I hope everyone enjoys this wisdom from Rumi.
I hope everyone enjoys this wisdom from Rumi.
ISTANBUL (RNS) Each Sunday, visitors line up outside of the old Sufi lodge, now a museum, in Turkey’s tourist-filled Galata district, informational pamphlets, cameras and $20 tickets in hand.
The site is but one of the many places tourists flock for performances by the country’s famed white-robed whirling dervishes.
Cafes, hotels and former Sufi lodges reinvented as tourist attractions, like the one in Galata, have all cashed in on the ritual’s popularity.
The “sema” ceremonies, as they’re called, promise attendees a peek into a 750-year-old practice that is as graceful as it is spiritual.
Yet as more ceremonies spring up, excitement has been met by skepticism by descendants of the very 13th-century mystic who first popularized it.
“It’s becoming like a show,” said Faruk Hemdem Celebi, a 22nd-generation descendant of the famous poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian and Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273). “There are people doing this now to make money and attract tourists.”
Faruk Hemdem Celebi is a 22nd-generation descendant of Rumi and president of the International Mevlana Foundation. Behind him hangs a picture of his father and predecessor as the alleged hereditary leader of the Mevlevi order. Religion News Service photo by Michael Kaplan
Rumi was a highly revered Persian mystic who preached inclusivity and respect for all. His poetry and writings on divine unity and love have attracted a global following.
Celebi, who leads the International Mevlana Foundation, believes that Rumi’s practices have been wrongly appropriated for profit.
Last month, he announced the launch of a campaign to reclaim Rumi’s practices.
Through familial lineage, Celebi claims to be the heir of the Mevlevi (meaning “My Master”) order, which was founded by Rumi’s followers after his death and includes a collection of disciples who follow Rumi’s teachings.
Celebi is working to bring Rumi’s name under his foundation’s control. He has trademarked 10 terms related to the Sufi saint. But that has, so far, failed to stop its appropriation.
Celebi said he has meetings coming up with some high-ranking government officials, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, to discuss how the foundation can have more say in decisions related to Mevlana traditions, and particularly sema.
Istanbul’s Galata district is not the only site for Rumi’s practices.
Thousands of people gather in a sports arena in Konya — the site of Rumi’s shrine, about 450 miles southeast of Istanbul — each December to commemorate the saint’s death through a week of dancing and whirling. (Rumi died in Konya in 1273.)
Legend has it that Rumi, a devout Muslim, was walking through Konya’s gold district when, upon hearing the rhythmic hammering of goldsmiths and their chanting of God’s name, the religious scholar broke out into ecstasy. His body slipped into a trancelike state as his hands raised toward the sky, his body whirling until he reached oneness with the divine.
The whirling has grown into an iconic form of “dhikrullah” or “remembrance of God” — practiced primarily by Rumi’s followers. With each turn, practitioners repeat God’s name.
“It’s a very powerful, meditative experience,” said Ismail Fenter, an American dervish who belongs to the Mevlevi order. “To turn it into dance or into public exhibition … it just cheapens it,” he said.
Today’s Mevlevi leaders grew up at a time when Sufi orders were illegal under Turkey’s strict secular code. Sufi dens were shut down and religious whirling was outlawed in 1925, but reintroduced to the country in the 1950s, strictly for tourism.
It was then that religious whirling turned from a private form of meditative remembrance of God into a public and profitable national artistic display.
The length of sema ceremonies has been truncated to cater toward tourists, and some of the traditional requirements — such as studying for years in Konya to become a dervish — have been dropped.
The Mevlevi order has been trying to rein in the group ever since. While Mevlevi leaders welcome the admiration for Rumi, some are skeptical of the way his message has been interpreted.
“People in America find emotional highs, and Rumi becomes an emotional high,” Fenter said. “But they don’t all understand the part about Islam … and it doesn’t completely make sense without that.”
Many people, however, believe that the popularity of Rumi’s teachings and traditions has outgrown the control of any single family, even if the family claims to be rightful heirs of the saint.
“Rumi has inspired a lot of people and has given comfort and wisdom,” said Margaret Rose, an American expatriate living in Istanbul who has attended a number of whirling ceremonies. “It doesn’t seem offensive; it seems to be done in a respectful way.”
Rose said she would be sorry to see restrictions put on the ceremonies, which she considers a cultural treasure.
“It’s very spiritual and I felt like you could get a glimpse of this ceremony that might have otherwise been private,” she said. “I felt lucky that I got to see it.”
Hello to everyone. I am going to share ideas and thoughts from women who are famous in some way. I was thinking about thinking and decided to share some very good thoughts. What do you think about what these women are thinking about?
“One can not be an American by going about saying one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.” —Georgia O’Keeffe, American artist (1887-1986
“One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts, once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness — simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and, above all, a clear conscience. Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain.” —George Sand, French writer and novelist (1804-1876)
“I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively.” —Golda Meir, Ukrainian-born Israeli leader. (1898-1978)
“I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger.” —Harriet Tubman, American abolitionist (1820-1913)
“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe, American writer and activist (1811-1896)
“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.” —Helen Keller, American essayist (1880-1968)
“Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics.” —Jane Addams, American activist (1860-1935)
“Action is the antidote to despair.” —Joan Baez, American folk singer (1941- )
“We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.” —Julia Ward Howe, American activist, founder of Girl Scouts of America (1819-1910)
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” —Lucille Ball, American comedienne (1911-1989)
I have a great respect for the Dalai Lama. At fifteen he was secreted in the night by monks. The Chinese were invading and they were saving his life. They fled to India through the mountains and he has not been to Tibet since. The world watched as Buddhist nuns and monks were murdered and raped. But the Dalai Lama has kept his positive attitude and his belief in the positive aspects of peace and compassion. He has spent his life traveling the world talking about Tibet and sharing his wisdom on peace, kindness, and compassion. I am going to quote some of his best quotes. We need all of the positive energy we can muster.
“Usually, when I describe the essence of Buddhism, I say that at best we should try to help others, and if we cannot help them at least we should do them no harm. This teaching grows from the soil of love and compassion.”
“For us, the focus is not on God but on enlightenment. Human beings are responsible for their own lives. We alone are the creators of our fate. The Buddha did not create the world, nor is he responsible for its deficiencies. But he shows us ways in which we can move from the present state of suffering to perfection. Because of this and other reasons, the Buddha did not address teachings about the existence of God.”
“Buddhism is one of the many religions which teaches us to be less selfish and more compassionate. It teaches us to be humane, altruistic, and to think of others in the way we think of ourselves. Our daily thoughts and actions should be directed toward the benefit of others.”
“For certain people, Buddhism may simply not be an answer. Different religious meet different people’s needs. I do not try to convert people to Buddhism. What I try to explore is how we Buddhists can make a contributions to human society in accordance with our ideas and values.”
” Compassion can be roughly defined in terms of a state of mind that is nonviolent and nonharming, or nonaggressive. Because of this there is a danger of confusing compassion with attachment and intimacy.”
“Genuine compassion should be unbiased. If we only feel close to our friends, and not to our enemies, or to the countless people who are unknown to us personally and toward whom we are indifferent, then our compassion is only partial or biased.”
“Generating concern for others has vast power to transform your mind. If you practice compassion for the sake of all living beings===including animals—then that same limitless merit will accrue to you.”
“Without love we could not survive. Human beings are social creatures, and a concern for each other is the very basis of our life together.”
“Love is a simple practice yet it is very beneficial for the individual who practices it as well as for the community in which they live, for the nation, and for the whole world.”
“Loving oneself is crucial. If we do not love ourselves, how can we love others? It seems that when some people talk of compassion, they have the notion that it entails a total disregard for one’s own interests—a sacrificing of one’s interests. This is not the case. In fact genuine love should first be directed at oneself.”
“If someone greets me with a nice smile, and expresses a genuinely friendly attitude. I appreciate it very much. Though I might not know that person or understand their language, they instantly gladden my heart…Kindness and love, a real sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, these are very precious. They make community possible and this are crucial in society.”
In Wales, Nato is meeting to address the dual problems of ISIL and Russia. It is also a time of increased racism here in the United States. The world is tense, you can feel it as you go about your regular life. I want to encourage you to remember that peace starts within us. Hope and peace live within and is touched by the Divinity within. Our hearts and souls are very important in our lives. We just are not really aware of them.
Our hearts have been attacked more than once in the last few months. Mother Earth is screaming in pain. 16 million children live in poverty in America, we really have no idea of how many people in Iraq and Syria have been killed and or displaced. Now ISIL members are discussing moving into India. That country is filled with a billion people. They have just been served notice that the darkness is now planning moves to disrupt their country and families.
What can one person do? One person in France, Belgium, India or America can do a lot. We can keep giving love, peace, hope, compassion and empathy flowing out from our hearts and souls into this world. We must believe that, in the big picture, that good will conquer the hatred and bigotry that we are up against. Our spirituality can be the engine that pulls us ahead and keeps us focused on what can be done rather than what can not be done. We may suffer, I may suffer but if we lose our lives, we will return home to the Divine presence of God.
“At night make me one with the darkness, in the morning make me one with the light. ” —Wendell Berry
“Just to be is a blessing, Just to live is holy.” —Rabbi Abraham Heschel
” As we are together, praying for peace, let us be truly with each other.
Let us pay attention to our breathing.
Let us be relaxed in our bodies and our minds.
Let us be at peace with our bodies and our minds.
Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves. Let us maintain a half-smile on our faces.
Let us be aware of the source of being common to us all and to all living things.
Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion, let us fill our hearts with our own compassion, towards ourselves and towards all living beings.
Let us pray that all living beings realize that they are all brothers and sisters. all nourished from the same source of life.
Let us pray with ourselves to live in a way which will not deprive other beings of air, water, food, shelter, or the chance to live.
With humility, and with awareness of the existence of life, and of the sufferings that are going on around us, let us pray for the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth. Amen. —Thich Nhat Hanh
The face of truth is open,
The eyes of truth are bright,
The lips of truth are ever closed,
The head of truth is upright.
The breast of truth stands forward,
The gaze of truth is straight,
Truth has neither fear nor doubt,
Truth has patience to wait.
The words of truth are touching,
The voice of truth is deep,
The law of truth is simple:
All that you sow you reap.
The soul of truth is flaming,
The heart of truth is warm,
The mind of truth is clear,
And firm through rain or storm.
Facts are but its shadows,
Truth stands above all sin;
Great be the battle in life,
Truth in the end shall win.
Wisdom”s message its rod;
Sign of truth is the cross,
Soul of truth is God.
Life of truth is eternal,
Immortal is its past,
Power of truth will endure,
Truth shall hold to the last. —Hazrat Inayat Khan
Cup and Ocean
“These forms we seem to be are cups floating in an ocean of living consciousness.
They fill and sink without leaving an arc of bubbles or any good bye spray.
What we are is that ocean, too near to see, though we swim in it and drink it in.
Don’t be a cup with a dry rim, or someone who rides all night and never knows the horse
beneath this thighs, the surging that carries him along.” —Rumi
” The next dreadful thing to a battle lost is a battle one.” —-Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington
“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days the government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” —-Dwight D. Eisenhower
“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objectors enjoy the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” —-John F. Kennedy
“Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous” —George Bernard Shaw
“Never think that war, no matter how justified, is not a crime.” —-Ernest Hemmingway
the absence of difficulties but
the handling of difficulties without
loss of balance.
Shalom is not the absence of tension
but the acceptance of it as part of the Way.
Shalom is not the absence of war
but the careful waging of war
without losing one’s balance.
Shalom, is not passive non-violence,
but active confrontation with truth. Shalom is the ablitity to see the
grain of life
and act in accord with it;
to discover that effortless effort,
action in tune with the Way of Universe,
is the secret of both peace and power.” —Rabbi Bami Shapiro
“It is not how much we do that is important; rather, it is the love with which our actions are performed that is most important. The smallest action, done with love, will lead us toward peace.: —-Mother Teresa
One of the most brilliant minds in the world
enbracing the cause of peace.
A woman writes herself a life each day as she moves in the now. Virginia Woolf said that only women stirred her imagination. I would add only women have moved me to action and power. If I would write my life it would be to try to protect other women from tragedy and abuse and grief. It would be to say my complete truth without fear of consequences.
Often in literature and in every day life, women’s every day life, our friendships are belittled, and misunderstood. Yet, as women, friendships enliven us, fill us up and give us a way out of lonely grief.
” Affection…means the state of influencing, acting upon, moving, and impressing, and of being influenced by other women.”—-Janice Raymond
Audra Lorde once stated, ” I speak without concern for the accusations
that I am too much or too little woman
that I am too black or too white
or too much myself
and through my lips come the voices of the ghosts
of our ancestors
living and moving among us.”
“To justify an unorthodox life by writing about it is to re-inscribe the original violation, to re-violate masculine turf.” —Nancy K. Miller
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
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