Many / One

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A Parliament of Souls, In Search of Global Spirituality
Michael Tobias, Jane Morrison, Bettina Gray, editors
Conversations with 28 spiritual leaders from around the world

1 "Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques, and learning about them can only enrich one's own faith." The Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso)

2 "All scriptures and traditions are historically conditioned; they belong to a particular age and culture and are expressed in a particular language and mode of thought. But behind this historic form of expression lies the original Mystery, the revealed Truth." Bede Griffiths, 'Return to the Centre'

3 "All life manifests the Divine." Brother Wayne Teasdale, board member of the Parliament of World Religions, 'The Heart of Meditation'

4 "We can admire what is done by everybody. There is no form of worship of God that I don't admire. I admire the ancient scripture, I am an enthusiastic Christian, and I believe that the gospel of Christ is marvelous revelation. But at the same time, I can learn by reading the Jewish scriptures, or the Hindu scriptures, or the Buddhist scriptures. They are all approaching the question of God and God's purposes and more about spirituality in different ways. It adds a rich variety to my knowledge and yours if we have all these people trying to share their most beautiful insights, their most beautiful triumphs." John Marks Templeton, creator in 1972 of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, 'Science and Religion'

5 "Within every human individual there is a spark of divinity. That is the central spiritual discovery of all those who have entered into transcendental spiritual experiences." ." His Holiness Sri Swami Chidananda Saraswati, 'Love'

6 "The Transcendent is alive and well with or without us and above and beyond our attempts to control it, and it continues to manifest itself throughout our world with surprise, joy, renewed hope, creative freedom, and, above all, compassion." Bettina Gray, preface

7 "Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace. It should therefore be universally proclaimed, taught in schools, and constantly asserted in every nation as preparation for the organic change in the structure of society that it implies." 'The Promise of World Peace', Baha'i sourcebook

8 "He is that Being who sleeps and slumbers in the stone, in the mill. He breathes and respires in plants. He moves in insect, beast and animals, and He thinks, feels, and reasons in man." Swami Ji Sivananda

9 "God is that spirit, that reality which vibrates in every atom of matter, which is present in every speck of space." His Holiness Sri Swami Chidananda Saraswati, 'Love'

10 "As the web issues from the spider, as little sparks proceed from fire, so from the one soul proceed all breathing animals, all worlds, all the gods, and all beings." Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad

11 "The function of comparative religion is to discern this essential Truth, this Divine Mystery beyond speech and thought forms of each religious tradition…In each tradition the one divine Reality, the one eternal Truth, is present, hidden under symbols, symbols of word and gesture, of ritual and dance and song, of poetry and music, art and architecture." Bede Griffiths, 'Return to the Centre'

12 "I believe that the religions have many of the answers which the political world is seeking…they have been here many more years than the United Nations. We should consult them. Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant were absolutely right when they considered that world affairs needed to be inspired, guided, elevated, and ruled by a global spirituality, and that political leaders needed similarly to be guided by a personal spirituality." Robert Muller, 'New Genesis: Shaping A Global Spirituality'

13 "He who looketh on the creatures of the earth, big and small, as his own self, comprehendeth this immense world." Lord Mahavira (599-527bce), 24th Tirthankara (sage) of Jainism

14 "True dialogue is mutually transformative, and that doesn't mean that we cease to be who we are – that I abandon my Christian community and become something else. Or that you abandon a Hindu or Buddhist community and become something else. Through our encounter with one another, we have a deeper understanding of ourselves and of the mystery of the divine or of transcendence, or however we speak of this." Diana L. Eck, professor of comparative religion and author, 'Encounters With God'

15 "Every religion has something to say about (God within man) in its own way. Islamic religion says, 'the light of Allah is in man.' The Quaker says, 'That of God is in man.' The Bible says, 'God created Adam and breathed his spirit into him.' Christianity says, 'The kingdom of God is within, the kingdom of heaven is within.' Hinduism says, 'God is the indwelling reality in man,' in the Bhagavadgita." His Holiness Sri Swami Chidananda Saraswati, 'Love'

16 "God wants us to get to know each other, to enjoy diversity, to celebrate diversity. That's why God created us. And there is no one better than the other." Dr. Azizah Y. Al-Hibri, Muslim scholar, teacher, author, 'Remembering the Prophet'

17 "The treasure house of divinity is within ourselves." Sant Rajinder Singh, president of the World Fellowship of Religions, 'Inversion'

18 "You are…a world in yourself, a microcosm, who has the image and likeness of God in your very being because you have a mind to know and a will to do. You're free." Theodore M. Hesburgh, priest, author, social activist, 'Making a Difference'

19 "All that is auspicious, blessed, and beautiful is inherent in every human individual, like a great towering tree with its spreading branches, height, fruits, foliage, and flower is inherent in a tiny little seed. This message is the central content of the teachings of all the prophets, the messiahs, the messengers of God that have come and taught from time to time in different parts of the world." His Holiness Sri Swami Chidananda Saraswati, 'Love'

20 "As we go within, and as we connect with the divine Light and Sound of God within ourselves, it transforms us. Transformed people transform families, neighborhoods, cities, countries. And transformed countries will transform this world. So we believe that once we find peace for ourselves, it is definitely going to radiate from us and not only will transform our immediate surroundings, but will have an effect on the whole globe." Sant Rajinder Singh, president of the World Fellowship of Religions, 'Inversion'

21 "The whole universe is breathing. It's the Divine breathing." Brother Wayne Teasdale, board member of the Parliament of World Religions, 'The Heart of Meditation'

22 "The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism 'all life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence' is refreshingly contemporary in its premise and perspective. It defines the scope of modern ecology while extending further to a more spacious 'home.' It means that all aspects of nature belong together and are bound in a physical as well as metaphysical relationship. Life is viewed as a gift of togetherness, accomodation and assistance in a universe teeming with interdependent constituents." Dr. L. M. Singhvi, lawyer, judge, author and poet

23 "The law of life is evolution and change and growth and continued perfection and refinement." Robert C. Henderson, Baha'i spiritual leader

24 "The whole fabric of human society, its laws and its ethics, is based on the dignity of every human being." Theodore M. Hesburgh, priest, author, social activist, 'Making a Difference'

25 "God lives within each of us. Among the hundreds of billions of molecules and atoms in your body, you have a soul, you have a spirit. You are motivated and all of those spiritual qualities represent an indwelling God that has numbered every hair of your head. So God is not merely transcendent in a big sense, God is also intensely imminent in every one of his creations." John Mark Templeton, creator of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion,, 'Science and Religion'

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite