Detachment does not consist in
setting fire to one’s house...

Detachment does not consist in setting fire to one’s house, or becoming bankrupt or throwing one’s fortune out of the window, or even giving away all of one’s possessions. Detachment consists in refraining from letting our possessions possess us.


ryran said...

Good one! Never heard it before.
Nice job with the second version of the pic, too. ;P

Gaijin21 said...

Thanks! I thought this quote might tickle some people. I try to find quotes that are not so commonly used because many Baha'is start to think "I've heard them all before." 'Abdu'l-Baha occasionally uses subtle (ans sometimes not so subtle) humor in speeches and tablets, it sure is fun finding them. I think this would be a graet one to quote in discussions. The part that I bolded is very straight to the point and good to keep in mind. It is interesting how sometimes our life decisions are influenced by our possessions.

Also, thank you for the comment on the picture. Fire by itself just didn't carry the humor. I had to let the picture carry some meaning. Who knows, I might someday see this creation resurface at some fire fighter’s website.

BTW, here are some titles that I rejected:

"In case you didn't know, you shouldn't set your house on fire to prove you are detached" (Too long)

"No, setting your house on fire is not a sign of detachment"

"Stupidity is not the same as Detachment."

“Are you possessed?”
(If I used this one, I might have made a picture of a Ghost coming out of a TV or something.)

But, after thinking, I decided to not confuse people by adding my own words.

Anonymous said...


Gaijin21 said...

I found a note on this book which I was not aware of before. I think this information would be important for readers to know.
Online edition provided by Robert Stauffer, 1998, proofread by T. Lovejoy, formatted by J. Winters. Copies of this book are no longer available at the address given on the title page, nor has it been reprinted since the 1916 and 1918 printings.

Eunice Braun, in Know Your Baha'i Literature (1968), writes: "In 1936 the Guardian wrote to the NSA not to make a new edition of this work because 'this book has in large part been taken from notes recorded at the time but which do not constitute an authentic text of the Master's word's.'" (page 11) At the same time, the book concludes with the colophon "Approved by Bahai committee on publications." William Collins, in his Bibliography of English-Language Works on the Babi and Baha'i Faiths, writes: "[this is] a collection of wisdom attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha. Sources are not indicated for most of the items and some of the quotations are questionable, thus lessening the value of this compilation. It does, nevertheless, give a sense of how early Western Baha'is were introduced to the teachings of their faith." (p. 10)

Anonymous said...

Belive it or not I very nearly set alight my small house. Save the fact that I have a close neighbour, and unsure if my land-lord had insurance. But having read these words I have grown past that drastic action!