East meets West WIKI
New Age Movement- In some respects, New Age religion can rightly be classified as a Western expression of classic monistic Hinduism (called Vedanta) The most basic beliefs (about God, the world, man, and salvation) are the same, as well as the mystical experiences that are at the heart of both. Their followers make up a sizable — though by no means dominant — contingent of the movement itself. In spite of these commonalities, the New Age movement (including its Oriental components) is very different from traditional Eastern mysticism. The key to this difference lies in the fact that New Agers are life and world affirming. In traditional Hinduism the earthly is set in direct conflict with the spiritual, so that those who are serious about seeking God and salvation are expected to renounce the world of temporal pleasures and responsibilities. The world is maya , and is considered a formidable obstacle to eternal bliss. In the enlightened state, all is seen as God. Events in the world have no ultimate importance. Historic Hinduism is therefore world denying. In keeping with their Western heritage, New Agers have rejected this aspect of Eastern mysticism. They affirm the value of temporal realities: people, nature, culture, education, politics, even science and technology. In fact, contemporary New Age thought represents an effort to graft the fruits of higher learning onto the various branches of mystical tradition. Most New Agers are not romantically seeking to turn back the clock to a simpler time. They embrace the future, with all of its increasing complexity and automation, as long as things are developed along the lines of global peace, unification, and ecological balance. They stress a balanced exploration of both “inner space” (through meditation) and “outer space” (i.e., the world external to the self). One reason New Agers have rejected the traditional Hindu view of the world is that they have a...
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