Gems of Wisdom & Virtue

Nicholas Weeks

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People who cultivate the Way need first off to not be selfish. This matter isn't one which should be undertaken solely for the sake of insuring one's own security, but rather it should be out of the need to benefit the entire world. It's necessary to let go of one's self. It's not that one thinks, "In this respect and in that respect I'm really incomparably great!" Rather one must act out of concern for preserving the larger state of affairs.

Master Hsuan Hua, from Lotuses in the Spring Sun
Do not seek for truth in any place except in the faculty which cognizes truth which is your inmost self, for it alone can cognize truth.
It is the active brain-mind, filled with thoughts of the day, filled with desires of the hour, filled with the prejudices and opinions which are so transitory — and which more than anything else this active brain-mind is afflicted with — which prevent your visioning of the truth, prevent your obtaining the vision sublime.

G. de Purucker, Golden Precepts
Liberation produces selflessness; we lose our selfishness when we come to know the unity of the soul. By effort one can attain knowledge which leads to salvation. This is obvious; but what is called God, destiny or fate is fictitious and is not seen. The dull and the ignorant created God, which is none other than self-effort of a past incarnation affecting one.

Yoga-Vasistha II:4
"A divine Mine only can yield the gems of divine knowledge, and the fragrance of the mystic Flower can be inhaled only in the ideal Garden, and the lilies of ancient wisdom can blossom nowhere except in the city of a stainless heart. "In a rich soil, its plants spring forth abundantly by permission of its Lord, and in that soil which is bad, they spring forth but scantily."
Bahá’u’lláh, The Ki tab-i-Ian, p. 190
The universe is always happy, and our soul will likewise be happy, when it is assimilated to the universe; for thus it will be led back to its cause.

Proclus, Commentary on the Timaeus
All the aspects of any civilization arise out of a people’s religion: its politics, its economics, its arts, its sciences, even its simple crafts are the by-products of religious insights and a religious cult. For until human beings are tied together by some common faith, and share certain moral principles, they prey upon one another. In the common worship of the cult, a community forms. At the heart of every culture is a body of ethics, of distinctions between good and evil; and in the beginning, at least, those distinctions are founded upon the authority of revealed religion. Not until a people have come to share religious belief are they able to work together satisfactorily, or even to make sense of the world in which they find themselves. Thus all order—even the ideological order of modern totalist states, professing atheism—could not have come into existence, had it not grown out of general belief in truths that are perceived by the moral imagination.

Roots of American Order, by Russell Kirk
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The myth of inevitable and perpetual progress has been exploded by the impact of world wars, with their demonstration that autonomous man cannot solve the vast problems of racial and cultural conflict, economic welfare and political order...He is overwhelmed by his own machinery, and by social torrents set loose through his unwillingness to affirm his solidarity with his fellow men. The judgments of God are manifest in the world of today. The time has come to bring home to men that these are right judgments on human sin; that men bear these consequences inevitably, because they are morally responsible beings who have denied their own nature in denying their responsibility to their neighbors.

R. B. Y. Scott, The Relevance of the Prophets: (New York, 1968)
By mutual confidence and mutual aid,
Great deeds are done, and great discoveries made;
The wise new prudence from the wise acquire,
And one brave hero fans another's fire.

The Iliad, Book X, trans. Pope.
Do not be afraid to correct your faults,
If you can correct your faults, they will cease to exist.
Inferior people say they have no faults,
But the superior person changes his faults.

Good and evil have no fixed form. It's as easy to turn from doing bad to doing good as it is to flip over the hand from the back to the palm. It's simply up to us to do it.

Master Hsuan Hua
This is the gravest danger that today threatens civilization: State intervention, the absorption of all spontaneous social effort by the State; that is to say, of spontaneous historical action, which in the long-run sustains, nourishes and impels human destinies.
Jose Ortega y Gasset, 1922.

It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.
H. L. Mencken, 1926.
Though destiny wrest away all earthly pleasures, man can still be happy by clinging to the simple, true, and lasting soul-joys. They come by deep thinking, introspection, spiritual inspiration, and meditation.
Gather, therefore, not only wholesome joys from the garden of material life; learn also, with your loved ones, to wander in the garden of meditation and Self-realization, and there gather the joy everlasting.

From Wine of the Mystic by Yogananda Paramahansa
Everything in creation is temporal and fleeting; nothing remains permanently in this mortal sphere. Beautiful objects are like blossoms that awaken with the dawn, and die in the arms of time. The spark of life that resides in ephemeral forms, however, is immortal. This spark, the soul, evolves from life to life in an upward evolution. Whereas mortal forms are born and then fade away forever, the soul within them lives on, and comes and goes between this manifested world and the unknown void beyond.

Yogananda, Wine of the Mystic
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and
understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and
of the fear of the LORD.
Isaiah, 11, 2

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
Galatians, 5, 22

There are seven marks of a wise man. The wise man does not speak before him
who is greater than he in wisdom; and does not break in upon the speech of
his fellow; he is not hasty to answer; he questions according to the subject
matter; and answers to the point; he speaks upon the first thing first, and the
last last; regarding that which he has not understood he says, I do not
understand it, and he acknowledges the truth.
Mishnah, Pirke Aboth, 5
On the destruction of impurity by the practice of the parts of Yoga, there
comes enlightenment leading up to discriminative knowledge… The self-controls
are: non-violence, truth, honesty, chastity and abstinence.
Yoga Sutras, 2, 28–30

The Five Precepts:
I undertake to observe the rule
to abstain from taking life;
to abstain from taking what is not given;
to abstain from sensual misconduct;
to abstain from false speech;
to abstain from intoxicants as tending to
cloud the mind.
Edward Conze, Buddhist Scriptures (1959)

The Four Great Vows [of a Bodhisattva]:
However innumerable beings are, I vow to
save them;
However inexhaustible the passions are, I
vow to extinguish them;
However immeasurable the Teachings are, I
vow to master them;
However incomparable the Buddha-truth is,
I vow to attain it.
D.T.Suzuki, Manual of Zen Buddhism (1950)
There is only one God, sole and supreme, without beginning or parentage, whose energies, diffused through the world, we invoke under various names . . . Through the mediation of the subordinate gods the common father both of themselves and of all men is honored in a thousand different ways by mortals who are thus in accord in spite of their discord.

— Maximus of Madaura
He constructed this present Universe, one single Living Creature containing within itself all living creatures both mortal and immortal. . . . He commanded His own engendered sons to execute. And they, imitating Him, on receiving the immortal principle of soul, framed around it a mortal body . . .

— Plato, Timaeus