“If you determine your course with force or speed,
You miss the way of the Law.
Quietly consider what is right and what is wrong,
Receiving all opinions equally without haste, wisely…
Observe the Law.
Who is wise, the eloquent or the quiet man?
Be quiet, loving and fearless.
For the mind talks but the body knows.
Gray hairs do not make a master.
A man may grow old in vain.
The true master lives in truth, goodness and restraint,
Nonviolence, moderation and purity.
Fine words or fine features cannot make a master out of a jealous and greedy man.
Only when envy and selfishness are rooted out of him, may he grow in beauty.
A man may shave his head but if he still lies and neglects his work, if he clings to desire and
attachment, how can he follow THE WAY?
The true seeker subdues all waywardness.
He has submitted his nature to quietness.
He is a true seeker, not because he begs,
but because he follows the lawful way,
holding back nothing, holding to nothing.
Beyond good and evil,
beyond the body and mind.
Silence cannot make a master out of a fool,
but he who weighs only purity in his scales…
Who sees the nature of the two worlds – HE is a Master.
He harms no living thing.
And yet it is not good conduct that helps you upon THE WAY,
Nor ritual, nor book learning, nor withdrawal in to the self, nor deep meditation…
None of these confers mastery or joy.
Rely on nothing
Until you want nothing.”
Now, before you embrace this platitudinous mess – allow me to remind you that the Buddha’s path to this so-called Enlightenment began with the complete and total abandonment of any/all things – including his wife and child. Buddha itself can be a claptrap of mystical nihilism, if you just blindly swallow the words without running it through your own filter.
There is certainly value in taking a moment to calm your monkey mind, reign in your impulses to react (vs. respond) to stimuli and align oneself with a form of self-discipline if it leads you to a particular goal BUT… your goals may involve going the course with great force and speed. Age does involve putting in the time and if you’ve learned anything from your experiences you know that punching someone in the face has detrimental effects to getting what you want. Especially if it involves correcting a slight. You can’t ignore the world’s aggression while blindly embracing its passivity. If there’s any intelligence about you, you’ll know when it’s time to passive and when to be aggressive. When to sit quietly and observe and when to blow your top. How do you know this? Is it because you need the ‘wisdom’ of an elder or pick it up in some book? No, it’s because you’ve done the time. You’ve learned through trials. You’re not chasing the carrot of Enlightenment, you’re going right after your desires because you WANT things, you WANT to be a specific way – even if it means alienation from and conflict with everyone around you. You can only fit one pair of feet in those shoes. If you’re carrying someone on your back, eventually you have to drop the load.
In my mind, that’s THE WAY of the Master.