When terrible things happen I go back to the eternal truth-tellers – Jewish, Buddhist, Sufi, Hindu, Christian, Baha’i, Taoist

When terrible things happen I go back to the eternal truth-tellers that matter most in the long run.

PHOTO is from Unsplash (Can’t find photographer’s name)

1 FROM JEWISH TEACHINGS: The great Jewish poet, philosopher & activist Rebbe Abraham Joshua Heschel describes the two worlds exquisitely ;

“The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another. Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap.

They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel, in Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion.

A simpler way of presenting the key idea is to be found in this metaphor: “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of mystery.” Notice that even reason stops at the shoreline of mystery. The key is this – to realize Nondual Reality we have to surrender to the impossibility that language, words, concepts, even mind and reason can play a part. We either feel the Nondual whole or we don’t. But the good news is that we can clear away the inner clutter that comes with the ‘dual world’ and find that our true Self is there all the time. This is Awareness, but Awareness is us only when we have stopped ‘selfing’. Then, relatively, we sense that God is closer to us than our life-vein as in We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.” (Qur’an 50:16). As in the one set of footsteps in the sand God carries us, even when we are not fulfilling our covenantal obligation. To transcend we have to get our false egoic self sufficiently surrendered to allow our true Self to be reflected from our heart.

2 FROM BUDDHIST TEACHINGS: – The two realms are pointed to in this ancient Zen teaching telling us that the great Master Dogen taught, “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”……… To be enlightened by the 10,000 things is to recognize the unity of the self and the 10,000 things. Elsewhere it is said with the greatest brevity, ”No self – no problem.”

3 FROM SUFI ISLAMIC TEACHINGS: Rumi in one of his poems says; “Not Christian or Jew or Muslim. Not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the east or the west. Not out of the ocean or up from the ground. Not natural or ethereal. Not composed of elements at all. I do not exist. Am not an entity in this world or the next. Did not descend from Adam & Eve or any origin story. My place is the placeless, a trace of the traceless – neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one & that one call to & know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath, breathing, human, being.” – Rumi – 13thC Sufi mystic – (C Barks).

4 FROM HINDU TEACHINGS:

“Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the

individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the

self same tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree;

the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

“The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the

divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he

recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his

glory, he grieves no more.” -0- SOURCE This trans. is in ‘The Upanishads, Breath of the Eternal’, by Swami Prabhavananda.

5 FROM CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS:

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” The Gospel of Thomas HERE

Fr. Richard Rohr comments; “Western Judeo-Christians are often uncomfortable with the word “nonduality.” They often associate it (negatively) with Eastern religions. I am convinced, however, that Jesus was the first nondual religious teacher of the West, and one reason we have failed to understand so much of his teaching, much less follow it, is because we tried to understand it with a dualistic mind.” – Fr. Richard Rohr, in The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.

6 FROM BAHA’I TEACHINGS: “The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence. To this most excellent aim, this supreme objective, all the heavenly Books and the divinely-revealed and weighty Scriptures unequivocally bear witness. Whoso hath recognized the Day Spring of Divine guidance and entered His holy court hath drawn nigh unto God and attained His Presence, a Presence which is the real Paradise, and of which the loftiest mansions of heaven are but a symbol.” – Bahá’u’lláh – Gleanings XXIX

The goal for the individual is to become free of ‘egoic-self’; “Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.” – Bahá’u’lláh – Persian Hidden Word No 40

7 FROM TAOIST TEACHINGS: The first chapter of the Tao Te Ching says;

The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery & manifestations arise from the same source…..

-0-

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