The least and all*

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ … ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  — Matthew, 25:40, 45.

All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.  All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.  — Dhammapada, 10:129-130.

* Mahayana amendment.  We understand “the least of these brothers and sisters” to include all sentient beings — seen and unseen, known, unknown, and unknowable.

Hōkyōintō, Yasakaji Temple, Matsuyama, Japan. Jul 1, 2012.  The Hōkyōin Darani Sutra gathers relics of "all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future."

Hōkyōintō, Yasakaji Temple, Matsuyama, Japan.     July 1, 2012. The Hōkyōin Darani Sutra gathers relics of “all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future.”

2 thoughts on “The least and all*

  1. ”…..nor cause another to kill.’

    There is much in this alone that each of us should ponder. How much killing is done on our behalf – animals for food, wars. Do we shrug our shoulders or take some action to amend our own behaviour or that of others. The invasion of Iraq was one occasion when public demonstrations in the UK carried the message: ‘Not in MY name’.

  2. It is a simple rule: don’t kill or cause others to kill. Living in the world we quickly find that “one should not kill nor cause another to kill,” carries ramifications we did not fully anticipate at the outset.

    It is easy; it is complicated. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have not come to create a cozier samsara, however. They have come to liberate us. That means embracing joy and finding happiness, yes, but also facing up to unpleasantness.

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