One of my personal frustrations, is when I see well-meaning people perpetuate something inaccurate. If a new seeker to the LHP has come from a varied background, they may find blatant errors about other belief systems that they may be intimate with. For me this left me questioning the intent of some specific LHP occultists who either intentionally or non-intentionally share wrong data about other paths.
To start with, let me first explain that I have been a Buddhist (several times, and different flavors of Buddhism). I am not currently a Buddhist, but having practiced Buddhism I know a bit about the philosophy to have strong contention with the blatant errors I see perpetuated.
Some of these errors regress back to a group. Leadership of such groups are given a breadth of leeway, where the errors presented are not refuted or disagreed with. In the rare occasion that someone does step in with disagreement, they are often not responded to. Simply put, they make a claim in error, and refuse to discuss it, while the body of the fellowship doesn’t address the error at all.
What I’m referring to as the error here is in the idea that the Buddhist religion has a goal of complete nothingness.
I’ll quote some examples of this –
…in the purest forms of Right-Hand Path philosophy, such as Buddhism – the very cessation of existence in a serene nothingness.Kelly, Michael. Apophis (p. 10). Michael Kelly. Kindle Edition.
The problem with this definition is that it cancels itself out, making “Ipsissimus” a meaningless term and/or state of personal being. Indeed associating it with the Buddhist anatta (“no-self”) removes any sort of individual, personal identity altogether.Aquino, Michael. The Temple of Set I (p. 197). Kindle Edition.
Buddhists’ only permitted relief consists of exercises to dull and starve one’s consciousness into the incoherent haze of nirvana. While mythically permanent for the Buddha and bodhisattva, it is a mocking illusion for the ordinary adherent, who obviously cannot escape the continuous demands of his body and environment.Aquino, Michael. The Satanic Bible: 50th Anniversary ReVision (p. 159). Kindle Edition.
The right-hand path is the path of union with universal reality (God or Nature). When this union is completed the individual self will be annihilated; the individual will become one with the divine or natural cosmic order. In this state the ego is destroyed as “heaven” is entered or a nirvana-like existence/non-existence is “attained.” This is clearly the goal of all orthodox Judaic, Christian, Islamic, or Buddhistic sects.Flowers, Stephen. Lords of the Left-Hand Path
RHP is the path of oneness with an outside divine idea in nature;Ford, Michael W. The Bible of the Adversary : 10th Anniversary Edition (p. 78). Succubus Productions Publishing. Kindle Edition.
That’s a whole lot of similarities. It’s as though they are all pulling from the same well of information. While there is a “collectivism” in all RHP traditions, that’s a different level altogether from divine Oneness or “serene nothingness.” What orthodox Christian, or Muslim says, “Oh yes when I die I become One with God…?” Or in the case of a Buddhist, “I can’t wait to become nothing!”
The only Christian & Muslim form I know of that speaks of Oneness were the mystics and gnostics, and they were oppressed by the church leaders for their beliefs, as it was a form of heresy to the church body. Recall the story of Jesus saying, “I and my Father are One,” and the religious leaders of his day sought to kill him over that statement as it was borderline blasphemy. Today, the orthodox Christian would likewise attack such ideas of “becoming one with God.” Instead they have a view of retaining their current relationship with God… as they are now, they continue to be, serving and ruling with Divinity in some mythical Feudalism. It just doesn’t align to this ideology presented across many Left-Hand path authors.
Anatta and Śūnyatā
While I enjoy Michael Aquino’s works, I have to say this misunderstanding was quite a shock. On the page where the quote above is lifted, he has a footnote regarding his point:
Anatta is one of the more elusive and controversial concepts in Buddhism. Generally-accepted definitions of it tend to leave the reader even more confused! I would summarize it as the proposition that there is no isolate, unique, and immortal psyche such as the Egyptians, Plato, and the Temple of Set postulate. Rather, so the Buddha said, what people think of as their “soul” is an ever-changing “rain” of impressions upon their bodily senses from within and without the physical body, creating the illusion of a self. Thus there is no conscious immortality, although there is natural, all-inclusive perpetuity.Aquino, Michael. The Temple of Set I (p. 197). Kindle Edition.
Not only is his this footnote mistaken, but he doesn’t appear to recognize that his views of the Subject Universe and Objective Universe correlate to Buddhist ideologies relating to this very topic.
The word Anatta that Micheal Aquino is quoting here, refers to the lack of self, or the Empty Self. The word Sunyata is a reference in Buddhism to mean “emptiness,” in general.
This idea of no-self and emptiness, doesn’t refer to non-existence, rather it refers to an object having an existence that isn’t directly perceived by the mundane mind. Everything is empty of existing in any specific way.
In other words, something exists, but we don’t see the reality of the existence, instead we perceive the thing through our filters. Or to put this in Michael Aquino speak, we don’t directly see the Objective Universe, instead we see the Subjective Universe.
For a bit of reference I quote Lama Yeshe:
Dependent by nature suggests that things are devoid of independent reality, or intrinsic reality. They are devoid of inner existence and identity, and this is what is meant by the Buddhist teachings on emptiness. It doesn’t mean that things do not exist. It simply means that things do not exist with some kind of independent identity or existence. So the nature of dependent origination is used as the final proof that things are empty, in the final analysis.https://www.lamayeshe.com/article/generating-mind-enlightenment
Each of us has a filter that renders reality slightly differently. Reality exists, but it not in any specific way. You may see a person one way, and I perceive the same person quite differently. The person exists, but not in the ways we see it. Therefore, the person is EMPTY (Anatta).
Think of it like a pencil in your desk. If you were to hold that pencil up and ask, “what is this,” the common response would be “a pencil.” But what would a violent man think? Perhaps he’d see a weapon. What would a dog see? Perhaps a stick. There is no “pencil ness” being radiated from the object (i.e. independent origination.) If there was, we’d all see it clearly. We interpret the real object in a way that fits our perception. Therefore the object (pencil) is empty of being a pencil. Yes it’s there in the sense of the Objective Universe, but we see it through the lens of our Subjective Universe. While most of us agree that a pencil is a pencil, we will start to vary our thoughts in politics, social constructs and so forth.
The Self in Buddhism, EXISTS and persists…. how else does a Buddhist believe in life continuation? A fundamental Tennant of Buddhism is in the belief of reincarnation. The thing you are for real (consciousness) continues beyond the false sense of self (your body identification).
But let’s talk Buddhist Endgame… That’s what my gripe is about, the misunderstanding of Buddhism. Every form of Buddhism I was in, was from the Mahayana path. In these different flavors I learned that the Mahayana Buddhist endgame is to become a Buddha.
Let’s quote that for clarity: The Mahayana Buddhist Endgame is to become a Buddha.
A few more quotes from various Buddhists:
By mimicking the three activities of the Buddha, the esoteric Buddhist acolyte sets forth on a path toward purifying the body, speech, and mind, ultimately leading to the attainment of buddhahood.https://tricycle.org/magazine/becoming-a-buddha/
Siddhartha is called Shakyamuni Buddha, the “Sage of the Shakya clan” to make clear that this awakening is not uniquely his. Over time, there have been other individuals who have awakened to the truth and gained enlightenment, thereby becoming Buddhas.https://rlp.hds.harvard.edu/religions/buddhism/becoming-buddha-way-meditation
That sounds fairly isolate. Certainly it’s a unique personality.
The Mahayana cosmology is that each of us perceives a universe unique to us. While some things are a shared perception, we each have unique aspects that differ from one another. In this way, the Mahayana Buddhist seeks to become a Buddha for their own universe. Each person on the path of perfection (total enlightenment) to become a Buddha to resolve their personal world.
Consider this point Dr. Flowers makes in the quote early on, “This [self annihilation into Oneness with Divinity or Nature] is clearly the goal of all orthodox Judaic, Christian, Islamic, or Buddhistic sects.”
Anytime someone uses the word “all” to describe a varied and vast grouping of things, they are almost always wrong. Do all orthodox Jewish people believe they annihilate and become one with God? Do all Christians? How about all Muslims? What about all Buddhists?
Do all of the members of the aforementioned groups believe exactly like this? Simple answer is, “no.” Attend a church service, become a Buddhist, sit with a Jewish person or talk to an Iman… Out of all the religions in the world, these specific faiths do not have such views.
What Christian squeals, “Oh I can’t wait for Jesus to come back so I can become nothing!”
What Muslim giggles, “Oh boy, once I’m dead I’m going to enter the land of Oneness and stop existing!” Oh sure, you might find some variant of Inayat Khan out there who is seeking Oneness, but the orthodoxy (and majority) do not feel this way.
While I detest abrahamic religions, we must be reasonable and truthful in our assessments of their ideas. None of these religions have such views.
Christians, for example, believe that they will be raised either as a physical body or a spiritual body to live with God for eternity. The only change to their identity is in the loss of compulsion to “sin.” Their individual identity is clarified in the ideas that they will “rule and reign” with Jesus, over the mere mortals left over from God’s rage fest. (References: Revelation 20:4-6; 2 Timothy 2:12)
Muslims, likewise, believe in a heavenly realm where the persist with their identities. Some even have the odd idea of being given a harem of virgin women to defile. While I think that’s completely insane, it still doesn’t smack of something gone into oblivion or Oneness with the Divine. It’s somewhat challenging to ravage your harem if you’re One with Everything.
The Left-Hand Path is exemplified by the notion of individuality. Individuality is the product of antinomianism, which cuts one away from the clutches of conformity. Yet time and time again I see the same conformity: An author writes something, and everyone agrees and perpetuates the statement, even if it’s wrong.
So while I respect these authors, I am concerned over this misunderstanding. As much as I am vexed with the likes of Bob Larson misrepresenting the spiritual path of the Left-Hand, I am vexed with this. Above all there must be honesty with our research and our ideas. To continue propagating wrong information, or in the twist of the information to continue an agenda, just doesn’t feel very Left-Hand path to me.