The 8 principles, by Fr Thomas Keating and other Snowmass Conference members (+ prayer) are commented on in Bro Wayne Teasdale’s great book The Mystic Heart and are the mystical framework for interspirituality, to use the term Teasdale coined.
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Rabbi Hoffman’s first visit to Snowmass was in 1963, when he was 16. When he returned in 1995, it was not as part of an Outward Bound mountain climbing trek, it was to participate in a unique conference of spiritual teachers.
The conference, held since 1984 by Father Thomas Keating of the St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, has invited “deep practitioners” from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Native American, and Islamic traditions to compare notes, connect, and clarify. One result has been to distill out some profound points of agreement shared by each of the participants.
Until 2006, few people even knew about these encounters, so the publication of “The Common Heart, An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue,” was a great gift to the world in providing a window into this rarefied spiritual “think tank.”
As a sample of the richness of this book, here is Fr. Keating’s short list of points of agreement that he reports in his introduction:
- The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality, to which they give various names.
- Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept.
- Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.
- Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.
- The potential for human wholeness – or, in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transcendence, transformation, blessedness – is present in every human being.
- Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices, but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service to others.
- As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance and illusion, weakness and suffering.
- Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness with Ultimate Reality.
Bro Wayne Teasdale in his seminal book, ‘The Mystic Heart’ added to the Snowmass list ‘prayer’.