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Physician of the Soul, Healer of the Cosmos: Isaac Luria and his…

de Lawrence Fine

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Isaac Luria (1534-1572) is one of the most extraordinary and influential mystical figures in the history of Judaism, a visionary teacher who helped shape the course of nearly all subsequent Jewish mysticism. Given his importance, it is remarkable that this is the first scholarly work on him in English. Most studies of Lurianic Kabbalah focus on Luria's mythic and speculative ideas or on the ritual and contemplative practices he taught. The central premise of this book is that Lurianic Kabbalah was first and foremost a lived and living phenomenon in an actual social world. Thus the book focuses on Luria the person and on his relationship to his disciples. What attracted Luria's students to him? How did they react to his inspired and charismatic behavior? And what roles did Luria and his students see themselves playing in their collective quest for repair of the cosmos and messianic redemption?… (mais)

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It is interesting a singularity in (or coalescent with) space, is employed in humanity's attempts to characterize the fundamental nature of existence. The only thing that changes over the course of recorded history is the vocabulary, which reflects the prevailing zeitgeist.

Just this morning I was reading Lawrence Fine's book "Physician of the Soul, Healer of the Cosmos" (subtitled "Isaac Luria and his Kabbalistic Fellowship") and the very same imagery popped up. This is 16th century (CE) stuff yet it speaks of the singularity from which all was created. Ein-Sof, which is referred to below, may be thought of as an ineffable singularity.
Fine's translation of Luria: "When [Ein-Sof] determined to create its world and to issue forth the world of emanated entities...Ein-Sof...withdrew itself from its centermost point, at the center of its light, and this light retreated from the center to the sides, and thus there remained a free space, an empty vacuum."

Fine goes on to comment, "The perimeter of the empty space left by the act...was circular in shape, and equidistant from the centermost point..."

A simple projection of what is presumed to be the Abrahamic zeitgeist? In Samten Gyaltsen Karmay's book "The Great Perfection", a work examining the subtleties of a school of Tibetan Buddhism referred to as rDzogs chen, Karmay provides a translation of a roughly 1,300 year-old foundational text of the entire system, a text subtitled "the Central point of Space" (IOL 594, for those who wish to examine the text more closely).

The document is an epistemology that asserts mind itself, self-awareness, is the progenitor of the metaphor of the inchoate singularity. Part of Karmay's translation reads as follows:
How much does a deep non-imagination
Appear as an object of the intellect?
The experience of the profound non-imagination
Is of experience, not imagination.
...
However profound the words one utters,
One cannot express the point.

The difference between the presumption of the desert religions regarding the relationship of the primordial singularity to space and that of particular schools of Buddhism (as well as other non-Buddhist groups) is profound. The former group, a faith-based group, asserts the singularity abides in space, while the latter group, a group that proscribes the act of faith, asserts the singularity is coalescent with space.

An invariant singularity, one that abides in space, functions as the foundation of simple arithmetic and logic. As such it forms the basis of whatever fundamental structure is projected upon the primordially inchoate sphere. A faith-based structure, its laws are forever undermined by its inherent lack of verity.

A coalescent singularity is, by its very nature, ineffable; subject to interpretation. There are not an innumerable number of universes in this characterization, only one whose definition is unbounded. ( )
  antao | Jun 14, 2019 |
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Isaac Luria (1534-1572) is one of the most extraordinary and influential mystical figures in the history of Judaism, a visionary teacher who helped shape the course of nearly all subsequent Jewish mysticism. Given his importance, it is remarkable that this is the first scholarly work on him in English. Most studies of Lurianic Kabbalah focus on Luria's mythic and speculative ideas or on the ritual and contemplative practices he taught. The central premise of this book is that Lurianic Kabbalah was first and foremost a lived and living phenomenon in an actual social world. Thus the book focuses on Luria the person and on his relationship to his disciples. What attracted Luria's students to him? How did they react to his inspired and charismatic behavior? And what roles did Luria and his students see themselves playing in their collective quest for repair of the cosmos and messianic redemption?

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