— Guillaume Apollinaire
THE things of the world and its inhabitants are subject to change. They are combinations of elements that existed before, and all living creatures are what their past actions made them; for the law of cause and effect is uniform and without exception.
But in the changing things there is a constancy of law, and when the law is seen there is truth. The truth lies hidden in Samsara as the permanent in its changes.
Truth desires to appear; truth longs to become conscious; truth strives to know itself.
There is truth in the stone, for the stone is here; and no power in the world, no god, no man, no demon, can destroy its existence. But the stone has no consciousness. There is truth in the plant and its life can expand; the plant grows and blossoms and bears fruit. Its beauty is marvelous, but it has no consciousness. There is truth in the animal; it moves about and perceives its surroundings; it distinguishes and learns to choose. There is consciousness, but it is not yet the consciousness of Truth. It is a consciousness of self only.
The consciousness of self dims the eyes of the mind and hides the truth. It is the origin of error, it is the source of illusion, it is the germ of evil. Self begets selfishness. There is no evil but what flows from self. There is no wrong but what is done by the assertion of self. Self is the beginning of all hatred, of iniquity and slander, of impudence and indecency, of theft and robbery, of oppression and bloodshed. Self is Mara, the tempter, the evil-doer, the creator of mischief. Self entices with pleasures. Self promises a fairy’s paradise. Self is the veil of Maya, the enchanter. But the pleasures of self are unreal, its paradisian labyrinth is the road to misery, and its fading beauty kindles the flames of desires that never can be satisfied.
Who shall deliver us from the power of self? Who shall save us from misery? Who shall restore us to a life of blessedness?
There is misery in the world of Samsara; there is much misery and pain. But greater than all the misery is the bliss of truth. Truth gives peace to the yearning mind; it conquers error; it quenches the flames of desires; it leads to Nirvana. Blessed is he who has found the peace of Nirvana. He is at rest in the struggles and tribulations of life; he is above all changes; he is above birth and death; he remains unaffected by the evils of life.
Blessed is he who has found enlightenment. He conquers, although he may be wounded; he is glorious and happy, although he may suffer; he is strong, although he may break down under the burden of his work; he is immortal, although he will die. The essence of his being is purity and goodness.
Blessed is he who has attained the sacred state of Buddhahood, for he is fit to work out the salvation of his fellow beings. The truth has taken its abode in him. Perfect wisdom illumines his understanding, and righteousness ensouls the purpose of all his actions. The truth is a living power for good, indestructible and invincible! Work the truth out in your mind, and spread it among mankind, for truth alone is the savior from evil and misery. The Buddha has found the truth and the truth has been proclaimed by the Buddha! Blessed be the Buddha!
"What, my friends, is evil? Killing is evil; stealing is evil; yielding to sexual passion is evil; lying is evil; slandering is evil; abuse is evil; gossip is evil; envy is evil; hatred is evil; to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things, my friends, are evil.
"And what, my friends, is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil; hatred is the root of evil; illusion is the root of evil; these things are the root of evil.
"What, however, is good? Abstaining from killing is good; abstaining from theft is good; abstaining from sensuality is good; abstaining from falsehood is good; abstaining from slander is good; suppression of unkindness is good; abandoning gossip is good; letting go all envy is good; dismissing hatred is good; obedience to the truth is good; all these things are good.
"And what, my friend, is the root of the good? Freedom from desire is the root of the good; freedom from hatred and freedom from illusion; these things, my friends, are the root of the good.
"What, however, O brethren, is suffering? What is the origin of suffering? What is the annihilation of suffering? Birth is suffering; old age is suffering; disease is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow and misery are suffering; affliction and despair are suffering; to be united with loathsome things is suffering; the loss of that which we love and the failure in attaining that which is longed for are suffering; all these things, O brethren, are suffering.
"And what, O brethren, is the origin of suffering? It is lust, passion, and the thirst for existence that yearns for pleasure everywhere, leading to a continual rebirth I It is sensuality, desire, selfishness; all these things, O brethren, are the origin of suffering.
"And what is the annihilation of suffering? The radical and total annihilation of this thirst and the abandonment, the liberation, the deliverance from passion, that, O brethren, is the annihilation of suffering.
"And what, O brethren, is the path that leads to the annihilation of suffering? It is the holy eightfold path that leads to the annihilation of suffering, which consists of right views, right decision, right speech, right action, right living, right struggling, right thoughts, and right meditation.
"In so far, O friends, as a noble youth thus recognizes suffering and the origin of suffering, as he recognizes the annihilation of suffering, and walks on the path that leads to the annihilation of suffering, radically forsaking passion, subduing wrath, annihilating the vain conceit of the "I-am, leaving ignorance, and attaining to enlightenment, he will make an end of all suffering even in this life."