Sewivada

By dkl9, written 2024-105, revised 2024-119 (3 revisions)


"Sewivada" comes from "sewi" ("divine") and "वाद" ("doctrine"), and is a name for a religion described here, developed in 2024. People I know in person know Sewivada by a very different and slightly funnier alternative name. By one view, it is a modernised, watered-down syncretism of Buddhism and Judaism, incidentally similar to Greek Cynicism. By another view, it is a stylised, dogmatic summary of many of my values and quirks.

The sacred founding text of Sewivada consists of 16 paragraphs in toki pona, each expounding one of the core doctrines. Only 12 have been found so far. We know where in the sequence the gaps are, but we have yet to learn the four missing doctrines (MDs).

The strictest, most novel doctrines are those of sobriety, simplicity, and scrutiny. The most widely-familiar doctrines, roughly present in other religions, are those of mindfulness, sabbath, and metaphysics. All others are in-between.

The rest of this document is an annotated version of that text. Each section consists of an English heading, a paragraph from the founding text, a paragraph of English translation, and zero or more paragraphs of English commentary.

§ Simplicity

toki sewi li toki pona. tomo sewi li tomo ala ma. len sewi li len ala noka. linja lawa sewi li linja lawa ala. ilo tawa sewi li noka. supa sewi pi awen jan li awen sijelo palisa. moku telo sewi li telo taso. nanpa sewi li sitelen kepeken nimi tu.

The divine language is toki pona. The divine building is the outdoors. The divine garment is bare feet. The divine hair is baldness. The divine vehicle is the legs. The divine chair is standing. The divine drink is mere water. The divine numeration is binary.

Simplicity is only valuable up to a point. The divine language is toki pona, rather than the simpler aUI. The divine garment is bare feet, rather than general nudity. The divine vehicle is the legs, rather than staying in place.

Practical concerns from the other doctrines may override simplicity, which is why each preference here is "divine" (sewi) rather than "best". For now, toki pona is rarely used, so I often write in English for the sake of my audience. When the ground is too hot or cold such that it would damage the body, the feet need some insulation. If you are at immediate risk of dehydration, you should mix sugar and salts into your drink.

§ Scrutiny

o sona mute e insa pi ijo lon. o kepeken taso e ilo ni e nasin ni: sina sona pona e insa ona la, wan ona pi kipisi tu li weka anu pakala la, sina ken jo e ale ona tan insa sina. jan li ijo lon la, o sona kin e jan e insa jan.

Know deeply the internals of real things. Use only those tools and those methods which, sith you understand them well, if one half of it were removed or broken, you could have all of it from within yourself. As people are real things, likewise know people and the internals of people.

To "have all of it from within yourself" (jo e ale ona tan insa sina), as used here, is more a matter of understanding than immediate physical access.

One major implication of the second line is to avoid overcomplicated computer technology. Instead of an elaborate "second brain", use pure spaced repetition, which you can grok and implement yourself, if you like. Instead of formatting-heavy word processors, use plaintext.

§ Consequence

pona anu ike li tawa ijo ante ale tan ni: ijo ale li poka li ante e ijo ale. pona lili li ante tawa pona pi poka ale. ike lili li ante tawa ike pi poka ale. pali sina pi tenpo ni li ante wawa e lon pi tenpo kama la, o pona. mute la, nasin pona toki pi lawa sina li ike lon la, o kute e pona tan nasin lipu ni.

Good or bad go towards all other things sith everything is adjacent to and alters everything else. Small goodness changes into goodness of all surroundings. Small badness changes into badness of all surroundings. As your actions now strongly affect future reality, do good. Often, the good way spoken by your mind is actually bad, so obey goodness from this text.

§ MD 1

This gap is reserved for the first missing doctrine.

§ Enjoyment

pona suli la, o pilin e pona lon tan ijo poka ale. sina ken pilin pona tan ijo pi ike lukin. kin la, toki pi ike sina li pana pona e sona pi sina anu jan toki. kin la, pakala pi sijelo sina li pana pona e sona pi lili jo.

Towards great goodness, feel the true goodness from all adjacent things. You can feel good from seemingly-bad things. Likewise, insults to you are good at teaching about yourself or the speaker. Likewise, damage to your body is good at teaching about reduced possession.

My more controverssial personal examples include enjoying taking tests and enjoying getting hit by an automobile.

§ Mindfulness

sina ken suli e wawa sina pi pilin pona. poka li sin ala li ante ala la, o lukin mute e poka e tawa kon sijelo e insa lawa la, sama ijo li kama pilin pi pona ala pi ike ala. pali ni li pini la, sina wile ante e lon la, o toki insa wan e ni: mi ken ala ken lukin e pona lon?

You can enhance your power to feel good. When what is nearby is not new and does not change, look deeply at what is nearby, at the breath, or inside the mind; then the sameness of things will come to feel neither good nor bad. After finishing this exercise, when you want to change what is real, first think: "can I see the goodness in what is real?"

§ Sobriety

o weka e ijo pi nasa lawa. kulupu pi nasa lawa li jo e misikeke lawa e telo nasa e unpa e suwi moku pi pali jan e musi pi ilo sona e kalama musi. sina ken kepeken e ona tan wile ni taso: wile li awen tan pona lawa lon mute tenpo pi nasa kama lon tenpo suno wan namako.

Avoid intoxicants. The category of intoxicants includes psychoactive drugs, alcohol, sexuality, food sweetening, electronic entertainment, and music. You can use them only from a desire which stayed in place from a sound mind over the duration of intoxication, plus one day.

"Sexuality" (unpa), here, includes both the actual acts and the associated (but sometimes separate) mental state. "Food sweetening" (suwi moku pi pali jan) includes added sugar and artificial sweeteners, precluding all candy and many other processed foods. "Electronic entertainment" (musi pi ilo sona) refers to media meant just as entertainment (or infotainment), such as games or most online videos. Electronic activities meant as work which you happen to enjoy are fine.

Valid examples of using the exception:

The "from a sound mind" (tan pona lawa) clause is supposed to be very restrictive. A sound mind can enjoy the goodness in most things, and so maintains sobriety over mere pleasure, only pursuing intoxicants when they are uniquely useful for more than pleasure.

§ Sabbath

tenpo pimeja li tenpo lape. tenpo pimeja la, o lape mute o pali lili. tenpo pimeja suno sewi li wan lon tenpo suno tu tu. ona la, o kepeken ala e ilo sona e ilo wawa e pali mani. pali ala ni li pona e jan.

The night is sleep-time. In the night, sleep extensively and work little. The holy night-day is one in four days. During it, do not use electronics, powered tools, or paid work. This rest will improve a person.

For pragmatic reasons, you might instead observe the holy night-day (the Sabbath) once or twice per seven-day week. This deviates from the rules, but is better than ignoring them completely.

§ MD 2

This gap is reserved for the second missing doctrine.

§ Metaphysics

ma ale lon li kama tan ma pini pi nasin sama lon kulupu palisa pi pini ala. insa jan li jo taso e ni: ona lili li sama tawa kipisi lili pi ma ale. ale li poka li ante e ale la, kipisi sijelo ma li kama tan lawa taso.

All real land comes from land in the past of the same laws in an unending sequence. The inside of a person has only those things which, in their smallest form, are the same as the smallest divisions of any land. As all is adjacent to and changes all, the division of body and land comes only from the mind.

§ Respect

jan li pilin li poka li sama tawa sina la, o pakala ala e sijelo jan e jo jan e lawa jan. moli wile en lanpan en pana pi pilin monsuta li ike suli. kin la, pakala jan lili li ken lon li ike. sina jan la, o pona e sijelo sina e jo sina e lawa sina.

As people feel and are adjacent to and the same as you, do not break people's bodies, possessions, or minds. Wilfully killing, stealing, and causing fear are very bad. Further, lesser person-breaking can exist, and is bad. As you are a person, do good to your body, possessions, and mind.

It's open to interpretation how much (if at all) the doctrine extends beyond "people" to other animals.

§ Honesty

o toki tawa jan kepeken nasin ni taso: ona li kama sona e lon mute tan toki pi tenpo lili. kipisi pi sona lon li ken pana e toki insa pi lon ala la, o toki e lon ale. sina jan la, toki insa li toki la, o tawa lon kepeken toki insa.

Speak to people using only ways such that they learn much truth from the speech in short time. When a division of the truth can lead to false thoughts, speak the whole truth. As you are a person, insofar as thinking is speech, approach truth using thoughts.

"In short time" (pi tenpo lili) matters. People can learn to work around deceptive speech and see the truth behind it, but it is better to speak directly and honestly.

§ Roles

jan wan li pana e lipu ni la, ona li jan sewi pi nasin ni. jan ante ale li ken kama sewi tan ni taso: jan sewi mute li lukin e pona nasin ona li toki e sewi ona. jan sewi li wile pana e lukin pi lon nasin e sona nasin tawa jan pi sin nasin.

The first person who gave this text, they are a monk of this religion. All other people can become monks, only if many monks see their religious goodness and declare them holy. Monks must give a show of the religion's truth and knowledge of the religion to those new to the religion.

The term "monk" (jan sewi) is a translator's convention. The role is neutral to gender, as well as any other personal traits. All that matters is that the prospective monk can understand and follow Sewivada enough for existing monks to see.

§ Enforcement

nasin pona pi lipu ni li ken nasa tawa lawa insa la, pali pi jan poka li ken pona e pali sina. jan sewi pi nasin ni li wile ante e jan tawa pona pi lipu ni. ona li ken kepeken e toki e utala kama e weka pi sewi jan tan ni taso: pakala pi jan poka li ken lili tawa pona pana ona.

As the good way of this text may seem silly to one's mind, the actions of nearby people can improve your own actions. Monks of this religion must change people towards the goodness of this text. They can use speech, threats, and demotion from monkhood, only insofar as the damage to people affected can be small relative to the goodness it brings.

§ MD 3

This gap is reserved for the third missing doctrine.

§ MD 4

This gap is reserved for the fourth missing doctrine.