Occult & Arcane!

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:35 pm

RengeReciter wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:26 am


Vajrayana has a lot of in-depth practices surrounding the channeling of esoteric power through the body's meridians, channels, and vessels. Wiccans have much less sophisticated techniques that they employ during their ritual work. Ceremonial magicians do as well.

Hope this helps!
Plenty on here have had transmission of these sorts of practices, they don't involve 'esoteric power' (what is that?) and while comparisons are always questionable they bear much closer resemblance to extant Indian and Chinese practices than Western Esoteric tradition.
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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by MiphamFan » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:52 am

Another common magical practice is the use of magic squares in talismans.

They probably originated in China but spread to India by the early centuries CE, the Persians and Arabs also got it, probably from the Indians. IIRC, there were no outright magic squares in Hellenistic magic yet but they did feature in Renaissance-era magic in Europe.

Today, magic squares are very common in a lot of Thai magic tattoos and talismans I see around, and traditional (non-Wahhabi) Muslims also make use of talismans -- one Indian Muslim shop I visit has a few magic squares in Arabic script in gold foil prominently displayed.

There is a lot of lore that is widely disseminated all over Eurasia whose origins we can't really ascertain IMO. For example, the first known diagram of the famous Kabbalah "Tree of Life" was actually found in a Daoist document, a variant of the "tai ji tu". The story of Cinderella also apparently originated in China while a lot of Aesop's fables seem to be from India.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by RengeReciter » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:48 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:24 pm
RengeReciter wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:54 pm
When Buddhism came to Tibet, it merged with the indigenous shamanic system, Bon, and took on characteristics and practices from that tradition.
This is basically nonsense. Not your fault for repeating it, but it is bullshit. This is like calling Japanese Buddhism shamanic because many customs from pre-buddhist Japanese religion were preserved by Japanese Buddhists, such as worshipping the Kami and so on.

The Carmen Blacker book mentioned by Jikan has an excellent account of shamanic currents in Nichiren temples.
Perhaps it is nonsensical to label Tibetan Buddhism shamanic. Perhaps it isn't. Both you and Vajranatha are far more conversant with the Tibetan tradition than I, and I don't have the scholarship to doubt either of you. Beyond the possible misuse of terms, my point was simply to identify common ground between the techniques of Buddhists and those that are found in the occult per the original post.

Do you agree with the similarities?

I'll have to check out the Blacker text.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by DGA » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:55 am

RengeReciter wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:48 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:24 pm
RengeReciter wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:54 pm
When Buddhism came to Tibet, it merged with the indigenous shamanic system, Bon, and took on characteristics and practices from that tradition.
This is basically nonsense. Not your fault for repeating it, but it is bullshit. This is like calling Japanese Buddhism shamanic because many customs from pre-buddhist Japanese religion were preserved by Japanese Buddhists, such as worshipping the Kami and so on.

The Carmen Blacker book mentioned by Jikan has an excellent account of shamanic currents in Nichiren temples.
Perhaps it is nonsensical to label Tibetan Buddhism shamanic. Perhaps it isn't. Both you and Vajranatha are far more conversant with the Tibetan tradition than I, and I don't have the scholarship to doubt either of you. Beyond the possible misuse of terms, my point was simply to identify common ground between the techniques of Buddhists and those that are found in the occult per the original post.

Do you agree with the similarities?

I'll have to check out the Blacker text.
The examples Blacker gives will be excellent discussion fodder in the Nichiren sub.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by RengeReciter » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:57 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:35 pm
RengeReciter wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:26 am


Vajrayana has a lot of in-depth practices surrounding the channeling of esoteric power through the body's meridians, channels, and vessels. Wiccans have much less sophisticated techniques that they employ during their ritual work. Ceremonial magicians do as well.

Hope this helps!
Plenty on here have had transmission of these sorts of practices, they don't involve 'esoteric power' (what is that?) and while comparisons are always questionable they bear much closer resemblance to extant Indian and Chinese practices than Western Esoteric tradition.
When I made mention of esoteric power, I simply meant psycho-spiritual energy (qi, prana, mana, etc.). Some traditions of Wicca teach their students to channel what amounts to qi energy toward the erection of circles/sacred space. Ceremonial magic, especially that stemming from the Victorian era magicians, includes quite a few rituals make use of that energy (the Middle Pillar exercise, circulation of the Body of Light, banishing by pentagrams and hexagrams, etc.).

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by MiphamFan » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:02 am

I don't think those are really working with prana besides the Middle Pillar.

Not sure about wicca, I was never interested in it, but in e.g. Golden Dawn rituals, you are calling the archangels in the pentagram rituals. It is spirit magic, somewhat similar to outer tantra in Buddhism.

Besides that they have "assumption of God-forms", where you visualize yourself as Egyptian deities -- slightly similar but not quite to tantra too.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by climb-up » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:24 am

I'm not at all clear on what is being asked here?
Are you wanting resources on western occult history of practices?

From my perspective (for whatever its worth) Tibetan Buddhism at least (and, maybe every other type as well) is an occult path using magic etc.. There are obviously external differences, but the main difference is
1) a continued practical tradition over many centuries, as opposed to (for most of western esoterica, not all) a continued literary tradition that has to be reconstructed, to varying levels of success.
and
2) The View.

#1) is not necessarily as problematic as it might seem, because there is a continuing literary tradition and a lot of history and there are also spirits. If you contact the spirits then, you're set.
There is a lot of room for variation, also a lot of room for either getting in trouble or just going nowhere. But, that really seems to apply to everything right!?
#2)No comment! lol.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by DGA » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:27 am

climb-up wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:24 am
I'm not at all clear on what is being asked here?
Are you wanting resources on western occult history of practices?

From my perspective (for whatever its worth) Tibetan Buddhism at least (and, maybe every other type as well) is an occult path using magic etc.. There are obviously external differences, but the main difference is
1) a continued practical tradition over many centuries, as opposed to (for most of western esoterica, not all) a continued literary tradition that has to be reconstructed, to varying levels of success.
and
2) The View.

#1) is not necessarily as problematic as it might seem, because there is a continuing literary tradition and a lot of history and there are also spirits. If you contact the spirits then, you're set.
There is a lot of room for variation, also a lot of room for either getting in trouble or just going nowhere. But, that really seems to apply to everything right!?
#2)No comment! lol.
the view, the context, and the motivation for practice, among other things.

The similarities that have been brought up in this thread seem superficial and for lack of a better word formal rather than substantive.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by climb-up » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:31 am

MiphamFan wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:02 am
I don't think those are really working with prana besides the Middle Pillar.
Not sure about wicca, I was never interested in it,
Wicca has stuff that parallels prana.
but in e.g. Golden Dawn rituals, you are calling the archangels in the pentagram rituals. It is spirit magic, somewhat similar to outer tantra in Buddhism.
yeah, and not just Victorian magic, but almost all European magic is historically spirit magic, until the renaissance got a hold of the middle eastern texts like the Picatrix got the astrological talisman schools going.
The Golden Dawn was, arguably, more tantric than older schools but it was also influenced by tantric texts.
Besides that they have "assumption of God-forms", where you visualize yourself as Egyptian deities -- slightly similar but not quite to tantra too.
Not quite tantra, but very similar, no?

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by climb-up » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:51 am

DGA wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:27 am
climb-up wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:24 am
I'm not at all clear on what is being asked here?
Are you wanting resources on western occult history of practices?

From my perspective (for whatever its worth) Tibetan Buddhism at least (and, maybe every other type as well) is an occult path using magic etc.. There are obviously external differences, but the main difference is
1) a continued practical tradition over many centuries, as opposed to (for most of western esoterica, not all) a continued literary tradition that has to be reconstructed, to varying levels of success.
and
2) The View.

#1) is not necessarily as problematic as it might seem, because there is a continuing literary tradition and a lot of history and there are also spirits. If you contact the spirits then, you're set.
There is a lot of room for variation, also a lot of room for either getting in trouble or just going nowhere. But, that really seems to apply to everything right!?
#2)No comment! lol.
the view, the context, and the motivation for practice, among other things.

The similarities that have been brought up in this thread seem superficial and for lack of a better word formal rather than substantive.
Oh, that's because that's a super-broad and super-deep question!
I'm not sure it's answerable anyways, but would certainly need to be narrowed down A LOT to even be discussed intelligently (IMO).

Firstly, who!
The view, context and motivation in the west is not at all clearly spelled out like in Buddhism, and will vary from person; but even to make generalizations we need some focus.
Late 20th/early 21st century people who identify as occultist? (or the same time frame of people who don't but do practices that stem from esotericism?)
Late 19th/early 20th century occultists?
Medieval grimoirists?
Medieval cunning-men and cunning-women (who were sometimes illiterate and sometimes grimoirists as well).

The context of the last two would, obviously, be Catholicism. In the last case folk Catholicism, the grimoirist (grimoires have stratification as well) could be a folk catholic cunning-man, or an educated priest, or anywhere in between. The goals of a man-on-the-street user of a "blue grimoire" (usually explicitly diabolical) would be very different from a priest using Liber Juratus for a holy vision, and different again from an out of work cleric performing spells for hire.
None of the above would line up in any way with the view, context and motivation of an upper middle class suburbanite wiccan.
19th and Early 20th Century occultism grew in a fascinatingly voltile "modern" context of progress and Empire.

Now, if we were to say "what is the view, context and motivation of a practitioner of Thelema" that could start a real discussion.
Firstly, Crowley spelled out the motivation and goals and there is a clear and well documented history to look at.

There has been a lot of REALLY wonderful academic books on magic lately. They are truly amazing (sometimes difficult to read (to me at least) sometimes not at all). There is also a (to my mind at least) a strong interest in these same academic books in the "occult community" nowadays, which makes for some great discussions.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by DGA » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:50 am

I'll have to take your word for it, climb-up.

For a long time, I studied various doctrinal systems in parallel to my Buddhist studies. I was interested in Gurdjieff, and some others. Sufis and Shaivites. Then at a certain point something clicked and I completely lost interest studying these matters. I still read a lot but belief systems just don't hold my attention anymore. Basically, the part of me that cared about comparative religion just stopped caring. :shrug:

I am convinced, however, that the view and the motivation of Dharma practice (whatever form that practice may take) is unique among religious traditions. You can find many different traditions that advocate for practices such as chanting or sitting quietly or visualizing or debating the negation of the negation. What can make any of those or virtually anything else a Dharma practice is the view and motivation--the overall frame for practice. Speaking very generally.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by MiphamFan » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:54 am

DGA wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:27 am
climb-up wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:24 am
I'm not at all clear on what is being asked here?
Are you wanting resources on western occult history of practices?

From my perspective (for whatever its worth) Tibetan Buddhism at least (and, maybe every other type as well) is an occult path using magic etc.. There are obviously external differences, but the main difference is
1) a continued practical tradition over many centuries, as opposed to (for most of western esoterica, not all) a continued literary tradition that has to be reconstructed, to varying levels of success.
and
2) The View.

#1) is not necessarily as problematic as it might seem, because there is a continuing literary tradition and a lot of history and there are also spirits. If you contact the spirits then, you're set.
There is a lot of room for variation, also a lot of room for either getting in trouble or just going nowhere. But, that really seems to apply to everything right!?
#2)No comment! lol.
the view, the context, and the motivation for practice, among other things.

The similarities that have been brought up in this thread seem superficial and for lack of a better word formal rather than substantive.
Well, definitely, I mean even within Indian tantra there are many practices that are shared across all different religions but contextualized very differently.

I think nonetheless that is in the practices of the common folk rather than in abstract philosophies that we will really find bridges between different traditions.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by climb-up » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:13 am

MiphamFan wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:54 am

I think nonetheless that is in the practices of the common folk rather than in abstract philosophies that we will really find bridges between different traditions.
Absolutely, I very much agree.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by climb-up » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:18 pm

DGA wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:50 am
I'll have to take your word for it, climb-up.

For a long time, I studied various doctrinal systems in parallel to my Buddhist studies. I was interested in Gurdjieff, and some others. Sufis and Shaivites. Then at a certain point something clicked and I completely lost interest studying these matters. I still read a lot but belief systems just don't hold my attention anymore. Basically, the part of me that cared about comparative religion just stopped caring. :shrug:
That makes sense, you found something "real" (dangerous word on a Buddhist forum, but you know what I mean!) on an experiential level and didn't need to keep looking for other things.
Obviously my interest in some practices and traditions continues, but there the difference between me as a younger man latching on to anything I could to to and find something ultimately satisfying, and now is amazing. Many interests simply dissolved, and the ones that didn't are (IMO) healthier, in perspective and (ironically?) more effective.
I am convinced, however, that the view and the motivation of Dharma practice (whatever form that practice may take) is unique among religious traditions. You can find many different traditions that advocate for practices such as chanting or sitting quietly or visualizing or debating the negation of the negation.
I tend to agree. I believe (and this is heretical to many, and I apologize and totally respect that POV) that individuals have experienced the nature of mind outside of Buddhism specifically, and that things like contemplative prayer in the tradition of "The Cloud of Unknowing" (which is a practice based on view and not contradictory (IMO) with dzogchen; but these people have to explain their understanding and experience (if they even dare to) in a framework of the tradition they come from (just like Buddhists do).
For me at least, I haven't seen any other traditions that have such explicitly clear and profound understandings of the View.
What can make any of those or virtually anything else a Dharma practice is the view and motivation--the overall frame for practice. Speaking very generally.
Yes! :applause:

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:22 pm

climb-up wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:18 pm

I tend to agree. I believe (and this is heretical to many, and I apologize and totally respect that POV) that individuals have experienced the nature of mind outside of Buddhism specifically, and that things like contemplative prayer in the tradition of "The Cloud of Unknowing" (which is a practice based on view and not contradictory (IMO) with dzogchen; but these people have to explain their understanding and experience (if they even dare to) in a framework of the tradition they come from (just like Buddhists do).
???

Without the view of dependent origination and emptiness, one will not even experience, let alone understand, the nature of the mind.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by climb-up » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:34 pm

As I said;
"his is heretical and I apologize, I totally respect your POV"

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by RengeReciter » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:54 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:02 am
I don't think those are really working with prana besides the Middle Pillar.

Not sure about wicca, I was never interested in it, but in e.g. Golden Dawn rituals, you are calling the archangels in the pentagram rituals. It is spirit magic, somewhat similar to outer tantra in Buddhism.

Besides that they have "assumption of God-forms", where you visualize yourself as Egyptian deities -- slightly similar but not quite to tantra too.
The Circulation of the Body of Light literally moves psycho-spiritual energy between sephiroth that have been visualized at particular points in the body. During the execution of the pentagram/hexagram rituals, energy is willed down the body's central energy channel before being projected outward as divine names are intoned.

There is definitely an element of spirit magic in those rituals as well, and you make a good point for the assumption of godforms and their passing similarity to deity generation.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:24 pm

climb-up wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:34 pm
As I said;
"his is heretical and I apologize, I totally respect your POV"
It is not heretical, it is merely ignorance of certain facts about Dzogchen that cause people to make these kinds of claims.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

climb-up
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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by climb-up » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:20 am

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:24 pm
climb-up wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:34 pm
As I said;
"his is heretical and I apologize, I totally respect your POV"
It is not heretical, it is merely ignorance of certain facts about Dzogchen that cause people to make these kinds of claims.
My dictionary defines heresy as "belief or opinion at odds with accepted religious doctrine."
To which you say, "it's not heresy it just isn't what dzogchen says."

Lol, okay call it what you will.

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Re: Occult & Arcane!

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:57 am

climb-up wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:20 am
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:24 pm
climb-up wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:34 pm
As I said;
"his is heretical and I apologize, I totally respect your POV"
It is not heretical, it is merely ignorance of certain facts about Dzogchen that cause people to make these kinds of claims.
My dictionary defines heresy as "belief or opinion at odds with accepted religious doctrine."
To which you say, "it's not heresy it just isn't what dzogchen says."

Lol, okay call it what you will.
Heresy requires someone to know orthodoxy, depart from it, and to advocate heterodox positions over orthodox ones.

Other religions/perspectives can't really be heresies, unless they "used to be" Buddhism in the recent past.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः
उत्पन्नाजातुविद्यन्तेभावाःक्वचनकेचन

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