Once master, as he strolled down the village lane, saw a man getting mobbed. Upon inquiry master was told that he was a thief and had been caught red handed in the act of stealing.
Minute by minute the crowd swelled and demand for thrashing the thief escalated.
Master stepped forward and as he made way through the crowd a hush fell on it.
People sensed that since master has arrived he will have something to say. True to expectations, master addressed those assembled:
“I understand your anger towards this one who steals however before we take him to task I want to ask you, who amongst you in virtuous? Who can genuinely claim the moral high ground from which this man’s sentence can be pronounced ?”
Someone from the crowd asked ‘ what do you mean virtuous master? We are all good people here? ‘
Master explained: “good is a relative social construct however virtue is an ethical state of being. A person is virtuous only when he is aligned with natural principles of living and thus is in harmony with inner and outer worlds. He follows a set of principles and practices which are designed to keep this alignment going and in times of trouble and confusion chooses to uphold these precepts. Such a person is truly moral ”
“What are these guiding principles master”, a voice from the crowd wanted to know?
“There are a specific set of dos and donts that a virtuous person adopts. You can borrow them from the faith you follow or you can guild them on your own. Whichever way you craft them be sure that they are geared towards these 5 specific things:
1. Balanced moderation of personal appetites and lust
2. Sustained simplification of your lifestyle
3. Unconditional acceptance of loss and uncertainty
4. Commitment to least harm to others around you
5. Repeated forgiveness of bad and evil seen around “
‘Master that’s a long list and appears rather difficult to practice?’ Someone from the side opined.
“It is definitely not easy,” Master concurred “especially, as life evolves from simple to complex and monolithic desires fragment into latticed lust. In a sense, virtuous living is a matter of devolution or rolling back entire cultural evolution and living according to basic precepts. It is spiritual dieting and is definitely against materialism which erroneously is the dominant creed of mankind today. Also only one in a million, is virtuous by default. Rest all have to build up their virtue practice deliberately and consciously.
“What is the use of being virtuous” another voice from the crowd wanted to know?
“It is hygiene of the soul which leads to happiness and serenity. So if you want to be happy, instead of chasing wealth or status practice virtuous living. The peace and tranquility so attained let’s you be at rest and also sometimes let’s you decide how to treat people like this one here who has strayed.
Finally my suggestion is to forgive him after taking a promise from him that he will never ever steal again”. master concluded.