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Friday Words From The Wise

June 11, 2010

Stuck right with me this week, these four:

Compassion is not about kindness.  Compassion is about awareness.

~Khandro Rinpoche

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Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.

~ Karl Marx

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“But say a man does know.  He sees the world as it is and he looks back thousands of years to see how it all came about.  He watches the slow agglutination of capital and power and he sees its pinnacle today.  He sees America as a crazy house.  He sees how men have to rob their brothers in order to live.  He sees children starving and women working sixty hours a week to get to eat.  He sees a whole damn army of unemployed and billions of dollars and thousands of miles of land wasted.  He sees war coming.  He sees how when people suffer just so much they get mean and ugly and something dies in them.  But the main thing he sees is that the whole system of the world is built on a lie.  And although it’s as plain as the shining sun — the don’t-knows have lived with that lie so long they just can’t see it.”

~ Jake Blount, local madman, in Carson McCullers’ novel The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

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When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet.

~Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron.

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That’s all for now, friends. Take care; see you next week!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Roger Nehring permalink
    June 11, 2010 4:00 pm

    Excellent words, Thank you.

  2. kimberly permalink
    June 12, 2010 8:58 am

    each is fabulous. marx? really? and what’s the lie, jake? love how the quotations are bookended by dhamma. love it. thanks.

  3. June 13, 2010 1:18 pm

    Glad y’all are feelin ’em. Yeah, kimberly, Marx — who knew?!

    It’s kind of hard to completely follow Jake’s line of thought, since he’s often drunk and somewhat incoherent, but I think the lie he’s talking about is more like a myth: the aggregate myth of freedom, justice, and equality in a fundamentally unfree, unjust, and unequal political and economic system.

    After talking about how he, at one point, had tried to organize a Communist group in his hometown — “Our motto, ‘Action,’ signified the razing of capitalism. In the constitution (drawn up by myself) certain statutes dealt with the swapping of our motto from ‘Action’ to ‘Freedom’ as soon as our work was through” — he fumes more about the hypocrisy he sees in society:

    “The things they have done to us! The truths they have turned into lies. The ideals they have fouled and made vile. Take Jesus. He was one of us. He knew. When he said that it is harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God—he damn well meant just what he said. But look what the Church has done to Jesus during the last two thousand years. What they have made of him. How they have turned every word he spoke for their own vile ends. Jesus would be one who really knows. Me and Jesus would sit across the table and I would look at him and he would look at me and we would both know that the other knew. Me and Jesus and Karl Marx could all sit at a table and—

    “And look what has happened to our freedom. The men who fought the American Revolution were no more like these D.A.R. dames than I’m a pot-bellied, perfumed Pekingese dog. They meant what they said about freedom. They fought a real revolution. They fought so that this could be a country where every man would be free and equal. Huh! And that meant every man was equal in the sight of Nature–with an equal chance. This didn’t mean that twenty per cent of the people were free to rob the other eighty percent of the means to live. This didn’t mean for one rich man to sweat the piss out of ten thousand poor men so that he can get richer. This didn’t mean that tyrants were free to get this country in such a fix that millions of people are ready to do anything–cheat, lie, or whack off their right arm–just to work for three squares and a flop. They have made the word freedom a blasphemy. You hear me? They have made the word freedom stink like a skunk to all who know.”

  4. Cat permalink
    June 14, 2010 5:52 pm

    The fourth quote is about faith :) the kind we discussed last Sunday.

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