Intro to Inter-Religious Trees of Life

  In his 1950’s sermons Rev. Sun Myung Moon often talked about John 14:6 in which Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.” He added that the Way is Love, then put Life next followed by Truth. In this order, he explained that Love, Life and Truth represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that always travel together like three perpendicular lines, which he then related to the human body with the head representing God or Love, the Arms representing the husband and wife relationship or Life, and then the legs as the front and back axis representing the sibling relationship of elder and younger, or children and Lineage. This trinity of the three axes became Love, Life and Lineage. 

Rev. Moon also explained that the new truth would unite religions and include oriental philosophy, and even unite science and religion, which is where this theme begins to relate to the Spirit World Machine Project that he assigned to World Research Institute for Science and Technology (WRIST) in 1985 shortly after getting out of Danbury Prison.

Having joined WRIST in 1986, I learned that the project homework assigned by Rev. Moon, who also studied electrical engineering, was  to “study how mediums do what they do.” This inspired me to study the 4-Position-Foundation material in each of the major religions, which is the most holy symbolism in each tradition, a common thread running through all the religions. This fact alone shows that one God inspired the same basic truth in each religion.

On May 1, 1998, the 44th Anniversary of HSA-UWC, Rev. Moon diagrammed the relationship between Love, Life, Lineage and Conscience on the board and then erased it, and a short time later began again.

 Later during the speech he referred again to this diagram and drew it in the air with his hands. This is the video of him doing that.

Love, Life, Lineage, and
Conscience
Picture Captured From the Video

Upon seeing this I recognized the diagram as Rev. Moon’s version of the Jewish Tree of Life. Around that time also he gave his interpretation of the 4 letters of the Jewish Most Holy Name of God (YHVH) that could only be pronounced once a year in the Most Holy Place in the temple. Here is one version of the Jewish Tree of Life, that of Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, known as the Gaon of Vilna (1720 – 1797), beside the May 1, 1998 diagram.

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The relationship then between the Christian teaching of John 14:6 and the Jewish Tree of Life can be expressed by adding Two-Stage Process diagrams somewhat modified for the purpose from Unification Thought and Divine Principle, Rev. Moon’s primary commentary on the Bible. 

Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them,” is the basis for using the oriental terms, sung sang, hyung sang, yang and yin. Yang and yin correspond of course to male and female. God, Who is invisible, and His visible image, correspond to sung sang and hyung sang, respectively.

The First and Second Blessings of Genesis 1:28, “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful [1] and multiply [2]. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.[3]”  can be diagrammed and graphically summed to correlate with the Jewish Tree of Life.

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Consequently, the AUM symbol of Hinduism represents 4 states of consciousness and thus maps to the process of the 4-Position-Foundation. In other words, it is an alternative representation of the “Three Stage Development of the 4 Position Foundation.” 

“How so?” one might ask. Reading the Mandukya Upanishad, which is 12 verses or about one page – Hinduism’s shortest Upanishad, the “A” represents the waking state of consciousness, the “U” represents the dream state of consciousness, the “M” represents the deep-sleep-with-no-dreams state of consciousness and the silence after the “M,” as one is breathing in represents return-to-one-body-with-God, between the in- breath and the out-breath, as the turiya state of consciousness, which literally means the 4th state of consciousness. 

The waking state during the day corresponds as subject relative to the dream state at night as the object of the division stage of the 4-Position-Foundation. The deep sleep state has been compared to the pure-innocent-sleeping-baby-state of consciousness in the prenatal state or also of all things of creation, thus the child who represents the unification of the father and the mother with the ultimate protection of God and the support of the universe.

The “A,” “U,” and “M” also expand to represent Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with their feminine consorts, representing Creation, Preservation and Destruction, respectively, thereby also occupying the 3 columns and 10 positions of the Jewish Tree of Life, if we include Brahman/Ishvara and Atman. Sat, Chit, and Ananda as well as the three gunas of Sat, Raj and Tam further qualify these three stages, as do purusha and prakriti.

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Raphael Patai in his book, The Jewish Mind (Scribners 1977), elaborates on p139 “The entire system of Sephirot has its analogue in Hindu Shivaism.” The 10 positions of the Jewish Tree of Life are known as holy emanations or Sephirot in Hebrew. Patai then laments on p148 “However, this is an enormously complex subject whose full investigation will have to await the attention of a scholar who is equally at home in the Kabala and in Hinduism.”

The AUM symbol is literally a Big Theory of Everything and represents a major aspect of the Unification Thought material of Hinduism. The efficacy of this understanding lies in the fact that the Turiya state of consciousness transcends time and space and is susceptible to being experienced. It has been described as Hinduism in a nutshell.

see https://www.swami-krishnananda.org/mand/Mandukya_Upanishad.pdf

The 8 Trigrams of Taoism and Confucianism again represent a process that maps to the process of the 4-Position-Foundation. Again one might ask, “How so?”

Simply put, the Wu Chi, Wang Chi and Tai Chi of Taoism correspond to the origin division and union stages. The 8 trigrams are the cosmic family of father and mother, 3 sons and 3 daughters. The  three lines of the trigram can be diagrammed as the X, Y and Z perpendicular axes of space, each of which can either be + or – . This represents 8 possibilities. A 9th possibility is when they meet at the central point where X, Y, and Z are zero. That point is directly described by Rev. Moon in exactly the same way in the video clip above as the point of the 4 Position Foundation, which he describes as being invisible, but nevertheless, proceeds to diagram that invisible point of Love, Life, Lineage and Conscience in the air with his hands. 

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TaiChi1

Interestingly, Rev. Moon, coming from Korea, the embodiment of the religions and philosophies of the orient, commented about the highest point of the Tao in a July 1, 2000 sermon, “That is the highest point of the Tao. You must train yourselves to be able to climax as husband and wife and then to come back to the zero-point of no desire.”

In Exposition of Divine Principle (1996), The Principle of Creation, we find a quote supporting the ethics of eternal and absolute marriage with one spouse, known in Unificationism of Rev. Moon as Absolute Sex: “Yang and yin together are called the Way (Tao), or as the Book of Changes states, “One yang and one yin: this is the Way.” Beyond any shadow of a doubt this ethic exactly corresponds to the Lineage stage of the Love, Life, Lineage and Conscience diagram, and also to the Lineage stage of the Jewish Tree of Life, which is the nefesh stage. Nefesh in Kabbalah is the level of soul that is in the blood.

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see https://www.learnreligions.com/tao-te-ching-verse-42-3183165

The teaching of Buddhism is also amenable to Tree of Life mapping. How so? In Mahayana Buddhism in particular, we have the teaching of the trikaya, or three bodies. Corresponding to the three bodies  of external form – the dharmakaya, sambhoga kaya and nirmanakaya, is a triune internal character consisting of the dharma, the Bodhicitta, and the mind of Shakyamuni himself, which along with the tathagata (the passed-away-one), the bodhisattva (the enlightened one who is still here) and the sangsara are at one with the void/suchness/thatness – thus 10 positions, which represent the interaction of Love, Life, Lineage and Conscience.

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Fluttering Leaves Buddha3

Similarly we can find in Meher Baba’s book, God Speaks, the Sufi Islam 4 Position Foundation material relating well to the above explanations, especially as he also considered himself to be a religious unifier. His book is full of diagrams and terms that describe similarly a theory of everything, including God’s purpose of creation and the search for happiness.

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In conclusion Rev. Moon’s Love, Life, Lineage, Conscience diagram is also an alternative representation of the Jewish Tree of Life. In his sermon on May 1, 1998 he talked about the energy of God as Universal Prime Force and asked “Universal Prime Force is Feminine; Does it have a womb?” Then as he drew the diagram he moved his hand along the horizontal line of Conscience at the bottom and said, “When God first began to create, he poured out His energy along the horizontal line of Conscience.”

As can be seen in the video, this Love, Life, Lineage, and Conscience diagram then is an alternative representation of the fundamental Four Position Foundation, which is the root of all the Inter-Religious Trees of Life and is also the Womb of the Feminine aspect of God, since Universal Prime Force is also Feminine.

On Jan 1, 1996 Rev. Moon used the same process and similar diagram to describe how God created Adam first. They united and then Eve was created from the rib of Adam. Then from Eve the children Cain and Abel were created. This process is stepping down the Tree of Life in progressive subject – object relationships. This represents not only the Ideal or Purpose of Creation, but also what was lost at the Fall of Man and then what needs to be restored or recreated by stepping back up from the bottom of the subject-object tree, starting with Cain and Abel, who then find Eve, who then together find Adam, and together they reach the top and find God and the Love of God.

Thus it can be claimed that Rev. Moon uses the concepts expressed in this diagram to explain God’s Will and Purpose of Creation, as well as what was lost at the Fall of Man, and the basics of recovering what was lost at the Fall of Man by conducting the Providence of Salvation by sending Jesus as the Messiah, who said in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man [or woman] comes to the Father [or Mother] but by me.” 

Notice then the last part of John 14:6  “,and no one comes to the Father but by me.” can be interpreted as “the Conscience,” whereas the first part, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” Rev. Moon already interpreted as “Love, Life and Lineage.

Here are supporting quotes from Jan. 1, 1996 Midnight  and True God’s Day sermons.

 [Excerpt Jan 1, 1996 Midnight] 

https://tparents.org/Moon-Talks/SunMyungMoon96/960101md.htm

“Because of the Fall of Man, Adam and God lost everything. This has caused agony to both God and humanity throughout history. The vertical order could have continued undisturbed had the Fall not taken place. God, in the position of plus, and Adam, in the position of minus, should have become absolutely one. Then once Adam was in the position of plus, Eve was supposed to be in the position of minus and they were to become one again. Eve, standing in the position of plus as mother, and her children Cain and Abel, should be in the position of minus, and become one with her. As you know the providence of restoration is the providence of recreation.”

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[Excerpt from Jan. 1, 1996 True God’s Day]

https://tparents.org/Moon-Talks/SunMyungMoon96/SM960102.htm

“Your love, life, lineage and conscience are like the leaves and branches of the tree. Since God is in the position of the tree, they have the same value as God. If we were to cut off a small twig and put it in the ground, another tree can grow. Do you understand? We are the second God. What can qualify us to become the second God? Our conscience. Your conscience knows everything about you even before God. No matter how insignificant a thing you may do, if you are doing something wrong, your conscience will immediately tell you not to do that. But if you listen to your conscience, even to the smallest degree of advice, then there will be no Fall. You will automatically enter into the Kingdom of God.”

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[Excerpt from June 1, 1977 God Depends On Us Alone Rev. Sun Myung Moon]

tparents.org/Moon-Talks/SunMyungMoon77/770601.htm

The role of God’s new religion is not to combat other religions but to be compatible with the truth in them all and thus link them all together, uniting them into one. This religion will not only influence the nation of its origin but will embrace all nations and cultures, having the power to unite not only the people from one homogenous culture but those from all cultures. This is the kind of religion God is ultimately seeking to establish.

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[Excerpt – Compare with John 14: 6 and consider what Jesus really meant by saying “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by me.]

https://tparents.org/Moon-Talks/SunMyungMoon87/870201.htm

You may be a university student working hard to get good grades in your courses, but the scope of academic learning is like a peanut compared to the mission you are called to fulfill. All the knowledge of the world is nothing in comparison to this. I am offering knowledge of the meaning of life, of the tree of life. Presidents of nations and the royalty of this world will have to learn this and follow it. When you read my book of sermons, God’s Will and the World [https://tparents.org/Moon-Books/Sm-Gww/Toc.htm], you can see that I have spoken the truth plainly and boldly. There are no more symbols or parables. I have set everything before you. The truth has emerged; this is real knowledge, the knowledge that you need.

Who decided the heavenly four-position foundation? This is God’s original principle. No human being devised it. Without going this route no one enters the Kingdom of Heaven.

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[Excerpt from “The Ones Who Can Receive God’s Love,” October 1, 1977, Pasadena, California, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Translator – Bo Hi Pak. Compare with John 14 : 8-14 that follows.]

https://tparents.org/Moon-Talks/SunMyungMoon77/771001.htm

This principle is a real one. My life has been dedicated to verifying this truth over and over by living it in all situations. When we all manifest it, God will be visible to everyone. Once you become a prisoner of God’s love you want to become one with the person who is the center of that love on earth. Such a person is like a magnet which has pulling power over anything nearby.

God is one magnetic pole in heaven and I am another magnetic pole here on earth and together we have formed an electric field. Everyone in that magnetic field can be activated. You may feel as though you are being pulled towards me, but then when we are one you will realize that you have become a magnet also. Then you can pull many others, so great is the supreme power of love. You are not drawn to me personally, but to the love of God which is being transmitted through me. That love belongs to God and not to any individual.

God never created a power greater than love, and when you are truly intoxicated in the love of God then all the mundane needs like eating and sleeping and worldly love become secondary. You can transcend their influence once you are caught by the love of God. At that point your longing and love for me will become so strong that you cannot forget me for a moment, even in the midst of any activity. It is then that the world of impure love will no longer be of interest to you and a big door will open wide to a pure, genuine, spiritual love. That should be real to you in experience, but also clear to you by logic.

John 14: 8 – 14

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

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[Excerpt from the beginning of a talk by Rev. Sun Myung Moon dealing with the subject of unification of religions, “The Model and Those Who Are Recognized in Providential History,” March 15, 1987]

https://tparents.org/Moon-Talks/SunMyungMoon87/870315.htm

When we talk about providential history, that includes the history of God and the history of man. When people commonly talk about the history of the United States or Korea or the world, they mean simply the record of events. That record does not include providential history, which involves a relationship with God’s history.

Religious history and human history will conclude at the same time, as will providential history. Those three histories are heading toward one common terminal. Therefore, those who do not recognize religion and the providential aspect actually understand only one third of history, even though they may not realize it.

No matter how much you study human history on a horizontal basis, you will not recognize or be able to predict what will come about in the future. One of the most important questions is, when will these three histories – religious, providential, and human – come together? What should be the center upon which all three histories are consummated? This is a key question.

Human history is centered on man, not on material things or any natural phenomena, nor on any particular event. When we say “man,” we mean man and woman. The central figure of history is man. What men and women desire to fulfill and accomplish shall be the destination of religious history, providential history, and the history of humanity.

What do men and women desire most at this time? All people are aspiring for a peaceful world. Therefore, history is moving toward the consummation of that goal. Religious history has involved many ups and downs, suffering, persecution and so forth, but that history is also moving toward the consummation of human desire: peace for the world. Providential history is going that way as well.

What is the essence of unity between men and women? It is true love. What is the foundation of true love? The foundation is the true family. The true family – men and women united in true love – is the ultimate structure, the ultimate goal for men and women. So far, providential and religious history have been seemingly separated, running two different courses, but from God’s point of view they are part of the same mission and are on the same side of history.

God cannot move history by Himself. He uses men and women as His instruments; He also uses religion. Woven into religious history, the actions of men and women have been used as instruments of God to move providential history. The entire cultural history of the world has been woven by religious history. Religious history includes the effects of the spirit world as well as man’s providential role. It includes the depth of connection between the physical and spiritual worlds. This is how the cultures of the world have formed, come, and gone.

There are many different religions in the world. In general, religions have one of three distinct characters. One kind emphasizes the spirit world and spiritual phenomena. Another kind of religion emphasizes external behavior or the actions of people. A third kind tries to unify the spiritual and physical aspects. To explain all of providential history would require a tremendous amount of time. But generally speaking, Christianity has its emphasis on the spirit world; religions like Islam have their emphasis on the nation, or the external realm. Buddhism is more internal and spiritual, while Confucianism is much more external. The time has come, however, for those major religions to be harmonized, unified, and united.

In order to unify all the major religions of the world, the first thing we have to do is know the will of God. Without knowing the will of God, it is impossible. Secondly, that unity must come upon the foundation of men and women within the family.

We come to the point of asking, ‘What kind of religion is the Unification Church?” The Unification Church must be able to guide the consummation of human history, religious history, and providential history. Unificationism must have that substance. The Unification Church must bring the two aspects of religion – external and internal – together, bringing ultimate unity, harmony, and providential historical consummation. That is the goal of the Unification Church.

The teaching of the Unification Church is based upon the restoration of the relationship between men and women within the family. Our teaching has both a physical aspect and a spiritual aspect. Therefore, it is a truly historical event when the Unification Church proclaims the goal of consummation of all these three histories. Human history, religious history, and providential history are all looking for one common thing: perfected men and women in a relationship of true love. That is what Unificationism is all about. Therefore, men and women who are living with true love in the family are the representation of the ultimate truth of all these histories.

The most incredible concept of religion is that of the coming of a Messiah-in Christianity, the Second Advent. One way or another, all religions teach such an ideal because all religions recognize that a new beginning must be made, centering upon a new universal central figure.

We call that person the Messiah. When the Messiah comes, he will work for one simple goal: to consummate providential history, centering upon men and women according to the will of God.

At this point, we must clarify why human history, religious history, and providential history have all been separated from each other. It is because of the fall of man. The fall of man had such a formidable impact on all of history. The problem today, even among yourselves here, is that you do not realize poignantly enough that you are the fallen generation living in a fallen world. That kind of realization has not deeply penetrated your heart.

The end of the world has been predicted, a period of confusion and chaos. Everything seems pitch dark. People lose all sense of direction and can no longer determine right or wrong. In a way, this is according to the will of God. When the end of the world comes, the chaos and confusion are necessary, in a way. The reason is that some groups and religions have asserted their own beliefs too strongly, which is a hindrance to providential history. Therefore, God lets them all become mixed up and confused. Then a new proclamation is possible.

Thus confusion and chaos can expedite the will of God and providential history. In the confusion, when God proclaims the ultimate truth, people will accept that truth more quickly. They will have no other choice. We are living in such a time today. Many historians and philosophers have tried, but no one can proclaim what the future of the world will be. Many religious leaders are talking about all kinds of things, but they have no answers. Society is encountering more problems every day, but finding no answers. We are living in an age of confusion. The strategy of God is to create such chaotic confusion and then transform the world into a new, God-centered world. When the ultimate one comes to proclaim truth, the entire world will see it as the only hope and light.

Once the central person appears, what will he do? Will he destroy the world and also religion? No, that ultimate central person will proclaim that all religions must become one and all people must be united into one. He shall appear as a harmonizer, a unifier, and a transformer. At the end of the world, such a movement must come into being and prosper. Such a movement has appeared-that of the Unification Church.

How will that movement be evaluated? The people of the world will see it and say, “Our goal is to prosper as a family, society, nation and world. What are the Unificationists doing?” They are looking at it very clearly from this point of view-according to earthly, mundane success.

All the religious people will look at it from the religious historical viewpoint and say, “This is what we have been aspiring for in history. Truly the Unification movement has an answer to our questions and can satisfy our religious aspirations.” They will look at it from that point of view.

From the point of view of providential history, God is observing and testing this movement. He is thinking, “Is there a man of faith greater than Abraham, greater than Noah, greater than Moses, with a truly unchanging and undaunted spirit? Has a truly remarkable foundation of faith been established?” God is looking at and evaluating this movement from such a perspective.

In other words, that particular movement would be able to answer all the questions of the three different aspects of history. God will come to the conclusion: “This is it. The ultimate solution is the Unification movement.” From the religious historical point of view, all aspirations are fulfilled by the Unification movement. Even from a mundane, secular point of view, all the nations of the world would say, “This is it. No movement is greater than this in fulfilling our human aspirations.” Amen?

The question is, does the Unification Church truly stand in such a position? What about those of you here? Have you nothing to do with the fall of man, or are you still connected with it? What do you think? Are you part of the fall of man? Are you rooted in the fallen world or the heavenly world? You cannot simply deny that your roots have been in the fallen world. Where is the perfected, pure group without a fall? It is the True Parents. Do you say that from your lips or from your heart?

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[From the same March 15, 1987 speech]

There has been so much opposition to the Unification Church. Leaders of nations and governments have opposed the Unification Church out of sheer ignorance. But as soon as they know the truth about Reverend Moon and the ideals of the Unification Church, they will entirely change and open up. Don’t you see that possibility? From a religious history point of view, they will look at the Unification Church and say, “They’ve got everything we have been aspiring for. We couldn’t find the way to achieve such a goal, but the Unification Church has it all.” From the providential point of view, God has been looking for an instrument to fulfill His historical will here on earth. He could not find any better persons than the members of the Unification Church.

Therefore, whether you ask God, spirit world, or the physical world, they all come to the same conclusion: the Unification Church is the ultimate one, with the answer to all the problems of humanity. This is the reason the Unification Church gets assistance from Islam’s founder, Mohammed, as well as from Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus himself. We are the consummation of their religions, the consummation of their historical point of view. Therefore they cannot help but assist our movement.

We must live in pride. We must have the conviction, “I am the representative of the universal ideal of God and men. I am fulfilling God’s will and I represent the hope of the entire world.” You have to live with that pride. Your answer is not strong enough. Do you?