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Interreligious dialogue : Classics > Spiritual Advices

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A nd the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace,
And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing in prayer





Islam 4563 | 
AL FURQAN 25.63-64 







W e have no freedom to achieve our goal
Until from Self and fools we free the soul.
To be admitted past the veil you must
Be dead to all the crowd considers just
Once past the veil you understand the Way
From which the crowd's glib courtier blindly stray
If you have any will, leave women's stories,
And even if this search for hidden glories
Proves blasphemy at last, be sure our quest
Is not mere talk but an exacting test.
The fruit of love's great tree is poverty
Whoever knows this knows humility





Islam / Sufism 4527 | 
The Conference of the Birds 







A man who lived by digging graves survived
To ripe old age. A neighbour said: "You've thrived
For years, digging away in one routine -
Tell us the strangest thing you've ever seen."
He said: "All things considered, what's most strange
Is that for seventy years without a change
That dog, my self, has seen me digging graves,
Yet neither dies, nor alters, nor behaves!"





Islam / Sufism 4522 | 
The Conference of the Birds, p96 







P eople under delusion accumulate tainted merits but do not tread the Path.
They are under the impression that to accumulate merits and to tread the
Path are one and the same thing.
Though their merits for alms-giving and offerings are infinite
They do not realize that the ultimate source of sin lies in the three
poisons within their own mind.
They expect to expiate their sins by accumulating merit
Without knowing that felicities obtained in future lives have nothing to
do with the expiation of sins.
Why not get rid of the sin within our own mind,
For this is true repentance?





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) 4392 | 
Sutra of Hui Neng 6 







W hat then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you
believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but
God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is
anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who
waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor.
For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master
builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let
each man take care how he builds upon it.





Christianity 4364 | 
1 Corinthians 3.5-11 







W hatever you do, do all to the glory of God.




Christianity 4337 | 
1 Corinthians 10.31 







I f you are in any doubt concerning what We have sent down to you, then
question those who have read the Book before you; Truth has come to you
from your Lord, so do not be a waverer; do not be someone who rejects
God's signs, so you be a loser.





Islam 4335 | 
Qur'an 10:94 







W hoever is proud of his royal authority
falls into hell, becomes a dog.
Whoever fancies himself for his beauty
takes birth as a filthy worm.
Whoever proclaims his meritorious deeds
whirls in transmigration, fallen into numerous births.
Whoever is proud of wealth and estates
is thoughtless, blind, senseless.
But whoever in whose heart He, in His grace, lodges humility
finds, says Nanak, liberation in this life,
bliss in the hereafter.

Whoever is proud of his wealth,
Know not even a blade of grass shall accompany him.
Whoever pins his confidence on large hoardes and servants
is destroyed in an instant.
Whoever reckons himself powerful over all
is reduced in an instant to ashes.
Whoever in his pride reckons none as his equal
In the end treated with ignominy by the Master of Law.
Whoever by the Master's grace has his pride anulled,
Says Nanak, finds acceptance at the Divine Portal.





Sikhism 4304 | 
Gauri Sukhmani 12, M.5, p. 278 







H im who humbles himself, God exalts; him who exalts himself, God humbles;
from him who searches for greatness, greatness flies; him who flies from
greatness, greatness searches out: with him who is importunate with
circumstances, circumstance is importunate; by him who gives way to
circumstance, circumstance stands.





Judaism 4303 | 
Erubin 13b 







W hoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will
be exalted.





Christianity 4302 | 
Matthew 23.12 







A t that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."




Christianity 4189 | 
Matthew 18.1-3 







T he path of knowledge leads to Truth, as does the path that combines knowledge and love [bhakti]. The path of love too leads to this goal. The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge. All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love.




Hinduism 3898 | 
Nikhilananda, 1942; p. 104 







O ne cannot see God without purity of heart. Through attachment to "woman and gold" the mind has become stained -covered with dirt, as it were. A magnet cannot attract a needle if the needle is covered with mud. Wash away the mud and the magnet will draw it. Likewise, the dirt of the mind can be washed away with the tears of our eyes. This stain is removed if one sheds tears of repentence and says, "0 God, I shall never again do such a thing." Thereupon God, who is like the, magnet, draws to Himself the mind, which is like the needle. Then the devotee goes into samadhi and obtains the vision of God.

You may try thousands of times, but nothing can be achieved without God's grace. One cannot see God without His grace. Is it an easy thing to receive the grace of God? One must altogether renounce egotism; one cannot see God as long as one feels "I am the doer ... ... God doesn't easily appear in the heart of a man who feels himself to be his own master. But God can be seen the moment His grace descends. He is the Sun of Knowledge. One single ray of His has illumined the world with the light of knowledge. This is how we are able to see one another and acquire varied knowledge. One can see God only if He turns His light toward His own Face.





Hinduism 3896 | 
Nikhilananda, 1942; p. 173-174 







D adu says: I am nothing and can do nothing
Truly even a fool may reach Thee by Thy grace.





Others Beliefs 3873 | 
Jiwat Mritak; Orr, 1947, p. 142 







S o a man must be pervaded with the divine presence, and be shaped through and through with the form of the God he loves, and be present in Him, so that God's presence may shine out to him without any effort. What is more, in all things let him acquire nakedness [detachment], and let him always remain free of things. But at the beginning there must be attentiveness and a careful formation within himself, like a schoolboy setting himself to learn.




Christianity 3819 | 
Treatise C.6, Colledge & McGinn, 1982, p. 252-254 







S uch knowledge can only be had by actual experience, nor can the reason of man define it, or arrive at any cognizance of it by deduction, just as one cannot, without experience, know the taste of honey, the bitterness of patience, the bliss of sexual union, love, passion, or desire.




Islam / Sufism 3780 | 
Meccan Revelations, I 







K now Him as both particularized and unparticularized, and be established in Truth. Be in a state of unity if you wish, or be in a state of separation if you wish; if the Totality reveals Itself to you, you will attain the crown of victory.




Islam / Sufism 3777 | 
in Austin, 1980; p. 125 







I f we hold exclusively to Emptiness, we deny the entire causal world;
All is then attributed to chance, with no ruling principle, inviting evil to prevail.
The same error occurs when one holds exclusively to the manifested, denying the Emptiness;
That would be like throwing oneself into the flames in order to avoid being drowned in the water.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) 3765 | 
Cheng-tao Ke “Sonf of Enlightment”, in Suzuki, 1960; pp. 89-103 







M aintain the state of undistractedness, and distractions will fly away. Dwell alone, and you shall find the Friend. Take the lowest place, and you shall reach the highest. Hasten slowly, and you shall soon arrive. Renounce all worldly goals, and you shall reach the highest Goal. If you follow this unfrequented path, you will find the shortest way. If you realize Sunyata (the absolute Emptiness), compassion will arise within your hearts; and when you lose all differentiation between yourself and others, then you will be fit to serve others.




Buddhism / Mahayana 3749 | 
Evans-Wentz, 1971; pp. 259, 261, 262, 270, 271 







I t is difficult to meet success in the effort to insure one's own spiritual welfare, even without seeking to benefit others. If you seek another's spiritual welfare before attaining your own, it would be like a helplessly drowning man trying to save another man in the same predicament. Therefore, one should not be too anxious and hasty in setting out to save others before one has, oneself, realized Truth in Its fullness. That would be like the blind leading the blind. As long as the sky endures, there will be no dearth of sentient beings for you to serve, and your opportunity for such service will come. Till it does, I exhort each one of you to keep but one resolve: namely, to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all living creatures.




Buddhism / Mahayana 3748 | 
Evans-Wentz, 1971; pp. 259, 261, 262, 270, 271 







L ife is short, and the time of death is uncertain; so apply yourselves to meditation. Avoid doing evil, and acquire merit, to the best of your ability, even at the cost of life itself. In short, act so that you will have no cause to be ashamed of yourselves; and hold fast to this rule.




Buddhism / Mahayana 3747 | 
Evans-Wentz, 1971; pp. 259, 261, 262, 270, 271 







A s regards the method of acquiring practical spiritual knowledge, if you find a certain practice increases your evil passions and tends you toward selfishness, abandon it, though it may appear to others virtuous. And if any course of action tends to counteract your evil passions, and to benefit sentient beings, know that to be the true and holy path, and continue it, even though it should appear to others to be sinful.




Buddhism / Mahayana 3746 | 
Evans-Wentz, 1971; pp. 259, 261, 262, 270, 271 







W e dare not keep ourselves set towards the images of sense, or towards the merely vegetative, intent upon the gratifications of eating and procreation; our life must be pointed towards the divine Mind, toward God.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism 3666 | 
Enneads, 15:3:2; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 89 







S hut fast the door of your soul -- that is to say your imagination -- and keep it cautiously, as much as you can, form beholding any earthly thing, and then lift up your mind to your Lord, Jesus; open your heart faithfully to Him…




Christianity 3504 | 
The Imitation of Christ. Trans. Richard Whitford, moderenized by Harold C. Gardiner. New York: Doubleday, 1955, p. 58 







B e kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. In the slums we are the light of God's kindness to the poor. To children, to the poor, to all who suffer and are lonely, give always a happy smile - Give them not only your care, but also your heart.




Christianity / Catholicism 3497 | 
Something Beautiful for God : Mother Teresa of Calcutta 







F or the good is not good if it is not rightly done. It is really good only if it is not done with the purpose of receiving some reward: as, for instance, the search for popularity or glory may be rewarded by fame, or by excessive gain, or by something else that is wrong. God is not interested in what happens to turn out to be good or in what appears to be good. He is interested in the purpose for which a thing is done.




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3376 | 
St. John of Damaskos in On the Virtues and Vices: ("Philokalia (Vol. 2)", pp. 339-340) 







H e who does something good and expects a reward is serving not God but his own will.




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3375 | 
No Righteousness by Works: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", p. 130, text 57) 







B e joyful at all times… and give thanks for all things.




Christianity 3342 | 
Abba Benjamin: The sayings of the Desert Fathers : the alphabetical collection. Trans. Benedicta Ward, SLG. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1984, 1975, p. 44, Benjamim 4 







D o not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart.




Christianity 3338 | 
Abba Poemen (called the Shepherd) p. 178, Poemen 80) 







B etter indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice (of religious ritual). Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results (of one's actions), because there follows immediate peace.




Hinduism 3235 | 
BG 12:12, p. 163, The Bhagavad Gita. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1985. 







A ttachement to the fruits of action binds a person to continual rebirth.




Hinduism 3234 | 
BG 2:51, p. 67, The Bhagavad Gita. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1985. 







Y ou have the right to work, but never to the fruit of the work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction.




Hinduism 3233 | 
BG 2:47, p. 66, The Bhagavad Gita. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1985. 







A person is what his deep desire is. It is our deepest desire in this life that shapes the life to come. So let us direct our deepest desires to realize the Self.




Hinduism 3216 | 
Chandogya Up. Chapter 3, 14:1, p. 177 in The Upanishads. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1987 







T he true saguna or body of the Lord is the universe itself, in which He is immanent. And by His power He is causing, in this manifestation, birth, growth, and dissolution of all beings and things. He is also transcendent as pure spirit. Your body is one of His expressions. Your activity has its inception in the infinite power of God. Don't be deluded by a desire to behold things which are conditioned and momentary-mere phantoms of your mind. Have the true longing to realize your immortal nature and your union with the omnipotent and omnipresent God, who is the supreme Lord of the universe. Purify your mind and heart by proper discipline and entitle yourself to this glorious vision, and attain perfect freedom and eternal bliss




Hinduism 3166 | 
In the Vision of God, Volume 1, by Swami Ramdas, pp 251-252 







W herever there are two, there is fear, there is danger, there is conflict, there is strife. When it is all One, who is there to hate, who is there to struggle with? When it is all He, with whom can you fight? This explains the true nature of life; this explains the true nature of being. This is perfection, and this is God. As long as you see the many, you are under delusion.




Hinduism 3155 | 
excerpt from Jnana-Yoga, Immortality, Swami Vivekananda, pg 164 







H idden behind the veil of mystery, Beauty is eternally free from the slightest stain of imperfection. From the atoms of the world, He created a multitude of mirrors; into each one of them He cast the image of His Face; to the awakened eye, anything that appears beautiful is only a reflection of that Face.
Now that you have seen the reflection, hurry to its Source; in that primordial Light the reflection vanishes completely. Do not linger far from that primal Source; when the reflection fades, you will be lost in darkness. The reflection is as transient as the smile of a rose; if you want permanence, turn towards the Source; if you want fidelity, look to the Mine of faithfulness. Why tear your soul apart over something here one moment and gone the next?





Islam / Sufism 3137 | 
translation by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut - 'Perfume of the Desert' 







A ll philosophies and scriptures say the same thing: "God dwells in this human body."

Do not consider your body a mere lump of flesh made of seven components. It is a noble instrument. In it are situated all holy places, gods, mantras, and the source of all extraordinary powers in this world…. God dwells in the body. He is present as fully in you as in the highest Heavens. Why are you exhausting yourself looking for Him in different places instead of in your own heart? You should live your normal life, but accord Him the chief place among your daily activities. Whatever may be your religion or philosophy, do not make yourself a foolish, weak, and trivial creature. Do not head toward decline and disaster by regarding this body as godless. Do not commit spiritual suicide by belittling yourself through defective understanding.





Hinduism 3124 | 
in Jonathan Star, the Inner Treasure, Tarcher Putnam, from an unpublished work written in 1972. 







M any sheikhs observe the following rule. When a novice joins them, they subject him to spiritual discipline for three years. He can be admitted to the Path only if he fulfills all the requirements of this discipline. The first year is devoted to service of the people, the second year to service of God, and the third year to watching over his own heart.




Islam / Sufism 2995 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.218 







I f you wish to draw near to God, you must seek God in the hearts of others. You should speak well of all, whether present or absent. If you seek to be a light to guide others, then, like the sun, you must show the same face to all. To bring joy to a single heart is better than to build many shrines for worship, and to enslave one soul by kindness is worth more than the setting free of a thousand slaves.
The true man of God sits in the midst of his fellowmen, and rises up and cats and sleeps and buys and sells and gives and takes in the bazaars, and marries and has social intercourse with others, and yet is never for one moment forgetful of God.





Islam / Sufism 2988 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.212 







D o everything you do in order to come close to your Lord in your worship and prayers. Think that each deed may be your last act, each prayer your last prostration, that you may not have another chance. If you do this, it will be another motivation for becoming heedful and also for becoming sincere and truthful.




Islam / Sufism 2977 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.159 







I t is therefore a necessary prerequisite for lovers that they correct their lower selves by means of worship, spiritual exercises, and Remembrance of God. Through these, the self may attain a tranquil character, the heart purified, and the spirit burnished.




Islam / Sufism 2947 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.160 







F riend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think … and think … while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.
If you don't break your ropes while you are alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
you will have the face of satisfied desire.

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.





Others Beliefs / Litterature 2926 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.256 







S eek the company of the wise, who know. Agree with what they say, for one understands only that with which one agrees. Be sincere in what you say- a single tongue should not speak two different words. No deceit or fraud should enter into your thoughts. Do not belittle anyone or anything, for everyone and everything in its inner being wishes for the same thing.
"Do not touch anything that is not yours. Avoid crowded places; even in such places, try to be with yourself, for that is the place where the truth is manifested. That is where the truth is.





Islam / Sufism 2906 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.84 







T he roots of conduct have four aspects: conduct with God, conduct with self, conduct with people, and conduct with this world. Each of these aspects is based on seven principles. There are seven principles of conduct with God: giving God His due, keeping His limits, being thankful for His gift, being content with His decree, being patient with His trials, glorifying His sanctity, and yearning for Him.
The seven principles of conduct with self are reducing fear, striving, enduring harm, embracing spiritual discipline, seeking truthfulness and sincerity, withdrawing the self from what it loves, and binding it in poverty.
The seven principles of conduct with people are forbearance, forgiveness, humility, generosity, compassion, good counsel, justice and fairness.
The seven principles of conduct with this world are being content with what is at hand, preferring what is available to what is not, abandoning the quest for the elusive, hating overabundance, choosing abstinence, knowing the evils of this world and abandoning any desire for them, and negating its dominance.





Islam 2882 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.61 







O bligatory charity for the sake of God is due from every single part of your body, even from every root of your hair. In fact, charity is due for every instant of your life.
Charity of the eye means looking with consideration and averting your gaze from desires and things similar to them.
Charity of the ear means listening to the best of sounds, such as wisdom, the Koran, and the benefits of faith contained in warnings and good counsel, and by avoiding lies, slander, and similar things.
Charity of tongue means to give good advice, to awaken those who are heedless, and to give abundant glorification and remembrance and other, similar things.
Charity of hand means spending money on others, to be generous with God's blessing to you, to use your hand to write down knowledge and information by means of which others will benefit in obedience to God, and to restrain your hand from evil.
Charity of the foot means to hasten to carry one's duty to God by visiting virtuous people, attending assemblies of remembrance, putting things right between people, maintaining ties of kinship, engaging in jihad [inner struggle], and doing things that will make your heart sound and your faith correct.





Islam 2881 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.60 







T he soul should take care of the body, just as the pilgrim on his way to Mecca takes care of his camel; but if the pilgrim spends his whole time in feeding and adorning his camel, the caravan will leave him behind, and he will perish in the desert.




Islam / Sufism 2871 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.47 







Y ou will not be a mystic until you are like the earth-both the righteous and the sinner tread upon it-and until you are like the clouds-they shade all things-and until you are like the rain-it waters all things, whether it loves them or not.




Islam / Sufism 2867 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.40 







W e read in the psalm: "If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in the netherworld, behold, here Thou art." When I consider myself great and think I can touch the sky, I discover that God is the faraway There, and the higner I reach, the farther away he is. But if I make my bed in the depths, if I bow my soul down to the netherworld, there, too, he is with me.




Judaism / Hassidism 2787 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.104 







D o not tell yourself in your heart of hearts that you are greater than your neighbor, because you serve God so very fervently. You are no different from the rest of the creatures who were created for the service of God. And how could you be more admirable than the worm? For it serves its Maker with all its power and strength.




Judaism / Hassidism 2784 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.101 







H e who desires to become aware of the hidden light must lift the feeling of fear up to its source. And he can accomplish this if he judges himself and all he does. For then he sheds all fears and lifts fear that has fallen down. But if he does not judge himself, he will be judged from on high, and this judgment will come upon him in the guise of countless things, and all the things in the world will become messengers of God who carry out the judgment on this man.




Judaism / Hassidism 2769 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.73 





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