|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.
ON TODAY'S SITE:
C. S. Lewis, Tibetan Buddhist teaching,
Paramahansa Yogananda, Cloud of Unknowing, Bhagavad-Gita
Am I the only one scratching her head every time she prays, "...and lead us not into temptation"?
This line from the Our Father, aka the Lord's Prayer, and the only recorded prayer given to us from
Jesus, is most puzzling. It simply doesn't fit with the concept of a loving God, a God who offers us
every sweet, divine gift. Is this truly a God who chooses to lead us into the occasional "Gotcha!"
situation by purposely leading us into temptation? Wouldn't that be just a touch cruel? Allowing
us to hang ourselves because we enjoy the gift of free will is one thing, but since God knows our
every weakness, leading us into temptation is taking candy from a baby... nothing for an Almighty
King to boast about! So whenever I've gotten to that part of the prayer, I've always mentally
added, "Yeah, well, Jesus probably said something else here and it got translated wrong."
There's evidence that translation is indeed, the problem. Good old C. S. Lewis steps up to the plate
with clarifying interpretation of the phrase. It was written in a letter among many letters to Malcolm
Muggeridge, who was a British journalist and good friend of Lewis'. These letters were published in
book form after the death of Lewis. They are warm and personal and cover a multitude of aspects
about prayer. In today's selection, Lewis refers to the two of them discussing the Lord's Prayer
while in a pub. Ahhh, nothing stimulates spiritual discourse like a warm, dark ale...
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
- From The Lord's Prayer
I was never worried myself by the words lead us not into
temptation, but a great number of my correspondents are.
The words suggest to them what somewhat has called "a
fiend-like conception of God," as one who first forbids us
certain fruits and then lures us to taste them. But the Greek
word (in the Bible) means "trial" -- "trying circumstances"
-- of every sort; a far larger word then English "temptation."
So that the petition essentially is "Make straight our paths.
Spare us, where possible, from all crises, whether of temp-
tation or affliction." By the way, you yourself, though you've
doubtless forgotten it, gave me an excellent gloss on it: years
ago in the pub at Coton. You said it added a sort of reserva-
tion to all our preceding prayers. As if we said, "In my igno-
rance I have asked for A, B and C. but don't give me them if
you foresee that they would in reality be to me either snares
or sorrows." ... If God had granted all the silly prayers
I've made in my life, where should I be now?
"Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly On Prayer,"
by C. S. Lewis
Harcourt, Inc., 1992
If the inner mind is not deluded,
then outer deeds will not be wrong.
Tibetan Buddhist teaching
Photo by Chuck Bowman All rights reserved
There is no stronger force that you can employ against temptation
than wisdom. Complete understanding will bring you to the point
where nothing can tempt you to actions that promise pleasure
but in the end will only hurt you.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952)
Indian guru and yogi
If memory of your past sins continues to bar your
approach to the divine, or new thoughts prompt
you to sin, bravely crush them. Step over every
obstacle in your way with a fervent impulse of
love, squashing them beneath your feet. Cover
these temptations with a thick cloud or for-
getting, as though they never occurred.
Excerpted from "The Cloud of Unknowing,"
written by an unknown 14th-century English monk
Paraclete Press, 2006
The Last Word:
Dwelling compassionately deep in the self,
I dispel darkness born of ignorance
with the radiant light of knowledge.
From the Bhagavad-Gita
Translated by Barbara Stoler Miller
Bantam Classic, 2004
Totally Random Bonus Quote:
The infinite is in the finite of every instant.