About

Religions are complete packages that provide us with comprehensive worldviews and corresponding codes of conduct for how best to live in accordance with such views. As such, it is not surprising that religions stress the importance of wholeness: developing oneself as a well-rounded person and leading a balanced life rather than overspecializing. When we get so entrenched in one mode of thinking and experiencing the world, we forget that there are people with other ways of living and we lose the ability to understand and empathize with such people. We can learn so much from people with other viewpoints and experiences and this is a big part of what wholeness means. Reminders from religious texts to embrace more wholeness can ensure that we retain the willingness to engage with other cultures.

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Quotations

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."

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’."

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.”

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."

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.’"

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.”

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."

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."

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.”

Rumi
Sufi mystic and poet
Islam

"Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being."

Hadith
the reported words of the Prophet Muhammad
Islam

"The Muslims are like a single man. If the eye is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted. If the head is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted."

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

"The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy." (49:10)

Ben Zoma
Interpreter of Jewish scriptures
Judaism

“Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.”

Maimonides
Medieval Jewish scholar
Judaism

"A man should aim to maintain physical health and vigor, in order that his soul may be upright, in a condition to know God. For it is impossible for one to understand sciences and meditate upon them when one is hungry or sick, or when any of his limbs is aching…because his purpose in all that he does will be to satisfy his needs so as to have a sound body with which to serve God."

Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“The sage goes beyond confusion and diversity and makes everything into one body. Even though he does not know for certain how, he is true to his innate nature.”

Martin Buber
Austrian-Israeli Jewish philosopher
Judaism

"The Thou encounters me by grace — it cannot be found by seeking. But that I speak the basic word to it is a deed of my whole being, is my essential deed. The basic word I-Thou can be spoken only with one's whole being. The concentration and fusion into a whole being can never be accomplished by me, can never be accomplished without me. I require a Thou to become; becoming I, I say Thou. Whoever abhors the name and fancies that he is godless — when he addresses with his whole devoted being the Thou of his life that cannot be restricted by any other, he addresses God."

Lao Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“The incomplete become whole
the crooked become straight
the hollow become full
the worn-out become new […]
the ancients who said the incomplete become whole
came close indeed
becoming whole depends on this”

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement
Judaism

“Let the Good in me connect with the good in others, until the world is transformed through the compelling power of love.”

Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master
Buddhism

"When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."

Baha’u’llah
Baha'i prophet
Baha'i

"Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean."

Baha’u’llah
Baha'i prophet
Baha'i

"Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the members of one body."

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (1 Corinthians 12:13)

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Romans 12:4-5)