Truth-existence is One,
though sages call it by various names.
—The Vedas

Paths are many, Truth is one

The purpose of this book is not to espouse any particular philosophy or view of spirituality, but rather to show the essential unity of the major spiritual teachings and philosophies.

Throughout the ages many prophets have come to offer guidance to those seeking Truth and God. Each of these spiritual teachers has molded his or her message to speak particularly to their moment in history and yet, all have taught the same essential message. It is that essence that this work is attempting to illustrate and bring forth.


Although the teachings of Jesus assume a significant role in this writing, it must be noted that the author does not consider Him to be the only true spiritual teacher. Jesus was a great spiritual teacher, among the greatest, but not the only teacher of that caliber. Mankind's spiritual growth has been guided by teachers of many races, nations and times. These teachers have spoken uniquely to their age, yet a common thread can be seen to run throughout their lives and teachings.

No single individual, philosophy, religion or teacher holds exclusive rights to the truths of life. To believe so would be to invalidate the feelings, experiences and lives of billions of people throughout history.

   

Many roads lead to Rome. So too, there are many different paths of action and understanding that lead to Truth. In fact, ultimately, there are as many ways of experiencing Truth as there are individuals. Each of us must make our own way through the experiences and situations that life presents to us.
If we examine humanity's major religions we find at its root a man or woman seeking the highest Truth: Jesus fasting and praying in the desert; Siddhartha Gautama–the Buddha–meditating under the Bodhi Tree, and many others.
Unfortunately, with time, the initial Truth which the Masters express becomes steeped in dogma and superstition as a result of the greed and desires of others. It is the task of each seeker to separate the true teachings from the interpretations, to find the essential truths buried beneath the ideas of others.

The ultimate Truth to which teachers point spiritual seekers has been referred to by various names: God, Truth, Nirvana, Yahweh, Allah, the Father, the Mother, Heaven and so forth. Let us not be confused by names. A river may flow through three or four different countries. People in these various countries will call the flowing water by a different name or word and yet it is still the same river. Let us travel beyond words into the realm of experience; let us explore the common thread that unites these compatible teachings.

Words, ideas and beliefs provide us with a workable blueprint of reality, although they cannot fully represent existence. What we need to satisfy our inner hunger for higher knowledge is not words but rather direct experience. To read about mountain climbing is a far cry from actually climbing a mountain.

Beliefs based on the ideas of others soon break down under the pressures and difficult experiences we face in life. Death is a good example. To believe in heaven or reincarnation gives us a feeling of security, yet upon the death of someone we love our theories crumble into a sea of sorrow. It is only knowledge based on our direct experience that can help us with difficult moments in our lives. If one actually knew, from direct experience, what happens at the moment of death, that knowledge would replace the despair of unknowing. From the teachings of spiritual masters we should seek the inspiration and guidance to experience the ultimate Truth for ourselves. I have chosen a variety of sources upon which to build this book.

These include the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Dhammapada, the Old Testament, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, and the Qur'an.

 

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