THE FOLLOWING IS OBSOLETE.
The Seven Vehicles
The Eight Clear Roads are simple to deduce, but not always easy to follow. Theologians have therefore constructed a number of ‘vehicles’ to allow people to pass along them with greater ease and alacrity. Where the roads are universally agreed, the efficacy of the different vehicles has perpetually been debated. Broadly, the vehicles fall into two categories – those that address the spirit directly, and those that address the spirit through the body. The spiritual vehicles are the Vehicle of Intercession, the Vehicle of Remonstrance, the Vehicle of Empathy, and the Vehicle of Purity of Will. The bodily vehicles are the Vehicles of Abnegation, Penitence, and Asceticism.
The Vehicle of Intercession, considered the easiest and most universal Vehicle, and that most suitable for children and converts, places faith in the power of the saints. The saints are to a degree unified with the General Will, but are at the same time more human and conceivable. A person may thus use them as a path to acting in unison with the General Will. By doing so, three of the four Cities are approached – others are not placed in poverty (because the General Will includes the wills of all), virtue and law are respected (because violating them is contrary to the Will), and unison is achieved with others who are also in unison with the Will.
This Vehicle focuses on two things – mantras recited to bring the individual to the state of mind of a particular saint, and to open the spirit to be receptive to the entrance of the saint, and ikons, physical items (mostly paintings or miniature sculptures, or occasionally relics) that draw the attention of the saint. It also involves actions in accordance with the likes and dislikes of that saint. More will be said on the matter of saints later.
The Vehicle of Remonstrance revolves around the importance of forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is a major cause of evil – it leads to both foolishness and selfishness. Accordingly, it is important to remind the individual of the mistakes that they are making. To this end, individuals must confess their deeds and plans to others, and hear their criticisms.
Related to Remonstrance is the idea of empathy. Here, individuals learn of the suffering that unwise action causes through observing others, both contemporary and historical.
Purity of Will
The Vehicle of Purity of Will is an ancient but contentious theory that holds that, through meditation, the will may be freed from the local concerns of the body and brought directly into unison with the general will. Once associated with orders of monks, it has long been suppressed, but is beginning to regain influence.
The Vehicle of Abnegation recognises that many sins arise from egoism, and in particular egoism that springs from an excessive attachment to the singular body. The Vehicle therefore recognises that the unessential needs and vain dignities of the body are eschewed. Physical humiliation lessons the love of the self, and the love of body, by demonstrating the equality of all matter.
Other sins arise through the lack of consequences for actions – a lack of appreciation for the needs of others arises from the inability to feel their pain, and foolishness arises because of the distance between unwise action and the eventual possible consequence. This Vehicle is distinguished from the Vehicle of Empathy through its bodily approach – rather than observing other pains, actual pain is inflicted, commensurate with the pain (to others or in the future to oneself) that a sinful action creates, where the pain would otherwise not be directly felt.
The Vehicle of Asceticism confronts the hyperbolic desires people have by demonstrating that they are unnecessary. Gluttony, on this account, springs from a fear of hunger – by imposing moderate and undangerous levels of hunger, the individual is shown how little food they really require.