Diane Emerson

Subtitle

For Seekers of God

In my spiritual quest, I have read many books. I cannot carry all those books with me on my bike, so as I read I underline the words and paragraphs which speak most to me. I share some of my favorites here, for you.

Guidance to Spiritual Aspirants 1

Everything on earth is of mixed character, like the mingling of sand and sugar.  Be like the wise ant which seizes only the sugar, and leaves the sand untouched.  Babaji

Sri Yukteswar's public speeches emphasised the value of Kriya yoga, and a life of self-respect, calmness, determination, simple diet, and regular exercise. Paramahansa Yogananda

Associate with people who are trying to accomplish worthy ends.

Whenever you have a chance, thank others. Do not speak ill of your father, or of others.  Really listen to someone you find irritating or annoying.

If nothing goes out from me that can hurt, then nothing can return to me that can harm. Ernest Holmes

Be your true self, a child of God. Seek and incorporate into your being the best qualities of all your brothers, scattered over the earth in various races. Sri Yukteswar to  Paramahansa Yogananda
As he was preparing to go to the USA.

We have the opportunity to make a piece of art out of our lives.


'Conserve your powers. Be like the capacious ocean, absorbing within all the tributary rivers of the senses. Small yearnings are openings in the reservoir of our inner peace, permitting healing waters to be wasted in the desert soil of materialism.  The devotee is finally freed from all instinctive compulsions.  He transforms his need for human affection into aspiration for God alone, a love solitary because omnipresent. " Sri Yukteswar, in Autobiography of a Yogi

Remember that finding God will mean the funeral of all sorrows. Sri Yukteswar, in Autobiography of a Yogi

Wrath springs only from thwarted desires.  I do not expect anything from others, so their actions cannot be in opposition to wishes of mine.  I would not use you for my own ends; I am happy only in your own true happiness. Sri Yukteswar, in Autobiography of a Yogi

We are all gods with amnesia. We are all avatars. Knowing this fact experientially makes all the difference between living the divine life of giving and forgiving, and the ordinary, selfish human life of getting and forgetting.  Paramahansa Yogananda, in Autobiography of a Yogi

'Swamiji, I am puzzled.  Following your instruction, suppose I never ask for food, and nobody gives me any. I should starve to death."  "Die then!" Die if you must, Mukunda. Never admit that you live by the power of food and not by the power of God!.  He who has bestowed appetite, will certainly see that his devotee is sustained!  Do not imagine that rice maintains you, or that money or men support you!  Could they aid you if the Lord withdraws your life-breath?  They are his indirect instruments merely.  Is it by any skill of yours that food digests in your stomach?"  There and then I tasted the Spirit's all sufficiency.  Paramahansa Yogananda, in Autobiography of a Yogi

Devotees like yourself who have found the way to God never dream of exchanging Him for any other happiness. He is seductive beyond thought of competition.  How quickly we weary of earthly pleasures!  Desire for material things is endless. Man is never satisfied completely, and pursues one goal after another.  The 'something else' he seeks is the Lord, who alone can create lasting joy.   Sri Yukteswar, in Autobiography of a Yogi

"It is impossible for you to receive that which your mind refuses to accept.  If you desire to receive more you need to consciously develop the ability to mentally encompass it. Ernest Holmes, in Thoughts Are Things

What kind and how much good are you willing to receive ? Would you like vibrant health?  Financial freedom ?  Outrageous love?  Peace of mind?  Fulfillment ?  Divine awareness ?  Since the universe gives everything , we ought to be able to naturally agree to receive it.  You can have everything you can accept.  

"Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs.  Our faith gives us knowledge of something better:  that we can become oak trees ." EF Schumacher

I find it useful to focus on one request at a time.  What would you ask for if you knew you would be granted one wish?  Make that request your priority and let everything else take a secondary position .  Your whole consciousness will then be open to guidance from the universal intelligence for whatever you can do to accept your desire with perfect timing and divine order.

Our task is to create in our own minds, pictures and feelings that reflect the life we want to live.  See your ideal life and feel its reality until it materializes in the outer world. Don Welsh, in May 30, 2007 Science of Mind mag.

You will access your greatness by learning how to interact with others, seeing others as mirrors, and knowing that you attain the trueness of your own being through the connection with family and friends .Barbara Marciniak, in Family of Light


We remind you that it is essential for you to build strength and love in your physical being for the you who has an address and a name...Whatever you are doing, you are part of the treasure. Rest assured that whatever you are dealing with in your life is helping you to unfold to that place of expansion where you will understand the laws of frequency.  Perhaps the plants will teach you, or the animals, or you will become psychic with your family, friends , or coworkers.  You will begin to Know; your ancestors will unfold in you, and the possibilities that may seem vague and distant now will eventually become very real.  Barbara Marciniak, in Family of Light


Always remember that you belong to no one, and no one belongs to you. Reflect that someday you will suddenly have to leave everything in this world, so make the acquaintanceship with God now. Lahiri Mahasaya

Guidance to Spiritual Aspirants 2

Avoid theoretical discussions of the scriptures. He only is wise who devotes himself to realizing, not reading only, the ancient revelations.  Lahiri Mahasaya

Seek truth in meditation, not in moldy books. Look in the sky to find the moon, not in the pond. Persian proverb.

Start the day with love, fill the day with love, end the day with love. This is the way to God. This is the quickest path. Sai Baba

Baba also teaches that one should relate to every life situation as if it is God, with the same sense of responsibility, devotion, and love.  Thus our daily activity will become devotional service and our life an act of worship.  Samual H. Sandwiss, in the book 'Sai Baba. The Holy  Man and the Psychiatrist'

If you remember that time is running out every moment, you will not be tempted to waste your time in idle talk or vain pursuits, wanton mischief or vulgar entertainment. Sai Baba

It is important to be conscious in our everyday life.  The nature of conscious awareness and wisdom is peace and joy.  As long as you act in the present with as much understanding as you possibly can, you'll realize everlasting peace in no time at all.  Lama Yeshe

In particular, when your negative mind arises, instead of being afraid, you should examine it more closely. Yama Leshe

You have to exercise skill and judgment in dealing with negative energy.  Learn when and how to express it and, especially, know how to recognize it early in the piece and digest it with wisdom.  Lama Yeshe

When you are among peaceful, generous, happy people, you're inclined to feel happy and peaceful yourself. When you're among angry, aggressive people, you tend to become like them. Therefore, it is very important to be conscious of your surroundings and how they affect your mind.  Lama Yeshe

What we should aim for is pleasure without attachment. Lama Yeshe

If you have a question, write it down. Think about it carefully. Gradually the right answer will come.  It takes time. If you don't get an answer today, stick the question on your fridge.  If you question  strongly, answers will come, sometimes even in dreams. Lama Yeshe

Practice silence. For the voice of God can be heard in the region of the heart only when the tongue is still..... Silence is the speech of the spiritual seeker. Soft sweet speech is the expression of genuine love. Hate screeches, fear squeals, conceit trumpets - but love sings lullabies.  It soothes, it applies balm. Sai Baba

One of the first principles of straight living is the practice of silence. For the voice of God can be heard in the region of your heart only when the tongue is stilled and the storm is stilled and the waves are calm. Silence is the speech of the spiritual seeker. Soft sweet speech is the expression of genuine love.

The second sign is cleanliness. Not outer cleanliness alone but, even more, inner..... In reality, the outer cleanliness is but the reflection of the inner achievement. There is a strange glow on the face of a guileless person.  Inner cleanliness has its own soap and water - the soap of strong faith and the water of constant practice.

The third sign is that the true aspirant will have a reverent attitude to the duty he is bound with.  He will carry out every task assigned to him as if it is an act of worship by which the Lord will be pleased, through which he can approach the pedestal of God. Duty is God. Work is worship - That is the motto. Sathya Sai

Let the wave of memory, the storm of desire, the fire of emotion pass through without affecting your equanimity. Be a witness of these.  Commitment engenders holding, narrowing, limiting.  Be willing to be nothing. Let all dualities subside in your neutrality.  Sai Baba

Earning and garnering should not interest you, for you are full already and have no wants.  Sai Baba

Seek the company of good men, even at the sacrifice of your honor and life. Sai Baba

Instead of searching for other men's faults, search for your own faults.  Uproot them, throw them off. It is enough that you search and discover one fault of yours. That is better than discovering tens of hundreds of faults of others. Sai Baba

Every word, every look, every action, and every smile can bring happiness to others. Thich Nhat Hanh

We are to know that he is all love. We are to be confident and to rejoice in love.  Betty Radice, in Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

The loving soul hates the vileness of sin more than all the pains of hell.  The consideration of other men's sins, unless it is done with compassion, hinders our contemplation of God. Julian of Norwich, 1342-?

It is his will that we should know him, and his pleasure that we should rest in him.  Nothing less will satisfy us.  No soul can rest until it is detached from all creation. When it is deliberately so detached for love of him who is all, then only can it experience spiritual rest.   Julian of Norwich, 1342-?

His will is that we should busy ourselves in loving and knowing him. Julian of Norwich, 1342-?

His will for us is that we should seek for and trust him, rejoice and delight in him, while he in turn strengthens and comforts us until such time as we realize it all in very fact.  Julian of Norwich, 1342-?

The religious life:  To lay aside what you have in your head (selfish desires and ambitions), To freely bestow what you have in your hand, and Never flinch from the blows of adversity. Abu Said

Guidance to Spiritual Aspirants 3

When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbours, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.  Luke 14:12-14

What good shall I do today?  Ask at the beginning of the day.
What good have I done today?  Ask at the end of the day.  Benjamin Franklin's guidance for himself

Make space in your life so you can hear from God.

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your law is written on my heart.  Psalm 40:8

Whatever you have to do in this world, do it; do it wholeheartedly. Be responsible and meditate every day. You will get more knowledge, more wisdom, more peace, in order to serve yourself and serve the world.  Do not forget that you have your own goodness inside you.  Do not forget that you have God dwelling within your body.  Do not forget that you have Buddha within your heart. Supreme Master Ching Hai

What are you feeding your heart?  Light or darkness?  Feed your heart with positive things; sit at Jesus' feet and listen.

Fight against negativity by thinking about God.  Offer your body as a living sacrifice.  You are not your own.  "You own me, Lord."  By saying this, you gain far more than you might lose.  Your life becomes light, which comes out of his ownership of you.

If you want to live yoga, you have to sacrifice whatever is a barrier to spiritual life.  Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

As religious scientists, our mission is to teach the people in the world that they, too, are love.  We do this by being fully present for them when we are with them.  How would the world look if you systematically caught your children, sisters, parents, spouse or friends doing something right and praising them for it?  What if everyone in your circle of influence knew that when they were in your presence, they mattered?  Dr. Heather Dawn Clark

No reply should be given to words of the wicked.  Be at a great distance from them.  That is for your good.  Break off all relations with such people.  Sai Baba

We talk about human problems.  We talk about our own problems every day of our lives.  The reason I have a problem with you is because I want something from you.  If I didn't want something from you, I wouldn't have a problem with you.  Lama Thubten Yeshe

I encourage people not to express their anger, not to let it out.  Instead, I have people try to understand why they get angry; what causes it and how it arises.  When you realize these things, instead of manifesting externally, our anger digests itself.  As our mental expression changes, the negative energy disappears, digested by the wisdom that understands the nature of hatred, anger, aggression, and so forth.  Lama Yeshe

Assume silence when you are invaded by anger, or remember the name of the lord instead.  Do not remind yourself of things which will inflame the anger more.  That will do incalculable harm. Sai Baba

If you see the wholeness in yourself, you will be able to open to it more. Pat Ewing

Guidance to Spiritual Aspirants 4

When you walk into a room with a person who is a vital spiritual presence, you can feel the higher vibration.  Just hold that higher vibration.  One of the keys of this is to feel the truth within yourself.  If you are a walking divine, you are going to do good.   Pat Ewing

There are 3 inescapable problems we all face:
1. How to win food and shelter
2.  How to get along with others.
3.  How to relate to the total scheme of things.
If we deal with the 3rd one first, the other two get answered.  Houston Smith

All that is asked of us is that we move in the direction of God.  As we do, the synchronicities will happen.  We will be shown the next step as we take the first one.  We don't have to see far into the future. Rev. Nancy Herrick, Our Spiritual Center, Mpls

Try, as far as possible, to live as though you have died. Live as though you were already in Heaven. Spend your time in love and learning, marveling at God's magnificent creation. Relate to the inside spirit of other people, the part of them that God sees, from our own core of love. When, as sometimes happens, people are unkind to you, or angry at you, imagine them as a honey bee hive in an old tree.  Deep inside the hollow tree, protected by angry buzzing and painful stings, is the sweet and delicious honey. See the honey inside, and know that the bees attack only when they feel endangered.  This may help to depersonalize their attacks on you, and allow you to feel compassion for a person's pain and fear, rather than feeling your own pain and fear, which results in the equivalent of an allergic reaction to their stings.  Feel the sting, experience the pain of it, and know that it was simply a defensive action on the part of the person who delivered it, and something you or someone else did triggered it's defense mechanism.  You did not intend to trigger it, but it happened.

If you are gentle and slow and soothe the bees with calming words, they will share their honey. Closer to the Light, by Melvin Morse, MD

Be careless in the care of God.  Rev. Dr. Jo H. Campe, pastorjo@gmail.com

Do what you can do and let God do the rest - for any problem you have.  Rev. Dr. Jo H. Campe

We'll be OK. Turn ourselves to that OKness and stay there.

Inside and outside the wind blows. Feel God's settling presence in the midst of the raging storms inside us.  You can't love God and worry at the same time. That fussing and trying to control bothers you and all around you.  Rev. Dr. Jo H. Campe

People cannot be judged hastily. You have to be fair with someone. Many lives were ruined by being hasty in our judgments.  Brian Weiss

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. Philo of Alexandria

Guidance to Spiritual Aspirants 5

We cannot be safe and happy until we know real love and peace: that is what salvation is. In other words, until we are wholly content with God, his actions, and decisions, until we are in love and at peace with ourselves, our fellow Christians, and with all that God loves. Julian of Norwich, 1342-?, in Revelations of Divine Love

He makes us love whatever he loves for love of him, and to find in himself and his works our ample reward. Julian of Norwich, 1342-?, in Revelations of Divine Love

Breaking the chain of rebirth:
1.    Fulfill your karmic obligations - make up for your past negative actions - pursue good works, invoke the violet flame, wear violet. Imagine your body as a bird cage filled with thousands of birds. Each time you perform a good act or think a positive thought, you set one bird free. And one day, before you know it, you will have let loose all the birds and with the last bird, your soul will be free to leave the cage and soar sunward into permanent union with God.
1.    Identify with your spiritual self. Seek things that exist - permanent, spiritual things
2.    Access divine grace
3.    Focus all of your mind on the purpose of reunion with God

Remember , every freedom has its price to pay. Only the Swift can fly high and at immense speeds, united with the air. Yet the Swift cannot play with the Sparrow. The carefree, tumbling , bumbling play of the Sparrow is lost.  Thus, also, for you, the challenge will be that as you soar with the Eagle on higher thermals, with wider vision, so you will lose the companionship of those who seek lower zones.  This you must realize and with understanding allow to happen.  Any pattern of thought which knows not the freedom of space will become a burden.  Birds communicating with Michael Roads in the book Talking With Nature

Practice seeing everything around you that has life as you in disguise. You within your friends, family, loved ones, even those you dislike, all trees, animals, in fact all aspects of Nature. If you truly practice pretending that you are everything around you in disguise, eventually you will experience the overwhelming exultation of knowing  that this is not pretense. Michael Roads in the book Talking With Nature

Don't start any day, take any phone call, open a piece of mail, or do anything without getting yourself to a place of feeling wonderful and excited about the prospects for the day and what it will bring. Paraphrased from Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret

I would rather follow the "foolishness" of God than the "wisdom" of this world. Charles Ringma

Enlightenment is a slow and arduous process, requiring dedication and discipline. It's perfectly fine to rest now and then. You are not really going backwards; you are consolidating  and resting. Progress is not always linear. You may be very advanced when it comes to charity and compassion, but more of a novice concerning anger or patience. It is important not to judge yourself. If you don't judge yourself or allow others to judge you, you will not become frustrated. Brian Weiss, MD, in Messages from the Masters

When you look into the eyes of another, any other, and you see your own soul looking back at you, then you will know you have reached another level of consciousness. Brian Weiss, MD, in Messages from the Masters

Know that when you lean to lose yourself, you will reach the Beloved. There is no other secret to be learnt, and more than this is not known to me. Ansari of Heart

With the lamp of word and discrimination one must go beyond word and discrimination and enter upon the path of realization. Lankavantara Sutra

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make our paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

I do not want merely to possess faith; I want a faith that possesses me. Charles Kingsley

We can't worship God as an add-on to all the comforts, pleasures, securities, and emotional dependencies we've built our lives on. They must be dethroned and God must reign. It's only right. Faith can grasp that and let go of everything but God. Chris Tiegreen, Indeed Magazine

Who wants to see God? People shed jugs of tears for money, and wife, and children. But if they would weep for God for only one day, they would surely see Him. Ramakrishna, the Gospel of Ramakrishna

Living ....with a heightened, intentional awareness of the other people in our environment is a major step on the path to joy. Stop. Look. Wait. Recognize that everyone you encounter is God in human form. No matter how bizarre they look, or how bizarre they act, they are God in human form. John E. Welshons, in Jan 08 issue of Science of Mind.

Fill your life so completely with My Desires, My Thoughts that I, the Absolute who created all things, will create through you My Desire.  Eva Bell Werber, Quiet Talks with the Master

Go now, not seeking to see results, but to do the deeds and ever shall you be guided to those who need a word of help and cheer.  Eva Bell Werber, Quiet Talks with the Master

Look not at all on the outward conditions of things or people. Look only on the God within, and you will never make a mistake in judgment or in your dealing with anyone.  Eva Bell Werber, Quiet Talks with the Master

Guidance to Spiritual Aspirants 6

Let God or be God yourself.  Rev. Dr. Jo H. Campe

Each person must be concerned with him or herself...with making him or herself ....whole.  We have lessons to learn...each one of us. They must be learned one at a time....in order. Only then can we know what the next person needs, what he or she lacks or what we lack, to make us whole. Many Lives, Many Masters,  by Brian Weiss

We are not to kill, no matter what the circumstances. Only God can punish. Brian Weiss

Everybody's path is basically the same. We all must learn certain attitudes while we're in physical state. Some of us are quicker to adopt them than others. Charity, hope, faith, love...we must all know these things and know them well.  People of the religious orders have come closer than any of us because they've taken these vows of chastity and obedience. They've given up so much without asking for anything in return.  The rest of us continue to ask for rewards. The reward is in doing, but doing without expecting anything. Doing unselfishly. Brian Weiss

I was able to convey feelings of peacefulness, calm, and hope.  A tone of voice, an empathic understanding of the process and of their fears and feelings, a look, a touch, a word - all could get through, at some level, and touch a chord of hope, of forgotten spirituality, of shared humanity, or even more. And for those ready for more, suggested readings. Brian Weiss

It is as if a large diamond were to be found inside each person.  Picture a diamond a foot long. The diamond has thousands of facets, but the facets are covered with dirt and tar. It is the job of each soul to clean each facet until the surface is brilliant and can reflect a rainbow of colors. The diamond is perfect, not one flaw. The only  differences among people are the number of facets cleaned.

When all the facets are cleaned and shining forth in a spectrum of lights, the diamond returns to the pure energy that it was originally.  And all of the diamonds are perfect. Brian Weiss

As you understand your true nature and your true purpose, your life will be permanently transformed, and then you can begin to transform the world. Brian Weiss

Past lives are still a significant concept and value for me, but understanding and experiencing and expressing love, joy, and inner peace in my everyday life have been more significant. Brian Weiss

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us "universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest...a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.  Albert Einstein

A superficial faith will not sustain you during tough times. And blind obedience will also not serve you.  You need to count the cost of discipleship, and go into it knowingly.  Jayneann Gagner, United Methodist Church, St. Croix Falls

Our life of faith is like a long distance event. A marathon. You have someone to cheer you on at the end, as you enter the stadium.  There are worthy models for us to follow.  People who have laid aside those things that often entangle us in our life of faith.  To be more like these models, we need  to make God's will and work a high priority in our lives.  Pastor Laurie Riley, Anamosa United Methodist Church

Let the creatures and all living things be your tutors. Establish them in your mind as your worthy tutors. With a book of synonyms and a dictionary, record all the fine character qualities you observe in the person, animal, insect, creature, or plant. Then study what the entity does with those qualities in their moment by moment living.'  paraphrased  from J. Allen Boone, in Kinship with all life

It is the reaching out with love to help another that is important, not the results. ...Healing occurs at many levels, not just the physical, and real healing must occur at the heart level.  Brian Weiss, Only Love Is Real.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.  Philo of Alexandria

As long as the ocean of dis-satisfaction remains within you, the slightest change in the environment can be enough to bring out a problem.  Yogi Yeshe

The surrounding situation may not be so friendly; it may even be hostile. But if your inner mental attitude is right, then the situation will not disturb your inner peace.....This is why mental attitude is more important than external conditions. The Dalai Lama, in The Dalai Lama's Book of Love land Compassion

Genuine compassion is based on the recognition that others have the right to happiness just like yourself, and therefore even your enemy is a human being with the same wish for happiness as you. A sense of concern developed on this basis is what we call compassion. It extends to everyone, irrespective of whether the person's attitude toward you is hostile or friendly. The Dalai Lama

One aspect of the this kind of compassion is a sense of caring responsibility. When we develop that kind of motivation, our self-confidence increases automatically. This in turn reduces fear, and that serves as a basis for determination.  The Dalai Lama

Most paths to God are circuitous, like japa (recitations of the name of god), meditation, and bhajans. But the direct path is love. Sai Baba

The ideal of a high standard of life, instead of a high level of living, has played havoc with human society.  A high level of living insists on morality, humility, detachment, compassion. Sai Baba

Know that you are not alone in your efforts on your spiritual path.  The Masters and angels are helping you every step of the way....If you knew who walked beside you, you would never doubt or fear. Ovidne, in Meet the Masters

If your words are not well received, wipe your feet and walk away. Jesus to his disciples

A true path to God generally contains at least 4 basic elements.  It will show you how to:
1.    Fulfill your karmic obligations to all of life by making up for your past negative actions.
2.    Learn to identify with your spiritual self rather than with your material self.
3.    Access divine grace, which awakens you to your divine nature and enables you to find your way out of the bonds of karma.
4.   Focus all of your mind on the purpose of reunion with God.  This is often facilitated by various mystical technique)s such as prayer, contemplation and visualization.  Elizabeth  Clare Prophet, in Reincarnation, the Missing Link in Christianity.

When a thing is easily presented to you, and it sounds wonderful to do, and a great deal of fun, by all means do it.  That is guidance. Let yourself flow free with the dance of your life.  If you don't, you block guidance and your progress....You must return to the loving, trusting wisdom of your inner child to develop the ability to receive and follow guidance.

We are all guided by spiritual teachers who speak to us in our dreams, through our intuition, and eventually, if we listen, they speak to us directly...These teachers are full of love and respect for us...This will change your life, for you will find that you are fully and completely loved, as you are right now in this moment.  You are deserving and worthy of this love. You deserve health, happiness, and fulfillment in your life.  Simply ask for help. Your requests will be answered.  Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light

Don't do anything that isn't play. And it will be play if your only reason to be doing it is to enrich lives. Marshall Rosenberg

Guidance to Spiritual Aspirants 7

Do not wonder or fear, My child, if the words you say or the seeds you plant in the heart of another in My Name shall bear fruit.  Eva Bell Werber, Quiet Talks with the Master

How refreshing to know that our soul's freedom comes simply from releasing our need to possess anything but our desire to know the love of God. Diane Harmony, Jan 08 Science of Mind

Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness. 2 Peter 1-5b-6 (NIV)

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves  with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV

The more you get your relationship going with the holy spirit, the more easily you recognize the messages from the holy spirit. The holy spirit is a Person of God. It has an incredible personality. Free will, working in harmony with the holy spirit, is the ideal. Evan Silva, Harbour Christian Church

God is transforming not what I do, but who I am; He is transforming us into Him. We are becoming more like Him.
The narrow path through thebhills is not straight. You see the rocks, but not the narrow path which often goes around the rocks. Take the path where God leads us. Unknown speaker at Harbour Christian Church, Easter 2008

Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? Isaiah 2:22

The body is not an obstacle on the way to the soul; it is a tool. Rumi

Stay bewildered in God, and only that. Those of you who are scattered simplify your worrying lives. There is one righteousness. Water the fruit trees, and don't water the thorns. Be generous to what nurtures the spirit and God's luminous reason-light. Don't honor what causes dysentary and knotted up tumours. Don't feed both sides of yourself equally. The spirit and the body carry different loads and require different attentions. Rumi

To begin this journey, commit yourself to the possibility that everything around you is far less real than God. You want to see the truth "with all your heart, wih all your soul, and with all your mind.", as Jesus says. This is actually a commitment to joy. When you feel momentart happiness, or you want to burst out laughing, or you smile for no apparent reason, you are glimpsing eternal reality. For a fleeting moment the curtain has parted so you can experience something beyond the illusion.  In time these moments of joy will begin to knit together. Instead of the exception, they will become the norm. There is no better way to know that you are growing in God-realization. Deepak Chopra

But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white - then melts forever. Robert Burns

[If] pleasure is experienced in the present moment, in a state of inner peace and freedom, pleasure adorns happiness without overshadowing it. Matthieu Ricard

If we were to treat every person we met as if they were the Messiah, then it wouldn't make any difference if they weren't. Noah benShea in Jacob the Baker

Often you see small and big wires, new and old, cheap and expensive electric cables up - they alone are useless and until the current passes through them there will be no light.The wire is you and me. The current is God. We have the power to let the current pass thorugh us and use us to produce the light of the world or we can refuse to be used and allow the darkness to spread. ...Let his light of ruch be in every person's life so that God can continue loving the world through you and me. Mother Teresa

On Jesus

"One of the best-kept secrets of the world has been the activism - the nonviolent resistance - of Jesus. A close reading of the gospel reveals his calling to account an unjust, corrupt system.

Kindness does not adequately describe his relationship to the poor or those who suffer. Compassion is better. 'My heart is moved with compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.' (Mark 8:2).  Nor does nonviolent revolutionary sum him up. Anarchist is better: one who lives self-government, representing the poor, resisting a criminal state, and attending to the just works of God. 'Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.' (Matthew 22:21). Since all belonged to God, he gave nothing to Caesar.

Most of the references to Jesus' kindness and antiviolence are suppressed today, simply because the established church has chosen chaplaincy to the imperial state. Virtually no one teaches Christians the nonviolence of Jesus, nor his calling to community, nor his voluntary poverty, nor his choice of the cross. Especially his choice of the cross, that living symbol of resistance to evil, including systemic evil - resistance to imperial governments, to predatory corporations, to nuclear weapons, to war, to the despoilation of the environment, to killing in any form.

What are these organizations of oppression that lie to us, rob us, and sometimes kill us? Empires, nation-states, globalized corporations, world trade organisations, tariff and trade agreements (NAFTA), war ministries (Department of Defense), banks stock exchanges. Jesus would denounce and resist the scurrying, blind crdeatures that buld and idolize them, while loving them and agonizing over their conversion." Philip Berrigan, Catholic antiwar and antinuclear activist.

On Forginess

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On Free Will

We were given choice.  It is a blessing and a curse. Ref. Nancy Herrick, Our Spiritual Center, Mpls.

 

The results clearly show that the happiest societies are those that allow people the freedom to choose how to live their lives. Ronald Inglehart, U of MI political scientist on survey of happiest countries. World Values Survey

 

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21. 

Interpretations by children: 

We may think we have a plan for our job, life, and children, but not exactly. We all have a plan, but God's plan is always right, no matter what we think. His plan is for peace not war; love not hate; life not death. He makes the plan then you still have to decide what to do. Eva Hennason, 10 yrs old, Mahtomedi, MN

 

Dear God, out of all my plans yours, love, is more important than any of mine. Amen. Josh Panek, 10 yrs old, Mahtomedi, MN

 

Dear God, please help me find the purpose of life. Please let me find out your plan by loving you. Help me make the plans in my heart the same as your plans. Amen. Sam Myers, 9 years old

 

Dear good and gracious God, please help us choose your path and not ours and show us the peace and love in our hearts. In your name we pray, Amen. Warren Sexson, 9 yrs old. Mahtomedi MN

 

We have many plans in our hearts, but God would like us to just feel loved and to feel good about ourselves every day. We worry about the future, but we should just enjoy now and not just think about ourselves but others who may be sick, hospitalized, poor or hungry. Lauren Gydesen, 10 yrs old, Mahtomedi, MN

 

Do you have yesterday's heartaches tied up in a bundle and hidden somewherein the closed drawer of your thought? Give no houseroom to anything that would block the road to your God-given freedom. Elizabeth Glass Barlow

 

It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shacked, bloddy helplessness, I was still free: fre to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. ...[T]hat freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life. Gregory David Roberts, in Shantaram

 

Every day, when you're on the run, is the whole of your life. Every free minute is a short story with a happy ending. Gregory David Roberts, in Shantaram

 

[The best thing in the world] is the freedom to say no. And the freedom to say yes.Gregory David Roberts, in Shantaram

 

If you've got that much freedom [the freedom to say no] you really don't need any more. Gregory David Roberts, in Shantaram

 

Every soul was given free will at the start of its long, winding journey through time. Paramhansa Yogananda's interpretation of Stanza 60, the Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam

 

God chooses, but never takes away your choosing, your choice. Evan Silva, Harbour Christian Church, New Zealand

 

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

 

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. Dr. Seuss

 

The most important gift that a person has is his or her sovereignty. This is a gift, an anointing, from the sacred. To diminish or infringe upon another’s sovereignty is to trespass on the most holy ground. You

Spangler, David (2011-08-18). Apprenticed to Spirit: The Education of a Soul tent

On Christianity

 

Jesus was the great example, but not the great exception.  He embodied the Christ or Messiah nature and encouraged his followers to do the same.  Science of Mind

 

The essence of tragedy is not the doing of evil by evil men but the doing of evil by good men, out of weakness, indecision, sloth, inability to act in accordance with what they know to be right.  I.F. Stone

 

No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. Our compulsion will now be toward honesty.

 

Notes from The Secret Message of Jesus, by Brian D. McLaren:

 [W]ith this alliance between church and empire came an endorsement of the use of violence in the service of the kingdom of God. It's hard to imagine getting anything right about Jesus' secret message when the church/empire concluded that heretics could be justly tortured using many of the most horrific methods ever invented - evisceration, stripping of the skin, burning, and the like.

 

Nothing is more dangerous to the advancement of God's kingdom than religion. But this is what Christianity has become. Do you not know it is possible to kill Christ with such Christianity? Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (1842-1919)

 

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. 'My God!', you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?  Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church's prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.  Soren Kierkegaard

 

I consider Western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ's Christianity. Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

 

The mind of Christ takes a while to grow in us, and it has radical implications. Chris Tiegreen, Indeed Magazine

  

But among us you will find uneducated person, and artisans, and old women, who, if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of our doctrine, yet by their deeds exhibit the benefit arising from their persuasion of the truth: they do not rehearse speeches but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go to law; they give to those who ask of them, and love their neighbors as themselves: Athenagoras

 

The cost of discipleship must be compared to the terrible cost of nondiscipleship. Dallas Willard

 

While violence has long been a part of the practice of the Christian tradition, the example of Christ points us in the opposite direction.  He suffered the power and violence and injustice and thereby broke its awesome power. Charles Ringma, in the book Cry Freedom

 

There are 5 kinds of Christians in the US:

  1.  Private Christians: 24% - the youngest segment. They believe in God and in doing good thing, but not in the church. 1/3 attend church at all, but they never take on leadership positions.
  2. Cultural Christians - 21%. Have a little outward awareness that there is a God. Jesus is not essential to salvation. They affirm many ways to God. They favor a universal belief.
  3. Professing Christian - 20%. They believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ, but they don't act out of their belief.
  4. Active Christian - 19%. Believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, they read the Bible, accept leadership positions, and share their faith with others.
  5. Liturgical Christians - Catholic, Anglican. They serve in church or community. They recognize the authority of the church in their lives.

How can these 5 categories happen?

  1. Unbelief - seeds on rocky soil. People believe for a while, then fade away.
  2. The realities of the world become greater than the realities of Heaven
  3. Deceitfulness of sin. We tolerate sin in our lives, and other people see that in us, and turn away from the church. Some of us still need to zip our lip.
  4. Hardness of heart. We want to continue with the slander, which others see and they want no active part of the church as a result. When you grieve the Holy Spirit, through hardness of heart, the Holy Spirit will leave you.

From the sermon at Frontline Christian Church, 25 November 2007, Kerikeri, New Zealand Pastor Shaun

 

Oh, how good and pleasant a thing it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus!

Who is there that does not love a heart so wounded?

Who can refuse a return of love to a heart so loving?  Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153

 

What distinguishes a churchgoer from a disciple?  A disciple is a learner. Thought accompanied by endeavor.  John 13: If you have love for one another, that is how you know my disciples. Evan Silva, Harbour City Church

 

The world's leaders have no idea of what is for their own profit...Those who love others will be loved in return. Do good to others and others will do good to you. Hurt the people and be hated by them. Hurt them and they will hurt you. What is hard about that? Mo Ti 479 BC - ?

 

The first followers of Jesus never saw him as divine. Only Paul saw him as divine. Jesus' stories had such freshness and power. He spoke to people with the authority of God.  The parables remain the center of the Christian church. He got people to think for themselves. From a conversation or sermon in late 2007 or early 2008, source unknown

 

Jesus gave himself completely. If he thought he was going to be resurrected, it would have not been complete.

 

No one in the 16th century would have said that they believe in the devil. From a conversation or sermon in late 2007 or early 2008, source unknown

 

Being a forgetful hearer is a far worse end time delusion than New Age philosophy. Prove yourselves doers of the word and not just hearers. Graeme Carle, minister, Hillside Community Church , March 29, 2008.

 

Being a warrior is not what Jesus came to do. Overturning the Roman warriors is not what Jesus came to do. Pastor David P Carlson, United Methodist Church, Sparta Wisconsin, April 26, 2008

 

I was lost and undone without Christ. Pastor Clayton George, Apostolic Assembly of Anamosa

 

This is the house of God. Every care in the world can be left at that door. This is a refuge. Sister Melody, Apostolic Assembly of Anamosa

 

This world will steal every drop of happiness you have. That's the way of the world - double, triple diamond. The thief and the robber lay awake at night planning how they can get your money, and make you think how you're going to get rich. Pastor Clayton George, Apostolic Assembly of Anamosa

 

Everybody wants the goodies, but nobody wants the pain. Pastor Clayton George, Apostolic Assembly of Anamosa

 

I had to work at becoming a drunk, to learn to cuss, to learn to break into cars. I worked hard for Hell. But we serve a saviour who gives us unmerited grace. And because of Him, I have no more Hell to pay. When you give your life to Christ, Hell can't touch you! Pastor Clayton George, Apostolic Assembly of Anamosa

 

The distance between Heaven and Hell is 18 inches. It's the distance between your heart and your head. Brother Terry, Apostolic Assembly of Anamosa

 

The church is the church only when it exists for others.

 

Blood is thicker than water.  Blood of the cross is thicker than the waters of birth. From Larry in Algona

 

I have found that the best planning meetings are prayer meetings where we spend time with our Father finding out what He is up to. If churches are really serious about doing God’s will, they will spend more time seeking God’s will and less time arguing and debating about what each member thinks the church ought to be doing. ….. the reason there are so many divided and splintered churches today is that church leaders have sought to impose their plans on God’s people rather than seeking what God intends to do through them by His amazing power. Henry and Richard Blackaby, and Claude King, in the book Experiencing God.

 

We must learn this invitation of Christ:

“Those who wish to come after me must renounce themselves. ”Let them renounce themselves, renounce their comforts, renounce their personal opinions, and follow only the mind of Christ, which can lead us to death but will surely also lead us to resurrection. Archibishop of El Salvador Oscar Romero, JUNE 19, 1977

 

Do you want to know if your Christianity is genuine?

Here is the touchstone:

Whom do you get along with?

Who are those who criticize you?

Who are those who do not accept you?

Who are those who flatter you?

Know from that what Christ said once:

 “I have come not to bring peace, but division.”

 There will be division even in the same family,

 because some want to live more comfortably

 by the world’s principles,

those of power and money.

But others have embraced the call of Christ

and must reject all that cannot be just in the world.

Archibishop Oscar Romero, El Salvaldor NOVEMBER 13, 1977

 

How beautiful will be the day when all the baptized understand that their work, their job, is a priestly work, that just as I celebrate Mass at this altar, so each carpenter celebrates Mass at his workbench, and each metalworker, each professional, each doctor with the scalpel, the market woman at her stand, is performing a priestly office!

How many cabdrivers, I know, listen to this message there in their cabs; you are a priest at the wheel, my friend, if you work with honesty, consecrating that taxi of yours to God, bearing a message of peace and love to the passengers who ride in your cab. Archibishop Oscar Romero, El Salvador, NOVEMBER 20, 1977

 

This is the mission entrusted to the church,

a hard mission:

to uproot sins from history,

to uproot sins from the political order,

to uproot sins from the economy,

to uproot sins wherever they are.

What a hard task!

It has to meet conflicts amid so much selfishness,

so much pride,

so much vanity,

so many who have enthroned the reign of sin among us.

The church must suffer for speaking the truth,

for pointing out sin,

for uprooting sin.

No one wants to have a sore spot touched,

and therefore a society with so many sores twitches

when someone has the courage to touch it

and say: “You have to treat that.

You have to get rid of that.

 Believe in Christ.

 Be converted.”

 Oscar Romero

JANUARY 15, 1978

 

The sign of the saved is their concern for those in need. Compassion does not save them—or us. Salvation is the work of Christ. Compassion is the consequence of salvation. Max Lucado From Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference

 

Nothing reaches the depth of a person like the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Win, at Harbour City Christian Church. 

 

Jesus is building his church with pretty shoddy materials. He specializes in using seconds. That’s the glory of it. He can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. If he does, so can we. Nigel at Nations Church, Dunedin

 

You have a ticket to heaven no thief can take,

an eternal home no divorce can break.

 

Every sin of your life has been cast to the sea.

Every mistake you've made is nailed to the tree.

 

You're blood-bought and heaven-made.

A child of God—forever saved.

 

So be grateful, joyful—for isn't it true?

What you don't have is much less than what you do

Max Lucado

 

By deifying and worshipping prophets we similarly distanced ourselves from them, made them appear to be different beings to us so that we no longer had to compare ourselves with them…Jeremy Griffith, in The Great Exodus

 

Chesterton says:

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting.

It has been found difficult and left untried."  Quoted by Peter Maurin

 

When he says you must heal yourself first, I wonder what he means by that? A: He means that you have to come to the awareness that you are this being of perfection. You are this loving God-essence. This is hard to explain, but it is an all-encompassing feeling of warmth and love and knowing that it is alright to be you. You are perfect the way you are. And through acceptance of this kind of understanding and love, then it can be transferred to others. D: Then without that kind of self-love, so to speak, you wouldn't be able to pass on the other teachings, or the healings. A: Yes, because the doors will open as you gain your own inner healing. So it is not a quick process... usually.

Cannon, Dolores (2000-10-01). They Walked With Jesus (Kindle Locations 2582-2588). Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

He told me to walk in love and follow the path of the light, and to struggle against fear. There should be no fear, for fear creates the darkness in man. The only truth is the love and light.

Cannon, Dolores (2000-10-01). They Walked With Jesus (Kindle Locations 2849-2850). Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

A: No. I have been there before. I feel that if you do not live in fear then you will keep yourself healthy in mind, body and soul. Fear creates all diseases and ailments, whether one is aware of this or not. D: That's an interesting idea. Is this what he taught you, that fear creates diseases? A: Yes. There were many times in my younger years in my father's village when I would sneak out to attend the closed meetings. And I gained this knowledge. This is of his teaching. D: Of course, we always think that some diseases can't be avoided. He doesn't believe this way? A: No. I say, though, that one must be a believer in the Source within one's being. That is one's God-center, that is one's heart center. If one lives without fear, one has placed a great healing protection throughout one's physical being and other layers of protection around the human person. If you let fear or darkness enter your being, you open up a space that will allow ailments to grow. One can control any disease of the mind or body.

Cannon, Dolores. They Walked With Jesus

 

 

On Islamic Sufism: The Forty Rules of Love

Forty Rules of Love, from the book of the same name by Elif Shafak

 

1. How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.

 

2. The Path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

 

3. Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level in tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batıni—the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it can not be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.

 

4. You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.

 

5. Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people with knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everthing. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy,’ whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

 

6. Most of the problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.

 

7. Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truely see yourself and the presence of God within you.

 

8. Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

 

9. Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

 

10. East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.

 

11. The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for anew Self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.

 

12. The quest for Love changes us. There is no seeker among those who search for Love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for Love, you start to change within and without.

 

13. There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse the power- driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the Light of God pass through them.

 

14. Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

 

15. God is bussy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us seperately because humanity is a fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.

 

16. It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human beings with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can never truely love nor truely know God.

 

17. Real filth is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure waters, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.

 

18. The whole universe is contained within a single human being—you. Everything that you see around, including the things you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhore, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Satan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you get to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness both your dark and bright side, you will arrive at a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.

 

19. If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.

 

20. Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.

 

21. We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No two hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is tantamount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.

 

22. When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine biber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearances. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye –the eye that sees the inner realm.

 

23. Life is a temporary loan, and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance.

 

24. The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and everyone of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it falls upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.

 

25. Hell is the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we scend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.

 

26. The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do not harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back –not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space, and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.

 

27. This world is like a snowy mountain that echoes your voice. Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbors ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of forty days, because you will be different inside.

 

28. The past is an interpratetion. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals.

Eternitiy does not mean inifnite time, but simply timelessness.

If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.

 

29. Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance.

 

30. The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked, and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a single bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place?

How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?

 

31. If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss, or fright, one way or another, we all are faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgemental, and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before. The only way to get closer to Truth is to expand your heart so that it will encompass all humanity and still have room for more Love.

 

32. Nothing should stand between yourself and God. Not imims, priests, rabbis, or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters, not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good.

Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.

 

33. While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, onl to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.

 

34. Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission –- a power that comes from within. Those who submit to the divne essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even when the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

 

35. In this world, it is not similarities or regularitiesthat take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insan-ı Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.

 

36. This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. Fear not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even e leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully in that. Whatever God does, He does beautifully.

 

37. God is a meticulous clockmaker. So precise is His order that everthing on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.

 

38. It is never too late to ask yourself ‘Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?’

Even if a single day in our life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one way to be born into a new life: to die before death.

 

39. While the parts change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every descent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes.

For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.

 

40. A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western... Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple.

Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire!

The universe turns differently when fire loves water. 

On Islam

“’The form of worship may change but not the Master, for the God of the Christians is also ours. We are only different in the way we address ourselves to Him.” Emir Abd el-Kader, freedom fighter and humanitarian whom the town of Elkader, Iowa was named after

 

some verses from the Qurán about veils :

 

"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms [in public] beyond what may [decently] be apparent thereof; hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. And let them not display [more of] their charms to any but their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ Sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or those whom they rightfully possess, or such male attendants as are beyond all sexual desire, or children that are as yet unaware of women’s nakedness; and let them not swing their legs [in walking] so as to draw attention to their hidden charms, And [always], O you believers - all of you - turn unto God in repentance, so that you might attain to a happy state!" (24:31)

 

"And [know that] women advanced in years, who no longer feel any sexual desire, incur no sin if they discard their [outer] garments, provided they do not aim at a showy display of [their] charms. But [even so,] it is better for them to abstain [from this]: and God is all-hearing, all-knowing." (24:60)

 

"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters, as well as all [other] believing women, that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments [when in public]: this will be more conducive to their being recognized [as decent women] and not annoyed. But [withall,] God is indeed much- forgiving, a dispenser of grace!" (33:59)

 

Quotes from The Noble Life of Muhammad, Ayyat-e-Tayaba, by Muhammad Abdul Hai

 

“Allah is the Creator,  Ruler, and Cherisher of the whole universe and its creatures. No one other than Allah deserves to be worshipped, or to be obeyed and adored.”

Allah has bestowed limited powers to man. This earthly life is a time-bound test. When the time of this test will be over, the man has to go back to his Lord. Then Allah will decide his fate according to the good or bad deeds performed by him.

The essence of Islam is Tawheed, Oneness of God.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) on one hand, enumerated the evils of idolatry and invited the people to unadulterated Tawheed.

Quraysh’s anti-Islamic propaganda was causing curiosity in the hearts of people, they wanted to see and listen to Holy Prophet’s sermons so as to know the reality.

There is no Master but Allah. So the man should accept His slavery. The slavery and subordination to anyone other than Allah is not proper.

Islam was on open revolutionary call against idolatry.

Atrocities on men of truth always provided a ladder to success.

The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) had almost completed 5 years of prophethood and he realized the continuance of Quraysh’s[1] oppressions. Though he was sure that the Quraysh would not be able to turn away even a single Muslim from Islam but as the hardships were getting beyond their endurance and performing Islamic duties was becoming almost impossible in Makkah, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) decided that some Muslims should migrate to Abyssinia which is located on the eastern coast of Africa. A just and kind Christian king was at the helm of affairs in Abyssinia.

The first batch of 11 men and 4 women prepared for migration to Abyssinia.

The migrants got relief in Abyssinia and started living in peace. When the news reached the Quraysh, they became very angry and decided to send a delegation to Negus, the king of Abyssinia....to request him for the extradition of these Muslim migrants.

They set off for Abyssinia.

When King Negus was presented with the extradition request, he sent for Muslims and asked them: “What is that new religion you people have invented?” Muslims had chosen J’afar .... as their representative. In reply to [the king’s] question J’afar (RATA)[2] delivered a lengthy speech elaborating Islam and faith in Allah.

“Oh king! We people were groping in the darkness for centuries. We were worshipping hundreds of idols in place of one God. We used to eat dead animals.[3] Fornication, plundering, thefts and mutual fights were our occupations. Every powerful man among us, felt pride in dwarfing the weak. In short we were beasts in human form. Then, Allah showered us with His mercy. He sent a Messenger amongst us who is a man like us. We are aware of his genealogy. He is extremely noble, decent, trustworthy, truthful, and a pious person. Friend and foes, all acknowledge his nobility. This Messenger invited us to Islam and asked us to give up worshipping idols. He asked us to acknowledge Allah as the Owner and Master of our souls and possessions. He asked us to pray only to Allah, speak truth, give up blood shedding, give up usurping orphan’s wealth, help our neighbours, avoid fornication and other dirty acts, spend our wealth in the way of Allah and that way is to help destitute. We believed in this Messenger and gave up worshipping of idols and all evil-doings. So, our people (infidels) started oppressing us and forcing us to reconvert to their old religion of idolatry. These two persons [the delegation] have come here to take us back to Makkah for forcing us to reconvert.”

King Negus, after hearing all this, asked J’afar to recite something of Allah’s message revealed to Prophet (SAW)[4]. J’afar recited a few ayahs[5] of Surah Maryam[6], Negus was so impressed that tears started rolling out of his eyes. He said, ‘By God, these ayahs and Injeel[7] both are the reflection of the same lamp.’ Saying this he told Quraysh plainly that these Muslims will not be handed over to you.”

He was repeatedly made to understand from different angles that in the struggle of good and evil, there is a definite law of Allah. Nobody can change it. From the point of view of this law, it is necessary that righteous people are tested for a long time. Their patience, piousness, selflessness, loyalty, devotion and firmness of belief are tested. This was to assess that how strong they were in their reliance on Allah and faith in Him. This struggle created in them the qualities that helped them later in being the supporters of the religion of Allah. When these people proved them worthy in this test, the help from Allah would come on its time. Nobody can fetch it.

They were told that Allah does not punish a nation having no prophet.

Fundamentals of Islamic Society

Difficult time for Islam was about to be over and the society based upon Islamic principles was in the offing.  Hence, the fundamental principles for Islamic way of life that were to serve as the guiding principles for the Islamic system were also dictated in Mi’raaj.[8]

1.     There is no God but Allah. None should share with Allah in His right of devotion, life, obedience, and sovereignty.

2.     Parents should be respected and obeyed (but if there is a clash between parents’ obedience and obedience of God, then, parents are not to be obeyed.)

3.     Rights of relatives, poor and travellers should be accomplished. Right of one human being on another should not be ignored. Without accomplishing other’s rights, no society can survive.

4.     Don’t be an extravagant. Abuse of divine blessings is a satanic act. A society in which people either spend lavishly or become miser, can never be prosperous. A middle way should be adopted in spending or stocking the wealth.

5.     Don’t kill your children, fearing the poverty. Allah provides sustenance, He arranges it.  Don’t kill your offsprings (sic) due to immense poverty.  It is a very bad act and equivalent to suicide for the society.

6.     Don’t even go near fornication.  Avoid not only this dirty act, but also end those stimulants which provoke this heinous act.  The society which will not be free from this curse, will undermine itself and will soon meet its deadly end.

7.     Don’t kill anyone without a reason.  The society, not providing the guarantee of life, can never be a prosperous society.  Peace is the essence of every civilisation.  Providing security of life and property is a basic need.

8.     Behave with orphans in a good manner. Weak people and those, who cannot defend their rights, deserve help. The society that cannot defend the rights of such people, cannot progress.

9.     Fulfil (sic) your promise. You will be questioned about it. Here we mean mutual accords and promises of people and the pledge, one takes while having faith in God.

10. Balance your scales and correct your measures while weighing and measuring. Fair dealing and peaceful co-existence are must for a peaceful society. Where there is mistrust among people and they generally snatch each other’s rights, there will be no mutual trust and prosperity in the society.

11. Do not pursue a thing, about which you have no knowledge. Do not form a new opinion on hearsay and speculation but base it on knowledge, else it results in a mess. An ideal society should be bereft of this evil. Man should always keep it in mind that he would be questioned on all his senses, heart, mind and eyes.

12. Do not be proud and arrogant. These evils lead to deterioration of moral values. A man into this evil is extremely detrimental to the society. It is necessary for congenial relations that people do not regard others as inferior and do not treat others in an inhuman manner.

False is bound to perish if truth wages a war against it.

There should be no doubt that Islam allows a war only for defence. When needed, the truth overpowers the non-truth.

 

Muslims were made to understand that Allah arranges all the affairs of the world and whatever happens in the world, is the result of His command and intention.

For Allah is with those who patiently persevere.  Patience may thus be said to include:

1.     Desires and emotions to be kept under control.

2.     Haste, panic and fear should be avoided.

3.     Avarice and improper passions may not be in one’s heart. Act cool-headedly yet decisively.

4.     One should not retreat while facing hardships and dangers.

5.     Ire, fury, and provocation may not compel one for wrong doings

6.     One should keep his cool while facing hardships and miserable conditions.

7.     Excessive eagerness to achieve the target should not compel one to act according to an ill-devised plan.

8.     Worldly benefits may not lure the Muslims to incline towards these benefits.

[The] Islamic movement, which is absolutely based on fundamentals of truth, does not allow its disciples to step over truth and justice.

[T]o purify the hearts of Muslims from the love of wealth, Allah Almighty forbade the usury that creates love for wealth. People, who charge interests, develop greed of wealth which makes them unworthy for any noble cause.



[1] The Quraysh were the dynasty that Muhammad was born into.

[2] R.A.T.A. is an abbreviation for ‘Ra’di Allahu Ta’aala Anhu or Anhah’, and means “May Allah’s mercy be on him/her”

[3] Meaning carrion, animals that had died due to disease or accident

[4] S.A.W. stands for Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, and means Peace be upon him. This phrase is said whenever a Muslim hears the name of the Holy Prophet, and also when they hear the name of Jesus.

[5] An ayah is a verse in the Koran

[6] A Surah is a chapter of the Koran, and Surah Maryam (Mary) is one of the early chapters.

[7] Jesus

[8] The Prophet’s full night sojourn through the 7 heavens and visit to God with the angel Gabriel.

On Buddhism

The lotus is one of the most poignant representations of Buddhist teaching. The roots of the lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism through the waters of experience and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.  Burma presentation Wellington

 

If by surrendering a slight happiness one may realize a great happiness, the wise man should give up the slight happiness, considering the greater one. Found in the Dhammapada

 

Tibetan Buddhists say that we should treat all sentient beings as our mother. In Chop Wood, Carry Water.

 

Handle even a single leaf of a green in such a way that it manifests the body of the Buddha. This in turn allows the Buddha to manifest through the leaf. Zen master Dogen in Chop Wood, Carry Water

 

You can’t carry other people’s karma on your shoulders. Lara, from Dhamma Dipa

 

It is simply that in generating what one would call "bad" karma, one is simply dealing with energies that

have become out-of-tune or misaligned. And so we feel it would be more accurate to say that when one is straightening out one's karma, one is in fact realigning one's energies.

Dolores Cannon. The Convoluted Universe: Book One

 

If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, evils follow him even as the wheel follows the foot of the ox which draws the cart.  If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him. Buddha in the Dhammapada

 

[A] Buddhist ‘must not hate any being and cannot kill a living crature even in thought.’  The Dasabhumika Sutra

 

I cannot endure the pain even of an ant. Ksemendra,  in the book  Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions, by Christopher Kay Chapple, 1993

 

In the Bodhisattva-bhumi discussion of giving (dana), the first of the six perfections (paramita), the Buddhist is not allowed to give anything that ‘may be used to inflict injury on other living beings’.  in the book  Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions, by Christopher Kay Chapple, 1993

 

A Buddhist must ‘not bestow upon others a piece of land on which the animals may be hunted or killed. in the book  Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions, by Christopher Kay Chapple, 1993

 

Although the earliest forms of Buddhism did not advocate vegetarianism, monks were not allowed to accept meat dishes that had been cooked explicity for them. This standard continues within the Theravada school throughout Southeast Asia. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

Before passing judgment on any issue, Buddhism requires that three factors be taken into consideration: the intention of the act, the means used to execute it, and its consequences. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

On Hinduism

Three daily rituals are enjoined on the orthodox Hindu. One is Bhuta Yajna, an offering of food to the animal kingdom. Bhuta Yajna thus reinforces man's readiness to succor the weak, as he in turn is comforted by countless solicitudes of higher unseen beings.  The other two daily yajnas are pitri and nri.  Pitri yajna is an offering of oblations to ancestors, as a symbol of man's acknowledgment of his debt to the past, essence of whose wisdom illuminates humanity today.  Nri yahna is an offering of food to strangers or the poor, symbol of the present responsibilities of man, his duties to contemporaries. Paramahansa Yogananda

  

On the Bhagavad-Gita:

“I find a solace in the Bhagavad-gita that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointments stare me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies – and if theyhave left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavad-gita. Mahatma Gandhi

 

[The Bhagavad-Gita] brings to the West a salutary reminder that our highly activistic and one-sided culture is faced with a crisis that may end in self-destruction because it lacks the inner depth of an authentic metaphysical consciousness. Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are just so much verbiage. Thomas Merton

 

The Gita elucidates the desireable principle of “positive universality.” Rather than a sterile, faceless God it reveals a “God of many faces.”   Anonymous

 

A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires – that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still – can alone achieve peace, and not one who strives to satisfy such desires. Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.70

 

The hardships of the outer world often distract the soul from the inner world, hurling it into despondency. The Gita demonstrates how souls can reconnect with the Divine in their hearts, thereby attaining a state of full-heartedness. From this position of inner strength and fulfillment, the soul is able to return to the battlefield of the outer world with courage, fully prepared to act.

 

According to Vyasa’s tale, the struggle in life is not between good and evil: both share a common source. The struggle itself is the struggle and must be surrendered. Even the ‘good guys’, despite their noble goals, are punished for violating dharma; the evil are rewarded for their resolve and steadfastness of purpose. The message here is one of transcending opposites: when we are in the game, the rules of the game must be applied. When the game is renounced, then final release is attained. And yet, we get the sense that for the fullness of life to be achieved the battle must take place. To be human is to desire, to bring forth worlds and ultimately lose those worlds. To live in these worlds is to suffer, and from our escape out of suffering, wisdom and freedom are attained. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

The timeless message of the Bhagavad Gita does not refer only to one historical battle, but to the cosmic conflict between good and evil: life as a series of battles between Spirit and matter, soul and body, life and death, knowledge and ignorance, health and disease, changelessness and transitoriness, self-control and temptations, discrimination and the blind sense-mind. Paramahansa Yogananda's Interpretation

 

To live in harmony with God's plan, man must ask himself each night the ever pertinent question: Gathered together on the sacred bodily tract - the field of good and evil actions - what did my opposing tendencies do? Which side won today in the ceaseless struggle? The crooked, tempting, evil tendencies and the opposing forces of self-discipline and discrimination - come now, tell me, what did they do? Who won this day?  Paramahansa Yogananda's Interpretation

 

On Jainism

The Jain bible is the Agam Sutras – Lord Mahavira or his predecessor Tirthankar Pashvanath. Most Jains are in Maharastra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, but no more than 1%

 

At the heart of Jainism is the practice of ahimsa, the vow of noninjury. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

All Jainas are strict vegetarinas, living solely on one-sensed beings (vegetables) and milk products. Alcohol, honey, and certain kinds of figs are also prohibited,  ecause they are said to harbor many forms of life, especially nigoda (microorganisms). Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

Ahimsa is said to be practiced by the Jaina population, both lay and monastic, in five ways: restraint of mind, control of tongue, carefulness on roads, removing beings from the road, and eating in daylight (to avoid ingesting bugs). Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

An additional rule suggests that one limit the area of one’s activities, thus renouncing potential harm n e may cause in far-off places. This last rule contributes to the regional nature of Jainism: monks face strong prohibitions against travel.  These concerns have led the Jaina community to pursue limited means of livelihood: government and farming are acceptable but not desirable occupations; writing, arts, and crafts are encouraged; and commerce is the most desirable, provided that the trade is not conducted in tools of violence, such as in weapons. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

All beings are fond of life; they like pleasure and hate pain, shun destruction and like to live, they long to live. To all, life is dear.” The Acaranga Sutra I, translated from Prakrit by Hermann Jacobi, in the book  Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions, by Christopher Kay Chapple, 1993

 

The meat of other animals is like the flesh of one’s son. That foolish person, stupefied by folly, who eats meat, is regarded as the vilest of human beings. Mahabharata XIII: 114:11

 

Animals are used for testing but then are ‘rehabilitated’ through shelters and recuperation faciliteis maintained by the laboraties. For instance, one Jaina-controlled pharmaceutical company uses animals for the production of immunoglobulin but then releases them into the wild. This practice fits well with the ages-old Jaina tradition of constructing animal shelters for infirm animals, allowing them to survive until their natural demise. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

The life of a Jaina monk or nun is a life of homelessness.  Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

A civilized human being must be free from greed, vanity, passion, anger. Civilizations decline if there is a coarsening of moral fibre, if there is callousness of heart. Man is tending to become a robot, a mechanical instrument caring for nothing except his material welfare, incapable of exercising his intelligence and responsibility. He seems to prefer comfort to liberty…to remedy this growing indiscipline, lack of rectitude, egotism, the Anuvrat Movement was started on March 1, 1949. It requires strict adherence to the principles of good life. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the former philosopher-president of India, quoted in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

 

According to Jaina philosphy, human persons can dissipate themselves in search of sensual gratification, but they can also reverse these tendencies, gain mastery over past karma, and actively pursue a life of nonviolence. In the process, they become nonspeciestic and minimally intrusive on the environment. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

Both ancient Jainism and modern Gaia theory can be harnessed to support a contemporary environmentalist lifestyle.  Individuals must account for the miles they drive and the garbage they [generate] in such a way that they are conscious of the extent and repercussions of their consumption of natural resources. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

The fundamental teachings of Jainism state that the world is divided into nonliving and living components, that life forms have existed since beginningless time in myriad forms, and that life can be liberated through a fourteenfold process. These teachings have remained unchanged since their inception…[T]his fundamentalism is tempered by a fervent concern that the points of view held by others not be dismissed but rather that they be explored, understood, and then contextualized in the light of Jaina doctrine. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

In the Jaina system, each truth is a partial one (naya) and no one statement (anekãntavãda) can ever account for for the totality of reality…. When this ahimsã is allowed to play its role on an intellectual plane, it teaches us to examine and respect the opinions of others as they, too, are some of the angles of vision or pathways to reality which is many-sided and enables us to realize and practice truth in its entirety….In other words the Jaina principle of ‘respect for life’ (ahimsã) is the origin of ‘respect for the opinions of others’ (anekãntavãda) . Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

Renewed or tolerant or flexible fundamentalism, preferred by the Jainas, allows and in fact requires that the religously informed person be well acquainted with how different traditions have approached the basic issues of human limitation and transcendence. It encourages respect for others’ perspectives and yet allows one’s primary commitment to remain rooted in that with which one feels most authenticated. Paul J. Griffiths, quoted in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

 

Jaina beliefs and precepts have not changed in over two and a half millenia, and yet Jainism survives with vigor in modern, industrial India. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

The Jaina model of flexible fundamentalism offers one option for validating a fundamentalist devotion to basic teachings while still acknowledging the validity of divergent views within their own context. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

In a sense, the Gitã is composed in the spirit of the Jaina approach to truth.  The Jainas assert that every statement is an utterance of partial truth; all postulation is rendered senseless by the ultimate postulate that no words are totally adequate to describe experience (avaktavya eva).   Similarly, Krisha painstakingly guides Arjuna through many yogas, yet the entire problem is eliminated when Krishna reveals his true form to Arjuna. All the words, all the individual personalities and collective armies are swallowed up by the gaping mouth of Krishna, the origin and dissolution of all things. The net result is that all possibilities are present for Arjuna when he gains the knowledge that all are impermanent. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

In both the multiperspectival tolerance of the Jainas and the accommodationist juxtapositions of the Hindus, models of understanding are offered that allow one to account for and to respect the other without denying, contradicting, or converting. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

The Ãcãrãnga Sutra, a primary text of the Jaina tradition, states that all beings desire to live. This includes oneself, and some violence is necessary to survive; eating necessarily involved the taking of life, even if vegetable. The hierarchical life forms seemingly prioritize which offenses against life are most serious and prescribe how best to minimize violence. However, when it is clear that one’s life will be over soon, Jainas are encouraged to accept their imminent death and in fact embrace it through engaging in a final fast, facilitating their own demise in such a way that no further violence is fostered. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

Fasting unto death in the Jaina tradition is undertaken only if very specific criteria are met. As Collette Caillet has noted, ‘Before it can be resorted to, all worldly ties are to be severed: the individual will already be out of this world; and…should be pure in all respects. ‘  In Samantabhabra’s Ratnakarandaka Srãvãkãcãra, ….it is stated that such as fast is acceptable only in four situations: calamity, severe famine, old age, or illness from which there is no escape or against which there is no remedy. This text goes on to say that ‘one should give up gradually all solid foods, increase the taking of liquids like milk, then give up even liquids gradually and take warm water. Thereafter, one should give up warm water also, observe the fast to the best of one’s ability with determination and depart from the body repeating the namaskãra mantra continuosly until the last. During the observance of the vow, one should not commit any of the transgressions: entertaining a desire to live, wishing for a speedy death, exhibiting fear, or desire to meet friends or remembering them or expecting to be born with all comforts and pleasure in the next life.  Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

Jaina teachings on nonviolence helped inspire Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., to work at overthrowing injustice. Christopher Kay Chapple, in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

 

 

 

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