The Difference of Esoteric Vs Exoteric

Discussion in 'Esoteric' started by ScholarlySeeker, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,741
    Likes Received:
    2,125
    LOL. It's interesting that the Synoptics have Christ make one journey to Jerusalem, whereas John has Him visit multiple times, in accordance with religious observance.
     
    RJM Corbet likes this.
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,741
    Likes Received:
    2,125
    I went a couple of times to a Benedictine monastery, but I simply could not settle to the fact that in the modern architecture of the church, which looked more like a refectory, the tabernacle was not at the head of the altar, but to one side, and where I expected the tabernacle was a seat for the presiding priest. That seemed completely wrong to me.

    But I didn't mean to deny the spirit can be lost, it can, but I would add that it can be found again ...
     
    RJM Corbet likes this.
  3. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    6,112
    Likes Received:
    1,211
    Yes. I'm reading this almost as a response to the attitude that everything has to be logical and that there are no mysteries about it? But I completely agree with you that the external and the internal forces are both necessary, obviously. Jesus clearly kept the Jewish feasts and observances.

    I do think that Jewish observance is wonderful really -- God is always first in all the ordinary walks of life -- never to be forgotten by the people in their daily concerns.

    It is wonderful to walk into a great cathedral, and hear the music and great sense of space and the wonderful art and the carvings centuries old. There is gravitas and awe.
    Yup them old Benedictine brothers are finding it hard in the 21st century. I have such a huge respect for them, though few seem to really be happy men. However -- is anyone?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
    Thomas likes this.
  4. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    113
    Your response to my esoteric/exoteric was simply outstanding good sir! THANK YOU so much for responding so adroitly. I have to say I shall reassess some things without question, always a good thing. It is exactly what I was looking for. Am I off base (usually, but where? You show me where in your response).
    This essay here is quite good. I for one would enjoy seeing your entire essay if its available.

    I'm still trying to figure out how to offset your and my comments, sorry. I shall do it this way:
    THOMAS
    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.

    I shall refer to myself as SS:
    Very good! Yes, the study of temples by Lundquist, Patai, Seaich, and especially Margaret Barker all have noted this angle. Joseph Campbell also agreed and added a note of caution however that the sacred center is everywhere, wherever you are...

    THOMAS
    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.

    SS:
    Yes, the stone as foundation is also said to reside in man - it is our soul. This is thought in some traditions to be the Philosopher's Stone of the alchemists. The earth stone was the analogue to the more eternal Philosopher Stone in man's eternal soul. It is a fantastic image all around. LOVE your Zohar quote. Margaret Barker has shown the numerical and interesting symbolism of the Tabernacle as well as the First Temple. It is her major focus in her mammoth text "The Great High Priest." She has written numerous books on the temple that are really interesting. Now that I know you have an interest in this, I can get my bearings and begin dialoguing with you more on it as I have time. This is an excellent observation and good overview of so many cultures you bring out.

    THOMAS
    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.

    SS:
    Here I will gently disagree, but perhaps I am misunderstanding and am certainly willing to talk this idea out with such an one as thee.
    I agree with the idea of the building as you present it. But the human alone CAN signify those essential truths. Else what does Paul mean when he says we ourselves are temples? True, the outer (exoteric - sorry, couldn't resist my friend! LOL) building can be physically aligned, but it this more valuable, more important than a man being internally and spiritually (esoteric) aligned? God doesn't save buildings, he saves people, yes? And I may have to doublecheck this, but in my thinking, man out-symbolizes a building anytime, because we are part of the eternal building, not just a physical one. I may have to reword this after seeing what you think. The entire cosmos is built within man, not a mere building. In my thinking you are properly elevating the sacred buildings, but of course, but beyond what man is? I don't follow that intellectually, perhaps not even spiritually. And yes, yes, I am open to being told I am misunderstanding, this is a discussion, not an argument. I am really enjoying your posts! Thank you for sharing so much cool stuff to read. I shall try and return the blessing...
     
    Thomas likes this.
  5. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    6,112
    Likes Received:
    1,211
    The Buckfast Abbey with the monks and the abbey church are the reason I live where I do. The monks and their church are the reason I moved to this area.

    My retreats at the abbey were the main focus of my life for several years. It is a centre of calm. I can't actually imagine living here without the abbey.

    So, yes ... the exoteric.

    As I said, I read this essay mainly as response to statements about the need for religion and faith to be logical and rational, without any mystery to them. Catholics have our rosary and our Eucharist, and our other sacraments.

    In fact the Catholic Church keeps and protects many of the mysteries that have been lost and abandoned by some branches of Christianity. But that doesn't mean that we think we own God.

    But attacks upon the Christian faith often seem to be directed mainly at the Catholic Church, and of course a lot of the comes from other Christians. We're quite used to it.

    But it becomes slightly offensive when the statements are made without any proper knowledge or understanding not only of Catholicism, but of Christian belief and scripture in general -- to the point actually of outright blasphemy and derision -- and which the posters would never for a moment accept directed against their own faith and scripture.

    I do like this essay @ScholarlySeeker
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
    Thomas likes this.
  6. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    6,112
    Likes Received:
    1,211
    If you highlight a section of the post that you want to respond too, a black reply button box will appear below the highlighted section. If you press that button, the section you highlighted will appear in your response box at the bottom of the page, between the normal square bracketed quote boxes.

    You can respond to that section and keep highlighting other sections that you want to respond to as often as you need to. Make sure you leave the cursor below your last response, to ensure the next quote for reply lands there, and not somewhere else in your response page
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,741
    Likes Received:
    2,125
    Hi, thanks for the compliments!

    But the human alone CAN signify those essential truths.
    I would rather say the human alone can comprehend those essential truths.

    Else what does Paul mean when he says we ourselves are temples?
    He's not excluding the temple, though.

    but it this more valuable, more important than a man being internally and spiritually (esoteric) aligned?
    Here is where I think we over-emphasise the esoteric.

    A person can be a saint, or enlightened, or whatever you will, and not be in the least 'esoteric' in inclination.

    For example, there are many yogas in the Eastern Traditions. The path of the esotericist is closest to the Jnana Yoga, the Way of Knowledge. Another path of that of Bhakti Yoga, the Way of Devotion. In many readings, I see the two compared, and Jnana Yoga is implicitly, if not explicitly, declared to be the superior Way. This always from a writer who considers himself a jnani, a gnostic or an esotericist. (That might, however, be my nerve-sensitive reading.) But it does seem to me to be that generally there's a tendency to view the Way of Knowledge as esoteric, and the Way of Devotion as exoteric.

    Whereas, the are the same.

    As St John the Apostle says: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit (bhakti) and in truth (jnani). For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)

    The fact is, it's possible to interpret that text as esoteric superior to exoteric, or as exoteric as superior to esoteric, precisely because they are complementary.

    God doesn't save buildings, he saves people, yes?
    Yes. The buildings external the desire and devotion of the people. The building is a place dedicated to that salvific operation. God calls people to building to save them from themselves, as it were.

    Please remember that not everyone is an intellectual, and the way of the intellect does not speak to all universally, in fact the Way of Devotion is more accessible, and speaks to far more people than the Way of Knowledge.

    but in my thinking, man out-symbolizes a building anytime ...
    Well man stands at the apex of creation, yes, but as I've mentioned elsewhere, the author of Meditations on the Tarot had an epiphany contemplating the Rose Window at Chartres Cathedral. Bishop Kallistos Ware of the Russian Orthodox Tradition had his epiphany when he heard a choir in an Orthodox Church. There are many instances of people experiencing epiphanies while contemplating nature, or art, or listening to music, etc., but relatively few, I would suggest, while contemplating another person.

    In my thinking you are properly elevating the sacred buildings, but of course, but beyond what man is?
    Oh, dear me no! I apologise if I implied that. Rather, I think man externalises his aspirations. That's what temples represent, that's what they signify. That is what they point to, and that can open doors, as it were, for others who perhaps do not possess the same gifts.

    Our friend RJM says:
    "It is wonderful to walk into a great cathedral, and hear the music and great sense of space and the wonderful art and the carvings centuries old. There is gravitas and awe."
    Not to say one cannot experience this in the world, but rather it is a mark of man's art to create spaces to signify his spiritual beliefs and desires. I feel the same way as he does in old churches and cathedrals. I also feel awe and wonder looking into the night sky ...
     
    RJM Corbet likes this.
  8. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    113
    Thomas
    but in my thinking, man out-symbolizes a building anytime ...
    Thomas:
    Well man stands at the apex of creation, yes, but as I've mentioned elsewhere, the author of Meditations on the Tarot had an epiphany contemplating the Rose Window at Chartres Cathedral. Bishop Kallistos Ware of the Russian Orthodox Tradition had his epiphany when he heard a choir in an Orthodox Church. There are many instances of people experiencing epiphanies while contemplating nature, or art, or listening to music, etc., but relatively few, I would suggest, while contemplating another person.

    Oh, I dunno.....depends where in the world one is. Perhaps not in Europe or America, but in the Far East, the person is everything, as the person is everything in the Kabbalah and the Jewish esoteric literature... I suppose it depends on where we look.
    By the way, I am really enjoying all this. This place feels like "home," a quite nice feeling actually.
     
    Thomas and RJM Corbet like this.
  9. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    2,413
    Likes Received:
    1,092
    There are in Buddhism traditional contemplative exercises on the Buddaguna, the qualities of the Buddha, to give a counterexample. The "success rate" in terms of epiphanies is unknown, not unlike that of contemplation of choirs or sunsets.
     
  10. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    113
    A very good point, and Thomas's idea is right in line with this here concerning the art of that magnificent rose window, there is not much better than a gorgeous art piece be it man's or God's to contemplate and help us appreciate the greater things in life!
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,741
    Likes Received:
    2,125
    Of course, man is a maker of symbols, so sacred art and architecture is an expression.

    As Donne says 'no man is an island', and the idea of the temple, indeed any sacred art, is something set apart or dedicated to God, which man cannot do of himself, other than follow a monastic calling.

    I said:
    ... but relatively few (epiphanies), I would suggest, while contemplating another person.

    And both you and Cino have rightly picked me up on it – I stand corrected!

    We Christians have our Litanies of the Divine Name, we have Benediction and the Mysteries of the Rosary ... above all we have prayer!
     
  12. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    113
    Indeed... the theme of prayer is quite important. And yes, as a matter of fact, my suspicion is a lot of the religions have litanies of the Divine Name, and even though those differ, I suspect (and hope) it doesn't make much difference to God, since, regardless of what name we use for God, my impression is we are all at least looking in the correct direction, even if some details differ... if ya know what I mean.....GRIN!
     
    Thomas and RJM Corbet like this.

Share This Page