11 May 2010

Daily Dharma

I was reading Fronsdal's translation of The Dhammapada today while riding the train to work this morning. One particular verse reminded me of a conversation I had with my dad shortly before he died-

Gray hair does not
make one an elder.
Someone ripe only in years
is called "an old fool."
It's through truth,
Dharma, harmlessness, restraint, and self-control
That the wise one, purged of impurities,
Is called "an elder."

We were talking about politics and his point was the difference between wisdom and intelligence. Plenty of politicians have a great deal of intelligence, if Ivy League backgrounds are the measure, but the fact that they earned such academic distinction in no way guaranteed a commensurate level of wisdom. As we have seen in many cases, this is a recipe for disaster.

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