He is good. He knows his plants because he planted them in paradise. And his paradise is his place of rest. Paradise is the perfection within the Father’s thought, and the plants are the words of his meditation. Each of his word is the product of his will and the revelation of his speech. Since they were the depth of his thought, the Word that came forth caused them to appear, along with mind that speaks the Word, and silent grace. It was called thought, because they dwelled in silent grace before being revealed. So it happened that the Word came forth when it was pleasing to the will of him who willed it.

The Father is at rest in will. Nothing happens without his pleasure; nothing happens without the Father’s will. And his will is incomprehensible. His will is his footprint, but none can understand him, nor does he exist so that they may study him in order to grasp him. Rather, when he wills, what he wills is this, even if the view does not please people before God: it is the Father’s will. For he knows the beginning and end of all, and at their end he will greet them. The end is the recognition of him who is hidden, and he is the Father, from whom the beginning has come and to whom all will return who have come from him. They have appeared for the glory and joy of his name.

–The Gospel of Truth (The Naghammadi Scriptures, International Edit.)

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Whoever, at any time, should go to refuge

In the buddha, dharma, and the sangha

Is a possessor of the four noble truths:

Suffering, and the cause of suffering,

Truly passing beyond all suffering,

And the noble path with its eight branches

That leads to the condition of nirvana.

If they produce the divine eye of true prajna,

Those will be the principal refuges.

They are the refuges that are excellent.

Relying upon those very refuges

Completely liberates from suffering.

Longchenpa –The Nature of Mind (Dzogchen Buddhism)

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And if he ask thee, “What is that God?” say thou, that it is God that made thee and bought

thee, and that graciously hath called thee to thy degree. “And in Him,” say, “thou hast no skill.”

And therefore say, “Go thou down again,” and tread him fast down with a stirring of love, although he seem to thee right holy, and seem to thee as he would help thee to seek Him. For peradventure he will bring to thy mind diverse full fair and wonderful points of His kindness, and say that He is full sweet, and full loving, full gracious, and full merciful. And if thou wilt hear him, he coveteth no better; for at the last he will thus jangle ever more and more till he bring thee lower, to the mind of His Passion.

And there will he let thee see the wonderful kindness of God, and if thou hear him, he careth

for nought better. For soon after he will let thee see thine old wretched living, and peradventure in seeing and thinking thereof he will bring to thy mind some place that thou hast dwelt in before this time. So that at the last, or ever thou wit, thou shalt be scattered thou wottest not where. The cause of this scattering is, that thou heardest him first wilfully, then answeredest him, receivedest him, and lettest him alone.

And yet, nevertheless, the thing that he said was both good and holy. Yea, and so holy, that

what man or woman that weeneth to come to contemplation without many such sweet meditations of their own wretchedness, the passion, the kindness, and the great goodness, and the worthiness of God coming before, surely he shall err and fail of his purpose. And yet, nevertheless, it behoveth a man or a woman that hath long time been used in these meditations, nevertheless to leave them, and put them and hold them far down under the cloud of forgetting, if ever he shall pierce the cloud of unknowing betwixt him and his God. Therefore what time that thou purposest thee to this work, and feelest by grace that thou art called of God, lift then up thine heart unto God with a meek stirring of love; and mean God that made thee, and bought thee, and that graciously hath called thee to thy degree, and receive none other thought of God. And yet not all these, but if thou list; for it sufficeth enough, a naked intent direct unto God without any other cause than Himself.

The Cloud of Unknowing

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“Laziness and cowardice are two of the greatest enemies of the spiritual life.  And they are most dangerous of all when they mask as ‘discretion.’  This illusion would not be so fatal if discretion itself were not one of the most important virtues of a spiritual [person]. Indeed, it is discretion itself that must teach us the difference between cowardice and discretion.  If thine eye be simple . . . but if the light which is in thee be darkness . . ..”

–Thomas Merton

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Sangha (Pali: sagha; Sanskrit: संघ sagha) is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as “association” or “assembly” “company” or “community” with common goal, vision or purpose. It is commonly used in several senses to refer to Buddhist or Jain groups. Traditionally, in Buddhism sangha almost always has one of two meanings: most commonly, sangha means the monastic sangha of ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. In a stricter sense, sangha can mean the assembly of all beings possessing some high degree of realization, referred to as the arya-sangha or noble sangha or assembly of seekers seeking what is real and true, as in “Satsang“. This article deals primarily with the subject of the monastic sangha. Buddhists traditionally consider monastic life to provide the environment most conducive to advancing toward enlightenment, and the sangha is responsible for maintaining, translating, advancing, and spreading the teachings of the Buddha.

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The Sanskrit term Dharma (Devanāgarī: धर्म) (Pali: Dhamma) is an Indian spiritual or religious term, that means one’s righteous duty, or any virtuous path in the common sense of the term. Contextually, it implies one’s religion, in Indian languages. Throughout Indian philosophy, Dharma is present as a central concept, that is used in order to explain the “higher truth” or ultimate reality of the universe.

It must be noted however, that the word ‘dharma’ literally translates as ‘that which upholds or supports’ (from the root, Dhr, – to hold), and is generally translated into English as ‘law’. But throughout the history of Indian philosophical context, it has governed ideas about the proper conduct of living that are upheld by the laws of the universe. The symbol of the dharma – the wheel – is the central motif in the national flag of India.

The various Indian religions (sanatana dharma, Buddhadharma, Jain dharma, Sikh Dharma etc.) have all accorded a central focus to Dharma and advocate its practice. Each of these religions emphasize Dharma as the correct understanding of Nature (or God, as the origin of nature) in their teachings.[1][2][3] In these traditions, beings that live in accordance with Dharma proceed more quickly toward Dharma Yukam, Moksha or Nirvana (personal liberation). Dharma also refers to the teachings and doctrines of the founders of these traditions, such as those of Gautama Buddha and Mahavira. In traditional Hindu society with its caste structure, Dharma constituted the religious and moral doctrine of the rights and duties of each individual. (see dharmasastra). Dharma in its universal meaning shares much in common with the way of Tao or Taoism.

The antonym of dharma is adharma meaning unnatural or immoral.

Prajñā (Sanskrit) or paññā (Pali) has been translated as “wisdom,” “understanding,” “discernment,” “cognitive acuity,” or “know-how.” In Buddhism, it especially refers to the wisdom that is based on the direct realization of the Four Noble Truths, impermanence, dependent origination, non-self, emptiness, etc. Prajñā is the wisdom that is able to extinguish afflictions and bring about enlightenment.

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