World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts

Editor, Andrew Wilson


Creation Rejoices

The natural world is not an object of our manipulation. It is a community of living, sentient beings that suffers or rejoices according to how it is treated by human beings. The scriptures teach that, for those who have eyes to see, nature is exquisitely sensitive to the spirit and attitude of people. The creation 'groans in travail' when it is misused and defiled, and rejoices when it can serve God through serving the children of God. Indeed, the virtuous person brings redemption to nature.

Confucius said, "It is Goodness that gives to a neighborhood its beauty."

Confucianism. Analects 4.1

Whether in village or in forest, in vale or on hill, wherever arahants dwell--delightful, indeed, is that spot.

Buddhism. Dhammapada 98

The perfume of flowers blows not against the wind, nor does the fragrance of sandalwood, tagara and jasmine, but the fragrance of the virtuous blows against the wind; the virtuous man pervades every direction.

Buddhism. Dhammapada 54

The earth's condition is receptive devotion. Thus the superior man who has breadth of character Carries the outer world.

Confucianism. I Ching 2: The Receptive

May no living creatures, not even insects, Be bound unto samsaric life; nay, not one of them; But may I be empowered to save them all.

Buddhism. Milarepa

Dhammapada 98: Cf. Titus 1.15, p. 725. I Ching 2: Cf. Chuang Tzu 12, p. 312.

Good sons and daughters who accept the true Law, build the great earth, and carry the four responsibilities, become friends without being asked, for the sake of all living beings. In their great compassion, they comfort and sympathize with living beings, becoming the Dharma-mother of the world.

Buddhism. Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 4

Only those who are absolutely sincere can fully develop their nature. If they can fully develop their nature, they can then fully develop the nature of others. If they can fully develop the nature of others, they can then fully develop the nature of things. If they can fully develop the nature of things, they can then assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth. If they can assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth, they can thus form with Heaven and Earth a trinity.

Confucianism. Doctrine of the Mean 22

There is a holy man living on faraway Ku-she Mountain, with skin like ice or snow, and gentle and shy like a young girl. He doesn't eat the five grains, but sucks the wind, drinks the dew, climbs up on the clouds and mist, rides a flying dragon, and wanders beyond the four seas. By concentrating his spirit, he can protect creatures from sickness and plague and make the harvest plentiful... This man, with his virtue of his, is about to embrace the ten thousand things and roll them into one.

Taoism. Chuang Tzu 1

Mencius went to see King Hui of Liang. The king was standing over a pond. "Are such things enjoyed even by a good and wise man?" said he, looking round at his wild geese and deer.

"Only if a man is good and wise," answered Mencius, "is he able to enjoy them. Otherwise he would not, even if he had them.

The Book of Songs says,

He surveyed and began the Sacred Terrace, He surveyed it and measured it; The people worked at it; In less than no time they finished it. He surveyed and began without haste; The people came in ever-increasing numbers. The king was in the Sacred Park. The doe lay down; The does were sleek; The white birds glistened. The king was at the Sacred Pond. Oh! how full it was of leaping fish!

It was with the labor of the people that King Wen built his terrace and pond, yet so pleased and delighted were they that they named his terrace the "Sacred Terrace" and his pond the "Sacred Pond," and rejoiced at his possession of deer, fish, and turtles. It was by sharing their enjoyments with the people that men of antiquity were able to enjoy themselves.

The T'ang shih says,

O Sun [the tyrant Chieh], when wilt thou perish? We care not if we have to die with thee.

"When the people were prepared 'to die with' him, even if the tyrant had a terrace and pond, birds and beasts, could he have enjoyed them all by himself?"

Confucianism. Mencius I.A.2

Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 4: Cf. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 1, p. 1034. Doctrine of the Mean 22: Cf. Doctrine of the Mean 1.4-5, p. 228f. Srimad Bhagavatam 11.8, p. 761; Nihon Shoki 22, p. 372. Chuang Tzu 1: Cf. Chuang Tzu 13, p. 311; Rig Veda 10.136.1-4, p. 314.

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Christianity. Bible, Romans 8.19-23

Since folk are ablaze with unlawful lusts, overwhelmed by depraved longings, depressed by wrong doctrines, on such as these the sky rains down not steadily. It is hard to get a meal. The crops are bad, afflicted with mildew and grown to mere stubs. Accordingly, many come to their end.

Buddhism. Anguttara Nikaya i.50

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel; for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or kindness, there is no knowledge of God in the land; There is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds and murder follows murder. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Hosea 4.1-3

Anguttara Nikaya i.50: Cf. Golden Light Sutra 12, pp. 1090f.; Book of Songs, Ode 254, pp. 1089f; Chuang Tzu 10, p. 799. Even the attitude of the spirits reflects the heart of people: cf. Vamana Purana 19.31-35, p. 443. Hosea 4.1-3: Cf. Jeremiah 7.1-15, p. 1088; Exodus 20.1-17, p. 166.

Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying, "Woe, woe is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?" And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying, "O Lord, wilt Thou not have compassion upon the earth?"

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.48-49

To you did the soul of the ox complain, "For whom did you create me? Who made me? Fury and violence oppress me, and cruelty and tyranny. I have no shepherd other than you: then obtain good pastures for me."

Then the Creator of the ox asked Right, "Have you a judge for the ox, That you may give him, with the pasture, the care for the raising of the cattle? Whom did you appoint his master who shall put to flight Fury together with the wicked?"

As Righteousness, reply was made, "No companion is there for the ox That is free from hatred. Men do not understand How the great deal with the lowly. Of all beings he is the strongest To whose aid I come at his call....

"With hands outstreched we pray to the Lord, We two, my soul and the soul of the mother-cow, Urging the Wise One to command that no harm shall come to the honest man, To the herdsman, in the midst of the wicked who surround him."

Then spoke the Wise Lord himself, he who understands the prayers in his soul: "No master has been found, no judge according to Righteousness, For the breeder and the herdsman has the Creator fashioned you.

The ordinance of sprinkling the water of the cattle, for the welfare of the ox, And the milk for the welfare of men desiring food, This has the Wise Lord, the Holy One, Fashioned by his decree, in accord with Righteousness." --"Whom hast thou, as Good Mind, who may take care of us two for men?"

"I know but this one, Zarathustra Spitama, the only one who has heard our teaching; He will make known our purpose, O Wise One, and that of Righteousness. Sweetness of speech shall be given to him."

Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.48-49: Cf. Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.27-37, p. 458.

And then moaned the ox-soul: "That I should have to be content With the powerless word of a man without strength for a guardian, I who wish for a strong master! Will he ever be, he who shall help him with his hands?"

Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 29.1-9

In the days when natural instincts prevailed, men moved quietly and gazed steadily. At that time, there were no roads over mountains, nor boats, nor bridges over water. All things were produced, each for its own proper sphere. Birds and beasts multiplied; trees and shrubs grew up. The former might be led by the hand; you could climb up and peep into a raven's nest. For then man dwelt with the birds and beasts, and all creation was one. There were no distinctions of good and bad men; being all equally without knowledge, their virtue could not go astray. Being all equally without evil desires, they were in a state of natural integrity, the perfection of human existence.

Taoism. Chuang Tzu 9

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 11.6-9

Yasna 49.1-9: In this dialogue in heaven, the soul of the ox complains that he is oppressed by the wicked. He asks for justice from his creator, but the reply comes that there is no one. The soul of the ox and his mate pray again to God, who replies that the ox has been put in the power of man. But He also decrees laws of reciprocal service by which the oxen and mankind can live in harmony. The ox, not satisfied, asks for a righteous protector who will practice these laws. He is told he must make do with Zarathustra, who however lacks the power to actualize the teaching. When, the ox asks, will that teaching prevail, that he may be saved? Zoroastrianism in fact abolished the ritual slaughter of oxen which was practiced among the Vedic Aryans. Chuang Tzu 9: Cf. Tao Te Ching 80, p. 291; Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda 130, p. 291; Book of Ritual 7.1.2, p. 293; Ghost Dance, p. 1117. Isaiah 11.6-9: Cf. Divine Principle I.1.3.1, p. 205.

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