The Perennial Philosophy

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Tadashi, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Not at all. Kaballah is a metaphysical system, like any other. But to understand it, one has to embrace the whole, not just cherry-pick the interesting bits. Remember an asterism is necessarily coupled to its complementary exoticism. One without the other is nothing but entertainment.

    Which leads us to the questions of which Kabbalah we're talking about. The 'original' Jewish metaphysical system (as endorsed by the Perennialist Leo Schaya), or more recent New Age versions, such as the stuff touted by the Kaballah Centre in New York today?

    Suffice to say, the more recent the system, the more evidence there seems to me, of a lack of spiritual insight, a lack of intellectual rigour and a tendency to egocentrism and sentimentality ... in short, modern doctrines are marketed with the consumer in mind.

    No.

    I would say so.

    Well we all suffer that. I would say we all tend to think of God as 'the best kind of person one could be', which is an error. So we all anthropomorphise God to some degree.

    But how do we open the heart? Love without condition.

    Reincarnation assumes Gos to be some kind of bean-counter keeping a tally of all our goods and bads, then drawing up a balance sheet, then comparing that to the tariff of punishments, then we enter the next life accordingly ...

    Not my God at all. My God loves, a love that is absolute and infinite ... the Grace of God knows no limit.

    There are respondents here who argue that a Christian is 'absolved of responsibility' when he or she turns to Christ, and that their system is better, because the person is held accountable for their actions.

    But why? Because it seems fair, and reasonable, and rational, and logical. But also because there is a tendency to want the guilty to suffer for their wrongs.

    Christianity can be criticised, quite rightly, for far too much emphasis on punishment. But modern theosophy doctrines say the same thing. Karma? Reincarnation? It's all about someone getting their just deserts.

    So when I say 'God loves you, and God forgives you' people are outraged. Why? Because the guilty must be punished! Why? because that's only fair! I'm not sure the Divine thinks this way ... I think it's we who think this way.

    I don't think it's God's will that we are punished for our sins. I think it's something we impress upon God. It's the desire for justice and, in some cases, revenge.

    So I see no need for God to keep sending people round and round in circles. Love doesn't work like that. Love embraces, love does not send away.

    Yes, of what we should be, but that falls far short of what God is. God is not just 'the best of everything'.


    No, it's not.

    What's the most-repeated phrase in the Bible? "Fear not."

    Take the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15):
    "I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee: I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants... "
    So the 'fallen soul' rises to God, but even as we rise, we imagine God as being human, we imagine God reacting as we might react, so we will go and 'plea-bargain': let me come home, but as a hireling, for surely that is the just punishment for having squandered the gifts you lavished upon me.

    And what does the father say?

    "And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him ... And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."

    It's all there, Tad! Where is the father's 'hell'? Where is the father's 'purgatory'? Where is the tally of offences that have to be taken into account? Where is the sending away, another chance, and I'll keep sending yo away until you get it right?

    Where is the punishment? There isn't one.

    The father says 'this is my son, who was dead and come to life again' — what does he mean? He means this is my son who took himself away me, I never sent him away, I never wanted him to go, but he's my son, and I gave him his freedom, and when he wanted his inheritance I gave him that, even though I knew there was every chance he would squander it.

    But I did not go into town, and drag him home, kicking and screaming. Why? Because love isn't like that.

    Now, here's the frightening bit. There's an elder brother in the story, and when his little brother comes home, to a rapturous greeting "he was angry, and would not go in"

    Now he has removed himself from his father. Why? Because he demands 'justice'!

    I keep trying to get to this point:
    It's not God who sends us to hell, it's not God who demands reparation for offence, it's we who remove ourselves from God. And love is such that it will offer no violence, offer no coercion ... so if the heart remains 'hardened' against God, then Jesus weeps, because He's holding out His hand, but we just refuse to reach out for it.

    So I don't care if you're Buddhist or Catholic or Taoist or Native American.

    But I do care about what people think they say.

    People speak of "freedom of choice" ...

     
  2. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Thank you, Thomas, for always giving me your honest thoughts and opinions. I really do appreciate it. However, there's a valley between us that we're having a bit of a hard time bridging. I don't feel as though you understand me (in some areas), and I'm sure you feel that I'm not understanding your points.

    One thing I must say is that it is NOT that theosophists are giving me a distorted view of Christianity or that of reincarnation, and that's the reason I have the wrong understanding of both... Rather, what some of the theosophists say resonate with what I already had in my mind, thoughts I had somehow naturally developed myself. So, they are not the cause of the way I think.

    I haven't even started reading The Secret Doctrine yet, though I really want to, I just don't have enough time for all the things I want to read:( (I'm still trying to finish Kant, Paine, and now I wanna read Bushido too), my reading list just keeps getting longer and longer, and I'm a slow reader... Anyhow, what I'm saying here is that Theosophy is not responsible for my unique theology that you find false.

    I know you may think of me as an impressionable unfledged lad, but I'm also a stubborn fellow who is not easily swayed by what other people say. Otherwise I would've swallowed the whole Bible as many of my Christian friends do, just because I wanted to fit in and call myself a Christian, but I can't. Whether it's a curse or blessing, that's between me and God.

    Also please know that I have no hostility toward how you perceive Christianity and God (it's your journey). I don't particularly have a negative view on Catholicism or any other sects for that matter (unless they are literalists, fundamentalists, or inerrantists). What I have are only honest questions. I only want to know, if you're willing, how you reconcile with some of the doctrines of which I have such difficulty in doing so myself.

    Anyway, I'd like to take time in chewing on what you wrote, before I reply again. (There are some older posts of yours I'm still chewing on!) I must not chew and speak at the same time.:p

    Tad
     
  3. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    A word of caution from an agnostic:
    We don't really know where our opinions and ideas of the world comes from, sometimes we have a notion, sometimes we are convinces, but as far as we know it is only a mental construction.

    Not trying to pick on poor theosophists here but rather how ideas spreads in general. As a Swede, one of the most atheistic countries in the world, and non religious I have a very clear idea about Christianity because it's part of our culture now. In the same way, you don't need to have read a book to have an idea about reincarnation, we all pick up stuff from all over the place. And many of the ideas theosophy promote have been around a lot longer then you and me.

    I'm not trying to back up Thomas idea about reincarnation here, I think his reasoning is very similar to that of an militant atheist commenting on...oh lets say Catholicism.

    And a word from a stubborn fellow:
    We are not as impossible to sway as we would like to believe, there are ways into our mind and it is our stubbornness that is our weak spot.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    That's probable, given the means of communication. I always seem to come across far more 'spiky' than I extend, but that's probably because I've been 'toughened' in my approach by my reading the Perennialists and the like. It's honestly not my intent. I grew up in a 'speak your mind' environment, so am probably a bit more thick-skinned and robust.

    I also try to keep sentiment out of my posts, just argue from the axioms of my Tradition, and in support of Tradition generally.

    Well I'm glad to hear you're knot receiving them. But the evidence is clear that certain posts contain pointedly inaccurate determinations regarding the teaching, by those who refuse to be corrected.

    As I've said before, there are two aspects to a single motive at play when I see the faith, or the history of its development, of Christians and Christianity wilfully misrepresented in an effort to malign that faith.

    Good God, we've enough to contend with that is undeniable! I am not obliged to receive in silence (and in that sense one assumes an accord) when what is said is simply not true. Nor do I accept in silence when I'm told by the Church that I am wrong.

    One aspect is to defend those who are maligned,
    The other is to stand for what we actually believe.

    From a Christian pov, the assumption that one needs 'esoteric' insight to ascend is simply not true. That's an aspect of the Revelation of the Mystery that is a wrong assumption, although I can understand those who assume it must necessarily be the case, because that is what they've been led to believe.

    Actually I enjoy our discussions because you are open-minded about it. I've never thought of you as 'immature' in any way.

    Never saw any. Rest assured.

    That is my intention. Do I come across like a 'clever-clogs', or just a 'pain in ...'? Really, I'd like to know. PM me if you want ...

    (That goes for everyone.)

    I will endeavour to be less dogmatic, but I must ask that you cut me some slack. Give me a 'lighten up' nudge if I get tedious. Oh dear ... I do seem to have offended most people here, one way or another. :eek:

    At my last job we were required to get appraisals from our work colleagues when having our annual review. Mine always began, "Tom is very passionate about his work ..."
    Which means, of course, I'm an argumentative bugger. :mad:

    So from here on, I will try to her nice, so, if you will, flag me when I'm not.

    Thomas
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I know the feeling, Thomas. Though I think I'm perceived as rather harsh because I get very single-mined when I write, the niceties often fall to the wayside in favour of getting my idea across. I'm specificity thinking of GK here, sorry G-Knot!
     
  6. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Isn't it because there are some truths in them?

    I'm very curious to know what your idea of Christianity is?

    A word from a stubborner fellow:

    Yes, it's totally possible for me to be influenced by others and to change my mind ONLY IF something strongly speaks to my senses, just as Jesus' teachings did. But, whatever anyone says must first meet the approval of my conscience. To me, it's not so much that Jesus changed my mind, he 'unearthed' what I already had known deep inside. And I insist that my senses, my ability to reason, ultimately come from the Absolute, the Giver of natural law, to whom I pledge my allegiance. No one can ever change that 'cause I'm really stubborn on this! :D

    Tad
     
  7. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Hi Thomas,

    Although I said "there's a valley between us", I should've also mentioned that there were a few ropes we've been able to throw across at each other's side as well.

    What I'm trying to say is that I did find out that you do actually agree on what I consider the cardinal part of my beliefs:

    1.) One doesn't have to recognize him/herself as a Christian (or a believer even), to receive God's Grace.
    2.) God did not command mass murders of other tribes as described in the OT.

    I should express how GLAD I am to finally confirm these with a such knowledgeable devout Christian! Hurray! (I've been having a hard time getting my Christian friends to acknowledge these.) One remaining question to you, Thomas, is that, why not be more vocal and proactive in telling your fellow Christians about these?

    Neither. But you sometimes seem to forget who your audience is. (You're not arguing with a theologian.) If you flood me with too much knowledge at once, my brain will, well, get flooded. lol...

    Oh no, I wasn't offended or anything, I know you were just being honest. I'm just letting you know that you may want to expect me to 'talk back' as well, 'cause I used to be a rebellious child (according to my mother). Just don't stone me and we'll get along fine. ;)

    I agree. I totally understand the need for correction when you feel your beliefs are misrepresented or misunderstood. (I'd do the same, which I just did it to you.) Please go ahead and keep doing that when you feel you must.

    I used to argue with hostile atheists on forums (which I stopped doing for now since I've found it to be futile). When they claimed such as an absurd notion as Jesus never existed, I'd be like a Rottweiler ready to bite in protecting his master.

    As for many people saying many things about different religions (speaking their minds freely which is a great thing, without it, we can't improve ourselves), I follow a wise saying by a Swedish guy I know, "just listen to what they have to say about their own religion.":D

    haha... That's exactly how my girlfriend tries to defend me when I get myself into an altercation... "he is just passionate about the issue, he means well..." My attitude is often viewed as too contentious, especially in Japan. Japanese really prefer 'wa(和)=harmony', I'm a bit atypical in this aspect. Not that I don't appreciate the concept of harmony, but I just don't like fake ones so much. (This is why I won't make a good diplomat.)

    So no worries Thomas, I'm actually enjoying our little sparring, man!

    Tad

    P.S. My uncle from Japan is arriving tomorrow for his business trip and I'll be attending to him as his guide/interpreter, so I may not get a chance to post while he's here (about 10 days)... I'll try if I can find the time, but if not, I'll come back in a couple of weeks.
     
  8. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Why would we assume that?


    You misunderstand, but your mind is set, and I will not keep pushing.
     
  9. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Remember that Theos Sophia means the Wisdom of God. If you think theology began after the appearance of the Christ ~2000 years ago, you're not just overlooking the story of Judaism and the Israelites, you're also overlooking quite a bit else having to with religion, and philosophy, the world over. And that's centuries and millennia worth of God-study, via many systems, and in many, many eras of civilization ... most of which are totally lost to our present day. The study of the Mayan peoples, for example, the Celts and pre-Celtic druids {a good friend of mine wrote her PhD at Oxford on the subject of Ogham, with connections to pre-Buddhistic Tibetan traditions} ~ all of this needs to be considered in connection with what usually gets treated as if it existed within a laboratory vacuum as `Christian theology.' This is a bit like studying ear wax as if it didn't come from the obvious place, or just pretending that ear wax was in fact the only way to understand a human being.

    Theosophy purports to approach the very Wisdom of God ~ as God knows it ~ and this involves gnosticism, but not in the sense that Gnosticism is just another 'ism, which is a straw-man attempt to ignore the facts.

    In short, yes, we can know the Truth ... as even Socrates realized, prompting him in his genuine humility to make plain that he know how ignorant he was, and we really are!

    Theosophy suggests that ALL RELIGIOUS and SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS to have ever originated on this planet, actually start within the Heart and Mind of God ... and as for our ability, latter-day, present day, to access such, well - the soundest practice of any Theosophist and esotericist I ever met has always been to leave it to the doubters, or those with prejudiced, short-sighted opinions and biases to come to the TRUTH in their own time.

    There is no religion higher than TRUTH, runs the Theosophical motto. And the man who begins with his very first supposition and assumption that "the human mind/being/consciousness cannot know truth" ... ah well, what does this say to the rest of us?

    Will he approach the subject, either of Theosophy or of Theology with the same openness of heart, of mind, with the same expectations and goals, as the person who already knows enough about Truth, to at least realize where some of our most basic of mistakes - indeed - originate?

    And when some of us know well that `created in God's image' has far, far less to do with outer appearances than it does with God's Mind, God's Unconditional Love and yes, even the WILL and Power of God ... what are the implications vs. the kind of worldview which really only knows or understands ~ TO RULE, or BE RULED?

    Assumptions. They really do determine our outlook, and they can rend the proverbial veil for us, and keep us pointed safely in the direction of a Faith, a Tradition, a Journey to Know, Cooperate with and Come into the Wisdom of ~ God ...

    ... or they can keep us locked in a `god-box,' eternally chasing our tail, yet never really even grasping what the Ourobouros is all about - blind as we are to the most obvious of the Truths regarding the Doctrine of Cycles.

    Alas, we want our cake and to eat it too, which only makes sense, I have to sympathize ... yet God works with Courage, and Responsibility, and when all of this is motivated, driven by LOVE, it's only so long till we see what minds, worlds, even Gods are made of.
     
  10. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    I think I know where our opinions and ideas come from, there are mainly two sources. One is from our need for survival and to thrive as a species, and the other is from the Absolute.

    It is my theory that this 'spiritual energy that flows in the universe' (which I call God for short), from the very beginning of time, has emanated its Will like telepathic radio waves, and we all have an ability to catch it, mostly subliminally. That's where natural law comes from (again, imho). And people who have seriously tried to trace the origin of the subliminal messages created philosophies and religions as a result.

    The tricky part is, we are so flawed and imperfect and often fail to catch these telepathic signals or failed to interpret them correctly, because our biological instincts (strong need for survival) interfere with the process all the time. We always struggle between ensuring our survival and following God's messages (objective Truth).

    But objective Truths will never go away (as God never stops emanating like the sun). So, if an idea has been passed on generations after generations for thousands of years in different areas of the world and survived, I tend to think there's a truth in it.

    Oh, I did it again? Sorry... I thought you were telling me that 'stubbornness' was not a good thing (= weak spot)...

    If you mean that my mind is set on the existence of God (if not, correct me as to what you meant), you are right. I'm as stubborn as a mule on this one. lol... Because even if there's a possibility that I could be wrong on this, and even if I am, I'm willing to live and die being wrong in that case. (I know, I can be hopelessly stubborn at times...:p)

    Tad
     
  11. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Hi Zagreus, Nice to meet you. :)

    Are you a theosophist? If so, did you practice any other religions prior to becoming a theosophist? (just curious...)

    I'm totally with you. I wouldn't think theology began at the arrival of the Christ. Humans' relationship with God has existed from the very beginning of time, naturally, all over the world, though when people started calling it 'theology' is a debatable matter...

    I'm pressed for time right now and not able to get into a deeper conversation, but I'll look forward to talking to you more in the future...

    Tad
     
  12. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    By this logic, there must be an eternal hell where all the damned go, right? Or hasn't that idea been around long enough? It probably will be around for a long while.
     
  13. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    uh-oh, I see the hole in my logic... Indeed, the notion of hell is widespread and has existed for quite a long time... but the idea slightly differs from religion to religion... I should look into if most or all of them interpret as 'eternal'...

    Also, I should try to see if the idea can be eradicated. I should teach my future children and grand-children not to believe in it and leave a will for all my descendants to do the same, and see if the idea goes away, say, in a thousand years from now. lol... Who's with me?


    Tad
     
  14. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    "...uh-oh, I see the hole in my logic... "

    --> I don't follow you. Are you saying you believe in an eternal hell, temporary hell, or no hell?
     
  15. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    My issue with the concept of Perennial Philosophy is that by definition it purports to suggest that all religions share a single, universal truth.

    What that single, universal truth is seems open to interpretation, which is where I see the idea falling apart. In my readings I've seen some really hard pounding of square pegs to try to get them into round holes to come up with the one answer.

    And I know so many people who have their own beliefs on what universal truth is - and most every one of those is different. Doh!
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    GK,

    I would add that one of the most difficulty things to do, and at the same time one of the most important things to do, is to acknowledge another person's point of view when having a discussion with that person. For example, when two people are discussing the possibility of hell, if one person believes in hell and another person does not, both people usually do not acknowledge the other person's point of view. The discussion then usually deteriorates into square pegs being pounded into round holes.
     
  17. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    I was telling ACOT that if an idea lives for a long time in various cultures, it's because there may be a truth in it. And ACOT said "what about the idea of eternal hell then?", which I do not support, but can't deny that it's been around in many cultures (religions) for a long time. So, I was admitting that he caught me in a contradiction.

    I used to be going more for 'no hell' other than here on earth (=a training field) where hellish things do happen for our spiritual growth. But now I'm open to the idea of a temporary hell (or purgatory), as long as it's not eternal, I can rationalize it, but an eternal one, I can't.

    Tad
     
  18. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    The single universal truth all religions share may be a 'mysterious spiritual force' or 'some grand scheme' exists in the universe? I know, that may be too simple, isn't it.

    Probably Nick, Skull, or Thomas can explain it to you better. I'm still new to the idea and trying to study it myself.

    haha... I get what you mean. I know this can be frustrating to some. But the way I see it is, if there is no universal truth, then why do so many people want to know about it? and join a forum to talk about it? ;)

    Tad
     
  19. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Tad for pope 2014
     
  20. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Tad,

    Thanks for clearing that up. By the way, I don't believe that heaven is eternal either. Would you believe that the original version of the bible did not contain the word "eternal"?
     

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