Doxia and Praxis

Thomas

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Much discussion here focuses on the variant forms of ortho-doxia — 'right-thinking', but there is another dimension, and that is ortho-praxis — 'right-action'.

In discussions between the various denominations of Christianity, and moreso between Christianity and other traditions, it is invariably the meaning of doctrine that comes under discussion, rarely the meaning of practice.

Christianity is first and foremost a Way, and this is often forgotten. Knowledge is secondary, and ancilliary, and in service of the Way. If one reads Scripture one cannot help but notice Our Lord praises, and is often taken aback, by acts of simple faith, whereas He never praises anyone for their knowledge (except in one specific case) and often is critical of displays of even orthodox wisdom. 'These people honour me with their lips,' Jesus was to observe, 'but their hearts are far from me.' (Matthew 15:8)

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Praxia cannot be divorced from doxia — the exoteric body cannot survive without its esoteric soul, but equally doxia cannot be separated from praxis — one doesn't get to be a saint by sitting on one's arse. Meditation, like the monastic life, is hard graft, and 'enlightenment' is not guaranteed.

If your practice is easy, you're kidding yourself ... you're on what athletes call the plateau, and going nowhere. You've settled to a regime that suits and reinforces your weaknesses — this is why the guru, geront, shaman, medicine man, staretz, sheik, director (depending upon the tradition) is a requirement of advanced spiritual training.

Some theosophy schools of antiquity believed that being gnostics, they were beyond the rewach of sin — for a normal man to do it was wrong, but they were above right or wrong, they were above the letter of the law, and so could do as they wished; whatever they did would be a boon and benefit to mankind. More fool them. In the end the perversion of this dictum became Crowley's infamous 'let thy will be the whole of the law', which dredged itself up in the 60s as 'do your own thing'.

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Every tradition has its praxia, and as discussed above such actions can and quite often are common and universal — washing, eating, praying, bowing — but the spiritual dimension of such actions are unique to the given praxia, and the praxia is explained by the doxia — thus, as I was once told, 'you don't become a Buddhist by meditating, and you don't have to meditate to be a Buddhist.'

Thus meditation is common to a number of traditions, but the goal of the action will be unique to a given praxia, Christian meditation has a different orientation than Buddhist, for example, Christian prayer has a different disposition of the self towards God than a Jew or a Moslem. The outwards forms are the same, and often indistinguishable, but the interior life, and the subsequent gnosis, are markedly different.

Islam has elevated praxis to perhaps its purest form.

Pax,

Thomas
 
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