This past Saturday, before my usual 1o:30 yoga class, the teacher read this quote:
“Begin the morning by saying to yourself, ‘I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, . . . . , I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry . . . , For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.’ ”

The quote was from Marcus Aurelius, 2nd century c.e. Roman emperor, from his Meditations.
The quote made me think of interdependence, and ignorance/confusion, and how there is no self separate from everything else. Of buddhism, in short.
But being an old classicist, I know that Marcus A. was a Roman Stoic philosopher, like Seneca and several other old toga dudes, and that the ellipises in the quote are references to divinity, to sparks of the divine in every person . . . of non-buddhism, in short.
A quick check of some other Marcus A. quotes out there revealed these two, which to me respectively harken unto impermanence and signlessness, and to the lojong slogan “Be grateful to everyone” and the injunction that everything is an opportunity to wake up.
“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”
“Remember too on every occasion which leads thee to vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.”
It makes me wonder. We humans are all describing the same thing, over and over, centuries upon centuries, imperfectly. But it’s the same thing.
Yet context is everything. A lot of stuff that sounds vaguely buddhist is not.
Precision counts. Vaguely fluffy knowledge is . . . fluffy. Similar observations can come from very dissimilar views. And yoga teachers read a lot of weird stuff, huh?
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