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The Middle Course

Tread the Middle Road, whose course
Bright reason traces.
The Light of Asia

The good in all things is always found midway between the two extremes—too far, and not far enough, too high, and not high enough.

To gratify one's bodily desires and lusts is one extreme, to deny oneself those things which are necessary and good for the body and soul is the other extreme; both are wrong, and must be avoided, but midway we find temperance and chastity, and consequently harmony of body and soul.

This middle course is reason; it is one of the laws of being, and everything which it exists comes under its sway.

The musician's first care is to bring his instrument in tune, i.e. neither too flat nor too sharp, and if he is one of a company in a band he will take great care that his instrument is in tune with the rest, neither above nor below the standard pitch.

The photographer must focus his camera carefully in order to bring the picture clear and bright upon the screen. There is only one pitch which brings the instrument in harmony; there is only one point of focus which throws the perfect picture on the screen, and there is only one way or course to Truth.

Tune, focus, and reason are the same, and harmony, perfection, and Truth are the outcome.

As the instrument in tune proves itself by producing harmony, and as the lens in focus proves itself by the perfect picture it casts, so the mind, controlled and directed by reason, proves itself by manifesting Truth.

As the ear of the musician must be trained to distinguish between harmony and discord—for only the practiced ear can tell—and as the photographic picture can only be judged by the practiced eye, so the Truth can only be perceived by the mind trained by reason.

Great teachers often seem to contradict each other, and are consequently very much misunderstood by many of their would-be followers, who leave the tasks which these teachers have set for them, and argue and quarrel over creeds and opinions of their own formation, causing strife and hatred where the teachers have sought to establish love and goodwill.

We should not dwell too much on the wordy teaching, but we should ever train our minds to seek the spirit of the teaching and follow that; it is not so much the letter but the spirit of the Law which must be obeyed.

To find this spirit of good in all things we must pursue the middle course by gaining daily more self-control, and by so living we shall come to see how unimportant and insignificant are our creeds and opinions, and knowing this we shall leave them to die by the wayside, and so lighten the burden which through sin and ignorance we have elected to bear. All that which now is hard to understand will be revealed to us when we understand the root of all things, and the differences of opinions among men will have no power to move us.

Therefore let us choose this middle course, for it leads to peace and harmony, goodness and Truth, and is the one and only road to these goals.

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