World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts

Editor, Andrew Wilson


The Living Presence

Besides the incomparable acts of charity which the founders, during their lifetime, did to save and enlighten humanity, in every age the founder abides as a living presence. Thus, according to the Christian Gospels, Jesus abides in the hearts of all believers and has sent the Holy Spirit to enliven and instill God's love within them. The Lotus Sutra declares that the Buddha is eternally manifest and is forever saving living beings. In the traditions of the Sunnah, Muhammad is ever beside the believers; he also intercedes on their behalf before the throne of God. The living presence of the founder in the hearts of believers is an experience of personal mystical union--'I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you'--that is comparable to the impersonal mystical experience of The Unitive State, pp. 585-90.

Lo, I am with you always, even to the close of the age.

Christianity. Bible, Matthew 28.20

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers.

Islam. Qur'an 33.6

Verily I am beside you, as a father is beside his children.

Islam. Hadith of Abu Dawud

Be aware of me always, adore me, make every act an offering to me, and you shall come to me; this I [Krishna] promise, for you are dear to me. Abandon all supports and look to me for protection. I shall purify you from the sins of the past; do not grieve.

Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 18.65-66

Matthew 28.20: This is spoken by the resurrected Jesus as he commissions his disciples to go out and teach all nations. Qur'an 33.6: Though this passage was uttered of the historical Muhammad, it is often taken to signify a living spiritual relationship which believers of any age may have with the Prophet and his family; thus the following hadith.

[Jesus declared], "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Christianity. Bible, Matthew 11.28-30

I am the Tathagata, the Worshipful, the All-wise, the Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, the Well-departed, the Understander of the World, the Peerless Leader, the Controller, the Teacher of Gods and Men, the Buddha, the World-honored One. Those who have not yet been saved, I cause to be saved; those who have not yet been set free, to be set free; those who have not yet been comforted, to be comforted; those who have not yet obtained Nirvana, to obtain Nirvana. I know the present world and the world to come as they really are. I am the All-Knowing, the All-seeing, the Knower of the Way, the Opener of the Way, the Preacher of the Way. Come to me, all you gods, men, and demons, to hear the Law.

Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 5

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."

Christianity. Bible, John 14.15-21

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

Says Nanak, The Master is a tree of contentment and forbearance; Righteousness its flower, enlightenment the fruit. This tree by joy in God keeps ever fresh and green; By practice of meditation is it ripened. With joy in the Lord is it consumed, By such as dispense the supreme charity of selfless action.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Var Majh, M.1, p. 147

Matthew 11.28-30: Cf. Revelation 3.20, p. 686. John 14.15-21: 'Counselor,' and 'Spirit of Truth' are names for the Holy Spirit, which descended upon the disciples at Pentecost and which continues to infuse the hearts of sincere Christians. At the same time, the Counselor is identified with Jesus Christ, who comes to dwell with the faithful. Jesus is also one with the Father. Thus, according to the doctrine of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. On the Spirit abiding in us, cf. Romans 8.9-17, p. 576.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Christianity. Bible, John 15.4-11

Every Buddha Tathagata is one whose body is the Principle of Nature (Dharmadhatu-kaya), so that he may enter into the mind of any being. Consequently, when you have perceived Buddha, it is indeed that mind of yours that possesses those thirty-two signs of perfection and eighty minor marks of excellence [which you see in Buddha]. In fine, it is your mind that becomes Buddha, nay, it is your mind that is indeed Buddha. The ocean of true and universal knowledge of all the Buddhas derives its source from one's own mind and thought. Therefore you should apply your thought with an undivided attention to a careful meditation on that Buddha Tathagata, the Holy and Fully Enlightened One.

Buddhism. Meditation on Buddha Amitayus 17

May the Lord of Lords [Mahavira], whom all the hosts of saints keep in mind, all the rulers of men and angels praise, and all the scriptures--Vedas, Puranas, and Sastras--extol, make my heart his abode.

May the Lord of Lords, who is of the nature of perception, cognition, and bliss, is free from all mundane imperfections, is comprehensible through concentrated contemplation, and is known as the Highest Self, be enshrined in my heart.

May the Lord of Lords, who cuts asunder the net of worldly afflictions and sorrows, perceives the innermost secrets of the universe, and is the pure introvert Self capable of being visualized by the yogins, reside in my heart.

May the Lord of Lords, who is the expounder of the path of liberation, is beyond the reach of the miseries like those of birth and death, is the seer of the three worlds, and is bodiless and faultless, make my heart his abode.

May the Lord of Lords, who is free from all blemishes like attachment and aversion which hold in tight bondage all embodied beings, who has no need of sense organs, is knowledge itself and eternally independent, be enshrined in my heart.

May the Lord of Lords, whose cognition pervades all the objects in the cosmos, who has attained liberation and perfection, is fully enlightened and absolutely free from the bondage of karma, and whose contemplation destroys all spiritual aberrations, reside in my heart.

Jainism. Samayika Patha

Var Majh, M.1: This and the following passage express the image of the founder as a Tree of Life. For more on this image, see Psalm 1:1-3, p. 160; Qur'an 14.24-27, p. 161, and Revelation 22.1-5, pp. 1118f. John 15.4-11: Cf. Romans 6.3-11, pp. 854f. Meditation on Buddha Amitayus 17: Cf. Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 5, p. 652; Garland Sutra 37, p. 96; Sutra of Hui Neng 2, p. 536.

In order to save all creatures, I expediently speak of Nirvana, Yet truly I am not extinct, But ever here preaching the Law. I ever remain in this world, In supernatural power, So that all perverted creatures Fail to see me, though near, Looking on me as extinct, Everywhere worshipping my relics, Cherishing desire for goodness And thirsting with aspiration. When all creatures have submitted, Are upright, and gentle in mind, Wholeheartedly looking for Buddha, Not caring for their own lives, Then I with all the Sangha On the Spirit Vulture Peak appear, And then I tell all creatures That I exist here, forever undying, By means of expedients revealing Myself as dead, yet not dead. If in other regions there are beings, Reverent and joyful in faith, Again I am in their midst To preach the supreme Law. You, not hearing of this, Only say I am extinct. I, beholding all living creatures Sunk in the sea of suffering, At first do not show myself, But set them expectant and thirsting, Then, when their hearts are longing, I appear to preach the Law. In supernatural power, Through kalpas numberless, On the Spirit Vulture Peak am I, And in other dwelling places.

Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 16

Samayika Patha: On these recitations, see p. 844n.

I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys to Death and Hades.

Christianity. Bible, Revelation 1.18

Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?

Christianity. Bible, Romans 8.33-34

Why [on Rosh Hashanah] do we blow on a ram's horn? The Holy One said, "Sound before me a ram's horn so that I may remember on your behalf the binding of Isaac the son of Abraham, and account it to you as if you had bound yourselves before me.

Judaism. Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 16a

My life is a mercy and a blessing for you: in my presence you speak, and an answer is given you. When I die my death will be a mercy and a blessing for you: After death, your deeds will be sent to me and I will look at them: If you worked righteousness, I will praise God for this. If you worked evil, I will ask God that you be forgiven.

Islam. Hadith of Ibn Sa`d

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Christianity. Bible, Romans 8.26-27

According to Anas, the Prophet said, "At the Judgment Day the believers will assemble and will say, 'Let us ask someone to intercede for us.' They will go and find Adam and say to him, 'You are the father of mankind; God has created you with His hand, He has taught the angels to kneel before you, and He has taught you the names of all things. Intercede to the Lord on our behalf in order that He may deliver us from our present predicament.' He will reply, 'I am not the one you are needing. Go and find Noah; he is the first messenger whom God sent to mankind.' They will find Noah, and he will say, 'I am not the one you need.' He will remind them that he asked the Lord about things of which he could have no knowledge, and he would be ashamed to intercede for them. 'Go,' he will say to them, 'and find the Friend of the Merciful [Abraham].' They will do as they are bid, and the latter will say, 'Go and ask Moses, this worshipper to whom God has addressed a word and to whom He has given the Torah.' They will go and find Moses, and he will say to them, 'I am not he whom you need.' He will tell them that he killed a man who was not guilty, and that he is ashamed before his Lord. Then he arranges for them to approach Jesus, the worshipper of God and His messenger, the Word of God and the Spirit of God. But Jesus will say to them, 'I am not the one whom you need; go and find Muhammad (God bless and preserve him!); he is the servant for whom God has pardoned all faults, past and future.'

"Then they will come to me; I shall go to the Lord and ask Him if He will listen to me. He will grant me my request, and when I see Him, I shall fall down on my knees and remain there as long as it pleases Him. Then He will say to me, 'Look up; ask and you shall receive; speak and you will be heard; intercede and your intercession will be granted.' Then I shall raise my head; I shall praise the Lord, following the formula which He will teach me; then I shall intercede. The Eternal One will show me a group of people, for whom I shall gain access into Paradise. This done, I shall return to the Lord, and when I have seen Him, under the same condition as before, I shall intercede afresh. He will show me a second group, for whom I shall gain access to Paradise. Then I shall do the same a third and a fourth time, and shall say, 'There are no more for hell except those whom the Qur'an has condemned to it, and who must live in it forever.'"

Islam. Hadith of Bukhari

Lotus Sutra 16: Cf. Lotus Sutra 16, the prose version, p. 121. Revelation 1.18: Cf. 1 Corinthians 15.21-22, p. 547. Rosh Hashanah 16a: Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year; it is invoked by sounding the ram's horn. On the binding of Isaac, see Genesis 22, pp. 613f. Romans 8.26-27: The Holy Spirit enters the hearts of believers and helps them in their weakness, sanctifying them by transforming their minds into the image of the Son, the mind of Christ. The Spirit leads people to testify to Jesus Christ: see 1 Corinthians 12.1-3, p. 380; Matthew 10.19-20, p. 821. The Spirit is liberating: see John 3.8, p. 531.For another conception of the Holy Spirit as all God-centered, loving spiritual influences, see Sun Myung Moon, 1-5-81, p. 372.


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