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Published:January 13th, 2010 12:42 EST

The Pan-Religious Importance of Meditation and Religious War

By Sean Beelzebul

In virtually every religion across the globe, meditation plays a key role in awakening spirituality, and inner calm. Although the word "meditation` often conjures Eastern religious ideas in the West, much of the practice in Abrahamic religions relies upon meditation as well. As part of my pan-religious and syncretic adoption of many religious practices, I am writing this article to unveil further commonalities between all religions.

I have already discussed the Dhyana`s of Buddhism and their relation to Western religion. The meditation on the primordial elements of earth, water, fire, air and metal/electricity plays a critical role in high-level Buddhist meditation, Taoism, the Yin-Yang school in China, Kabala and even LaVeyan Satanism with its mystical writings surrounding Belial, Leviathan, Lucifer, and Mephisto. However, these high-level mystical meditations and incantations have a tendency to frighten away novice practitioners. There are more mundane methods of meditation that do not involve the invocation of so-called Satanic entities and mystical elements.

There is one thread which ties all religious meditations together, or at least should "it is compassion. In Christianity prayers of good will and mercy are analogous to metta or loving kindness meditation in Buddhism. Likewise, this compassionate loving kindness found its way in Islam, with the idea of Jihad (at least the inner Jihad), repentance and daily prayer. Even Satanism bears this fruit of good will, and is expressed through the idea of self-preservation and self-defense in LaVey`s nine commandments. When Confucius himself was asked what the main thread that connected all his teachings was, he replied with Xin the heart. Indeed, compassionate love and good will is a common element in all religion.

Why then are so many wars, murders and atrocities started and perpetuated in the name of religion? Buddhists often claim that there has never been a war in the name of Buddhism. Yet, there have certainly been Buddhists at war. This claim is only partially true. Buddhism itself does not lend itself easily to doctrinal destruction of other religions. But, the Japanese of the early Edo period in the Tokugawa clan intentionally and mercilessly decided to wage inquisitions on Christendom, and Japanese Christians. While scholars might argue these acts were political, the stages that led to the Tokugawa inquisitions included Buddhist and Neo-Confucian representatives making these decisions. Scholars argue the expulsion of Christendom from Japan was for political reasons based on Japan`s desire for sovereign independence. Perhaps the scholars are right "this was not a war in the name of religion but of politics.

 What does that say about the warring factions of Abrahamic religions in the West. Mohammad waged war on non-believers in his life time, and Christian armies stormed against Islam for centuries afterwards. Could it be that even these acts of War were not truly in the name of religion? I think religion and God were simply just convenient excuses for the Crusaders on both sides and every religious war that followed. I refuse to believe that the most pious religious followers of any religion would use their religion as a means to wage war "and no, I do not consider terrorists in the Middle East pious, nor do I consider the wars of the 21st century to be religious struggles as the world eating politicians in the West would have their people believe.