It is very easy in the world to live by the opinion of the world. It is very easy in solitude to be self-centered. But the finished man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882) US philosopher, poet, essayist
The greatest poets are those with memories so great that they extend beyond their strongest experiences to their minutest observations of people and things far outside their own self-centeredness.
~Stephen Spender (1909 -) English poet, critic
The planting of trees is the least self-centered of all that we can do. It is a purer act of faith than the procreation of children.
~Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975) US playwright, novelist
"The Eighth Day," 1967.
The sense of an entailed disadvantage -- the deformed foot doubtfully hidden by the shoe, makes a restlessly active spiritual yeast, and easily turns a self-centered, unloving nature into an Ishmaelite.
~George Eliot (1819 - 1880) English novelist
"Daniel Deronda," bk. 2, ch. 16, 1876.
The first context or interpretation is made up of our self-centered truths. From God's point of view these self-centered truths are an obstacle to knowing , understanding, becoming one with, God's true heart, the truth of origin. For that reason only, God hastens us to settle, sweep, calm, replace or clear our self centered truths so the truth of origin, the root truth of all truths can be revealed.
The second context or interpretation is the fulfillment of God's promise to enter into our mind "and clear it of mud, whatever kind it may be." We know that the poems of the Ofudesaki address our human misunderstanding. So this second context or interpretation represents God's tireless efforts within the mud of our minds. What kind of mud is it? It is "whatever kind it may be", however, in the Ofudesaki, God is addressing some of the issues that are characteristic of a particular time and a particular place and many differing levels of spiritual maturity.
The third is the context or interpretation of single-heartedness with God. To know this context and for that matter the truth of any and everything, we need only make our mind like clear water and test the truth of origin for ourselves.
I think that it is essential for a Yoboku to be able to distinguish between these three contexts or interpretations and to work at developing the skill necessary to follow the model path that is shown in the Ofudesaki.
Day after day, the mind of God hastens
to show you free and unlimited workings quickly.
From now on, the performers will assemble and do the Service.
This will truly settle Nihon.
God is in a hurry and the followers are not. Though they believed that God was God and they sincerely wanted to be saved they had other priorities to take care of. This situation is no different here and now. Nihon here of course refers to the truth of origin.
Since My aim is truly single-hearted salvation,
there is nothing at all for you to fear.
Unfortunately there is no understanding of single-heartedness in our everyday worldly common thinking. Fear was and is pretty well understood by the self-centered imagination.
If you dare to stop all works for single-hearted salvation, the regret of god will appear as a disorder of the body.
Recall the interaction of interpretations. Though there is nothing to fear the self-centered imagination is afraid. Though there is nothing to fear the above verse has to strike fear into the self-centered imagination that is afraid. God is speaking the language of fear to those minds that are in the grip of fear.
Ponder well! Never think that these preparations
for universal salvation are human workings.
One solution to the problem for the followers was and is to work God's path of single-hearted salvation into something more familiar, something that would fit in better with the worldly common self-centered thinking. Our model story records many such efforts, all of which were rejected by God.
Until now, you have not been able to understand anything.
There was nothing but human thinking.
Unfortunately, worldly common human thinking only keeps us from the path of universal salvation. The human thinking referred to is the self-centered imagination, which is anchored to a body, with the thought that is understood as "this is my body". It is a core idea of the self-image, that is who we imagine our self to be, the pillar of "Kara" as opposed to the original and natural self that exists before ideas, the pillar of "Nihon", single-heartedness with the God.
Ten Commandments for the Martial Arts Teacher
1. People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest ideas. Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs, but follow only to dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
"The more self-centered and egotistical a guy is, the better ballplayer he's going to be."
~ Bill 'Spaceman' Lee, baseball pitcher
"I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
If the vast view is a helpful antidote
to the self-centered, human-centered,
geocentric reality that is eating us alive
and assuring our self-destruction, we can
look to scientists and to poets in our own culture
whose work and vision have an affinity
with the vast perspective of the Buddhist view.
~ Helen Tworkov, Tricycle, Winter 1999
What happens to someone who follows heretical teachings? It became quickly and readily apparent how cruel heretical teachings are and how prevalent the heresies are in contemporary times. Victims of these teachings have been encouraged to either to escape the world and their basic humanity into some form of flight and death or to use religion to undergird and isolate further their own self-centered self from the need to be loved and to love...
The conviction that heresy is cruel has given me a growing awe of and respect for orthodoxy.
~ C. FitzSimons Allison, The Cruelty of Heresy
The word "sinner" often proves a great obstacle to understanding, but let us use other words. Let us say that man is the kind of creature who naturally sees the world from a very limited perspective, that he tends to be self-centered and to prefer the interests that are closest to himself and to his own social group. Let us say that man is naturally unwilling to accept his limited or finite status, that he is always seeking to extend his control over others, that he seeks to maintain his own security by means of power over all who may threaten it, that he likes to be in a position to compare himself with others to their disadvantage, that he seeks to be self-sufficient and to deny in effect his dependence upon God and to set up his own group or system or ideal in the place of God.
~John C. Bennett
"A great writer once said, that a great book requires a great theme. So does a great life. An endless stream of books are meaningless and will not last as great literature, because they do not have a great theme.
So it is with people. All too much in human history is wasted and meaningless because there is no great theme, no great purpose in life.
Men and women have a deep hunger in life for meaning and purpose, but so often they are afraid to let go of a self-centered ego. To have a great theme in life involves taking a risk of moving beyond the narrow limitations of myself and discovering our true self where Jesus is at the center: nurturing, healing and empowering us to be men and women for others. Here is our great theme, our meaning and purpose."
~Harry Huxhold, Emphasis, Vol. 22, #3
Human beings require meaning in their lives which goes beyond possessions, worldly success, or self-centered goals that death destroys. At the same time, materialistic science denies any larger purpose in life and can offer no satisfying answer to questions such as "Who am I?" and "Why are we here?" Although many intuit something more, faced with this limited outlook they may become depressed or despairing.
~From Our Inner Guide, By Enid Brandon
You are utterly the stupidest, most self-centered, appallingest excuse for an anthropomorphic personification in this or any other plane!
~ Death berates Dream, in SANDMAN #8: "The Sound of Her Wings"
Many human beings say "I love you" one day and reject you the next. That is not love. One whose heart is filled with the love of God cannot willfully hurt anyone. When you love God without reservation, He fills your heart with His unconditional love for all. That love no human tongue can describe....The ordinary man is incapable of loving others in this way. Self-centered in the consciousness of "I, me, and mine," he has not yet discovered the omnipresent God who resides in him and in all other beings.
I believe that we are saved from our self centered ego. After describing
Paradise Baha'u'llah goes on to say: "However, unto them that are rid of all attachments a deed is, verily, its own reward."
This is why I have the understanding that everyone will perceive the next world in differing ways. For those who are self-centered the next world will be a hell. For those who are self-less the same existence will be heaven.