All Modes of True Religion
Point To Reality Itself

 

           Every religion is a body of means—a body of all kinds of cultural lore, and myth, and so forth—associated with the effort to seek and find (or “locate”) That toward Which religion points, and toward Which life itself points. Indeed, the key matter of human life is to “locate” That toward Which religion points.

           If religious practitioners will maintain this perspective, then they will not become involved in the kind of exclusivist assertiveness about their own tradition that makes religion a kind of idolatry—in other words, worshipping the particular tradition itself, rather than embracing the process of Realizing That toward Which all religions point. If all religions subordinate themselves to That toward Which they all point, then there is no conflict between religions. And all of the vigorous, outraging, inflammatory voicing of religious advocacy will be undermined by an inherent humbleness in the face of That toward Which religion can (at best) be a pointer.

           In the end, religion is something to be exceeded (or out-grown)—ultimately, in the Realization of That toward Which religion points. There is no religion higher or greater than Reality Itself, or Truth Itself. Therefore, when Reality Itself (Which Is Truth Itself) is Realized, religion has been out-grown, or become obsolete, or has served its purpose.

           Consequently, religion is not something to be advocated in absolutist terms, and (thereby) made into a “face”, or a kind of “armor”, by which to confront other views. Religion should, in no sense, be a kind of role-playing whereby people express a will toward the cultural dominance of others, or express a disposition of cultural superiority with reference to all others.

           On the other hand, if religious practitioners remember that they are worshipping, or moved toward, or seeking That Which is Unnameable (and Beyond their particular tradition), and if they also remember that all other traditions are doing the same, reaching toward that same Reality, then there is no basis for conflict. The basis for the conflict is the absolutism that people assume in their advocacy of their particular local religion.

           Even in the current epoch, religions are still local phenomena, although some among them attain the scale of what can be called “world religions”, with millions of followers. Nevertheless, religion is still a local phenomenon, very much associated with particular regions of the world—and even particular races, particular languages, and so forth. And, yet, Reality Itself—or That Which is Inherently Divine—is That toward Which all religions are pointing. The differing definitions of That toward Which all religions are pointing must not be used as a basis for conflict. And, in fact, That Which is to be Realized is Beyond definitions in any case.

           Truly, humankind needs to become equipped with Wisdom—in other words, equipped with something that is greater than religion. Reality Itself is greater than religion. There is no religion higher or greater than Reality Itself, no religion greater or higher than Truth Itself. Wisdom about Reality and Truth is required by all in this situation where all religions and all of humanity are, in fact, face to face. Otherwise, the conflicts, the competitiveness, the ego based endeavoring will destroy everyone. All of that must be stopped. And it will not be stopped merely by small talk and mutual aggression. It will be stopped by the awakening of everyone, through Wisdom, to Truth Itself, to Reality Itself. Wisdom is the means for the overcoming of conflict and the establishment of the condition of prior unity, in which peace is the characteristic of the meeting between human beings.

           That each religion carries its own local phenomena (of states of mind, and all the rest) is simply a fact. And each of the historically well-established religions has long thought of itself as being absolute in its own domain. It must be understood, however, that no particular religion is absolute in the common domain. In that domain, each religion is one among many. And, in any case, all of those many are pointing to That Which Transcends them, each and all, That Which will always Transcend everything conditional.

           The Wisdom of Reality Itself humbles all, equalizes all, affirms and establishes prior unity among all. The awakening to the Wisdom of Truth Itself, or Reality Itself, is how the conflicts between religions can be immediately undermined. A completely different kind of discourse becomes possible when people are no longer simply advocating their local (or “tribal”) mind, and are instead all Communing (in some fundamental terms) with That Which Transcends “self” (or egoity), or any phenomenon of a collective human kind, or any phenomenon of a conditional kind.

           Before That, all are essentially silent. All are equal in front of That. Before That, all are silent, and equal, and inherently at peace. They are participants, then, in a condition of prior unity in the circumstance of Truth. Therefore, rather than trying to figure out how all can be equally voiced in the world, all need to become equally silent—not by being silenced in some forceful manner, but by becoming re associated with That Which Transcends all modes of advocacy.

           It is not the case that religions should disappear. Rather, religions—like all conditional phenomena—are always already transcended in Reality Itself, in Truth Itself. Therefore, how long any religion lasts is really neither here nor there. It is a human phenomenon. It can have its uses—in terms of orienting people toward right life, and cultivating seriousness about Wisdom and Truth Itself and Reality Itself.

           In some sense, there needs to be a universal order of religions, in which all are participating equally in the advocacy of Wisdom. Then what is right about them in their zones of human influence will be continued or preserved on that basis, and not on the basis of confrontational advocacy and presumption of cultural superiority that not only feeds the “game” between religions but also feeds the politics of separatism, and of conflict, and of hatred in the world.

           Whatever is “left over” of religion when the Wisdom of Reality Itself is embraced—that is fine. Whatever is relinquished in Truth—that is also fine, and should be fine. Just as any individual must be free to grow within any tradition with which he or she may be associated—and even be free to go somewhere else, or to look into other things in addition—so also must all be free within the sphere of their religions.

           If all religions exist in a common world order of participation in Wisdom, then they are (in that sense, and to that degree) supportive of one another also. And each will have its usefulness in its zone of influence, because each is a local voice that can speak Wisdom to people within that sphere of religion—thereby truly being of service to them, rather than stimulating them to ego based exclusiveness, conflict with other traditions, and on and on.

           There are those who take offense as soon as somebody says anything that offends the “self” image of some other religious practitioner. What does that have to do with religion? What does that have to do with what religion is supposed to be about, with reference to Truth? It does not have anything to do with Truth or right life. What does it have to do with? Nothing but the ego based advocacy of religion as a thing in and of itself, as a kind of idol, a kind of “self” image that people uphold and want to defend. That is how being offended happens in the common day-to-day.

           In Truth, religion itself is not a domain that has anything to do with being offended. True religion is subordinate to Truth, to Reality Itself. True religion cannot be offended. If religion is understood to be entirely subordinate to Truth, to Reality Itself, then it is not ego based and cannot be offended. When religion is a “self” image, a “tribal” idea of “self”, a “face” for a collective, then it can be offended just as any individual can be offended.

           True religion is ego transcending—and, therefore, egoless. No one is offended in the domain of true religion. All are surrendered. All are Transcended by That Which they advocate. Therefore, instead of religions being inherently in conflict—all waiting to offend one another or be offended by one another—all religions must be made true by being subordinated to Truth, to Reality Itself, Which is Divine.

           All the “God”-ideas are simply ideas. That Which Is Inherently Divine is, strictly speaking, not a “God”. But that is not something to quibble about. People can use “God”-language, and are free to do so—obviously. Such language is meaningful enough, if it is understood to be subordinate to That toward Which it points.

           A “God”-idea is not God. A “God”-idea points toward That Which Transcends the idea. That is God, or the Divine, or Reality Itself. “God”-language does not have to be used, but if it is going to be used, it should be understood to be words or ideas only—and, therefore, it is pointing to something beyond itself.

           If you hold on to an idea of “God”, then you can be offended. If you maintain your allegiance to That toward Which the idea points, then you cannot be offended, and you exist in a domain of prior unity with everyone and their languages. Just as there should be no inherent conflict between the French language and Swahili, there should be no inherent conflict between Buddhist language and Christian language (to give some examples).

           There should be no inherent conflict between religions or between people—or, therefore, between “tribes”. Religion is not rightly associated with “tribal” deities that you put on your flag or shield, and use in conflict with others, and make into your own “face”, so that you can be offended if somebody makes a casual remark about what is on your flag or shield. That is not the proper domain of religion. The proper domain of religion is Reality Itself, Truth Itself—and, therefore, Wisdom. And Wisdom carries with it certain modes of behavior as an inherent characteristic—behaviors associated with the disposition of prior unity, not the disposition of egoity (or separativeness), and (therefore) confrontation, conflict, non unity, mutual violence, superiority of one over another, and so forth.

           True religion, whatever tradition it may be associated with, is inherently on an equal basis with all other modes of religion that are true. All are advocating What they point to, not what they merely own or believe.

           True religion is in the domain of Wisdom—and, therefore, of prior unity, inherent non conflict, and wise right life.

 

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“A new kind of human consciousness is requiredbased on the working-presumption of prior unity, and on an understanding of the indivisibly single world in which everyone is living. This involves not only the notion that there is such a single world, but it requires grasping the necessity for cooperation, and the necessity to function on the basis of an understanding that the Earth is a single system, and humankind (likewise) is a single whole.”

- The World-Friend Adi Da,
from Not-Two Is Peace