Perennial Wisdom

Updated: May 27, 2019

In the past several weeks, Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan monk and spiritual director of the Center for Action and Contemplation ( has been writing about the origins and core teachings of all the major religious traditions, including Judaism, Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.

What has become apparent here is that despite what is currently taught by the authoritarian hierarchy within each tradition (e.g., the priesthood) and what is believed by most followers or adherents to the different religious traditions, the common thread throughout all these traditions is that there is no separation between what is perceived of as phenomena (including all of humanity and each individual) and the absolute.

This common thread or truth is also known as perennial wisdom, a term coined back in the 15th century by Agostino Steuco and elaborated on by many others.

(A shout out to my good friend Michael Kroth——who sent me a book titled Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent, which I highly recommend. The book is organized around five spiritually oriented questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How shall I live? And Why? There is also an opening chapter that defines and explains the idea of perennial wisdom. Each section consists of a series of quotes pulled from a multiplicity of sources [e.g., St. Augustine; Tao Te Ching; the Qu’ran; the Bible; the Bhagavad Gita, and many more] all introduced by Rami Shapiro who provides an introduction to each section and annotations for each of the quotes.)