Talk:Mysticism

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TBD[edit]

To-Do list[edit]

Some of the more notable things missing from the current article include:

  • Any mention of neo-paganism, shamanism etc.
  • Philosophical issues raised by mysticism.
  • Added. Jainism and Zoroastrianism.
  • Added. Rational mysticism and nature mysticism.
  • added. Spontaneous mystical experience.
  • added "householder" versus monasticism.
  • added Any mention of Therevada!
  • added gnosticism.
  • What happened to "skepticism"? It hasn't been incorporated into the current article.
  • Themes and controversies within mysticism, such as:-
    • The quietism controversy
    • Apophatic versus kataphatic experience.
    • Subitism versus gradualism.
    • Theistic versus non-theistic mysticism.

1Z (talk)

Discussion[edit]

  • How are neo-paganism and shamanism "mysticism," unless you threat the term "mysticism" as a synonym for New Age spirituality
  • "Philosophical issues raised by mysticism": which issues, by which definition of "mysticism"?
  • There's a "See also" section to add additional links, like Quietism (Christian philosophy). Apophatic theology is being mentioned and linked; I've also added a link for Subitism. And of course, there also the categories at the bottom of the page: Category:Mysticism, Category:Esotericism, Category:New Age, Category:Nondualism, Category:Spirituality. Not to mention the 10 (ten) navboxes. Now, I won't count the total number of links included within these navboxes, categories and additional links attached to this article, but the Mysticism-category alone yet links to 972 articles. Altogether, this should suffice, shouldn't it?
  • "Theistic versus non-theistic mysticism" may be worth one sentence in the Christian mysticism section. I've added the navbox on Christian myticism; maybe that helps.
Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:47, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
[Shamanism:] Presumably, by being a form of mysticism, as many people think. "new age mysticism" gets 44,000 google hits.1Z (talk) 10:17, 19 April 2016 (UTC). 1Z (talk) 10:20, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
["Philosophical issues raised by mysticism":] eg http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mysticism/
[See also-section:] There is such a thing as undue lack of emphasis. If someone is POV-pushing, it is no excuse that they have left in links after deleting text.1Z (talk)
You don't understand how wikipedia editing works. It is not for you to declare what is necessary autocratically, it is for all editors to reach WP:CONSENSUS. 1Z (talk) 10:17, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
Could you PLEASE keep your responses keep together, instead of splitting-up my responses? Thank you.
"Mysticism, the practice of religious ecstasies (religious experiences during alternate states of consciousness), together with whatever ideologies, ethics, rites, myths, legends, and magic may be related to them."
So, not Perennialism, but constructionism, which is also clear from the subheader Mysticism as experience and interpretation. Looks like a good article! Written by Dan Merkur, who seems to come from a more spiritual background, with a lot of publications, but not very much cited.
  • Philosophical issues: the Stanford article is mainly on "mystical experience." Issues like the "Pure Conscious Event" are threated in the related Wiki-article.
  • Trimming down is not the same as POV-pushing. This is a main article, not an encyclopedia on its own. Shall we talk about the undue weight of a subsection on Gurdjieff, in an article which provides a couple of thousand of links?
Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:51, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Undue weight and trimming down[edit]

(Copied from above:) Trimming down is not the same as POV-pushing. This is a main article, not an encyclopedia on its own. Shall we talk about the undue weight of a subsection on Gurdjieff, in an article which provides a couple of thousand of links? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:51, 19 April 2016 (UTC) (End of copied part)

I can't see any consensus in favour of trimming down, and the RfC was faux.1Z (talk) 12:07, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
You created the undue weight by removing everything else. Why do you keep brining it up as though it is my problem? 1Z (talk) 13:15, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
What was the justification for "trimming down"? There is no indication of discussion or consensus. A user complained that the Buddhism subscetion did not deal with mysticism per se, so your response is to remove almost everything. What sense does that make? 1Z (talk) 08:09, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
See Talk:Mysticism#Belated comments: unnecesssary info. No need to repeat too much nfo, or create WP:COATRACK. Yes, another user, complained, and had the balls to do something about it. I agree with him, and continued. That's an indication of concencus. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:55, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
The only other user I see mentioned is edit2020, and they were not claiming that there was to much information genreally. There was no real RfC and no real consensus. 1Z (talk) 08:57, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Additional topics[edit]

Regarding the addition of additional topics; this way you may ass well write sub-sections for any topic related to religion. Meanwhile, it might help if you could also provide some sources which threat those various topics in regard to mysticism, and if you figured out how to keep this article readable and limited to a reasonable size. Regarding Theravada: in what way is the Theravada-tradition "mystical," according to which source? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:59, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Shamanism and neo-Paganism[edit]

(Copied from above:) How are neo-paganism and shamanism "mysticism," unless you threat the term "mysticism" as a synonym for New Age spirituality:Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:47, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

[Shamanism:] Presumably, by being a form of mysticism, as many people think. "new age mysticism" gets 44,000 google hits.1Z (talk) 10:17, 19 April 2016 (UTC). 1Z (talk) 10:20, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
Shamanism: great, 44,000 hits for "new age mysticism." Now some WP:RS please. The Encyclopedia Britannica article on mysticism does have a subsection on shamanism. :::Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:51, 19 April 2016 (UTC) (End of copied part)

I've added some info on shamanism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 13:48, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

I've also added a link to Neo-Paganism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:00, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Philosophical issues[edit]

(Copied from above:) "Philosophical issues raised by mysticism": which issues, by which definition of "mysticism"? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:47, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

["Philosophical issues raised by mysticism":] eg http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mysticism/1Z (talk) 10:17, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
Philosophical issues: the Stanford article is mainly on "mystical experience." Issues like the "Pure Conscious Event" are threated in the related Wiki-article. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:51, 19 April 2016 (UTC) (End of copied part)

Jainism and Zoroastrism[edit]

Could be mentioned with one or two lines, and a Wiki-link. If there are WP:RS, which explain how these are mystical traditions. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:00, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Rational mysticism and nature mysticism[edit]

Rational mysticism seems like an obscure topic. Regarding "nature mysticism," the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society don't even mention it. The MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion (2005) does mention it, though shortly, giving a short explanation, but also stating that

"In other cases any religious equation of cosmic-mystical experiences with what John of the Cross or the Bhagavadgıta expressed would be clearly inappropriate. Nevertheless, to deny any resemblance between the intense, unifying experience of nature and that of a transcendent presence would be absurd." (p.6342)

So, one or two lines, at best. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:48, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Spontaneous mystical experiences[edit]

Mentioned at Mystical experience. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:00, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

"Householder" versus monasticism - or folk-religion and organized religion[edit]

This pair seems more essential to me than topics like "theistic versus non-theistic mysticism." New Age, western esotericism, et cetera, may be regarded as modern forms of folk religion, placing them at odds with older Christian spirirtuality, but also the academic research on mysticism (professors also tend to belong to the higher classes, 'the ruling powers', don't they?). Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 13:36, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Do you have WP:RS's saying esotericism is folk religion? 1Z (talk) 09:05, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
"Western esotericism" in a broad sense, including New Age, Theosophy, Steiner, et cetera. I guess that Hanegraaff does have something on it. Or magic in western thought; much New Age thought may be a continuation of magical thinking. Not favored by the churches, yet still existing. Compare Tantra in India: not favored by Vedic orthodoxy. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:52, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
I don't think "folk" and "unorthodox" are synoyms: "folk" implies tradition, but some esotericism considers itself modern and scientifc. In any case, this sounds like theory-building rather than reporting. 1Z (talk) 18:26, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
You mentioned "householder" versus monasticism; Merkur notes that most mystical (c.q. consciousness-changing) traditions are restricted to initiates, c.q. monastics etc. May be worth mentioning somewhere. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:16, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Theravada[edit]

I've added a few lines on Theravada. Without a source, though; Google does not provide very much usefull info on Theravada + mysticism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:22, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Well, okay, two sources: Harvey, and Belzen & Geels. Nirvana as transcendent reality (mysticism as unity), and self-restraint and self-discpline (mysticism as self-transformation). Belzen & Geels speak about transcendental ground or related terms; Nirvana is such a related term. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:33, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Okay, some more: Richard H. Jones, Science and Mysticism. Better. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:41, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Gnosticism[edit]

I've added a link. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:00, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Skepticism[edit]

The morality-section is still there. Schopenhauer and Minksy were condensed under the header "Subjective certainty," and. then moved to Mystical experience. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:00, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Quietism, apophetic, subitism, theistic versus non-theistic[edit]

All mentiined and linked in the article. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:00, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Shamanism[edit]

At the time of writing, the article fails to say anything at all about what shamanism is, only noting claims that it has something or other to do with mysticism. That will be of little use to the general reader. Expansion needed. 1Z (talk) 15:39, 22 April 2016 (UTC) I have expanded this. It is now a little repetitive, but there is much else to do. 1Z (talk) 16:39, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Jonathan, please explain why you reverted the move. 1Z (talk) 16:59, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

It makes more sensed to begin that section with the classical mystery religions, and then move on to Christian mysticism, since that reflects the etymology and historical development of the term.

1Z (talk) 17:06, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

The term "shamanism" is derived from Siberian practices, but applies to a worldwide phenomenon, thousands of years older than the mystery religions. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:03, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
According to some. Please respond to this argument: "It makes more sensed to begin that section with the classical mystery religions, and then move on to Christian mysticism, since that reflects the etymology and historical development of the term."
1Z (talk) 14:18, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Makes sense. But it also makes sense to use a chronological approach. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:20, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
The rest of the section is arranged more or less geographically. A chronological approach is more or less impossible, because accurate origins cannot be established for many traditions. 1Z (talk) 10:10, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
That's an additonal argument: shamanism is a worldwide phenomenon. Which predates organised religion. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:22, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
That doesn't answer the problem that complete chronological ordering is impossible., and it still doesn't answer my argument in favour of placing mystery religions first. 1Z (talk) 12:03, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Vajrayana[edit]

I've reverted the following addition:

"The Vajrayana tradition originates in Tibet and is influenced by Tantra.[1]"

The source was re-inserted, but with a slightly altered content:

"The Vajrayana tradition is associated with Tibet and is influenced by Tantra.[2]"

References

The source does not say that Vajrayana originated in Tibet, as anyone with some knowledge on Buddhism would know. The second addition is meaningless and non-informative; what does "associated with" mean? And "influenced by Tantra": Vajrayana is Tantra. Relevant information would be how Tibetan Buddhism can be reagrded as mysticism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:54, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

I've added some info + links on Vajrayana. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:28, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
"The Vajrayāna, or Adamantine Vehicle, is the school of Mahāyāna Buddhism prevalent in Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh, and Mongolia. A highly practical form of mysticism, it affords precise techniques for attaining that wisdom whereby man’s ego is negated and he enters into the bliss of Liberation (Nirvāna)."
"Mysticism, or the search for the divine truth within, has always existed among small groups everywhere; but the Tantric mystical techniques have few parallels in other religions or even in other schools of Buddhism; many of them are totally unique. Besides being of interest to students of Buddhism (especially Zen) and of psychology, a study of them will reward everyone who seeks to lift aside the veil of appearances and penetrate to the very source of all divinity and wisdom."
Tantric Mysticism of Tibet, John Blofeld, 1968.
1Z (talk) 15:07, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Blofeld is not WP:RS. Besides, these quotes do not explain why Vajrayana is mysticism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:22, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Why isn't Blofeld RS?
1Z (talk) 22:16, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Blofeld is a nice writer, but not very reliable reagrding Asian religions. He mixed his personal opinions and beliefs with his observations 'on the ground'. It's more like a 'practitioners confession' than a scholarly study. Those observations (I've read his book on Chinese Buddhism, which is fascinating, because it provides an eye-witness account of Chinese Buddhism before the Communist destructions) are entertaining to read, but also annoying sometimes, because of his misunderstandings. There are better books on Tibetan Buddhism, by scholarly authors, published more recently. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:24, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
You have not explained in terms of wikipedia's policies on RS. You are just offering your personal opinions. We have done this dance before. 1Z (talk) 10:08, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @VictoriaGrayson: could you explain to Peter why Blofeld is not WP:RS? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:12, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

We have been through this. The fact that scholar A has been criticised by scholar B does not make them non-RS by wikipedia's standards.1Z (talk) 11:57, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Why are you using such an old and out of date book? I agree with Joshua Jonathan.VictoriaGraysonTalk 14:16, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Basic Buddhist info[edit]

Why have you removed basic information on the historical background and geographical spread of Buddhism? What purpose does that serve? Articles should assume minimal background knowledge on the part of the reader. You keep writing as if for an academic audience, but an encyclopeida is not the same as a paper. 1Z (talk) 14:04, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps the time is due for a reminder that a previous version of this article was WP:TNT'd for excessive obscurity and personal opinion. 1Z (talk) 14:24, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
"Undid revision 716609564 by Peterdjones (talk)Any relevance to mysticism for such over-general text?)"
The relevance would be the way that different traditions have influenced each other. There is not requirement that every single sentence be directly relevant to mysticism. That kind of defensive editing, invariable the result of "fighting" a POV editor who disbelieves in the entire subject, leads to terrible articles. 1Z. (talk) 14:11, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Please provide diffs. it's not clear what you are referring to:
  • 22:47, 22 April 2016 edit-summary: "Any relevance to mysticism for such over-general text?". Removed:
"The Vajrayana tradition is associated with Tibet and is influenced by Tantra.[1]"
This has been explained before, as you might have noticed. Instead I added this info, which is more accurate and better sourced:
"The Tibetan Vajrayana tradition is based on Madhyamaka philosophy and Tantra.[2] In deity yoga, visualizations of deities are eventually dissolved, to realize the inherent emptiness of every-'thing' that exists.[3]"
"Mahamudra has similarities with Dzogchen, emphasizing the meditational approach to insight and liberation."
I've also mentioned this change at the talkpage.
  • Removed "Buddhism originated in India, sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, but is now mostly practiced in other countries, and divided into a number of sects."
  • Changed
"The aims of Buddhism include the achievement of insight or even enlightenment; liberation from the cycle of rebirth, by enlarging self-awareness and self-control, often through meditation; and assisting other beings to attain enlightenment."
into
"Buddhism aims at liberation from the cycle of rebirth by self-control through meditation and morally just behaviour."
  • Changed
"It could be argued that the entire religion is mystical", but "[it] is not a mystical religion in the sense that it involves or aspires to a sense of merger or unity with a single, all-powerful creator God"."
into
"According to Oliver, Buddhism is mystical in the sense that it aimes at the identification of the true nature of our self, and live according to it."
This has also been explained before.

References

  1. ^ [3]
  2. ^ Newman 2001, p. 587.
  3. ^ Harding 1996, p. 16-20.
So, I have merely improved and corrected the info you added. If this is regarded "academic," yes, that's right. What's more, it's even a basic aim of an encyclopedia: to provide correct info.
At best, we can argue over "Buddhism originated in India, sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, but is now mostly practiced in other countries, and divided into a number of sects." I think it's not really relevant; the sentence "divided into a number of sects" is even problematic. It's better to speak of "developed into various traditions," I think.
Your reference to WP:TNT, and the suggestion that my editing "leads to terrible articles," is misplaced. You're referring to the series of removals by Chiswick Chap at 27-29 october 2011. I don't think you can compare my edits with the kind of stuff that was removed; it's more like the kind of removals you dislike in me. You've been casting aspersions before, and I am kindly asking you now to stop doing so. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:28, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
You're not explaining anything, just repeating that your edits are "better" ins some unspecified way. You need to explain in terms of wikipedia's editing principles. You also need to build consensus, ie discuss changes on the talk pages before diving in.
I'm entitled to cast aspersions. You have broken one rule after another. 1Z (talk) 10:05, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
I've explained a lot, including references to Wiki-policies, in response to all your requests, which cost me a lot of time. In contrast:
  • You repeatedly ask for explanations which have already been given;
  • You repeatedly ask for the addition of info which is already included;
  • You add info which is incorrect (Tibetan origins of Vajrayana);
  • You copy info from other Wikipedia-articles withoud attribution;
  • You accuse me of WP:VANDALISM, and suggest that my edits necessitate WP:TNT, which is offensive;
No, you're definitely not entitled to WP:Casting aspersions. Read that link. Otherwise, maybe Bishonen can explain this to you. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:14, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Therevada and Vipassana[edit]

I have expanded this section, indicating its contemporary relevance.

(I note, by the way, that Vipassana movement contains Jonathan's unmistakable "spoor", a one-side statement that something or other is the result of "modernism", with no indication that the subject my be contentious, and supported by a single (one,1)reference.)

1Z (talk) 10:33, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

I also notice that you jumped in and started amending this addition seconds after I made it, Jonathan,leading to edit conflicts.Would it kill you to follow proper editing procedure, and discuss changes on the talk page first? 1Z (talk) 10:39, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Again, you add unnecessary info. Here, too, no explanation from WP:RS why the Vipassana movement is mysticism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:16, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Unnecessary in your opinion. Again, you keep putting phrasing your own opinions as if they were objective. Wikipedia is based on consensus and RS, not on subjective declarations of objectivity. And your explanation of why you don't discuss changes?1Z (talk) 11:50, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Starting in the middle[edit]

The section of Buddhism introduces too many words and concepts abruptly..for instance the section on Zen explain it in terms of "Buddha nature", without saying anything at all about what "buddha nature" is. 1Z (talk) 10:29, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

There's a link to the article. It's impossible to explain that term in a few lines. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:16, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
I took a look again; I've added some explanations. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:35, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Not enough on individuals[edit]

The section on Buddhism dwells on a lot on doctrine and philosophy, and makes very little mention of notable individuals, even ones as noteable as Padmasambhava and Nagarjuna. (Incidentally, I also notice that the section on Christian mysticism has the opposite problem, but I have enough on my plate). 1Z (talk) 10:59, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

That's a valid comparison. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:17, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
As the subsection is already guite long, this change will probably have to be at the expense of the many,and not very relevant references Buddhist philosophical doctrines. Mysticism =/= philosophy, M'yeah? 1Z (talk)
Oh please! What makes you think that those doctrines, which are at the heart of the various Buddhist traditions, are not relevant? The persons are relevant because of the philosophical doctrines they propagated. Read those contemporary definitions of mysticism: "mystical experiences" are deemed "mystical" within a specific frame of reference, that is, those philosophical doctrines which you deem irrelevant. Read McRae's introduction to the reprint of Dumoulin's "A History of Zen," to get an idea of the (ir)relevance of name-dropping. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 13:52, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Deleuze[edit]

This addition does not belong in the lead; at best, it belongs somewhere in the article. But it seems unlikely to me that two books, writen in the 1960s, will criticise developments from the 1970s and later... This looks more like one editor's personal reflection, using a source that seems convenient (though it's also not clear to me how Deleuze's ideas relate to the constructionist criticism of perennialism). Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:06, 28 September 2016 (UTC)