Monday, March 31, 2008

Serendipity

I'm looking at the face of Mental Blog, and off there to the right, in the sidebar, I have two little display units, one on top of the other. The first is called Random Wisdom. The second, Quote of the Day. Ordinarily I wouldn't point them out. They are there for you to notice if you've managed to spend more than 10 seconds on the page.

But today I want to draw attention to them, because the two quotes, entirely without my help, somehow seem to complement one another. The Random Wisdom was inserted by me a few days ago. But the Quote of the Day comes randomly from the Quote of the Day Magic Wizard, so I never know what's going to show up.

And here's what they say:

In the company of others, guard your speech.
Whenever you are alone, guard your mind.
Dipamkara Atisha: The Jewel Rosary of the Bodhisattvas

Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.
Josh Billings

The first is obviously a Dharma quotation. That's what Random Wisdom is...my random pick of Dharma quotes. Atisha was one of the great arya beings who helped establish Buddhism in Tibet. He was one of the first, if not the first, to codify the teachings into a graduated path known as Lam Rim.

The second is also a Dharma quotation. But not quite so intentional. I didn't know who Josh Billings was until I Googled his name. Wikipedia says old Josh was "the pen name of humorist born Henry Wheeler Shaw (20 April 181814 October 1885). He was perhaps the second most famous humor writer and lecturer in the United States in the second half of the 19th century after Mark Twain, although his reputation has not fared so well with later generations."

He was also the guy who really made famous the line about the squeaky wheel getting the grease. Not bad. One hundred and fifty years later, we may not know his name, but we sure know what he said. Wouldn't we all like to claim something like that?

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