The Tao of Principle

Principle is originally there; just call it to mind and it is there of itself. Desire is originally not there; if you can just see through it, it disappears of itself. Stopping desire and keeping to principle are basically not two things; to the extent that you have stopped desire, to that extent you keep to principle. Nothing benefits people more than principle, yet those who keep to principle are few. Nothing harms people more than desire, yet those who indulge desires are many.

When people have desires, it is like trees having insects; consumed within unknown, before long they collapse. Those who think desire is fun do not realize desire is like fire; if you do not put it out, you will burn yourself. Your spirit will suffer from irritation, alcohol and sex will wear out your vital energy, producing illness and ulcers, so you cry out in pain day and night. Buddhists who say you suffer from your sins after death do not realize you already suffer while still alive.

–Thomas Cleary

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