cuts, but the effect was dramatic as additional groupings of youths were competing for attention. Not only did the enrollment of kids go way up, as did class sizes, but also many of these kids were from military backgrounds and may have been displaced on prior assignments for their families. The effect of moving from school to school often does not have positive results for some kids. The landscape changed during this year, as the new mixture of kids had to make a name for themselves. I’m really not sure where I fit into the scheme of things as I look back but I just wanted to fit in as did many others. My friends were few and far between and I somehow managed to get around through-out all the networks of people not necessarily belonging to any one particular group.

The one thing a teenager does not forget about are the memories of their classmates that you liked during those years. I have some fond memories since they are the first people we develop feelings for during these very formidable years of our lives. I had crushes on some of the girls in my elementary school days I must admit, but in this case the return of those feelings is much more likely to happen. It’s funny how things arise, especially when you have no idea that anything will develop. The time when you discover that you actually like someone, and the feelings that surge up within you when you think about them, or are next to them is an awkward experience for someone who has no idea of how to proceed in establishing a more meaningful relationship. The skill in dealing with those feelings is a whole different topic but for the sake of this post, let me just say that I did not learn those skills until later episodes of my social development.

In the Eighth grade I was invited to a house party by one of the girls in my classes. I was pleasantly surprised since I did not get many requests for that kind of social activity, especially from someone who lived on the other side of town. Her family seemed to be well off, since to me she lived in an upscale neighborhood which I had never seen before until I went to her house. I was amazed at the neighborhood she lived in, how big her parents house was, and I did not realize just how much of a contrast our lifestyles must have been until that party. She invited many of her classmates and the party was very eye-opening for me. I had not gone to many house parties like this before. It allowed me to see how other kids lived, what they participated in away from our school activities. At that age I did not get around much in the social circles. My only outlets were either my neighborhood friends, or my participation in sporting events; baseball, football, basketball, swimming.

Her parents chaperoned, and the party was not unlike many other teenage middle school parties. We ate, laughed and danced with our fellow school mates for the length of the party. I believe that I knew most of them by association since the kids in the party went to my school. I don’t think I was particularly well-known to many of them as I was still shy, and probably did not make myself available as I probably should have during the course of the party, but when the music began and the atmosphere changed within that huge family room, I can surely recall a memorable night in my life; my first slow dance with someone I really liked.

At the age of 14 I achieved a milestone in my life where I was socializing with other kids my age and dancing to the current hits of 1977. Songs like Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s the Night, Stephen Bishop’s On and On, James Taylor’s Handy Man, Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, ABBA’s Dancing Queen, and some of the Disco hits popular during that time. For me the best song of the night that still remains with me to this day is the memory of when they played Johnny River’s Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancing). That was when I had my first slow dance with a girl I liked. I’m a little vague on how it came about, either I had the courage to ask her, or we were already dancing to a prior faster song and just continued to dance when they slowed it up, or she asked me when they put it on. Regardless, I am happy the ends justified the means. The lights were low, the atmosphere was cozy, and I became lost in the dance holding a person close to me that I had cared for.

Every time I hear that song, I think of her and those times. I can recall some flash-back memories that bring me back to those nostalgic years and think of the way we talked, danced, and carried on as teenagers. I am regretful that I did not pursue the relationship further. It is one of my “what if” moments I sometimes ask myself when I think back to those days. The truth is that my shyness prevented me from showing my true feelings to this girl, even though I think she knew how I felt. Of course later on it did not help that I had no means of transport, drivers license, or job during those years.
We did eventually go out a few times later in the following years, but never really made it more than just friends. I will always have a special place in my heart for her, as my feelings for her were first discovered when I was in the seventh grade and carried on through high school. I simply did not have the courage to pursue a relationship that challenged my transportation deficiencies, my social skill limitations, and my overall self-esteem evaluation.

It was not until moving away from home when I was 17, two weeks before we graduated from High School, supporting myself and financing my own way through college that I overcame much of those earlier deficits.

Personal change, growth, development, identity formation–these tasks that once were thought to belong to childhood and adolescence alone now are recognized as part of adult life as well. Gone is the belief that adulthood is, or ought to be, a time of internal peace and comfort, that growing pains belong only to the young; gone the belief that these are marker events–a job, a mate, a child–through which we will pass into a life of relative ease.

Sarah Dessen

“What defines you isn’t how many times you crash but the number of times you get back.”
Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride
The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding your personality into the man you want to be. Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.
Wilfred Peterson

Authenticity: All The World’s A Stage


How much does your inner persona agree with your outer persona? Are you truly living as the person you present yourself to be to the world? Whether the mirror test makes you think of your opportunities for more cohesion with your inner and outer states, or if the accounts of your public persona develop your mind for further inquiry; there remains an awareness of certain parts of oneself that would rather be kept silent from other discerning examinations. In psychology the term cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognition’s: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc

The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to cut dissonance by altering existing cognition’s, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. It is the distressing mental state that people feel when they “find themselves doing things that don’t fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold.” A key assumption is that people want their expectations to meet reality, creating a sense of equilibrium. Likewise, another assumption is that a person will avoid situations or information sources that give rise to feelings of uneasiness, or dissonance.

Values such as Honesty, Compassion, Integrity, Forgiveness, Love, Knowledge, Discipline, Faith, and Leadership are in the foundations of many cultures around the world. These ideas are instilled within the pillars of education in many societies and have an impact on those exposed to these teachings. The beliefs we come to know are influenced by such teachings, yet we sometimes are not so good as to put them in practice. We often take these teachings for granted and the development of these social skills are not efficiently used or thought out. Thus, we fail to properly acquire the awareness that allows our behaviors to consistently follow the congruent ideals behind them.

Cohesion between the inner self and the outer persona often equivocate questions about what you know and what you don’t know about yourself. We sometimes wear many hats in our lives, but do they share the core of values we bring to the world? William Shakespeare wrote the play “As You Like It” in 1599 which included the following excerpt…

All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Neil Peart’s lyrics in the Canadian Rock band RUSH borrowing from this theme wrote the song Limelight…

Living on a lighted stage approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality beyond the gilded cage
Cast in this unlikely role, ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact
Living in the limelight, the universal dream
For those who wish to see
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation, the underlying theme
Living in a fish eye lens, caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger is a long-awaited friend
All the world’s indeed a stage and we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each another’s audience outside the gilded cage
Living in the limelight, the universal dream
For those who wish to see
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation, the underlying theme
Living in the limelight, the universal dream
For those who wish to see
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation, the underlying theme
The real relation, the underlying theme
For comparison the context in these cases may slightly differ and merely reflect partially related examples of the human condition outlined in this post. The guilded cage reference is an idiom that suggests If someone is in a gilded cage, they are trapped and have restricted or no freedom, but have very comfortable surroundings- many famous people live in luxury but cannot walk out of their house alone. I equate this idiom to the idea that we can also be lazy in our rendering of the person we wish to be, and the actual reality of who we are remains behind a shroud from others. For whatever reason one can surmise about why we act the way we do, they all lead to the same conclusions about our disconnection between the inner self and the outer self we put into practice everyday. The take-away from these references raises questions about our conscious self and if viewed as we are coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces and influences which are very different from itself; then authenticity is one way in which the self acts and changes in response to these pressures. While greater accountability may not cure-all the world’s ills, it does give a sturdy foundation on which you can build long-lasting solutions. Many examples of ethical doctrines come to mind that have circulated our planet having a huge impact on the followers of the “Ætérnitas témporum dominus”; or ageless masters.

So if we are aware of such self examinations and find some incongruities, how do we decide which particular secrets and personal episodes we would share with others? The questions just keep coming! Are there indiscretions we have never shared that one should openly talk about? Are there subjects that we should discuss with others in our social networks to truly be an authentic person, or are there some subjects we should never talk about? Who will be effected knowing the skeleton’s that are buried deep within our closets? Who will we trust to keep our personal information in perspective without being unjustly judged from past volition’s? How does not being forthright complicate our dealings with our relationships, our associations, and or families? Does subduing this information affect the way we conduct ourselves in everyday life? Are we judgmental of others, and sensitive to those who may tread closely to these concealed experiences that we deny others of fully understanding?

A central proposition of existentialism is that “existence precedes essence”, which means that the most important consideration for the person is that he or she is an individual—an independently acting and responsible conscious being (“existence”)—rather than what labels, roles, stereotypes, definitions, or other preconceived categories the individual fits (“essence”). The real life of the individual is what is what could be called his or her “true essence” instead of there being an arbitrarily attributed essence used by others to define him or her. Thus, human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life. Although it was Jean-Paul Sartre who explicitly coined the phrase, similar notions can be found in the thought of existentialist philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger. The presupposition some make is that we have the capability to connect with our divergent selves as well as recognize that we can suppress, disregard, obfuscate, and be apathetic to the discoveries we find within our inquiries when we scrutinize ourselves.

I for one think that simplifying our lives can lead to some steps in the right direction. We can only control what we can control. The power to transform ourselves into the ideal of who want to be and who we actually are is a respectable notion depending on what that ideal is. My thought is that we as a culture overwhelmingly pay little attention to syncing our internal persona’s with our external behaviors in many instances of our lives. Maybe I am just deluded into thinking that such an idea is true for the majority of us due to the chaos we seem to invoke upon one another that exists all around the world. Whether this comes down to a “Zero-Sum Game” in the process of extending our true selves for others to see, or whether we should respectfully omit certain truths about ourselves from the others around us and not completely “come clean” with our dirty laundry is ultimately up that person. I respectfully submit to the reader that in many of these cases, honesty is the best policy, but the collateral damage that can be incurred is something to consider before the decision to align one’s selves (inner and outer) is effectuated. There are many tangents not covered in this post such as confabulations, attributes of the sub-conscious, issues of self-awareness, and mental disabilities, that will obviously augment the analysis and depth one can take this topic.

May Sarton

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
May Sarton
Margery Williams

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.’Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

C.G. Jung

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
C.G. Jung
Mollie Marti

“Our power lies in our small daily choices, one after another, to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.”
Mollie Marti
“Sincerity is the fulfillment
of our own nature,
and to arrive at it we need
only follow our own true Self.
Sincerity is the beginning
and end of existence;
without it, nothing can endure.
Therefore the mature person
values sincerity above all things.”
― Tzu-ssu


“Keep your heart clear
And transparent,
And you will
Never be bound.
A single disturbed thought
Creates ten thousand distractions.”

The Specters in Observance


deceptions of an arrested understanding

a soul in unrest
attached in the mire on this journey’s quest
I beg for release
from bondage that won’t cease
a mind that must heal
somebody help me
I’m falling, can’t seem to deal
I don’t want to think, don’t want to feel
the questions I keep asking
the answers must I fight
the forsaken rules taunt me
a claim that proves itself right
awaken the passion
align this plight
amuse these memories
settle the voices
I cannot escape in the night

The Observance of Specters and the Specters within our Observations

As a child I learned to pay close attention to the ways I was treated by others.  As I grew older and reached other stages in my maturation, I continued to learn about the effects of our behaviors and searched for a guiding philosophy.  Indeed I am still learning life’s lessons and think there is no finish line in developing oneself, rather, there is a fluent continuous process that evolves us.  As far as I can surmise, I was a normal kid, but I somehow developed sensitivities that continue to operate within me to this day.

I have often been told that “I think too much”, “I care too much”, or “I worry too much”.  It is like having a Super-ego on steroids.  I can’t recount the times I have stalled from taking action on something I wanted to pursue because I did not want to fail at it, or quite possibly the reason could have been due to the fact that I was shy in my boyhood.  My honest assessment is that I was probably too fearful of doing something wrong, and that the judgement of others weighed heavily over my consideration in some social settings.  I equate this scenario as possessing a naive perspective, and without having many resources to turn to other than my own thoughts, I did not feel like I could turn to anyone for advisement, that I was shy, and that I possessed an injured self-esteem.

Knowing this about myself, I must have been susceptible to receiving an ethos for that platonic theme of finding the best possible life when I think of my desire to know about why we treat others the ways in which we do.  I can visualize the platonic dialogs that circle my head as I think of them

  • The Republic & Crito (Justice)
  • Phaedrus & Symposium (Love)
  • Gorgias (Rhetoric)
  • Euthydemus & Protagoras (Sophistry)
  • Lysis (Friendship)
  • Meno & Protagoras (Virtue)
  • Philebus & Theaetetus (Knowledge & Pleasure)

I will never truly know why this ethical prerogative has been infused in my psyche.  I first pursued psychology as a way to understand the questions that seemed to always plague me.  I then naturally studied philosophy and opened my mind up for further discoveries about the human condition.

As time continues to place us in situations, and as we fare through these experiences one after another, we form opinions about ourselves and the world.  These judgements and beliefs from these experiences are often compartmentalized and stored within our memories.  Sometimes we are aware of them, and sometimes they are stored within deeper realms of thought that we are not so aware of.  The possibility for these sub-conscious ideas and beliefs emerging and expressing themselves within our personalities and behaviors without a deeper understanding of them seems to be a logical assumption.

As my surveillance of the world has a tendency to incontrovertibly find the grievous elements in human behavior; the insipid parts of our existence that penetrate my discerning eye, I more often than I would like to admit, regret this disposition.

I reach out to a world and find an ocean of misguided anguish-ridden souls, and a desert (scarcely populated) of visionaries.  My surveyance is preoccupied and tends to place my attention on elements that do not please the ethical aesthetic.  I spot them with uncanny ability that seems to haunt me like a curse.  But despite these observations, there remains a path for the traveler to choose how one would like to travel.  Learn to detach and separate one from a life you are not in favor of is the course of action.  Build the skills to look beyond the crass, and beyond the foul spirited such as they will always be a part of our world.  Look to the path that is hardest to travel, yet rewarding to traverse.  Fortunately one can train oneself, and can appreciate all the positive attributes that keep the spirit uplifted and resist the skeptical and rescind the nay-saying antagonists.

The fact that there is a mass misunderstanding of an ethical life in our world should not stain our souls with disgust.  The soul often tires from a constant barrage of ill-founded exhibitions in its passage through the world.  So too can the soul thrive on a healthier dynamic that can uplift oneself and others if it remains in a befitting disposition.  Again the Specters in our observances must be brought out into the open and extinguished to allow for a better perception for us to see the possibilities in our world.

Alignment of Megalithic Structures and the Pyramids: Global Grid


Ancient Pyramid Connection across the planet
There are thousands of pyramids across the planet.  Some of the most impressive in Mexico, Bosnia, Egypt, Peru, Indonesia, Italy, Sudan, India, Japan and China- to name a few. The pyramids are connected with the stars, encoded with precise astronomical and astrological data, that we are just now learning about the details by many researchers.  There is much controversy over the true ages of many of these megalithic structures and make us rethink just what we may know about our human history.  They are perfectly precise and in alignment with each other by means of the sacred geometry and with the Ley Lines of the Earth.  There are many more ancient sites across the planet which seem to form a pattern.  It has been determined that there is a 25,000 mile long circle which goes directly through much of the most significant sites across the globe.
Paracas, Peru
Nazca, Peru
Ollantaytambo – sourthern Peru
Macchu Pichu
Mali (Dogon territory)
Tassili N’Ajjer in Algeria Siwa, Egypt
Giza, Egypt
Persepolis, Iran
Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan
Sukothai, Thailand
Angkor Wat
Preah Vihear, Cambodia
Easter Island
Not only do these sites seems to be lined up with each other, but much more mathematical patterns in connection with these ancient sites seem to emerge when looking at it in this way.  For a much more detailed and quick description, check this video and skip to 35:30 for 2 minute clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7p_RD-S7INM#t=2132s
Recommended to see are
The revelation of the pyramids
The mystery of the Sphinx
John Anthony West
Robert Schoch
What we thought we knew about these ancient structures is continually being modified through the work from many scholars, writers, historians, scientists, and those who challenge the status quo.
  • John Anthony West
  • Robert Schoch
  • Robert Bauval
  • Graham Hancock

Existimo Ergo Scribo


Existimo ergo scribo
Je pense donc que j’écris
Jeg tror derfor jeg skriver
Ich denke daher, dass ich schreiben
Creo que por eso escribo
i think therefore i write

One of the pleasures I have customarily acquainted myself with is writing down my thoughts, feelings, studies, research, and perceptions about the world. Being a fan of journal writing for some time, I have realized it has allowed me to assiduously concentrate on my subject and therefore crystallize my thoughts for a deeper understanding, one that allows me to go back, rethink, and even update my perspective upon further analysis.

The problem with self analysis is usually the ego, a faulty self- perception, or in the process of introspection that has been debated over its reliability as taken out of this Wikipedia excerpt….

Introspection, as the term is used in contemporary philosophy of mind, is a means of learning about one’s own currently ongoing, or perhaps very recently past, mental states or processes. You can, of course, learn about your own mind in the same way you learn about others’ minds—by reading psychology texts, by observing facial expressions (in a mirror), by examining readouts of brain activity, by noting patterns of past behavior—but it’s generally thought that you can also learn about your mind introspectively, in a way that no one else can. But what exactly is introspection? No simple characterization is widely accepted. Although introspection must be a process that yields knowledge only of one’s own current mental states, more than one type of process fits this characterization.

Introspection is a key concept in epistemology, since introspective knowledge is often thought to be particularly secure, maybe even immune to skeptical doubt. Introspective knowledge is also often held to be more immediate or direct than sensory knowledge. Both of these putative features of introspection have been cited in support of the idea that introspective knowledge can serve as a ground or foundation for other sorts of knowledge.

Introspection is also central to philosophy of mind, both as a process worth study in its own right and as a court of appeal for other claims about the mind. Philosophers of mind offer a variety of theories of the nature of introspection; and philosophical claims about consciousness, emotion, free will, personal identity, thought, belief, imagery, perception, and other mental phenomena are often thought to have introspective consequences or to be susceptible to introspective verification. For similar reasons, empirical psychologists too have discussed the accuracy of introspective judgments and the role of introspection in the science of the mind.

See also: Introspection illusion
Already in the 18th century authors had criticized the use of introspection, both for knowing one’s own mind and as a method for psychology. David Hume pointed out that introspecting a mental state tends to alter the very state itself; a German author, Christian Gottfried Schütz, noted that introspection is often described as mere “inner sensation”, but actually requires also attention, that introspection does not get at unconscious mental states, and that it cannot be used naively – one needs to know what to look for. Immanuel Kant added that, if they are understood too narrowly, introspective experiments are impossible. Introspection delivers, at best, hints about what goes on in the mind; it does not suffice to justify knowledge claims about the mind.[15] Similarly, the idea continued to be discussed between John Stuart Mill and August Comte. Recent psychological research on cognition and attribution has asked people to report on their mental processes, for instance to say why they made a particular choice or how they arrived at a judgment. In some situations, these reports are clearly confabulated.[16] For example, people justify choices they have not in fact made.[17] Such results undermine the idea that those verbal reports are based on direct introspective access to mental content. Instead, judgements about one’s own mind seem to be inferences from overt behavior, similar to judgements made about another person.[16] However, it is hard to assess whether these results only apply to unusual experimental situations, or if they reveal something about everyday introspection.[18] The theory of the adaptive unconscious suggests that a very large proportion of mental processes, even “high-level” processes like goal-setting and decision-making, are inaccessible to introspection.[19] Indeed, it is questionable how confident researchers can be in their own introspections.
One of the central implications of dissociations between consciousness and meta-consciousness is that individuals, presumably including researchers, can misrepresent their experiences to themselves. Jack and Roepstorff assert, ‘…there is also a sense in which subjects simply cannot be wrong about their own experiential states.’ Presumably they arrived at this conclusion by drawing on the seemingly self-evident quality of their own introspections, and assumed that it must equally apply to others. However, when we consider research on the topic, this conclusion seems less self-evident. If, for example, extensive introspection can cause people to make decisions that they later regret [2], then one very reasonable possibility is that the introspection caused them to ‘lose touch with their feelings’. In short, empirical studies suggest that people can fail to appraise adequately (i.e. are wrong about) their own experiential states.
Another question in regards to the veracious accountability of introspection is if researchers lack the confidence in their own introspections and those of their participants, then how can it gain legitimacy? Three strategies are accountable: identifying behaviors that establish credibility, finding common ground that enables mutual understanding, and developing a trust that allows one to know when to give the benefit of the doubt. That is to say, that words are only meaningful if validated by one’s actions; When people report strategies, feelings or beliefs, their behaviors must correspond with these statements if they are to be believed.[20]
Even when their introspections are uninformative, people still give confident descriptions of their mental processes, being “unaware of their unawareness”.[21] This phenomenon has been termed the introspection illusion and has been used to explain some cognitive biases[22] and belief in some paranormal phenomena.[23] When making judgements about themselves, subjects treat their own introspections as reliable, whereas they judge other people based on their behavior.[24] This can lead to illusions of superiority. For example, people generally see themselves as less conformist than others, and this seems to be because they do not introspect any urge to conform.[25] Another reliable finding is that people generally see themselves as less biased than everyone else, because they are not likely to introspect any biased thought processes.[24] These introspections are misleading, however, because biases work sub-consciously.

These fail to mention the contributions made in the field of philosophy of language by Ludwig Wittgenstein, W.V. Quine, Linguist Noam Chomsky, and the early 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard insisted that language ought to play a larger role in Western philosophy. He argues that philosophy has not sufficiently focused on the role language plays in cognition and that future philosophy ought to proceed with a conscious focus on language: “If the claim of philosophers to be unbiased were all it pretends to be, it would also have to take account of language and its whole significance in relation to speculative philosophy … Language is partly something originally given, partly that which develops freely. And just as the individual can never reach the point at which he becomes absolutely independent … so too with language.”   Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). In Cloeren, H. Language and Thought. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1988

The reader must please excuse the author from all of this background digression on my simple post on the joys of writing, specifically upon the view of looking inward, but I presume it’s just a part of my nature… ask me what time it is; I’ll tell you how to build a clock.

Semper aliquid existimantem.   –  Always Thinking

The Dhammapada


Siddhartha Gautama

ca. 563 – ca. 483 BC

The Dhammapada, an anthology of 423 verses, has long been recognized as one of the masterpieces of early Buddhist literature. From ancient times to the present, the Dhammapada is regarded as the most concise expression of the Buddha’s teaching found in the Theravada Pali Canon of scriptures known as the Khuddaka Nikaya (“Minor Collection”) of the Sutta Pitaka.

Photo of Palm Leaf Manuscript

This Dhammapada palm leaf manuscript (44.5 * 6.5 cm) in Sinhalese characters, of which the first and last pages shown, are believed to be the oldest existent copy of the scripture. Photo: Courtesy of K. D. Paranavitana, Assistant Archivist, Department of National Archives, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Buddhist tradition has it that shortly after the passing away of the Buddha his disciples met in council at Rajagaha for recalling to mind the truths they had received from their beloved Teacher during the forty-five years of his ministry. Their hope was to implant the principles of his message so firmly in memory that they would become a lasting impetus to moral and spiritual conduct, for themselves, their disciples, and for all future disciples who would seek to follow in the footsteps of the Awakened One.


1. Pairs

  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.
  7. Just as a storm throws down a weak tree,
    so does Mara overpower the man
    who lives for the pursuit of pleasures,
    who is uncontrolled in his senses,
    immoderate in eating, indolent, and dissipated.
  8. Just as a storm cannot prevail against a rocky mountain,
    so Mara can never overpower the man
    who lives meditating on the impurities,
    who is controlled in his senses,
    moderate in eating, and filled with faith and earnest effort.
  9. Whoever being depraved,
    devoid of self-control and truthfulness,
    should don the monk’s yellow robe,
    he surely is not worthy of the robe.
  10. But whoever is purged of depravity,
    well-established in virtues
    and filled with self-control and truthfulness,
    he indeed is worthy of the yellow robe.
  11. Those who mistake the unessential to be essential
    and the essential to be unessential,
    dwelling in wrong thoughts,
    never arrive at the essential.
  12. Those who know the essential to be essential
    and the unessential to be unessential,
    dwelling in right thoughts,
    do arrive at the essential.
  13. Just as rain breaks through an ill-thatched house,
    so passion penetrates an undeveloped mind.
  14. Just as rain does not break through a well-thatched house,
    so passion never penetrates a well-developed mind.
  15. The evil-doer grieves here and hereafter;
    he grieves in both the worlds.
    He laments and is afflicted,
    recollecting his own impure deeds.
  16. The doer of good rejoices here and hereafter;
    he rejoices in both the worlds.
    He rejoices and exults,
    recollecting his own pure deeds.
  17. The evil-doer suffers here and hereafter;
    he suffers in both the worlds.
    The thought, “Evil have I done,” torments him,
    and he suffers even more when gone to realms of woe.
  18. The doer of good delights here and hereafter;
    he delights in both the worlds.
    The thought, “Good have I done,” delights him,
    and he delights even more when gone to realms of bliss.
  19. Much though he recites the sacred texts,
    but acts not accordingly,
    that heedless man is like a cowherd
    who only counts the cows of others —
    he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.
  20. Little though he recites the sacred texts,
    but puts the Teaching into practice,
    forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion,
    with true wisdom and emancipated mind,
    clinging to nothing of this or any other world —
    he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.

2. Heedfulness

  1. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless.
    Heedlessness is the path to death.
    The heedful die not.
    The heedless are as if dead already.
  2. Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness,
    the wise exult therein
    and enjoy the resort of the Noble Ones.
  3. The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering,
    alone experience Nibbana,
    the incomparable freedom from bondage.
  4. Ever grows the glory of him who is energetic,
    mindful and pure in conduct,
    discerning and self-controlled,
    righteous and heedful.
  5. By effort and heedfulness,
    discipline and self-mastery,
    let the wise one make for himself
    an island which no flood can overwhelm.
  6. The foolish and ignorant
    indulge in heedlessness,
    but the wise one
    keeps his heedfulness as his best treasure.
  7. Do not give way to heedlessness.
    Do not indulge in sensual pleasures.
    Only the heedful and meditative
    attain great happiness.
  8. Just as one upon the summit of a mountain
    beholds the groundlings,
    even so when the wise man casts away heedlessness
    by heedfulness
    and ascends the high tower of wisdom,
    this sorrowless sage
    beholds the sorrowing and foolish multitude.
  9. Heedful among the heedless,
    wide-awake among the sleepy,
    the wise man advances like a swift horse
    leaving behind a weak jade.
  10. By heedfulness did Indra become the overlord of the gods.
    Heedfulness is ever praised,
    and heedlessness ever despised.
  11. The monk who delights in heedfulness
    and looks with fear at heedlessness
    advances like fire,
    burning all fetters, small and large.
  12. The monk who delights in heedfulness
    and looks with fear at heedlessness
    will not fall.
    He is close to Nibbana.

3. The Mind

  1. Just as a fletcher straightens an arrow shaft,
    even so the discerning man straightens his mind —
    so fickle and unsteady,
    so difficult to guard.
  2. As a fish when pulled out of water
    and cast on land throbs and quivers,
    even so is this mind agitated.
    Hence should one abandon the realm of Mara.
  3. Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind,
    so difficult to subdue,
    ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires.
    A tamed mind brings happiness.
  4. Let the discerning man guard the mind,
    so difficult to detect and extremely subtle,
    seizing whatever it desires.
    A guarded mind brings happiness.
  5. Dwelling in the cave (of the heart),
    the mind, without form, wanders far and alone.
    Those who subdue this mind
    are liberated from the bonds of Mara.
  6. Wisdom never becomes perfect
    in one whose mind is not steadfast,
    who knows not the Good Teaching
    and whose faith wavers.
  7. There is no fear for an awakened one,
    whose mind is not sodden (by lust)
    nor afflicted (by hate),
    and who has gone beyond both merit and demerit.
  8. Realizing that this body is
    as fragile as a clay pot,
    and fortifying this mind
    like a well-fortified city,
    fight out Mara with the sword of wisdom.
    Then, guarding the conquest,
    remain unattached.
  9. Ere long, alas!
    this body will lie upon the earth,
    unheeded and lifeless,
    like a useless log.
  10. Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy,
    or a hater to a hater,
    an ill-directed mind
    inflicts on oneself a greater harm.
  11. Neither mother, father,
    nor any other relative
    can do one greater good
    than one’s own well-directed mind.

4. Flowers

  1. Who shall overcome this earth,
    this realm of Yama
    and this sphere of men and gods?
    Who shall bring to perfection
    the well-taught path of wisdom
    as an expert garland-maker
    would his floral design?
  2. A striver-on-the path
    shall overcome this earth,
    this realm of Yama
    and this sphere of men and gods.
    The striver-on-the-path
    shall bring to perfection
    the well-taught path of wisdom,
    as an expert garland-maker
    would his floral design.
  3. Realizing that this body is like froth,
    penetrating its mirage-like nature,
    and plucking out Mara’s flower-tipped arrows of sensuality,
    go beyond sight of the King of Death!
  4. As a mighty flood sweeps away the sleeping village,
    so death carries away the person of distracted mind
    who only plucks the flowers (of pleasure).
  5. The Destroyer brings under his sway
    the person of distracted mind who,
    insatiate in sense desires,
    only plucks the flowers (of pleasure).
  6. As a bee gathers honey from the flower
    without injuring its color or fragrance,
    even so the sage goes on his alms-round in the village.
  7. Let none find fault with others;
    let none see the omissions and commissions of others.
    But let one see one’s own acts,
    done and undone.
  8. Like a beautiful flower
    full of color but without fragrance,
    even so, fruitless are the fair words
    of one who does not practice them.
  9. Like a beautiful flower
    full of color and also fragrant,
    even so, fruitful are the fair words
    of one who practices them.
  10. As from a great heap of flowers
    many garlands can be made,
    even so should many good deeds
    be done by one born a mortal.
  11. Not the sweet smell of flowers,
    not even the fragrance of sandal, tagara, or jasmine
    blows against the wind.
    But the fragrance of the virtuous
    blows against the wind.
    Truly the virtuous man pervades all directions
    with the fragrance of his virtue.
  12. Of all the fragrances —
    sandal, tagara, blue lotus and jasmine —
    the fragrance of virtue is the sweetest.
  13. Faint is the fragrance of tagara and sandal,
    but excellent is the fragrance of the virtuous,
    wafting even amongst the gods.
  14. Mara never finds the path of the truly virtuous,
    who abide in heedfulness
    and are freed by perfect knowledge.
  15. Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch
    blooms a lotus,
    fragrant and pleasing.
  16. Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals
    the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines
    resplendent in wisdom.

5. The Fool

  1. Long is the night to the sleepless;
    long is the league to the weary.
    Long is worldly existence to fools
    who know not the Sublime Truth.
  2. Should a seeker not find a companion
    who is better or equal,
    let him resolutely pursue a solitary course;
    there is no fellowship with the fool.
  3. The fool worries, thinking,
    “I have sons, I have wealth.”
    Indeed, when he himself is not his own,
    whence are sons, whence is wealth?
  4. A fool who knows his foolishness
    is wise at least to that extent,
    but a fool who thinks himself wise
    is a fool indeed.
  5. Though all his life
    a fool associates with a wise man,
    he no more comprehends the Truth
    than a spoon tastes the flavor of the soup.
  6. Though only for a moment
    a discerning person associates with a wise man,
    quickly he comprehends the Truth,
    just as the tongue tastes the flavor of the soup.
  7. Fools of little wit
    are enemies unto themselves
    as they move about doing evil deeds,
    the fruits of which are bitter.
  8. Ill done is that action of doing
    which one repents later,
    and the fruit of which
    one, weeping, reaps with tears.
  9. Well done is that action of doing
    which one repents not later,
    and the fruit of which
    one reaps with delight and happiness.
  10. So long as an evil deed has not ripened,
    the fool thinks it as sweet as honey.
    But when the evil deed ripens,
    the fool comes to grief.
  11. Month after month a fool may eat his food
    with the tip of a blade of grass,
    but he still is not worth a sixteenth part
    of the those who have comprehended the Truth.
  12. Truly, an evil deed committed
    does not immediately bear fruit,
    like milk that does not turn sour all at once.
    But smoldering,
    it follows the fool like fire covered by ashes.
  13. To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge,
    for it cleaves his head
    and destroys his innate goodness.
  14. The fool seeks undeserved reputation,
    precedence among monks,
    authority over monasteries,
    and honor among householders.
  15. “Let both laymen and monks think
    that it was done by me.
    In every work, great and small,
    let them follow me” —
    such is the ambition of the fool;
    thus his desire and pride increase.
  16. One is the quest for worldly gain,
    and quite another is the path to Nibbana.
    Clearly understanding this,
    let not the monk, the disciple of the Buddha,
    be carried away by worldly acclaim,
    but develop detachment instead.

6. The Wise

  1. Should one find a man
    who points out faults and who reproves,
    let him follow such a wise and sagacious person
    as one would a guide to hidden treasure.
    It is always better, and never worse,
    to cultivate such an association.
  2. Let him admonish,
    instruct and shield one from wrong;
    he, indeed, is dear to the good
    and detestable to the evil.
  3. Do not associate with evil companions;
    do not seek the fellowship of the vile.
    Associate with the good friends;
    seek the fellowship of noble men.
  4. He who drinks deep the Dhamma
    lives happily with a tranquil mind.
    The wise man ever delights in the Dhamma
    made known by the Noble One (the Buddha).
  5. Irrigators regulate the rivers;
    fletchers straighten the arrow shaft;
    carpenters shape the wood;
    the wise control themselves.
  6. Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm,
    even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.
  7. On hearing the Teachings,
    the wise become perfectly purified,
    like a lake deep, clear and still.
  8. The good renounce (attachment for) everything.
    The virtuous do not prattle
    with a yearning for pleasures.
    The wise show no elation or depression
    when touched by happiness or sorrow.
  9. He is indeed virtuous, wise, and righteous
    who neither for his own sake
    nor for the sake of another (does any wrong),
    who does not crave for sons, wealth, or kingdom,
    and does not desire success by unjust means.
  10. Few among men are those
    who cross to the farther shore.
    The rest, the bulk of men,
    only run up and down the hither bank.
  11. But those who act according
    to the perfectly taught Dhamma
    will cross the realm of Death,
    so difficult to cross.
  12. Abandoning the dark way,
    let the wise man cultivate the bright path.
    Having gone from home to homelessness,
    let him yearn for that delight in detachment,
    so difficult to enjoy.
    Giving up sensual pleasures, with no attachment,
    let the wise man cleanse himself
    of defilements of the mind.
  13. Those whose minds have reached full excellence
    in the factors of enlightenment,
    who, having renounced acquisitiveness,
    rejoice in not clinging to things —
    rid of cankers, glowing with wisdom,
    they have attained Nibbana in this very life.

7. The Arahant

  1. The fever of passion
    exists not for him who has completed the journey,
    who is sorrowless and wholly set free,
    and has broken all ties.
  2. The mindful ones exert themselves.
    They are not attached to any home;
    like swans that abandon the lake,
    they leave home after home behind.
  3. Those who do not accumulate
    and are wise regarding food,
    whose object is the Void,
    the Unconditioned Freedom —
    their track cannot be traced,
    like that of birds in the air.
  4. He whose cankers are destroyed
    and who is not attached to food,
    whose object is the Void,
    the Unconditioned Freedom —
    his path cannot be traced,
    like that of birds in the air.
  5. Even the gods hold dear the wise one,
    whose senses are subdued
    ike horses well trained by a charioteer,
    whose pride is destroyed
    and who is free from the cankers.
  6. There is no more worldly existence
    for the wise one who,
    like the earth, resents nothing,
    who is firm as a high pillar
    and as pure as a deep pool free from mud.
  7. Calm is his thought, calm his speech,
    and calm his deed, who, truly knowing,
    is wholly freed,
    perfectly tranquil and wise.
  8. The man who is without blind faith,
    who knows the Uncreated,
    who has severed all links,
    destroyed all causes (for karma, good and evil),
    and thrown out all desires —
    he, truly, is the most excellent of men.
  9. Inspiring, indeed,
    is that place where Arahants dwell,
    be it a village, a forest, a vale, or a hill.
  10. Inspiring are the forests
    in which worldlings find no pleasure.
    There the passionless will rejoice,
    for they seek no sensual pleasures.

8. The Thousands

  1. Better than a thousand useless words
    is one useful word,
    hearing which one attains peace.
  2. Better than a thousand useless verses
    is one useful verse,
    hearing which one attains peace.
  3. Better than reciting a hundred meaningless verses
    is the reciting of one verse of Dhamma,
    hearing which one attains peace.
  4. Though one may conquer a thousand times
    a thousand men in battle,
    yet he indeed is the noblest victor
    who conquers himself.
  5. Self-conquest is far better
    than the conquest of others.
    Not even a god, an angel, Mara or Brahma
    can turn into defeat the victory
    of a person who is self-subdued
    and ever restrained in conduct.
  6. Though month after month for a hundred years
    one should offer sacrifices by the thousands,
    yet if only for a moment
    one should worship those of perfected minds
    that honor is indeed better
    than a century of sacrifice.
  7. Though for a hundred years
    one should tend the sacrificial fire in the forest,
    yet if only for a moment
    one should worship those of perfected minds,
    that worship is indeed better
    than a century of sacrifice.
  8. Whatever gifts and oblations
    one seeking merit
    might offer in this world for a whole year,
    all that is not worth one fourth of the merit
    gained by revering the Upright Ones,
    which is truly excellent.
  9. To one ever eager
    to revere and serve the elders,
    these four blessing accrue:
    long life and beauty, happiness and power.
  10. Better it is to live one day virtuous and meditative
    than to live a hundred years immoral and uncontrolled.
  11. Better it is to live one day wise and meditative
    than to live a hundred years foolish and uncontrolled.
  12. Better it is to live one day strenuous and resolute
    than to live a hundred years sluggish and dissipated.
  13. Better it is to live one day
    seeing the rise and fall of things
    than to live a hundred years
    without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.
  14. Better it is to live one day seeing the Deathless
    than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Deathless.
  15. Better it is to live one day seeing the Supreme Truth
    than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Supreme Truth.

9. Evil

  1. Hasten to do good;
    restrain your mind from evil.
    He who is slow in doing good,
    his mind delights in evil.
  2. Should a person commit evil,
    let him not do it again and again.
    Let him not find pleasure therein,
    for painful is the accumulation of evil.
  3. Should a person do good,
    let him do it again and again.
    Let him find pleasure therein,
    for blissful is the accumulation of good.
  4. It may be well with the evil-doer
    as long as the evil ripens not.
    But when it does ripen,
    then the evil-doer sees
    (the painful results of) his evil deeds.
  5. It may be ill with the doer of good
    as long as the good ripens not.
    But when it does ripen,
    then the doer of good sees
    (the pleasant results of) his good deeds.
  6. Think not lightly of evil, saying,
    “It will not come to me.”
    Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
    Likewise, the fool,
    gathering it little by little,
    fills himself with evil.
  7. Think not lightly of good, saying,
    “It will not come to me.”
    Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
    Likewise, the wise man,
    gathering it little by little,
    fills himself with good.
  8. Just as a trader
    with a small escort and great wealth
    would avoid a perilous route,
    or just as one desiring to live avoids poison,
    even so should one shun evil.
  9. If on the hand there is no wound,
    one may carry even poison in it.
    Poison does not affect one who is free from wounds.
    For him who does no evil,
    there is no ill.
  10. Like fine dust thrown against the wind,
    evil falls back upon that fool
    who offends an inoffensive, pure and guiltless man.
  11. Some are born in the womb;
    the wicked are born in hell;
    the devout go to heaven;
    the stainless pass into Nibbana.
  12. Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean,
    nor by entering into mountain clefts,
    nowhere in the world is there a place
    where one may escape
    from the results of evil deeds.
  13. Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean,
    nor by entering into mountain clefts,
    nowhere in the world is there a place
    where one will not be overcome by death.

10. Violence

  1. All tremble at violence;
    all fear death.
    Putting oneself in the place of another,
    one should not kill
    nor cause another to kill.
  2. All tremble at violence;
    life is dear to all.
    Putting oneself in the place of another,
    one should not kill
    nor cause another to kill.
  3. One who, while himself seeking happiness,
    oppresses with violence other beings
    who also desire happiness,
    will not attain happiness hereafter.
  4. One who, while himself seeking happiness,
    does not oppress with violence other beings
    who also desire happiness,
    will find happiness hereafter.
  5. Speak not harshly to anyone,
    for those thus spoken to might retort.
    Indeed, angry speech hurts,
    and retaliation may overtake you.
  6. If, like a broken gong,
    you silence yourself,
    you have approached Nibbana,
    for vindictiveness is no longer in you.
  7. Just as a cowherd
    drives the cattle to pasture with a staff,
    so do old age and death
    drive the life force of beings
    (from existence to existence).
  8. When the fool commits evil deeds,
    he does not realize (their evil nature).
    The witless man is tormented
    by his own deeds,
    like one burnt by fire.
  9. He who inflicts violence
    on those who are unarmed,
    and offends those who are inoffensive,
    will soon come upon one of these ten states:
  10. Sharp pain, or disaster, bodily injury,
    serious illness, or derangement of mind,
    trouble from the government, or grave charges,
    loss of relatives, or loss of wealth,
    or houses destroyed by ravaging fire;
    upon dissolution of the body
    that ignorant man is born in hell.
  11. Neither going about naked,
    nor matted locks, nor filth, nor fasting,
    nor lying on the ground,
    nor smearing oneself with ashes and dust,
    nor sitting on the heels (in penance)
    can purify a mortal
    who has not overcome doubt.
  12. Even though he be well-attired,
    yet if he is poised, calm, controlled
    and established in the holy life,
    having set aside violence towards all beings —
    he, truly, is a holy man, a renunciate, a monk.
  13. Only rarely is there a man in this world who,
    restrained by modesty, avoids reproach,
    as a thoroughbred horse avoids the whip.
  14. Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the whip,
    be strenuous, be filled with spiritual yearning.
    By faith and moral purity,
    by effort and meditation,
    by investigation of the truth,
    by being rich in knowledge and virtue,
    and by being mindful,
    destroy this unlimited suffering.
  15. Irrigators regulate the waters,
    fletchers straighten arrow shafts,
    carpenters shape wood,
    and the good control themselves.

11. Old Age

  1. When this world is ever ablaze,
    why this laughter,
    why this jubilation?
    Shrouded in darkness,
    will you not see the light?
  2. Behold this body — a painted image,
    a mass of heaped up sores,
    infirm, full of hankering —
    of which nothing is lasting or stable!
  3. Fully worn out is this body,
    a nest of disease, and fragile.
    This foul mass breaks up,
    for death is the end of life.
  4. These dove-colored bones are like gourds
    that lie scattered about in autumn.
    Having seen them, how can one seek delight?
  5. This city (body) is built of bones,
    plastered with flesh and blood;
    within are decay and death,
    pride and jealousy.
  6. Even gorgeous royal chariots wear out,
    and indeed this body too wears out.
    But the Dhamma of the Good does not age;
    thus the Good make it known to the good.
  7. The man of little learning
    grows old like a bull.
    He grows only in bulk,
    but, his wisdom does not grow.
  8. Through many a birth in samsara
    have I wandered in vain,
    seeking the builder of this house (of life).
    Repeated birth is indeed suffering!
  9. O house-builder, you are seen!
    You will not build this house again.
    For your rafters are broken
    and your ridgepole shattered.
    My mind has reached the Unconditioned;
    I have attained the destruction of craving.
  10. Those who in youth have not led the holy life,
    or have failed to acquire wealth,
    languish like old cranes in the pond without fish.
  11. Those who in youth have not lead the holy life,
    or have failed to acquire wealth,
    lie sighing over the past,
    like worn out arrows (shot from) a bow.

12. The Self

  1. If one holds oneself dear,
    one should diligently watch oneself.
    Let the wise man keep vigil
    during any of the three watches of the night.
  2. One should first establish oneself
    in what is proper;
    then only should one instruct others.
    Thus the wise man will not be reproached.
  3. One should do what one teaches others to do;
    if one would train others,
    one should be well controlled oneself.
    Difficult, indeed, is self-control.
  4. One truly is the protector of oneself;
    who else could the protector be?
    With oneself fully controlled,
    one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.
  5. The evil a witless man does by himself,
    born of himself and produced by himself,
    grinds him as a diamond grinds a hard gem.
  6. Just as a single creeper
    strangles the tree on which it grows,
    even so, a man who is exceedingly depraved
    harms himself as only an enemy might wish.
  7. Easy to do are things
    that are bad and harmful to oneself.
    But exceedingly difficult to do
    are things that are good and beneficial.
  8. Whoever, on account of perverted views,
    scorns the Teaching of the Perfected Ones,
    the Noble and Righteous Ones —
    that fool, like the bamboo,
    produces fruits only for self destruction.
  9. By oneself is evil done;
    by oneself is one defiled.
    By oneself is evil left undone;
    by oneself is one made pure.
    Purity and impurity depended on oneself;
    no one can purify another.
  10. Let one not neglect one’s own welfare
    for the sake of another, however great.
    Clearly understanding one’s own welfare,
    let one be intent upon the good.

13. The World

  1. Follow not the vulgar way;
    live not in heedlessness;
    hold not false views;
    linger not long in worldly existence.
  2. Arise! Do not be heedless!
    Lead a righteous life.
    The righteous live happily
    both in this world and the next.
  3. Lead a righteous life;
    lead not a base life.
    The righteous live happily
    both in this world and the next.
  4. One who looks upon the world
    as a bubble and a mirage,
    him the King of Death sees not.
  5. Come! Behold this world,
    which is like a decorated royal chariot.
    Here fools flounder,
    but the wise have no attachment to it.
  6. He who having been heedless
    is heedless no more,
    illuminates this world
    like the moon freed from clouds.
  7. He, who by good deeds
    covers the evil he has done,
    illuminates this world
    like the moon freed from clouds.
  8. Blind is the world;
    here only a few possess insight.
    Only a few,
    like birds escaping from the net,
    go to realms of bliss.
  9. Swans fly on the path of the sun;
    men pass through the air by psychic powers;
    the wise are led away from the world
    after vanquishing Mara and his host.
  10. For a liar who has violated
    the one law (of truthfulness)
    who holds in scorn the hereafter,
    there is no evil that he cannot do.
  11. Truly, misers fare not to heavenly realms;
    nor, indeed, do fools praise generosity.
    But the wise man rejoices in giving,
    and by that alone does he become happy hereafter.
  12. Better than sole sovereignty over the earth,
    better than going to heaven,
    better even than lordship over all the worlds
    is the supramundane Fruition of Stream Entrance.

14. The Buddha

  1. By what track can you trace
    that trackless Buddha of limitless range,
    whose victory nothing can undo,
    whom none of the vanquished defilements
    can ever pursue?
  2. By what track can you trace
    that trackless Buddha of limitless range,
    in whom exists no longer,
    the entangling and embroiling craving
    that perpetuates becoming?
  3. Those wise ones who are devoted to meditation
    and who delight in the calm of renunciation —
    such mindful ones, Supreme Buddhas,
    even the gods hold dear.
  4. Hard is it to be born a man;
    hard is the life of mortals.
    Hard is it to gain the opportunity
    of hearing the Sublime Truth,
    and hard to encounter
    is the arising of the Buddhas.
  5. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good,
    and to cleanse one’s mind —
    this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
  6. Enduring patience is the highest austerity.
    “Nibbana is supreme,” say the Buddhas.
    He is not a true monk who harms another,
    nor a true renunciate who oppresses others.
  7. Not despising, not harming,
    restraint according to the code of monastic discipline,
    moderation in food, dwelling in solitude,
    devotion to meditation —
    this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
  8. There is no satisfying sensual desires,
    even with the rain of gold coins.
    For sensual pleasures
    give little satisfaction and much pain.
    Having understood this,
    the wise man finds no delight
    even in heavenly pleasures.
    The disciple of the Supreme Buddha
    delights in the destruction of craving.
  9. Driven only by fear,
    do men go for refuge to many places —
    to hills, woods, groves, trees and shrines.
  10. Such, indeed, is no safe refuge;
    such is not the refuge supreme.
    Not by resorting to such a refuge
    is one released from all suffering.
  11. He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha,
    the Teaching and his Order,
    penetrates with transcendental wisdom
    the Four Noble Truths —
    the cause of suffering,
    the cessation of suffering,
    and the Noble Eightfold Path
    leading to the cessation of suffering.
  12. This indeed is the safe refuge,
    this the refuge supreme.
    Having gone to such a refuge,
    one is released from all suffering.
  13. Hard to find
    is the thoroughbred man (the Buddha);
    he is not born everywhere.
    Where such a wise man is born,
    that clan thrives happily.
  14. Blessed is the birth of the Buddhas;
    blessed is the enunciation
    of the sacred Teaching;
    blessed is the harmony in the Order,
    and blessed is the spiritual pursuit
    of the united truth-seeker.
  15. He who reveres those worthy of reverence,
    the Buddhas and their disciples,
    who have transcended all obstacles
    and passed beyond the reach of sorrow and lamentation —
    he who reveres such peaceful and fearless ones,
    his merit none can compute by any measure.

15. Happiness

  1. Happy indeed we live,
    friendly amidst the hostile.
    Amidst hostile men
    we dwell free from hatred.
  2. Happy indeed we live,
    friendly amidst the afflicted (by craving).
    Amidst afflicted men
    we dwell free from affliction.
  3. Happy indeed we live,
    free from avarice amidst the avaricious.
    Amidst the avaricious men
    we dwell free from avarice.
  4. Happy indeed we live,
    we who possess nothing.
    Feeders on joy we shall be,
    like the Radiant Gods.
  5. Victory begets enmity;
    the defeated dwell in pain.
    Happily the peaceful live,
    discarding both victory and defeat.
  6. There is no fire like lust
    and no crime like hatred.
    There is no ill like the aggregates (of existence)
    and no bliss higher than the peace (of Nibbana).
  7. Hunger is the worst disease,
    conditioned things the worst suffering.
    Knowing this as it really is,
    the wise realize Nibbana,
    the highest bliss.
  8. Health is the most precious gain
    and contentment the greatest wealth.
    A trustworthy person is the best kinsman,
    Nibbana the highest bliss.
  9. Having savored the taste of solitude
    and peace (of Nibbana),
    pain-free and stainless he becomes,
    drinking deep the taste of the bliss of the Truth.
  10. Good is it to see the Noble Ones;
    to live with them is ever blissful.
    One will always be happy
    by not encountering fools.
  11. Indeed, he who moves in the company of fools
    grieves for longing.
    Association with fools is ever painful,
    like partnership with an enemy.
    But association with the wise is happy,
    like meeting one’s own kinsmen.
  12. Therefore, follow the Noble One,
    who is steadfast, wise, learned, dutiful and devout.
    One should follow only such a man,
    who is truly good and discerning,
    even as the moon follows the path of the stars.

16. Affection

  1. Giving himself to things to be shunned
    and not exerting where exertion is needed,
    a seeker after pleasures,
    having given up his true welfare,
    envies those intent upon theirs.
  2. Seek no intimacy with the beloved
    and also not with the unloved,
    for not to see the beloved
    and to see the unloved,
    both are painful.
  3. Therefore hold nothing dear,
    for separation from the dear is painful.
    There are no bonds
    for those who have nothing beloved or unloved.
  4. From endearment springs grief,
    from endearment springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from endearment
    there is no grief, whence then fear?
  5. From affection springs grief,
    from affection springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from affection
    there is no grief, whence then fear?
  6. From attachment springs grief,
    from attachment springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from attachment
    there is no grief, whence then fear?
  7. From lust springs grief,
    from lust springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from craving
    there is no grief; whence then fear?
  8. From craving springs grief,
    from craving springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from craving
    there is no grief; whence then fear?
  9. People hold dear him
    who embodies virtue and insight,
    who is principled,
    has realized the truth,
    and who himself does what he ought to be doing.
  10. One who is intent upon the Ineffable (Nibbana),
    dwells with mind inspired (by supramundane wisdom),
    and is no more bound by sense pleasures —
    such a man is called “One Bound Upstream.”
  11. When, after a long absence,
    a man safely returns from afar,
    his relatives, friends and well-wishers
    welcome him home on arrival.
  12. As kinsmen welcome a dear one on arrival,
    even so his own good deeds
    will welcome the doer of good
    who has gone from this world to the next.

17. Anger

  1. One should give up anger,
    renounce pride,
    and overcome all fetters.
    Suffering never befalls him
    who clings not to mind and body
    and is detached.
  2. He who checks rising anger
    as a charioteer checks a rolling chariot,
    him I call a true charioteer.
    Others only hold the reins.
  3. Overcome the angry by non-anger;
    overcome the wicked by goodness;
    overcome the miser by generosity;
    overcome the liar by truth.
  4. Speak the truth;
    yield not to anger;
    when asked, give even if you only have a little.
    By these three means
    can one reach the presence of the gods.
  5. Those sages who are inoffensive
    and ever restrained in body,
    go to the Deathless State,
    where, having gone, they grieve no more.
  6. Those who are ever vigilant,
    who discipline themselves day and night,
    and are ever intent upon Nibbana —
    their defilements fade away.
  7. O Atula! Indeed, this is an ancient practice,
    not one only of today:
    they blame those who remain silent,
    they blame those who speak much,
    they blame those who speak in moderation.
    There is none in the world who is not blamed.
  8. There never was, there never will be, nor is there now,
    a person who is wholly blamed or wholly praised.
  9. But the man whom the wise praise,
    after observing him day after day,
    is one of flawless character, wise,
    and endowed with knowledge and virtue.
  10. Who can blame such a one,
    as worthy as a coin of refined gold?
    Even the gods praise him;
    by Brahma, too, is he praised.
  11. Let a man guard himself
    against irritability in bodily action;
    let him be controlled in deed.
    Abandoning bodily misconduct,
    let him practice good conduct in deed.
  12. Let a man guard himself
    against irritability in speech;
    let him be controlled in speech.
    Abandoning verbal misconduct,
    let him practice good conduct in speech.
  13. Let a man guard himself
    against irritability in thought;
    let him be controlled in mind.
    Abandoning mental misconduct,
    let him practice good conduct in thought.
  14. The wise are controlled in bodily action,
    controlled in speech and controlled in thought.
    They are truly well-controlled.

18. Impurity

  1. Like a withered leaf are you now;
    death’s messengers await you.
    You stand on the eve of your departure,
    yet you have made no provision for your journey!
  2. Make an island for yourself!
    Strive hard and become wise!
    Rid of impurities and cleansed of stain,
    you shall enter the celestial abode of the Noble Ones.
  3. Your life has come to an end now;
    You are setting forth
    into the presence of Yama, the king of death.
    No resting place is there for you on the way,
    yet you have made no provision for the journey!
  4. Make an island unto yourself!
    Strive hard and become wise!
    Rid of impurities and cleansed of stain,
    you shall not come again to birth and decay.
  5. One by one, little by little, moment by moment,
    a wise man should remove his own impurities,
    as a smith removes his dross from silver.
  6. Just as rust arising from iron
    eats away the base from which it arises,
    even so, their own deeds
    lead transgressors to states of woe.
  7. Non-repetition is the bane of scriptures;
    neglect is the bane of a home;
    slovenliness is the bane of personal appearance,
    and heedlessness is the bane of a guard.
  8. Unchastity is the taint in a woman;
    niggardliness is the taint in a giver.
    Taints, indeed, are all evil things,
    both in this world and the next.
  9. A worse taint than these is ignorance,
    the worst of all taints.
    Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O monks!
  10. Easy is life for the shameless
    one who is impudent as a crow,
    is backbiting and forward,
    arrogant and corrupt.
  11. Difficult is life for the modest
    one who always seeks purity,
    is detached and unassuming,
    clean in life, and discerning.
  12. One who destroys life,
    utters lies,
    takes what is not given,
    goes to another man’s wife,
    and is addicted to intoxicating drinks —
    such a man digs up his own root
    even in this world.
  13. Know this, O good man:
    evil things are difficult to control.
    Let not greed and wickedness
    drag you to protracted misery.
  14. People give according to their faith or regard.
    If one becomes discontented
    with the food and drink given by others,
    one does not attain meditative absorption,
    either by day or by night.
  15. But he in who this (discontent) is fully destroyed,
    uprooted and extinct,
    he attains absorption, both by day and by night.
  16. There is no fire like lust;
    there is no grip like hatred;
    there is no net like delusion;
    there is no river like craving.
  17. Easily seen is the fault of others,
    but one’s own fault is difficult to see.
    Like chaff one winnows another’s faults,
    but hides one’s own,
    even as a crafty fowler
    hides behind sham branches.
  18. He who seeks another’s faults,
    who is ever censorious —
    his cankers grow.
    He is far from destruction of the cankers.
  19. There is no track in the sky,
    and no recluse outside (the Buddha’s dispensation).
    Mankind delights in worldliness,
    but the Buddhas are free from worldliness.
  20. There is not track in the sky,
    and no recluse outside (the Buddha’s dispensation).
    There are no conditioned things
    that are eternal,
    and no instability in the Buddhas.

19. The Just

  1. Not by passing arbitrary judgments
    does a man become just;
    a wise man is he
    who investigates both right and wrong.
  2. He who does not judge others arbitrarily,
    but passes judgment impartially
    according to the truth,
    that sagacious man is a guardian of law
    and is called just.
  3. One is not wise because one speaks much.
    He who is peaceable,
    friendly and fearless is called wise.
  4. A man is not versed in Dhamma
    because he speaks much.
    He who, after hearing a little Dhamma,
    realizes its truth directly
    and is not heedless of it,
    is truly versed in the Dhamma.
  5. A monk is not Elder because his head is gray.
    He is but ripe in age,
    and he is called one grown old in vain.
  6. One in whom there is truthfulness,
    virtue, inoffensiveness, restraint and self-mastery,
    who is free from defilements and is wise —
    he is truly called an Elder.
  7. Not by mere eloquence nor by beauty of form
    does a man become accomplished,
    if he is jealous, selfish and deceitful.
  8. But he in whom these are wholly destroyed,
    uprooted and extinct,
    and who has cast out hatred —
    that wise man is truly accomplished.
  9. Not by shaven head does a man
    who is indisciplined and untruthful
    become a monk. How can he
    who is full of desire and greed be a monk?
  10. He who wholly subdues evil both small and great
    is called a monk,
    because he has overcome all evil.
  11. He is not a monk
    just because he lives on others’ alms.
    Not by adopting outward form
    does one become a true monk.
  12. Whoever here (in the Dispensation)
    lives a holy life,
    transcending both merit and demerit,
    and walks with understanding in this world —
    he is truly called a monk.
  13. Not by observing silence does one become a sage,
    if he be foolish and ignorant.
    But that man is wise who,
    as if holding a balance-scale
    accepts only the good.
  14. The sage (thus) rejecting the evil,
    is truly a sage.
    Since he comprehends both
    (present and future) worlds,
    he is called a sage.
  15. He is not noble who injures living beings.
    He is called noble
    because he is harmless towards all living beings.
  16. Not by rules and observances,
    not even by much learning,
    nor by gain of absorption,
    nor by a life of seclusion,
    nor by thinking,
    “I enjoy the bliss of renunciation,
    which is not experienced by the worldling”
    should you, O monks, rest content,
    until the utter destruction of cankers
    (Arahantship) is reached.

20. The Path

  1. Of all the paths
    the Eightfold Path is the best;
    of all the truths
    the Four Noble Truths are the best;
    of all things
    passionlessness is the best:
    of men the Seeing One
    (the Buddha) is the best.
  2. This is the only path;
    there is none other
    for the purification of insight.
    Tread this path,
    and you will bewilder Mara.
  3. Walking upon this path
    you will make an end of suffering.
    Having discovered
    how to pull out the thorn of lust,
    I make known the path.
  4. You yourselves must strive;
    the Buddhas only point the way.
    Those meditative ones who tread the path
    are released from the bonds of Mara.
  5. “All conditioned things are impermanent” —
    when one sees this with wisdom,
    one turns away from suffering.
    This is the path to purification.
  6. “All conditioned things are unsatisfactory” —
    when one sees this with wisdom,
    one turns away from suffering.
    This is the path to purification.
  7. “All things are not-self” —
    when one sees this with wisdom,
    one turns away from suffering.
    This is the path to purification.
  8. The idler who does not exert himself when he should,
    who though young and strong is full of sloth,
    with a mind full of vain thoughts —
    such an indolent man
    does not find the path to wisdom.
  9. Let a man be watchful of speech,
    well controlled in mind,
    and not commit evil in bodily action.
    Let him purify these three courses of action,
    and win the path made known by the Great Sage.
  10. Wisdom springs from meditation;
    without meditation wisdom wanes.
    Having known these two paths of progress and decline,
    let a man so conduct himself
    that his wisdom may increase.
  11. Cut down the forest (lust), but not the tree;
    from the forest springs fear.
    Having cut down the forest
    and the underbrush (desire),
    be passionless, O monks!
  12. For so long as the underbrush of desire,
    even the most subtle,
    of a man towards a woman is not cut down,
    his mind is in bondage,
    like the sucking calf to its mother.
  13. Cut off your affection in the manner of a man
    plucks with his hand an autumn lotus.
    Cultivate only the path to peace, Nibbana,
    as made known by the Exalted One.
  14. “Here shall I live during the rains,
    here in winter and summer” —
    thus thinks the fool.
    He does not realize the danger
    (that death might intervene).
  15. As a great flood
    carries away a sleeping village,
    so death seizes and carries away
    the man with a clinging mind,
    doting on his children and cattle.
  16. For him who is assailed by death
    there is no protection by kinsmen.
    None there are to save him —
    no sons, nor father, nor relatives.
  17. Realizing this fact, let the wise man,
    restrained by morality,
    hasten to clear the path leading to Nibbana.

21. Miscellaneous

  1. If by renouncing a lesser happiness
    one may realize a greater happiness,
    let the wise man renounce the lesser,
    having regard for the greater.
  2. Entangled by the bonds of hate,
    he who seeks his own happiness
    by inflicting pain on others,
    is never delivered from hatred.
  3. The cankers only increase
    for those who are arrogant and heedless,
    who leave undone what should be done
    and do what should not be done.
  4. The cankers cease for those mindful
    and clearly comprehending ones
    who always earnestly practice
    mindfulness of the body,
    who do not resort
    to what should not be done,
    and steadfastly pursue what should be done.
  5. Having slain mother (craving),
    father (self-conceit),
    two warrior-kings (eternalism and nihilism),
    and destroyed a country
    (sense organs and sense objects)
    together with its treasurer
    (attachment and lust),
    ungrieving goes the holy man.
  6. Having slain mother, father,
    two brahman kings (two extreme views),
    and a tiger as the fifth
    (the five mental hindrances),
    ungrieving goes the holy man.
  7. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    the Recollection of the Qualities of the Buddha.
  8. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    the Recollection of the Qualities of the Dhamma.
  9. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    the Recollection of the Qualities of the Sangha.
  10. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    Mindfulness of the Body.
  11. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    whose minds by day and night
    delight in the practice of non-violence.
  12. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    whose minds by day and night
    delight in the practice of meditation.
  13. Difficult is life as a monk;
    difficult is it to delight therein.
    Also difficult and sorrowful
    is the household life.
    Suffering comes from association with unequals;
    suffering comes from wandering in samsara.
    Therefore, be not an aimless wanderer,
    be not a pursuer of suffering.
  14. He who is full of faith and virtue,
    and possesses good repute and wealth —
    he is respected everywhere,
    in whatever land he travels.
  15. The good shine from afar,
    like the Himalaya mountains.
    But the wicked are unseen,
    like arrows shot in the night.
  16. He who sits alone,
    sleeps alone,
    and walks alone,
    who is strenuous
    and subdues himself alone,
    will find delight
    in the solitude of the forest.

22. Hell

  1. The liar goes to the state of woe;
    also he who, having done (wrong), says,
    “I did not do it.”
    Men of base actions both,
    on departing they share the same destiny
    in the other world.
  2. There are many evil characters
    and uncontrolled men
    wearing the saffron robe.
    These wicked men
    will be born in states of woe
    because of their evil deeds.
  3. It would be better
    to swallow a red-hot iron ball,
    blazing like fire,
    than as an immoral and uncontrolled monk
    to eat the alms of the people.
  4. Four misfortunes befall the reckless man
    who consorts with another’s wife:
    acquisition of demerit,
    disturbed sleep,
    and (rebirth in) states of woe.
  5. Such a man acquires demerit
    and an unhappy birth in the future.
    Brief is the pleasure
    of the frightened man and woman,
    and the king imposes heavy punishment.
    Hence, let no man consort with another’s wife.
  6. Just as kusa grass wrongly handled cuts the hand,
    even so, a recluse’s life wrongly lived
    drags one to states of woe.
  7. Any loose act,
    any corrupt observance,
    any life of questionable celibacy —
    none of these bear much fruit.
  8. If anything is to be done,
    let one do it with sustained vigor.
    A lax monastic life
    stirs up the dust of passions all the more.
  9. An evil deed is better left undone,
    for such a deed torments one afterwards.
    But a good deed is better done,
    doing which one repents not later.
  10. Just as a border city is closely guarded
    both within and without, even so, guard yourself.
    Do not let slip this opportunity (for spiritual growth).
    For those who let slip this opportunity
    grieve indeed when consigned to hell.
  11. Those who are ashamed
    of what they should not be ashamed of,
    and are not ashamed
    of what they should be ashamed of —
    upholding false views,
    they go to states of woe.
  12. Those who see something to fear
    where there is nothing to fear,
    and see nothing to fear
    where there is something to fear —
    upholding false views,
    they go to states of woe.
  13. Those who imagine evil
    where there is none,
    and do not see evil where it is —
    upholding false views,
    they go to states of woe.
  14. Those who discern
    the wrong as wrong
    and the right as right —
    upholding right views,
    they go to realms of bliss.

23. The Elephant

  1. As an elephant in the battlefield
    withstands arrows shot from bows all around,
    even so shall I endure abuse.
    There are many, indeed, who lack virtue.
  2. A tamed elephant is led into a crowd,
    and the king mounts a tamed elephant.
    Best among men
    is the subdued one who endures abuse.
  3. Excellent are well-trained mules,
    thoroughbred Sindhu horses
    and noble tusker elephants.
    But better still is the man
    who has subdued himself.
  4. Not by these mounts, however,
    would one go to the Untrodden Land (Nibbana),
    as one who is self-tamed
    goes by his own tamed and well-controlled mind.
  5. Musty during rut,
    the tusker named Dhanapalaka is uncontrollable.
    Held in captivity,
    the tusker does not touch a morsel,
    but only longingly
    calls to mind the elephant forest.
  6. When a man is sluggish and gluttonous,
    sleeping and rolling around in bed
    like a fat domestic pig,
    that sluggard undergoes rebirth again and again.
  7. Formerly this mind wandered about as it liked,
    where it wished and according to its pleasure,
    but now I shall thoroughly master it
    with wisdom as a mahout controls with his ankus
    an elephant in rut.
  8. Delight in heedfulness!
    Guard well your thoughts!
    Draw yourself out of this bog of evil,
    even as an elephant draws himself out of the mud.
  9. If for company you find
    a wise and prudent friend
    who leads a good life,
    you should, overcoming all impediments,
    keep his company joyously and mindfully.
  10. If for company you cannot find
    a wise and prudent friend
    who leads a good life, then,
    like a king who leaves behind a conquered kingdom,
    or like a lone elephant in the elephant forest,
    you should go your way alone.
  11. Better it is to live alone;
    there is no fellowship with a fool.
    Live alone and do no evil;
    be carefree like an elephant
    in the elephant forest.
  12. Good are friends when need arises;
    good is contentment with just what one has;
    good is merit when life is at an end,
    and good is the abandoning of all suffering
    (through Arahantship).
  13. In this world,
    good it is to serve one’s mother,
    good it is to serve one’s father,
    good it is to serve the monks,
    and good it is to serve the holy men.
  14. Good is virtue until life’s end,
    good is faith that is steadfast,
    good is the acquisition of wisdom,
    and good is the avoidance of evil.

24. Craving

  1. The craving of one
    given to heedless living
    grows like a creeper.
    Like the monkey
    seeking fruits in the forest,
    he leaps from life to life
    (tasting the fruit of his kamma).
  2. Whoever is overcome
    by this wretched and sticky craving,
    his sorrows grow
    like grass after the rains.
  3. But whoever overcomes
    this wretched craving,
    so difficult to overcome,
    from him sorrows fall away
    like water from a lotus leaf.
  4. This I say to you:
    Good luck to all assembled here!
    Dig up the root of craving,
    like one in search
    of the fragrant root of the birana grass.
    Let not Mara crush you again and again,
    as a flood crushes a reed.
  5. Just as a tree,
    though cut down, sprouts up again
    if its roots remain uncut and firm,
    even so, until the craving
    that lies dormant is rooted out,
    suffering springs up again and again.
  6. The misguided man in whom
    the thirty-six currents of craving
    strongly rush toward pleasurable objects,
    is swept away by the flood
    of his passionate thoughts.
  7. Everywhere these currents flow,
    and the creeper (of craving) sprouts and grows.
    Seeing that the creeper has sprung up,
    cut off its root with wisdom.
  8. Flowing in (from all objects)
    and watered by craving,
    feelings of pleasure arise in beings.
    Bent on pleasures and seeking enjoyment,
    these men fall prey to birth and decay.
  9. Beset by craving, people run about
    like an entrapped hare.
    Held fast by mental fetters,
    they come to suffering
    again and again for a long time.
  10. Beset by craving, people run about
    like an entrapped hare.
    Therefore, one who yearns to be passion-free
    should destroy his own craving.
  11. There is one who, turning away from desire
    (for household life)
    takes to the life of the forest (of a monk).
    But after being freed from the household,
    he runs back to it.
    Behold that man! Though freed,
    he runs back to that very bondage!
  12. That is not a strong fetter, the wise say,
    which is made of iron, wood or hemp.
    But the infatuation and longing
    for jewels and ornaments,
    children and wives —
    that, they say, is a far stronger fetter,
    which pulls one downward and,
    though seemingly loose, is hard to remove.
    This, too, the wise cut off.
    Giving up sensual pleasure,
    and without any longing,
    they renounce the world.
  13. Those who are lust-infatuated fall back
    into the swirling current (of samsara)
    like a spider on its self-spun web.
    This, too, the wise cut off.
    Without any longing,
    they abandon all suffering
    and renounce the world.
  14. Let go of the past,
    let go of the future,
    let go of the present,
    and cross over
    to the farther shore of existence.
    With mind wholly liberated,
    you shall come no more to birth and death.
  15. For a person tormented by evil thoughts,
    who is passion-dominated
    and given to the pursuit of pleasure,
    his craving steadily grows.
    He makes the fetter strong, indeed.
  16. He who delights in subduing evil thoughts,
    who meditates on the impurities
    and is ever mindful —
    it is he who will make an end of craving
    and rend asunder Mara’s fetter.
  17. He who has reached the goal, is fearless,
    free from craving, passionless,
    and has plucked out the thorns of existence —
    for him this is the last body.
  18. He who is free from craving and attachment,
    is perfect in uncovering
    the true meaning of the Teaching,
    and knows the arrangement of the sacred texts
    in correct sequence —
    he, indeed, is the bearer of his final body.
    He is truly called the profoundly wise one,
    the great man.
  19. A victor am I over all, all have I known.
    Yet unattached am I to all
    that is conquered and known.
    Abandoning all, I am freed
    through the destruction of craving.
    Having thus directly comprehended all by myself,
    whom shall I call my teacher?
  20. The gift of Dhamma excels all gifts;
    the taste of the Dhamma excels all tastes;
    the delight in Dhamma excels all delights.
    The Craving-Freed vanquishes all suffering.
  21. Riches ruin only the foolish,
    not those in quest of the Beyond.
    By craving for riches
    the witless man ruins himself
    as well as others.
  22. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    lust is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of lust
    yields abundant fruit.
  23. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    hatred is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of hatred
    yields abundant fruit.
  24. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    delusion is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of delusion
    yields abundant fruit.
  25. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    desire is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of desire
    yields abundant fruit.

25. The Monk

  1. Good is restraint over the eye;
    good is restraint over the ear;
    good is restraint over the nose;
    good is restraint over the tongue.
  2. Good is restraint in the body;
    good is restraint in speech;
    good is restraint in thought.
    Restraint everywhere is good.
    The monk restrained in every way
    is freed from all suffering.
  3. He who has control over his hands,
    feet and tongue;
    who is fully controlled,
    delights in inward development,
    is absorbed in meditation,
    keeps to himself and is contented —
    him do people call a monk.
  4. That monk who has control over his tongue,
    is moderate in speech, unassuming
    and who explains the Teaching
    in both letter and spirit —
    whatever he says is pleasing.
  5. The monk who abides in the Dhamma,
    delights in the Dhamma,
    meditates on the Dhamma,
    and bears the Dhamma well in mind —
    he does not fall away
    from the sublime Dhamma.
  6. One should not despise
    what one has received,
    nor envy the gains of others.
    The monk who envies the gains of others
    does not attain to meditative absorption.
  7. A monk who does not despise
    what he has received,
    even though it be little,
    who is pure in livelihood
    and unremitting in effort —
    him even the gods praise.
  8. He who has no attachment whatsoever
    for the mind and body,
    who does not grieve for what he has not —
    he is truly called a monk.
  9. The monk who abides in universal love
    and is deeply devoted
    to the Teaching of the Buddha
    attains the peace of Nibbana,
    the bliss of the cessation
    of all conditioned things.
  10. Empty this boat, O monk!
    Emptied, it will sail lightly.
    Rid of lust and hatred,
    you shall reach Nibbana.
  11. Cut off the five, abandon the five,
    and cultivate the five.
    The monk who has overcome the five bonds
    is called one who has crossed the flood.
  12. Meditate, O monk! Do not be heedless.
    Let not your mind whirl on sensual pleasures.
    Heedless, do not swallow a red-hot iron ball,
    lest you cry when burning, “O this is painful!”
  13. There is no meditative concentration
    for him who lacks insight,
    and no insight for him
    who lacks meditative concentration.
    He in whom are found both
    meditative concentration and insight,
    indeed, is close to Nibbana.
  14. The monk who has retired
    to a solitary abode
    and calmed his mind,
    who comprehends the Dhamma with insight,
    in him there arises a delight
    that transcends all human delights.
  15. Whenever he sees with insight
    the rise and fall of the aggregates,
    he is full of joy and happiness.
    To the discerning one
    this reflects the Deathless.
  16. Control of the senses, contentment, restraint
    according to the code of monastic discipline —
    these form the basis of holy life
    here for the wise monk.
  17. Let him associate with friends
    who are noble, energetic, and pure in life,
    let him be cordial and refined in conduct.
    Thus, full of joy,
    he will make an end of suffering.
  18. Just as the jasmine creeper
    sheds its withered flowers,
    even so, O monks,
    should you totally shed lust and hatred!
  19. The monk who is calm in body,
    calm in speech,
    calm in thought,
    and who has spewn out worldliness —
    he, truly, is called serene.
  20. By oneself one must censure oneself
    and scrutinize oneself.
    The self-guarded and mindful monk
    will always live in happiness.
  21. One is one’s own protector,
    one is one’s own refuge.
    Therefore, one should control oneself,
    even as a trader controls a noble steed.
  22. Full of joy, full of faith
    in the Teaching of the Buddha,
    the monk attains the Peaceful State,
    the bliss of cessation of conditioned things.
  23. That monk who while young devotes himself
    to the Teaching of the Buddha
    illumines this world like the moon
    freed from clouds.

26. The Holy Man

  1. Exert yourself, O holy man!
    Cut off the stream (of craving),
    and discard sense desires.
    Knowing the destruction
    of all the conditioned things,
    become, O holy man, the knower
    of the Uncreated (Nibbana)!
  2. When a holy man has reached
    the summit of two paths
    (meditative concentration and insight),
    he knows the truth
    and all his fetters fall away.
  3. He for whom there is neither this shore
    nor the other shore, nor yet both,
    he who is free of cares and is unfettered —
    him do I call a holy man.
  4. He who is meditative, stainless and settled,
    whose work is done and who is free from cankers,
    having reached the highest goal —
    him do I call a holy man.
  5. The sun shines by day,
    the moon shines by night.
    The warrior shines in armor,
    the holy man shines in meditation.
    But the Buddha shines resplendent
    all day and all night.
  6. Because he has discarded evil,
    he is called a holy man.
    Because he is serene in conduct,
    he is called a recluse.
    And because he has renounced his impurities,
    he is called a renunciate.
  7. One should not strike a holy man,
    nor should a holy man,
    when struck, give way to anger.
    Shame on him who strikes a holy man,
    and more shame on him who gives way to anger.
  8. Nothing is better for a holy man
    than when he holds his mind back
    from what is endearing.
    To the extent the intent to harm wears away,
    to that extent does suffering subside.
  9. He who does no evil in deed, word and thought,
    who is restrained in these three ways —
    him do I call a holy man.
  10. Just as a brahman priest
    reveres his sacrificial fire,
    even so should one devoutly revere
    the person from whom one has learned
    the Dhamma taught by the Buddha.
  11. Not by matted hair, nor by lineage,
    nor by birth does one become a holy man.
    But he in whom truth and righteousness exist —
    he is pure, he is a holy man.
  12. What is the use of your matted hair,
    O witless man?
    What of your garment of antelope’s hide?
    Within you is the tangle (of passion);
    only outwardly do you cleanse yourself.
  13. The person who wears a robe made of rags,
    who is lean, with veins showing all over the body,
    and who meditates alone in the forest —
    him do I call a holy man.
  14. I do not call him a holy man
    because of his lineage or high-born mother.
    If he is full of impeding attachments,
    he is just a supercilious man.
    But who is free from impediments and clinging —
    him do I call a holy man.
  15. He who, having cut off all fetters,
    trembles no more, who has overcome
    all attachments and is emancipated —
    him do I call a holy man.
  16. He who has cut off the thong (of hatred),
    the band (of craving),
    and the rope (of false views),
    together with the appurtenances
    (latent evil tendencies),
    he who has removed the crossbar (of ignorance)
    and is enlightened —
    him do I call a holy man.
  17. He who without resentment endures abuse,
    beating and punishment;
    whose power, real might, is patience —
    him do I call a holy man.
  18. He who is free from anger, is devout,
    virtuous, without craving, self-subdued
    and bears his final body — him do I call a holy man.
  19. Like water on a lotus leaf,
    or a mustard seed on the point of a needle,
    he who does not cling to sensual pleasures —
    him do I call a holy man.
  20. He who in this very life realizes for himself
    the end of suffering,
    who has laid aside the burden
    and become emancipated —
    him do I call a holy man.
  21. He who has profound knowledge, who is wise,
    skilled in discerning the right or wrong path,
    and has reached the highest goal —
    him do I call a holy man.
  22. He who holds aloof
    from householders and ascetics alike,
    and wanders about with no fixed abode
    and but few wants —
    him do I call a holy man.
  23. He who has renounced violence
    towards all living beings, weak or strong,
    who neither kills nor causes others to kill —
    him do I call a holy man.
  24. He who is friendly amidst the hostile,
    peaceful amidst the violent,
    and unattached amidst the attached —
    him do I call a holy man.
  25. He whose lust and hatred,
    pride and hypocrisy have fallen off
    like a mustard seed from the point of a needle —
    him do I call a holy man.
  26. He who utters gentle,
    instructive and truthful words,
    who imprecates none —
    him do I call a holy man.
  27. He who in this world takes nothing
    that is not given to him,
    be it long or short,
    small or big, good or bad —
    him do I call a holy man.
  28. He who wants nothing
    of either this world or the next,
    who is desire-free and emancipated —
    him do I call a holy man.
  29. He who has no attachment,
    who through perfect knowledge
    is free from doubts
    and has plunged into the Deathless —
    him do I call a holy man.
  30. He who in this world has transcended
    the ties of both merit and demerit,
    who is sorrowless, stainless and pure —
    him do I call a holy man.
  31. He, who, like the moon, is spotless and pure,
    serene and clear,
    who has destroyed the delight in existence —
    him do I call a holy man.
  32. He who, having traversed
    this miry, perilous and delusive round of existence,
    has crossed over and reached the other shore;
    who is meditative, calm, free from doubt,
    and, clinging to nothing, has attained to Nibbana —
    him do I call a holy man.
  33. He who, having abandoned sensual pleasures,
    has renounced the household life
    and become a homeless one;
    has destroyed both sensual desire
    and continued existence —
    him do I call a holy man.
  34. He who, having abandoned craving,
    has renounced the household life
    and become a homeless one,
    has destroyed both craving
    and continued existence —
    him do I call a holy man.
  35. He who, casting off human bonds
    and transcending heavenly ties,
    is wholly delivered of all bondages —
    him do I call a holy man.
  36. He who, having cast off likes and dislikes,
    has become tranquil,
    is rid of the substrata of existence
    and like a hero has conquered all the worlds —
    him do I call a holy man.
  37. He who in every way knows
    the death and rebirth of all beings,
    and is totally detached,
    blessed and enlightened —
    him do I call a holy man.
  38. He whose track no gods, no angels, no humans trace,
    the arahant who has destroyed all cankers —
    him do I call a holy man.
  39. He who clings to nothing
    of the past, present and future,
    who has no attachment
    and holds on to nothing —
    him do I call a holy man.
  40. He, the Noble, the Excellent,
    the Heroic, the Great Sage,
    the Conqueror, the Passionless,
    the Pure, the Enlightened one —
    him do I call a holy man.
  41. He who knows his former births,
    who sees heaven and hell,
    who has reached the end of births
    and attained to the perfection of insight,
    the sage who has reached the summit
    of spiritual excellence —
    him do I call a holy man.

Outside in the Rain

The poring rain, a storm of summer rain befalling me as I gaze up into the sky.  A rain storm that drenched my body with warm summer drops, and in the excitement of this happening I stay outside in the rain.  I remember a time when I was just a boy, when a sudden storm immediately drenched my body as I remain outside splashing in the streets.  One of my favorite band songs to play also had this theme…

I’m outside in the rain

my mama tells me to come inside

I tell her no I’ve just got to lead my own life  Ah Yeah

And now I’m out on my own

I’ve never been so far from home

Its kind of strange but the answers to life are out there

I know

I’m outside in the rain

And I feel the same

I’m getting older now

I’ll find it somehow

the times are getting tough

People I meet they just come and go

I tell my friends that I’ve got to live on my own now

Ah Yeah

The years and years go by

I keep on searching but I don’t know why

If there’s an answer I hope I find it before I die


I’m outside in the rain

And I feel the same

I’m getting older now

I’ll find it somehow


I’m outside in the rain

And I feel the same

I’m getting older now

I’ll find it somehow

I’m outside in the rain

my mama tells me to come inside

I tell her no I’ve just got to lead my Oh -own life


I’m outside in the rain

And I feel the same

I’m getting older now

I’ll find it somehow

Outside in the Rain:
Words and Music: Rob Cleland & Todd Armer

An Unexamined Life


What is the cost of living a life that undergoes no reflection?  In Plato’s Apology, Socrates said…”The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.”  I respectfully take this quote to emphasize a different problem in human history.

In a case study for purpose of expose, I know a man who I could say had not ever really looked deeply into his life, had not deeply looked into his behavior, and has never really learned from his mistakes.  If asked, he could not connect the behavior to the problems that arise out of the experience.  To him there was no problem, to him, there was no reckoning because he simply ignored it, or dismissed it.  In this case he probably is a level 5 type 8 Enneagram candidate: Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering.  Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating.  Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable.  Their basic fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others, their basic desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their own life and destiny).  Level 5: Begin to dominate their environment, including others: want to feel that others are behind them, supporting their efforts. Swaggering, boastful, forceful, and expansive: the “boss” whose word is law.  Proud, egocentric, want to impose their will and vision on everything, not seeing others as equals or treating them with respect.

There exists in our humanity a sickness of the soul that equates might equals right, or my way or the highway, or basically a self-centered philosophy that subjugate all other voices when the need for those other voices is a necessary condition for a balanced viewpoint.  Enneagram theory and other psychological and sociological reasons for these conditions existing in our culture are prevalent and explain much of the dynamic behind the personality that develops within a mind.  Essentially the childhood experience has much to do with developing a mind that seeks to satisfy a self driven focus, and going unchecked through out their lives, these minds often become fixated on self orientation and exclude much of the true reality in our shared world of perception.  The following example excerpted from Enneagram theory type Eight: The Challenger   – The Wisdom of the Enneagram Hudson/Riso 1999

Parental Orientation

As young children, Eights were ambivalent to the nurturing-figure, the person in their early development who mirrored them, cared for them, and provided affection and a sense of personal value. This is often the mother or a mother substitute, but in some families, the father or an older sibling may serve as the nurturing-figure.

Eights did not strongly bond with or identify with their nurturing figure, but they also did not psychologically separate from them entirely either.  As a result, Eights learned that they could maintain some kind of connection with the nurturing-figure and fit into the family system by functioning in a role that was complementary to the nurturing-figure.  The nurturing-figure represented (and therefore “owned”) the qualities associated with motherhood: warmth, caring, nurturance, approval, gentleness, and sensitivity.  Thus, the Eight identified with the complementary patriarchal role, and learned that the best way to get some sense of value, affection, and nurturance was to be “the strong one,” the little protector, the one that others turn to for strength and guidance, especially in a crisis.  Eights then identified completely with this role, feeling that to give it up is to lose their identity as well as any hope of ever being loved or cared for.

Like Twos and Fives, the other “ambivalent” types, Eights feel that their well-being and survival are dependent on fulfilling their role in life. Twos believe that they must always selflessly nurture and care for others, Fives believe that they have no role to play and must find one, and Eights believe that they must be the decisive, strong person who can handle the big problems and who is indifferent to hardship and suffering. As with all of the types, the healthy manifestations of these roles can lead to extremely important contributions to the people around them, or even in the world. However, as fear and insecurity grows, these roles become prisons which trap the types and prevent them from expressing the full range of their humanity.

As we have seen, Eights begin to repress their fear and vulnerability so that they will be strong enough to meet whatever challenges they must. In highly dysfunctional families or in otherwise dangerous childhood environments, those challenges may be considerable, and in Eights, the result is a tough, aggressive person with a limited capacity to get close to others or to acknowledge their hurt.  It is as if Eights must construct a tough carapace of aggressive ego defenses so no one will ever again be able to get at the soft, vulnerable person inside.

If Eights have suffered serious abuse in childhood, their faith in others and in the world becomes so damaged and closed off that they live in constant anticipation of rejection and betrayal.  They find it difficult to trust anyone, and are consumed with rage at the injustices they feel have been perpetrated upon them. Unlike Sixes, who also have trust issues, and who may develop an aggressive style of defense against the world, Eights do not believe they can rely on anyone or anything outside themselves.  Within their family system, they experienced themselves as the authoritative person.  There was no one else to turn to for reassurance or guidance, so Eights are unwilling to allow their destiny or decision-making capacity to be placed in anyone else’s hands (“The buck stops here.”)

If there was some degree of warmth, nurturance, and mutual support in the Eight’s early childhood environment, chances are good that as an adult, the Eight will take a strongly protective role, especially with the few people that they trust and are close to. If there was little support or nurturance available, Eights tend to grow up with an “every man for himself” attitude.  They feel as though they have had to struggle and fight to survive on their own, and if others are going to make it, they better be able to take care of themselves.  Looking out after “number one” is a full-time job, and caring too much about others becomes a survival risk.

We can see very clearly in this type how a child’s natural qualities—in this case, high energy, physical endurance, and willpower—combine with a family constellation to crystallize a particular pattern of behaviors and attitudes that determine a person’s identity.  On the healthy side of the scale we will also see how these natural qualities, when positively encouraged and expressed lead to constructive, empowering human beings who leave a lasting legacy behind them.   At the other end of the scale, where these energies have been twisted and distorted by abuse, we see vengeance, destructiveness, and a legacy of another kind.  see http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/

A damaged self-image, and a narcissistic personality are just a few of the traits that impede a healthy introspection worthy of any integrity.  The term narcissism comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo.  These advances eventually led Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.  Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus “lay gazing enraptured into the pool, hour after hour”, and finally changed into a flower that bears his name, the narcissus.  Note that the myth has Narcissus reflecting upon his shallow external features and not upon an examination of the  deeper reflections of the soul.

To the extent that parents are narcissistic, they are controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of their children’s needs and of the effects of their behavior on their children, and require that the children see them as the parents wish to be seen. [1]

1.  Rappoport, Alan, Ph. D.Co-Narcissism: How We Adapt to Narcissistic Parents. The Therapist, 2005.

Narcissistic people blame others for their own problems.  They tend not to seek psychotherapy because they fear that the therapist will see them as deficient and therefore are highly defensive in relation to therapists.  They do not feel free or safe enough to examine their own behavior, and typically avoid the psychotherapy situation.  Co-narcissists, however, are ready to accept blame and responsibility for problems, and are much more likely than narcissists to seek help because they often consider themselves to be the ones who need fixing.

The tragedy of a life is what the Dalai Lama noticed in his rendering of what surprised him about humanity.. in that “Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

The reality outside our case study’s perception was ignored and not recognized so there was no opposition in his mind despite the pleas of issues brought forth from others in the events that occurred.  There is ignorance, and then there is stupidity.  If one ignores reality, and only see’s the world according to their view despite all of the information from other sources, then one will lead a lonely life of tyranny.  One leads a life, going through the motions, working, doing those things that one can do to sustain themselves, yet in many cases these people do not stop and think and question their lives in ways that challenge the status quo.  They don’t stop to live in the moment, enjoy the events of the now, but rather only take part in their favorite pastimes, like watching football, or their television programs which take them away from their families, and friends.  It also takes them away from dealing with issues about their lives if their minds are distracted and filled with non-essential information that is truly not an important feature of our lives.  Sadly the lack of being a non-reflective soul over the course of a lifetime has caused a tremendous amount of dissension within his personal life.  Even more remorseful is that he cannot understand why most people choose not to associate with him, he cannot fathom or connect the factors of his life’s modus operandi to those who have gone their own way, leaving him alone, baffled, and in silent misery.

Accountability is a huge factor in processing events that occur, and if they are not held accountable for their behavior, they will most likely not learn, and continue to think, act, and behave as they have always done.  If no force of opposition is ever met, than the chances of change are seldom.  There are many who pass the days, years, decades, or lifetimes without questioning themselves or the paths they have chosen to remain on.  Often these cases support the statistical data showing that a life not reflected upon is not worth living.  Many end up alone, and are perplexed why their lives turned out the way they did.  The “Blame game” is often a retort that they will use, again deflecting the responsibility for their behavior or actions, and continue to live in denial.

In the “Oz Principles” of accountability training, the mantra one learns is …”See it, Own it, Solve it, and Do it.”  Accountability means …”A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results.”  Training oneself not to fall into the victim cycle that prevents one from achieving any of these steps to greater accountability is paramount.  It is often overlooked, but one must consider that one can only do what is within one’s power, so do not fret over things that are not in one’s control.  In other words, control what you can control.  Common mistakes we make when we “fall below the line”, are ways we see the world that lead us to an unsuccessful path and obtain results that are counter productive if we choose to be a victim.  Common victim cycle explanations that are “below the line” are:  (1) Ignore and Deny, (2)  It’s not my job / responsibility, (3) Finger – pointing, (4) Confusion / Tell me what to do, (5) Cover your tail, or (6) Wait and see.

Taking ownership of one’s life includes the way we perceive the world.  The way in which we perceive this world is dependent upon our lens of perception that is often shaped early in life.  If our lenses are smeared, so to will our perception of the world; this includes our own self-perceptions.  Given the assertion: an unexamined life is not worth living has much credence.    Socrates was on trial for encouraging his students to challenge the accepted beliefs of the time and think for themselves. The sentence was death but Socrates had the option of suggesting an alternative punishment.  He could have chosen life in prison or exile, and would likely have avoided death.

But Socrates believed that these alternatives would rob him of the only thing that made life useful: Examining the world around him and discussing how to make the world a better place.  Without his “examined life” there was no point in living.  So he suggested that Athens reward him for his service to society.  The result, of course, is that they had no alternative and were forced to vote for a punishment of death.  I suspect that those who choose to live an unexamined life may be susceptible to leading a very unsatisfying life if they are fallen prey to the extremes of self prioritization.  The illusions of this self-imposed trap are deep, but can be championed.  Next time we look into the mirror, let us also look upon our soul’s reflection, I wonder what we would see?


Recommended Books

__ Plato’s Dialog of the trial and death of Socrates 399 BC

The Wisdom of the Enneagram
The Wisdom of the Enneagram (Photo credit: Loulair Harton)








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__  The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability 1994

The Ego Paradox

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One cannot fully comprehend why certain events happen in one’s life. The kind of life events that are not expected, not even predictable given the individual’s personal nature and demeanor. Life has a tendency to challenge people and poise them in situations that can forever change them, influence them, or depending on how they shepherd the occurrence, shape their belief’s and behaviors. If we sustain our self image by remembering events that happen to us in retelling these memories in a way that protects us from social stigma, and protects us from guilt; then the resulting information we conclude can be untrustworthy, and is an attribute we often employ. Self deception is a common element in our every day lives and is as prevalent in reflection to the owner of an untrained mind as is the perception of when an event happens. Therefore the truth of an event and the after thought of the event can be displaced equally under the lapse of retaining good perceptual skills or an accurate self image.

We do not always think rationally or act reasonably, and our memories often paint the picture with broad strokes on the canvas of our memories when we reflect on past events, leaving out many nuances that can completely change the meaning of the situations reflected upon. Differing responsibilities, opinions about fault and accountability often come to mind when we diffuse the event within our minds trying to make sense out of it, without placing shame or blame upon our own rendering of our behaviors. How many times do we actually correctly depict the events of a situation that has occurred in our lives without the distortion of the ego that pardon’s our misdeeds? What is the true dynamic behind the distortions of our memories? Is it a defense mechanism the psyche posits into a reality of it’s own creation?

I am not from a school of thought that totally dismisses the ego, nor one that teaches oneself to reject the ego altogether. I rather like to believe that it is only a starting point in “self” reflection, a pendulum of experience that one should consider before casting one’s analysis.

Beginner’s Mind
Child’s Mind
Children learn so rapidly because they are neither afraid of not knowing nor convinced that they already know what they don’t. Unlike most adults, in our defensiveness, we act as though we know, even when we know we don’t. When we love and except ourselves as we are, we engage in the vulnerable act of learning without the fear of looking foolish. We can profit from the knowledge and experience of others because we love ourselves enough to put our desire to grow ahead of defending our ignorance. The beginner’s mind applies not only to learning the new skills, activities, or information but to all we think we know about life. Many of us walk around about life. Many of us walk around with deeply ingrained beliefs that limit our experience. We think you can’t really trust people, or you can’t really do or have what you want in life. Of course, we can insist on these kinds of beliefs, select out supportive incidents from the past, and build cases for why they are so; but this only shuts the door on now experience. As only an empty cup can be filled, so only a heart emptied of the pride of what it thinks it knows can be open to new experience and receive the gifts of wisdom. When we embrace the humility to meet life head-on, whiteout the baggage of what we think we know, we make room for ourselves to grow.

“To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.”
-Lao Tzu-

“The trouble with most of us is that we know so much that Ain’t so.”
-Mark Twain-

“The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things.”
-G. K. Chesterton-

“Real learning comes about when competitive spirit has ceased…This is true not only of competition with others, but competition with yourself.”
-J. Krishnamurti-

“He who can copy can do.”
-Leonardo Da Vinci-

“The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers, rather than fill it with the accumulation of others.”
-Tyron Edwards-

“Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire.”
-William Butler Yeats-

“Everyone is ignorant, only in different subjects.”
-Will Rogers-

“The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.”
-Albert Einstein-

“Learning is the very essence of humility.”
-J. Krishnamurti-

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn…and change.”
-Carl Rogers-

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep or taste not the pierian spring.”
-Alexander Pope-

“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand.”
-Chinese Proverb-

“When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”

“The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.”

“A man only learns in too ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
-Will Rogers-

“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been wrong. Which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”
-Alexander Pope-

“Much learning does not teach a man to have intelligence.”

“A person’s errors are his portals of discovery.”
-James Joyce-

“A man must have a certain amount of intelligent ignorance to get anywhere.”
-Charles Kettering-

“Its better to know nothing than to know what ain’t so.”
-Josh Billings-

“Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”
-Winston Churchill-

“Men are wise in proportion not to their experience, but in their capacity for experience.”
-George Bernard Shaw-

“In the beginner’s mind their are many possibilities, but in the experts, there are few.”
-Shunryu Suzuki-

No greater enemy than fear
It hems us in, sucks the joy out of life, and leaves us with disgust for ourselves. Nothing of importance can be undertaken or achieved without facing, challenging, and finally mastering fear. If it takes great courage to attempt and accomplish things of real merit, it takes even more to be what we truly are.
Friedrich Nietzsche described a threefold process in the maturation of consciousness.
1) Camels – hoisted upon us the load of social conditioning, habit, and convention
2) Lions – roaring against societal “thou shalts”
3) The child – a fully human being, capable of spontaneously, intuitively, and competently responding to the world.
The courage of the lion is the courage to find your own path in life. It requires that you examine the conventions, ideals, and programs of society, as well as the habits and routines you have unconsciously accumulated, and determine or yourself what to accept and what to reject.
The measure of our courage is reflected in the vision of life we choose and in how much it takes for us to become discouraged. Too often we think of ourselves as weak candles that can be blown out by the slightest wind of frustration or disappointment. Better if….”I will become a bonfire an dare the world to put me out.”

“What a new face courage puts on everything.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.”
-Amelia Earhart-

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
-William James-

“To see what is right and not do it is want of courage.”

“A man with outward courage dares to die. A man with inward courage dares to live.”
-Lao Tzu-

“No one knows what he can do until he tries.”

“There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity, and courage.”
-Fushan Yuan-

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.”

“There’s nothing in the world so admired as a man who knows how to bear unhappiness with courage.”

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
-Anais Nin-

“A warrior only takes care that his spirit is never broken.”

“Fortune and love befriend the bold.”

“It is difficulties that show what men are.”

“No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
-Alan Watts-

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”
-Ambrose Redmoon-

“Discontent is what of self reliance; it is infirmity of will.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

“A man of courage is also full of faith.”

“Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
-Johann Goethe-

Right Thinking
Buddhist noble eightfold path
“Thoughts” as Emerson put it, “rule the world” for the simple reason that thoughts determine feelings and actions. We can think ourselves into happiness or a deep depression. We can think ourselves into health or illness.
We can think ourselves into a narrow, limited world characterized by procrastination and paralysis, or we can think ourselves into a noble creative life and the actions that give it shape and substance. If we only take care of our thoughts, our feelings and actions will take care of themselves.
For better or worse, we give to others the fruits of our own thinking by the same token, we are influenced by the thinking of those with whom we associate. It certainly helps to make friends with people who have made friends with their own minds. Observe people who are chronically bored or depressed, and you will find they dwell on negative thoughts. Observe people who are consistently happy, creative, and productive, and you will find remarkable similarities in the quality of their thinking. By our thinking, we create our individual and collective experience of reality. Changing our thinking for the better improves the quality of our own lives, and in doing, uplifts all around us.

“Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

“For one who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends. But for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be his greatest enemy.”
-Bhagavad Gita-

“One comes to be of just such stuff as that on which the mind is set.”

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”

“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
-William James-

“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
-Proverbs 23:7-

“The ills from which we are suffering have had their seat in the very foundation of human thought.”
-Teilhard De Chardin-

“A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.”
-Abraham Lincoln-

“All that is, is the result of what we have thought.”

“Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.”
-James Allen-

Things are not what they seem, including us. How happy can you be when you spend most of your time worrying about something that doesn’t even exist? Something = ego; the confused jumbled thoughts and desires we mistake for the self. Reality and the true perception of it lie beyond this narrow band of socially conditioned consciousness.
“Get Real” = Get out of ourselves, release the identification with ourselves as a thing apart. A part is in conflict with other parts; but the whole cannot be against itself.
In reality, there is no better, no worse, no difference. There is no loss or gain, nothing old or new. There is nothing to compare with anything else. Everything in the universe is the one same stuff, taking on various forms of disguises. The Zen realization of “emptiness” comes with the release of the identification with and attachment to forms including the physical form we call the body and the mental form we call the ego and mistake for the self.
The deeper realization is that form is emptiness; emptiness, form. In other words, the spiritual reality reality is manifest in the physicality of the world. As Jesus said in the gospel according to Thomas, “The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth and men do no see it.”

“Love is a living reality.”
-Albert Schweitzer-

“In the world of reality there is no self. There is no other-than-self.”
-Seng T’San-

“Every man takes the limits of his field of vision for the limits of the world.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer-

“Attachment is the greatest fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.”
-Simone Well-

“He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

“What is Reality? – Selflessness!”
-Sufi Saying-

“If you realize what the real problem is – losing yourself – you realize that this itself is the ultimate trial.”
-Joseph Campbell-

“Everything passes and what remains of former times, what remains of life, is the spiritual. In everything we do, the claim of the absolute is unchanging.”
-Paul Lee-

“The words of truth are always paradoxical.”
-Lao Tzu-

“All are but parts of one stupendous whole whose body nature is, and God the soul.”
-Alexander Pope-

“If the mind makes no discriminations, all things are as they really are.”
-Seng T’san-

“God is infinite and his shadow is also infinite.”
-Meher Baba-

“Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake.”
-William James-

“Ego-Soul is the seed of birth and death, and foolish people call it the true man.”

“The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity.”
-Alan Watts-

“First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is.”
-Zen Saying-

“Being and nonbeing create each other.”
-Lao Tzu-

“Do not cling to the notion of voidness but consider all things alike.”

“Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.”
-Vietnamese Buddhist Precept-

One of the great lessons of Zen is to take total responsibility for your own life. Unfortunately, many of us have been conditioned to believe, feel, and act as though the world owes us something. We complain that, as George Bernard Shaw put it, “The world will not devote itself to making us happy.” Zen says, “Why waste time and energy with regrets and whining? We have the gift of life and the opportunities of this moment.”
When we truly celebrate and do not regret our birth, we embrace the whole of our lives. All the suffering and disappointments in life, at the imperfections in ourselves and others have come from the fact that we have been born into this world. As the Taoist say, all things have mutually arisen. What we call the “bad” has arisen with what we call the “good”; what we call the “happy”, with the “sad”. Yet in truth, as the poet said, “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.” When we give up the habit of making mental comparisons, we release our psychological investment in what we like and dislike and say yes to life- total and complete.

“You must push yourself beyond your limits, all the time.”
-Carlos Castaneda-

“The difficulty in life is the choice.”
-George Moore-

“It is not enough to be busy, So are the ants. The question is what are we busy about?”
-Henry David Thoreau-

“Let him who would move the world first move himself”

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on it this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”
-George Bernard Shaw-

“The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.”

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
-Mahatma Gandhi-

“Self-knowledge and self-improvement are very difficult for most people it usually needs great courage and long struggle.”
-Abraham Maslow-

“Man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creature of men.”
-Benjamin Disraeli-

“The injuries we do and those we suffer are seldom weighed in the same scales.”

“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”

“let us not underestimate the privileges of the mediocre. As one climbs higher, life becomes even harder; the coldness increases, responsibility increases.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche-

“Things do not get better by being left alone.”
-Winston Churchill-

“This is a world of action, and not for moping and groaning in.”
-Charles Dickens-

Fortuitous Contingencies


It is reasonable to assert that the newness of a relationship, the newness in the pursuit of other ambitions in life are what motivates, identifies,  and conserves our enamored states.  To some, driving down a highway never traveled, to others it may be the process of building a skill into what may become a very lucrative enterprise.  The excitement we experience of what has not yet transpired, and imagining just how it might be occupies the unpredictable possibilities that seed our lives.  The unknown factors we cannot anticipate, and our expectations of a situation will drive our reactions to what has not yet come to be in our world.  Much of what our lives are comprised of are the resulting realities we eventually encounter; they are not the determiners of our fate, but rather, they are just the multitude of circumstances we will find ourselves in.  These are what I call the fortuitous contingencies that populate our existence.

We are the captain’s and navigators in our travels.  We are the agents that decide on how to proceed with our lives when circumstances (foreseen and unforeseen) cross our paths.  Skillful navigators usually avoid “treacherous” waters before any misconduct enters into the equation in their dealings with others,  though, one must admit that risk taking at times is essential for growth and expansion of one’s participation.

In my experience I have been fortunate enough to benefit from mistakes and miscalculations I’ve made and the mistakes and oversight’s of others by proxy.  From a very early age I have had a keen interest in understanding human behavior, and later those who have made an effort to “self-actualize” themselves.  I have studied scores of philosophers, psychologists, mystics, and spiritual leaders to find answers for questions I have repeatedly asked for many years of my life.  However, despite the preparation one can undertake their still exists the element of unpredictability, and the uncertainty in this capricious world we inhabit.

The discovery of unrealized dreams, or finding yourself uncovering a passion that has been dormant within your soul has a tremendous effect on your being.  One can become awakened to a whole new life of possibility.  The direction one travels in life is up to the helmsmen.  One cannot change the waters, but one can navigate what already exists, or maybe steer into what had not been thought possible before.  If a change of the water is not possible, than possibly a change in one’s thinking can alter the course altogether and therefore change the dynamics of the situation.  Instead of a ship, use a submarine!

Henry David Thoreau“So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre.”― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi“Man often becomes what he believes himselfto be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

Steve Maraboli“A mindset of gratitude lifts the veil of bitterness and allows you to see beauty and possibility.”― Steve Maraboli