Is Christianity the Same as Buddhism Underneath?
SEARCHING FOR THE REAL GOD
All over the country (but especially in California) little groups of people have for years been invoking certain relic-deities with elaborate and exacting ritual, intense concentration, and that deep sense of awe and fear that comes of opening oneself to the unknown. Diana is invoked by a warmed-over Wicca, Isis and Horus and Hermes Trismegistus by self-styled magicians, Dionysus by bacchanalians in the May-time in Marin. The Great Mother is especially in vogue today over a broad spectrum of groups and psychologies, from Women’s Lib to those with a nostalgic reverence for the earth that has disappeared beneath the sidewalks.
I have to wonder what would happen if Jesus Christ or Mary the Mother of God were invoked so passionately and so longingly and with such authentic dread. Or more to the point, invoked experimentally and ingenuously, as if in the infancy of time? If one were to chant “Yahweh, Yahweh, Yahweh” with the mounting intensity of a Hindu chanting “Siva, Siva, Siva” — what would happen? If one were to sing for and worship the Holy Trinity instead of considering it a riddle fit for the deliberations of hair-splitting theologians — what would be the result? And why does the Virgin Mary appear only to children — at Lourdes, at Fatima? Because children are so uninhibited in their religion?
I think a distinction must be made between the content of a religion and “sacred techniques” per se. Sacred techniques are universal. Shamanism, which is not just altered consciousness but in its most fulsome sense is possession by the god, is the most direct, most radical, most dangerous, and most effective sacred technique. Though comparatively awesome and dramatic, it is in the same category as mystical contemplation: the intention of both is identification with, union with, divinity. But does it make a difference whether your union is with Quetzalcoatl or with the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
I would say so. There is a difference between a Living God “victorious and able to save” (Isa. 45: 21) and a god who is in truth “no god” (Jer. 2:11).
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