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Morals Of Mani

This may be a somewhat long post as I will be elaborating on Manichean ethics and some of our church practices. This will mostly be me drawing and reciting from texts rather than giving you a summation entirely in my own words, because it has already been stated eloquently, I’ll just condense it down a bit.Of course for our laity, the hearers we have our basic religious requirements, commandments, prayer, alms, fasting, confession. These are each fairly straightforward and don’t need too many specifics to get the gist, those specifics can be found readily available elsewhere as well.The Ten Commandments are important obviously, those being: 1.Renouncing idolatry

2. Truthfulness

3. Renouncing avarice

4. Renouncing killing

5. Renouncing adultery

6. Renouncing Theft

7. Renouncing blasphemy

8. Renouncing doublemindedness about the faith

9. Renouncing slothfulness

10. Renouncing the practice of magicAgain many of these are fairly straightforward as well. Next for our elect we have a secondary set of commandments, those being:1. Truthfulness                                       

2. Non-injury                                         

3. Chastity                                             

4. Purity of mouth

5. Blessed poverty


Again these are also fairly straightforward, explanations and specifics can again be found elsewhere. We next have the three seals.


1. The seal of the hands


2. Seal of the Mouth.


3. Seal of the Breast.


These three are further emphasis on some of the commandments, these are also particularly applicable to our Elect.


The seal of the hands is essentially an emphasis on the second commandment for the Elect.


The seal of the mouth is emphasis on the first and fourth commandments for the Elect.


The seal of the breast is further emphasis on the third commandment for the Elect.



Further at the expense of possibly seeming redundant I will cite the incomplete sutra of Manichaeism, the Traite. The Traite offers a very nice and more elaborated account of Manichean ethics. The following below is simply the text from the Traite.



1. Not speaking falsely about others' faults and not engaging in slander or gossip: These individuals refrain from spreading rumors or engaging in backbiting. They possess a gentle and compassionate nature and maintain integrity.



2. Endurance: Those who possess the quality of endurance have a steadfast nature and do not easily become angry or harbor resentment. They consistently maintain a joyful and non-hostile attitude.



3. Straightforwardness: These individuals have a straightforward and honest nature. They do not hold grudges or seek to harm others through harsh speech. They use gentle words to communicate and promote harmony.



4. Trustworthiness: They are not bound by afflictions and find joy and clarity in a pure and straightforward mind. They receive and accept advice from others with respect and gratitude, and they do not harbor anger or resentment. Their actions align with their words, and they do not seek fault in others to engage in disputes or competition.



5. Harmonious relationships: They maintain harmonious relationships with their Dharma brothers and sisters. If there are differences in under-standing the teachings, they distance themselves from those who hold diver-gent views and do not form alliances that would cause discord among virtuous practitioners.



6. Cultivation of merits: Those who possess the quality of cultivating merits ensure that their speech does not harm others. They constantly speak with kindness, skillfulness, and compassion, bringing joy to all. Their minds remain pure and free from hatred, and their speech is gentle, avoiding the four kinds of unwholesome speech. They do not envy or become jealous of others, whether they are superior or inferior. They do not take away the disciples, scriptures, or wealth of others. Wherever they go, they dwell in a clean and joyful abode without being attached to luxurious clothing or possessions. They always rejoice in teaching and guiding all beings, employing skillful means and wisdom to help them cultivate the right path.



7. Unity of hearts: Those who possess the quality of unity of hearts have unwavering faith and reverence towards the wisdom and skillful means taught by the Dharma masters, such as Maudgalyayana and Purna. They wholeheartedly follow their teachings without daring to alter or deviate from them. They do not hold personal views as absolute.



8. Joy in harmony: They always find joy in living together harmoniously with others. They do not wish to be separate or have different agendas. They foster unity and harmony, which leads to the mutual development of virtues and accomplishments. They receive respectful offerings and support from those who listen to their teachings. They are loved, praised, and respected. They derive joy from distancing themselves from frivolous disputes, mockery, and arguments, and they skillfully protect internal and external harmony.



9. Clarity in both internal and external matters: They possess clarity in both internal and external affairs. They skillfully remove impure thoughts, preventing greed and desire from hindering their clear understanding. They do not become entangled by sensual desires and do not succumb to the allure of worldly pleasures, as a bird flying high above does not become entangled in a net.



10. Contentment: They do not develop deep attachments to specific listeners or become overly attached to the families of those who listen to their teachings. They are willing to let go as if it were their own. If they see worldly people outside the Dharma experiencing loss or distress, their hearts do not become saddened. Similarly, if they receive benefits or experience joy, their hearts remain unaffected.



11. Mindful of impermanence and equality: They constantly contemplate the difficulties, suffering, and dangers of the end of life. They contemplate the transient nature of all phenomena and the impartiality of death. They never abandon this contemplation, even for a moment.



12. Gentleness: They are gentle in their behavior, not provoking their Dharma brothers and sisters or scholars to anger. They do not cause anger or animosity. They do not seek recognition for themselves or wish for others to have a bad reputation. They always maintain a composed mind and abide in the pure Dharma.



Well stated from the Traite, next we can turn to the Hearer and Elect confessionals. They are far too long to copy and paste here so these I will sum up myself.


Many of these are especially religious activities, which are of another matter, here I will be focusing mostly on important morals of Manichaeism.


One of the main tenets of our faith is non-violence. Non-violence applies not just to our fellow brothers and sisters, but to all life, all animals and plants are deserving of kind treatment as we mustn’t harm any of the light. Of course sadly in our modern era it is very difficult to not harm anything to the fullest extent, but it is our duty as Manicheans to strive for the ultimate sanctity and standard of complete non-violence.


Manichaeism has an emphasis on brother and sisterhood, we all have light within us and as such we are all deserving of kind behavior, it is our duty to strive to create harmonious relationships with our communities, to actively help others within our community and contribute as best we can to all.


We must never knowingly lie, we must never act as witnesses for the dishonest, and we must never persecute the innocent. We mustn’t create rumors and gossip to cause harm to our community, we mustn’t steal and most certainly should not be succumbing to the fruits of lust.



Our morals as Manicheans are reiterated again and again throughout our texts, I hope this very simplified summary of examples of our morals showcased in our texts helps bring clarity and understanding.



May the light guide you.

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Paulo Cruz
Paulo Cruz
May 19

Let ever the Light be on us all, to get through, and overcome this terrible place, where our souls are exiled, imprisoned and scattered ! As that is the Will of the God-Father (Roshan Pidar), of the Mother (Spenta Zindag Madar) and of the Son (Ohrmazd)! On the Names of the Prophets!

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What does “blessed poverty” entail, in practice?

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In modernity it means the renunciation of avarice and greed and hoarding wealth, not lusting after frivolous material possessions and needing the next pointless product. It should be understood that any wealth an Elect or member of the church acquires should be put to the use of bettering the lives of others. Certainly, one needs to withhold some for themselves to live comfortably but it mustn't be excessive. Think of the mega-church preachers, a perfect example of the corruption of other churches. Living a modest lifestyle is what is to be expected of a Manichean. in antiquity this would have looked like being a nomad unable to care for themselves in any way (the Elect). Now, however, that wouldn't quite…

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