Saturday, August 4, 2007

Among God's signs are ships which sail like mountains across the ocean. When God pleases, he calms the wind, so the ships lie motionless on the bosom of the ocean. The wealth of this world, which God has bestowed on you, brings only fleeting pleasure. Far better and more enduring is God's re2ward to those who believe and put their trust in him; who shun the gross sins and indecencies; who, when angered, are quick to forgive; who obey their Lord, and are regular in their prayers; who take advice from other believers when they must make important decisions; who give to others parts of the wealth which God gives them; and who, when injustice occurs, strive to restore justice.
Quran: 42:32-39
The soul is immediately at one with God, when it is truly at peace in itself. God is our sure rock, and he shall be our whole joy and make us as changeless as he is, when we reach the heavens. When we come to receive the reward that grace has won for us, then we shall thank and bless our Lord, for ever rejoicing that we were called upon to suffer. I saw full surely that wherever our Lord appears, peace reigns, and anger has no place. For I saw no whit of anger in God - in short or in long term. It is god's will that we should serve him steadfastly for love, without grumbling or striving against him, until our life's end.
Julian of Norwich, The Revelations of Divine Love
We are what we love. If we love God, in whose image we were created, we discover ourselves in him and we cannot help being happy: we have already achieved something of the fullness of being for which we were destined in our creation. If we love everything else but God, we contradict the image born in our very essence, and we cannot help being unhappy, because we are living a caricature of what we were meant to be.
Thomas Merton: The Waters of Siloe p.349-350
The Holy One, the blessed One said to Israel, "Even if you find the land full of all good things, do not say, 'We will sit and not plant'; rather be diligent in planting... Just as you came and found trees planted by others, you must plant for your children." A person must not say, "I am old, how many years will I live? Why should I stand and exert myself for others? Tomorrow I will die." You must not excuse yourself from planting. As you found trees, plant more, even if you are old.
Midrash Tanhuma, Kedoshim: 8
Just as a man digging with a spade eventually finds water, so the student listening to his teacher eventually finds truth. A student should observe the behaviour of all people. If a student observes some man or woman whose conduct is especially fine, he should strive to imitate that conduct. Even the lowliest person can be a worthy example. The student should regard his teacher as the embodiment of ultimate truth. When the student has learnt to respect his teacher and his parents, then he will find it easy to respect all other men and women. He should seek wisdom from every person he meets.
The Yoga of Knowledge and Action: 2.218; 239
I look at the ways in which ordinary people seek happiness. I look at the things for which they strive, and whic they say bring happiness. yet I am not convinced their happiness is real. Certainly I should not find happiness in those things. Does happiness really exist? Let me put it this way. The inaction of heaven is its purity and the inaction of earth is its peace. Let purity combine with peace, and there is perfection. So from inaction comes perfection.
Chuang Tzu, The Book of Chuang Tzu: 18
Although different from Indian Buddhism in form and practice, in the end Zen seems to be more authentic than many other Buddhist schools. In particular, Zen emphasizes the necessity of practice leading toward enlightenment, which is the very foundation of Buddhism. As we know, the principle of not-self is used only as a means to open the way of Buddhism - it is not a dogma. The principle of not-self is applied to both the world of living beings and the world of inanimate things. Not-self signifies absence of permanent identity. Not-self is impermanence itself. Everything is constantly changing. Therefore, nothing can be fixed in its identity. Everything is subject to not-self.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Keys
My beloved is mine
And I am his
Who browses among the lilies.
When the day blows gently
And the shadows flee,
Set out, my beloved,
Swift as a gazelle
Or a young stag,
For the hills of spices!
Song of Songs 2:16-17