THE TWO PATHS
Be humble, if thou wouldst attain to Wisdom.
Be humbler still, when Wisdom thou hast mastered.
Be like the Ocean which receives all streams and rivers. The Ocean's mighty calm remains unmoved; it feels them not.
Restrain by thy Divine thy lower Self.
Restrain by the Eternal the Divine.
Aye, great is he who is the slayer of desire.
Still greater he, in whom the Self Divine has slain the very knowledge of desire.
Guard thou the Lower lest it soil the Higher.
The way to final freedom is within thy Self.
That way begins and ends outside of Self. (2)
Unpraised by men and humble is the mother of all rivers, in Tirthika's (3) proud sight; empty the human form though filled with Amrita's sweet waters, in the sight of fools. Withal, the birth-place of the sacred rivers is the sacred land, (4) and he who Wisdom hath, is honored by all men.
Arhans and Sages of the boundless Vision (5) are rare as is the blossom of the midnight hour, together with the sacred plant of nine and seven stalks, (6) the holy flower that opes and blooms in darkness, out of the pure dew and on the frozen bed of snow-capped heights, heights that are trodden by no sinful foot.
No Arhan, O Lanoo, becomes one in that birth when for the first the Soul begins to long for final liberation. Yet, O thou anxious one, no warrior volunteering fight in the fierce strife between the living and the dead, (7) not one recruit can ever be refused the right to enter on the Path that leads toward the field of Battle.
For, either he shall win, or he shall fall.
Yea, if he conquers, Nirvana shall be his. Before he casts his shadow off his mortal coil, that pregnant cause of anguish and illimitable pain — in him will men a great and holy Buddha honor.
And if he falls, e'en then he does not fall in vain; the enemies he slew in the last battle will not return to life in the next birth that will be his.
But if thou wouldst Nirvana reach, or cast the prize away, (8) let not the fruit of action and inaction be thy motive, O thou of dauntless heart.
Know that the Bodhisattva who Liberation changes for Renunciation to don the miseries of "Secret Life," (9) is called "thrice Honored," O thou candidate for woe throughout the Cycles.
The Path is one, Disciple, yet in the end, two-fold. Marked are its stages by four and seven Portals. At one end — bliss immediate, and at the other — bliss deferred. Both are of merit the reward: the choice is thine.
The One becomes the two, the Open and the Secret. (10) The first one leadeth to the goal, the second to Self-Immolation.
When to the Permanent is sacrificed the Mutable, the prize is thine: the drop returneth whence it came. The Open Path leads to the changeless change — Nirvana, the glorious state of Absoluteness, the Bliss past human thought.
Thus the first Path is Liberation.
But Path the second is — Renunciation, and therefore called the "Path of Woe.''
That Secret Path leads the Arhan to mental woe unspeakable; woe for the living Dead, (11) and helpless pity for the men of karmic sorrow; the fruit of Karma Sages dare not still.
For it is written: "Teach to eschew all causes; the ripple of effect, as the great tidal wave, thou shalt let run its course."
The ''Open Way,'' no sooner hast thou reached its goal, will lead thee to reject the Bodhisattvic body, and make thee enter the thrice glorious state of Dharmakaya which is oblivion of the World and men for ever.
The "Secret Way" leads also to Para-nirvanic bliss — but at the close of Kalpas without number; Nirvanas gained and lost from boundless pity and compassion for the world of deluded mortals.
But it is said: "The last shall be the greatest." Samyak Sambuddha, the Teacher of Perfection, gave up his self for the salvation of the World, by stopping at the threshold of Nirvana — the pure state.
Thou hast the knowledge now concerning the two Ways. Thy time will come for choice, thou of eager Soul, when thou hast reached the end and passed the seven Portals. Thy mind is clear. No more art thou entangled in delusive thoughts, for thou hast learned all. Unveiled stands Truth and looks thee sternly in the face. She says:
"Sweet are the fruits of Rest and Liberation for the sake of Self; but sweeter still the fruits of long and bitter duty. Aye, Renunciation for the sake of others, of suffering fellow men."
He who becomes Pratyeka-Buddha (12) makes his obeisance but to his Self. The Bodhisattva who has won the battle, who holds the prize within his palm, yet says in his divine compassion:
"For others' sake this great reward I yield" — accomplishes the greater Renunciation.
A Saviour of the World is he.
Behold! The goal of bliss and the long Path of Woe are at the furthest end. Thou canst choose either, 0 aspirant to Sorrow, throughout the coming cycles!
OM VAJRAPANI MUM.
1. "The Voice of the Silence and other Chosen Fragments from the Book of Golden Precepts for the daily use of Lanoos (disciples) translated and annotated by H. P. B." (return to text)
2. Meaning the personal lower "Self." (return to text)
3. An ascetic Brahman, visiting holy shrines, especially sacred bathing-places. (return to text)
4. Tirthikas are the Brahmanical Sectarians "beyond" the Himalayas, called "infidels" by the Buddhists in the Sacred Land, Tibet, and vice versa. (return to text)
5. Boundless Vision or psychic, superhuman sight. An Arhan is credited with "seeing" and knowing all at a distance as well as on the spot. (return to text)
6. See page 33, footnote No. 3; Shangna plant. (return to text)
7. The "living" is the immortal Higher Ego, and the "dead " — the lower personal Ego. (return to text)
8. See page 75, foot-note No. 2. (return to text)
9. The "Secret Life" is life as a Nirmanakaya. (return to text)
10. The''Open" and the "Secret Path" — or the one taught to the layman, the exoteric and the generally accepted, and the other the Secret Path the nature ol which is explained at Initiation. (return to text)
11. Men ignorant of the Esoteric truths and Wisdom are called ''the living Dead." (return to text)
12. Prakyeka buddhas are those Bodhisattvas who strive after and often reach the Dharmakaya robe after a series of lives. Caring nothing for the woes of mankind or to help it, but only for their own bliss, they enter Nirvana and — disappear from the sight and the hearts of men. In Northern Buddhism a " Pratyeka Buddha is a synonym of spiritual Selfishness. (return to text)