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 correlate of ignorance about Absolute Reality is pride and the inordinate preoccupation with one's own self. Pride and egoism blind one to recognizing transcendent Reality, or even to taking an accurate measure of oneself. Because of pride, a person thinks he is independent and cannot recognize that his very existence is dependent upon Ultimate Reality. He is blind to his relationships to other people, and neither can he conceive that there is a Deity who cares for him. In Christianity, pride is often regarded as the first step to the fall and rebellion against God. In Buddhism, grasping after the self and the sense of ego is the chief of all cravings and the deepest root of ignorance. In the Indic religions pride, like ignorance, is a fetter that binds humans to the wheel of rebirth. The passages collected below discuss pride as the cause of rebellion against God, as a hindrance to knowledge of Ultimate Reality, and as leading to improper estimation of oneself.

Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.

1. Judaism and Christianity. Proverbs 16.18

The mightily proud ultimately rot in their own arrogance.

2. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Gauri Sukhmani 12, M.5, p. 278

Nay, but verily man is rebellious
For he thinks himself independent.
Lo! unto thy Lord is the return.

3. Islam. Qur'an 96.6-8

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Proverbs 16.18: Cf. Matthew 23.12, p. 545; Erubin 13b, p. 545. Gauri Sukhmani 12, M.5: For more of this passage, see pp. 546 and 950. Cf. Bhagavad Gita 16.7-16, p. 397; 18.58, p. 685.
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Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!

4. Judaism and Christianity. Isaiah 5.21

Selfishness may be sweet only for oneself, but no harmony of the whole can come from it.

5. Tenrikyo. Osashizu

We say that "Good" and "Harmony," and "Evil" and "Disharmony," are synonymous. Further we maintain that all pain and suffering are results of want of Harmony, and that the one terrible and only cause of the disturbance of Harmony is selfishness in some form or another.

6. Theosophy. Helena Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy

He who makes his thought better and worse, O Wise One,
Better and worse his conscience, by deed and by word,
He follows his leanings, his wishes, his likings.
In thy mind's force, at the end of times, he shall be set apart.

7. Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 48.4

Turn not your cheek in scorn toward folk, nor walk with pertness in the land. Lo! God loves not each braggart boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice. Lo! the harshest of all voices is the voice of the ass.

8. Islam. Qur'an 31.18-19

But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked;
you waxed fat, you grew thick, you became sleek;
then he forsook God who made him, and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.

9. Judaism and Christianity. Deuteronomy 32.15

I know that Western culture is characterized by individualism. However, selfish individualism is doomed. Sacrificial individualism will blossom. Individuality in itself is good. God gave each of us a unique way to serve. But individualism without God can only build castles on the sands of decay.

10. Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 10-20-73

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Isaiah 5.21: See Proverbs 3.5-6, p. 752; Luke 18.10-14, p. 902; cf. Bhagavad Gita 16.7-16, p. 397. Key to Theosophy: Cf. Sun Myung Moon,10-20-73, p. 467. Qur'an 31.18-19: Cf. Samanasuttam 135-36, p. 912; Doctrine of the Mean 33, p. 912. Deuteronomy 32.15: Cf. 1 Timothy 6.10, p. 420; James 4.13-16, p. 913. Sun Myung Moon, 10-20-73: Cf. Philippians 2.3-4, p. 915.
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Nzame [God] is on high, man is on the earth.
Yeye O, Yalele, God is God, man is man.
Everyone in his house, everyone for himself.

11. African Traditional Religions. Fang Tradition (Gabon)

Like a traveler on earth, overstuffed with pride,
Committing innumerable sins, in maya-hues dyed, beings
Sunk in avarice, attachment, and pride are ruined.
Forgetful of death, involved with progeny, companions, worldly transactions, wife,
Is their life passed.

12. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Jaitsari Chhant, M.5, p. 705

The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
whose dwelling is high,
who say in your heart,
"Who will bring me down to the ground?"
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
though your nest is set among the stars,
thence I will bring you down, says the Lord.

13. Judaism and Christianity. Obadiah 3-4

For the Lord of hosts has a day
against all that is proud and lofty,
against all that is lifted up and high;
against all the cedars of Lebanon
lofty and lifted up;
and against all the oaks of Bashan;
against all the high mountains
and against all the lofty hills;
against every high tower,
and against every fortified wall;
against all the ships of Tarshish,
and against all the beautiful craft.
And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
and the pride of men shall be brought low;
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

14. Judaism and Christianity. Isaiah 2.12-17

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Fang Tradition: This selection is taken from a creation story, and describes the rebellion of primal man as springing from a false sense of of God's remoteness and man's independence. Jaitsari Chhant M.5: Cf. Shalok, M.9, p. 390. Obadiah 3-4: This passage is an indictment of the Edomites, who thought their fortresses in the high cliffs were impenetrable. Cf. 1 Samuel 2.4-9, pp. 545f.; Qur'an 89.6-14, p. 1086. Isaiah 2.12-17: Cf. 1 Samuel 2.4-9, pp. 545f.; Matthew 3.12, p. 545; Erubin 13b, p. 545; Isaiah 24.18-23, p. 1098.
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All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.

15. Judaism and Christianity. Isaiah 64.6

If you desire to obtain help, put away pride. Even a hair of pride shuts you off, as if by a great cloud.

16. Shinto. Oracle of Kasuga

The Buddha restrained Shariputra, "If I preach this matter [the Lotus Sutra], all the gods, men, and asuras in all the worlds shall be alarmed, and the arrogant monks shall fall into a great trap. Indeed...

My dharma is subtle and hard to imagine.
Those of overweening pride,
If they hear it, shall surely neither revere it nor
believe in it."

Yet Shariputra again addressed the Buddha, "I beseech you to preach, I beseech you to preach!..." [The Buddha, prevailed upon by Shariputra, began to teach, but as he began,] in the assembly monks, nuns, lay brothers, and lay sisters to the number of five thousand straightway rose from their seats and, doing obeisance to the Buddha, withdrew. For what reason? This group had deep and grave roots of sin and overweening pride, imagining themselves to have attained and to have borne witness to what in fact they had not. Having such faults as these, therefore they did not stay. The World-honored One, silent, did not restrain them.

The Buddha declared to Shariputra, "My assembly has no more branches and leaves, it has only firm fruit. It is just as well that such arrogant ones as these have withdrawn. Now listen well, for I will preach to you."

17. Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 2

"Subhuti, what do you think? Does a holy one say within himself, 'I have obtained Perfective Enlightenment?'" Subhuti replied, "No, World-honored One... If a holy one of Perfective Enlightenment said to himself, 'Such am I,' he would necessarily partake of the idea of an ego-identity, a personality, a being, a separated individuality."

18. Buddhism. Diamond Sutra 9

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Isaiah 64.6: This passage was originally a complaint by certain Israelites that they were being shunned by society despite their faithfulness to God. But in the Christian tradition, it been understood as an exclamation of the worthlessness of worldly fame or knowledge as mere pretense in the presence of the divine majesty. Oracle of Kasuga: Cf. Sutta Nipata 798, p. 65; Sutra of Hui Neng 6, p. 399. The grand shrine of Kasuga, in Nara prefecture, is one of Japan's oldest Shinto shrines. Lotus Sutra 2: The Buddha seeks to weed out the prideful and retain only sincere disciples before he begins to preach the wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Sutra. Cf. Sutta Nipata 798, p. 65. Diamond Sutra 9: Cf. Dhammapada 63, p. 915; Tao Te Ching 71, p. 915; Shinran, pp. 913f.
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Shun all pride and jealousy. Give up all idea of "me" and "mine".... As long as there is consciousness of diversity and not of unity in the Self, a man ignorantly thinks of himself is a separate being, as the "doer" of actions and the "experiencer" of effects. He remains subject to birth and death, knows happiness and misery, is bound by his own deeds, good or bad.

19. Hinduism. Srimad Bhagavatam 11.4

He who has in his heart faith equal to a single grain of mustard seed will not enter hell, and he who has in his heart as much pride as a grain of mustard seed will not enter paradise.

20. Islam. Hadith of Muslim

Where egoism exists, Thou are not experienced,
Where Thou art, is not egoism.
You who are learned, expound in your mind
this inexpressible proposition.

21. Sikhism. Maru-ki-Var, M.1, p. 1092

In thinking, "This is I" and "That is mine," he binds himself with his self, as does a bird with a snare.

22. Hinduism. Maitri Upanishad 3.2

Travelling powerless, like a bucket traveling in a well:
First with the thought "I," misconceiving the self,
Then, arising attachment to things with the thought "mine."

23. Buddhism. Candrakirti, Madhyamakavatara 3

Not knowing the consequence of good and evil karmas, he is afflicted and hurt. Nevertheless, he, due to his egotism, piles up [more] karmas and undergoes births and deaths again and again.

24. Jainism. Acarangasutra 2.55-56

The fool who thinks he is wise is called a fool indeed.

25. Buddhism. Dhammapada 63

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Hadith of Muslim: Cf. Hadith of Bukhari, p. 911; Bhagavad Gita 18.58, p. 685. Maitri Upanishad 3.2: Cf. Digha Nikaya ii.276, p. 390; Bhagavad Gita 2.71, p. 896. Madhyamakavatara 3: Candrakirti (ca. 560-640) wrote the Madhyamakavatara to explain Nagarjuna's view of sunyata. It consists of twelve chapters. Following the Dashabhumi Sutra, the first ten chapters explain the ten stages of perfections leading to the Buddha-wisdom, and the final two chapters explain the stages of Bodhisattva and of Buddha. Cf. Sutta Nipata 205-6, p. 914.
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If I justify myself, my own mouth shall condemn me:
If I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

26. Judaism and Christianity. Job 9.20

Whoever proclaims himself good,
know, goodness approaches him not.

27. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Gauri Sukhmani 12, M.5, p. 278

Confucius said, A faultless man I cannot hope ever to meet; the most I can hope for is to meet a man of fixed principles. Yet where all around I see Nothing pretending to be Something, Emptiness pretending to be Fullness, Penury pretending to be Affluence, even a man of fixed principles will be none too easy to find.

28. Confucianism. Analects 7.25

He who tiptoes cannot stand;
He who strides cannot walk.
He who shows himself is not conspicuous;
He who considers himself right is not illustrious;
He who brags will have no merit;
He who boasts will not endure.
From the point of view of the Way, these are like "excessive food and useless excrescences"
Which all creatures detest.
He who has the Way does not abide in them.

29. Taoism. Tao Te Ching 24

Pride has seven forms:

Boasting that one is lower than the lowly,
Or equal with the equal, or greater than
Or equal to the lowly
Is called the pride of selfhood.

Boasting that one is equal to those
Who by some quality are better than oneself
Is the pride of being superior. Thinking
That one is higher than the extremely high,

Who fancy themselves to be superior,
Is pride greater than pride;
Like an abscess in a tumor
It is very vicious.

Conceiving an "I" through ignorance
In the five empty [aggregates]
Which are called the appropriation
Is said to be the pride of thinking "I."

Thinking one has won fruits not yet
Attained is pride of conceit.
Praising oneself for faulty deeds
Is known by the wise as wrongful pride.

Deriding oneself, thinking
"I am senseless," is called
The pride of lowliness.
Such briefly are the seven prides.

30. Buddhism. Nagarjuna, Precious Garland 406-12

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Gauri Sukhmani 12, M.5: See Gauri Sukhmani, M.5, p. 950. Analects 7.25: Cf. Chuang Tzu 1, p. 916. Tao Te Ching 24: Cf. Tao Te Ching 71, p. 915.
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