The Transcendent Unity of Religions

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The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:52 am

The Transcendent Unity of Religions" by Frithjof Schuon if true describes the lunacy of religious battle. In short: what value is it for one idiot to call another idiot and idiot in religious matters?

http://www.monasticdialog.com/a.php?id=151


This republication of Schuon’s “superlative” work on the unity of religions has a long, learned and enlightening introduction by Huston Smith, with a helpful diagram making even more precise Schuon’s thesis on the relation between religions

The dividing line is horizontal and occurs only once, rather than the distinction being between the religions themselves. For Schuon, existence—and, therefore, cognition—is graded. Hence, in God at the apex, religions converge; below the line they differ. So, too, religious discernment unites at its apex and divides below it.

Smith compares Schuon’s thesis with others, quoting the author himself in saying that there is “a unity at the heart of religions” that can be “univocally described by none and concretely apprehended by few.” Smith’s introduction concludes with a helpful description of the esoteric and exoteric distinction restated—a key, he says, to the understanding of the whole book. T.S. Eliot said of Schuon’s volume: “I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion.” From beginning to end, Schuon quotes Muslim and Christian, Hindu and other mystics alike to substantiate his valuable insights. He insists that the unity of the different religions is not only unrealizable on the external level, that of the forms themselves, but ought not to be realized at that level even were this possible, for in that case the revealed forms would be deprived of their sufficient reason. The very fact that they are revealed, he claims, “shows that they are willed by the Divine Word.” He uses the word “transcendent” in the title because it means that the unity of the religious forms must be realized in a purely inward and spiritual way and without prejudice to any particular form. “The antagonisms between these forms no more affect the one universal Truth than the antagonisms between opposing colors affect the transmission of the one uncolored light.”


Here is a diagram that clarifies this idea:

http://www.integralscience.org/unity.html

Notice that at the transcendent level, the traditions converge. but for us at the exoteric level, great differences exist due to the secular devolution into paths of the essence of religion itself.

So if Frithjof Schuon is right, in order for a person to inwardly grow in their "being" as is possible for their tradition, they must become less identified with the exoteric beliefs of their path and the tendency to glorify imagintion that compensates for the loss and enter the esoteric part. But as we know it is considered often more meaningful to argue and debate philosophy of a path from the exoteric perspective.

But would it be different if mankind collectively knew we were only at a facet of the exoteric level of an incredible truth and all the religious strife comes from not appreciating how far we are from the objective truths of religions that remain at the apex of the unity of paths and completely beyond our comprehension? Perhaps what Simone wrote would be a greater possibility. I doubt it since it just feels to good too fight and justify our escapism in whatever form it takes.


"The combination of these two facts – the longing in the depth of the heart for absolute good, and the power, though only latent, of directing attention and love to a reality beyond the world and of receiving good from it – constitutes a link which attaches every man without exception to that other reality. Whoever recognizes that reality recognizes that link. Because of it, he holds every human being without any exception as something sacred to which he is bound to show respect. This is the only possible motive for universal respect towards all human beings." Simone Weil

“Draft for A Statement of Human Obligations” SIMONE WEIL, AN ANTHOLOGY ed. Sian Miles


Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  steve on Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:08 am

Very nice. Love the quote at the end. My only comment would be that we 'grow' only in the realization of Being and that, in our essense, WE are the Divine Word.

Nice.

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:22 am

steve wrote:Very nice. Love the quote at the end. My only comment would be that we 'grow' only in the realization of Being and that, in our essense, WE are the Divine Word.

Nice.

Hi Steve

This will always be our disagreement. You say we are the "Divine Word" and I believe we are the "wretched man" as described by Paul.

What you believe we have, I believe is our potential and exists in us as a seed with the possibility of conscious evolution towards becoming ourselves.

Certain experiences you might welcome, I see as flights of fantasy normal for our exoteric level of existence that only create obstacles to awakening and leading to the transcendent level from where the ancient traditions initiated and devolved from..

It is a sincere disagreement I know you will agree that doesn't require any hostility but just open contemplation. "Know thyself."

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  steve on Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:47 am

Not even a disagreement, just a difference in perspective. I say the same as you, pay heed to the phrase posted over the Oracle of Delphi. I am spokesman for the Absolute and you for the relative, that's all. Flip a coin and call the head side 'good' and the tail side 'bad' and that would be rational and correct. But from the coins point of view, it matters not what is called what.

I see no wretched men. I see nothing apart from God (to name the nameless). Neither do I long for or seek (ok, maybe a little) spiritual experiences. All experiences come and go. I just say to examine the container, not the contents.

Great Peace,
s

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:31 am

Hold on here, you are going to refer to a pagan temple, and then make remarks to make this reference feasible for you statement? What is the point in this pagan reference, is it to reference Socrates, and show your knowledge of philosophy, which does not hold, well Philosophy of Religion does, but you people just spit on that, and did not understand the references, the spiritual on high?
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:59 am

steve wrote:Not even a disagreement, just a difference in perspective. I say the same as you, pay heed to the phrase posted over the Oracle of Delphi. I am spokesman for the Absolute and you for the relative, that's all. Flip a coin and call the head side 'good' and the tail side 'bad' and that would be rational and correct. But from the coins point of view, it matters not what is called what.

I see no wretched men. I see nothing apart from God (to name the nameless). Neither do I long for or seek (ok, maybe a little) spiritual experiences. All experiences come and go. I just say to examine the container, not the contents.

Great Peace,
s

The concept of the transcendent unity of religions suggests levels of reality within which man has its existence. From this conception Man can be considered as having an objective meaning and purpose of connecting levels of reality or the "higher and lower."

Am I wrong in reading you as suggesting Man doesn't really have meaning and purpose connecting and existing within levels of reality other then existing in what you describe as "essence?" Is this "essence" the same as the Buddhist "nirvana?"

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:13 am

Bob wrote:Hold on here, you are going to refer to a pagan temple, and then make remarks to make this reference feasible for you statement? What is the point in this pagan reference, is it to reference Socrates, and show your knowledge of philosophy, which does not hold, well Philosophy of Religion does, but you people just spit on that, and did not understand the references, the spiritual on high?

"Know Thyself" is a perennial truth and as such was known from the beginning. If the Oracle of Delphi were unaware of it, what wisdom could it have? "Know thyself" is an essential value in esoteric Christianity. There is no contradiction. Wisdom is wisdom. As this thread suggests, contradiction begin at the exoteric level of humanity with interpretations. Most are content with it. Since this site deals with transcendence, by definition we cannot restrict ourselves to exoteric religious interpretations or escapism into La La Land but rather deal with our potential for conscious evolution by opening to the conscious direct experience with reality in our daily lives which is impossible for our scattered being as we are. To become able, we must start at the beginning and the beginning is the first efforts to "know thyself."

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:42 am

What you learned about the Oracle of Delphi, and what I learned must be two different things.
Conscious can you define it for me, as my defintion may be different than yours and obviously is, so because I am having a hard time following you.
You have to also give me yoour defintion of reality.
"Know thy self" what do you mean by this phrase?
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:02 am

That is the answer, you people and your transcendence have more in common with Nietzsche than you think! It is hilarious that you brought up Buddhists, and Nirvana, and fate. You people are Nihilists. I have figured you guys out, Christianity, and then the Oracle of Delphi, and fate, with Nirvana. You are Nihilists? Is this right in my assessment of you two? Platonic-Christian that is what you are, add your transcendence, and you two are Nihilists. This took a lot of books, but I found it! Tell me about reality now. I don't need your definitions, I just used your words, and how they were used to figure you two out.
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  steve on Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:34 am

Am I wrong in reading you as suggesting Man doesn't really have meaning and purpose connecting and existing within levels of reality other then existing in what you describe as "essence?" Is this "essence" the same as the Buddhist "nirvana?"
Nick_A


I guess I make no suggestions one way or another. What is the meaning and purpose of a flower? Or a sunset?

The word 'essense' is not one I would use very much but seems common here to use it in reference to what lies beyond ordinary egocentric awareness. You will have to ask a buddist if it correlates with nirvana.

No, I am more interested in the quote:


Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

To me this speaks of the urge to transcend the ego and the suffering inherent in the ego wishing to remain. Heaven and hell succiently defined. Nice.

Peace,
s

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:31 am

Flat-out either you two don't know what you are talking about, or you are Nihilists, or can it be both? Philosophy just came up, and bit you in the butt! Doubt, and never quit because I just figured these two out! I wondered why with all my books your definitions were as used were, so uneducated, and wrongly used. You were busted by an educated human being! You don't know how much I'm celebrating right now, but I am! Just know that I know you are trying to run a fast one by people, but not me! I just feel sorry about people like you, I really do, and I don't know why, but I'm celebrating!
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:03 am

Hi Steve

Simone is referring to the human condition described by Paul in Romans 7

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

The simple fact is that we lack the inner unity or conscious ego that would allow us to receive from above so as to give to below. Instead we are in opposition to ourselves, live in imagination, and turn in circles guided by a corrupted ego. Our greatness is the potential for inner unity. We have the potential "to be" or manifest "I Am." As we are, "I" only refers to one of many small "I's" and "am" is just a manifestation of a small part so "I am" does not exist for us. We lack the "I" of inner unity. So when we say I am, it must be followed by something. "I am" is our potential but how many are called "to be?"

"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is." -- Erich Fromm

Our potential is for inner unity: "I Am." We simply cannot understand this before being on the way to becoming oneself.

Of course plants have a purpose. They transform substances as does the rest of organic life: this grand living machine that eats itself and reproduces to serve its purpose of transforming substances.

Man is unique in that it serves the same purpose as the rest of organic life but is also capable of a conscious purpose that would become evident at the transcendent unity of religions.

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:21 am

Bob

Socrates was considered wise since he could admit that he knew nothing. It is the same with me. What we know is the result of our associative thought which is really nothing. "Understanding" is beyond the limits of associative thought. As brilliant as Simone Weil was, she could still admit that associative thought has its limits concerning these profound questions and must give way to a higher quality of conscious thought once known as pondering in order to experience their reality.

"The role of the intelligence - that part of us which affirms and denies and formulates opinions is merely to submit." Simone Weil

In order to begin consciously pondering, we have to let go of reliance on associative thought. It has to reach its end so that a quality of question is created that is worth pondering.

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  steve on Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:07 am

Our potential is for inner unity: "I Am." We simply cannot understand this before being on the way to becoming oneself. YES WE CAN

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:32 am

steve wrote:Our potential is for inner unity: "I Am." We simply cannot understand this before being on the way to becoming oneself. YES WE CAN

If we are a plurality consisting of many small I's, which is the i you are referring to that asserts itself as "I Am"?

Would you admit that "absolute" is completely different for Man of inner unity at the transcendent level of human "being" then our interpretations normal for our plurality at the exoteric level?

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  steve on Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:31 pm

For some reason this site is messing up for me. I guess I lost a full post.

"If we are a plurality consisting of many small I's, which is the i you are referring to that asserts itself as "I Am"?"

If you haven't, I think you would find it very interesting to read of Eckhart Tolle's
great awakening. The story would be relevant to this question.


"Would you admit that "absolute" is completely different for Man of inner unity at the transcendent level of human "being" then our interpretations normal for our plurality at the exoteric level?"

I was going to say that I have no idea what on earth you are talking about, but in the digestion of it I think I might be able to answer. Yes, I do -and I think if you ponder this a bit it would make common sense to you. Let me go out on a limb here: Say you haven't seen your mother for a long time and you wonder how she is. Is her hair different? Has she gained or lost weight? In your mind you have already looked at her face, have an idea of what she would be wearing. Then you go visit your mother. When you are with you mother the questions you had previously are totally non-relevant. Now you might compare what you imagined her appearence to be with what the reality is, but the questions disappear. Not a perfect fit, but I hope you can see the point.

Peace,
s

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:24 pm

The point I'm trying to make is that believing ourselves ONE with the absolute for us is imagination normal for the exoteric level of reality. That is why the emphasis is on becoming able to "know thyself." The quality of attention required for this effort does not allow for imagination. Consequently the conscius purity of what allows us our connection with higher consciousness is not tainted.

If I am aware of this point I feel morally obligated to introduce it in the context of transcendence. There are teachings out there that sell many books and people think them just wonderful but IMO can be dangerous for those that become obsessed with them.

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Once again, to Bob.

Post  hen on Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:20 pm

Seeing as you may have a point, i'm willing to issue another chance.

This time, change your tone if you're going to correct anyone.
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:03 pm

Socrates, and The Oracle of Delphi never stated that he was wise, because he knew nothing. To put it simply do you know what cognitive process is, or are you just trying to prove that you are Nihilists? Do you two have problems problem solving? Are you have problems with your cognitive model, or are you just plain nuts, or do you have problems living up to your id, or in the terms you love to quote ego? I have got to know, you to sit here, and throw around quotes as if you are on to something, and all you have proved to me is that again you are Nihilists! I have kind of gotten you pegged, but it is hard because you have not yet proved your theory, or well history has not. If you would follow one approach, instead of going here for this, and there for that, as if you are Doctors, or highly educated, or even self-educated individuals: is that the I am you are looking for?
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:36 pm

Here are some perfect quotes for you two:

"If you cannot convince them, confuse them." - Harry S Truman


"Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves; when that right is pre-empted it is called brain-washing." - Germaine Greer
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:13 am

Bob

I can respect the idea that you don't understand what this thread is about. But if you don't, why do you take such offense at others that may. Why call others wrong when you do not understand what is being discussed?

Nihilism has nothing to do with it. Nihilism is the denial of objective meaning and this thread is about the human ability to evolve towards the experience of objective meaning and purpose.

The Oracle of Delphi had revealed that Socrates was the wisest man in Athens so Socrates finally came to the conclusion that it was because he admitted he knew nothing and didn't BS about it as does much of our modern experts. This really is just common knowledge.

http://www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/characters/socrates_p4.html

The "I Am" being referred to is not as you understand it. It doesn't refer to an object. It makes no difference whether you refer to "I am a doctor," I am a lawyer," or I am anything else. The point is that I am doesn't exist by itself but must be defined by a category. Yet if "I AM" is the way, the question is what I AM is without a category but simply a statement of "being" we don't have but is our evolutionary conscious potential.

You think these questions are brainwashing and attempts at confusion but actually they have always existed for people sensing meaning and purpose beyond normal societal dictates.

Why curse out the tendency in some to want to ponder more than three inches in front of their nose? To admit one doesn't know is not nihilism but just being honest and there is no shame in it. It is far more shameful to pretend one does and attempt to demean others in their attempt to understand. That is the way of politics but we are not discussing politics.

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:44 am

You are: circular in your reasoning; your definitions of words make no sense; or it is the use of the afore mentioned words that make no-sense; believe me I have more understanding if what you are trying to do than you ever will; and I'm not a mind reader. I'm not calling you wrong, I'm just trying to get you to understand what you are saying by defining it correctly! Nihilism is not defined that way! What is objective? You are learning you so-called knowledge from a documentary? Go to school, and tell a professor "I learned this from a documentary," and see what he, or she has to say about that, you idiot! That is a circular argument! There is that conscious define the word! You are admitting the brain washing, and you are a very confusing person in your writings! And the control you so wish to perceive, or is it your word perception! Hey there "dipshit" (which is neither profane, nor vulgar if you are educated) "Don't you ever question my knowledge, and I mean ever!" "I smarter know than you will ever be, and have ever been!" You sit here, and cram this bullshit (which is neither profane, nor vulgar) down the throats of people to "parrot," and you have no-idea what you are writing do you! Yes I am yelling because you have no-blanking idea what you are talking about! Don't you ever question my education again! You don't even know about the simple facts about this god you so-worship, and desire to contact! I mean it don't you ever quesiton my education again!
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Nick_A on Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:30 am

In this thread I am supporting the contention of levels of reality expressed by Frithjof Schuon who wrote the book in question. You can call him a nut as well.

Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) was a well respected European mystic, philosopher, poet, and painter. He was a scholar of Islamic culture and became a disciple of the Algerian Sufi Shaikh Ahmad Al’Alawi. Frithjof Schuon also studied Native American culture and was adopted into the Red Cloud family and later the Crow tribe. He has written a vast number of books in many languages.

Maybe he understands the same thing Thoreau did who wrote in Walden:

"The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?"

Thoreau is referring to the transcendent level which he admits is beyond his comprehension. Schuon asserts this quality of existence is at the transcendent level of religions that have devolved into the world as "paths" including within them the normal corruptions natural for secular influences.

Are they all nuts?

I am not offering answers but only inviting others to consider the questions being raised as to the relativity of Man's "being" that exists as a plurality but is capable if inner unity at a transcendent level and how we can come to grips with it where we are at the exoteric level.

The question isn't if I'm nuts but what if these others aren't nuts? If they aren't than maybe they understand in a realistic way we do not. If so, how do we open to understanding in a new way that frees us from the effects of preconditioned imagination?

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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:40 am

So you are a mystic of Sufism? My learning states that theologically you can only understand him, but in the Sufism context, so now do you understand him, or are you just "parroting" him to prove a point?
You have yet to define "being," I know that you can write the word, but are you conscious of it?
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Re: The Transcendent Unity of Religions

Post  Bob on Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:42 am

Have you figured out why I called you Nihilists?
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