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Oikophobia in Western Religious experience

Discussion in 'Religion & Spirituality' started by Pangloss, 20 May 2016.

  1. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    Well the modern Western sterilized form of Buddhism of course isn't authentic Buddhism, which is not atheistic in any real sense unless one defines atheism as not being oriented in the Abrahamic monotheistic framework. There is an Absolute (Dharmakaya) or what we may conceive as an impersonal God, there is the Absolute element in man (Buddha-Nature, etc.), there are celestial beings who may assist people (Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, etc), nefarious non-human entities (demons, etc.), a materialistic conception of the universe is denied, there are postmortem repercussions for ones actions and way of life, and so on.

    True yoga and meditation has as its goal seeing the reality that the self is dreamlike, constructed in thought, not worthy of refuge, destined to destruction, etc. and the transcendence of that false conception of self. Though you have described quite accurately the New Age distortion of yoga which is often an egoic focus on "me, me, me."

    As to charity or activity in the world, both historically and today these exist in Eastern traditions and monasteries, hermits, and pure contemplatives play (or played) a massive role in Christianity, so I don't think the dichotomy of "active Abrahamist vs inactive pagan/Eastern" really works.

    Check this post out:


    Buddhist and Hindu societies historically have been patriarchal, hierarchical, monarchical, the Buddha initially didn't wish to permit women into the sangha, etc.

    If female bodhisattvas are somehow a mark against the masculine nature of a tradition, then what of the Virgin Mary or female saints and the various devotions to them?

    Though you are indeed correct about the feminized and female dominated nature of "yoga" in the West (which is really just exercising and breathing with the aim of the reduction of stress and promotion of health, both of which are positive things but of course are not the ultimate objectives of real yoga.) That said it is also the case that modern Christianity is feminized.
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  2. Lithium

    Lithium Member

    Yes, but puttering around the worst consequence is a second life after this one. Without living a Godly life you fall into the abyss.

    From what I understand the monks ask for alms so they can live without doing anything. Christians are consistently the top contributors to the wellbeing of third world countries if not the only ones helping. All around the world different nations send their armies into the Middle East just for the purpose of killing Muslims.

    Buddhist and Hindu societies historically have been patriarchal, hierarchical, monarchical, the Buddha initially didn't wish to permit women into the sangha, etc.

    And women aren't allowed to practice yoga. This is true but flies in the face of the worship of female deities.

    If female bodhisattvas are somehow a mark against the masculine nature of a tradition, then what of the Virgin Mary or female saints and the various devotions to them?

    I was talking about Christianity not Catholicism.

    From what I understand the Buddha came to an Ashram and saw the Brahmins there hurting themselves and practicing a type of asceticism that was dangerous. He thought that there would be a way to have a God-realization without senseless destruction of the self. All you have to do is look at the story of him and Mara. As he was about to grasp Enlightenment Mara came and tried to tempt him away from it. Yet that is a story about him and his Enlightenment; it is not a story about the supreme evil being offering God everything he wants in exchange for turning his back on humanity.

    "Getting up for sadhana in the morning is a totally selfish act - for personal strength, for personal intuition, for personal sharpness, for personal discipline, and overall for absolute personal prosperity." Yogi Bhajan
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  3. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    I am sure there have indeed been those who seek monasticism as a means to withdraw from economic/work life but the price of celibacy, obedience to superiors, strict ethical codes, inability to own property, etc. seems a hefty one in exchange, to say nothing of the fact that some monks, such as Christian monks or Buddhist monks in China/Korea/Japan, often had to do work as well. That being the case I'd wager most monks/yogis were sincere in their vocation.

    While I believe charity is positive, it also is the case that throwing money at problems won't solve all of them and financial charity especially cannot help overcome the core problems of life, namely suffering and death. Only liberation can achieve this and that requires inner transformation which in turn requires enlightened guides and thus the reason behind monastics, yogis, hermits, etc.

    The issue here is that in order to save anyone else you must first save yourself. In order to save yourself you must first love yourself...not in the sense of an egoic love at the expense of others but a love that seeks spiritual health and goodness for yourself in contrast to apathy toward your ultimate destiny.

    That aside I don't think the doctrine of the bodhisattva, namely one who has compassion for all living beings and vows to save all living beings, can be called selfish.
  4. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

  5. Pangloss

    Pangloss Senior Member

    Apologies for the delay - I try to avoid this place on work nights, it has a habit of stealing my sleep.

    A perfect example would be the condemnation of Islam prior to, and just after the first Crusade. Various western Christian thinkers had described Islam as an Arian branch of Christianity (St. John of Damascus), a polytheistic Carthaginian religion that practised human sacrifice (Pope Urban II subscribed to this view) , openly theistic Satanism, and an Arabised Judaism. If they could make this kind of mistake with a literate and organised religion with a holy book such as Islam, what hope is there for decentralised Paganism?

    (This can also go the other way, how many Islamic scholars in the 21st century still view Christianity as polytheistic.)

    Now, imagine that the more fanatical Crusaders had been ultimately successful, and killed or converted every last Saracen, fully latinising the area. And then in the 19th or 20th century some Varq ibn Al-Viqurnez arab nationalist tried to recreate Islam from (as we can plainly see) faulty Christian source material, and find comparisons between it an ancient Carthage.

    Vedic religion is a post Aryan diaspora religion - it not the original and universal religion of man, it its own unique development. And for Buddhism, Raisin has summed up before rather nicely:

    "There's clearly a precedent for Buddhism within Vedantism, in its view of the world as illusory and in its attempt to achieve higher spirituality through negation - which gives Buddhism a historical genealogy; But there was also a shift, both in how Buddhism denied the sacred quality of the social order, and in how its negation wasn't towards a theistic non-dualism but rather was EITHER a pure negation of suffering without a positive ontology, OR a negation of illusion for the safe of an inner Self."

    Well the idea of the head being the centre is a pretty common view in the classical e.g. birth of Minerva, Aneas swearing by his head, Asnascanius' head catching fire, Plato comparing it to the rational component of the soul. Or in Judaism 'blessings of the head', the anointing of the head during religious rituals, Jews swearing oaths by their head, the centre of calamities, deeds laid upon head, the importance of covering it, and the head 'being under a vow'.

    My issue is the fact we have no contemporary text from the Celtic people's themselves describing it in detail. It impossible to date oral tradition, or measure its development.

    Yes, biblical criticism has been a massive part of Christian theology since the Church Fathers - this tends to be something that happens when you have literate religions (an old joke is that most Christian heresies have stemmed from this) - if you look east you have extreme textual criticism of the Vedas from the Lokoyata school. Likewise the Astika in Hindu philosophy came to their various different conclusions from a critical analysis of the sacred texts.

    My issue with these texts is they seem to all have been put down by Christian thinkers (and once again I will refer you to my Islam example) - Snorri Sturluson even said he wrote the Prose Edda to argue Norse gods were the development of hero worship of former military leaders:

    In the Prose Edda, composed around 1220, the Christian Icelandic bard and historian Snorri Sturluson proposes that the Norse gods were originally historical leaders and kings. Odin, the father of the gods, is introduced as a historical person originally from Asia Minor, tracing his ancestry back to Priam, the king of Troy during the Trojan War. As Odin travels north to settle in the Nordic countries, he establishes the royal families ruling in Denmark, Sweden and Norway at the time:

    And whatever countries they passed through, great glory was spoken of them, so that they seemed more like gods than men.

    Thus, while Snorri's euhemerism follows the early Christian tradition, the effect is not simply to discredit the divinity of the gods of a religion on the wane, but also (on the model of Virgil's Aeneid) to hint that the 'divinisation' was done in order to legitimize more recent Scandinavian rulers.

    It should also be noted that Bede did the same in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum - argued that the Anglo-Saxon Gods were actually the heroic first settlers of the British isles (thus bringing the pagans to convert without denigrating their ancestors or culture).

    Yes, all cultures have symbolisation of the seasons, I don't see what is so radical about this, or why it is any more valid in the Indo-European context that the Mesoamerican one.

    And some schools of Buddhism aren't cyclical, it puts emphasis on the present. People who think the existence of the world is illusory, do not put much emphasis on it's creation and destruction:

    "Ultimately real is only the present moment of physical efficiency."

    ~F.I. Shcherbatskoy

    (the image insert isn't working - http://imgur.com/a/G6LjG )

    Whereas Tantrics do have their wheels of time. What one buddhist school says, another one immediately contradicts. Even in Hinduism some of the Astiki hold to a linear view of time, others to a cyclical one.

    Ceasar mentions Druids believing in the immortality of the soul, and adhered to localised cycles - the seasons, solar cycles and months - but no abstract metaphysical theory of time. Most of this stuff about wheels of time seems to have emerged only in the 60's with Wicca revival and other cancerous new age cults.

    Also, what about Rome, a true European people - they had a linear conception of time. Events were measured via the dynasty and prior to that the founding of Rome. Marcus Aurelius and Seneca also both put forward a linear conception.

    Zoroastrianism, a perfect example of Aryan Indo-European religion also has a linear conception - cyclical views on time (and hints at reincarnation) only emerged with the Zurvanist heresy (which also paradoxically was materialist in parts) - which was crushed and has been extinct for thousands of years.

    I am wary of these gentleman. They are not exactly rigorous scholars attempting an unbiased analysis - but rather avowed esoteric orientalists. Which is all good for delineating certain heroic elements of the psyche, but not for an academic study.

    No, I am using a term to refer directly to a historical time period, where the Celtic people's truly emerged in Europe - La Tene culture - if I say 'European peoples', I could be talking about a 5th century Jute, a 17th century Flemmish woman, or a 20th Century Bavarian. I am using a term to specifically localise what we are referring to - the religion of the Celtic peoples prior to Christianity.

    You also have a habit of linking in new age Wiccan thinkers with no academic qualifications or research to back up their claims. These connections are tenuous and break down when questioned.

    I am not denying that there are comparisons, but they are very generic and vague e.g. serpents and thunder gods, and pantheons. Sure, you have Hittites and Persians having similar words for their deities, but aside from a linguistic root, it can't tell us much else.

    What you seem to be doing is something far more radical and far reaching, rather than hypothesising a mysterious and primordial Aryan religion, you seem to be making a very positive claim that Vedic religion as we see now was the hyperborean religion - the druids are a priestly class and the Irish have fairy tales about cattle, so therefore Druids are Brahmins and the Celts are Hindus - and everything else is a denigration.
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  6. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    What does any of this have to do with the fact that often the pagan material in Irish or Norse material is supposed to be describing the pagan period, was often composed or based on material that was within living memory of the pagan period, is non-Christian in character, and also happens to often align both with how the Classical world described these pagans and fits into an Indo-European framework that is different than the Hebraic/Christian?

    The point is that while there is Christian interpolation, distortion, and sometimes pure fantasy involved in this literature it is also the case that much of it is of authentic pre-Christian origins. No one is claiming that with this we can create paganism anew but rather simply that Indo-European mythological and spiritual traditions have a common root ancestor and are related to each other and more related to each other than non-Indo-European traditions such as the Hebrew one. This isn't really a controversial point and is accepted by most Indo-European scholars, comparative religion/mythologists, etc.

    Buddhism doesn't deny the sacredness of the social order and in literally every civilization where Buddhism was the primary or secondary tradition the sacredness of the social order remained.

    As to the negation of suffering without something positive, this misinterpretation has admittedly appeared in the history of Buddhism at various points but this wasn't the original message of the Buddha as figures like the previously mentioned George Grimm discuss and wasn't the trajectory Mahayana took, especially in East Asia.

    Yes, which is why they are not sufficient sources for creating a reconstructionist religion but the idea that they contain nothing of authentic pre-Christian tradition and is entirely the product of Christian imagination is absurd and not accepted by any of the scholars or comparative mythologists I've encountered.

    Whatever the case, in the Irish or the Norse there are two primary cultural or philosophical traditions from whence we can derive certain features present in the literature, namely Christian or pagan. Christianity professes linear time thus cyclical time found in the literature (or other features like transmigration) are either references to actual pagan beliefs, which is what the literature is supposed to be describing, or coincidental fancy by Christian monks.

    Nearly all Buddhist and Hindu schools accept the notion that the universe (or multiple universes) go through cylces of creation and destruction. Classical sources mention that the Druids taught the universe was eternal but at times "fire or water prevail", namely the destructive ends and primordial beginnnings of various cycles, and the Norse also speak of renewal after Ragnarok.

    Zoroastrianism was a reform of the ancient Indo-Aryan tradition that introduced various new ideas while also retaining many older ones. From what I've read the pre-Zoroastrian Iranic traditions were more closely aligned with the Indic and they both spring from a common source with the Vedas containing older material than the Avestas.

    I can't recall the specific scholars off hand but there are modern academics who accept Tilak's theory...if I come across it again I will post it.

    I wasn't speaking of the Celtic religion alone but rather European pagan traditions, whether Celtic, Greek, Germanic, Slavic, etc. These both precede and postdate the Iron Age or La Tene culture and are geographically European, ethno-culturally European, etc.

    M. L. West, Calvert Watkins, Dumezil, Jaan Puhvel, Mircea Eliade, etc. along with Guenon, Coomaraswamy, Evola, and the other Traditionalist are New Age Wiccans? The only New Agey person I mentioned was Ceisiwr Serith and whatever his faults he often references academic material to prove his point.

    I am not claiming that the Vedic religion is the Hyperborean religion but rather that the Vedic tradition is a descendant of the Hyperborean proto-Aryan and Aryan traditions, the Vedas contain material of much greater antiquity than their written form, that the Euopean pagan traditions also descend from the same source and thus are related, and that the European pagan traditions are closer to other Indo-European traditions than Semitic traditions.

    It's as LW Hasten concludes her comparative study of the Vedas and Eddas:

    "In all probability, the Aryans of the Rig Veda lived in India long before 1900 BCE. Likely their presence was felt at the settlements on the Sarasvati, perhaps even at Mehrgarh. The further back in time they are placed, the more physical and linguistic variation is likely to be found among them. Perhaps they developed more than one language, particularly if an area was heavily populated by non-Indo-Europeans or separated geographically. Their culture was probably never the only one in India ; perhaps the Dravidians represent the intermingling of ancient Indo-Aryans and non-Indo-Europeans. Since even an early Indus date of 2500 BCE may be too late to serve as the terminus post quem of the Rig Veda, it may indeed represent the earliest span of recorded time in history.

    The myths of the Norse will have come then more than three millennia later. Yet despite being even further removed from the Vedas than previously imagined, they grow strangely closer. The simple persistence of structure over so vast a period of time is remarkable; a testament, perhaps, to its functionality. The Eddas and Vedas are indeed related to each other, but not in the manner most often described. Their fraternity reaches much further back into pre-history than can currently be traveled, and their relationship, while more distant temporally, has been placed upon stronger, more solid ground. The relationship shared by two such disparate works is powerful testimony to the ultimate unity of the Indo-Europeans."
  7. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    Buddhist opposition to the caste system; No Buddhist sacrament of Kingship; No Buddhist sacrament of marriage; The general inferiorisation of all lay-life. I have raised these points multiple times in the shoutbox conversation, and you kept ignoring such questions or responding with non seqiturs. The reason it coexisted within different societies is precisely because it had no standards for sacredness within the social order (and further that the austerity of Buddhist negation frequently compromised itself by adopting local superstitions).
  8. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    Give these a look:






    You need to also stop treating a particularly austere reading of Theravada relating to monastic discipline and insight as encompassing all of Buddhism, especially Mahayana/Vajrayana. In the latter the identity of Nirvana and Samsara or the Absolute and phenomenal order is maintained. With Huayan(often called the philosophy behind Chan/Zen) and in Kukai and the "tantric" or "esoteric" Buddhism of East Asia the outward world of appearance isn't negated or denied but rather treated as a symbol and various elements of the phenomenal universe such as art, music, bodily gesture, etc. are treated as means of cultivation or windows to truth.
  9. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    Nice to see an answer from you on one of those topics, at least.

    Ok... so the first point focuses only on one side of the caste system: Gautama's revolt against the Brahmin caste. Evola doesn't deny it, but rather thinks it is justified based on his reading of the Brahmin caste as being usurpers against some speculated solar raj - which may well be true; The problem here, however, being that Evola then sneakily reinterprets Buddhism as being ipso facto a restoration (in some respect) of that prior caste, which is simply not warranted. He says with absolute dishonesty that "Buddhism closely adhered to the ksatriya (in Pali, khattiya) spirit, the spirit of the warrior caste. We have already seen that the Buddha was born of the most ancient Aryan nobility" - which nicely omits his complete abandonment of his princely function. It also omits other features of the caste system which were attacked: The importance of one's birth, which is a fundamental aspect to the superordination of caste, was completely rejected; Varna was reduced to activity, and there was no caste restrictions for joining the Sangha. Furthermore, if the Sangha is thought to be a restoration of the original high-caste spirit, then why does it have no inherent military function? Which the rajanya and kshatriya both clearly did.

    Let us listen to the horse's mouth: "No Brahmin am I, no Prince, no farmer, or aught else. All worldly ranks I know, but knowing go on my way as simply nobody."

    I don't have time to read 60 pages and a book - it's dissertation season again - so if you could point me to the pertinent points/quotes therein, that'd be swell. Although, I would note: I stipulated a sacrament of kingship. All I've seen before about Buddhistic kingship has been a kingship that is meritorious (Merit being effectively the mechanistic philosophy that occupies the laity in Buddhistic societies).

    I notice you skipped past my last two points again.
  10. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    The Buddha's doctrine is essentially a doctrine of awakening, it is for the attainment of the unconditioned and complete liberation and this is what the original textual material is concerned with. The kshatriya spirit which is found in the doctrine of awakening is described elsewhere by Evola, namely a warrior attitude and language toward ascesis and awakening.

    Buddha was not a social reformer and had no intention of uprooting the caste system or denying the importance of birth. His contention was that birth alone didn't indicate the possession of transcendent wisdom and noted the lack of that in much of his Brahmin contemporaries. Coomaraswamy discusses this here:

    There is an ethical teaching for laymen also, with injunctions and prohibitions as to what one should or should not do, but nothing that can be described as a “social reform” or as a protest against the caste system. The repeated distinction of the “true Brāhmaṇ” from the mere Brāhmaṇ by birth is one that had already been drawn again and again in the Brahmanical books. If we can speak of the Buddha as a reformer at all it is only in the strictly etymological sense of the word: it is not to establish a new order but to restore an older form that the Buddha descended from heaven. Although his teaching is “all just so and infallible,”2 this is because he has fully penetrated the Eternal Law (akālika dharma)3 and personally verified all things in heaven or earth; 4 he describes as a vile heresy the view that he is teaching a “philosophy of his own,” thought out by himself. 5 No true philosopher ever came to destroy, but only to fulfill the Law. “I have seen,” the Buddha says, “the ancient Way, the Old Road that was taken by the formerly All-Awakened, and that is the path I follow”; 6 and since he elsewhere praises the Brāhmaṇs of old who remembered the Ancient Way that leads to Brahma, 7 there can be no doubt that the Buddha is alluding to “the ancient narrow path that stretches far away, whereby the contemplatives, knowers of Brahma, ascend, set free” (vimuktāḥ), mentioned in verses that were already old when Yajñavalkya cites them in the earliest Upaniṣad.


    Indeed, as is known a Buddha will only be born as a Brahmin or a Kshatriya according to the texts, thus showing that the importance of birth related to caste is not denied.

    The whole book mentioned is about tantric sacraments of kingship, the abhiseka, which had older roots in Mahayana and Brahmanism. The ideal of the chakravartin and sacred kingship has ancient roots in Buddhism. Here's some interesting material relating both to kingship, birth, and the social-political order in early Buddhism:

    The Tesakuna Jataka contains some very interesting material on early Buddhist political ideas, among which is the concept of the five powers (baldni) which are the bases of kingship.'6 These five powers are described as strength of arms (bahaba/am), strength of wealth (bhogabalam), strength of ministers (amaccaba/am), prestige of high birth (abhijaccabalam) and strength of intellect (paniiabalam), the last being the greatest of royal strengths. It is interesting to compare these constituents of royal power with the Kautalyan list of the prakritis'7 and find that three elements-ministers, army and treasury-are common to both. We have already referred to the importance of the land (janapada) as one of the constituents of sovereignty.

    Kingship is generally regarded as a reward for meritorious actions performed in past births.20 The Pali texts generally insist that a king be a khattiya and belong to a family with a hoary lineage. This is in keeping with the early Buddhist view that the khattiyas are the highest among classes and castes.21 Nor is a woman favored as a
    ruler.22 A good king is expected to be charitable, moral, sacrificing, just, humble, penitent, nonwrathful, nonviolent, patient and harmless.23 In short, the ideal king should be pre-eminently a moral being.

    They are, however, not averse to using non-ratiocinative elements in their concept of the royal charisma. The ideal king is described as a "holy" person, a person in whom resides some mystic power. The Cakkavatti (Universal Monarch) has almost all the characteristics of a Bodhisattva like the marks of great men (mahapurisalakkhanani), and on death his funeral is conducted in the same fashion as that of a Buddha.33 As in the case of a Buddha there cannot be more than one Cakkavatti in a world-system at a time.34 The charisma of a dead Cakkavatti resides in his stupa and a visit to the stupa of a Cakkavatti is described as an act of merit which may lead a person to heaven after death.'35 The raising of a stupa over the remains of a "Universal Ruler," as a religious edifice conducive to merit, has parallels with the cult of Devaraja and the identification of a king with Siva as practiced in classical Angkor raises some very interesting possibilities of the existence, in an embryonic form, of the Devaraja cult in ancient India.36

    It is in the concept of dhamma that the Buddhist ideas on kingship find their ultimate conclusion. The Cakkavatti is dhammiko dhammardja. He is devoted to dhamma, honors it, is deferential towards it, worships it, makes it his banner and treats it as his overlord.48 In another text dhamma is declared to be the ruler of rulers, the highest in the world.49 This dhamma, as pointed out earlier, is equated with justice (ndya) and equity (sama) rectitude and the highest morality. In this line of reasoning, then, the state is never an end in itself but rather a means to an end. As an instrument, it is possessed of total power that encompasses within its jurisdiction all areas of human activity.

    This concept of a political society is that of a great family presided over by a morally elevated being with a father image.55 The Buddha explains this by stating that even as a father is near and dear unto his sons the Cakkavatti is beloved of all of his subjects. It is this very sentiment that is echoed by Asoka (circa 273-232 B. C.) when he says, "All men are my children. Just as in the case of my own children I desire that they may get welfare and happiness in this and the next world so do I also desire for all."5" In this great family the interests of its members are complementary rather than conflicting. There is an insistence on equality of spiritual opportunities, although hierarchical economic and social relations are almost taken for granted. The goal is to prevent hierarchical relations from restricting equal opportunities for moral and spiritual development and in the administration of justice. It is emphasized that the entire effort of the state be inspired by a moral earnestness and that all values of life be strictly interpreted in moral terms. Furthermore, this morality must be universal in its scope and the nature of offenses and the intensity of punishments must be ordered by impartial ethical considerations

    In short there is a sacred dimension to kingship, sacraments of kingship (this became especially pronounced in Mahayana/tantric rites), and a sacred dimension to the social order itself, which isn't denied merely because monastics are privileged.

    In any case, we are veering a bit off topic here aren't we?
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