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
- 1 -

View previous page View next page

       The passions and cravings of the flesh often arise from the percep-
tions of the senses.  Therefore, subduing desire begins by cultivating an
attitude of detachment towards sense perceptions, by regarding them as
impermanent, transient, and of no account.  This teaching is stressed in
the Bhagavad Gita and in Buddhist scriptures.  Related is the injunction
by Jesus that "if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw
it away," which is illustrated by the story of the Buddhist nun Subha.

Just as one does not touch a sensuous woman entering an empty house, so is
he who does not touch the sense objects that have entered into him, a
renouncer, an ascetic, a self-sacrificer.

                   Hinduism.  Maitri Upanishad 6.10

All bodhisattvas, lesser and great, should develop a pure, lucid mind, not
depending upon sound, flavor, touch, odor, or any quality.  A bodhisattva
should develop a mind which alights upon no thing whatsoever; and so
should he establish it.

                   Buddhism. Diamond Sutra 10

When the senses contact sense objects, a person experiences cold or heat,
pleasure or pain.  These experiences are fleeting; they come and go.  Bear
them patiently, Arjuna.  Those who are not affected by these changes, who
are the same in pleasure and pain, are truly wise and fit for immortality.
Assert your strength and realize this!...

The disunited mind is far from wise; how can it meditate?  How can it be
at peace?  When you know no peace, how can you know joy?  When you let
your mind follow the call of the senses, they carry away your better
judgement as storms drive a boat off its charted course on the sea.

Use all of your power to free the senses from attachment and aversion
alike, and live in the full wisdom of the Self.

                   Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 2.14-15, 66-68

Monks, there are these three feelings.  What three?  Pleasant feeling,
painful feeling, and feeling that is neither painful nor pleasant.  Pleas-
ant feeling, monks, should be looked upon as pain, painful feeling should
be looked upon as a barb, feeling that is neither painful nor pleasant
should be looked upon as impermanent.  When these three feelings are
looked upon in these ways by a monk, that monk is called "rightly seeing."

                   Buddhism.  Itivuttaka 47

The five colors make man's eyes blind;
The five notes make his hears deaf;
The five flavors injure his palate;
Riding and hunting make his mind go mad.
Goods hard to come by serve to hinder his progress.
Hence the sage is for the belly and not the eye.
Therefore he discards the one and takes the other.

                   Taoism.  Tao Te Ching 12

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is
better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be
thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off
and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than
that your whole body go into hell.

                   Christianity.  Matthew 5.29-30

In Jivaka's pleasant wood walked Subh-a the bhikkuni.  A gallant met her
there and barred the way.  Subh-a said this to him,
       "What have I done to offend you, that you stand obstructing me?
For it is not fitting, sir, that a man should touch a sister in orders.
This has my Master ordained in the precepts we honor and follow.  So has
the Welcome One taught in the training wherein they have trained me to be
purified, disciplined, holy.  Why do you stand blocking my pathway?  I am
pure; you impure of heart; I am passionless, you of vile passions; I am
wholly freed in spirit and blameless.  Why do you obnoxiously stand obs-
tructing me?"
       "You are young, maiden, and faultless--what do you seek in the holy
life?  Cast off that yellow robe and come!  In the blossoming woodland let
us seek our pleasure.  Filled with the incense of blossoms, the trees waft
sweetness.  See, the spring is at the prime, the season of happiness.
Come with me then to the flowering woodland, and let us seek our plea-
       "Dearer and sweeter to me than are you is no creature on earth, you
with languid and slow-moving eyes of an elf in the forest.  If you will do
my bidding, come where the joys of the sheltered life await you; dwell in
a house of verandas and terraces, with handmaidens serving you.  Robe
yourself with delicate garments, don garlands, use unguents.  I will give
you many and varied ornaments, fashioned with precious stones, gold work,
and pearls.  You will mount on a couch fair and sumptuous, carved in sand-
alwood, fragrant with essences, spread with new pillows, coverlets fleecy
and soft..."
       "What so infatuates you about this carcass, filled with carrion, to
fill a grave, so fragile, that it seems to warrant such words?"
       "Eyes you have like a gazelle's, like an elf's in the heart of the
mountains--'tis those eyes of yours, sight of which feeds the depth of my
passion.  Shrined in your dazzling, immaculate face as in the calyx of a
lotus, 'tis those eye of yours, sight of which feeds the strength of my
passion.  Though you be far from me, how could I ever forget you, O
maiden, you of long-drawn eyelashes, you of eyes so miraculous?..."
       "O you are blind!  You chase a sham, deluded by puppet shows seen
in the midst of the crowd; you deem of value and genuine conjurer's trick-
work....  What is this eye but a little ball lodged in the fork of a
hollow tree, bubble of film, anointed with tear-brine, exuding slime-
drops, compost wrought in the shape of an eye of manifold aspects?"
       Forthwith the maiden so lovely tore out her eye and gave it to him.
"Here, then!  Take your eye!"  Her heart unattached, she sinned not.
       Straightaway the lust in him ceased and he begged her pardon.  "O
pure and holy maid, would that you might recover your sight!  Never again
will I do such a thing.  You have sore smitten my sin; blazing flames have
I clasped to my bosom; a poisonous snake I have handled--but O, be healed
and forgive me!"
       Freed from molesting, the bhikkuni went on her way to the Buddha,
chief of the Awakened.  There in his presence, seeing those features born
of utmost merit, her eye was restored.

                   Buddhism.  Therigatha 366-99, Subha Jivakambavanika

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Diamond Sutra 10: Cf. Chuang Tzu 7, p. 728.  Itivuttaka 47: Cf. Dhammapada
212-14, p. 927.  Tao Te Ching 12: Waley interprets this passage as a
criticism of attachment to the senses; 'the belly' is man's inner power,
or ch'i, which should be cultivated through meditation while ignoring dis-
tractions of the senses.  Others interpret the passage in a political
sense: the extravagances of the court, pleasing to the eye, ear, and
palate, should be rejected in favor of providing ample food for the
people, 'the belly.'  Matthew 5.29-30: Cf. Majjhima Nikaya i.142-45,
p. 929.  Therigatha 366-99: Cf. Akkamahadevi, Vachana 15 and 33, p. 931;
Precious Garland 149-57, p. 930; Sutta Nipata 205-06, p. 914.
- - - - - - - - - - - -