Category Archives: Universal Truth
“I am a drop of water in the Ocean of Life. I am an Idea made manifest. I am a circle whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere.
“I emerge from Omnipresence and into It I shall merge. What the Eternal is that I am. I am limitless and perfect. I am everyone and everything and they are Me. I am the One Reality; nothin exists but Me. Light is my mode of express; Darkness my contemplation. Justice is seated at my Right Hand, Mercy at my Left Hand. Lose your self so that I may become your Self and lift you to the Eternal Gardens of Delight where a Banquet is set in your honour forever. Still your sense based life then you will recognize I AM.” ~ Victor Igwegbe
If you talk to some people, they will tell you that bad things wouldn’t happen to you if you were right with God. This makes me want to know: does this mean that nothing bad ever happens to them? That doesn’t make any sense. Bad things are going to happen whether or not you are “right with God.”
People learn from negative things happening in their lives. The whole point of being on Earth is to learn. If you have nothing to learn, why are you still here?
Let’s look at some biblical sources to prove the point that bad things will happen anyway. The main reason I’m using the Bible in this argument is that I have really only heard this from some of the branches of Christianity.
Let’s look at the Book of Job. As the story begins, Job is one of the wealthiest and most prosperous men on the face of the earth. He fears God and lives an upright life during the ancient patriarchal period in the land of Uz (region of northern Arabia). God allows Satan to test Job’s righteousness with various trials. All of Job’s possessions and his children were destroyed. When this happens, Job does not curse God. Instead, he praises the Lord, Job 1:21 (KJV):
And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job endures more calamities at the hand of Satan, ones that don’t end his life but are still difficult to deal with. His three friends come to console him. He does eventually curse the day that he was born, though. God finally interrupts, calling from a whirlwind and demanding Job to be brave and respond to his questions. God’s questions are rhetorical, intending to show how little Job knows about creation and how much power God alone has. God describes many detailed aspects of his creation, praising especially his creation of two large beasts, the Behemoth and Leviathan. Overwhelmed by the encounter, Job acknowledges God’s unlimited power and admits the limitations of his human knowledge. After all of this, God restores Job’s health, possessions, gives him new children and a very long life.
This is one of the biggest examples in the Old Testament/Tanakh about how even the righteous suffer. What lessons can we take from this story? Here are a few:
- It’s beyond the human ability to understand all of the reasons behind all of the suffering in the world, even though we really do want to know.
- The wicked will receive their just dues.
- Suffering may sometimes be allowed in our lives to purify, to test, to teach, or to strengthen the soul by showing us that when we have lost everything and only God remains, that God remaining is enough.
One more example that we can take is from the New Testament. Jesus did suffer and, as Christians, we tend to accept that this was necessary. There are countless accounts of his suffering, including his crucifixion. All of it had to happen for us and himself. It did everything in the third lesson, above.
We know that suffering exists. In fact, negative things will happen to us regardless of how righteous we are. There are examples throughout the Bible. The reason suffering exists is usually to teach us something or to get us to a new point in our lives. It helps us fulfill our life’s purpose on this earth. Bad things will happen, but so will good things. Have a blessed day everybody!
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
~ Siddhãrtha Gautama (Buddha)
In Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is the way to the end of suffering. “It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things.” (Knierim). These are not to be seen as steps, but as individual principles that have relationships with each other. What are these principles? They are: right understanding, right thinking, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. They are broken into three separate groups: Wisdom (Panna) for the first two; Ethical Conduct (Sila) for the next three; and Mental Development (Samadhi) for the last three.
- Right Understanding (samma ditthi): This means to see things as they really are. It also means to recognize and understand the Four Noble Truths (Robinson). One must understand: impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas; and the law of karma. “Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.” (Knierim).
- Right Thinking/Intention (samma sankappa): This refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It can be described as “following the right path in life” (Robinson). It can be described as a commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. “Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: (1) the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, (2) the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and (3) the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.” (Knierim).
- Right Speech (samma vaca): Do not lie. Do not criticize. Do not condemn. Do not gossip. Do not use harsh language. To put it in a more positive text: “this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.” (Knierim).
- Right Conduct (samma kammanta): This involves the body as a natural means of expression, as it refers to the deeds that involve bodily actions. “Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind.” (Knierim). This also says that we must follow the Five Precepts (Robinson).
- Right Livelihood (samma ajiva): One should make their living in a legal and peaceful way. One should not harm others to gain their wealth.
- Right Effort (samma vayama): Promote good thoughts and conquer evil thoughts. “Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence.” (Knierim).
- Right Mindfulness (samma sati): “Become aware of your body, mind and feelings.” (Robinson). Right mindfulness is rooted in clear perception and it penetrates impressions without getting carried away.
- Right Concentration (samma samadhi): One must meditate to achieve a higher consciousness, which develops right concentration.
As you can see, the Noble Eightfold Path has so much Truth in it. These are great principles to apply to your life. Hopefully it will help lead us away from the path of suffering, into the path that leads to Nirvana.
- Knierim, Thomas, ed. “The Eightfold Path.” The Eightfold Path. Thebigview.com, 01 Oct. 1999. Web. 27 July 2012. http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/eightfoldpath.html.
- Robinson, B.A. “Buddhism’s Core Beliefs.” Buddhism’s Core Beliefs. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 16 Aug. 2009. Web. 27 July 2012. http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism1.htm.
“‘I’m not . . . I’m not the one for you,’ I said weakly.
‘Because you’re with another guy?’
‘No, Adrian. Because . . . I don’t. I don’t know. I don’t . . .’ I was fumbling, badly. I didn’t know how to explain what I felt, how you could care about someone and love hanging out with them — but will not work as a couple. ‘I don’t balance you like you need.’
‘What the hell does that mean?’ he exclaimed.
My heart ached for him, and I was so sorry for what I’d done . . . but this was the truth of it all. ‘The fact that you have to ask says it all. When you find that person . . . you’ll know.'”
~ Richelle Mead, Last Sacrifice (pg. 577-578)