Sacred Web 23
Editorial: The Secularization of Faith in the Modern World
by M. Ali Lakhani
The Editor offers a definition of the term “faith” from the perspective of traditional metaphysics, and then considers how the secularization of faith in the modern world has led to a diminished vision that has impoverished our lives.
Unsolved Problems of Evolution
by Robert Bolton
Much of the debate relating to the evolutionist controversy stems from a misunderstanding of the difference between what the author terms “permutative” and “generative” modes of evolution. This article transcends the stereotypical framing of the debate in terms of science versus creationism. It surveys the range of unsolved problems relating to the transformist views of Darwinism, and offers a critique of the generative mode of evolution, both from the perspective of science and of traditional metaphysics.
The Vision of Existence in Hua-yen Buddhism
by Atif Khalil
The doctrine of sunyata, or emptiness, is the cornerstone of Buddhist metaphysics. This article explores the doctrine as elaborated by Nagarjuna, as it developed in Mahayana Buddhism and extended into Chinese Hua-Yen teachings. It is the key to understanding the relationship between the discontinuous and continuous aspects of reality, the inter-penetration and identity of “emptiness” and phenomena, the cosmic permeation of Buddhahood, and the role of the Bodhisattva.
Threads of Black and Gold: The History, Symbolism and Significance of Weaving
by John Herlihy
The symbolism of weaving provides an image of man, nature and the universe as an interconnected reality within a single universal source. Using the message of the shahadah and the symbolism of the Kiswah, the woven cloth of black and gold that adorns the Kaaba, the author discusses the inner meaning of weaving and the metaphysical significance of this universal symbol.
Esoteric Hermeneutics: The Role of Tradition in the Writings of Mircea Eliade and René Guénon
by Julian Droogan
This paper, for which the author received the John Cooper Prize from the University of Sydney, critically examines the hermeneutics of comparative religions as utilized by Mircea Eliade by comparing his work with that of René Guénon. The overt and explicit esotericism that forms the revealed core of Guénon’s method is contrasted with the more camouflaged, but no less ‘metaphysical’, methods of Eliade. The author demonstrates how Eliade’s own views on religions and the comparative study of religions were in many ways very similar to Guénon’s revealed traditionalism. In such a way this paper provides a gentle criticism of the discipline of religious studies for critically accepting Eliade’s phenomenology while often excluding out-of-hand the important and useful work of Guénon.
Towards a Definition of “Initiation”
by Timothy Scott
This essay considers the nature of “initiation” starting from first principles, identifying the essential metaphysical conditions that underpin initiation. Scott identifies a de facto if not de jure mode of initiation that he terms the “initiation of substance,” involving a turning back (convertio) to the beginning (intium), in the sense of both origin and principle (principium). He distinguishes this from a de jure if not necessarily de facto form of initiation that he terms “legalistic initiation,” where the initiate is introduced to certain levels of religious knowledge or states of being, usually through the means of rites, which thereby admit the initiate into a relationship with a mystery, be it a spiritual state or simply a level of recognition within a society.
“A Common Word”
In October 2007, a leading group of Muslim clerics and scholars endorsed this important initiative spearheaded by Prince Ghazi of Jordan, to reach out to all Christians and to promote a dialogue between Muslims and Christians based on the common principles of Love of God and Love of Neighbor. This overview of “A Common Word” includes a sampling of the dialogue, with extracts from presentations by Prince Ghazi, Dr. Nasr, His Holiness the Pope, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Sage Learning of Liu Zhi: Islamic Thought in Confucian Terms
By Sachiko Murata, William C. Chittick, and Tu Weiming
Reviewed by M. Ali Lakhani
The Underlying Order and Other Essays
By Kathleen Raine
Edited and with an Introduction by Brian Keeble
Reviewed by M. Ali Lakhani
Invincible Wisdom: Quotations from the Scriptures, Saints, and Sages of All Times and Places
Compiled by William Stoddart
Reviewed by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos
Notes on Contributors