Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 26: TRUTH
Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is TRUTH. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.
All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD!
Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world. The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority.
Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:
O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.
The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.
The leader or an appointed person will stand and read the opening thoughts. The opening thoughts explain the topic of discussion. You may use the information below or explain it in your own words.
One of the most important lessons about truth is that it sets us free. The lie of slavery for instance is a burden both to the slave master and the slave. The slave master may be nice to the slave but he constantly struggles with the rational for keeping another human being as a slave. A slave is the property of another person with no rights of his or her own which gives the slave master exclusive authority to treat the slave in whichever way he pleases. Thus slaves were subjected to the greatest hardship ever known by the human mind. The moral slave master sees nothing good in slavery and struggles until he acknowledges the truth of human dignity. The immoral slave master on the other only sees profits from his slaves and the power such ownership has bestowed on him. In his zeal for profit and power he abuses his slaves to the limits of physical and mental endurance and sometimes to their deaths. The slave master may not understand the importance of human freedom but he too struggles with his thoughts and actions until he realizes the truth that sets him free.
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.
1 Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. Albert Einstein
2 Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear. Mohandas Gandhi
3 An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Mohandas Gandhi
4 The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one's opponent. Mohandas Gandhi
5 If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. Mark Twain
6 I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want. Muhammad Ali
7 Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men. Ralph Waldo Emerson
8 If there were only one truth, you couldn't paint a hundred canvases on the same theme. Pablo Picasso
9 There is no god higher than truth. ~Mahatma Gandhi
10 Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas. ~Shoseki
Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found.
1 In any way that men love me in that same way they find my love: for many are the paths of men, but they all in the end come to me. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 4.11
2 There is not a single place in all the corners of the world where God is absent. Omoto Kyo. Michi-no-Shiori
3 And Peter opened his mouth and said, "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." Christianity: New Testament, Acts 10.34-35
4 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Christianity: New Testament, John 8 :31-32
5. If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Christianity: New Testament John 8 :31-32
6 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Christianity: New Testament James 1:18
7 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17
8 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Judaism: Tanakh Psalm 43:3
9 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Christianity: New Testament Ephesians 4:25
10 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. Christianity: New Testament 1 John 3:18
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?
The Fish who worked a Miracle-Buddhist Fables
Once upon a time, the Enlightenment Being was born as a fish in a pond in northern India. There were many kinds of fish, big and small, living in the pond with the Bodhisatta. There came to be a time of severe draught. The rainy season did not come as usual. The crops of men died, and many ponds, lakes and rivers dried up. The fish and turtles dug down and buried themselves in the mud, frantically trying to keep wet and save themselves. The crows were pleased by all this. They stuck their beaks down into the mud, pulled up the frightened little fish, and feasted on them.
The suffering of pain and death by the other fish touched the Enlightenment Being with sadness, and filled him with pity and compassion. He realized that he was the only one who could save them. But it would take a miracle. The truth was that he had remained innocent by never taking the life of anyone. He was determined to use the power of this wholesome truth to make rain fall from the sky, and release his relatives from their misery and death. He pulled himself up from under the black mud. He was a big fish, and as black from the mud as, polished ebony. He opened his eyes, which sparkled like rubies, looked up to the sky, and called on the rain god Pajjunna. He exclaimed, "Oh my friend Pajjunna, god of rain, I am suffering for the sake of my relatives. Why do you withhold rain from me, who am perfectly wholesome, and make me suffer in sympathy with all these fish?" "I was born among fish, for whom it is customary to eat other fish - even our own kind, like cannibals! But since I was born, I myself have never eaten any fish, even one as tiny as a rice grain. In fact, I have never taken life from anyone. The truthfulness of this my innocence gives me the right to say to you: Make the rains fall! Relieve the suffering of my relatives!" He said this the way one gives orders to a servant. And he continued, commanding the mighty rain god Pajjunna: "Make rain fall from the thunderclouds! Do not allow the crows their hidden treasures! Let the crows feel the sorrow of their unwholesome actions. At the same time release me from my sorrow, who have lived in perfect wholesomeness." After only a short pause, the sky opened up with a heavy downpour of rain, relieving many from the fear of death - fish, turtles and even humans. And when the great fish who had worked this miracle eventually died, he was reborn as he deserved.
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study. The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.
Mahatma Gandhi considers God as TRUTH and in one of his quotes he actually said that “There is no God higher than TRUTH. Truth not only sets us free IT also has power to change our lives and the lives of our neighbors as we have learned from the teaching story. However it is important to note that truth has no religion, no culture and no nation; IT is as clear as night and day to both believers and non believers.
You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations.
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer. You may use the sample prayer if needed.
A Hindu Prayer for Peace
Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real.
Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.
Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in celestial regions.
May there be peace on earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all.
May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.
May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all, and may that peace come to me also.
In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen
You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Awakened Living Study Program.
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a time to share your Awakened Living Tips for the benefit of the group.
Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.
There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.
1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods and doing drugs?
1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?
1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?
1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?
1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?
1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?
1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?
1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?
1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?
1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?
1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?