When I was younger my religion was Catholicism. The Catholic Church inundates us with a bevy of Metaphysics by the time we are eights years old. After school I used to go to catacism class. The Nuns prepared us for our first Holy Communion. Holy Communion refers to the Eucharist and the wine that some Christians take as a symbol of the body and blood of Christ, during a portion of a church service. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Eucharist is not simply symbolic of the body of Christ, but it is also the body of Christ. It is a sacrament. A sacrament in Catholicism is described as the symbol of the thing and the thing itself.
I had a difficult time digesting Catholic dogma because I thought it was remote from reality.
The Church was scary also. During one of Monsignor Father Gallo’s sermons I thought the Church floor would open up and the Devils would drag sinners into hell. In my mind I saw hell and the flames and people tortured and suffering in the raging flames.
Going to Church was never many people had bad dreams. One dream I had I was tied to a tree while a Priest sliced my tongue. I had angry little demons circling my head.
Also, during confession, if one sinned enough the door would open under your feet and you would be punished in hell.
There came the day I had enough. Th Monsignor’s sermons was about a mean, angry, punishing God and the sermon was about what god would do and how he behaved.
I went home angry and told my mother, “if God was such a unforgiving and mean person, why do we even believe in him? ”
After quitting Sunday service, I re invented God as some thing other then the preaching of father Gallo. God became a Amida Buddha like figure, the Virgin Mary Kannon (Later St Francis, and St Paul, Mahasthamaprapta. Not even near Buddhism, my thoughts became Buddhist like. God was more kind and loving and benevolent. The bible is a book of falsehoods.
Thus I drifted into other views. I really liked occultism. The Magickal Childe bookstore and Occult supplies, in NYC, was visited frequently.
New Age Spirituality is in many ways a combination of metaphysical, scientific, and religious approaches to the human search for understanding of nature, the Universe, and human life.
Before science and technology developed to a level where non-physical aspects of reality could be examined, people were entirely dependent upon philosophy, religion, and personal inner experience for their understanding of the world and their place in it.
The problem was, as Shinran’s Criticism of Taoism, it was too involved in Psychic phenomenon. So far no one has been able to provide evidence this works. Astrology, Tarot cards, praying to angles, Positive Thinking. All sham beliefs.
Yet these where studied and believed vigorously. But never results. Even during prayers I felt abandoned by God and our all powerful Lord never answers prayers or appears. The belief in miracles could ruin anyone’s life. These beliefs are ego appealing. They are Opium religions.
While living in New York City I was involved with the Ordo Templi Illumnati.
The occult group for spontaneous enlightenment. Illuminating the consciousness an magickally transforming the life in a positive magnet of good fortune. We performed The White Light rituals. I did this two times. The second time I faked the meditation. People saw me on an Astral Plane, and I knew they where not truthful.
They saw what they wanted. I intentionally held back and did not meditate deeply. It was nonsense.
Like Shinran I failed at my efforts as he at Mount Hiei.
I visited the North Pole Buddhist Temple on the Bowery in Chinatown. They where a Magicke sect of Buddhism, Taoist, and Confusious. Shinran criticized Taoism in the Kyo Gyo Shin Sho. The minster told me if I donated money in the Golden Buddha Statue that lit up, then, I would have great luck. This was nonsense also.
Thus, in February, 1983, I found The New York Buddhist Church.
After reading and learning Buddha and Shinran’s words I felt I found my spiritual home= 私は本当に自宅にいる。. Shinran and I have some of the same thoughts. I could relate to Shinran. In frustration at his own failures as a monk and at obtaining enlightenment, he took a retreat at the temple of Rokkaku-dō. There, while engaged in intense practice, In 1201, Shinran met Hōnen and became his disciple. During his first year under Honen’s guidance, at the age of 29, Shinran discovered salvation through Amida’s Vow. Amazing how a man in the 12 Century an 13th Century and myself, an 20/21st Century person could have to same similar thoughts about people and religion.