We know very well that we have ancestors. But our ancestors are not only human. We have animal ancestors; we have plant ancestors; and we have mineral ancestors. Our human ancestors are still very young. Human beings appeared very late in the history of life on Earth. Our animal ancestors are still there within us. The reptile, the fish, and the ape are still in our blood. Not only were they part of us in the past, but they continue to exist within us. Just look deeply into your cells. We see that we are the whole history of life.
Thech Nháº¥t Háº¡nh
To the feudal aristocracy and the aristocracy of the spirit, nobility derives from diametrically opposite sources. The glory of the feudal aristocrat is in being a link in the longest possible chain of ancestors. The glory of the aristocrat of the spirit is in having no ancestors - or having as few as possible. If an artist is his own ancestor, if he has only descendents, he enters history as a genius; if he has few ancestors, or is related to them distantly, he enters history as a talent.
And we shall most likely be defeated, and you will most likely be victors in the contest, if you learn so to order your lives as not to abuse or waste the reputation of your ancestors, knowing that to a man who has any self-respect, nothing is more dishonourable than to be honoured, not for his own sake, but on account of the reputation of his ancestors.
If you abandon your two glasses of wine, it is to show your children, your friends, and your society that your life is not only for yourself. Your life is for your ancestors, future generations, and also your society. To stop drinking two glasses of wine every week is a very deep practice, even if it has not brought you any harm. That is the insight of a bodhisattva who knows that everything she does is done for all her ancestors and future generations... In modern life, people think that their body belongs to them and they can do anything they want to it... This is one of the manifestations of individualism. But, according to the teaching of emptiness, your body is not yours. Your body belongs to your ancestors, your parents, and future generations. It also belongs to society and to all other living beings. All of them have come together to bring about the presence of this body-the trees, clouds, everything. Keeping your body healthy is to express gratitude to the whole cosmos, to all ancestors, and also not to betray the future generations, " (64-65).
Thech Nháº¥t Háº¡nh
But what about you? Have you prayed about your own ancestors' work? Set aside those things in your life that don't really matter. Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences. Perhaps you have been prompted to look for ancestors but feel you are not a genealogist. Can you see that you don't have to be anymore? It all begins with love and a sincere desire to help those beyond the veil who can't help themselves. Check around. There will be someone in your area who can help you have success.
Richard G. Scott
Thousands of years ago, when our ancestors encountered a predatory animal like a lion, it was best to react immediately and not stand around thinking about the lion, admiring its beauty or wondering why it was bothering them instead of tracking down some tasty antelope. Thus, the fast track to the amygdala kept our ancestors alive.
John B. Arden
When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.
Whether as living humans or as mythological figures, ancestors have always played an important role in the African popular and literary imagination. Sometimes, as in Amos Tutuola's famous short novels, they directly influence events. More often, as in the works of Chinua Achebe, both living and dead ancestors are sages offering valuable advice.
X is not my real name, but if you study history you'll find why no black man in the western hemisphere knows his real name. Some of his ancestors kidnapped our ancestors from Africa, and took us into the western hemisphere and sold us there. And our names were stripped from us and so today we don't know who we really are. I am one of those who admit it and so I just put X up there to keep from wearing his name.
If you are proud of your descent from virtuous ancestors, how empty their virtue will leave your hands if you yourself are not virtuous. How little pride your ancestors will have in you in this world and the next if you do no good! All men are children of Adam whom Allah created by His own Hands, giving him paradise for a dwelling place and letting His angels bow down before him. But how little is the advantage from this since all the vices dwell in mankind and all the wicked impious people are among their number.
Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors. This is because the celestial organization of heaven is based on families. The First Presidency has encouraged members, especially youth and young single adults, to emphasize family history work and ordinances for their own family names or the names of ancestors of their ward and stake members. We need to be connected to both our roots and branches. The thought of being associated in the eternal realm is indeed glorious.
Quentin L. Cook
I always encourage them to practice in a way that will help them go back to their own tradition and get re-rooted. If they succeed at at becoming reintegrated, they will be an important instrument in transforming and renewing their tradition... When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.
Thech Nháº¥t Háº¡nh
Here it is necessary briefly to consider the question of the cult of ancestors before venturing farther. The spirits of the departed are believed to be possessed of supernatural powers which they did not enjoy in the flesh. They may also be dissatisfied or malignant in consequence of being suddenly deprived of life, and if they are neglected by the living, are apt to be revengeful. Therefore they must be cajoled and propitiated. Fear of beings belonging to a mysterious state or sphere of which he knew nothing continually haunted and terrified primitive man and induced in him what is known as" the dread of the sacred." It was every man's personal duty to attend to the demands or requirements of his deceased ancestors. At first he would succour his own immediate forebears with food and gifts; but it must have been borne in upon him that when his parents joined the great majority, the care of the spirits of their parents likewise devolved upon him... and, by degrees, he might even come to regard himself as responsible for the well-being of a line of spirit ancestors of quite formidable genealogy. These, through his neglect, might starve in their tombs; or, alternatively, they might crave his company. Because of vengeance or loneliness they might send disease upon him, for the savage almost invariably believes illness to be brought about by the action of jealous or neglected ancestors. The loneliness of the spirit-world is the dead man's greatest excuse for desiring the company of his descendants.
And in those same years, the farmers in the developing world would come to be encouraged to use the patented descendants of the seeds their ancestors had once freely shared. And once they did that, once they bought the new seed and stopped saving seed as they had for centuries, they not only lost the old varieties but they were trapped in a system that indentured them to the seed companies. And if they resisted buying the new seeds, even if they resisted because they were not convinced about the safety of the new seeds, they were told they were causing starvation in their countries. And if they thought to demand royalties for the germplasm their ancestors once had given freely, they were called greedy.
The fifth stage is one of waste and squandering. In this stage, the ruler wastes on pleasures and amusements the treasures accumulated by his ancestors, through excessive generosity to his inner circle. Also, he acquires bad low-class followers to whom he entrusts the most important matters of state, which they are not qualified to handle by themselves, not knowing which of them they should tackle and which they should leave alone. The ruler seeks to destroy the great clients of his people and followers of his predecessors. (...)Thus, he ruins the foundations his ancestors had laid and tears down what they had built up. In this stage, the dynasty is seized by senility and the chronic disease from which it can hardly ever rid itself, for which it can find no cure, and eventually it is destroyed.