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Spiritual and philosophical quotes of Tradition

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L ife is not separate from death. It only looks that way.




Tradition / Native American 4458 | 
Blackfoot 







T ell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand.




Tradition / Native American 4457 | 







W isdom and virtue are like the two wheels of a cart.




Tradition / Asian / Japanese 4455 | 







T he mouth is the door of evil.




Tradition / Asian / Japanese 4453 | 







S ilence surpasses speech.




Tradition / Asian / Japanese 4452 | 







K nowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass.




Tradition / Asian / Japanese 4451 | 







F all seven times, stand up eight.




Tradition / Asian / Japanese 4449 | 







T he fruit of silence is tranquility.




Tradition / Middle East 4441 | 







P roverbs are the lamp of speech.




Tradition / Middle East 4440 | 







P atience is beautiful.




Tradition / Middle East 4439 | 







O nly three things in life are certain birth, death and change.




Tradition / Middle East 4438 | 







A sk the experienced rather than the learned.




Tradition / Middle East 4437 | 







A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.




Tradition / Middle East 4436 | 







K nowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.




Tradition / Middle East 4435 | 







F ear not the man who fears God.




Tradition / Middle East 4434 | 







D iligence is a great teacher.




Tradition / Middle East 4433 | 







Y ou must judge a man by the work of his hands.




Tradition / African 4432 | 







W hen there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.




Tradition / African 4431 | 







O ne must talk little and listen much.




Tradition / African 4429 | 







I f you refuse to be made straight when you are green, you will not be made straight when you are dry.




Tradition / African 4428 | 







W hen a head is too big it cannot avoid punches.




Tradition / African 4427 | 







W hat an old man can see while seated a young man can not see standing.




Tradition / African 4426 | 







M ay he who comes to visit me never bring death to me, and when he does depart, may he never grow a hunch-back




Tradition / African 4425 | 







A ction speaks louder than the words.




Tradition / African 4424 | 







W hen you throw a stone at God, it lands right on top of your head




Tradition / African 4423 | 







T omorrow is pregnant and no-one knows what she will give birth to.




Tradition / African 4422 | 







K nowledge is not the main thing, but good deed is.




Tradition / African 4421 | 







A man, who knows the use of proverbs, reconciles difficulties.




Tradition / African 4420 | 
Ashanti of Ghana 







O ne cannot run away from his behind.




Tradition / African 4419 | 







A fter a foolish deed comes remorse.




Tradition / African 4418 | 







T he fool speaks, the wise listens.




Tradition / African 4417 | 







H e, who learns, teaches.




Tradition / African 4416 | 







I t takes a whole village to raise a child.




Tradition / African 4415 | 







I f your mouth turns into a knife, it will cut off your lips.




Tradition / African 4413 | 







T he Good Spirit, who was born simultaneously with you, will come now and count out your good deeds with white pebbles, and the Evil Spirit, who was born simultaneously with you, will come and count out your evil deeds with black pebbles. Thereupon you will be greatly frightened, awed, and terrified, and will tremble; and you will attempt to tell lies, saying, "I have not committed any evil deed."

Then the Lord of Death will say, "I will consult the Mirror of karma." He will look in the Mirror, wherein every good and evil act is vividly reflected. Lying will be of no avail.

Then one of the executive furies of the Lord of Death will place a rope around your neck and drag you along; he will cut off your head, extract your heart, pull out your intestines, lick up your brain, drink your blood, eat your flesh, and gnaw your bones; but you will be incapable of dying. Although your body be hacked to pieces, it will revive again. The repeated hacking [symbolizing the pangs of the deceased's conscience] will cause intense pain and torture.

Even at the time that the pebbles are being counted out, be not frightened; tell no lies; and fear not the Lord of Death.

Your body being a mental body is incapable of dying even though beheaded and quartered. In reality, your body is of the nature of voidness; you need not be afraid. The Lords of Death are your own hallucinations. Your desire-body is a body of propensities, and void. Voidness cannot injure voidness; the qualityless cannot injure the qualityless. Apart from one's own hallucinations, in reality there are no such things existing outside oneself as Lord of Death, or god, or demon. Act so as to recognize this.





Tradition / Asian / Tibetan 4243 | 







O nobly-born... the body which you have now is called the thought-body of propensities. Since you do not have a material body of flesh and blood, whatever may come--sounds, lights, or rays--are, all three, unable to harm you; you are incapable of dying. It is quite sufficient for you to know that these apparitions are your own thought-forms. Recognize this to be the Bardo (the intermediate state after death).




Tradition / Asian / Tibetan 4242 | 







W hen the expiration hath ceased, the vital-force will have sunk into the nerve-centre of Wisdom (1) and the Knower (2) will be experiencing the Clear Light of the natural condition (3). Then the vital force, being thrown backwards and flying downwards through the right and left nerves (4) the Intermediate State (Bardo) momentarily dawns. […]

At this moment, the first glimpsing of the Bardo of the Clear Light of Reality, which is the Infallible Mind of the Dharma-Kaya, is experienced by all sentient beings. […]

In this third stage of the Bardo, the karmic illusions come to shine. It is very important that this Great setting-face-to-face of the Chonyid Bardo be read: it hath much power and can do much good.

About this time [the deceased] can see that the share of food is being set aside, that the body is being stripped of its garments, that the place of the sleeping-rug is being swept; (5) can hear all the weeping and wailing of his friends and relatives, and, although he can see them and can hear them calling upon him, they cannot hear him calling upon them, so he goeth away displeased.

At that time, sounds, lights, and rays-all three-are experienced.

0 nobly-born, thou wilt experience three Bardos, the Bardo of the moment of death, the Bardo [during the experiencing] of Reality, and the Bardo while seeking rebirth. Of these three, up to yesterday, thou hadst experienced the Bardo of the moment of death. Although the Clear Light of Reality dawned upon thee, thou wert unable to hold on, and so thou hast to wander here. Now henceforth thou art going to experience the [other] two, the Chonyid Bardo and the Sidpa Bardo. (6)
Thou wilt pay undistracted attention to that with which I am about to set thee face to face, and hold on;

0 nobly-born, that which is called death hath now come. Thou art departing from this world, but thou art not the only one; [death] cometh to all. Do not cling, in fondness and weakness, to this life. Even though thou clingest out of weakness, thou hast not the power to remain here. Thou wilt gain nothing more than wandering in this Samsara. (7) Be not attached [to this world]; be not weak. Remember the Precious Trinity.(8) […]

0 nobly-born, when thy body and mind were separating, thou must have experienced a glimpse Of the Pure Truth, subtle, sparkling, bright dazzling, glorious, and radiantly awesome, in appearance like a mirage moving across a landscape in spring-time in one continuous stream of vibrations. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed. That is the radiance of thine own true nature. Recognize it.

From the midst of that radiance, the natural sound of Reality, reverberating like a thousand thunders simultaneously sounding, will come. That is the natural sound of thine own real self. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed.

The body, which thou hast now is called the thought-body of propensities.(9) Since thou hast not a material body of flesh and blood, whatever may come,-sounds, lights, or rays,-are, all three, unable to harm thee: thou art incapable of dying. It is quite sufficient for thee to know that these apparitions are thine own thought-forms. Recognize this to be the Bardo.





Tradition / Asian / Tibetan 3952 | 
W.Y. Evans-Wentz (translator and editor), The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Oxford, 3rd ed.; 1957), pp. 90-2, 95-7, 101-4 
1 The 'nerve-centres' are the 'psychic centres' (cakra). The 'nerve-centre of wisdom' is located in the heart-centre (anahata-cakra). 2 'Knower,' i.e. the mind in its knowing functions. 3 The mind in its natural, or primal, state. 4 That is, the 'psychic nerves,' pingala-nadi and ida-nadi. 5 The references are (1) to the share of food being set aside for the deceased during the funeral rites; (2) to his corpse being prepared for the shroud; (3) to his bed or sleeping-place. 6 The Chonyid Bardo is the intermediate state during the experiencing of Reality. The Sidpa Bardo represents the state wherein the deceased is seeking rebirth. 7 Samsara, the universal becoming. 8 That is, the Buddha, the Dharma (=the Law, the Doctrine), the Samgha (the entire community of monks and hermits). 9 'Thought-body' or 'mind-body' born of the past worldly existence.







A ccording to the Shawnee, 'a soul goes to earth and jumps through the mother's vagina and into the body of the child through the fontanelle just before birth.'




Tradition / Native American 3949 | 
Ake Hultkrantz, Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians (Stockbolm, 1954), PP. 412-26 







T he Ingalik believe that 'there is a place filled with the spirits of little children, all impatient to be "called," i.e., born into this life.




Tradition / Native American 3948 | 
Ake Hultkrantz, Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians (Stockbolm, 1954), PP. 412-26 







A mong the Pueblo peoples of the Southwest the realm of the dead in the underworld is the place where the unborn dwell. One may naturally suspect that the new-born are consequently reincarnated deceased persons. But this is not always the case, for according to the agrarian Pueblo ideology the underworld is also the place for the renewal of life and is the original home of humanity.




Tradition / Native American 3947 | 
Ake Hultkrantz, Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians (Stockbolm, 1954), PP. 412-26 







T he supernatural origin of the human soul finds particularly clear expression in the idea of pre-existence. Here we are not referring to the pre-existence that a reincarnated individual has had in a previous earthly life as man or animal: we are referring to the pre-incarnative existence, man's life before he is incarnated on earth. 'Man' stands here for the individual reality, which from the psychological viewpoint is the extra-physical soul, the free-soul, and which consequently represents man's ego in the pre-incarnative state. . . .




Tradition / Native American 3946 | 
Ake Hultkrantz, Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians (Stockbolm, 1954), PP. 412-26 







T he Indians of North America believe that man's spirit has its ultimate origin in the deity himself, either through creation or partial emanation.




Tradition / Native American 3945 | 
Ake Hultkrantz, Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians (Stockbolm, 1954), PP. 412-26 







T he most important and the concluding stage in the life of man is death. It does not mean passing away and the extinction of life, but returning home to the divine world and being taken up again into the social and divine unity of mythical primeval time. Death is a passage to a new existence, the transition to a new and true life.




Tradition / Pacific Islands 3941 | 
Hans Schirer, Ngaju Religion: The Conception of God among a South Borneo People, translation by Rodney Needham (The Hague, 1963), pp. 81-94 







L ife is not a smoothly continuous process, but is broken into stages. There is life and death, becoming and passing away, and in this alternation man is continually returned to the primeval period, and he is thereby the object of divine creative activity whereby he can enter a new stage of life as a new man, until he has reached the highest stage of the true and perfect man, until indeed he has ascended by stages not only to the point of being godlike but of becoming divine. All ceremonies of transition, such as at birth, initiation, marriage and death, correspond very closely with each other in that on every occasion they repeat the drama of primeval creation. Man passes into death and returns to the total godhead and the Tree of Life, and then the godhead re-enacts the creation and man issues again from the Tree of Life as a new creature. . .




Tradition / Pacific Islands 3940 | 
Hans Schirer, Ngaju Religion: The Conception of God among a South Borneo People, translation by Rodney Needham (The Hague, 1963), pp. 81-94 







T o the Aborigine, life is a cycle, though whether it is continuous or not, he does not always dare to say. Found by his parent in a spiritual experience, he is incarnated through his mother and so enters profane life. But a few years later, through the gate of initiation, he partially re-enters the sacred dream-time or sky-world which he has left for a season. After passing farther and farther into it, so far as the necessities of profane life allow, he dies, and through another gate, the transition rite of burial, he returns completely to his sacred spirit state in the sky, the spirit-home or totemic centre, perhaps to repeat the cycle later, perhaps to cease to be.




Tradition / Australian 3939 | 
A.P. Elkin, The Australian Aborigines 3rd ed. (Carden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1964), PP, 336-7 







M an has a spirit, and the body seems to be a coat for that spirit. That is why people should take care of their spirits, so as to reach Heaven and be admitted to the Creator's dwelling. We are given some length of time to live on earth, and then our spirits must go. When anyone's time comes to leave this earth, he should go to Gicelemu'kaong, feeling good on the way. We all ought to pray to Him to prepare ourselves for days to come so that we can be with Him after leaving the earth.

'We all must put our thoughts to this meeting, so that Gicelemu'kaong will look upon us and grant what we ask. You all come here to pray, you have to reach Him all through life. Do not think of evil; strive always to think of the good which He has given us.

'When we reach that place, we shall not have to do anything or worry about anything, only live a happy life. We know there are many of our fathers who have left this earth and are now in this happy place in the Land of the Spirits. When we arrive we shall see our fathers, mothers, children, and sisters there. And when we have prepared ourselves so that we can go to where our parents and children are, we feel happy.

'Everything looks more beautiful there than here, everything looks new, and the waters and fruits and everything are lovely.

'No sun shines there, but a light much brighter than the sun, the Creator makes it brighter by his power. All people who die here, young or old, will be of the same age there; and those who are injured, crippled, or made blind will look as good as the rest of them. It is nothing but the flesh that is injured: the spirit is as good as ever. That is the reason that people are told to help always the cripples or the blind. Whatever you do for them will surely bring its rewards. Whatever you do for anybody will bring you credit hereafter. Whenever we think the thoughts that Gicelemu'kaong has given us, it will do us good





Tradition / Native American 3938 | 
M. R. Harrington, Religion and Ceremonies of the Lenape (New York, 1921), pp. 87-92 







O ld 0ne or Chief came down from the upper world on a cloud to the surface of the great lake or watery waste which was all that existed. The cloud rested on the lake. Old One pulled five hairs from his head and threw them down: they became five Perfectly formed young women. He asked each in turn what she wished to be.

The first replied, 'A woman to bear children. I shall be bad and foolish, and seek after my own pleasure. My descendants will fight, steal, kill, and commit adultery.' The Chief answered that he was sorry, for because of her choice death and trouble would come into the world.

The second replied, 'A woman to bear children. I shall be good and virtuous. My descendants will be wise, peaceful, honest, truthful, and chaste.' The Chief commended her, and said that her way would triumph in the end.

The third chose to become Earth. From her, Old One said, everything would grow, and to her would return at death.

The fourth chose to be Fire, in grass, trees, and all wood, for the good of man. The fifth became Water, to 'cleanse and make wise' the people. 'I will assist all things on earth to maintain life.'

Then the Chief transformed them: first Earth, then Water, then Fire. He placed the two women (good and bad) upon the earth, and impregnated them. He told them they would be the parents of all the people. The evil would be more numerous at first, but the good would prevail eventually, he promised. Then the end will come: all the dead and living will be gathered together, Earth, Fire, and Water will resume their original forms, and all will be transformed and made new.





Tradition / Native American 3937 | 
Condensed and paraphrased from James A. Teit, Mythology of the Thompson Indians (Publications of the Jessup North Pacific Expedition, vol. 8, Pt. 2 322-4 d New York: Brill and Stechert.) 







B efore the beginning of the new-making, Awonawilona (the Maker and container of All, the All-father Father), solely had being. There was nothing else whatsoever throughout the great space of the ages save everywhere black darkness in it, and everywhere void desolation
In the beginning of the new-made, Awonawilona conceived within himself and thought outward in space, whereby mists of increase, steams potent of growth, were evolved and uplifted. Thus, by means of his innate knowledge, the All-container made himself in person and form of the Sun whom we hold to be our father and who thus came to exist and appear. With his appearance came the brightening of the spaces with light, and with the brightening of the spaces the great mist-clouds were thickened together and fell, whereby was evolved water in water; yea, and the world-holding sea.

With his substance of flesh outdrawn from the surface of his person, the Sun-father formed the seed-stuff of twain worlds, impregnating therewith the great waters, and lo! in the heat of his light these waters of the sea grew green and scums rose upon them, waxing wide and weighty until, behold! they became Awitelin Tsita, the 'Four-fold Containing Mother-earth,' and Apoyan Ta'chu, the 'All-covering Father-sky.'

From the lying together of these twain upon the great world-waters, so vitalizing, terrestrial life was conceived; whence began all beings of earth, men and the creatures, in the Four-fold womb of the World.





Tradition / Native American 3936 | 
F, H. Cushing Outlines Of Zuni Creation Myths, in Thirteenth Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology (Washington D.C. 1896 pp. 325-447; Quotation from pp. 379-83) 







T he Lord of All, after having come into being, says: I am he who came into being as Khepri (i.e., the Becoming One). When I came into being, the beings came into being, all the beings came into being after I became. Numerous are those who became, who came out of my mouth, before heaven ever existed, nor earth came into being, nor the worms, nor snakes were created in this place. 1, being in weariness, was bound to them in the Watery Abyss. I found no place to stand. I thought in my heart, I planned in myself, I made all forms being alone, before I ejected Shu, before I spat out Tefnut (1) before any other who was in me had become. Then I planned in my own heart, and many forms of beings came into being as forms of children, as forms of their children. I conceived by my hand, I united myself with my hand, I poured out of my own mouth. I ejected Shu, I spat out Tefnut. It was my father the Watery Abyss who brought them up, and my eye followed them (?) while they became far from me. After having become one god, there were (now) three gods in me. When I came into being in this land, Shu and Tefnut jubilated in the Watery Abyss in which they were. Then they brought with them my eye. After I had joined together my members, I wept over them, and men came into being out of the tears which came out of my eyes. (2) Then she (the eye) became enraged (3) after she came back and had found that I had placed another in her place, that she had been replaced by the Brilliant One. Then I found a higher place for her on my brow (4) and when she began to rule over the whole land her fury fell down on the flowering (?) and I replaced what she had ravished. I came out of the flowering (?), I created all snakes, and all that came into being with them. Shu and Tefnut produced Geb and Nut; Geb and Nut produced out of a single body Osiris, Horus the Eyeless one (5) Seth, Isis, and Nephthys, one after the other among them. Their children are numerous in this land.




Tradition / African / Egyptian 3930 | 
The Book of Overthrowing Apophis, Translation and notes by Alexandre Piankoff, in his The Shrines of Tut-ankh-amon (New York, 1955), P. 24. Cf. the translation by John A. Wilson, in ANET, pp. 6-7 
1 Shu the air, Tefnut the moist. 2 Same myth in the Book of Gates, division 4 (The Tomb of Ramesses VI, P. 169). 3 An allusion to the myth of the Eye of the sun god which departs into a foreign land and is brought back by Shu and Tefnut. Another aspect. of this myth is to be found in the Book of the Divine Cow. 4 The fire-spitting snake, the uraeus on the head of the god. 5 The Elder Horus of Letopolis.







O f old, Heaven and Earth were not yet separated, and the In and Yo not yet divided. They formed a chaotic mass like an egg, which was of obscurely defined limits, and contained germs. The purer and clearer part was thinly diffused and formed Heaven, while the heavier and grosser element settled down and became Earth. The finer element easily became a united body, but the consolidation of the heavy and gross element was accomplished with difficulty. Heaven was therefore formed first, and Earth established subsequently. 'Thereafter divine beings were produced between them




Tradition / Asian / Japanese 3929 | 
pp. 1-2, translated by W. G. Aston (London, 1924). 





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