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Happy Birthday, Leo.

JasonJason God EmperorArrakis Moderator
edited August 2009 in Arts & Writings
I thought I'd share this passage from Leo Tolstoy's letter, "To the Working People," with all of you today — his birthday according to the Julian calendar — because I think that it also sums up the Buddha's philosophy perfectly:
People fare badly only because they themselves live badly. And there is no more injurious thought for people than that the causes of the wretchedness of their position is not in themselves, but in external conditions. A man or a society of men need but imagine that the evil experienced by them is due to external conditions and to direct their attention and efforts to the change of these external conditions, and the evil will be increased. But a man or a society of men need but sincerely direct their attention to themselves, and in themselves and their lives look for the causes of that evil from which they suffer, in order that these causes may be at once found and destroyed.

I don't know what it is about Russian writers like Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but I find their works a never-ending source of insight.


  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited August 2009
    I'm with you there, Jason. I tried to read Dostoyevsky when I was 17 and I liked it but it wasn't until I started to learn what real suffering is that his words became truly meaningful to me. There's something about Russian writers, they just seem to know a lot about suffering.

    Thanks for the post. It's intriguing how well Tolstoy understands the nature of humanity.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited August 2009
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