Brother Wayne (right) with Fr. Bede
Griffiths at Shantivanum, India. The "lineage" of Christian spiritual
leaders who became trans-traditional pioneers
when they met the spirituality of other world cultures can be traced back at least to the
1600's. Here, its became all about the Heart and Love, not Creed or Dogma.
Early photo with H. H. The Dalai Lama
and Brother Wayne as a Sannyasa
Brother Wayne taking his vows as a
Christian Sannyasa before his Cardinal and other church representatives in Chicago, 2003
of Founding of the Universal Order of Sannyasa, January 9, 2010
All Souls Church, Washington
Conclave and Sacred Readings
Transmission Ceremony, Kurt
Johnson and Dorothy Cunha
Across Many Traditions
Rev. Jean Leone, a Founder
Pioneers (Allyson Davis, immediately above, one of five including Huston Smith, Bro.
Wayne, Fr. Bede Griffiths and Fr. Thomas Keating)
Benediction by Rev. Dr.
Thomas Downes, a Founder
A Universal Order of Sannyasa poster by
Dr. Ernest Wachter
Working from the saffron colors, art
on this page is from "The Maha" paintings by Dafna Mordecai
Universal Order of Sannyasa (now known
as the Community of The Mystic Heart)
The Universal Order of Sannyasa was envisioned by
Brother Wayne Teasdale on pages 248-250 of his classic book The Mystic Heart:
Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions. He suggested it
as a basic "institution" or "structure" to help carry and express The
Bro. Wayne saw the initial founding of an
"association" around his interspiritual vision (InterSpiritual Dialogue founded
with Brother Wayne in 2002, later becoming InterSpiritual Dialogue in
Action after his transition in 2005) as a first step in that direction. But he
always saw the "Sannyasa", the renunciates who could dedicate themselves to the
24/7 task of the evolving interspiritual message, to be the dedicated vanguard of this
The founding of the Universal Order of Sannyasa
finally came about in 2010 advancing the following timeline of the Wayne-related work.
"InterSpiritual Dialogue (ISD)" founded with Brother Wayne
Program of ISD at Parliament of the World's
Religions in Barcelona
Common Ground Tribute Event to Bro. Wayne at The Crossings; ISDnA founded, www.isdna.org
2nd Common Ground event at The Crossings
ISDnA partners with a New York interfaith seminary, One Spirit Interfaith
Seminary, to found Wayne-based education program
Joint ISDnA/ World Council of Interfaith Congregations presentation at
Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne "The Call to Interfaith
ISDnA launches "InterSpiritual Multiplex" website with strategic
partners and founds "Universal Order of Sannyasa" in partnership with the Order
of Universal Interfaith and World Council of Interfaith Congregations. Order of
Sannyasa website is founded at www.orderofsannyasa.org
A few months later the name was
modified to become the Community of The Mystic Heart, a Circle of Interspiritual Mystics
and Contemplatives originally envisioned as The Universal Order of Sannyasa by Bro. Wayne
Dr. Kurt Johnson
reading "Words of Bro. Wayne" at UOS Founding; left, Rev. Jean Leone,
Secretary-General of Order of Universal Interfaith
from Brother Wayne at the founding of the Universal Order of Sannyasa, January 9, 2010
Assembled and delivered by Kurt
Johnson, representing the Founders:
We are here to
fulfill Brother Waynes dream of a Universal Order of Sannyasa, the part of his
classic book The Mystic Heart (1999) to which, Wayne
said, he received the most response worldwide.
It is important
to understand that this dream is the culmination of the dreams of many, in all the
traditions, and a part of the evolution of the worlds spiritual paths into a
recognition of the one convergent path they have always been, leading as Wayne said to the
possibility of a civilization based on the Heart. To
understand this, and to make this endeavor together, we need to refresh some of the
reminders and pointers which Wayne provided. He
We are at
the dawn of a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to our life as the human
family in a fragile world. This
journey is what spirituality is really about. We
are not meant to remain just where we are. We
cannot depend on our culture either to guide and support us in our quest. We must do the hard work of clarification together
revolution will be the task of the Interspiritual Age", he wrote, "The necessary
shifts in consciousness require a new approach to spirituality that transcends past
religious cultures of fragmentation and isolation".
need to understand, to really grasp at an elemental level", he said "that the
definitive revolution is the spiritual awakening of humankind".
Of our balanced attention, Wayne also wrote:
transformation is only a matter of consciousness, then there is always the risk that the
change many never touch the deeply hidden intentions of the heart. If the will is not involved in the radical change
the spiritual process initiates, then the resultant enlightenment is only
partial. Clearly, if the mystical process is
to be complete, it must include a profound transformation in the will. Achieving the ultimate awareness of the way things
are is simply not enough. But, instead to "forge
a common ground and actual impetus toward realization of this dream of a new civilization
grounded in the mystic Heart.
paradigm must be able to accommodate all human experience, knowledge and capacities
built both on intellectual integration and direct experience and make available to everyone all the forms
the spiritual journey assumes.
will take enormous vision and courage to walk this path in history. It brings to
mind Christ's words: "Unless a grain of wheat fall into the earth and dies, it
remains only a single grain, but if it dies it yields a rich harvest".
finally, is awareness and sensitivity, and sensitivity is itself awareness-in-action. It is this quality that we most require in our time
and in the ages to come, but it is a quality refined only in the mystic heart, in the
steady cultivation of compassion and love that risks all for the sake of others. It is these resources that we desperately need as
we build the civilization with a heart, a universal society capable of embracing all that
is, putting it to service in the transformation of the world. May the mystics lead the way to this rebirth of the
human community that will harmonize itself with the cosmos and finally make peace with all
Interspritiual Age will require institutions and structures to carry, express, and support
of it. I suggest that a fundamental institution should be an interspiritual order of
monastics or contemplatives open to all people -- men and women, married and single,
young, middle-aged, and old, confused or clear, adherents or not, with faith or agnostic
-- united in their desire for a deeper, more meaningful life. This would be a truly
universal society of sannyasa, an order that welcomes as members individuals from all the
world's religions and even from no tradition at all.
"The term sannyasa, referring
to renunciation, refers to all those saints, seers, sages, ascetics, and yogis over
thousands of years who have renounced the world and made possible something
beyond the comprehension of religion, something
that transcends religion, because it is infinite and ineffable. Ite eludes the capacity of
any concept or doctrine to express or contain it. Sannyasis
transcend religion because they seek integration with the absolute, which is infinitely
beyond our spiritual institutions and all our conceptual and theological formulations.
Sannyasa is a call to the mystical life."
"A universal or
intermystical order of sannyasa, of contemplatives or mystics, would act as a
meeting point for all traditions. It would also democratize the spiritual life as a state
in which people could help one another, sharing their insights and spiritual resources.
Sannyasa would be an existential place of encounter, free of the doctrinal differences
that divide the traditions. Sannyasa is from the various religions could then join
together in collaborative efforts to reverse the negative habits that produced the
ecological crisis, countelss wars, and the many forms of injustice, oppression, and
inequity. The interspiritual society of
sannyassa would also provide a forum for the further exploration of the mystical journey
in all traditions, and in the emerging universal tradition as well. Teachers could be
trained in the order in a universal vision, formed in the commitment.
the end of his earthly life, Bro. Wayne said of his core teaching: The Divine is infinite sensitivity. And, of the Dream of the Univeral Order of
Sannyasa. Wayne said We must believe that extraordinary people will step forward and
establish extraordinary relationships.
are privileged to be here today to work together toward the fulfillment of that dream.
Dorothy Cunha correographed the founding ceremony based on the Pachakuti Mesa tradition,
consistent with that traditional also hosting ceremony for the 2005 Bro. Wayne Tribute
Event in Austin, Texas
and Mission of the Universal Order of Sannyasa (now known as the Community of The Mystic
The central mission of the Universal Order of
Sannyasa is in keeping with Brother Wayne's call to advance the message of
interspirituality. Teasdale on pages 248-250 of his classic book The
Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions.
He suggested it as a basic "institution" or "structure" to help
carry and express The InterSpiritual Age.
In a nutshell, Bro. Wayne defined
"interspirituality" as the kind of spirituality that is so heart-centered, so
centered on the recognition of everyone and everything as the interconnected Divine, that
any divisive considerations of belief, creed, concepts, dogmas, exclusive claims, etc. are
not only secondary concerns but, at worst (as in fundamentalism), a kind of immature or
even pathological spirituality.
To Wayne, conventional "Interfaith" was a
level of consciousness and heart that, on the one hand, recognized that, yes, the
different spiritual experiences of the world (and their organized religions) should search
for dialogue, tolerance, understanding and peace, but on the other hand were still caught
in the unnecessary trap about "who is right?".
Beyond Interfaith, Wayne saw a
"trans-traditional spirituality". This was a deeper spirituality-- a
spirituality more interested in the gifts and riches of all the experiences,
statements, celebrations and faiths. He noted that this spirituality was less concerned
about the divisive question of "who is right?" but could still not ultimately
put that concern aside.
In "Interspirituality", however, Bro.
Wayne saw a level of consciousness and heart that was so aware of the interconnectedness
(or Oneness) of all that the historical questions of "who is right?" in dogma,
creed, or belief became irrelevant. This is why "interspirituality" is so
closely related to what is also called "awakened awareness" or
"enlightenment"-- ultimately experienced as a complete dropping away of any
sense of separation. Of course "Oneness" and
"interconnectedness" may be comprehended only mentally at first. That is a
first step. Our ultimate nature, however, is to comprehend and embody it fully.
It is useful to point out that in 2005 when Wayne
and ISD planned their program on Interspirituality for the Parliament of the World's
Religions, few had even heard of the word. However, when you Google
"Interspirituality" today you find countless references. The mission of
those connected to Bro. Wayne has always been to aid this evolution.
As of 2010 the discussion of what the Universal of
Sanyasa can "Be" and "Do" is a wide open question, under discussion by
the emerging membership.
Rev. Timothy Miner (right) and other
co-founders of WCIC
of the Universal Order of Sannyasa (now known as the Community of The Mystic Heart)
The key word in Brother Wayne's
visioning of the Universal Order of Sannyasa was "Universal". As you can
see in his words above, such an "Order" would need a big "sliding
scale" to accommodate the life circumstances not only of persons from many traditions
but persons busy with all the demands of life, work, family etc. Yet, Bro. Wayne
realized, as he said, that there would be among these, many wanting to give and serve in a
major way regarding the unfolding of the interspiritual vision. Swami Vidyananda, in
her "Welcome" to the UOS from members of the more traditional Sannyasa,
recognized this as well. She provided some profound pointers on what it means to
answer the mystical and service related "calling" of sannyasa in a modern
Accordingly, the structure and
governance of the UOS is constantly under discussion to accommodate a modern vision.
Currently, both members and
non-members of the UOS participate in an overseeing "Advisory Council" for the
Order. This Council is particularly anchored by friends and associates of Bro. Wayne whose
goal is to help UOS "get it right".
It is likely there will be levels of
participation and commitment to the Order. The first step, for all of us, is to be
an "Aspirant"-- one who wants to join in the endeavor. There will also
probably be a level of "Intentional Membership", for people who support the
vision of the Order but are not free to engage fully in its activities. We also
envision a "Foundational Membership". These would be persons who join the
UOS in its intention, vision, and some activities, but simply have life circumstances
that-- right now-- don't allow them to make a rigorous commitment to daily practice,
sacred activism, and service to advancing the interspiritual message. But they would
be involved in UOS nonetheless.
The other level would be "Pillar
Membership". Pillar members might likely be persons whose life circumstances
actually allow a more 24/7 commitment to the interspiritual message and all that it
implies. This includes spiritual teachers, leaders, and retired persons who can now
turn there energies completely toward this endeavor.
Ordination in the UOS is possible
through UOS's affiliation with the Order of Univeral Interfaith, a duly constituted
Religious Order under the laws of the District of Columbia. Accordingly, ordination
is possible as an "Interfaith and Interspiritual Minister and Cleric" or, for
indigenous paths, "Wisdom Keeper".
Rev. Dr. Thomas Dowes, right, a
founder of ISDnA, UOS and OUnI speaks at the Sannyasa founding. At left, are Revs.
Timothy Miner and Jean Leone of the Order of Universal Interfaith
to inquire about joining see more
email the Administrator: email@example.com or go on line at http://www.ouni.org/uos.html