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Are the Core Teachings of the Abrahamic Faiths Paths to Enlightenment?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Quite unlike the noble and esteemed religion of erotic dancing girls, the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Baha'i faiths do not seem to make spiritual or mystical enlightenment a core goal or teaching of their faiths.

    Which raises the question, if you adhere to one of those faiths, do you nevertheless see its teachings as a path to enlightenment?

    By "enlightenment", I mean something along the lines of kensho, which is a Japanese term for it that easy to google without getting things mixed up with the European Englightenment.
     
    #1 Sunstone, Jun 24, 2018
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  2. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Speaking from my perspective of Christianity, I say the term "salvation" is an expression of what Enlightenment means. It means Liberation, freedom from death and suffering, and so forth.

    The problem is the religion wraps that all up in mythological garb and presents it to people as a commodity for purchase. Sort of like Buddha in a Box in the checkout lane at Walmart. "Just believe and be saved", is the commercialized version of Enlightenment, a "Shortcut to Nirvana" package deal. It all markets to the ego. "Jesus died so you don't have to. Don't worry about it. When you die, you'll be OK." There is no actual Realization, just a substitution for it.

    Short Cut to Nirvana
     
    #2 Windwalker, Jun 24, 2018
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  3. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    If we recognize some of the more fundamental contradictions in the Bible, like Paul contradicting Christ or John being made up... These could be taught as steps to discernment.

    Had a thread 'Are Only the Enlightened Saved?', as the scriptures imply that it is the wise who shall be saved.

    In my ascension between Heaven and Hell, those levels of ascension matched the 10 Commandments as quantum physics... Thus think this is an easy way to see dimensions within meditation.

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
  4. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    The exoteric beliefs, rituals and ceremonies of the Abrahamic religions are not about enlightenment. But look at the esoteric interpretations. For example, Rumi/Islamic sufism:

    “Lose yourself,
    Lose yourself in this love.
    When you lose yourself in this love,
    you will find everything.

    Lose yourself,
    Lose yourself.
    Do not fear this loss,
    For you will rise from the earth
    and embrace the endless heavens.
    ...
    Lose yourself,
    Lose yourself at the foot of the glorious King. When you lose yourself
    before the King
    you will become the King.


    That later sentiment, "become the King" parallels Matt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your. Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    In the Kabbala, I find parallels to other spiritual paths, albeit with the "coat" of Judaism rather than the coats of Christianity or Islam.
     
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  5. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    According to my understanding the goal of the mystic in the Baha’i Faith is re-union with God, having not read Kensho I can only imagine from what you say that he/she has different goal posts
     
  6. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    That's interesting. So far as I know, the most common description of mystical experiences by mystics themselves is that the experiences were of a god. Some differ, but they are in the minority here.

    I goofed! I capitalized kensho which has lead you to believe kensho is a person. It's not. It's just a term for spiritual enlightenment. I threw it out there because so many people in another thread I once made got confused about what kind of enlightenment I was talking about. Got some posts about the European Enlightenment! :D
     
  7. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    I think that the Christians seeking salvation and the Buddhists seeking enlightenment are both very similar: they assume that there is something fundamentally wrong with humans which needs to be fixed. But their remedies are not compatible, the Christians claiming that only God can help and the Buddhists saying that the can do it for themselves. Whether the end products are the same, as you ask, I really don't know as I can't understand either of them!
     
  8. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Erotic dancing girls = 7th Heaven... and an empty wallet at the end of the night after you've been endlessly and most cruelly teased by their divine wiles, which is its own kind of living Hell. :p

    Are they really so noble and esteemed, after all? I think they are fallen angels, those delightful dancing girls whom you worship. (But I'm sure you know that already.) They promise heaven but giveth hell.

    Just trying to look out for you man (and madly jealous, obviously, that my prayer-time isn't half as exciting as yours must be. Ejaculatory Prayer has taken on a whole new level of meaning for me now:

    In Christian piety, an ejaculation, sometimes known as ejaculatory prayer or aspiration, is a very short prayer often attached as a form of pious devotion.

    I told you before, your a bad influence. Good Catholic boy that I am, I need to get to confession now real quick....).

    Now onto far less important and wholesome matters......I personally disagree with your interpretation of the "core teachings" of Christianity - albeit I'm excluding Protestantism almost entirely from the equation when I say this, and thinking about this from an Orthodox/Catholic point of view.

    Even the New Testament itself tells us that the ideal goal is a "peace" beyond all understanding in which the individual is "filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:14-21) described later on by the early desert fathers through the use of the words apatheia (state of imperturbable calm) and theosis (deification/union with God). The person who dies in this state of perfect union with God, attains heaven immediately, without needing to go through purgatory according to Catholic doctrine (or, for that matter, endless teasing by those devilish dancing girls).

    Orthodox theology and liturgy is deliberately oriented around the cultivation of this supreme mystical state:

    Orthodoxy and Mysticism - Part 1 - Eastern Orthodoxy and Mysticism: The Transformation of the Senses - Hieromonk Irenei Steenberg | Ancient Faith Ministries

    In the silence of the desert, in the solitude of the cell, free from worldly entanglements, one could ascend to the contemplation and knowledge of God, and loving union with Him. This inner tradition of becoming “sharers of the divine nature” (2 Peter: 4 ) — all but lost to modern Christianity — survives, almost unchanged over the centuries in certain corners of the Eastern Orthodox Church...

    In particular, Orthodoxy is described very often as a “mystical Christianity”, a Christianity that has not lost a sense of mystery, Christianity with a “mystic” dimension...


    The same is true for Catholicism - or at least, its supposed to be.

    God permits us by grace to share in His own Beatitude, His own happiness or felicity. This is what the state of heaven essentially consists of. Theosis, in this life, is a foretaste of that glorious existence of the Blessed in heaven, whereby we participate in the divine nature (as much as is possible by God's power in this life), through the gift of infused contemplative prayer.

    This is the foundation and raison d'etre of Christian monasticism, which for us represents the perfect ideal.
     
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  9. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    Most people do not realize the differences between Eastern Enlightenment and the salvation advertised by the Abrahamic religions. The goal of the former is not salvation, but Spiritual Awakening, which has been termed 'The Master Game', while that of the latter is Salvation, called 'The Religion Game'.

    Liberation from metaphysical anxiety is also solved differently:


    The Self and Liberation

    "The fundamental difference between Buddhism and other religions is that Buddhism has no God or gods before whom people bow down in return for peace of mind. The spirit enmeshed in the Buddha’s teachings refuses to offer a god in exchange for freedom from anxiety. Instead, freedom from anxiety can only be found at the point where the Self settles naturally upon itself."

    Excerpted from “From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment” by Dogen and Uchiyama

    There is no individual 'soul' or 'self' in the Eastern teachings, and so no need for a personal salvation. Enlightenment is realized in the here and now. One does not need to wait until after death to be sure of your soul or self being saved. Awakening is about the realization that the individual self of Identification is a fiction, which is why you sometimes see the Buddhist aphorism:

    "If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him!"


    IOW, there is no seeker or self on the road to becoming a Buddha. A Buddha already is Enlightened. Upon awakening, the seeker vanishes, as it was an illusion of the mind to begin with.
     
    #9 godnotgod, Jun 24, 2018
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  10. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    At the risk of inflicting upon you yet another one of my obnoxiously wrong opinions, I actually take erotic dancing girls seriously. Years ago, when I still went to the clubs, it seemed to me kind of natural to meditate while watching them for pretty much the same reason I was in a nearly daily habit back then of meditating on any beauty. And I discovered those meditations were fruitful in helping me to understand the relationships between goals, desires, and fears.

    So, yeah, that's the origin of my joke. And, yes, it does prove I have no life.

    Very convincing. I had no idea how core mysticism was to Orthodox Christianity. Thanks! Of course, I knew a bit about what it's meant to Catholicism (thanks to you), but not how that tied into scriptures.
     
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  11. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    How is it possible to be separated from God that 're-union' becomes necessary?
     
  12. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Yeah, yeah, I believe you...;)

    Truth to be told, St. Angela of Foligno claimed to be able to see God in everything, so I can actually understand where you are coming from, all kidding aside.

    Meister Eckhart famously said:

    "One who truly has God will have Him in all places, in the streets and in the world, no less than in the church."
    (Meister Eckhart, from Whom God Hid Nothing)

    Now, he didn't extend that to brothels (nearest thing to a strip club in the 13th century) but the logic holds: we should be able to be contemplative and non-attached anywhere and everywhere.

    That's why the Orthodox strive for "unceasing prayer". Have you ever read the Russian Orthodox Way of the Pilgrim?

    It's
    a classic illustration of this:

    The Orthodox Faith - Volume IV - Spirituality - Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving - Unceasing Prayer

    In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul instructs Christians to “be constant in prayer” (Rom 12.12). In his first letter to the Thessalonians he says simply, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5.17).

    The second way of interpreting the teachings about unceasing prayer is that men should actually pray with conscious awareness at every moment of their lives, and even in their unconscious selves while their bodies are sleeping. This understanding of “unceasing prayer” was developed in the monastic tradition, but then spread rapidly throughout the whole membership of the church. It became very popular in recent times, mostly through the appearance of the book by the anonymous Russian peasant called The Way of the Pilgrim.

    Not at all, I don't believe that for a second. Someone as endlessly fascinating, eloquent and friendly as you come across on this forum has clearly lived and still has a life.
     
    #12 Vouthon, Jun 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  13. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    I think of it a bit like being divorced in a sense.
    You can be divorced from somone who is very near to you. When you’re attitude towards them changes you will be reunited.
     
  14. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    But that occurs in ordinary human life. Your partner is not omnipresent as God is. IOW, God is always present and in everything. It is only the mind which thinks itself separated. A poor metaphor might be an ocean wave, were it able to self-reflect, think of itself a separate entity from the ocean, when, in fact, it is none other than the ocean itself.

    When the mind and it's thinking is stopped, one then sees the unity of all things via consciousness. Division only occurs where thought is present.
     
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