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July 6th, 2010

"I am telling you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer your other cheek as well.  If anyone grabs your coat, let him have your shirt as well.
Give to anyone who asks, and if someone takes away your belongings, do not ask to have them back.
As you want people to treat you, do the same to them."  -- Q1

The Tao te Ching says: "All men and women in the world know this, but no one can apply it to their lives."
We want to avoid this teaching, we say, not for our sake, but for the sake of the miscreant.  How will he ever learn a better way if we keep letting him take advantage of us?  Yet there is not a hint of this attitude in the teachings i think are authentically Jesus'

Jesus said he came to fulfill the law, not destroy it; but from a non-mystical perspective, fulfilling the law looks like destroying it, or at least ignoring it.  If we do not want to report offenses against us to the authorities for our own sake, then for God;s sake, let us report them for the sake of the society of which we are a part.  If i do not try to stop the thief who steals from me, he may go on to steal from you.  Jesus, or Ryokan, or a Taoist sage would shake his or her head, pitying my lack of enlightenment.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  These words are offered not in condemnation of graspers and holders but as a simple matter of fact.  My biosociologist friend says the world contains takers and grudges (those who get tired of being taken).  I tell him no.  Without givers, the world would be a far uglier place than it is.  The Ryokans  and Mother Theresas make this place liveable.  If we were all givers and "leavers"  the world be a better place, a nicer place, a holier place, a more merciful place, a more perfect place (even as its creator is perfect).

The Sufi's say we need the law until we find the Friend, after that the law is just an inconvenience, preventing us from doing what we should do.  Jesus saw God's law as perfect because it is perfectly freeing; Paul got it wrong.the law is not God's law; it is the law of frightened men who fear that the poor will try to take back what was stolen from them.  Ammon Hennacy, the anarchist, said that he did not need a cop to tell him right from wrong.  Jesus and Ryokan would add: you don't need a cop to tell you right from wrong, it is written in your heart.

When i feel offended, put upon, taken advantage of, or oppressed; i must own these feelings and deal with them on a spiritual level.  Whether i get a nuisance off my back is far less important than whether i get the idea that he is a nuisance off my mind and off my soul.  When i am tempted to call the authorities, i will call on the only authority that really matters. the authority of those who are awake and the authority of whatever power awakens them.

Let me be guided by true guides until i can guide myself.  Amen.

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bobby1933
bobby1933

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