Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interfaith leaders respond to Shamanism question

Religious writer - Stephanie Murphy of the Canadian paper - The Ottawa Citizen asked the following question to a number of religious and non-religious "experts."

"What do you make of ancient indigenous systems of wisdom, such as aboriginal and Celtic shamans?"

Their answers were quite thought provoking. Here is one of many examples from RAY INNEN PARCHELO - a novice Tendai priest and founder of the Red Maple Sangha, the first lay Buddhist community in Eastern Ontario:

"The greatest dangers I see for those seeking spiritual direction from ancient wisdom are three.

First, there is a tendency of novices to mix-and-match, borrowing an idea here and there, to assemble something that they cling to or present as “ancient wisdom,” but which has little authenticity. Sadly too, there is no shortage of charlatans who do so and present themselves as “master” for some combination of self-aggrandizement and exploitative marketing.

The second is to propose that ancient wisdom is superior to modern wisdom, simply by virtue of its age. As someone wrote, “If wisdom always comes with a grey beard, every goat would be Plato.”

Third, many people disconnect teaching from practice and action, leaving themselves with a collection of pithy sayings with little practical context, little expert direction and no sustaining ritual support." ...(Cont.)...