Nov 11, 1994 07:25 AM
by Liesel F. Deutsch
This AM I'm rereading parts of "A Living Buddhism for The West",
Lama Anagarika Govinda,Shambhala, Boston, 1990. It's a favorite.
I thought I'd opened it at random, but when I happen to glance
back at the chapter heading it's "The role of morality in the
maturing of the human personality" Here's a quote
"As already remarked, the equation of religion with morality was
the most fateful of humanity's mistakes, and judgements such as
'good' and 'bad' have nothing to do with religion as such. And
so the ethic of Buddhism has no injunctions beginning 'you must'
or 'thou shalt'. Each person is regarded as an individual
according to the degree of maturity in his insight and spiritual
development, and treated as fully responsible accordingly." ....
The Buddha "wanted his followers to accept the truth of the
Dharma he preached tonthem by their own insight sand not because
of their faith in the superiority of his wisdom or his person:
The only faith he expected from his pupils was faith in their own
Something about attachment sank in as I was reading. I'd like to
share it. Lama Govinda talks about not being judgemental and in
another context judgemental, it dawned on me, means not looking
back all the time to see whether you did the right thing. Better
to do it as best you can, at that time, and then move on, without
looking for posies or spankings (good or bad) from yourself, or
This is still on ethics, but not on Lama Govinda. I may have
raised this before, but I still haven't figured out a
satisfactory answer. It's the Masters' statement that "for us
motive is everything".
It's a very nice quote if you've done something that perhaps
turned out cockeyed and you need to assuage your guilt. You've
done it out of a motive you can accept, therefore you can accept
your error. It's ignorance, not sin. And it helps you not get
stuck, but move on to the next thing.
But now, suppose you're at the receiving end of this ignorance.
You're suffering because of the mistake. I was going to take the
Spanish Inquisition as an example. The motive was to save souls,
but you saved them even if you had to maim & kill the body. To
us, that's rather unacceptable, but weren't these clerics
ascetics anyway? I thought of an example much nearer to myself,
my Mom. She was very advanced for her time, in some ways. She
read books on child rearing in the 1920ies. Like all parents she
meant to bring up her children to a better life than she'd had, &
in many ways succeeded, but to this day, I'm still trying to
shake off some of her mistakes in judgement. Well, thanks,
folks, for being on the net ... because I've just solved that
one for myself ... including the Nazis ... "Hate the deed and
love the doer" ... forgive, not necessarily forget ... and move
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