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
- 1 -

View previous page View next page

       The unitive state is the final goal of salvation in the great
religions of the East.  The experience of this unity is profound, and can
be hinted at only vaguely by the words of scripture.  It encompasses both
union with God or Absolute Reality and union with all existence, the
dissolution of subject and object, knower and known.  Mystical union is
less common in the Abrahamic faiths, which in their uncompromising
monotheism have always insisted upon an absolute distinction between the
infinite God and even the most saintly of his creatures.  Yet the
scriptures of Judaism and Christianity speak of a Beatific Vision, an
encounter with God's presence that transforms the viewer.  In Islam,
traditions attributed to Muhammad himself undergird the unitive
experiences of Sufi mystics.

Brahman is the end of the journey.  Brahman is the supreme goal.

                    Hinduism.  Katha Upanishad 1.3.11

Rooted in Nibbana, the holy life is lived.  Nibbana is its goal, Nibbana
is its end.

                    Buddhism.  Samyutta Nikaya iii.188

Meditate upon him and transcend physical consciousness.  Thus will you
reach union with the Lord of the universe.  Thus will you become
identified with him who is One without a second.  In him all your desires
will find fulfillment.

The truth is that you are always united with the Lord.  But you must know

                Hinduism.  Svetasvatara Upanishad 1.11-12

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Katha Upanishad 1.3.11: Cf. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.6-7, p. 352.
Svetasvatara Upanishad 1.11-12: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 5.24, p. 533; Isha
Upanishad 15-16, p. 74.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

As rivers flow into the sea and in so doing lose name and form, so even
the wise man, freed from name and form, attains the Supreme Being, the
Self-luminous, the Infinite.  He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman.

                   Hinduism.  Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.8-9

Gettan Osho said, "Keichu, the first wheelmaker, made a cart whose wheels
had a hundred spokes.  Now, suppose you took a cart and removed both the
wheels and the axle.  What would you have?

Mumon's Comment, "If anyone can directly master this topic, his eye will
be like a shooting star, his spirit like a flash of lightning."

       When the spiritual wheels turn,
       Even the master fails to follow them.
       They travel in all directions above and below,
       North, south, east, and west.

                          Buddhism.  Mumonkan 8

That which is the finest essence--this whole world has that as its Self.
That is Reality.  That is the Self.  That art thou.

                   Hinduism.  Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7

When I love him, I am his hearing by which he hears; and his sight by
which he sees; his hand by which he strikes; and his foot by which he

                   Islam.  Forty Hadith of An-Nawawi 38

Heaven and earth contain me not, but the heart of my faithful servant
contains me.

                       Islam.  Hadith of Suhrawardi

If the heart of God is not moving within your heart... once the invisible
but powerful axis of the heart of God is moved out of you, everything
becomes empty.  Once the heart of God dwells within you, no matter how
lonely you may be you will be filled and the universe will be filled.  A
person who is completely filled is a joyful person because he lacks

               Unification Church.  Sun Myung Moon, 9-11-77

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.8-9: Cf. Chandogya Upanishad 7.23, 27, p. 581; Katha
Upanishad 3.13, p. 840; Maru Ashpadi, pp. 542f.  Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi
38: This is a sacred hadith, with God Himself the speaker.  Mumonkan 8:
'The wheels and the axel' means the body and mind.  Cf. Sutta Nipata
1072-76, p. 532.  Sun Myung Moon, 9-11-77: Cf. Sun Myung Moon, 10-20-73,
p. 197.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

Now are for us no entanglements or snares,
Nor a bit of egoism left.
Now is all distance annulled, nor are curtains drawn between us.
Thou art mine, I Thine.

                Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Bilaval, M.5, p. 821

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then from my flesh I shall see God.

              Judaism and Christianity.  Bible, Job 9.25-26

Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall
be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him.

                     Christianity.  Bible, 1 John 3.2

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being
changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this
comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

                    Christianity.  2 Corinthians 3.18

Some persons asked the Prophet, "Shall we see God on the day of
resurrection?" He answered, "Do you feel any trouble in seeing the moon on
the night when it is full?  Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun on a
cloudless day?"  They answered, "No."  He said, "In the same way you will
see your Lord."

                         Islam.  Hadith of Muslim

Veiled by ignorance,
The minds of man and Buddha
Appear to be different;
Yet in the realm of Mind Essence
They are both of one taste.  Some-
Time they will meet each other
In the great Dharmadhatu.

                           Buddhism.  Milarepa

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Bilaval, M.5: Cf. Majh, M.5, p. 198; Maru Ashpadi, M.1, pp. 542f.  Job
19.25-26: Cf. Isha Upanishad 15-16, p. 74.  1 John 3.2: That is, we shall
all become perfect and Christ-like.  Thomas Aquinas described this
Beatific Vision as "the ultimate goal for the redeemed."  Cf. 1
Corinthians 13.12, p. 322.  2 Corinthians 3.18: Cf. 2 Corinthians 3.7-16,
p. 634.  Hadith of Muslim: Cf. Hadith, p. 87; Isha Upanishad 15-16, p. 74.
Milarepa: The 'Dharmadhatu' is the world of Reality, unclouded by temporal
phenomena or grasping for existence, as perceived by those who have
attained enlightenment.  Cf. Sutra of Hui Neng 3, p. 218; 6, p. 536; Seng
Ts'an, pp. 221f.; Surangama Sutra, p. 546; Isha Upanishad 15-16, p. 74.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

Buddha said, "Through the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment I
acquired not even the least thing.   This is altogether everywhere,
without differentiation or degree."

                      Buddhism. Diamond Sutra 22-23

Whatever is here, that is there.
What is there, that again is here.
He obtains death after death
Who seems to see a different here.

By the mind, indeed, is this realization to be attained:
There is no difference here at all!
He goes from death to death
Who seems to see a difference here.

                   Hinduism.  Katha Upanishad 2.1.10-11

Those who see all creatures within themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life
Delude the one who sees its unity?

                      Hinduism.  Isha Upanishad 6-7

       T'ien Ken was travelling to the south of Yin Mountain.  He had
reached the river Liao when he met a nameless sage, to whom he said, "I
beg to ask about governing the world."

       "Go away," said the nameless man, "you are a low fellow.  How
unpleasant is your question!  I would be in companionship with the Maker
of things.  When wearied, I would mount on the bird of ease and emptiness,
proceed beyond the world, wander in the land of nowhere, and live in the
domain of nothingness. Why do you come to worry me with the problem of
setting the world in order?"

       T'ien Ken again asked his question, and the nameless man replied,
"Make excursion in simplicity.  Identify yourself with nondistinction.
Follow the nature of things and admit no personal bias, then the world
will be at peace."

                          Taoism.  Chuang Tzu 7

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Diamond Sutra 22-23: Cf. Mulamadhyamakakarika 25, pp. 91f. Lankavatara
Sutra 78, p. 182.  Katha Upanishad 2.1.10-11: Cf. Chandogya Upanishad
7.23, p. 581; Lankavatara Sutra 78, p. 182; Mulamadhyamakakarika 25, pp.
91f; Chuang Tzu 2, p. 181.   Isha Upanishad 6-7: Cf. Chandogya Upanishad
7.23, p. 581; 7.25.2, p. 530; Chuang Tzu 22, pp. 98f.  Chuang Tzu 7:
'Identify yourself with nondistinction:' see Seng Ts'an, pp. 221f; Chuang
Tzu 2, p. 181.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

       In the Great Beginning, there was non-being.  It had neither being
nor name.  The One originates from it; it has oneness but not yet physical
form. When things obtain it and come into existence, that is called virtue
[power which gives them their individual character].  That which is
formless is divided [into yang and yin], and from the very beginning going
on without interruption is called destiny.  Through movement and rest it
produces all things.  When things are produced in accordance with the
principle of life, there is physical form.  When the physical form
embodies and preserves the spirit so that all activities follow their own
specific principles, that is nature.

       By cultivating one's nature one will return to virtue.  When virtue
is perfect, one will be one with the Beginning.  Being one with the
Beginning, one becomes vacuous, and being vacuous, one becomes great.  One
will then be united with the sound and breath of things.  When one is
united with the sound and breath of things, one is then united with the
universe.  This unity is intimate and seems to be stupid and foolish.
This is called profound and secret virtue, this is complete harmony.

                          Taoism.  Chuang Tzu 12

       Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the lovely, the holy!

       Avalokita, the holy Lord and Bodhisattva, was moving in the deep
course of the wisdom which has gone beyond.  He looked down from on high,
he beheld but five heaps, and he saw that in their own-being they were

       Here, O Shariputra, form is emptiness, and the very emptiness is
form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from
emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness,
that is form.  The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses,

       Here, O Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are
not produced or stopped, not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or

       Therefore, O Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form, nor
feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness; No eye, ear,
nose, tongue, body, mind; no forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or
objects of mind; No sight-organ element [and so on to] no
mind-consciousness element; There is no ignorance, no extinction of
ignorance [and so on through the twelve links of the chain of dependent
origination to] there is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and
death.  There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path.
There is no cognition, no attainment, and no non-attain- ment.

       Therefore, O Shariputra, it is because of his indifference to any
kind of personal attainment that a bodhisattva, through having relied on
the perfection of wisdom, dwells without thought-coverings.  In the
absence of thought coverings he has not been made to tremble, he has
overcome what can upset, and in the end he attains to Nirvana.

       All those who appear as Buddhas in the three periods of time [are]
fully awake to the utmost, right and perfect enlightenment because they
have relied on the perfection of wisdom.

       Therefore one should know the perfection of wisdom as the great
spell, the spell of great knowledge, the utmost spell, the unequalled
spell, allayer of all suffering, in truth--for what could go wrong?  By
the Perfection of Wisdom has this spell been delivered.  It runs like
this, "Gone, Gone, Gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an
awakening, all hail!"

       This completes the Heart of perfect wisdom.

                          Buddhism.  Heart Sutra

A monk asked Tozan, "What is Buddha?"  Tozan replied, "Three pounds of

                          Buddhism.  Mumonkan 18

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Chuang Tzu 12: This account of creation of all things from non-being leads
to the principle that when a person becomes vacuuous he can be united with
all things.  See Tao Te Ching 40, p. 90; 65, p. 546; Chuang Tzu 15, p.
841; 19, pp. 562f; Doctrine of the Mean 1.4-5, pp. 228f.  Heart Sutra: It
is said that this short sutra gives the essence of the pefection of
wisdom.  'Heaps' in the first paragraph are the skandhas: form, feelings,
perceptions, impulses, consciousness.  These, the five constituents of
human personality, are declared to be in reality empty.  Their emptiness
is described in the paradoxical dialectic: 'form is emptiness... emptiness
is form,' which also describes the transcendental unity of subject and
object, self and world, samsara and nirvana that is realized by the
bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom.  The 'dharmas' in the third
paragraph refer not to 'things' or 'laws' but to a group of 75 mental and
experiental factors enumer- ated in Buddhst Abhidharma philosophy; many
are listed in the following paragraph: the five skhandhas, six
sense-organs, six sense-objects, six corresponding forms of consciousness,
twelve links of the chain of causation, Four Noble Truths, gnosis, and
attainment of the fruits of meditation.  They are likewise declared to be
empty.  The final 'spell' or mantra, delivered by Wisdom personified,
describes the experience of awakening to the realization of this wisdom.
The reader is referred to the excellent commentary on this sutra in Edward
Conze, Buddhist Wisdom Books (New York: Harper, 1972).  Cf. Lankavatara
Sutra, p. 155.  Mumonkan 18: This Zen koan stresses the folly of
definition.  You do not define the truth; you enter into it.  If you think
you can simply understand this koan to mean that the Buddha nature enters
into everything, what do you make of Mumonkan 1, p. 800?  Cf. Chuang Tzu
22, p. 98f., and Mumonkan 21, p. 99n.
- - - - - - - - - - - -