F RITHJOF   S CHUON   A rchive

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Selected Books by
Frithjof Schuon

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A Resource On Frithjof Schuon's Life & Teachings
Extract from “Contents and Containers”

What do we see around us? Beings with their thoughts and desires; forms and contents. Everywhere there is nothing but forms and contents: forms unaware that they reflect Form as such, the universal Receptacle of the divine Presence, and contents unaware that they should be this Presence and that they indirectly reflect this Content.

The universal, primordial, and normative form is the pure and perfect ego—body and soul—and the universal, primordial, and normative content is the Intellect or contemplation, or the spiritual activity it involves. We could also say that the perfect form is the soul emptied of everything except spiritual content; this content is the revealed Symbol, the divine Name, which is the support of both discernment and concentration, both truth and love.

By remembering God, man no longer lives in his own form, strictly speaking; he lives in all forms, which means that he lives in none or that he is identified with the universal Form and thereby lives in the divine Content. Man must not seek to live in himself; he must let God live in him.

The perfect container is simple in and through the Remembrance of God, for not having any individual form there is nothing to distinguish it in particular; it is unique, for being every form—in and through the primordial Form—it is without a second; it is central, for not wandering from one phenomenon to another it is “here” and not “elsewhere”; it is actual, for being neither “before” nor “after” it is always “now”; and it is subtle, for not having a substance made opaque and heavy by individual coagulation it is transparent and light, which caused a Hindu sage to say that the delivered one possesses only a subtle body. In this way the perfect container realizes poverty in form, number, space, time, and substance, symbolically speaking.

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