August 5, 2013
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In the Western world, a strong belief in the objective truths of religion, which are viewed as incontrovertible, demonstrable facts, is regarded as essential to the life of faith. When asking if somebody is religious, peo- ple often inquire: “Does he or she believe?” as though accepting certain credal propositions was the prime religious activity. Indeed, faith is equated with belief, but this equation is of recent provenance. Origi- nally the meaning of the word faith was akin to trust, as when we say that we have faith in a friend or an ideal. Faith was not an intellectual position but a virtue: it was the careful cultivation, by means of the ritu- als and myths of religion, of the conviction that, despite all the dispirit- ing evidence to the contrary, life had some ultimate meaning and value. The Latin word credo (translated now as “I believe”) seems to have de- rived from the phrase cor dare: to give one’s heart. The Middle English word beleven meant to love. When Christians proclaimed: credo in unum Deum , they were not so much affirming their belief in the existence of a single deity as committing their lives to God. When St. Anselm of Can- terbury prayed in the eleventh century: credo ut intellagam (“I have faith in order that I may understand”), he was not blindly submitting to the doctrines of religion in the hope that one day these incredible asser- tions would make sense today, if he abdicated his critical intelligence. His prayer should really be translated: “I commit myself in order that I may understand.” The meaning of dogma would only be revealed when he lived a fully Christian life, embracing its mythology and rituals whole- heartedly. This attitude is foreign to modernity. Today people feel that before they live a religious life, they must first satisfy themselves intel- lectually of its metaphysical claims. This is sound scientific practice: first you must establish a principle before you can apply it. But it is not the way that religion has traditionally worked.
Karen ARmstrong (Faith an Modernity)
May 30, 2013
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It is precisely the challenge involved
in using inadequate words
that drives the mind
beyond all words…
At the borders of speech
we open ourselves
to the positive value of silence….
through its complexity, its music,
its suggestiveness, points to a fuller realm of being.
–Edward k Kaplan (citing Abraham Joshua Heschel)
December 14, 2009
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God, the word evokes such a lot. In Buddhism however we find that God is as you say, transcendant, but if we dig deeper God is also immanent.
We see this clearly in:
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
This is the ineffible, unknowable reality above reality, beyond reality, something outside of words, outside of concepts…
This is the “God” of the Kabbalist, (Ain Sof: endless light)
This is the God of the mystic (christian and otherwise) such as Meister Eckhart
“To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.”
The Kabbalist (Jewish Mystic, for sake of argument) states ideas such as:
The Nature of God
God is not wht we think It is. God is not a thing, a being, a noun. It does not exist, as existence is defined, for It takes up0 no space and is not bound by time. Jewish mystics often refer to It as Ein Sof, which means Endlessness.
There is no answer to this question; we cannot prove anything about Ein Sof. Rahter, it is a self-reflecting inquiry. Yet when viewed from the perspective of our dynamic relationship with the Divine, it is a self-fulfilling question, for paradoxically the source of the question is the answer it seeks. ‘What would I be without God?’
Consider this question from your inner awareness. Not you the noun, the person you may think you are, but you the verb, the process of being in full relationship, continuously, with its creator. When a question arises wthin you, who is asking the question, and to whom is the question addressed? Assume that there is no ‘me’ to ask the question, and there is no God out there to answer it. The question is part of the process of David-ing and God-ing in a mutual unfolding.
Here we can see that God is NOT God
If we return to Buddhism the Heart Sutra states:
Body is nothing more than emptiness,
emptiness is nothing more than body.
The body is exactly empty,
and emptiness is exactly body.
The other four aspects of human existence —
feeling, thought, will, and consciousness —
are likewise nothing more than emptiness,
and emptiness nothing more than they.
All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases. So, in emptiness, there is no body,
no feeling, no thought,
no will, no consciousness.
There are no eyes, no ears,
no nose, no tongue,
no body, no mind.
There is no seeing, no hearing,
no smelling, no tasting,
no touching, no imagining.
There is nothing seen, nor heard,
nor smelled, nor tasted,
nor touched, nor imagined.
There is no ignorance,
and no end to ignorance.
There is no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
no end to suffering, no path to follow.
There is no attainment of wisdom,
and no wisdom to attain.
The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and so with no delusions,
they feel no fear,
and have Nirvana here and now. +
All the Buddhas,
past, present, and future,
rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and live in full enlightenment.
The Perfection of Wisdom is the greatest mantra.
It is the clearest mantra,
the highest mantra,
the mantra that removes all suffering.
Here we see the Heart Sutra telling us that God is transcendent and immanent, that God is not God
If we return to christianity again:
Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.’
St. Athanasius of Alexandria, a pillar of orthodoxy during the fourth century, insisted upon the divine being’s exuberance. The divine being, ineffably more alive that we are, cannot be self-contained and barren but has to be Father, forever bringing forth his son from the womb of his own substance. This continual begetting is a movement of being which is essentially fruitful. Our human experience of parenting is only an analogy for the perfect generation in the divine being, where there is no before and after, no differentiation into male and female, and where the one brought forth is not inferior to the parent. This vision of God continually pouring forth his very being would inspire Meister Eckhart a millennium later to speak of God in terms of molten metal which is always boiling over. The son‘s coming forth from the Father is a non-stop act of both begetting and giving birth.
Thus for the Christian tradition the divine reality is essentially personal. The three are not merely aspects of some impersonal substrate, nor are they separate individuals. The doctrine of the Trinity states that ultimate reality is a communion of persons, each dwelling in the others. Here relationship is of the essence. And this communion of persons is the truth and exemplar of all being. In particular it is the hope to which we human beings aspire. We come alive when our eyes meet those of the one who loves us, for we then find our center outside ourselves in the other, and in so doing we touch the mystery of transcendence.
By falling in love we leave behind our own isolation and break away from our old, limited way of life, which is now revealed as loneliness and incompletion. And, even more, in the unromantic daily struggle of active loving, in relationship, we find out who we really are. That is the context in which we can ask about God for it is then that we most resemble God. The Trinity goes beyond both solitude and the mutual opposition of Dualism, for God, as St. John says, is love.”
––father symeon burholt
And finally we get a clear idea if we turn to Gnosticism, and the Gospel of Philip (note that of course many Gnostics were highly influenced by Buddhism, in fact one branch even boasts that their leader was the reincarnation of Lao Tzu)
Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.
Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who hears the word “God” does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with “the Father” and “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit” and “life” and “light” and “resurrection” and “the Church (Ekklesia)” and all the rest – people do not perceive what is correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world […] deceive. If they were in the Aeon (eternal realm), they would at no time be used as names in the world. Nor were they set among worldly things. They have an end in the Aeon.
One single name is not uttered in the world, the name which the Father gave to the Son; it is the name above all things: the name of the Father. For the Son would not become Father unless he wore the name of the Father. Those who have this name know it, but they do not speak it. But those who do not have it do not know it.
We see things as we are
Not as they are
There are no mundane things outside of Buddhism,
and there is no Buddhism outside of mundane things.
And I am sown in all; and you collect me from wherever you wish.
–Attributed to Christ, found in the Gospel of Eve
May 7, 2009
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“A sense of well-being is achieved not only through the effects of healthful practices but through the very act of taking good care of ourselves. Regimens, by contrast, are nothing but aimless effort and sacrifice, whereas diets mean a new way of life. Diets imply constant change, being constantly on the move.
Changing has to do with being able to free ourselves from conventional attitudes that we repeatedly imitate without realizing it. The more they are repeated, the more vulnerable to the evil impulse we are. And this tendency to form habits—which are something mechanical that is neither thought about nor chosen—ends up blocking us from freeing ourselves. A story about the lighting of candles on the Sabbath exemplifies this fact. Legend has it that when returning home from work or the synagogue on the Sabbath eve, a person is escorted by two angels, one on either side, a bad one and a good one. On arrival, if he finds that the Sabbath candles have been lit, the bad angel will have to humble itself and say along with the good angel, ‘So be it next Sabbath!’ If, however, the candles have not been lit, it will be the good angel who is forced to utter along with the bad one, ‘So be it next Sabbath!’
Every time attitudes are put into action, they reinforce themselves. As depicted in the story, there is no impartiality—we either change or become more the same. Rabbi Aaron of Karlin used to say, ‘Those who do not rise, fall; those who do not get better, get worse.’ One who follows a regimen is like one who follows a recipe without paying attention to what he or she is doing, or taking medicine while repeating again and again the unhealthy behavior that caused the illness to begin with. The one who avoids dealing with real causes and real hungers is sure to suffer a relapse. At every relapse, one gets farther and farther from the goal, for attitudes are never neutral. Relapses reinforce our habits even more, to such an extent that the regimen becomes just another one of our habits.”
— Nilton Bonder (The Kabbalah of Food )
Here we can see a clear example of why the “Goal” of Magick is to not do Magick, something few Magick practioners know/realize/ approach. Ritual itself of course can lead to madness, arguably we find this in the example of Abraham Abulafia, who’s use of God name permutations changed the face of practical Kabbalah forever. He also thought he had been annointed by God and commanded to kill the pope….. so who knows?