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The Religion Network publishes Monday, Wednesday & Friday
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Welcome To The Religion Network!

I'm Lisa Bowman, editor of The Religion Network, a multi-faith Web site. This site provides inspirational quotes through an
exploration of a new spiritual theme every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Religion network is offered with the
conviction that inspiration can be found in all spiritual faiths, and furthermore, that finding the commonalities
among the world's religions is more healing than pointing up their differences.

Religion as an institution is a precious gift, blessing individuals and uplifting communities. However you choose to
worship, I hope this site enhances your journey. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.



Thich Nhat Hanh, The Dalai Lama


Dear Readers,

It's always an electric moment when it happens: I'm wandering through a museum. I move
on to the next painting and wow, I'm before an image I've seen for for years in books, or
on the internet. Only now I'm abruptly taking in the original. Mere inches from my face.
A bolt of recognition lifts my eyebrows. My pulse quickens in pleasant shock. It's sort
of the reaction you get when you accidentally happen upon an old friend.

And so, today at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, I was following along a gallery wall,
lingering by some paintings while glancing at others, when suddenly there it was:
"The Man With The Hoe" (circa 1862) by Jean-François Millet. He was a French painter
with an affinity for peasants and a brush that portrayed their lives with earthy honesty.
The grit of this particular painting inspired Edward Markham to write a poem by the same
name in 1898. But it appears that Markham saw only abject despair in Millet's peasant:

"...Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes.
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?..."

Please. I think Millet, though a Realism painter, still managed to imbue this rough uneducated
man with dignity, ungainly though it may be. There's strength in his exhaustion. One imagines
him dragging his weary body home at dusk. His neighbor needs help repairing his thatched
cottage roof before the rains come. And because we see it in his sturdy face, we know the
peasant will stop to help. This man of sweat and earth knows suffering. Yet we can sense
that his own suffering has made him aware of the sufferings of others.
His compassionate demeanor is ennobling.

- Lisa

the man with the hoe - millet  
L'homme à la Houe (The Man with the Hoe) by Jean-François Millet

When you begin to see the suffering
in the other person, compassion is born...

...Looking at living beings with compassionate
eyes makes you feel wonderful. You do not change
anything. You only practice seeing with the eyes
of compassion, and suddenly you suffer much less.
What are the eyes of compassion? The eyes are to
look and to understand. The heart is to love. "The
eyes of compassion" means the eyes that look and
understand. If there is understanding, compassion
will arise in a very natural way. "The eyes of
compassion" means the eyes of deep looking,
the eyes of understanding.

Excerpted from "Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers"
Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 - )
Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author and speaker
Riverhead Books, 1999


We are all part of humanity, and each of us has the responsibility to
improve humanity and to bring it additional happiness in order to make it
more peaceful, friendlier and compassionate. So, if one individual practices
compassion and forgiveness sincerely and regularly, wherever he or she
may live, it will generate a positive atmosphere. That is a way to
contribute toward the betterment of humanity.

The 14th Dalai Lama (1935 -  )
Excerpted from "The Dalai Lama" His Essential Wisdom,"
Fall River Press, 2007


In Buddhism, when you touch suffering deeply,
you will understand the nature of suffering
and then the way to happiness
will reveal itself.

Excerpted from "Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers"
Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 -   )
Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author and speaker
Riverhead Books, 1999


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The Last Word:

When you recognize the suffering
around you it will help you to suffer less.
Get out of yourself and look.
Christmas is an opportunity for us to do this.

Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 -   )
Excerpted from "Going Home,"
Riverhead Books, 1999































































Totally Random Bonus Quote:

Unselfish acts are the real miracles our of which all the reported miracles grow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
American poet, philosopher and essayist



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With links to pages
full of inspirational
quotes, prayers, poems
and Bible quotes about
Christmas and Advent
previously published on
The Religion Network.