Even today children are scolded ad hominem (to the person), told they are naughty and bad. But I am impressed by those parents who instead adopt the ad rem (to the matter) approach, simply saying “That’s a no!" or “It’s not going to happen.” Several years ago, I wrote a poem about what it felt like –
The hell I knew had human eyes,
angels that were demon wise –
pain to beauty, beauty's pain,
rounded wisdom round again,
Love came down in hate's disguise.
Life it is that never dies;
love it is that tries and tries –
child and demon, demon's child,
innocent and running wild,
stropped for seizing heaven's prize.
When hell is telling, heaven lies;
when hell is selling, heaven buys.
We struggle dreaming struggle's dreams
and reaching where our wisdom gleams
the child within us cries and cries.
Later in life, I came upon another set of precepts. These were not negative “Thou shalt nots” but positive, sensible suggestions for leading a good life. They are so wise, I have memorized them, and they have guided me for decades. It is easy to check one’s conscience against them. As we are approaching another New Year with resolutions, I thought I would share them. They follow Buddha’s Four Noble Truths and are called:
The Noble Eight-fold Path
Free from superstition and delusion
High and worthy of the intelligent; worthy of humankind
Kindly, open, and truthful
Peaceful, honest, and pure
Bring hurt or danger to no living being
In self-training and self-control
The active, watchful mind
In deep meditation on the realities of life
– Gautama Buddha, 6th Cent B.C.