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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We open with representative prayers, taken from the scriptures of the world's religions. They invoke, give thanks, and affirm the efficacious influence of Absolute Reality in human life.


We meditate upon the glorious splendor
of the Vivifier divine.
May he himself illumine our minds.

1. Hinduism. Rig Veda 3.62.10: The Gayatri Mantra

Homage to Him, the Exalted One, the Arahant, the All-enlightened One.
To the Buddha I go for refuge.
To the Norm I go for refuge.
To the Order I go for refuge.

2. Buddhism. Khuddaka Patha

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds,
The Beneficent, the Merciful,
Owner of the Day of Judgment.
Thee alone we worship; Thee alone we ask for help.
Show us the straight path:
The path of those whom Thou hast favored; not of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

3. Islam. Qur'an 1: Al-Fatihah

Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

4. Christianity. Bible, Matthew 6.9-13: The Lord's Prayer

Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which he has created according to his will. May he establish his kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire house of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May his great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be he, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May the prayers and supplications of the whole house of Israel be accepted by their Father who is in heaven; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in his celestial heights, may he create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

5. Judaism. Daily Prayer Book: The Kaddish

Our Father, it is thy universe, it is thy will,
Let us be at peace, let the souls of the people be cool.
Thou art our Father; remove all evil from our path.

6. African Traditional Religions. Nuer Prayer (Sudan)

With pleasure of the Wise Lord!
Blessed is the thought, blessed the word,
Blessed is the deed of Holy Zarathustra!

Do I pray with obeisance,
with upstretched hands for this support:
First, O Lord, that I perform all deeds
with Right, of the beneficent Spirit,
With wisdom of Good Thought,
so I may serve the Soul of the Creation!

7. Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 28.1

I bow to the Arahants, the perfected human beings, Godmen.
I bow to the Siddhas, liberated bodiless souls, God.
I bow to the Acharyas, the masters and heads of congregations.
I bow to the Upadhyayas, the spiritual teachers.
I bow to the spiritual practitioners in the universe, Sadhus.

This fivefold obeisance mantra,
Destroys all sins and obstacles,
And of all auspicious repetitions,
Is the first and foremost.

8. Jainism. Namokar Mantra

He is the Sole Supreme Being; of eternal manifestation;
Creator, Immanent Reality; Without Fear, Without Rancor;
Timeless Form; Unincarnated; Self-existent;
Realized by the grace of the Holy Preceptor.

9. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Japuji p. 1: The Mul Mantra

"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates."

10. Judaism. Bible, Deuteronomy 6.4-9: The Shema

The Sky blesses me, the Earth blesses me;
Up in the Skies I cause to dance the Spirits;
On the Earth, the people I cause to dance.

11. Native American Religions. Cree Round Dance Song

All this is full. All That is full.
From fullness, fullness comes.
When fullness is taken from fullness,
Fullness still remains.
Om. Peace, peace, peace.

12. Hinduism. Isha Upanishad: Peace Chant

From the unreal lead me to the Real!
From darkness lead me to light!
From death lead me to immortality!

13. Hinduism. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

14. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Numbers 6.24-26: The Aaronic Benediction

Our Lord! Lo! We have heard a crier calling unto faith, "Believe in your Lord!" So we believed. Our Lord! Therefore forgive us our sins, and remit from us our evil deeds, and make us die the death of the righteous.

15. Islam. Qur'an 3.193

Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord,
my rock and my redeemer.

16. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Psalm 19.14

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Say, "I take refuge in the Lord of mankind,
the King of mankind,
the God of mankind,
from the evil of the sneaking whisperer
who whispers in the hearts of mankind,
of the jinn and of mankind."

17. Islam. Qur'an 114


Rig Veda 3.62.10: The opening syllable OM is regarded as the cosmic sound of Being. When it is chanted it resonates in oneness with the divine Source. Cf. Katha Upanishad 1.2.15-16, p. 834; Mandukya Upanishad, p. 834. Khuddaka Patha: The Three Refuges from this suffering world are the Buddha (the Teacher), the Dhamma (the Teaching), and the Sangha (the Taught). These three are also called the Three Jewels. See Dhammapada 188-92, p. 671. Qur'an 1: The Fatihah is the chief Muslim prayer; it is recited with prostrations five times a day. In honor and in parallel content it is frequently compared to The Lord's Prayer.

Matthew 6.9-13: The Lord's Prayer is not only a supplication; it includes a pledge to live up to the ideals of a Christian, specifically to forgive. God only forgives us if we forgive others; see Matthew 18.21-35, p. 995 and 5.23-24, p. 997. The Kaddish is a source for The Lord's Prayer (above), to which it bears much resemblance. Nuer Prayer: This is only one of the African invocations represented in this anthology; cf. Anuak Prayer, p. 83; Dinka Song, p. 115; Shona Prayer, p. 129; Boran Prayer, p. 560; Kikuya Prayer, p. 779. Yasna 28.1: In modern Zoroastrianism, 'Good Thought' and 'Spirit' are aspects of the one Wise Lord, the only God, Ahura Mazda. Historians have theorized that in earlier ages they were regarded as subordinate deities.

Namokar Mantra: English translations cannot do justice to mantras such as this one and the Gayatri (above), which, when recited in the original language, call forth spiritual energies through the very sounds themselves. Invocations and mantras beginning with the words 'Obeisance' or 'All hail' are exceedingly common; cf. the Shiva Mantra in Black Yajur Veda 6.6, p. 139; the Nichiren Buddhist mantra 'Homage to the Lotus Sutra,' the Pure Land Buddhist chant 'Adoration to Buddha Amitabha,' and the Roman Catholic 'Hail, Mary,' pp. 833f. Deuteronomy 6.4-9: Cf. Matthew 22.36-40, p. 174. Cree Round Dance Song: This song describes the intercourse between the spiritual and physical realms; cf. Winnebago Invocation at the Sweat Lodge, p. 373; Cheyenne Song, p. 294.

Isha Upanishad: 'That' is interpreted by both Shankara and Ramanuja as Brahman; 'this' as the individual soul. Qur'an 114: This is the concluding sura of the Qur'an.