Reclaiming conversations about purity

“So, what exactly is purity? How do we know we are pure? And how do we stay pure?” – these were questions the beautiful souls gathered around the living room asked while hands of every hue of humanness held bowls with homemade split pea soup and garlic bread.

We read, and prayed, and listened… to JB Eckl singing about the hope of a New Creation, to Jamie Heath singing about returning to God, to Tara Ellis singing about Healing… But most of all we listened to each other and to our hearts. Did we get all the answers? Probably not but we made a step towards reclaiming the conversation about the purity of being human.  Join the conversation in a week, on November 2nd — it is open to all!

Reclaiming conversations

Reclaiming conversations

“God loveth those who are pure. Naught in the Bayán and in the sight of God is more loved than purity and immaculate cleanliness…”
Bahá’í Faith, The Báb, — Selections from the Writings of the Báb”, V 14

Divine Providence! Bestow Thou in all things purity and cleanliness upon the people of Bahá. Grant that they be freed from all defilement, and released from all addictions. Save them from committing any repugnant act, unbind them from the chains of every evil habit, that they may live pure and free, wholesome and cleanly, worthy to serve at Thy Sacred Threshold and fit to be related to their Lord. Deliver them from intoxicating drinks and tobacco, save them, rescue them, from this opium that bringeth on madness, suffer them to enjoy the sweet savors of holiness, that they may drink deep of the mystic cup of heavenly love and know the rapture of being drawn ever closer unto the Realm of the All-Glorious. For it is even as Thou hast said: “All that thou hast in thy cellar will not appease the thirst of my love—bring me, O cupbearer, of the wine of the spirit a cup as full as the sea!”
Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá“Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá”, #129, p. 149

Extreme perfection seems imperfect, its function is not exhausted. Extreme fullness appears empty, its function is not exercised. Extreme straightness appears crooked; great skill, clumsy; great eloquence, stammering. Motion conquers cold, quietude conquers heat. Not greatness but purity and clearness are the world’s standard.”
Taoism, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 45, The Virtue of Greatness

When a man is sluggish and gluttonous, sleeping and rolling around in bed like a fat domestic pig, that sluggard undergoes rebirth again and again. Formerly this mind wandered about as it liked, where it wished and according to its pleasure, but now I shall thoroughly master it with wisdom as a mahout controls with his ankus [sic] an elephant in rut. Delight in heedfulness! Guard well your thoughts! Draw yourself out of this bog of evil, even as an elephant draws himself out of the mud. If for company you find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, you should, overcoming all impediments, keep his company joyously and mindfully. If for company you cannot find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, then, like a king who leaves behind a conquered kingdom, or like a lone elephant in the elephant forest, you should go your way alone. Better it is to live alone; there is no fellowship with a fool. Live alone and do no evil; be carefree like and elephant in the elephant forest. Good are friends when need arises; good is contentment with just what one has; good is merit when life is at an end, and good is the abandoning of all suffering (through Arahatship). In this world, good it is to serve one’s mother, good it is to serve one’s father, good it is to serve the monks, and good it is to serve the holy men. Good is virtue until life’s end, good is faith that is steadfast, good is the acquisition of wisdom, and good is the avoidance of evil.”
~ Buddhism, The Buddha’s Path to Wisdom, Dhammapada, Chapter 23, The Elephant, #325-333

“Let all your things be done with charity.  I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and your’s: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.”
Christianity King James Bible, 1 Corinthians, 16:14 – 18

O ye, God’s loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of smoking, of intoxicating drink, and of opium, conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people* who strictly avoid tobacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness. A single one of their men can stand up to ten men of another tribe. This hath proved true of the entire people: that is, member for member, each individual of this community is in every respect superior to the individuals of other communities.

Make ye then a mighty effort, that the purity and sanctity which, above all else, are cherished by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, shall distinguish the people of Bahá; that in every kind of excellence the people of God shall surpass all other human beings; that both outwardly and inwardly they shall prove superior to the rest; that for purity, immaculacy, refinement, and the preservation of health, they shall be leaders in the vanguard of those who know. And that by their freedom from enslavement, their knowledge, their self-control, they shall be first among the pure, the free and the wise.”
*[note: Possibly ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was referring to the Sikhs; the description appears to apply to them.] Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá“Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá”, #129, p. 150

To the addict, there is nothing like the drug; to the fish, there is nothing else like water. Those who are attuned to their Lord – everyone is pleasing to them.”
Sikhism, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.557

O handmaids of the Lord! The spiritual assemblage that ye established in that illumined city is most propitious. Ye have made great strides; ye have surpassed the others, have arisen to serve the Holy Threshold, and have won heavenly bestowals. Now with all spiritual zeal must ye gather in that enlightened assemblage and recite the Holy Writings and engage in remembering the Lord. Set ye forth His arguments and proofs. Work ye for the guidance of the women in that land, teach the young girls and the children, so that the mothers may educate their little ones from their earliest days, thoroughly train them, rear them to have a goodly character and good morals, guide them to all the virtues of humankind, prevent the development of any behaviour that would be worthy of blame, and foster them in the embrace of Bahá’í education. Thus shall these tender infants be nurtured at the breast of the knowledge of God and His love. Thus shall they grow and flourish, and be taught righteousness and the dignity of humankind, resolution and the will to strive and to endure. Thus shall they learn perseverance in all things, the will to advance, high mindedness and high resolve, chastity and purity of life. Thus shall they be enabled to carry to a successful conclusion whatsoever they undertake.”
Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá”, #95, p. 125

Be ye the very essence of cleanliness amongst mankind. This, truly, is what your Lord, the Incomparable, the All-Wise, desireth for you.”
Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláhThe Kitáb-i-Aqdas”, #74, p. 47

“Thou didst ask as to the education of children. Those children who, sheltered by the Blessed Tree, have set foot upon the world, those who are cradled in the Faith and are nurtured at the breast of grace — such must from the beginning receive spiritual training directly from their mothers. That is, the mother must continually call God to mind and make mention of Him, and tell of His greatness, and instill the fear of Him in the child, and rear the child gently, in the way of tenderness, and in extreme cleanliness. Thus from the very beginning of life every child will be refreshed by the gentle wafting of the love of God and will tremble with joy at the sweet scent of heavenly guidance. In this lieth the beginning of the process; it is the essential basis of all the rest.”
Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-BaháA Compilation on Bahá’í Education”, #76, p. 30

 

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