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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        When a truth is learned, it must be practiced.  Indeed, knowledge
that is not put into practice is not truly learned; it soon fades away
like a mirage. The person who claims to be wise and devout, but who never
acts on his wisdom, is engaging in Hypocrisy, pp. 489-93.  Conversely, as
the concluding story of Mary and Martha shows, action without learning is
also foolish.  In the East, people are taught the virtue of being reserved
and taciturn in order that they might not display knowledge that they
not yet mastered in practice.  It is far better first to act on an idea in
private and see to its result than to announce it to others while it is
yet untested and unmastered.  This reserve is especially apt in the case
of religious and moral teaching, whose practice is not easy.  Only a
teacher who has first mastered and embodied his teaching is worthy of

I do act as I talk
And live up to my words in deed.

                    Hinduism.  Basavanna, Vachana 440

Tzu-kung asked about the true gentleman.  The Master said, "He does not
preach what he practices until he has practiced what he preaches."

                       Confucianism.  Analects 2.13

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe
whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not

                      Christianity.  Matthew 23.2-3

O you who believe, wherefore do you say what you do not?
Very hateful is it to God, that you say what you do not.

                          Islam.  Qur'an 61.2-3

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Analects 2.13: This is close to the Confucian meaning of sincerity; see
Doctrine of the Mean 25, p. 724.  Matthew 23.2-3: Cf. Qur'an 26.221-26, p.
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Realization of Truth is higher than all else;
Higher still is truthful living.

              Sikhism.  Adi Granth, Sri Ashtpadi, M.1, p. 62

Just as a man or a woman has known what is truth, so he or she should
practice that truth with zeal, and should teach it those persons who
should practice it so, as it is!

                   Zoroastrianism.  Avesta, Yasna 35.6

As a flower that is lovely and beautiful, but is scentless, even so
fruitless is the well-spoken word of one who does not practice it.

As a flower that is lovely, beautiful and scent-laden, even so fruitful is
the well-spoken word of one who practices it.

                       Buddhism.  Dhammapada 51-52

That knowledge is very superficial which remains only on your tongue: the
intrinsic merit and value of knowledge is that you act up to it.

                Islam (Shiite).  Nahjul Balaga, Saying 90

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if
any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who
observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes
away and at once forgets what he was like.

                       Christianity.  James 1.22-24

The Master said, "A gentleman is ashamed to let his words outrun his

                      Confucianism.  Analects 14.29

Not study is the chief thing, but action; and whoso multiplies words,
multiplies sin.

                       Judaism.  Mishnah, Abot 1.17

Not every one who says to me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of
Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

                       Christianity.  Matthew 7.21

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Dhammapada 51-52: Cf. Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom 431, p. 444.  James
1.22-24: If a teaching is not put into practice, it may readily be
forgotten. This frequently happens to sensitive people who receive
spiritual revelations; if not acted upon they rapidly slip away.  Cf.
James 2.14-26, p. 1009f.  Matthew 7.21: Cf. John 9.31, p. 830; James
2.14-26, pp. 1009f.
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The Master said, "Do not be to ready to speak of it, lest the doing of it
should prove to be beyond your powers."

                      Confucianism.  Analects 14.21

The one who would have the worst position in God's sight on the Day of
Resurrection would be a learned man who did not profit from his learning.

                         Islam.  Hadith of Darimi

Though he recites many a scriptural text, but does not act accordingly,
that heedless man is like a cowherd who counts others' cattle.  He has no
share in the fruits of the religious life.

Though he can recite few scriptural texts, but acts in accordance with the
teaching, forsaking lust, hatred, and ignorance, with right awareness and
mind well emancipated, not clinging to anything here or in the next life,
he shares the fruits of the religious life.

                       Buddhism.  Dhammapada 19-20

Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named
Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who
sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was
distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you
not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help
me."  But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and
troubled about many things; one thing is needful.  Mary has chosen the
good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."

                       Christianity.  Luke 10.38-42

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Luke 10.38-42: In this story, Martha's constant serving, though an effort
to please the Lord, was out of place.  Receiving a new teaching is of
special value, during which time life's ordinary duties, even what is
regarded as obligatory good practice, should be put aside.
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