Anyone for Buddhism?

“Where is the pain? Where the love is. Take away the love and you take away the pain. But I am not saying you should take way the love of the good itself. Heaven forbid that I should ask something evil or impossible. On the contrary, it is evil not to love the good itself and impossible not to love what you love from the necessity of your nature. So you are being asked to lay aside not the love of the good itself, which the first and highest good and all good, but the love for any individual entity which men consider good. For to be turned towards these things by simply loving them is simply to be turned away from the good itself. The more we turn away from that which alone makes things good, and turn towards things which without it are evil, the more we plunge headlong into evils.

Again, where is the pain? Where the love is, that is, where the love is for those good things which can be seperated and taken away. If the possession of what we desire be cut off, then pain burns and torments us. If we possess something which we know can be taken away at any time, we are assailed by anxiety. If something we had longed for and won is taken away, the pain is overwhelming.

Therefore, so that we do not have to suffer pain, let us love the good alone for its own sake, which alone is good of itself. Since by its infinite nature and power it is everywhere, it cannot be divided; and since it never fails, it cannot be removed. The good never forsakes anyone except those who forsake it; it never turns anyone away except those who turn from it. The pursuit of the infinite good is not at all arduous, for it is sought and found by the will alone. Holding fast to the good does not produce anxiety and suspicion, for it is held to by the same will that sought and found it. In loving and holding fast to this one good we embrace all things as good. When we forsake the good, by which everything else becomes good, all things everywhere become evil for us.

Let us lay aside, therefore , let us lay aside the habit of mind that drags us wretches  down to what is beneath us. Let us adopt a state of mind that raises us to the sublime. This will deliver us from evil; this will free us all from pain. This will fill us with good, and bestow upon us all joy; joy, I say, which will never be taken away from us.”

Letters of Marsilio Ficino Volume 6 ibid.

I think this letter speaks for itself well enough. The contrast between it and the previous one is fascinating.


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