Buddha said, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule”. Love is the energy behind what we call forgiveness, and is one of the most important keys to ridding ourselves of hatred and anger. The Qur’an has the verse “The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with Allah… (Qur’an, 42:40)”. Forgiveness is found in almost every great religious text. In the new testament of the Christian bible “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13, NIV)“
It seems that forgiveness is something important in religion, but it is also important to philosophers, poets, and great thinkers throughout history. The following are just some of what has been said/written about the subject of forgiveness.
Confucius ~“Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass.”
Voltaire ~“We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies – it is the first law of nature.”
Paramhansa Yogananda ~ “Today I forgive all those who have ever offended me. I give my love to all thirsty hearts, both to those who love me and to those who do not love me.”
Epictetus ~“When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.”
Friedrich Nietzsche ~ “And if your friend does evil to you, say to him, ”I forgive you for what you did to me, but how can I forgive you for what you did to yourself?”
Horace ~ “It is right for him who asks forgiveness for his offenses to grant it to others.”
So forgiveness is something important, it is the key to freeing yourself and others from past mistakes and all the pain and suffering those mistakes have caused. It is just as important to the forgiven as it is to the forgiver. Forgiveness may not always be easy, but in the end, it is well worth the effort. Holding on to a grudge, all the pain and suffering attached to it does no good for either side in the long run.
Living in a world that is full of fear, politics, and hate, Living and wishing that we all would choose a better fate, Wanting to see a change towards compassion before it is too late. They hate someone who is of another color and race, and they despise those who don’t belong to their political base. They create reasons to hate each other at an exponential pace. Love tries to break through all the hate and light the way, respect is what we need in all we do and say, Hope keeps us moving forward toward a better day.
Question why you hate and ask why you fear, Question all that you see and verify all that you hear, Question everything and think for yourself if you hold life and this world dear. Be true to yourself and be fair to all, don’t let fear or anger lead you to fall, and be ready to share compassion and answer love’s call. No one is above and no one is below, we are the same in the cosmic flow, and we all have a part to play in this cosmic show.
Our color or race matters not, our sex or preference matters not, we are all human and this is the only life we got. Right or Left matters none, we as a species are one, how we live and treat each other is what matters when it’s all said and done. Fear just divides and keeps one distracted and lost, hate destroys those who embrace it and has a heavy cost.
Acceptence, tolerance, and compassion are the keys to being forward-moving, Love is the fuel for our hearts to keep on grooving. Respect is the foundation we must build on, Life is what we must cherish before it is gone. We all are human and need to see that is true, working as one and doing for others is what we all need to do. If you choose to love or you choose to hate and fear it is all up to you.
“Bodhisattva” is a key idea in Buddhism. The word is constructed from the Sanskrit root bodhi, meaning “awakening” or “enlightenment,” and sattva, meaning “being.” The core meaning of the word is “a being who is on the way to becoming enlightened.”
In Theravāda Buddhism, which is most prevalent in Southeast Asia, the term is exclusively used to refer to Siddhartha Gautama, as the Buddha was known before he became enlightened. In this school of thought, the word bodhisattva can also refer to Gautama in one of his previous rebirths as he worked toward enlightenment through numerous lifetimes as animals, people or other types of beings.
According to legend, Gautama was born as the crown prince of a kingdom in far northeastern India, but he gave up his throne and all of his riches in order to pursue enlightenment. Eventually, he fulfilled his destiny and transitioned from a being who is on the way to becoming awakened to a fully enlightened person – in other words, a Buddha.
In Mahāyāna Buddhism, practiced widely in East and Central Asia, the term bodhisattva can be used in a similar way. However, this form of Buddhism says that there are many more than just one Buddha; indeed, the ultimate goal of all true believers of Mahāyāna is to become a Buddha themselves. Most serious followers of this path take the bodhisattva vow to become recognized as bodhisattvas.
Additionally, in Mahāyāna belief, there are certain highly evolved bodhisattvas who have been practicing Buddhism for so many lifetimes that they have become superhuman divine beings. These so-called “celestial bodhisattvas” are said to have accrued immense merits and powers. However, they have intentionally chosen to delay becoming Buddhas in order to dedicate themselves to compassionately helping others.
Why do bodhisattvas matter?
Some of the most famous advanced bodhisattvas, such as Avalokiteśvara, Kṣitigarbha, Mañjuśrī, Samantabhadra and Vajrapāṇi, are regularly prayed to and given offerings. Texts and mantras associated with most of them are regularly chanted in temples around the world. Devotees hope that the bodhisattvas, in their infinite compassion, will hear these calls and respond by sending blessings of health, good fortune and happiness.
Buddhists believe that celestial bodhisattvas reside in heavenly realms called Pure Lands located in faraway dimensions of the cosmos. The bodhisattva Maitreya, for example, is said to currently live in the Tuṣita Heaven, where he is awaiting rebirth as the next Buddha of our world.
Because they can manifest in different bodies simultaneously, bodhisattvas can also appear on Earth disguised as humans, animals, or other types of beings. For example, Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is a manifestation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, called Chenrezig in Tibetan, who regularly comes to earth to spread his message of compassion among humanity.
Yet our findings about students’ attitudes underscore important lessons about fostering tolerance and appreciation on campus for any group. Views of evangelicals are particularly interesting, since they highlight the complexities of social privilege: how individuals can feel discriminated against, even when their community as a whole is influential.
The Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey, or IDEALS, surveyed 9,470 college students from 122 institutions across the country at three times: the beginning of their first year, the end of their first year, and the end of their senior year, which wrapped up in spring 2019. As part of this project, conducted by a team of researchers from Ohio State University, North Carolina University and the nonprofit Interfaith America, we asked students about their attitudes toward religious, spiritual and secular groups, including but not limited to atheists, Jews, Muslims and evangelicals.
We asked students to indicate their responses to four statements on a scale of 1, or “disagree strongly,” to 5, or “agree strongly”:
1) In general, people in this group make positive contributions to society.
2) In general, individuals in this group are ethical people.
3) I have things in common with people in this group.
4) In general, I have a positive attitude toward people in this group.
Our analysis controlled for other variables – such as the institution’s type, selectivity and size, and students’ race, gender, sexual orientation, major and political affiliation – to home in on the specific ways the campus learning environment was related to students’ views about different religious groups.
Compared with their attitudes toward other religious groups on campus, students’ appreciation for evangelicals grew at a slower pace, but still grew. On average, students’ responses showed an increase of over 40% in appreciation toward evangelicals by the end of their first year. By the time students graduated, they demonstrated another 30% increase between the end of their first year and fourth year of college.
After seeing that students’ views of evangelicals improved, on average, we wanted to better understand why.
First, we looked at the experiences students said were related to their gains, such as whether they took a religious studies course. Then, we conducted 18 case studies at institutions of various sizes and affiliations to learn about campus culture and hear from hundreds of students in focus groups. In these groups, we showed students data on the gains reported by their peers on campus and asked them why they thought these gains were made.
We found that appreciation increased for students on campuses they consider committed to inclusion for people of faiths, and people of no faith – regardless of whether the institutions were public or private, large or small, selective or not.
Some students talked about the impact of simply living and studying alongside people from different backgrounds. Many named the influence of interfaith and multifaith centers, spaces dedicated to bringing people from different religions together.
For example, a student at a Protestant-affiliated institution who identified as agnostic noted that she had “experienc[ed] a lot of toxic Christianity” growing up. She credited her interactions with a “progressive Christian” chaplain at her campus’s interfaith center with helping her understand that Christian beliefs and identities are diverse, and not limited to the type of faith she was introduced to as a child.
Survey data also suggested that, on average, students whose views of evangelicals improved reported having at least two curricular experiences related to religion. This included many type of activities: for example, enrolling in a course specifically designed to enhance knowledge of different religious traditions; reflecting on one’s own religion in relationship to other perspectives as part of a class; and discussing other students’ religious or nonreligious backgrounds in class.
How students related to one another was another important theme that often came up in discussions about views of evangelicals.
Many non-Christian students who themselves feel marginalized because of their identities wrestle with how to make their evangelical peers aware of their relative privilege, and of how their beliefs and actions might affect other students.
For example, one student who identifies as atheist at a small, secular college recalled a Christmas tree put on their door by another student. “The person has literally no idea that that could possibly be upsetting,” they said, but added it was “a very sweet thing to do.” In other words, they believed that the other student was likely ignorant of why the Christmas tree could bother other students, but acting out of good intentions, tempering their anger about the unwelcome decoration.
Many students discussed developing empathy and humility. A Catholic student attending a Catholic college summarized, “Myself being a more liberal Christian, I’m not as accepting of the close-minded evangelical Christian … but that’s kind of being close-minded myself. … So I have to examine myself and be like, ‘I’m okay with them being them, even if I don’t agree with them.’ They’re saying, ‘All of these people are saying let’s accept everybody, but you’re not accepting me.’ And I said, ‘That’s absolutely right.’ … Even in political realms, too, I don’t agree with you, but I need to be okay with you.”
Finally, student gains in appreciation also seemed to stem from recognition that evangelicals are diverse, not one homogeneous group – as with the student who appreciated her conversations with the Christian chaplain at her campus’s interfaith center.
As a research team, we found this project’s findings left us considering ways to address deep divisions in the U.S. today. Some principles apply to fostering respect in many other situations beyond religion, and beyond college, from our offices at work to the halls of Congress: intentionally but empathetically engaging with one another’s differences.
Scientists regularly study the ongoing degradation of Earth’s environment and track the changes wrought by a warming planet. Economists warn that intensifying disasters are harming people’s quality of life. And policymakers focus on crafting rules to diminish the health and environmental effects of humanity’s growing footprint.
What is the role of philosophers and people of faith in this bigger discussion around the environment and sustainability? Rita D. Sherma is co-chair of a research initiative aimed at bringing the beliefs of religion, spirituality, and ethics to the study of sustainability. Here she explains the core ideas behind “green spirituality,” how religion and environmental protection are closely intertwined and the role faith can play in restoring hope amid the drumbeat of discouraging environmental news.
What is green spirituality?
Green spirituality is an orientation to the divine, or supreme reality, that is grounded in our experience of life on planet Earth. It respects the miracle of life on this planet and recognizes our relationship with it. Such a spirituality can have God or the divine as the focus, or it can be oriented toward the Earth and its ecosystems for those outside of organized religion. It encourages a contemplative and harmonious relationship with the Earth.
Second, as I have written in my new book on religion and sustainability, better technology will help human communities restore ecosystems. More and better data, such as computations to forecast disasters, will also be helpful. But both are inadequate in the face of human denial and recalcitrance.
In my book, I write: “Planetary survival is now predicated upon the alignment of our notions of both human and ecological rights with our highest principles. As such, ways of knowing that are embedded in religion, philosophy, spiritual ethics, moral traditions, and a culture that values the community and the commons – as an essential resource for the transformation necessary for environmental regeneration and renewal – are indispensable.” In other words, people on Earth need to tap into the ways of thinking from these faith traditions to address the environmental crises we face now.
Can faith and religion help counter rising eco-anxiety?
Catastrophic wildfires across the planet, extreme weather patterns that destroy homes and histories, degraded soil, toxic air, unsafe water, and the desecrated beauty of places we have loved are causing climate trauma and eco-anxiety. For those who are acutely aware of the cliff edge on which we stand as a species and as a planetary community, the despair evoked by the magnitude of the disaster is almost unbearable.
Religions, faiths, and spiritual practices can help in unique ways. In this space, people can find community, peaceful practices of meditation, prayer, embodied sacred actions that include rituals and liturgies, and a ‘long view’ informed by the tragedies and triumphs faced by spiritual ancestors. Faith can provide hope and resilience in the midst of crises.
How do different faith traditions treat respect for nature?
Religions may disagree on many things, but each contains philosophical or theological orientations that can be interpreted and applied in ways that protect the Earth.
Some traditions such as Hindu, Yogic, Indigenous and others see the self as a microcosm of macrocosm, or a part of the greater whole. And, a profound sacred immanence, or integral divine presence, is woven through their philosophies. For these spiritual traditions, religious practice integrates trees, flowers, sacred groves, sanctified terrains, rivers, mountains and elements of the entire ecosphere into liturgical and personal practice.
Christian ecotheology focuses on stewardship and the ethics of Earth justice. A well-known Muslim ecotheologian speaks of the Earth as a mosque in reference to a saying (hadith) of the prophet – which renders the entire Earth as sacrosanct. Jewish ecological thinkers have envisaged the idea of “Shomrei Adamah” (Keepers of the Earth), which connects humanity and the Earth through divine love.
How are organized religions putting environmental protection into practice?
Many initiatives and conversations are happening among religions, and among interreligious leadership and international bodies – most importantly, the United Nations initiatives.
Some important conversations include the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, which brings the dedication, impact, and moral authority of different faiths to restore the world’s rainforests and help empower the Indigenous peoples who view themselves as their protectors. Greenfaith is a global, multireligious climate and environmental movement. I also serve on the advisory board of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, a pioneering international interreligious project at Yale University started by scholars Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim that ignited the academic field of religion and ecology as a global engaged force for the greening of religion.
How are environmental advocacy groups drawing in religion?
In 1985, the World Wildlife Fund established the U.K.-based Alliance of Religion and Conservation for developing partnerships with religious groups for collaborating on environmental protection. WWF’s Sacred Earth: Faiths for Conservation program collaborates with faith groups and religious communities who are committed to the view that the Earth is a sacred charge that demands the commitment of our care.
In fall 2020, the Parliament of the World’s Religions and the U.N. Environment Programme jointly published a book titled “Faith for Earth – A Call for Action,” which provides an overview of the diversity of religious principles and practices that support action for the protection of the Earth.
I ask myself each morning, Who am I and what am I here for? Each morning the answer either eludes me or the answer I come up with is so vague and transient that it really isn’t a true answer. The best I can figure out is that I am here to live, to learn, to love and share that which I have been blessed to have. So now I do not ask myself those questions anymore, I ask instead how am I going to contribute to this world today? am I going to make a positive effort or will I be a non productive part of this world today? The choice is mine, how I react and how I contribute to the world around me is my choice and can not be made by anyone but me.
How are you going to contribute to our world we live in and are you going to be a positive, neutral or negative force within the day of life?
Another year has past and one more year closer to growing old Another year gone and with it the world grows even more cold
Cold the world might be but that does not phase the love i feel The world grows more selfish and that is something that is real.
The light is growing dimmer each day as life slowly slips away from us all. The source of love still remains strong and we should answer its call.
God is the light that will never burn out and we are mere reflections of his undying love. His son came to teach us compassion and forgiveness with the gentleness of a dove.
Unfortunately mankind grows arrogant and their hearts are full of a very selfish pride. Greed and corruption rules over most and from the aftermath there may be nowhere to hide.
With age comes wisdom, experience and hind sight is always 20/20 as we all know. The piece of wisdom I try to share is to always let your love and compassion show.
Mistakes we may all make in the life we are granted and to learn from them is the key. Anger is quick to destroy the love and compassion that resides in both you and me.
If you take anything from all the things i write I hope it is to love one another both freely and unconditionally. For life is too short to hold grudges, place/carry blame for mistakes intentionally done or unintentionally.
Live life to the fullest and don’t allow fear to rule your world for it will only stop you from truly living life. Don’t hang on to regrets or anger for all that will do is fill your world with unneeded and undeserved strife.
I used to wonder why that sometimes it seemed GOD sometimes wouldn’t answer my prayers. I figured out he was answering them it was that some prayers he answered no to and others he answered in ways I didn’t understand at the time. Then there were many prayers that were unanswered due to my lack of faith in him. God loves all of us regardless if we believe in him or not, Just like a father he loves his children both the good and bad. He helps all of us both by answering our prayers and by brining us experiences in our life to enrich us or teach us.
A friend of mine once stated like many others had done, If god exists and loves us then why would he allow famine, war and disease on earth. It is man who brings war and allows famine to be in this world. Mankind’s will is what spawns the majority of our sufferings. The problem is Man chooses his own will over that of God’s which pretty much says Man thinks he is the master instead of God. There are many who put God’s will before their own, yet its a very small amount of people compared to who that don’t. We are yet his children and even though we ignore his advice and will, He will still help us in times of need. But due to ignoring his advice and will we will have much more problems to face in our life.
If a father tells his son, Son do not drink alcohol it will eventually consume you and your life and the son ignores the warning usually that son will have a very high chance of alcoholism and possibly the related health issues related to drinking. If the son heeds the fathers advice he avoids all the pitfalls of drinking. This is similar to what god has done, he has warned us in the bible of the pitfalls of both sin and putting our own will above his and most of us chose to ignore it. Though we will have to face many of the negative aspects of our choice to not follow God’s will he still loves us.
Have faith in him and pray for his will to be done on earth as in heaven, Repent and ask for strength to resist the temptations of life.
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