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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       A person who has faith and confidence in God's provision need not
worry about worldly cares.  For one who has deep insight into Reality,
concerns about possessions and acquisitions seem ephemeral and
meaningless.  Hence the scriptures counsel the traveller in the spirit to
avoid meaningless attachments to possessions, position, or fame.  The
faithless person, being attached to these things, becomes anxious when
they are lacking, and he is constantly driven to grasp after them.  But in
the life of faith there is a simplicity and detachment that produces
neither anxiety nor care.  To live like the birds of the air or the
animals of the forest, for whom God provides the necessities of life; to
trust in God and the spiritual principle that God will protect and provide
for those who put Heaven first; to be selfless, and hence unconcerned
about such mundane matters as life or death: this is the attitude of the
wise man.

Any who believes in his Lord has no fear, either of loss or of any

                           Islam.  Qur'an 72.13

All are afraid of death; nowhere is there fearlessness.  But the virtuous
saints never fear death and the state after death.

                     Hinduism.  Matsya Purana 212.25

My Lord, boundless as
  The sun and moon
  Lighting heaven and earth;
How then can I have concerns
About what is to be?

                          Shinto.  Man'yoshu XX

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Qur'an 72.13: Cf. Qur'an 2.112, p. 770.
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One who has mastered Dhamma, one much learned,
Has no such thought as, Ah! 'tis well with me!
Look you! how tortured is he that has possessions!
One to another human folk are bound.

                           Buddhism.  Udana 13

Day in, day out, I am with Amida;
Let the sun set whenever it pleases.
How grateful indeed I am!

                           Buddhism.  Myokonin

Unless the Lord builds the house,
       those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
       the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
       eating the bread of anxious toil;
       for he gives his beloved sleep.

                 Judaism and Christianity.  Psalm 127.1-2

Do not strain your eyes in longing for the things We have given for
enjoyment to parties of them, the splendor of the life of the world,
through which We test them: but the provision of your Lord is better and
more enduring....  We do not ask you to provide sustenance; We provide it
for you.  The fruit of the hereafter is for righteousness.

                         Islam.  Qur'an 20.131-32

Those who surrender to God all selfish attachments are like the leaf of a
lotus floating clean and dry in water.  Sin cannot touch them.  Renouncing
their selfish attachments, those who follow the path of service work with
body, senses, and mind for the sake of self-purification.  Those whose
consciousness is unified abandon all attachment to the results of action
and attain supreme peace.

                     Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 5.10-12

How many animals do not carry their own provision!  God provides for them
and for you.  He is Alert, Aware.

                           Islam.  Qur'an 29.60

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Udana 13: Cf. Suhi, M.5 804;  Myokonin: The Myokonin is a collection of
poems by Japanese Pure Land saints.  Pure Land Buddhists keep the mind
fixed on Ultimate Reality by constantly chanting Namu-Amida-Butsu, All
Hail to Amitabha Buddha; see Meditation on Buddha Amitayus 3.30, p. 833.
Qur'an 20.131-32: An important element in the attitude of trust in God's
provision is to avoid comparing oneself with others.  Bhagavad Gita
5.10-12: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 2.47-50, p. 941; Srimad Bhagavatam 9, p. 992.
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       In the Changes it is said, "If a man is agitated in mind, and his
thoughts go hither and thither, only those friends on whom he fixes his
conscious thoughts will follow"  [Hexagram 31: Influence].

       The Master said, "What need has nature of thought and care?  In
nature all things return to their common source and are distributed along
different paths; through one action, the fruits of a hundred thoughts are
realized.  What need has nature of thought, of care?"

              Confucianism.  I Ching, Great Commentary 2.5.1

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall
eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on.
Is not life more than food and clothing?  Look at the birds of the air:
they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly
Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you
by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?  And why are you
anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the
field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he
not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be
anxious, saying "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we wear?"  For the
gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you
need them all.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all
these things shall be yours as well.

                      Christianity.  Matthew 6.25-33

Whoever has bread in his basket and says, "What am I going to eat
tomorrow?" only belongs to those who are little in faith.

                        Judaism.  Talmud, Sota 48b

"My clothes are torn, I shall soon go naked," or "I shall get a new suit":
such thoughts should not be entertained by a monk.  At one time he will
have no clothes, at another time he will have some.  Knowing this to be a
salutary rule, a wise monk should not complain about it.

                  Jainism.  Uttaradhyayana Sutra 2.12-13

Though the fig tree do not blossom,
       nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
       and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
       and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
       I will exult in the God of my salvation.

               Judaism and Christianity.  Habakkuk 3.17-18

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Matthew 6.25-33: Cf. Srimad Bhagavatam 9, p. 992.  Habakkuk 3.17-18: Cf.
Sri Raga, M.1, p. 876.
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       The Exalted One said to Bhaddiya, "Bhaddiya, what motive have you,
who are wont to resort to forest-dwelling, to the roots of trees, to
lonely spots, in exclaiming, 'Ah! 'tis bliss!  Ah! 'tis bliss!'?"

       "Formerly, sir, when I enjoyed the bliss of royalty as a
householder, within my palace guards were set and outside my palace guards
were set.  So also in the district and outside.  Thus, sir, though guarded
and protected, I dwelt fearful, anxious, trembling, and afraid.  But now,
sir, as I resort to forest-dwelling, to the roots of trees, to lonely
spots, though alone, I am fearless, assured, confident, and unafraid.  I
live at ease, unstartled, lightsome, with heart like that of some wild
creature.  This, sir, was the motive I have for exclaiming, 'Ah! 'tis
bliss!  Ah! 'tis bliss!'"

                          Buddhism.  Udana 19-20

The restless mind is not fixed at one spot;
Like a deer it nibbles at tender shoots.
Should man lodge in mind the divine lotus feet,
His life span is lengthened, his mind awakened, immortal he becomes.
All beings are in the grip of anxiety;
But by contemplation of God comes joy.

         Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Ramkali Dakhni Onkar, M.1, p. 932

The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free
from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in
the fire of knowledge.  The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all
external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their
action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all [i.e., nothing
producing karma].  Free from expectations and from all sense of
possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not
incur sin by the performance of physical action.

                     Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21

The man who has had his feet cut off in punishment discards his fancy
clothes--because praise and blame no longer touch him.  The chained
convict climbs the highest peak without fear--because he has abandoned all
thought of life and death.  These two are submissive and unashamed because
they have forgotten other men, and by forgetting other men they have
become men of Heaven.  You may treat such men with respect and they will
not be pleased; you may treat them with contumely and they will not be
angry.  Only because they are one with the Heavenly Harmony can they be
like this.

                          Taoism.  Chuang Tzu 23

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Ramkali Dakhni Onkar, M.1: Cf. Sri Raga, M.1, p. 876; Atharva Veda
10.8.43-44, p. 582.  Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 2.47-50. p.
941; Tao Te Ching 2, p. 941; Sutta Nipata 1072-76, p. 532.  Chuang Tzu 23:
It is a well-known phenomenon that people who have faced death,
imprisonment, or absolute disgrace can rise above ordinary notions of good
and evil and become people of profound wisdom.  Cf. Chuang Tzu 6, p. 234;
31, p. 961.
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