II.II.THE EXPERIENTIAL DIMENSION

Just as the forms of religious practice vary, so too do the religious experiences which people claim to have had. The Buddha spoke of the enlightenment he experienced through meditation. Various Hebrew prophets and the prophet Muhammad spoke of the revelatory experiences that were the basis of their religious teachings. Some religious experiences which have been reported are quite dramatic, such as the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus, the experience of ecstasy associated with shamanism in central and northern regions of Asia, and the phenomenon of spirit possession in parts of Eurasia, Africa and the Pacific. Other reported religious experiences may be less dramatic but they are nevertheless regarded as real and significant by those
experiencing them. Examples of the latter are experiences of sacred awe, divine illumination, enlightenment, a brilliant emptiness within, an assurance of salvation, etc.
 

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