New Age, Spirituality & Dogma – 10 Myths Revealed
Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary definition of dogma is as follows:
Main Entry: dog·ma
Pronunciation: ‘dog-m&, ‘däg-
Inflected Form(s): plural dogmas also dog·ma·ta /-m&-t&/
Etymology: Latin dogmat-, dogma, from Greek, from dokein to seem a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds
While we recognize the positive influences of organized faith, most religions, including Buddhism for example, have their share of dogma.
Despite valuing many Buddhist tenets, we detect plenty of dogmatic beliefs among its followers. The following email sent to us from a Buddhist who chants daily exemplifies our point: "I think fate and destiny goes back to karma, yes we have karma from previous lives, but we created our own karma, so we also can change it! Although we may not change all bad karma completely, my master promised us that thru chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo we can absolutely reach enlightenment in this life time! And we can expedite the changing process! That's the power of our chanting! If you start chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo you'll reach enlightenment way faster than any methods you suggest. I've used the power from my prayers (thru chanting) to overcome obstacles in my everyday life and achieve my goals - many times making impossible into possible... Quite mystical, but also a lot of work"
We asked the gentleman who emailed us to share how much closer he thinks he is to "enlightenment" from chanting and exactly how he has "changed" his karma, but he didn't respond back to us. The Buddhist above states that his master "promised" him that he'd reach "enlightenment" if he chanted a certain verse. Chanting is a form of meditation and can be used to become more centered and to focus.
However, if you have further karma to work out and need to come back for other lifetimes (that may have been planned well before this one), all the chanting in the world isn't going to change that.
As we always say, you cannot erase your karma and bypass the earthly experience needed to balance it. Sure, you can change how you react to it, which can make the lessons easier to tolerate, but in no way can you erase what your ego doesn't like or create what your ego wants if it's not part of your destiny.
Other forms of dogma linked to various belief systems include the following:
*The "Harmonic Convergence," (a label given, by creative and opportunistic astrologers, to a type of irrelevant astrological planetary alignment that has been occurring regularly for eons) and other "cosmic events" like it; promoters make bogus claims of "unparalleled times" in the earth's history, promoting their websites and selling their products, yet the only "unparalleled time" is for them to take advantage of the uneducated, misinformed, and those who are impressed by far-out, "spiritual" sounding, New Age notions; other key phrases commonly used include, "now is a momentous time unlike any other," and "many facets of the Divine Plan are unfolding simultaneously"
*Men need women in marriage in order to grow spiritually
*Women can't be spiritual or religious leaders
*Sex before marriage is a sin
*Directives issued by "ascended masters" through "channeled messages;" these are sometimes valid, yet so often bogus and long-winded cosmic fu-fu; obvious red flags are if the "messages" are biased-sounding in any way and/or deny the fact that varying degrees of adversity in people's lives has a divine purpose
*Getting married and having children is the right thing to do
*Divorce is a sin
*You can "Ascend" or "reach enlightenment" in this life if you consciously choose it
*Because the Universe is changing, we aren't governed by the laws of karma like we used to be
*You can live forever; all you have to do is "download" your consciousness into a clone of yourself
*Once you die, all your "sins" are forgiven and you get a "get out of jail free" card; you aren't accountable for your actions in this life
*You have complete free will while incarnated and you can create anything you want in this life; what the mind can conceive, you can achieve
*You have the right to anything you desire; it's your "birthright"
*Cursing is a sin
*Nudity is a sin
*Making a lot of money is a sin
*Taking a vow of poverty is the right thing to do
*Having a drink once a while will corrupt your spirituality
*Eating meat isn't very spiritual
*Vegetarianism is the most spiritual diet
*Listening to Rock music is not very spiritual
*Dressing provocatively is a sin
*If you don't adhere to a particular belief system, you're doomed
*Select Feng Shui "cures" such as, "Beautify the money area in your house and become a millionaire!;" yes, we value many Feng Shui concepts, but you can't cheat fate through its methods
Copyright © Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo