Another New Paradigm

Discussion in 'Theology' started by Thomas, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My critique of reincarnation is that the doctrine in the west at best misses some crucial metaphysical aspects, and at worst is just a 'sentimental distortion' of the original doctrine to appease one's inner fears. The thought that one can 'keep coming back' until one gets it right is quite appealing, but it's not any part of an authentic doctrine of reincarnation, neither in Hinduism nor Buddhism. Actually it's a rehash of the Greek idea of metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls, but not at all the Asiatic doctrine.

    The eschatological myth which closes Plato's Republic tells how Er, the son of Armenius, miraculously returned to life and recounted the secrets of the other world. After death, he said, he went with others to the place of Judgment and saw the souls returning from heaven, and proceeded with them to a place where they chose new lives, human and animal. He saw the soul of Orpheus changing into a swan, Thamyras becoming a nightingale, musical birds choosing to be men, the soul of Atalanta choosing the honours of an athlete. Men were seen passing into animals and wild and tame animals changing into each other. After their choice the souls drank of Lethe and then shot away like stars to their birth.

    In Plato's view the number of souls was fixed; birth therefore is never the creation of a soul, but only a transmigration from one body to another.

    This, I think you can see, ticks all the boxes of the western notion of reincarnation.

    The Asiatic metaphysic is something else altogether! Here I shall offer some pointers from the Perennial Tradition:

    In the infinite variety of Universal Being, no single realisation of any particular mode of being is ever repeated, which is to say that the true self that emanates from that universal state will incarnate as a human being only once, never revisit that state ever again, since it has an infinite variety of states in which to manifest itself ...

    It is only the ego, which knows its own state of being and that alone, that sees reincarnation as 'coming back' into this world, because this is the only world it knows.

    In the Asiatic traditions there are multiple heavens, multiple hells, multiple worlds and multiple states of being. It is a given, therefore, that if the Universal Being manifests as corporeal state, it will be in another corporeality altogether, a radically different bodyin a radically different world, both different to this one, and both, for the ego, unimaginable. St Paul points to this in his First Letter to the Corinthians: "Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again ... and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" The 'death swallowed up in victory' is the death of the self-identifying ego – which alone experiences corruptibility, sin and death – whereas the true Self knows it is incorruptible and immortal, even though it manifests Itself in an infinite number of finite and thus corruptible 'little-states'.

    Death is but a rebirth into another state, and that the true self doesn't engage in any form of 'transmigration' from state to state, because It is conscious of all states, simultaneously (being outside time and space), and not sequentially, as common and populist reincarnation affirms. That 'sequentially' signifies the 'little-self' has not grokked its true Ground (the Ur-Gründ of Eckhart, and 'the Mystical Body of Christ' in the Catholic tradition, that is All-Possibility (the Logos of God). It's still thinking of the corporeal by-product called 'ego' as its own ground. Thus it is destined to Fall.

    From the standpoint of Universal Being, the Christ, all states are co-existent or ‘co-present’, meaning that they do not occur in a sequential or serial manner. There is no time and space from the perspective of the totality of being, there is only the eternal now.

    Popular western reincarnation asserts that the true self is continually manifested in this order of corporeal body in this world, but this is because it has no concept of the All-Possible, nor of the Multiple States of Being, nor of the other worlds spoken of in Hindu and Buddhist doctrine. In the west we have one heaven, one earth, one life, one hell – an entirely closed system.

    Reincarnation as it is commonly perceived is pure anthopocentric idealism.

    Anecdotal evidence for reincarnation – past life experience – results from 'psychic residue' (logismoi in the Greek Christian Tradition), left over from other incarnations, the dreams and impressions of previous past lives can be explained as a function of these psychic residues that attach themselves by the tuning fork principle of psychic attraction. This explains the occurrence of ghosts, apparitions, the various permutations of the homonculus, succubus, incubus and egregore, and a sense of familiarity that one might find with places and events in the near or distant past.

    The true self, representing the indelible and immutable part of an individual being – the soul – is actually Universal Being manifesting Itself as a being with selfhood, this manifestation is in accord with the 'Divine Idea' of that possibility. The 'Divine Idea' exists eternally in God and we call it 'logoi'. The soul is the created nature according to its Idea, its 'blueprint' in the Mind of God, and thus the soul is the mirror and window of the True Self, its logoi, manifest in this particular corporeal existence, the 'veil of tears' in which the egoic self sees itself as all there is. Illusion, Maya and the attachment to 'suffering'. Enlightenment is the realisation of the True Self, 'rending the veil' to use a Biblical term, of our illusions.

    As the Johannine scribe said so luminously "Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God (according to our logoi); and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when He (the Logos) shall appear (we see Him), we shall be like to Him: because we shall see Him as he is (without any illusion) (1 John 3:2).

    Until then, as St Paul says, "We see now through a glass in a dark manner (the clouded soul); but then face to face (without illusion of self). Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known" 1 Corinthians 13:12. The last bit is staggering: The self-ientification of the known with the Knower, the true self with the Universal Self.

    Marco Pallis, the Tibetan Buddhist, said this (italics my emphasis):
    On the view of self:
    Lastly:
    The reason why I write this extended essay is that I think I have found, and demonstrated through Biblical reference, the common ground on the question of the authentic doctrine of reincarnation between the Christian (Latin and Greek) traditions, and the Hindu and the Buddhist, on condition that reincarnation is seen in the light of its original and authentic expression, and not the western syncretic exposition that conflates it and metempsychosis.

    If so ... like my other post ... this is, as far as I know, establishes a new and untested ground of reading the Tradition and a coherence between traditions from within the traditions themselves, rather than a syncretic 'overlay' that necessarily redefines the terms used to make them all conform to model that is essentially alien to all of them!

    This, I really believe, offers a possibility of 'breakthrough' in the realm of interfaith dialogue, which is why I have laboured it so far.

    But as ever, DA, I very much fear that what will happen will not be a discussion of the actual thesis proposed above, but a rehearsal of private opinion.

    And taking yours and ACOT's advice, I shall not engage with anything other than the thesis itself.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I would say a parable is an extended metaphor which is an extension of a metaphysical principle.

    As for 'western notions', it says on the ISKCON website that the founder:
    So by its own declaration, an interpretation shaped for the west.

    What the texts do not say is reincarnation in this world, so I see no contradiction between these particular texts and my thesis.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    so you bodies, dogs, cats, deer existing in other worlds? Are these heavens or other realities?
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    peace is beautiful: Reincarnation picture according to the story of a Maharaja Bharata
    Sadly with just this text alone, it's open to all manner of interpretation, and I'd have to ask who wrote it? Is this a traditional commentary, or personal opinion?

    Two notes:
    The story tells basically of the seeker deflected by the deer. So in his next incarnation the trend is downward, into an animal. Snakes And Ladders again. The seeker landed on a snake ...

    The problem posed by 'memory' is the traditions declare the conscious memory, which shapes the ego, as being ephemeral and fleeting, and illusory. It seems to imply the seeker will have a conscious memory of his previous incarnations, which is contradicted by the above doctrine.

    As for the memory itself, that's covered by Guénon's account of 'psychic residue' and therefore indicates not a succession of states of a given 'self', but the attraction of residues by the tuning fork principle.

    As Pallis points out: "even though a Buddha "remembers all his past lives," his Enlightenment is not definable in terms of samsaric experience at any remove; it is a unique and eternal event, to us paradoxical and inexpressible."

    What this is saying, as I understand it, is that a a Buddha does not remember the conscious, that is samsaric, experience of being 'in the flow' of the Multiple States of Being, he doesn't identify with the events of passed lives, in this instance of being a particular person, or particular deer, rather he is conscious – in the 'dark knowing' of faith – that this is the case, he will not recall (unless for some Providential reason) any aspect of his previous existences.

    I would add that to do so would require viewing these experiences, a man, a deer, a demon, a Buddha, and so on, from a higher ground, otherwise he will be subject to a multiple personality scenario that can only lead him to ask, if I am all these, who am I?' because in each instance of being would answer: I am I.

    The point is to escape this egoic, that is individual, 'I'

    To pursue the understanding of them is to be deflected, as by the deer.

    Lastly the Snakes and Ladders game, drawn from Hindu Doctrine, points to the erroneous assumption of successive rebirths being a 'progress' as the West holds so dear. It's not. There is no guarantee that the next birth will be a necessary progression higher than the last. He could have been on 'step 99' and find himself back at 'step 1' ... to start all over again.

    In short, burning off bad karma is not a given in any given birth. It's the aim, but in any given birth, the seeker can fail and in fact accrue a greater debt.

    That's why the focus on this life in every tradition. The assumption that I can put it right in the next is a moral failing. The hope that I can is a trust in God. An act of faith.

    As it is possible to attain the Highest (Atma) in any given life, which is the extinction of all difference and distinction (Maya) by transcendence, it is by the same token possible to realise the Lowest, which is extinction by entropy.

    So, to stretch the Snakes and Ladders analogy, if the seeker attains self-identification with Atma, the True Self, which is simultaneously Anatma, being 'the Self beyond all determinations of self' (and which Eckhart expresses so forcefully (following in the long line of Christian apophatic theology) as arriving at the state where all distinction disappears, the seeker has effectively moved 'up' and 'off the board'.

    By the same token, it is possible to go 'down' and 'off the board'. A condition we describe by the metaphor of Gehenna or Sheol and, indeed, Hades – in short, 'You're out!'

    Again ... no contradiction.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    If one reincarnates as a deer, a dog, a rat, a rock, or algae...

    You appear to be supposing that that is worse than being human...that this is a downward spiral, or step back.

    Should I have graduated in science and been a bio chemist creating miraculous drugs saving the world but in my retirement decided to take up art... I would have to take beginning art class... Not a step back in any way shape or means... a step sideways maybe to learn a different skill.... Similarly being reincarnated as a lesser being could just be that you need to increase the trait that that animal carries so much better than humans...
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't say what forms the True Self takes in other worlds, having no experience of those worlds, this is the only one I know.

    Some, the traditions tell us, are 'heaven' and some are 'hell', and according to the principle of the Absolute being All-Possible, all stops in between.

    Every other world is as real, to itself and everything in it, as this one.

    +++

    In terms of 'real'. All worlds are real, but when we say 'unreal' we mean so in a qualified sense. Not that this world is not real, that would be nonsense, but that this world derives its essential reality from 'above'.

    So Enlightenment is realising that simple fact, and acting accordingly.

    "All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made." – in this and every world – "In him was life, and the life was the light of men." – the illumined soul knows 'it lives and moves and has its being' in Him – "And the light shineth in darkness," – of every world – "and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:3-5)

    So some comprehend, to a greater or lesser degree. The greater comprehension is a not-knowing (as per the The Beatitudes), a lesser comprehension is objective knowledge – the signs the Jews seek, the knowledge the Greeks (and the Gnostics!) seek.

    Some go through life 'in the light' with their eyes open (Atma), some 'in darkness' with their eyes shut (Maya).

    St Paul speaks of those who 'sleep in Christ', that is walk in darkness.

    Christ drives this point home in the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25. Five are 'mindful', five are not.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's the way the traditions present it.

    Most schools of Hinduism and Buddhism say that plants and rocks are not included in samsara since they lack the possibility of experience (bhoga) and, hence, of karma.

    It's the principle I'm discussing here, not the individual instances, which are themselves subject to so many contingent factors and can be argued any which way.

    There's no quality an animal possesses that we don't possess, because we attribute them to animals.

    Karma is a moral determination. It's a qualitative determination, not a quantitative one.

    But the principle point is ... you're back on the treadmill ...
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Is that it? I've always wondered your distaste for reincarnation.

    You believe back on the treadmill a bad thing, I believe until we are fit, the work on the treadmill is beneficial.

    https://www.himalayanacademy.com/readlearn/basics/karma-reincarnation

    This also... page locked couldn't cut and paste but some great passages...

    http://www.hinduwebsite.com/reincarnation.asp
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I find myself a Catholic defending Hindu and Buddhist doctrine! Who'd have thought it ...

    At the moment it seems I'm defending traditional doctrines against heterodox western interpretations. We haven't even touched on my thesis.

    I've PM'd Tariki on this for his view, as he comes from those traditions with greater knowledge of those paradigms than I.

    I should also add that the anonymous author of Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, was an Anthroposophist who was to succeed Steiner, but who converted to Catholicism. In that book he argues for reincarnation within a Christian orthodoxy. The book has a foreword and afterword by Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the greatest Catholic theologians of the last century. Karl Rahner, yet another, also argues the case, although does not assert the detail of any eschatalogical state because we don't know.

    Interestingly on that point, the anonymous author had his 'Damascus Moment' looking at the stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral! I know another who had it watching a rose bloom ... and in that moment could have moved 'up and off the board', as could the passenger in the aircraft we spoke of elsewhere.

    It can all happen, St Paul says, "in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:52).
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    It seems you are trying to find a reincarnation you can live with...confusing as I'm not knowing why. I've purported that all religions have a divine inspiration, that man's ability to translate the divine, relate the divine to others is what has created all the differences (that and power, greed, mistakes). You seem to be trying to marry the beliefs within your realm of acceptability now, a new paradigm, another paradigm.


    I'm still trying to get at the roots of your thesis... where the foundation lies. Which parameters of 'original/ancient hinduism/reincarnation' are accepted in your paradigm and which are determined to be westernized or new age...

    The Hindus I talk to all speak of actual reincarnation, coming back to this earth and living in this life, not some other reality or layers of heavens... They are born in India, yet live here...
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It's a distaste for bad knowledge. You do realise I'm defending reincarnation here, as the traditions present it?

    Pallis posits, against Guénon, in the article I cited above, that:
    The point here is that when the West thinks of the 'I' coming back, the 'I' is evidently the accrued ephemera of the ego, which the doctrines refute.

    If reincarnation takes place in this world, it's not 'you' or 'me' coming back, you and me is the measure of the karmic burden. Someone else entirely has to pick up that cross and carry it. The only association between you and a later reincarnation is the same as between you and I, in that we are both instances of the True Self, but the reincarnated is not a repetition of a prior instance, not someone coming back for a second bite of the cherry.

    Which ties in nicely with the doctrine of Original Sin, especially as presented by the Orthodox Traditions, who speak more of 'karmic burden' than of a 'sinful nature' as we tend to perhaps over-emphasise in the Latin Tradition.

    One qualification to that last statement is that the Catholic Rahner posited that someone might get 'a second chance', if in this life they were actively prevented from realising their potential, that is they never got the chance either way.

    But that is seen from the pov of Providence and Divine Mercy ... I would be interested to hear from the traditions their teaching on that point.

    The root of the error is in the missing the all-important metaphysical distinction, leading to confusion over and the conflation of the Real and the Illusory, Atma and Maya.
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think we're at that 'talking passed each other' point again. That's not it at all.

    If I thought they hadn't, I wouldn't have penned the above.

    Nope. I'm comparing traditions in the light of each other.

    In sum:
    The reason why I write this extended essay is that I think I have found, and demonstrated through Biblical reference, the common ground on the question of the authentic doctrine of reincarnation between the Christian (Latin and Greek) traditions, and the Hindu and the Buddhist, on condition that reincarnation is seen in the light of its original and authentic expression, and not the western syncretic exposition ...

    I would have thought that was self-evident.

    I can't comment on their depth of understanding of their doctrine. I can only comment on what the accepted commentaries say.

    A yardstick I use in comparative religion is the Perennial Tradition. Writers like Guénon and Schuon, who have been acclaimed by their peers across every tradition. They have their detractors, and I think they're wrong on some aspects of Christian doctrine ... but they are, it would appear, broadly reliable.

    If it was between Pallis and Guénon, I'd side with Pallis.

    But I also know that some interfaith 'authorities' are unreliable, a yardstick of that is when every tradition says they've got it wrong, and to my certain knowledge they have falsified claims about mine ... that has to mean something.
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Can I get an AMEN?

    Is this the crux of the biscuit....we are all one returning to the one? The divisions here are (our bodies, egos) impermanent and the one is returning for more...
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Wil,

    I would like to add that I believe we only reincarnate as humans, not as animals, insects, etc.
     
  17. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Active Member

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    I am going back to my word processor and start c&p. I wrote a long post but when I hit reply I got a message that I did not have permission. My post is in the cloud somewhere! That is twice that has happened. MODERATOR --- THAT SUCKS!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Then why a Moses, a Christ, a Mohammed, a Buddha? Why talk of Redemption, Salvation, Deliverance, Nirvana or whatever you want to call it if it's a given anyway?

    Because it's possible to not return.

    We can if we want to. It's our choice.

    More what? There is no need nor necessity nor deficiency in the 'One'.

    The Principle of the One, the Absolute is that it is never other than Itself. Can't add to or subtract from, increase or decrease. Can't learn anything It doesn't already know ... the idea that the One can benefit in any way from the existence of all the universes and everything in them is an anthropomorphism.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Wil, I still get the impression we're talking 'at', not 'to' ... I don't want to end up in a paradigm v paradigm scenario ... maybe I'm getting tired.

    Nick, no offence, but I'm really only focussing on what the relevant doctrines say.

    EdgyDolmen, Dang! So infuriating.

    I'm gonna take a break now ...
     
  20. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I think one important aspect of Buddhist view of reincarnation that I haven't seen mentioned in my quick read through is that 'life is suffering'. Buddhism is vast so I can only speak to my modest understanding, but that is the core to how they view the world and, that they are suppose to move beyond it.

    My understanding of Hinduism is even more limited but there I think it is simply a matter of order in the world. Tightly connected with ones place in the world.
     

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