Buddha Turns the Kabbalah Wheel: Jewish Buddhist Resonance from a Christian Gnostic Perspective
Kabbalah is one of those fads that is presented by New Age experts as the answer to the need for a self-guided spirituality that transcends organized religion. Buddhism is another fad, with meditation and yoga sessions becoming the in-thing to do. Underneath the light and fluffy exterior of these fads lies underlying truth that is both obvious and hidden due to the way that religion has been defined and confined to organizations and traditions.
Kabbalah began as a study of word usage, of following terms and concepts through the ancient texts of preserved scriptures. While not evident in English translations of the Bible, the words that make up the sefirot of the Kabbalah are present in the original Hebrew version of the Bible. Letting these words be defined by their usage in the Hebrew scriptures leaves us with an exacting scholarly definition of each.
While Kabbalah sefirot are traditionally presented as a "tree", for the purpose of blending Jewish thought with Buddhist thought, the sefirot are presented as a "wheel". What is amazing in this presentation is that the sefirot then line up perfectly with Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path as the circumference and Buddhism's Three Jewels as the hub of the Kabbalah Wheel. The two traditions not only mesh, they shine lights of meaning on each other's truths. The culmination of the Jewish concept of 'aYiN and the Buddhist concept of Nirvana leave us with traditions that are not as different as they may appear on the surface. What we are left with is a definite path of self-directed spiritual development, a proactive means to awakening, to understanding spiritual terms on our own terms and what it means to resurrect ourselves into enlightenment.
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