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Interreligious dialogue : Classics > Accepting your Fate

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A n old, sad woman talked to Mahna's Sheikh:
"Teach me to pray for joy, for pity's sake -
I've suffered so much that I cannot bear
To think of future grief - give me some prayer
To murmur every day." The sheikh replied:
"How many years I wondered far and wide
Until I found the fortress that you seek -
It is the knee, bend it, accept, be meek;
I found no other way - this remedy,
And only this, will cure you of your misery."

Islam / Sufism 4525 | 
The Conference of the Birds, p123 

Y ou too, gentlemen of the jury, must look forward to death with confidence, and fix your minds on this one belief, which is certain: that nothing can harm a good man either in life or after death, and his fortunes are not a matter of indifference to the gods. This present experience of mine has not come about accidently; I am quite clear that the time had come when it was better for me to die and be released from my distractions. That is why my sign [his guiding spirit] never turned me back.

Philosophy / Platonism 3637 | 
Apology, 41D-42A; adapted from Hamilton, E., 1969, pp. 25-26 

C hoose less over more in it. Be satisfied with what you have, even if it is less than what others have. In fact, prefer to have less.

Islam / Sufism 3542 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.56 

D o not be always wanting everything to turn out as you think it should, but rather as God pleases, then you will be undisturbed and thankful in your prayer.

Christianity 3340 | 
Abba Nilus: The sayings of the Desert Fathers : the alphabetical collection. Trans. Benedicta Ward, SLG. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1984, 1975, p. 154, Nilus 7 

T o go from mortal to buddha, you have to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness, and accept what life brings.

Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) 3249 | 
The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Trans. Red Pine. New York: North Point Press, 1987. The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Trans. Red Pine. New York: North Point Press, 1987, p. 35 

W hatever you have in your mind-forget it; whatever you have in your hand-give it; whatever is to be your fate-face it!

Islam / Sufism 2864 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.37 

T he self is not bad in itself. Never blame your self. Part of the work of Sufism is to change the state of your self. The lowest state is that of being completely dominated by your wants and desires. The next state is to struggle with yourself, to seek to act according to reason and higher ideals and to criticize yourself when you fail. A much higher state is to be satisfied with whatever God provides for you, whether it means comfort or discomfort, fulfillment of physical needs or not.

Islam / Sufism 2858 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.20 

W hat is the secret of finding the Treasure? There isn't one. The Treasure is everywhere. It is offered to us at every moment and wherever we find ourselves. All creatures, friends or enemies, pour it out abundantly, and it courses through every fiber of our body and soul until it reaches the very core of our being. If we open our mouths they will be filled. God's activity runs through the entire universe. It wells up around and penetrates every created being. Wherever they are, it is there also. It runs ahead of them, it stays with them, and it follows after them. All they have to do is to allow its waves to sweep them forward, fulfill the simple duties of their religion and status in life, accept cheerfully all the difficulties they meet, and surrender to the will of God in all they have to do…. This is authentic spirituality, and it is valid for all times and for everyone. We could not choose to become good in a better, more miraculous, and yet easier way than by the simple use of the means offered us by God; the whole-hearted acceptance of everything that comes to us at every moment of our lives.

Christianity / Catholicism 2850 | 
Jean Pierre de Caussade, translated from the French by Andrew Harvey in Teaching of the Christian Mystics. 

N o limits are set to the ascent of man, and to each and everyone the highest stands open. Here it is only your personal choice that decides.

Judaism / Hassidism 2767 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.71 

T his whole world is a cloak for the lowest rung of holiness, for its feet, as it were. As it is written: "And the earth is my footstool." God limits the godliness he has in infinity, and narrows it down to the focus of the material world in which man exists. And there he assigns every man his thought and word and deed according to the day, the place, and the person, and hides therein the signs to lead men to his service.
And so a man should immerse himself in the task of understanding the signs which are cloaked in thought and word and deed and so given to him in particular, in his work and his affairs, and in everything God appoints for him day by day.

Judaism / Hassidism 2745 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.23 

E verything is destiny. A man should accept obediently what is correct [in his destiny]." If one obeys the principles of his nature and destiny, he will obtain what is correct in them. If one destroys principle and indulges in desires to the limit, he will be inviting evil fortune.

Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2388 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.6 (sppy, 2:17a-21a), in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 

T he Way is in all events, whether great or little. They conform to the Way when they are contented with their state of being. They violate the Way when they are in discord with their state of being.

Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2350 | 
Shao Yung, Supreme Principle Governing the World (Huang-Chi Ching Shu), 8B:29a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 29 

T he most important things in the world [with regard to the subtle, incipient activation of things] are tendencies. Tendencies may be strong or weak. If a tendency is extremely strong, it cannot be controlled. But it is possible to control it quickly if one realizes that it is strong. To control it requires effort. If one does not realize early enough, it will not be easy to apply effort. If one has exerted his effort and does not succeed, that is due to Heaven, but if one either does not realize or does not apply effort, that is due to man. Is it due to Heaven? No, it is due to man. Why complain?

Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2329 | 
Chou Tun-yi, penetrating the Book of Changes, Ch. 27, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 28 

T herefore if we realize that our nature and destiny are what they should be, we will have no anxiety and will be at ease with ourselves in the face of life or death, prominence or obscurity, or an infinite amount of changes and variations, and will be in accord with principle.

Daoism / Neo Daoism 2289 | 
Kuo Hsiang, COMMENTARY ON THE CHUANG TZU, ch. 5, NHCc, 2:40a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 19. 

J oy and sorrow are results of gains and losses. A gentleman who profoundly penetrates all things and is in harmony with their transformations will be contented with whatever time may bring. He follows the course of Nature in whatever situation he may be. He will be quietly harmonized and united with Creation. He will be himself wherever he may be. Where does gain or loss, life or death, come in? Therefore, if one lets what he has received from Nature take its own course, there will be no place for joy or sorrow.

Daoism / Neo Daoism 2287 | 
Kuo Hsiang, COMMENTARY ON THE CHUANG TZU, ch. 3, NHCC, 2:6a-b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 19. 

I f one is contented wherever he goes, he will be at ease wherever he may be. Even life and death cannot affect him. How much less can flood or fire? The perfect man is not besieged by calamities, not because he escapes from them but because he advances the principles of things and goes forward and naturally comes into union with good fortune.

Daoism / Neo Daoism 2285 | 
Kuo Hsiang, COMMENTARY ON THE CHUANG TZU, ch. 1, NHCC, 1: 14a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 19. 

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