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Guidelines For Interreligious Understanding

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3. What are some of the common grounds that we have with people of different faith experiences?


I first ran across these in a book by the late Br. Wayne Teasdale (which were cited from another book, Speaking of Silence: Christian and Buddhists on the Contemplative Way by Fr. Thomas Keating,). I felt they might be of some interest in addressing one of the questions from the study guide for Point 2.


The Snowmass Conference's Guidelines for Interreligious Understanding

  1. The world religions bear witness to the experience of the Ultimate Reality to which they give various names: Brahman, the Absolute, God, Allah, (the) Great Spirit, the Transcendent.


  2. The Ultimate Reality surpasses any name or concept that can be given to It.


  3. The Ultimate Reality is the source (ground of being) of all existence.


  4. Faith is opening, surrendering, and responding to the Ultimate Reality. This relationship precedes every belief system.


  5. The potential for human wholeness -- or in other frames of reference, liberation, self-transcendence, enlightenment, salvation, transforming union, moksha, nirvana, fana -- is present in every human person.


  6. The Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships and service to others.


  7. The differences among belief systems should be presented as facts that distinguish them, not as points of superiority.


  8. In the light of the globalization of life and culture now in process, the personal and social ethical principles proposed by the world religions in the past need to be re-thought and re-expressed.

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