Monday, August 6, 2007

As human beings we consist of both body and soul; both of them are marks of God's goodness to us. The body is visible, and the soul is invisible. It follows that we should render to God both visible and invisible service. Outward religion is visible service, and involves such things as praying, fasting, acts of charity, building temples, celebrating festivals, and so on. Inward religion is invisible service, and involves such things as: acknowledging the unity of God in our hearts, loving God in our hearts; being humble towards him, and wishing to obey his every command; entrusting ourselves to him; abstaining from what he hates, and embracing what he loves; and meditating on his blessings.
Bahya: Guide to the Duties of the Heart
And his sister stood at a distance, to learn what would befall him (Exodus 2:4)
Why did Miriam stand at a distance? Rabbi Amram in the name of Rab said: Because Miriam prophesied, "My mother is destined to give birth to a son who will save Israel." When the house was flooded with light at the birth of Moses, her father arose and kissed her head and said: "My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled."
Exodus Rabbah 1:22
In the beginning the golden embryo arose. As soon as it arose, it became the source of all creation. It put in place the earth and the sky. Is the golden embryo the God whom we should worship? from the golden embryo comes life and strength. All the other divine beings obey its command. Its shadow confers immortality - or death. Is the golden embryo the God whom we should worship? The golden embryo is so powerful that it possesses the snowy mountains. It possesses the vast ocean, and also the mighty river that encircles earth and heaven. It has two arms embracing the north, two embracing the south, two embracing the east and two embracing the west. When two opposing armies face one another, their soldiers with trembling hearts look up to the golden embryo, and seek its help and the golden embryo rises, and casts its brightness upon them.
Rig Veda 10:12.1-4,6
In one sense we are always traveling, and traveling as if we did not know where we were going. In another sense we have already arrived. We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life, and that is why we are traveling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore, in that sense, we have arrived and are dwelling in the light. But oh! How far have I to go to find You in Whom I have already arrived!
Thomas Merton. The Seven Storey Mountain
Let us always seek ways that lead to peace, and ways in which we strengthen one another. Those of us who are strong in faith should bear as our own burden the tender scruples of the weak. We should not try to please ourselves, but rather please our brothers and sisters, doing whatever will suit them, and in this way building up our common life. May God, the source of patience and encouragement, give you all the same purpose, which is to follow the example of Christ Jesus. Then with one mind and voice you will praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you.
Romans: 14:19; 15:1-2, 5-7
The Buddha said: 'Which do you think is more difficult: remaining undisturbed by the sound of five hundred carts passing by; or remaining undisturbed by the sound of a violent thunderstorm?' The Buddha then explained how his teaching gave people such inner calm, that nothing could disturb them. At the end Pukkusa said: 'This very moment I blow away my old faith and inhale a new faith - in Gautama Buddha'.
Parinibbana Sutta 4:33-35
Wise people are still and tranquil. This is not because they see ay value in being still and tranquil; it is simply that wisdom induces this state. No one can perturb them. Even if every livin being gathered around a truly wise person, and shouted and screamed, the wise person would remain calm. When it is still, water gives such a perfect reflection that you can even see your own eyebrows within it. When water is still, the carpenter can set his level perfectly by it. If still water offers such perfection, think what a still soul can offer! Heaven and earth are reflected in it; it is a mirror of all life. In its lack of movement it reflects all movement. In its inaction it reflects all action. By going notwhere it reflects the birds flying across the sky form one continent to another.
Chuang Tzu, The Book of Chuang Tzu: 13
Your God is one God. There is no god but him. He is merciful and compassionate. There are many signs of God for men and women of understanding. There is the creation of the heavens and the earth. There is the alteration of night and day. There are the ships sailing the ocean with cargoes that bring pleasure to people. There is the rain that God sends down from the sky; by this means he revives the barren earth, and nourishes the creatures that live in the earth. And there are the changing winds, and the clouds that are driven through the atmosphere between the earth and the sky.
Quran 2:163-4