This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Parivarta

The doctrine of parivarta is of particular interest to the Catholic student of Buddhism. It is a regular part of spiritual discipline in which the practitioner ‘turns over’ the merit of their goods deeds, transferring their benefits to friends, family, even deities. It is a consequence of the insistence, in the Mahayana, on the interdependence of beings such that no one pursues his salvation alone, which in Catholicism would be akin to the ‘Communion of Saints’ which is the justification for the ‘Treasury’ of merit possessed by the Church and which contains all of the prayers and good works of Christ Himself and all of his saints:

“[T]he ‘treasury of the Church’ is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy. This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.”[1]

Here we will again make the (admittedly tenuous) connection between the ‘Protestant’ mentality of the Hinayana of today and the ‘Catholic’ approach of the Mahayana. The former takes as its starting point a view of the spiritual journey and salvation that is individualistic, from the start, while the latter views man as social, and everything else is colored by this. It is why in Catholicism there is not only a ‘treasury’ of good works, so that all benefit from the virtue of one, but of ‘social sin’ by which the sin of one is in a sense the guilt of all. Such a way of viewing man and his actions is foreign to both the Hinayana and Christian Protestantism.

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, §§1476–1477

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