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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       Self-control is necessary for any spiritual progress.  Unruly
thoughts, attractions of the senses, lustful desires, anger, covetousness,
and avarice constantly arise in the mind of the person who has no mental
discipline; and these impel him to do evil deeds.  If a person cannot
direct his thoughts, desires, and actions according to his own will, how
can he possibly direct his soul to God and keep his life on the path of
truth?  Unless the higher mind is strengthened and given the will power to
master the impulses of the flesh mind, there will be little room for God
to dwell with that mind.  Thus, central to the religious life is

       The passages in this section feature two nearly universal metaphors
employed to describe self-control: military conquest and the horse and
rider. More relevant passages are gathered under the topics Restraint, pp.
917-21, and Subdue Desires, pp. 925-32.

Irrigators lead the waters.  Fletchers bend the shafts.  Carpenters bend
wood. The virtuous control themselves.

                     Buddhism.  Dhammapada 80 and 145

With the conquest of my mind, I have conquered the whole world.

                Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Japuji 28, M.1, p. 6

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Dhammapada 80: Self-control is as necessary to the inner life as skill in
shaping wood, metal, or water is required for good industry.  Spiritual
training is the counterpart to learning a secular trade; cf. Guide to the
Bodhisattva's Way of Life 4.40, p. 744.  For the comparisons to the
physical training of an athlete, see 1 Timothy 4.7-8, p. 716; 1
Corinthians 9.24-27, p. 745.  Japuji 28, M.1: Cf. Shalot Sehskriti, M.5,
p. 1055; Bhagavad Gita 6.5-6, p. 680.
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Though one should conquer a million men on the battlefield, yet he,
indeed, is the noblest victor who has conquered himself.

                        Buddhism.  Dhammapada 103

       Though a man should conquer thousands and thousands of valiant
foes, greater will be his victory if he conquers nobody but himself.

       Fight with yourself; why fight with external foes?  He who conquers
himself through himself will obtain happiness....

       Difficult to conquer is oneself;  but when that is conquered,
everything is conquered.

                  Jainism.  Uttaradhyayana Sutra 9.34-36

Before you desire to control the universe, you must first be able to
completely control yourself.

              Unification Church.  Sun Myung Moon, 11-22-70

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

                Judaism and Christianity.  Proverbs 16.32

Who is strong?  He who controls his passions.

                       Judaism.  Mishnah, Abot 4.1

Abu Huraira reported God's Messenger as saying, "The strong man is not the
good wrestler; the strong man is only he who controls himself when he is

                   Islam.  Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim

That man is disciplined and happy
       who can prevail over the turmoil
That springs from desire and anger,
       here on earth, before he leaves his body.

                      Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 5.23

The Prophet declared, "We have returned from the lesser holy war (al jihad
al-asghar) to the greater holy war (al jihad al-akbar)."  They asked, "O
Prophet of God, which is the greater war?"  He replied, "Struggle against
the lower self."

                              Islam.  Hadith

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Dhammapada 103: Cf. Dhammapada 42, p. 392; Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way
of Life 4.28-35, p. 392.  Uttaradhyayana Sutra 9.34-36: Cf. Acarangasutra
2.78, p. 926; Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah 43, p. 407.  Sun
Myung Moon, 11-22-70:  'To control the universe,' that is, to have any
good influence over the affairs of the world, first one's self control
should be perfect.  Proverbs 16.32: Cf. 1 Peter 2.11, p. 926.  Abot 4.1:
The verse goes on to quote Proverbs 16.32, above.  Cf. Berakot 5a, p. 926.
Bhagavad Gita 5.23: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 3.41, p. 417; 6.5-6, p. 680.
Hadith: This is an important Sufi tradition.  The 'lesser jihad' is jihad
in the ordinary sense: the war against external foes. The 'greater jihad'
is the spiritual war, whose battleground is the soul.
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Attack the evil that is within yourself; do not attack the evil that is in

                      Confucianism.  Analects 12.21

He who knows others is wise;
He who knows himself is enlightened.
He who conquers others has physical strength;
He who conquers himself is strong.

                         Taoism.  Tao Te Ching 33

It is true that the mind is restless and difficult to control.  But it can
be conquered, Arjuna, through regular practice and detachment.  Those who
lack self-control will find it difficult to progress in meditation; but
those who are self-controlled, striving earnestly through the right means,
will attain the goal.

                     Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 6.35-36

The flickering, fickle mind, difficult to guard, difficult to control--the
wise person straightens it as a fletcher straightens an arrow.

Like a fish that is drawn from its watery abode and thrown upon land, even
so does this mind flutter.  Hence should the realm of the passions be

The mind is hard to check, swift, flits wherever it lists: to control it
is good.  A controlled mind is conducive to happiness.

The mind is very hard to perceive, extremely subtle, flits wherever it
lists. Let the wise person guard it; a guarded mind is conducive to

Faring far, wandering alone, bodiless, lying in a cave, is the mind.
Those who subdue it are freed from the bonds of Mara.

                       Buddhism.  Dhammapada 33-37

Man makes a harness for his beast; all the more should he make one for the
beast within himself, his evil desire.

                Judaism.  Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 10.1

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not keep with you.

                  Judaism and Christianity.  Psalm 32.9

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Analects 12.21: Cf. Analects 12.1, p. 547; 2.2, p. 926; 5.21-23, p. 199;
16.7, p. 928.  Bhagavad Gita 6.35-36: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 6.10-27, pp. 843f.
Dhammapada 33-37: Cf. Dhammapada 25, p. 715; Guide to the Bodhisattva's
Way of Life 4.28-35, p. 392.
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Excellent are trained mules, so are thoroughbred horses of Sindh and noble
tusked elephants; but far better is he who has trained himself.

Formerly this mind went wandering where it liked, as it wished and as it
listed.  Today with attentiveness I shall completely hold it in check, as
a mahout controls an elephant in must.

                      Buddhism.  Dhammapada 322, 326

       Know that the Self is the rider, and the body the chariot; that the
intellect is the charioteer, and the mind the reins.

       The senses, say the wise, are the horses; the roads they travel are
the mazes of desire....

       When a man lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, his
senses are unmanageable, like the restive horses of a charioteer.  But
when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like
the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein.

                    Hinduism.  Katha Upanishad 1.3.3-6

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Dhammapada 322, 326: Cf. Dhammapada 94, p. 230; 380, p. 679.  Katha
Upanishad 1.3.3-6: Cf. Svetasvatara Upanishad 2.9, pp. 842f.
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