Thursday, November 12, 2009
Stoic Grace - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.73
Meditation VII.74 - Stoic Grace - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
When you have done a good act and another has received it, why do you look for a third thing besides these, as fools do, either to have the reputation of having done a good act or to obtain a return?1,2
(1) The community takes precedence over the individual. The "good act" of the Stoic is performed for the sake of virtue itself. Virtue conveys happiness on the actor. As in Buddhism this is the sort of happiness or serenity that might better be called Stoic enlightenment. The Christian would call it a "state of grace." Doing the right thing is why we exist, and the only reason we exist. This Stoic perspective had an important influence on the Christian gospels. A parallel sentiment is echoed in the words of Christ in Matthew 6:2: So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.
(2) Amoghasiddhi Buddha
Russell McNeil, PhD, is the author of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Selections Annotated and Explained by Skylight Paths Publishing. The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book. The published selections are referenced in this Blog by page number and section.