Spiritual Heritage Education Network Inc. (SHEN)
Who Are We?
On April 18, 1998 a group of interested people met for the first time in Waterloo, Ontario in Canada to consider the challenge of building universal inclusivity leading to tolerance, understanding, respect, and love between people of diverse backgrounds in the world. The group consisted of academics, professionals and others. Their deliberations resulted in the incorporation of Spiritual Heritage Education Network Inc. (SHEN) as an Ontario corporation on September 15, 2000 and its subsequent registration as a tax-exempt charitable organization (Business Number: 86457 9925 RR0001) with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency with effect from January 24, 2003.
Our mission is to provide easy access to the thinking and findings of people of deep insight who have spent their lives studying the nature of humankind and its relationships in the universe in their search for answers to life’s fundamental questions: Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? What is good? What is evil? Why is there evil? What is the meaning of life? How am I related with the rest of the universe? How should I behave with the other beings in the universe?
How do we define Spirituality?
SHEN’s perception of the combined wisdom of the men and women of deep contemplative insight, who have researched the fundamental questions of life, leads to a definition of spirituality as the ability to see oneness of all beings in the universe – our unity being rooted in our being the creation or manifestation of one source hereinafter called the ultimate reality.
SHEN is charged it with the broad goal of propagating the core spiritual values underlying all major world cultures and religions in relation to their responses to the fundamental questions of life. The focus of SHEN is the study of spirituality where one can discern a great deal of commonality, specifically avoiding theological considerations arising from a comparative study of world religions where, admittedly, one can expect sharp differences.
The objects for which SHEN is incorporated are:
1. To educate the public about the spiritual heritage of humankind by providing courses, seminars, lectures, and conferences; and to engage in conducting related research.
2. To provide a library of spiritual heritage literature including commentaries and interpretations of heritage literature in English and other popular languages, publications, novels, plays, stories and anecdotes based on truth or fiction exemplifying spiritual principles in life for scholars and research workers at universities, research centres, and institutions of higher learning.
3. To host public-essay competitions in the area of the spiritual heritage of humankind.
4. To provide syllabi and educational material for courses on spiritual and ethical education in primary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities.
5. To receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, for the purpose of covering the costs associated with carrying out the preceding objectives of the corporation.
6. To receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, for the purposes of providing bursaries and scholarships to deserving students in accordance with the Corporation’s policies and practices governing such disbursements.
7. To receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, for the purposes of instituting chairs at universities in the field of the spiritual heritage of humankind.
SHEN believes that the answers discerned for the fundamental questions of life decide the direction, which people seek to give to their lives. That explains the reason underlying SHEN’s mission.
Human history abounds in instances of religion being used by powerful political and economic forces for achieving their goals usually at the cost of immense violence, pain, and misery. Today, modern technology has incomparably enhanced the power of these divisive forces. Instant communication and fast transportation have made the world into what is likened to a global village. At the same time, modern weapons have immensely increased the scope of mass destruction. As a result, alliances of the religious with the political, economic and other divisive forces have never been deadlier.
There is an urgent need to attenuate human condition to prevent the formation of these deadly alliances. Spirituality being the awareness of the underlying unity of all beings in the universe, raising spiritual consciousness through the use of systematic education is expected to help build religious inclusivity leading towards mutual tolerance, understanding, love and respect. It is hoped that the intelligibility resulting from systematically enhanced spiritual awareness will enable self-management of human condition not only in preventing the formation of divisive alliances involving religion, but also in preventing the prevalent excessive exploitation of natural resources and the human environment. SHEN proposes to achieve this goal through its efforts of propagating core spiritual values in general and its formal educational programs in particular.
SHEN is convinced that there is a rich body of didactic knowledge created by people of deep contemplative insight where one can fathom the kernel of spiritual heritage of all humanity. This knowledge does not contradict but, on the contrary, is supported by scientific rationality. It transcends the artificial divisions of humankind and discerns an ultimate truth that is our shared heritage. This knowledge defines the scope of SHEN’s educational endeavor.
It is hoped that the efforts of SHEN will help in the individual discovery of all beings in the entire universe as one family descended from one and only one but infinite ultimate reality. We are convinced that such a discovery through intellectual understanding and practical experience will not only lead to the celebration of differences in the light of the underlying unity, but also will serve the true goal of religion of one’s choice.
SHEN proposes to forge a global network of interested people who broadly subscribe to their views and they expect to exploit the potential of the Internet to promote education, research, dialogue, and reflection in the spiritual heritage of humankind.
The following principles guide SHEN in its study, research, design, development and delivery of its educational material:
1. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will be equally applicable to the whole humanity, irrespective of religion, belief, faith and culture, and without discrimination of any kind whatsoever.
2. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will use extreme caution and sensitivity and refrain from affirming, diminishing, or denying any religion, belief, faith or culture explicitly or implicitly.
3. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will acknowledge due academic credits to ideas and concepts used from any religion, belief, faith, or culture.
4. The approach used to research, develop and deliver the curricula shall be based strictly on academic considerations.
5. There shall be absolutely no preaching and proselytising.
6. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will promote tolerance, understanding, love, and respect for all human beings without any discrimination.
7. The educational material will be complementary to the existing educational systems.
8. The educational material will incorporate totality of human experience with multi-disciplinary approach.
9. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will be mindful of the individual need and right to the exclusive practice of one’s chosen religion with undivided devotion and surrender in following the path of one’s personal salvation or liberation. Religious inclusivity should not in any way or form be understood as a compromise in this respect.
10. The educational material will promote the use of natural and environmental resources with respect and responsibility.
11. The educational material will promote positive personal involvement in improving human condition through oneness, education, nonviolence, understanding, respect, love, and service.
Who Should Take Our Courses?
You should take the certificate program primarily for self-development and vocational purposes in the spiritual fields, although career opportunities may also be available for teaching related courses.
Why Should You Take Our Courses?
The purpose of the education in spiritual heritage of humanity is to highlight the centrality of ultimate reality in identifying the self of a person. Realization of this identity opens up the potential of all inclusiveness transcending divisive boundaries of religion, race, nation, sex and age etc., and respect of the natural environment and ecological systems transcending short-term greed in favor of long-term sustainability. The resulting attitudes encourage tolerance, understanding, respect and love in inter-personal relationships combined with a responsible use of the natural resources and conservation of the natural environment.
You should take the educational programs offered by the Spiritual heritage Education Network Inc. (SHEN) if –
· You want to understand other human beings;
· You want to understand other faiths;
· You want to strengthen your faith by grounding it in intelligibility;
· You want to develop a sense of love and respect for other human beings;
· You want to develop a sense of love and respect for other faiths;
· You want to develop a sense of meaning grounded in intelligibility;
· You want to live ethically seeing oneness in all;
· You want to have a sound basis of relating with family, friends and neighbors;
· You want to develop an inclusive worldview;
· You want harmonize faith and science;
· You want to develop a respectful attitude to human environment;
· You want to learn to reflect and meditate;
· You want to lead a relatively stress free and healthy life;
· You want to reconcile or help others reconcile different faiths;
· You want to reconcile or help others reconcile science and religion; and
· You are interested generally in self-development and self-fulfillment.