In Praise of Virtue

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Nicholas Weeks
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In Praise of Virtue

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The author of this piece, Russell Kirk, provides no single or simple cure to restore or instill active virtue into our society. He cares not for intellectual virtue & the teaching of it. Most of the time such ethical precepts remain in the head and are thus too feeble to invigorate our speech or actions. I think this is also true of many Western Buddhist converts, who learned much Shila from books, but do not practice it in life.
Having exemplars of virtue close to one, either relatives, elder friends, or monastics seems to be a needed condition. The Hindus consider Satsangha or 'good associates' essential to success on any spiritual path.

https://kirkcenter.org/kirk-essays/virt ... be-taught/
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. Dhammapada
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SDC
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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That was good read, Will. Virtue in itself does seem to praised by the Buddha in the sense that, if it were the only thing one were capable of doing, it would still better than nothing at all.
"Remembering the meditators of old, and recollecting their conduct, even in the latter days, it’s still possible to realize the deathless." -Thag 16.10
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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SDC wrote: Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:28 pm That was good read, Will. Virtue in itself does seem to praised by the Buddha in the sense that, if it were the only thing one were capable of doing, it would still better than nothing at all.
Right, as the Flowers section verses 51-57 of Dhammapada suggest, practice of virtue leads to Wisdom. Kirk seemed to think Plato was wrongly putting wisdom as the foundation of virtue. But without looking at that Dialog it may be just the opposite - active virtue fosters wisdom.
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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The idea of the good is the greatest discipline.
Plato, The Republic
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
Galatians 5:22
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Valor, cleanness of heart, steadfast union with illumination, generous giving, control, sacrifice, study, fervor, righteousness,

Gentleness, truth, freedom from anger, detachment, peace, loyalty, pity for all beings, an unlascivious mind, mildness, modesty, steadfastness,

Fire, patience, firmness, purity, good-will, absence of conceit, these belong to him who is born to the godlike portion!

Hypocrisy, pride, vanity, anger, meanness, unwisdom, these are his, who is born to the demoniac portion.

The godlike portion makes for liberation, and the demoniac for bondage.
Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 16:1-5
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. Dhammapada
chownah
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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God helps those who help themselves......Anon
Virtue comes in many flavors.
chownah
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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chownah wrote: Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:04 pm
God helps those who help themselves......Anon
Virtue comes in many flavors.
chownah
Quite so. I wonder if the Dhamma of Buddhas before Gautama provided the basic lingering virtues of body, speech & mind that pervaded all spiritual Paths humans pursue?
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. Dhammapada
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WindDancer
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Thanks for the topic and article. It addresses an issue that I have reflected on for a long time. There seems no hope for a bright future if we as a society keep fixated on chasing worldly pursuits. People perform all kinds of unwholesome actions as they amass more and more worldly attainments; however, I have found that there is no lasting happiness and contentment no matter how much we attain. There remains a level of dissatisfaction or emptiness that craves to be filled.

Our hope seems to be found in living a spiritual path which at its foundation are the spiritual qualities found in many religious or spiritual traditions. People for thousands of years have discovered the painful and unfortunate consequences of not living by these spiritual principles, and others have discovered that it is absolutely worth it to live this spiritual Path. At times it takes great effort and restraint, but the fruits of the practice are worth it. From my perspective, this spiritual Path of practice offers us the greatest hope in this life and the greatest hope in what comes after.

May you be well, happy, safe and at peace,

WindDancer
Live Gently....
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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To be innocent is to be not guilty; but to be virtuous is to overcome our evil feelings and intentions.
William Penn, Compleat Virtue 444
Last edited by Nicholas Weeks on Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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The supreme aim of all religions is to teach men how to live; and the learning and the living are religion itself. The purification of the human heart, the building up of a blameless life, and the perfecting of the soul, these are the great underlying and enduring factors in all religions and creeds the world over. That which is vital in every religion is the striving after, and the practice of, Goodness; all things else are accretions, superfluities, illusions. Goodness — and by Goodness I mean sinlessness — is the beautiful and imperishable form of Religion, but creeds and religions are the perishable garments, woven of the threads of opinion, in which men clothe it. One after another religions come and go, but Religion, being Life itself, endures forever. Let men cease to quarrel over the garments and strive to perceive the universality and beauty of the indwelling form; thus will they become wedded to it, will become one with the supreme Goodness. Religion is Goodness; Goodness is Religion.
James Allen, Through the Gates of Good
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Whenever a person raises himself through good
deeds, through a higher stirring of his yearning for godliness,
for wisdom, justice, beauty and equity, he perfects thereby
the spiritual disposition of all existence. All people become
better in their inwardness through the ascendency of the good
in any one of them. . . . Such virtue in any one person is due
to spread among the general populace, to stir each one, according
to his capacity, toward merit, and thus all existence
thereby becomes ennobled and more exalted.
Rabbi A.I. Kook (d. 1935)
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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A bodhisattva maintains a mind of great compassion toward those who are evil.
Nagarjuna
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Good wisdom from Buddha, for this political season or any other occasion when we think we can judge another:
Ānanda, the person in whom anger and conceit
are found, and who from time to time engages in exchanges
of words, but who has listened [to the teachings], become learned
[in them], and penetrated [them] by view, and who attains temporary
liberation, surpasses and excels the other person. [Who appears outwardly of the same character.]
For what reason? Because the Dhamma-stream carries him along.
But who can know this difference except the Tathāgata?

“Therefore, Ānanda, do not be judgmental regarding people.
Do not pass judgment on people. Those who pass judgment
on people harm themselves. I alone, or one like me, may pass
judgment on people.
AN, p. 913 -Bhikkhu Bodhi
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. Dhammapada
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice; take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Shakespeare
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. Dhammapada
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