"May Adonai bless you and protect you! May Adonai deal kindly and graciously with you! May Adonai lift up his countenance upon you and grant you peace!" (Torah, Numbers 6:24-26) And Jesus said, "Allow the little children to come unto me. Forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Truly, I say unto you, unless you receive the Kingdom of God as a little child does, you shall not enter therein." (New Testament, Mark 10:14-16)

Sojourning at an Oasis Paradise

My purpose for living this life, and for writing this blog, is to understand the faith that links us to God. I wish to explore and discuss the reality at the heart of all of the world's religions. This is an immense task, but I know that God also has faith in us, trusting that we do desire the truth, as well as freedom, love and wisdom. Thus, as always, He meets us halfway. Even as God has given us individual souls, so we must each of us trace out an individual pathway to God. Whether we reside in the cities of orthodox religion, or wend our solitary ways through the barren wastelands, God watches over us and offers us guidance and sustenance for the journey.

Most of what you will see here is the result of extensive personal study, combined with some careful speculation. Occasionally, I may simply offer some Scripture or an inspirational text. I am a wide reader, and the connection of some topics and ideas to matters of faith and religion may not seem immediately obvious, but perhaps I may spell it out in the end... or maybe, you will decide that it was just a tangent. Anyway, I hope that you will find my meanderings to be spiritually enlightening, intellectually stimulating, or at least somewhat entertaining.

In the coming weeks and months, I intend to transcribe a series of essays that I wrote about 20 years ago in the hope that I might get them published. They represent the nucleus of my spiritual life and the focal point around which my wanderings revolve like an electron in an atom. I hope that they might eventually serve as a springboard for discussions about the common spiritual heritage of humanity. May we come together and embrace each other in peace.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Eight-fold Path of God Seeking Us: "ren-li-jiao"

The Eight-fold Path of God Seeking Us: "ren-li-jiao"
A compilation of the teachings of the eight most important religions around the world. A teaching in which all of us can find something that speaks to our hearts.

What must we do?
1. Repent of our immorality. (Judaism)
2. Submit to His Care. (Islam)
3. Love one another. (Christianity)
4. Trust His Compassion. (Buddhism)
5. Stop fighting His Will. (Taoism)
6. Seek ways to help. (Confucianism)
7. Ask for strength. (Yoruba)
8. Desire eternal life. (Hindu)

What will God do for us?
1. Guide us in righteousness.
2. Provide for our needs.
3. Share companionship.
4. Lessen our suffering.
5. Teach us peace of mind.
6. Lead us to meaningful work.
7. Give us power to succeed.
8. Fulfill our dreams.

Not all people are alike. We feel the brokenness of the world in different ways. That is why there are many different paths to God. We try to legislate proper behavior, but that is the way of restrictions. Principals of morality are more flexible, and can be remembered in the heart.

God does not have the same plans for all of us. He made us each as an individual, with a unique destiny, and a special part to play in society and in creation. But we have the freedom to refuse, and often do so, though not always by intent. We can make bad choices.

Because we can not grow in this world with an umbilical connection to the source of Being, we struggle to discover how to survive. We must grow up to find our place in the Cosmos that God has created for us. Growing up is to learn how to be human, how to be more like God than an animal.

We are created in His image, and it is his plan to adopt us as his own children. Once we learn how to live together, we will be welcomed into the heavenly homes he has created for us.

The heavens are almost within reach, waiting for us to come and build them the way we want them. They can be a Paradise for us, and we can rebuild the Eden we have almost destroyed. Indeed, we have knocked, and found the door open. We need only to seek his Presence, and ask for his help.

And how should we do this? By practicing ren-li-jiao, the way of human-heartedness and proper behavior. "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire." Follow proper morality by seeking Truth, Freedom, Love and Wisdom. Above all, choose life - live, and let live. Value all life, and be merciful to the weak, poor and young. Even the atheist can do as much.

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