Tag Archives: rebirth

Imagining Karma

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth by Gananath Obeyesekere.

Ganath Obeyesekere Imagining Karma

Obeyesekere works through a project of “comparative structural interpretation” (354), using simplified and idealized models of the processes described by rebirth doctrines within and among various cultures. One of his goals is to demonstrate that reincarnation “eschatologies” are not unique to Indic religions, as is sometimes supposed. The societies that furnish Obeyesekere with ethnological data are Vedanta and Upanishadic Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism, West Africa, Trobriand, Northwest Coast Amerindians, Inuit, Tlingit, Kwakiutl, Classical Hellenism (as Pythagoreanism and Platonism), “Heterodox Islam” (as Druzes and Ismailism), and Bali. He omits the kabbalistic metempsychosis of mystical Judaism, as well as some Australian and Asian cultures of reincarnation, noting that he is especially interested in those who hold beliefs permitting cross-species rebirth of humans. This latter idea he ties to the notion of “species sentience” (his term) and relates structurally to vegetarianism, by means of an endoanthropophagy (cannibalism) taboo.

Obeyesekere distinguishes a “karmic eschatology” from the basic “rebirth eschatology” according to the presence of two features, which he groups under the process of “ethicization” of the reincarnation process. The first feature is a differentiation of post-mortem otherworld experiences based on the ethical status of the deceased. The second is the ethicization of rebirth per se, so that the ethical value of one life has the determinative effect on the identity and quality of the next life. (He notes that this latter feature correlates to a devaluation of animals, when compared to rebirth schemas that lack it.) Tied to this ethicization is the establishment of a salvation that lies outside the cycle of rebirth altogether. Obeyesekere also asserts a parallel process of “axiologization,” by which preexisting local values are conceptualized and universalized. While outlining his model of the “karmic eschatology,” he counters Western descriptions (or “inventions”) of Buddhism as essentially and originally “rational” (151 ff.).

Having constructed the model of Buddhist rebirth ideas, with reference to those of “small-scale societies,” Obeyesekere compares it to other cultures under his consideration. He also discusses instances of deviance from the model within Buddhism (e.g. 132), and variability within the other cultures. None are presented as static or uniform, but the structure(s) described by Obeyesekere serve(s) as a strange attractor around which the instances group themselves, according to “expectability” and its circumstantial thwarting. He emphasizes (e.g. 139) that “popular” features durably contradicting “pure” doctrines are as likely to be survivals from the religion’s first codification as they are to be “contaminations” from a subsequent, alien source.

He explains that his methodological goal is to demonstrate that while cultures as wholes may be “incommensurable,” comparison of important aspects or dimensions of culture can be undertaken productively. Although I found plenty of his more specific arguments questionable (often provocatively so), I think he succeeds on this most general plane of his ambition. [via]


The Art of Magick

 

The Art of Magick
(Buckley)

In the midst of ‘Economic madness’…what once ‘was’ is “no more”…
but still….
We are ‘here’.
The Totalitarian Tiptoe continues as always…giving rise to more wars and other unspeakable monstrosities.
Painful to those of us who are aware.
But yet we are aware!
…and what is more…we are aware of our awareness.
This is the magick of the Lucid Dream…
What a time to be alive.
Ah and we are of the divine spark…!
We are gods…all of us.
We are the children of Enki.
Though some think we have the signature of the slave…now is the time to rise above.
Now we can turn the baser metals & transform them into the alchemical gold.
Alchemy
Transformation…
Bliss is only a second away.
What are you waiting for.
Use your breath, for it is spirit.
You will ascend.
This is not a question or a supposition.
It is a fact!
Let us not fear death…for without death there is no rebirth.
When the time has come…The mirror will be put in front of U.
What will you bring to the mirror?
What will you reflect?

Bring hate to the mirror…
The mirror will reflect hate.

Bring love…and ascension is yours.
You are the mirror – and the reflection.

Fear is the mind killer.

Ralph Buckley is a singer/songwriter, musician, magician, and artist who is “originally from Oz (just outside of Seattle…dimensionally speaking).”

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Magick, Music and Ritual 6, the Winter 2013 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Project – Magick Music and Ritual 6

 

 

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“All that has happened in the third degree is that he has symbolically passed through a great and striking change: a rebirth, or regeneration of his whole nature. He has been ‘sown a corruptible body’; and in virtue of the self-discipline and self-development he has undergone, there has been raised in him ‘an incorruptible body,’ and death has been swallowed up in the victory he has attained over himself.” [via]