Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Further thoughts on the Non-dualistic position

Non-dualism valuable but not ultimate
To the Buddhist and to many Christians influenced by esoteric ways of thinking 'non-dualism' (or 'and/also' as opposed to 'either/or' thinking) is an ultimate goal. To me from a Christian perspective non-dualism is not an end in itself but a means to a higher calling. I refer not to our ultimate end after death or in the Apostle Paul’s words “The mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.  I refer to our calling here on earth. A passage which comes to mind in this context is that of the experience of the 3 disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration -  the great mystical experience of seeing the transformed  Jesus was immediately contrasted by what followed - a (dualistic) confrontation with the demonised child. This seems to be also how Jesus operated. He came as a light shining in the darkness and the darkness was not able to contain it. Spending time with his Father was the source of His power to do his His will and advance His kingdom. (the Lords prayer). Jesus was acting out an aware dualism due to his time with God his Father and this too is the Christian calling.
Onenesswith God not equivalent to non-dualism
 I’m not sure if oneness with God is identical with the non-dual way of thinking. It does not seem to me to be how Jesus viewed it - his praying and fellowship with God seemed to not be reducible to an internal impersonal enlightenment but more an objective personal relationship with a God who was ‘out there’.  Perhaps that is why we have recorded in scripture an external voice saying 'This is my Son in whom I am well pleased' also at the Mount of transfiguration and at our Lord’s baptism. I’m sure non-dualism was an important aspect of Jesus thinking which we should recapture but to extrapolate it to being equivalent to our ultimate end or goal seems to be overdoing it a bit. Non dualism was made for man not man for non-dualism. Whatever unity with God means it will transcend and eclipse any concept we can come up with that relates to our internal experience. From a biblical viewpoint it will be personal – we will see Him and be like Him which is our Christian hope (1 John 3).
Grace the foundation of relationship with God
This leads to my other point in that the Trinitarian relationship towards which we are called through Jesus and his Cross allows for objectivity and reciprocal relationship available to the poor and the outcast, the afflicted and the powerless through grace. This is a far cry from the elitism of higher consciousness implied by Ken Wilber’s Integral Model. I am sure I would be placed well down the scale. 
Christianity more suitable for proactive Love
I believe that Buddhists are seeking to move away from a more passive state. However as much as I know about western Buddhism and modern esoteric teachers we are to love unitively loving you as me because I am one with evrything - there are no (dualistic) distinctions - just perfect oneness. As with her relationship with God the Christian’s love has to do with loving the other who is different from me. The one is subjective and unitive embracing isness, the other embracing 'otherness' and difference. Some have said that love can only exist if there is another to love – hence the Trinity. Perhaps it is for this reason that Buddhism tends towards introspection, quietism, divine egoism and social indifference But by insisting on the transcendence of God (the qualitative distinction between divine and human) we get wonder, astonishment, fear and trembling, curiosity, moral and political adventure, righteous indignation and social justice – Christianity.

No comments:

Post a Comment