Living a life of virtue

This teaching is taken from The Dhammapada, a collection of the sayings of the Buddha:

“Who shall conquer this world and the world of death with all its gods? Who shall discover the shining way of the law?

You shall, even as the man who seeks flowers finds the most beautiful, the rarest.

Understand that the body is merely the foam of a wave, the shadow of a shadow. Snap the flower of desire and then, unseen, escape the king of death. And travel on.

Death overtakes the man who gathers flowers when with distracted mind and thirsty senses he searches vainly for happiness in the pleasures of the world. Death fetches him away as a flood carries off a sleeping village. Death overcomes him when with distracted mind and thirsty senses he gathers flowers. He will never have his fill of the pleasures of the world.

The bee gathers nectar from the flower without marring its beauty or perfume. So let the master settle, and wander.

Look to your own faults, what you have done or left undone. Overlook the faults of others.

Like a lovely flower, bright but scentless, are the fine but empty words of the man who does not mean what he says. Like a lovely flower, bright and fragrant, are the fine and truthful words of the man who means what he says.

Like garlands woven from a heap of flowers, fashion from your life as many good deeds.

The perfume of sandalwood, rosebay or jasmine cannot travel against the wind. But the fragrance of virtue travels even against the wind, as far as the ends of the world. How much finer is the fragrance of virtue than of sandalwood, rosebay, of the blue lotus or jasmine! The fragrance of sandalwood and rosebay does not travel far. But the fragrance of virtue rises to the heavens.

Desire never crosses the path of virtuous and wakeful men. Their brightness sets them free. How sweetly the lotus grows in the litter of the wayside. Its pure fragrance delights the heart.

Follow the awakened and from among the blind, the light of your wisdom will shine out, purely.”

When we are true to who we are, and live a life of virtue, our light and energy will reach out to many others. And in being who we are, we help one another to awaken to the completeness we all have in us.

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