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Uploaded by GirlsRule101 on Jun 20, 2005


Pantheism is the religious world view of the East. It includes Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. In its Westernized form, pantheism is the basic assumption of Transcendental Meditation and some aspects of New Age mysticism. Pantheists view reality like naturalists in the sense that both are monistic theories. Monism means that reality has one dimension. In contrast to the Western perspective, Hinduism rejects the existence of matter. Hindus believe only the spiritual dimension exists and according to R.C. Zaehner”nothing, however in the Veda or Hinduism is nicely cut-and-dry.”(Zaehner 19) Since this is such a difficult concept for us in the West, we will need to explore Eastern religious worship in comparison to Western religious worship a bit further.

While subtle differences exist between Eastern and Western religions, they are unified in the view that ultimate reality is spirit. But it would be a mistake to interpret the Eastern concept of the spiritual in Western monotheistic terms. Eastern pantheists believe spiritual reality is ultimately impersonal and unknowable. Spirit is more like energy than a personal God as we conceive him in the West. Strange from our perspective, is fact that most of the Hindu religion involves devotion to a host of gods. The practice of Hinduism, for example, consists of devotion to three hundred million nature deities. Hindu scholars recognize that devotion to these deities is simply an attempt to explain the unexplainable, and to make Hinduism accessible to the popular, uneducated masses. Ritual and devotion to nature gods is to be understood wholly in light of the philosophical categories of the Upanishads (Hindu scriptures), not in Western monotheistic terms. As D.S. Sharma, a noted Hindu scholar states, "The particular name and form of any deities are limitations which we in our weakness impose on the all pervading spirit which is nameless and formless. The supreme being is a person only in relation to ourselves and our needs....the highest theism is only a sort of glorified anthropomorphism, but we cannot do without it." Sharma means that all attempts to personalize the ultimately impersonal are the product our human propensity to ascribe to reality attributes that we observe in ourselves. Because we are persons, we personify the cosmos. ( Internet)

Nothing is more foreign to us in the West than the denial of the material realm. But it is equally strange from the Eastern viewpoint that Westerners deny the spiritual realm. Materialism and pantheism...

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Uploaded by:   GirlsRule101

Date:   06/20/2005

Category:   Religion

Length:   6 pages (1,317 words)

Views:   13984

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