World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts

Editor, Andrew Wilson



Peace is one of the most desirable fruits of salvation in all the world's religions. We begin with passages describing the fruit of inner peace. The peace that comes with reaching Ultimate Reality brings tranquillity to the heart and clarity to the mind. It is the absence of passions, desires, anxieties, and wandering thoughts; the heart becomes cool and content. Nirvana is often translated 'Peace.' Islam and Christianity both praise the peace and tranquillity that come to the soul that is firm in faith. The soul of the saint has been likened to a deep pond whose surface remains undisturbed by waves despite the many currents or streams that flow into it.

A second group of passages describe the peace of God that brings harmony among people and nations. Outward peace is emphasized in the Abrahamic faiths, for whom the work of God has a social and historical dimension. The love of God breaks down the walls of hostility between people, and thus becomes the foundation for their lasting peace. Yet peace in this social and political sense is not only given by God; it must also be built by the efforts of human beings. Those who are blessed with inner peace have the responsibility to become peacemakers, reconciling conflict.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.

Christianity. Bible, John 14.27

In the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction.

Islam. Qur'an 13.28

The Master said, "In the morning, hear the Way; in the evening, die content!"

Confucianism. Analects 4.8

This is peace, this is the excellent, namely the calm of all the impulses, the casting out of all "basis," the extinction of craving, dispassion, stopping, Nirvana.

Buddhism. Anguttara Nikaya v.322

O tranquil soul, return to your Lord so pleasant and well-pleased! Enter among My servants and enter My garden!

Islam. Qur'an 89.27-30

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Numbers 6.26

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Christianity. Bible, Philippians 4.7

He it is who sent down peace of reassurance into the hearts of the believers, that they might add faith to their faith.

Islam. Qur'an 48.4

Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 26.3

If a man sings of God and hears of Him, And lets love of God sprout within him, All his sorrows shall vanish, And in his mind, God will bestow abiding peace.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Japuji 5, M.1, p. 2

Anguttara Nikaya v.322: Nirvana is the Ultimate Good because it is the complete end of all the impulses and passions that produce evil. Cf. Dhammapada 96, p. 230. Qur'an 89.27-30: Cf. Qur'an 56.27, p. 353. Numbers 6.26: Part of the Aaronic benediction, Numbers 6.24-26, p. 56.

Just as a deep lake is clear and still, even so, on hearing the teachings and realizing them, the wise become exceedingly peaceful.

Buddhism. Dhammapada 82

As rivers flow into the ocean but cannot make the vast ocean overflow, so flow the streams of the sense-world into the sea of peace that is the sage.

Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 2.70

Men do not mirror themselves in running water--they mirror themselves in still water. Only what is still can still the stillness of other things.

Taoism. Chuang Tzu 5

The monk looks for peace within himself, and not in any other place. For when a person is inwardly quiet, there is nowhere a self can be found; where, then, could a non-self be found?

There are no waves in the depths of the sea; it is still, unbroken. It is the same with the monk. He is still, without any quiver of desire, without a remnant on which to build pride and desire.

Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 919-20

The Lord lives in the heart of every creature. He turns them round and round upon the wheel of his Maya. Take refuge utterly in Him. By His grace you will find supreme peace, and the state which is beyond all change.

Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 18.61-62

Should anyone be victim of great anxiety, his body racked with maladies, Beset with problems of home and family, With pleasure and pain alternating, Wandering in all four directions without peace or rest-- Should he then contemplate the Supreme Being, Peaceful shall his mind and body become.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sri Raga, M.5, p. 70

Dhammapada 82: Cf. Anguttara Nikaya iii.34, p. 531; Dhammapada 413, pp. 231f. Bhagavad Gita 2.70: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 6.7-9, p. 226. Chuang Tzu 5: Only a person at peace with himself can calm others. Cf. Tao Te Ching 4, p. 525; Great Learning, p. 842; Tao Te Ching 56, p. 840. Sutta Nipata 919-920: Cf. Dhammapada 279, p. 899. The peace which comes from finding union in the midst of the world's bewildering diversity is also expressed in the Peace Chant of the Isha Upanishad, p. 55. Cf. Katha Upanishad 3.13, p. 840, Bhagavad Gita 5.10-12, p. 724. On the wheel of Maya, see Svetasvatara Upanishad 1.6.8, p. 398.

Victory breeds hatred, for the defeated live in pain. Happily live the peaceful, giving up victory and defeat.

Buddhism. Dhammapada 201

Tao invariably takes no action, and yet there is nothing left undone. If kings and barons can keep it, all things will transform spontaneously. If, after transformation, they should desire to be active, I would restrain them with simplicity, which has no name. Simplicity, which has no name, is free of desires. Being free of desires, it is tranquil. And the world will be at peace of its own accord.

Taoism. Tao Te Ching 37

Some children were playing beside a river. They made castles of sand, and each child defended his castle and said, "This one is mine." They kept their castles separate and would not allow any mistakes about which was whose. When the castles were all finished, one child kicked over someone else's castle and completely destroyed it. The owner of the castle flew into a rage, pulled the other child's hair, struck him with his fist and bawled out, "He has spoiled my castle! Come along all of you and help me to punish him as he deserves." The others all came to his help. They beat the child with a stick and then stamped on him as he lay on the ground.... Then they went on playing in their sand castles, each saying, "This is mine; no one else may have it. Keep away! Don't touch my castle!" But evening came, it was getting dark and they all thought they ought to be going home. No one now cared what became of his castle. One child stamped on his, another pushed his over with both hands. Then they turned away and went back, each to his home.

Buddhism Yogacara Bhumi Sutra 4

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!

Christianity. Bible, Luke 2.14

The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.

Judaism. Talmud, Gittin 59b

Dhammapada 201: Cf. Nitivaktyamrita 344, p. 1052. Tao Te Ching 37: Cf. Chuang Tzu 7, p. 588; Tao Te Ching 80, p. 291. Yogacara Bhumi Sutra 4: In this parable Nirvana is likened to the diminution of jealousy and passion for existence with the cool of evening. In the Pali version (Samyutta Nikaya iii.188) the sand castles are likened to the body, which had been the object of grasping; with Release it becomes a thing to be disregarded and broken up. Luke 2.14: The proclamation of the angelic hosts at the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace; see the larger passage Luke 1.26-2:14, p. 596. Cf. Yasna 60.5, p. 289.

All things exist for world peace.

Perfect Liberty Kyodan Precepts, 14

God is peace, His name is peace, and all is bound together in peace.

Judaism. Zohar, Leviticus 10b

For Christ Jesus is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility.

Christianity. Bible, Ephesians 2.14

Our Father, it is thy universe, it is thy will: Let us be at peace, let the souls of the people be cool. Thou art our Father, remove all evil from our path.

African Traditional Religions. Nuer Prayer (Sudan)

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 2.4

Now is the gracious Lord's ordinance promulgated, No one shall cause another pain or injury; All mankind shall live in peace together, Under a shield of administrative benevolence.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sri Raga, M.5, p. 74

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Christianity. Bible, Matthew 5.9

He brings together those who are divided, he encourages those who are friendly; he is a peacemaker, a lover of peace, impassioned for peace, a speaker of words that make for peace.

Buddhism. Digha Nikaya xiii.75, Tevigga Sutta

Precepts, 14: A sentiment common to most of the new religions of Japan. Zohar, Leviticus 10b: In Hebrew, shalom includes the concepts peace, wellness, and wholeness. Cf. Numbers 6.24-26, p. 56; the Kaddish prayer, p. 54. Ephesians 2.14: Cf. John 17.20-21, p. 271; Atharva Veda 7.52.1-2, pp. 272f. Matthew 5.9: Cf. Abot 1.12, p. 239.

If two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them. And if one party of them does wrong to the other, fight that wrong-doer until it returns to the ordinance of God; then, if it returns, make peace between them justly, and act equitably. Lo! God loves the equitable.

Islam. Qur'an 49.9

During the short eons of swords, They meditate on love, Introducing to nonviolence Hundreds of millions of living beings.

In the midst of great battles They remain impartial to both sides; For bodhisattvas of great strength Delight in reconciliation of conflict.

Buddhism. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 8

Peace be to earth and to airy spaces! Peace be to heaven, peace to the waters, peace to the plants and peace to the trees! May all the gods grant me peace! By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused! By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace! With this peace the dreadful I appease, with this peace the cruel I appease, with this peace all evil I appease, so that peace may prevail, happiness prevail! May everything for us be peaceful!

Hinduism. Atharva Veda 19.9.14


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