To those who suspect that he might have focused only on rare exceptions in Eckhart and Ruusbroec, there are many other fine monistic illustrations in their writings. The case against the essentialist thesis is further strengthened by the facts that there are theistic passages of these mystics which are unobscured by monistic references, and we do not find inconsistencies in their impersonalist-personalist experiential dichotomy. Non-dualism, staticity, impersonalism and blissfulness are the common elements expressed by these monistic mystics. Godhead is deedless, passive Source. But Stace claims that theistic mystics encounter in introvertive experience only this impersonal Real: that theistic mystics theistically misinterpret monistic experiences.
The thesis is illustrated through a Hindu and Christian comparison, in reference mainly to Ramanuja, Aurobindo, Sankara, Eckhart, Ruusbroec and Boehme. In my experience, dialogue through comparative study and contact with other traditions is very significant in enriching our own faith. Cite this chapter as: Stoeber M. In response to some of the current explanations of mystic phenomena, this book proposes an interpretive framework for understanding mysticism. For now we can point out that even this reference to becoming a child of God is overshadowed by the fact that there is no reference to an active, loving and good God, but rather an utter loss of personality in identity of substance, essence and nature with the fundamental being of the Real.
In reference to Ramanuja, Aurobinodo, Sankara, Eckhart, Ruusbroec, and Boehme, monistic experiences are understood to culminate in higher theistic realizations, to which other kinds of mysticism can also be related. Victoria University in the University of Toronto. This is an important point, key indeed, to understanding mystical transformation. Indeed, their very theological language reflects the monistic—theistic distinction. As Tripurari Swami says everybody should find their path to be the best and hence everybody will make their hierarchy according to their path. This non-dualistic experience is expressed in a negative, impersonal, ontological language which involves dialectical paradox, and which can also act as a kind of philosophical askesis in the mystical means.
He echoes many who feel that interreligious dialogue is crucial today in our modern pluralist world, and essential in a diverse city like Toronto. The divine personae and impersonae are not mere conceptual distinctions of human categorization, but are actual aspects of a spiritual noumenon which the mystic experiences. This, I think, is the basis of the contrast: monistic experiences involve a loss of duality or differentiation which rules out personal experience altogether. But this pure consciousness could have no sense of self-consciousness, for such would differentiate it from the consciousness of other beings. The function of grace is to transform and reconvey the soul to God. Here the Real is considered Self-conscious, which means the Real has a sense of being in contrast to created entities. As we will see in a moment, this is not always the case.
I think it is wonderful that Regis College will now be connected to that legacy through this rotating professorship and the new Msgr. It can flow out of God and then only immediately. Then we could plausibly deduce theistic interpretations of monistic experiences. By Michael Stoeber …The apparent differences between monistic and theistic experiences pose the greatest threat to the thesis that there exists a common core of mysticism. He says: There follows the union without distinction. You can use these tags: This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog.
Like monistic experiences, theistic experiences are also said to be immensely blissful and beyond normal sensory perception and conceptual categories. Library of Philosophy and Religion. I will go still further: The inner and the outer person are as different as heaven and earth. I will return to this important issue later in the paper. Please now perceive what I am about to say, which I swear by my soul is the everlasting truth: I shall repeat what I have never said before: God and his Godhead are as different as heaven and earth. This article was translated and published in the Russian periodical, Philosophy of Religion: Analytic Researches 2017. Ruusbroec speaks of a distinctionless and unconditioned unity beyond differentiated being, where activity has ceased in a blissful union of self-less identity.
Despite the references to the Trinity of divine Persons, the theist Ruusbroec is clearly describing an introvertive monistic experience. Stace goes on to note Eckhart speaking similarly of a movement towards identity with the One: God leads the human spirit into the desert, into his own unity which is pure One. In Advaita it is identity with the One, which is unified existence, consciousness, and bliss, static and unchanging, and absolutely transcending this composite and mutable empirical realm. The monistic experience is described in negative terms, over and against all that which we know in a positive sense. It is emotionless, relationless, and amoral; personal attributes require a sense of self-consciousness.
But theistic mysticism is personalist. Ruusbroec speaks, for example, of a profound mystical consolation which arises in the context of loving union with Christ: Out of this sweetness comes a richness of the heart and of all the bodily powers, so that it seems to man that he be caught up from within by a Divine embrace in love. In a sermon that Stace obviously never encountered, Eckhart distinguishes in no uncertain terms between God and the Godhead: Now pay attention! Monistic experiences are understood to culminate in theistic realizations, under which other kinds of mysticism can also be related. Ruusbroec speaks of a state that goes well beyond personalist theology. Stace is mistaken to think that the introvertive experience is of a singularly monistic type; introvertive experiences involve both the impersonal monistic unity and the personal theistic union.
God and Godhead are distinguished through deeds and a lack of deeds…. As I mentioned, Stace quotes both Eckhart and Ruusbroec to illustrate his thesis. In this passage Eckhart is speaking of a theistic experience unrelated to monistic Godhead. In this richness God through His gifts sinks Himself in the Heart of man, with so much consolation savouring well and so much joy that the heart from within overflows. I am sure that someday they will realize that Hinduism respects everyone, including transgender people. Gaura-Vijaya It is nice article but I wanted to clarify some things here.