All Religions are but one

18 04 2010

Since the object of praise is one,
from this point of view,
all religions are but one religion.
Know that all praise belongs to the Light of God
and is only lent to created forms and beings.
Should people praise anyone but the One
who alone deserves to be praised?
But they go astray in useless fantasy.
The Light of God in relation to phenomena
is like light shining upon a wall—
the wall is but a focus for these splendors.

~.~

Mathnawi III: 2124-2127
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
“Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance”
Threshold Books, 1996

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Story from Iran: The Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi

30 11 2009
It was the longest night of winter. At the bottom of the sea an old fish gathered together 12,000 of her children and grandchildren and began to tell them this story:
Once upon a time a little black fish lived with her mother in a small pool on the side of a mountain. Their home was below a black,moss-covered rock, under which they both slept at night. Little black fish longed to see the moonlight in her home but it never happened.
From early in the morning until the sun set, Little black fish swan around the pool with her mother. Sometimes they swam with other fish and played hide and seek in and out of small crevices. Little black fish was an only child; for of the 10,000 eggs which the mother had laid, only she had survived.
For several days the little fish had been deep in thought and had talked very little. She swam slowly behind her mother around the pond and did not play with the other fish. Her mother thought her child was sick and would soon be well. In fact, the black fish’s sickness was really something else!
Early one morning before the sun had risen, the little fish woke her mother and said: “Mother, I want to talk to you.”
Half-asleep, the mother responded: “Child, this isn’t the time to talk. Save your words for later. Go swimming ?”
“No, Mother! I can’t go swimming anymore. I must leave here.”
“Do you really have to leave ?”
“Yes, Mother, I must go.”
“Just a minute! Where do you want to go at this hour of the morning ?”
“I want to go see where the stream ends. You know, Mother, I’ve been wondering where the end of the stream is… I haven’t been able to think about anything else. I didn’t sleep a wink all night. At last, I decided to go and find where the stream ends. I want to know what’s happening in other places.”
The mother laughed – “When I was a child, I used to think a lot like that. But, my dear, a stream has no beginning and no end. That’s the way it is. The stream just flows and never goes anywhere.”
“But mother dear, isn’t it true that everything comes to an end ? Nights end, days end, weeks, months, years…”
“Forget this pretentious talk,” interrupted the mother – “Let’s go swimming. Now is the time to swim, not talk. “
“No, Mother, I’m tired of this swimming, I want to set out and see what’s happening elsewhere. Maybe you think someone taught me these ideas but believe me, I’ve had these thoughts for a long time. Of course, I’ve learned many things here and there. For instance, I know that when most fish get old, they complain about everything. I want to know if life is simply for circling around in a small place until you become old and nothing else, or is there another way to live in the world ?”

Continue reading the story here:

http://www.iranchamber.com/literature/sbehrangi/works/the_little_black_fish.php

About Samad Behrangi

Other resources: http://www.blackfish.org.uk





The Domestic Crusaders: A Landmark Play About Muslim Americans

11 08 2009

The Domestic Crusaders focuses on a day in the life of a modern Muslim Pakistani-American family of six eclectic, unique members, who convene at the family house to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of the youngest child.

With a background of 9-11 and the scapegoating of Muslim Americans, the tensions and sparks fly among the three generations, culminating in an intense family battle as each “crusader” struggles to assert and impose their respective voices and opinions, while still attempting to maintain and understand that unifying thread that makes them part of the same family.

DomesticCrusaders

Related: Making American Muslim Theater

More about Wajahat Ali

Official Webiste: http://www.domesticcrusaders.com





Speak to us of Giving

21 04 2009

An excerpt from THE PROPHET, by Kahlil Gibran

 

 

Then said a rich man, “Speak to us of Giving.”
And he answered:

 You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

For what are your possessions but things
you keep and guard
for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow
bring to the overprudent dog
burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the
pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full,
the thirst that is unquenchable?

 There are those who give little
of the much which they have-
and they give it
for recognition and their hidden desire
makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life,
and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy,
and their joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain,
and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not
pain in giving, nor do they seek joy,
nor give with mindfulness of virtue:
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle
breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God
speaks, and from behind their eyes
He smiles upon the earth.

 It is well to give when asked, but it is
better to give unasked, through understanding:
And to the open-handed the search for
one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught your would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given:
Therefore give now, that the season of
giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.

 You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
The trees in your orchard say not so,
nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live,
for to with-hold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his
days and nights, is worthy of all else from you.

And he who has deserved to drink from
the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

And what desert greater shall there be,
than that, which lies in the courage and the
confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend
their bosom and unveil their pride,
that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

See first that you yourself deserve to be
a giver, and an instrument of giving.

For in truth it is life that gives unto life-
while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers- and you are all
receivers- assume no weight of gratitude,
lest you lay a yoke upon
yourself and upon he who gives.

Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings:
For to be over mindful of your debt, is
to doubt his generosity who has the
free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father

 ~*~

 

 





Green Rule: Ecological Wisdom from Faith Traditions

27 03 2009

The Green Rule is not technically a set of “rules” but rather a collection of sayings, some didactic, others more metaphoric, drawn from the great sacred teachings of the world’s religions and spiritual traditions that express the sacredness of creation and humanity’s interconnectedness with it. Faith & the Common Good derived the Green Rule concept from the classic Golden Rule that is found in the major faith traditions. In Christianity, for example, the Golden Rule is “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In Hinduism; “Do not do to others what would cause pain to you.” In Islam, “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.” And so it goes in many faiths.

For the Green Rule we are paraphrasing the Golden Rule by saying: “Do unto the Earth as you would have it do unto you.” We have looked to the same sacred teachings of many of the world’s spiritual traditions to reveal similar expressions of concern, only in choosing our quotes we have extended the plea for compassion to include all of our neighbours: human beings, animals, birds, trees…

 

 

 

 

Source: The Green Rule: Ecological Wisdom from Faith Traditions





Spring Poem ~ Rumi

20 03 2009

 The Music We Are

 tree

Did you hear that winter’s over? The basil
and the carnations cannot control their

laughter. The nightingale, back from his
wandering, has been made singing master

over the birds. The trees reach out their
congratulations. The soul goes dancing

through the king’s doorway. Anemones blush
because they have seen the rose naked.

Spring, the only fair judge, walks in the
courtroom, and several December thieves steal

away, Last year’s miracles will soon be
forgotten. New creatures whirl in from non-

existence, galaxies scattered around their
feet. Have you met them? Do you hear the

bud of Jesus crooning in the cradle? A single
narcissus flower has been appointed Inspector

of Kingdoms. A feast is set. Listen: the
wind is pouring wine! Love used to hide

inside images: no more! The orchard hangs
out its lanterns. The dead come stumbling by

in shrouds. Nothing can stay bound or be
imprisoned. You say, “End this poem here,

and wait for what’s next.” I will. Poems
are rough notations for the music we are.

 Related: Signs of Springspring





Nowruz: A New Year, A New Beginning

20 03 2009

President Obama released a special video message for all those celebrating Nowruz. Translated “New Day,” Nowruz marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the New Year for millions in Iran and other communities around the world.  This year, the President wanted to send a special message to the people and government of Iran on Nowruz, acknowledging the strain in our relations over the last few decades. “But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together,” he says.

After committing his administration to a future of honest and respectful diplomacy, he continues on to address Iran’s leaders directly: “You, too, have a choice.  The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations.  You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization.  And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.”

Complete Text of the Speech:

“Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world.

This holiday is both an ancient ritual and a moment of renewal, and I hope that you enjoy this special time of year with friends and family.

In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place.

Here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that you are a great civilization, and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world.

For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained. But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together. Indeed, you will be celebrating your New Year in much the same way that we Americans mark our holidays — by gathering with friends and family, exchanging gifts and stories, and looking to the future with a renewed sense of hope.

Within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day, the promise of opportunity for our children, security for our families, progress for our communities, and peace between nations. Those are shared hopes, those are common dreams.

So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran’s leaders. We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.

You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.

So on the occasion of your New Year, I want you, the people and leaders of Iran, to understand the future that we seek. It’s a future with renewed exchanges among our people, and greater opportunities for partnership and commerce. It’s a future where the old divisions are overcome, where you and all of your neighbors and the wider world can live in greater security and greater peace.

I know that this won’t be reached easily. There are those who insist that we be defined by our differences. But let us remember the words that were written by the poet Saadi, so many years ago: “The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.”

With the coming of a new season, we’re reminded of this precious humanity that we all share. And we can once again call upon this spirit as we seek the promise of a new beginning.

Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.”