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


Spring Poem ~ Rumi

20 03 2009

 The Music We Are


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

One Truth

15 02 2009






In all ten directions of the universe,

there is only one truth.

When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same.

What can ever be lost? What can be attained?

If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of the time.

If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.

Look: this ball in my pocket:

can you see how priceless it is?


~ Ryōkan* (1758 – 1831)




Source: “The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry” Edited by Stephen Mitchell p.97


*Ryōkan (1758-1831), Japanese Zen Master, hermit, calligrapher, and poet; his name means “Goodly Tolerance.” Another Buddhist name that he took for himself means “Great Fool.” Ryokan is one of the most beloved figures in Japanese literature, and is especially known for his kindness and his love for children and animals; he even used to take the lice out of his robe, sun them on a piece of paper on the veranda, then carefully put them back into his robe. He used to smile continually, and people he visited felt “as of spring had come on a dark winter’s day.” His most famous haiku was written after a thief had broken into his hut and stolen his few simple possessions:                                                                                             

The thief left it behind:

the moon                             

at my window

The one you call the lover is actually the Beloved – Rumi

14 02 2009

The Sufis imagine Allah (God) as an intimate Friend, not a distant Lord of the Universe. He is their Beloved with whom they share a passionate, sacred love affair.

By imagining Allah in this way the devotee is able to enjoy a personal relationship with the ineffable One.

Sufi poets are aware that, in reality, the Beloved with whom they are enjoying a divine romance is their own deeper Self. The love affair between the devotee and the Beloved is the One become two in order to love itself.

Rumi sings to Allah:

You – the soul free from “me” and “you.”
You – the essence in every man and woman.
When the sexes become one You are that union.
You created this business of “me” and “you.”
so that You could play the game of wooing Yourself

Source: The Heart of Islam p. 82-83 by Timothy Freke

One Song

3 02 2009


All religions

all this singing

is one song.


The differences are just

illusion and vanity.


The sun’s light looks a little different

on this wall than it does on that wall,

and a lot different on this other one,

but it’s still one light.


We have barrowed these clothes,

These time and place personalities

From a light, and when we praise,

we’re pouring them back in.



(Translation by Coleman Barks)