Thank-you Econetic, for posting your comment to Hypocrisy in the Catholic Church and Zen Buddhism. The take away message that I would like the individual to get is no religion has valued its mystics, and religions always descend to the lowest common denominator, such as marginalizing its mystics while becoming a haven for pedophiles.
So, if we are going to use Genesis as our model, then we have free will to either lead a righteous life, which is the contemplative life, or to lead an evil life, which is one based upon the 7 deadly sins. If we lead a righteous, contemplative life, then we will begin and end every day with the religious experience, which, in a Abrahamic context, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, (shakena).
The problem is priests become entrenched, and lose sight of the righteous, contemplative life, and become threatened by those who have not lost sight of the righteous, contemplative life, so they marginalize those who lead a righteous, contemplative life, which are the mystics, while making the experience of the Holy Spirit fantastic, so that no mere mortal can experience it. And, that is how religion all over the world has become.
Now, if we take this to Buddhism, as you did, then we see that in Siddhartha Gautama’s story the dhamma was dead, the dhamma wheel was upturned in mud, there were no enlightened teachers in his day, so he had to figure it out on his own. I believe this is true for every age that does not understand and value its mystics.
I would not call the genuine religious experience “enhanced emotional states.” However, I will agree that the religious experience is ineffable, compelling, fulfilling and transformative. My argument is as long as religion fails to recognize that the contemplative life is the righteous life, and the righteous life is not just a moral life, but a moral life that is also mindfully self-aware, and seeks direct communion with the spiritual dimension through the practice of meditation, and that experience is ineffable, compelling, fulfilling and transformative. And a mystic is one who has cultivated the religions experience, so that person should be honored, and revered, not marginalized.
Thus, it is clear to me that there are “no longer any High Priests who know what to expect, and hence who know how to guide, and watch over, people to prevent such abuses from occurring. “