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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Passages in this section express the general spiritual principle of
giving and receiving.  When we give to one another, freely and without
conditions, sharing our blessings with others and bearing each other's
burdens, the giving multiplies and we receive far more than what was
given.  Even when there is no immediate prospect of return, Heaven keeps
accounts of giving, and in the end blessing will return to the giver,
multiplied manyfold.  We must give first; to expect to receive without
having given is to violate the universal law.  On the other hand, giving
in order to receive--with strings attached, with the intention of currying
favor, or in order to make a name for oneself--is condemned.  See also The
Golden Rule, pp. 172-74.

Give, and it will be given to you... for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.

1.Christianity. Luke 6.38

Those who do not abandon mercy will not be abandoned by me.

2.Shinto. Oracle of the Kami of Itsukushima

He who gives liberally goes straight to the gods;
on the high ridge of heaven he stands exalted.

3.Hinduism. Rig Veda 1.125.5

Who is honored? He who honors mankind.

4.Judaism. Mishnah, Abot 4.1

Those who act kindly in this world will have kindness.

5.Islam. Qur'an 39.10

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Luke 6.38: Cf. Matthew 7.7-11, p. 594. Abot 4.1: Cf. Matthew 25.31-46, pp. 840f.; Gandavyuha Sutra, p. 841. Qur'an 39.10: Cf. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 36, p. 840; Hadith of Muslim, p. 841.
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Understand that through saving others you shall also be saved.

6.Tenrikyo. Ofudesaki 3.47

It is only when one does not have enough faith in others that others will have no faith in him.

7.Taoism. Tao Te Ching 17

One must pour cold water on the ground before he can tread on soft soil.

8.African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)

You will not attain piety until you expend of what you love; and whatever thing you expend, God knows of it.

9.Islam. Qur'an 3.92

If beings knew, as I know, the fruit of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their use without sharing them, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last bit, their last morsel of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.

10.Buddhism. Itivuttaka 18

The Buddha said, "When you see someone practicing the Way of giving, aid him joyously, and you will obtain vast and great blessings." A shramana asked: "Is there an end to those blessings?" The Buddha said, "Consider the flame of a single lamp. Though a hundred thousand people come and light their own lamps from it so that they can cook their food and ward off the darkness, the first lamp remains the same as before. Blessings are like this, too."

11.Buddhism. Sutra of Forty-two Sections 10

The accumulation of wealth is the way to scatter the people, and the letting it be scattered among them is the way to collect the people.

12.Confucianism. Great Learning 10.9

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Ofudesaki 3.47: This is the basis of Tenrikyo's hinokishin, voluntary service for the well-being of the community, when one seeks neither praise nor reward.

Yoruba Proverb: In other words, be kind and generous to others if you expect others to help you.
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He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity.

13.Christianity. 2 Corinthians 9.6-11

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

14.Christianity. Acts 20.35

Give not with the thought to gain,
and be patient unto thy Lord.

15.Islam. Qur'an 74.6-7

When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

16.Christianity. Matthew 6.3

Giving simply because it is right to give, without thought of return, at a proper time, in proper circumstances, and to a worthy person, is enlightened giving. Giving with regrets or in the expectation of receiving some favor or of getting something in return, is selfish giving.

17.Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 17.20-21

He who gives his wealth to purify himself,
and confers no favor on any man for recompense,
only seeking the Face of his Lord the Most High;
He shall surely be satisfied. 18Islam. Qur'an 92.18-21

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Qur'an 92.18-21: Cf. Qur'an 2.261-62, p. 752; 2.267-74, p. 752.
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Enlightening beings are magnanimous givers, bestowing whatever they have with equanimity, without regret, without hoping for reward, without seeking honor, without coveting material benefits, but only to rescue and safeguard all living beings.

19.Buddhism. Garland Sutra 21

If I give this, what shall I [have left to] enjoy?"--
Such selfish thinking is the way of the ghosts;
"If I enjoy this, what shall I [have left to] give?"--
Such selfless thinking is a quality of the gods.

20.Buddhism. Shantideva, Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life 8.125

Mencius said, "A man who is out to make a name for himself will be able to give away a state of a thousand chariots, but reluctance would be written all over his face if he had to give away a basketful of rice and a bowlful of soup when no such purpose was served."

21.Confucianism. Mencius VII.B.11

When a greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy. God takes careful account of all things.

22.Islam. Qur'an 4.86

There was presented to me a papaya,
And I returned for it a beautiful keu gem;
Not as a return for it,
But that our friendship might be lasting.

There was presented to me a peach,
And I returned for it a beautiful yaou gem;
Not as a return for it,
But that our friendship might be lasting.

There was presented to me a plum,
And I returned for it a beautiful kew stone;
Not as a return for it, But that our friendship might be lasting.

23.Confucianism. Book of Songs, Ode 64

Love cannot return unless you give it. People who love each other can continue the give and take action of love with more power than they invest. We can conclude that the word "eternity" can only be formed through love.

24.Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 12-5-71

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Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life 8.125: This distinction between gods and demons is made in Satapatha Brahmana, p. 383. Book of Songs, Ode 64: It is commonplace for people to give gifts with the intention of securing a favor in return. In such calculations, the gift and its return would be of roughly equal value. To return a gift of immensely greater value might burden the recipient with a feeling of indebtedness. This passage, however, describes an exchange of gifts with a purer motive: friendship that goes beyond the calculations of obligation.
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