Origin The Challenge to the Global Community of Religions
"In this new ecological age of developing global community and interfaith dialogue, the world religions face what is perhaps the greatest challenge that they have ever encountered. Each is inspired by a unique vision of the divine and has a distinct cultural identity. At the same time, each perceives the divine as the source of unity and peace. The challenge is to preserve their religious and cultural uniqueness without letting it operate as a cause of narrow and divisive sectarianism that contradicts the vision of unity and peace. It is a question of whether the healing light of religious vision will overcome the social and ideological issues that underline much of the conflict between religions." ~ Dr. Steven C. Rockefeller, Middlebury College, Spirit and Nature, p. 169
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


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


The Truth in Many Paths
Tolerance and Respect for All Believers

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

World Scripture and Education for Peace

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
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
True Love

CHAPTER 4: The Purpose of Life in the Family and in Society
The Family
Parents and Children
Husband and Wife
Unity and Community
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
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
Spiritual Benefactors
Spiritual Error and the Occult

Evil, Sin, and the Human Fall

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

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

CHAPTER 9: The Major Sins
Good and Evil
Lying and Deceit
Slander, Gossip and Foul Speech

Salvation and the Savior

CHAPTER 10: Salvation-Liberation-Enlightenment
Universal Salvation
Atonement and Forgiveness of Sins
Crossing the Waters
Reversal and Restoration
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

The Religious Life

CHAPTER 12: Responsibility and Predestination
Individual Responsibility
Karma and Inherited Sin

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

CHAPTER 14: Faith
Devotion and Praise
Fear, Submission, and Obedience
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
The Name of God
Beyond Ritual

CHAPTER 17: Offering and Sacrifice
Persecution and Martyrdom

CHAPTER 18: Self-Denial and Renunciation
Self-denial and No-self
Repentance, Confession, and Restitution
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
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

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
The Last Judgment
The Messiah
The Kingdom of Heaven

Interspirit Network for global illumination
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        The search for knowledge is incumbent upon every human being.
Education and diligent study for elevates and ennobles the human person.
The most important knowledge is spiritual wisdom--the Way or the
Dhamma--which not only enlightens the intellect but also elevates the
spirit and fosters a good will. When a person finds a deep truth, it
awakens an emotion of inner joy, because that truth corresponds with what
is already within his or her original mind.

The search for knowledge is an obligation laid on every Muslim.

                 Islam.  Hadith of Ibn Majah and Baihaqi

A good, all-round education, appreciation of the arts, a highly trained
discipline and pleasant speech; this is the highest blessing.

                       Buddhism.  Sutta Nipata 261

Confucius said, "Broaden your knowledge of the Classics, restrain it with
ritual, and you are unlikely to deviate from the Way."

                      Confucianism.  Analects 12.15

There is no greater wealth than wisdom; no greater poverty than ignorance;
no greater heritage than culture.

                Islam (Shiite).  Nahjul Balagha, Saying 52

When Confucius was going to Wei, Jan Ch'iu drove him.  The Master said,
"What a dense population!"  Jan Ch'iu said, "When the people have
multiplied, what next should be done for them?"  The Master said, "Enrich
them."  Jan Ch'iu said, "When one has enriched them, what next should be
done for them?"  The Master said, "Instruct them."

                       Confucianism.  Analects 13.9

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Nahjul Balagha, Saying 52: Cf. Lamentations Rabbah, Proem 2, p. 1035.
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A disciple in training will comprehend this earth, the realm of death and
the realm of the gods.  A disciple in training will investigate the
well-taught Path of Virtue, even as an expert garland-maker picks flowers.

                         Buddhism.  Dhammapada 45

The Master said, "A gentleman can see a question from all sides without
bias. The small man is biased and can see a question only from one side."

                       Confucianism.  Analects 2.14

There are three things that occasion sorrow to a superior man [who is
devoted to learning]: If there be any subject of which he has not heard,
and he cannot get to hear of it; if he hear of it, and cannot get to learn
it; if he have learned it, and cannot get to carry it out in practice.

                 Confucianism.  Book of Ritual

The parents of a child are but his enemies when they fail to educate him
properly in his boyhood.  An illiterate boy, like a heron amidst swans,
cannot shine in the assembly of the learned.  Learning imparts a
heightened charm to a homely face.  Knowledge is the best treasure that a
man can secretly hoard up in life.  Learning is the revered of the
revered.  Knowledge makes a man honest, virtuous, and endearing to
society.  It is learning alone that enables a man to better the condition
of his friends and relations.  Knowledge is the holiest of holies, the god
of the gods, and commands respect of crowned heads; shorn of it a man is
but an animal.  The fixtures and furniture of one's house may be stolen by
thieves; but knowledge, the highest treasure, is above all stealing.

                         Hinduism.  Garuda Purana

Does not wisdom call,
        does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
        in the paths she takes her stand;
beside the gates of the town,
        at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud;
"To you, O men, I call,
        and my cry is to the sons of men.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
        O foolish men, pay attention.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
        and from my lips will come what is right;
for my mouth will utter truth;
        wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
        there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.

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Dhammapada 45: Cf. Verses on the Perfection of Wisdom which is the
Storehouse of Precious Virtues 14.7-8, p. 735.
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They are all straight to him who understands
        and right to those who find knowledge.
Take my instruction instead of silver,
        and knowledge rather than choice gold;
for wisdom is better than jewels,
        and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

                Judaism and Christianity.  Proverbs 8.1-11

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men
generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.

                         Christianity.  James 1.5

[God] gives wisdom to whom He will, and he to whom wisdom is given has
truly received abundant good.  But none remember except men of

                           Islam.  Qur'an 2.269

What thing I am I do not know.
I wander secluded, burdened by my mind.
When the Firstborn of Truth has come to me
I receive a share of that selfsame Word.

                                Hinduism.  Rig Veda 1.164.37

Mencius said, "A gentleman steeps himself in the Way because he wishes to
find it in himself."

                      Confucianism.  Mencius IV.B.14

He who imbibes the Dhamma abides in happiness with mind pacified; the wise
man ever delights in the Dhamma revealed by the Noble Ones.

                         Buddhism.  Dhammapada 79

When they listen to that which has been revealed unto the Messenger, you
see their eyes overflow with tears because of their recognition of the
Truth.  They say, "Our Lord, we believe.  Inscribe us as among the

                           Islam.  Qur'an 5.83

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Proverbs 8.1-11: Wisdom is personified here, and in Proverbs 8.22-23, p.
151; Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines 7.1, p. 152; and Sirach
24.26-27, p. 806.  Cf. 1 Corinthians 2.6-10, p. 538.  James 1.5: God is
the ultimate source of wisdom, and he who doubts is invited to bring the
matter before God in prayer.  Cf. Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2,
pp. 598.  Qur'an 2.269: Cf. Proverbs 9.11, p. 796.  Rig Veda 1.164.37:
This is the cosmic law as imparted by a teacher.
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As the heat of a fire reduces wood to ashes, the fire of knowledge burns
to ashes all karma.  Nothing in this world purifies like spiritual wisdom.
It is the perfection achieved in time through the path of yoga, the path
which leads to the Self within.

                     Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 4.37-38

Those who see Truth and speak Truth,
Their bodies and minds become truthful.
Truth is their evidence, Truth is their instruction,
True is the praise of the truthful.
Those who have forgotten Truth cry in agony and weep while departing.

                Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Sri Raga, M.3, p. 69

The end and aim of wisdom is repentance and good deeds.

                       Judaism.  Talmud, Berakot 17

True learning induces in the mind service of mankind.

                  Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Asa, M.1, p. 356

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Bhagavad Gita 4.37-38: Cf. Laws of Manu 5.109, p. 728; Narada Dharma Sutra
1.210, p. 159; Sifre Deuteronomy, pp. 494-95.  Berakot 17 and Asa, M.1:
Cf. James 3.13-18, p. 798; Book of Certitude, 69, p. 798; Precepts of
Divine Learning, p. 798.
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