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the four noble truths from the sermon of the buddha: mahavagga i 6, 19- 232

This, O Bhikkus, is the Noble Truth of Suffering. Birth is suffering; decay is suffering; illness is suffering; death is suffering.. Presence of objects we have, is suffering; separation from objects we love is suffering; not to obtain what we desire, is suffering, Briefly, the fivefold clinging to existence is suffering.

This, O Bhikkus, is the Noble Truth of the Cause of suffering. Thirst, that leads to re-birth, accompanied by pleasure and lust, finding its delight here and there. (This thirst is threefold), namely thirst for pleasure, thirst for existence, thirst for prosperity.

2 Quoted from Vinaya Texts I, translated from the Pali by T.W.Rhys Davids/Hermann Oldenburg (in 1882). Motilal Banarsidass: Delhi - Patna -Vanarasi 1974, p. 95f.

This, O Bhikkus, is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of suffering: (it ceases with) the complete cessation of this thirst - a cessation which consists in the absence of every passion - with the abandoning of this thirst, with the doing away with it, with the deliverance from it, with the destruction of desire.

This, O Bhikkus, is the Noble Truth of the Path which leads to the cessation of suffering: that holy eightfold Path, that is to say, Right Belief, Right Aspiration, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Endeavour, Right Memory, Right Meditation.

This is the Noble Truth of Suffering; - thus, O Bhikkus. of this doctrine, which formerly had not been heard of, have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, intuition.

FROM TIBETAN BUDDHISM: atisas the lamp for the path3

[1] Bowing in great reverence to all past, present and Future Victors, to their Teaching and Communities, I shall light a Lamp for the Path to Awakening,

At the request of my good disciple, Byang-chub-od.

[2] Persons can be understood to be of three kinds, In that they are Inferiors, Mediocre, or Superior, The characteristics of each are very clear, and

3 From The Complete Works of Atisa Sri Di pamkara J nana, Jo-Bo-Rje, translated and annotated by Richard Sherburne SJ Aditya Prakashan: New Delhi. First Reprint 2003, pp, 329-345.

I quote from the Key Texts translations which repeats the Root Text (pp.520) with some smaller changes; see also the Commentary on the "Difficult Points of the Lamp for Enlightenment Path" (pp. 23-319). Atisa (982-1054) was an Indian monk who initiated the "Second Spread" of Buddhism in Tibet. In his Foreword to R. Sherburne's translation the Dalai Lama asserts: "This book, which was written by Atisa with special needs of his Tibetan disciples in mind, is the prototype of the stages of the (Lam rim) literature which reached its full bloom amongst later Tibetan teachers and scholars. It presents the important practices in a concise and easily understandable manner and orders them in terms of the development and ability of the mind." (pp. xi-xii)

JESUS CHRIST & THE RELIGIONS I shall note how they differ from another.

[6] For those pure beings whose desire Is the highest of Awakenings, I shall explain the right means Which were taught me by my gurus.

[9] With deep faith in the Three Jewels. Bending knee to the ground

And folding the hands,

First of all take the Refuges thrice.

[10] Then, because the Thought of Love For all creatures is prerequisite,

One looks out on the whole world, Suffering in death, transmigration, And rebirth in the three bad destinies:

[11] At sight of suffering, oneself suffers; And he who desires to free the world From the very cause of this suffering, Must beget the Thought of Awakening Pledging never to turn back.

[19] Good resolutions will not be furthered Without vows that have progress in mind; Therefore he who seeks growth in his resolve for Perfect Awakening, earnestly makes commitment.

[31] "Purifying the actions of My body and speech entirely,

I shall cleanse my mind's activity as well; No unvirtuous deed will ever be mine."

[32] In essence, one's purity of body, speech, and mind Means keeping vows whose intent is on progress;

For by practicing well the Three Conduct Trainings, Appreciation of those same three becomes greater.

[35] Just as a bird with unfledged wings Cannot fly up in the sky; So without the superknowledges' power, One cannot work for the good (of) others.

[41] When yogic Calmness is achieved, So are the superknowledges;

But obscuration is still not destroyed Without the perfection of insight.

[42] Hence, to remove all obscuration Of his afflictions and in his knowledge, The yogin must continually cultivate the Perfection of Insight together with Means.

[47] "Insight" is fully explained as knowing The Emptiness of intrinsic nature. In comprehending that Aggregates and Sense-bases and Elements do not arise.

[53] Thus, not to perceive intrinsic nature In any phenomenon whatever

Is to contemplate its Non-Self; which Is the same as contemplating with Insight.

[54] And this Insight which does not see Intrinsic nature in any phenomena

Is that same Insight explained as Wisdom. Cultivate it without conceptual thought.

[55] The world of change springs from conceptual Thought, which is its very nature;

The complete removal of such Thought is the Highest Nirvana.

3. FROM DAOISM laotse, tao te ching, chapter 14

The way that can be spoken of

Is not the constant way; The name that can be named Is not the constant name.

The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;

The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.

Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets;

But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.

These two are the same

But diverge in name as they issue forth.

Being the same they are called mysteries,

Mystery upon mystery -

The gateway of the manifold secrets.

chapter 11

Thirty spokes, share one hub.

Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the cart.

Knead clay in order to make a vessel.

Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel.

Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room.

Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room.

Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to use.

4. FROM THE JEWISH HERITAGE deuternomium 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel! (Hebr. S[h]ema') Jahwe is our God, Jahwe alone.

4 Quoted from Laotse, Tao Te Ching. ed. D.C. Lau. The Chinese University of Hongkong 2001, pp. 3 and 15ff.

Therefore, you shall love Jahwe, your God, with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Take to heart these words which I enjoin you today. Drill them into you children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or are at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. (Dtn 6: 4-9)

5. FROM THE BEGINNING OF ISLAM the quran5

SURE 96:1-5: THE EMBRYO

In the name of Allah, most benevolent, ever-merciful

Read in the name of the who created,

Created man from embryo;

Read, for Your Lord is most beneficent,

Who taught by the pen,

Taught man what he did not know.

SURE 1:1-7: THE PROLOGUE

In the name of Allah, most benevolent, ever-merciful All praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. Most beneficent, ever-merciful. King of the Day of Judgment.

You alone we worship, and to You alone we turn for help.

Guide us (o Lord) to the path that is straight,

The Path of those You have blessed,

Not of those who have earned Your anger, nor those who have gone astray.

5 From Al-Quran. Ed. Ahmed Ali. Princeton University Press: Princeton, N.J. 3rd printing 1990.

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