Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

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Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

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Kabbalah

Some pantheistic elements in Jewish mysticism
Yehidah (יחידה): The highest plane of the soul, in which one can achieve as full a union with God as is possible.

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SarathW
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by SarathW »

I spent reasonable amount of time studying Kabbalah.
For me it is very similar to Hindu Chakra system.
I think,studying both of these teachings enhance your meditation practices.
johnny dangerous
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous »

My wife is Jewish and has kind of dabbled, so I own some books etc. on Kabbalah.

The unfortunate thing is that today the only way to learn much about it is to be Jewish and probably Chassidism, or to subscribe to one of the "new-agey" type version of it out there.

Like Sufism, I find it hard to understand how the esoteric doctrine can possibly connect with the exoteric, personal creator God idea, and the *very* finite universe of the Torah.

At least in Kabbalah, Ain Soph/Ain Soph Aur is quite close on cursory examination to ideas about appearance and emptiness you encounter in some forms of Buddhism..the analogy of the MIrror and it's reflections etc.

So on some levels, I've been quite surprised by how similar some of the philosophy sounds "on paper"...I just don't get how the doctrine translates to the personal creator god whose favor you want to stay in in the exoteric doctrine.
Iconodule
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Iconodule »

I guess it depends on whether you see personality as a limitation to be transcended or a quality inherently sublime. The Jewish and Christian tradition see man as the crown of creation precisely because he was imbued with a rational soul, the image of God. With such an understanding it would be crazy to posit the absolute reality as impersonal since personhood is an elevated quality. On the other hand it is important not to confuse the personality of God with the passions and hindrances we are accustomed to seeing in ourselves and each other and that is part of the purpose of apophatic theology where we divest ourselves of erroneous conceptions of who God is or what he's like.

Since Moses was alone, by having been stripped as it were of the people’s fear, he boldly approached the very darkness itself and entered the invisible things where he was no longer seen by those watching. After he entered the inner sanctuary of the divine mystical doctrine, there, while not being seen, he was in company with the Invisible. He teaches, I think, by the things he did that the one who is going to associate intimately with God must go beyond all that is visible and—lifting up his own mind, as to a mountaintop, to the invisible and incomprehensible—believe that the divine is there where the understanding does not reach.’ - St Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - St. Isaac of Syria
johnny dangerous
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous »

Iconodule wrote: On the other hand it is important not to confuse the personality of God with the passions and hindrances we are accustomed to seeing in ourselves and each other and that is part of the purpose of apophatic theology where we divest ourselves of erroneous conceptions of who God is or what he's like.
Thanks for the explanation, Buddhist (well, Mahayana at least) doctrine of course denies that there is any such thing as personality in an ultimate sense anyway, much less a kind of supra-personality.. so I suppose this is a place where there is bound to be a big gulf.

That is not to invalidate those beliefs, just from my personal pov, an explanation of why I don't understand how the concept of Ain Soph is consistent with the idea of a divine personality, by definition it transcends traits and conditions. Maybe one could say that the traits and conditions are reflections in the mirror, as I sometimes hear Kabbalists say that phenomena are all "in the mind of God" or similar.

What you are saying is comparable to what some Buddhist and Bon practitioners might say about The Natural state or Buddha nature etc. being the source of positive qualities, but that may be reaching.

Still, the reflections are not the mirror, and it still seems to be a philosophical quandary to me. Of course, I don't have enough experience with the philosophy to resolve such things, and I do find Kabbalah very interesting.
Iconodule
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Iconodule »

johnny dangerous wrote:
Iconodule wrote: On the other hand it is important not to confuse the personality of God with the passions and hindrances we are accustomed to seeing in ourselves and each other and that is part of the purpose of apophatic theology where we divest ourselves of erroneous conceptions of who God is or what he's like.
Thanks for the explanation, Buddhist (well, Mahayana at least) doctrine of course denies that there is any such thing as personality in an ultimate sense anyway, much less a kind of supra-personality.. so I suppose this is a place where there is bound to be a big gulf

That is not to invalidate those beliefs, just from my personal pov, an explanation of why I don't understand how the concept of Ain Soph is consistent with the idea of a divine personality, by definition it transcends traits and conditions. Maybe one could say that the traits and conditions are reflections in the mirror, as I sometimes hear Kabbalists say that phenomena are all "in the mind of God" or similar.

What you are saying is comparable to what some Buddhist and Bon practitioners might say about The Natural state or Buddha nature etc. being the source of positive qualities, but that may be reaching.

Still, the reflections are not the mirror, and it still seems to be a philosophical quandary to me. Of course, I don't have enough experience with the philosophy to resolve such things, and I do find Kabbalah very interesting.
Yeah, Buddhism refutes self by analyzing and breaking down everything we might point to as indicative of an abiding self. Since self cannot be defined by these transient thoughts, sensations, bodies, etc. then how else would you define self? Buddhism concludes that the concept of self, whether an individual one or a transcendent one, is a delusion, since nothing you can define it by is real.

I think the apophatic theology common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam actually takes a similar approach but comes to a different conclusion. We cannot define God in his essence but, stripping away our erroneous conceptions of him, and recognizing that even his revealed attributes (e.g. wisdom, benevolence, justice, love, etc) are truly mysterious and ungraspable, our conceptions of them being defective and provisional, we enter the "divine darkness", apprehend him, and recognize his reality even if it cannot be defined.
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - St. Isaac of Syria
johnny dangerous
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous »

There is analogy to be made to Dharmakaya I think, in that no one tries to argue that one can conceptually explain or categorize Dharmakaya, it can only be realized. In a general sense the basic process seems similar, but the anthropomorphizing of the absolute is very foreign to Buddha dharma in anything but symbolic sense - i.e. the primordial Buddha appears in a certain form precisely because it is impossible to realize it with the conceptual mind, not because the Dharmakaya has personal attributes...by my understanding.
Iconodule
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Iconodule »

The Dharmakaya seems ambiguous to me because, while it does seem at first glance to be an impersonal, abstract absolute, it also cannot exist as something apart from beings or apart from samboghakaya and nirmanakaya, that is, apart from a personal expression.
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - St. Isaac of Syria
johnny dangerous
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by johnny dangerous »

Iconodule wrote:The Dharmakaya seems ambiguous to me because, while it does seem at first glance to be an impersonal, abstract absolute, it also cannot exist as something apart from beings or apart from samboghakaya and nirmanakaya, that is, apart from a personal expression.

Yes, the three kayas AFAIK are ways of describing aspects of something, not separate things. In some systems there is a fourth kaya described as the union of the three, etc. Still, I wouldn't call sambogakaya a "personal expression" in quite the way we are discussing here, though maybe it's closer than I think. Sambogakaya and NIrmanakaya are a personal manfestation on the side of the observer, i.e. the obscured mind, their ultimate reality is still Dharmakaya - by my understanding.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Svabhavikakaya
TexasBuddhist
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by TexasBuddhist »

One could pick up a Kabbalah if they were instructed and learned how to use it.
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Nicholas »

A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Nicholas »

From the book Early Kabbalah, Paulist Press 1986. Excerpts from the commentary by Isaac the Blind (ca. 1150) will follow.
"The Mystical Torah-Kabbalistic Creation," presented as an
interpretation of Midrash Konen, has never been published, and is
translated from a manuscript found in the Jewish Theological Seminary,
Enelow Collection no. 699.
LEGEND: It is written, "God by wisdom founded the earth"
(Proverbs 3:19). Wisdom (hokhmah) is nothing other than Torah. It
is called Torah due to the number of its commandments. l Also, its
name was Amon before the world was created, as it is ~ritten, "I
was by him, as an architect (amon)" (Proverbs 8:30). And if you were
to say that the Torah was [written] on something or other: on a
tree?-it had not yet been created; or parchment?-it had not yet
been created; or silver or gold?-they had not yet been created. If
this be the case, then on what was the Torah [inscribed]?

The Sages, may their memory be blessed, said: The world was created in the
right side of the Holy One, blessed be He, as it says, "But He is
unchangeable, and who can turn Him?" Gob 23: 13). What did He
do? He took the Torah and drew from it a single name, and drew
therefrom three droplets of water ... and due to [His] abundant love
for Israel, He gave them the Torah.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Nicholas
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Nicholas »

Comments begin...
IN THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE,
was engraved all the inscriptions which were destined to
change from potentiality to actuality, due to the emanation of all the
crowns which are inscribed, pressed, and formed in the degree of
Lovingkindness (hesed). Its image is inward and esoteric, beyond all
scrutiny. Thus it is called the beginning of the thought of the Torah,
and it includes the Torah of Lovingkindness. In general, all the engravings
which are inscribed on it are of two types. The image of the
first engraving is the Written Torah and the other image is the Oral
Torah. The image of the Written Torah is of the colors of a whitehot
fire, while the image of the Oral Torah is the color of a kind of
black fire. And all the engravings and even the very Torah which
encompasses them all existed in potentia and were not visible, neither
spiritually nor sensibly visible. But then the Will arrived which
awakened Thought (mahshavah) into actuality by means of primordial
Wisdom and hidden Knowledge (da'at).
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Nicholas
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Nicholas »

Looks like a worthy survey of the subject, by Alan Unterman editor & translator -
The Kabbalistic Tradition: An Anthology of Jewish Mysticism

Excerpts follow...
Last edited by Nicholas on Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Nicholas »

Prayer by Moses Cordovero before Study of Kabbalah from ‘Zohar Hatorah’ 2:

You who sit on high and whose providence directs the worlds below. God of all that has
been emanated, unique one. Master of awe and true judge. Emanator of all that is
emanated. Creator of all creatures. Former of all that has form. Source of all activity. Who
is able to conceive of even one myriad part of the greatness of the level of the wonders of
Your deeds, let alone the greatness of the forms You have formed.

Who could think of knowing one myriad part of the secrets of the mysteries hidden in
Your creation, how much more so are we unable to grasp an infinitesimal part of Your
emanation. Namely, that one Master, alone and unique, unites with them in complete union.

Therefore, Father of Mercy, forgive and pardon and pass over all my sins, transgressions
and iniquities that I have performed before You from the day that I was first on earth until
today. For all my 248 organs and 365 sinews, my vital soul [nefesh], spirit [ruach] and
higher soul [neshamah] are like sheep without a shepherd. We have strayed and desecrated
things that we cannot rectify [from tikkun] without the great flow of divine light which
comes from the supernal heights above, to rectify the defects which we have caused.

May it be Your will, Lord my God and God of my fathers, that You purify my soul, spirit
and essence that I may be fit and worthy to awaken the lower waters through the study of
the holy Zohar.

Remove the covers from my eyes, so that I behold the wonders of Your Torah. Make me
worthy to be illumined through the light of Your Torah, that I may understand the delight of
its secret mysteries, to study, teach, keep and perform them. May the pleasantness of the
Lord our God be upon us, and the work of our hands established for us. May the words of
my mouth and the meditations of my heart be in accordance with Your will, my God, my
Rock and my redeemer.
A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Nicholas »

Rav Miller on three Torahs, based on the Sefer Yetzirah, an oral tradition from Abraham:

A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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Nicholas
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Re: Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah קַבָּלָה‎‎

Post by Nicholas »

Rav Moshe Miller on Baal Shem Tov on repentance & the new year 5782 (after 40 minutes).

A true mind and true intent bring truth within truth. True practice and true cultivation take the truth beyond truth. True behavior and true conduct add truth to truth. In everything and every way, be true, true, true. Master Hua
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