Inter -  Faiths  Dialogue

The Saints > Mystical life

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I t is possible to live out your whole life in perfect contentment, even though the whole world deafens you with its roar and wild beasts tear apart your body like a lump of clay. For nothing can shake a steady mind out of its peaceful repose; nothing can bar it from correct judgment, nor defeat its readiness to see the benefit that all things bring.

Philosophy / Stoicism Quote n°3040 | 
Book 7:68. 

I t is easy to know God. But to find the way to God is painfully hard. You cannot find God without passing beyond your own being. A Sufi does not become a Sufi by sitting on a prayer mat. The dervish way is not just the donning of a special turban and cloak. A Sufi is one who annihilates himself in the Truth, one whose heart is purified. The Sufi is someone who needs neither the sun by day nor the moon by night. For the Sufi is one who walks night and day by the Light of Truth. Sufism is poverty that can dispense with property.
How is one to know one's degree of saintliness and vigilance? Only if all parts of one's body join in the Remembrance of God can one be aware of such things. This is the kind of person who is called a Sufi.

Islam / Sufism Quote n°2953 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.213 

L overs converse with people only as much as they need to. For the most part, they prefer to be alone and by themselves. For they yearn for intimate communion with the Beloved. They are constantly in meditation. They do not enjoy excessive conversation and always prefer not to talk. They do not understand conversation about anything other than God.
When they encounter misfortune, they do not grumble and complain. They know that misfortune comes from the Friend, they see the benefits contained in seeming misfortune. Divine love has possessed them, and they have plunged lovingly into the fire of love. Going barefoot, bareheaded, and poorly clad does not worry them at all.
They hear no word but the words of God. They never cease from the remembrance of God. Everywhere they behold God's Beauty. Their aim is God alone, and their desire is God's good pleasure.

Islam / Sufism Quote n°2939 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.98 

O ne day Dhu-1-Nun reached a canal, where he performed his ablutions. He saw a beautiful palace situated close to the bank of the canal, on the balcony of which stood a very beautiful woman. Dhu-l-Nun. Asked her to speak to him. She said, 'When I saw you at a distance, I felt you were a madman; when you came closer, I saw you were a learned man; when you came closer still I considered you to be an enlightened soul. But now you have spoken to me I consider you none of these. " Dhu-l-Nun. Asked her why she felt so. She replied, if you were mad, you would not perform ablutions; if you were learned, you would not look at me; if you were enlightened, you would cast your glance at God and none besides.' Saying this, she disappeared.

Islam / Sufism Quote n°2884 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.64 

T he perfect mystic is neither an ecstatic devotee lost in contemplation of Oneness nor a saintly recluse shunning all commerce with mankind. The true saint goes in and out among the people, eats and sleeps with them, buys and sells in the market, marries and takes part in social intercourse, and never forgets God for a single moment.

Islam / Sufism Quote n°2869 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.40 

A soul shall wake in the Inconscient's house;
The mind shall be God-vision's tabernacle,
The body intuition's instrument,
And life a channel for God's visible power

Hinduism Quote n°2717 | 
"Savitri" by Sri Aurobindo, in the Teaching of the Hindu Mystics, by Andrew Harvey, Shambala. 

T he gnostic individual would be the consummation of the spiritual man; his whole way of being, thinking, living, acting would be governed by the power of a vast universal spirituality. All the trinities of the Spirit would be real to his self-awareness and realized in his inner life. All his existence would be fused in oneness with the transcendent and universal Self and Spirit; all his action would originate from and obey the supreme Self and Spirit's divine governance of Nature. All life would have to him the sense of the Conscious Being, the Purusha within, finding its self-expression in Nature; his life and all its thoughts, feelings, acts would be filled for him with that significance and built upon that foundation of its reality. He would feel the presence of the Divine in every center of his consciousness, in every vibration of his life-force, in every cell of his body. In all the workings of his force of Nature he would be aware of the workings of the supreme World-Mother, the Super-nature; he would see his natural being as the becoming and manifestation of the power of the World-Mother. In this consciousness he would live and act in an entire transcendent freedom, a complete joy of the Spirit, an entire identity with the cosmic Self and a spontaneous sympathy with all in the universe.

Hinduism Quote n°2715 | 
The New Race, in the Teaching of the Hindu Mystics, by Andrew Harvey, Shambala. 

T he gnostic being, using Matter but using it without material or vital attachment or desire, will feel that he is using the Spirit in this form of itself with its consent and sanction for its own purpose. There will be in him a certain respect for physical things, an awareness of the occult consciousness in them, a worship of the Divine, the Brahman, in what he uses, a care for a perfect and faultless use of his divine material, for a true rhythm, ordered harmony, beauty in the life of Matter, in the utilization of Matter.
As a result of this new relation between the Spirit and the body, the gnostic evolution will effectuate the spiritualization, perfection and fulfillment of the physical being.

Hinduism Quote n°2714 | 
The New Body, in the Teaching of the Hindu Mystics, by Andrew Harvey, Shambala. 

T hus sang a Vedantist: I never had fear or doubt. Death never came to me. I never had a father or mother, for I was never born. Where are my foes? - for I am All. I am Existence, Knowledge, Bliss Absolute. I am It. I am It."

Hinduism Quote n°2696 | 
"Vedanta: Voice of Freedom", Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 205 S. Skinker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63105. 

T he wise see that there is action in the midst of inaction and inaction in the midst of action. Their consciousness is unified, and every act is done with complete awareness.
The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action.
They live in freedom who have gone beyond the dualities of life. Competing with no one, they are alike in success and failure and content with whatever comes to them. They are free, without selfish attachments; their minds are fixed in knowledge. They perform all work in the spirit of service, and their karma is dissolved.

Hinduism Quote n°2660 | 
translated by Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri Press, Tomales, California 

A nd his heart becomes free from sensual passion, free from the passion for existence free from the passion of ignorance. Freed am I : this knowledge arises in the liberated one; and he knows: Exhausted is rebirth, fulfilled the Holy Life; what was to be done, has been done; naught remains more for this world to do.

Buddhism Quote n°2505 | 
Anguttara Nikaya, IV. 198 

B ut whatsoever there is of feeling, perception, mental formations, or consciousness : all these phenomena he regards as impermanent, subject to pain, as infirm, as an ulcer, a thorn, a misery, a burden, an enemy, a disturbance, as empty and void of an Ego; and turning away from these things, he directs his mind towards the abiding, thus: This, verily, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment, extinction, Nibbana. And in this state he reaches the cessation of passions.

Buddhism Quote n°2504 | 
Anguttara Nikaya, IX. 36 

S uppose, a householder, or his son, or someone reborn in any family hears the law, and after hearing the law he is filled with confidence in the Perfect One. And filled with this confidence, he thinks: Full of hindrances is household life, a refuse heap; but pilgrim life is like the open air. Not easy is it, when one lives at home, to fulfill point by point the rules of the holy life. How, if now I were to cut off hair and beard, put on the yellow robe and go forth from home to the homeless life? And in a short time, having given up his more or less extensive possessions, having forsaken a smaller or larger circle of relations, he cuts off hair and beard, puts on the yellow robe, and goes forth from home to the homeless life.

Having thus left the world, he fulfills the rules of the monks. He avoids the killing of living beings and abstains from I. Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is anxious for the welfare of all living beings. He avoids stealing and abstains from taking what is not given to him. Only what is given to him he takes, waiting till it is given; and he lives with a heart honest and pure. He avoids unchastity, living chaste, resigned, and keeping aloof from sexual intercourse and the vulgar He avoids lying and abstains from I. He speaks the truth, is devoted to the truth, reliable, worthy of confidence, is not a deceiver of men. He avoids tale-bearing, and abstains from I. What he has heard here, he does not repeat there, so as to cause dissension there; and what he has heard there, he does not repeat here, so as to cause dissension here. Thus he unites those that are divided, and those that are united he encourages; concord gladdens him, he delights and rejoices in concord; and it is concord that he spreads by his words. He avoids harsh language and abstains from I. He speaks such words as are gentle, soothing to the ear, loving, going to the heart, courteous and dear, and agreeable to many. -He avoids vain talk and abstains from I. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts, speaks what is useful, speaks about the law and the discipline; his speech is like a treasure, at the right moment accompanied by arguments, moderate, and full of sense.
He keeps aloof from dance, song, music and the visiting of shows; rejects flowers, perfumes, ointment, as well as every kind of adornment and embellishment. High and gorgeous beds he does not use. Raw corn and meat he does not accept. Women and girls he does not accept. He owns no male and female slaves, owns no goats, sheep, fowls, pigs, elephants, cows or horses, no land and goods. He does not go on errands and do the duties of a messenger. He keeps aloof from buying and selling things. He has nothing to do with false measures, metals and weights. He avoids crooked ways of bribery, deception and fraud. He keeps aloof from stabbing, beating, chaining, attacking, plundering and oppressing.
He contents himself with the robe that protects his body, and with the alms with which he keeps himself alive. Wherever he goes he is him. By fulfilling this noble Domain of Morality he feels in his heart an irreproachable happiness.
Now, in perceiving a form with the eye-a sound with the ear-an odor with the nose-a taste with the tongue-a touch with the body-an object with his mind, he sticks neither to the whole, nor to its details. And he tries to ward off that, which, by being unguarded in his senses, might give rise to evil and demeritorious states, to greed and sorrow; he watches over his senses, keeps his senses under control. By practicing - this noble Control of the Senses he feels in his heart an unblemished happiness.
Clearly conscious is he in his going and coming; clearly conscious in looking forward and backward; clearly conscious in bending and stretching his body; clearly conscious in eating, drinking, chewing and tasting; clearly conscious in discharging excrement and urine; clearly conscious in walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep and awakening; clearly conscious in speaking and keeping silent.
Now, being equipped with this lofty Morality, equipped with this noble Control of the Senses, and filled with this noble Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness, he chooses a secluded dwelling in the forest, at the foot of a tree, on a mountain, in a cleft, in a rock cave, on a burial ground, on a woody table-land, in the open air, or on a heap of straw. Having returned from his alms round, he, after the meal, sits himself down with legs crossed, body erect, with attentiveness fixed before him.
He has cast away Lust; he dwells with a heart free from lust; from lust he cleanses his heart.
He has cast away Ill-will; he dwells with a heart free from ill-will; cherishing love and compassion toward all living beings, he cleanses his heart from ill-will.
He has cast away Torpor and Dullness; he dwells free from torpor and dullness; loving the light, with watchful mind, with clear consciousness, he cleanses his mind from torpor and dullness.
He has cast away Restlessness and Mental Worry; dwelling with mind undisturbed, with heart full of peace, he cleanses his mind from restlessness and mental worry.
He has cast away Doubt; dwelling free from doubt, full of confidence in the good, he cleanses his heart from doubt.
He has put aside these five Hindrances and learnt to know the paralyzing corruptions of the mind And far from sensual impressions, far from demeritorious things he enters into the Four Trances.

Buddhism Quote n°2503 | 
Anguttara Nikaya, IV. 198 

W hen, in the midst [of this universal operation] the sage fulfills the Way to the utmost, and identifies himself [with the universal processes of appearance and disappearance] without partiality (i.e., lives the best life and takes life and death objectively), his spirit is preserved in the highest degree

Confucianism / Neo Confucianism Quote n°2360 | 
Chang Tsai, Cheng-meng, Ch.1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 30 

T here has never been a person who has roamed over the transcendental world to the utmost and yet was not silently in harmony with the mundane world, nor has there been anyone who was silently in harmony with the mundane world and yet did not roam over the transcendental world. Therefore the sage always roams in the transcendental world in order to enlarge the mundane world. By having no deliberate mind of his own, he is in accord with things.

Daoism / Neo Daoism Quote n°2290 | 
Kuo Hsiang, COMMENTARY ON THE CHUANG TZU, ch. 6, NHCc, 3:19a-b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 19. 
As pointed out before, neither Wang Pi nor Kuo Hsiang considered Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu a sage. Instead, their sage was Confucius. This is amazing, but the reason is really not far to seek. For to Kuo Hsiang, especially, the ideal person is a sage who is sagely within and kingly without" and who travels in both the transcendental and mundane worlds. According to the Neo-Taoists, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu traveled only in the transcendental world and were therefore one-sided, whereas Confucius was truly sagely within and kingly without.

T he ordinary people will consider it lack of simplicity to harmonize all the changes throughout ten thousand years. With a tired body and a frightened mind, they toil to avoid this and to take that. The sage alone has no prejudice. He therefore proceeds with utter simplicity and becomes one with transformation and always roams in the realm of unity.

Daoism / Neo Daoism Quote n°2286 | 
Kuo Hsiang, COMMENTARY ON THE CHUANG TZU, ch. 2, NHCC, 1:4 1 b-42a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 19. 

T he mind of the sage penetrates to the utmost the perfect union of yin and yang and understands most clearly the wonderful principles of the myriad things. Therefore he can identify himself with changes and harmonize with transformations, and finds everything all right wherever he may go. He embraces all things and thus nothing is not in its natural state. The world asks him [to rule] because of disorder. He has no deliberate mind of his own. Since he has no deliberate mind of his own, why should he not respond to the world? He who identifies himself with the profoundly mysterious state and understands its wonder to the utmost, appreciates the nature of all things, partakes in the creative and transforming process of the universe, and fulfills the fame of Yao and Shun . He can do so because he acts by taking no [unnatural] action.

Daoism / Neo Daoism Quote n°2284 | 
Kuo Hsiang, COMMENTARY ON THE CHUANG TZU, ch. 1, NHCC, 1: 13b, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 19. 

T he sage is tranquil not because he says to himself, "It is good to be tranquil," and therefore became tranquil. He is tranquil because nothing disturbs him. When water is tranquil, its clearness reflects even the beard and the eyebrows. It remains definitely level, and master carpenters take it as their model. If water is clear when it is tranquil, how much more so is the spirit? When the mind of the sage is tranquil, it becomes the mirror of the universe and the reflection of all things.

Daoism Quote n°2262 | 
Chuang Tzu, ch. 13 (Houang Lao school), NHcc, 5:21b-24a, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 

A h! My master, my master! He tears all things to pieces but did not specially make up his mind to be just. His blessing reaches the ten thousand generations but he has no partial love for anyone. He is more ancient than the highest antiquity but is not old. He covers heaven and supports the earth, and fashions the shapes of all things and yet he is not purposely skillful. This is the way he roams around.

Daoism Quote n°2248 | 
Chuang Tzu, chapter VI, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 

T zu Sang-hu, Meng Tzu-fan, and Tzu Ch'in-chang were friend. They said to each other, "Who can live together without any special effort to live together and help each other without any special effort to help each other? Who can ascend to heaven, roam through the clouds, revolve in the realm of the infinite, live without being aware of it, and pay no attention to death?" The three looked at each other and smiled, completely understood each other, and thus became friends.

Daoism Quote n°2243 | 
Chuang Tzu, chapter VI, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 

N an-po Tzu-k'uei (1) asked Nu-yu (2) "Sir, you are old but have the look of a child. How is this?"

"I have learned Tao," replied Nu Yu.

"Can Tao be learned?" Nan-po Tzu-k'uei said.

"Ah! How can it?" replied Nu Yu. "You are not the type of man. Pu-liang I (3) had the ability of the sage but did not know the teachings. I knew A the teachings but did not have his ability. I wanted to teach him so he could become a sage. But that was not such a simple case. It seemed easy to teach the doctrines of a sage to a man with his ability. But I still had to wait to teach him. It was three days before he was able to transcend this world. After he transcended this world, I waited for seven days more and then he was able to transcend all material things. After he transcended all material things, I waited for nine days more and then he was able to transcend all life. Having transcended all life, he became as clear and bright as the morning. Having become as clear and bright as the morning, he was able to see the One. Having met the One, he was then able to abolish the distinction of past and present. Having abolished the past and present, he was then able to enter the realm of neither life nor death. Then, to him, the destruction of life did not mean death and the production of life did not mean life. In dealing with things, he would not lean forward or backward to accommodate them. To him everything was in the process of destruction, everything was in the process of perfection. This is called tranquility in disturbance. Tranquility in disturbance means that it is especially the midst of disturbance that [tranquility] becomes perfect."

Daoism Quote n°2238 | 
Chuang Tzu, chapter VI, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 
Like many of Chuang Tzu's phrases, "not to lean forward or backward" has become a favorite dictum among later Chinese thinkers, especially Neo-Confucianists. It does not mean moderation or indifference but absolute spontaneity and impartiality in dealing with things and complete naturalness in response things.

S uch being the pure man, his mind is perfectly at ease .(1) His demeanor is natural. His forehead is broad. He is as cold as autumn but as warm as spring. His pleasure and anger are as natural as the four seasons. He is in accord with all things, and no one knows the limit thereof.

Daoism Quote n°2232 | 
Chuang Tzu, chapter VI, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 
(1) This is Kuo Hsiang's interpretation of the word chih. Others like Chiao Hung (1541-1620) in his Chuang Tzu i (An Aid to the Chuang Tzu) read chik as wang, forgetful, that is, being without thought.

T he pure man of old did not mind having little, did not brag about accomplishments, and did not scheme about things. If [the opportunity] had gone, he would not regret and if he was in accord [with his lot in life] he did not feel satisfied with himself. Being of this character, he could scale heights without fear, enter water without getting wet, and go through fire without feeling hot. Such is the knowledge that can at last ascend to Tao.

Daoism Quote n°2231 | 
Chuang Tzu, chapter VI, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 

T he pure man of old knew neither to love life nor to hate death. He did not rejoice in birth, nor did he resist death. Without any concern he came and without any concern he went, that was all. He did not forget his beginning nor seek his end. He accepted [his body] with pleasure, and forgetting [life and death], he returned to [the natural state]. He did not violate Tao with his mind, and he did not assist Nature with man. This is what is meant by a pure man.

Daoism Quote n°2230 | 
Chuang Tzu, chapter VI, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 
The doctrine of identifying life and death as one is not peculiar to Taoism, for it was common among several schools at Chuang Tzu's time. The point to note is that Taoism never glorifies death, as it is sometimes mistakenly understood.

T he pure man of old slept without dreams and awoke without anxiety. He ate without indulging in sweet tastes and breathed deep breaths. The man draws breaths from the great depths of his heels, the multitude only from their throats.

Daoism Quote n°2229 | 
Chuang Tzu, chapter VI, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 8. 
It is tempting to equate Chuang Tzu's reference to breathing with Indian Yoga. But there is a great deal of difference between them. What Chuang Tzu means is that we must go to the depth (the heels) of things. It is there that the "secret of Nature" (I'ien-chi) begins. By this secret is meant the secret operation of Nature, the way in which things spring forth. One should not try to get away from Nature but go to its depth. The idea of t'ien-chi has had a strong influence on Neo-Confucianists.

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