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Words of Wisdom

Selections from "The Pathway of Life" by Leo Tolstoy (vegetarian): Volume 1 – The Soul, Part 1 of 2

2020-12-07
Language:English

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself.” This insightful saying by Leo Tolstoy is a valuable reminder for all of us to reflect inwardly. The renowned 19th-century Russian author suggested that we ask ourselves what God really wants us to do. As Leo Tolstoy said, “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” Supreme Master Ching Hai once spoke of Tolstoy in a group meditation session with our Association members in July, 1997 in Los Angeles, USA. “Because Tolstoy was a practitioner. That's why when you read his stories, most stories are about spiritual things, about God, and very happy and very positive. It's very good to read him, to read his books. You try. If you haven't, you try. You can read more. Such things are very good for you.” We would like to share an insightful excerpt of Volume 1: The Soul from “The Pathway of Life,” a collection of Tolstoy’s philosophies on religion, life, death and more. “The intangible, invisible, incorporeal something, which gives life to all that is living, we call God. The same intangible, invisible, incorporeal principle, which is separated by the body from all else, and of which we are conscious as self, we call the soul.” “A man who has attained old age has passed through many vicissitudes: he was first an infant, then a child, an adult, an old man. But no matter how he has changed, he always calls himself ‘I.’ This ‘I’ has always remained the same. This ‘I’ was the same in his infancy, in his period of maturity, in his old age. This unchanging ‘I’ we call the soul.” “If a man is not conscious of the soul within himself, it does not prove that he has no soul, but only that he has not yet learned to be aware of the soul within himself. Until we have realized what is within us, what good is it to us to know what is beyond us? And is it possible to know the world without knowing ourselves? Can he who is blind at home, possess sight when he is abroad? Just as a candle cannot burn without a fire, man cannot live without a spiritual life. The spirit dwells in all men, but not all men are aware of this. Happy is the life of him who knows this, and unhappy his life who does not know it.” “All that is material in this world, we cannot know the true nature thereof. Only the spiritual that is within us is fully known to us, namely that of which we are conscious, and which does not depend upon our feelings or our thoughts.”
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