Wisdom teachings versus "Parliament of the World's Religions" and "URI"

HPB and Wisdom teachings
"Parliament of the World's Religions" and "URI".

Dear friends

My views are:

In the following I am only stating my views.

This thread is dedicated to all Seekers after Truth and Wisdom.
The aim is to promote H. P. Blavatsky's views and as given in
the following quote.

HPB on The aim of the theosophical Seekers after Truth:
"First of all to inculcate certain great moral truths upon its disciples, and all those who were "lovers of the truth." Hence the motto adopted by the Theosophical Society: "There is no religion higher than truth." ... The chief aim of the Founder of the Eclectic Theosophical School [i.e. Ammonious Saccas] was one of the three objects of its modern successor, the Theosophical Society, namely, to reconcile all religions, sects and nations under a common system of ethics, based on eternal verities."

The below two international and very influential interfaith groups could be used much more as platforms to help this theosophical aim along and to make it prosper. And if true it will be of the greatest importance to humanity!

Parliament of the World's Religions and United Religions Initiative (URI) can be said to be among if not the most influential religious peace-seeking groups on the planet today!

I and I think also other Seekers after Wisdom will call their aim noble and helpful to the cause we Seekers after Wisdom and truth follows.

The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
Our Mission
The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

United Religions Initiative (URI)
"United Religions Initiative (URI) was founded in 2000 by an extraordinary global community committed to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation and to ending religiously motivated violence. Today the URI includes thousands of members in over 65 countries representing more than 100 religions, spiritual expressions, and indigenous traditions... "

- - - - - - -
Now I am asking YOU, myself and the world:

* In what manner can we improve the above aim of the theosophists through the above two bodies?
* In what manner could an enhanced dialog with the World Press, TV, political leaders, scientific leaders, and other religious leaders increase awareness of the huge importance these two groups have when compared to the United Nations and ones own country's leadership(s)?

All words on the above to bodies and the theosophical teachings relation to them are welcome, - as well as words on the above questions.

M. Sufilight

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Dear friends

My views are:
Here are some more info, which might prove useful.

Parliament of the World's Religions Historical Video

Swami Vivekanada's speeches at Parliament of the World's Religions on MP3 - full 41:17 minutes -
11th september 1893, 108 years before 9/11,

Swami Vivekanada's speeches at Parliament of the World's Religions in texts -

Incidentially it is said that it was the Vednata Society, which took the steps to the creation of the 100 year later 1993 Parliament of World Religions.

I find Vivekanada's words very interesting, and that Subba T. Row was attempting to create a Vedanta organisation as a strong body related to the TS, when HPB lived.

M. Sufilight
Yes. Theosophists participate in the World Parliament of Religions. In fact, history tells us Annie Besant's lecture at the first World Parliament of Religions was swamped and in general the theosophical lectures were so popular they had to be given a larger hall.

The last world Parliament of religions also had theosophists participate. I don't know the details, but I know of at least one Dutch theosophist who went.

Swami Vivekananda was one of the few Eastern delegates who did NOT come as part of the theosophical delegation. The Buddhist delegate was the later famous Anagarika Dharmapala, student of Blavatsky's and protege of Olcott's.

But personally, no I've not participated.
I was at the 1993 WPR with a number of folks from the American section and we were, even though we were there, a pretty divided bunch about whether or not we should even be in that gathering. I had already written my Litany Against the Universe as a parodic response to their Chant for the Universe, which made several of us violently ill every time we heard it and the position paper that the organizers had published prior to it seemed a recipe for tyranny of which Stalin would be proud. Tony Lysy loaned a copy to Gerda Thompson and myself and after reading it (and throwing it across the room in fury at least seven times) I told him that it was a recipe for nuclear war because no one would put up with the solutions it proposed.

And then we got there and found ourselves a part of a fascinating division between the attendees and the organizers, who were proving the utter irrelevancy of leaders at every opportunity. By the time the first evening plenary session was over and we had been treated to a crypto-fascist loon named Robert Muller talking about the advice that he received from his dead wife and learning that we were all expected to go merrily goose-stepping into Nirvana, (of Gerald "the dinosaur" Barney, the less said the better, Stehen Hoeller nearly had a stroke after hearing that nutbar and a year later exploded about him during a speech at Summer School) a few of us Theosophists decided that our best role in the conclave was to act as a subversive organization and work to frustrate the organizers at every opportunity, which we did (and one of the major ranking TS folk said to me after the Muller episode, "Chuck, you were right, we shouldn't be around these people"). It was great fun.

By the middle of the week we had the spiritual control freaks' heads spinning with steam coming out of their ears and at least one point I overheard a couple of them fulminating about "those damned Theosophists!"
Sounds like they degenerated pretty seriously then :( Though perhaps each season they have new organizers? (one can only hope)
It was, in many ways, a horror so horrible it could only be laughed at. One morning I was sitting in the Palmer House lobby (one of my favorite public rooms in the world) and there were two women, Baha'i I believe, standing near me very annoyed that everyone was dressed differently and that somehow that was not in keeping with their peculiar vision of unity!

I should have said something witty and biting to them about the shortage of brown shirts, but I was so dumbfounded that I kept silent.

Thank the gods the Palmer House had a good bar. I never had the need to drink so much beer in my life as during that week.
Dear friends and Cosimano

My views are:

Oh dear oh dear...Maitreya got "insulted" :-)
What did this Robert Müller personality do so terribly wrong?

It all reminds me of the following interview with the sufi Idries Shah.

The Sufi Tradition - and phony Gurus
"EH: Then you have a negative opinion of all gurus.

IS: Not of all. Their followers need the guru as much as the guru needs his followers. I just don't regard it as a religious operation. I take a guru to be a sort of psychotherapist. At the very best, he keeps people quiet and polarized around him and gives some sort of meaning to their lives.

EH: Librium might do the same thing.

IS: Yes, but that's no reason to be against it. Why shouldn't there be room for what we might call "neighborhood psychotherapy" - the community looking after its own? However, why it should be called a spiritual activity rather baffles me.

EH: One can't help getting the feeling that not all gurus are trying to serve their fellowman.

IS: Some are frankly phonies, and they don't try to hide it from me. They think that I am one, too, so when we meet they begin the most disturbing conversations. They want to know how I get money, how I control people, and so on.

EH: They want to swap secrets.

IS: That's going a little too far. But they feel safety in numbers. They actually feel there is something wrong with what they are doing, and they feel better if they talk to somebody else who is doing it. I always tell them that I think it would be much better if they gave up the guru role in their own minds and realize that they are providing a perfectly good social service.

EH: How do they take to that advice?

IS: Sometimes they laugh and sometimes they cry. The general impression is that one of us is wrong. Because I don't make the same kind of noises that they do, they seem to believe that either I am a lunatic or that I am starting some new kind of con. Perhaps I have found a new racket.

EH: I am surprised that these gurus tell you all their secrets as freely as they do.

IS: I must tell you that I have not renounced the Eastern technique of pretending to be interested in what another person is saying, even pretending to be on his side. Therefore, I am able to draw out gurus and get them to commit themselves to an extent that a Westerner, because of his conscience, could not do. The Westerner would not allow certain things to go unchallenged and would not trick, as it were, another person. So he doesn't find out the truth.

Look here, it's time that somebody took the lid off the guru racket.

Since I have nothing to lose, it might as well be me. With many of these gurus it comes down to an "us and them" sort of thing between the East and the West. Gurus from India used to stop by on their way to California and their attitude was generally, let's take the Westerners to the cleaners; they colonized us, now we will get money out of them. I heard this sort of thing even from people who had impeccable spiritual reputations back home in India.

EH: It is an understandable human reaction to centuries of Western exploitation.

IS: It's understandable, but I deny that it's a spiritual activity. What I want to say is, "Brother, you are in the revenge business, and that's a different kind of business from me." There are always groups that are willing to negotiate with me and want to use my name. On one occasion a chap in a black shirt and white tie told me, "You take Britain, but don't touch the United States, because that's ours." I had a terrible vision of Al Capone. The difference was that the guru's disciples kissed his feet.

SEE WHAT I MEAN? Nasrudin was throwing handfuls of crumbs around his house. "What are you doing?" someone asked him. "Keeping the tigers away." "But there are no tigers in these parts." "That's right. Effective, isn't it?

EH: Gurus keep proliferating in the United States, always with massive followings. A 15-year-old Perfect Master can fill the Astrodome.

IS: Getting the masses is the easy part. A guru can attract a crowd of a million in India, but few in a crowd take him seriously. You see, India has had gurus for thousands of years, so they are generally sophisticated about them; they take in the attitude with their mothers' milk. This culture just hasn't been inoculated against the guru. Let's turn it around. If I were fresh off a plane from India and told you that I was going to Detroit to become a wonderful automobile millionaire, you would smile at me. You know perfectly well the obstacles, the taxes, the ulcers that I face. Well, the Indian is in the same position with the automobile industry as the American with the guru. I'm not impressed by naive American reactions to gurus; if you can show me a guru who can pull off that racket in the East, then I will be surprised."

- - -

Learning How to Learn
"The bitter truth is that before man can know his own inadequacy, or the competence of another man or institution, he must first learn something which will enable him to perceive both. Note well that his perception itself is a product of right study; not of instinct or emotional attraction to the individual, nor yet of desiring to 'go it alone'. This is 'Learning How To Learn.' (Taken from Idries Shah's "Learning How to Learn")

M. Sufilight
I remember when the 15 year old guru was in the Astrodome and the media had a field day with it and him. He did not fill it by any means and someone literally threw a pie in his face. That was back in 1973.

Someone should have thrown a pie into Mueller's face. I don't remember the talk very well, I tried very hard to forget it about a minute after it was over, but it was bad, that I do remember.
Dear friends and Alex

My views are:

I do not participate physically. I would ask each TS branch and similar branches themselves if they participate.
And this is also a part of the aim with this thread, that we can all meet on a mutual ground, which has our concern!

And therefore I particularly I find the following words from H. P. Blavatsky striking in their similarities to a certain extend. Try to read the page 1-6 in "The Key to Theosophy" by H. P. Blavatsky carefully.

Here is the important quote, which are closely related to the aim of the Parliament of the World's Religions,

H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

ENQUIRER. In the days of Ammonius there were several ancient great religions, and numerous were the sects in Egypt and Palestine alone. How could he reconcile them?

THEOSOPHIST. By doing that which we again try to do now. The Neo-Platonists were a large body, and belonged to various religious philosophies*; so do our Theosophists. In those days, the Jew Aristobulus affirmed that the ethics of Aristotle represented

* It was under Philadelphus that Judaism established itself in Alexandria, and forthwith the Hellenic teachers became the dangerous rivals of the College of Rabbis of Babylon. As the author of "Eclectic Philosophy" very pertinently remarks: "The Buddhistic, Vedantic, and Magian systems were expounded along with the philosophies of Greece at that period. It was not wonderful that thoughtful men supposed that the strife of words ought to cease, and considered it possible to extract one harmonious system from these various teachings. . . . Panaenus, Athenagoras, and Clement were thoroughly instructed in Platonic philosophy, and comprehended its essential unity with the Oriental systems."

the esoteric teachings of the Law of Moses; Philo Judæus endeavoured to reconcile the Pentateuch with the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy; and Josephus proved that the Essenes of Carmel were simply the copyists and followers of the Egyptian Therapeutæ (the healers). So it is in our day. We can show the line of descent of every Christian religion, as of every, even the smallest, sect. The latter are the minor twigs or shoots grown on the larger branches; but shoots and branches spring from the same trunk―the WISDOM-RELIGION. To prove this was the aim of Ammonius, who endeavoured to induce Gentiles and Christians, Jews and Idolaters, to lay aside their contentions and strifes, remembering only that they were all in possession of the same truth under various vestments, and were all the children of a common mother. * This is the aim of Theosophy likewise. "

M. Sufilight
Dear friends

My views are:

Thanks Joe.

I came across this one - PDF (264 pages) at Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions.
An excerpt or two:
"The “Representivity” Problem: “[R]eligions differ exceedingly in their
structures of authority, and most are polycentric rather than centralized.” (Pg. 235
State of Interreligious Movement Report below) “[I]nterreligious divisions and differences are so deep and bitter, and the
‘common task’ they attempt is so immense, that officially representative
gatherings on the international level tend to issue vacuous, nonspecific, and
nonbinding statements declaring in general terms that peace is good, poverty is
bad, we must save the environment, children are the future, we need to work
together, and the like.” (Pg. 235) “[I]f a religious body does not give high priority
to interfaith activity but is requested to assign an official representative, it may not
designate the most capable or committed person.” (Pg. 235).

The Inclusion-Exclusion Problem: “This is the ‘We won’t join if the so-and-so’s
are there’ or the ‘It’s us or them’ problem. The question may revolve around the
membership or participation of new religious movements or self-declared new
religions seen as “cults” or as deviant by older religious entities. It may just as
well turn on very old divisions between sub-traditions of a religion or between
religions themselves.” (Pg. 235 below)"
"People from diverse religious and spiritual traditions, who choose to
reach out to one another, seem to gravitate toward activities that allow them to share their
traditions and concerns, cultivate leaders from among their youth, support original
research, provide social services, share the experience of art, advocate for common
interests, declare shared commitments, and pray together. On the other hand, you will
quickly find many ambiguous and unique cases below."
"In “What Counts as ‘Religion’ in the Interreligious Movement?” Israel provides
still more context for the interreligious movement by reflecting on common assumptions
about how to use the term “religion.” Israel presents five descriptions of religion
commonly used, either implicitly or explicitly, in the literature and language of the
interreligious movement. The primary purpose of the third essay is to think critically
about our assumptions concerning the category of “religion” and the consequences of
these assumptions."
"In the 21st century we will see social and political landscapes across the globe
continue to change; new cultural and intellectual trends will give unexpected color and
dimension to old ideas; scientific and technological innovations will surprise us with new
opportunities to flourish and new problems that we must try to solve. Where will religion
and spirituality stand in the flux and flow of our unfolding lives? Religious and spiritual
people are already coming together, despite differences and historical antagonism, to
guide our changing world toward justice, peace, and sustainability. The picture of the
interreligious movement captured below should make vivid an extraordinary possibility:
in the next century religious and spiritual diversity need not persist as a source of conflict,
but can instead emerge as potent source of hope."
....... later page 228 .......
"In some cases, a program or organization that defines itself as “international” or has a
name beginning with “world” is more global in intention than in actual structural reach.
Interfaith organizations with global aspirations do succeed, however, in involving
outstanding scholars and religious leaders of international stature in a variety of events,
often linked in some way to the U.N."
Interreligious Movement Report sept. 2007

While talking about "Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions" I am considering

"Moreover, the very raison d'être of the Theosophical Society was, from its beginning, to utter a loud protest and lead an open warfare against dogma or any belief based upon blind faith.
It may sound odd and paradoxical, but it is true to say that, hitherto, the most apt workers in practical theosophy, its most devoted members were those recruited from the ranks of agnostics and even of materialists. No genuine, no sincere searcher after truth can ever be found among the blind believers in the "Divine Word," let the latter be claimed to come from Allah, Brahma or Jehovah, or their respective Kuran, Purana and Bible. For:

Faith is not reason's labour, but repose.

He who believes his own religion on faith, will regard that of every other man as a lie, and hate it on that same faith. Moreover, unless it fetters reason and entirely blinds our perceptions of anything outside our own particular faith, the latter is no faith at all, but a temporary belief, the delusion we labour under, at some particular time of life. Moreover, "faith without principles is but a flattering phrase for willful positiveness or fanatical bodily sensations," in Coleridge's clever definition. "

Vivekananda said:
"We see, therefore, that if one religion is true, all others must be true. There are differences in non-essentials, but in essentials they are all one." (Soul, God And Religion bu Vivekananda, 1895)

It is important, that we recognize truth when it is proven to us!

M. Sufilight
The media response to the 1993 Parliament was devastating to the organizers. The Chicago Tribune religion reporter made constant fun of it and what little, very very little, television coverage it received was not flattering. It could best be summed up in the question, "How did they manage to fit so many idiots into the Palmer House at the same time?" It was, for a week, the biggest freak show in town. Aside from the organizers and poor Tony Lysy, no one took anything that came out of it very seriously. There were a couple of attempts at programming at Olcott based on it shortly afterwards but they were so poorly attended that the project was abandoned. Of the mass of video that was shot, I have no idea if anything much was ever done with it.

In the end, the 1993 World Parliament of Religions was like Shakespeare's definition of life. "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
From a personal viewpoint, the WPR was a rather satisfying experience. I got to be a genuine subversive and drive control freaks crazy, had the immense pleasure of actually having Dr. Charles Tart (famous parapsychologist type person) literally run away from me when he saw my nametag and got blessed by the Dalai Lama.

And then there was the absolutely hilarious episode on the Friday of that week. The day before was my then girlfriend's birthday so I played hookie that afternoon and she and I went to a baseball game that night. And then she spent the night which mean I did not get much sleep.

Well, I managed to stay awake through most of the next day's programming but when it came time to hear John Algeo, I not only fell asleep, but snored! And when John found out why I fell asleep during his talk he laughed so hard his head nearly fell off.
Dear friends and Cosimano

My views are:

C. Cosimano wrote:
"In the end, the 1993 World Parliament of Religions was like Shakespeare's definition of life. "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.""

M. Sufilight asks:
And the 1893 World Parliament of Religions was also bad?
Are you concluding that the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions is a useless activity?

M. Sufilight


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