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The idea that only one religion is right, at the exclusion of others, strikes me as absurd. If God is omnipotent and omnipresent, can’t we all share Him or Her? There must be a common “religious denominator,” a Venn diagram that shows the intersection of all religions in a common core—one that will deliver truth to humans. During my journey into enlightenment, I made it my unofficial mission to find the overlap, the shared center of all religions, the set of beliefs and principles that makes them one. Searching for that overlap helped me get closer to my inner peace. I want Adam to get there too.

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I get up to stretch, and my eyes fall on a book about Judaism on the shelf. This starts me thinking about the two isms in my life—Judaism and Buddhism. The founders of these religions were about as different as two people could be: Abraham for the Jewish people and Siddhartha for the Buddhists. And there are enormous differences between the religions, like the fact that Buddhists don’t believe in a personal God. They teach that we are continually reborn from past lives until we reach our nirvana. Jews, on the other hand, believe that we are made in God’s image and come into the world with the capacity to do good or evil.  

As I witness Adam’s evolution, it occurs to me that the isms are not too far apart. The Buddhist teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path parallel the story of my long-lost relative Moses and his Ten Commandments. It’s so obvious I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Both religions have a holy book. For the Jews, it’s the Tanakh, for the Buddhists the Tripitaka. While Buddhists believe that the gateway to enlightenment is through the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, for Judaism, it is through studying the Hebrew Scriptures, observing the six hundred and thirteen mitzvoth—good deeds—and living by the Ten Commandments.

The nerd in me wants to lay it all out in a Venn Diagram to show the areas where Ju and Bu overlap. But if I don’t get back to finishing Adam’s journey, I’m going to miss work tomorrow, and then my wife will be far from Right Mind and Right Conduct.