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CONTENTS | INVOCATION | INTRODUCTION | PROLOGUE | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21
WS FORUM

INVOCATION

Synopsis
Title Page
This Archive
Advisors and Contributors
Foreword by Ninian Smart
How to obtain a printed (hardbound/paperback) version

PROLOGUE:
MANY PATHS TO ONE GOAL

The Truth in Many Paths
Tolerance and Respect for All Believers

INTRODUCTION
The Purpose of World Scripture
The Organization of World Scripture
The World's Religions and Their Scriptures
Acknowledgements
Notes

ESSAY:
World Scripture and Education for Peace

PART ONE:
Ultimate Reality and the Purpose of Human Existence

CHAPTER 1: Ultimate Reality
Traces of God's Existence
The One
Formless, Emptiness, Mystery
Transcendent, All-Pervasive Reality
Sovereign and Omnipotent
Omniscient
Immanent and Near at Hand
Eternal -- in a World of Transience
The Creator
Goodness and Love
Divine Father and Mother

CHAPTER 2: Divine Law, Truth, and Cosmic Principle
Eternal Truth
Moral Law
The Decalogue
The Golden Rule
Polarity, Relationality, and Interdependence
Cosmic Justice

CHAPTER 3: The Purpose of Life for the Individual
Joy and Happiness
For God's Good Pleasure
Image of God and Temple of God
Inborn Goodness and Conscience
Original Mind, No Mind
Perfection
True Love

CHAPTER 4: The Purpose of Life in the Family and in Society
The Family
Parents and Children
Husband and Wife
Friendship
Unity and Community
Equality
The People of God
The Ideal Society

CHAPTER 5: The Purpose of Life in the Natural World
The Sanctity of Nature
Reverence for Life
The Microcosm
Dominion
The Lord of Spirits
Creation Rejoices

CHAPTER 6: Life Beyond Death and the Spiritual World
The Spiritual World: Mystery, Multiplicity, Analogy, Harmony
The Immortal Soul
Prepare Now for Eternity
Passage Beyond
Heaven
Hell
Spiritual Benefactors
Spiritual Error and the Occult

PART TWO:
Evil, Sin, and the Human Fall

CHAPTER 7: The Human Condition
Ill
The War Within
Ignorance
Idolatry
Pride and Egotism
Selfish Desire, Lust, and Greed

CHAPTER 8: Fall and Deviation
The Human Fall
Demonic Powers
Heresy
Degraded Human Nature
God's Grief

CHAPTER 9: The Major Sins
Good and Evil
Adultery
Murder
Theft
Lying and Deceit
Hypocrisy
Slander, Gossip and Foul Speech
Addiction

PART THREE:
Salvation and the Savior

CHAPTER 10: Salvation-Liberation-Enlightenment
Grace
Universal Salvation
Atonement and Forgiveness of Sins
Healing
Liberation
Enlightenment
Crossing the Waters
Reversal and Restoration
Peace
Help and Deliverance
The Refining Fire
Born Anew
Eternal Life
The Unitive State

CHAPTER 11: The Founder
Call and Awakening
Rejected by the World
The Victor
He Who Subjugates Satan
The Revealer of Truth
The Man for Others
The Living Presence
The Person and Character of the Founder: Divine Person
Human Person
The Succession of Founders and Messengers

PART FOUR:
The Religious Life

CHAPTER 12: Responsibility and Predestination
Decision
Individual Responsibility
Synergy
Predestination
Karma and Inherited Sin
Duty

CHAPTER 13: Self-cultivation and Spiritual Growth
Spiritual Growth
Cultivate the Good
Sincerity
Purity
Self-Control
Preparing the Start
Vigilance
Perseverance and Patience

CHAPTER 14: Faith
Faith
Devotion and Praise
Fear, Submission, and Obedience
Anxiety
Gratitude
Argument with God

CHAPTER 15: Wisdom
The Search for Knowledge
Scripture and Tradition
Poverty of Conceptual Learning
Scripture Teaches in Parables
Learning and Practice
Teacher and Disciple
New Wine and Old Wineskins

CHAPTER 16: Worship
Prayer
The Name of God
Meditation
Ritual
Beyond Ritual

CHAPTER 17: Offering and Sacrifice
Offering
Donations
Self-Sacrifice
Persecution and Martyrdom

CHAPTER 18: Self-Denial and Renunciation
Self-denial and No-self
Repentance, Confession, and Restitution
Humility
Restraint and Moderation
Control Anger
Subdue Desires and Passions
Detachment from the Senses
Renunciation of Wealth
Asceticism and Monasticism
Separation from Family
Separation from the World

CHAPTER 19: Live for Others
Loving-kindness
Serving Others
Sacrificial Love
Giving and Receiving
Charity and Hospitality
Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Judge Not
Love Your Enemy
Turn the Other Cheek
Good Deeds
Labor and Industry
Honesty and Expediency
Witness

PART FIVE:
Providence, Society, and the Kingdom of Heaven

CHAPTER 20: Good Government and the Welfare of Society
The Pillars of Society
The Prophet and Reformer
War Against Evil
Respect for Legitimate Governments
Government by Divine Law
Consideration for the People
Leadership by Example and Honest Government
Judgments and Punishments
Providence and the Mandate of Heaven

CHAPTER 21: Eschatology and Messianic Hope
Tribulation
The Last Judgment
The Messiah
The Kingdom of Heaven

Interspirit Network for global illumination
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CHAPTER 5, THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IN THE NATURAL WORLD
CREATION REJOICES

The natural world is not an object of our manipulation. It is a community of living, sentient beings that suffers or rejoices according to how it is treated by human beings. The scriptures teach that, for those who have eyes to see, nature is exquisitely sensitive to the spirit and attitude of people. The creation 'groans in travail' when it is misused and defiled, and rejoices when it can serve God through serving the children of God. Indeed, the virtuous person brings redemption to nature.


Confucius said, "It is Goodness that gives to a neighborhood its beauty."

1. Confucianism. Analects 4.1


Whether in village or in forest, in vale or on hill, wherever arahants dwell--delightful, indeed, is that spot.

2. Buddhism. Dhammapada 98


The perfume of flowers blows not against the wind, nor does the fragrance of sandalwood, tagara and jasmine, but the fragrance of the virtuous blows against the wind; the virtuous man pervades every direction.

3. Buddhism. Dhammapada 54


The earth's condition is receptive devotion.
Thus the superior man who has breadth of character
Carries the outer world.

4. Confucianism. I Ching 2: The Receptive


May no living creatures, not even insects,
Be bound unto samsaric life; nay, not one of them;
But may I be empowered to save them all.

5. Buddhism. Milarepa


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Dhammapada 98: Cf. Titus 1.15, p. 725. I Ching 2: Cf. Chuang Tzu 12, p. 312.
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Good sons and daughters who accept the true Law, build the great earth, and carry the four responsibilities, become friends without being asked, for the sake of all living beings. In their great compassion, they comfort and sympathize with living beings, becoming the Dharma-mother of the world.

6. Buddhism. Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 4


Only those who are absolutely sincere can fully develop their nature. If they can fully develop their nature, they can then fully develop the nature of others. If they can fully develop the nature of others, they can then fully develop the nature of things. If they can fully develop the nature of things, they can then assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth. If they can assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth, they can thus form with Heaven and Earth a trinity.

7. Confucianism. Doctrine of the Mean 22


There is a holy man living on faraway Ku-she Mountain, with skin like ice or snow, and gentle and shy like a young girl. He doesn't eat the five grains, but sucks the wind, drinks the dew, climbs up on the clouds and mist, rides a flying dragon, and wanders beyond the four seas. By concentrating his spirit, he can protect creatures from sickness and plague and make the harvest plentiful... This man, with his virtue of his, is about to embrace the ten thousand things and roll them into one.

8. Taoism. Chuang Tzu 1


Mencius went to see King Hui of Liang. The king was standing over a pond. "Are such things enjoyed even by a good and wise man?" said he, looking round at his wild geese and deer.

"Only if a man is good and wise," answered Mencius, "is he able to enjoy them. Otherwise he would not, even if he had them.

The Book of Songs says,

He surveyed and began the Sacred Terrace,
He surveyed it and measured it;
The people worked at it;
In less than no time they finished it.
He surveyed and began without haste;
The people came in ever-increasing numbers.
The king was in the Sacred Park.
The doe lay down;
The does were sleek;
The white birds glistened.
The king was at the Sacred Pond.
Oh! how full it was of leaping fish!

It was with the labor of the people that King Wen built his terrace and pond, yet so pleased and delighted were they that they named his terrace the "Sacred Terrace" and his pond the "Sacred Pond," and rejoiced at his possession of deer, fish, and turtles. It was by sharing their enjoyments with the people that men of antiquity were able to enjoy themselves.

The T'ang shih says,

O Sun [the tyrant Chieh], when wilt thou perish?
We care not if we have to die with thee.

"When the people were prepared 'to die with' him, even if the tyrant had a terrace and pond, birds and beasts, could he have enjoyed them all by himself?"

9. Confucianism. Mencius I.A.2


For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

10. Christianity. Bible, Romans 8.19-23


Since folk are ablaze with unlawful lusts, overwhelmed by depraved longings, depressed by wrong doctrines, on such as these the sky rains down not steadily. It is hard to get a meal. The crops are bad, afflicted with mildew and grown to mere stubs. Accordingly, many come to their end.

11. Buddhism. Anguttara Nikaya i.50


Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel;
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or kindness,
there is no knowledge of God in the land;
There is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds and murder follows murder.
Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field,
and the birds of the air,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

12. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Hosea 4.1-3


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Anguttara Nikaya i.50: Cf. Golden Light Sutra 12, pp. 1090f.; Book of Songs, Ode 254, pp. 1089f; Chuang Tzu 10, p. 799. Even the attitude of the spirits reflects the heart of people: cf. Vamana Purana 19.31-35, p. 443. Hosea 4.1-3: Cf. Jeremiah 7.1-15, p. 1088; Exodus 20.1-17, p. 166.
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Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying, "Woe, woe is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?" And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying, "O Lord, wilt Thou not have compassion upon the earth?"

13. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.48-49


To you did the soul of the ox complain,
"For whom did you create me? Who made me?
Fury and violence oppress me, and cruelty and tyranny.
I have no shepherd other than you: then obtain good pastures for me."

Then the Creator of the ox asked Right, "Have you a judge for the ox,
That you may give him, with the pasture, the care for the raising of the cattle?
Whom did you appoint his master who shall put to flight Fury together with the wicked?"

As Righteousness, reply was made, "No companion is there for the ox
That is free from hatred. Men do not understand
How the great deal with the lowly.
Of all beings he is the strongest
To whose aid I come at his call....

"With hands outstreched we pray to the Lord,
We two, my soul and the soul of the mother-cow,
Urging the Wise One to command that no harm shall come to the honest man,
To the herdsman, in the midst of the wicked who surround him."

Then spoke the Wise Lord himself, he who understands the prayers in his soul:
"No master has been found, no judge according to Righteousness,
For the breeder and the herdsman has the Creator fashioned you.

The ordinance of sprinkling the water of the cattle, for the welfare of the ox,
And the milk for the welfare of men desiring food,
This has the Wise Lord, the Holy One,
Fashioned by his decree, in accord with Righteousness."
--"Whom hast thou, as Good Mind, who may take care of us two for men?"

"I know but this one, Zarathustra Spitama, the only one who has heard our teaching;
He will make known our purpose, O Wise One, and that of Righteousness.
Sweetness of speech shall be given to him."

And then moaned the ox-soul: "That I should have to be content
With the powerless word of a man without strength for a guardian,
I who wish for a strong master!
Will he ever be, he who shall help him with his hands?"

14. Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 29.1-9


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Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.48-49: Cf. Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.27-37, p. 458.
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In the days when natural instincts prevailed, men moved quietly and gazed steadily. At that time, there were no roads over mountains, nor boats, nor bridges over water. All things were produced, each for its own proper sphere. Birds and beasts multiplied; trees and shrubs grew up. The former might be led by the hand; you could climb up and peep into a raven's nest. For then man dwelt with the birds and beasts, and all creation was one. There were no distinctions of good and bad men; being all equally without knowledge, their virtue could not go astray. Being all equally without evil desires, they were in a state of natural integrity, the perfection of human existence.

15. Taoism. Chuang Tzu 9


The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall feed;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all My holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

16. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 11.6-9


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Yasna 49.1-9: In this dialogue in heaven, the soul of the ox complains that he is oppressed by the wicked. He asks for justice from his creator, but the reply comes that there is no one. The soul of the ox and his mate pray again to God, who replies that the ox has been put in the power of man. But He also decrees laws of reciprocal service by which the oxen and mankind can live in harmony. The ox, not satisfied, asks for a righteous protector who will practice these laws. He is told he must make do with Zarathustra, who however lacks the power to actualize the teaching. When, the ox asks, will that teaching prevail, that he may be saved? Zoroastrianism in fact abolished the ritual slaughter of oxen which was practiced among the Vedic Aryans. Chuang Tzu 9: Cf. Tao Te Ching 80, p. 291; Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda 130, p. 291; Book of Ritual 7.1.2, p. 293; Ghost Dance, p. 1117. Isaiah 11.6-9: Cf. Divine Principle I.1.3.1, p. 205.
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