MW Cook

An illiterate scribe

Category: quips

The thing about identity

Will I consciously construct my own identity?

Or take the one given to me?

Who is to say which is the nobler choice?

Soren Kierkegaard on Reality

 

What the philosophers say about Reality is often as disappointing as a sign you see in a shop window, which reads; Pressing Done Here.  If you brought your clothes to be pressed, you would be fooled; for the sign is only for sale.

– Soren Kierkegaard

Buddha on Doctrine

“My teaching is not a dogma or a doctrine, but no doubt some people will take it as such… I must state clearly that my teaching is a method to experience reality and not reality itself, just as a finger pointing at the moon is not the moon itself. A thinking person makes use of the finger to see the moon. A person who only looks at the finger and mistakes it for the moon will never see the real moon.”

The Buddha, c. 563 BCE – c. 483 BCE

Wisdom’s Bastard Children

We criticize folks from other religions and denominations and wordviews when they have our favourite beliefs wrong.

When those people live better than us and the rest of our tribe, we mourn that they look like they understand things better than us.

But, in some direly important ways, they do understand better than us.

Because wisdom is justified by all her children.

Kierkegaard on Christian Scholarship

“The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

― Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

Rousseau on Property

The first man who, having enclosed a piece of land, thought of saying ‘This is mine’ and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. How many crimes, wars, murders; how much misery and horror the human race would have been spared if someone had pulled up the stakes and filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: ‘Beware of listening to this impostor. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to everyone and that the earth itself belongs to no one!’

– Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men

Thich Nhat Hanh on Generosity

When you hammer a nail into a board and accidentally strike your finger, you take care of it immediately. The right hand never says to the left hand, “I am doing charitable work for you.” It just does whatever it can to help – giving first aid, compassion, and concern. In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, the practice of dana is like this. We do whatever we can to benefit others without seeing ourselves as helpers and the others as the helped. This is the spirit of non-self.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

Thich Nhat Hanh on Community (Sangha)

When we live as a Sangha, we regard each other as brothers and sisters, and we practice the Six Concords – sharing space, sharing the essentials of daily life, observing the same precepts, using only words that contribute to harmony, sharing our insights and understanding, and respecting each other’s viewpoints.  A community that follows these principles always lives happily and at peace.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

How To Breathe.

I’m wonderfully busy. Sometimes, when you’re busy, you forget how to breathe. Thich Nhat Hanh reminded me this morning:

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Happy breathing everyone.

St. Paul on Love

It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

St. Paul, First Epistle to the Corinthians