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Praise and Worship and Today's Church

The Breath of Babylon

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Mindless Worship

Mysticism has established itself firmly in pagan cults such as Buddhism.  This Chinese religion clearly demonstrates the pagan adherence to the mystical experience and the relative and non-dogmatic truth base that results from a worship system that has focused itself on the supernatural at the expense of truth or doctrine.

Bodhidharma originally brought Zen Buddhism to China.  He was born in Southern India around the year 440 CE.  His spiritual instructor, Prajnatara, told him to go to China.  He traveled there by ship, and arrived in Southern China around 475.  It is thought that he spent nine years in meditation, facing the rock wall of a cave that's about a mile from the Shaolin Temple (of kung fu fame).

During his life Bodhidharma had very few disciples, only three of which even made it into the history books. Right after Bodhidharma transmitted the patriarchship of his lineage to Hui-k'o, he died in 528.  A few years after his death, a Chinese official said that he met Bodhidharma in the mountains of Central Asia.  Bodhidharma was apparently carrying a staff from which hung a single sandal.  He told the official that he was returning to India.  When word got back to the home of the Chinese official, his fellow monks decided to open Bodhidharma's tomb.  Inside the tomb they found only a single sandal.

According to Tao-husan's Further Lives of Exemplary Monks, the sermons in The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma were delivered by Bodhidharma.  Seventh- and eighth-century copies of this manuscript have been identified.  Some excerpts from The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma reveal interesting aspects of mysticism in action.

Mysticism generally is very antagonistic to doctrine.  This is because doctrine appeals to the mind and is unchanging.  Mysticism is more interested in finding truth through feelings.  This is how mystics discover the "mysteries" of God.   Therefore Bodhidharma was quoted as saying, "If you know that everything comes from the mind, don't become attached.   Once attached, you're unaware.  But once you see your own nature, the entire Canon becomes so much prose.  It's thousands of sutras and shastras only amount to a clear mind. Understanding comes in mid sentence.   What good are doctrines?"

In another instance this Buddhist mystic declared, "The ultimate Truth is beyond words.  Doctrines are words.  They're not the Way.  The Way is wordless.   Words are illusions. . . Don't cling to appearances, and you'll break through all barriers. . . "  Again he stated, "Erudition and knowledge are not only useless but also cloud your awareness.  Doctrines are only for pointing to the mind.  Once you see your mind, why pay attention to doctrines?"

Another source of Buddhist dogma can be found in the Dhammapada.  This work is an anthology of verses, belonging to the part of the Theravada Pali Canon of scriptures known as the Khuddaka Nikaya.  Following is a paraphrase of a short segment of this work: "Gotama's disciples, whose recollection is always established day and night on the Buddha, experience a complete awakening."  This sentence demonstrates a theme that is constant throughout mystical understandings of man's pursuit after God.  The intent of the mystic worshipper is to concentrate on the person or God he is worshipping.  It is contended by mystics that by going directly to the source, for example concentrating on Buddha, that the worshipper will experience an awakening as the mysteries of this god are revealed even as the worshiper connects directly to the god.

A poem supposedly written by the Third Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Chien-chih Seng-ts'an (in Japanese, Kanchi Sosan) who lived in the late 500's AD is equally revealing.  The Poem is called Verses on the Faith Mind.  Excerpts from this work again demonstrate what little value the mystic places on the mind: "The mind does not have a shape, it does not have a form, it is not a thing, it is a no-thing."

The Buddhist avidly believes that there is no way that the mind can understand the nature of God.   Therefore, The eye never sleeps: Striking to the heart of Zen It is vast and wide, boundless and limitless reads in regards to the knowledge of God, "Trying to grasp it by thinking is like trying to contain the whole ocean in a single cup.  Thinking is so limited, while the One Mind is vast and wide like infinite space.  There is no way that thoughts or words can touch it."

Later the text continues, "It is natural to have thoughts, but thinking requires effort.  In the most natural state, there is nonthinking.  What do we mean by nonthinking?  Simply allowing thoughts to bubble up into the mind and pass away is nonthinking.  Nonthinking is that which goes beyond either thoughts or no thoughts: it is neither blank mind nor busy mind.  When the mind is allowed to rest naturally, there is no problem.  We create a problem only if we don't like the thoughts that arise spontaneously and want to get rid of them.  Then our thoughts persist all the more."

According to the mystic, the knowledge of God is attained through non-thought, because thoughts get in the way of seeing God.  As the Buddhist text clearly states, this non-thought is the open door to relativism: "More and more, I have come to realize how thoughts and concepts are all that block us from always being. . . in the absolute. . . When the view is there, thoughts are seen for what they truly are: fleeting and transparent, and only relative."

Since the understanding of God is not through conventional disciplines of active thought upon a doctrinal and/or scientific truth base, the goal of knowing God must be attained through another means.  This results in meditation.  It is through meditation that the worshipper comes in union with God and, thus gains enlightenment.  The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying spells this out very well.  This contemporary Tibetan Buddhist work therefore declares, "The real glory of meditation lies not in any method but in its continual living experience of presence, in its bliss, clarity, peace, and most important of all, complete absence of grasping.  The diminishing of grasping in yourself is a sign that you are becoming freer of yourself.  And the more you experience this freedom, the clearer the sign that the ego and the hopes and fears that keep it alive are dissolving, and the closer you will come to the infinitely generous 'wisdom of egolessness.'  When you live in the wisdom home, you'll no longer find a barrier between 'I' and 'you' 'this' and 'that,' 'inside' and 'outside' you'll have come, finally, to your true home, the state of non-duality."

Again we see the philosophy of non-absolutes coming out.  There is no right or wrong according to the mediator, for all is one.  Certainly, without any doctrine to hold onto in the context of an existential philosophy where feelings are the basis of truth, this would be the case.

"(While meditating)," the The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying states, "I sit quietly and rest in the nature of mind; I don't question or doubt whether I am in the 'correct' state or not.  There is no effort, only rich understanding, wakefulness, and unshakable certainty.  When I am in the nature of mind, the ordinary mind is no longer there.  There is no need to sustain or confirm a sense of being: I simply am."

A Zen Buddhist work written by a Japanese monk around 1600 AD called The Unfettered Mind explains where the mystic puts his mind when he worships: "When a person does not think, 'Where shall I put it?' the mind will extend throughout the entire body and move to any place at all. . . The effort not to stop the mind in just one place - this is discipline.  Not stopping the mind is object and essence.  Put it nowhere and it will be everywhere.  Even in moving the mind outside the body, if it is sent in one direction, it will be lacking in nine others.   If the mind is not restricted to just one direction, it will be in all ten."

Doctrine certainly would have no place within the context of this non-thinking postulate.  According to the mystic, blocking out all traditional thought processes is a discipline that enables the worshipper to get close to the god who he pursues.   Obviously the better one gets at this process, the more suitable will be the results.  Therefore, The Unfettered Mind attests, "When this No-Mind has been well developed, the mind does not stop with one thing nor does it lack any one thing.  It appears appropriately when facing a time of need."   Evidently the answers to all mankind's needs lie in the ability to become mindless!

The Hindu culture, upon which Buddhism was based, does not lack in its enthusiasm in regard to the pursuit of God.  Their sacred texts tell us a lot in that regard.  The Bhagavad Gita is one of Hinduism's most sacred works.  The Bhagavad Gita records Sri Krishna's advice to the warrior Arjuna just prior to the outbreak of war on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.  The Gita describes the Hindu's meditation techniques in relation to the total concentration upon the Hindu god.  In the text Krishna speaks, "Make your mind one-pointed in meditation, and your heart will be purified. . . With all fears dissolved in the peace of the Self and all desires dedicated to Brahman, controlling the mind and fixing it on me (God), sit in meditation with me as your only goal.  With senses and mind constantly controlled through meditation, united with the Self within, an aspirant attains nirvana, the state of abiding joy and peace in me."

Therefore, success in the meditation technique is found through the act of making a complete connection with the person of the Hindu god.  The attainment of the awareness of this person must be the only goal of the mediator.  He must pursue this course without any distracting influences.   His mental capacities must be very disciplined: "Wherever the mind wanders, restless and diffuse in its search for satisfaction without, lead it within; train it to rest in the Self."

Nothing other than full concentration upon the presence of God can be allowed if the dynamic of pagan worship is going to be obtained.  Therefore, the Gita proclaims, "(God) am easily attained by the person who always remembers me and is attached to nothing else."

Nothing else other than concentration upon the fixed image can enter into the mind.  If the connection with God can be obtained then the person's union with that God will be complete.  As the text says, "But those who worship me with love live in me, and I come to life in them."

Those who approach the Hindu god in this manner must be purified first.  This purification, according to pagan tradition, is accomplished through fire: "He who knows me as his own divine Self breaks through the belief that he is the body and is not reborn as a separate creature.  Such a one is united with me.  Delivered from selfish attachment, fear, and anger, filled with me, surrendering themselves to me, purified in the fire of my being, many have reached the state of unity in me"

This belief is quite the opposite of Christian understandings of worship.  The pagan worshipper must first cleanse and purify himself before he can enter into the presence of his lord.  According to Alexander Hislop in The Two Babylons this is typically accomplished by participation in fire rituals or water baptism.  The Christian worshipper, on the other hand, lives daily in the presence of his God who dwells in him.  This dynamic is not the result of some kind of self-purification effort through fire or water.  Rather the cleansing of the Christian occurs because of a sovereign act of God through grace as he gave his blood on the cross.  It is based upon this cleansing through the sacrifice of Jesus that God is approached. (Heb 10:19-22)

The Upanishads is another part of the Hindu sacred literature.  It dates from about 700 BC and reveals a considerable amount about the nature of the ancient religion of Hinduism.  A passage from the Upanishads demonstrates the Hindu understanding that oneness with God is not something that can be obtained through the intellect: "The ignorant think the Self can be known by the intellect, but the illumined know he is beyond the duality of the knower and the known."  According to Babylonian religion, God is completely unknowable through the intellectual mind.   Hence, the intellectual mind is seen as a hindrance to true worship.  It is no wonder, therefore, that doctrine is abhorred among pagan superstitions.

Indeed, according to the Hindu, God cannot be known through the mind, but rather the heart.   Hence, the Upanishads contends, "Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart.  Everything that moves, breathes, opens, and closes lives in the Self.  He is the source of love and may be known through love but not through thought.  He is the goal of life.  Attain this goal!"

Doctrine is not primary in life according to the Hindu.  The goal is the attainment of God and doctrine, because the understanding of it necessitates the intellect, only gets in the way of that goal.  The means of attaining oneness with God, therefore, is through the act of thinking through no thing.  As the Upanishads states, "Brahman is beyond all duality, beyond the reach of thinker and thought."

According to pagan superstition the mind must be directed towards only one thing:

"Brahman is the first cause and last refuge.

Brahman, the hidden Self in everyone,

Does not shine forth.  He is revealed only

To those who keep their mind one-pointed

On the Lord of Love and thus develop

A superconscious manner of knowing.

Meditation enables them to go

Deeper and deeper into consciousness,

From the world of words to the world of thoughts,

Then beyond thoughts to wisdom in the Self."

The Triadic Heart of Shiva is a scholarly exposition of the works of Abhinavagupta.  Abhinavagupta is one of the greatest exponents of non-dual, Kashmir Shaivism and he was also a prolific Hindu writer.  He talks of the Hindu quest for union with God: "The Ultimate is, in a very real sense, hidden within the manifest: the infinite is present within the finite.  The process of the tantric {spiritual discipline}, then, involves the search for the supreme reality, which, during the nirvikalpa state, is located first in the Heart, in the deepest recesses of consciousness."

 Fixing Eyes on God

Hindus adhere to pantheism, a belief that contends that God is everyone and every thing and, thus, all are one.  Therefore, God can be found by searching deep inside in the consciousness.  God, therefore, can be fully unveiled through an inner experience utilizing an altered state of mind to reach inside.  "At first," he writes, "as this process occurs, consciousness simply encounters more and more of its own contents.  Finally, a powerful moment of recognition occurs when the beam of consciousness becomes conscious of itself and nothing else.  This is termed the entrance into the 'fourth,' turiya, and here the condition of simple nirvikalpa ensues."

Pagans concentrate on this inner experience in order to contact their god through the imaginations.  Abhinavagupta explains the device that is utilized to attain this goal: "The primary instrument for the attainment of this condition of freedom is the mantra."  The mantra is a repeated phrase or word that enables the pagan worshipper to concentrate on the object of his worship.  The mantra allows him to focus deeply on the inner self while blocking out external distractions that would inhibit union with his god.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna is a translation of a journal in which Mahendranath Gupta (better known as "M") recorded the interactions between Ramakrishna and Ramakrishna's disciples.  Ramakrishna lived in India between 1836 and 1886.  He was Hindu, and devoted himself to the worship of the female manifestation of God known as Kali.  However he was convinced that the one God had revealed Himself in different aspects to mankind, which resulted in the world's various religions.  He also believed that all religions had the capacity to lead the sincere devotee to God.  Therefore, Hinduism and Christianity, if practiced sincerely enough would lead to the same god.  Ramakrishna insisted that instead of wasting time disputing which religion was the one, true religion, individuals should devote themselves to their own spiritual realization within the framework of their own religion.  Hence, his ideas provided a real building block for the New Age movement today which contends that all religions lead to the same god.  His ideas also paved the way to the world prejudice that is slowly building up against intolerance of other religious ideas and exclusionism.  Of course, this New Age belief is very antagonistic towards orthodox Christianity which, by its very nature is intolerant to other belief systems and exclusionist in nature.

Many Hindus regard Ramakrishna as an incarnation of God.  According to Mahatma Gandhi, "The story of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's life is a story of religion in practice.  His life enables us to see God face to face."

Thus, pagan superstition today promotes the universality of God and the attainability of God by everyone.  According to the pagan, everyone can "see God face to face."  Is it any wonder, therefore, when we see the church becoming more focused on inclusion and tolerance that the worship liturgy emphasizes that particular "face-to-face with God" phrase over-and-over-again?

Ramakrishna declared in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna : "The mind of the yogi is always fixed on God, always absorbed in the Self."  Yoga is the methodology that is utilized by the Hindu to find union with this universal god.  Notice again the recurring theme that insists that the mind must remain fixed upon this god.  True to Babylonian traditions, this attainment of the universal god's spiritual and supernatural presence requires some help from a worship leader or priest who is experienced in leading individuals into the "mysteries" of God.  In the Hindu culture this master of "mysteries" is called the yogin.

According to Ramakrishna, "To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practices meditation in solitude.  When a tree is young it should be fenced all around; otherwise it may be destroyed by cattle."  Again we see the discipline that is necessary in order to enter into the supernatural world.  However, the reward of these strenuous efforts is the revelation of deep "mysteries" that could not otherwise be seen.  Of course, since the knowledge of this god is not attained through doctrine, the worshipper is left without any constant and definable characteristics or attributes: ". . . One who constantly thinks of God can know His real nature; he alone knows that God reveals Himself to seekers in various forms and aspects.  God has attributes; then again He has none.  Only the man who lives under the tree knows that the chameleon can appear in various colours, and he knows further, that at times it has no colour at all.   It is the others who suffer from the agony of futile argument."

The result of this theology is obvious: God becomes whoever the seer wants him to be.  One can say that God is this or that merely by insisting that He was experienced in this way or that way.  The experience itself becomes the validation.  Something is regarded as true merely because it happened.  Any worship practice could be validated in this way and any god could be proclaimed as true.  The worshipper merely says, "It is true because I experienced it."  Whether or not that "truth" conflicts with written revelation, such as the Bible, becomes irrelevant in this worship system.  "It happened, therefore it is true, and that is that," the pagan existential worshipper will insist.

Enlightenment requires an unwavering disposition.  According to Ramakrishna: "Unless the mind becomes steady there cannot be yoga. It is the wind of worldliness that always disturbs the mind, which may be likened to a candle flame.  If that flame doesn't flicker at all, then one is said to have attained yoga."

Indeed, the pagan worshiper does not hold back his praise for his god.  Yet these praises are not based upon any external, knowable truth as presented by sound doctrine.  Rather they are the praises elicited by the worshippers of an undefined god.  As Ramakrisha says, "My desire is to sing God's name and glories.   It is very good to look on God as the Master and on oneself as His servant."

Indeed, it is not enough to glorify the Lord.  One must glorify the specific God of the Bible.  Unfortunately, many of the praise choruses written today do little to define which god they are praising.  Ramakrisha could revel in the praise of his god within the context of much of the liturgy that is being produced by Christendom today!

The Hindu text How to know God: the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali is a translation of a Hindu work known as the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras supposedly were written somewhere between the fourth century BC to the fourth century AD.  The text again reveals that pagan meditation methods are dependent upon the ability of the mind to focus on the object of worship: "Our thoughts have been scattered, as it were, all over the mental field.  Now we begin to collect them again and to direct them toward a single goal--knowledge of the Atman.  As we do this we find ourselves becoming increasingly absorbed in the thought of what we are seeking.   And so, at length, absorption merges into illumination, and the knowledge is ours."

Once again we see the meditation technique utilized as the vehicle in order to unveil the "mysteries of God."  Indeed, according to pagan theology, God us not understood through doctrine that has resulted from divine revelation.  Rather, the nature of God is revealed to each person individually as the worshipper seeks after a supernatural encounter with the object of his worship.  In order to accomplish this supernatural feat, the worshipper must become completely detached from the world: "We have to start by training the mind to concentrate, but Patanjali has warned us that this practice of concentration must be accompanied by non-attachment; otherwise we shall find ourselves in trouble.  If we try to concentrate while remaining attached to the things of this world, we shall either fail altogether or our newly acquired powers of concentration will bring us into great danger, because we shall inevitably use them for selfish, unspiritual ends."

The text of How to Know God: the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali thus explains the entire purpose of the Hindu yoga meditation practice: "A yoga is a method--any one of many--by which an individual may become united with the Godhead, the Reality which underlies this apparent, ephemeral universe."

Notice that the Hindu designates the supernatural world as the true reality whereas the material world is only an illusion.  This is consistent with the dualistic persuasion of paganism which contends that the material world is evil and the supernatural world is good.  Hence, worship for the pagan is an escape from the natural into the supernatural.  Only in the supernatural, where goodness is supreme, can illumination in regards to God be attained.  The purpose of pagan meditation-style worship is to become united with God through a concentrated effort of the flesh.  The purpose of Christian worship is to praise the Lord who has built the bridge between himself and man through His death on the cross.  Pagan worship is about attaining God.  This worship can be accomplished by anyone who wants to work hard enough.  Christian worship is about responding to God who has reached out to man.   This worship can only be accomplished by those who have entered into God's fold through His sacrifice on the cross.

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This fourth of five books looks religious history to uncover the horrors of Babylon that have not only compromised the Church but taken our freedoms away.  Abraham Lincoln echoed the words of Christ when he declared: "A house divided cannot stand." Today we live in a similar era today where the church is torn asunder between truth and error. And the wrong decision will bring dire consequences!

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Click here to view the Wigtune statement of faith based upon orthodox Christian beliefs.  It is upon this profession that proclaims the doctrines of historical Christianity that the Wigtune praise and worship music and Bible study have been formulated.   Special Report: Christianity in Russia - Has Anything Changed?

Click here to view Christian WEB Ring links.  WEB Rings  Click here to view the Wigtune statement of faith based upon orthodox Christian beliefs.  It is upon this profession that proclaims the doctrines of historical Christianity that the Wigtune praise and worship music and Bible study have been formulated.  

 The Wigtune Home Page: Free mp3 praise music and hymns sung in a contemporary fashion.  On-line worship study book for Bible students, music ministers, song leaders and pastors is also available!

This WEB page created by

Wigtune Company Praise and Worship Music Resource Center

Last updated on 03/25/13 This worship site for Christians was created in Front Page

 

Copyright 1999 Don Wigton. All rights reserved.