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Dhammapada

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Theravada Buddhist Monk in Meditation

Theravada Buddhist Monk in Meditation (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

The Dhammapada is a highly influential collection of 423 verses 26 sections within the Pali Canon of Indian Theravada Buddhism, traditionally ascribed to the Buddha himself. Basically an anthology of sayings, the Dhammapada deals with avoiding worldly desire and cultivating wisdom and joy.

In verse 78 we have the universal idea:

Don’t keep friends with ugly souls; avoid evil souls. Keep friends with beautiful souls; associate with those whose souls are good.

Within the New Testament (NT) story we find the rough parallel where Jesus loves his enemies but doesn’t allow them to destroy him before his allotted time to die (Luke 4:28-30, John 8:59). While some vulgar interpretations of the NT see this as cowardice or a shrinking away from the spiritually ugly, a more mature perspective sees it for what it is, namely, wisdom.

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