Scriptures describe the virtues of a person who is one with the absolute, who is firmly established in truth, who is without sin or bondage to worldly corruption, and who exhibits the fullness of sanctifying grace. He or she may be called a saint, a sage, a Buddha, or a divine man. this state of perfection is not beyond our reach; it is a goal to be attained, if we only make the effort. Gandhi once said, “Life is an aspiration. its mission is to strive after perfection, which is self-realization. The ideal must not be lowered because of our weaknesses or imperfections.”
The passages in this section describe the excellent qualities of a person who has attained the state of perfection. Three characteristics of perfection in particular stand out: the first is mind-body unity. The saint has dominion over him or herself, having overcome selfish desires and been purified of any feelings of lust, greed or other cravings. As a result, he only wishes to do what is right—in accord with God’s will and the dictates of conscience. In Saint Augustine’s words, he is one who can “love God and do what you will.”
Second, perfection is a state of unity with God. God is the pattern and model for the highest human aspirations. Thus, the saint participates in God’s own perfection and comes to embody God’s attributes—absoluteness, unchangeability, compassion, righteousness, etc. Third, perfection means to embody God’s true love. Love or compassion is the core of God’s being, as expressed in his untiring efforts to save sinful people. Therefore, a man or woman of perfection delights in the well-being of others and selflessly works for their benefit. saintly love has no partiality, regards no one as an enemy, but always repays evil with good. (See also chapter 13: True Love.)
“3 aspects of perfection: mind and body unity, state of unity with God, embody God’s true love.”
- Perfection Begins with Unity of Mind and Body
A novice asked the Buddha, “What is goodness and what is greatness?” The Buddha replied, “To follow the Way and hold to what is true is good. When the will is in conformity with the
Way, that is greatness.”
Sutra of Forty-two Sections 15 (Buddhism)
“The will is important for the establishment of the Way!”
None of you truly believes until his inclination is in accordance with what I have brought.
Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 41 (Islam)
One who is rich in the enlightenment will not indulge in any sinful action, since his conscience is guided by the intellect fully illumined with Truth.
Acarangasutra 1.174 (Jainism)
“The conscience can only be guided by the enlightenment of Truth!”
Whose minds are well perfected in the Factors of Enlightenment, who, without clinging, delight in the giving up of grasping, they, the corruption-free, shining ones, have attained Nibbana
even in this world.
Dhammapada 89 (Buddhism)
“The condition to attain the Nirvana (or Nibban) are all these factors.”
He whose senses are subdued, like steeds well-trained by a charioteer, he whose pride is destroyed and is free from the corruptions—such a steadfast one even the gods hold dear.
Like the earth, a balanced and well-disciplined person resents not… He is like a pool, unsullied
by mud; to such a balanced one, life’s wanderings do not arise.
Calm is his mind, calm is his speech, calm is his action, who, rightly knowing, is wholly freed [from defilements], perfectly peaceful and equipoised.
The man who is not credulous but truly understands the Uncreated (Nibbana), who has cut off the links, who has put an end to occasion [of good and evil], who has eschewed all desires, he indeed is a supreme man.
Dhammapada 94-97 (Buddhism)
Arjuna: Tell me of those who live established in wisdom, ever aware of the Self, O Krishna. How do they talk? How sit? How move about?
Lord Krishna: They live in wisdom who see themselves in all and all in them, who have
renounced every selfish desire and sense craving tormenting the heart.
Neither agitated by grief nor hankering after pleasure, they live free from lust and fear and anger. Established in meditation, they are truly wise. Fettered no more by selfish attachments, they are neither elated by good fortune nor depressed by bad. Such are the seers.
Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs, the wise can draw in their senses at will. Aspirants
abstain from sense pleasures, but they still crave for them. These cravings all disappear when they see the highest goal. Even of those who tread the path, the stormy senses can sweep off the mind. They live in wisdom who subdue their senses and keep their minds ever absorbed in Me.
Bhagavad-Gita 2.54-61 (Hinduism)
Abu Huraira reported God’s Messenger as saying, “The believers whose faith is most perfect
are those who have the best character.”
Hadith of Abu Dawud and Darimi (Islam)
The monk who has destroyed the cankers, lived the life, done what was to be done, laid down the burden, won the goal, burst the bonds of becoming, and is freed by the fullness of gnosis, cannot transgress nine standards: a monk in whom the cankers are destroyed cannot deliberately take the life of any living thing; cannot, with intention to steal, take what is not given; cannot indulge in carnal intercourse; cannot intentionally tell a lie; cannot enjoy pleasures from memories as of yore when a householder; a monk in whom the cankers are destroyed cannot go astray through desire; cannot go astray through hate; cannot go astray through delusion; cannot go astray through fear.
Anguttara Nikaya 4.370 (Buddhism)
He who has achieved it cannot either be drawn into friendship or repelled,
Cannot be benefited, cannot be harmed,
Cannot either be raised or humbled,
And for that reason is highest of all creatures under heaven.
Tao Te Ching 56 (Taoism)
Teachings of Sun Myung Moon
“Before you desire to have dominion over the universe, you should first have dominion over yourself”: This is the first article in the life of faith. To attain self-perfection you should have dominion over your self. In other words, you should reach the state of self-mastery, controlling your body, with no conflict or opposition between your mind and body. (37:122, December 23, 1970)
“Like Paul who says that he wants to do good things, but his body is tempted to do evil, the first step to perfection is mind and body unity.”
“If we follow some conditions (like fasting, praying), it is a way to put the mind in priority.”
The structure of a human being consists of dual aspects: mind and body. The mind relates to the vertical standard, while the body relates to the horizontal standard. Had human beings attained God’s ideal standard at the beginning, always receiving God’s love, then whenever the bell of God’s love would ring in their vertical mind, their bodies on the earth plane would resonate with it and feel everything. Whenever the mind-like spirit self resonated vertically with true love, the body on the horizontal plane would naturally respond.
When you strike an “A” on a tuning fork, it sends waves of a certain frequency through space, and when they match the frequency of another object, that object sends its waves back. This is called resonance. Likewise, there is resonance between the mind and the body at the frequency of love. When love strikes the mind or spirit self, the body responds. Had human beings not fallen, it would have been this way. By what standard would resonance occur? The resonant frequency has to be true love. (177:216, May 20, 1988)
“Ideally, we would have the harmonious relationship of the mind and body. When the two are in unity, there are no conflicts.”
When your mind and body become one, God will be with you. This is a fundamental principle. Why would God be with you at that point? Because that is where love is. Love begins when mind and body become one. For love to flow, subject and object are necessary. Therefore, God is with the person who has established mind-body unity. Then his or her body becomes God’s temple.
What sort of place is God’s temple? It is a place of Sabbath rest. In what can God rest? Love. God’s temple is the place to rest in the love of God.
The highest human aspiration is to abide in the place of love—the world of heart. It is like a fountain: there is no end to love no matter how much pours out. Why does love have no end? Because God dwells there. (91:78, January 30, 1977)
God is like pure gold; there is nothing false about God. What should we do to be united with God? We should not be false people. That means our mind and body should be united, just as God’s [internal nature and external form are united]. That is the meaning of Matthew 5:48: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (91:321, March 1, 1977)
Each member of the family first needs to perfect his or her individual character. This requires removing the fallen nature, which has been passed down through the generations since the Human Fall. In other words, each person must be victorious in the struggle between the mind and the body. Then the world of harmony will bear fruit in that individual’s perfected character—a state of one heart, one mind and one thought. Fallen nature, which causes jealousy, envy, greed, hatred and all other evils, will never again take root in a person who has achieved that state. (March 23, 2004)
The purpose of religion is to cultivate people of character who live by the laws of the world of the heart and all the principles of the cosmos, and thereby govern the emotions of life. (6:349, May 24, 1959)
Unless you can perfectly love yourself, you cannot perfectly love God. (22:97-98, January 26, 1969)
“It is like the commandment from Jesus ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself’”.
Written by Noëmie Komagata-Nguyen