ŗ•źDominicusŗ•ź

Insights from a Christian monk. Esoteric Christianity as a legit Path

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Thanks, the info; was confirming. The personal awareness of a Christian seeking and obtaining enligntment, as expressed in this interview, is what this forum "Tao Bum" is about.

sward

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Ehrm, of the monks i know (various catholic orders) some are ecumenical and have knowledge and respect that there are other views and religions and encourage to seek similarities without forgetting that the holy roman catholic church is the truth.

 

This esoteric christian thing is pretty far from mainstream, im surprised he even speaks (let alone admits to doing it) about his path if hes an ordained monk, it is considered blasphemous by most within the clergy and amongst lay-people. As far as catholicism goes, what that monk said makes him a misguided heretic seeking hidden things in the light.

What i was force-fed with as a christian is that esoteric teachings and research are distant fringe activities, officially not recognized by the church and therefore also partially considered asd devilish attempts to corrupt the holy mother church's sacred doctrine, an affront to christ and his sacrifice for all of mankind.

Fascinating read tho, but do your friend a favor and dont mention who he is if you say this stuff to other christians, i smell disciplinary action in the wind.

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth

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A very Easternized Christian Monk - very common among the more popular remaining Christian monks.

 

Nice article though with some real clarity on some different perspectives.

 

Whether Christianity is truly mythical or not, some of the heart centered material is rich. It would be interesting if the reference to the heart location was indeed gleaned from a old Christian text or if it was taken from the many references in Eastern traditions. It is rare for Christian texts to have much technical knowledge or the bravery to write about it, as the tremendous fear about speaking in such a way is still fostered.

Edited by Spotless

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One of the factors of Christianity that is interesting that is not found that much in many other paths is that of Ego-Death through Grace by the Holy Spirit entering the top of the head and opening all the channels and illuminating Awareness, while detaching all else. ..... I would have to brush up on my studies however by researching the word Grace and it's existence in all the other paths

 

This is also clearly present in Daoist, Buddhist, and Bön methods.

Probably others but I can't speak to them.

 

Edt - PS interesting post, thanks for that. No surprise to me as I'm a strong enthusiast for the teachings of a Jesuit named Anthony Demello. His work was so liberating it was banned as heresy by Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, while he held the office of Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.

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This is also clearly present in Daoist, Buddhist, and Bön methods.

Probably others but I can't speak to them.

Is it? Most Eastern methods are about waking up, which means bringing the energy up and out of the top of the head. The Christian transmission is bringing spirit and love back down into humanity. In my personal experience the transmission of Zen is different from the Christian transmission, the only thing comparable I have found in other paths is the Bodhisattva tradition, Buddhism without that element lacks that downward movement of energy in my experience. Edited by Jetsun
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Is it?

 

Yes, it is, at least in my view.

 

A few examples with which I have direct experience - tsa lung from the Bön tradition, Tibetan kum nye and trul khor, advanced techniques in Daoist meditation which I will be intentionally vague about, Daoist methods of opening the bai hui in combination with qigong and neigong, lifting the bai hui during taijiquan practice. I suspect it is present in tummo but I've not had any direct instruction so I won't say so definitively.

 

It's all the same general principle - using awareness to connect the inner and outer in order to clear the obstacles and integrate the two - it's very fundamental. All one need do is change the labels.

 

The Christians, Bön, and Buddhists emphasize the aspects of love, compassion, grace, and the divine in these practices explicitly. The Daoists do not, at least in my experience, however my experience has been that in the Daoist methods, the same qualities naturally and spontaneously arise as a consequence of certain experiences and landmarks along the way.

 

I think it's a mistake to imagine that when one opens the gate at the top of the head, one is creating a one way valve.

At least for my own purposes, it's much more productive to simply open and connect, it is a 2 way street.

I have no control, really, of that exchange once there is opening, once simply need to look for who it is that claims to have control.

 

The very separation of inner and outer is already an illusion.

The idea that our bag of skin contains and restricts the flow of energy is as well - our physical barrier to the outside is already energy, there is no real containment. That is an artifact of our awareness combines with our sensory apparatus.

The separation of divine and being is a delusion.

 

All of these methods are simply about freeing ourselves from these obscurations and integrating our total being, rather than suffering in our self-imposed exile.

 

Just my view and experience - quite possibly all wrong but it's working reasonably well for me,

....sometimes

:D

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Edt - PS interesting post, thanks for that. No surprise to me as I'm a strong enthusiast for the teachings of a Jesuit named Anthony Demello. His work was so liberating it was banned as heresy by Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, while he held the office of Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.

 

Here is the notification produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about Anthony de Mello sj, with the explanatory note. It is worth reading for people who want to have a balanced view.

 

 

BEGINS HERE

 

NOTIFICATIONCONCERNING THE WRITINGS OF FATHER ANTHONY DE MELLO, SJ

 

The Indian Jesuit priest, Father Anthony de Mello (1931-1987) is well known due to his numerous publications which, translated into various languages, have been widely circulated in many countries of the world, though not all of these texts were authorized by him for publication. His works, which almost always take the form of brief stories, contain some valid elements of oriental wisdom. These can be helpful in achieving self-mastery, in breaking the bonds and feelings that keep us from being free, and in approaching with serenity the various vicissitudes of life. Especially in his early writings, Father de Mello, while revealing the influence of Buddhist and Taoist spiritual currents, remained within the lines of Christian spirituality. In these books, he treats the different kinds of prayer: petition, intercession and praise, as well as contemplation of the mysteries of the life of Christ, etc.

 

But already in certain passages in these early works and to a greater degree in his later publications, one notices a progressive distancing from the essential contents of the Christian faith. In place of the revelation which has come in the person of Jesus Christ, he substitutes an intuition of God without form or image, to the point of speaking of God as a pure void. To see God it is enough to look directly at the world. Nothing can be said about God; the only knowing is unknowing. To pose the question of his existence is already nonsense. This radical apophaticism leads even to a denial that the Bible contains valid statements about God. The words of Scripture are indications which serve only to lead a person to silence. In other passages, the judgment on sacred religious texts, not excluding the Bible, becomes even more severe: they are said to prevent people from following their own common sense and cause them to become obtuse and cruel. Religions, including Christianity, are one of the major obstacles to the discovery of truth. This truth, however, is never defined by the author in its precise contents. For him, to think that the God of one's own religion is the only one is simply fanaticism. "God" is considered as a cosmic reality, vague and omnipresent; the personal nature of God is ignored and in practice denied.

 

Father de Mello demonstrates an appreciation for Jesus, of whom he declares himself to be a "disciple." But he considers Jesus as a master alongside others. The only difference from other men is that Jesus is "awake" and fully free, while others are not. Jesus is not recognized as the Son of God, but simply as the one who teaches us that all people are children of God. In addition, the author's statements on the final destiny of man give rise to perplexity. At one point, he speaks of a "dissolving" into the impersonal God, as salt dissolves in water. On various occasions, the question of destiny after death is declared to be irrelevant; only the present life should be of interest. With respect to this life, since evil is simply ignorance, there are no objective rules of morality. Good and evil are simply mental evaluations imposed upon reality.

Consistent with what has been presented, one can understand how, according to the author, any belief or profession of faith whether in God or in Christ cannot but impede one's personal access to truth. The Church, making the word of God in Holy Scripture into an idol, has ended up banishing God from the temple. She has consequently lost the authority to teach in the name of Christ.

 

With the present Notification, in order to protect the good of the Christian faithful, this Congregation declares that the above-mentioned positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved the present Notification, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 24, 1998, the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist.

 

+ Joseph Card. Ratzinger

Prefect

+ Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.

Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

Secretary

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

 

The writings of the Indian Jesuit priest, Father Anthony de Mello (1931-1987) have circulated extensively in many countries of the world and among people of widely different backgrounds.1 In these works, which often take the form of short anecdotes presented in an accessible and easy-to-read style, Father de Mello collected elements of eastern wisdom which can be helpful in achieving self-control, in breaking the attachments and affections that keep us from being truly free, in avoiding selfishness, in facing life's difficulties with serenity without letting ourselves be affected by the world around us, while at the same time being aware of its riches. It is important to indicate these positive features which can be found in many of Father de Mello's writings. Particularly in the works dating from his early years as a retreat director, while revealing the influence of Buddhist and Taoist spiritual currents, Father de Mello remained in many respects within the boundaries of Christian spirituality. He speaks of waiting in silence and prayer for the coming of the Spirit, pure gift of the Father (Contact With God: Retreat Conferences, 3-7). He gives a very good presentation of the prayer of Jesus and of the prayer that Jesus teaches us, taking the Our Father as his basis (ibid., 42-44). He also speaks of faith, repentance and contemplation of the mysteries of Christ's life according to the method of Saint Ignatius. In his work Sadhana: A Way to God, published for the first time in 1978, Jesus occupies a central place, particularly in the last part ("Devotion," 99-134). He speaks of the prayer of petition and intercession as taught by Jesus in the Gospel, of the prayer of praise and of invocation of the name of Jesus. His book is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a model of contemplation (ibid., 4-5).

 

But already in this work he develops his theory of contemplation as awareness, which seems to be not lacking in ambiguity. Already at the beginning of the book, the concept of Christian revelation is equated with that of Lao-tse, with a certain preference for the latter: "'Silence is the great revelation,' said Lao-tse. We are accustomed to think of Scripture as the revelation of God. And so it is. I want you now to discover the revelation that silence brings" (9; cf. ibid., 11). In exercising an awareness of our bodily sensations, we are already communicating with God, a communication explained in these terms: "Many mystics tell us that, in addition to the mind and heart with which we ordinarily communicate with God we are, all of us, endowed with a mystical mind and mystical heart, a faculty which makes it possible for us to know God directly, to grasp and intuit him in his very being, though in a dark manner..." (ibid., 25). But this intuition, without images or form, is that of a void: "But what do I gaze into when I gaze silently at God? An imageless, formless reality. A blank!" (ibid., 26). To communicate with the Infinite it is necessary "to gaze at a blank." And thus one arrives at "the seemingly disconcerting conclusion that concentration on your breathing or your body sensations is very good contemplation in the strict sense of the word" (ibid., 29-30).2 In his later works, he speaks of "awakening," interior enlightenment or knowledge: "How to wake up? How are we going to know we're asleep? The mystics, when they see what surrounds them, discover an extra joy flowing in the heart of things. With one voice they speak about this joy and love flowing everywhere... How attain that? Through understanding. By being liberated from illusions and wrong ideas" (Walking on Water, 77-78; cf. Call To Love, 97). Interior enlightenment is the true revelation, far more important than the one which comes to us through Scripture: "A Guru promised a scholar a revelation of greater consequence than anything contained in the scriptures... When you have knowledge you use a torch to show the way. When you are enlightened you become a torch" (The Prayer of the Frog I, 86-87).

 

Holiness is not an achievement, it is a Grace. A Grace called Awareness, a grace called Looking, observing, understanding. If you would only switch on the light of awareness and observe yourself and everything around you throughout the day, if you would see yourself reflected in the mirror of awareness the way you see your face reflected in a looking glass... and if you observed this reflection without any judgment or condemnation, you would experience all sorts of marvellous changes coming about in you (Call To Love, 96).

 

In these later writings, Father de Mello had gradually arrived at concepts of God, revelation, Christ, the final destiny of the human person, etc., which cannot be reconciled with the doctrine of the Church. Since many of his books do not take the form of discursive teaching, but are collections of short tales which are often quite clever, the underlying ideas can easily pass unnoticed. This makes it necessary to call attention to certain aspects of his thought which, in different forms, appear in his work taken as a whole. We will use the author's own texts which, with their particular features, clearly demonstrate the underlying thinking.

 

On various occasions, Father de Mello makes statements about God which ignore his personal nature, if not explicitly denying it, and reduce God to a vague and omnipresent cosmic reality. According to the author, no one can help us find God just as no one can help a fish in the sea find the ocean (cf. One Minute Wisdom, 67; Awareness, 103). Similarly, God and each of us are neither one nor two, just as the sun and its light, the ocean and the wave, are neither one nor two (cf. One Minute Wisdom, 34). With even greater clarity the problem of a personal Deity is presented in these terms: "Dag Hammarskjöld, the former UN Secretary-General, put it so beautifully: 'God does not die on the day we cease to believe in a personal deity...'" (Awareness, 126; the same idea is found in "La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 60). "If God is love, then the distance between God and you is the exact distance between you and the awareness of yourself ?" (One Minute Nonsense, 266).

 

Following from a unilateral and exaggerated apophaticism which is the consequence of the above-mentioned concept of God, criticism and frequent irony are directed toward any attempt at language of God. The relationship between God and creation is frequently expressed with the Hindu image of the dancer and dance: I see Jesus Christ and Judas, I see victims and persecutors, the killers and the crucified: one melody in the contrasting notes...one dance moving through different steps... Finally, I stand before the Lord. I see him as the Dancer and all of this maddening, senseless, exhilarating, agonizing, splendorous thing that we call life as his dance...(Wellsprings: A Book of Spiritual Exercises, 200-201; The Song of the Bird, 16).

 

Who or what is God and what are men in this 'dance'? And again: "If you wish to see God, look attentively at creation. Don't reject it; don't reflect on it. Just look at it" (The Song of the Bird, 27). It is not at all clear how Christ's mediation for knowledge of the Father enters into such a description. "Realizing that God has nothing to do with the idea I form of God... There is only one way of knowing him: by unknowing!" (Walking on Water, 12; cf. ibid., 13-14; Awareness, 123; The Prayer of the Frog I, 268). Concerning God, therefore, one cannot say anything: "The atheist makes the mistake of denying that of which nothing may be said... And the theist makes the mistake of affirming it" (One Minute Nonsense, 21; cf. ibid., 336).

Nor do sacred scriptures, the Bible included, enable us to know God; they are simply like road-signs which tell me nothing about the city to which I am going: "...I come to a sign that says 'Bombay.' ... That sign isn't Bombay! Actually it doesn't even look like Bombay. It's not a picture of Bombay. It's a sign. That is what the scriptures are, a sign" (Walking on Water, 13). Continuing this metaphor, one could say that a road-sign becomes useless when I have reached my destination; this is what Father de Mello seems to be saying: "The scripture is the excellent portion, the finger pointed toward the Light. We use its words to go beyond conceptions and reach silence" (Walking on Water, 16). Paradoxically God's revelation is not expressed in his words, but in silence (cf. also One Minute Wisdom, 118, 157, 191, etc. Awareness, 101). "In the Bible only the path is indicated to us, as in the Muslim, Buddhist scriptures, etc." ("La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 64).

Thus, what is proclaimed is an impersonal God who stands above all the religions, while objections are raised to the Christian proclamation of the God of love, held to be incompatible with the notion of the necessity of the Church for salvation:

My friend and I went to the fair. THE WORLD FAIR OF RELIGIONS... At the Jewish Stall we were given hand-outs that said that God was All-Compassionate and the Jews were his Chosen People. The Jews. No other people were as Chosen as the Jewish People. At the Moslem Stall we learnt that God was All-Merciful and Mohammed is his only Prophet. Salvation comes from listening to God's only Prophet. At the Christian Stall we discovered that God is Love and there is no salvation outside the Church. Join the Church or risk eternal damnation. On the way out I asked my friend, 'What do you think of God?' He replied, 'He is bigoted, fanatical and cruel.' Back home, I said to God, 'How do you put up with this sort of thing, Lord? Don't you see they have been giving you a bad name for centuries?' God said, 'I didn't organize the Fair. I'd be too ashamed to even visit it' ("The World Fair of Religions" in The Song of the Bird, 186-187; cf. ibid., 189-190, 195).

 

The teaching of the Church on God's universal salvific will and on the salvation of non-Christians is not presented correctly, nor is the Christian message of God as Love: "'God is love. And He loves and rewards us forever if we observe His commandments.’ 'IF ?’ said the Master, 'Then the news isn't all that good, is it?’" (One Minute Nonsense, 198; cf.ibid., 206). Every concrete religion is an obstacle to arriving at the truth. Furthermore, what is said about the Scriptures is said also about religion in general: "All fanatics wanted to catch hold of their God and make him the only one" ("La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 65; cf.ibid., 28, 30). What matters is the truth, whether it comes from Buddha or from Mohammed, since "the important thing is to discover the truth where all truths come together, because truth is one" (ibid., 65). "Most people, alas, have enough religion to hate but not enough to love" (The Prayer of the Frog I, 104; cf. ibid., 33, 94). When the obstacles that prevent one from seeing reality are listed, religion comes first: "First your beliefs. If you experience life as a communist or a capitalist, as a Moslem or a Jew, you are experiencing life in a prejudiced, slanted way; there is a barrier, a layer of fat between Reality and you because you no longer see and touch it directly" (Call to Love, 30-31). "If all human beings were fitted with such hearts people would no longer think of themselves as Communists or Capitalists, as Christians or Muslims or Buddhists. The very clarity of their thinking would show them that all thinking, all concepts, all beliefs are lamps full of darkness, signs of their ignorance" (ibid., 94; cf. also One Minute Wisdom, 159, 217, on the dangers of religion). What is asserted about religion, is also said concretely about the Scriptures (cf. The Song of the Bird, 186ff; One Minute Nonsense, 19).

 

The divine sonship of Jesus is diluted into the notion of the divine sonship of all men: "To which God replied, 'A feast day is holy because it shows that all the days of the year are holy. And a sanctuary is holy because it shows that all places are sanctified. So Christ was born to show that all men are sons of God'" (The Song of the Bird, 189). Father de Mello certainly manifests a personal adherence to Christ, of whom he declares himself a disciple (Wellsprings, 122), in whom he has faith (ibid., 113) and who he personally encounters (ibid., 115ff, 124ff). His presence is transfiguring (cf. ibid., 92ff). But other statements are disconcerting. Jesus is mentioned as one teacher among many: "Lao Tzu and Socrates, Buddha and Jesus, Zarathustra and Mohammed (One Minute Wisdom, 2). Jesus on the cross appears as the one who has freed himself perfectly of everything:

I see the Crucified as stripped of everything: Stripped of his dignity...Stripped of his reputation...Stripped of support...Stripped of his God...As I gaze at that lifeless body I slowly understand that I am looking at the symbol of supreme and total liberation. In being fastened to the cross Jesus becomes alive and free...So now I contemplate the majesty of the man who has freed himself from all that makes us slaves, destroys our happiness... (Wellsprings, 95-97).

 

Jesus on the cross is the man free of all ties; thus he becomes the symbol of interior liberation from everything to which we were attached. But isn't Jesus something more than a man who is free? Is Jesus my saviour or does he simply direct me toward a mysterious reality which has saved him? "'Will I ever get in touch, Lord, with the source from which your words and wisdom flow?... Will I ever find the wellsprings of your courage?'" (Wellsprings, 123). "'The lovely thing about Jesus was that he was so at home with sinners, because he understood that he wasn't one bit better than they were'...The only difference between Jesus and those others was that he was awake and they weren't" (Awareness, 30-31); cf. also "La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 30, 62). Christ's presence in the Eucharist is but a symbol that refers to a deeper reality: his presence in creation. "The whole of creation is the body of Christ, and you believe that it is only in the Eucharist. The Eucharist indicates this creation. The Body of Christ is everywhere and yet you only notice its symbol which indicates to you what is essential, namely life" ("La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 61).

 

Man's being seems destined to dissolve, like salt in water: "Before that last bit dissolved, the [salt] doll exclaimed in wonder, 'Now I know who I am!'" (The Song of the Bird, 125). At other times, the question of life after death is declared to be unimportant: "'But is there life after death or is there not?' persisted a disciple. 'Is there life before death? -- that is the question!' said the Master enigmatically" (One Minute Wisdom, 83; cf. ibid., 26). "One sign that you're awakened is that you don't give a damn about what's going to happen in the next life. You're not bothered about it; you don't care. You are not interested, period" (Awareness, 42-43, 150). Perhaps with even greater clarity: "Why bother about tomorrow? Is there a life after death? Will I survive after death? Why bother about tomorrow? Get into today" (Awareness, 114). "The idea that people have of eternity is stupid. They think that it will last forever because it is outside of time. Eternal life is now; it's here" ("La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 42).

 

At various points in his books institutions of the Church are criticized indiscriminately: "My religious life has been completely taken over by professionals" (The Song of the Bird, 63ff). The function of the Creed or the Profession of the Faith is judged negatively, as that which prevents personal access to truth and enlightenment (thus with different nuances, The Song of the Bird, 36, 46-47, 50ff, 215). "When you no longer need to hold on to the words of the Bible, it is then that it will become something very beautiful for you, revealing life and its message. The sad thing is that the official Church has dedicated itself to framing the idol, enclosing it, defending it, reifying it without being able to look at what it really means" ("La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 66). Similar ideas are presented in The Prayer of the Frog I, 7, 94, 95, 98-99: "A public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church. He took his woes to God. 'They won't let me in, Lord, because I am sinner.’ 'What are you complaining about?’ said God. 'They won't let me in either!’" (ibid., 105).

 

Evil is nothing but ignorance, the lack of enlightenment: "When Jesus looks at evil he calls it by its name and condemns it unambiguously. Only, where I see malice, he sees ignorance... 'Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’" [Lk 23:34] (Wellsprings, 215). Certainly, this text does not reflect the entire teaching of Jesus on the evil of the world and on sin; Jesus welcomed sinners with profound mercy, but he did not deny their sin; rather he invited them to conversion. In other passages we find even more radical statements: "Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so" (One Minute Wisdom, 104). "Actually there is no good or evil in persons or in nature. There is only a mental judgment imposed upon this or that reality" (Walking on Water, 99). There is no reason to repent for sins, since the only thing that matters is to be awakened to an awareness of reality: "Don't weep for your sins. Why weep for sins that you committed when you were asleep?" (Awareness, 26; cf. ibid., 43, 150). The cause of evil is ignorance (One Minute Nonsense, 239). Sin exists, but it is an act of insanity ("La iluminación es la espiritualidad," 63). Repentance therefore means returning to reality (cf. ibid., 48). "Repentance is a change of mind: a radically different vision of reality" (One Minute Nonsense, 241).

 

Clearly, there is an internal connection between these different positions: if one questions the existence of a personal God, it does not make sense that God would address himself to us with his word. Sacred Scripture, therefore, does not have definitive value. Jesus is a teacher like others; only in the author's early books does he appear as the Son of God, an affirmation which would have little meaning in the context of such an understanding of God. As a consequence one cannot attribute value to the Church's teaching. Our personal survival after death is problematic if God is not personal. Thus it becomes clear that such conceptions of God, Christ and man are not compatible with the Christian faith.

For this reason, those responsible for safeguarding the doctrine of the faith have been obliged to illustrate the dangers in the texts written by Father Anthony de Mello or attributed to him, and to warn the faithful about them.

 

NOTES:

1 Not all the works of Father de Mello were authorized for publication by the author himself. Some were published after his death based on his writings, or on notes or recordings of his conferences. In this Explanatory Note, the following editions of his writings are cited:Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, USA: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1978); The Song of the Bird (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1982);Wellsprings: A Book of Spiritual Exercises (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1984); One Minute Wisdom (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1985); "La iluminaci√≥n es la espiritualidad: Curso completo de autoliberaci√≥n interior" in Vida Nueva (1987) pp. 27/1583 - 66/1622; The Prayer of the Frog, 2 vols. (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1989);Awareness (London: Fount Paperbacks, 1990); Contact with God: Retreat Conferences (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1990); Call to Love: Meditations (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1991); Caminhar sobre as √°guas: Quebre o √≠dolo (S√£o Paulo, Brazil: Edi√ß√Ķes Loyola, 1992), engl. trans. Walking on Water (New York: Crossroad, 1998); One Minute Nonsense(Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1992).

2 The Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on some aspects of Christianmeditation Orationis formas (15 October 1989) seems to make reference to such ideas: "Still others do not hesitate to place that absolute without image or concepts, which is proper to Buddhist theory, on the same level as the majesty of God revealed in Christ, which towers above finite reality" (n. 12: AAS 82 [1990], 369). In this regard, it is also appropriate to recall the teachings on inculturation and interreligious dialogue in the Encyclical Letter of John Paul IIRedemptoris missio (cf. nn. 52-57: AAS 83 [1991], 299-305).

 

Vatican Information Service, 22 August 1998

ENDS HERE

 

Edited to remove useless talk.

Edited by bubbles
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Thank you, bubbles. This sentence was particularly significant:

 

"Religions, including Christianity, are one of the major obstacles to the discovery of truth."

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Is it? Most Eastern methods are about waking up, which means bringing the energy up and out of the top of the head. The Christian transmission is bringing spirit and love back down into humanity. In my personal experience the transmission of Zen is different from the Christian transmission, the only thing comparable I have found in other paths is the Bodhisattva tradition, Buddhism without that element lacks that downward movement of energy in my experience.

 

This is not uncommon in many traditions including Qi Gong.

 

It is also akin to bringing in Cosmic Energy - Heavenly Energy - into the top of the head.

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This is not uncommon in many traditions including Qi Gong. It is also akin to bringing in Cosmic Energy - Heavenly Energy - into the top of the head.

This actually is a complete misnoma put about by those that don't really understand the principles of energy cultivation and also why many people then suffer headaches and other related health isuue due to the wrong information about energy cultivation.

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Yes, it is, at least in my view.

 

A few examples with which I have direct experience - tsa lung from the Bön tradition, Tibetan kum nye and trul khor, advanced techniques in Daoist meditation which I will be intentionally vague about, Daoist methods of opening the bai hui in combination with qigong and neigong, lifting the bai hui during taijiquan practice. I suspect it is present in tummo but I've not had any direct instruction so I won't say so definitively.

 

I have done kum nye and some Tibetan lung practices and seen trul khor and Tummo and I think they are working on different aspects of energy than the descent of energy from above the head, what some Christians call the descent of the dove, that current is quite specific and isn't forced in any way rather it is just a matter of becoming aware of it and available to it.

 

I don't think many Taoist practices are working in this way either as most of the ones I have found anyway like the Water Method which try work with the descent of energy do it in a forced way like it is the responsibility of the practitioner to make it happen and make the opening, whereas in reality is is an existing current already in place you just have to become aware of whats already going on, and you are more likely to become available to it through surrender than anything you try make happen through force, which is why I expect most of the Taoist practices around these days have probably been corrupted by ego.

 

My perspective on all of this has changed a lot recently mostly due to my experiences while on retreat with Adyashanti in the summer, as the first part of the retreat involved more Zen and Vedanta type work which revolved around meditation and resting in the stillness and inquiring into the sense of "I", all of which are pretty classic Eastern ways of penetrating to the ground of being, which aim to help the person awaken or wake up, which in energetic terms means the energy moving up and out so it is no longer limited by the human form. But surprising to me was one day involved an energetic transmission and meditation on the descent of energy, the decent of grace from above the head down into your humanity to redeem it, which was a Christian based transmission.

 

That descent meditation was probably one of the most shockingly powerful movements and meditations I have ever done in terms of its capacity to touch the heart and feel like my human life was being affirmed, a good proportion of the hall of 300 people were in tears by the end of it with barely a word being said. Nothing at all was forced, it was just about becoming aware of and sensitive to what was already occurring. As well as the movement to wake up out of and away from humanity there is a simultaneous pouring in of spirit directly in to your humanness which redeems and liberates everything it touches, like the dna helix there are two opposite yet not opposing currents occurring simultaneously. I expect Taoists knew about and used both currents at one point, some probably still do but I haven't found any myself who really teach and transmit anything around this any more.

 

Adyashanti actually spoke about Antony De Mello before the transmission, basically the Jesuits have a method they call the Spiritual exercises of St Ignatius which use forms of imaginative prayer and the Bible is used to put yourself in the position of the various characters in the book, the purpose of which is to discover that entire spectrum of humanity lives within you, which makes you far more open and forgiving to your entire being which also brings more of you together and available for the descent of love or Christ into your human form. Antony De Mello taught awakening but he also continued to do retreats on the spiritual exercises.

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I have done kum nye and some Tibetan lung practices and seen trul khor and Tummo and I think they are working on different aspects of energy than the descent of energy from above the head, what some Christians call the descent of the dove, that current is quite specific and isn't forced in any way rather it is just a matter of becoming aware of it and available to it.

 

I don't think many Taoist practices are working in this way either as most of the ones I have found anyway like the Water Method which try work with the descent of energy do it in a forced way like it is the responsibility of the practitioner to make it happen and make the opening, whereas in reality is is an existing current already in place you just have to become aware of whats already going on, and you are more likely to become available to it through surrender than anything you try make happen through force, which is why I expect most of the Taoist practices around these days have probably been corrupted by ego.

 

My perspective on all of this has changed a lot recently mostly due to my experiences while on retreat with Adyashanti in the summer, as the first part of the retreat involved more Zen and Vedanta type work which revolved around meditation and resting in the stillness and inquiring into the sense of "I", all of which are pretty classic Eastern ways of penetrating to the ground of being, which aim to help the person awaken or wake up, which in energetic terms means the energy moving up and out so it is no longer limited by the human form. But surprising to me was one day involved an energetic transmission and meditation on the descent of energy, the decent of grace from above the head down into your humanity to redeem it, which was a Christian based transmission.

 

That descent meditation was probably one of the most shockingly powerful movements and meditations I have ever done in terms of its capacity to touch the heart and feel like my human life was being affirmed, a good proportion of the hall of 300 people were in tears by the end of it with barely a word being said. Nothing at all was forced, it was just about becoming aware of and sensitive to what was already occurring. As well as the movement to wake up out of and away from humanity there is a simultaneous pouring in of spirit directly in to your humanness which redeems and liberates everything it touches, like the dna helix there are two opposite yet not opposing currents occurring simultaneously. I expect Taoists knew about and used both currents at one point, some probably still do but I haven't found any myself who really teach and transmit anything around this any more.

 

Adyashanti actually spoke about Antony De Mello before the transmission, basically the Jesuits have a method they call the Spiritual exercises of St Ignatius which use forms of imaginative prayer and the Bible is used to put yourself in the position of the various characters in the book, the purpose of which is to discover that entire spectrum of humanity lives within you, which makes you far more open and forgiving to your entire being which also brings more of you together and available for the descent of love or Christ into your human form. Antony De Mello taught awakening but he also continued to do retreats on the spiritual exercises.

This is not like Taoist cultivation, there is no similarities. For a start in Taoist cultivation one is not looking for images of holy people or the love of them, or using any holy book,one is returning to the source through the self and the self needs great work on it to return to the source. Hyped up emotions are simply that, an enlightened person has no emotions, no desires, etc. Christians tend to be locked up with the Idea of a single God and Jesus, this tends to obscure them fom self cultivation to become equal to their God as they see that they were born in sin and could only hope that'God' may save them from damnation and certainly not become a God themselves. Whereas there are no such limitations in Taoism. The energy that Taoists cultivate comes from the one; it is not divine as such it is only the Immortals in Heaven that are divine. The one is inert and gives life to all whether good or bad whether divine or mortal.

Take religion and God out of the picture, look at the self first, this may take many lifetimes to come to resolution. In one lifetime you may become a shaman, the divine will enter into your life. In many lifetimes after this you may find true realisation. From true realisation one can become divine.

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This actually is a complete misnoma put about by those that don't really understand the principles of energy cultivation and also why many people then suffer headaches and other related health isuue due to the wrong information about energy cultivation.

 

Actually for those of use who can very clearly feel and see the energy and are working with masters that teach some of these things in addition to teaching them ourselves from experience - it is not a complete misnomer.

 

However, it is very true that if you do not know what you are doing and if you lack the understanding as illustrated in the above quote, then headaches and the like can occur.

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Actually for those of use who can very clearly feel and see the energy and are working with masters that teach some of these things in addition to teaching them ourselves from experience - it is not a complete misnomer. However, it is very true that if you do not know what you are doing and if you lack the understanding as illustrated in the above quote, then headaches and the like can occur.

 

Well tell me where you think 'energy' can go to and fro from from the head and how you think this energy is from the divine?

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Ehrm, of the monks i know (various catholic orders) some are ecumenical and have knowledge and respect that there are other views and religions and encourage to seek similarities without forgetting that the holy roman catholic church is the truth.

 

This esoteric christian thing is pretty far from mainstream, im surprised he even speaks (let alone admits to doing it) about his path if hes an ordained monk, it is considered blasphemous by most within the clergy and amongst lay-people. As far as catholicism goes, what that monk said makes him a misguided heretic seeking hidden things in the light.

What i was force-fed with as a christian is that esoteric teachings and research are distant fringe activities, officially not recognized by the church and therefore also partially considered asd devilish attempts to corrupt the holy mother church's sacred doctrine, an affront to christ and his sacrifice for all of mankind.

Fascinating read tho, but do your friend a favor and dont mention who he is if you say this stuff to other christians, i smell disciplinary action in the wind.

 

I grew up Orthodox Christian, and I wouldn't be surprised if I had met this man or at least been to his monastery. Also, this Christianity is only esoteric depending on where you're from. In much of the world, it still has a large presence, and many Orthodox (and non-Orthodox) Christians practice the Jesus Prayer he's describing. It's global population is equivalent to about two-thirds of Protestantism, only Protestantism represents thousands of competing belief systems, whereas Orthodoxy holds to a relatively unified doctrine.

 

That being said, I think genuine pursuit of spirituality is always esoteric in most widely-subscribed-to religions. In fact, I don't think it would be difficult to find writings in some of the most respected Christian writings (most written in the first millenium are shared by the Catholic and the Orthodox) that would appear blasphemous and heretical to many people. Here's one that comes to mind, from the influential 4th century bishop Athanatius: "God became man that man might become god" (My teachers always noted very emphatically that the second "god" should be lower-case). This is even what Eucharist (Communion) is about. Becoming god. Christians who don't know where their religion came from, or who obsess with technicalities, frequently call authentic Christianity blasphemy. I would say this man remains anonymous simply to avoid drama and confusion. He may even be an Abbot.

 

While Catholic and Orthodox tend to diminish the importance of a personal relationship with God as an attempt to dismiss Protestantism and strengthen the focus on the Church as the Body of Christ, it still comes down to a personal relationship with God, and deification.

 

 

Whether Christianity is truly mythical or not, some of the heart centered material is rich. It would be interesting if the reference to the heart location was indeed gleaned from a old Christian text or if it was taken from the many references in Eastern traditions. It is rare for Christian texts to have much technical knowledge or the bravery to write about it, as the tremendous fear about speaking in such a way is still fostered.

 

Christian texts have an enormous number of references to the heart, some of them technical. One well-loved monastic book is the Philokalia, which Orthodox Christians are always cautioned to read only under competent spiritual guidance. There are also contemporary books about finding the heart and praying in it, and there are accounts, such as one of a Romanian priest (very recently passed away, Fr. Roman Braga, I think) who was put in a prison camp, in which people discover "a universe inside" themselves. The more recent Russian classic, The Way of the Pilgrim, is very well-known in Orthodoxy, and speaks a great deal on The Jesus Prayer and unceasing prayer from the heart.

 

Anyway, I'm not here to tell people about Christianity as much as I am to learn about Taoism. If anyone is so inspired, please read my profile and start a conversation.

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I fully agree, rereading my post its ripe with the shock i felt at the refreshing bold stuff of this monk (whom i admire and thank for sharing), i didnt know the Jesus Prayer was so popular. Good stuff i guess!

But hey, my relation to and trust in christianity was thoroughly damaged early on, there was a lot of guilt being passed around at the time, everyone had their share to eat.

 

I left church at the end of my teens and i've only returned to attend peoples funerals and weddings because even secular people stubbornly decide to hold them there, and what i hear today wether protestant or catholic (never been to an orthodox function im ashamed to say) is exactly what you describe: a generalized and impersonal model of relationship with an allegedly petty and technically anal divinity to whom you've been indentured to by those who came before you, and all around a heap of hypocrites ready to point fingers should someones frightening and disorderly percieved weakness (defined by consensus) be revealed wether they be in the flock or outside. The mistrust, the frear, the lofty judging from people ready to squeeze your hand and wish God Peace upon you.

Lets just say i find these "holy" people downright scary. I respect christians and their right to truly find salvation in their belief and community, dont get me wrong, but i'll have none of it.

 

Rumis old saying about love and the barriers we ourselves build against it is still true, but some are tempted to lead you by the nose right into adulating and obeying them just because you think you dont know how to love, or what the real way to follow is. The same people hit you with their right hand and caress you with the left and everybody says you should be ready to suffer like that poor guy who got nailed to a wood contraption because people couldnt help being dicks, because its the noble thing to do, scores nice points in the tournament.

Everytime someone says to me that God is Love i want to march out in indignation because it often a man in a position to dictate all the rules who says it, there is no resting in the idea that he'd never be up to no good, if he werent he wouldnt be standing towering over everybody else trying to convice you otherwise.

 

Sorry, i didnt know i still felt this strongly about it, ill post it anyway, not trying to rain on anything or anyone, this thread is interesting but somehow it rips old scabs right off for me.

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth
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Very interesting post, thanks for sharing this interview, OP.

 

I found some surprising similarities between the esoteric Christian practices he described and my own taoist-based practices (KUNLUN System, specifically).

 

- "just surrender and let go and you as Awareness will merge with the Source." (during his discussion of grace and baptism). Excellent instructions for spontaneous neigong...

 

- The place to focus on is a few inches to the right of the heart (during his discussion of Jesus Prayer)... this seems to me to be the same location described by Max for the practice of kunlun method. Max specifically says just a little to the right from the middle of the chest.

 

- The downward flow of energy from the crown... this certainly seems akin to the "water path". The christian monk even contrasts his own practice with kundalini (the epitome of the "fire path" traditions).

 

- "there is a completion stage of perfection where even the body is transformed and filled with light flowing through all the opened channels." Sounds a lot like the "Gold Dragon Body" to me.

 

Just some thoughts for all my fellow bums.

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Orthodox Christian monasticism is a very real deal path. It's a mystery school. My mother is Orthodox and I've stayed overnight in their monasteries and been around the Orthodox world quite a bit. A lot of the monastics have attained high states. I was fortunate enough to be able to meet with Elder Paisios of St. Anthony's in Arizona, and let me tell you, that man radiates. I could feel the Qi just pouring off of him and everything about his nature seemed 100% relaxed. These guys are for real. While I was at one of the monasteries, I was looking through a book that had a photo of a monk on Mt. Athos who was completely see-through, as if he had attained the body of light, like multiarms mentioned.

 

Like everything else, though, if you really want to learn their system you need to learn it from a legitimate source, preferably a senior monastic. Unlike some other systems, however, you absolutely have to be a Christian. The religion and the mystical techniques are inseperable.

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nice read, thanks!

 

 

Is it? Most Eastern methods are about waking up, which means bringing the energy up and out of the top of the head.

 

The Christian transmission is bringing spirit and love back down into humanity.

 

In my personal experience the transmission of Zen is different from the Christian transmission, the only thing comparable I have found in other paths is the Bodhisattva tradition, Buddhism without that element lacks that downward movement of energy in my experience.

 

and this quote from Jetsun gives an interesting idea about the differences between these paths

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Really interesting thread. The Greek Orthodox Church seems to have a very strong surviving mystical strain, which if I'm honest I thought was dead in modern Christianity. A family member of mine converted to Greek Orthodox and through her I've encountered some writings about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Paisios_of_Mount_Athos , and he sounds like an amazing and highly realized man if even a fraction of what they've written about him is true - all the more amazing for being a product of the modern era.

 

Even if you don't take into account the healings and other miracles he allegedly performed, the segments of his writings I've read (granted, a fairly small percentage) conveyed some serious spiritual wisdom.

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Many ancient texts and stories were used in writing the bible so some of it should sound familiar to those who practice much older traditions. The problem is the church went to great lengths of unholy acts to wipe out the older traditions this is where things get very dark and disturbing. personally I have no interest in watering this plant.

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