Thursday, June 16, 2011

The study of revelations as a science

In the world of meditation, some folks do take things rather seriously. Some time ago I came across a serious website that purports to have a group of experienced meditators trying to map out the profile of man's inner world. And of course, as per everything in our commercial world, the website is selling some on-line meditation courses and on-line books (I have no prejudice against making a living out of doing meditation). The question is: Can man's inner world be able to be studied as a profile map like any physical terrain?

Carl Jung invented the monumental concept of archetype to explain man's inner world. And he maintained that, among other things, the mandala is a universal symbol for one's inner psyche. He actually tried to map out his internal terrain and documented his trip in his now famous Red Book. It is interesting to note that Jung didn't wish to publish his Red Book during his lifetime. I suspected that Jung, as a scientist, found it unscientific to treat his own "revelations" as something physical, i.e. under certain conditions, another meditator can trace his route in future. This thinking is quite different from the mapping exercise that I mentioned in the above paragraph (to avoid unnecessary debate, I intentionally omit the name of the subject website, interested readers can certainly google for it or similar websites).

The difficulty or impossibility of cross-referencing revelations can be seen in other cases. In certain heritage of Taoist temples in the East, noticeably Taiwan (because Hong Kong is more westernized and mainland China, anything unofficial has the danger of being suppressed), the head Taoists claim to have the ability to receive direct revelations from whatever figures from above that they worshiped. It is interesting to note that only the head got this special power. And I suspect, if a disciple got this power too, he should open his own temple or "keep his mouth shut", chances are that he might not be hearing the same thing during his own meditation!

If you think that I'm joking, you're wrong. In China's last Dynasty, the Ching Dynasty, there was this Taiping Revolution. The supreme leader Hung claimed to be a brother of Jesus and got revelations from his brother to lead the mass and liberate them from foreign invasions. Everything was fine, until one day, one of his senior subordinates also got revelations (and presumably he did get revelations instead of telling lies). His subordinate didn't keep his mouth shut, instead he reviewed his revelations to the people. The unfortunate thing was that such revelations didn't seem to agree with those of the supreme leader. The ending is obvious. The leader killed his senior subordinate.

This is as much as I can figure out as the result of treating revelation as a subject matter similar to physical science.

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