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Paths to Transcendence
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Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn ‘Arabi, and Meister Eckhart
Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn ‘Arabi, and Meister Eckhart
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Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Comparative Religion

Price:  $26.95

ISBN:  0-941532-97-6
Book Size:  6" x 9"
# of Pages:  288
Language:  English



Description

This groundbreaking book, part of World Wisdom's Perennial Philosphy series, is the first to compare and illuminate the doctrine of the Transcendent Absolute. It discusses the implications of the Transcendent Absolute both conceptually and experientially, in the spiritual perspectives of three towering figures in the history of world religions. Shankara, Ibn ‘Arabi, and Meister Eckhart represent the metaphysical and mystical summits of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.

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Detailed Description of Paths to Transcendence

This groundbreaking book, part of World Wisdom's Perennial Philosphy series, is the first to compare and illuminate the doctrine of the Transcendent Absolute. It discusses the implications of the Transcendent Absolute both conceptually and experientially, in the spiritual perspectives of three towering figures in the history of world religions.Shankara, Ibn ‘Arabi, and Meister Eckhart represent the metaphysical and mystical summits of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. By focusing on the theme of transcendence, often neglected in studies of religion and comparative mysticism, this work takes the reader to the heart of Religion as such, ultimately illuminating the unity of spiritual vision and experience which underlies all religious forms. In our day when there is much strife between several religious factions, the teachings of these great masters—illustrated through rigorous analysis of key primary texts—point to a path of true ecumenical understanding.

About the Author(s)

Reza Shah-Kazemi

Reza Shah-Kazemi is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. Dr. Shah-Kazemi writes on a range of topics from metaphysics and doctrine to contemplation and prayer. He is the author of Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Meister Eckhart, a look at of how three sages (a Hindu, a Muslim, and a Christian) approached the Transcendent Absolute. Dr. Shah-Kazemi's other contributions to World Wisdom projects include:
 

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Reviews of Paths to Transcendence

 
"Reza Shah-Kazemi's Paths to Transcendence provides a study of three historical sages, comparing beliefs, spirituality, concepts, and premises. Representing each system is Shankara for Hinduism, Ibn 'Arabi for Islam and Meister Eckhart for Christianity, providing a detailed analysis of works, contrasting insights, and providing an approach to comparative mysticism which is hard to find elsewhere: at least, under one cover."
California Bookwatch



"[Shah-Kazemi] analyses as ‘case studies’ the writings of what are by general scholarly agreement understood to be the three most outstanding (if not necessarily unvaryingly orthodox) representatives of the mystical traditions of three of the world’s great religions, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, from the perspective of the ‘Perennialist’ or ‘Traditionalist’ school in the philosophy of religion…. Shah-Kazemi’s book is a very welcome addition to the study of comparative mysticism."
Eckhart Review, Robert Dobie LaSalle



"Paths to Transcendence [is] a meticulous and far-reaching study of three of history’s most important sages, each firmly rooted in the doctrines and practices of his own religion, each a distillation of that religion’s essence, and each in turn rising to join with his counterparts at the Divine summit of apophatic unanimity. Dr. Shah-Kazemi has placed on notice all those many scholars of religion who have been conditioned to think that all knowledge is conditioned, challenging them to relinquish their reductionist grip on their subject…"
James S. Cutsinger, Professor of Theology and Religious Thought, University of South Carolina, author of Advice to the Serious Seeker: Meditations on the Teaching of Frithjof Schuon



"Here is a major landmark in comparative metaphysics. The universality of spiritual realization through knowledge is rendered apparent with a rare combination of analytic rigor and depth of synthesis. This book demonstrates that spiritual intuition can inform and innervate academic discourse without compromising its conceptual demands."
Patrick Laude, Georgetown University, author of Singing the Way: Insights in Poetry and Spiritual Transformation



"Paths to Transcendence is an important book in the school of Sophia Perennis."
Martin Lings, author of the classic Muhammad: His life based on the earliest sources



"Paths to Transcendence is superlatively perspicuous despite the exalted nature of its conceptual content and the great subtlety with which it is handled. The book brims with insight and is an exceptional addition to the field."
Tobias Mayer, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, co-author of Struggling with the Philosopher: A Refutation of Avicenna’s Metaphysics


"Paths to Transcendence has the merit of gathering in the same volume the deepest thinking of the most intellectual and spiritual elite of three great traditions and civilizations: Shankara for Hinduism, Ibn ‘Arabi for Islam and Meister Eckhart for Christianity. It provides detailed analysis and lucid examination of the misinterpretations which frequently occur nowadays about these spiritual authorities."
Jean-Pierre LaFouge, Marquette University



"[This is] an informed comparative study which looks at the essential message of these three great mystics. The bulk of the book is taken up by summaries of their thought structured around the themes of 'the doctrine of absolute transcendence', 'the spiritual ascent' and 'existential return'. Then there is a short chapter at the end which looks at 'essential commonalities', followed by an interesting appendix entitled 'Against the reduction of transcendence: a critical appraisal of recent academic approaches to mystical experience'. Dedicated to Frithjof Schuon, it shows the influence of his thought in its final assertion that 'the attainment of the transcendent essence of religion entails surpassing, but not bypassing, the boundaries of formal religion.' "
Bulletin of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society



"In this major study of comparative religion Reza Shah-Kazemi seeks to demonstrate a transcendent convergence in the teachings of representatives from Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. His thesis is that at the highest mystical level these three exponents of their traditions converge, but only in a totally unqualified, absolutely transcendent knowledge of the Absolute. He believes that trying to reconcile the religions at any lower level through tracing common elements, as the early scholars of comparative religion attempted to do, is misleading and distracts from the actual point of convergence, the transcendent Absolute. The rites and visible practices, even the doctrines, of the different religions are not themselves the essence of religion, but only means or paths towards the Absolute which transcends all representation or conceptualization.… The book is divided into three main parts, treating of Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart in turn. Reza Shah-Kazemi expounds the doctrinal aspects of each, the way each represents the path or journey to mystical union, and how, finally, this mystical enlightenment transforms the mystic's experience in the world."
Temenos Review



Table of Contents for Paths to Transcendence

PREFACE
INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1 — SHANKARA: Tat tvam asi


Part I: Doctrine of the Transcendent Absolute
1. Designations and Definitions of the Absolute
2. Being and Transcendence
Part II: Th e Spiritual Ascent
1. The Role of Scripture
2. Action
3. Rites and Knowledge
4. Meditation
5. Concentration and Interiorization
6. Moksa
Part III: Existential “Return”
1. The Mind
2. “All is Brahman”
3. Action and Prarabdha Karma
4. Suff ering and the Jivan-Mukta
5. Devotion

CHAPTER 2 — IBN ARABI: La ilaha illa’Llah


Part I: Doctrine of the Transcendent Absolute
1. Doctrine as Seed or Fruit?
2. Unity and Multiplicity
Part II: Th e Spiritual Ascent
1. Sainthood and Prophethood
2. Ontological Status of the Vision of God
3. Fana’
Part III: Existential “Return”
1. Poverty and Servitude
2. “Th e People of Blame”
3. Theophany: Witnessing God’s “Withness”
4. The Heart and Creation
Part IV: Transcendence and Universality

CHAPTER 3 — MEISTER ECKHART: The Geburt


Part I: Doctrine of the Transcendent Absolute
1. Beyond the Notion of God
2. From God to Godhead
Part II: The Spiritual Ascent
1. Virtue and Transcendence
2. Unitive Concentration, Raptus, and the Birth
3. Intellect and Grace
Part III: Existential “Return”
1. Th ought and Action in the World
2. Seeing God Everywhere
3. The Saint and Suffering
4. Poverty

CHAPTER 4 — THE REALIZATION OF TRANSCENDENCE: Essential Elements of Commonality



Part I: Doctrines of Transcendence
1. Dogma and Beyond
2. One Absolute or Three?
Part II: The Spiritual Ascent
1. Virtue
2. Ritual and Action
3. Methods of Ascent
4. Bliss and Transcendence
5. Transcendent Union
6. Agency in Transcendent Realization
7. Grace
Part III: Existential “Return”
1. Poverty
2. Existence and Suffering
3. Devotion and Praise
4. Vision of God in the World
EPILOGUE — RELIGION AND TRANSCENDENCE
APPENDIX — AGAINST THE REDUCTION OF TRANSCENDENCE: A
Critical Appraisal of Recent Academic Approaches to Mystical Experience
Part I: Against Reductionist Epistemology: Katz and “Contextualism”
Part II: Against Reductionist Experience: Forman’s “Pure Consciousness Event”
Part III: Against Reductive Typologies: Stace, Zaehner, and Smart
1. Stace and the “Universal Core”
2. Zaehner: “Monism” vs. “Theism”
3. Smart: Th e “Numinous” vs. the “Mystical”; “Union” vs. “Identity”
Part IV: Against Reductive Universalism: Staal and Huxley
BIBLIOGRAPHY
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
INDEX


Excerpts from Paths to Transcendence

“…Given the immense importance of these figures within their respective traditions, close scrutiny of their perspectives should yield valuable insights into the ultimate spiritual attainments conceived and realized in the Hindu, Muslim, and Christian traditions… Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Meister Eckhart have been chosen as appropriate subjects for this study inasmuch as both the conceptual and experiential aspects of transcendence figure prominently in their articulated writings and discourses.”
—Reza Shah-Kazemi


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Shankara: Tat tvam asiPaths To Transcendence: According To Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Meister EckhartShah-Kazemi, Reza Hinduism
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