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 Religion Is A Word

Reed Carson
BNet Newsletter
August, 2004

 Dear Member of Blavatsky Net,

One reason I admire His Holiness the Dalai Lama is that he summed up his religion in a single word. Tibetan monks at monasteries memorize long sections of text. As part of their training they tradition they practice the art of debating. Yet a single word summary? The Dalai Lama says "My religion is kindness". You can carry that with you.

This sets me wondering how other bodies of religious thought might be similarly summarized.

Sai Baba has a following of millions in the East and the West. He says he is not here to found a new religion and instead directs followers to return to the roots of their original religion. At his compound at Putaparti India, on the top of the tallest building, there is a carved a very short saying. If people look up they will see it. In two lines it says "Love all serve all". In only four words he has captured the essences of a guiding rule for the lives of his devotees - perhaps for all of us.

In Christianity we can easily think of the maxim "Love thy neighbor as thyself." A world of behavior is indicated by that rule. Others might choose "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We acknowledge its significance by naming it the "golden rule".

In Hinduism there are what are called "five great sentences". Each sentence epitomizes a great truth. Perhaps the greatest of the five great sentences is "Tat twam asi". In English - "That thou art." An admirer of the Hindu Shankaracharya once called this sentence the great identity - the E equals M C squared of religious philosophy. (I guess we each have our own way of describing things.) From this one sentence, if properly understood - and thought out - flow all the moral maxims I have just mentioned.

A choice from Judaism might vary considerably from person to person. One might consider the 10 commandments. Some might choose Hillel's statement that is very similar to the golden rule. My own choice would be a more obscure passage. Psalm xx says, "Lord create in me a clean heart."

And, finally we turn to Theosophy. H.P. Blavatsky's works occupy a full bookshelf wide. How can one select a single passage? For myself, I would pick a line from the Voice of the Silence. There she writes "Compassion is the Law of Laws." This is suitable for engraving on one's heart. In only six words it can provide the basic compass for guiding us through life.

What choice would you select?
If you would like to respond to this letter please do so by sending mail to the BN-study talk list .You can join that talk list.(now defunct. -BNet Editors)
Reed Carson

 

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