Selected Quotes

Explore the entire UEF quote database below, using the umbrella topics to help you navigate. You may need to allow a few moments for the hub to load before selecting the relevant filters.

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The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“Entering into every heart, I give the power to remember and understand; it is I again who take that power away. All the scriptures lead to me; I am their author and their wisdom.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
Adib Taherzadeh
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“The Word of God is the noblest form of the creation of God and it stands far above the comprehension of man. Bahá'u'lláh has warned us in a Tablet never to compare the creation of the ‘Word’ with the creation of other things. He states that each one of the words of God is like a mirror through which the attributes of God are reflected, and that through the Word of God all creation has come into being. In Islám it is stated that God created the universe through the utterance of one word ‘Be’, which brought into existence all created things. The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh which is the Word of God for this age is, in like manner, creative. Bahá'u'lláh has, in some of His Tablets, referred to the word 'Be' as the cause of creation.”

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
The Zohar
Jewish mystical text
Judaism

“Now they came forth, these carved, flaming letters

flashing like gold when it dazzles.

Like a craftsman smelting silver and gold:

when he takes them out of the blazing fire

all is bright and pure;

so the letters came forth, pure and bright

from the flowing measure of the spark.

Therefore it is written:

‘The word of YHVH is refined’

(Psalms 18:31),

as silver and gold are refined.”

Category:
Religion: Judaism
Gershom Scholem
Jewish philosopher and historian
Judaism

"The Torah, in other words, does not consist merely of chapters, phrases and words; rather is it to be regarded as the living incarnation of the divine wisdom which eternally sends out new rays of light. It is not merely the historical law of the Chosen People, although it is that too; it is rather the cosmic law of the Universe, as God’s wisdom conceived it. Each configuration of letters in it, whether it makes sense in human speech or not, symbolizes some aspect of God’s creative power which is active in the universe."

Category:
Religion: Judaism
The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“And the words of the Lord are flawless,

like silver purified in a crucible,

like gold refined seven times.”


Category:
Religion: Judaism
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Pascal Boyer
Cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“This distribution among systems is in fact a familiar feature to anthropologists, who know that religions the world over tend to be multimedia, multisystem affairs. That is, we know that religious concepts are transmitted in a variety of manners and contexts in any single human group. People sing, tell anecdotes, use moral intuitions, use evocation of dangerous situations, dance, take drugs, fall into trances, etc. Naturally, the particular panoply of techniques used varies a lot from one group to another, but there is generally no religion that is confined to one and only one kind of experience.”

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“We could almost say that seeing ourselves as belonging to the whole is what religion—religio, rebinding—is. It is mankind’s fundamental thrust at unification. The first motif—unity—leads to a second. If things are more integrated than they seem, they are also better than they seem. Paralleling the astrophysicists’ report that the world is bigger than it looks to our unaided eyes, the wisdom tradition reports that it is better than it feels to our unregenerated hearts."

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Aldous Huxley
British-American writer
Art & Literature

“Civilization is harmony and completeness. Reason, feeling, instinct, the life of the body—[William] Blake managed to include and harmonize everything. Barbarism is being lop-sided.  You can be a barbarian of the soul and the feelings as well as of sensuality. Christianity made us barbarians of the soul and now science is making us barbarians of the intellect.  Blake was the last civilized man."

Category:
Religion: Art & Literature
Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

“Tzu-lu asked about the complete man. The Master said, ‘A man as wise as Tsang Wu-chung, as free from desires as Meng Kung-ch'uo, as courageous as Chuang-tzu of Pien and as accomplished as Jan Ch'iu, who is further refined by the rites and music, may be considered a complete man.' Then he added, ‘But to be a complete man nowadays one need not be all these things. If a man remembers what is right at the sight of profit, is ready to lay down his life in the face of danger, and does not forget sentiments he has repeated all his life even after having been in straitened circumstances for a long time, he may be said to be a complete man.”

Category:
Religion: Confucianism
Lieh Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“Kang-sen-tzuthen said, ‘It is really quite simple. My body is in harmony with my mind, and my mind is in harmony with my energies. My energies follow my spirit, and my spirit is in tune with everything around it. Therefore, I can hear the faintest sound and see the slightest movement. Nothing escapes my awareness, whether it is far away or right in front of me. I do not know whether I perceive it with my senses, experience it with my body, or know it in my guts. Let’s say it is just a natural feel for the way of things.’"

Category:
Religion: Daoism
The Upanishads
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“Now, take the bees, son. They prepare the honey by gathering nectar from a variety of trees and by reducing that nectar to a homogenous whole. In that state the nectar from each different tree is not able to differentiate: ‘I am the nectar of that tree,’ and ‘I am the nectar of this tree.’ In exactly the same way, son, when all these creatures merge into the existent, they are not aware that ‘We are merging into the existent.’ No matter what they are in this world—whether it is a tiger, a lion, a wolf, a boar, a worm, a moth, a gnat, or a mosquito—they all merge into that. The finest essence here—that constitutes the self of this whole world; that is the truth; that is the self (atman). And that’s how you are, Svetaketu."

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
Mahatma Gandhi
Acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation
Hinduism

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“Nine is the highest digit, hence symbolizes comprehensiveness, culminations; also, the reason it is used in the Temple’s form is because 9 has exact numerical value of ‘Bahá’ (in the numerology connected with the Arabic alphabet) and‘Bahá’ is the name of the Revealer of our Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. The 9-pointedstar is not a part of the teachings of our Faith, but only used as an emblem representing ‘9’."

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Christianity

“Turning to the doctrine of the Atonement, its root meaning is reconciliation, the recovery of wholeness or at-one-ment. Christians were convinced that Christ’s life and death had effected an unparalleled rapprochement between God and humanity."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Swami Vivekananda
Hindu monk
Interconnectedness

“All differences in this world are of degree, and not kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.”

Category: Interconnectedness
Religion:
Udanavarga
Buddhist text
Buddhism

“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”

Category:
Religion: Buddhism
The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
Baha’u’llah
Baha'i prophet
Baha'i

“Choose thou for thy neighbor that which thou choosest for thyself.”

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

Category:
Religion: Judaism
Babylonian Talmud
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“Once there was a gentile who came before Shammai, and said to him: ‘Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.’ Shammai pushed him aside with the measuring stick he was holding. The same fellow came before Hillel, and Hillel converted him, saying: ‘That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it.’”

Category:
Religion: Judaism
Al-Bukhari
Islamic scholar
Islam

“None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.”

Category:
Religion: Islam
Jeffrey J. Kripal
Historian of religions
Christianity

“There is no scriptural text more studied and analyzed in the professional study of religion than the Bible. As a whole, then, the comparative study of religion has followed, from its very beginning until this day, its own version of the ‘golden rule’: apply the very same methods to your own tradition that you would apply to those of others. And, preferably, do this first and most fully.”

Category:
Religion: Christianity
C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer
Christianity

“I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities. But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own[…]Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to—whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired.”

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Charles Darwin
English naturalist and biologist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the
simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and
sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This
point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending
to the men of all nations and races.”

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Baruch Spinoza
Enlightenment philosopher
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The good which every man who pursues virtue aims at for himself he will also desire for the rest of mankind, and all the more as he acquires a greater knowledge of God.”

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
The Analects
Confucian Text
Confucianism

“Tzu-kung asked, ‘Is there a single word which can be a guide to conduct throughout one’s life?’ The Master said, ‘It is perhaps the word “shu.” Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.’”

Category:
Religion: Confucianism
T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien
Daoist text
Daoism

“Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.”

Category:
Religion: Daoism
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Category:
Religion: Christianity
The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“Those who surrender to Brahman all selfish attachments are like the leaf of a lotus floating clean and dry in water. Sin cannot touch them.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“The grace of God is beating down upon mankind, even as the rains in spring, and the rays of the manifest Light have made this earth to be the envy of heaven. But alas, the blind are deprived of this bounty, the heedless are closed off from it, the withered despair of it, the faded are dying away -- so that even as flooding waters, this endless stream of grace passeth back into its primal source in a hidden sea. Only a few receive this grace and take their share of it. Wherefore, let us put our hopes in whatever the strong arm of the Beloved can bring about."

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
Martin Buber
Austrian-Israeli Jewish philosopher
Judaism

“This is the activity of the human being who has become whole: it has been called not-doing, for nothing particular, nothing partial is at work in man and thus nothing of him intrudes into the world. It is the whole human being, closed in its wholeness, at rest in its wholeness, that is active here, as the human being has become an active whole. When one has achieved steadfastness in this state, one is able to venture forth toward the supreme encounter."

Category:
Religion: Judaism
The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“Our Lord, make us devoted to You; make our descendants into a community devoted to You. Show us how to worship and accept our repentance, for You are the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.”

Category:
Religion: Islam
The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“It was He who made His tranquility descend into the hearts of the believers, to add faith to their faith."

Category:
Religion: Islam
C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer
Christianity

"In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the only thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer
Christianity

“A man who starts anxiously watching to see whether he is going to sleep is very likely to remain wide awake. As well, the thing I am talking of now may not happen to every one in a sudden flash — as it did to St Paul or Bunyan: it maybe so gradual that no one could ever point to a particular hour or even a particular year. And what matters is the nature of the change in itself, not how we feel while it is happening. It is the change from being confident about our own efforts to the state in which we despair of doing anything for ourselves and leave it to God.”

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Pierre Hadot
French philosopher and historian
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“This is the case, for instance, in Dorotheus of Gaza, who describes spiritual perfection in completely Stoic terms: it is the transformation of the will so that it becomes identified with the Divine Will: He who has no will of his own always does what he wishes. For since he has no will of his own, everything that happens satisfies him. He finds himself doing as he wills all the time, for he does not want things to be as he wills them, but he wills that they be just as they are."

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Teresa of Avila
Christian saint
Christianity

“However great the effort we make to do so, we cannot enter. His Majesty must place us there and enter Himself into the center of our soul."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Marcus J. Borg
New Testament scholar and theologian
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The image of following ‘the way’ is common in Judaism, and ‘the way’ involves a new heart, a new self centered in God. One of the meanings of the word “Islam” is “surrender”: to surrender one’s life to God by radically centering in God. And Muhammad is reported to have said, ‘Die before you die.’ Die spiritually before you die physically, die metaphorically (and really) before you die literally. At the heart of the Buddhist path is ‘letting go’—the same internal path as dying to an old way of being and being born into a new. According to the Tao te Ching, a foundational text for both Taoism and Zen Buddhism, Lao Tzu said: ‘If you want to become full, let yourself be empty; if you want to be reborn, let yourself die.’ This process of personal spiritual transformation—what we as Christians call being born again, dying and rising with Christ, life in the Spirit—is thus central to the world’s religions."

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
William James
American psychologist and philosopher
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“You know how it is when you try to recall a forgotten name.  Usually you help the recall by working for it, by mentally running over the places, persons, and things with which the word was connected.  But sometimes this effort fails: you feel then as if the harder you tried the less hope there would be, as though the name were JAMMED, and pressure in its direction only kept it all the more from rising.  And then the opposite expedient often succeeds. Give up the effort entirely; think of something altogether different, and in half an hour the lost name comes sauntering into your mind, as Emerson says, as carelessly as if it had never been invited.”

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
William James
American psychologist and philosopher
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“There is a state of mind, known to religious men, but to no others, in which the will to assert ourselves and hold our own has been displaced by a willingness to close our mouths and be as nothing in the floods and waterspouts of God.”

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Jiddu Krishnamurti
Philosopher and speaker
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Only when you discard completely, through understanding, the whole structure of the self, can that which is eternal, timeless, immeasurable, come into being. You cannot go to it; it comes to you."

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Hermann Hesse
German-Swiss novelist
Art & Literature

"I learned from my body and my soul that I was in great need of sin; I needed sensual pleasures, the ambition for possessions, vanity, and I needed the most humiliating despair in order to learn how to give up my resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to cease comparing it with some world of my wishes or my imagination, with some type of perfection that I had concocted, but to leave it the way it is, to love it, and to be a part of it gladly."

Category:
Religion: Art & Literature
Lao Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“Those who seek learning gain every day
Those who seek the Way lose every day
They lose and they lose
Until they find nothing to do
Nothing to do means nothing not done
Those who rule the world aren’t busy
Those who are busy
Can’t rule the world”

Category:
Religion: Daoism
Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“It is said, ‘One who follows the Tao daily does less and less. As he does less and less, he eventually arrives at actionless action. Having achieved actionless action, there is nothing which is not done.’ Now that we have become active, if we wish to return to our original state, we will find it very difficult!"

Category:
Religion: Daoism
Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“Life stops and starts, is born and dies, grows and declines, and there is nothing which can be done about this. People think the ruler of all this is humanity. Forget that, forget Heaven and be known as one of those who forgot self. The person who forgets self can be known as the one who enters Heaven."

Category:
Religion: Daoism
Mahatma Gandhi
Acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation
Hinduism

“This is the unmistakable teaching of the Gita. He who gives up action falls. He who gives up only the reward rises. But renunciation of fruit in no way means indifference to the result. In regard to every action one must know the result that is expected to follow, the means thereto, and the capacity for it.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

"Although you suffer, you will gain a maturity that will enable you to be of greater help to both your fellow Bahá’ís and your children."

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“As we suffer these misfortunes we must remember that the Prophets of God Themselves were not immune from these things which men suffer. They knew sorrow, illness and pain too. They rose above these things through Their spirits, and that is what we must try and do too, when afflicted."

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

"If we suffer it is the outcome of material things, and all the trials and troubles come from this world of illusion."

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

"A man is required to bless God for evil, even as he is to bless Him for good[...]no matter what judgment He decrees for you, whether a measure of prosperity or a measure of suffering."

Category:
Religion: Judaism
The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“ 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."

Category:
Religion: Judaism
The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

"Every soul is certain to taste death: We test you all through the bad and the good, and to Us you will all return."

Category:
Religion: Islam
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised tothose who love him."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Aldous Huxley
British-American writer
Art & Literature

“Two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary."

Category:
Religion: Art & Literature
Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

"The benevolent man reaps the benefit only after overcoming difficulties."

Category:
Religion: Confucianism
Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist monk and author
Buddhism

"The ocean of suffering is immense, but if you turn around, you can see the land. The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don' t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy. When one tree in the garden is sick, you have to care for it. But don't overlook all the healthy trees. Even while you have pain in your heart, you can enjoy the many wonders of life--the beautiful sunset, the smile of a child, the many flowers and trees. To suffer is not enough. Please don't be imprisoned by your suffering."

Category:
Religion: Buddhism
The Dhammapada
Buddhist scripture
Buddhism

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it."

Category:
Religion: Buddhism
The Puranas
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“Now the Lord resolved to demonstrate that Maran was capable of pursuing such a course not only while his prosperity lasted, but also if he were to fall on hard times. Accordingly he planned that Maran’s wealth should gradually diminish until it had all evaporated and he had been reduced to poverty. However, although his circumstances were thus straitened, the generosity of the lord of Ilaiyankuti was not straitened in the slightest. On the contrary, he sold his possessions and took out crippling loans, which enabled him to persevere in his sacred service as before."

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
The Puranas
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

 “There are many sufferings in birth, and many that come right after birth; and there are many that he encounters in childhood, inflicted by elemental factors and so forth. Covered over by the darkness of ignorance, a man’s heart becomes stupefied."

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Category:
Religion: Christianity
Swami Vivekananda
Hindu monk
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“If I am sure of anything, it is of this humanity which is common to us all. It is through this generalised entity that I see you as a man or a woman. So it is with this universal religion, which runs through all the various religions of the world in the form of God; it must and does exist through eternity. ‘I am the thread that runs through all these pearls,’ and each pearl is a religion or even a sect thereof. Such are the different pearls, and the Lord is the thread that runs through all of them; only the majority of mankind are entirely unconscious of it.”

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“All races, tribes, sects and classes share equally in the Bounty of their Heavenly Father.”

Category:
Religion: Baha'i
Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“‘Do not break up into clusters’ (Deut. 14: 1). Do not form many [small]clusters, but all of you stay as one cluster. ‘Do not break up into clusters. ’Do not divide in dissent against one another, lest you bring about a ‘baldness’ within your number, as Korah did. He divided Israel, making them into many small clusters, and thus brought about a lrorhah, a ‘baldness,’ in Israel."

Category:
Religion: Judaism
The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“As for those who have divided their religion and broken up into factions, have nothing to do with them [Prophet]. Their case rests with God: in time He will tell them about their deeds.”

Category:
Religion: Islam
Pascal Boyer
Cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“In the case of Christianity, the great difficulty at first was to decide exactly what the doctrine was. The essentials of the doctrine did not originate in a scholarly group but were those of a messianic, revolutionary movement, a loose federation of groups with not entirely compatible interpretations of not entirely similar accounts of the Revelation. When the movement did become an organized religious guild with great political leverage, this created a series of complex struggles between political factions that identified themselves in terms of these different interpretations of revelation and morality. Hence the long succession of Councils supposed to establish, once and for all, coherent foundations for the doctrine and therefore to determine who was in and who was out.”

Category:
Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer
Christianity

“One of the things Christians are disagreed about is the importance of their disagreements.”

Category:
Religion: Christianity
The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.”

Category:
Religion: Christianity
The Puranas
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“The city of Varanasi is my place of utmost mystery, said Shiva, which conveys all creatures across the ocean of existence. There dwell great-souled devotees of mine, keeping their vows to me, great goddess, observing supreme self-control. Pre-eminent among all sacred fords, the best of places, superior to all knowledge, this is my place, the supreme Avimukta. Within this area are to be found sanctuaries, purifying fords, and shrines in cremation grounds supassing those in other divine spots in earth. This abode of mine floats in the sky, unattached to the earth. Those without Yoga cannot see it, but yogins witness it with their minds. This is the famous burning ground known as Avimukta. Becoming Time, there I destroy the world, O lovely woman. This is my most favored place among all mysteries, O goddess. My devotees who go there enter into me. There gifts, prayers, offerings, oblations, tapas and all other acts, meditation, Vedic study and knowledge become indestructible. All the evil accumulated in a thousand previous lives is destroyed for one who enters Avimukta.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
The Puranas
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“The good people who go there [to Haridvara] find good health—men, women, the four-cornered worlds themselves. From merely visiting hari they all go to the heaven Vaikuntha. Beautiful Haridvara is also a grand pilgrimage place of mine. This best of all fords bestows the four goals of life in the Kali Age; it gives Dharma to people, and release and success as well, there where the lovely and pure Ganges flows perennially.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
Wendy Doniger
Indologist and historian of religions
Hinduism

“The word for a shrine in Sanskrit is tirtha, a ford, a place where one “crosses over” a river; once, all shrines were on rivers, and even now they usually have some sort of water, if only a human-made pool in which the worshippers can bathe[…]And indeed, shrines are where one can cross simultaneously over the river and over the perils of the world of rebirth, or cross from earth to heaven.”

Category:
Religion: Hinduism
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“Among the institutes of the Holy Books is that of the foundation of places of worship. That is to say, an edifice or temple is to be built in order that humanity might find a place of meeting, and this is to be conducive to unity and fellowship among them. […]In brief, the original purpose of temples and houses of worship is simply that of unity -- places of meeting where various peoples, different races and souls of every capacity may come together in order that love and agreement should be manifest between them. That is why Bahá’u’lláh has commanded that a place of worship be built for all the religionists of the world; that all religions, races and sects may come together within its universal shelter; that the proclamation of the oneness of mankind shall go forth from its open courts of holiness -- the announcement that humanity is the servant of God and that all are submerged in the ocean of His mercy.”

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Religion: Baha'i
Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Judaism

“The most historically minded of all the religions, Judaism finds holiness and history inseparable. In sinking the roots of their lives deep into the past, Jews draw nourishment from events in which God’s acts were clearly visible. The Sabbath eve with its candles and cup of sanctification, the Passover feast with its many symbols, the austere solemnity of the Day of Atonement, the ram’s horn sounding the New Year, the scroll of the Torah adorned with breastplate and crown—the Jew finds nothing less than the meaning of life in these things, a meaning that spans the centuries in affirming God’s great goodness to his people.”

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Religion: Judaism
Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“Books may not be thrown about from one place to another, nor may they be treated disrespectfully. A man is required to have a scroll of Torah written with good ink, a good quill, by competent scribes, on good sheets of parchment made out of the hides of deer. He is then to wrap it in beautiful silks, in keeping with ‘This my God, and I will glorify Him’ (Exod. 15:2).”

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Religion: Judaism
Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“The Land of Israel is the holiest of all lands.”

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Religion: Judaism
The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“God has made the Ka’ba– the Sacred House– a means of support for people, and the Sacred Months, the animals for sacrifice and their garlands: all this.”

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Religion: Islam
Pascal Boyer
Cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Among the common features of ritual in vastly different cultural environments, we find an obsession with marking boundaries—for instance, marking off some part of the ceremonial space as special. Indeed, as historian of religion Veikko Anttonen points out, this obsession with limits is probably the only common thread in otherwise very different concepts of ‘sacred’ space and objects. Another extremely common theme is that of purity, purification, of making sure that participants and various objects are clean, etc.”

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Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Jeffrey J. Kripal
Historian of religions
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“It is an often forgotten fact that the vast majority of people in human history were illiterate. They could not read their own sacred scriptures. The situation was often more dramatic still, for in many traditional religious systems people (especially women) were not allowed to read the sacred scriptures. Religious institutions, then, had to turn to other means to instruct and edify their members. One of the most common means of doing this has been what we call material religion—all those physical objects or ‘things,’ from miniature statues and posters to holy cards and amulets, that enable people to imagine their religious worlds into being on a daily basis.”

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Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

“Surely when one says ‘The rites, the rites,’ it is not enough merely to mean presents of jade and silk. Surely when one says ‘Music, music,’ it is not enough merely to mean bells and drums.”

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Religion: Confucianism
Joseph Campbell
Scholar of comparative mythology and religion
Buddhism

“He arose and proceeded along a road which the gods had decked and which was eleven hundred and twenty-eight cubits wide. The snakes and birds and the divinities of the woods and fields did him homage with flowers and celestial perfumes, heavenly choirs poured forth music, the ten thousand worlds were filled with perfumes, garlands, harmonies, and shouts of acclaim; for he was on his way to the great Tree of Enlightenment, the Bo Tree, under which he was to redeem the universe. He placed himself, with a firm resolve, beneath the Bo Tree, on the Immovable Spot, and straight away was approached by Kama-Mara, the god of love and death. The dangerous god appeared mounted on an elephant carrying weapons in his thousand hands. He was surrounded by his army, which extended twelve leagues before him, twelve to the right, twelve to the left, and in the rear as far as to the confines of the world; it was nine leagues high. The protecting deities of the universe took flight, but the Future Buddha remained unmoved beneath the Tree. And the god then assailed him, seeking to break his concentration[…]But the future Buddha only moved his hand to touch the ground with his fingertips, and thus bid the goddess Earth to bear witness to his right to be sitting where he was.”

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Religion: Buddhism
Jeffrey J. Kripal
Historian of religions
Hinduism

“Many of the Hindu temples, for example, display in striking form a most remarkable comparative practice: numerous gods and goddesses share the same sacred space, as each is understood to be a part of a larger cosmic vision or sacred whole.”

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Religion: Hinduism
Pascal Boyer
Cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist
Hinduism

“Millions of pilgrims, devotees, priests and holy men throng the city of Benares because of the special qualities of the place, in particular the fact that funerals conducted there are said to confer on the deceased a better destiny. The main point of the long rituals performed by specialized Brahmans is to turn the soul of the dead person from a pret, a malevolent ghost, into a pitr or ancestor. During a ritual cycle that extends over eleven days, the Brahman gradually incorporates the substance of the deceased person, in particular the impurity of the dying process, into his own body. The Brahman receives many ‘gifts’ on behalf of the deceased.”

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Religion: Hinduism
C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer
Christianity

“All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life which most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity. Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendour and power and joy. Gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of Heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.”

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Religion: Christianity
Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master
Buddhism

“Calmness of mind does not mean you should stop your activity. Real calmness should be found in activity itself. We say, ‘It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness inactivity, but calmness in activity is true calmness.’"

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Religion: Buddhism
Kabir
Hindu poet
Hinduism

"If saying Ram gave liberation
Saying candy made your mouth sweet
Saying fire burned your feet,
Saying water quenched your thirst,
Saying food banished hunger,
The whole world would be free."

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Religion: Hinduism
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene.”

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Religion: Baha'i
Baha’u’llah
Baha'i prophet
Baha'i

“For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heartand soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects oft he latter endureth a century."

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Religion: Baha'i
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“Bahá’u’lláh says there is a sign (from God) in every phenomenon: the sign of the intellect is contemplation and the sign of contemplation is silence, because it is impossible for a man to do two things at one time—he cannot both speak and meditate."

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Religion: Baha'i
The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“Those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God—truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace.”

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Religion: Islam
The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”

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Religion: Judaism
Pierre Hadot
French philosopher and historian
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“There is a great deal more philosophy in spiritual exercises like Socrates’ dialogues than in the construction of a philosophical system. The task of dialogue consists essentially in pointing out the limits of language, and its inability to communicate moral and existential experience.”

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Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Michelle Voss Roberts
Scholar of theology
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The unsaid can be a powerful and paradoxical means of coming to voice."

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Religion: Science, Psychology, & Philosophy
Buson
Japanese poet and painter
Art & Literature

“Neither speak ill of others, nor well of yourself.
The moment you open
Your mouth to speak,
The autumn wind stirs
And chills your lips."

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Religion: Art & Literature
Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said: I spent all my life among sages and found nothing better for a person than silence. He who talks too much brings on sin.”

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Religion: Judaism
Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

“The Master said, ‘I am thinking of giving up speech.'
Tzu-kung said, ‘If you did not speak, what would there be for us, your disciples, to transmit?'
The Master said, ‘What does Heaven ever say? Yet there are the four seasons going round and there are the hundred things coming into being. What does Heaven ever say?’”

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Religion: Confucianism

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