World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts

Editor, Andrew Wilson


The Human Person

Say, I do not say to you, "I possess the treasuries of God"; I know not the Unseen. And I say not to you, "I am an angel"; I only follow what is revealed to me.

Islam. Qur'an 6.50

Say, I am only a mortal the like of you; it is revealed to me that your God is one God. So let him who hopes for the encounter with his Lord work righteousness, and not associate with his Lord's service anyone.

Islam. Qur'an 18.110

Monks, an inquiring monk, learning the range of another's mind, should make a study of the Tathagata, so as to distinguish whether he is a fully self-awakened one or not.

Buddhism. Majjhima Nikaya i.318

A man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone."

Christianity. Bible, Mark 10.17-18

The Master said, "As to being a Divine Sage or even a Good Man, far be it from me to make any such claim. As for unwearying effort to learn and unflagging patience in teaching others, those are merits that I do not hesitate to claim."

Confucianism. Analects 7.33

They do blaspheme who say, "God is Christ, the son of Mary." But said Christ, "O Children of Israel! Worship God, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with God--God will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode.

Islam. Qur'an 5.75

Since the children share in flesh and blood, he [Jesus] himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.... Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Christianity. Bible, Hebrews 2.14-18

Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation.

Islam. Qur'an 33.56

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman; and they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?" And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth. And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, "Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting." And the three of them came out. And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward. And he said, "Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

Judaism. Bible, Numbers 12.1-8

What are the eighteen special dharmas of a Buddha? From the night when the Tathagata knows full enlightenment, to the day when he becomes extinct in Nirvana, during all this time the Tathagata 1) does not stumble, 2) is not rash or noisy in his speech, 3) is never robbed of his mindfulness. 4) He has no perception of difference. 5) His thought is never unconcentrated. 6) His evenmindedness is not due to lack of consideration. 7) His zeal, 8) vigor, 9) mindfulness, 10) concentration, 11) wisdom, and 12) deliverance never fail. 13) All the deeds of his body, 14) voice, and 15) mind are preceded by cognition and continue to conform to cognition. 16) His cognition and vision regarding the past, 17) future, and 18) present period of time proceeds unobstructed and freely. And all that is without taking anything as a basis.

Buddhism. Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom 211-12

Hebrews 2.14-18: This conveys the necessity for Jesus to be a human being; by his having shared in the lot of humanity, he is able to save humanity. Qur'an 33.56: By this command all Muslims, when they mention the name of the Prophet, will recite a blessing. Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom 211-12: This is one of several lists of the Buddha's qualities: his 18 dharmas, which describe qualities of mind, word, and deed; his 32 marks, which are the physical signs of a superman, and his 80 secondary marks.

The Master said, "The thought that, I have left my moral power untended, My learning unperfected; I have heard of righteous men, but have been unable to go to them, I have heard of evil men, but have been unable to reform them. --it is these thoughts that disquiet me."

The Master said, "Give me a few more years, so that I may have spent a whole fifty years in study, and I believe that after all I should be fairly free from error."

The Duke of She asked Tzu-lu about Confucius. Tzu-lu did not reply. The Master said, "Why did you not say 'This is the character of the man: so intent upon enlightening the eager that he forgets his hunger, and so happy in doing so, that he forgets the bitterness of his lot and does not realize that old age is at hand. That is what he is.'"

The Master said, "Even when walking in a party of no more than three I can always be certain of learning from those I am with. There will be good qualities that I can select for imitation and bad ones that will teach me what requires correction in myself."

Confucianism. Analects 7

The Lord abstained from frequent speech. He uttered a few words, if and when necessary. If somebody asked, "Who is there inside?" he would respond, "It is I, a monk."

The Lord slept sparingly. He frequently meditated standing and even then retained full consciousness. During his spiritual pursuit he had very little sleep. During twelve and a half years he slept for less than a muhurta (48 minutes).... When sleep would be too irresistible, he would wander a little to conquer it and thus ceaselessly stay awake.

The Lord was conversant with the precise quantity of food and water required for a human body and consumed these accordingly.... The Lord was not biased towards savory dishes. He experimented variously in matters of diet. Once he took dry food. He subsisted on fatless rice and cereals... three kinds of food only for a full eight months.

The Lord abandoned water also during his fasts. Once, he dispensed with water for a fortnight. He extended that to live without water for fasts of one, two, and six months.

The Lord never rubbed his eyes nor scratched the itching part.... The Lord ever kept his arms spread out even during the winter, instead of clasping his arms across his chest.... While the people shivered in winter and many monks sought warm places to nestle into, protected from the chilly blasts, warming themselves with hearths indoors, the Lord meditated in the open with no clothes and no shelter.... He suffered stoically.

Jainism. Acarangasutra 9

Analects 7: Vv. 3,16,18,28. Confucius' character is also illuminated by Analects 2.4, p. 712; 7.8, p. 637; 7.20, p. 379; 7.26, p. 303; 9.10, p. 809; and 9.16, p. 744.

One gopi said, "Do you know that when Krishna lies on the ground he rests on his left elbow, and his head rests on his left hand. He moves his attractive eyebrows while playing his flute with his delicate fingers, and the sound he produces creates such a nice atmosphere that the denizens of the heavenly planets, who travel in space with their wives and beloved, stop their airplanes, for they are stunned by the vibration of the flute. The wives of the demigods who are seated in the planes then become very much ashamed of their singing and the quality of their musicianship. Not only that, but they become afflicted with conjugal love, and their hair and tightened dresses immediately loosen."

One of the gopis told mother Yashoda, "My dear mother, your son is very expert among the cowherd boys. He knows all the different arts, how to tend the cows and how to play the flute. He composes his own songs, and to sing them he puts his flute to his mouth. When he plays, either in the morning or in the evening, all the demigods, like Lord Shiva, Brahma, Indra, and Candra, bow their heads and listen with great attention. Although they are very learned and expert, they cannot understand the musical arrangements of Krishna's flute. They simply listen attentively and try to understand, but become bewildered and nothing more."

Hinduism. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.34

Anas said, "I served the Prophet for ten years and he never said to me, 'Shame!' or 'Why did you do such and such?' or 'Why did you not do such and such?'"

He said, "When I was walking with God's Messenger, who was wearing a Najrani cloak with a coarse fringe, a nomadic Arab caught up on him, and gave his cloak a violent tug, pulling God's Prophet back against his chest, and I saw that the side of God's Messenger's shoulder was marked by the fringe of the cloak because of the violence of the man's tug. He said, 'Command that I be given some of God's property which you have, Muhammad,' and God's Messenger turned around to him and laughed, then ordered that he be given something."

He said, "God's Messenger was the best of men, the most generous of men, the bravest of men. One night the people of Medina were startled; when they went in the direction of the sound they were met by the Prophet, who had gone out towards the sound ahead of them, and he was saying, 'You have nothing to fear.' He was on a barebacked horse with no saddle belonging to Abu Talha and had a sword slung on his neck. He said, 'I found it could run like a great river.'"

Abu Hurayra told that when God's Messenger was asked to invoke a curse on the polytheists he replied, "I was not sent as one given to cursing; I was sent only as a mercy."

`A'isha said, "God's Messenger was never given his choice between two things without taking the lesser of them, provided it involved no sin, for if it did, no one kept further away from it than he. And God's Messenger never took revenge on his own behalf for anything unless something God had forbidden had been transgressed, in which even he took revenge for it for God's sake."

Anas said, "I served God's Messenger for ten years from the time I was eight years old and he never blamed me for anything which was destroyed at my hand. If any member of his family blamed me he said, 'Leave him alone, for if anything were decreed it would happen.'"

`A'isha said, "God's Messenger was not unseemly or lewd in his language, nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil, but he would forgive and pardon."

She said, "God's Messenger used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as anyone of you does in his house. He was a human being, searching his garment for lice, milking his sheep, and doing his own chores."

She reported God's Messenger as saying, "If I wished, `A'isha, mountains of gold would go with me. An angel whose waist was as high as the Kaaba came to me and told me that my Lord sent me a greeting and said that if I wished I could be a prophet and a king. I looked at Gabriel and he gave me a sign to humble myself. I then said that I would be a prophet and a servant." After that God's Messenger did not eat reclining, saying he would eat like a slave and sit like a slave.

Islam. Hadith

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.34: Krishna as a youth was beloved of the gopis, the cowherd girls of Vrindavan. They were irresistibly attracted to him and joined in his pastimes, for he is the center radiating divine love. Yet Krishna also manifested his transcendental powers in delighting the gopis; cf. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.5, p. 764.

I have become a legend in the Gloucester [Mass.] area.... When the New Hope put out to sea and dropped anchor, often many other boats would follow and anchor in the vicinity. When we had a tuna strike, other fishermen would bring out their binoculars and watch what I was doing. At first the negative people would want the tuna to break loose and escape, but after a few days of successful catches they began to change their thinking, and the rumor began that I have something good working for me.

I was always the first one out to sea. Some of the seasoned professional fishermen would go out early to outdo me, but no matter how early they got out, the New Hope was already there. The fishermen were not only inspired by this, but when they tried to compete with me they had to work so hard that they had no time for their usual drinking or laziness. By the end of the summer a rumor was going around that declining town that I am the only one who can save Gloucester.

Without exception I got up every day at three a.m. The New Hope went out in the moonlight and in many cases returned home with the stars and moon shining. Do you like to get up early in the morning? The staff members working on the boat were never told what time to get up, but since I arose at three they followed me, no matter how sleepy they were.

This has been my tradition for four years in America. It is not easy to follow me, because no one can outwork me. My crew knows what I would do, and if I tell them to be out by 1:30 on the Atlantic they get up and go out with no grumbling. I have even set the tradition of staying out and working all night.

This summer I did not earn much in terms of money, but in terms of tradition, I earned billions of dollars worth... Even though fishing is hard work, I wanted to give myself without any reservation to set the tradition for the posterity of the Unification Church.

Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 9-11-77

Hadith: These traditions are from a collection of hadith from many sources. Other passages on the character of Muhammad include Qur'an 12.53, p. 383; Hadith of Muslim, p. 443; and Hadith of Muslim, p. 508. On his frequent prayer vigils, see Qur'an 73.1-8, p. 828.


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