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Nothing New Under The Sun
(the ARX acta diurna)
The biggest problem imo with organized religion
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From: anna_wing Date: December 7th, 2009 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I suspect that the transactional basis to theism of all kinds, reinforced by the rise of monotheism, is why the insight that created Theravada Buddhism has never really caught on in the West. Epicurus was the only major figure ever to have reached it, as far as I am aware, apart from possibly a little burst from Spinoza (though I find Spinoza rather complex, so possibly I am simply not understanding him properly) a lot later. Both suppressed by monotheism, to which they were utterly antithetical.

Westerners who look to Buddhism mostly go to the prettier and more emotionally acceptable Mahayana schools. Being told that the Way of salvation from sorrow is for you and you alone to walk, that the Buddha does not bless, console, blame, reward, punish, protect or do deals of any kind - that's something that monotheists tend to consider intolerably harsh. Not to mention the doctrine of the non-existence of the self, which is the real deal-killer (sic) for anyone who clings to the idea of personal immortality.
bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: December 7th, 2009 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Nobody agreed on what Spinoza was really saying,

when I was in college. (Of course, nobody agreed on what Aristotle had been saying, or Plato, or Thomas, either...) But yeah, abstruse.

OTOH, the sense of a dissolution of self in a union with The Divine is a major and common theme in Western Christian mysticism, so not as entirely alien perhaps as surface appearances.

And (tho' like most things not absolute nor consistently-held) the notion of personal immortality is not accepted by all Jews, despite monotheism, and there's a lot of theological fusion going on between the Jewish and Buddhist traditions these last decades.
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