The Way Home
These pages offer definitions to help visitors to this site understand what we think we are saying. They are not exactly dictionary or encyclopedia definitions, although some of it will be drawn from those sources, but rather explanations of what we mean by certain words.
Here you will find words beginning with the letters D, E, and F. To jump to other pages, please click on the appropriate link above. If you are looking for a particular word, please click on “Words Index” or on the green circle below, where you will find an index of all the words defined in these pages. For a partial list of our sources, go here.
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DE MELLO: Anthony De Mello (1931-1987) was a Jesuit priest serving as director of the Sadhana Institute of Pastoral Counseling near Poona, India. His teaching takes the form primarily (but not only) of stories, parables, and meditations. De Mello’s work has been translated into several languages, and is available worldwide in numerous books and tapes, and on many websites (for example, http://www.elsajoy.com/spiritus.html). A search of his name on any of the internet search engines (like Google) yields dozens of responses. Some of De Mello’s teachings divert from those of his Church (for example, he perceived Jesus as a Realized Master or Teacher, rather than as the Son of God in the orthodox sense), and they have therefore been officially declared “incompatible with the Catholic faith”.
DEVIL, SATAN, LUCIFER: Many (although not all) spiritual traditions include some reference to an “evil one”whose function or purpose is to trip us up. The problem TZF has with that understanding of the devil is this: If God is Infinite and if God is Good, then God’s Goodness is Infinite (for more on this idea, please see The Simple Way and The Creation of Self-Consciousness at TZF’s Consider This! and our book In The Beginning). But if God’s Goodness is Infinite, then how can there exist anything which is not-Good (or evil)? The traditional response to this question is that God created “freedom of choice”, and the devil chose to be not-Good (just as, in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition and others, Adam and Eve are said to have done in the Garden of Eden). But if the devil chose to be not-Good, then presumably in the beginning the devil was Good. In that case, the question becomes, How could a Good thing make a not-Good choice? And so on. Thus, our sense of the devil is this: The ego (our separative sense that “I am me, and you aren’t“ and “What’s mine is mine, and not yours”) creates a devil “out there” as a convenient (and, too often, convincing) target on which to project all our faults and for which to blame all our failures (“the devil made me do it”) and by which to justify all our fears and hatreds; in a word, the source of all the unhappy consequences of our own ill-advised choices. As seekers, we recognize that if there is a devil, he (it?) resides within ourselves, and that it is there we must resolve it, with the Teacher’s guidance, by Remembering our True Nature. In this context, then, we consider the devil more as Lucifer, whose name comes from two Latin words lux and ferre, meaning “the light bearer”; that is, one who, properly employed, sheds light on our own selves. The word “satan”, which we believe first appears in the Bible at Zechariah 3, comes from the Hebrew “ha satan”, which means “the accuser”. It is not a name but a title or a description of a function. In Zechariah (and similarly in Job), it is apparent that Satan resides in heaven along with God, and that Satan’s function is to identify and call attention to our shortcomings, not to entice us to do bad things (what does it say about us that we would imagine a God who would allow, much less create, should a thing!).
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DHAMMAPADA: Meaning “Path of True Doctrine” (in Pali), the Dhammapada is an element of Buddhist scripture. It consists of sayings and teachings attributed to the Buddha. For more, please see here and here.
DHARMA: From a Sanskrit word meaning to support, sustain, or uphold, dharma is the essential character or nature of all that is, of the universe and of each of us. Dharma is the natural and rightful order and foundation of everyone and everything. It is both why things are as they are and the path to awakening (that is, to the realization of why things are as they are), and as such, dharma is the underlying Truth of all spiritual traditions. Dharma and karma are intricately related; thus, think of dharma as one’s basic nature and destiny, and karma as the conditions in which and by which those play out. See also Noble Truths. In Buddhism, dharma is one of the Three Jewels, which are: the Buddha or Teacher; the dharma, which is the teaching and associated practices; and the sangha, the community of monks.
DHYANA: Although often this term refers to all meditation practices and particularly any meditative state in which the mind is totally concentrated on one idea or thing, dhyana specifically is that stage in meditation immediately preceding, leading directly to, or by which is attained, a state of consciousness in which all mental activity ceases and all sense of separative self (“I am me, and you aren’t”) disappears. See also here.
DOGEN: Known as Dogen Zenji (for “Zen Master”), Dogen (1200-1253) is Japan’s greatest Zen master. Born to a noble family, he traveled to China, where he reached enlightenment under a Ch’an teacher. Later, on his return, he introduced one of the most important Zen traditions to Japan. For more, please click here.
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ECKHART: Born in Germany, Meister (“master” in German, for Master of Theology) Johannes Eckhart (1260-1327) was a Dominican monk, and a mystic. His teaching, most of which is in the form of sermons, some of which were considered heretical by the Roman Catholic church in his time, is powerful, clear, convincing, and inspiring. Perhaps most frequently quoted: “The eye by which I see God is the same eye by which He sees me. My eye and the eye of God are one eye, one vision, one knowledge, and one love”. For book titles related to Eckhart, please click here.
MARY BAKER EDDY: This extraordinary woman (1821–1910) was the founder of Christian Science, a powerful perspective that, drawing from the Teachings of Jesus, articulates and clarifies the certain relationship between the mind’s focus and the health of the body. For more, see her book Science and Health with Key to The Scriptures (First Church of Christ, Scientist), available at any Christian Science Reading Room, or visit their website here. Here are four other sites of interest: http://www.thebookmark.com/, http://www.mulberrypress.com/, http://www.christianscience.org/, http://www.angelfire.com/realm/csu/, and here are some book titles related to Mrs. Eddy.
FENG SHUI: Composed of the Chinese words for wind and water, feng shui (pronounced ’fung shway’) is the ancient Chinese art of recognizing and utilizing the relationship between one’s harmony, health, and prosperity, and the physical placement and layout of dwellings, other buildings, and other stuff. Feng shui is not exactly geomancy, which is a form of divination or fortune telling by geography or other earth considerations, but it is related to it. Feng shui is based on the premise that ch’i, the universal life principle upon which we and all things depend for existence, flows according to certain rules, patterns, and contours; and prosperity of all kinds comes to those who conform their lives to them. Lots of books about feng shui are on the market; here are a few.
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FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM, HAJJ/HADJ: The Five Pillars, or fundamental policy and practice, of Islam are: (1) The Shahada or declaration of faith: “None has the right to be worshipped except God [sometimes stated as: There is no god worthy of worship except God], and Muhammad is His messenger” (in Arabic “la ilaha illa Llah Muhammadun rasulu’Llah”); (2) Obligatory prayers, called Salat, performed five times daily; (3) Charity, Sakat, in the form of almsgiving and/or charitable work; (4) Self-purification or Ramadan through fasting (see here), and (5) The pilgrimage or Hajj (sometimes Hadj) to Mecca (sometimes Makkah) at least once in a lifetime by those who are able. See also Jihad, Muhammad.
FRANCIS & CLARE: Christened Giovanni Bernardone, later renamed Francesco, Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1286) is the founder of the Franciscan monastic order, and one of Italy’s, the world’s, most beloved saints. Born to a wealthy family, Francis lived extravagantly until his early twenties, when he felt inwardly called to a religious life. In 1212, Francis was joined by Clare (1194-1253), the daughter of a noble family in Assisi. Born Chiara Offreduccio, Clare is founder of the Poor Clares, a monastic order for women structured along Franciscan lines. See also “A Canticle” in The Quiet Room. Our favorite biography of Francis is Donald Spoto’s, about which please click here; for other titles about St. Francis click here, about St. Clare click here.
Most recent update: December 5, 2015
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