Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Jesus

3 BCE – 30 CE

Descriptions of Jesus were written in New Testament documents between 70 and 150 CE, a time of many different Christian books, many different gospels. In 170 CE church leaders first decided which books were “official,” which weren’t. More were added later and the modern version finalized at The Council of Hippo in 393. Some historians believe this selection was at least partially based on politics, patriarchy, and power. In any case, many of the banned and burned books known as Gnostic Gospels seem to have more wisdom and understanding, more connection to the non-thought lineage than the officially recognized texts. Our quotes come from one of these, The Gospel of Thomas discovered in 1945.

Eras

Sources

Gospel According to Thomas

New Testament Διαθήκη

Unlisted Sources

Corinthians

Mark 8:36

Saint Paul

Quotes by Jesus (48 quotes)

“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Themes: Wealth

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“Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written: "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord."”

Chapters: 74. The Great Executioner

Themes: Anger God

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“God’s Realm won’t come just because you’re watching for it, and neither can people say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is’, because God’s Realm is actually within you!”

Chapters: 80. A Golden Age

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“If anyone wants to be first, that person will be the last of all and everyone’s servant.”

Chapters: 36. The Small, Dark Light

Themes: Aggression

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“If we really want to offer someone who is suffering a transfusion of peace and serenity, the best we can do is to be in touch with that in ourselves which is already beyond death.”

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

Themes: Suffering

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“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Chapters: 21. Following Empty Heart

Themes: Basic Goodness

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“It’s harder for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich person to pass into the kingdom of heaven.”

Chapters: 75. Greed

Themes: Wealth

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“Life is to be sought and discovered in every circumstance.”

Chapters: 40. Returning

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“On Golden Rule:
Repay wrongs with the Power of Goodness;
Love your brother and sister as your soul;
protect them as you do the pupils of your eyes.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 63. Easy as Hard

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“the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

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“The ordinary, isolated intellect, no matter how brilliant or inspired, has not the energy to command our thoughts, words, impulses, memories and experiences in a way that conforms to truth and the Good.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 70. Inscrutable

Themes: Truth

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“The person who desires to rise above all things must descend below all things”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 66. Go Low

Themes: Humility

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“If you say that the abode of the Gods is in the sky, the birds will arrive there before you. If you say it is in the sea, the fish will arrive there before you. Know that the heavenly realm is both inside you and outside you, and you will know that which is outside by that which is inside.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

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“The person who knows not himself, is poor in Spirit, for he is his own poverty.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

Themes: Know Yourself

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“Unless you become like little children, you cannot know the meaning of Life, for your minds must be cleared of the falsehoods of this realm if you are to be taught Eternal Truth.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 55. Forever Young

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“He who takes up the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that evil can be overcome by evil, or violence by violence?”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 30. No War

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“When the outer has become as the inner, and the lower as the upper, then will this world find peace.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

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“Death is not the enemy. Live life in joy and welcome death in peace.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

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“The people of this generation revere the dead prophets while rejecting the living ones. It has been so in every generation. The children of those who persecute you will build monuments to your memory.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“in the beginning the Eloheim created mortals male and female; they were one body, perfectly united and absolutely equal…. when you are redeemed from the Fall, male and female will cease to exist, you will become a perfect whole, accomplishing a single work.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 39. Oneness

Themes: Marriage Oneness

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“Mortals go to war so that they can inherit dust, their vision distorted by the lie that they value which is nothing.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 69. No Enemy

Themes: Lies War

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“Every person creates his own world, according to that which he fears and that which he loves”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Themes: Love Fear

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“Search the Light within your souls, for there will you find the reality of all things.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

Themes: Know Yourself

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“Purify your own hearts, and the world will become pure.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Chapters: 28. Turning Back

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“If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know (Gospel of Paul - Corinthians).”

Themes: Moral Freedom

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“He who drinks from my mouth will become as I am and I shall be he.”

from Gospel According to Thomas

Themes: Sacred World

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“Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Poverty

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“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Poverty Wealth

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“The kingdom of God comes not with observation… the kingdom of God is within you”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“All of us with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory and are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Sacred World

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“Merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by their sorcery.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“Avenge not yourselves, for it is written, 'Vengence is mine, I will repay,' saith the Lord.”

from Saint Paul

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“if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Punishment Forget

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“Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Here and Now

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“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Simplicity

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“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’… in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Hate Golden Rule

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“Those who find their life shall lose it: those who lose their life for my sake shall find it.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Egolessness

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“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Anger Love

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“Return your sword to its place, for all who will take up the sword, will die by the sword.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“A man reaps what he sows.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

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“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

from Mark 8:36

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“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not money, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not money, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not money, it profiteth me nothing. Money suffereth long, and is kind; money envieth not; money vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. … And now abideth faith, hope, money, these three; but the greatest of these is money.”

from Corinthians

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“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

Themes: Wu Wei

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“The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and covered with gold ornaments, precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom. The name written on her forehead was a mystery: babylon the great the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth.”

from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Prostitution

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Quotes about Jesus (27 quotes)

“If Christ were here now, there is one thing he would not be—a Christian.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author
from Notebook

Themes: Christianity

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“Jesus taught the world nothing that had not been taught as earnestly before by other masters... Every word of his sermon is an echo of the essential principles of monastic Buddhism.”

Blavatsky, Helena Еле́на Петро́вна Блава́тская 1831 – 1891 CE
Co-founder of Theosophy
from Isis Unveiled

Themes: Buddhism

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“Socrates and Jesus Christ were put to death publicly as blasphemers, and so have been and may be many who dare to oppose the most notorious abuses of the name of God and the mind of man.”

Lord Byron 1788 – 1824 CE via V. Gollancz
(George Gordon Byron)
The first rock-star style celebrity

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. Of that divine tear and that human smile is composed the sweetness of the present civilization.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur
from Le centenaire de Voltaire, 1878​

Themes: Civilization

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“If we regard the world as a family of nations—equally the gospel of India, of Jesus and of Blake, Lao Tzu and Rumi—... a constant intuition of the unity of all life, and the instinctive and ineradicable conviction that the recognition of this unity is the highest good and the uttermost freedom”

Ananda Coomaraswamy குமாரசுவாமி 1877 – 1947 CE
Perennial philosophy's Citizen of the World

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“Christ was a maid, and yet shaped like a man,
And many a saint, since this world began.”

Geoffrey Chaucer 1343 – 1400 CE via Wife of Bath's Prologue (tr: J. U. Nicolson)
“Father of English literature”
from Canterbury Tales

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“If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it.”

Thomas Carlyle 1795 – 1881 CE
"Great Man” theory of history creator

Themes: Christianity

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“Jesus was talking the most most penetrating good sense when he preached Communism; when he declared that the reality behind the popular belief in God was a creative spirit in ourselves called by him the Heavenly Father and by us Evolution, Life Force, and other names.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare
from Androcles and the Lion, 1912

Themes: Socialism God

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“a state of being where the mind knows the source of all light... the saints, the arhats, the bodhisattvas, the jivanmuktas who knew something or everything about this state of being... we wanted you to know who and what Jesus and Gautama and Lao Tzu and Shankaracharya and Huineng and Sri Ramakrishna, etc., were before you knew too much or anything about Homer or Shakespeare or even Blake or Whitman, let alone George Washington and his cherry tree... or how to parse a sentence”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE
from Franny and Zooey

Themes: Enlightenment

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“Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God, and had to go through Gethsemane. Now the rich men of the West are worshiping Jesus, and it is the poor who are going through Gethsemane.”

Lǔ Xùn 鲁迅 1881 – 1936 CE via Lin Yutang
(Zhou Shuren; Lusin)
Insightful satirist representing the "Literature of Revolt"

from Epigrams of Lusin

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“He was a rebel, a troublemaker. They say he died for your sins but that is not the truth. He refused to be cowed, controlled. And now look at the power he wields, the worship he commands.”

Makeda, Queen of Sheba 10th C. BCE via American Gods (tr: Neil Gaiman)
(Bilkis, Rainha de Sabá)
Embodiment of Divine Wisdom

Themes: Power

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“[Jesus] has not been a failure yet; for nobody has ever been sane enough to try his way... the specific doctrine of Jesus has not in all this time been put into political or general social practice.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare
from Androcles and the Lion, 1912

Themes: Christianity

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“Christ has brought the kingdom of God nearer to earth; but, he has been misunderstood; and in place of God's kingdom the kingdom of the priest has been established”

Immanuel Kant 1724 – 1804 CE
from H. S. Chamberlain

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“By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as 'devil' and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing.”

Ivan Illich 1926 – 2002 CE
"an archaeologist of ideas"

Themes: Power

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“The devil tempted Christ; yes, but it was Christ who tempted the devil to tempt him”

Samuel Butler 1835 – 1902 CE
Iconoclastic philosopher, artist, composer, author, and evolutionary theorist
from Note-Books (1912)

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“A billion men have since professed his way and never followed it... What Christ is saying always, what he never swerves from saying, what he says a thousand times and in a thousand different ways... is love.”

Thomas Wolfe 1900 – 1938 CE
(Thomas Clayton Wolfe)
Father of autobiographical fiction
from You Can't Go Home Again, 1940

Themes: Love

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“At least I've never tried, consciously or otherwise, to turn Jesus into St. Francis of Assisi to make him more 'lovable'—which is exactly what 98% of the Christian world has always insisted on doing.”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE
from Franny and Zooey

Themes: Christianity

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“I believe Christ was a man like ourselves; to look upon him as God would seem to me the greatest of sacrileges.”

Leo Tolstoy 1828 – 1910 CE

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“Political leaders are never leaders. For leaders we have to look to the Awakeners! Lao Tse, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Milarepa, Gurdjiev, Krishnamurti.”

Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 CE
from My Bike & Other Friends (1977)

Themes: Leadership

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“Christ is not the lifeless harmless image he has hitherto been to you, but a rallying center for revolutionary influence which all established States and Churches fight”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare

Themes: Government

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“Jesus could have been an ordinary, deluded creature.”

Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939 CE

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“Like Jesus, whom he blasphemed, admired, and at times resembled, Shelley would take no thought for the morrow. He stood to lose personally from the social revolution he preached... Unlike the average radical, then, Shelley didn’t just challenge social taboos; he openly violated them, living his personal life in accordance with unpopular principles like equality, women’s rights, and free love. As a result, he became so reviled in England that he had to emigrate”

Adam Kirsch 1976 CE –
from The New Yorker

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“Plato believed in moral beauty for a few aristocratic souls. Jesus Christ brings that beauty to the man in the street.”

William L. Watkinson 1838 – 1925 CE
Well-known and accomplished Christian preacher

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“And Christ himself, who preached the life of love, was yet as lonely as any man that ever lived.”

Thomas Wolfe 1900 – 1938 CE
(Thomas Clayton Wolfe)
Father of autobiographical fiction
from Anatomy of Lonliness, 1941

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“Jesus—the best, the smartest, the most loving, the least sentimental, the most unimitative master— realized there is no separation from God... who in the Bible besides Jesus knew—knew—that we're carrying the Kingdom of Heaven around with us, inside, where we're all too goddam stupid and sentimental and unimaginative to look?”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE
from Franny and Zooey

Themes: Sacred World

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“Jesus never became quite real for me, never quite acceptable, never quite lovable... a god of death, helpful, it is true, in that he scared away the terrors of the night, but himself uncanny, a crucified and bloody corpse. Secretly, his love and kindness which I always heard praised, appeared doubtful to me”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

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“No life in the whole history of man has been so misinterpreted, so woefully misunderstood as Christ's. If not a single Man has shown himself capable of following the example of Christ, and doubtless none ever will for we shall no longer have need of Christs, nevertheless this one profound example has altered our climate.”

Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 CE
from Wisdom of the Heart (1941)​​

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