I was having a conversation with someone this weekend who has experience in western hermetic magic but who spent a year or two studying Buddhism but decided it was not for him. The reason he gave was interesting:
“I think the biggest issue I had with Tibetan Buddhism was that humanity doesnt seem to have any special place in the universe. I mean there are countless realms of existence, and possibilities for rebirth, and even in this universe they talk about life on other planets and which ones Dharma is taught on etc. In Hermeticism mankind is sort of central top the cosmology. You are born with guardian angels, there is a direct progression from the highest sphere down to the earth which is at the center of the spheres. This reflects how I feel.”
Without getting into a right/wrong argument here, his statement pretty adequately reflects what I DO like about Buddhism. When i look at the earth in the solar system, in the galaxy and in the universe – the idea of concentric spheres that I am at the center of just doesnt hold water. It does in a very subjective way – as representing a path for the aspirant – but not in any cosmological way. I find the idea that humanity is just one possible re-birth, and earth just one possible planet, to ring more true than an Anthrocentric view. I cannot buy into a creation scheme or cosmology that is “all about us”.
I think that in a way, this is the spiritual appeal that Lovecraft has to some magicians as well.
Not sure why I even posted this, but I was thinking about it.