Today’s Multifaith Mashup focuses on the Psalm 1 passage found in the Revised Common Lectionary selections for Sunday, May 13, 2018. Here’s the passage.
1:1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
1:2 but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night.
1:3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
1:4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
1:6 for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
One of the themes found in this passage — a correct/righteous path vs. an incorrect/wicked path — shows up in several other faith traditions.
Islam — Qur’an
The Qur’an is full of references about following the correct/righteous path, frequently translated as “the straight path.” In fact, the very first chapter, which is only a few verses in length, speaks to this issue directly.
Chapter 1 (al-Fatiha/The Opening; Pickthall translation)
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgment,
Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.
Show us the straight path,
The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.
Here is another passage that talks about those who follow the “straight path” vs. those who don’t.
Chapter 10 (Yunus/Jonah), Verses 25-27 (Sahih International translation)
And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path.
For them who have done good is the best [reward] and extra. No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation. Those are companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.
But they who have earned [blame for] evil doings – the recompense of an evil deed is its equivalent, and humiliation will cover them. They will have from Allah no protector. It will be as if their faces are covered with pieces of the night – so dark [are they]. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.
Buddhism — Dhammapada
The idea of a “path” also figures prominently in the Buddhist tradition. First, the Buddhist Dhammapada, which is a collection of sayings attributed to the Buddha, himself, is most easily translated as “path of the dharma/teachings.”
Second, there is the eight-fold path — a list of eight Buddhist practices that will liberate a person from the cycle of rebirth. The list of practices includes things like: right view, right speech, right action, and right mindfulness. The eight-fold path is often represented as a wheel with eight spokes, a symbol known as the dharmachakra.
This excerpt, taken from chapter 21 of the Dhammapada, talks about the value of meditation (see Psalm 1:2) and about the distinction between “the good” and “the wicked.” Interestingly, the chapter before this one is called The Path. You can read it here.
Dhammapada, Pakinnakavagga (21), Verses 299-301, 303-304
(Buddharakkhita Thera translation, Buddhist Publication Society, 2007)
Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily who day and night constantly practice Mindfulness of the Body.
Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily whose minds by day and night delight in the practice of non-violence.
Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily whose minds by day and night delight in the practice of meditation.
He who is full of faith and virtue, and possesses good repute and wealth — he is respected everywhere, in whatever land he travels.
The good shine from afar, like the Himalaya mountains. But the wicked are unseen, like arrows shot in the night.
Thanks for reading!
Multifaith Mashup provides passages from the writings/sacred texts of other faith traditions that match an excerpt from the Biblical lections offered in the Revised Common Lectionary. Multifaith Mashup is published on Tuesdays and focuses on the lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday. Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.