Exploring Mysticism: A Methodological Essay
Until less than a century ago, the two prevailing views of dreams as well as of souls were that they are inconsequential (the scientific view) or of divine origin (the religious view). In either case it was assumed that they cannot be objects of rational inquiry. Similar views still prevail regarding mystical experiences and mysticism in general. Modern Western opinion, whether friendly or hostile, holds that the mystical falls squarely within the domain of the irrational.
Mr. Staal argues that mysticism can be studied rationally, and that without such study no theory of mind is complete. He exposes the grounds for the belief that mysticism cannot be studied, and shows them to be prejudices issuing from a particular historical development. While his contention has unflattering implications for the contemporary study of the humanities in general, it reveals in particular that existing academic approaches to the study of mysticism, even those that appear sound, are in fact inadequate. This conclusion applies to a variety of dogmatic inquiries and, as becomes clear in these pages, to philological, historical, phenomenological, sociological, physiological, and psychological ones as well.
The illustrations in Exploring Mysticism are drawn mainly from Indian forms of mysticism such as Yoga, supplemented with Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim and Christian examples.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
Abhidharmakośa accepted Advaita Vedānta analysis appears approach ascetic belief bhakti brahman Buddha Buddhist Castaneda catuskoti chap Christian cism claim context contradictions Conze Deikman developed dharma dhyāna distinction divine doctrines dogmatic domain dreaming drugs Eliade established evaluation example excluded middle exist Exploring Mysticism expressions fact faith forms of mysticism Gilson Hindu Hinduism human Indian religions interpretation irrational irrationalism irrationalist Islam j˝āna karman kind knowledge language later linguistics logic Mādhyamika Mahāyāna Manicheism mantras Massignon means meditation methods mind Muslim mystical experience Nāgārjuna negation not-A notion object Pata˝jali person phenomena phenomenology philosophers plate praj˝ā prejudice principle of noncontradiction quoted Rāmānuja rational reason refer regarded rejected religious Rgveda ritual Safikara samādhi Sanskrit scholars sciences sense similar Siva Soma Staal statements student of mysticism study of mysticism subjective Sufism sūtra Taoism tapas tetralemma texts theistic theory Theravāda tion tradition Upanisads Veda Vedic Wasson Western Yoga Yogasutra yogin Zaehner