Manuscript Found in Accra
Manuscript Found in Accra is a 2012 novel by Paulo Coelho, presented as a translation of a text recorded on the eve of Jerusalem's conquest by the Crusaders in 1099 AD, consisting of commentary provided by "the Greek ('Copt')" which was recorded as a way to preserve the knowledge found in the hearts of Jerusalem's men and women of good will.
Preface and Greeting
- The papyruses are Greek translations of texts written between the end of the First century BC and AD 180, and they constitute a body of work also known as the Apocryphal Gospels because they are not included in the Bible as we know it today.
- In AD 170, a group of bishops met to decide which texts would form part of the New Testament... books, like those found in Nag Hammadi, were omitted either because they were written by women (for example, the Gospel according to Mary Magdalene) or because they depicted a Jesus who was aware of His divine mission and whose passage through death would, therefore, be less drawn out and painful.
- In 1974, the English archaeologist Sir Walter Wilkinson discovered another manuscript, this time written in three languages: Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin. Conscious of the laws protecting such finds in the region, he sent the text to the Department of Antiquities in the Museum of Cairo. Shortly afterward, back came a response: there were at least 155 copies of the document circulating in the world (three of which belonged to the museum), and they were all practically identical.
- Carbon-14 tests (used to determine the age of organic matter) revealed that the document was relatively recent, possibly as late as AD 1307. It was easy enough to trace its origin to the city of Accra, outside Egyptian territory....
- I met Sir Walter’s son in 1982, at Christmas...We maintained a cordial relationship over the years and...On 30 November 2011, I received a copy of the text that he had mentioned at that first meeting. I transcribe it here.
- Now that I am at the end of my life, I leave for those who come after me everything that I learned while I walked the face of this Earth. May they make good use of it... tomorrow, life will undertake to separate us, and we must each set must each set off in search of our own path, our own destiny or our own way of facing death.
- A week ago, our commanders held a meeting. The French soldiers are infinitely superior and far better equipped than ours. We were given a choice: to abandon the city or fight to the death, because we will certainly be defeated. Most of us decided to stay.
- The Muslims are, at this moment, gathered at the Al-Aqsa mosque, the Jews chose to assemble their soldiers in Mihrab Dawud, and the Christians... were charged with defending the southern part of the city... Judging from the enemy’s movements, we assume that they will attack tomorrow morning, spilling our blood in the name of the Pope, the ‘liberation’ of the city and the ‘divine will’.
- This evening, in the same square where, a millennium ago, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, handed Jesus over to the mob to be crucified, a group of men and women of all ages went to see the Greek, whom we all know as the Copt. He did not seek to join any particular religion, and no one tried to persuade him otherwise. The Copt believes only in the present moment and what he calls Moira - the unknown god, the Divine Energy, responsible for a single law, which, if ever broken, will bring about the end of the world.
- Many centuries ago, a man was judged and condemned in this square... On the road to the right, while he was walking towards his death, he passed a group of women. When he saw them weeping, he said: “Weep not for me, weep for Jerusalem.” He prophesied what is happening now.
- As from tomorrow, harmony will become discord. Joy will be replaced by grief. Peace will give way to a war that will last into an unimaginably distant future... They can destroy the city, but they cannot destroy everything the city has taught us, which is why it is vital that this knowledge does not suffer the same fate as our walls, houses and streets.
- It isn’t the absolute truth about life and death, but the thing that helps us to live and confront the challenges of day-to-day life. It isn’t what we learn from books, which serves only to fuel futile arguments about what happened or will happen; it is the knowledge that lives in the hearts of men and women of good will...
- You will ask me questions and I will answer them. That is what the teachers of Ancient Greece did; their disciples would ask them questions about problems they had not considered before and the teachers would answer them... We will speak, therefore, about our daily lives, about the difficulties we have had to face. That is all the future will be interested in, because I do not believe very much will change in the next thousand years.’
- Does a leaf, when it falls from the tree in winter, feel defeated by the cold? The tree says to the leaf: “That’s the cycle of life. You may think you’re going to die, but you live on in me. It’s thanks to you that I’m alive, because I can breathe. It’s also thanks to you that I have felt loved, because I was able to give shade to the weary traveler. Your sap is in my sap; we are one thing.”
- Does a man who spent years preparing to climb the highest mountain in the world feel defeated when, on reaching that mountain, he discovers that nature has cloaked the summit in storm clouds? The man says... "...the weather will change and, one day, I will make it to the top. Meanwhile, you’ll still be here waiting for me.”
- Does a young man, rejected by his first love, declare that love does not exist? The young man says to himself: “I’ll find someone better able to understand what I feel. And then I will be happy for the rest of my days."
- In the cycle of nature there is no such thing as victory or defeat; there is only movement. The winter struggles to reign supreme, but in the end is obliged to accept spring’s victory, which brings with it flowers and happiness.
- The gazelle eats the grass and is devoured by the lion. It isn’t a matter of who is the strongest, but God’s way of showing us the cycle of death and resurrection. And within that cycle there are neither winners nor losers; there are only stages that must be gone through. When the human heart understands this, it is free and able to accept difficult times without being deceived by moments of glory.
- Both will pass. One will succeed the other. And the cycle will continue until we liberate ourselves from the flesh and find the Divine Energy.
- Ever since he fell in love for the first time and was rejected, he has known that this did not put an end to his ability to love. What is true in love is also true in war. Losing a battle or losing everything we thought we possessed will bring us moments of sadness. But when those moments pass, we will discover the hidden strength that exists in each of us, a strength that will surprise us and increase our self-respect... Only those who fail to recognize that inner strength will say, “I lost,” and be sad.
- Others, even though they were defeated and feel humiliated by the things the winners are saying about them, will allow themselves to shed a few tears but will never succumb to self-pity. They know that this is a merely a pause in the fighting and that, for the moment, they are at a disadvantage. They try to work out what they did wrong and what they did right. They take advantage of this moment of defeat to rest, heal their wounds, devise new strategies and equip themselves better. Then the day dawns when a new battle knocks on their door. They are still afraid, but they have to act, either that or remain for ever lying on the ground. They get up and face their opponent, remembering the suffering they have endured and which they no longer wish to endure...
- If victory is not theirs this time, it will be the next time. And if not the next time, then the time after that.
- The important thing is to get back on your feet. Only he who gives up is defeated. Everyone else is victorious.
The Defeated Ones
- The defeated are those who never fail... Defeat means that we lose a particular battle or war. Failure does not allow us to go on fighting... Defeat comes when we fail to get something we very much want. Failure does not allow us to dream. Its motto is: ‘Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed.’
- Defeat ends when we launch into another battle. Failure has no end: it is a lifetime choice. Defeat is for those who, despite their fears, live with enthusiasm and faith. Defeat is for the valiant. Only they will know the honour of losing and the joy of winning.
- I am not here to tell you that defeat is part of life: we all know that. Only the defeated know Love. Because it is in the realm of love that we fight our first battles and generally lose. I am here to tell you that there are people who have never been defeated. They are the ones who never fought... They managed to avoid scars, humiliations, a sense of helplessness, as well as those moments when even warriors doubt the existence of God.
- Such people can say with pride: I never lost a battle. On the other hand, they will never be able to say: I won a battle.
- Not that they care. They live in a universe in which they believe they are invulnerable; they close their eyes to injustices and to suffering; they feel safe because they do not have to deal with the daily challenges faced by those who risk stepping out beyond their own boundaries.
- Those who were never defeated seem happy and superior, masters of a truth they never had to lift a finger to achieve. They are always on the side of the strong. They’re like hyenas, who only eat the leavings of lions.
- They teach their children: ‘Don’t get involved in conflicts, you’ll only lose.
- Woe to those who were never beaten! They will never be winners in this life.
- Without solitude, Love will not stay long by your side... Without solitude, no plant or animal can survive, no soil can remain productive for any length of time, no child can learn about life, no artist can create, no work can grow and be transformed.
- Solitude is not the absence of Love, but its complement... Solitude is not the absence of company, but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life.
- Therefore, blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge.
- If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself.
- And if you do not know yourself, you will begin to fear the void. But the void does no*ecause with each day that passes, they will sink deeper into the well of their own limitations, and the time will come when they will lack the strength to climb out and rediscover the bright light shining in the opening above their head.
- And blessed be those who say: I’m not brave enough.’ Because they know that it is not someone else’s fault. And sooner or later, they will find the necessary faith to confront solitude and its mysteries.
- For those who are not frightened by the solitude that reveals all mysteries, everything will have a different taste.
- In solitude, they will discover the love that might otherwise arrive unnoticed. In solitude, they will understand and respect the love that left them... In solitude, they will be able to decide whether it is worth asking that lost love to come back or if they should simply let it go and set off along a new path... In solitude, they will learn that saying ‘No’ does not always show a lack of generosity and that saying ‘Yes’ is not always a virtue...
- The Divine Energy is listening to us when we speak to other people, but also when we are still and silent and able to accept solitude as a blessing.
- Just as Love is the divine condition, so solitude is the human condition. And for those who understand the miracle of life, those two states peacefully coexist.
- There are those who wake each morning with a heavy heart. They are not seekers after love, recognition or work. They say to themselves: ‘I’m useless. I live because I have to survive, but no one, absolutely no one, is interested in what I’m doing.’
- The poet writes a few lines, then throws them away, thinking: ‘Nobody’s going to be interested in that.’ .. The employee arrives for work and merely repeats the same tasks he did yesterday. He believes that, if he was ever dismissed, no one would even notice his absence... That feeling of uselessness is no respecter of age and never asks permission, but corrodes people’s souls, repeating over and over: ‘No one is interested in you, you’re nothing, the world doesn’t need your presence.’
- In a desperate attempt to give meaning to life, many turn to religion, because a struggle in the name of a faith is always a justification for some grand action, which could transform the world. ‘We are doing God’s work,’ they tell themselves. And they become devout followers, then evangelists, and finally, fanatics. They don’t understand that religion was created in order to share the mystery and to worship, not to oppress or convert others.
- Ask a flower in the field: ‘Do you feel useful? After all, you do nothing but produce the same flowers over and over?’ And the flower will answer: ‘I am beautiful, and beauty is my reason for living.’ ... Ask the river: ‘Do you feel useful, given that all you do is to keep flowing in the same direction?’ And the river will answer: ‘I’m not trying to be useful, I’m trying to be a river.’
- Nothing in this world is useless in the eyes of God. Not a leaf from a tree falls, not a hair from your head, not even an insect dies because it was of no use. Everything has a reason to exist.
- Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself: that is enough, and that makes all the difference... A life is never useless. Each soul that came down to Earth is here for a reason.
- The people who really help others are not trying to be useful, but are simply leading a useful life. They rarely give advice, but serve as an example.
- Do one thing: live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticising others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it.
Afraid to Change
- We are afraid to change because we think that, after much effort and sacrifice, we know our present world. And even though that world might not be the best of all worlds... When necessary, we will make a few minor adjustments so that everything continues the same.
- Dreaming carries no risks. The dangerous thing is trying to transform your dreams into reality.
- But the day will come when Fate knocks on our door. It might be the gentle tapping of the Angel of Good Fortune or the unmistakable rat-a-tat-tat of the Unwanted Visitor. They both say: ‘Change now!’ Not next week, not next month, not next year. The angels say: ‘Now!’ We always listen to the Unwanted Visitor. And we change everything because he scares us: we change village, habits, shoes, food, behaviour. We can’t convince the Unwanted Visitor to allow us to stay as we are. There is no discussion.
- Our neighbours expect us to teach everyone the virtue of perseverance, to struggle against adversity and overcome obstacles.’ And we feel proud of ourselves. And we are praised because we refuse to change, continuing, instead, in the direction Fate has chosen for us. Wrong. Because the correct path is the path of nature, which is constantly changing, like the dunes in the desert.
- Those who think that the mountains don’t change are wrong: they were born out of earthquakes, are eroded by wind and rain, and each day they are slightly different, even though we do not notice that change.
- Joy. That is one of the main blessings of the All-Powerful. If we are happy, we are on the right road.
- Fear gradually ebbs away, because it wasn’t given what it felt was its due importance.
- One question persists as we take our first steps along the path: ‘Will my decision to change make other people suffer?’ But if you love someone, then you want your beloved to be happy. You might feel frightened for him initially, but that feeling soon gives way to pride at seeing him doing what he wants to do and going where he always dreamed of going.
- When they are lying in their tents, unable to sleep and overwhelmed by sadness and regret, they say to themselves: Tomorrow, and only tomorrow, will I take another step. Besides, I can always turn back, because I know the road, but one more step won’t make much difference.’ Until one day, without warning, the road stops testing the traveller and begins to treat him generously. The traveller’s troubled spirit takes pleasure in the beauties and the challenges of the new landscape.
- What continues to trouble him is not what happens, but a fear that he won’t know how to deal with it. Once he has decided to follow his path and has no alternative, he discovers that he has great will power and that events bend to his decisions.
- The Unwanted Visitor visits those who don’t change and those who do. But those who did change can say: 'My life was an interesting one. I didn’t squander my blessing.’
- And to those who believe that adventures are dangerous, I say, try routine: that kills you far more quickly.
- People always say: ‘It’s inner beauty that matters, not outer beauty.’ Well, that’s not true. If it were, why would flowers put so much energy into attracting bees? And why would raindrops transform themselves into a rainbow when they encounter the sun? Because nature longs for beauty, and is only satisfied when beauty can be exalted.
- Outer beauty is inner beauty made visible, and it manifests itself in the light that flows from our eyes.
- Beauty is present in all creation, but the danger lies in the fact that, because we human beings are often cut off from the Divine Energy, we allow ourselves to be influenced by what other people think. We deny our own beauty because others can’t or won’t recognise it.
- One day, someone said: ‘You are ugly.’ Or: ‘She is pretty.’ With those three simple words, they stole away all our self-confidence. And we become ugly and embittered.
- According to that false wisdom, we should not be concerned about beauty because it is superficial and ephemeral. That isn’t true. All the beings created under the sun, from birds to mountains, from flowers to rivers, reflect the miracle of creation.
- If we resist the temptation to allow other people to define who we are, then we will gradually be able to let the sun inside our own soul shine forth.
- Love passes by and says: ‘I never noticed you before.’ And our soul responds: ‘Well, pay more attention, because here I am. It took a breeze to blow the dust from your eyes, but now that you have recognised me, don’t leave me again, because all of us desire beauty.’
- When the camel crosses the desert and takes us to the place we want to reach, we never say: ‘He’s humpbacked and has ugly teeth.’ We think: ‘He deserves my love for his loyalty and help. Without him, I would never be able to explore the world.’
- Pity those who think: ‘I am not beautiful. That’s why Love has not knocked at my door.’ In fact, Love did knock, but when they opened the door, they weren’t prepared to welcome Love in.’ ... They were trying to reflect what came from outside, forgetting that the brightest light comes from within.
Which direction to take
- Like the sun, life spreads its light in all directions.
- They go back to their childhood and look for what filled them with enthusiasm then and disregarding the advice of their elders - devote their life to it. Because Enthusiasm is the Sacred Fire.
- They slowly discover that their actions are linked to a mysterious impulse beyond human knowledge. And they bow their head as a sign of respect for that mystery and pray that they will not be diverted from a path they do not know, but which they have chosen to travel because of the flame burning in their hearts.
- They use their intuition when they can and resort to discipline when intuition fails them... And sometimes they behave like mad people, but they are not mad. They have discovered true Love and Will. And those two things reveal the goal and the direction that they should follow.
- Those who ignore the question, those who answer it and those who understand that the only way to confront it is to take action will all meet the same obstacles and be made happy by the same things, but only the person who accepts God’s plan with humility and courage knows that he is on the right road.
Love has always passed me by
- In order to hear Love’s words, you must allow Love to approach. However, when it does draw near, we fear what it might say to us, because Love is free and is not ruled by our will or by what we do.
- All lovers know this, but refuse to accept it. They think they can seduce Love through submission, power, beauty, wealth, tears and smiles. True Love, however, is the love that seduces and will never allow itself to be seduced.
- Love transforms, love heals. But sometimes it lays deadly traps and ends up destroying the person who decided to surrender himself completely. How can the force that moves the world and keeps the stars in their places be, at once, so creative and so devastating?
- Sometimes, when loneliness seems about to crush everything, the only way to resist is to keep on loving.
- Our great goal in life is to love. The rest is silence.
- We need to love. Even when it leads us to the land where the lakes are made of tears, to that secret, mysterious place, the land of tears!
- Because we realised that the person who left us did not take the sun with them or leave darkness in their place. They simply left, and with every farewell comes a hidden hope.
- It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
- We love because Love sets us free, and we say things that we once never even had the courage to whisper to ourselves.
- We don’t close our eyes to the Universe and then complain: ‘It’s dark.’ We keep our eyes wide open, knowing that the light could lead us to do undreamed-of things.
- Love is only a word, until we decide to let it possess us with all its force. Love is only a word, until someone arrives to give it meaning.
- Don’t give up. Remember, it’s always the last key on the keyring that opens the door.
- No one can go back, but everyone can go forward. And tomorrow, when the sun rises, all you have to say to yourselves is: I am going to think of this day as the first day of my life.
- I will look at everything and everyone as if for the first time, especially the small things that I have grown used to, quite forgetting the magic surrounding them. The desert sands, for example, which are moved by an energy I cannot understand - because I cannot see the wind.
- When I reach a small village that I know well, I will enter it by a different route. I will be smiling, and the inhabitants will say to each other: ‘He must be mad, because war and destruction have left the soil barren.’ But I will keep smiling, because it pleases me to know that they think I am mad.
- My smile is my way of saying: ‘You can destroy my body, but not my soul.’
- For the first time, I will smile without feeling guilty, because joy is not a sin.
- For the first time, I will avoid anything that makes me suffer, because suffering is not a virtue.
- I will not complain about life, saying: everything’s always the same and I can do nothing to change it. Because I am living this day as if it were my first and, while it lasts, I will discover things that I did not even know were there.
- Love rules, but no one knows where it has its throne; in order to know that secret place, you must first submit to Love.
- And if I’m alone in bed, I will go over to window, look up at the sky and feel certain that loneliness is a lie, because the Universe is there to keep me company.
- Men and women whisper to each other because they have turned a sacred gesture into a sinful act.
- If two bodies merely join together, that is not sex, it is merely pleasure. Sex goes far beyond pleasure. In sex, relaxation and tension go hand in hand, as do pain and pleasure, shyness and the courage to go beyond one’s limits.
- How can such opposing states exist in harmony together? There is only one way: by surrendering yourself. Because the act of surrender means: ‘I trust you.’
- It isn’t enough to imagine everything that might happen if we allowed ourselves to join not just our bodies, but our souls as well.
- Let us plunge together, then, down the dangerous path of surrender. It may be dangerous, but it is the only path worth following.
- And even if this causes major changes in our world, we have nothing to lose, because by opening the door that unites body and soul, what we will gain is total love.
- Let us forget all that we are taught about how it is noble to give and humiliating to receive. Because for most people, generosity consists only in giving, but receiving is also an act of love. Allowing someone else to make us happy will make them happy too.
- When we are too generous in the sexual act and our main preoccupation is with our partner’s pleasure, our own pleasure can be diminished or even destroyed.
- True lovers will be able to enter the garden of beauty without fear of being judged. They will no longer be two bodies and two souls meeting, but a single fountain out of which pours the true water of life.
- And time will cease to exist, because in the land of pleasure-born-of-true-love, everything is infinite.
What should survivors tell their children?
- We were born alone and we will die alone. But, while we are on this planet, we must accept and glorify our act of faith through other people.
- Community is life: from it comes our capacity for survival. That is how it was when we lived in caves and so it is today.
- Anyone who does not share his moments of joy and discouragement with others will never fully know his own qualities and his own defects.
- Meanwhile, be alert to a danger that threatens all communities: people being drawn into a standard way of behaving, taking as their model their own limitations, fears and prejudices.
- Seek friends and allies among people who believe in what they are doing and in who they are. I’m not saying: seek out people who think the same as you. I’m saying: seek out those who think differently from you and whom you will never be able to convince that you are right.
- Love accepts its companion unconditionally and allows each to grow in his or her own way.
- Stay close to those who are not afraid to be vulnerable, because they have confidence in themselves and know that, at some point in our lives, we all stumble; they do not interpret this as a sign of weakness, but of humanity.
- Stay close to those who say: ‘Everything’s fine as it is, but we still need to move on.’ Because they understand the need to keep going beyond the known horizon.
- Stay close to those who sing, tell stories, enjoy life and whose eyes sparkle with happiness. Because happiness is contagious and will always manage to find a solution whereas logic can find only an explanation for the mistake made.
- Stay close to those who allow the light of Love to shine forth without restrictions, judgements or rewards, without letting it be blocked by the fear of being misunderstood.
- No matter how you are feeling, get up every morning and prepare to let your light shine forth.
- Those with eyes to see will see your light and be enchanted by it.
- Elegance tends to be mistaken for superficiality and mere appearance. Nothing could be further from the truth: some words are elegant, others can wound and destroy, but all are written with the same letters. Flowers are elegant, even when hidden among the grasses in a meadow. The gazelle when it runs is elegant, even when it is fleeing from a lion.
- Elegance is not an outer quality, but a part of the soul that is visible to others.
- And even when passions run high, elegance does not allow the real ties binding two people to be broken.
- Elegance lies not in the clothes we wear, but in the way we wear them.
- But every tribe, every people, has values that they associate with elegance: hospitality, respect, good manners.
- Arrogance attracts hatred and envy. Elegance arouses respect and Love.
- Arrogance causes us to humiliate our fellow man or woman. Elegance teaches us to walk in the light.
- Arrogance complicates words, because it believes that intelligence is only for the chosen few. Elegance transforms complex thoughts into something that everyone can understand.
- When we are walking our chosen path, we walk elegantly, emanating light.
- Men and women blame each other for the disaster. They say: 'Someone should have foreseen what was going to happen.’ Or: ‘If I had been in charge, these problems could have been avoided.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all prisoners of the sands of time, and we have no control over them.
- Once we understand this, we can sit next to our neighbour at the end of the day and listen with respect to what he has to say and say what he needs to hear. And neither of us will try to impose our ideas on the other.
- Beyond the mountains that separate the tribes, beyond the distance that separates bodies, there exists the community of spirits. We are part of that, and there are no streets peopled with pointless words, only broad avenues that connect what is distant and sometimes have to be repaired because of the damage caused by time.
Weapons we must use when all is lost
- Where there is loyalty, weapons are of no use.
- All weapons are instruments of evil because they are not the instruments of the wise man.
- Loyalty has its roots in respect and respect is the fruit of Love, and Love drives out the demons of the imagination - which distrust everything and everyone - and, instead, returns purity to our gaze.
- Wise men often defeat warriors, but warriors also defeat wise men. To avoid this, it is best to seek the peace and repose that exists in the differences between human beings.
- The wounded person should ask himself: Is it worth filling my heart with hatred and dragging the weight of it around with me?’
- He is thus making use of one of Love’s qualities, namely Forgiveness. This helps him rise above all the insults spoken in the heat of battle, which time will soon erase, just as the wind erases footsteps from the sands of the desert.
- When you forgive, the person who insulted you feels humbled in his error and becomes loyal.
What about enemies?
- The truly wise do not grieve over the living or the dead. Therefore, accept the battle that awaits you tomorrow, because we are made of the Eternal Spirit, which often places us in situations that we need to confront.
- The warrior on the battlefield is fulfilling his destiny, and he must surrender himself to that. Pity those who think they can kill or die! The Divine Energy cannot be destroyed, it simply changes its form.
- Accept this as part of some superior plan and go forward. Man is not defined by earthly battles, because just as the wind changes direction, so do luck and victory.
- Just as someone puts on new clothes, discarding the old, so the soul accepts new material bodies, abandoning the old and the useless. Knowing this, you must not suffer because of the body. ”
- We will all have to face many adversaries in our lives, but the most difficult to defeat will be the ones we fear. We will always meet rivals in everything we do, but the most dangerous are those we believe to be our friends.
- None of us can avoid meeting those who will betray and slander us, but we can drive away the evil before it shows its true face, because any excessively kind behaviour could betray a knife hidden behind the back and ready to be used.
- Loyal men and women do not bother to show what they are like, because other loyal spirits understand their qualities and defects.
- Beware of anyone who tries to please you all the time.
- Do not make yourself vulnerable to those weak spirits who cannot bear to encounter a strong spirit.
- If someone confronts you over ideas or ideals, step up and accept the fight, because conflict is present in every moment of our lives and sometimes it needs to show itself in the broad light of day. But do not fight in order to prove that you are right or to impose your ideas or ideals on someone else. Only accept the fight as a way of keeping your spirit clean and your will spotless. When the fight is over, both sides will emerge as winners, because they tested their limitations and their abilities.
- Only fight with a worthy opponent, and not with someone who uses trickery to prolong a war that is already over, as happens with all wars. Such cruelty does not come from the warriors who meet on the battlefield and know what they are doing there, but from those who manipulate victory and defeat for their own ends.
- The most important of wars is not waged with a lofty spirit and with your soul accepting its fate. It is the war that is going on now as we are speaking and whose battlefield is the Spirit, where Good and Evil, Courage and Cowardice, Love and Fear face each other.
- Never repay hatred with hatred, but with justice.
- The world does not divide up into enemies and friends, but into the weak and the strong. The strong are generous in victory. The weak gang up on the losers, unaware that defeat is only a transitory thing, and from among the losers, they choose those who seem most vulnerable.
- Your enemies are not the adversaries who were put there to test your courage. They are the cowards who were put there to test your weakness.
- Do not think that I am come to spread peace upon the Earth. No, from this night on, we will travel the world bearing an invisible sword, so that we can fight the demons of intolerance and lack of understanding. Try to carry that sword as far as your legs will take you. And when your legs can take you no further, pass on the word or the manuscript, always choosing people worthy of wielding that sword.
- Blessed are those who hear these words or read this manuscript, because the veil will be rent from top to bottom, and there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed to you.
- Roman Catholic Crusaders have surrounded Jerusalem. Attack is imminent. Many of the residents of Jerusalem will flee before the battle, yet others will stay to fight, knowing that they will likely die. Before this historic battle takes place, the Copt asks all the people to come to the city square. He asks the leaders of the three Abrahamic religions to join him... The people proceed to ask... twenty questions. Each chapter... details the Copt’s answer to their questions. The questions and answers deal with matters close to the heart of all of us: love, fear, loss, death, beauty, courage, friendship, and dreams. ...[It] is a treasure-trove of wisdom... a book that can be read over and over, with each reading giving new insight... I am an atheist...yet I found the book affirming many of the humanistic values I hold dear. Yes, Coelho is a religious man, a practicing Catholic, but can we not all learn from people who are different from us, people who, despite our differences, hold a common humanity with us?... The strict materialist will find little to like... But for those who dream of a better tomorrow, who still have hope and seek a world of peace, Paulo Coelho’s latest book will inspire and provoke us to be better human beings.