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

Say, I do not say to you, "I possess the treasuries of God"; I know not
the Unseen.  And I say not to you, "I am an angel"; I only follow what is
revealed to me.

                           Islam.  Qur'an 6.50

Say, I am only a mortal the like of you; it is revealed to me that your
God is one God.  So let him who hopes for the encounter with his Lord work
righteousness, and not associate with his Lord's service anyone.

                          Islam.  Qur'an 18.110

Monks, an inquiring monk, learning the range of another's mind, should
make a study of the Tathagata, so as to distinguish whether he is a fully
self-awakened one or not.

                     Buddhism.  Majjhima Nikaya i.318

A man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must
I do to inherit eternal life?"  And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me
good? No one is good but God alone."

                   Christianity.  Bible, Mark 10.17-18

The Master said, "As to being a Divine Sage or even a Good Man, far be it
from me to make any such claim.  As for unwearying effort to learn and
unflagging patience in teaching others, those are merits that I do not
hesitate to claim."

                       Confucianism.  Analects 7.33

They do blaspheme who say, "God is Christ, the son of Mary."  But said
Christ, "O Children of Israel! Worship God, my Lord and your Lord."
Whoever joins other gods with God--God will forbid him the Garden, and the
Fire will be his abode.

                           Islam.  Qur'an 5.75

Since the children share in flesh and blood, he [Jesus] himself likewise
partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who
has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who
through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage....  Therefore he
had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become
a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make
expiation for the sins of the people.  For because he himself has suffered
and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

                  Christianity.  Bible, Hebrews 2.14-18

Lo!  God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet.  O you who
believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation.

                           Islam.  Qur'an 33.56

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he
had married, for he had married a Cushite woman; and they said, "Has the
Lord indeed spoken only through Moses?  Has he not spoken through us
also?"  And the Lord heard it.  Now the man Moses was very meek, more than
all men that were on the face of the earth.  And suddenly the Lord said to
Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, "Come out, you three, to the tent of
meeting."  And the three of them came out.  And the Lord came down in a
pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tent, and called Aaron and
Miriam; and they both came forward.  And he said, "Hear my words: If there
is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision, I
speak with him in a dream.  Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted
with all my house.  With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in
dark speech; and he beholds the form of the Lord.  Why then were you not
afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

                     Judaism.  Bible, Numbers 12.1-8

What are the eighteen special dharmas of a Buddha?  From the night when
the Tathagata knows full enlightenment, to the day when he becomes extinct
in Nirvana, during all this time the Tathagata 1) does not stumble, 2) is
not rash or noisy in his speech, 3) is never robbed of his mindfulness.
4) He has no perception of difference.  5) His thought is never
unconcentrated.  6) His evenmindedness is not due to lack of
consideration.  7) His zeal, 8) vigor, 9) mindfulness, 10) concentration,
11) wisdom, and 12) deliverance never fail. 13) All the deeds of his body,
14) voice, and 15) mind are preceded by cogni- tion and continue to
conform to cognition.  16) His cognition and vision regarding the past,
17) future, and 18) present period of time proceeds unob- structed and
freely.  And all that is without taking anything as a basis.

             Buddhism.  Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom 211-12

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Hebrews 2.14-18: This conveys the necessity for Jesus to be a human being;
by his having shared in the lot of humanity, he is able to save humanity.
Qur'an 33.56: By this command all Muslims, when they mention the name of
the Prophet, will recite a blessing.  Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom
211-12: This is one of several lists of the Buddha's qualities: his 18
dharmas, which describe qualities of mind, word, and deed; his 32 marks,
which are the physical signs of a superman, and his 80 secondary marks.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

The Master said, "The thought that,
       I have left my moral power untended,
       My learning unperfected;
       I have heard of righteous men, but have been unable to go to them,
       I have heard of evil men, but have been unable to reform them.
--it is these thoughts that disquiet me."

The Master said, "Give me a few more years, so that I may have spent a whole
fifty years in study, and I believe that after all I should be fairly free
from error."

The Duke of She asked Tzu-lu about Confucius.  Tzu-lu did not reply.  The
Master said, "Why did you not say 'This is the character of the man: so
intent upon enlightening the eager that he forgets his hunger, and so
happy in doing so, that he forgets the bitterness of his lot and does not
realize that old age is at hand.  That is what he is.'"

The Master said, "Even when walking in a party of no more than three I can
always be certain of learning from those I am with.  There will be good
qualities that I can select for imitation and bad ones that will teach me
what requires correction in myself."

                        Confucianism.  Analects 7

The Lord abstained from frequent speech.  He uttered a few words, if and
when necessary.  If somebody asked, "Who is there inside?" he would
respond, "It is I, a monk."

The Lord slept sparingly.  He frequently meditated standing and even then
retained full consciousness.  During his spiritual pursuit he had very
little sleep.  During twelve and a half years he slept for less than a
muhurta (48 minutes)....  When sleep would be too irresistible, he would
wander a little to conquer it and thus ceaselessly stay awake.

The Lord was conversant with the precise quantity of food and water
required for a human body and consumed these accordingly....  The Lord was
not biased towards savory dishes.  He experimented variously in matters of
diet.  Once he took dry food.  He subsisted on fatless rice and cereals...
three kinds of food only for a full eight months.

The Lord abandoned water also during his fasts.  Once, he dispensed with
water for a fortnight.  He extended that to live without water for fasts
of one, two, and six months.

The Lord never rubbed his eyes nor scratched the itching part....  The
Lord ever kept his arms spread out even during the winter, instead of
clasping his arms across his chest....  While the people shivered in
winter and many monks sought warm places to nestle into, protected from
the chilly blasts, warming themselves with hearths indoors, the Lord
meditated in the open with no clothes and no shelter....  He suffered

                        Jainism.  Acarangasutra 9

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Analects 7: Vv. 3,16,18,28.  Confucius' character is also illuminated by
Analects 2.4, p. 712; 7.8, p. 637; 7.20, p. 379; 7.26, p. 303; 9.10, p.
809; and 9.16, p. 744.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

One gopi said, "Do you know that when Krishna lies on the ground he rests
on his left elbow, and his head rests on his left hand.  He moves his
attractive eyebrows while playing his flute with his delicate fingers, and
the sound he produces creates such a nice atmosphere that the denizens of
the heavenly planets, who travel in space with their wives and beloved,
stop their airplanes, for they are stunned by the vibration of the flute.
The wives of the demigods who are seated in the planes then become very
much ashamed of their singing and the quality of their musicianship.  Not
only that, but they become afflicted with conjugal love, and their hair
and tightened dresses immediately loosen."

One of the gopis told mother Yashoda, "My dear mother, your son is very
expert among the cowherd boys.  He knows all the different arts, how to
tend the cows and how to play the flute.  He composes his own songs, and
to sing them he puts his flute to his mouth.  When he plays, either in the
morning or in the evening, all the demigods, like Lord Shiva, Brahma,
Indra, and Candra, bow their heads and listen with great attention.
Although they are very learned and expert, they cannot understand the
musical arrangements of Krishna's flute.  They simply listen attentively
and try to understand, but become bewildered and nothing more."

                    Hinduism.  Srimad Bhagavatam 10.34

Anas said, "I served the Prophet for ten years and he never said to me,
'Shame!' or 'Why did you do such and such?' or 'Why did you not do such
and such?'"

He said,  "When I was walking with God's Messenger, who was wearing a
Najrani cloak with a coarse fringe, a nomadic Arab caught up on him, and
gave his cloak a violent tug, pulling God's Prophet back against his
chest, and I saw that the side of God's Messenger's shoulder was marked by
the fringe of the cloak because of the violence of the man's tug.  He
said, 'Command that I be given some of God's property which you have,
Muhammad,' and God's Messenger turned around to him and laughed, then
ordered that he be given something."

He said, "God's Messenger was the best of men, the most generous of men,
the bravest of men.  One night the people of Medina were startled; when
they went in the direction of the sound they were met by the Prophet, who
had gone out towards the sound ahead of them, and he was saying, 'You have
nothing to fear.'  He was on a barebacked horse with no saddle belonging
to Abu Talha and had a sword slung on his neck.  He said, 'I found it
could run like a great river.'"

Abu Hurayra told that when God's Messenger was asked to invoke a curse on
the polytheists he replied, "I was not sent as one given to cursing; I was
sent only as a mercy."

`A'isha said, "God's Messenger was never given his choice between two
things without taking the lesser of them, provided it involved no sin, for
if it did, no one kept further away from it than he.  And God's Messenger
never took revenge on his own behalf for anything unless something God had
forbidden had been transgressed, in which even he took revenge for it for
God's sake."

Anas said, "I served God's Messenger for ten years from the time I was
eight years old and he never blamed me for anything which was destroyed at
my hand. If any member of his family blamed me he said, 'Leave him alone,
for if anything were decreed it would happen.'"

`A'isha said, "God's Messenger was not unseemly or lewd in his language,
nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil,
but he would forgive and pardon."

She said, "God's Messenger used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and
conduct himself at home as anyone of you does in his house.  He was a
human being, searching his garment for lice, milking his sheep, and doing
his own chores."

She reported God's Messenger as saying, "If I wished, `A'isha, mountains
of gold would go with me.  An angel whose waist was as high as the Kaaba
came to me and told me that my Lord sent me a greeting and said that if I
wished I could be a prophet and a king.  I looked at Gabriel and he gave
me a sign to humble myself.  I then said that I would be a prophet and a
servant."  After that God's Messenger did not eat reclining, saying he
would eat like a slave and sit like a slave.

                              Islam.  Hadith

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.34: Krishna as a youth was beloved of the gopis, the
cowherd girls of Vrindavan.  They were irresistibly attracted to him and
joined in his pastimes, for he is the center radiating divine love.  Yet
Krishna also manifested his transcendental powers in delighting the gopis;
cf. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.5, p. 764.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

       I have become a legend in the Gloucester [Mass.] area....  When the
New Hope put out to sea and dropped anchor, often many other boats would
follow and anchor in the vicinity.  When we had a tuna strike, other
fishermen would bring out their binoculars and watch what I was doing.  At
first the negative people would want the tuna to break loose and escape,
but after a few days of successful catches they began to change their
thinking, and the rumor began that I have something good working for me.

       I was always the first one out to sea.  Some of the seasoned
professional fishermen would go out early to outdo me, but no matter how
early they got out, the New Hope was already there.  The fishermen were
not only inspired by this, but when they tried to compete with me they had
to work so hard that they had no time for their usual drinking or
laziness.  By the end of the summer a rumor was going around that
declining town that I am the only one who can save Gloucester.

       Without exception I got up every day at three a.m.  The New Hope
went out in the moonlight and in many cases returned home with the stars
and moon shining.  Do you like to get up early in the morning?  The staff
members working on the boat were never told what time to get up, but since
I arose at three they followed me, no matter how sleepy they were.

       This has been my tradition for four years in America.  It is not
easy to follow me, because no one can outwork me.  My crew knows what I
would do, and if I tell them to be out by 1:30 on the Atlantic they get up
and go out with no grumbling.  I have even set the tradition of staying
out and working all night.

       This summer I did not earn much in terms of money, but in terms of
tradition, I earned billions of dollars worth...  Even though fishing is
hard work, I wanted to give myself without any reservation to set the
tradition for the posterity of the Unification Church.

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

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Hadith: These traditions are from a collection of hadith from many
sources. Other passages on the character of Muhammad include Qur'an 12.53,
p. 383; Hadith of Muslim, p. 443; and Hadith of Muslim, p. 508.  On his
frequent prayer vigils, see Qur'an 73.1-8, p. 828.
- - - - - - - - - - - -