Monday, 15 August 2016

Esotericism

"'I'm inclined to take at face value the Johnnies' claim that their adepts have secret knowledge. Esotericism has always been associated more with the Low than the High.'"
-Poul Anderson, Operation Chaos (New York, 1995), p. 167.

Esoteric knowledge might mean either knowledge that is deliberately kept secret or knowledge that is only attainable at an advanced level of spiritual development. Mainstream Christianity is preached publicly without any doctrines held back and the Buddha has no "closed fist." I can tell you roughly how to practice "just sitting" meditation although I am not qualified to give instruction in it.

A practitioner in another Indian tradition was not allowed to describe his meditative techniques to me. I think that this is a precaution against corruption of the practices. Someone might hear indirectly about, e.g., mantras or visualizations, and think that he is practicing them while really getting them all wrong, then misleading others. John Blofeld, an expert in Tibetan Buddhism, wrote that anyone who claims to describe Tantric rituals should be disregarded because he is either breaking a confidence or lying.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I have a higher opinion of religions and philosophies who are open and candid about what they believe and teach. Who are not secretive about their doctrines and rites, etc.

    Mormonism seems to be the most prominent religion I know of which does practice some degree of secretism about its beliefs and rituals.

    Sean

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