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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These passages describe the human being as a microcosm of the universe, having the essences of all things in him- or herself. As the microcosm, human beings have the foundation to know, use, and enjoy all things. Of all creatures, humans have the widest scope of thought and action, encompassing all things, knowing and appreciating all things, guiding and prospering all things, and transcending all things.

All that the Holy One created in the world He created in man.

1. Judaism. Talmud, Abot de Rabbi Nathan 31

We shall show them Our signs in the horizons and in themselves, till it is clear to them that it is the truth.

2. Islam. Qur'an 41.53

One who knows the inner self knows the external world as well. One who knows the external world knows the inner self as well.

3. Jainism. Acarangasutra 1.147

The whole of existence arises in me,
In me arises the threefold world,
By me pervaded is this all,
Of naught else does this world consist.

4. Buddhism. Hevajra Tantra 8.41

The illimitable Void of the universe is capable of holding myriads of things of various shape and form, such as the sun, the moon, stars, mountains, rivers, worlds, springs, rivulets, bushes, woods, good men, bad men, dharmas pertaining to goodness or badness, deva planes, hells, great oceans, and all the mountains of the Mahameru. Space takes in all these, and so does the voidness of our nature. We say that the Essence of Mind is great because it embraces all things, since all things are within our nature.

5. Buddhism. Sutra of Hui Neng 2

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Abot de Rabbi Nathan 31: Cf. Berakot 10a, p. 211. Hevajra Tantra 8.41: Cf. Samyutta Nikaya i.62, p. 679.
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Man is the product of the attributes of Heaven and Earth, by the interaction of the dual forces of nature, the union of the animal and intelligent souls, and the finest subtle matter of the five elements.

Heaven exercises the control of the strong and light force, and hangs out the sun and stars. Earth exercises the control of the dark and weaker force, and gives vent to it in the hills and streams. The five elements are distributed through the four seasons, and it is by their harmonious action that the moon is produced, which therefore keeps waxing for fifteen days and waning for fifteen. The five elements in their movements alternately displace and exhaust one another. Each one of them, in the revolving course of the twelve months of the four seasons, comes to be in its turn the fundamental one for the time.

The five notes of harmony, with their six upper musical accords, and the twelve pitch-tubes, come each, in their revolutions among themselves, to be the first note of the scale.

The five flavors, with the six condiments, and the twelve articles of diet, come each one, in their revolutions in the course of the year, to give its character to the food.

The five colors, with the six elegant figures, which they form on the two robes, come each one, in their revolutions among themselves, to give the character of the dress that is worn.

Therefore Man is the heart and mind of Heaven and Earth, and the visible embodiment of the five elements. He lives in the enjoyment of all flavors, the discriminating of all notes of harmony, and the enrobing of all colors.

6. Confucianism. Book of Ritual 7.3.1-7

In the beginning the Self alone was here--no other thing that blinks the eye at all. He thought, "What if I were to emanate worlds?"

He emanated these worlds, water, rays of light, death, the waters. Water is up there beyond the sky; the sky supports it. The rays of light are the atmosphere; death the earth; what is underneath, the waters.

He thought again, "Here now are these worlds. What if I were to emanate guardians?" He raised a Man (Purusha) up from the water and gave him a form.

He brooded over him; when he had finished brooding over him, a mouth broke open on him the likeness of an egg. From the mouth came speech and from speech Fire.

Nostrils broke open, from the nostrils came breath, from breath the Wind.

Eyes broke open, from the eyes came sight, from sight the Sun.

Ears broke open, from the ears came hearing, from hearing the Points of the Compass.

Skin broke out, from skin grew hairs, from the hairs plants and trees.

A heart broke out, from the heart came mind, from the mind the Moon.

A navel broke open, from the navel came the out-breath, from the out-breath Death.

A phallus broke forth, from the phallus came semen, from semen Water....

Those deities [the macrocosmic beings], Fire and the rest, after they had been sent forth, fell into the great ocean. Then he [the Self] besieged him [the Purusha] with hunger and thirst. The deities then spoke to him, "Allow us a place in which we may rest and take food."

He led a cow towards them. They said, "This is not enough." He led a horse towards them. They said, "This is not enough." He led man towards them. Then they said, "Well done, indeed." Therefore man is well done. He said to them, "Enter the man, each according to his place."

Then fire, having become speech, entered the mouth; the wind, having become breath, entered the nostrils; the sun, having become sight, entered the eyes; the regions, having become hearing, entered the ears; the plants and trees, having become hairs, entered the skin; the moon, having become mind, entered the heart; death, having become out-breathing, entered the navel; water, having become semen, entered the phallus....

The Self considered, "How could these guardians exist without me?"

Again he thought, "By what way shall I enter them?

"If, without me, speech is uttered, breath is drawn, eye sees, ear hears, skin feels, mind thinks, sex organs procreate, then what am I?"

He thought, "Let me enter the guardians." Whereupon, opening the center of their skulls, he entered. The door by which he entered is called the door of bliss.

7. Hinduism. Aitareya Upanishad 1.1-3.12

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Book of Ritual 7.3.1-7: Cf. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah 27, p. 311.
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Each man is a microcosm of the universe. Your body is made of all the elements of the world. Nature supplied all the ingredients that make your body, which means that the universe made you by donating itself. If nature demanded that you refund everything that nature loaned you, would there be anything left of you? You can feel that the universe gave you birth and made you, so nature is your first parent. Do you feel good that you are a microcosm of the universe? All the universal formulas can be found in you. You could accurately say that you are a small walking universe that can move, whereas the cosmic universe is stationary. Because you can move and act, you can govern the universe. The universe would want you to exercise dominion over it, so your first duty would be to love nature. Then, wherever you are, you can love the creation and appreciate it.

8. Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 9-30-79

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Aitareya Upanishad 1.1-3.12: Vv. 1.1-4, 2.1-4, 3.11-12. The Purusha formed at the beginning of creation is the macrocosmic Person; his parts are then invested in man, the microcosm. Likewise, Hindu temples are built on the pattern of the human body: see Vacana 820, p. 211. For other accounts of creation out of the macrocosmic Person, cf. Rig Veda 10.90.6-16, pp. 868f. Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.7-9, p. 132; Okanagan Creation, p. 298. Sun Myung Moon, 9-30-79: Cf. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah 27, p. 311.
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