These stories actually illustrate many character traits ranging from positive to negative. It is somewhat reminiscent of the theory of yin and yang that was brought forth by the Chinese. One of the traits that the readings focus on is desire. It is illustrated in a few different forms. The reading talks about cravings, which could represent desire for material items or even some more lavish foods and drinks, such as alcohol, or even just consuming large amounts of food to satiate ones desires and also lust. There is a large focus on the middle path. This was described as walking the line between things that were considered good and even some that were considered wicked. At first the five bhikkhus considered the Buddha as not one of them. They said that he had broken his holiness by living in abundance and indulging in the pleasures of worldliness. The bhikkhus believed that one should not live with more than they needed to survive. they made sacrifices to live as simply as possible and to not be tempted by worldly things such as lust, or drinking alcohol.
It was then that the Buddha explained to the Bhikkhus that one must indulge themselves in these worldly things in order to reach enlightenment. One cannot reach nirvana without indulging in some of the things that the body desires. He explains why certain character traits are not more important than others and that you must have knowledge of both sides of the spectrum to better understand yourself and reach enlightenment through meditation. He says that all traits depend on one another and they are unavoidable. The Buddha explains that he does not seek salvation in austerities but this does not cause him to indulge in worldly pleasures for he follows the middle path. The Buddha states that making offering to priests, sacrifices to the gods and self mortification does not cleanse the man who isn't free from delusions. These delusions being the man's lack of knowledge of the other world. He...
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