Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

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Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by DNS » Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:43 pm

Kabbalah

Some pantheistic elements in Jewish mysticism
Yehidah (יחידה): The highest plane of the soul, in which one can achieve as full a union with God as is possible.

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SarathW
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:58 pm

I spent reasonable amount of time studying Kabbalah.
For me it is very similar to Hindu Chakra system.
I think,studying both of these teachings enhance your meditation practices.

johnny dangerous
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:06 am

My wife is Jewish and has kind of dabbled, so I own some books etc. on Kabbalah.

The unfortunate thing is that today the only way to learn much about it is to be Jewish and probably Chassidism, or to subscribe to one of the "new-agey" type version of it out there.

Like Sufism, I find it hard to understand how the esoteric doctrine can possibly connect with the exoteric, personal creator God idea, and the *very* finite universe of the Torah.

At least in Kabbalah, Ain Soph/Ain Soph Aur is quite close on cursory examination to ideas about appearance and emptiness you encounter in some forms of Buddhism..the analogy of the MIrror and it's reflections etc.

So on some levels, I've been quite surprised by how similar some of the philosophy sounds "on paper"...I just don't get how the doctrine translates to the personal creator god whose favor you want to stay in in the exoteric doctrine.

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Iconodule
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:37 am

I guess it depends on whether you see personality as a limitation to be transcended or a quality inherently sublime. The Jewish and Christian tradition see man as the crown of creation precisely because he was imbued with a rational soul, the image of God. With such an understanding it would be crazy to posit the absolute reality as impersonal since personhood is an elevated quality. On the other hand it is important not to confuse the personality of God with the passions and hindrances we are accustomed to seeing in ourselves and each other and that is part of the purpose of apophatic theology where we divest ourselves of erroneous conceptions of who God is or what he's like.

Since Moses was alone, by having been stripped as it were of the people’s fear, he boldly approached the very darkness itself and entered the invisible things where he was no longer seen by those watching. After he entered the inner sanctuary of the divine mystical doctrine, there, while not being seen, he was in company with the Invisible. He teaches, I think, by the things he did that the one who is going to associate intimately with God must go beyond all that is visible and—lifting up his own mind, as to a mountaintop, to the invisible and incomprehensible—believe that the divine is there where the understanding does not reach.’ - St Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - St. Isaac of Syria

johnny dangerous
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:27 am

Iconodule wrote: On the other hand it is important not to confuse the personality of God with the passions and hindrances we are accustomed to seeing in ourselves and each other and that is part of the purpose of apophatic theology where we divest ourselves of erroneous conceptions of who God is or what he's like.
Thanks for the explanation, Buddhist (well, Mahayana at least) doctrine of course denies that there is any such thing as personality in an ultimate sense anyway, much less a kind of supra-personality.. so I suppose this is a place where there is bound to be a big gulf.

That is not to invalidate those beliefs, just from my personal pov, an explanation of why I don't understand how the concept of Ain Soph is consistent with the idea of a divine personality, by definition it transcends traits and conditions. Maybe one could say that the traits and conditions are reflections in the mirror, as I sometimes hear Kabbalists say that phenomena are all "in the mind of God" or similar.

What you are saying is comparable to what some Buddhist and Bon practitioners might say about The Natural state or Buddha nature etc. being the source of positive qualities, but that may be reaching.

Still, the reflections are not the mirror, and it still seems to be a philosophical quandary to me. Of course, I don't have enough experience with the philosophy to resolve such things, and I do find Kabbalah very interesting.

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Iconodule
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:06 pm

johnny dangerous wrote:
Iconodule wrote: On the other hand it is important not to confuse the personality of God with the passions and hindrances we are accustomed to seeing in ourselves and each other and that is part of the purpose of apophatic theology where we divest ourselves of erroneous conceptions of who God is or what he's like.
Thanks for the explanation, Buddhist (well, Mahayana at least) doctrine of course denies that there is any such thing as personality in an ultimate sense anyway, much less a kind of supra-personality.. so I suppose this is a place where there is bound to be a big gulf

That is not to invalidate those beliefs, just from my personal pov, an explanation of why I don't understand how the concept of Ain Soph is consistent with the idea of a divine personality, by definition it transcends traits and conditions. Maybe one could say that the traits and conditions are reflections in the mirror, as I sometimes hear Kabbalists say that phenomena are all "in the mind of God" or similar.

What you are saying is comparable to what some Buddhist and Bon practitioners might say about The Natural state or Buddha nature etc. being the source of positive qualities, but that may be reaching.

Still, the reflections are not the mirror, and it still seems to be a philosophical quandary to me. Of course, I don't have enough experience with the philosophy to resolve such things, and I do find Kabbalah very interesting.
Yeah, Buddhism refutes self by analyzing and breaking down everything we might point to as indicative of an abiding self. Since self cannot be defined by these transient thoughts, sensations, bodies, etc. then how else would you define self? Buddhism concludes that the concept of self, whether an individual one or a transcendent one, is a delusion, since nothing you can define it by is real.

I think the apophatic theology common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam actually takes a similar approach but comes to a different conclusion. We cannot define God in his essence but, stripping away our erroneous conceptions of him, and recognizing that even his revealed attributes (e.g. wisdom, benevolence, justice, love, etc) are truly mysterious and ungraspable, our conceptions of them being defective and provisional, we enter the "divine darkness", apprehend him, and recognize his reality even if it cannot be defined.
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - St. Isaac of Syria

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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:37 pm

There is analogy to be made to Dharmakaya I think, in that no one tries to argue that one can conceptually explain or categorize Dharmakaya, it can only be realized. In a general sense the basic process seems similar, but the anthropomorphizing of the absolute is very foreign to Buddha dharma in anything but symbolic sense - i.e. the primordial Buddha appears in a certain form precisely because it is impossible to realize it with the conceptual mind, not because the Dharmakaya has personal attributes...by my understanding.

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Iconodule
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:42 pm

The Dharmakaya seems ambiguous to me because, while it does seem at first glance to be an impersonal, abstract absolute, it also cannot exist as something apart from beings or apart from samboghakaya and nirmanakaya, that is, apart from a personal expression.
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - St. Isaac of Syria

johnny dangerous
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:45 pm

Iconodule wrote:The Dharmakaya seems ambiguous to me because, while it does seem at first glance to be an impersonal, abstract absolute, it also cannot exist as something apart from beings or apart from samboghakaya and nirmanakaya, that is, apart from a personal expression.

Yes, the three kayas AFAIK are ways of describing aspects of something, not separate things. In some systems there is a fourth kaya described as the union of the three, etc. Still, I wouldn't call sambogakaya a "personal expression" in quite the way we are discussing here, though maybe it's closer than I think. Sambogakaya and NIrmanakaya are a personal manfestation on the side of the observer, i.e. the obscured mind, their ultimate reality is still Dharmakaya - by my understanding.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Svabhavikakaya

TexasBuddhist
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by TexasBuddhist » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:54 pm

One could pick up a Kabbalah if they were instructed and learned how to use it.

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