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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Views of Eternity



Over the course of my life I've followed Christian teachings as my barometer of faith.  As I grew older I searched for all forms of truth, wherever I found it, as an answer.  I've heard people say that various religions all offer the same truths, but with different dressings.  I disagree.  I believe that truth is of a single spirit, but that does not mean all of it is equal, nor that being a quest for truth that all information must be accepted equally.  I believe that God is able to commune with us, obviously, but that doesn't mean all are able to commune with God.  The difference in religious expression, in my opinion, is how each faith approaches divinity.

I found that for me the best way to pursue my faith was through questioning, searching, and exploring all ways of thought and belief.  I didn't become whatever I searched for, despite the accusations of others.  "You don't have to eat the whole egg to tell if it's rotten." Joseph Parisi  I, openly, borrowed the structures that work, and abandoned others that do not.  I completely accept that I am not able to comprehend a God's mind, or heart.  But I also dismiss the idea that I should accept all of a religion when some of it has been shown to be bigoted or hurtful.

As such, I can say that I have pursued my Christianity by using the concepts of deepening faith found in Buddhism.  I am not a Buddhist, nor am I an Universalist, but I see no reason to abandon truth if it isn't dressed in the same manner as I am.




THE WISDOM OF BUDDHA

“Understanding is the heartwood of well-spoken words.”

"Can there be joy and laughter When always the world is ablaze? Enshrouded in darkness Should you not seek a light?"

"No one saves us but ourselves,
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path
Buddhas merely teach the way.
By ourselves is evil done,
By ourselves we pain endure,
By ourselves we cease from wrong,
By ourselves become we pure."

"I will go about, from kingdom to kingdom,
training many disciples.
They — heedful, resolute
doing my teachings —
despite your wishes, will go
where, having gone,there's no grief."



FROM THE SUFI POET RUMI

"Love is the ark appointed for the righteous,
Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition."

"I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return."




FROM LAOZI, Founder of Taoism

"The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery."

"A way can be a guide but not a fixed path
names can be given but not permanent labels
Nonbeing is called the beginning of heaven and earth
being is called the mother of all things
Always passionless thereby observe the subtle
ever intent thereby observe the apparent
These two come from the same source but differ in name
both are considered mysteries
The mystery of mysteries is the gateway of marvels"



ZEN PROVERBS


"No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place."

"A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"
"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.
"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.
"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head."
As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
"Here open the gates of paradise," said Hakuin."




FROM JESUS CHRIST


"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

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