A spiritual path begins as a seed. Someone with a distinct personality, a certain willingness, and a particular combination of knowledge and talent appropriate for the specific task at hand is inspired in a manner compelling enough to prompt that person to act.
Once the message is brought forth into the world, other people can then choose whether or not to follow its guidance. As they do, and as the generations pass, traditions can grow and change so that the path comes to involve much more than just the original message. Religious thought deepens and broadens religious practice over time. In some cases, there may even be later revelations added to the original. Out of all this, divergent sects sometimes form.
Although revealed guidance from Ultimate Divine Spirit is originally untouched by imperfection, it is still received into the hands of human beings and passed down by human beings. While this can result in great richness of expression and tradition, it can also cause degradation of the message in one way or another. Difficulties can arise at any time, from the moment a message is first considered by the inspired individual on. There can be simple error. Information can be added that does not belong or omitted that does. The language used to pass on the message can become unclear, cumbersome, or disorganized. There can be a failure to distinguish that which applies universally from that which is specific to a time, place, or people. Metaphorical fiction can be confused and intermingled with factual accounts. Seemingly contradictory aspects or teachings can arise.
A sharp distinction is made in the Basica between spiritual guidance and human law. Basicans are explicitly forbidden to force or manipulate others into following the Basican Guide in particular or to persecute anyone who does not adopt it as their own. This is partly because it acknowledges that inspired spiritual paths have been given to many, and Basicanism is simply another source of guidance. It acknowledges that different variations in how we are brought to spiritual right and truth are appropriate for different people.
It is best that the paths of some are different from the paths of others. This gives us more than just the beauty of variety, worthwhile in and of itself. It allows each unique individual to be reached and to have a personally appropriate way to respond. And being mindful of the hand of man in our traditions helps keep us from being so married to the forms of our ways that we forget their purpose.
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