In a message dated Mon, 21 May 2001 1:21:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time, "Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]> writes:
I am very interested in your thinking concerning TSE as a Buddhist Christian
and would like to see you share more of your thinking. I've wondered in an
undeveloped fashion along the same lines.
Is there any synergism with Tom's ideas of "Ash Wednesday" and TSE adopting
Christianity as an act of faith not belief. Faith in an unstructured way
but faith in the sense (I hope I'm not misinterpreting Tom) that committment
to a religion (any religion) would lead to spiritual enlightenment. I often
thought that perhaps TSE wearied of waiting for a thunderbolt of revelation
and said to himself "Okay, I am just going to start believing and see where
that takes me". Belief as a conscious positive singular act in the face
of and at right angles to prior unbelief.
Christianity then made sense because it was solidly within TSE's
heritage/tradition as an American/European. Your statement would posit, to
my thinking, that TSE was actually Buddhist in philosophy/theology wearing
the trappings of a Christian because those trappings, like old clothes, fit
better. . . .
McIntosh, NM, USA>>
You certainly are not misinterpreting me; that is one very concise way of putting what I'm trying to say.
As to the buddhist connection and Eliot's conversion, there is a well-known quote from Eliot that seems quite apt here, to the effect that he discontinued his Eastern studies, although he found them enlightening, because he could not, or did not wish to, cease thinking like a Westerner. (Perhaps someone has the exact quote?)
Conversion to Anglicanism, then, for an Englishman with a certain attraction to mysticism (be it buddhist or medieval Catholic), would make a great deal more sense than what may have appeared as the more "practical" vagaries of his Unitarian upbringing.