Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn suggests that evil is not something manifested by wicked people, rather it perpetuates with the conventions that we absorb from childhood.
"While I often found the emergence from the dark of the tunnel shocking, as my eyes would adjust and I would look forward and skyward, I always found this image to be comforting, reassuring."
Simone Weil lauds 'unmixed attention', which she likens to prayer, and reflects on the quality of attention, expressed as 'patience, effort and method' to 'understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.'
In this extract from an essay about bhakti and devotional love written in the late 19th century, Swami Vivekananda - the 19th century spiritual reformist and teacher of Vedanta who was instrumental in popularizing Hinduism and yoga in the west - makes the difference between empty religious ritual and the burning desire for union with God, which is as real as any hunger or thirst.
Rabbi Rami addresses the question of spirituality and its relationship to religion, and the way in which the two realities interact and support one another.
The standoff between science and religion, argues Idaho-born writer Marilynne Robinson, is often based on a 'selective or tendentious' reading of religious writing, which she frequently defends in her work. In this extract from an essay called 'Reclaiming a Sense of the Sacred', originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Robinson challenges the notion… Continue reading What Science Can’t Talk About: “the Tears in Things” – Marilynne Robinson
Stephen Batchelor is a celebrated proponent of dharma practice stripped of ritual and other cultural trappings in order to reveal the power of the basic Buddhist teachings. His 1997 book, Buddhism Without Beliefs, is a manifesto in that direction. In it, he reminds us that Buddha himself was no mystic but rather a pragmatist with… Continue reading Buddhism and the Agnostic Faith
"The truth, in our day, finds few defenders" writes André Gide in this short essay on the importance of a thoroughgoing attitude towards accuracy and factuality. The scientific methods of research and observation, he laments, are frequently scuppered by the relative, mythical, dogmatic and equivalent truths of religions and political movements. As relevant today as… Continue reading Falsehood Triumphs Everywhere – André Gide