World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts

Editor, Andrew Wilson



A person who has faith and confidence in God's provision need not worry about worldly cares. For one who has deep insight into Reality, concerns about possessions and acquisitions seem ephemeral and meaningless. Hence the scriptures counsel the traveler in the spirit to avoid meaningless attachments to possessions, position, or fame. The faithless person, being attached to these things, becomes anxious when they are lacking, and he is constantly driven to grasp after them. But in the life of faith there is a simplicity and detachment that produces neither anxiety nor care. To live like the birds of the air or the animals of the forest, for whom God provides the necessities of life; to trust in God and the spiritual principle that God will protect and provide for those who put Heaven first; to be selfless, and hence unconcerned about such mundane matters as life or death: this is the attitude of the wise man.

Any who believes in his Lord has no fear, either of loss or of any injustice.

Islam. Qur'an 72.13

All are afraid of death; nowhere is there fearlessness. But the virtuous saints never fear death and the state after death.

Hinduism. Matsya Purana 212.25

My Lord, boundless as The sun and moon Lighting heaven and earth; How then can I have concerns About what is to be?

Shinto. Man'yoshu XX

Qur'an 72.13: Cf. Qur'an 2.112, p. 770.

One who has mastered Dhamma, one much learned, Has no such thought as, Ah! 'tis well with me! Look you! how tortured is he that has possessions! One to another human folk are bound.

Buddhism. Udana 13

Day in, day out, I am with Amida; Let the sun set whenever it pleases. How grateful indeed I am! Namu-Amida-Butsu!

Buddhism. Myokonin

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives his beloved sleep.

Judaism and Christianity. Psalm 127.1-2

Do not strain your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to parties of them, the splendor of the life of the world, through which We test them: but the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.... We do not ask you to provide sustenance; We provide it for you. The fruit of the hereafter is for righteousness.

Islam. Qur'an 20.131-32

Those who surrender to God all selfish attachments are like the leaf of a lotus floating clean and dry in water. Sin cannot touch them. Renouncing their selfish attachments, those who follow the path of service work with body, senses, and mind for the sake of self-purification. Those whose consciousness is unified abandon all attachment to the results of action and attain supreme peace.

Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 5.10-12

How many animals do not carry their own provision! God provides for them and for you. He is Alert, Aware.

Islam. Qur'an 29.60

Udana 13: Cf. Suhi, M.5 804; Myokonin: The Myokonin is a collection of poems by Japanese Pure Land saints. Pure Land Buddhists keep the mind fixed on Ultimate Reality by constantly chanting Namu-Amida-Butsu, All Hail to Amitabha Buddha; see Meditation on Buddha Amitayus 3.30, p. 833. Qur'an 20.131-32: An important element in the attitude of trust in God's provision is to avoid comparing oneself with others. Bhagavad Gita 5.10-12: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 2.47-50, p. 941; Srimad Bhagavatam 9, p. 992.

In the Changes it is said, "If a man is agitated in mind, and his thoughts go hither and thither, only those friends on whom he fixes his conscious thoughts will follow" [Hexagram 31: Influence].

The Master said, "What need has nature of thought and care? In nature all things return to their common source and are distributed along different paths; through one action, the fruits of a hundred thoughts are realized. What need has nature of thought, of care?"

Confucianism. I Ching, Great Commentary 2.5.1

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food and clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we wear?" For the gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

Christianity. Matthew 6.25-33

Whoever has bread in his basket and says, "What am I going to eat tomorrow?" only belongs to those who are little in faith.

Judaism. Talmud, Sota 48b

"My clothes are torn, I shall soon go naked," or "I shall get a new suit": such thoughts should not be entertained by a monk. At one time he will have no clothes, at another time he will have some. Knowing this to be a salutary rule, a wise monk should not complain about it.

Jainism. Uttaradhyayana Sutra 2.12-13

Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will exult in the God of my salvation.

Judaism and Christianity. Habakkuk 3.17-18

Matthew 6.25-33: Cf. Srimad Bhagavatam 9, p. 992. Habakkuk 3.17-18: Cf. Sri Raga, M.1, p. 876.

The Exalted One said to Bhaddiya, "Bhaddiya, what motive have you, who are wont to resort to forest-dwelling, to the roots of trees, to lonely spots, in exclaiming, 'Ah! 'tis bliss! Ah! 'tis bliss!'?"

"Formerly, sir, when I enjoyed the bliss of royalty as a householder, within my palace guards were set and outside my palace guards were set. So also in the district and outside. Thus, sir, though guarded and protected, I dwelt fearful, anxious, trembling, and afraid. But now, sir, as I resort to forest-dwelling, to the roots of trees, to lonely spots, though alone, I am fearless, assured, confident, and unafraid. I live at ease, unstartled, lightsome, with heart like that of some wild creature. This, sir, was the motive I have for exclaiming, 'Ah! 'tis bliss! Ah! 'tis bliss!'"

Buddhism. Udana 19-20

The restless mind is not fixed at one spot; Like a deer it nibbles at tender shoots. Should man lodge in mind the divine lotus feet, His life span is lengthened, his mind awakened, immortal he becomes. All beings are in the grip of anxiety; But by contemplation of God comes joy.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Ramkali Dakhni Onkar, M.1, p. 932

The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all [i.e., nothing producing karma]. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action.

Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21

The man who has had his feet cut off in punishment discards his fancy clothes--because praise and blame no longer touch him. The chained convict climbs the highest peak without fear--because he has abandoned all thought of life and death. These two are submissive and unashamed because they have forgotten other men, and by forgetting other men they have become men of Heaven. You may treat such men with respect and they will not be pleased; you may treat them with contumely and they will not be angry. Only because they are one with the Heavenly Harmony can they be like this.

Taoism. Chuang Tzu 23

Ramkali Dakhni Onkar, M.1: Cf. Sri Raga, M.1, p. 876; Atharva Veda 10.8.43-44, p. 582. Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 2.47-50. p. 941; Tao Te Ching 2, p. 941; Sutta Nipata 1072-76, p. 532. Chuang Tzu 23: It is a well-known phenomenon that people who have faced death, imprisonment, or absolute disgrace can rise above ordinary notions of good and evil and become people of profound wisdom. Cf. Chuang Tzu 6, p. 234; 31, p. 961.


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