THE FUJI DECLARATION

Igniting the Divine Spark in the Spirit of Humanity

for a Civilization of Oneness with Diversity on Planet Earth

 

A new phase in the evolution of human civilization is on the horizon. With deepening states of crisis bringing unrest to all parts of the world, there is a growing need for change in our ways of thinking and acting.  We now have the choice of either spiraling into deepening peril, or breaking through to a world of dignity and wellbeing for all.

Throughout its history, humanity has been guided primarily by a material consciousness.  Fearing scarcity, we have continued to pursue material gain beyond necessity, taking from others and depleting the Earth’s natural resources.  If our aspirations continue to focus only on what is material and finite, our world will face inevitable destruction.

 

What is our true nature?

In order to make more enlightened choices and change the course of our history, we need to return to the basic question concerning human life.  Each and every one of us must ask, What is our true nature?” and seek a meaningful and responsible answer.

The great spiritual traditions of the world have always been telling us that, at its root, human life is inextricably linked to its universal source.  Today, the latest advances in the physical and life sciences reaffirm this perennial insight.  When we rediscover our connections to nature and the cosmos, we can re-align our life with the universal movement toward oneness and harmony in and through diversity.  We can restore the divine spark in the human spirit and bring forth our innate love, compassion, wisdom, and joy to live a flourishing life.  The time has come for every one of us to awaken the divine spirit that resides in our heart.

 

What is the purpose of our existence?

We have been born at a critical juncture in history, in a world in transition, where it is possible to guide the advancement of humankind toward peace on Earth.  Living peace and enabling peace to prevail on Earth is the ultimate purpose for all of us.  We can and must embrace it in every sphere of our existence.

By living consciously and responsibly, we can draw upon our inherent freedom and power to shape our destiny and the destiny of humankind.  Our task is to collaboratively create a world in which every individual gives expression to his or her highest self, in service to the human family and the whole web of life on the planet

Toward a new civilization

 

It is imperative to bring together individuals from diverse fields – scientists, artists, politicians, business leaders, and others – to create a solid multidimensional foundation for catalyzing a timely shift in the course of history.  The time has come for all people to become courageous pioneers – to venture beyond their personal, cultural, and national interests and beyond the boundaries of their discipline, and to come together in wisdom, spirit, and intention for the benefit of all people in the human family.  By so doing, we can overcome the hold of obsolete ideas and outdated behaviors in today’s unsustainable world and design a more harmonious and flourishing civilization for the coming generations.

 

The paradigm of the new civilization

The paradigm of the new civilization is a culture of oneness with respect for diversity.  Just as the myriad cells and diverse organs of our body are interconnected by their oneness and work together in harmony for the purpose of sustaining our life, so each and every living thing is an intrinsic part of the larger symphony of life on this planet.  With the conscious recognition that we are a part of a living universe consisting of great diversity yet embracing unity, we will co-evolve with one another and with nature through a network of constructive and coherent relationships.

 

The Fuji Declaration

As individuals responsible for the future of life on Earth, we hereby declare:

Affirming the Light of Consciousness Within All Beings

We affirm the divine spark in the heart and mind of every human being and intend to live by its light in every sphere of our existence.

Commitment to Creating Lasting Peace on Earth

We commit ourselves to fulfilling our shared mission of creating lasting peace on Earth through our ways of living and acting.

Intention to Live and Act in Behalf of all Life

We intend to live and act so as to enhance the quality of life and the well-being of all forms of life on the planet, recognizing that all living things in all their diversity are interconnected and are one.

Freeing the Human Spirit for Deep Creativity

We will continually strive to free the human spirit for deep creativity, and to nurture the transformation necessary to forge a new paradigm in all spheres of human activity, including economics, science, medicine, politics, business, education, religion, the arts, communications and the media.

Mission to Advance a Harmonious Human Civilization

We shall make it our mission to design, communicate and implement a more spiritual and harmonious civilization – a civilization that enables humankind to realize its inherent potential and advance to the next stage of its material, spiritual, and cultural evolution.

 

Copyright 2015 The Fuji Declaration

http://www.fujideclaration.org

 

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WHAT IS INTERFAITH?

~by Rev. Leland Stewart

“Those virtues that befit dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion, and loving kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.”
~  Baha’i faith, Science and Spirituality, page 170

 

There are many levels of interfaith.  The beginning of the process is the coming together of people and/or leaders of various faiths to share their views of faith and how they can get along with each other even though their different religions and spiritual movements have different understandings of life.  Few, if any, of these people change their faith as the result of their dialog.

Other dimensions of interfaith are when a person changes his/her faith and stays with the new faith.  Still others join a new faith for a time and then return to the original faith, probably enriched by the experience.  An additional outcome of the interfaith experience is that a person follows two or more religions.  The most changed perspective is with those who let go of their original faith and take on an exploration of all religions and spiritual movements.

Some people have no regard for religion in any of its forms.  Certainly there are many examples of religions who hate each other and as a result engage in violent behavior.  The role of interfaith in this regard is to help such people to find out what religion is supposed to be in promoting mutual respect and understanding.

Interfaith is growing rapidly as people realize the need for the religions to get along with each other.  Two examples of the rapid growth of interfaith are the Parliament of the World’s Religions.  Last October the Parliament held its meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, with almost ten thousand people in attendance.  The United Religions Initiative since the year 2000 has started more than 500 cooperation circles in a large number of countries.  There are about twenty interfaith organizations just in the Los Angeles area alone.

It is true that in the various faiths, certain people take on the interfaith work, and others continue just paying attention to their own faith.  One of the tasks of interfaith now is to help those other individuals to realize the importance of interfaith and begin to get involved.

Is interfaith a religion?  For most people it is not.  However, for some of the people who are most involved it serves as a faith with all of its inspiration and power.  Those who have transcended their original faiths do need that kind of spiritual awakening and call to service.  What it should be called, and what forms it will take are yet to be decided.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!

TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE OTHERS TREAT YOU

by Rev. Leland Stewart

“Ethics consist in my experiencing the compulsion to show all will-to-live the same reverence as I do to my own life.”    – Albert Schweitzer, Science and Spirituality, page 143

The theme of our message is the Golden Rule, which in some form is present in all religions.  It is the heart of ethics, which has to do with the relation of one human being to another and to all humanity and all life.  The same ethics apply in government as in our individual lives, and a responsible society needs to have a powerful ethical basis in order to fulfill its mission.

This applies to how a society handles its finances as well as in every other aspect.  Not every person and organization in our society should have the same amount of money available to spend, but a society in which the 1% has as much money as the other 99% is clearly out of bounds for a responsible society.  There need to be laws that prevent this unbalance, but an important part of changing the balance should be based on what is ethical.  When 44,000 people in Los Angeles County alone are homeless, while others live in exorbitant luxury is clearly out of balance and in need of the increase of ethical principles and governmental support.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who is quoted at the beginning of this message, says in his Philosophy of Civilization, that civilization is essentially ethical in character.  The transitional nature of our present condition, moving from the end of western civilization to the birth of global civilization, is that our sense of the need for ethics has weakened, and with it the quality of civilization itself.  Our awareness of human values needs to be expanded now to include all races, cultures, and religions.  Making the transition from the predominance of western civilization over others to where a global standard is necessary takes time and patience, but we need to understand where we are going and why we now need a global ethic.

The Parliament of World Religions in 1993 introduced “A Global Ethic”, which since that time has been kept alive and further developed.  It is becoming the task of religions cooperating with each other to make clear what the global ethic will look like, and eventually to put forth a code of living that gives guidance to the emerging global civilization.  The second part of Schweitzer’s book has as its title, “Civilization and Ethics”.  In his later life, Schweitzer had a spiritual experience while on the Ogowe River in Africa, in which we became aware that the central teaching of the new ethic is “Reverence for Life”.  The Golden Rule is very similar in its focus to this teaching.

It is time that the world as a whole, and in particular the United States of America, chooses to live by a personal, social, and global ethic that is based on respect for all life.  Our survival depends upon it.

May peace prevail on earth!!!

A NEW WORLD REQUIRES A NEW VISION

“A new type of person whose orientation and view of the world         profoundly transcends the existing cultures is developing from the complex of social, political, economic, educational (and religious) interactions of our time.”     – Peter S. Adler, quoted in Science and Spirituality, page 45-46

We live in a time of great change and challenge.  The only way that we are going to be able to move through this time of transition is to awaken to a new vision that allows us to relate to the emerging global community, the community of all races, cultures, and religions.

The challenge of this time of transition has produced an ever-increasing amount of interaction among the faiths of the world, and numerous  programs have resulted.  All of this activity is necessary and healthy.  However, it is important to know that dialog among faiths is not the same as producing a spiritual awakening.  Dialog is important, yet the nature of religion is beyond dialog and is of an experiential nature.  The new kind of religious experience does not require the giving up of one’s faith to join some other faith.  What it does require is the experiencing of pluralism and the deeper implications of freedom and democracy.  it requires the inner discovery that life in the new world is of a different nature than that which existed earlier.

In many cases it will require the experience of the role of science and consciousness.  It is very likely to include a vision of a world in which both science and religion have a role to play.  It is necessary that we discover a new level of faith that permits us to unite with all peoples and to experience our connections with all life, organic and inorganic.  This experience of living in a pluralistic world challenges us to respect different paths, to become good listeners so that we give place to those whose faith and culture are different from our own.

Life today is being lived in a very different context from previous times, and our form of worship needs to reflect that change.  Religion is not supposed to be an influence that holds us back and keeps us bound to a culture and faith of past generations.  Rather, it needs to lead us courageously into an often unknown future.  We new live in a world of great diversity, and we therefore need to create patterns of worship that absorb that diversity into our own understanding of life.

How we solve that problem within our particular ministry is to create a Unity-and-Diversity Center, one which welcomes religious diversity and builds it into the activities and programs of the Center.  Guest speakers from different faiths will help us to accept their teachings and life values.  Hearing from scientists who work on human consciousness will give us a broader view of the universe in which we live.  Artists and philosophers can also help us to move beyond our otherwise limited understanding of faith and culture.

World Scriptures helps us to understand the faiths of the world and to appreciate the teachings they bring.  But what is also necessary is that we explore the teachings that have been given in later times, ones which help us to see the values which have been emerging since the historic religions began.  The reason there is a religions called Christianity is that there was a New Testament to add to the Hebrew scriptures, which became known to Christians as the Old Testament.

In the case of World Scriptures, the new material has become World Scriptures Vol. 2.  It is designed to serve a similar function, which is to bring together scriptural-type material to help provide guidance for people throughout the planet to live in this interdependent world and find meaning for their lives.

THE SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING AS INTERFAITH

[editor’s note: this is an older letter by Rev. Leland Steward from Nov., 2015. Sorry, I was not able to update the site for a while]

 “Offering our skills, services, or time for listening can be a true expression of our gratitude and appreciation.”      –Richard Kimball, quoted in Science and Spirituality, page 146

One of the great challenges of our time is the effort to transcend the different faiths and find ways of communicating that speak a universal language of understanding.  Some call it being “spiritual” rather than “religious”; others simply use a language that omits the traditional terms of religion, such as God, prayer, grace, etc.  Science is in the process of introducing other elements that in the past had not been associated with the moral and spiritual life.

Thanksgiving is a time when we attempt to express our gratitude for the blessings of life that have come to us, and finding a way of expressing these blessings so that they give meaning to people of all faiths and no official faith.  I was present at a Thanksgiving party in which we began the evening by holding hands and sharing with the group what we were grateful for.  There was no sense in that sharing that what was being shared was relevant only to people of a particular faith.

To be able to enter into the interfaith world is to change from feeling that our faith is the only one that matters, to where we have respect for all paths, even if they are not officially religious.  We are encouraged to make the effort to understand the meaning in each path and to help each path blend into the larger picture of a world of diverse paths.

When the pilgrims first came to America, they had many challenges just surviving the winters, and in many cases clashing with Native Americans.  Thanksgiving was a time to give thanks for surviving in the new land.  The challenges now center around coming to respect each other and learning how to live without violence and war.  In many cases, the violence we are experiencing is the result of previous violence our beloved nation has inflicted on others.  Now is the time to be grateful for living in a nation which is learning to transcend its past and to forgive others for their violence toward others and toward us.  Together we must find a better way to live on this beautiful planet.

By learning the ways of interfaith, we will be helped along the path of mutual respect and forgiveness.  We are grateful for the opportunity to give up violence and to help create a world that is peaceful, just, and loving.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!

NAVIGATING THE TURBULENCE

[editor’s note: this is an older letter by Rev. Leland Steward from Nov., 2015. Sorry, I was not able to update the site for a while]

“A great stillness steals over me and a great calm quiets my whole being when I realize Your Presence.”   –Science of Mind, quoted in Science and Spirituality, page 185

We are presently in a major time of turbulence worldwide.  What was thought to be largely a Middle East turbulence is now clearly one of a global nature.  The attacks in Paris about a week ago make that clear, as do the more recent attacks in Mali.  Who knows where the next attack might be?  It appears that nobody is safe any longer.

The question is, how do we navigate this turbulence?  Are we to give up in despair, as many have done, or are we to carry on in the faith that we have a part to play in helping bring the world back to a greater sense of normalcy?

It is having a faith that most of all helps to give us the strength to carry on and to serve the larger good.  For increasing numbers of people, the growing strength of the interfaith movement is also a source of encouragement.  The interfaith movement can be seen in several ways, but two of those ways particularly stand out.  If your relation to the movement is one of engaging in dialog, then your faith comes from another source, namely Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or one of the other existing religions.  In that case, you bring your faith to the dialog and help raise the level of consciousness.

If, on the other hand, if you are not part of the existing religions, or have gone beyond the boundaries of your previous faith, then you need to find another faith in order to be at that same level in the dialog.  If your faith is based on a connection with various religions, past and present, then interfaith for you is more than dialog, it is a source of your faith.  From this reality another kind of faith is being born.  Part of the turbulence we are now facing is coming from this changing face of religion.  One of the leaders in the interfaith movement, Canon Gwynne Guibord, calls it “Religion Inside Out”.  It is certainly creating a new reality in our time.

The turbulence now largely centers around violence and war.  The natural tendency when attacked is to attack the party that attacked you.  However, there is another way of responding to an attack, which is to respond nonviolently and seek to resolve the conflict through diplomacy or nonviolent techniques that force a change to take place.  My conviction is that nonviolence is soon going to be used worldwide to help resolve the many violent attacks now taking place.  Nonviolence is an ethical choice, and it is “a force more powerful”.  It is time that we learned about how to use nonviolence for bringing about peace in the world.  The way of violence and war is too risky in an age of nuclear and chemical weapons; we do need an alternative.

May peace prevail on earth!

WHAT DOES MY GUIDANCE SAY?

Many people feel that they have been given spiritual guidance at one level or another, and those areas of guidance need to be tested to see if they are valid.  I am also open to such examination as well.

My guidance has remained clear and consistent for many years.  There was a time when I told people about my guidance, but few people took it very seriously.  For that reason I stopped talking about it and decided to let my actions speak for themselves.  I believe that part of the reason people did not pay much attention to my guidance was the way in which I presented it at that time.  I am now making every effort to present it in a way that can be accepted.

I make no claims of infallibility, nor do I claim that I am the only one who has guidance that is relevant.  In fact, I would encourage anyone who is given such understandings and insights to speak up and let others know what is happening.  What I do claim is that these areas of guidance are true, and that they have remained steady throughout my life since they were originally given.  They have expanded with the passage of time, but they have not gone away or reversed themselves.

Now, at my advanced age, I find that people are generally paying more attention than at earlier times, and a number of awards have been given to me or to our organization as a result.  However, sometimes the visions of others have been substituted for what I have been given, generally without recognition or acknowledgement of the change.

I therefore proclaim that I have been given a basic understanding of the essential moral and spiritual teachings for the coming global civilization, as well as their extensions into all areas.  These were given some years ago, but they have stayed with me throughout my life, along with the additional understanding from the work being done during the intervening years.

What has developed during these years is an interfaith movement, the first step of which

Is an ever-expanding mutual respect and dialog among the major religions of the world.  This time period has also given birth or recognition to newer religions that previously were not considered worth including. However, some individuals and institutions are still persecuting followers of both the new religions and, in some cases, the major ones as well.

What is yet to come is the opening up of the scriptures of the world to the new teachings and the gradual establishing of the scriptures that are central to the emergence of the global civilization into a scriptural document.  My version is called World Scriptures, which includes the world’s scriptures in brief, plus some of the more recent religions.  More recently World Scriptures, Volume 2, was put together, although the writings go back to the writing of World Scriptures,  The second book focuses on what is yet to come.  A third book is entitled Science and Spirituality, which contains short readings from many sources plus documents that support the globalization of our society.

In addition, new forms of worship and architecture need to be created that allow for the new understandings to be expressed.  One of my areas of guidance in this regard has to

do with the design of places of worship.  Imagine a sanctuary being a place which, when you enter it, gives the awareness of walking into the universe, a sacred place of beauty and creativity, in which the music, art, and the whole atmosphere inspire us to be who we truly are at our best.  Imagine a service of worship that draws upon all paths and all moral and spiritual teachings that help us to live in a world of unity in the midst of the world’s great diversities of race, religion, and culture.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Most people who have areas of spiritual guidance tend to be limited to a single area of such guidance.  My guidance has been different in that regard, and perhaps as a result it may have been hard to categorize.  In this message, I have been led to express all of the major areas of guidance that I have been given, so that they can be considered in their fullness and breadth.  You can then decide if they are related, or if they are totally separate and unrelated.

I have been fortunate to have visited the United Nations both in New York and in Geneva, Switzerland.  I have also had a number of contacts with people involved with the United Nations Associations in Southern and Northern California.  I chaired the committee which put together a Festival of Faith in 1956 in Claremont that had an attendance of more than 2,000 people.  All of the major religions were represented at that event, as well as having two political leaders as keynote speakers.

It has been my firm conviction since coming to California in 1955 that there must be a peoples’ equivalent of the United Nations, probably with its headquarters in the greater Los Angeles area but extending around the world.  Our annual Peace Sunday is becoming a kind of showcase for that development, and especially as the Peace Convergence that accompanied Peace Sunday in 2012 created a Culture of Peace Series that has been meeting monthly on the different aspects of peace.  Our Unity-and-Diversity Peace Wheel shows the relationship of these sectors and quadrants that highlight the different sectors and yet show how they are all related.  Democracy is based on government of the people, by the people, and for the people; therefore, it is up to the peoples of the world to shape the various forms of democracy and then invite government leaders to serve them, rather than the other way around.

Let me be more emphatic as to what my guidance is on this matter.  The United Nations has an important work to do to serve governments and see that they cooperate in helping to establish a global community at a governmental level.  However, it remains to the peoples of the world to create a separate but cooperative body of individuals, groups, and networks to organize the peoples of the world.  There are huge numbers of mostly nonprofit organizations now doing some very important work in this regard.  What remains to be developed is a body similar to the United Nations that brings together the nongovernmental aspects of society to cultivate the moral and spiritual dimensions of the global society and also all of its other aspects.  World peace, in my opinion, will only be possible when the religions of the world come together in cooperation, and that they in turn will help the larger “united peoples” organization to bring all aspects of society into a Peoples Assembly and Specialized Affiliates to carry on the intergroup work of the global community.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Another area of guidance that I have received is in the realm of music.  After having studied with the first and second chair trumpet of the Boston Symphony, having had my own dance band at the University of Michigan, having been in the concert and marching bands at the University of Michigan as well as Harvard Orchestra, I was given a special kind of music that I have been developing ever since.  It is like jazz in a way, yet it is more sacred than jazz and it has a more flexible rhythm than jazz does.  I see that it has a special place in the development of interfaith places of worship, and I trust that it will also have a place in the more general realms of music.  It will need to create its own groups of musicians who can play this music, which I call Creative Music, since there needs to be room for the individual soloist and for other musicians who can also be creative.  To my knowledge, this type of music is just beginning to emerge, but it certainly has a place in the culture of the coming civilization.  The trumpet is my instrument, and I have been playing this kind of music for many years.

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

One of the very misunderstood areas of our society is the family.  My guidance in this regard is that the family is a very important part of our American society and all other societies throughout the world.  The nature of the family is changing, one of the latest changes being homosexual partners becoming married.  The family is the most intense kind of group relationship, and it is especially important because the raising of children is involved.  Children deserve a stable home, and two parents if possible to help in their development.  I studied about the family with a most outstanding family sociologist at Harvard University, Carle Zimmerman, who pointed out that there is an almost exact parallel between the success of the family and that of the civilization as a whole.

Recently I wrote a message entitled “Women Are More Than Sex Objects”, and I got more response to that message than anything I have ever written.  Our society is now deeply involved in the sex revolution, and the moral standards related to sexuality are way out of proportion.  It is true that sexuality plays an important part in relationships, especially in the beginning stages, but restraint is also important.  There must be a balance between sexuality and the other aspects of a relationship, or the relationship is not very likely to last.  Getting married is important as a commitment to the continuity of the relationship, and it also needs a commitment to caring for any children that may be involved (whether planned or not).  This whole subject is a very important part of my guidance, but until now I have not said much about it.

As an indication of my commitment in this area, I was married to Elizabeth Elliot Stewart for fifty-six years.  Elizabeth died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Finally, a very clear and powerful part of my guidance has been and is related to the Holy Day Season at the end of the year, which traditionally centers around Christmas, and to some extent Hanakkah.  Since 1958 the Unity-and-Diversity World Council has been developing interfaith events that represent the evolving nature of that time of the year.  Before Christianity was born, the mystery religions celebrated at that time of the year.  After Jesus’ life and death, early Christians needed to decide when Jesus’ birth was to be celebrated.  Since he was not born in December, it took a long time before Christians could agree to choose December 25th.  Now, with the coming of democracy, there is an increasing need to choose the most powerful time of the year for the celebration of all paths coming together.  We are now calling this special event the Interfaith Celebration of Light, and this year we had two sponsoring organizations and twenty-two co-sponsors who came together to share in this powerful occasion.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!

TIME FOR INTERFAITH INVOLVEMENT IN SOCIAL CHANGE

I believe we will have better government when  men and women  discuss public issues together and make their decisions on             the basis of their common concern for the welfare  of their families and their world.

         Eleanor Roosevelt, Science and Spirituality, page 144

 

Fareed Zakaria, in his book The Post-American World, points out that the world is currently going through a major change.  The essence of the change is that the United States is no longer going to be the one super power, but that the countries of the world are coming into greater power and are demanding that their rights be included in the decisions facing the human race.  An example of that change is the decision of President Putin of Russia to keep whistle-blower Edward Snowden there, and that Putin also asked the USA to stop practicing exceptionalism, meaning that we Americans consider ourselves better than people of every other nation.

Not only are the other nations coming up in the global community, but the United States currently is going down in the estimation of many other peoples, and in our nation as well.  The government shutdown and the struggle over the increase in the debt ceiling were responsible for a major shift financially speaking, where the US is losing its role as the financial stabilizer of the world.  We need to stop printing bills for money we do not have, as well as to begin to live within our income.  It may take a worldwide nonviolent movement to make this change, but democracy requires more balanced economies and negotiation to see that everyone has a voice in getting needed changes made.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was led by various Christian churches under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Now the leadership must come from the Interfaith Movement through a coming together for nonviolent action that is worldwide.  The Interfaith Movement is beginning to recognize the need for inner and outer change, and now we must step forward and take the action steps required to see that change is in fact made possible.

Who is ready for this courageous step forward, and where is this spirit most being manifest?  The time has come, as we await the responsibility of the U.S. government to act for the well-being of the American people and the nations of the world.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!