The Difference of Esoteric Vs Exoteric

ScholarlySeeker

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So far as I can see, based on readings I am involved in, the esoteric and exoteric really can’t be reconciled easily, if at all. There are reasons for this which I will describe briefly.

Exoteric wants things tidy, all cleaned up, logical, in line, orderly, scientific and simple. No messy contradictions or puzzling paradoxes are allowed if at all possible. Everything has to be smooth, well groomed, hair cut missionary style, slick and easily accessible and understood by all. Keep it simple stupid, the lowest denominator of concepts, words, and desires that even children grasp the ideas and themes. In short, it wants total control. It will let knowledge out in the speed it chooses, the quality it accepts for the public and only then will allow it to be read, digested, and believed. It controls. That is the essence of the exoteric.

Esoteric, it’s brother, is best summed up by the scripture, “The Spirit bloweth where it will.” While the exoteric clamps onto control, the esoteric is entirely free to take wings at any time and any place, simply because it knows the Spirit is in charge, not the intellect. The intellect cannot control the Spirit. There is no control with the exoteric, because that is not the desirous thing. Logic, order, and neat systemization is irrelevant to the Spirit. The revelation will come when the Spirit decides to charge, not when the person decides it is time for the Spirit to go to work.

The exoteric is external, loud, almost boisterous with its claims, banging out information for the world to see, grasp, hear, and latch onto. It is effort magnified through teaching, indoctrination, systematic elaboration over and over again so the public gets the point. It sells it’s knowledge in public, steadily, and non-stop, step by step fashion so as no mistakes can possibly be made if it can be prevented from making them. It is official, judicious and determined to get the word out. It demands obedience of the esoteric to bow to its doctrine and will. The esoteric doesn’t even consider worrying about what the exoteric thinks or does, whether it follows its paths or not. It is entirely irrelevant to the esoteric how the exoteric responds to its whispers of truth in the souls of men.

The exoteric claims it alone possesses the truth and fights with other exoteric claims for the simple reason that every exoteric claim, no matter how contradictory of other exoteric claims insists it alone possesses the truth. It is exclusive, divisive, and never at one in its views.

There has always and only been one doctrine to the esoteric, though its methods may be numerous, and culturally defined and performed, its symbolisms can reflect great variety based on where in the world the Spirit has blown and inspired men and women.

The exoteric is always out in front, seen of men, and insists on public acknowledgment and fame. It is a steady outward manifestation insisting on being popular, accessible, and airing its doctrines with a megaphone, to clearly, and unmistakably be seen by men, the more, the better. It insists its interpretation of history is correct. If knowledge is lost to its way of thinking this is a negative for all mankind, an apostasy, a heretical doctrine, a blasphemy. It can be refuted and defeated, and so, underneath all its bluster, it is paranoid more or less. It has no choice because it can never be sure if the esoteric is with it or not.

The esoteric can bob up and down, be seen, and then go invisible to the exoteric, for long stretches of time if need be. It is never lost, or defeated, it just goes invisible to the exoteric, yet always working whether visible or not. It has no desire, let alone need, for proofs, logical analysis or the cheering of men in public forums. It has no creeds, articles of faith, rules to follow or buildings to exist within. The esoteric needs no advertisement of its truth, it works through the still small voice within, not the loud logical stentorian demonstrating its truth systematically to a willing public. It seeks not popularity, but souls in need of its light. The exoteric demands faith in it, the esoteric demands faith in inner self. The exoteric demands submission to its priesthoods, powers, principalities, and quorums. The esoteric suggests submission to the universal light within, and asks time to learn to see that light within.

The exoteric can lead to the esoteric enlightenment, but esoteric never leads to exoteric enlightenment as the truth, because the truth cannot come from outside oneself. This the exoteric cannot grasp, the esoteric knows for certainty it comes from within or not at all.

This is part of the difficulty to working esoterically. It has enemies from who ought to be its friends. It is not about power or wealth, but knowledge. The exoteric needs power and wealth in order for it to continue being a show for mankind rather than a substance. It needs buildings, temples, clothes, and media to spread its message or hope through it alone. The esoteric needs no trappings such as these. They are a complete distraction. The temple is oneself, not some expensive building. The temple is the world and stars one has access to 24 hours a day. Access to the exoteric trappings is limited and definitely guarded. The esoteric is holy wherever or whenever one is in the world. It needs no group, demands no intermediate blockades, other than one’s own desire or lack thereof to tap into the stream of the holy.

True religion means a linking back to the Source of All, the One. It is what constitutes spirituality as opposed to being obedient to others demands. The only demand is upon oneself. One can never tell another who wishes for esoteric insight that obedience must be performed, since obedience is irrelevant to where the Spirit blows. It can strike at anytime, anyplace, anywhere, anyone. When esoteric people gather, there is not an undergirding necessity for agreement of ideas, hopes, and doctrines. There is not conformity, there is inquiry, learning, intelligence sharing with intelligence gifted. There are no heretics in the esoteric. The very thought makes no sense at all. The ways of the Spirit are infinite and from infinity which stretches out across infinity, including all opposites, paradoxes, contradictions, normalities, abnormalities, and conceptualizations. The Canon is the individual soul, not an outside source. The loyalty is to one’s own search for enlightenment, not to another’s interpretations, influences, or determinations concerning doctrines, scriptures, or acceptable procedures to please a god of any kind. The God is within. The exoteric wants a relationship to a God without, to be in agreement with God, the esoteric recognizes the God within is one’s very self, there is no relationship, there is awakening to know One is it. It’s not one in agreement alone, it is One, period.

So far as I can understand, the exoteric cannot see the legitimate revelations and enlightenment in any others while the esoteric see the revelations and enlightenment in all mankind no matter where on earth they are, nor in how they express it. The light flows through all mankind, not one group to the exclusion of the others. The expression, symbolisms, and metaphors differ with the esoteric expression of enlightenment, with cultural inflections, of course. But the message is just one message throughout history, best expressed as Tat Tvam Asi, “Thou Art That,” that is, thou art the divine in the universe, just expressed in the many. The goal of the Divine One is the unifying of the many back to itself. That is the core of the esoteric doctrine, no matter how it differs in expression of symbolisms, experiences, etc. It is not about aligning with correct doctrines, it is about experiencing the unification, regardless of country, gender, race, or beliefs. It has nothing to do with agreeing with interpretations of the scripture in alignment and agreement as with the exoteric. It is not about conformity, it is about experiencing the Divine.

So far as I can tell, this is the essential difference of the two ways of religion. The exoteric will not tolerate the exoteric unless and only if it aligns with exoteric thinking and doctrines and knowledge, nothing else is allowed. The esoteric is not nearly in such a narrow corridor because it has no need for the exoteric to agree with anything of what it says. It cannot be and will not be a missionary way because there is nothing to share publicly. Everything is internal for oneself. There is no need to even attempt a conformity of experience, because, The Spirit bloweth where IT will. The speed, the timing, the path comes from God, not controlled by human institutions. It is a direct connection, not a testimony based on what someone else says or believes.

The exoteric wants to be in control of the Spirit and tell it where it blows, the esoteric simply follows where the Spirit blows. The exoteric will not and cannot agree with the esoteric, while the esoteric doesn’t care what the exoteric believes, it follows what it gets straight from the Divine itself. That, in a nutshell is the entire column of experience between the two. The exoteric would crucify Jesus again if he came and taught His Gospel, the esoteric would embrace it. The exoteric has never been correct about the truth, it is all about outward appearance of possessing the truth. The esoteric has never been wrong about the truth, though it is expressed in myriads of different manners, the doctrine is always the same. That is the essential difference.
 

Cino

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The esoteric doesn’t even consider worrying about what the exoteric thinks or does, whether it follows its paths or not. It is entirely irrelevant to the esoteric how the exoteric responds to its whispers of truth in the souls of men.
On the other hand, Sufis are good Muslims, they pray, give alms, go on pilgrimage if they can etc, Esoteric Christians go to mass or service, take Eucharist, etc. Tantric Buddhists keep the precepts, Kabbalists keep kosher, pray, ... the esoteric Teachers usually teach the exoteric material first and foremost.

By your definition, New Age esotericism .,. is exoteric?
 
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RJM

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So far as I can tell, this is the essential difference of the two ways of religion. The exoteric will not tolerate the exoteric unless and only if it aligns with exoteric thinking and doctrines and knowledge, nothing else is allowed. The esoteric is not nearly in such a narrow corridor because it has no need for the exoteric to agree with anything of what it says. It cannot be and will not be a missionary way because there is nothing to share publicly. Everything is internal for oneself. There is no need to even attempt a conformity of experience, because, The Spirit bloweth where IT will. The speed, the timing, the path comes from God, not controlled by human institutions. It is a direct connection, not a testimony based on what someone else says or believes.

The exoteric wants to be in control of the Spirit and tell it where it blows, the esoteric simply follows where the Spirit blows.
I really like this article. It is excellent bang on, imo. The views expressed have a powerful relevance to a couple of other debates in these forums at the moment.
Thank you @ScholarlySeeker
 
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RJM

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On the other hand, Sufis are good Muslims, they pray, give alms, go on pilgrimage if they can etc, Esoteric Christians go to mass or service, take Eucharist, etc. Tantric Buddhists keep the precepts, Kabbalists keep kosher, pray, ... the esoteric Teachers usually teach the exoteric material first and foremost.

By your definition, New Age esotericism .,. is exoteric?
It may look true on the surface exoteric level, but only in the sense of the shell of the nut? The esoteric believer gives a nod to the dogma/ritual but only in the sense of an entry point to the meaning 'between the lines'?

The monks and librarians are the keepers of the flame. The scriptures and dogmas must be preserved in original form, else humans soon alter them to suit daily fashion. In that sense the ritual/dogma is very important to preserving the deeper things which they protect.

In societies where most were illiterate, their poets and bards were honoured for preserving the history and stories of their people in songs and rhyming verse that made the words easier to remember. imo
 
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RJM

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The Canon is the individual soul, not an outside source. The loyalty is to one’s own search for enlightenment, not to another’s interpretations, influences, or determinations concerning doctrines, scriptures, or acceptable procedures to please a god of any kind. The God is within. The exoteric wants a relationship to a God without, to be in agreement with God, the esoteric recognizes the God within is one’s very self, there is no relationship, there is awakening to know One is it. It’s not one in agreement alone, it is One, period.
I have a problem with this passage. The 'God is Only Within' statement works around to 'Myself is God' -- which to me is incorrect. It is binary and exclusive, because of course God is as much without as within.
 
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ScholarlySeeker

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I have a problem with this passage. The 'God is Only Within' statement works around to 'Myself is God' -- which to me is incorrect. It is binary and exclusive, because of course God is as much without as within.

Or, as some say, on the other hand, rather than exclusion, it shows God is everything. There is that esoteric idea... I might have worded that incorrectly, when I get back from work (on the way out the door at the moment), I shall have to re-read that. Thanks man, and just remember, you are awesome, don't even imagine you can argue with me on that, and have a great day!
 
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I might have worded that incorrectly,
The dizzy wing non-duality types get a hold of it and run with it to: I Am God. When abused it claims equality with God -- as it often is abused, imo.

You have a great day too, brother :)
 

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The dizzy wing non-duality types get a hold of it and run with it to: I Am God. When abused it claims equality with God..

God forbid that any human being is equal to God! ;)


Muhammad isn't God.
Jesus isn't God.
Moses isn't God.
Solomon isn't God.
Noah isn't God.
Adam isn't God.

Why do you call me good? No one is good, except God alone.
Mark 10:18

Check this out..
https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/11508/

@juantoo3 might remember that post :)
 
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ScholarlySeeker

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God forbid that any human being is equal to God! ;)


Muhammad isn't God.
Jesus isn't God.
Moses isn't God.
Solomon isn't God.
Noah isn't God.
Adam isn't God.

Why do you call me good? No one is good, except God alone.
Mark 10:18

Check this out..
https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/11508/

@juantoo3 might remember that post :)

It isn't God that forbids it, it is finite man who sets the limits...GRIN! God can do anything God wants. Who is man to limit God?
 
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muhammad_isa

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It isn't God that forbids it, it is finite man who sets the limits

Absolutely .. we all follow what we want to follow for a variety of reasons.
It is the individual person who "sets the limits", depending on what they are following.

Hence some people might not like the idea of "God being within", because it challenges their belief in
"an exclusive god person".
 

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Hence some people might not like the idea of "God being within",
Of God being ONLY within

What do you think of the rest of the essay: the bulk of it?
 
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muhammad_isa

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What do you think of the rest of the essay: the bulk of it?

I find it difficult to read, although interesting.
I've never really thought about it .. is God within or outside of humans?
Doesn't matter much to me .. I do think that He is within, as I say, our souls belong to Him.
I do not consider God as being physical .. I consider "the physical" as God's creation.
 

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I find it difficult to read, although interesting.
I've never really thought about it .. is God within or outside of humans?
Doesn't matter much to me .. I do think that He is within, as I say, our souls belong to Him.
I do not consider God as being physical .. I consider "the physical" as God's creation.
Ok so you haven't read it but you are qualified to commentate upon it?
 
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Hi ScholarlySeeker –

An interesting essay, but one that inclines me to speak up in defence of the exoteric!

So far as I can see, based on readings I am involved in, the esoteric and exoteric really can’t be reconciled easily, if at all.
I think this rather depends on one's definition of 'esoteric', and what one means by 'the esoteric'.

As I understand it, the term is an adjective, the Greek esoterikos is from eso (or eiso) meaning 'inside', and implies a sense of movement: 'to go to the inside'; ter (from teros) indicates a comparison: 'more to the inside (than)'; and the ending -ikos signifies that which has a particular nature to go more to the inside (than)'.

The term then infers a dynamic, a necessary and continual movement further inward, rather than an objective content.

The ter invites a comparison with its opposite: exoterikos. This relative opposition puts both terms on the same hermeneutic level. However superior esotericism might with regard to exotericism, both remain on the same side of knowledge and thus on the same side of the sacred-profane boundary.

As operations, they stand in relation to their object which, in case of religions, is their central revelation. It is the revelation alone that is the transmission of the divine truth in the human world. The revelation is unique, ontological and transcendental.

Diagrammatically, if we take a cross, then the revelation is the vertical axis, and eso- and exo-teric are on the horizontal plane, a movement towards or away from, the centre. In three dimensions it is an interlocking ascending and descending spiral.

The Absolute, by its very nature is Infinite, Unlimited, Boundless, etc., so this process is constant until its object is achieved.

In religions, the exoteric and the esoteric contemplate the same mysteries. The interpretations differ, but the revelation will be the same.

(There is a modernist error – which I think appears in the Romance movement in Europe and contemporaneously in America – that would set up an irrevocable separation between between the eso- and the exo-teric in such a way that the hermeneutic modes end up being designated as exclusive realities, definable practically and institutionally. This led to the appearance of the secret 'esoteric' schools in the nineteenth century. It is from here that eventually some were to seek to insist on a separation between the Church of Peter and the Church of John – a discreet and distinct 'esoteric Christianity' as opposed to a dynamic Christian esotericism within the institutional church known traditionally as mystagogia.)

That having been said, I think your summation of the two modes is perhaps too heavily weighted in favour of the esoteric, or focusses perhaps too heavily on the negative aspects of the exoteric. It should be said that the esotericist is not without its incumbent flaws, spiritual pride being the foremost of these, and certainly the esoteric schools were bastions of privilege and elitism.

As St Paul says: "Knowledge (gnosis) puffeth up; but charity (agape) edifieth" (1 Corinthians 8:1). Then he goes on to hit out at an ascending scale of the apparently-spiritual gifts of the esoteric journey: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels (ie, speaking in tongues) ... If I had prophecy (a gift), understanding (gift) all mysteries (mysterion) and all knowledge (gnosis) ... but have not charity (agape) I am nothing." (13:1-2)

To be fair, Paul hits out at the pseudo piety of the exoteric in the next verse.

Exoteric wants things tidy, all cleaned up, logical, in line, orderly, scientific and simple. No messy contradictions or puzzling paradoxes are allowed if at all possible. Everything has to be smooth, well groomed, hair cut missionary style, slick and easily accessible and understood by all...

And necessarily so, because religion has the salvation – in whatever way one chooses to define it – of the greatest number in view, it does not speak to the intellect alone, it speaks to the whole person. And people, generally, wants things that way. If there were only the esoteric, if religion made no provision for other than those few inclined that way, it would be a poor religion.

If one considers the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), these words address, endorse and indeed glorify, the exoteric: "Blessed are the poor in spirit ... the meek ... they that mourn ... " and so on. Nowhere, in the Sermon on the Mount (and let us pause to consider the symbolic implication of that title), is the esotericist, the gnostic, the jnani, praised above his or her fellows.

In Meditations on the Tarot, the anonymous author says: "Exotericism corresponds to the mentality and psychology of a passenger, esotericism to that of a member of the crew." (Letter X, p237)

A doctrine is exoteric to the degree that it is obliged to take account of individualism and the human inclination to succumb to the passional elements of nature, and transmits a necessary rule and morality, a set of symbols and means; its dogmas and rites, its legal, moral and other prescriptions.

The exoteric aspect of a religion is thus a providential disposition that, far from being blameworthy, is necessary in view of the fact that the esoteric way can only concern a minority, especially under the present conditions. What is blameworthy is not the existence of exoterism per se, but rather an all-invading autocracy which can and has historically occurred.

The classic validation of the exoteric is the exchange when the centurion asked Jesus to heal his sick servant:
"And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel." (Matthew 8:7-10).

Above all, the words of Milton: "They also serve who only stand and wait."

Logic, order, and neat systemization is irrelevant to the Spirit.
I'm not sure this can be correct? Surely were that so, then nothing could be said with any certainty.

There has always and only been one doctrine to the esoteric, though its methods may be numerous, and culturally defined and performed, its symbolisms can reflect great variety based on where in the world the Spirit has blown and inspired men and women.
Can you tell that doctrine without recourse to a revealed tradition?

There is a coherence of methodology: the language of symbol, allegory, metaphor, etc. that is universal, but I think that's rather more indicative of the nature of man.


The exoteric can lead to the esoteric enlightenment, but esoteric never leads to exoteric enlightenment as the truth, because the truth cannot come from outside oneself. This the exoteric cannot grasp, the esoteric knows for certainty it comes from within or not at all.
Hmm. Consider the Buddhist maxim: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

The gifts of the spirit are many, and not all are recognisable or would even qualify as 'esoteric'. Some of the greatest saints display not one iota of esoteric inclination.

The temple is oneself, not some expensive building.
Well, some might suggest you've missed the esoteric understanding of the temple ...

One can never tell another who wishes for esoteric insight that obedience must be performed, since obedience is irrelevant to where the Spirit blows.
And yet names like Eckhart, Rumi or Ibn'Arabi, Shankara (off the top of my head) are foremost exemplars of the esoteric way, and yet thoroughly orthodox in their religious observance.

That is the core of the esoteric doctrine, no matter how it differs in expression of symbolisms, experiences, etc.

It is the core only because one can make that assertion in light of the commonality between different traditions, but that does not mean there is a core esoteric doctrine, there cannot be, because the It has no core and periphery, it has no doctrine, It is what It is.

Thus when Moses asked God to prove Himself, he got a polite roasting: "I am that I am" to which one might add, "who the heck d'you think you are?" or, to be more esoterically inclined, "I am ... and nothing else is (apart from Me)" This latter was in the words of Christ to St Katherine of Sienna: "I am He who Is. You are she who is not."

So far as I can tell, this is the essential difference of the two ways of religion. The exoteric will not tolerate the esoteric unless and only if it aligns with exoteric thinking and doctrines and knowledge, nothing else is allowed.
And vice versa. Each exists in relation to the other.

I do think you're emphasising only the negative aspects of the exoteric, which is not the fault of the exoteric, but rather a fault in the character of humanity.
 
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Yes. The outer temple serves a focus, but the spirit can be lost in the ritual?
Well indeed, but again, if this is lost, it's npot the fault of the temple, but a flaw in human nature.

As regards the temple itself – a precis from my essay The Rended Veil:
The exoteric understanding is of a sanctuary as a sacred place, from the Greek sacare 'to set aside' and thus denotes a place set aside, by man, for the worship of God and for no other purpose. The esoteric dimension of 'sanctuary' is that within it one is outside of ordinary time and space.

Here below it is the temple alone that is acccorded this meaning of 'universal centre' because it 'solidifies' the idea of a principial centre as such. According to the Talmud (Yoma 54b) In it is found the 'foundation stone' (eben shetiyah) around which the earth was created and upon which the whole world rests. In the Kabbala (Zohar: Terumah 157a) the Holy of Holies is the centre of the temple, the temple is the centre of Jerusalem, Jerusalem of The Holy Land and the Holy Land of the world. As foundation of the world the temple stands in direct line of the vertical axis of creation and thus represents the locus of the influence of the Divine, which determines its exterior and functional aspect as spiritual centre for the people of Israel.

According to Greek myth Zeus let fly two eagles from opposite ends of the earth, and they flew towards each other and met over the town of Delphi, and this point at which they met was thus determined as the centre of the earth. The point was marked by the Omphalos stone in the temple of Apollo. When Harmonia wove the veil representing the whole universe, she started with the Omphalos stone at the centre and from there worked outward. For the Pythagoreans, the Omphalos symbolised the Monad, the seed of the universe. In Egypt their omphalos was the Ben-ben at Heliopolis, the theological centre of their culture, and prototype for the pyramids and the obelisk. Dedicated to the sun, the soul of the sun-god Ra, in the form of the Phoenix, would often alight upon it. There is an omphalos in Ireland, at Tara, the seat of the High Kings of the Gaels, and the Stone of Scone sat beneath the seat of the kings of Scotland. Of course, there is the Dome of the Rock in Islam. The notion, both of centre, and of foundation, finds its expression in all traditional cultures.

In Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies is where God resides in His Isness. Outside or 'below' was the Holy, wherein stood the symbols of the Jewish Tradition and here was enacted the ceremonies and rituals of the liturgical life. Finally 'below' the Holy was the Outer Court, and it was from here that man commences his journey back to God. Here was the altar and the basin and oral tradition informs us that sacrifice and purification were (and still are) necessary dimensions of spiritual realisation. Buddhist temples conform to similar principles.

To the Christian, it goes without saying that this ternary structure of the temple prefigures the Trinity. This is not to imply that the Doctrine of the Trinity is an extension of the temple tradition, in fact the reverse is the case, the form of the temple is itself founded in revelation, "According to all the likeness of the tabernacle which I will shew thee," (Exodus 25:9) and follows a Divine pattern, not a human one.

The Temple 'fixes' this relationship in time, by the procession of its liturgical calendar, and also in eternity, or more accurately in the eternal, in the transcendant, by the remembrance and thus continuance of the given covenant upon which tradition is founded, a contract which springs from the eternal and is the sapiential life and being of the temple itself.

The human alone cannot signify these essential truths, although in effect as God is everywhere, He is a centre without periphery – every soul stands under the vertical axis.
 
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Well indeed, but again, if this is lost, it's npot the fault of the temple, but a flaw in human nature.

As regards the temple itself – a precis from my essay The Rended Veil:
The exoteric understanding is of a sanctuary as a sacred place, from the Greek sacare 'to set aside' and thus denotes a place set aside, by man, for the worship of God and for no other purpose. The esoteric dimension of 'sanctuary' is that within it one is outside of ordinary time and space.

Here below it is the temple alone that is acccorded this meaning of 'universal centre' because it 'solidifies' the idea of a principial centre as such. According to the Talmud (Yoma 54b) In it is found the 'foundation stone' (eben shetiyah) around which the earth was created and upon which the whole world rests. In the Kabbala (Zohar: Terumah 157a) the Holy of Holies is the centre of the temple, the temple is the centre of Jerusalem, Jerusalem of The Holy Land and the Holy Land of the world. As foundation of the world the temple stands in direct line of the vertical axis of creation and thus represents the locus of the influence of the Divine, which determines its exterior and functional aspect as spiritual centre for the people of Israel.

According to Greek myth Zeus let fly two eagles from opposite ends of the earth, and they flew towards each other and met over the town of Delphi, and this point at which they met was thus determined as the centre of the earth. The point was marked by the Omphalos stone in the temple of Apollo. When Harmonia wove the veil representing the whole universe, she started with the Omphalos stone at the centre and from there worked outward. For the Pythagoreans, the Omphalos symbolised the Monad, the seed of the universe. In Egypt their omphalos was the Ben-ben at Heliopolis, the theological centre of their culture, and prototype for the pyramids and the obelisk. Dedicated to the sun, the soul of the sun-god Ra, in the form of the Phoenix, would often alight upon it. There is an omphalos in Ireland, at Tara, the seat of the High Kings of the Gaels, and the Stone of Scone sat beneath the seat of the kings of Scotland. Of course, there is the Dome of the Rock in Islam. The notion, both of centre, and of foundation, finds its expression in all traditional cultures.

In Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies is where God resides in His Isness. Outside or 'below' was the Holy, wherein stood the symbols of the Jewish Tradition and here was enacted the ceremonies and rituals of the liturgical life. Finally 'below' the Holy was the Outer Court, and it was from here that man commences his journey back to God. Here was the altar and the basin and oral tradition informs us that sacrifice and purification were (and still are) necessary dimensions of spiritual realisation. Buddhist temples conform to similar principles.

To the Christian, it goes without saying that this ternary structure of the temple prefigures the Trinity. This is not to imply that the Doctrine of the Trinity is an extension of the temple tradition, in fact the reverse is the case, the form of the temple is itself founded in revelation, "According to all the likeness of the tabernacle which I will shew thee," (Exodus 25:9) and follows a Divine pattern, not a human one.

The Temple 'fixes' this relationship in time, by the procession of its liturgical calendar, and also in eternity, or more accurately in the eternal, in the transcendant, by the remembrance and thus continuance of the given covenant upon which tradition is founded, a contract which springs from the eternal and is the sapiential life and being of the temple itself.

The human alone cannot signify these essential truths, although in effect as God is everywhere, He is a centre without periphery – every soul stands under the vertical axis.
I surrender :)
 
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