Article – Body As A Temple

Though most religious teachings stress the importance of not indulging too much in bodily pleasures, they emphasise the body’s role as a dwelling place for the divine or the sacred spark. In Christianity, for instance, the Apostle Paul refers to the body as “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). This perspective underscores the reverence for the human body as a creation of the divine, deserving of care, respect, and discipline.

Various wisdom traditions like Hinduism, Sufism, and Ancient Greek philosophy employ the chariot metaphor to demonstrate the body’s interrelatedness with the mind and soul. “The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses.”–Katha Upanishad.

This perspective encourages practices that promote physical and mental well-being, such as yoga or dietary restrictions, to create a pure and healthy vessel for the divine.

Buddhism emphasises the importance of mindfulness practices like meditation to cultivate inner peace and wisdom. Vajrayana Buddhism pursues a path of enlightenment that focuses mainly on the body. Similarly,  in Islam, the body is seen as a tool for fulfilling one’s religious duties, such as prayer and fasting during Ramadan. These practices are believed to refine the body and spirit, allowing for a closer connection to the divine.

Many religions also refer to their communities of practitioners as a single body. This includes Christianity, Islam, and Baha’i. In Christianity, the concept of the church as a single body is deeply rooted in the teachings of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul often referred to the Christian community as the “Body of Christ.” This metaphor illustrates how each member of the community, regardless of their role or function, is essential and interconnected, much like the parts of a human body

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”
–The New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:19)

“Stand up for prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.”
— Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Hadith 127

“This body is a temple of the divine; treat it with great respect and purity.”
– Bhagavad Gita 2.22

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
–His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama

“If the body is mastered, mind is mastered.”
—Nyanaponika Thera, Buddhist monk

“Guard and take care of your body, then the rest takes good care of itself. I sustain the unity and dwell in harmony, thus have I remained alive for one thousand two hundred years and my body has not aged.”
–The Book of Chuang Tzu, Daoist text

“The soul of man should be likened unto this sun, and all things on earth should be regarded as his body. So long as no external impediment interveneth between them, the body will, in its entirety, continue to reflect the light of the soul, and to be sustained by its power.” 
—Baha’u’llah, Baha’i prophet

“Take care of your body. It is the temple where your spirit must live.”
This quote emphasizes the importance of the body for spiritual well-being.
-Epictetus (Stoic philosopher)

“The human body is the greatest instrument of all, and the imagination the greatest bow.”
This quote highlights the potential of the body as a tool for creative expression.
Michelangelo (Renaissance artist)

See All Commonalities Across Religions

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