We Are One ~ “Ya Gotta Be Kiddin’!”

oneness_of_humanityActually, I’m not kidding. We have always  been One.

Sure doesn’t seem like it though, right?

Consider this example:

Any given human being is One individual. That human being has many aspects and functions that compose their Oneness. Often, one or more of those aspects or functions starts to veer out of balance with the other functions and the One human has a Conflict; even to the point that they feel like more than One person—multiple entities fighting for control…

That’s a perfect picture of our Human Oneness—at war with itself, aspects and functions of the Whole fighting and disrupting the Balance.

One Person/One World: Sick and Disrupted, the Parts bringing down the Whole, Suicidal…

I, however, firmly believe that humanity’s Oneness will be healed; in fact, I can say it’s inevitable!

Consider:

Humans began as small family and tribal units and learned the evolutionary lessons of how to live as One.

We then formed city-states and, eventually, nations. Those human structures have gone through an evolutionary growth that has given each of us an identity as members of rather large Wholes.

Why should human evolution stop here, no matter the crises and sicknesses that infect the Whole?

Who but a doomed pessimist would look into the future and see us reduced back to separate, small tribes or totally wiped out?

Historically, as each phase of transition in the organization of humanity approached, things began to look bad, people cried out a warning that humanity was doomed and… We’re still here.

Almost makes one think there’s a greater Plan; that a higher power actually wants us to achieve Global Unity and express our inherent Oneness in peace and tranquility…

Spiritual Quote:

“Let there be no mistake. The principle of the Oneness of Mankind—the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve—is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope. Its appeal is not to be merely identified with a reawakening of the spirit of brotherhood and good-will among men, nor does it aim solely at the fostering of harmonious cooperation among individual peoples and nations. Its implications are deeper, its claims greater than any which the Prophets of old were allowed to advance. Its message is applicable not only to the individual, but concerns itself primarily with the nature of those essential relationships that must bind all the states and nations as members of one human family. It does not constitute merely the enunciation of an ideal, but stands inseparably associated with an institution adequate to embody its truth, demonstrate its validity, and perpetuate its influence. It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced. It constitutes a challenge, at once bold and universal, to outworn shibboleths of national creeds—creeds that have had their day and which must, in the ordinary course of events as shaped and controlled by Providence, give way to a new gospel, fundamentally different from, and infinitely superior to, what the world has already conceived. It calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world—a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units.

“It represents the consummation of human evolution —an evolution that has had its earliest beginnings in the birth of family life, its subsequent development in the achievement of tribal solidarity, leading in turn to the constitution of the city-state, and expanding later into the institution of independent and sovereign nations.

“The principle of the Oneness of Mankind, as proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh, carries with it no more and no less than a solemn assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution is not only necessary but inevitable, that its realization is fast approaching, and that nothing short of a power that is born of God can succeed in establishing it.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 42

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Repression . . .

bahai_martyrs

These are dangerous people?


…a developmental psychologist.
…a once-successful factory owner.
…an industrialist.
…an agricultural engineer.
…a teacher and school principal.
…a former social worker.
…an optometrist.


What do they have in common?

They’re members of the same Faith, they’ve been in prison for many months, and they’re going to trial next week with no access to legal counsel.

The charges?

“…espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic”.

What country is this occurring in?

Iran.

Statements by U.S. Government and NGOs

State Department condemns Iranian government’s charges against Baha’is
February 13, 2009

USCIRF calls for justice for Baha’i prisoners in Iran
Statement from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Congressional Record – February 11, 2009
Representative Frank R. Wolf expressed concern over the upcoming trial of the seven Baha’i leaders

Amnesty International Urgent Action
Amnesty International has launched an urgent action update exclusively devoted to the latest news about the Baha’i leaders in Iran.

Institute condemns charges and upcoming trial against the Baha’i leaders in Iran 
The Institute for Religion and Public Policy issued this statement on February 12, 2009

Baha’i “Spying” Case Strikes New Blow Against Religious Freedom in Iran
Freedom House strongly condemns the Iranian government’s decision to try 7 Baha’is next week

 

Media Coverage

February 12, 2009
World Briefing – Middle East – Iran – 7 Bahais to Face Trial
The New York Times

Baha’i Leaders In Iran Charged With Spying For Israel
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, Czech Republic

Iran Announces Trial of Baha’i Leadership
7thSpace Interactive

Baha’i Leaders In Iran Charged With Spying For Israel
Payvand, Iran

February 11, 2009

Iran to try Bahais for spying for Israel

Agence France Presse – AFP

Iran charges 7 members of Baha’i faith with spying for Israel
Ha’aretz, Israel

Iran vows to try 7 Baha’i leaders as spies
Times Colonist, Canada

Obama’s Two Iran Tests 
Michael Rubin in the corner of The National Review Online

Iran to try Bahais for spying for Israel
Human Rights Tribune, Switzerland

Iran to try seven Baha’is for “spying” for Israel
IranVNC, DC


The official response from the
Bahá’í International Community


Religious Freedom? Human Rights? Equity and Justice?

All these will be on trial with these seven persecuted people . . .

Spiritual Quote:

Statement to the forty-fourth session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Agenda item 23: Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

Geneva, Switzerland
17 February 1988

* * * * * * * * *

“All religions teach that we should love one another; that we should seek out our own shortcomings before we presume to condemn the faults of others; that we must not consider ourselves superior to our neighbors.”

If all people were to follow these norms, as described in the passage we have just quoted from the Bahá’í writings, religious intolerance would cease to be a blot on human affairs. The ideals of the 1981 Declaration would become a reality for the suffering victims of religious persecution.

The Bahá’í International Community believes that binding international norms protecting human rights are of great importance. We are therefore following with great interest the recent discussions in the Sub-Commission and the Commission on the possible elaboration of a binding international instrument dealing with freedom of religion or belief, inspired by the recommendations contained in Mrs. Odio Benito’s excellent study. We are convinced, however, that in this delicate process it is important not to lose sight of the standards already spelled out in the 1981 Declaration. As the Commission’s Special Rapporteur, Dr. Ribeiro, indicated in his report presented last year, these standards can be understood as moral guidelines to those states which voted in favor of the Declaration in 1981.

We also believe that it is useful to focus attention on contemporary manifestations of religious intolerance. We have therefore studied with interest Dr. Ribeiro’s latest report, hope that his mandate will once again be renewed by the Commission, and wish to underline the importance of forging a broad and non-partisan consensus on the elimination of religious intolerance.

While Dr. Ribeiro has chosen to focus on allegations of violations of religious freedom in seven countries, it is important to bear in mind that many countries suffer from the pernicious influence of religious intolerance. Efforts to implement the 1981 Declaration, and to formulate an eventual convention, must be guided by an appreciation for the universal nature of the problem.

In the Bahá’í view, a crucial means for implementing the 1981 Declaration is the development of tolerance among individuals and the abolition of religious exclusivity and fanaticism. Dr. Ribeiro has rightly pointed out that intransigent attitudes, the claim of religious believers to an absolute and exclusive hold on truth, and the denial of the right of everyone to be different are root causes of religious discrimination.

Indeed, human beings have a tendency to view their own beliefs as right, and all others as wrong. They have, we suggest, erroneously interpreted the tenets of their own faiths as advocating such exclusivity, and sometimes as giving them the right to persecute others under the banner of upholding their version of truth. The Bahá’í writings admonish humankind to abandon such intolerant attitudes and replace them with mutual respect and forbearance.

How can religious dogmatism be banished from human minds and hearts? In the first place, we believe that all the world’s major religions have proceeded from the same Source, worshipped alike by Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew and Moslem, as well as members of other religions. The core teachings of every religion—for example, the teaching to love one’s neighbor—are essentially the same, and we submit that they reflect one universal truth.

Understanding of this point will enable each individual, whatever his or her religion, to view other religions with due respect. This perspective fosters tolerance among people of various beliefs, despite the differences that may exist in their outward religious practices. For this reason, we welcome Dr. Ribeiro’s suggestion that interreligious dialogue should be fostered and that such discussions should aim at “emphasizing the similarities among various religions and beliefs rather than their differences.”

While believing, as part of our faith, that all the great religions are united in the fundamental principles that they espouse, the Bahá’í writings advocate the moral obligation of everyone to search for truth independently. Religions and beliefs must never be forced on people. Instead, the Bahá’í writings indicate that each individual should utilize his own powers of intellect, reason and spirit to search for truth.

The principle of independent search after truth can help to heal the wounds inflicted by intolerance in at least two important ways. On the one hand, it induces each individual to act humbly towards others, instead of with an air of superiority, and to respect their right to choose beliefs of their own as a result of their own quest for truth.

On the other hand, we believe that, if people are permitted to question the dogmas handed down over generations, and to seek truth using their own faculties of perception, they will develop a genuine appreciation for religious tolerance.

We therefore welcome initiatives designed to increase respect for different beliefs and understanding among religions. This is why, for example, the Bahá’í International Community has actively participated, along with other non-governmental organizations, in making plans for a Second International Conference on Tolerance for Diversity of Religion or Belief, scheduled to be held in Warsaw, Poland in 1989.
Bahá’í International Community, 1987 Mar 03, Eliminating Religious Intolerance

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The Polls ~ Reprise

poll
You can take these polls without reading the series, One Common Faith ~ The Story, but if you’d rather read it first, here it is…

You can select multiple answers


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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Six

writing_the_future-who_is_writing_the_future
This is the final post in this series, inspired by the document, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century. In the final section of that document, these words appear:

“Viewed through Bahá’u’lláh’s eyes, the history of tribes, peoples, and nations has effectively reached its conclusion. What we are witnessing is the beginning of the history of humankind, the history of a human race conscious of its own oneness. To this turning point in the course of civilization, his writings bring a redefinition of the nature and processes of civilization and a reordering of its priorities.”

If you’ve been following along in this series, you’ve probably realized that the answer to Who is writing the future?  is Bahá’u’lláh—with the strong hint that we can participate in the effort.

It may be hard to imagine that Bahá’u’lláh could, well over 100 years ago, speak to our times—provide sure counsel about how to reorder our priorities—give us a “map” of the road our human family needs to follow as it strides into its long awaited maturity.

The road we’ve traveled has been full of crises, danger, wonder, enlightenment, and spiritual growth. Still, it’s time we leave behind the adolescent greediness of jealously independent peoples and nations and embrace the Oneness that is obvious to not only truly religious people but also reasonable scientists.

Fine… Pretty words… Wonderfully exalted ideas, but…

How?

Certainly, the education of people (especially children) so they can see that it’s not totally impossible. And, certain globally enforced laws that curb insane imbalances in wealth and poverty. There are so many initiatives that are already underway and critically necessary to prepare the ground. Still… There appear to be solid chunks of impacted soil, dark with materialism, and even rock-solid layers of corporate and governmental agendas that need breaking up before the ground can be properly plowed so the seeds of twentieth century humanitarian action can take root; not to mention the liberal application of the fertilizer of Love…

In the words of the document:

“There is nothing in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings to encourage the illusion that the changes envisioned will come about easily. Far otherwise. As the events of the twentieth century have already demonstrated, patterns of habit and attitude which have taken root over thousands of years are not abandoned either spontaneously or in response simply to education or legislative action. Whether in the life of the individual or that of society, profound change occurs more often than not in response to intense suffering and to unendurable difficulties that can be overcome in no other way. Just so great a testing experience, Bahá’u’lláh warned, is needed to weld the earth’s diverse peoples into a single people.”

Can you remember a time in your life when you were overcome with intense suffering—suffering so strong you felt you might cave in and give up the game? That  is right where humanity is. Let’s hope and pray that We don’t give up the game…

Remember when the suffering was over and you found you had a new sense of internal strength? You may have also experienced the flow of renewed initiative leading to solid improvements in your life-situation. That  is where humanity is headed—the Light at the end of the tunnel of humbling suffering…

Hope hides in the clouds of suffering—illumination spawning the silver lining of the future.

I’ll close this series of posts with these words from Who Is Writing The Future?:

“However great the turmoil, the period into which humanity is moving will open to every individual, every institution, and every community on earth unprecedented opportunities to participate in the writing of the planet’s future. ‘Soon’, is Bahá’u’lláh’s confident promise, ‘will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.'”

If you’d like a copy of the original document, you can download a Word .doc or Adobe .pdf file.

Spiritual Quote :

“Strive then, O My brother, to apprehend this matter, that the veils may be lifted from the face of thy heart and that thou mayest be reckoned among them whom God hath graced with such penetrating vision as to behold the most subtle realities of His dominion, to fathom the mysteries of His kingdom, to perceive the signs of His transcendent Essence in this mortal world, and to attain a station wherein one seeth no distinction amongst His creatures and findeth no flaw in the creation of the heavens and the earth.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 5

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Four

writing_the_future-who_is_writing
Parts One through Three of this series have introduced Bahá’u’lláh, sketched out His major conceptions of human nature and the development of humanity, then presented collective endeavors, all from the twentieth century, that have set our human family on a course toward global maturity and peace.

I said “on a course toward” because we’re at the beginning of Eons of Light after Millennial Darkness…

Certainly, humanity has produced an abundance of light-giving conditions; it’s just that the darkness of the animal side of our nature has held us back from the full splendor we’re capable of reflecting.

The document that inspired this series of posts, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century,  is a landmark of rational spirituality, a call to awareness of the full potential of our human family when we live and act within a unity of consciousness.

The section of Who Is Writing The Future?  that this post is focusing on is short but the actual words are very high-minded, while displaying a practicality that’s sorely needed by our global community. I can’t match the document for its poetic yet reasonable presentation, so, here is the original:

“To appreciate the transformations brought about by the period of history now ending [the twentieth century] is not to deny the accompanying darkness that throws the achievements into sharp relief: the deliberate extermination of millions of helpless human beings, the invention and use of new weapons of destruction capable of annihilating whole populations, the rise of ideologies that suffocated the spiritual and intellectual life of entire nations, damage to the physical environment of the planet on a scale so massive that it may take centuries to heal, and the incalculably greater damage done to generations of children taught to believe that violence, indecency, and selfishness are triumphs of personal liberty. Such are only the more obvious of a catalogue of evils, unmatched in history, whose lessons our era will leave for the education of the chastened generations who will follow us.

“Darkness, however, is not a phenomenon endowed with some form of existence, much less autonomy. It does not extinguish light nor diminish it, but marks out those areas that light has not reached or adequately illumined. So will twentieth century civilization no doubt be assessed by the historians of a more mature and dispassionate age. The ferocities of animal nature, which raged out of control through these critical years and seemed at times to threaten society’s very survival, did not in fact prevent the steady unfoldment of the creative potentialities which human consciousness possesses. On the contrary. As the century advanced, growing numbers of people awakened to how empty were the allegiances and how insubstantial the fears that had held them captive only short years before.

“‘Peerless is this Day’, Bahá’u’lláh insists, ‘for it is as the eye to past ages and centuries, and as a light unto the darkness of the times.’ In this perspective, the issue is not the darkness that slowed and obscured the progress achieved in the extraordinary hundred years now ending. It is, rather, how much more suffering and ruin must be experienced by our race before we wholeheartedly accept the spiritual nature that makes us a single people, and gather the courage to plan our future in the light of what has been so painfully learned.”

If you’d like a copy of the full document as a download, here are a Word .doc and an Adobe .pdf file.

Spiritual Quote :

“Man is like unto this lamp, … but spiritual splendors are like unto the light within the glass. No matter how translucent the glass may be, as long as there is no light within, it remains dark. Likewise, man, no matter how much he advances in material accomplishments, will remain like the glass without light if he is deprived of the spiritual virtues. Material virtues are like unto a perfect body, but this body is in need of the spirit. No matter how handsome and perfect the body may be, if it is deprived of the spirit and its animus, it is dead. But when that same body is affiliated with the spirit and expressing life, perfection and virtue become realized in it.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 303

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part One

writing_the_future
“0n May 28, 1992, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies met in special session to commemorate the centenary of the passing of Bahá’u’lláh…His message of unity had clearly struck a deep chord with the Brazilian legislators.”

That quote is from a document entitled, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century.

The twentieth century? It’s over and done with, right?

Well, if the hideous pressure on the global financial system, and the despicable lack of respect for human rights, and the impending, nay, imminent climate crisis, and various other dark and ominous conditions in our world are over and done with, then, I suppose the twentieth century will have absolutely no effect on our lives…

What’s that old quote—was it the Bible—something about the sins of the father…?

So, Who is Bahá’u’lláh and why did Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies single Him out for honor?

The document says, “During the course of the proceedings, speakers representing all parties in the Chamber paid tribute to a body of writings which one deputy described as ‘the most colossal religious work written by the pen of a single Man’, and to a conception of our planet’s future which, ‘transcending material frontiers’, in the words of another, ‘reached out to humanity as a whole, without petty differences of nationality, race, limits, or beliefs’.”

Strange that government officials in Brazil should so honor Bahá’u’lláh while the government in Iran ( Bahá’u’lláh’s land of birth ) was doing everything they could to stifle His ideas; in fact, had been working to rid their country of any trace of His ideas for nearly 130 years…

What are  these ideas that two governments’ officials could have such divergent opinions on?

Here are some of Bahá’u’lláh’s ideas from one of many web sites that dive deeply into His conceptions:

* Individual search for truth
* There is but one God
* Equality of men and women
* Universal, quality education for all
* Elimination of prejudice of all kinds
* Religion as the foundation of Love and Unity
* Harmony between science and religion
* There is a common foundation of all religions
* Equality and brotherhood among mankind
* The need for a universal, worldwide auxillary language
* Elimination of poverty
* Universal peace upheld by a world arbitrating body
* Protection of Cultural diversity
* Mankind must accept God’s Bounty

Over 500 elected officials of Brazil’s government set aside time to publicly honor the Prophet-Founder of a world religion, the Bahá’í Faith, when 89% of the population is either Roman Catholic or Protestant. What’s going on? And, why are Iran’s leaders so averse to Bahá’u’lláh’s religious ideas?

I hope to, with the help of the document, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century , answer those questions.

There will be five more posts in this series, covering the five sections of the document. If you’d like to download it and let it speak to you  during my attempts to covey its message, I’ve provided a Word .doc and Adobe .pdf file for download.

Spiritual Quote :

“The cause of God is like unto a college. The believers are like unto the students. The college is founded for the sake of the acquirements of science, arts and literature. If the sciences are not therein and the scholars are not educated the object of the college is not achieved. The students must show the results of their study in their deportment and deeds; otherwise they have wasted their lives….the cause of God must be a dynamic force transforming the lives of men and not a question of meetings, committees, futile discussions, unnecessary debates and political wire-pulling.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 7, No. 18, p. 178

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Fighting With Myself

fightingFor twenty years I’ve been a member of a Faith that I deeply love. For twenty years I’ve had to fight with myself to live up to the precepts and principles of that Faith…

Why would a person who feels their Faith is powerful enough to help them with the bad side of life have to struggle so hard? Could it be that the 42 years I’d lived before I found my Faith have such a backlog of ingrained habits that it will take a supreme effort to live up to my Faith?

I’ve thought, for many years, that I needed to make a supreme effort and sometimes felt I was making that effort. I’m still  needing a Supreme Effort…

At least I’m a better man than when I began this Faithful Journey. Still, my conscience doesn’t stop stalking me…

Some may say I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Some may say that feeling bad about trying to be good is insane. Some may think I should just stop trying to live up to a Code that interferes with living in this world.

That last idea hits at the core of why I keep battling with myself—is this world the end of existence for human beings? My mind says, if it is the end, I’ve got no business worrying about my behavior—in the long run it doesn’t matter at all.

If it isn’t the end of my existence and if there is another world after this, then I need to make a Supreme Effort to get this life Right so I can Soar in the next life!

I don’t believe there are a heaven and hell after this life—places of infinite joy and infinite punishment—those states exist right here on this earth. To me, the next life is a continuation of this one, both being an infinite Journey back to our Creator…

And, as far as reincarnation goes, seems to me the ultimate excuse to do whatever the hell I want since I can make it up “next time”…

So, as I continue working to live up to my principles, I’ll leave you with some quotes to think about. My Faith says we all have the responsibility to investigate Truth for ourselves—see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears…

The first three quotes are not from the free Ocean software I usually use; I found them on the ‘Net.

Spiritual Quotes :

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”
— Helen Keller (both blind and deaf from infancy)

“The primary question about life after death is not whether it is a fact, but even if it is, what problems that really solves.”
— Ludwig Wittgenstein (Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic)

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
— Mark Twain (American Writer/Humorist)

“As to the soul of man after death, it remains in the degree of purity to which it has evolved during life in the physical body, and after it is freed from the body it remains plunged in the ocean of God’s Mercy.”
— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 66

“What death is more wretched than to flee from the Source of everlasting life?”
— Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 38

“You are now like a withered leaf;
the messengers of death have come near you.
You stand at the threshold of your departure.
Have you made provision for your journey?”
— Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 2 (translator, J. Richards)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
King James Bible, John 5:24

“In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.”
King James Bible, Proverbs 12:28

“But whereso any doeth all his deeds
Renouncing self for Me, full of Me, fixed
To serve only the Highest, night and day
Musing on Me- him will I swiftly lift
Forth from life’s ocean of distress and death,
Whose soul clings fast to Me.”
— Hindu, Bhagavad Gita (Edwin Arnold, translator)

“Giver of vital breath, of power and vigour, he whose commandments all the Gods acknowledge -.
The Lord of death, whose shade is life immortal. What God shall we adore with our oblation?”
— Vedas, Rig Veda – Book 10, 2

“One said, ‘The world would be a pleasant place
If death never set foot within it’.
Another answered, ‘If there were no death,
The complicated world would be worth not a jot.
It would be a crop raised in a desert,
Left neglected and never threshed out.
Thou fanciest that to be death, which is life,
Thou sowest thy seed in salt ground.
Carnal reason deceives us; do thou contradict it,
For that fool takes what is really death to be life.
O God, show us all things in this house of deception,
Show them all as they really are’!”
— Mathnavi of Rumi (E.H. Whinfield translator), The Masnavi, Vol 5

“Then contemplate (O man!) the memorials of Allah’s Mercy! — how He gives life to the earth after its death: verily the Same will give life to the men who are dead: for He has power over all things.”
The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali, translator), Surah 30 verse 50

“‘Life and Death are indeed changes of great moment’, answered Confucius, ‘but they cannot affect his mind. Heaven and earth may collapse, but his mind will remain. Being indeed without flaw, it will not share the fate of all things. It can control the transformation of things, while preserving its source intact’.”
Tao, Chuangtse (Lin Yutang, translator)

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