Brave, Truthful, and Unselfish

A new film version was released this year based on the classic children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, about a wooden puppet who is brought to life and aspires to become a real boy. This story provides a wealth of fodder for spiritual metaphor. Especially when Pinocchio is told he must be “brave, truthful, and unselfish” in order to transform …

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Have We Been Deluding Ourselves?

When it comes to one’s spiritual life, aspirants can easily get sidetracked. One of the biggest traps can be, oddly, reading spiritual books. Or, more precisely, pseudo-spiritual books. Pseudo-spiritual books are those that contain lots of abstract concepts and, for lack of a better word, gobbledygook. The Zen master Hui-Neng is rightly depicted as tearing up the scriptures. Not because …

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Aggregates and Qualities

In Buddhism, a key term is skandha, which is translated as “aggregate.” This refers to the five components of one’s being: material form (i.e., one’s body), sensations, perceptions, mental activity, and consciousness. A similar concept exists in Hinduism, originating from the Sankhya philosophical school, which posits the principle of guna, which translates as “quality.” The world is composed of three …

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The Not So Gentle Jesus

While we read New Testament accounts that bolster the mild-mannered image of Jesus as portrayed in Charles Wesley’s famous hymn, “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild,” there is another side of Jesus we cannot ignore. “Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Luke 12:51), he said. Further, “I have come …

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Religious Nationalism

This blog seldom if ever ventures into the shark-infested waters of political opinion. Nor do we often address temporal matters, let alone daily news events, preferring instead to remain in the undiluted stratosphere of purely spiritual topics, untainted by the annals of time. For, the mundane and the secular are mere passing accoutrements that distract from an unsullied vision of …

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Vedanta in a Nutshell

Vedanta is one of the six traditional schools of Hindu philosophy. The word Vedanta means “the end of the Vedas.” The Vedas are ancient, revealed hymns wherein Hindu religion originates. They contain writings known as the Upanishads, which hold the kernels of Vedanta philosophy. Veda means “knowledge.” The implication is that the end of all knowledge is contained in the …

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Did They Really Say These Things?

We have all at times read seemingly unbelievable statements from saints. We will briefly analyze three such sayings. Hasidism is a well-known spiritual movement within Judaism. Rabbi Israel Friedman of Ruzhin (1796–1850), honored as a great tsaddik, a revered holy man, is said to have called miracles “child’s play.” Huh? On the surface, this is an incredible assertion. However, upon …

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Spiritual Role Models

It’s always helpful for us to have examples of those who successfully walk the spiritual path. We can benefit in many ways from following what they have learned, and in many instances we can emulate them. These individuals can serve as role models, and their lives can inspire us in our own spiritual pursuits, especially when they hail from the …

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