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"This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality" is that the force of love is "the supreme unifying principle of life."

Do you agree?

Like a lot of people I've thought about Martin Luther King Jr today, particularly his powerful speeches and how his friendship with Thich Nhat Hanh inspired him to speak up about Vietnam and how they were united in their efforts for peace and equality through non-violent means and were truly 'brothers'. I've thought about how inclusive his views of other religions were. While King was "unequivocal about his Christian commitment", he saw the "powerful commonality across all faiths". I also love that the 'Time to Break the Silence' Speech includes one of my favorite verses John 4:7-8, 12 about how everyone who LOVES ONE ANOTHER knows and loves God. He saw all people truly as brothers, and saw things from pluralistic perspective and that we are always better together and not divided.

I've thought about how similar his Love Your Enemies speech is to teachings of Buddha, Jesus, and Gandhi (parallel sayings in link below).

Art of Dharma: Love your enemies

Do you respect his inclusiveness and message of love and unity? Do you think we should all aspire to be inclusive and find what we have in common rather than only focusing on our differences?


"When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate -- ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us."4 Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day."

MLK: Time to Break the Silence


'When, as a seminary student, King was introduced to the satyagraha ("love-force") philosophy of the Indian Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi, King did not reject it because it came from a different religion. Instead, he sought to find resonances between Gandhi's Hinduism and his own interpretation of Christianity. Indeed, it was Gandhi's movement in India that provided King with a 20th century version of what Jesus would do. King patterned nearly all the strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement -- from boycotts to marches to readily accepting jail time -- after Gandhi's leadership in India. King called Gandhi "the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force."

King's friendship with the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh inspired one of his most controversial moves, the decision to publicly oppose the Vietnam War. In his letter nominating Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, King wrote, "He is a holy man. ... His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to a world brotherhood, to humanity."

MLK was an Interfaith Visionary too

"This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly separated from his own people while they are oppressed by a vicious war which has grown to threaten the sanity and security of the entire world."

Letter nominating Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize


Asked by pam19 at 11:06 PM on Jan. 17, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 30 (42,186 Credits)
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Answers (5)
  • Oh, I love it!
    Especially :
    "Do you respect his inclusiveness and message of love and unity? Do you think we should all aspire to be inclusive and find what we have in common rather than only focusing on our differences?"

    I completely agree with this idea. It summarizes lot of how I think. That inclusive message of love and unity is one that I find to be the most important, and have found it within the various faiths I've studied which is part of why I'm a syncretist, pulling from various faiths and religious perceptions, and a pluralist, believing that all paths are equally valid and all perceptions are "right". Faith is personal, and its up to each of us to determine for ourselves what path most resonates with and works for us. I think that's an important part of making sure we get the most out of our spirituality, finding what most works for us. :)

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:09 AM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • I agree- loving others seems to be a unifying principle of many faiths. Unfortunately people sometimes seem to get too lost in the details sometimes!

    Answer by Freela at 2:22 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • That book, and the author himself, both sound very interesting. I'm going to have to keep my eye out for it, or anything else by him I can find. :)

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 1:00 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • Exactly! Of course, there are differences, especially cultural differences, and people will make their personal choices about what path to take based on these, but I've been very interested in parallels between religions lately. I ordered that book Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings, and it's a beautiful book. Most of the book is just the parallel sayings with little commentary, but there's an introduction and a preface that gives a little background about the editor's perspective. He's a Christian and New Testament scholar, and he says he's become a non-exclusivist Christian and accepts religious pluralism. He describes many similarities between Jesus and Buddha in the preface, and then the rest of the book contains many of their sayings side by side. The person who wrote the introduction talks about two statues in Vietnam of Buddha and Jesus--smiling with their arms around each other like brothers.

    Comment by pam19 (original poster) at 10:13 AM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • More about that book edited by Marcus Borg:

    As a Christian, he went through a period of skepticism after being taught that Christianity was the ONLY way, but in more recent years he has had an appreciation of religious pluralism through his acquaintance with world religions and cultural studies have actually reversed this skepticism. He says 'The parallels among the religions (especially at the level of experience and teaching about 'the way' though not very much at the level of doctrine) suggest that there is something here worth taking seriously.


    I feel the same way. I was very skeptical about Christianity growing up, but in recent years I've gone back to the teachings of Jesus' to discover that I agree with most of his teachings, just not all the 'doctrine' or teachings within some denominations. There are still UNIVERSAL truths to be found, just as I feel I've found them in the teachings of the Buddha.

    Comment by pam19 (original poster) at 10:21 AM on Jan. 18, 2011