Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Friday, February 06, 2009

William Stoddart on the Religio Perennis

"One of the basic tenets of the Religio Perennis is that, at the center of each religion, there is a core of truth (about God, man, prayer, mortality, and salvation) which is identical. In other words, in spite of the plurality of forms, there is a common essence. In addition, within each religion, there is also a means of salvation, which is essentially a way of union. This doctrine of essential or transcendent unity has its source in universal metaphysics which (in Vedantic terms) is fundamentally discernment between the Absolute (Atma) and the relative (Maya). According to this doctrine - as represented variously by Shankara (Hinduism), Plato (Greece), Eckart (Christianity), and Ibn 'Arabi (Islam) - only the Divine Essence ("Beyond-Being") is Absolute, whereas the Creator or Personal God ("Being"), as the first self-determination of the Divine Essence ("Beyond-Being"), is already within the domain of the relative. The Creator, nevertheless, is "absolute", with regard to his creation, and in view of this can be qualified as the "relatively absolute". The Personal God, as originator of creation, is "the prefiguration of the relative in the Absolute". With regard to creation, on the other hand, one can speak of a "reflection of the Absolute in the relative", and this is the Avatara; the Prophet; the Savior; it is also Truth, Beauty, and Virtue; Symbol and Sacrament. This brings us to the doctrine of the Logos with its two faces, created and uncreated: "the prefiguration of the relative in the Absolute" (the Creator or Personal God) is the uncreated Logos; the "reflection of the Absolute in the relative" (the Avatara; Symbol, or Sacrament) is the created Logos. This is already an indication of what is meant by a means of salvation: the religious adherent by uniting himself sacramentally with the created Logos, finds therein a means of uniting himself with the Uncreated: namely, God as such."

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