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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       Peace is one of the most desirable fruits of salvation in all the
world's religions.  We begin with passages describing the fruit of inner
peace.  The peace that comes with reaching Ultimate Reality brings
tranquillity to the heart and clarity to the mind.  It is the absence of
passions, desires, anxieties, and wandering thoughts; the heart becomes
cool and content. Nirvana is often translated 'Peace.'  Islam and
Christianity both praise the peace and tranquillity that come to the soul
that is firm in faith.  The soul of the saint has been likened to a deep
pond whose surface remains undisturbed by waves despite the many currents
or streams that flow into it.

       A second group of passages describe the peace of God that brings
harmony among people and nations.  Outward peace is emphasized in the
Abrahamic faiths, for whom the work of God has a social and historical
dimension.  The love of God breaks down the walls of hostility between
people, and thus becomes the foundation for their lasting peace.  Yet
peace in this social and political sense is not only given by God; it must
also be built by the efforts of human beings.  Those who are blessed with
inner peace have the responsibility to become peacemakers, reconciling

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do
I give to you.

                     Christianity.  Bible, John 14.27

In the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction.

                           Islam.  Qur'an 13.28

The Master said, "In the morning, hear the Way; in the evening, die

                       Confucianism.  Analects 4.8

This is peace, this is the excellent, namely the calm of all the impulses,
the casting out of all "basis," the extinction of craving, dispassion,
stopping, Nirvana.

                    Buddhism.  Anguttara Nikaya v.322

O tranquil soul,
return to your Lord
so pleasant and well-pleased!
Enter among My servants
and enter My garden!

                         Islam.  Qur'an 89.27-30

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

              Judaism and Christianity.  Bible, Numbers 6.26

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

                  Christianity.  Bible, Philippians 4.7

He it is who sent down peace of reassurance into the hearts of the
believers, that they might add faith to their faith.

                           Islam.  Qur'an 48.4

Thou dost keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee,
because he trusts in thee.

              Judaism and Christianity.  Bible, Isaiah 26.3

If a man sings of God and hears of Him,
And lets love of God sprout within him,
All his sorrows shall vanish,
And in his mind, God will bestow abiding peace.

                Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Japuji 5, M.1, p. 2

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Anguttara Nikaya v.322: Nirvana is the Ultimate Good because it is the
complete end of all the impulses and passions that produce evil.  Cf.
Dhammapada 96, p. 230.  Qur'an 89.27-30: Cf. Qur'an 56.27, p. 353.
Numbers 6.26: Part of the Aaronic benediction, Numbers 6.24-26, p. 56.
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Just as a deep lake is clear and still, even so, on hearing the teachings
and realizing them, the wise become exceedingly peaceful.

                         Buddhism.  Dhammapada 82

As rivers flow into the ocean but cannot make the vast ocean overflow, so
flow the streams of the sense-world into the sea of peace that is the

                      Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 2.70

Men do not mirror themselves in running water--they mirror themselves in
still water.  Only what is still can still the stillness of other things.

                          Taoism.  Chuang Tzu 5

The monk looks for peace within himself, and not in any other place.  For
when a person is inwardly quiet, there is nowhere a self can be found;
where, then, could a non-self be found?

There are no waves in the depths of the sea; it is still, unbroken.  It is
the same with the monk.  He is still, without any quiver of desire,
without a remnant on which to build pride and desire.

                      Buddhism.  Sutta Nipata 919-20

The Lord lives in the heart of every creature.  He turns them round and
round upon the wheel of his Maya.  Take refuge utterly in Him.  By His
grace you will find supreme peace, and the state which is beyond all

                    Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 18.61-62

Should anyone be victim of great anxiety, his body racked with maladies,
Beset with problems of home and family, With pleasure and pain
alternating, Wandering in all four directions without peace or rest--
Should he then contemplate the Supreme Being, Peaceful shall his mind and
body become.

                Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Sri Raga, M.5, p. 70

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Dhammapada 82: Cf. Anguttara Nikaya iii.34, p. 531; Dhammapada 413, pp.
231f. Bhagavad Gita 2.70: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 6.7-9, p. 226.  Chuang Tzu 5:
Only a person at peace with himself can calm others.  Cf. Tao Te Ching 4,
p. 525; Great Learning, p. 842; Tao Te Ching 56, p. 840.  Sutta Nipata
919-920: Cf. Dhammapada 279, p. 899.  The peace which comes from finding
union in the midst of the world's bewildering diversity is also expressed
in the Peace Chant of the Isha Upanishad, p. 55.  Cf. Katha Upanishad
3.13, p. 840, Bhagavad Gita 5.10-12, p. 724.  On the wheel of Maya, see
Svetasvatara Upanishad 1.6.8, p. 398.
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Victory breeds hatred, for the defeated live in pain.  Happily live the
peaceful, giving up victory and defeat.

                        Buddhism.  Dhammapada 201

Tao invariably takes no action, and yet there is nothing left undone. If
kings and barons can keep it, all things will transform spontaneously. If,
after transformation, they should desire to be active, I would restrain
them with simplicity, which has no name. Simplicity, which has no name, is
free of desires. Being free of desires, it is tranquil. And the world will
be at peace of its own accord.

                         Taoism.  Tao Te Ching 37

Some children were playing beside a river.  They made castles of sand, and
each child defended his castle and said, "This one is mine."  They kept
their castles separate and would not allow any mistakes about which was
whose.  When the castles were all finished, one child kicked over someone
else's castle and completely destroyed it.  The owner of the castle flew
into a rage, pulled the other child's hair, struck him with his fist and
bawled out, "He has spoiled my castle!  Come along all of you and help me
to punish him as he deserves." The others all came to his help.  They beat
the child with a stick and then stamped on him as he lay on the ground....
Then they went on playing in their sand castles, each saying, "This is
mine; no one else may have it.  Keep away! Don't touch my castle!"  But
evening came, it was getting dark and they all thought they ought to be
going home.  No one now cared what became of his castle.  One child
stamped on his, another pushed his over with both hands. Then they turned
away and went back, each to his home.

                     Buddhism  Yogacara Bhumi Sutra 4

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!

                     Christianity.  Bible, Luke 2.14

The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.

                       Judaism.  Talmud, Gittin 59b

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Dhammapada 201: Cf. Nitivaktyamrita 344, p. 1052.  Tao Te Ching 37: Cf.
Chuang Tzu 7, p. 588; Tao Te Ching 80, p. 291.  Yogacara Bhumi Sutra 4: In
this parable Nirvana is likened to the diminution of jealousy and passion
for existence with the cool of evening.  In the Pali version (Samyutta
Nikaya iii.188) the sand castles are likened to the body, which had been
the object of grasping; with Release it becomes a thing to be disregarded
and broken up. Luke 2.14: The proclamation of the angelic hosts at the
birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace; see the larger passage Luke
1.26-2:14, p. 596.  Cf. Yasna 60.5, p. 289.
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All things exist for world peace.

                   Perfect Liberty Kyodan  Precepts, 14

God is peace, His name is peace, and all is bound together in peace.

                      Judaism.  Zohar, Leviticus 10b

For Christ Jesus is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken
down the dividing wall of hostility.

                   Christianity.  Bible, Ephesians 2.14

Our Father, it is thy universe, it is thy will:
Let us be at peace, let the souls of the people be cool.
Thou art our Father, remove all evil from our path.

           African Traditional Religions.  Nuer Prayer (Sudan)

They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
       and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
       neither shall they learn war any more.

               Judaism and Christianity.  Bible, Isaiah 2.4

Now is the gracious Lord's ordinance promulgated,
No one shall cause another pain or injury;
All mankind shall live in peace together,
Under a shield of administrative benevolence.

                Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Sri Raga, M.5, p. 74

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

                    Christianity.  Bible, Matthew 5.9

He brings together those who are divided, he encourages those who are
friendly; he is a peacemaker, a lover of peace, impassioned for peace, a
speaker of words that make for peace.

              Buddhism.  Digha Nikaya xiii.75, Tevigga Sutta

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Precepts, 14: A sentiment common to most of the new religions of Japan.
Zohar, Leviticus 10b: In Hebrew, shalom includes the concepts peace,
wellness, and wholeness.  Cf. Numbers 6.24-26, p. 56; the Kaddish prayer,
p. 54. Ephesians 2.14: Cf. John 17.20-21, p. 271; Atharva Veda 7.52.1-2,
pp. 272f. Matthew 5.9: Cf. Abot 1.12, p. 239.
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If two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between
them. And if one party of them does wrong to the other, fight that
wrong-doer until it returns to the ordinance of God; then, if it returns,
make peace between them justly, and act equitably.  Lo! God loves the

                           Islam.  Qur'an 49.9

During the short eons of swords,
They meditate on love,
Introducing to nonviolence
Hundreds of millions of living beings.

In the midst of great battles
They remain impartial to both sides;
For bodhisattvas of great strength
Delight in reconciliation of conflict.

                Buddhism.  Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 8

Peace be to earth and to airy spaces!
Peace be to heaven, peace to the waters,
peace to the plants and peace to the trees!
May all the gods grant me peace!
By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused!
By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace!
With this peace the dreadful I appease,
with this peace the cruel I appease,
with this peace all evil I appease,
so that peace may prevail, happiness prevail!
May everything for us be peaceful!

                     Hinduism.  Atharva Veda 19.9.14