The mistaken idea of a merely outward imitatio Christi is further exacerbated by a typically European prejudice which distinguishes the Western attitude from the Eastern.
Western man is held in thrall by the “ten thousand things”; he sees only particulars, he is ego-bound and thing-bound, and unaware of the deep root of all being.
Eastern man, on the other hand, experiences the world of particulars, and even his own ego, like a dream; he is rooted essentially in the “Ground,” which attracts him so powerfully that his relations with the world are relativized to a degree that is often incomprehensible to us.
The Western attitude, with its emphasis on the object, tends to fix the ideal—Christ—in its outward aspect and thus to rob it of its mysterious relation to the inner man.
It is this prejudice, for instance, which impels the Protestant interpreters of the Bible to interpret hro? vuuv (referring to the Kingdom of God) as “among you” instead of “within you.”
I do not mean to say anything about the validity of the Western attitude: we are sufficiently convinced of its rightness.
But if we try to come to a real understanding of Eastern man—as the psychologist must – we find it hard to rid ourselves of certain misgivings.
Anyone who can square it with his conscience is free to decide this question as he pleases, though he may be unconsciously setting himself up as an arbiter mundi.
I for my part prefer the precious gift of doubt, for the reason that it does not violate the virginity of things beyond our ken. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, Pages 7-8
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