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Radical Monism And Exoteric Monotheism - contrasts

Comparing exoteric religious Monotheism and mystical Monism, we have the following:
topic Monothesim Monism
Highest Reality Personal God  Impersonal Absolute
authority Teachings founded by a prophet who is the messenger of God for this age (Moses, Mohammad, etc), or by the supreme incarnation of God (Christ, Krishna, etc) Teachings founded by an
Enlightened being (e.g.
Buddha, Shankara, etc)
who has realised the
by the supreme Absolute 
scriptures Sacred scriptures and religious doctrine have 
absolute validity - revealed once and for all time by God as a manual or guide-book for the universe.
Sacred scriptures and doctrine are a useful 
teaching device to help
one attain Self-Realisation - nothing more.
Teacher usually, Prophet or Saviour a historical figure totally beyond the level of normal people. Ideally, Enlightened being an example who points the 
way so others can follow
and attain his state.
practice Prayer - supplicating or calling upon an external higher power Meditation - contemplat
ing and attuning to the Light and Divinity within
reality/ world-view Dualistic view of reality (God and the Supernatural order separate from the visible cosmos and the self) Monistic view of reality
(Absolute Reality not separate from the cosmos or the Self)
Time Time and history conceived of as linear (the unfolding 
of the Divine Plan)
Time and history conceived as cyclic; ahistoric.
Nature of the Cosmos The Cosmos is totally real. The Cosmos is ultimately illusory (Acosmism). 

It is important to emphasise howver that this comparison is of two extremes - many forms of esoteric theism - Sufism, Kabbalah, etc - combine both the monistic and the theistic postions.


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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 8 April 1999