Hello and Welcome! I have been thinking about the importance of seeing how things are similar, relate, and where things agree. I think it is in response to the degree of conflict I feel and see in the world environment. Much of the discussion in politics and in the media is focused on how many ways we disconnect from each other - pitting groups against each other.
Focus on disconnection reinforces separation and dissonance, and this leads to hostility. It is the wedge that allows for groups to dehumanize other groups due to their differences resulting in opportunities for increased strife and conflict. This behavior is the basis of bullying and victimization under the guise of power issues in children and adolescence; it is modeled in the way in which our political "leaders" and our various leadership communities relate to one another.
This is not the way for humans to increase their understanding of how we are all one; if your goal is harmony and collaboration, inclusion and acceptance, the way through to that is by seeking understanding, seeking common connections, and seeing the other as yourself. Our best political examples of change through non-violence and non-in-group out-group behavior are M. Gandhi and M. L. King.
In listening to politicians you can get a sense of rightiousness and superiority. These lead to increased separation and a lack of unification. In order for us to treat each other as one we each must work within ourselves to erradicate this tendency for in-group out-group behavior.
This is the way through to an evolution of consciousness. It isn't going to happen through force or superiority or though legislation of fairness. Unification happens when we see we are one and act from that inner knowing. Thus the concept of being the change we wish to see in the world. Creating differences begets differences and competition, looking for similarities begets collaboration.
What I have found is that many spiritual traditions stand on interestingly similar pillars. Using the connections or similarities as passageways or doorways can assist you to increase your understanding of groups that at first appear very different from you.
There is a thread of similarity present that is visible to those who are ready to see it.
You can see a figure-ground image once someone shows you the boundaries and perspectives of each picture like the two profile faces that face each other which create the interior picture of a vase.
I did a search in google for the three pillars of several world religions and this is what I got.
In viewing these general foundational concepts you can see the similarities among some of the world's religions.
The three pillars of Judaism:
The Ethics of the Fathers, chapter one in the second Mishna, Simeon the righteous says that the world rests on three things: On Torah, on avodah ("service", worship), and g'meelut chasadim--acts of loving kindness. Torah is the Jewish bible, Avodah is the concept of service and or worship, and g'meelut chasadim - represents acts of lovingkindness.
The Torah sets up what is moral - of note are the ten commandments handed down from God to Moses - so this is the basis of acting in a moral way; Avodah has to do with studying the Torah and then also practicing, acting within these moral ways - studying here includes the concept of thinking about, meditation on, and prayer for insightful understanding of the Torah; and acts of lovingkindness has to do with compassion, mindfulness and the silver rule - do not do unto others what you would not have done onto you .
Now view the concept of the Three Jewels of Buddhism:
The core of Buddhism is made up of the three pillars of the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings) and the Sangha (monks and nuns). Simply explained, one could say that without the historical Buddha Shakyamuni there would have been no Buddhist Dharma, nor Sangha. Without his teachings, the Buddha would not have made much of a difference, and also the spiritual community would not have existed. Without the Sangha, the tradition would never have been transmitted through the ages. The Buddha would have been 'just' a historical figure and his teachings would have been 'just' books. general_symbols_buddhism.html#3j
or another concept of the three pillars of Buddhism morality, mental concentration, and intuitive wisdom, http://satipatthana.ca/articles/02three.pdf.
The Buddha’s teachings are composed of three segments, Sila (morality),
Samadhi (mental concentration) and Panna (intuitive wisdom). Sila is the
foundation for Samadhi and Panna to build upon. Without the foundation of
morality the world would be in chaos and misery. The second pillar is Samadhi,
a mental state with no diffusion or dispersion. Panna is the third and final pillar of
the Buddha’s teachings. Understanding physical and mental phenomenon
correctly in its true nature is wisdom. The Buddhist’s goal is to attain intuitive
wisdom, also called awakened mind or enlightenment. ( Sattipatthana article, page 2)
The five precepts for the lay Buddhist are: refraining from killing,
stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and taking intoxicants. The Buddha does not
lay down these precepts as strict commandments, but as a framework to follow
for the welfare of oneself and others. Immorality will bring a chaotic, miserable
and disharmonious life. The choice is yours. Sila protects from all gross speech
and deeds that can takes one to the four woeful states (states of intense and
continuous misery). ( Sattipatthana article, page 2)
a decent person would not normally even think of hurting or harming another person, but under anger,
rage and wicked greed they can act out of character. People who observe Sila
need to be aware of whenever anger and wicked greed take control over you. At
that moment put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you were that person
would you want to be hurt or harmed? The obvious answer is “no”. In the same
manner the other person would not like to be hurt or harmed. Such simple
reflection will stop you from doing hurtful and harmful deeds. You are embracing
others as if they are yourself, thereby becoming one with others.(Sattipatthana article, page2)
Samadhi (mental concentration, practice mindful meditation) Why do we meditate? We meditate to contribute happiness and peace to the world, but not to be admired, respected or to appear holy. When one first meditates collectiveness and concentration of mind is achieved, then clarity arises and purity and happiness follow. Purity of mind is the cause and happiness is the effect. With increased degree in purity of mind peace (calm, serene and quiet experience) arises. (Sattipatthana article, page 5)
Panna (intuitive wisdom) Intuitive wisdom can only be achieved through the practice of Insight (Vippassana) meditation. It is about knowing experientially that all physical and mental phenomenons are nothing but transient, dissatisfactory and insubstantial. (Sattipatthana article, page 6)
These two religions are talking about very similar concepts of morality or correct action for healthful interactions, practicing living in this way delineated by the specific text identified, and putting yourself in the position of the other to increase your understanding of him.
The three pillars of Christianity: miracles, prophecy, and moral precepts - golden rule, love and kind treatment of enemies. These precepts share in common with Judaism and Buddhism similar concepts of morality, service, and acts of lovingkindness - the golden rule being do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The moral precepts are based in the ten commandments as well as love the other as thy self.
The five pillars of Islam: profession of faith, ritual prayer, alms giving, fasting during Ramadan, pilgrimage to mecca - in researching these there is a connection to the moral precepts of the ten commandments as well as the importance of living a life that is undefiled as you see in the five precepts of Buddhism.
The pillars of Hinduism include the 4 pillars of righteous living, a code of ethics, ten virtues and the Vedas and scriptures.
These 4 pillars form the foundation of values that can be considered as “commandments”, if you will, for the Hindu way of righteous living: austerity, purity, compassion, truthfulness. ( sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism article page 4)
Ten virtues should be practiced by all men. The first five can be considered as
principles of self-restraint (yama): non-violence (ahimsā), truthfulness
(satya), celibacy in thought, word and deed (brahmacharya), non-stealing
(asteya), and non-covetousness (aparigṛaha). The other five virtues are religious observances (niyama): internal and external purity (shaucha), contentment (santosha), austerity (tapas), study of scriptures (svādhyāya)and surrender to the Lord (Īshvara-praṇidhāna). ( sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism article page 4)
1. Hindus believe in the existence of a supreme all-pervasive Being, who is
both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
2. Hindus accept the Vedas as the absolute scriptural authority.
3. Hindus believe in a code of ethics based on 4 pillars of righteous living as
defined in Shrīmad Bhāgavatam: austerity (tapaḥ), purity (shaucham),
compassion (dayā), and truthfulness (satyam).
4. Hindus believe in a prescribed method of living, with regard to its
objectives, stages and milestones of life.
5. Hindus believe in specific tenets such as the law of cause and effect
(karma), the theory of reincarnation (punarjanma), and the incarnation of the
supreme Lord into the world (avatāra).
6. Hindus have prescribed methods of offering worship to the Lord. ( sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism article page 2)
These concepts are similar to those seen in the other religions described here.
Concepts of caring, living through a path of harmony with spirit and nature as well as information about morality and moral behavior to not treat others as you would not want to be treated and see in the other your divine self - these are all represented in each of these religions some of the hows to do it are different, but not by too much.
Allowing yourself to see in the other how similar he is to you creates an opportunity to uplevel your consciousness; to act in a way that is compassionate and balanced. This will create opportunities for our world to uplevel as a whole to a higher degree of vibration.
Love is the way.
Mindfulness, intuitive meditation, detached observation and virtuous action allow for love to be your guide in all your endeavors.