Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/12/2020

Discipline and Honor

He who lives without discipline dies without honor.

Icelandic Proverb

Despite the fact that the above quoted proverb’s provenance immediately calls to mind marauding Vikings I yet believe that there is Dhamma here. What is discipline? What is honor?

Discipline is easy: it is nothing less than the Eightfold Path and all the various things we do each day to help us walk it. For me, a lot of this looks like parami practice. For example, before I can get to Right Effort I have to learn how to exert manly effort in the first place. Or, before I can pursue Right Livelihood I must first learn to take pride in hard work and to serve others. I am failing to aptly describe what I mean but it seems to me that there needs be lifetimes of character development before one can successfully tag the Eightfold Path.

Which brings me right back to honor. What is honor but a man’s integrity? Of course, there is the dark facsimile of honor that likes to masquerade as the real thing but it’s a sad and pitiful substitute. Counterfeit honor is yet one more tool of the ego and the kilesas meant to excuse and justify violence and abuse. True honor is defended only by the quality of our actions and the worth of our words.

So, may I live with discipline and die honorably.


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