SYMPOSIUM: MORALITY IN A TIME OF UNTRUTH
From a Sufi perspective:
Since the dawn of humanity, there have been teachers, or messengers, who have come on earth, usually at a time of great need – when there is social chaos, or a breakdown in society. Perhaps even in a time of untruth. The message is the same, but because of the culture, geography, and the time when it is given, it has a different flavour. We honour these teachers, whether known or unknown to the world. Sufis have some special prayers which we say for our teacher or prophet. One of those is the prayer Rasul:
Warner of coming dangers,
Wakener of the world from sleep,
Deliverer of the Message of God,
Thou art our Saviour.
The sun at the dawn of creation,
The light of the whole universe,
The fulfilment of God’s purpose,
Thou the life eternal, we seek refuge in thy loving enfoldment.
Spirit of Guidance, Source of all beauty, and Creator of harmony,
Love, Lover, and Beloved Lord,
Thou art our divine ideal.
This prayer portrays in very beautiful terms the response of the seeker to the levels of guidance found in the teacher, the prophet, and the messenger. Rasul begins with these words: ‘Warner of coming dangers, wakener of the world from sleep’ and sometimes the question comes, asked rather nervously, ‘What dangers? Is there some calamity for which we should be preparing?
We can suppose that our teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan, foresaw a great deal of which he did not speak, but he made it very clear that the fundamental danger that lies before us today is the consequence of sleeping when we should be awake. One might think of a sleepwalker approaching a cliff, or a driver sleeping at the wheel. For lack of a spiritual ideal, the world has fallen into a dense and snoring slumber, a drugged or intoxicated state one could say, filled with seductive dreams of the material consumerism, with the consequent fixation on possession and accumulation, on status and display. (Why do we take so many ‘selfies’?) Even something as pure and simple as friendship is often perverted, when we cultivate an acquaintance for the sake of gain, rather than because we feel something in our heart for that person.
As Hazrat Inayat said, the Message or teachings are given as a lullaby to those who are sleeping, and a call to those who are beginning to awaken. For the sleepers, they should rest until it is their time to rouse, that is natural, but at least they may have better dreams, dreams of gentleness, kindness, harmony, and beauty. And for those who are struggling to wake up, the Message is there to stir us, to help pull us onto our feet and take responsibility for ourselves. Though we seldom consider it, our every deed and impulse is in the service of something. It may be serving an ideal or a selfish desire or a preconceived notion we have picked up along the way, but our every thought, word and deed serves to advance something, and the more conscious we are, the more responsible we become for our service. As an exercise, therefore, we could ask ourselves, as often as we remember to do so, ‘What does this serve?’ And we can be sure that the answer matters. As it says in our Gayan,
Whichever path you choose, the right or the wrong, know that there is at the back always a powerful hand to help you along it.
The best we can do is to look inside ourselves, to find the Untruth within us, so that we can recognise it in others. We thus gain in wisdom, so that we can serve our community.
My thanks to Nawab for allowing me to use much of this material from his wonderful blog.
Leaders of the five religions or philosophies below took part in this symposium.
Precepts of the five religions or philosophies which took part in the symposium.
Moral Codes for Christianity
The 10 Commandments List
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make idols.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honour your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
- You shall not covet.
Also: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and Love your neighbour as you love yourself (Matthew 22:37-40)
Confucian principles are expressed in the goals of:
- helping members of society to build a happy life;
- popularizing traditional cultural education;
- promoting the application of traditional culture in daily life;
- preserving the wisdom of the teachings of the sages; and
- enlightening people to implement moral education, by applying wisdom from sages’ teaching to lead a happy life, hence to have a complete and happy family and a harmonised society.
Ten virtues of Dejiao:
Sense of honour/shame
Eight precepts of Dejiao:
Do not cheat
Do not be untruthful
Do not be greedy
Do not be unreasonable
Do not be arrogant
Do not be lazy
Do not hate others
Do not be resentful
Ten principal thoughts of all importance in Sufism for the inner human life:
1) There is one God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none else exists save God.
2) The one Master is the Guiding Spirit of all souls, who constantly leads followers toward the light. 3) There is one Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, which truly enlightens all readers.
4) There is one Religion, the unswerving progress in the right direction towards the ideal, which fulfils the life’s purpose of every soul.
5) There is one Law, the law of Reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience together with a sense of awakened justice.
6) There is one human Brotherhood, the Brotherhood and Sisterhood which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the Fatherhood of God.
7) The one Moral Principle is the love that springs from self-denial & blooms in deeds of beneficence. 8) There is one Object of Praise, the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshipper through all aspects from the seen to the unseen.
9) The one Truth is true knowledge of our being within & without, which is the essence of all wisdom
10) There is one Path, the annihilation of the false ego in the real, which raises the mortal to immortality and in which resides all perfection.
Taoist Moral Code:
Philosophical Taoism seeks to realign humanity with nature and natural principles. As such, morality is seen in terms of excess and deficiency – too much or too little – rather than good and bad. The transformation of opposites (yin and yang) leads to an understanding of the appropriate action at the appropriate moment in time (alignment with the Tao). This idea allows for a fluid morality that can deal with constant change – the common, shared challenge of existence that we all must deal with.