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Many levels of motivation

by Dionys Murphy, Portland, OR, The Buddhist Channel, Sept 20, 2007

In "Buddhas act by virtue, not emotion" by Lin Zi Quan, the author sets forth the example of the Parinibbana Sutta of the Digha Nikaya.  Specifically the author asks the question:

"When a Buddhist cultivator faces death, does he plead with his murderer, or simply stretch out his neck? Pleading for life is pointing to the belief in the view of a "self", an "I", other beings and a life. Is this not exactly what one must put down?"

One must absolutely give the self to the void, just as one must kill the Buddha upon the road. However you must also look at this situation (as all) on many levels. Pleading for one's life for the sake of preserving the Ego is not what one should do, but pleading for one's life does not necessarily dictate that one is pleading for the preservation of one's "self."

One must not make assumptions about the motivation of another as it's just as likely, especially when dealing with one who has entered the stream, that the person is pleading for life in order to save the one threatening death from future afflictions.

The author then asks "One good question to ask is, 'Who sees?' Only those who practice virtue." I would have to ask, then, if the author truly feels they see the inner workings of others and if the author claims thusly I would suggest that it is likely time to turn that seeing eye back on one's self again.


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