Sunday, October 12, 2014

Returning to the Torn Veil

What does returning to the Torn Veil look like?

Modern day Western religions all have 2 sacred cows in common.
Membership (or proselyting) and tithing. (It's ironic that Jesus – through the Torn Veil – attempted to break or do away with these things).

We face a few difficult challenges and obstacles here.
Firstly we (collectively) must admit that part of the human condition includes Spirituality. No, not necessarily Religion. (There's a difference). Atheism is a knee-jerk reaction (and rightfully so) to Religiosity, but never-the-less just as unhealthy as Religiosity.
Atheists too have their Spiritual aspects or facets, although many are unwilling to admit it, or will choose not to label it “Spiritual”.
This is the first challenge and obstacle. Collectively admitting that Spirituality is a Human Condition.

This 'knee-jerk reaction' is to what we understand religion to be; namely, Western Modern day religion with their 2 (primary) Sacred Cows.
What are its obsession with Membership and Tithing all about?
Well, look at it like this: You want people to either desire or need what you're selling in order to create a revenue-stream.

That's a business model. That's a good Business Model.
But it's a lousy Spiritual one.

Interestingly, if we look at some large Eastern religions, we see something very different. I'll could Buddhism and Taoism. (I won't use Hinduism because, although its population or numbers are very high, it's extremely concentrated in specific geographic locals).

Now, to be fair - especially for those naysayers and those who simply love to be right and refute others - if you want to throw stones at Buddhism and Taoism there is plenty of ammo. Both are very old religions. Taoism has really two facets. What I'll call Folk Taoism and Modern Taoism. Fold Taoism is where you'll see the stories of gods and Divine people and the like. Mythology to be sure. Same goes with Buddhism. What further complicates matters is that Taoism (for example) is not structured like Western Religions and often doesn't make sharp distinctions between these two aspects. My point being, if you want to throw stones, there's plenty to throw.

But, a few points worth noting are that these two religions do not focus on proselyting, evangelizing, or membership. They are not built upon the Business Model. There's build upon a Spiritual one. (I believe that in our Western worldview and values, we have left Capitalism run amok).

In fact, the Dalai Lama says to “Stay in your own religion and mediate”, not to convert to Buddhism. Not only is this not proselyting, it is its very opposite.

Taoism promotes simply finding truth. 
Because things in the world change, there is no reason to hold tightly on to any reaching or establishment that began tow or three thousand years ago. Only the helpful principles that were taught should be followed, because principles do not change. All good principles can merge together as one good unified principle that exists prior to any of the momentary teachings that were developed." Master Hua-Ching Ni

These are not about building Empire, the growth of membership, or the amassment of wealth.

Two other (lesson) sacred cows Modern Western Religion hold onto are Doctrine and Self-identity.
The 'big' Western Religions (among others) focus on self-identity. If you are a Christian, then you are a Christian. You must self-identity as such. As with Muslim, as with Jews.

Not so with the Eastern.
Both Confucianism and Taoism complement each other, however incompatible they seem at first to be. The former places a man in his proper relation to his fellow men, the latter in proper relation to nature. A third philosophy, Buddhism, though introduced from India, deals with the problem of human suffering and with man's ultimate destiny. These three inheritances... have moulded the thinking not only of the Chinese people but of all Eastern Asian. There is truth, then, in the common saying that every Chinese wears a Confucian cap, a Taoist robe, and Buddhist sandals.Arthur W. Hummel, Former Head, Division of Orientalia Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 1962, Forward to the Tao Teh Ching.

There isn't this obsession with self-identity as there is in the West.
(Ask yourself, could a Westerner readily claim to hold Christian, Muslim, Jewish values; a sort of Freelance Monotheist? Well, few do, but they aren't openly accepted. They're always accused of sitting on the fence).

The secondary minor Sacred Cow Modern Western Religion holds onto is that of Doctrine.
Although Doctrine is often held to be the glue that maintains truth, order, tradition, and structure, it sadly is not the case. It also includes inflexibility, stagnate growth, control, and simply being right; defending one's position at the expense of the truth.
Doctrine” begins in a position of having a truth and then defending it, rather than legitimately discovering and exploring the truth.
One starts at the end hypothesis and moves to defend it, while the other begins without the hypothesis and move to discover and explore it.

There's a drastic difference between these two actions. 
The "Doctrine-paradigm" sees truth backwards. It doesn't really allow for its exploration. 

The Buddha provided examples and a framework to test his teachings. Nothing was expected to be taken at face-value or carte-blanche. 

Taoism holds onto what I call Zero-Doctrine. Again, a focus on mental flexibility. 

My point in all this isn't to sell Eastern Religions, but to provide a contrast. A measuring stick to hold up against Modern Western Religions. A mirror of sorts.
What does exploring The Torn Veil really look like? I think we need to begin by looking far to the East.

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