SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION
Every religion has its store of received truth. This truth is
recorded in scriptures and in the accumulated wisdom and tradition of the
generations. The passages in this section recommend the study of
scripture and received tradition as the way to reliable knowledge of
truth, wisdom for living, and understanding of the way to approach God.
Neglect not study of the Vedas.
Hinduism. Taittiriya Upanishad 1.11.1
O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.
Judaism and Christianity. Psalm 119.97
Lo! it is an unassailable Scripture. Falsehood cannot come at it from
before it or behind it. It is a revelation from the Wise, the Owner of
Islam. Qur'an 41.41-42
Absorbed in the Scriptures and their purport, he transcends the cycle of
birth and death.
Jainism. Acarangasutra 5.122
Hillel said, "He who has acquired words of Torah has acquired for himself
the life of the world to come."
Judaism. Mishnah, Abot 2.8
I am leaving you a trust. So long as you cling to it you can't go wrong.
That is the rope God has extended from heaven to earth. That is the
Islam. Hadith of Darimi 1
Know that he who reads and recites the Law-flower Sutra--that man has
adorned himself with the adornment of the Buddha, and so is carried by the
Tathagata on his shoulder.
Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 10
Taittiriya Upanishad 1.11.1: On study of the Vedas as an offering, see
Satapatha Brahmana 188.8.131.52-3, p. 864. Psalm 119.87: Cf. Menahot 110a,
pp. 864f. Hadith of Darimi 1: Cf. Qur'an 3.103, p. 271. Lotus Sutra 10:
Cf. Dhammapada 79, p. 789.
The work which the sages saw in the sacred sayings
Are manifestly spread forth in the triad of the Vedas.
Follow them constantly, you lovers of truth!
This is your path to the world of good deeds.
Hinduism. Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.1
This age stands in need of the holy Preceptor's teaching. The holy Word is
the Preceptor; by devoted meditation on it am I its disciple. By absorbing
the discourse of the Inexpressible I remain free from the taint of
Sikhism. Adi Granth, Ramkali Siddha Goshti, M.1, p. 943
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all
your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I [Moses] teach
you shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your
children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you
walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall
bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets
between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your
house and on your gates.
Judaism. Deuteronomy 6.5-9
We have sent down the Qur'an in Truth, and in Truth has it descended: and
We sent you [Muhammad] but to give glad tidings and to warn sinners. It
is a Qur'an which We have divided into parts from time to time, in order
that you might recite it to men at intervals; We have revealed it by
stages. Say: Whether you believe in it or not, it is true that those who
were given prior insight, when it is recited to them, fall down on their
faces in humble prostration, and say: "Glory to our Lord! Truly has the
promise of our Lord been fulfilled!" They fall down on their faces in
tears, and it increases their earnest humility.
Islam. Qur'an 17.105-9
African Traditional Religions. Akan Proverb (Ghana)
Ramkali Siddha Goshti, M.1: From the decree of Gobind Singh, the tenth
Guru, Sikhism has relied on Scripture as the embodiment of the Guru's
wisdom. Hence the Adi Granth is called the Guru Granth Sahib and is the
central object of veneration. Deuteronomy 6.5-9: For Jews, this central
text of the Torah commands teaching and study. In addition, it is the
basis for the ritual use of passages of the Torah wrapped inside the
phylacteries worn on the forehead and the arm at times of prayer, and
inside the mezuzzah affixed to the doorframes of every home. Cf. Psalm
19.7-10, p. 160. Qur'an 17.105-09: Cf. Qur'an 75.16-19, 42.51-53, p. 631.
Without proverbs [traditional wisdom], the language would be but a
skeleton without flesh, a body without a soul.
African Traditional Religions. Zulu Proverb (South Africa)
The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity And many
deeds of the past, In order to strengthen his character thereby.
Confucianism. I Ching 26: Taming Power of the Great
On Thee alone we ever meditate,
And ponder over the teachings of the loving mind,
As well as the acts of the holy men,
Whose souls accord most perfectly with truth.
Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 34.2
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly
believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have
been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you
for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by
God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for
training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped
for every good work.
Christianity. 2 Timothy 3.14-17
O leaders of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and
sciences as are current among you, for the Book itself is the unerring
Balance established among men. In this most perfect Balance whatever the
peoples and kindreds possess must be weighed, while the measure of its
weight should be tested according to its own standard, did you but know
Baha'i Faith. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, 128
Yasna 34.2: Cf. Yasna 45.5, pp. 159f. 2 Timothy 3.14-17: On scripture,
see Matthew 7.24-27, p. 161. On tradition, cf. Jeremiah 6.16, p. 673.
The Book of Changes contains the fourfold Tao of the holy sages. In
speaking, we should be guided by its judgments; in action, we should be
guided by its changes; in making objects, we should be guided by its
images; in seeking an oracle, we should be guided by its pronouncements.
Therefore the superior man, whenever he has to make or do something,
consults the Changes, and he does so in words. It takes up his
communications like an echo; neither far nor near, neither dark nor deep
exist for it, and thus he learns of the things of the future. If this
book were not the most spiritual thing on earth, how could it do this?
Confucianism. I Ching, Great Commentary 1.10.1-2
The Taoist priest... looked around the middle hall and said, "You
have a rare gem in your house; for when I entered I saw the radiance of a
holy light. Where do you keep your treasure?"
Wan Teh-Hs answered, "In this poor dwelling there is nothing
worthy of the name of a treasure."
The priest then took him by the hand and led him to the place
where the Treatise on Response and Retribution lay, saying, "This holy
book is the treasure. All the holy men of the three religions selected
and compiled it to point out the way of virtue on which every one should
walk. If a man disciplines himself according to its instructions, the
truth will shine forth in all its glory, and every letter in the sacred
writing will emit rays of divine light. But if you recite the sacred text
with a sesire for profit or reward, selfishness will darken its native
glory, and the writing will show no illumination."
Taoism. Treatise on Response and Retribution, appended tales
Treatise on Response and Retribution: The 'three religions' are Taoism,
Buddhism, and Confucianism, which, by the time of the Sung dynasty, came
to coexist in China. They each have contributed aspects to the formation
of Chinese culture. None insists on exclusive allegiance, and it is quite
natural for people to believe in the truth of all three simultaneously.
On the spiritual illumination of holy scriptures, cf. Forty Hadith of
an-Nawawi 36, p. 271; Abot 3.2, p. 271; Perfection of Wisdom in Eight
Thousand Lines 7.1, p. 152; Menahot 29b, p. 664.