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Old 04-21-2017, 05:52 AM   #1
Delsol
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Excerpts from Marcus Aurelius' 'Meditations'

This:


But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that which is assigned to thee out of the universe.-Recall to thy recollection this alternative; either there is providence or atoms, fortuitous concurrence of things; or remember the arguments by which it has been proved that the world is a kind of political community, and be quiet at last.-But perhaps corporeal things will still fasten upon thee.-Consider then further that the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart and discovered its own power, and think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last.-But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee.-See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee. This then remains: Remember to retire into this little territory of thy own, and above all do not distract or strain thyself, but be free, and look at things as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal. But among the things readiest to thy hand to which thou shalt turn, let there be these, which are two. One is that things do not touch the soul, for they are external and remain immovable; but our perturbations come only from the opinion which is within. The other is that all these things, which thou seest, change immediately and will no longer be; and constantly bear in mind how many of these changes thou hast already witnessed. The universe is transformation: life is opinion.

And then this:


Take away thy opinion, and then there is taken away the complaint, "I have been harmed." Take away the complaint, "I have been harmed," and the harm is taken away. That which does not make a man worse than he was, also does not make his life worse, nor does it harm him either from without or from within.


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Old 04-22-2017, 05:36 AM   #2
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Shannon, the 'stoic emperor' Marcus Aurelius really is a formidable figure which stands out among the Roman emperors.

Another quote from his meditations :

Quote:
Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All of the ignorance of real good and ill... I can neither be harmed by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong, nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him; for we have come into the world to work together...
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:20 PM   #3
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The entire volume thus far has impressed. Each time I attempt to pull another excerpt to share here, I read the next and then cannot decide - they all resonate with wisdom. I do not know much about the man, but am now curious.

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Old 04-24-2017, 01:08 PM   #4
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I've never been too attracted to him. I guess he strikes me as kind of starchy(?) and I have a bad impression of Romans and Emperors. But in the philosophy textbook on my shelf (from my community college philosophy 101 class) there is a whole section written up about him. Apparently, he lost a lot of children, which must've been very common in those days without the benefits of modern medicine. In the write-up, they tell about how you can see the loss of his kids through the coins they issued which would feature the family. They would be on there one year and then not the next. Apparently, this occurred several times. Reading that makes me feel sympathetic toward him, even if I do find the quotes I've read from him kinda boring. I haven't read much of it, though.
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:18 PM   #5
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His "Meditations" volumes is on my to-read list, too. One who knows Truth through life's experiences and observations thereof. It's cool to read wise teachings throughout history and to see their personal spins on Truth. I suggest that once you finish his volumes, you check out Master' Bhagavad Gita 2-volume set, which got me to sign on as a SRF devotee and pre-pay for all 3 years worth of Lessons. Talk about speaking the Truth!
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:39 PM   #6
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Wow, it was the Gita that brought you to SRF? Heavy reading! Most people are attracted via the biography first. Master must have opted to throw the whole shebang at you from the get go. Ha ha. I have the 2 Volume set but have not read from it in years. Perhaps it's time to again.

The Meditations is nice because it is highly segmented - nearly random thoughts not in any particular order. One can read a bit here and there - easy before sleep.



Brock, yes - it is interesting how some texts speak to us, and others don't. I have found that such can change with time, though. Not sure I would have appreciated what I am reading now during a different phase of life. Or not. Just depends on so many factors, I guess.
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:57 AM   #7
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Yeah, we never really get to choose what speaks to us, do we?

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Old 04-26-2017, 10:02 AM   #8
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Delsol, yea, a coworker/devotee gifted Master's Gita to me immediately after I finished Master's autobio. When he asked me what I thought about the autobio, I told my friend that it didn't do it for me cuz it left me wanting to know more about the why's and how's of Master's teachings and experiences. He smiled and came back to me a short time latter with the Gita volumes. Thereafter, every day at work we would chat about the pages I've read the night before. This cover the span of months. The more I read, the more my questions/worries/thoughts about life and existence were answered.

When I finished the first read of the Gita, my intellectual thirst was satiated and hence began my spiritual quest to personally realize the following formula for union with God -- when the "knower"+ "knowing" + "knowledge" = ONE.

I told my friend how daunting and seemingly insurmountable my spiritual quest through self-effort is to be, after appreciating the magnitude of "living" the Gita. [This was later reemphasized by Bro. Achalananda at my Kriya initiation... that it was just the beginning!]

In short, Master's Gita almost literally blew my mind. This was when the passion for the Path ignited, when I signed up for all 3 years worth of lessons, when I subsequently stayed a week at Hidden Valley (with the Gita in hand), then attended Convocation a few months later. It was quite a time that year. And now things have simmered down and, after the eureka moment has passed, now the hard work of self-effort and -control is underway to "live" the Gita. Since then, I've been through peaks and valleys, but I am cognizant that life and environment can make it feel like you're stuck at Mile 19-22 and yet the Finish Line seems so far off, and I remind myself to shake off those existential blues and "keep on keeping on," as the SRF monastics usually say.

Funny that you mention the seeming random compartmentality of Meditations, another coworker who's Hindu told me one time that people back in his native India that people treat the Gita similarly, i.e., whenever a life problem stumps them, they would flip through their Gita handbook for guidance. It's a "handbook for life" as he calls it. I believe Master's Gita has a detailed table of contents and index. So there you go!
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triguybos View Post
Funny that you mention the seeming random compartmentality of Meditations, another coworker who's Hindu told me one time that people back in his native India that people treat the Gita similarly, i.e., whenever a life problem stumps them, they would flip through their Gita handbook for guidance. It's a "handbook for life" as he calls it. I believe Master's Gita has a detailed table of contents and index. So there you go!
That is how I use/read Master's Gita GTWA. There is not one question that I have had that hasn't been answered in GTWA. Never read it from start to finish though, maybe one day

I also have been using the Lessons in the same way lately. If you don't have it I attached an Index for the Lessons that may be helpful.....there's just so much, I honestly don't read any books or magazines besides SRF...well, I did/do like The Way of a Pilgrim - (Brother Anadamoy quotes directly from that book in one of his CD's or dVD's) (R.M. French's translation is best IMHO)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf SRFLessonIndex.pdf (55.6 KB, 5 views)
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