Buddhism, Taoism and SatanismPosted: January 4, 2013 | |
Almost certainly Satanism is most often compared and contrasted with Christianity and the other Abrahamic faiths. My own path owes relatively little to these beliefs but my girlfriend is a Buddhist and it is a religion I have always respected. Also I have always been impressed with Taoism and in many ways I still regard myself as a Taoist as well as a Satanist. I apologize in advance to any Buddhists or Taoists that are reading this post as my brief summaries of those religions are surely vast over-simplifications. Buddhism and Taoism are major and complicated religions with long histories and I certainly couldn’t do justice to explaining them in this short post. What I would like to do however is show some areas in which, while they might be very different, they are at least “compatible” with Satanism.
One area of similarity is that in principle all three religions are atheistic while in practice they are sometimes not. Some Satanists like myself are theistic but LaVeyan Satanism certainly isn’t. Buddhism generally does not accept the idea of a personal God but some Buddhists incorporate various deities into their beliefs and rituals. Taoism allows for deities but these are seen as emanating from The Tao itself and so are not Gods in the Abrahamic sense but may be more similar to Pagan Gods. But something that is perhaps the most similar theme in Buddhism, Taoism and Satanism is that the key and core of the religions are all about personal development and evolution rather than veneration or worship of a king-like God.
(Some of the following key facts are taken from the BBC Religions website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions )
Buddhism is a tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC.
Well Satanism also focuses on personal development and the attainment of deep insights into the true nature of life, perhaps starting with the true nature of one’s self. We do not however confine ourselves to following the path of any particular individual although of course we can choose to learn lessons from whomever we wish.
There is no belief in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible.
Well a minority of Satanists do believe Satan is a God, however what they actually mean by “God” is likely to vary considerably from person to person. Overall, I doubt that many Satanists would find much to argue with in the above statement.
The path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.
Satanists might add the practice and study of magic to the above statement and our view of morality may be more personal and subjective than what Buddhists believe in. Meditation is not such a priority for us (although I might argue that magic doesn’t really work without it) but Satanists can certainly choose to practice meditation.
Buddhists believe that life is both endless and subject to impermanence, suffering and uncertainty. These states are called the tilakhana, or the three signs of existence. Existence is endless because individuals are reincarnated over and over again, experiencing suffering throughout many lives.
It is impermanent because no state, good or bad, lasts forever. Our mistaken belief that things can last is a chief cause of suffering.
I would guess that most Satanists would regard the above statements as an interesting area for debate and some may find the assertions to be true.
Overall, while there may be big differences between Buddhism and Satanism, their common ground is that they are both very personal and very practical and their objectives (personal and spiritual development without reliance on an outside deity) are quite similar. Taoism also shares these commonalities.
I have thought of myself as Taoist in essence since my early twenties, so I can say from personal experience that Taoism is both very simple and very complicated. It is easy to understand if you just go with it; and almost impossible if you don’t! I have to say that even as a fully fledged Satanist there is almost nothing in Taoism that I disagree with, hence the bulk of the following description is taken directly from the BBC site mentioned previously with only a few notes and comments from me.
Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview.
Taoism is about the Tao. This is usually translated as the Way. But it’s hard to say exactly what this means. The Tao is the ultimate creative principle of the universe. All things are unified and connected in the Tao.
(I think there is a deep resonance between the nature of The Tao and the way in which magic works.)
- Taoism originated in China 2000 years ago
- It is a religion of unity and opposites; Yin and Yang.
Yin Yang is the principle of natural and complementary forces, patterns and things that depend on one another and do not make sense on their own.
These may be masculine and feminine, but they could be darkness and light (which is closer to the original meaning of the dark and light sides of a hill), wet and dry or action and inaction.
These are opposites that fit together seamlessly and work in perfect harmony. You can see this by looking at the yin yang symbol.
The yin yang concept is not the same as Western dualism, because the two opposites are not at war, but in harmony.
This point is very important to me as a practitioner of a Left Hand Path because in my view it implies that whatever perspective you come from, harmony is the key. From a Satanic point of view it means that only by embracing and integrating the darker side of ourselves can we become whole.
- The Tao is not God and is not worshipped. Taoism includes many deities, that are worshipped in Taoist temples, they are part of the universe and depend, like everything, on the Tao
- Taoism promotes:
- achieving harmony or union with nature
- the pursuit of spiritual immortality
- being ‘virtuous’ (but not ostentatiously so)
Personally I find nothing to dispute in the above statements (although some other Satanists might disagree).Once again, self development is key. I would equate Satan and his demons, all magical entities and perhaps all the pagan pantheons with the deities worshiped in Taoism; as being part of and emanating from the ultimate creative force of the universe. I also see this view as something that can coexist perfectly with a rational and scientific explanation of the universe.
The Taoist concept of virtue is also interesting and I believe fully compatible with satanic ideas and morality.
Te is usually translated as virtue, but this translation uses some Confucian ideas and can be confusing.
Another way of looking at Te is an awareness of the Tao together with the capabilities that enable a person to follow the Tao.
According to the BBC, Professor Victor Mair suggests that a better translation is integrity. He writes:
There is something fundamentally honest and psychologically healthy in being oneself and striding forward with one’s vision facing directly ahead, instead of trying at every turn to satisfy abstract standards of goodness established by a reigning orthodoxy. This is what Te is all about.
And it seems to me that the above sentiment is also what Satanism is all about. Of course Te will not call all of us to become Satanists because we all have a unique and different set of experiences and characteristics to harmonize and balance. However I think that most Satanists, indeed most people, would profit from learning to be receptive to the Tao; the art of going with the flow of life rather than constantly struggling against it.
In conclusion I think there are many areas of overlap between Buddhism, Taoism and Satanism. And while I don’t mean to underplay the differences, I do think it means there are things our traditions can learn from each other; or things which we as individuals can learn from each other’s religions in our personal quest for gnosis and progression.