June 22nd, 2010

Dhammapada (21) - Out Of The Forest

But the master is wakeful.
He watches his body.
In all his actions he discriminates,
And he becomes pure.
He is without blame
Though once he may have murdered
His mother and his father,
Two kings, a kingdom, and all its subjects.
Though the kings were holy
And their subjects among the virtuous,
Yet he is blameless.
The followers of the awakened
Awake
And day and night they watch
And meditate upon their master.
Forever wakeful,
Dhammapada (21) - Out Of The Forest

This is more in the nature of an essay than a meditation.
I have trouble making that distinction anyway.

The Dhammapada is full of similes and metaphors.
"Forest" for example is a metaphor for desire in the previous "chapter"
But here the forest is real, and the enlightened can live there.

The parents, two kings and a kingdom with all its subjects supposedly "killed" by the master prior to his awakening are commonly treaated as metaphors for spiritual and psychological states which are overcome on the eightfold path.

But in this translation, by Byron Thomas,  the parents, the kings, and the subjects seem real!
This master, before his awakening, was truly evil.--
a mass murderer, a terrorust, a sociopath, a Genghis Khan, a Hitler, a Saddam Hussein, perhaps a child molester.(for the subjects of the kingdom must have included children and babies)..

Now the message is that no one, absolutely no one, is beyond redemption.
Any one can turn his or her face toward the path and start walking,
one step at a time.

If one has killed ten thousand virtuous people,
If one has sold his or her soul to the devil,
If one has sinned the unforgivable sin,.
then, if one can make a conscious choice-
a decision that good is better than evil,
that help is better than harm,
that love is better than hate,
that joy is better than pleasure--and a thousand times better than sorrow,
then one can turn
and walk the path.
and find salvation,