Sacred Readings Archive
April 16, 2000
A Spiritual Life (KHB-001)
Cherag - Karim Henry Beetz
Readings and Sermon Notes: Cherag
- Karim Henry Beetz
Gita Chapter 12 The Way Of Love
Arjuna: Of those steadfast
devotees who love you and those who seek you as the eternal formless Reality,
who are the more established in yoga?
Sri Krishna: Those who
set their hearts on me and worship me with
unfailing devotion and faith are
more established in yoga.
As for those who seek the
transcendental Reality, without name, without
form, contemplating the Unmanifested,
beyond the reach of thought and of
feeling, with their senses subdued
and mind serene and striving for the good
of all beings, they too will verily
come unto me.
Still your mind in me, still
your intellect in me, and without doubt you
will be united with me forever.
If you cannot still your mind in me, learn
to do so through the regular practice
of meditation. If you lack the will
for such self-discipline, engage
yourself in my work, for selfless service
can lead you at last to complete
fulfillment. If you are unable to do even
this, surrender yourself to me,
disciplining yourself and renouncing the
results of all your actions.
That devotee who looks on
friend and foe with equal regard, who is not
buoyed up by praise nor cast down
by blame, alike in heat and cold, pleasure
and pain, free from selfish attachments,
the same in honor and dishonor,
quiet, ever full, in harmony everywhere,
firm in faith - such a one is dear
......, and my love for them
is very great.
The Sermon at Benares
Thus have I heard: at one time
the Lord dwelt at Benares in the deer park
and there addressed the five monks
"These two extremes, monks,
are not to be practiced by one who has gone
forth from the world. What
are the two? That conjoined with the passions
and luxury, vulgar and useless;
and that conjoined with self-torture,
painful and useless. Avoiding
these two extremes the Tathagata has gained
the enlightenment of the Middle
Path, which produces insight and knowledge,
and tends to calm, to higher knowledge,
And what, monks, is the Middle
Path which produces these effects? It is
the noble Eightfold Way: namely,
right view, right intention, right speech,
right action, right livelihood,
right effort, right mindfulness, right
concentration. This, monks,
is the Middle Path of which the Tathagata has
1. "Now this, monks, is the noble
truth of pain: birth is painful, old age
is painful, sickness is painful,
death is painful, sorrow, dejection, and
despair are painful. In short,
the five groups of grasping are painful.
2. "Now this, monks, is the noble
truth of the cause of pain: the craving,
which tends to rebirth, combined
with pleasure and lust; namely the craving
for passion, the craving for existence,
the craving for non-existence.
3. "Now this, monks, is the noble
truth of the cessation of pain, the
cessation without a remainder of
craving, the forsaking, release,
4. "Now this, monks, is the noble
truth of the way that leads to the
cessation of pain: this is the noble
Eightfold Way; namely, right views,
right intention, right speech, right
action, right livelihood, right effort,
right mindfulness, right concentration."
Thus spoke the Lord, and the five
monks expressed delight and approval at
the Lord's utterance.
From Yasna 35
This we would choose for ourselves,
Ahura Mazda, that through beautiful
Asha we should think and say and
do such acts as may be the best for both
worlds. For rewards for the
best acts we urge the taught and the untaught,
the ruling and the not ruling, to
give peace and pasturage to the cow.
Truly we now devote and assign the
power which is over us to Him who best
exercises power, namely to Mazda
Ahura and to Asha Vahishta.
Whatever now a man or woman knows
as real, then, if it is good, let him
achieve it for himself and teach
it to others who may achieve it. Sacrifice
and veneration for You, Ahura Mazda,
we hold best and pasture for the cow.
That now we would achieve for You,
and would teach as well as we are able.
Then, is the society of Asha, in
the company of Asha, give to all who exist
the best nourishment for both worlds.
These spoken words, Ahura
Mazda, we would now proclaim with best thought
for Asha. Thee now we establish
for ourselves as their revealer and
teacher. And for the sake
of Asha and Vohu Manah, O Ahura, praises now upon praises, words now upon
words, sacrifices now upon sacrifices!
From the teachings of Lao Tzu
*Hua Hu Ching - Brian Walker
** The Way of Life
(Tao te Ching) - Witter Bynner
I teach the Integral Way of uniting
with the great and
My teachings are simple; if you
try to make a religion or science of them,
they will elude you.
Profound yet plain, they contain
the entire truth of the universe.
Those who wish to know the whole
truth take joy in doing
the work and service that comes
Having completed it, they take joy
in cleansing and
Having cared for others and for
themselves, they then turn to
the master for instruction.
This simple path leads to peace,
virtue, and abundance.*
Can you hold the door of your tent
wide to the firmament?
Can you, with the simple stature
of a child, breathing nature,
Become, notwithstanding, a
Can you continue befriending with
no prejudice, no ban?
Can you, mating with heaven, serve
as the female part?
Can your learned head take leaven
>From the wisdom of your heart?
If you can bear issue and nourish
If you can guide without claim or
If you can stay in the lead of men
Without their knowing,
You are at the core of life. **
With all this talking, what has been
The subtle truth can be pointed
at with words,
but it can't be contained by them.
Take time to listen to what is said
to obey the law too subtle to be
written, to worship
the unnamable and to embrace the
Love your life.
Trust the Tao.
Make love with the invisible subtle
origin of the universe,
and you will give yourself everything
The breath of the Tao speaks, and
those who are in
harmony with it hear quite clearly.*
From the Last Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha' (Baha'u'
[quoted in Baha'u'llah
and the New Era by J.E. Esslemont]
"O ye beloved of the Lord!
In this sacred Dispensation, conflict and
contention are in no wise permitted.
Every aggressor deprives himself of
God's grace. It is incumbent
to show the utmost love, rectitude
of conduct, straight forwardness and
sincere kindliness unto all the
peoples and kindreds of the world, be they
friends or strangers. So intense
must be the spirit of love and loving
kindness, that the stranger may
find himself a friend, the enemy a true
brother, no difference whatsoever
existing between them. For universality
is of God and all limitation earthly..."
"Wherefore, O my loving friends!
Consort with all the peoples, kindreds,
and religions of the world with
the utmost truthfulness , uprightness,
faithfulness, kindliness, good-will
and friendliness, that all the world of
being may be filled with the holy
ecstasy of the grace of Baha', that
ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor
may vanish from the world and the
darkness of estrangement amidst
the peoples and kindreds of the world may
give way to the Light of Unity."
Proverbs Chapter 16 1-9 & 16-20 Tanakh
Jewish Pub Soc'y
A man may arrange his thoughts,
But what he says depends on
All the ways of a man seem
right to him,
But the Lord probes motives.
Entrust your affairs to the
And your plans will succeed.
The Lord made everything for
Even the wicked for an evil
Every haughty person is an
abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not go
Iniquity is expiated by loyalty
And evil is avoided through
fear of the Lord.
When the Lord is pleased with
a man's conduct,
He may even turn his enemies
Better a little with righteousness
Than a large income with injustice
A man may plot out his course,
But it is the Lord who directs
How much better to acquire
wisdom than gold;
To acquire understanding is
preferable to silver.
The highway of the upright
He who would preserve his
life watches his way.
Pride goes before ruin,
Arrogance, before failure.
Better to be humble and among
Than to share spoils with
He who is adept in a matter
will achieve success
Happy is he who trusts in
The Beatitudes Matthew 5 1-12 Translation from the
Douglas-Klotz: Prayers of the Cosmos
-Tuned to the Source are those
who live by breathing Unity;
their "I can" is included
-Blessed are those in emotional
turmoil; they shall be united
inside by love.
-Healthy are those who have softened
what is rigid within;
they shall receive physical
vigor and strength from the universe.
-Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst for physical justice;
they shall be surrounded by
what is needed to sustain their bodies.
-Blessed are those who, from their
inner wombs, birth mercy;
they shall feel it's warm
arms embrace them.
-Aligned with the One are those whose
lives radiate from a
core of love; they shall see
-Blessed are those who plant peace
each season; they shall be
named the children of God.
-Blessings to those who are dislocated
for the cause of justice;
their new home is the province
of the universe.
-Renewal when you are reproached
and driven away by the
clamor of evil on all
sides, for my sake...
-Then, do everything extreme, including
letting your ego disappear,
for this is the secret of
claiming your expanded home in the universe.
Islam The Five
Pillars of Islam
Every action done with the awareness
that it fulfills the will of God is
considered an act of worship in
Islam. But, it is the specific acts of
worship termed the Pillars of Islam
which provide the framework of Muslim
· Testimony of Faith (Kalima)
"I bear witness that there is no
deity but Allah, and that Muhammad is His
servant and messenger".
Qur'an Sura 112
"Say: He is God,
The One and Only,
God, the Eternal, Absolute;
He begetteth not,
Nor is He begotten;
And there is none
Like unto Him".
Prayers are prescribed five
times a day as a duty towards God.
11 - 114
And establish regular prayers
In the two parts of the day
And at the approaches of the
Fasting during the month of Ramadan
- abstentions from
dawn to sunset.
Qur'an Sura 2 -
183 - 185 (abridged)
O you who believe! Fasting
is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for
those before you, that you May learn
self-restraint. Fast for a fixed
number of days.. Ramadan is
the month in which was sent down the Qur'an as a guide to mankind.So every
one of you who is present during that month should spend it in fasting.
· Almsgiving (Zakat)
Muslims whose financial condition
is above a specified minimum is to pay an
annual, proportionate contribution
to the needy, travelers, new converts, or
the debt ridden.
Those who believe,
And do deeds of righteousness,
And establish regular prayers
And pay the poor rate,
Will have their reward
With their Lord:
· Pilgrimage (Hajj)
A pilgrimage to the Ka'bah in Makkah,
once in a lifetime is required of
every Muslim who is physically and
Qur'an Sura 3
The first house of worship appointed
for men was that at Bakka (Mecca), full
of blessing and of guidance for
all the worlds. Pilgrimage thereto is a
duty men owe to Allah, for those
who can afford the journey.
So, what then describes a "spiritual life" (or lives)?
One excellent description is from
Lama Surya Das (quoted in the spring 2000
Sounds True flyer):
"The spiritual life is living for
something greater than just oneself.
Anyone can and must fill in for
themselves what that "something" is. Some
live for higher consciousness, or
for wisdom and enlightenment. Some
spiritual practitioners live for
others through love and compassion; some
live for God. Others serve
God by serving humanity - seva in Sanskrit."
I'd like to comment on three paths
that the lama has mentioned, each of
which bears risks to the true intent
as well as satisfaction of it:
· The renounciate may choose
the search for enlightenment, to awaken in the
One Consciousness; Sat Chit Ananda.
He may seek this goal on behalf of all
sentient beings, a gift to the world.
But he may also "miss the mark" as
Kabir describes (Robert Bly The
Kabir Book #37):
The spiritual athlete often changes
and his mind remains gray and loveless.
He sits inside a shrine room all
day, so that the
Guest has to outdoors and praise
Or he drills holes in his ears, his
beard grows enormous and matted,. and he
looks like a goat.
He goes out into the wilderness,
strangles his impulses,
and makes himself into a eunuch.
He shaves his skull and puts his
robe in an orange vat;
he reads the Gita, and becomes a
Says Kabir, you are in a hearse going
to the land of death,
bound hand and foot.
· The one who serves humankind
may give a great gift if he acts as a conduit
for the Divine, claiming no fruit
from his action. From Tagore: I slept
and dreamt that life was joy,
I woke and saw that life was service,
I acted, and lo, service was joy.
His risk is the sin of pride, the
inflated self image. "I am so loving, I
will save your world".
Fr. Richard Rohr "I became a priest for all the
wrong reasons". Ghandi
"A charitable act performed in this life in the
hope of reward in the next, is an
· The one who lives through
love and compassion for others and God
may be a member of the spiritual
hierarchy, known or unknown. In the world
but not of it.
Ref: Ox Herding Pictures _ Final
picture "Return to the Marketplace"..
Unrecognized, everything is the same
as before except that the willows bend
and blossom as he passes.
Risk is that the "love" for individuals
may be a vehicle for control
and ego gratification and/or an
escape from finding one's own center and the
love for may be implemented through
religion - a bridge to the Divine, and
the individual may get stuck on
All this being said, we might again
remember the vital importance of WAKING
UP or as Qigong guru Ken Cohen
"To live a spiritual life means to
discover the innermost message of the heart and to live it fully and courageously."
As Lawrence Kushner beautifully
puts it, is
"A life lived in the continuous presence
From: Thomas Merton The Wisdom of
the Desert his sayings of the fourth
century Christian fathers
who sought solitude and contemplation
in the deserts of the Near
A Brother asked one of the elders:
"What good thing shall I do and have life
thereby?" The old man replied:
"God alone knows what is good. However, I
have heard it said that someone
inquired of Father Abbot Nisteros the great,
friend of Abbot Anthony, asking:
What good work shall I do and that he
replied: Not all works are
alike. For Scripture says that Abraham was
hospitable and God was with him.
Elias loved solitary prayer, and God was
with him. And David was humble,
and God was with him. Therefore, whatever
you see your soul to desire according
to God, do that thing, and you shall
keep your heart safe.