June 20th, 2010

Dhammapada (19) - The Just

The true seeker
Subdues all waywardness.
He has submitted his nature to quietness.
He is a true seeker
Not because he begs
But because he follows the lawful way,
Holding back nothing, holding to nothing,
Beyond good and evil,
Beyond the body and beyond the mind.
Silence cannot make a master out of a fool.
But he who weighs only purity in his scales,
Who sees the nature of the two worlds,
He is a master.
He harms no living thing.
And yet it is not good conduct
That helps you upon the way,
Nor ritual, nor book learning,
Nor withdrawal into the self,
Nor deep meditation.
None of these confers mastery or joy.
O seeker!
Rely on nothing
Until you want nothing.
Dhammapada (19) - The Just

This group of verses is titled "the just," but there is barely a hint of the notions of justice or fairness.  There is the word "lawful" and the phrase, "he who weighs only purity in his scales."

But the only good judge, the only person suited to "weigh the facts of the case" is someone who "does not have a dog in the fight."
someone who wants nothing.

This is impossible to produce externally.  We appoint our Supreme court justices with the hope that they will be just; we pay them well, give them great honor, and let them keep their jobs for life.  They should "want nothing." but they do.  Eight of the nine are so committed to a specific judicial philosophy that their individual votes on a case can be predicted ninety percent of the time.and the court's vote can be predicted almost 80% of the time just by knowing the biases of the justices and without any knowledge of the facts of the case.

But what would it be like to have your case judged by an enlightened person?  Frustrating as hell, i should imagine; for if my cases were to be judged on a scale that weighs "only purity." there would be suspended judgments almost all the time.

The body of these verses never mention justice; but they they describe the character of the just person.  He or she is the awakened one, the arhant, the sage, the mystic--the one who has gone beyond good and evil, who "sees the nature of the two worlds."

The perfect judge does not judge
The truly just do not speak of justice. they act with compassion.

Tribal Wisdom

North American Indian quotations, thanks to aspenlit 

"If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come." --Arapaho

"Ask questions from the heart,, and you will be answered from the heart." --Omaha

"Don't be afraid to cry,  it will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts." --Hopi

"There cannot be peace between nations until it is first known that true peace is within the souls of men." --Oglala

"Give thanks for the unknown blessings to come,"  --Lakota.