Friday, May 7, 2010

rereading Marcus Aurelius

There's a new translation of Meditations by Jacob Needleman and John Piazza, and I've been enjoying it today. I liked this:

"Either the gods have power or they do not. If they do not, why do you pray? But if they do have power, why aren't you praying that they give you the power not to fear, to crave, or be troubled by a thing, rather than praying to have that thing or not have it?" (Meditations 9.40)

Such a Buddhist idea. I've been reading his biography and can't find any reference to him coming in contact with Buddhism or even knowing it existed.

"Begin to pray in the following way, and you will see. Someone else may pray, 'How may I possess that woman?' But you should pray, 'How may I not lust after that woman?' Someone else prays 'How can I be rid of him?' But you: 'How can I not wish to be rid of him?' Another: 'How may I not lose my little child?' But you: 'How may I not dread the loss of my child'? Turn your prayers around entirely, and see what happens."

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