The Same Supreme Doctrine in Swedenborg, Hinduism and Buddhism

~Wilson Van Dusen

DOCTRINE: AN ACCEPTED TEACHING. I call this doctrine supreme because it seems impossible to conceive of any higher doctrine. There are a number of surprising aspects to this doctrine. Countless readers of Swedenborg have read it, yet, to my knowledge no one has drawn this doctrine out before. Why? Its immediate implications are so startling a person may well wonder what to do with it. We will not only draw it out of the writings but we will go into some depth as to its implications and use. It happens to be the supreme doctrine in Hinduism and Buddhism also, so incidentally we are building a substantial bridge between Swedenborg’s writings and these two major religions. It is quite clear Swedenborg had no contact at all with Hinduism or Buddhism as such, even in the spiritual world. The highest spiritual experience leads to the supreme doctrine. It appears Swedenborg, Hinduism, and Buddhism simply came to the Supreme Doctrine independently through their own spiritual experiences. Actually I, too, came to this doctrine through direct experience, so it rests on our four independent discoveries. Our first task is to find it in Swedenborg’s writings, and in Hinduism and Buddhism, then we will look at its implications.

Swedenborg’s Theology

In Swedenborg’s theology the Supreme Doctrine is found in Arcana Coelestia (also called Heavenly Secrets), Divine Love and Wisdom, and in Divine Providence, principally, though it is scattered in the rest of Swedenborg’s works.[1] Anyone who has really read Swedenborg has seen it. The Supreme Doctrine is beyond most persons’ experience so they may well wonder how to use it. One of the clearest references to the Supreme Doctrine is in the Arcana Coelestia:

The truth that there is but one life alone and that this flows from the only Lord, and the truth that angels, spirits, and men are merely recipients of that life, I have been made to know from so much experience that not even the smallest shadow of doubt has remained.[2]
There is only One Life from the Lord. This One Life animates humans in this world and angels and spirits in the next world. This One Life also animates all other forms of life. How can this be? We are really recipient vessels. The One Life flows into us so we are merely vessels receiving it. But this seems contrary to our experience. Out of the Lord’s love we are given the sense we are in control. This is given to us, another element that flows in. This doctrine seems paradoxical and difficult to accept. I ask the reader’s patience. In effect the Supreme Doctrine is a description of the ultimate reality, not what we experience in the everyday.
One element that helps explain how we can all have the same One Life and yet seem so different from each other is that we perceive in accordance with what we are.
It does seem as though Divinity were not the same in one person as in another, as though it were different in a wise person than in a simple one, for example, or different in an elderly one than in a child. This is just the deceptive way things seem, though. The person may be different, but Divinity within is not. The person is a receiver, and the receiver or vessel will differ. A wise person is a more adequate receiver of divine love and wisdom than a simple one, and therefore a fuller receiver. An elderly and wise individual is more receptive than a child or youth. Still, Divinity is the same in the one as in the other. Outward appearance also gives rise to the illusion that Divinity is different in heaven’s angels than it is in people on earth because heaven’s angels enjoy indescribable wisdom and we do not. However, this apparent difference is in the subjects and depends on their openness to Divinity. It is not in the Lord.[3]

I have noticed this in many ways. Mothers who raised boys and girls see the male/female difference. When I worked with criminals it was as though there was only a world of strife, full of criminals. An honest person was a sucker. When with artists it was as though there was beauty everywhere, whereas many simply don’t notice it or care. When with spiritual people they experience the spiritual dimension of life that many others contend doesn’t even exist. It is immensely true we can’t really experience what has not become an accustomed part of our life. One way to tell another person’s love of the life is to find what they notice and remember of the welter of events. So our experience is limited by what kind of recipient vessel we are. The one life animating a female seems feminine, whereas animating a man it seems masculine.
This alone can account for the vast range of our differences. When you add in trees, insects and animals the range of receiving vessels is vastly extended. In the field of spirituality these differences are critical. The fundamentalist is vastly different from a seeker who has meditated for years. The whole nature of their experience and perceptions differ considerably. So find what a person experiences or notices of their world and you begin to know what they are. A business friend of mine sees all in terms of financial value. Artists notice beauty in even the most ordinary things. Another person notices how things work. One person is jealous of what others have. But a real friend shares in our joy. People are endlessly different. They are different kinds of recipient vessels.
…the Lord…is with every one of us depending on our acceptance.[4]
…What is from God is not called God, but the Divine…They said further that the Divine Being (Esse), which in itself is God, is the Same; not the Same simply but infinitely; that it is the Same from eternity to eternity: that it is the Same everywhere, and with everyone and in everyone, but that all variation and change are in the recipient, and are caused by the state of the recipient.[5]
But such is the affection, such is the reception.[6]
The Lord dwells in His own, not in their proprium.[7]
The proprium is what we consider to be our self.[8] This is too limited for the Lord to dwell in it. The Lord lives in what is of His Own in us, the highest in us.
So there can be one Life everywhere present in all living things, but manifesting according to what each can show of this One Life, according to their reception. The idea of sainthood arose because the goodness of God is especially evident in some people. God is not a simple limited thing but can manifest endlessly as interesting and colorful variations of which each of us is another unique representation.

That we are each a recipient vessel of the One Life would seem to be mysterious and beyond proving. Yet the opposite is true. In meditation we can actually watch the One Life flowing in. In deep meditation a person learns to let things be without interfering with them. In this state it is easy to see thoughts, feelings, images, and ideas coming and going. With much experience it becomes totally apparent, as Swedenborg said, we are really recipient vessels. In our normal daily experience an idea will turn up in our mind and we take credit for it as though we thought up this idea. Our taking credit for all that is given to us is the real harm of proprium. And as we take hold of an idea we shape it according to what we are. With much grabbing hold and taking credit for what flows in we gradually find the idea of our being a recipient vessel seems strange and false. Yet if we turn to meditation, where we can watch mental content flow in, the idea of our really being recipient vessels is no longer so strange. What spontaneously flows in (influx in the writings) is immensely more creative than we normally are. So we each have a creative stream which we normally try to dam up and restrict. I have heard some people teach we should not meditate because you open yourself and might be seized by an evil spirit. If you don’t meditate you are seized by the evil spirit of proprium, the vanity of believing you are alone in your self, the only one in total self-control, and this belief is the essence of proprium and of hell. In contrast the person who meditates soon can see life, and all it entails, is given to us. The more you just let things be in meditation the more apparent it is that we are really recipient vessels, just as the writings say. Such meditation leads to a certain modesty about our being in control. Those who feel certain they are not the only force in themselves show they have studied the real situation. A common element of mystical experience is the sense that there is but One Life, everywhere. Many come to this when watching a sunset or observing stars on a dark night. It is a universal experience that we are in the midst of only one life, everywhere. We also sense this is a high and uncommon experience.
How can we reconcile our sense of being in control and responsible with receiving the One Life? Swedenborg’s writings handle this nicely.
The particulars of faith on man’s part are as follows:
  1. There is One God, in Whom is the Divine Trinity, and He is the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ.
  2. A saving faith is to believe on Him.
  3. Evil actions ought to be shunned because they are of the devil and from the devil.
  4. Good actions ought to be done because they are of God and from God.
  5. And these should be done by man as of himself, yet it ought to be believed that they are from the Lord, with him and through him.[9]
There are two reconciliations here. In section 5 these acts of faith should be done by man (as of!) himself, yet it ought to be believed that they are from the Lord, with the person and through the person. When in doubt, act as if you are the only person present and responsible. Yet the deeper understanding is that what is given is from the Lord, with the person and through the person. So when in doubt act as though you are responsible. Yet the larger truth is that all is from the Lord. Evil acts actually take us away from enjoying p
eace and beauty towards a more miserable existence. Several times, and in several ways, Swedenborg indicates all good is from heaven or the Lord, and all evil is from hell.
If we believed that — as is truly the case — everything good and true comes from the Lord and everything evil and false comes from hell, then we would not claim the goodness as our own and make it self-serving or claim the evil as our own and make ourselves guilty of it.[10]
Then we should believe all good and truth are from heaven or the Lord and all evil is from hell. Insofar as we could classify all as either good or evil then all comes from the spiritual world and nothing is really our doing! This is another way of seeing all things as spiritual and nothing arises solely from us.
This means that divine providence does not charge anyone with evil or credit anyone with good. Rather, our own prudence makes each of these claims.[11]
So even if good appears to be done by us still heaven or the Lord should be credited with it. In effect we are a witness at the confluence of good or evil. This is a lofty view in which the Lord rules all, even the good we appear to do.
God alone — the Lord — is love itself, because he is life itself. Both we on earth and angels are life-receivers.[12]
There is but one life in the whole creation. If you reflect just a little while you will find you do not make the life in yourself. Indeed you would not know how to make your life. Life is given to us. We hardly even know what it is. We experience life but we have no idea how to make it. It is easy to come to the sense that there is but One Life everywhere. This is a common experience for the mystic. This One Life is both out there and in here. That there is only One Life is the root experience of this Supreme Doctrine. Because we are at the experience of One Life we easily fall into the belief we are it, that we are life itself. Yet this life is given to us, we hardly know how or even what it is.
From very much experience I have come to know that there is one life — the Lord’s. This life flows in and gives life to man, to both good and evil alike.[13]
Some people have difficulty with this. They approach this as a simple logical either/or. “Either I am in control, or God is. How can it be both?” View our apparent control as a tiny element inside the transcendent Lord. Our appearance of control is a little thing inside a far greater over-arching transcendence. Without religious teaching we can easily overlook the over-arching higher truth. Our little appearance of control is inside the overall transcendence of God—a little appearance inside a far greater truth. The oak tree can say, “I made myself into a great oak tree.” Yet it is also true that the acorn represents a long development having to do with untold things beyond it. We are a very little thing inside and part of what is incredibly larger, the All.
Everything at all visible in the universe is representative of the Lord’s kingdom, so much so that nothing exists in the starry sky above, or on this planet and its three kingdoms below, which is not in its own way representative. For every single thing within the natural order is an ultimate image, in that the Divine issues forth into celestial things, which are expressions of good; celestial things issue forth into spiritual which are expressions of truth; and celestial and spiritual things issue forth into natural things. This shows how stupid, indeed how earthly and also topsy-turvy, human intelligence is which separates or isolates natural forces from that which is prior to them and flowing into them — that is, from their efficient cause — and then attributes everything to natural forces. And people who think and talk in this fashion seem to themselves to be wiser than anybody else, that is to say, by their attribution of everything to natural forces. Angelic intelligence however is quite the reverse — it attributes nothing to natural forces but every single thing to the Lord’s Divine, and so to life, not to anything devoid of life.[14]
Our life and all life comes from Life. So all of existence is like a theater of representations of the One Life — endlessly being represented by this living show we live in, and are part of.
There is another image from Swedenborg which also points toward the Supreme Doctrine. It is that of the “grand man;” recent translations call it the “universal human.” This is dealt with extensively in the Arcana Coelestia. The Lord sees heaven as a single person. This is an image that represents the design of existence. Societies or people of a similar function in heaven are like organs of this body. All these organ functions work together as elements of the One Life. Our love of the life determines where we fit in the grand man. The essence of this immense image is that heaven is the union and coordination of immense differences which are the One Life. All work together as part of the One Life, the Divine Human. Our innate, given love of the life determines where we are in the grand man, for our love of the life puts us in a society of likeminded people. We should think of our potential role in the “universal human” not in a physical sense (i.e., in the kidney of the universal human) but in a functional sense (separating out the unwanted to purify life). Perhaps I am of the eye of the universal human for I so love to see what is.
From this one may now see what heaven is like and why it is called the Grand Man. Yet the variations there in the life of good and truth are countless; and each variation is determined by the way in which life from the Lord is received. Those variations are interrelated in exactly the same way as the organs, members, and viscera in the human being, all of which are ever-varying recipient forms of life from the soul, or rather from the Lord through the soul. Yet for all their variety they nevertheless together constitute one human being.[15]
So the idea of the universal human is a giant representative image of the way in which all in heaven unite into the One Life.
But there is another idea related to this. Swedenborg over and over asserts that the Lord is a person, a human being.
The Lord from eternity, or Jehovah, could not have created the universe and everything in it except as a person.[16]
There are several meanings to this. The first is that it is a reference to Jesus as a man who is also the Lord of all. But another is that God’s own image or nature is everywhere in creation. Those who think of God as the father, quite beyond manifesting in any form, will find this teaching puzzling.
If people have an earthly, physical concept of the Divine- Human One, they are utterly incapable of understanding how a human God could create the universe and everything in it. They think to themselves, “How can a human God wander from place to place through the universe creating things?” Or “How can God speak the word from one place, and things be created as soon as the word is spoken?” Things like this come to mind when people say that God is a person if people are thinking about the Divine-Human One the same way they do about earthly people, and when their thought about God is based on nature and its attributes, time and space. On the other hand, if their thought about God is not based on earthly people, not based on nature and its space and time, they grasp clearly that the universe could not have been created unless God were a person.
Focus your thought on the angelic concept of God, of a human God, and as far as you can, eliminate any concept of space, and you will be close to the truth in your thinking.
Some scholars have actually grasped the fact that spirits and angels are not in space because they conceive of spirit as being apart from space. Spirit is like thought. Even though our thought is within us, it enables us to be present somewhere else, no matter how far away. [emphasis added] This is the state of spirits and angels, who are people even in respect to their bodies. They seem to be wherever their thought is because in the in the spiritual world place and distance are apparent only, and are in complete accord with what people are thinking about with interest.
We can tell from this that the God who is visible as a sun far above the spiritual world, who cannot be given any appearance of space, is not to be thought of in spatial terms. In that case, we can understand that the universe was not created out of nothing but out of God, and that God’s human body is not to be thought of as large or small or of some particular height because these are matters of space. This means that God is the same from first to last, in the largest and smallest things. It means also that this Person is at the heart of everything created, but nonspatially so.[17]
There is an easy way to understand this. Leave your body image behind and focus in on the mysterious you that is your very life. This is the innermost human, quite mysterious and beyond any simple description. As simply human you have all sorts of potentials some of which you have not even experienced yet. This is the God/ man. That is, the very core of what you are is a giant potentiality that you will still be discovering even after a long life. This is the God/ man. There is One Life. You are a life. You can properly examine the depth of your life to look at and approach the One Life. It is a distortion to try to see God as ultimately something quite different from what you are. You are the microcosm, the little image of all there is. You will see later that this Supreme Doctrine leads right into the experience of God, another way in which it is supreme.
Throughout all the heavens, the only concept of God is a concept of a person. The reason is that heaven, overall and regionally, is in a kind of human form, and Divinity among the angels is what makes heaven. Further, thinking proceeds in keeping with heaven’s form, so it is not possible for angels to think about God in any other way. This is why all the people on earth who are in touch with heaven think about God in the same way when they are thinking deeply, or in their spirit.
It is because God is a person that all angels and spirits are formed people. This is because of heaven’s form, which is the same in its largest and its smallest manifestations.[18]
So where can one always look upon God? By looking deeply at your innermost. This is beyond the human form with arms and legs. It is in the innermost where we can’t help but be human. This is the kind of image we can look at eternally and forever discover more. Think of all the novels you have read, all the different human incidents in your life, and all the films, and all your friends. We have experienced ourselves and others in countless ways — and these are just a part of what is to be human. Humanness has been and will endlessly be portrayed. This is but a little intimation of what is to be human.
God is Very Man.[19]
Very — what alone is. So God is the Only Man. That is, when you consider all that it means and could mean to be human, God is the ultimate of that. So in our humanness, considered in its deepest sense, we have an appropriate image of God. We are a microcosm, a little image of the all, the macrocosm. Don’t immediately leap to the idea that we are superior to all else. If this were to be a theology for elephants I would be speaking of the Grand Elephant. Consider for a moment if we were teaching elephants how to know God. Would we have them reflect on man as the core of existence? What stress it would be for elephants to reflect on humans who drove them to near extinction to get their tusks, to carve into trinkets. No. Elephants as part of the One Life should reflect on the innermost of their own nature — to approach the One Life.

This image of God is Man says for us humans one way to God is to reflect on what we are as humans. We are made in the image of God. We are in and of the One Life. One way to the One Life is to reflect on what we are in the largest sense. This is a little bit of what is contained in the idea of God is man. Good meditation is looking at the One Life in us and endlessly learning of its potential. Obviously when we go within we don’t find one simple image but rather we enter Life and its endless representations.
The writings have a lovely way of pointing directly at the Supreme Doctrine in the simple use of the words very and only, sometimes translated with a capital letter as the Very and Only.
That is called the Very which alone is; and that is called the Only from which everything else proceeds.[20]
These are weighty ideas carried in this unusual use of just two words. The Very, what alone is. The implication is it is the only real existent. All other forms of existence are derived from the Very. Similarly the Only is all there is, from which everything else proceeds.
There are a number of profound ideas implied in this. The Very is what alone is. Can you exclude this Very from anything or from any situation? No, you would be trying to create something beyond what alone is. You can’t. So the Very, what alone is, is everywhere or omnipresent. Similarly what alone is has all power, or it is omnipotent. And if you are thinking of wisdom as a form of power, it is also omniscient. In each instance you either have it all or you are trying to make something more beyond what is the all. And this can’t be done. The All is all. It is alone what is. So the Very and the Only are God, are omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient simply because they are the Very and the Only.
That the Divine Being (Esse), which is God in Himself, is the Very Self, they illustrated in this way. God is the Very Self because He is Love itself and Wisdom itself; or what is the same, because He is Good itself and Truth itself, thence Life itself. Unless these were the Very Self in God, they would not be anything in heaven or the world, since there would be nothing in them having relation to the Very Self from which it is, and to which it has relation in order that it may be what it is. This Very Self, which is the Divine Being (Esse), is not in place, but is with those and in those who are in place according to reception. For neither place nor progression from one place to another can be asserted of Love and Wisdom, or of God and Truth,or of Life thence, which are the Very Self in God, yea, God Himself; these are without place, hence their omnipresence. Wherefore the Lord says that He is in the midst of them, and that He is in them and they in Him.[21]
It is worth reflecting a while on omnipresence. We can never be away from it. It is always present, in every aspect of our life. If we address anything in prayer it is always to the omnipresent. It is the Very and Only presence.
I could easily multiply examples. In this last one the writings are elaborating the meaning of Revelation 1:8.
‘And I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending’ signifies Who is the Very and Only One from Primes to Ultimates, from Whom all things are; thus Who is the Very and One Only Love, the Very and One Only Wisdom, and the Very and One Only Life in Itself, and thus the Very and One Only Creator, Savior, and Enlightener from Himself, and thence the All in all of heaven and the Church. These and more besides are the things that are contained in those words, by means of which the Lord is described.[22]
Clearly we are in the realm of ultimates.
This Supreme Doctrine is the highest or ultimate teaching in the writings. It is based on Swedenborg’s own spiritual experience. In it we are shown the ultimate design of existence. This is a level so high I was frankly surprised to discover it in the writings. This is a view of the order of things from God’s level. This is far, far beyond our ordinary experience.
I tried to present this to a gathering mostly of Swedenborgians. That evening at dinner I was taken to task by a good Catholic lady. It appeared this view was faulty because it overlooked the reality of evil. Well, yes, it does. Evil is deep in duality. This doctrine is true at a level far beyond all duality. In duality there is us versus God, us versus others, us versus everything. Dualities exist in a world full of conflict and differences. The One Life disappears into endless differences. God is hardly to be found in the world of evil in which each views themselves as self sufficient, ruling and in control. Evil is duality emphasized. Hell is the kingdom of each for themselves over all others, the essence of duality.

View this Supreme Doctrine as a visit to ultimate peace and harmony, a respite for people tired of conflict. It is a visit to heaven. It is not a fantasy land. It is what ultimately really is. It is the world of conflict that isn’t really real. We are so accustomed to conflict and strife it is sad to think many take it to be all there is. This Supreme Doctrine shows us the heavenly world of harmony. There really is only One Life, called God, or by endless other names. In relation to this life we are just recipient vessels. Life comes from the One Life. It comes through the spiritual worlds to our interior. According to our experience and what we are, we are made alive by this one life. The image of the the universal human reveals how we all fit together to make up the One Life. It is the Very, what alone is. It is the Only, the source of everything. The whole of existence is a theater of representations, showing aspects of this One. We are in and of this show.

Now some may take offense at this truth. When did we agree to be in this show? That took place long ago when we were of the One. Perhaps we should be offended at being merely recipient vessels. Would we prefer to adjust and control everything, including infinite biochemical processes in our body? No. Is it enough to be a recipient vessel, receiving it all. It is as though we have a fine ringside seat to enjoy the all. Is it better to be lost in multiplicity, or to be part of the peace and harmony of it all? Considering the grave depth of my ignorance I am honored to be one who receives it all. To be part of it all, to be any part of it all, is an ultimate honor.

Hinduism and Buddhism

Both Hinduism and Buddhism have this same supreme doctrine. Why? Hinduism and Buddhism are grounded in personal spiritual experience. Swedenborg also explored the spiritual. It appears to me the Supreme Doctrine is part of the real order of things. This is how people of widely different times and cultures can come to the same conclusion. This is a very great confirmation of Swedenborg.

Best estimates now based in archeology suggest the main Hindu teachings were first put down in writing about 2000 BCE out of an even older oral tradition. Hinduism is the oldest religion on earth. Buddha was actively teaching about 600 BCE. Hinduism and Buddhism both predate Christianity. I could find no sign Swedenborg knew anything of Hinduism or Buddhism either in this world or from his contacts in heaven. There is no possibility that Swedenborg was influenced by either of these religions. He does refer to a lost “Word” in Cathay (China). Now, two centuries later, there are several ancient “Words” out of China. These include the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching among several others. It does not look as though Buddhism simply borrowed from Hinduism. It looks as though this supreme doctrine is simply part of the order of things, there to be discovered if you explore the spiritual far enough.

In addition I had the same experience. I need to describe it to give some sense of how much exploration is needed. I fell into deep spiritual experiences even at the age of one. At age seven I hid behind a sofa to get away from the commotion of my household. I fell into a transcendent experience in which I lost all personal identity and came into the experience of the Lord. I came out of this experience with my lifelong name for God, simply “my Lord.” I say I fell into this experience so as to not imply any kind of seeking or cleverness on my part. I had no religious training whatever. In adolescence I had many experiences of my Lord. They were so pleasant and totally captivating that I finally worked out how they came about. I only needed total peace and quiet, and to reflect on what is. In my thirties I was a clinical psychologist working in a mental hospital. There was some report of a new drug, LSD,[23] which would produce psychosis. I wished to understand my psychotic patients better so I took it. Immediately I fell into my old accustomed mystical experiences. LSD opens up one’s interior. Earlier experimenters had tried to rigidly control their subjects and thereby then produced paranoia. Many indigenous groups the world over use similar substances to produce transcending states. I came to use a protocol similar to Indian peyotists seeking the transcendent. It was during this period I came to the direct experience that Swedenborg described.

I was part of a small group of therapists trying to determine what uses LSD had. In a relatively short while we had staked out its main uses. It was a psychic amplifier — amplifying whatever was there. I was an experienced mystic so I returned to mystical experience. If you were a bit crazy, it made you clearly crazier. Meanwhile some figured out how to manufacture it and sold it illegally. This wild experimentation led to a number of unfortunate events. Time magazine came out with an article on instant mysticism which added to the misunderstanding and confusion. Instant coffee was new. They implied the drug caused mystical experience. It does not. The proof is the wide range of experiences people have with it. Soon LSD was legally banned. I felt the indigenous groups all over the world using similar substances had come to a good protocol on the use of these substances. But I was for the ban in our society. We were simply too unwise and foolish to make good use of these valuable substances. It is curious that small indigenous groups all over the world make an intelligent use of these substances, yet the most “advanced” people on earth could not do as well.

I would like to briefly describe my own experience in which I was shown the Supreme Doctrine to give a sense of the state involved. As the experience developed I remember asking myself if I was dying. I was unable to decide so I dropped the question. Shortly afterwards I asked what it was to be human. Again I could no longer grasp the question so I let it go also. I entered a state in which I had no ego nor any identity as a human being. In this spiritual state it became totally apparent only God existed. Some hours later my personal identity as a human, and later as a specific person, reassembled. I finally returned to this world and this existence seven hours after starting. The main point of this account is the transcendent height of the experience that Swedenborg asserts, “I have been made to know from so much experience that not even the smallest shadow of doubt has remained.”[24] So I join Swedenborg, Hindus, and Buddhists in this. Simply through spiritual experience we independently came to the same conclusion.

First, this doctrine will be elaborated in Hinduism. Realize that both Hinduism and Buddhism developed in a very different time, place, and culture from Swedenborg’s lone exploration. Hinduism developed out of an oral tradition and its sacred word was finally put into writing about 2000 BCE, so it has had more than forty centuries of elaboration. The central element in Hinduism has always been the individual’s search for God. It is said all seekers are climbing the same mountain by different paths. Path differences don’t matter because reaching the top of the mountain (the experience of God) is everything. In contrast Christianity is the most divided of religions because the church splits over small differences. Out of these many ways and centuries of search Hinduism has developed a complex panoply of gods and goddesses. Hindus know each god or goddess represents different aspects of the one God, Brahman. The seeker can choose which aspect they prefer to work with. Different paths or ways have become represented by different gods or goddesses which are all aspects of the One. The Hindu usually knows a good deal of the story of each figure. This is wonderful material for Indian movies. These ultimate figures range from the jet black Kali with aspects too terrible to describe to the loveliest ladies, to charming Krishna, to Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. There is a colorful book, In a World of Gods and Goddesses in which a Hindu painter portrays them all in bright colors.[25] Think of Hinduism as full of stories and countless characters. Most of these figures have multiple arms representing various powers.

Let me introduce one God, Ganesh, who has a short stocky human figure with an elephant head. He rides on the back of a rat. The rat represents the ego which is nearly squashed under Ganesh’s weighty spiritual powers. He is a wise, pot bellied, jovial fellow with elephant wisdom. He guards entrances (the entrance into the new) and aids auspicious new undertakings. It is easy to identify with the overburdened ego/rat carrying elephant wisdom, ready to help everyone. It is well to have such a friend. What a richly peopled religion Hinduism is!

Swedenborg’s supreme doctrine appears most clearly in Hinduism’s category of Advaita Vedanta. Advaita means not two, i.e., only God exists. Vedanta — the end or the ultimate of the Vedas, Hinduism’s “Word.” Hinduism exists on all levels but its highest teaching is in advaita vedanta. This was first and most clearly described in the ancient Upanishads. A few quotes will give its quality.

The Upanishads are probably over forty centuries old. They are such a key Hindu “word” that it is said if you love the Upanishads you are Hindu. Self here with a capital “S” is God or Brahman. To translate into Swedenborg Self is the One Life.

There is only one Self in all creatures.
The One appears many, just as the moon
Appears many, reflected in water.
— Amritabindu Upanishad 12[26]
Those who deny the Self are born again
Blind to the Self, enveloped in darkness,
Utterly devoid of love for the Lord.
The Self is one. Ever still, the Self is
Swifter than thought, swifter than the senses.
Though motionless, he outruns all pursuit.
Without the Self, never could life exist.
The Self seems to move, but is ever still.
He seems far away, but is ever near.
He is within all, and he transcends all.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life
Delude the one who sees its unity?
The Self is everywhere. Bright is the Self,
Indivisible, untouched by sin, wise,
Immanent and transcendent. He it is
Who holds the cosmos together.
— Isha Upanishad 3–8

The Westerner may be surprised at how clear these passages are. Those who don’t see the Self or God everywhere, “blind to the Self” are enveloped in darkness and devoid of love for the Lord. “He seems far away, but is ever near. He is within all, and he transcends all.” The teaching of one life is clear here. A person who senses the one life sees themselves in all creatures. The One Self holds the cosmos together.
The light of Brahman flashes in lightning;
The light of Brahman flashes in our eyes.
It is the power of Brahman that makes
The mind to think, desire, and will.
Therefore use this power to meditate on Brahman.
He is the inmost Self of everyone;
He alone is worthy of all our love.
Meditate upon him in all. Those who
Meditate upon him are dear to all.
— Kena Upanishad 4–6
Brahman is the ultimate God in Hinduism. This One Light is the external light of lightning, and the light of awareness in us. Therefore use that light or awareness to reflect on this One Life. In the next one Yama the Lord of the hells or of death is instructing a good student called Nachiketa.
“I am my body; when my body dies,
I die.” Living in this superstition
They fall life after life under my sway.
It is but few who hear about the Self.
Fewer still dedicate their lives to its
Realization. Wonderful is the one
Who speaks about the Self; rare are they
Who make it the supreme goal of their lives.
Blessed are they who, through an illumined
Teacher, attain to Self-realization
The truth of the Self cannot come through one
Who has not realized that he is the Self.
The intellect cannot reveal the Self,
Beyond its duality of subject
And object. They who see themselves in all
And all in them help others through spiritual
Osmosis to realize the Self themselves.
This awakening you have known comes not
Through logic and scholarship, but from
Close association with a realized teacher.
Wise are you, Nachiketa, because you seek
The Self eternal. May we have more
Seekers like you!
— Katha Upanishad 2:6–9
This next one shows the great sweep of the view of the Upanishads.
The world is the wheel of God, turning round
And round with all living creatures upon its rim.
The world is the river of God,
Flowing from him and flowing back to him.
On this ever-revolving wheel of being
The individual self goes round and round
Through life after life, believing itself
To be a separate creature, until
It sees its identity with the Lord of Love
And attains immortality in the indivisible whole.
He is the eternal Reality, sing the scriptures,
And the ground of existence.
Those who perceive him in every creature
Merge in him and are released from the wheel
Of birth and death.
The Lord of Love holds in his hand the world,
Composed of the changing and the changeless,
The manifest and the unmanifest.
The separate self, not yet aware of the Lord,
Goes after pleasure, only to become
Bound more and more. When it sees the Lord,
There comes an end to its bondage.
— Shvetashvatara Upanishad I:4–8
The similarity to Swedenborg’s supreme doctrine is quite clear here. There is but One Life, here called the Self. Until it is realized we are bound in darkness. With its realization we become free and come to see the One Life in all creatures including ourselves. Missing are Swedenborg’s unique universal human and the understanding of God as Very Man. But it has the basic truth there is One Life which is the only life, the essence of Swedenborg’s experience.

Buddhism has the same supreme doctrine but it has explored the spiritual some twenty-six centuries separate from Hinduism. One can expect differences from this alone. I hoped to find a series of handy quotes such as those above from the Upanishads. Reviewing the deep and complex accounts of non-dualism in Buddhism I came to realize I couldn’t really present the depth of Buddhist findings. Instead I will just lay down some basic parameters of Buddhism. From these the reader will begin to sense how Buddhism came to the same doctrine by a different route.

Like Hinduism, Buddhism has a total focus on the individual’s own search. It is as though the western religions are much more in externals. There are things to learn, ceremonies to participate in. Of course you are to do good. But when I tell Christians personal spiritual practice and experience is the heart of Buddhism, they almost can’t hear what I am saying. Buddhism’s main spiritual practice is meditation. How many Westerners meditate daily? I often wonder if Westerners know the direct experience of God is even possible.
Buddhism has centuries of direct exploration of the spiritual. The Buddhist candidate solemnly pronounces the vow of the triple gem, “I take refuge in the Buddha (God within), the dharma (traditional ways to God), and the sangha (fellowship of like minded people).” It is meant the Buddhist way will become a refuge from worldly strife. The Buddha sought harmony with existence. Having found it he taught others the way. There are two main schools in Buddhism, Hinayana and Mahayana. The Supreme Doctrine is mainly in Mahayana, the greatest vehicle. There are a number of ways of spiritual practice in Buddhism but meditation is the principal one. Meditation is a turning within to explore the very nature of one’s existence. Each person has the primordial Buddha nature in them. Exploration leads to learning from the very life in themselves. One may meet with a guru or a spiritually experienced master, but meditation remains personal learning and discovery. The primary content of books on Buddhism is about what experienced people have learned from this process. The main content of Swedenborg’s theology is what he learned from his direct exploration. I would hesitate to even try to describe the findings in Buddhism because each has to discover for themselves.

In Christianity and particularly in Hinduism we see a host of images — the life of Christ or the gods of Hinduism. Images and concepts. There is much to learn about. The content of Buddhism is closer to spiritual states. Matters described often leave behind definite concepts and images and are more about states. So subtle matters are discussed. Sunyata, how much is empty. Much of what we take for solid reality is actually empty, evanescent, not really real. The center of Buddhism is not only the spiritual but our mental states. The main contents of Buddhism easily become how we make this and that real, and miss altogether other realities. Buddhism is closer to the processes by which we create a world. Much of its content is how we trap ourselves in attachments. It explores how we can let go of attachments and experience the real in itself. What remains when one lets go all attachments and illusions? Tathata, suchness in itself, the eternal reality. By staying close to direct experience Buddhism exists in non-duality. We created the duality of the person versus God that we have to struggle so hard to overcome. Isn’t it foolish to build such solid traps for us to get caught in? Buddha himself would not always answer questions of even close and loved followers. He would send them back to discover for themselves. It is too easy to substitute thought for actual experience.

But I can describe some major findings from their spiritual search so you can begin to understand how Buddhism became non-dual. Their first finding totally undermines the idea of a fixed self or ego. Moment by moment Buddhists find any kind of permanent ego or self is really a conceptual fiction. It would be like saying this is exactly this kind of stream, yet it is second by second endlessly changing. Even the Upanishads names the Self, and having created this eternal Self we then have the endless task of trying to find it. That is, we create a problem by positing a self. Whereas if we really look at experience nothing is fixed. But in contrast we can dip into the stream at any moment and enjoy it. The changing stream of our awareness is eminently available. It is real, far more real than ego or self. And it is very available and open to discovery. It is liberating to see things as they really are. So the steady ego or self is overcome by seeing the real nature of things. For the follower of Swedenborg this should suggest a way of overcoming proprium. There are all sorts of collateral benefits. Prejudice is seeing others in a super fixed, rigid way. But if you take yourself as a running stream, others also become running streams. As others change you are not surprised and you can enjoy their changes. Proprium is seeing one’s self in a convenient fiction as really in charge. But who is in charge of this ever-changing stream? Certainly not the fictional proprial self. I often say to myself how can I really control all this when I can’t even anticipate it? We are somewhat dull witnesses to events, often not even keeping up to what is going on right here. Arms and legs moving — I don’t really know how!

Because the Buddhists let go of the fiction of being in charge, they can more easily experience the One Life. It is here in plants and trees, other creatures, and other people. The less we are the easier it is to see and enjoy all else. One Life everywhere.
One major aspect of meeting the One Life is morality. The Buddhist becomes aware of the total inter-relatedness of everything. I am in and of this inter-related One Life. I wish not to harm anything. At the very least my harm would also hurt me for I am in and of it all. So Buddhists are among the most gentle and considerate people on earth. Profound morality results from this outlook. It is evident from the very beginning in the vow of the triple gem. I take refuge in the Buddha (which is the One Life which includes myself). I take refuge in the dharma (the ancient way laid down by Buddha and handed on by countless followers). I take refuge in the sangha (those who live like me). The concept of One Life really leads to morality. Duality easily leads to immorality. The dualist, feeling really separate, feels they can get away with bad conduct. But if I am in and of the One Life, it is foolish to even think I can get away with anything. Morality is a basic aspect of Buddhism with higher and higher rules of conduct set down depending on one’s aims.

All Buddhists seek the direct experience of the ultimate. So Buddhism, like Hinduism is a storehouse of spiritual practices that have worked for others. This is a deeper meaning of the dharma (the way) and the sangha (fellowship of like-minded people). With millions of spiritual seekers over centuries of time there are various levels of ways, for different purposes and different kinds of seekers. And there are countless teachers and experienced spiritual guides available. I hope the reader begins to get a sense of how much is missing when Jews and Christians may not really know what spriitual practices are. But the main one in Buddhism is meditation. Meditation is like finding, learning from, and being guided by your own stream of life, which is both within and without.

So by demolishing the concept of a separate ego or a ruling self, and by leading seekers to enter and explore the ongoing spiritual, Buddhism leads to the same Supreme Doctrine Swedenborg spoke of. Swedenborg found it by his own spiritual practices. His followers hardly recognized it and don’t know what to do with it. But both Hinduism and Buddhism teach ways to the direct experience of the Supreme Doctrine. Hinduism and Buddhism lead people into the depths of spirituality. Swedenborg’s followers have taken Swedenborg’s findings like teachings one can get adequately from a book. This is not entirely their fault. Swedenborg found the dharma for himself but he didn’t have the experience of the Eastern religions in spiritual practices to really show others the way. Why didn’t countless sincere seekers in Swedenborg recognize and enunciate this doctrine? They didn’t seem to know what to do with it. Meanwhile for centuries before Swedenborg, and since, this Supreme Doctrine was well known in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is the highest understanding found by countless millions. That the experience of God is eminently possible and should be the goal of all is mostly missing in the West.

I have been speaking of Swedenborg and this Supreme Doctrine. Does it not exist somewhere in Christianity or Judaism or Islam? After an extensive search in Christianity and consultation with Christian experts, I can at best find only traces of the doctrine in Christianity.[27] If these traces even exist in Christianity they are clearly too little to influence Christianity as a whole. What traces I found seem to be in people who were condemned in Christianity. There was not a trace in Judaism. One expert says it may exist in Islam’s Sufis. There are suggestions of it in Islam’s monism, the unity of being, and universal man, but it is nowhere near as clear as in the three religions named. Why? My own experience suggests the way that leads one to certainty of the Supreme Doctrine is very high, and requires at least a temporary loss of self-identity. I know of one woman who clearly fell into this experience and went on to search for it in other faiths.[28] For some months she lived in the non-dual experience while also living a normal life. So it seems to me this experience is very high and unusual even among mystics. When it comes it is with a total certainty just as Swedenborg said.

Is there any advantage in the three religions? Each has their own advantage. I find Swedenborg’s description of it particularly clear. Also he adds four doctrinal aspects which help understand it, in the ideas of the Grand Man, in the concept of One Life, and how individuals can vary in their expression of it, and in the deep concept of God/man. So Swedenborg’s presentation is particularly clear and extensive. But a serious absence in his writings is the Eastern religions’ centuries of spiritual practice. I find the Hindu Upanishads a particularly clear and poetic description. Buddhism presents the supreme doctrine in a way that one can practically walk right into it. And of course Hinduism and Buddhism have the invaluable centuries of experience of practices that lead toward the experience. So each of the three religions have their own gems in relation to this doctrine. It is of course, a major compliment to Swedenborg that he is in such a distinguished company, and that he has even contributed to their understanding. I have read experts who say one can never go beyond personal identity. I and other mystics can testify this is simply untrue. You have to leave the dualism of self versus God to see the One Life. It is said the authors of the Upanishad were taking a substance called soma (a plant) when writing the Upanishads. We can’t know for sure but it would be a parallel to my LSD. That these three come to essentially the same position I consider a blessed wonder which I credit to bold and direct spiritual experience. The doctrine is simply true and can be found by everyone.

The Literature

At this point I thought I would comb Hinduism and Buddhism and find references to help the reader. As I went over works such as Shankara’s Viveka — Cudamani and the Astavaka Samhita, it gradually occurred to me I could understand these, but the follower of Swedenborg would have trouble. A religion is like a foreign language. It could be speaking of the familiar, but when in Greek it could well be unrecognizable. The oriental non-dual teaching is in its advanced literature. Where then for the Swedenborgian readers to find the non-dual well and clearly described? Why, in Swedenborg of course, in the literature described above. An excellent starting place is Divine Love and Wisdom, Section one: the Creator.

But have there been other attempts to link Hinduism and Buddhism especially in this supreme doctrine? In one the Westerner Herman Vetterling renamed himself Philangi Dasa and published a rather strange work titled Swedenborg the Buddhist.[29]
In 1923 a Gopaul Chetty, a Tamil follower of Saiva Siddhanta (a Hindu sect) became enamored with Swedenborg’s Divine Love and Wisdom[30] He felt his sect could be improved by following Swedenborg’s ideas. Saiva Siddhanta is an example of qualified dualism. For instance love and wisdom appear as two but in their union is reality. So a Hindu, in a very dualistic sect, was strongly attracted to signs in Swedenborg that a dualism could become one. This is a quite competent work which I found thought provoking even though he did not see the full non-dual aspect of Swedenborg.

Among the most prominent Buddhists who translated and commented on Swedenborg was Daisetz T. Suzuki. He was a university professor of Buddhism and a world-renowned writer on Zen. I was actually familiar with Suzuki’s Zen before I learned of Swedenborg. I described my satori (Buddhist enlightenment) in an article that was translated into Japanese and printed in a Buddhist publication. Clearly Suzuki was impressed by Swedenborg. He was struck by Heaven and Hell and the parallels to Buddhism in correspondences. Actually, in the volume out on Suzuki’s Swedenborg it was the comments by David Loy that impressed me most because he approached the non-dual.[31]

There is a Swedenborgian work by Michael Stanley that makes reference to Hinduism.[32] He refers to the balance in Swedenborg between ego operating as if in control versus the reality of God within. He is concerned with, “…the grave error of identifying oneself with God.” If I thought I was God I would cure several of my ills, move a local mountain and go to work on international events. Failing all of these I would know I wasn’t God. This grave error is easy to avoid. His analysis misses the non-dual aspect of Swedenborg. But in other respects I have been so impressed with Michael Stanley’s work, I have collected all of them.
Michael Yockey, Librarian at the Swedenborgian House of Studies at Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, California) found two rare articles for me. A Hindu, Brijen Gupta was commissioned to compare Swedenborg and Shankara [788–820 CE]. Shankara is so central a commentator any comparison to him is an analysis of the whole of Hindu non-dualism. His article that compared the ethics of Shankara and Swedenborg is not central here.[33] But the other article is the deepest comparison I have seen.[34] It is so rare, from an obscure journal, I will send it to anyone who asks for it. As his analysis progressed I could see Swedenborg and Hinduism are close to each other, but there are slight differences of emphasis as one might expect from persons separated by centuries and very different cultures. In summation these real non-dual parallels were almost totally unknown.

How to Use This Insight

I had hoped to find simple applications of this teaching in the oriental literature, but this teaching is one of their most profound. So let me present my own uncomplicated way of using this teaching. Let us just play with non-duality. The opposite, duality, is straightforward. There is this, that, and the other, all the billions of pieces of this world, all named and familiar. And, oh yes, there is us here, perceiving many of these countless things. We are so accustomed to this cluttered world. Ourselves and our reactions to this, that, and the other, is just more of the clutter. We may enjoy just getting away from things so we can try to see our place in all this.

In non-duality there is really only One Life. The life here looks out on the same life there. One Life in people, animals, plants, stars. All One Life. All images of each other. No wonder the writings describe us as a micro (little)–cosm (universe), an image of the whole. Each of us an image of the whole, the all. By seeing and knowing this we bring all together. We enter upon and join the One Life. What a blessing of peace and unity. Seeing someone or something needing help I just help them because I am there too. There is no separation or estrangement. The Golden Rule. Recipient vessels. We are given to see, to know, to be of and in the One Life.

This gift of One Life encourages us to look out on, join, work with, and respect One Life. What an opportunity to see the whole, to be a part of all this. It is to enter upon Life and Wonder. All the divisions and dualities that plagued us in the past abolished in one blessed understanding. Let your prayer be, Oh Lord, let all lovers of this One Life see, hear and know each other, and be together in their expression of their love of the One Life. One Life spoke when it said, “What you do to the least of these you do to me.” All acts of love bring us closer to One Life. A couple in a good marriage have joined lives and care for each other. We are really looking at the goal of all religion.

For a moment come back to ego and self identity. See how it cuts you off from others, how it vaunts up me and mine and overlooks all else. Use any way that comes to you to practice the One Life. Sometimes I just say to myself there is only One Life here and enjoy what it is up to. At a concert I looked at all the people around me and enjoyed each as a unique expression of the One. One Life all around. The music became overwhelmingly beautiful. That is, you can find your own way to practice and experience the Supreme Doctrine. Because it is the true order of things, nature itself will help you. Countless people have an intuition that there really is only One Life. This is a common mystical experience. Often people while enjoying nature feel the oneness of themselves and all other forms of life. Frequently parents get a sense of the One Life continuing in their children. The interest in drama arises because it shows us aspects of the One Life. Spiritual people often sense the One Life as actively present. It is a simple correlation that the less we are bound up with ourselves, and our affairs, the easier it is to sense and enjoy the One Life. Of course you could explore under what conditions you sense the One Life and deliberately and regularly follow this way to the One Life.

So how to use this doctrine? Play with it. Accept it as probably true and set out to experience it in any way you want. Try to lessen and put aside your self concerns. Instead simply enjoy the One Life in yourself and in all else. How many representations of the One Life are there? Why, only everything and yourself included. Plants seem a particularly fine representation of the One. Silent, peaceful, and handsome. Imagine the One Life putting out flowers for you and the bees to notice. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination and play with this doctrine. Because it is part of the very nature and order of existence the One Life will help you.
It is most curious to think of yourself as a representation of the One also. Here you are, a complex life, yet made in the model of heaven and hell. Being awareness, wisdom and life, we are the microcosm of the design of it all. We are a curious and multifaceted representation of it all. How do I live and function? Only heaven knows. Surely I hardly know anything. I am connected to all other life. How wondrous are we when seen as a representation of the One. A living mystery. Yet not a vexing mystery, but rather one we can enjoy. Can I fully define this stream I am? No, of course not. But I can take off my shoes, put a toe in the stream, then put both feet in it, and enjoy its flow.

The understanding of the supreme doctrine arises from enlightenment. Coming into the experience you can walk right into enlightenment.
Enlightenment. Man is in enlightenment when he is in love of truth for the sake of truth, and not for the sake of self and the world.[35] (Arcana Coelestia, §9424)
To be in enlightenment is nothing else than to be in perception, and thence in an internal acknowledgment that such or such a thing is true (Doctrine of Faith, §5)
Enlightenment is from the Lord alone, and is with those who love truths because they are truths, and make them uses of life. (Doctrine of Sacred Scripture, §57)
Isn’t this practice the love of truth for the sake of truth? Isn’t this to be in perception? Without ego, isn’t this from the Lord alone? In effect this doctrine comes from enlightenment. You have to be in enlightenment to experience it. By this direct approach we can begin to experience enlightenment. And by entering and beginning to enjoy this doctrine we approach enlightenment. The supreme doctrine describes the essence of enlightenment and it can be used as a way back to enlightenment. The real essence of enlightenment is to experience the One Life, the Very (what alone is) and the Only (the source of it all). Is this difficult to attain? Or is it simply ever present? It is said the One so wants to be known that it creates endless signs of itself, and we are in our very nature one of the most excellent of these signs — a microcosmic sign of it all. How to make use of this Doctrine? Reflect on its truths. And then play with them and enjoy them in your own way.

The Supreme Doctrine is one of the highest products of enlightenment and playing with it, you can walk right into enlightenment, which is to experience the One Life, all there is. All there is — how could anyone miss it? Quite impossible. Mysterious, hidden, hard to find? Not exactly. It is closer to terribly obvious. This practice of the non-dual can be used as a respite from stress. Battle in duality most of the day but reserve time for enjoying the nondual. It is a pleasant respite. And besides, it prepares you for heaven.
Father Bede Griffiths was a Catholic priest who went to India to find his other half. He became a major representative of Catholicism informed by the Hindu Vedas. This summarizes his work:
I have tried to show how all main religious traditions, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish and Christian, all converge on advaita, on non-duality, as the ultimate truth and reality.”[36]
I have heard from some Swedenborgians who found this teaching simple and quite beautiful. And that is what it is, simple and quite beautiful.

Wilson Van Dusen, Ph.D., is retired as Chief Psychologist at Mendocino State Hospital and is the author of numerous books, including his recent works Beauty, Wonder, and the Mystical Mind and The Design of Existence.

[1] Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, trans. J.F. Potts (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1998; first published in Latin, London 1747–1756); Divine Love and Wisdom, trans. George F. Dole (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 2003; first published in Latin, Amsterdam, 1763); Divine Providence, trans. George F. Dole (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 2003; first published in Latin, Amersterdam, 1764).
[2] Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, §3742.
[3] Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom, §78.
[4] Ibid., §111.
[5] Emanuel Swedenborg, Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church, in Miscellaneous Theological Works, trans. John Whitehead (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1996; first published in Latin, Amsterdam, 1758), §119.3.
[6] Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, §2875.
[7] Ibid., §§9338.6, 9415.2, 10125.
[8] Proprium is the Latin word for a fundamental Swedenborgian concept (traditionally left untranslated) which refers to the aspect of selfhood constructed through free will choices and which in Swedenborgian thought yields the only caveat of Divine omnipotence. —Editor
[9] Swedenborg, Brief Exposition, §117.3.
[10] Swedenborg, Divine Providence, §309.3
[11] Ibid., §390.
[12] Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom, §4.
[13] Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, §3484.
[14] Ibid., §3483.
[15] Ibid., §3744.
[16] Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom, §285.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom, §11.
[19] Emanuel Swedenborg. On Divine Love and Divine Wisdom in Apocalypse Explained and Other Works, vol. 6, trans. John Whitehead (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1997), §8. This treastise is a combination of two treatises written in 1762 and 1763 and published posthumously.
[20] Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom, §45.
[21] Swedenborg, Brief Exposition, §119.4
[22] Emanuel Swedenborg, Apocalypse Revealed, trans. John Whitehead (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1997; first published in Latin, Amsterdam, 1766), §29.1.
[23] The drug is lysergic acid diethylamide-25, developed by Sandox Pharmaceuticals.
[24] Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, §3742.
[25] James Bae and Indra Sharma, In a World of Gods and Goddesses (San Rafael, CA: Mandala, 2001).
[26] The Upanishads, trans. Eknath Easwaran (Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press, 1995). All quotes are from this edition.
[27] I wish to thank especially that consummate expert, Catholicos Mar Joseph Narsai, head of a branch of the St. Thomas Christians in the U.S.
[28] Gie van den Pol has also helped me find Hinduism’s advaita vedanta and the non-dualism of Buddhism.
[29] Philangi Dasa, Swedenborg the Buddhist (Los Angeles: The Swedenborgian Brotherhood, 1887). (There is also a 2003 edition with a new introduction issued by Arcana Books of Charleston, South Carolina. —Editor.)
[30] D. Gopaul Chetty, New Light Upon Indian Philosophy (New York: Dutton, 1923).
[31] Daisetz Suzuki, Swedenborg: Buddha of the North (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1996).
[32] Michael Stanley, “Appearance and Reality in the Relationship Between Finite Soul and Infinite Source,” in Swedenborg and His Influence, ed. Erland Brock (Bryn Athyn, PA: Academy Books, 1988).
[33] Brijen K. Gupta, “The Ethical System in Sankara and Swedenborg: A Comparative Analysis,” Indian Journal of Theology, 22 (O-D 1973): 163–177.
[34] Brijen K. Gupta, “The Meaning of the Absolute in Sankara and Swedenborg,” Indian Journal of Theology, 24 (Ap–Je 1975): 9–31.
[35] Quotations from Swedenborg under the heading, “Enlightenment,” in John Stuart Bogg, A Glossary of the Meaning of Terms Used by Swedenborg (London: Swedenborg Society, 1915).
[36] Taken from an undated flyer on Griffiths’s work.