Religious thought in the form of personal introspection has not fared all that well in the West if by religious thought we mean a kind of mysticism that tries to yoke with ultimate reality in the example of Plotinus’ henosis. Rather the tendency has always been to plumb the depths of nature trying to get to primordial matter, maybe something like the Higgs boson which has been called the God Particle which, incidentally, requires a specialized machine called a Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Religious thought in the form of introspection doesn’t require something like a Large Hadron Collider. It does, however require a human being with “consciousness” which in Buddhism means “subject-object knowing” (vijñāna). The goal of introspection will be to bring the split (vi) subject and object back to the original one in a sudden intuitive moment.
Such a process, is difficult for even the educated Westerner to follow and comprehend much less the hedonist normie. A good Buddhist teacher, I dare say, would waste their precious time by trying to explain to most Westerners how to collapse consciousness and return to the one. Yet, it is what Asian students in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam did at one time. Needless to say, more failed than succeeded. In the West, maybe with one or two exceptions, no one has managed to collapse consciousness returning it to the one or the same, returning consciousness to the one Mind. Still, skepticism is too much in the way—a kind of skepticism that is intended to close an open mind and to keep it shut even giving it a diploma!
The West has still not exhausted its love affair with the outer world, the great illusion. It has convinced itself that looking within as the Buddha did is like trying to get water out of a dry well. There is no profit in such an endeavor. But more importantly, the bottom line is this, there is no grant money handed out in signifiant amounts for introspection. And even great books written on the subject or the best translations of the Buddha's discourses do not stir the memory to have faith in the great source of all. On this sad note I am always reminded by these words from the English poet Tennyson, “Where truth in closest words shall fail, When truth embodied in a tale; Shall enter in at lowly doors.”