a I eri any experience of the sacred within a religious context. intensely personal, and occurs in religious practices as prayer, meditation, worship, chanting - occurs in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, monastery or other holy place. 1. Universality: across space and time, past and present. 2. Diversity: wide diversity of religious experiences, each unique to the individual who has While there are similarities among the religious experiences, there are also differences, adding to the richness and variety of experiences. 3. Importance: results in a transformed/ reoriented life, re-evaluation of the way one thinks/ lives. Regenerative- One undergoes a life transformation- a conversion. Along with conversion & salvation, another feature is moral transformation. Here, prior to the experience, one may feel a sense of sin, guilt, or inability to do what is morally appropriate. Charismatic- special abilities, gifts, or blessings are manifested Mystical- 4 characteristics: 1- Ineffability: experience cannot be adequately described 2- Noetic quality: believes one has learned sth important from the experience 3- Transiency: experience is temporary & experiencer returns to "normal" state of mind 4- Passivity: experience occurs w/o conscious control & cannot happen at will Common theme- identity with God in Western, with Absolute Reality- Brahman/nirvana in Eastern religion. Monism of some Eastern religions is also experienced in Western. Eg. Judaism. While these 3 religions are broadly theistic, they have developed monistic thoughts. Another kind of mystical experience is nature mysticism. Here, even an atheist can have a mystical "religious" experience. Eg. Buddhist experience of shunyata/ emptiness, in Madhyamika school, enlightenment in Zen tradition. Another kind of mystical experience is numinous experience. Rudolf Otto describes it as mysterium tremendum et fascinans (overpowering, mysterious, luring experience). He argues that this is one common factor to all experience, independent of cultural background It has two aspects- - mysterium tremendum: tendency to invoke fear & trembling mysterium fascinans: tendency to attract, fascinate, compel It also has a personal quality to it, the person feels to be in communion with a holy other.
It is an encounter with meeting "the Other"- a separate self/ power which forces itself upon the experiencer's consciousness unexpectedly. Aspects: 1. Raw experience itself 2. Experience with its interpretation by ideas Characteristics: a. Irrefutable b. Object of cognition: God or "the other'is the object to which the experience is directed. It reveals mysterium tremendum/ God of Love c. Self-validating: The experience is always of a deity which is indubitable/ self validating Categories 1. Monotheistic 2. Nirvanic (enlightenment experiences associated with Buddhism) 3. Kevalic (enlightenment experiences associated with Jainism) 4. Moksha (experiences of release from karma, associated with Hinduism) 5. Nature experiences