Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Works Without Love Are Dead

Paul of Tarsus used to kill Christians for the Roman occupying government. He was possibly even a member of a political party known as "Zealots."

One day, around 2000 years ago, he was on a similar "killing mission" to the city of Damascus (ironically, a city also known for its sword-makers). 

Despite all of this, or because all of this, Paul had a spiritual conversion on that road, and spent the rest of his life spreading the Gospel of love.

Below is part of a letter he wrote to the early church that he helped form. The point, I think - is that intent is just as important as actions. In fact - you could say "works without love are dead." 

I honestly think that there are deep and powerful underlying forces that cause things to happen or not happen, and I think they are based on this basic concept. . . 


1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Sage

Joshu asked Nansen, “What is the Way?” Nansen answered, “Your ordinary mind–that is the Way.” (州云、還可趣向否) Joshu said, “Can it be grasped (for study)?” Nansen replied, “The more you pursue, the more does it slip away.” Joshu asked once more, “How can you know it is the Way?” Nansen responded, “The Way does not belong to knowledge, nor does it belong to non knowledge. Knowledge is illusion. Non knowledge is beyond discrimination. When you get to this Way without doubt, you are free like the vastness of space, an unfathomable void, so how can you explain it by yes or no?”

Upon hearing this, Joshu was awakened.

^ Traditional Zen Story ("Case 19: Nansen's Ordinary Mind")

The five colours blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavours dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what she feels and not by what she sees.
She lets go of that and chooses this.

^ Dao De Jing Chapter 12


The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”? 

I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

^ Ecclesiastes 1 (excerpts)
The Sage