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The Writings of Frithjof Schuon
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  Frithjof Schuon on Christianity Back to the List of Slideshows
    
slide 7 of 17

Despite what one may observe of modern Christianity, it is, in its very nature, an esoteric path.
Christianity…presents itself as an exoterism in fact rather than as one existing in principle. Moreover, even without referring to Scriptural passages, the essentially initiatic character of Christianity is apparent from certain features…such as the Doctrine of the Trinity, the Sacrament of the Eucharist…or again from the use of purely esoteric expressions such as “Son of God” and especially “Mother of God”. (from “The Particular Nature and Universality of the Christian Tradition”, p. 12)
It cannot be asserted that claims of Christianity’s esoteric nature are contrary to Christ’s intent or revisionistic.
The existence of a Christian esoterism…appears not only from the New Testament texts, those in which certain of Christ’s words possess no exoteric meaning, or from the nature of Christian rites…but also from the explicit testimony of ancient authors. Thus…Saint Basil speaks of a “tacit and mystical tradition maintained down to our own times and of a secret instruction that our fathers observed without discussion.…” (from “The Particular Nature and Universality of the Christian Tradition”, p. 17)
So did Christ err in proclaiming esoteric truths publicly? Certainly not! For:
The inward and esoteric truth must of necessity sometimes manifest itself in broad daylight…by virtue of a definite possibility of spiritual manifestation and without regard to the shortcomings of a particular human environment.… (from “The Particular Nature and Universality of the Christian Tradition”, p. 14)
Christian esoterism does not differ from its exoteric prolongation except hermeneutically:
It is obvious that esoterism does not consist in denying the facts on which the exoteric religion is founded; it lies in their interpretation.… (from “Appendix: A Sampling of Letters and other Unpublished Materials”, p. 175)
As a result, esoterism, or jnâna, can be ‘reconstituted’ in a Christian environment.
It can be said that Christian esoterism is “dead” in fact, but not in principle—de facto, but not de jure. It is “dead” because no one knows how to find it and not because it is absent.…

It is enough to be a jnânin while practicing the Christian religion, and this will give us a Christian jnâna.… (from “Appendix: A Sampling of Letters and other Unpublished Materials”, p. 171)
Here it must be remembered that the rite of Baptism preserves the initiatic character of Christianity, at least formally, and is a prerequisite for participation in the Eucharist.
St. John the Evangelist,
from Gospel Book of Abbot Wedricus, 11th c. (C.E.)
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