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HughesMidtermEssay1 - Joseph Angel-Field R/ST 301 Dr Hughes...

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Joseph Angel-Field 3/27/07 R/ST 301 Dr. Hughes R/ST 301 Midterm Essays 1. While Frederick Streng’s Ways of Being Religious notes that there are a wide variety of mystical experiences and methods, the book has whittled down mysticism to religion as defined by spiritual freedom through spiritual and psychophysical discipline. This label alone gives us insight into the ultimate reality for this religious section of society, the problematic state, and the means with which they move themselves from the problematic state towards the ultimate reality. The ultimate reality for these people has no lack of names and definitions. Shankara calls the ultimate reality Brahman, or pure consciousness. True for nearly, if not, all of these mystical religions, is the non-duality between the basic self and ultimate reality. Every human is born with ultimate reality or the potential for it, but the disconnection from it arises from the problematic state of illusions and attachment. Shankara calls ultimate reality, “the real nature of the individual” and elsewhere “unborn, deathless, devoid of old age, immortal, self-effulgent, all pervading, and non-dual”. Ultimate reality is of course, the absolute and only real and constant truth in life. In the Sufi-mystical path of Islam as presented by Abu al-Qasim al- Qushayri, the ultimate state is dhikr, or remembrance of the secret; that is, a complete focus on the transcendent being within one’s self. After a long and dedicated road of “passing away” from, and “remaining” in, the presence of God, the Sufi will find remembrance of the tongue, of the heart, and of the inner-self, and will become a perfect being who lives in complete harmony and submission to the ultimate reality. In the words of Nikos Kazantakis who explores a Christian take on mysticism with aspects of social justice, the ultimate reality is silence. Silence is a state after completing all of one’s tasks and duties, “where [one] no longer struggles or shouts, where [one] ripens fully in silence, indestructibly, eternally, with the entire universe.” I will note here the interesting focus in the last two traditions (both Western) on servitude and duties to the higher power, as opposed to the looking inward, or as the editor here says “the Eternal Truth within,” of the Eastern traditions discussed. In Chuang-Tzu’s passage about Master Hu- Tzu and the Shaman , the Taoist ultimate reality is caught in one sentence, “be empty, that is all.” The whole passage is really more focused on what is not the ultimate reality.
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Although Lieh-Tzu can fly on the wind, this is not completely the Tao, or ultimate way. Rather, it gives rise to hubris and fame and brings us to our discussion of the problematic state, a state of illusions. Looking back on our name for this partition of religions, the mystic is looking for spiritual freedom, which suggests an innate bondage. As the ultimate reality is a state of pure-consciousness, usually focused on the mind but also
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HughesMidtermEssay1 - Joseph Angel-Field R/ST 301 Dr Hughes...

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