Principle of Harmony of
The Bridge of Harmony
(The Guarantor Of Mutual Respect)
How do you relate to a person of a different religion or way of life with mutual respect? The Bridge of Harmony is a method for people of different religions or ways of life to relate to each other and each other’s religion or way of life in a mutually respectful way. The Bridge of Harmony is the guarantor of Mutual Respect.
Everyone comes from the one Source of all. The world’s different religions and ways of life all proclaim that. Even though different people understand the world differently, all people from the same Source, can live in mutual respect.
If one uses the Bridge of Harmony, mutual respect between the two people is guaranteed. When two people have the same problem, each person uses his or her own religion to solve the problem. Any two religions, ways of life or belief systems can be involved. Even two believers in different parts of the same religion or way of life, even members of the same family who believe in different ways, can relate to each other in mutual respect, using the Bridge of Harmony.
In this example a Christian and a Buddhist are sharing their experiences in solving a common problem in life. The Christian begins with Step 1, by translating his problem into a Christian question, then following the steps.
The Bridge of Harmony
- Christian Question __4. Share the Question__ 5. Invite To Translate__ 6. Buddhist . Question
3. Live the Christian Answer 8. Live the Buddhist Answer
2. Christian Tradition 7. Buddhist Tradition
(Find Christian Answer) (Find Buddhist Answer)
Follow these steps:
1. As a Christian, when you have a problem, translate it into a Christian question.
2. Go down deep into Christian tradition, scripture, experience and reason and find a Christian answer.
3. Bring the Christian answer up into your current life and live the Christian answer. Let your faith guide you on the right path toward your fulfillment as a whole person.
4. When you meet a person of another faith, who has the same problem, share with him or her the question, not the Christian answer. Go across the Bridge of Harmony and share the question with the other person.
5. Invite the other person to take the question and translate it into a question in his or her religion.
6. After the translation into a question the other religion or way of life, invite the other person to seek the answer in his or her religion.
7. Invite the other person to go down deep into the tradition, scripture, experience and reason of his or her religion to find an answer to the question.
8. Then invite the other person to bring the answer up into his or her current life and live the answer which the other person’s religion has provided to guide him or her to full life as a whole person.
This guarantees mutual respect among persons and religions and ways of life.
Notice it is a bridge and not a tunnel. Share with the other person the question, not the Christian answer. Let the other person see the question and find the answer in his or her own faith. Let the other person see you live your Christian answer successfully.
It works the other way too. If a Buddhist has found an answer to a problem in his or her life, and tries to give you the Buddhist answer, he or she runs across the bridge and tells you that the answer to your problem is that you need to achieve Nirvana, gently ask the Buddhist for the question he or she asked that led to that answer. Then translate the question into Christian terms, seek the answer in Christian tradition, then live the Christian Answer. Keep your Christianity and your friendship with the Buddhist. He or she may be your friend, or partner in business, your source of supply, your customer, or all of these with different products. Respect the other person’s use of his or her faith to solve his or her problems. Encourage that, and do it yourself. Then each of you may let your light shine to show the world, and each other, how your faith has helped you solve a problem in your life.
As a Christian, respect that the Buddhist may understand life and the world differently from you. If the Buddhist runs across the Bridge yelling, “Seek Nirvana”, you may not find Nirvana rewarding, perhaps even empty, certainly not a solution to your problem; and if you ran across the Bridge shouting, “You must be born again”, the Buddhist would say, “NO! That is just what I am trying to avoid.”
Lovingly share the question. Let the other person see the question and find and live the answer in his or her tradition. Live in mutual respect.
Buddhism: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
Free from the desire to possess people and
things, he does not grieve over what is not.
With friendship toward all and faith in the
Buddha’s teachings, he will reach the holy
state where all is peace.
Dhammapada, 25: 367-368, Easwaran, p. 193
Christianity: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends his rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5: 44-45 (NIV)
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
Matthew 7: 1-6 (NIV)
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road? But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Mark 9: 33-35 (NIV)
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him, “ Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.”
Mark 9: 38-40 (NIV)
Confucianism: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
“Yen Ying is skilled in human relations;
even after long acquaintance
he is respectful toward others.”
Sayings of Confucius V: 17
Tuan-Tz’u said, “What I do not wish others to do unto me
I also wish not to do unto others.”
“You’re not up to that.”
Sayings of Confucius V: 12
Hinduism: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
O Lord of Love, may I enter into you,
And may you reveal yourself unto me,
The pure One masquerading as many.
I am your devotee. Make me your own.
Taittirya Upanishad 4: 3, Easwaran, p. 139
The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all.
The Lord is the supreme Reality.
Rejoice in him through renunciation.
Cover nothing. All belongs to the Lord.
Thus working you may live a hundred years.
Thus alone will you work in real freedom.
The Isha Upanishad 1-2, Easwaran, p. 208
Islam: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
Surely, of the Believers, the Jews, the Christians and the Sabians, those who truely believe in Allah and the last Day and act righteously, shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve.
Many the People of the Book, after the truth has become manifest to them, would desire out of sheer envy generated by their minds that, after you have believed, they could turn you into disbelievers. But do you forgive them and forbear, till Allah sends down His decree. Surely, Allah has full power to do all that He wills. Observe Prayer, and pay the Zakat, therefore, for what ever good you send on before you for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah. Surely Allah sees all that you do. Qur’an 2:110-111
They claim that no one shall enter Paradise unless he is a Jew or a Christian. These are their vain desires. Ask them: Produce your proof, if you are truthful. The Truth is that whoever submits himself completely to the will of Allah and acts righteously, shall have his reward with his Lord. No fear shall come upon such, nor shall they grieve. The Jews say the Christians base themselves on no firm truth, and the Christians say the Jews base themselves on no firm truth, yet both read the same Book. In like manner did those who had no knowledge say that which these say. Allah shall judge between them on the Day of Judgement concerning that wherein they disagree. Qur’an 2:112-114
Mankind were of one persuasion, then they developed differences, so Allah raised Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and sent down with them the Book comprising the Truth, that He might judge between the people on that wherein they differed. Then those very people to whom it was given differed about the Book, after clear Signs had come to them, out of insolence and envy of one another. Whereupon, Allah guided by His command those who believed to the Truth in regard to which the others had differed. Allah guides whomsoever He pleases to the right path.
Allah knows all and you know not. They enquire from thee about fighting in the sacred month. Say to them: Fighting in it is a great evil; but to hinder the people from the way of Allah and to deny Him and to profane the sanctity of the Sacred Mosque, and to turn out its people therefrom is a much greater evil in the sight of Allah.
Qur’an 2: 217-218
Judaism: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
All you have made will praise you O Lord; your saints will extol you.
They will tell the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him, but the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Psalm 145: 8-21 (NIV)
Naturalism: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
What are our humanist values and principles? There is a long list, but I shall mention only thirteen here, without elaboration. Ethical humanism involves:
- a commitment to free inquiry and the open mind;
- a belief in the courage to live without fear or trembling;
- a confidence in the power of human creativeness, inventiveness, achievement;
- constant efforts to improve the human condition, mitigate suffering, and eliminate disease, conflict, war, and cruelty;
- respect for the rights of others;
- dedication to the preciousness and dignity of the individual, his or her creativity and growth;
- cultivation of happiness and the full life;
- emphasis on love, shared experience, human joy;
- tolerance of other points of view and life styles;
- social justice and humanitarian help;
- a universal focus transcending national; ethnic; sexual; and racial barriers – the ideal of a world community;
- an emphasis on compromise and negotiation of differences;
- belief in a free, open, pluralistic, and democratic society.
Paul Kurtz in On The Barricades Basil, Gehrman and Madigan, Eds., p. 73-74
Taoism: The Principle of Harmony of The Bridge of Harmony
If powerful men and women
could remain centered in the Tao,
all things would be in harmony.
The world would become a paradise.
All people would be at peace,
and the law would be written in their hearts.
Tao Te Ching No. 32
The great Tao flows everywhere.
All things are born from it,
yet it doesn’t create them.
It pours itself into its work,
yet it makes no claim.
It nourishes infinite worlds,
yet it doesn’t hold on to them.
Since it is merged with all things,
and hidden in their hearts,
it can be called humble.
Since all things vanish into it
and it alone endures,
it can be called great.
It isn’t aware of its greatness;
thus it is truly great.
Tao Te Ching No. 34
The Tao gives birth to all beings,
nourishes them, maintains them,
cares for them, comforts them, protects them
takes them back to itself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering.
That is why love of the Tao
is in the very nature of things.
Tao Te Ching No. 51