The Self Is Under a Cover of Innumerable Illusions

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Why Abstinence Matters-1: The Fall of Man

James 1

From James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Greetings to the twelve tribes scattered all over the world.[a]

Faith and Wisdom

My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.

If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. 7-8 If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.

1 Chronicles 16

19 At the time there were
only a few of us,
    and we were homeless.
20 We wandered from nation
to nation,
from one country
    to another.
21 God did not let anyone
    mistreat our people.
Instead he protected us
    by punishing rulers
22 and telling them,
“Don’t touch my chosen leaders
    or harm my prophets!”

World Scripture and the Teachings of
Sun Myung Moon

Chapter 3

Conscience and Inborn Goodness

The conscience is a gleam of the divine within, prompting us to do good deeds and opposing our inclination to do evil. Buddhism describes this faculty as the “enlightening mind” or “Buddha nature” which can be uncovered through the eye of wisdom. Confucianism regards it as the heart of benevolence; this is illustrated by a well-known passage from Mencius about people’s spontaneous reactions to a child falling into a well. Islam likewise regards the human heart as inherently upright, and St. Paul wrote that the conscience allows even those unschooled in religion to distinguish right from wrong.
The conscience operates positively, encouraging self-betterment and the idealistic search for a better society. It also operates negatively, scolding and admonishing us for acting selfishly and hurting others. In this regard, Father Moon speaks of the conscience as a “precious teacher” that knows us better than our parents, our teachers, and even God. The conscience is God-given, enabling us to improve and ultimately realize our full purpose as God intended. It must constantly struggle, however, against the self-centered desires of the body.
It is possible to speak of a corrupted conscience, because although its essence is God-given, upbringing and education can affect its judgment. To indoctrinate the conscience with false judgments of right and wrong is indeed of the worst defilements of the human spirit. Yet there are levels of conscience. The more superficial level of conscience is relative, adhering to a person’s concept of truth. Yet at a deeper level is the Original Mind, which maintains a connection to the absolute God. Therefore, someone like Saul of Tarsus, who had persecuted Christians in good conscience, could be awakened to a higher vision of truth and change his direction in life to become St. Paul. This divine quality at the root of the conscience is the basis for Father Moon’s optimistic view that all human beings will ultimately be saved.

1. The Original Mind and Heart—Rooted in Goodness

Gentleness and goodness are the roots of
Book of Ritual 38.18 (Confucianism)

Religion is basically virtue, which is grounded
ultimately in the spiritual nature of man.
Kundakunda, Pravacanasara 7 (Jainism)

Behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 11
Luke 17.21

When Gentiles who have not the Law do by
nature what the Law requires, they are a law to
themselves, even though they do not have the
Law. They show that what the Law requires is
written on their hearts, while their conscience
also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts
accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day
when, according to my gospel, God judges the
secrets of men by Christ Jesus. 12
Romans 2.14-16

Wabisah ibn Ma`bad said, “I went to see the
Messenger of God and he said to me, ‘You want
to question me on the subject of virtue?’ ‘Yes,’ I
replied, and he went on, ‘Question your heart.
Virtue is that by which the soul enjoys repose
and the heart tranquility. Sin is what introduces
trouble into the soul and tumult into man’s
bosom—and this despite the religious advice
which men may give you.’ ”
40 Hadith of an-Nawawi 27 (Islam)

For him who… knows his own mind and sees
intuitively his own nature, he is a Hero, a
Teacher of gods and men, a Buddha.
Sutra of Hui Neng 1 (Buddhism)

Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your
eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but
when it is not sound, your body is full of dark-
ness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be
darkness. If then your whole body is full of light,
having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as
when a lamp with its rays gives you light.
Luke 11.34-36

The Purpose of the one true God, exalted be His
glory, in revealing Himself unto men is to lay
bare those gems that lie hidden within the mine
of their true and inmost selves.
Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 132
(Baha’i Faith)

Every being has the Buddha Nature. This is
the self. Such a self is, since the very beginning,
under cover of innumerable illusions. That is
why a man cannot see it. O good man! There
was a poor woman who had gold hidden some-
where in her house, but no one knew where it
was. But there was a stranger who, by expedi-
ency, speaks to the poor woman, “I shall employ
you to weed the lawn.” The woman answered, “I
cannot do it now, but if you show my son where
the gold is hidden, I will work for you.” The man
says, “I know the way; I will show it to your son.”
The woman replies, “No one in my house, big or
small, knows where the gold is hidden. How can
you know?” The man then digs out the hidden
gold and shows it to the woman. She is glad,
and begins to respect him. O good man! The
same is the case with a man’s Buddha Nature.
No one can see it. It is like the gold which the
poor woman possessed and yet could not locate.
I now let people see the Buddha Nature which
they possess, but which was hidden by illusions.
The Tathagata shows all beings the storehouse
of enlightenment, which is the cask of true
gold—their Buddha Nature.
Mahaparinirvana Sutra 214-15:
Parable of the Hidden Treasure (Buddhism)

All men have this heart that, when they see
another man suffer, they suffer, too… A man
looks out; a child is about to fall into a well. No
matter who the man is, his heart will flip, flop,
and he will feel the child’s predicament; and not
because he expects to get something out of it
from the child’s parents, or because he wants
praise from his neighbors, associates, or friends,
or because he is afraid of a bad name, or any-
thing like that.
From this we can see that it is not human
not to have a heart that sympathizes with pain.
Likewise not to have a heart that is repelled by
vice: that is not human, either. Not to have a
heart that is willing to defer: that’s not human.
And not to have a heart that discriminates
between true and false is not human, either.
What is the foundation of natural human
feeling for others (jen)? The heart that
sympathizes with pain. What is the foundation
of a commitment to the common good (i)?
The heart that is repelled by vice. What is the
foundation of respect for social and religious
forms (li)? The heart that is willing to defer. And
what is the foundation for a liberal education
(chih)? The heart that can tell true from false.
People have these four foundations like
they have four limbs. A man who says he cannot
practice them is calling himself a criminal. A
man who says the ruler cannot practice that is
calling the ruler a criminal.
Everybody has these four foundations in
himself. If these four foundations can be filled in
on a broad scale, it will be like a fire starting up,
it will be like a spring bursting through. If they
can be filled in, it will be enough to create and
preserve the world order. Leave them unfilled, it
will be impossible for a man to take care of his
father and mother. 13
Mencius II.A.6 (Confucianism)

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