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T his proves that in their enthusiasm [i.e., their state of inspiration] they are not aware of what they are doing and are not living a human or bodily existence as far as sensation and volition are concerned, but live instead another and diviner kind, which fills them and takes complete possession of them.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3966 | 
On the Mysteries, III, 4-6, Translation and introduction by Frederick C. Grant, in his Hellenistic Religions (New York, 1953), PP. 173-5 





T here is an oracle of Necessity, ancient decree of the gods, eternal and sealed with broad oaths: whenever one of those demi-gods, whose lot is long-lasting life, has sinfully defiled his dear limbs ' with bloodshed, or following strife has sworn a false oath, thrice ten thousand seasons does he wander far from the blessed, being born throughout that time in the forms of all manner of mortal things and changing one baleful path of life for another. The might of the air pursues him into the sea, the sea spews him forth on to the dry land, the earth casts him into the rays of the burning sun, and the sun into the eddies of air. one takes him from the other, but all alike abhor him. Of these I too am now one, a fugitive from the gods and a wanderer, who put my trust in raving strife.

I wept and wailed when I saw the unfamiliar place.

For already have I once been a boy and a girl, a fish and a bird and a dumb sea fish.





Philosophy / Pythagoricism Quote n°3957 | 
Fragments' 115, 117, 118 





M ENO: What was it, and who were they?

SOCRATES: Those who tell it are priests and priestesses of the sort who make it their business to be able to account for the functions which they perform. Pindar speaks of it too, and many another of the poets who are divinely inspired. What they say is this-see whether you think they are speaking the truth. They say that the soul of man is immortal. At one time it comes to an end-that which is called death-and at another is born again, but is never finally exterminated. On these grounds a man must live all his days as righteously as possible. […]

Thus the soul, since it is immortal and has been born many times, and has seen all things both here and in the other world, has learned everything that is.





Philosophy / Platonism Quote n°3956 | 
Meno, 81, b, Translated by W. K. C. Guthrie, in Hamilton and Caims (ed.), Plato.- The Collected Dialogues (New York: Bollingen Series LXXI, 1961), P. 364 





I t is not, let me tell you, said I, the tale to Alcinous told that I shall unfold, but the tale of a warrior bold, Er, the son of Armenius, by race a Pamphylian. He once upon a time was slain in battle, and when the corpses were taken up on the tenth day already decayed, was found intact, and having been brought home, at the moment of his funeral, on the twelfth day as he lay upon the pyre, revived, and after coming to life related what, he said, he had seen in the world beyond. He said that when his soul went forth from his body he journeyed with a great company and that they came to a mysterious region where there were two openings side by side in the earth, and above and over against them in the heaven two others, and that judges were sitting between these, and that after every judgement they bade the righteous journey to the right and upward through the heaven with tokens attached to them in front of the judgement passed upon them, and the unjust to take the road to the left and downward, they too wearing behind signs of all that had befallen them, and that when he himself drew near they told him that he must be the messenger to mankind to tell them of that other world, and they charged him to give ear and to observe everything in the place. And so he said that here he saw, by each opening of heaven and earth, the souls departing after judgement had been passed upon them, while, by the other pair of openings, there came up from the one in the earth souls full of squalor and dust, and from the second there came down from heaven a second procession of souls dean and pure, and that those which arrived from time to time appeared to have come as it were from a long journey and gladly departed to the meadow and encamped there as at a festival, and acquaintances greeted one another, and those which came from the earth questioned the others about conditions up yonder, and those from heaven asked how it fared with those others. And they told their stories to one another, the one lamenting and wailing as they recalled how many and how dreadful things they had suffered and seen in their journey beneath the earth-it lasted a thousand years-while those from heaven related their delights and visions of a beauty beyond words. To tell it all, Glaucon, would take all our time, but the sum, he said, was this. For all the wrongs they had ever done to anyone and all whom they had severally wronged they had paid the penalty in turn tenfold each, and the measure of this was by periods of a hundred years each, so that oil the assumption that this was the length of human life the punishment might be ten times the crime-as for example that if anyone had been the cause of many deaths or had betrayed cities and armies and reduced them to slavery, or had been participant in any other iniquity, they might receive in requital pains tenfold for each of these wrongs, and again if any had done deeds of kindness and had been just and holy men they might receive their due reward in the same measure. And other things not worthy of record he said of those who had just been born and lived but a short time, and he had still greater requitals to tell of piety and impiety towards the gods and parents and of self-slaughter.




Philosophy / Platonism Quote n°3955 | 
Republic, X, 614 b, Translation by Paul Shorey, in Hamilton and Cairns (ed.), Plato: The Collected Dialogues (New York Bollingen Series LXXI, 1961), PP. 838-40 





B y this time I was thoroughly terrified, not so much fearing death as the treachery of my own kind. Nevertheless, I [went on and] inquired of Africanus whether he himself was still alive, and also whether my father Paulus was, and also the others whom we think of as having ceased to be.

'Of course they are alive,' he replied. 'They have taken their flight from the bonds of the body as from a prison. Your so-called life [on earth] is really. death. Do you not see your father Paulus coming to meet you?'

At the sight of my father I broke down and cried. But he embraced me and kissed me and told me not to weep.

As soon as I had controlled my grief and could speak, I began - 'Why, 0 best and saintliest of fathers, since here [only] is life worthy of the name, as I have just heard from Africanus, why must I live a dying life on earth? Why may I not hasten to join you here?'

'No indeed,' he replied. 'Unless that God whose temple is the whole visible universe releases you from the prison of the body, you cannot gain entrance here. For men were given life for the purpose of cultivating that globe, called Earth, which you see at the centre of this temple. Each has been given a soul, [a spark] from these eternal fires which you call stars and planets, which are globular and rotund and are animated by divine intelligence, and which with marvellous Velocity revolve in their established orbits. Like all god-fearing men, therefore, Publius, you must leave the soul in the custody of the body, and must not quit the life on Earth unless you are summoned by the one Who gave it to you; otherwise you will be seen to shirk the duty assigned by God to man. […]

When I had recovered from my astonishment over this great panorama, and had come to myself, I asked: 'Tell me what is this loud, sweet harmony that fills my ears?'

He replied, 'This music is produced by the impulse and motion of these spheres themselves. The unequal intervals between them are arranged according to a strict proportion, and so the high notes blend agreeably with the low, and thus various sweet harmonies are produced. Such immense revolutions cannot, of course, be so swiftly carried out in silence, and it is only natural that one extreme should produce deep tones and the other high ones. Accordingly, this highest sphere of Heaven, which bears the stars, and whose revolution is swifter, produces a high shrill sound, whereas the lowest sphere, that of the Moon, rotates with the deepest sound. The Earth, of course, the ninth sphere, remains fixed and immovable in the centre of the universe. But the other eight spheres, two of which move with the same speed, produce seven different sounds-a number, by the way, which is the key to almost everything. Skilful men reproducing this celestial music on stringed instruments have thus opened the way for their own return to this heavenly region, as other men of outstanding genius have done by spending their lives on Earth in the study of things divine. . . .' […]

'Yes, you must use you best efforts,' he replied, 'and be sure that it is not you who are mortal, but only your body, nor is it you whom your outward form represents. Your spirit is your true self, not that bodily form that can be pointed out with the finger. Know yourself, therefore, to be a god-if indeed a god is a being that lives, feels, remembers, and foresees, that rules, governs, and moves the body over which it is set, just as the supreme God above us rules this world. And just as that eternal God moves the universe, which is partly mortal, so an eternal spirit moves the fragile body. . .





Philosophy Quote n°3954 | 
On the Republic,' VI, 14,15,18,26, Translation by Frederick C. Grant, in his Ancient Roman Religion, Library of Religion paperbook series (New York, 1957), PP. 147-56 





W hen there enters into it a glow from the Divine, the soul gathers strength, spreads true wings, and, however distracted by its proximate environment, speeds its buoyant way to something greater; ... its very nature bears it upwards, lifted by the Giver of that love. ... Surely we need not wonder that It possesses the power to draw the soul to Itself, calling it back from every wandering to rest before It. From It came everything; nothing is mightier.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3670 | 
Enneads, 38:6:22-23; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 199 





H ow is this to be accomplished?
Let all else go!





Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3669 | 
Enneads, 49:5:17; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 163 





S uppose the soul have attained; the Highest has come to her, or rather has revealed Its presence; she has turned away from all about her and has made herself apt, beautiful to the utmost, brought into likeness [with the Divine] by the preparings and adornings known to those growing ready for the vision. She has seen that Presence suddenly manifesting within her, for there is nothing between, nor are they any longer two, but one; for so long as the Presence remains, all distinction fades. It is in this way that lover and beloved here [in this world], in a copy of that [Divine] union, long to blend their being.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3668 | 
Enneads, 38:6:34; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 203 





W e ought not to question whence it [the experience of Unity] comes; there is no whence, no coming or going in place; it either appears [to us] or does not appear. We must not run after it, but we must fit ourselves for the vision and then wait tranquilly for it as the eye waits on the rising of the Sun which in its own time appears above the horizon and gives itself to our sight




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3667 | 
Enneads, 32:5:8; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 165 





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 Quote n°3666 | 
Enneads, 15:3:2; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 89 





W ithdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful; he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also; cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is in shadow; labor to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiseling your statue until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendor of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness established in the stainless shrine.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3665 | 
Enneads, 1:9; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 49 





T here, our Self-seeing is a communion with the Self, restored to purity. No doubt we should not speak of "seeing," but, instead of [speaking of] "seen" and "seer," speak boldly of a simple unity. For in this seeing we neither see, nor distinguish, nor are there, two. The man is changed, no longer himself nor belonging to himself; he is merged with the Supreme, sunken into It, one with It; it is only in separation that duality exists. This is why the vision baffles telling; for how could a man bring back tidings of the Supreme as something separate from himself when he has seen It as one with himself?




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3664 | 
Enneads, 9:6: 10; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 221 





I n this state of absorbed contemplation, there is no longer any question of holding an object in view; the vision is such that seeing and seen are one; object and act of vision have become identical




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3663 | 
Enneads, 38:6:35; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 204 





B ut possess yourself of It by the very elimination of [individual] being, and you hold a marvel! Thrusting forward to This, attaining, and resting in Its content, seek to grasp It more and more, understanding It by that intuitive thrust alone, but knowing its greatness by the beings that follow upon It and exist by Its power.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3662 | 
Enneads, 30:3: 10; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 116 





T he All-Transcendent, utterly void of multiplicity, is Unity's Self, independent of all else... It is the great Beginning, wholly and truly One. All life belongs to It. (1)

... The One is, in truth, beyond all statement; whatever you say would limit It; the All-Transcendent has no name. (2)

.. [It] is That which is the truly Existent. ... It is the Source from which all that appears to exist derives that appearance. ... (3)

Everywhere one and whole, It is at rest throughout. But, ... in Its very non-action It magnificently operates and in Its very self-being It produces everything by Its Power . (4)

... This Absolute is none of the things of which It is the Source; Its nature is that nothing can be affirmed of It not existence, not essence, not life-It transcends all these. (5)





Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3661 | 
(1) Enneads, 44:5:15-16; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; pp. 162-163 ; (2) Enneads, 49:5:13; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 162 ; (3) Enneads, 26:3:4; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 101 ; (4) Enneads, 47:1; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 76 ; (5) Plotinus, Enneads, 30:3: 10; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 116 





O nce we know our own soul rising still higher, we sing the divinity of the Mind [which produced it], and above all these, the mighty King of that dominion (the Absolute), who, while remaining as He is, yet creates that multitude, all dependent on Him, existing by Him and from Him.

... In advancing stages of contemplation, rising from contemplation of Nature, to that in the soul, and thence again to that in the divine Mind, the object contemplated becomes progressively a more and more intimate possession of the contemplating being, more and more one with them.

... In the divine Mind itself, there is complete identity of knower and known, no distinction existing between being and knowing, contemplation and its object, [but] constituting a living thing, a one Life, two inextricably one.





Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3660 | 
Plotinus, Enneads, 30:3:8; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; pp. 113-114 





W hat is meant by the purification of the soul is simply to allow it to be alone. [It is pure] when it keeps no company, entertains no alien thoughts; when it no longer sees images, much less elaborates them into veritable affections.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3659 | 
Enneads, 26:3:5; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 100 





H e that has the strength, let him arise and withdraw into himself, foregoing all that is known by the eyes, turning away forever from the material beauty that once made his joy.




Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3658 | 
Enneads, 1:8; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 48 





T here is one identical Soul, every separate manifestation being that Soul complete. The differentiated souls issue from the Unity and strike out here and there, but are united at the Source much as light is a divided thing on earth, shining in this house and that, and yet remains one. One Soul [is] the source of all souls; It is at once divided and undivided. (1)

... Diversity within the ONE depends not upon spatial separation, but sheerly upon differentiation; all Being, despite this plurality, is a Unity still. (2)

... The souls are apart without partition; they are no more hedged off by boundaries than are the multiple items of knowledge in one mind. The one Soul so exists as to include all souls. (3)





Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3657 | 
(1) Enneads, 27:4:2-5; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 118 ; (2) Enneads, 22:6:4; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 184 ; (3) Enneads, 22:6:4; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 184 





T ime was not yet; ... it lay ... merged in the eternally Existent and motionless with It. But an active principle there ... stirred from its rest; ... for the One contained an unquiet faculty, ... and it could not bear to retain within itself all the dense fullness of -its possession.

[Like] a seed at rest, the nature-principle within, unfolding outwards, makes its way towards what appears a multiple life. It was Unity self-contained, but now, in going forth from Itself, It fritters Its unity away; It advances to a lesser greatness.





Philosophy / Néoplatonism Quote n°3656 | 
Enneads, 45:3:11; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. I 





T he eye cannot see God, words cannot name Him, flesh and blood cannot touch Him, the ear cannot hear Him; but within the soul That which is most fair, most pure, most intelligible, most ethereal, most honorable, can contemplate Him because it is like Him, can hear Him because of their kinship.

... The soul holds herself erect and strong, she gazes at the pure light [of the Godhead]; she wavers not, nor turns her glance to earth, but closes her ears and directs her eyes and all other senses within. She forgets the troubles and sorrows of earth, its joys and honors, its glory and its shame; and submits to the guidance of pure reason and strong love. For reason points out the road that must be followed, and love drives the soul forward, making the rough places smooth by its charm and constancy. And as we approach heaven and leave earth behind, the goal becomes clear and luminous-that is a foretaste of God's very self. On the road we learn His nature better; but when we reach the end, we see Him.





Philosophy Quote n°3655 | 
Diss., X1.9-10 





T here is one divine Mind which keeps the universe in order and one providence which governs it. The names given to this supreme God differ; he is worshipped in different ways in different religions; the religious symbols used in them vary, and their qualities are different; sometimes they are rather vague, and sometimes more distinct.




Philosophy Quote n°3654 | 
De Iside et Osiride, 67 





A nd this is the conclusion-that for the good man to ... continually hold converse with God by means of prayers and every kind of service, is the noblest and the best of things, and the most conducive to a happy life.




Philosophy / Platonism Quote n°3641 | 
Laws, 716C; Jowett 





O f that Heaven which is above the heavens what earthly poet ever did or ever will sing worthily? It is such as I will describe; for I must dare to speak the truth, when Truth is my theme. There abides the very Being with which true knowledge is concerned; the colorless, formless, intangible Essence visible only to mind, the pilot of the soul. ... Every soul which is capable of receiving the food proper to it rejoices at beholding Reality. ... She beholds Knowledge absolute, not in the form of generation or of relation, which men call existence, but Knowledge absolute in Existence absolute.




Philosophy / Platonism Quote n°3640 | 
Phaedrus, 247C-E; Jowett 





T he immortality of the soul is demonstrated by many proofs; but to see it as it really is-not as we now behold it, marred by communion with the body and other miseries-you must contemplate it with the eye of reason in its original purity; and then its beauty will be revealed. ... When a person starts on the discovery of the Absolute by the light of the reason only, without the assistance of the senses, and never desists until by pure intelligence he arrives at the perception of the absolute Good, he at last finds himself at the end of the intellectual world...




Philosophy / Platonism Quote n°3639 | 
Republic, 611B-C and 532B ; Jowett 



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