Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ancient wisdom serves us well today

"Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone."
- The Dhammapada, Hindu document of basic principles of life

The people now known as Hindus had the truths and principles of life figured out thousands of years before western civilizations emerged from the Dark Ages.

In the case of this quote, "betters" are those who are more knowledgeable, more wise or more skilled. It does not refer to a social hierarchy (which only developed in Hindu cultures after these truths and principles were conceived).

"Travel" refers to what we might call travelling the road of life.

The quote suggests that you can't learn anything worthwhile from those who are less knowledgeable than you. If anything, you might become distracted or directed onto a wrong path by those whose false truths would lead you in the wrong direction.

Those who are on wrong paths argue the strongest about how right they are because they need company and approval.

"Travel alone" does not necessarily mean that you need to be a hermit if you can't find someone with whom to share your life travels. It means to think independently.

If the opposition to truth and virtue is too strong, you can keep these within yourself and follow them without hving to depend on others for verification and acknowledgement.

A complete and confident person can do that. But first he must learn what those truths and principles are. That means getting involved in or at least learning about affairs that may be unseemly when the final path of life is chosen.

You don't know where the middle of the road is unless you have seen both sides.

Bill Allin
'Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help you find your own road.
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