Todd is back with some more weird news, this time reporting from an interaction with the New Age spirituality of Master Sha and his philosophy of karma. By putting Master Sha's teachings alongside parallels in Swedenborg's Writings, Todd sees a way in which a physical disease you have could come from a spiritual origin and yet not be your own fault. -Editor
Some of you are probably wondering just what a divine soul transplant is. We'll get to that later. For those of you who missed – or don't remember! - my first set of “Weird” articles, the basic idea is to look at some weird ideas out there that I think the the Writings allow us to embrace. This time I'm going to suggest that we could be a whole lot happier and healthier, and some might say weirder, if we would incorporate the work of Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha into our church. Recently I was given his book for free at a New Age expo, and frankly had no intention of reading it. I have enough books thank you very much. However, they weren't just giving away books at this booth, some of his students were offering “Divine Healing Blessings.” “Who wouldn't want one of those?” I reasoned. While I had signed up for the healing merely for entertainment purposes, it was actually such an amazing experience that afterward I knew I needed to know more about Master Sha.
Basically, Master Sha teaches that "karma is the root cause of success and failure in every aspect of life."1 How can this be? Master Sha states that there are two types of karma: good and bad. Basically good karma is the record of your good services in your current and past lives, and bad, well, it is the record of all your “unpleasant services.” From a New Church perspective (no pun intended!), it sounds a bit like hereditary evil. While we do not believe in reincarnation or multiple lives, we do believe that tendencies and inclinations do get passed on from generation to generation. Yet I have not found many who take the idea as far as Master Sha does.
He goes on to explain the mechanics of it, stating that, “When a person has bad karma, a dark soul or souls reside in the person's body to give the person karmic lessons."2 This, to me, is a belief system very compatible with the teachings for the New Church. In general, we are told that “all who are in hell are the causers of sicknesses” (Arcana Coelestia 5713).
Some examples are given to illustrate just how the various hells interact with our body in very specific ways. Take a look at this passage:
I saw a round opening...A vexatious heat rose up from there, being a collection emanating from various hells. It arose out of various kinds of evil desires, such as pride, lack of sexual restraint, adultery, hatred, revenge, quarreling, and fighting. These desires present in those hells were the origin of the heat that was rising up. When it acted on my body it instantly caused a sickness like that of a burning fever; but once that heat ceased to come into me, this form of sickness instantly departed. When a person falls sick in this way he has contracted his sickness from the life that is his; in his case an unclean sphere corresponding to the sickness attaches itself and is present as the cause from which the sickness springs...But [the sicknesses departed] the instant those spirits were driven away. And to leave me in no doubt the experience has been repeated a thousand times. (Arcana Coelestia 5715)
Many people I have talked to about this passage have real issues with it. I understand why too. It can seem very harsh. When a super great person is struck with a debilitating disease, some people interpret this quote to say, “It is your own fault you are sick. You sinned, now you are going to pay!” Well, maybe, but not necessarily.
This is where the teaching on hereditary evils, or using Master Sha's past lives, comes in handy. We have all noticed that we have physical similarities to our parents. I have my dad's hands and my mother's eyes. I think our spiritual make up is passed on similarly. If the spiritual body of my grandfather had stomach problems because all of his interests were in sensual pleasures (see Arcana Coelestia 5723), why couldn't that deficiency be passed on to my father and to me in some sort of a metaphysical way that allows the same type of evil spirits to be present with me that were with him? The point being that it wouldn't be my fault that I have stomach problems, but I would need to be honest with myself and acknowledge that the evil exists within me.
Now, in fairness, I do need to acknowledge that the Writings do allow that there are natural diseases, and that natural cures are fine for them. However, I think we categorize too many diseases as “natural” because we don't know any other way to fix them or we don't want to be seen as “judging” somebody's spiritual state. Fair concerns, to which I say let us not judge, and let's find a way to fix the cause of our diseases, not just the symptoms. Do you think Master Sha has some ideas? You bet. Might they be considered “weird”? Uh huh. Stay tuned, because the Master has just prescribed a divine soul transplant for you!
1 Sha, Zhi Gang. Divine Transformation, p 4
2 Ibid, p 21