Three closely related questions on Western and Eastern traditions I've been pondering, perhaps some here could their perspectives:
--Are the goals of the Western esoteric or mystery traditions (in particular alchemy, Hermeticism, esoteric Christianity, Kabbalah, etc.) the same in your opinion as that of Buddhism, Daoism, or Hinduism?
I feel some of the goals are very different, depending on type , not so much from an east west 'divide' . The 'further down the pyramid of 'goals' the more different, the apex of the 'goal pyramids' may be more similar. Eg, I see the goals of some types of Buddhism and some types of Hinduism as quite different .
In particular is there a Western equivalent of neidan or tantra?
Certainly. There are many.
Do the Western mystery traditions seek to produce an equivalent of the Daoist "true man" or a Buddha or a jivanmukta/jnani?
yes, in many different forms depending on tradition
--Are the Western traditions inferior, equal, or superior to the Eastern traditions in this regard?
Different and similar
Based on Western interest in Eastern traditions over the course of the past century or more and that many Western esoteric figures either trained in or were influenced by the East I doubt many would claim superiority, though I could be wrong.
The east treats 'mysteries' exoterically and the west esoterically. Its a 'modern trend' . In the past the western tradition based in Christianity was heavily influenced by Platonists ( and, if you prefer, 'neo-Platonists' ) and hermetics. This changed. The focus of the west seemed to become 'capitalism' ; commerce, trade, organisation, governance ,admin , bureaucracy and the technology to run it . As the scales tipped away somewhat from materialism in recent times, we didnt have the language (or indeed, the concepts, in many cases ) and started borrowing words and concepts from Vedanta and Buddhism . Aside from this, our ( western 'explanations' ) focused on 'psychology' and for this we often used terms and concepts from the German language .
Nowadays most western traditions incorporate at least part of some eastern ones. It could be said that a big western spiritual revival came about due to contact with the easter spirituality ; it created an eclectic outlook in Crowley's works, its certainly the case with Blavatski , and all the way up to the influence and interest in it caused by things such as The Beatles, the counter-culture movement , etc .
That said, are the doctrines, practices, and methods of the West inferior to that of the East?
Different and similar
--Are the Western esoteric traditions in a state of lower vitality than the Eastern ones?
The western ones are full of commercialism ego and scams ! I will leave the comments about this and the eastern traditions to those that know them better ( and to avoid some flak )
While it seems to me that most religious and esoteric traditions, whether East or West, have experienced a qualitative decline in modernity, I wonder as to whether the West may have been hit harder in this regard. Are there true Western masters left or valid initiatory chains (an equivalent to Dharma transmission, etc) left?
Yes. But in some cases it seems very 'corrupt' - eg. why get into Theosophy at all, considering it is a hand down from a woman that had contact with masters in Tibet way back ..... when one can get direct teachings from the bonafide students, jow masters themselves of those same people ?
I think, in the east, the traditions may be easier to 'decipher' .
Any input on any of these topics are welcome, or really any information, advice, or experience regarding the Western traditions in relation to the Eastern ones.
Yeah ..... go eclectic .