Sufism

dhammacoustic
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Sufism

Post by dhammacoustic » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:50 am

- Reality is one and is the ultimate Self
- (ultimately) parts do not exist
- God (or al-Lah) who is the ultimate Self, manifests as the universal consciousness
- Existence and evolution take place due to God's will
- Free will is an illusion, entities do not have free will, the ego-self does not exist, it cannot own anything, it cannot act on its own
- The universe is the mirror by which the Self witnesses its infinite potentiality
- Information (from the universal consciousness) is carried by light, this is called reincarnation. All things reincarnate, including insentient beings
- In the dimension of God, all things (past-present-future) can be known in an instant
- One can become one with the Self during life, but the Eternal Secret (God's being) still cannot be known
- God's being is eternal, it does not change
- The universal consciousness is apathetic
- You cannot start the Path without a teacher, though when you are ready, the universe gives you one
- Matter is created by the virtue of the Self. The union of the Spirit and matter, result in flesh
- Without a marriage in the heavens, a marriage on the earth cannot take place
- Planets and stars are manifestations of human collective consciousness
- God can create anything, in any way, the current universe is not even a spec
- Imagination (shaitan) is bad, aql (intelligence) is good
- Some traditional islamic Sufis believe that one who chooses a Path other than Muhammad's sharia, shall never reach God. Muhammad is the best exemplar for all worlds
- Some traditional islamic Sufis believe that existence exists because of God's love for Muhammad's being
- Some non-islamic Sufis reject most islamic beliefs
_______

Concepts about the self:

nafs-al ammara: desirous ego (lower-self) who is not in touch with God (the nafs that suffers)
nafs-al lawwama: desirous ego (lower-self) who sometimes recollects God (the nafs that blames itself)
nafs-al mulhima: desirous ego (lower-self) who is in touch with God (the nafs that purifies itself)
nafs-al mutmainna: less desirous ego (higher-self) who knows God (the nafs that settles)
nafs-al raziyya: less desirous ego (sacred-self) who exists for God (the nafs that is in joy)
nafs-al mardiyya: almost dissolved ego (inner-self) who is one with God (the nafs that is dissolved)
nafs-al safiyya: purified Self (ultimate Self) who exists as embodiment of God (the nafs that is God)

Path:

Sharia (law) : beginning of the Path
Tariqa (path) : living by the Sufi discipline
Marifah (ability) : extra-sensory perceptions
Haqiqa (truth) : knowledge of God

***

dhikr: remembrance of God
muraqaba: concentrating on God
tafakkur: contemplation on God
tazkiyah: purification of oneself

________________

http://ias.org/sufism/introduction-to-sufism/
https://ias.org/sufism/practical-sufism ... al-sufism/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufism

Opinions?
Last edited by dhammacoustic on Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

SarathW
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Re: Sufism

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:19 am

I like Sufi dances and prayers.

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lobster
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Re: Sufism

Post by lobster » Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:40 am

SarathW wrote:I like Sufi dances and prayers.
I like the Buddhists in silly hats and sangha bald guys an' gals in saris :freak: :sage:

Whenever I come across a widening of the potential to overcome dukkha or Shaitan/Iblis, I feel happier :clapping:

As far as I know some Sufis are more dharmic than some magical/constricted dharmaists.

... and now back to the dervish love fest :hug:

http://opcoa.st/04HZd
Last edited by lobster on Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:32 pm

I don't think most Sufis would be comfortable with the pantheistic overtones found in the OP. Sufism is generally pretty well-integrated with mainstream Islam and retains 'orthodox' Islamic theology.
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: Sufism

Post by DNS » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:38 pm

If it is indeed pantheistic, then it sounds very Dharmic. Probably most closely related to Hindi-Dharma / Vedanta.

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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:59 pm

It should be mentioned that, like the Christian fathers, the Islamic thinkers used concepts from Neo-Platonism and Aristotelianism to elaborate their theology. Platonism isn't quite pantheistic but can be pushed in that direction depending on how one interprets some ideas. But I think most of the big names of Islamic theology like Ibn Arabi and Al Ghazali would have vigorously resisted any hint of pantheism.

One thing that radically distinguishes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from other religions and philosophies is the belief that God created out of nothing, and that the creation is not an intrinsic part of his being but rather a free act, and that it is not eternal.
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

dhammacoustic
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Re: Sufism

Post by dhammacoustic » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:42 am

Iconodule wrote:I don't think most Sufis would be comfortable with the pantheistic overtones found in the OP. Sufism is generally pretty well-integrated with mainstream Islam and retains 'orthodox' Islamic theology.
There are Sufis who maintain that the Sufi Path already existed in Syria (and Egypt) before Muhammad was born.

My understanding is that, Sufism and traditional islamism (as a religion/belief system) are two different entities.
David N. Snyder wrote:If it is indeed pantheistic, then it sounds very Dharmic.
Hi David,

It is panentheistic.
Iconodule wrote: But I think most of the big names of Islamic theology like Ibn Arabi and Al Ghazali would have vigorously resisted any hint of pantheism.
Al Ghazali was a fundamentalist islamist and a theologian, rather than a Sufi.

Ibn Arabi was accused of being a "kafir" by Sunni islamists, due to his panentheistic/spiritual teachings.

The famous Rumi, for example, was a homosexual according to the Masnavi-I Ma'navi. The Sharia law states that the punishment is stoning to death, in a public place.
One thing that radically distinguishes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from other religions and philosophies is the belief that God created out of nothing, and that the creation is not an intrinsic part of his being but rather a free act, and that it is not eternal.
This "particular creation" is not eternal, but al-Lah creates eternally (Quran, 55.27, 55.29).
-Sufi interpretation

SarathW
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Re: Sufism

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:55 am

One thing that radically distinguishes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from other religions and philosophies is the belief that God created out of nothing, and that the creation is not an intrinsic part of his being but rather a free act, and that it is not eternal.
So if God crated me and if I am not intrinsic part of God, how can I re-union with God?
My understanding is that according to Abrahamic religions, I am a part of God.

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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

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

dhammacoustic wrote:
Iconodule wrote:I don't think most Sufis would be comfortable with the pantheistic overtones found in the OP. Sufism is generally pretty well-integrated with mainstream Islam and retains 'orthodox' Islamic theology.
There are Sufis who maintain that the Sufi Path already existed in Syria (and Egypt) before Muhammad was born.
These "Sufis" are wrong then.
My understanding is that, Sufism and traditional islamism (as a religion/belief system) are two different entities.
Sorry but your understanding is wrong. Sufism is part of mainstream Islam throughout the Muslim world. Only the relatively recent spread of Wahhabism has changed this in some places. Even so, Sufism continues to be inseparable from Islam in many parts of the world including the most populous countries Pakistan and Indonesia. Sufism is widely considered essential to being a faithful Muslim.

On the Shiite side, Twelver Shiism was spread in Iran through the efforts of the Safaviyya Sufi order, from which the Safavid dynasty for their name.
Al Ghazali was a fundamentalist islamist and a theologian, rather than a Sufi.

Ibn Arabi was accused of being a "kafir" by Sunni islamists, due to his panentheistic/spiritual teachings.
Sorry, this is just silly. First of all, the terms "fundamentalism" and "Islamism" are utterly anachronistic when talking about medieval Muslim thinkers. Second, what makes you think being a theologian and a Sufi are mutually exclusive?

The fact that Ibn Arabi might have been called kafir by some has no bearings on his generally wide esteem in the Muslim world. Both Al Ghazali and Ibn Arabi are well respected Sufis and theologians in mainstream Sunni Islam.
The famous Rumi, for example, was a homosexual according to the Masnavi-I Ma'navi. The Sharia law states that the punishment is stoning to death, in a public place.
Take a look at how homosexuality and pederasty existed in Muslim cultures. It's not as simple as you think.
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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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:11 am

SarathW wrote:
One thing that radically distinguishes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from other religions and philosophies is the belief that God created out of nothing, and that the creation is not an intrinsic part of his being but rather a free act, and that it is not eternal.
So if God crated me and if I am not intrinsic part of God, how can I re-union with God?
My understanding is that according to Abrahamic religions, I am a part of God.
No, that's not right. Speaking from the Orthodox Christian perspective, our union with God is effected by our restoration of the likeness of God in us and our participation in the deifying energies of God, whereby we are made gods by grace but not by nature. This is made possible by the assumption by the Son of God of human nature. Human nature is therefore deified by its inseparable unity with God but remains distinct (Christ's humanity does not dissolve into his divinity).
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: Sufism

Post by johnny dangerous » Fri Jun 24, 2016 4:42 am

In the above description, what are grace and nature exactly, and how do they differ?

dhammacoustic
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Re: Sufism

Post by dhammacoustic » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:20 am

Iconodule wrote:These "Sufis" are wrong then.
Probably not.
Sorry but your understanding is wrong. Sufism is part of mainstream Islam throughout the Muslim world. Only the relatively recent spread of Wahhabism has changed this in some places. Even so, Sufism continues to be inseparable from Islam in many parts of the world including the most populous countries Pakistan and Indonesia.
I have no idea where you're coming up with all this, are you living in an islamic country? As far as I know, Sufism is not a Quranic discipline, at best, it is bid'ah. Vast majority of muslims living in the east right now, have never practiced (nor even met) Sufism in their lives. And as you can notice, the Sufi interpretation (tawil) of the Quran is entirely different from traditional interpretations.


The further one delves into Sufism from an academic perspective, the more clear it becomes that both the origins and content of Sufism clearly show the inclusion of religious ideas and influences contrary and contradictory to orthodox Islam. The scholar Elliot Miller states that “[being] based on experience rather than doctrine, Sufism has always been more open to outside influence than other forms of Islam... in addition to early influences from Christianity, one can find elements of Zoroastrianism, Neoplatonism, Hinduism, and other diverse traditions

Martin Lings, himself a practicing Sufi, in his work What is Sufism?, states that “Prince Dara Shikoh (d.1619), the Sufi son of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan, was able to affirm that Sufism and Advaita Vedantism [Hinduism] are essentially the same, with a surface difference of terminology.”34 Prince Dara Shikoh was also responsible for the translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, the Yoga Vasishtha, and the Upanishads into Persian.35 Seyyed Hossein Nasr acknowledges that “many Sufis in India called Hinduism the religion of Adam,” and, “[the] orthodox Naqshbandi saint Mirza Mazhar Jan Janan considered the Vedas as divinely inspired.”

- rim.org
Sufism is widely considered essential to being a faithful Muslim.
In other words, you don't really know islam.
Sorry, this is just silly. First of all, the terms "fundamentalism" and "Islamism" are utterly anachronistic when talking about medieval Muslim thinkers.
Al Ghazali was mostly famous for "damning" Greek philosophy, and mathematics which according to him, were hostile to islamic beliefs. His later "mystical" teachings on the nafs and surrendering the will emerged in the form of tasawwuf, that's all.
Second, what makes you think being a theologian and a Sufi are mutually exclusive?
It is not the theology. Sufism at its core is a non-political path and a tradition of transcendental mysticism. It is not a political sect. Al Ghazali was a political theologian, and an islamist.
The fact that Ibn Arabi might have been called kafir by some has no bearings on his generally wide esteem in the Muslim world. Both Al Ghazali and Ibn Arabi are well respected Sufis and theologians in mainstream Sunni Islam.
Please just read Ahmad Sirhindi's (the famous Indian muslim scholar who is considered to be the "Renewer" of islam) "commentary" on Ibn Arabi and his teachings. He is still called kafir by most muslims; https://truthaboutsufism.wordpress.com/ ... -believer/

His main concept "Wahdat-al Wujud" is rejected by most islamic traditions.
Take a look at how homosexuality and pederasty existed in Muslim cultures. It's not as simple as you think.
I am just saying that Rumi was not a sunnah islamist, that's all.
Last edited by dhammacoustic on Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Sufism

Post by lobster » Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:59 am

lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh
As a very bad Dervish, who considers the Quran undivine twaddle BUT the mystical interpretation of my Quran by Al-Ghazali as superlative, I am more deviant than the Spaniard Ibn-Arabi. :crazy:

In fact as I practice Buddhist prostrations rather than Allah bowing, I would mostly only be welcome in Islamic hell ... :jawdrop:

I have long advocated a very different Islam and my dervish friends still welcome me, which proves their open hearted nature. The last time I went to the biggest mosque in Europe, I was treated very well. :heart:

Sufism in most formulations is deeply based on a set of set of rules that is as potentially deeply flawed as other Abrahamic or Dharmic excesses.

'Increase in Love' is a worthy Sufi principle. It can also have a Buddhist manifestation ... :freak:
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:14 pm

johnny dangerous wrote:In the above description, what are grace and nature exactly, and how do they differ?
Creatures are by nature impermanent, finite, etc. Only God is by nature divine. However, God allows creatures, particularly humans and angels, to participate in his energies, and share, in some finite way, in his divine attributes- immortality, wisdom, etc. So we can become divine by grace, meaning it is not something inherent to our nature but given to us from the Other, and we remain distinct, sort of like a sponge can be filled with water but remain a sponge. This is called deification or 'theosis' in Greek terminology. There are a lot of articles available online about this, like this one: http://www.antiochian.org/content/theos ... ine-nature
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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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Sufism

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:25 pm

lobster wrote:lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh
As a very bad Dervish, who considers the Quran man twaddle BUT the mystical interpretation of my Quran by Al-Ghazali as superlative, I am more deviant than the Spaniard Ibn-Arabi. :crazy:

In fact as I practice Buddhist prostrations rather than Allah bowing, I would mostly only be welcome in Islamic hell ... :jawdrop:

I have long advocated a very different Islam and my dervish friends still welcome me, which proves their open hearted nature. The last time I went to the biggest mosque in Europe, I was treated very well. :heart:

Sufism in most formulations is deeply based on a set of set of rules that is as potentially deeply flawed as other Abrahamic or Dharmic excesses.

'Increase in Love' is a worthy Sufi principle. It can also have a Buddhist manifestation ... :freak:
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh
Just an aside, but how do you reconcile the shahada with Tisarana?
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:44 pm

dhammacoustic wrote:
Iconodule wrote:These "Sufis" are wrong then.
Probably not.
Before the birth of Muhammad, Syria and Egypt were Christian strongholds controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire. The closest thing they would have had to Sufis were the Desert Fathers. The Desert Fathers were not Sufis.
I have no idea where you're coming up with all this, are you living in an islamic country?
My family is from a majority Muslim country (Malaysia) and I'll be visiting them again next month. In Malaysia, Sufism is still part of mainstream Islam. The same is true in neighboring Indonesia and also Pakistan- the two most populous Muslim countries in the world. You will find Sufi shrines, Sufi orders, etc. (though you don't need to belong to a Sufi order to practice Sufism).

I've also taken several courses on Islamic history, taught by a professor who is an Imam at the local Sunni mosque and a self-declared practitioner of Sufism.
As far as I know, Sufism is not a Quranic discipline,
Oh, okay, that would explain why Sufis are constantly basing their practice in the Quran.
at best, it is bid'ah.
How can it be Bid'ah if, according to you, it existed before Muhammad?

You are confusing Wahhabism with Islam as a whole. Wahhabism emerged in the 1700's and only rose to prominence in Arabia with the rise of the House of Saud. Before that, even Arabia was full of Sufis. It was the Wahhabis who destroyed the Sufi shrines throughout Arabia.
Vast majority of muslims living in the east right now, have never practiced (nor even met) Sufism in their lives. And as you can notice, the Sufi interpretation (tawil) of the Quran is entirely different from traditional interpretations.
That would be news to the millions of Muslims who frequent Sufi shrines and learn from Sufi sheikhs and scholars. The two most populous Islamic countries in the world are Pakistan and Indonesia and Sufism is part of the fabric of Islam for most Muslims in both countries. Only Wahhabi agitation has started to challenge this. Read up on the Barelvi movement in Pakistan and the organization Nahdlatul Ulama in Indonesia. Both are popular 'orthodox' Sunni movements with strong roots in Sufism.

Martin Lings came out of the 'traditionalist' or 'perennialist' movement of European esoterists (see Rene Guenon). These guys learned about Advaita Vedanta and decided they liked it. They then decided that Advaita Vedanta was really the inner teaching of all the major religious traditions. Since Catholicism had lost it, though, they settled on Islamic Sufism as the easiest away for Westerners to approach this supposed universal tradition. So it is hardly surprising to see Martin Lings take a very tendentious approach to Islamic history and cherry pick texts that prove that Sufism is somehow identical to Advaita Vedanta.
Al Ghazali was mostly famous for "damning" Greek philosophy, and mathematics which according to him, were hostile to islamic beliefs. His later "mystical" teachings on the nafs and surrendering the will emerged in the form of tasawwuf, that's all.
Sufism is not Greek philosophy.
It is not the theology. Sufism at its core, is a non-political path of love and devotion, a tradition of transcendental mysticism. It is not a political sect. Al Ghazali identified himself as a Sunni, he was a political theologian, and an islamist.
What makes you think theology and mysticism are separable? They're not. As for Sufism being "non-political," please. Put away the perennialists and internet articles and actually read the history of Sufism. Sufis have always been at the forefront of Islamic conquests and empires. The Ottomans' janissaries were in the Bektashi order. The Mogul empire was driven by Sufism. The Safavid empire got its name from a Sufi order.
I am just saying that Rumi was not a sunnah islamist, that's all.
He was a Sunni Muslim.
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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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:05 pm

If you don't think Sufis are political or violent... : http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/01 ... extremism/
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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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:23 pm

India also has a huge Muslim population and Sufism is mainstream there as well. There are tons of Sufi shrines and Sufi festivals draw huge crowds:

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpict ... 54262.html
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: Sufism

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

Iconodule wrote:
johnny dangerous wrote:In the above description, what are grace and nature exactly, and how do they differ?
Creatures are by nature impermanent, finite, etc. Only God is by nature divine. However, God allows creatures, particularly humans and angels, to participate in his energies, and share, in some finite way, in his divine attributes- immortality, wisdom, etc. So we can become divine by grace, meaning it is not something inherent to our nature but given to us from the Other, and we remain distinct, sort of like a sponge can be filled with water but remain a sponge. This is called deification or 'theosis' in Greek terminology. There are a lot of articles available online about this, like this one: http://www.antiochian.org/content/theos ... ine-nature

Thanks, interesting stuff, the "other" vs. "us" part of course is completely rejected in Buddhist soteriology, at least in the Mahayana. Other than that though there are some interesting parallels.

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Iconodule
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Re: Sufism

Post by Iconodule » Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:23 pm

johnny dangerous wrote:
Iconodule wrote:
johnny dangerous wrote:In the above description, what are grace and nature exactly, and how do they differ?
Creatures are by nature impermanent, finite, etc. Only God is by nature divine. However, God allows creatures, particularly humans and angels, to participate in his energies, and share, in some finite way, in his divine attributes- immortality, wisdom, etc. So we can become divine by grace, meaning it is not something inherent to our nature but given to us from the Other, and we remain distinct, sort of like a sponge can be filled with water but remain a sponge. This is called deification or 'theosis' in Greek terminology. There are a lot of articles available online about this, like this one: http://www.antiochian.org/content/theos ... ine-nature

Thanks, interesting stuff, the "other" vs. "us" part of course is completely rejected in Buddha dharma, for the most part..other than that though there are some interesting parallels.
Right, the inviolable distinction between God and creature- even as they are inseparable- is a key and possibly irreconcilable difference between the Abrahamic religions and dharmic religions.

On the other hand, within the creation itself, a radical unity is perceived reflecting its utter dependence and inseparability from God:

There is but one world and it is not divided into parts. On the contrary, it encloses the differences of the parts arising from their natural properties by their relation to what is one and indivisible in itself. Moreover, it shows that both are the same thing with it and alternately with each other in an unconfused way and that the whole of one enters into the whole of the other, and both fill the same whole as parts fill a unit, and in this way the parts and uniformly and entirely filled as a whole. For the whole spiritual world seems mystically imprinted on the whole sensible world in symbolic forms, for those who are capable of seeing this, and conversely the whole sensible world is spiritually explained in the mind in the principles which it contains. In the spiritual world it is in principles; in the sensible world it is in figures. - St. Maximus the Confessor, On the Church's Mystagogy

The above language actually reminds me a lot of Hua Yan and Tiantai meditations on interpenetration, though of course there are differences.
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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