Thursday, 25 December 2014

Buddhist Suitheism?

“Suitheism” is said to be “the belief in self as a deity.” Can one treat the Buddhist Tantric idea of seeing/visualizing/meditating oneself as divinity a kind of “Buddhist Suitheism”? Just a random food for thought!


  1. Hi Dorji,
    some reflections – hope it makes a little bit sense and will be easily digestible (even though the topic is very difficult and delicate…); I will split the message in five parts;

    First, interesting hint; the expressive use of “Suitheism” I didn´t know until now; sounds like “pantheistic New Age” stuff…; but oh, oh!, excuse me, may be that’s a shallow, hasty, too pejorative evaluation? I imagine that “the belief in self as a deity” will be “cultivated secretely” by probably not so few people immersed in more or less hermeneutic circles to find a sense of belonging and self-assurance.
    Becoming a little bit curious through your suggestion, I googled about this term “Suitheism”. It doesn´t really convince me, it rather seems to be a ”cocktail” of various speculations about consciousness and reality and such ideological ficions – if uncritically followed (only a warning concerning so many circulating ideas…!) – could end badly (“reality-escapism”, “collective paranoid schizophrenia”, “megalomania”, “prophetic elitism”, “the chosen ones syndrome”, and whatever else other “sectarian absurdities” we could expect…).
    However that may be, such a social phenomenon doesn´t surprise me because we continually want to reach, as fast as possible, supernormal satisfaction paired with “pseudo-heroic identity-forming desire for glorification” and, needless to say, preferably without doing too much “serious-authentic” work…(the pitfall of more or less unconscious egocentric quest for “new existential self-fulfiment”…).
    However and admittedly, my (perhaps over-)critical estimation represents only an “ad hoc intuitive feeling” (I´m simply cautiously sceptic ) because (as having no contact with such orientations or “reliable” – if any at all – resources) I have no real idea what those people indeed are wanting or doing (we only can hope that their intentions are pushed by virtuous, altruistic energies…).
    But since we all are inescapably and incessantly thrown into the informational/manipulating fire of multiple projections and opinions my vague insinuations are probably meaningless. It´s again only my own projection concerning other projections and so on and on (ok, perhaps I´m simply too ”overcautious”…).

  2. 2)
    For that reason, I mean that the Buddhist Tantric identification-process appears to have semblance – if at all – only from the superficial viewpoint…; as we know only too well (in striving with buddhistic sensitivity), the Buddhist Tantric idea involves a matured philosophical assurance in reasoned approaches about “dependent arising” [pratityasamutpada] (and this takes a lot of preparatory work) – otherwise one will (or could easily) be lost in a fantasy world with all the disastrous consequences.

    Thereby the delicate, decisive interrogation always will be: What can or do we take (safely/efficaciously) as “real”?!*
    *[Apropos, it´s precisely this damned, brain-teasing question which the good Dharmakirti and many others try to elucidate [with, as best as possible, “scientifically cognized adequacy” (pramana)] – and, no doubt, this generates many years of philosophical headache (or seen within buddhistic belief/trust it requires many lives of “painstaking” training…].

    Nevertheless, we can undeniably observe in human history and society that the mental dealing and sealing of “the belief in self as a deity” is also known in various “spiritual trends”.
    Some questions could be:
    How far can we take serious such mouvements? How do they (practically) use this precarious idea of “divinity-identification”? Is it worth the trouble to investigate such “self-made orientations”?
    Most probably not! But otherwise – envisaged from the bodhisattvic perspective – we should perhaps know such speculations in order to help others coming out from “religious aberrations” or “pseudo-protective fictions”.

  3. 3)
    So, ok – let us not beat about the bush – what´s really about the Buddhist Tantric vision concerning “divinity-identification”?

    Does a bodhisattvic inclined personality indeed “need” tantric visualization?

    I would like to say it depends on his/her degree of “understanding/believing/trusting” of/in reality and this would mean (envisaged from my personal humble opinion) that a bodhisattva (“when consciousness is knowingly infused with methodical sunyata-penetration”) doesn´t necessarily need to undergo tantric visualization.
    But most probably (even more, I would suggest that sooner or later it appears to be unavoidable), a bodhisattva intimately will (or feels obliged to) undertake such a, let me designate as, “delicate reality-cutting-through-attitude” owing to continued ontological thrownness and evolving existential standards within cognitive immediateness itself.

    We might ask ourselves:
    What´s happening in such an bodhisattvic sensibility? Or why does an advanced bodhisattvically inclined sanity eventually become motivated to engage in tantric private (!) divinization? Or even more risky said, why does the tantric unbiasedness of reality-engagement increasingly become a psychotropic unavoidable fact for an imputed knowledge of awareness?

    The answer is:
    The bodhisattva “sees something” (or “increasingly begins to see sharper and sharper something through other and yet the same eyes”) which in fact he/she doesn´t or shouldn´t like to see.
    Thereby, a Bodhisattva must (“imperatively”) cope with that seeing to enhance/optimize his/her cognitive readiness (“the operational altruistic efficiency”) towards reality-as-such (tathata).

  4. 4)
    So what´s this mysteriously-sounding seeing?

    Abruptly said: “The seeing of the seeing itself (“the cognitive flashback”)!”

    The bodhisattva self-convincingly knows (or self-confidently begins to understand) that by “this seeing” the purity of being itself becomes defiled (“losing one´s cognitive innocence”); or, indicated in other words, the all-pervading innocence of cognition forfeits its natural dynamic gloss and elasticity by the simple fact of seeing it ( = “insight into the cognitive functionality”).
    Hence, “the-becoming-aware-of-precisely-this-innocent-purity-of-cognition-as-such” involves an indispensable aberration from cognition itself and that´s the reason why tantric commitment validates its practical relevance!

    But before really/authentically becoming able to master tantric engagement the bodhisattva has to undergo a delicate progression (scholastically expressed by the “10 bodhisattva-bhumi” / ”10 cognitive bodhisattva-levels, -stages or -spheres”) towards “cognitive reality-acceptance/tolerance/compatibleness” (“a gradually intensifying process of repentance and conversion”) concerning the collective [not the individual (!)] vision of reality, respectively the natural-dynamically joint/balanced activity in being-as-such and thereby tantric visualization/assimilation discloses itself to be the “operating resource par excellence” to “master adequately” the challenge of existence [compassionate striving (con)fused with or saveguarded by intellectual intuition – the conceptually understood “apoha-intuition” (“isolation - or exclusion-process) of cognition-as-such becomes/validates ordinary awareness-engagement within reality, the “validated bodhicitta-drive” (“pramana-bodhicitta”)].

    This should mean that a bodhisattva of “subtle cognitive capacities” doesn´t engage in tantric practices for “becoming a Buddha now (as fast as possible)” but for “validating Buddhahood now (becoming Buddha as slowly as possible)” – and this represents the soteric signification of the sutric secret/confidential message “to retard one´s personal accomplishment to become a Buddha” (there is a hidden/disguised sense/information contained therein – “secret” is here understood in the sense that one has to penetrate this by oneself through enthusiastic training..., and then it´s no longer a secret but a private meet with approval...).

    Here we should philosophically (try to) investigate the imputative differentiation between two significant notions, namely:
    “Buddha” and “Buddhahood” with intend to provide/improve/achieve full terminological accuracy concerning the soteriological assignation/definition of three key terms/concepts, viz. “Sravakabuddha”, Pratyekabuddha” and “Bodhisattva”!
    The remembering subtle differentiation of these “bodhi-ideals” (“holistic thinking”) has purposeful meaning in apprehending reality as collective-expedient dynamic/vibrant activity…).

    Hence, tantric theories shouldn´t become “hermetically sealed” or be considered as “secret” and “concealed from public” but must be understood and practiced/lived as “private”. To understand the difference (between “secret” and “private”) is capital to guaranty cognitive authenticity!

    Promptly reproduced, the tantric development appears to be the natural, skillful outcome of the noble sutric vision of reality!

  5. 5)
    In order to prevent misunderstandings about delicate tantric deity-practices the persevering study of the Sutras and corresponding Sastras (envisaged from the buddhist viewpoint) represent the key to open the door into the magnificent Vajrayana.

    Now, considered from the “buddhological standpoint”, it becomes necessary (at least I would like to suggest it) to supply the “Western World” with a vaste range of academically skillful translations to offer sincerely interested persons the chance to train in philosophical buddhist perspectives (from the most basic to the most subtle intricacies, since we all find ourselves on differing levels of understanding and capacities which still have to be or can be developed…). I think that´s vital because without the enhancing levels of philosophical cognition and comprehension the direct entrance into Vajrayana, Dzogchen or Mahamudra would be pure madness.

    Yet this reserved/cautious observation shouldn´t have too devastating impacts on our decision concerning the accessibility of advanced philosophic or tantric teachings.
    No doubt, in restricting the availability/accessibility of certain books or oral teachings for the "so-called uninitiated”, we subtly slide or most probably will risk to fall in mystery-mongering and other irritable sectarian behaviour which, in my opinion, stimulates/provokes pedagogical troubles, interacting dissimulation, twisted views, lunatic projections, ridiculous falsifications and whatever else other imbecilic hallucinations…;
    we thereby create a didactical problem concerning the overall important ethical quality of “trustworthiness” – we should think about this matter and clearly assess the pros and contras.

    Even every day we experience or observe so much absurd behaviour in our world, there are nonetheless so many courageous people giving their best to make it better – and for them tantric teachings and practices would certainly make sense! Hence, if “tantric inclination” begins to rise, the access to advanced teachings and trainings should become possible (philosophically as well as tantrically…)!
    Dear friends, stay tuned! All the best, sincerely, mikael.