In Praise of Virtue

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There are many virtues found in all spiritual traditions. This thread will present some. The reasons or explanations for valuing virtues differ, but the practice is more important for most of we humans.

Whatever is right springs from one of four sources. It consists either in the perception and skilful treatment of the truth; or in maintaining good fellowship with men, giving to every one his due, and keeping faith in contracts and promises; or in the greatness and strength of a lofty and unconquered mind; or in the order and measure that constitute moderation and temperance.
Cicero
 

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There are many virtues found in all spiritual traditions. This thread will present some. The reasons or explanations for valuing virtues differ, but the practice is more important for most of we humans.

Whatever is right springs from one of four sources. It consists either in the perception and skilful treatment of the truth; or in maintaining good fellowship with men, giving to every one his due, and keeping faith in contracts and promises; or in the greatness and strength of a lofty and unconquered mind; or in the order and measure that constitute moderation and temperance.
Cicero
BS statement. Anyone could have said it, from Mother Teresa to Adolf Hitler.
 
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A man's virtue is his monument, but forgotten is the man of evil repute.
Egyptian tombstone inscription [c. 2100 B.C.]
 
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Young men's minds are always changeable, but when an old man is concerned in a matter, he looks both before and after.
Homer - The Iliad, bk. Ill

He was a wealthy man, and kindly to his fellow men; for dwelling in a house by the side of the road, he used to entertain all comers.
The Iliad
 
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He harms himself who does harm to another, and the evil plan is most harmful to the planner. Badness you can get easily, in quantity: the road is smooth, and it lies close by. But in front of excellence the immortal gods have put sweat, and long and steep is the way to it, and rough at first. But when you come to the top, then it is easy, even though it is hard.
Do not seek evil gains; evil gains are the equivalent of disaster.
Hesiod, Theogony
 
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On the destruction of impurity by the practice of the parts of Yoga, there comes enlightenment leading up to discriminative knowledge… The self controls are: non-violence, truth, honesty, chastity and abstinence.
Patanjali, Yoga Sutras
 
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Human nature is disposed to do good, just as water flows downwards. There is no man that does not show this tendency to goodness.
Mencius, (4th century BCE)
 
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Valor, cleanness of heart, steadfast union with illumination, generous giving, control, sacrifice, study, fervor, righteousness, gentleness, truth, freedom from anger, detachment, peace, loyalty, pity for all beings, an unlascivious mind, mildness, modesty, steadfastness, fire, patience, firmness, purity, good-will, absence of conceit, these belong to him who is born to the godlike portion, O descendant of Bharata!
Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, ch. 16
 
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Every condition of life, if attended with virtue, is undisturbed and delightful; but when vice is intermixed, it renders even things that appear sumptuous and magnificent, distasteful and uneasy to the possessor.
Plutarch
 
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To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
Confucius
 
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To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold,
Alexander Pope
 
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We shall never be able to tell of virtue's brightness, unless by looking inward we perceive the fair countenance of justice and temperance, and are convinced that neither the evening nor morning-star, are half so beautiful and bright. But it is requisite to perceive objects of this kind with that eye by which the soul beholds such real beauties.
Plotinus, Ennead I, VI, 4
 
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Thus, having made the root of faith stable, the Awakening Mind [bodhicitta] should be made stable, because it is the sum of all forms of goodness. So, for example, in the noble Inquiry of Siṃha Sūtra, the Prince Siṃha asked the Blessed One:

What is the one action
That sums up all virtues,
So as to be dear to sentient beings
Wherever you are born?

The Buddha replied:
In order to set free all sentient beings,
You should subdue the mind, with Awakening as goal.
This is the sum of all virtues.
In this way, you will be held dear.
Santideva, in his Training Anthology
 
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There are seven marks of a wise man. The wise man does not speak before him who is greater than he in wisdom; and does not break in upon the speech of his fellow; he is not hasty to answer; he questions according to the subject matter; and answers to the point; he speaks upon the first thing first, and the last last; regarding that which he has not understood he says, I do not understand it, and he acknowledges the truth.
Mishnah, Pirke Aboth, 5
 
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A man should be of good cheer about his soul…if he has earnestly pursued the pleasure of learning, and adorned his soul with the adornment of temperance, and justice, and courage, and freedom, and truth.
Plato, Phaedo, 114
 
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Human nature is disposed to goodness, just as water flows downwards. There is no water but flows down, and no men but show this tendency to good.
Mencius, VI (4th century BCE)
 

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There are many virtues found in all spiritual traditions. This thread will present some. The reasons or explanations for valuing virtues differ, but the practice is more important for most of we humans.

Whatever is right springs from one of four sources. It consists either in the perception and skilful treatment of the truth; or in maintaining good fellowship with men, giving to every one his due, and keeping faith in contracts and promises; or in the greatness and strength of a lofty and unconquered mind; or in the order and measure that constitute moderation and temperance.
Cicero
Maybe we as a society should look at unethical or unscrupulous business practices for a start. We are complacent about how we let businesses get away with sneaky trickery, lying and insulting people's intelligence in everything from false claim advertising, bait and switch to outright bill padding or purposeful avoidance phone tag customer services. When we allow this behavior become normal business practice in our everyday dealings we then let
slack other portions of our life, from
relationships to social interactions and other areas where morality ethics and standards get thrown out the window.
Consumers demanding higher ethics will help permeate other aspects of our daily life as well that create more honesty and helpful nature.
 

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