The World of Wisdom

Quotes From Diverse Traditions and Cultures

“Love, and do what you will.” -St. Augustine
“My humanity is bound up in yours – for we can only be human together.“ -Desmond Tutu
“The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love.” -Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” -Bertrand Russell, British Philosopher
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope” -Maya Angelou ,American poet and civil rights activist
“All joy in this world comes from wanting others to be happy, and all suffering in this world comes from…” -Lao Tzu, Daoist sage
“There isn’t any formula or method. You learn to love by loving—by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers…” -Aldous Huxley
“We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.” -Henry Ward Beecher
“Each person must never be treated only as a means to some other end, but must also be treated as…” -Immanuel Kant
“vain was the word of the philosopher that does not heal the suffering of man.” -Epicurus, Seneca’s favorite philosopher
“We draw the circle of family too narrow. Expanding our circle of love as we expand our awareness is key…" -Mother Teresa
“The power of love, as the basis of state, has never been tried.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the…” -Māori proverb
“From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of…” -Dalai Lama
“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because…” -Leo Tolstoy
“Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.” -Khalil Gibran
“In as much as our God is one God and the Creator of all mankind, He provides for and protects…” -Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“Where there is love, there is no darkness.” -Burundian proverb
“One who loves the vase, loves also what is inside.” -Tanzanian / Kenyan proverb
“Love is like the wind. You can't see it, but you can feel it.” -Carlos Drummond de Andrade
“Love is like a tango: it's passionate, intense, and full of longing.” -Jorge Luis Borges
“People will forget what you said, what you did, but never forget how you made them feel” -poet Maya Angelou
“One can’t love humanity, one can only love people.” -Graham Greene
“This supreme Lord who pervades all existence, the true Self of all creatures, may be realized through undivided love.” -The Bhagavad Gita (8:22), Hindu text
What brings understanding is love. When your heart is full, then you will listen to the teacher, to the beggar, to the laughter of children, to the rainbow, and to the sorrow of man. Under every stone and leaf, that which is eternal exists -Jiddu Krishnamurti
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”As Marx said:We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give" -Winston Churchill
“The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of Love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, scientist, and philosopher
“Love is the most powerful force in the universe. It is the eternal fire that burns within the heart and connects us all.” -Bhagavad Gita, Hindu Scripture
Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods. -Plato,Western Philosopher
In the end, only three things matter: how much you Loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. -Jack Kornfield
Love is the only energy that transcends the inertia of nature and takes one to the shores of ultimate awareness -Osho
Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. -C.S. Lewis
I see real love as the most fundamental of our innate capacities, never destroyed no matter what we might have gone through or might yet go through. It may be buried, obscured from view, hard to find, and hard to trust . . . but it is there. -Sharon Salzberg
What brings understanding is love. When your heart is full, then you will listen to the teacher, to the beggar, to the laughter of children, to the rainbow, and to the sorrow of man. Under every stone and leaf, that which is eternal exists. -Jiddu Krishnamurt
We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. -Mother Teresa
The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love. -Nisargadatta Maharaj
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. -Rumi
"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." -Teilhard de Chardin
Only eyes filled with love can see God. -Osho
Let there be love with every breath -Osho
“In brotherly love there is the experience of union with all men, of human solidarity, of human at-onement. Brotherly love is based on the experience that we are all one. The differences in talents, intelligence, knowledge are negligible in comparison with the identity of the human core common to all men.” -Erich Fromm
“Our true relationships in life are never to the material side of things. Reflect for a moment and you will recognize that you love your child or your garden or a poem because you have worked your way through its exteriority to an interior relationship with it.” -Arthur Zajonc, American Physicist
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” -Malcom S. Forbes, Entrepreneur
“[L]ove [is] the Divine energy. This primal love is Gift-love. In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.” -C.S. Lewis, Christian Theologian and Writer
A creed that tells us that we are no more than selfish genes, with nothing in principle to separate us from the animals, in a society whose strongest motivators are money and success, in a universe that came into existence for no reason whatsoever and for no reason will one day cease to be, will never speak as strongly to the human spirit as one that tells us we are in the image and likeness of God in a universe he created in love. -Jonathan Sacks, British Orthodox Rabbi and author
In the end, only three things matter: how much you Loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. -Jack Kornfield, American Author
Intimate, loving, and enduring relationships with our family and close friends will be among the sources of the deepest joy in our lives. -Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard university
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What we think, we become. -Buddha
Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. -Frank Outlaw
“Dreams are the ones that don’t let you go to bed, not the ones that you get when you sleep” -A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
The Feeling and longing are the motive force behind all human endeavor in human creation, in however exalted a guise later may present themselves to us -Albert Einstein
“The next great frontier of human exploration is not outer space, but inner space—the awakening of human consciousness” -Peter Russell
‘Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.’ -Charles Darwin
“All great truths begin as blasphemies.” -G B SHAW
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/are full of passionate intensity.” -Oswald Spengler
you’re “too busy” to meditate for ten minutes a day, you should meditate for an hour a day. The stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt -Bertrand Russel
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” -C.S. Lewis
“A pessimist is a man who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it. “ -George Bernard Shaw
“If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.” -Buddha
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes -Proust
Life is half spent before one knows what life is -French proverb
“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” -Sir Isaac Newton
"“Without going out of your door You can know all things on Earth Without looking out of your window You could know the ways of Heaven The farther one travels The less one knows The less one really knows Arrive without traveling See all without looking Do all without doing”" -The Beatles
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. -T. S. Eliot
What doubt is to science, irony is to personal life -Kierkegaard
A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel. -John Ruskin
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. -Jimi Hendrix
Never miss a good chance to shut up. -Will Rogers
If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room. -Confucius
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote Blaise Pascal.“Getting rid of a delusion makes us wiser than getting hold of a truth. -Ludwig Borne
The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. -Plutarch
Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s our most accurate measure of courage -Brené Brown
Be humble. Don’t think you’re better than anyone else. For dust you are and dust you shall return -Genesis 3:19
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear. -Mark Twain
You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore. -William Faulkner
“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
We learn not in the school, but in life. -Seneca
Once you learn to read, you will be forever be free. -Frederick Douglas, Former Slave, Author
“It’s life that matters, nothing but life–the process of discovering the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself at all." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian Novelist
In order to eat, you have to be hungry. In order to learn, you have to be ignorant. Ignorance is a condition of learning. Pain is a condition of health. Passion is a condition of thought. Death is a condition of life. -Robert Anton Wilson, Futurist
If I had an hour to save the world, I’d spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it. -Albert Einstein, Theoretical physicist
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“ The real secret of life is to be completely engaged with what you are doing here and now. And instead of calling it work, calling it play.” -Alan watts
“Whoever wants to understand much must play much.” -Gottfried Benn
“Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.” -Stuart Brown, MD
“The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.” -Brian Sutton-Smith
The rules are: the more playful we get, the more we can get rid of the rules. -Hans Zimmer
The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age -Thomas H. Huxley.
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” -O. Fred Donaldson
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” -Carl Jung
“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” -Abraham Maslow
“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman
“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” -Charles Schaefer
“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” -George Dorsey
“Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” -Mark Twain
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” — Shakespeare Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn't taste good -Lucia Capocchione
“Play is often talked about as if it was a relief from serious learning, but for children, play is really the work of childhood” -Fred Rogers
Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning. -Diane Ackerman
Necessity may be the mother of invention but play is certainly the father. -Roger Van oech
Play is the highest form of research. -Albert Einstein
Almost all creativity involves purposeful play. -Henri Matisse
Every day you play with the light of the universe -Pablo Neruda
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. -Maya Angelou
A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him. -Pablo Neruda
We all need empty hours in our lives or we will have no time to create or dream. -Robert Coles
All meaningful, organic, and foundational learning is at heart playful and ludic. -Marcelo Suárez-Orozco
Life is playfulness. We need play so that we can rediscover the magical around us. -Flora Colao
“It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” -D.W. Winnicott
“The very existence of youth is due in part to the necessity for play; the animal does not play because he is young, he has a period of youth because he must play.” -Karl Groos
“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” -Henri Matisse
“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” -Abraham Maslow
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” -Sir Isaac Newton
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‘You will not enter Paradise until you have faith and you will not have faith until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves. -Hadith, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 54h
“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” -The Buddha
“Religion creates community, community creates altruism, and altruism turns us away from self and toward the common good.” -Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, British Rabbi and philosopher
“Your actions produce reactions that follow you like shadows. Just as a tall person’s shadow is tall and a short person’s shadow is short, ugly words will produce ugly echoes, and good intentions will produce good reactions. For every action there is a reaction, and for every cause there is an effect.” -Lieh Tzu, Daoist
“Around us, life bursts forth with miracles—a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
“Peace is not the absence of chaos in the world, but the absence of conflicts within us.” -GB Shaw
“everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” -Viktor Frankl
“Instead of becoming a man of success, try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein. He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." -Nietzsche
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“And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor's shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.” — C.S. Lewis, writer and Christian theologian
“For we have no need to know the meaning which Allah intended by His attributes; no course of action is intended by them, nor is there any obligation attached to them. It is possible to believe in them without the knowledge of their intended sense.” — Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi, Muslim theologian
“We have been taught that R. Judah said: He who translates a verse literally is a liar, and he who adds [his own words] to it is a blasphemer and reviler.” — Sefer Ha-Aggadah, collection of Jewish writings
“The holy books are full of significance and must never be taken literally.” — ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“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.” — The Bhagavad Gita (5:10), Hindu text
“As irrigators lead water where they want, as archers make their arrows straight, as carpenters carve wood, the wise shape their minds.” — The Buddha
“Spiders can’t help making flying-traps, and men can’t help making symbols.” — Island, novel by Aldous Huxley
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“Each religious genius spells out the mystery of God according to his own endowment, personal, racial, and historical. The variety of the pictures of God is easily intelligible when we realize that religious experience is psychologically mediated.” - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, philosopher and former President of India
“We should continually try to broaden the circle of our acquaintances, associate with those who are of different religion, race and nationality, and by this means come to a fuller understanding and appreciation of one another.” — Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i prophet
“The great man shows his greatness by combining all the common aspects of humanity. So, when ideas come to him from outside, he can receive them but does not cling to them. Likewise, when he brings forth some idea from within himself, they are like guides to those around but they do not seek to dominate.” — The Book of Chuang Tzu, Taoist text
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“My Hindu instinct tells me that all religions are more or less true. All proceed from the same God, but all are imperfect because they have come down to us through imperfect human instrumentality.” - Gandhi, acknowledged as Father of the Nation by Indians
“I believe all religions pursue the same goals, that of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means might appear different, the ends are the same.” — His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leader
“To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the civilization that speaks it.” — Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Jewish author and teacher
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“The Rosary is a prayer which always accompanies me. It’s also the prayer of ordinary people and the saints…and a prayer from my heart.” – Pope Francis
“People count with self-satisfaction the number of times they have recited the name of God on their prayer beads, but they keep no beads for reckoning the number of idle words they speak.” – Al-Ghazali, Medieval Muslim theologian and scholar
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“The mystic wants to know salvation personally, directly, and dramatically. But he or she has also come to the conclusion that the doctrines and rituals of the church are symbolic, that is, they point to actual states of the soul and not necessarily to anything literal or historical.” – Jeffrey J. Kripal, historian of religion
“To the mystic, the original act of Revelation to the community—the, as it were, public revelation of Mount Sinai, to take one instance—appears as something whose true meaning has yet to unfold itself; the secret revelation is to him the real and decisive one.” – Gershom Scholem, Jewish philosopher and historian
“To a Sufi, revelation is the inherent property of every soul. There is an unceasing flow of the divine stream, which has neither beginning nor end.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan, Indian Sufi teacher
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“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama
“Once you know the nature of anger and joy is empty and you let them go, you free yourself from karma.” – The Buddha
“Karma moves in two directions. If we act virtuously, the seed we plant will result in happiness. If we act non-virtuously, suffering results.” – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7, Bible
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” – Quran 13:11
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” – Leviticus 19:18, Torah

“He is unaffected by Karma, although engaged in action, who has yoked himself to the way of Yoga, whose mind is purified, whose self has triumphed and whose senses have been subdued, and whose self has, indeed, become the self of all beings. Although acting he remains unaffected by Karma.”
– The Bhagavad Gita (5:7), Hindu text

“As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil act of another man. The fruit is of the same quality as the action.” – Mahabharata

“If you do good, know that the good will return to you. If you do evil, know that the evil will return to you.”
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“As one plants, so does one harvest. O Nanak, contemplate the Naam, the Name of the Lord, and you shall be released from bondage.” – Guru Granth Sahib
“Karma, when properly understood, is just the mechanics through which consciousness manifests.” – Deepak Chopra
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” – Wayne Dyer
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is the law of the universe and spares none” – Anil Sinha

“I’m a true believer in karma. You get what you give, whether it’s bad or good.”
– Sandra Bullock

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“The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts, and perseverance in struggle. Divine grace purifies and elevates them.”

—Catechism, Christian text

“Should a person do good, let him do it again and again. Let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good.”

—The Buddha

“The Gita has become for us a spiritual reference book. I am aware that we ever fail to act in perfect accord with the teaching. The failure is not due to want of effort, but is in spite of it. Even through the failures we seem to see rays of hope.”

—Mahatma Gandhi, acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation

“Do not make God a pretext, when you swear by Him, to avoid doing good, being righteous and making peace between people. God is all hearing and all knowing.”

—The Quran (2:224), Islamic text

“The Master said, ‘It is these things that cause me concern: failure to cultivate virtue, failure to go more deeply into what I have learned, inability, when I am told what is right, to move to where it is, and inability to reform myself when I have defects.’” —The Analects (7:3), Confucian text
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“Know thyself.”

– Inscription at the Ancient Greek Oracle of Delphi

“But ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of the Self within. The light of this knowledge shines like the sun, revealing the supreme Brahman.” — The Bhagavad Gita (5:16), Hindu text

“True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self.”
– Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i prophet

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“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” — Psalm (19:1)
"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." — Colossians (1:16)
“He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.” — Quran, Surah Al-Ikhlas (112:1-4)
“Every entity regards itself as exalted over another entity. Darkness regards itself as exalted over the deep, because it is above it. Air, as exalted over water, because it is above it. Fire, as exalted over air, because it is above it. The heavens, as exalted over fire, because they are above it. But the Holy One, blessed be He, is truly exalted over them all.” — Sefer Ha-Aggadah, A collection of Jewish writings
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” — The Buddha
“All other virtues, like the plantain tree, Produce their fruit, but then their force is spent. Alone the marvelous tree of bodhicitta Constantly bears fruit and grows unceasingly.” — The Way of the Bodhisattva, A Buddhist text
“Those who see all creatures in themselves and themselves in all creatures know no fear.” — Upanishads, Hindu text
"As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take, through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee." — Srimad Bhagavatam, (11.14.26), A Hindu text

“The world of existence may be likened to the expression of God’s Will. The reality of things is the will of God, and this reality is one, although its outpourings are many and varied.”
— Abdu’l-Bahá, a central figure in the Bahá’í Faith

“Tzu-hsia said, ‘I have heard it said: life and death are a matter of Destiny; wealth and honor depend on Heaven.’” — The Analects, Confucian text
“Imagine a nebulous thing Here before Heaven and Earth Subtle and elusive Dwelling apart and unconstrained It could be the mother of us all Not knowing its name I call it the Tao Forced to describe it I describe it as great Great means ever-flowing Ever-flowing means far-reaching Far-reaching means returning.” — Tao Te Ching, Daoist text
“I just compare myself with Heaven and Earth and my life-breath I receive from yin and yang. I am just a little stone or a little tree set on a great hill, in comparison to Heaven and Earth. As I perceive my own inferiority, how could I ever be proud?” — The Book of Chuang Tzu, Daoist text
“[Religion refers to] The feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine.” — William James, philosopher, and psychologist
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“You shall remember all the way which Yahweh your god has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, to test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”

—Deuteronomy(8:2), Fifth book of the Old testament

“To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open Way. If God had so willed He would have made you a single people but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.”

—Qur’an (5:48), Muslim text

“As one’s own hands and feet act without permission of the head, so do heroes act without permission of their own selves.” – Bhagavata Purana, Hindu Religious text
“Normally, if a traveller fails to find home when his journeys are over, everyone will agree that this person has lost his way. However, in the journey of life, many travelers only know how to wander but do not know how to return home. And yet people do not see that these travelers have likewise lost their way.” —Lieh Tzu, Daoist sage
“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” —The Buddha

“Briefly, the journey of the soul is necessary. The pathway of life is the road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower nature, which is ignorant and defective.”
– Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i leader

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“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of Love and acceptance, just as we are.”
— Brené Brown

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” —1 Peter(3:34), Christian text
‘Whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own soul; and the destination (of all) is God.’ —Qur’an (35:18), Muslim text

“Be a lamp unto yourself. Be your own confidence. Hold on to the truth within yourself as to be the only truth.”
—The Buddha

“This supreme Self is beginningless, deathless and unconfined; although it inhabits bodies, it neither acts nor is tainted.” —Bhagavad Gita (13:31), Hindu text
“Everyone in the world knows how to raise questions about what they don’t know, but none know how to raise questions about what they already know. […] all creatures, down to the smallest, fluttering insects, have thus lost touch with their inborn natures.” —Chuang Tzu, Defining figure in Taoism
“Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world can alter.” —Baha’u’llah, Baha’i prophet
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“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

—The New Testament (Romans 5:3-5), Christian text

“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.”

—The Dhammapada, Buddhist text


“Faith is the refusal to let go until you have turned suffering into a blessing.”

—Jonathan Sacks, British Rabbi, and author

“If I do an evil action, I must suffer for it; there is no power in this universe to stop or stay it.”

—Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk


“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” —The Qur’an (2:155), Muslim text
“The benevolent man reaps the benefit only after overcoming difficulties.” The Analects (6:22), Confucian text
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“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

—The New Testament (Romans 5:3-5), Christian text

“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.”

—The Dhammapada, Buddhist text


“Faith is the refusal to let go until you have turned suffering into a blessing.”

—Jonathan Sacks, British Rabbi, and author

“If I do an evil action, I must suffer for it; there is no power in this universe to stop or stay it.”

—Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk


“If I do an evil action, I must suffer for it; there is no power in this universe to stop or stay it.”

—Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk


“The benevolent man reaps the benefit only after overcoming difficulties.” The Analects (6:22), Confucian text
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“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

—The New Testament (2 Corinthians 13:14), Christian text


“Om is composed of three letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.” —The Dalai Lama, Buddhist spiritual leader
“Control of the senses, contentment, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline — these form the basis of holy life here for the wise monk.” —The Buddha
“For the intention, the power and the action, all the three essential elements are brought together and the realization of everything in the contingent world dependeth upon these three principles.” —‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” —Ecclesiastes 3:11, The Hebrew Bible
“Om Tat Sat: these three words represent Brahman, from which come priests and scriptures and sacrifice. Those who follow the Vedas, therefore, always repeat the word Om when offering sacrifices, performing spiritual disciplines, or giving gifts.” —The Bhagavad Gita (17:23-24), Hindu text
“Perhaps no other theme of the mosque lessons better captures the Aristotelian principle of ethical formation than that of the classical triad of fear (al-khauf), hope (al-raja’), and love (al-hubb).” —Saba Mahmood, scholar of Islam
“The Way gave birth to the One The One gave birth to the Two The Two gave birth to the Three; And the Three gave birth to the ten thousand things.” ——The Tao Te Ching (Chapter 42), Taoist text

“There are three things constantly on the lips of the gentleman none of which I have succeeded in following: ‘A man of benevolence never worries; a man of wisdom is never in two minds; a man of courage is never afraid.’”

—The Analects (14:28), Confucian text


“[There is a] relatively uniform description of [memory] capacity limits of three to five chunks as the population average (with a maximum range of two to six chunks in individuals).” —Nelson Cowan, psychologist
“Civilization, instead, has always rested on three pillars. Public goods, social investments, and cooperation by average people, to better themselves — instead of paying tribute to warlords, emperors, and rulers.” —Umair Haque, British economist
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“While standing by a river, the Master said, ‘What passes is perhaps like this: day and night it never lets up.’” — Confucian text
“Suppose, monk, there was a great stone mountain a yojana long, a yojana wide, and a yojana high, without holes or crevices, one solid mass of rock. At the end of every hundred years a man would stroke it once with a piece of fine cloth. That great stone mountain might by this effort be worn away and eliminated but the eon would still not have come to an end. So long is an eon, monk. And of eons of such length, we have wandered through so many eons, so many hundreds of eons, so many thousands of eons, so many hundreds of thousands of eons. For what reason? Because, monk, this saṃsāra is without discoverable beginning.” —Gautam Buddha
“The earth life lasts but a short time, even its benefits are transitory; that which is temporary does not deserve our heart’s attachment.” —‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i leader
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” —Ecclesiastes 3:11, The Hebrew Bible
“Twelve thousand divine years constitute a period of the four Ages, and a thousand of the four Ages is called a day of Brahman, or an aeon (kalpa), in which there are fourteen Manus. At the end of the aeon there occurs the occasional dissolution brought about by Brahman.” —The Puranas, Hindu text
“It will fall on the disbelievers––none can deflect it––from God, the Lord of the Ways of Ascent, by which the angels and the Spirit ascend to Him, on a Day whose length is fifty thousand years.” —Quran  

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

—New Testament



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“Confucius said, ‘To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue.’ […] ‘Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”

—The Analects (17:6), Confucian text


“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.” —The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader
“It is your duty to be exceedingly kind to every human being, and to wish him well.” —‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i leader
The world endures because of three activities: study of Torah, divine worship, and deeds of loving-kindness. —Sefer Ha-Aggadah, collection of Jewish writings
“Dignity, kindness, courage, a benevolent, loving heart—these are the qualities of men born with divine traits, Arjuna.” —The Bhagavad Gita (16:1-3), Hindu text
“Let’s stop thinking about giving as just this moral obligation and start thinking of it as a source of pleasure.” —Elizabeth Dunn, social psychologist
“And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other.” —The New Testament (Ephesians 4:32), Christian text
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“If you only knew the magnificence of 3, 6, and 9, then you would have the key to the universe.” — Nikola Tesla, inventor and engineer
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” — The Hebrew Bible (Genesis 1:31), Jewish text
“Baháʼís revere [the number 9] for two reasons, first because it is considered by those interested in numbers as the sign of perfection. The second consideration, which is the more important one, is that it is the numerical value of the word "Baháʼ.” — Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i leader
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“For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” —The New Testament (Matthew 24:24), Christian text
“Muḥammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him.” —The Qur’an (3:144), Islamic scripture
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” —Hebrew Bible (Deuteronomy 18:15), Jewish text
“If my spiritual guru and God were both in front of me, I would show my reverence and respect to my guru first. It is only because of the guru’s guidance that I am able to find God.” —Kabir, Indian mystic and poet
“The purpose of studying Buddhism is not to study Buddhism, but to study ourselves. It is impossible to study by ourselves without some teaching […] You have a teacher for yourself, not for the teacher.” —Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher
“Fear thou God, but not the priest.” —Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i prophet
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“We’ve been in the mountain of hatred long enough. It is necessary to move on now, but only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land of justice and brotherhood and the Kingdom of God.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader and theologian
“Surely, following the heavenly Record, We decreed in the Scriptures: ‘My righteous servants shall inherit the land.’” — The Qur’an (21:105), Islamic scripture
“Pre-eminent among all sacred fords, the best of places, superior to all knowledge, this is my place, the supreme Avimukta […] All the evil accumulated in a thousand previous lives is destroyed for one who enters Avimukta.” — Kurma Purana, Hindu scripture
“A deeply searching mind is the pure land of the bodhisattva. When he attains Buddhahood, beings who are endowed with blessings will be born in his country.” — The Buddha, Vimalakirti Sutra
“The resolute one who moved by the principles of Thy Faith Extends the prosperity of order to his neighbors And works the land the evil now hold desolate, Earns through Righteousness, the Blessed Recompense Thy Good Mind has promised in Thy Kingdom of Heaven.” — Zoroaster, founding prophet
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.’” — The Hebrew Bible (Genesis 12:1-3), Jewish scripture
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“When you kneel down to pray, remember that you are kneeling before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” – The New Testament (1 Timothy 6:15), Christian scripture
“O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good – that you may succeed.” – The Quran (22:77), Islamic scripture
“When you kneel down to pray, make sure that you are kneeling before God and not before your own ego.” – Swami Vivekananda, Hindu saint
“Bowing helps to eliminate our self-centered ideas. This is not so easy. It is difficult to get rid of these ideas, and bowing is a very valuable practice. The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice.” – Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher
“Bow in humility within your heart, and you will find the Lord, right here and now.” – Guru Granth Sahib (p. 489), Sikh scripture
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” – The Hebrew Bible (Psalms 95:6), Jewish scripture
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“For instance, there is the well-known tetrapharmakos, or four-fold healing formula: ‘God presents no fears, death no worries. And while good is readily attainable, evil is readily endurable.’ The abundance of collections of Epicurean aphorisms is a response to the demands of the spiritual exercise of meditation.” – Pierre Hadot, philosopher and historian
“Twelve thousand divine years constitute a period of the four Ages, and a thousand of the four Ages is called a day of Brahman, or an aeon (kalpa), in which there are fourteen Manus. At the end of the aeon there occurs the occasional dissolution brought about by Brahman.” – Vishnu Purana, Hindu text
“There are, O monks, these four lights. What four? The light of the moon, the light of the sun, the light of fire, and the light of wisdom. Of these four lights, the light of wisdom is supreme.” – The Buddha
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“Ever the river has risen and brought us the flood, the mayfly floating on the water. On the face of the sun, its countenance gazes, then all of a sudden nothing is there!” – The Epic of Gilgamesh, ancient Mesopotamian text
“The LORD then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male, and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male, and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male, and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.’ And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.” – The Hebrew Bible (Genesis 7:1-5)
“O kind-hearted man, you have care in your heart, listen now. Soon the world will be submerged by a great flood, and everything will perish. You must build a strong ark, and take a long rope on board. You must also take with you the Seven Sages, who have existed since the beginning of time, and seeds of all things and a pair of each animal. When you are ready, I will come to you as a fish and I will have horns on my head. Do not forget my words, without me you cannot escape from the flood.” – Matsya Purana, Hindu text
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“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 heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century.” – Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i prophet
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. – The Hebrew Bible (Exodus 3:1-2), Jewish text
“The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Catholic Jesuit priest
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“Creation is ruled by the law of duality. For every up there is a down; for every plus there is a minus. Every pleasure is balanced by an equal displeasure; every joy, by an equal sorrow.” —Paramhansa Yogananda, Hindu monk and guru
“In the Primal Beginning, yin and yang divide, and their interaction produces limited but identifiable shapes and forms.” —The Book of Lieh-Tzu, Taoist text
God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.” —The Hebrew Bible (Genesis 1:16), Jewish text
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“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” —The New Testament (Matthew 13:34), Christian scripture
“Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah has knowledge of all things.” —The Quran (14:25)
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in Allah’s way is as the likeness of a grain which groweth seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. Allah giveth increase manifold to whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.” —The Quran (2:261)
“The Lord is the repository of all learning, and the Vedas are the scriptures meant for the good of all. By reading and reflecting on the stories and teachings contained in the vedas, one can attain the highest knowledge.” — Atharva Veda, Sacred Ancient Hindu Text
“O Brahmanas! Stories serve as an excellent means for explaining things. They make understanding easy and memory firm. In ancient times, this was how the wise taught the ignorant.” —The Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva (91.19)
“Did I not previously tell you that all the Buddha Bhagavats explain the Dharma with various explanations and illustrations using skillful means, all for the sake of highest, complete enlightenment!?” —The Lotus Sutra, Buddhist text
“Narrate unto them, O Servant, the story of ‘Alí, when He came to a city in His wanderings, calling out “Hasten to the mercy of your Lord!” Some believed Him, and some denied Him.” —Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-iqan
“In every age and cycle, the tales, the traditions, the sayings and the admonitions of the past prophets and sages have exerted a profound influence over the thoughts, the manners, and the customs of their respective peoples.” —Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” —The New testament (Matthew 13:31-32), Christian scripture
“Consider the king who has lost a gold coin or a precious pearl in his house. May he not find it by the light of a wick worth no more than an issar? Likewise, do not let the parable appear of little worth to you. By its light, a man may fathom words of Torah.” —The Talmud, Collection of Jewish texts
“[You should] read religion as parable, as folklore, as poetic presentation of your own history and nature.” —Robert Aitken, Translator
“An educator never says what he himself thinks, but always only what he thinks of a thing in relation to the requirements of those he educates.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosopher
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“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” —The New Testament (1 Revelations 1:8), Christian text
“We sent them with clear signs and scriptures. We have sent down the message to you too [Prophet], so that you can explain to people what was sent for them, so that they may reflect.” —The Qur’an (16:44), Muslim text
“The powerful revelations that stand at the beginnings of great communities, at the turning-points of human time, are nothing else than the eternal revelation […], a new form of God in the world.” —Martin Buber, Jewish philosopher
“It is extremely difficult to obtain the vision you have had; even the gods long to see me in this aspect. Neither knowledge of the Vedas, nor austerity, nor charity, nor sacrifice can bring the vision you have seen. But through unfailing devotion, Arjuna, you can know me, see me, and attain union with me.” —The Bhagavad Gita (11:52-54), Hindu text
“Wisdom is something which will come out of your mindfulness. So the point is to be ready for observing things, and to be ready for thinking. This is called the emptiness of your mind.” —Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher
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“The point is not that God will refuse you admission to His eternal world if you have not got certain qualities of character: the point is that if people have not got at least the beginnings of those qualities inside them, then no possible external conditions could make a ‘Heaven’ for them — that is, could make them happy with the deep, strong, unshakable kind of happiness God intends for us.” —C.S. Lewis, writer and Christian theologian
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” —The New Testament (Romans 10:9), Christian text
“Truly those who do evil and are surrounded by their sins will be the inhabitants of the Fire, there to remain, while those who believe and do good deeds will be the inhabitants of the Garden, there to remain.” —The Qur’an (2:81-82), Muslim text
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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” —The New Testament (Corinthians 5:17), Christian text
“On that Day, We shall roll up the skies as a writer rolls up [his] scrolls. We shall reproduce creation just as We produced it the first time.” —The Qur’an (21:104), Muslim text
“In these two aspects of my nature is the womb of all creation. The birth and dissolution of the cosmos itself take place in me.” —The Bhagavad Gita (7:6), Hindu text
“The world of creation has had no beginning and will have no end, because it is the arena upon which the attributes and qualities of the spirit are being manifested.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“At the great Origin there was nothing, nothing, no name. The One arose from it; there was One without form. In taking different forms, it brought life and became known as Virtue. Before any shape was given, their roles were assigned, varied, and diverse but all linked to one another. This was their lot.” — The Book of Chuang Tzu, Daoist text
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth […] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” —Hebrew Bible (Genesis 1:1-3), Jewish text
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“These are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” —The New Testament (John 20:31), Christian text
“Allah, he insisted, had not sent him to work wonders. If signs be sought, let them not be of Muhammad’s greatness but of God’s, and for these one need only open one’s eyes to the wonders of nature. The only miracle that Muhammad claimed was that of the Koran itself. That he with his own resources could have produced such truth—this was the one naturalistic hypothesis he could not accept.” —Huston Smith, scholar of religion
“Notwithstanding [the Buddha’s] own objectivity toward himself, there was constant pressure during his lifetime to turn him into a god. This he rebuffed categorically, insisting that he was a human in every respect.” —Huston Smith, scholar of religion
“The double nature of incarnation—simultaneously human and not human—can be traced back to the Upanishadic belief that our souls are all incarnations of the immortal brahman though our bodies are subject to the cycle of reincarnation.” —Wendy Doniger, Indologist and historian of religion
“The Prophets, unlike us, are pre-existent. The Soul of Christ existed in the spiritual world before His birth in this world. We cannot imagine what that world is like, so words are inadequate to picture His state of being.” —Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i leader
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“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit […] The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’).” —The New Testament (Matthew 1:18-23), Christian text
“[Muhammad’s] mother suffered none of the pangs of travail. At the moment of his coming into the world a celestial light illumined the surrounding country, and the new born child, raising his eyes to heaven, exclaimed: ‘God is great! There is no God but God, and I am his prophet!” —Washington Irving, short story writer and biographer
“In the Gospels, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would conceive a child through the Holy Spirit, even though she was a virgin. On the night of Jesus’s birth, a star appeared in the sky that led three wise men to a stable, where they believed they had found the ‘King of the Jews.” —Carla Mooney, religion writer
“Remember the one who guarded her chastity. We breathed into her from Our Spirit and made her and her son a sign for all people.” —The Qur’an (21:91), Muslim text
“I was born from the nectar of immortality as the primordial horse and as Indra’s noble elephant. Among human beings, I am the king.” —The Bhagavad Gita (10:27), Hindu text
“Even since the olden times, This illumination of all of our palaces Is without precedent. Has a deva of great merit been born, Or has a buddha appeared in the world? […] Possibly a buddha has appeared in the world To save suffering sentient beings.” —The Lotus Sutra, Buddhist text
“The Chinese chronicles record that when the earth had solidified and the peoples were settling in the riverlands, Fu His, the ‘Heavenly Emperor’ (2953-2838 B.C.), governed among them […] He had been born of a miraculous conception, after a gestation of twelve years; his body being that of a serpent, with human arms and the head of an ox. Shen Nung, his successor, the ‘Earthly Emperor’ (r. 2838-2698 B.C.) was eight feet seven inches tall, with a human body but the head of a bull. He had been miraculously conceived through the influence of a dragon […] Huang Ti, the ‘Yellow Emperor’ (r. 2697-2597 B.C.), was the third of the august Three. His mother, a concubine of the prince of the province of Chao-tien, conceived him when she one night beheld a golden dazzling light around the constellation of the Great Bear. The child could talk when he was seventy days old and at the age of eleven years succeeded to the throne.” —Joseph Campbell, scholar of comparative mythology and religion
“Images of virgin birth abound in the popular tales as well as in myth.” —Joseph Campbell, scholar of comparative mythology and religion
“Founding myths, above all, work to set apart their subjects from the ordinary lot of humanity. They thus often include stories of special births, which function to mark the founder or saint as someone different and destined for great things. Hence one story of the Buddha’s birth describes how, upon exiting his mother’s womb, he immediately took seven steps and then announced that this was his final birth, in which he would save the world. Similarly, according to a version of Mahavira’s birth narrative, Mahavira was first conceived in the womb of a Brahman or Hindu priest but was then transferred to the womb of a member of the warrior caste.” —Jeffrey J. Kripal, Historian of Religion
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“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture […] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” —The New Testament (John 10:9-11), Christian text
“Each of you is a shepherd, and all of you are responsible for your flocks.” —The Prophet Muhammad
“To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: first let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good; that is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them.” —Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher
“Could it be said that Moses was not a real Shepherd and that He did not gather these scattered people together? Christ was a real Shepherd. At the time of His manifestation, the Greeks, Romans, Assyrians and Egyptians were like so many scattered flocks. Christ breathed upon them the spirit of unity and harmonized them. Therefore, it is evident that the Prophets of God have come to unite the children of men and not to disperse them, to establish the law of love and not enmity. Consequently, we must lay aside all prejudice—whether it be religious, racial, political or patriotic; we must become the cause of the unification of the human race.” —‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“Have you seen a shepherd at work? He can control several hundred sheep by getting a child to prod them gently from behind with a bamboo stick. The entire flock will move in the direction he wants them to go. On the other hand, if you try to lead each sheep, you will not be able to get the flock moving.” —Lieh-tzu, Daoist text
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” —Hebrew Bible (Psalm 23:1-3), Jewish text
“The Holy One then said: Because you showed such compassion in tending the flock of a mortal, as you live, you shall become shepherd of Israel, the flock that is Mine.” —Sefer Ha-Aggadah, collection of Jewish writings
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“The axle of the wheels of the chariot of Providence is Infinite Love, and Gracious Wisdom is the perpetual charioteer.” —Charles Suprgeon, Christian Baptist preacher
“Picture a charioteer. He is seated in a vehicle, propelled by a horse, guided by himself. Intellect is the ‘vehicle’, the outward form within which we state where we think we are and what we have to do. The vehicle enables the horse and man to operate. The horse, which is the motive power, is the energy which is called ‘a state of emotion’ or other force. This is needed to propel the chariot. The man, in our illustration, is that which perceives, in a manner superior to the others, the purpose and possibilities of the situation, and who makes it possible for the chariot to move towards and to gain its objective.” —Sufi parable
“As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” —Hebrew Bible (2 Kings 2:11), Jewish text
“Know the Self as lord of the chariot, the body as the chariot itself, the discriminating intellect as the charioteer, and the mind as reins. The senses, say the wise, are the horses; selfish desires are the roads they travel. When the Self is confused with the body, mind and senses, they point out, he seems to enjoy pleasure and suffer sorrow.” —Katha Upanishad (1.3.3-4), Hindu text
“So which do you hit, the cart or the horse? Which do you hit, yourself or your problems? If you start questioning which you should hit, that means you have already started to wander about. But when you actually hit the horse, the cart will go. In truth, the cart and the horse are not different. When you are you, there is no problem of whether you should hit the cart or the horse.” —Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher
“I do not see how a man can be acceptable who is untrustworthy in word? When a pin is missing in the yoke-bar of a large cart or in the collar-bar of a small cart, how can the cart be expected to go?” —The Analects (2:22), Confucian text
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“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” —The New Testament, Christian text
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world[…]I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.” —C.S. Lewis, writer and Christian theologian
“It is God who created seven heavens and a similar [number] of earths. His command descends throughout them. So you should realize that He has power over all things and that His knowledge encompasses everything.” —The Qur’an (65:12), Muslim text
“How many fires are there, how many suns, how many dawns, how many waters?” —Rig Veda (10:88), Hindu text
“Insects in a fig Cannot imagine Worlds other than the fig. There are so many fig-trees In these woods: And so many more Vast clusters of stars.” —Hindu poem
“What worlds are there herein? I’ll tell you. In these seas of fragrant waters, numerous as atoms in unspeakably many buddha-fields, rest an equal number of world systems. Each world system also contains an equal number of worlds. Those world systems in the ocean of worlds have various resting places, various shapes and forms, various substances and essences, various locations, various entryways, various adornments, various boundaries, various alignments, various similarities, and various powers of maintenance.” —Avatamsaka Sutra, Buddhist text
“That world beyond is a world of sanctity and radiance; therefore, it is necessary that in this world he should acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that life eternal ready for him.” —‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“Likewise, the rewards of the other world are the eternal life which is clearly mentioned in all the Holy Books, the divine perfections, the eternal bounties, and everlasting felicity. The rewards of the other world are the perfections and the peace obtained in the spiritual worlds after leaving this world.” —‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“The sage will not speak of what is beyond the boundaries of the universe—though he will not deny it either. What is within the universe, he says something about but does not pronounce upon.” —The Book of Chuang Tzu, Daoist text
“Our time in this world is a journey through the cycle we call life. As guests, we linger for a while in this realm before we depart for another. And who can tell how long this traveler will stay in the next realm before embarking on another visit to the realm of the living?” —The Book of Lieh Tzu, Daoist text
“God carries everything beneath His arms. With His right arm he carries the heavens, and with His left arm he carries the earth. How much do God’s arms carry? The left carries the 18,000 worlds that surround this world. The right carries 120,000 worlds of the World to Come.” —Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, collection of Jewish writings
“The identification of the high ancestors of humanity with tian, an ambiguous term encompassing a deity and the physical sky, blurs categories that usually separate the human world from the natural world.” —Ruth H. Chang, scholar of East Asian religions
“The uniquely human capacity for detached, creative thought, which includes the ability to conceive of imaginary beings and alternative worlds, stands behind literature, art, science, and, of course, religion.” —Todd Tremlin, scholar of Religion
“The content of these individual worlds, of course, is very different in each case, but the process of creating a world is a universal human attribute.” —Jeffrey J. Kripal, Historian of Religion
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“But be the doers of the word, not only the hearers, deluding your own selves.” —James (1:22)
“My little children, let’s not love in word only, or with tongue only, but in deed and truth.” —1 John (3:18)
“During walking meditation, during kitchen and garden work, during sitting meditation, all day long, we can practice smiling. At first you may find it difficult to smile, and we have to think about why. Smiling means that we are ourselves, that we have sovereignty over ourselves, that we are not drowned in forgetfulness. This kind of smile can be seen on the faces of Buddhas and bodhisattvas.” —Thich Nhat Hanh, A Buddhist Monk
“Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. […] Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.” —Swami Vivekananda, An Indian Yogi, and Hindu monk
“Instead of innate desires eliciting outward forms of conduct, it is the sequence of practices and actions one is engaged in that determines one’s desires and emotions.” —Saba Mahmood, An Anthropologist of Islam and Secularism
“If the mind is still but the body is not responsive, no intention can be communicated to the body. If the body is responsive and the mind is confused, the actions will come out confused.” —Eva Wong, in her translation of the Lieh-tzu
“We tend to ‘learn’ some things but ‘study’ others. For instance, a child learns to walk but an entomologist studies the behavior of ants. We learn something practical; we study something theoretical. In learning the focus is on the learner; in studying the focus is on the subject. In learning something new, a man improves himself. He either acquires a new skill or becomes more proficient in the old one. In studying, a man acquires new knowledge but this new knowledge need not make any difference to him as a practical man.” —D.C. Lau, in his translation of Confucius’ Analects
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“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” —The New Testament (John 3:16), Christian text
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” —The New Testament (Hebrews 13:16), Christian text
“So, you who believe, do not violate the sanctity of God’s rites, the Sacred Month, the offerings, their garlands, nor those going to the Sacred House to seek the bounty and pleasure of their Lord.” —Qur’an (5:2), Muslim text
“Commemorate the way the Lord brought his people out of Egypt. Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.” —Hebrew Bible (Exodus 13:2), Jewish text
“The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.’” —Hebrew Bible (Genesis 22:15-18), Jewish text

“One may sacrifice his comfort and material means in order to help the poor and the needy. In so doing, one is rewarded spiritually, but has to give up something of material value instead. This sacrifice, if carried out in the path of God and for His sake, is most meritorious. It enables the soul to become detached from the material world, and thus brings it closer to God. This is one of the fruits of sacrifice.”
—Adib Taherzadeh, member of Baha’i Universal House of Justice

“Some people get the impression that Buddhism talks too much about suffering. In order to become prosperous, a person must initially work very hard, so he or she has to sacrifice a lot of leisure time. Similarly, the Buddhist is willing to sacrifice immediate comfort so that he or she can achieve lasting happiness.” –The Dalai Lama
“In order to develop the willpower it takes to sacrifice, you must first realize that spending all your time and energy pursuing material comforts means you will eventually suffer. It’s all about positive and negative consequences. It’s very important to be aware that there are long-term consequences [for every action].” –The Dalai Lama
“The process of offering is Brahman; that which is offered is Brahman. Brahman offers the sacrifice in the fire of Brahman. Brahman is attained by those who see Brahman in every action.” —The Bhagavad Gita (4:24), Hindu text
“Whatever I am offered in devotion with a pure heart—a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water—I accept with joy. Whatever you do, make it an offering to me—the food you eat, the sacrifices you make, the help you give, even your suffering. In this way you will be freed from the bondage of karma, and from its results both pleasant and painful. Then, firm in renunciation and yoga, with your heart free, you will come to me.” —The Bhagavad Gita (9:26-28), Hindu text
“In a land far to the south and east is a country where it is customary for people to kill their firstborn and offer its flesh and blood to everyone in the community to eat. They say this will bring fertility to the women […] All these customs are established traditions in the countries where they are practiced. They are observed by all the people and there is nothing strange about them. We call them barbaric and are shocked by them only because we have different customs.” —Lieh-tzu, Daoist text
“People believed that spirits and ancestors could affect human destinies; therefore, sacrifices could bring good fortune or avert disaster. Offering sacrifices was a major responsibility; indeed, it was one of the fundamental duties of the Shang kings. Sacrifices were made to nature spirits, culture heroes, and royal ancestors. The number of sacrifices grew so that by the eleventh century B.C., the king had to perform a major ceremonial sacrifice every day to mark annual sacrifices to royal deities.” —Ruth H. Chang, scholar of East Asian religions
“As I said, sacrifice is often offered in exchange for better crops or plentiful game. However, people also have the intuition that the outcomes of their agricultural or hunting operations mainly result from their own action. Indeed, whatever the ritual guarantee, farmers and hunters never dispense with any empirical measures that increase their likelihood of success. You may give a goat to the gods but you still plow your fields to the best of your abilities.” —Pascal Boyer, cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist
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“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” –The New Testament (Ephesians 5:19), Christian text
“Whoever says that all music is prohibited, let him also claim that the songs of the birds are prohibited.” — Al-Ghazali, Muslim theologian and philosopher
“There are many ways to the Divine. I have chosen the ways of song, dance, and laughter.” –Rumi, Sufi mystic and poet
“Drama and music are by themselves religion; any song, love song or any song, never mind; if one’s whole soul is in that song, he attains salvation, just by that.” –Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk
“Music comes closest to meditation. Music is a way towards meditation and the most beautiful way. Meditation is the art of hearing the soundless sound, the art of hearing the music of silence—what Zen people call the sound of one hand clapping.” –Osho, Indian mystic
“Birds’ songs express joy, beauty, and purity, and evoke in us vitality and love. So many beings in the universe love us unconditionally. The trees, the water, and the air don’t ask anything of us; they just love us.” — Thich Nat Hanh, Buddhist monk and author
“It is the music which assists us to affect the human spirit; it is an important means which helps us to communicate with the soul.” —Shogi Effendi, Baha’i leader
“Wen was already an accomplished musician by the time he went to study with Hsiang, but he realized that perfection in technique alone does not make great music. When he was finally able to dissolve the duality between himself and the music, the songs he played not only had the power to create moods but literally changed reality.” —Lieh-tzu, Daoist text
“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” —Hebrew Bible (Psalm 150:1-6), Jewish text
“Be stimulated by the Odes, take your stand on the rites and be perfected by music.” —The Analects (8:8), Confucian text
“Communication, entertainment, and psychological healing of the community occur through aesthetic means, at the deeply embodied level of rhythm and movement.” —Michelle Voss Roberts, scholar of theology
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” –Victor Hugo, French poet and novelist
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” —Aldous Huxley, novelist and philosopher
“Music is the universal language of mankind.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poet and Harvard Professor
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“[Jesus] went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.” –The New Testament (John 19:17), Christian text
“[The Ka’ba was] the first House [of worship] established for mankind.” —The Qur’an (3:96)), Muslim text
“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.” —‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i leader
“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 surpassing those in other divine spots on earth.” —Kurma Purana, Hindu text
“With the right attitude, any journey to a sacred place becomes a pilgrimage. In our tradition, the Buddha advised that in times to come people interested in his teachings should be told about the places associated with the major events of his life. His purpose was not to ensure the aggrandizement of the person of the Buddha, but rather the welfare of his followers.” –The Dalai Lama
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“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.” —The New Testament (Ephesians 2:8-9), Christian text
“It was He who made His tranquility descend into the hearts of the believers, to add faith to their faith.” —Qur’an (48:4), Islamic text
“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.” —The Bhagavad Gita (12:12), Hindu text
“Bowing helps to eliminate our self-centered ideas. This is not so easy. It is difficult to get rid of these ideas, and bowing is a very valuable practice. The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice.” —Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher
“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.’” —The Book of Chuang Tzu, Daoist text
“You are born with grace. There is nothing for you to do to deserve grace; it is an ordained state of generosity, goodness, and purity that already resides in your consciousness.” –Shoni Labowitz, Rabbi and author
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“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” —The New Testament (John 6:35), Christian text
“But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” —The New Testament (Corinthians 8:8), Christian text
“He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” —The Qur’an (2:173), Islamic scripture
“Fasting can help to curb animal passion, only if it is undertaken with a view to self-restraint […] That is to say, fasting is futile unless it is accompanied by an incessant longing for self-restraint.” —Mahatma Gandhi, acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation
“There is not a single being, wandering in the chain of lives in endless and beginning less samsara, that has not been your mother or your sister. An individual, born as a dog, may afterward become your father. Each and every being is like an actor playing on the stage of life. One’s flesh and the flesh of others is the same flesh. Therefore the Enlightened Ones eat no meat.” —The Buddha
“Verily, I say, fasting is the supreme remedy and the most great healing for the disease of self and passion.” —Baha’u’llah, Baha’i prophet
“Fasting is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.” —Shogi Effenci, Baha’i leader
“The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; hearing with the spirit, with your whole being […] Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind.” —The Book of Chuang Tzu, Daoist text
“Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” —Hebrew Bible (Genesis 1:29), Jewish text
“Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.” —Hebrew Bible (Exodus 34:28), Jewish text
“When fasting, [Confucius] thought it necessary to have his clothes brightly clean and made of linen cloth. When fasting, he thought it necessary to change his food, and also to change the place where he commonly sat in the apartment.” —The Analects (10:7), Confucian text
“From a comparativist perspective, the truth is that it does not matter what the dietary rules are, as long as there are dietary rules. Put a bit differently, what the dietary codes are about is not the content of the codes themselves, but their functions […] In short, eating regulations not only help shape and maintain a very particular religious identity; they also form and police a very particular community. They help make a world.” —Jeffrey J. Kripal, Historian of Religion
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“This new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. It is not merely the spreading of an idea; it is more like evolution — a biological or super-biological fact.” —C.S. Lewis, writer and Christian theologian
“We have appointed acts of devotion for every community to observe.” —Qur’an (22:67-69), Islamic text
“Actions based upon sacrifice, charity, and penance should never be abandoned; they must certainly be performed. Indeed, acts of sacrifice, charity, and penance are purifying even for those who are wise.” —The Bhagavad Gita (18:5-6), Hindu text
“Not by rituals, and resolutions, nor by much learning, nor by celibacy, nor even by meditation can you find the supreme, immortal joy of nirvana until you extinguish your self-will.” —The Buddha
“Higher ritual involves effort And should it meet with no response Then it threatens and compels” —Tao Te Ching, Daoist text
“To return to the observance of the rites through overcoming the self constitutes benevolence.” —The Analects (12:1), Confucian text
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