Thursday, September 21, 2006

Are they competing with each other?

The statements below are from 5 different world religions* (it maybe easy to recognize the source of one or two) :

"I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me."

"This is the way, there is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. Go on this way! Everything else is the deceit of Mara."

"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear."

"There is only one religious way. This one way is that of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, the way of heaven, of light and of purity, of the infinite creator"

"He that hath Me not is bereft of all things. Turn ye away from all that is on earth and seek none else but Me."
- - -

Now, depending on where you come from, your state of mind or upbringing, or even your mood on a certain day, you may see different things in these statements. Here is a couple of possibilities:

Like many of the followers of each of these religions, you may read some sort of exclusivity in them. You may choose to ignore or not care about religions other than your own because your religion is the only Way to God. All other people are, alas ... lost.

You may even feel (God forbid), .. a bit superior for that exclusivity.

Or you may see that they all say the same thing, because there is an underlying oneness that makes them speak with the same voice, calling us to walk on the one Path. Whatever else lie to the sides, mere distractions.

- - -
* not in the correct order : Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Baha'i, Buddhism, and Hinduism


Anonymous said...

I was attracted here because of your picture-icon when I saw it at Bilo's blog.
I have trouble with my computer so I had to set up a partition of the root directory I didn't get everything to transfer over, too lazy to redo so I have to use anon. when I am "on this side".
I am known as Edo River. I also have a small blogger account.
Regarding your quotes, this "one way" makes it seem "easy", but from my humble experience.
Nothing, absolutely nothing that is really worth having, achieving
is easy. Of course neither do the Prophets disagree, but they don't spell out the suffering most of us will encounter.
And second, the death in God, the loss of Ego. This too is not easily accomplished.
Despite what the "magic mantra" people would have you believe.

Faisal said...

Edo Sense, O genki deska?

I think I agree with you completely (if I understood you right). The Oneness (of the Way) mentioned in the post may appear simplistic, but the implications are tremendous, and the meanings, limitless. In some sense, the very salvation of the planet may be linked to the recognition and the realization of this Oneness.

And no, simplicity can be beautiful but it's not a synonym of 'ease'. The Prophets themselves suffered. Overcoming the ego, is just about the hardest thing in the world like you say, and there is no magic mantra either. Yet; all the world's religions have called for sacrificing that which is low for that which is high. They all did.

Simplicity can be beautiful. E=MC2.

In order to believe in the oneness of the "Way", we may have to believe that there is only one God, only one human race, and maybe that religion is one too. Where would that leave us? - Faisal

Victor said...

Just wanted to leave a quick note to say how much I enjoyed and appreciated your first two posts. It is particularly powerful to see these selections from various Sacred Texts side by side; in so many ways it does become evident that they are all of the "same voice."

Anonymous said...

genki, ma ma.
here is the rub for me. I have been brought up to doubt...except the exquisite paradox is that I am struggling through out most of my life to disbelieve in the chains of doubt. or perhaps I was taught to doubt, and then my attention wandered and I didn't hear my teacher(s) tell me about the equally important value of "trust".

Of course in the scientific laboratory doubt is useful. And we wouldn't get anywhere if we didn't begin with a trust in our abilities to remove some of the doubt under certain conditions.
In daily life, a moderate amount of doubt, maybe is useful. But so is trust. Well probably trust is more important in social relations, IF you consider the long term view.

So, there is a subtly to teaching religion which my sincere, but limited, teachers could not convey when I was a child. I was attracted to the mystery, the beauty, the power and the majesty.
Maybe I should have been a Sufi? Anyway daily life on the schoolgrounds is more than being attracted to the mystery, and beauty of the Creator's way.

Too much time passed before I realized that there are social teachings, and there are core teachings in the religion. I kept getting the two confused. And bear in mind we are not talking abstractly, but the concrete evidence of experience, which for me was 62 Christian churches in a town of 7000 people. And don't ask me how many were all black or all white, or all used car dealers ;-), cause I don't/didn't know.

Edo River rising

Anonymous said...

I should add, "daily life in a family undergoing bankruptcy is more than.."
Edo River

Faisal said...

Thank you Victor for your kind and encouraging remarks. I like what you've done with your blog too. We need more of this kind of blogs. :)


Faisal said...

Edo River San,

Doubt can be replaced by a (more positive?) principle called "Independent Investigation of the Truth". It's wonderful to have teachers who teach you how to think for yourself and instill a yearning in you to look for the truth. At the same time, there is a saying that once you've found it (I am paraphrasing), then to keep searching is foolish. That's where the doubt should end and is replaced by certitude -- (maybe what you called "Trust").

What you say about core teachings on the one hand and social teachings on the other, is very true and important to distinguish between, and also to understand. The differences between religions are mainly with regards to the social teachings. Each appropriate and perfect for the place and the age they were revealed in. Another difference, if you want to call it so, is in the extent of what they expounded to us. Also, perfectly appropriate to the capacity of the recipients in that time and place. So there is nothing inherently against seeing religion as one, if we can also recognize its relative nature.

As to having 62 churches (all Christian) in a town of 7000, .. there is another saying:"Knowledge is one point, which the foolish have multiplied."

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. - Faisal