CHAPTER I
THE SPIRITUAL MASTERS CONFERENCE

     Picture a weeklong roundtable conference at the Los Angeles Sheraton Gateway. Attendees include Buddha , Jesus , White Buff alo Calf Woman , Moses , Kuan Yin, Muhammad , Isis , Mahavir  (Jain), Krishna , Quetzalcoatl (Mayan), Ceridwen (Druid), Gandhi , Mother Theresa , Martin Luther King, Jr ., Malcolm X, Grandmother Twyla (Seneca) and many other great spiritual masters and shamans humanity has looked to over the ages for answers, support and comfort. The roundtable topic is, “Applying the Great Truths of All Time to the Twenty-first Century.” It is a daunting task, but they are excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to update all of their hard work and potent messages. Fortunately, unlike some of their followers, one cannot imagine any of these commanding teachers raising a hand to the other, even in the midst of their most heated, passionate debates. Rather, we observe an earnest, collegial atmosphere of respect throughout—with a healthy dose of humor—whether there is agreement or disagreement. Why would they fight and argue? They know they are all messengers of a higher truth from a higher source. The challenge is bringing this truth down-to-earth, which is the purpose of the conference. Are these truths still useful, helpful, relevant and timely?

     The conference begins as various panels address transitioning from the Old Age to the demanding postmodern  New Age  realities at the beginning of this millennium. The conference then dives headfirst into the deeper waters of theology with a number of intensive seminars entitled:


• On the Nature of God

• On the Nature of Revelation
• On the Nature of Humanity

• On the Nature of Love and Community

• On the Nature of Good, Evil, Sin and Suffering

• On the Nature of Illusion

• On the Nature of Liberation

• On the Nature of Divine Purpose


     Although much of humanity might be surprised, it is to no one’s surprise at the conference that they reach a general consensus on a new theology of Universalism . The conference participants are amazed that their various followers never really “got it,” although the words and signs were everywhere. Anyone delving into any of their teachings and work could not possibly miss the familiar themes of loving the Creator, loving the gifts of creation, and loving each other. They wonder how people could have missed the point that Muhammad  would never kill another messenger, even of a faith diff erent from Islam, any more than Buddha would harm a mosquito or Jesus  would fail to turn the other cheek. The attendees emphatically agree it is long overdue for this world to actually start practicing what they had been preaching and teaching for millennia: tolerance, love, justice, compassion and peace. After all, it was their love for humanity and all of creation that inspired these teachings in the fi rst place. They believe in us and in our world! From this conference emerges a unanimous Spiritual Manifesto of Universalism.2 Each signer pledges their full support to help humanity fi nally understand and accomplish their

God/Goddess  potential. They embrace Jesus’ words, “You are gods!” (Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34) and “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these...” (John 14:12). They acknowledge the Buddhist truth that each of us is already a Buddha, even if we don’t know it yet. They affi  rmed our promise and potential. The conference (and this book) might happily have ended there on such a high spiritual note. However, the spiritual teachers realize the subject is incomplete if they only cover the need for dialog and the new theology. This new religion is not just a pleasant philosophy of love. It is not just an airy fairy philosophy of life or theology of belief. It is a living,

     The conference (and this book) might happily have ended there on such a high spiritual note. However, the spiritual teachers realize the subject is incomplete if they only cover the need for dialog and the new theology. This new religion is not just a pleasant philosophy of love. It is not just an airy fairy philosophy of life or theology of belief. It is a living, growing, changing dynamic; one that cannot be imprisoned within rigid words (scriptures), beliefs (dogma and doctrine) or practices (rituals). It is a faith-in-action theology. Consequently, as weary as they are, the spiritual masters engage in two final decisive seminars, overall entitled Praxis (Living Practice). First is the Praxis of Light Living. Fancy words and declarations are not enough. How do we translate a theology of bringing light into the world—into our homes, our families, on the street, to the battlefield, and into our communities? And so begins the writing of a blueprint for loving ourselves and others that can only lead to a happier, healthier life and world.
    Part II of the last seminar, the most difficult in light of our global corporate economy, confronts the Praxis  of Light  Working. As employers and employees, bosses and subordinates, owners and workers, the 1% and the 99%, how do we bring the great spiritual truths into the offi  ce and workplace? How do we move organizations, companies, governmental agencies, Mom and Pop stores, and corporations to a higher standard of quality, integrity, honesty and respect? In Hinduism, this is called Dharma. The conference participants are astounded once again that humanity, with all its advancements, still has not figured out that these spiritual principles will serve to enhance profits and abundance in ways that allow all to fi nally participate in the vast bounty of creation. And so, again, the creation of a spiritual blueprint begins. It outlines a means for the marketplace and the workplace to also be a place of light—again with the realization it can only lead to a happier, healthier life and world for all.

     The conference members complete their task with the sense of a job well done. As they embrace and say their goodbyes, they each leave with the renewed hope that the men and women of this planet will hear their words and their vision for a New World of Love, Tolerance, Hope, Peace, Joy and Plenty. Their work is done. Now it is up to us. Such is the task of A Fresh Cup of Tolerance.

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