"But the Dalai Lama was going a step further. He wanted people to do more than recognize the terms of the discourse in a religiously diverse society. He wanted people to like one another, learn from each other, build bridges, form friendship, work together, thrive together. He was advancing a knowledge base that served this end. The stories he was telling were about the parts of different religions he admired and found beautiful — the call to prayer in Islam, Hinduism's Kumbh Mela festival, the example of St. Francis in Christianity, Judaism's Kabbala, the spiritual discipline of observant Jains, the passages on peace in the Sikh scripture, the architectural magnificence of the Baha'i Temple in New Delhi. The Dalai Lama wasn't interested in becoming an expert in other religions; he wanted to be an expert in what he loved about other religions.

"The first part of interfaith literacy is an appreciative knowledge of other traditions. This means learning about what we admire in other faiths, the beauty in their texts and rituals, the contributions that their members have made to our society, the type of knowledge that fosters friendships and facilitates work together. The second part of interfaith literacy is the ability to identify values that all religions share — compassion, mercy, hospitality, service. The third part is an understanding of the history of interfaith cooperation in our nation and our world. The final part is developing your own theology of interfaith cooperation, based on the texts, stories, and rituals of your own tradition. Taken together, these four parts are a knowledge base for cultivating pluralism in a religiously diverse society."