The truth is one, perspectives many and narratives even more so. The truth here refers to the unmanifest principle that underlies the existence of the universe.
The truth gives rise to the universe with all its beings, animate and inanimate, at the beginning of time. It maintains the universe during time, and dissolves the universe back into it at the end of time.
In fact, this is the truth that lies hidden at the core of all religions which generally refer to it indirectly through anthropomorphic metaphors.
There is an understandable reason of why the world religions resort to indirect means of referring to the truth. Our mystics of antiquity around the world (prophets, sages and seers), irrespective of their cultural, linguistic and geographical backgrounds having spent lifetimes in its pursuit, discovered that an infinitely subtle yet positively unidentifiable spiritual principle is the shared ground of being of us all. This principle, they said, cannot be compared to anything in the universe and cannot be delimited, not even by its own non-delimitation and incomparability. Thus, talking about it linguistically in positive terms is problematic.
The mystics who discovered the truth by their own independent insights were moved by the meaning inherent in it. As a result, they felt unbounded love towards all beings. Out of compassion, they felt a sense of urgency for sharing the meaning of their discovery. They perhaps resorted to the indirect means of communication as a provisional expedient. In time, the anthropomorphic metaphors they used assumed a life of their own veiling the very truth to which they are meant to allude, thus creating a multiplicity of de facto truths resulting in a fragmentation of humanity.
Many fragmentary factors ensued from the multiplicity of de facto truths. They combine to further exacerbate human fragmentation. They include factors as potent as institutional loyalties, conflicting religious ethics and laws each claiming divine sanction, and political and economic aspirations of different communities. Such is the price humanity pays for compromising the truth and allowing it to be eclipsed by its metaphors.
SHEN highly regards the mystics of the world as our spiritual scientists. Just like our ‘modern’ men and women of science, they engage in the uncompromising pursuit of the truth with the only difference that the scope of modern science is the material world whereas the scope of the mystics is more comprehensive and holistic; it also includes life and consciousness.
What do the modern scientists say about the existence of their domain? The same as the spiritual scientists say about theirs: all the infinite diversity in the material universe is underlain by one infinitely subtle principle as its ground of being. This unmanifest principle is called energy. Can we positively define it? The answer is no, not independently. We can only communicate about it indirectly in terms of matter which it underlies.
The domain of science is devoid of meaning. Meaning has to be felt and feelings need consciousness. It may not matter to two rocks that they share their ground of being, but it matters hugely to two thinking and feeling human beings for whom it is the fountainhead of harmony, love and compassion.
The expediency of faith based anthropomorphic metaphors in preference to a head on confrontation of the problematic communication of the truth might have created a degree of harmony in a homogeneous setting but globally it robbed the truth of its integrative potential pitting communities against each other.
The underlying truth is limitless. We cannot exactly define it because definitions limit. Does it mean that we cannot directly communicate about it? No, that is not the case, certainly not in today's academy where communication of complexity and infinity is an everyday matter. We can certainly communicate without expedient compromises, without direct positive attribution and identification. And that is exactly the goal of the SHEN education. SHEN is dedicated to promote, develop and deliver a spiritual education focused upon an uncompromising and didactic communication of the unmanifest truth made manifest by the universe. The universe is an indivisible whole thoroughly pervaded and intimately connected by the truth as its ground of being.
Although the truth has been discovered for epochs, many of us are totally unaware of it primarily because of the anthropomorphic metaphors meant to point to it in fact veil it completely. Our challenge is an unadulterated communication of the truth in such a way that the students are enabled to rediscover it for themselves with their personal heartfelt insights to feel the full impact of its meaning. Stress is a major barrier to such an insight. Practical strategies of stress management must therefore be a major component of the communication process.
Everything in the universe including all knowledge flows from the spiritual truth as its ground of being. That makes all beings, all things and all knowledge as various forms of the same truth, all equally capable of both revealing it as their underlying truth and concealing it by their external forms. To effectively communicate about the spiritual truth, SHEN proposes to highlight it as the bedrock on which all human religions and secular (as opposed to religious) knowledge disciplines such as the humanities, natural sciences, life sciences, and social sciences are founded. Religions and secular knowledge disciplines then must be in harmony as different perspectives of the same underlying truth and capable of revealing it to the seeker progressing along a spiritual path without undue difficulties. Truth is one and it manifests in diverse forms and perspectives.
SHEN hopes that such an education characterized by an uncompromising communication of the truth and only the truth will help integrate the continually increasing diversity into peaceful communities living in harmony with each other. Globally, such an integration translates into one coherent human family living in a just and sustainable world community collectively ready to face the human and environmental crises facing us today.
A Slide Presentation on the SHEN Integrative Education: