The face of God

In the “Karaṇīyamettā Sutta” (translated by The Amaravati Sangha), we hear the Buddha’s gentle voice from centuries past:

Even as a mother protects with her life

Her child, her only child,

So with a boundless heart

Should one cherish all living beings;

Radiating kindness over the entire world….

Piero Ferrucci, the philosopher and psychotherapist, writes in “The Power of Kindness”:

Kindness? It may strike us as absurd to even approach the subject: Our world is full of violence, war, terrorism, devastation. And yet life goes on precisely because we are kind to one another. No newspaper tomorrow will tell of a mother who read a bedtime story to her child, a father who prepared breakfast for his children, of someone who listened with attention, of a friend who cheered us up, of a stranger who helped us carry a suitcase.

Elsewhere in the book, Piero points out that “Kindness….itself might seem lightweight, and yet it is a central factor in our lives. It has surprising  power to transform us, perhaps more than any other attitude or technique.”

In the autobiographical “Under the Eye of the Clock”, Christopher Nolan (who born with cerebral palsy could move his eyes and head alone) writes:

Such were Joseph’s teachers and such was their imagination that the mute boy became constantly amazed at the almost telepathic degree with which they read his facial expression, eye movements, and body language….It was at moments such as these that Joseph recognized the face of God in human form. It glimmered in their kindness to him, it glowed in their keenness, it hinted in their caring, indeed it caressed in their gaze.

In “Mystics of the Church”,  Evelyn Underhill quotes from the journal of the French mystic Lucie-Christine who wrote wondering “how to make apparent” to people “that gentleness, that unspeakable peace” of the Divine.

Lucie answers herself: “….I have not found any other or more powerful way than kindness.”

thebibliophile — dawn this morning, Coimbatore, India

Life, as know it, exists because, from billions of years ago, long before the first human showed up, the Sun has been burning — incessantly, patiently — an eternal act of kindness. This morning, as i write, the Face of God rises again.

Peace 🙂

“i=we”

The Edge.org 2018 question, addressed to its eclectic group of over 200 scientists, artists, writers, technologists, and others, was: “Ask ‘The Last Question,’ your last question,the question for which you will be remembered.”

The Korean artist Koo Jeong’s submission, her Last Question, was: 

i = we ?

Koo Jeong’s, question, a work of art in itself, pushes us to what is probably the most primordial of investigations — Who am I? — a question, as Carlo Rovelli writes (in “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”), about “one of the things which we understand least….”

After centuries of the quest to answer this question, Nature, Carlo writes, persists in

behaving with us like that elderly rabbi to whom two men went in order to settle a dispute. Having listened to the first, the rabbi says: “You are in the right.” The second insists on being heard. The rabbi listens to him and says: “You’re also right.” Having overheard from the next room, the rabbi’s wife then calls out, “But they can’t both be in the right!” The rabbi reflects and nods before concluding: “And you’re right too.”

The theoretical physicist then writes that “what we have learnt from our ever-increasing knowledge of the things of this world” tells us that “We are an integral part of nature; we are nature, in one of its innumerable and infinitely variable expressions”“we are made of the same stardust of which all things are made….”

In the Mundaka Upanishad (probably composed in 2 BC), we find an incredible response to the Edge.org question.

Saunaka, a seeker of wisdom, asks Angirasa (The Upanishads, translated by Juan Mascaro): “Master, what is that which, when known, all is known?”

 The answer to this question, it turns out, is also the answer to who am I?

Some time before the Mundaka Upanishad came into being, a deeply perplexed person, sat under a Bo Tree vowing not to get up till comprehension dawned. He too grappled with this question. And, like the sages of the Upanishads  he appears to have had a sublime realization —  i am my neighbour. We are the world. We are the cosmos — the cosmos is us.

Photo by Dulcey Limaon Unsplash

Some of us may not agree.

But, what is indisputable, as Carlo writes in “Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity” is that 

Today … we have the instruments to bring light to the homes of the ten billion human beings who will soon inhabit the planet, to travel in space toward other stars, or to destroy one another and devastate the planet. It depends on our choices…

We are surely better off living with the conviction that “i=we”, healing the world, and making this planet a heaven.

 Peace 🙂