Monday, July 30, 2007

There is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question. Eternity is in the present. Eternity is in the palm of the hand. Eternity is a seed of fire whose sudden roots break barriers that keep my heart from being an abyss.
Journal of Thomas Merton, July 4, 1952
Like a partridge hatching what she did not lay,
So is one who amasses wealth by unjust means;
In the middle of his life it will leave him,
And in the end he will be proved a fool.
Jeremiah 17:11b
Rabbi Yose son of Rabbi Hanina said: The divine Word spoke to each and every person according to his particular capacity. And do not be surprised at this idea. For when manna came down to Israel, each and every person tasted it in keeping with his own capacity... Now what was true about the manna was equally true about the divine Word. Each and every person heard it according to his own particular capacity. Thus David said, The voice of the Lord is in strength (Psalm 29:4) -- not "The voice of the Lord is in His strength," but the voice of the Lord is in the strength and capacity of each and every person.
Peskita De-Rab Kahana 12:25
Lord, you add understanding to faith. Therefore, as far as it is profitable for me, let me understand that you exist, in the way I believe you exist; and that your nature is what I believe it to be. I believe you to be that above which nothing greater can be conceived. But something above which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist only in the mind. If it exists in the mind, it is possible for it to exist in reality; and if it exists in reality, it would be greater than merely existing in the mind.
St. Anselm of Canterbury: Proslogion 2
The practice of yoga does not earn merit, nor does it lose merit; in itself it is morally neutral. But by practicing yoga you become progressively more inclined to act in a manner that has benign results, and less inclined to act in a manner that has malign results.
Patanjali: 4.7
Some people asked Rabi'a: 'Why do you not take a husband?' She replied: 'There are three questions, which absorb all my attention; if you can answer these questions, I shall take a husband. First, at the moment of death, will my faith be sound or not? Second, will the record of my deeds be put in my right hand, or in my left hand? Third, will I be in the group which is led to paradise, or in the group which is led to hell?' They said: 'We cannot answer these questions.' She said: 'With such agonizing questions on my mind, how can I concern myself with taking a husband?'
Attar: Rabi'a: 24
Perfect knowledge belongs to enlightened people, who recognize that all things are figments of the mind; who understand the emptiness of all things; and who have passed through the five levels of understanding. Perfect knowledge belongs to enlightened people who are entirely free from the dualism of being and non-being, of birth and death, and of assertion and negation. They no longer see the world as subject to causation. To them nothing is evolving and nothing is disappearing.
Lankavatra Sutra: 4
Your body is the shape lent to you by heaven and earth. Your life is not your possession; it exists through the harmony of energies, and is lent for a time by heaven and earth. Your character and destiny are not your possessions; they are laid down for you by heaven and earth. You travel through life without knowing where you are going; and you are fed, without knowing how food grows. So how can you ever possess anything?
Lieh Tzu, The Book of Lieh Tzu: 1

Sunday, July 29, 2007

There is a special peace and sense of blessing on Sunday morning, though all mornings are equally quiet here at the hermitage and the same birds always sing. I realize more than ever that here, in solitude, for me, is confrontation with the Word, and with God, and with the only possibilities that are fully real, or with those that are most real.
Journal of Thomas Merton, July 19, 1965
When appearances and names are abandoned, when discrimination ceases, and when we recognize all things as figments of the mind, then we can encounter ultimate reality. Reality has no image; it only has essence. Those who encounter ultimate reality have attained perfect wisdom.
Lankavatara Sutra 4
It is through God that you can be guided towards him. And to obtain this guidance you may seek his permission to find him. When he grants this permission, you recognize his unity. Recognizing his unity is the essence of faith in God. Faith in God leads to knowledge of God. Knowledge of God implies obedience in his commands. Obedience to God's commands is the means whereby you ascend towards him. And by ascending towards God you will eventually reach him.
Junayd: Tawhid 1
Wen said, 'Look around you. The world is full of plants and trees, animals and birds. Each living being has been shaped by yin and yang; and when yin and yang depart froma living being, that being dies. None of us can understand this continuous process of creaton and destruction; we simply observe it and wonder.
Lieh Tzu, The Book of Lieh Tzu: 3
To attain perfect knowledge you must become indifferent to time; you should discern eternity in every moment; and you should discern every moment in eternity. And you must become indifferent to space; you should discern infinity in every point, and you should discern every point in infinity. At the moment when you transcend time, you enter eternity. And at the place where you transcend space, you enter infinity. When you enter eternity and infinity, you are completely isolated, and utterly at one.
Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 3
A certain heathen asked Rabbi Joshua ben Karhah: "Why did the Holy One, the blessed One, speak to Moses out of a thorn bush?" He said to him: "Had it been out of a carob, or out of a sycamore, you would ask the same question. But I cannot send you away empty-handed. Why then out of a thorn bush? To teach you that there is no space free of the divine presence, not even a thorn bush."
Exodus Rabbah 2:9
Let it be my lot to see your light - even if I see it from a distance, and from far below. Teach me the way to you; and, when I have followed that way, welcome me into your presence. I can never find you, unless you guide me; I can never see you, unless you reveal yourself to me. I seek you Lord, because I yearn for you; and I yearn for you, because my nature is to seek you.
St. Anselm of Canterbury: Prologion 1
Thus said the Lord:
Observe what is right and do what is just;
For soon My salvation shall come,
And my deliverance be revealed.
Happy is the man who does this,
The man who holds fast to it:
Who keeps the sabbath and does not profane it,
And stays his hand from doing any evil.
Isaiah 56:1-2

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I will restore My people Israel.
They shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine;
They shall til gardens and eat their fruits.
And I will plant them upon their soil,
Nevermore to be uprooted
From the soil I have given them
- said the Lord your God
Amos:14 - 15
Also the celestial bodies and the elements proclaim the praise of their Creator--the sun, moon, and stars, the clouds and the winds, lightning and dew. The sun says, "The sun and moon stood still in their habitation, at the light of Thine arrows as they went, at the shining of Thy glittering spear"; and the stars sing, "Thou art the Lord, even Thou alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are thereon, the seas and all that is in them, and Thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth Thee."
Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, vol. 1