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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       If any venture is to succeed, it must begin well.  The Oriental
proverb, well begun is half done, describes the theme of the passages in
this section. A good beginning means, first of all, internal preparation.
A person should purify his heart prior to starting any venture;
furthermore, he must steel himself with firm resolution and gather
sufficient means to bear any and all burdens on the way to the goal.  This
is practical advice, but it applies especially to activity in the
spiritual quest: It should not be embarked upon lightly or frivolously,
lest the aspirant fall into straits worse than where he was when he

The superior man does not embark upon any affair until he has carefully
planned the start.

                    Confucianism.  I Ching 6: Conflict

Success is the result of foresight and resolution; foresight depends upon
deep thinking and planning to keep your secrets to yourself.

                Islam (Shiite).  Nahjul Balagha, Saying 46

He who wants to expand the field of happiness, let him lay the foundation
of it on the bottom of his heart.

                     Taoism.  Tract of the Quiet Way

If you do not perceive the sincerity within yourself and yet try to move
forth, each movement will miss the mark.

                          Taoism.  Chuang Tzu 23

One must not stand up and say the Tefillah except in a serious frame of
mind. The pious men of old used to wait an hour, and then say the prayer,
in order to direct their hearts to their Father in Heaven.

                      Judaism.  Mishnah, Berakot 5.1

- - - - - - - - - - - -
I Ching 6: Cf. Great Learning, p. 842.  Chuang Tzu 23: Cf. Records of the
Divine Wind, p. 722; Chandogya Upanishad 7.22, p. 201; Sutta Nipata 506,
p. 866.  Berakot 5.1: The 'Tefillah' refers to the Amidah, or Eighteen
Benedictions, one of the central daily prayers of Judaism.  Cf. Berakot
30b, p. 829.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

Before you climb a tree you must start at the bottom.

          African Traditional Religions.  Buji Proverb (Nigeria)

Check the edge of the axe before splitting wood.

          African Traditional Religions.  Njak Proverb (Nigeria)

The superior man gathers together his weapons in order to provide against
the unforeseen.

              Confucianism.  I Ching 45: Gathering Together

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and
count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he
has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to
mock him, saying, "This man began to build, and was not able to finish."
Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down
first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him
who comes against him with twenty thousand?

                       Christianity.  Luke 14.28-31

A ship, which is not well prepared, in the ocean
Goes to destruction, together with its goods and merchants.
But when a ship is well prepared, and well joined together,
Then it does not break up, and all the goods get to the other shore.
Just so a bodhisattva, exalted in faith,
But deficient in wisdom, swiftly comes to a failure in enlightenment.
But when he is well joined to wisdom, the foremost perfection,
He experiences, unharmed and uninjured, the enlightenment of the Jinas.

        Buddhism.  Verses on the Perfection of Wisdom which is the
                  Storehouse of Precious Virtues 14.7-8

Woodworker Ch'ing carved a piece of wood and made a bell stand, and when
it was finished, everyone who saw it marveled, for it seemed to be the
work of gods or spirits.  When the Marquis of Lu saw it, he asked, "What
art is it you have?" Ch'ing replied, "I am only a craftsman--how would I
have any art?  There is one thing, however.  When I am going to make a
bell stand, I never let it wear out my energy.  I always fast in order to
still my mind.  When I have fasted for three days, I no longer have any
thought of congratulations or rewards, of titles or stipends.  When I have
fasted for five days, I no longer have any thought of praise or blame, of
skill or clumsiness.  And when I have fasted seven days, I am so still
that I forget I have four limbs and a form and body. By that time, the
ruler and his court no longer exist for me.  My skill is concentrated and
all outside distractions fade away.  After that, I go into the mountain
forest and examine the Heavenly nature of the trees.  If I find one of
superlative form, and I can see a bell stand there, I put my hand to the
job of carving; if not, I let it go.  This way I am simply matching up
'Heaven' with 'Heaven.'  That's probably the reason that people wonder if
the results were not made by spirits."

                          Taoism.  Chuang Tzu 19