View Full Version : Buddhism and the Western Mystery Traditions

September 25th, 2010, 06:54 PM
For a little while now, I've been follow a Zen path. Since I started practicing Zen, I've felt like I've been making progress in my spirituality in a way I never have before (for all my spiritual seeking, I've always felt like I was simply trying to stick labels on myself without actually getting anywhere, until this point).
Anyway, my interest in the Western Hermetic traditions has resurfaced recently, as it is wont to do, and I'm curious about the parallels between Buddhism and the Western Mysteries. From all I've read about, it seems like there are strong parallels, but I wonder if the similarities are purely superficial, or are the two paths truly as compatible as they seem? I certainly wouldn't mind incorporating some Hermetic magical practices along with my Zen practice.


September 27th, 2010, 11:23 PM
There are definitely some parallels. Alan Bennett, who was a member of the Golden Dawn and one of Crowley's early teachers, later joined a Buddhist monastery. Buddha is listed as one of the "saints" of Thelema, a Magus of times past.

I could say more, but I'm on a clear liquid diet and on painkillers in preparation for surgery later this week, so I'll cut this short before I start rambling. :D

November 11th, 2010, 07:29 PM
Bringing this thread back up.
What would you say are the fundamental similarities between Buddhism and the Great Work? What are the differences? Do you think that someone walking a Buddhist path would benefit from incorporating CM practice as a method of attaining enlightenment?

November 12th, 2010, 10:08 AM
If we look at history, then it makes a lot of sense. Occultists in the 19th century flocked with other pre-New Age groups to the east. We see Aleister Crowley taking a lot from mostly Mahayana traditions. We have the Theosophical Society running around everywhere. There is a direct link between the resurgence of Magic in the West and Europe's connection with Asia.

That being said, there are a lot of areas that they are not similar. Since a lot of Hermetic and other Occult branches derive from Ceremonial Magic connected to the Kabbalah and other strains of Magic that were floating around Europe, it cannot be said that the resurgence derived from Buddhism.

November 12th, 2010, 10:25 AM
I'm not on the same exact path as you but I have similar interests. I wanted to see more discussion on this topic so I'm bumping the thread hehe.

I consider myself a witch and I'm heavily interested in Taoism and mysticism in general...there are similarities but I am aware of the contradictions too.

I'm attempting to develop a nice blend of witchcraft and Taoism at the moment.