Interfaith.

Statements about Love of God and Unity.

Love, Love of the Maker is the essence of Sufism and love is something that is human and it is love that make man partake of the element of divinity. It may not be an exaggeration to say that to be divine one must first be human, because humanity leads to divinity and divinity graces humanity. And so it is possible, not withstanding whatever is felt and whatever is seen, the divinities in the temple or a church or a mosque or a synagogue or a Sikh Gurdwara, wherever we turn our face we find the same Being, being presented in different forms, with different labels. (...) Prof. S.M. Abdul Hameed.*

Sharing in each other's worship is possible because of three characteristics of spiritual experience. First, God transcends any name or form; second, spiritual experience is ineffable and cannot be communicated; third, spiritual experience is a journey to the "further shore" and inter-religious dialogue is also a pilgrimage. (...) Although religions differ in creeds, doctrinal formulations and rites, they converge at the core level of religious experience and mysticism... Fr. Amalorpavadass, Founder of National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre in Bangalore, India.*

An approach to God which is unable to see other religions reaching towards the infinite is a very fearful and weak faith. (...) One does not surrender integrity and authenticity by meeting on separate occasions with one's neighbour and sharing prayers and goals which reach towards the One God. God responds to the genuine quest within all human beings who prove by their actions that they believe in the vision of the Divine Kingdom which is open to all in the course of time. Rabbi Dr Albert Friedlander, in his interview for The Times, 18.12.1991* (OGN #653)

The religions of the world are not contradictory or antagonistic. They are but various stages of one eternal religion. There never existed many religions, there is only one. Ramakrishna*

Plurality of faiths simply reflects divine revelation in different lands to different people in the language, idiom and metaphor best suited for them. Supreme faith consists of remembering God and being pure in conduct. God pervades all creation and all act in accordance with His will. A Sikh is always conscious of the nearness of God and believes in universal brotherhood. This realization can only come through love. Hatred has no place in Sikhism. A Sikh is self-reliant and believes in honest living and sharing the fruits of his labour with others. Service in humility is a basic principle. Men of God see God in everyone, their hearts are filled with love, and they do not see anyone as bad or evil. (...). Ranbir S. Sandhu* OGN #561.

Hinduism has a long tradition of giving honour and hospitality to any person of faith and such honour brings grace to the one who offers it to a sincere person of the spirit. Ranchor Prina*

Today, "faith" and what one believed through faith, has gone back to the New Testment 's very clear notion of TRUST in Jesus as our Christ, who loves us and whom we trust. Such a Christ did not teach "dogma." It believed as Abraham believed: in God's faithfulness in his love for us. With such a faith we can respect and love as brother the faith of a follower of  Islam, who loves and believes in such a God,  we can respect and love our Hindu brothers, and even our Buddhist brother's who reject an anthropomorphic notion of God, the way the great Mystics did.

"Dogma" is a Greek term and idea which from the third century on began tending to take away the beautifully simply faith in a God who is so unspeakable that He Himself had to be satisfied with, "Tell them "I am" send you," (In response to Moses question to God asking who he was, and how he was to describe Him to his fellow Israelites).  And so the Greek mind slowly replaced our love and trust in God's Word who became flesh, with a rationalism, which in turn got swept away be the superior rationalism of the Enlightenment, science and empirically based research. With a Christian faith which is reduced to dogmas how can we respect and love our Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic brothers and sisters, whom I meet everyday, and am humbled by the beautiful faith in God or in the Mind (Buddhist) which inspires them to live lives full of peace, and love? Your brother in Christ, Morris Augustine, posting to the Merton-L Discussion Group, 2001/08/08.

Morris Augustine, initially a Benedictine monk and priest, obtained a doctorate in theology in Rome, and later Ph.D in History and Phenomenology of Religions, with specialization in Japanese Buddhism. He taught English Literature and Language at a university level in Japan for 24 years.

Substratum of All True Religions by Anand Singh.
 

Statements about Prayer and Meditation.

Prayer in Islam is a beautiful exercise in meditation through which a Muslim is bale to forge a direct link with God. Thus it is not only an obligation, but also a gift and priviledge. When a person neglects the worship of God he loses contact with Him and his sense of direction in life becomes faulty. He loses spiritual guidance that comes from submission and obedience to God and a person may become an easy prey for the evil influences of selfishness... Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid*

No matter how faithful an individual may be, such reminders (to pray - P.R.) are essential, for man's involvement in his human concerns and activities is so engrossing that it is easy to lose sight of one's relationship with God, his place in the total scheme of things, his responsibilities, and his ultimate goal. Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid*

*Quoted after: Potter Jean, Braybrooke Marcus (Eds.).1997. All in Good Faith. A Resource Book for Multi-faith Prayer. The World Congress of Faiths, Oxford, UK.

    "...Now you ask about my method of meditation.  Strictly speaking I have a very simple way of prayer.  It is centered entirely on attention to the presence of God and to His will and His love.  That is to say that it is centered on faith by which alone we can know the presence of God.  One might say this gives my dedication the character described by the Prophet as "being before God as if you saw Him."  Yet it does not mean imagining anything or conceiving a precise image of God, for to my mind this would be a kind of idolatry.  On the contrary, it is a matter of adoring Him as invisible and infinitely beyond our comprehension, and realizing Him as all.  My prayer tends very much to what you call fana. There is in my heart this great thirst to recognize totally the nothingness of all that is not God.  My prayer is then a kind of praise rising up out of the center of Nothing and Silence.  If I am still present "myself" this I recognize as an obstacle.  If He wells He can then make the Nothingness into a total clarity.  If He does not will, then the Nothingness actually seems to itself to be an object and remains an obstacle.  Such is my ordinary way of prayer, or meditation. It is not "thinking about" anything, but a direct seeking of the Face of the Invisible.  Which cannot be found unless we become lost in Him who is Invisible.
    I do not ordinarily write about such things and ask you therefore to be discreet about it.  But I write this as a testimony of confidence and friendship.  It will show you how much I appreciate the tradition of Sufism.  Let us therefore adore and praise God and pray to Him for the world which is in great trouble and confusion.  I am united with you in prayer during this month of Ramadan and will remember you on the Night of Destiny. I appreciate you prayers for me.  May the Most High God send
His blessing upon you and give you peace." Letter from Thomas Merton to a Pakistani Sufi scholar, Abdul Aziz, written in 1966. From _The Hidden Ground of Love:  The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns_, se. and ed. William H. Shannon (New York:  Farrar Straus Giroux, 1985), 63-64.  Reprinted in: Light From Light:  An Anthology of Christian Mysticism_, 2nd edition, revised and updated, ed. Louis Dupre and James A Wiseman, OSB (New York:  Paulist Press, 2001), 455-456.

Statements about Interreligious Dialogue.

A genuinely fruitful dialogue cannot be content with a polite diplomatic interest in other religions and their beliefs. It seeks a deeper level, ..., a higher and more personal knowledge of God than that which is contained simply in exterior worship and formulated doctrine. Thomas Merton. Quoted in: Kilcourse George A. Jr. (1999). When the Heart is Right. Thomas Merton Contemplative Contribution to Interreligious Dialogue.

What we are now asked to do is not so much to speak any more of Christ as to let him live within us, so that people may feel him by the way he is living in us. Thomas Merton. Quoted in: Kilcourse George A. Jr. (1999). When the Heart is Right. Thomas Merton Contemplative Contribution to Interreligious Dialogue.
 

Home

Interfaith Links

Last modified: 2015/01/25