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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      The way begins from the heart, is manifest in deeds, and extends to
the entire cosmos.  All tasks should be done with an attitude of
offering--in other words, doing them for God's sake, not for one's
personal gain.  People should offer up the thing that is dearest, with a
willing and cheerful heart, for an offering expresses a person's very
self.  Finally, several important Hindu texts describe sacrifice as
central to the creation and maintenance of the cosmos.

Lo! We have given you abundance; so pray to your Lord, and sacrifice.

1. Islam. Qur'an 108.1-2

Let all your deeds be done for the sake of Heaven.

2. Judaism. Mishnah, Abot 2.17

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

3. Christianity. 1 Corinthians 10.31

The most excellent action is love for God's sake and hatred for God's sake.

4. Islam. Hadith of Abu Dawud

Whatever is given should be given with faith, not without faith--with joy, with modesty, with fear, with kindness.

5. Hinduism. Taittiriya Upanishad 1.11.3

Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

6. Christianity. 2 Corinthians 9.7

Whether we bring much or little, it matters not, if only we fix our heart upon our Father in heaven.

7. Judaism. Talmud, Berakt 17a

"Make your offering," said the Master. "As you make it be pleased in mind. Make your mind completely calm and contented. Focus and fill the offering-mind with the giving. From this secure position you can be free from ill will."

8. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 506

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Abot 2.17: Cf. Abot 2.4, p. 771. 1 Corinthians 10.31: Cf. Matthew 7.21, p. 811. Hadith of Abu Dawud: Cf. Qur'an 5.35, p. 771. Taittiriya Upanishad 1.11.3: Cf. Chandogya Upanishad 7.22, p. 201; Svetasvatara Upanishad 4.13,21-22, pp. 768f. Berakot 17a: Cf. Berakot 30b, p. 829. But attention to one's personal state of mind may not be all that is required; see Matthew 5.23-24, p. 993. Sutta Nipata 506: See previous note.
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Of the saying, The word "sacrifice" is like the word "present"; one should sacrifice to a spirit as though the spirit were present, Confucius said, "If I am not present at the sacrifice, it is as though there were no sacrifice."

9. Confucianism. Analects 3.12

Rabbi Meir was once asked, "Why do the scriptures tell us in some passages that sacrifice is very pleasant unto the Lord, while in others it is said that God dislikes sacrifices?" He answered, "It depends whether a man's heart is sacrificed at the time he brings the sacrifice."

10. Judaism. Midrash, Baraita Kallah 8

Whatever I am offered in devotion with a pure heart--a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water--I partake of that love offering. Whatever you do, make it an offering to me--the food that you eat, the sacrifices that you make, the help you give, even your suffering. In this way you will be freed from the bondage of karma, and from its results both pleasant and painful. Then, firm in renunciation and yoga, with your heart free, you will come to me.

11. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 9.26-28

The offering is not of myself,
but rather of
The heavenly goddess Toyookahime--
It is the offering of her palace,
The offering of her palace.

Would that I were an offering,
Taken up in the kami's hand,
Drawn near to my god,
Drawn near to my god.

12. Shinto. Kagura-Uta, Offerings

The essence of the offering is that it be analogous to the sin, and that a man offer to God his desires and passions, for this is more acceptable than all. Blessed are the righteous, that they bring this offering every day.

13. Judaism. Zohar, Leviticus 9b

The dedication of the offering is God; that which is offered is God; God offers it on God's fire. God is attained by those who concentrate on God's work.

Some aspirants offer material sacrifices; others offer selfless service upon the altar of God. Some renounce all enjoyment of the senses, sacrificing them in the fire of asceticism. Others partake of sense objects but offer them in service through the fire of the senses. Some offer the workings of the senses and the vital forces through the fire of self-control, kindled in the path of knowledge.

Some offer wealth; others offer asceticism and suffering. Some take vows and offer knowledge and study of the scriptures; and some make the offering of meditation. Some offer the forces of vitality, regulating their inhalation and exhalation, offering their life-breath as they breathe in and breathe out. Others offer the forces of vitality by fasting. All these understand the meaning of sacrifice and will be cleansed of their impurities.

In the offering is true sustenance, and through it a man or woman reaches the eternal Reality. But those who do not seek to serve are without a home in this world. Arjuna, how can they be at home in any world to come?

Thus many kinds of offerings are made, and each guides mankind along a path to God. Know that they are born of action, and understanding this, you will attain liberation.

14. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 4.24-32

So great is the power of sacrifice that it is the Self of the gods. When, out of the essence of sacrifice, the gods had made their own Self, they took their seat in the world of heaven. Similarly, the one who sacrifices now, when out of the essence of sacrifice he has made his own Self, takes his seat in the world of heaven.

15. Hinduism. Satapatha Brahmana 6.1.10

When with the Supreme Being as the offering
the gods performed a sacrifice,
spring was the molten butter, summer
the fuel, and autumn the oblation.

On the grass they besprinkled Him,
the Sacrificed Supreme Being, the first born.
With him the gods sacrificed,
and those Sadhyas and the sages.

From that sacrifice, fully offered,
was gathered mixed milk and butter.
And the birds of the air arose,
the forest animals and the domestic.

From that sacrifice, fully offered,
the Rig and the Saman [Vedas] were born,
the Chandas [Atharva Veda] was born of that,
and from that were born the Sacrificial formulae.

From that were born horses, and the
animals with two rows of teeth;
yea, kine were born of that, and
of that were born the goat and the sheep....

From his mind was born the moon, and
from his eye the sun. From his mouth
were Indra and Agni born,
and Vayu (wind) was born from his breath.

From his navel came the mid-air,
from his head the sky was fashioned,
from his feet the earth, and from his ear
the quarters. Thus they formed the worlds.

Seven were the sticks of the enclosure,
thrice seven the logs of wood prepared,
when the gods, performing the rite,
bound, as their victim, the Supreme Being.

With sacrifice the gods worshipped the Supreme Sacrifice.
Those were the earliest holy ordinances.

16. Hinduism. Rig Veda 10.90.6-10, 13-16

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Analects 3.12: Cf. I Ching 16, p. 855; compare Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 2, p.721. Baraita Kallah 8: Cf. Berakot 30b, p. 829. Cf. Chandogya Upanishad 7.22, p. 201. Bhagavad Gita 9.26-28: Cf. Bhagavad Gita 7.3,17,28, p. 752. Rig Veda 10.90.6-10,13-16: The theme of this well-known hymn is sacrifice as the method of creation. The world comes into being through the sacrifice and dismemberment of the primordial Person. The fruits of sacrifice were the scriptures: Rig Veda, Saman Veda, 'Chandas' (Atherva Veda) and 'Sacrificial formulae' (Yajur Vedas). Following the Word came the physical world and humankind. Cf. Aitareya Upanishad 1-3, pp. 307f.; Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.7-9, p. 133; also Okanogan Creation, pp. 261f. In the ellipsis go the well-known verses on the origin of the four castes, which are given in another context--see Rig Veda 10.90.11-12, p. 275.
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