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By G. William Barnard

"Crossing obstacles" is a vital and demanding booklet within the research of faith that addresses the current becoming curiosity within the background, philosophy, and phenomenology of mysticism. The booklet represents the excessive point of unique, occasionally radical, yet in charge brooding about mysticism now being performed via the simplest minds within the topic. What, if whatever, does the paranormal need to do with the moral? Why do mystical traditions so frequently dramatically move the moral barriers organize via a specific society? "Crossing barriers" explores serious matters corresponding to those via a chain of unique essays at the mystical traditions themselves (from Kabbalah to chinese language faith) and on essentially the most urgent theoretical concerns and theorists (from Bergson to Schuon) of the twentieth-century examine of faith.

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Extra info for Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism

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A long series of theological definitions follow, all of which effectively remove both categories from any genuine contact with the body, society, or politics, that is, with history. Throughout all of this, Radhakrishnan is a clear perennialist who asserts “an astonishing agreement which is almost entirely independent of race, clime, or age,” although this “ultimate inward similarity of the human spirit” need not result in an “absolute identity” of mystical experience (64). No doubt partly because of this perennialism, Radhakrishnan cannot accept any real difference between mystical traditions, and especially that unfortunate tendency that “has grown up of late to distinguish Eastern mysticism from that of the West” (64).

He then makes a point that will become crucial for us below: “Easy as it would be to turn the doctrine of Tat twam asi in an ethical direction, they nevertheless neglect to do it” (43). It is not so much, then, that Indian mystical/monistic thought cannot be ethical, but that, historically speaking, it has not been. ÿ After pointing out that SŒmkhyan thought is “dualistic” but still unconcerned with (active) ethics, Schweitzer moves on to Jainism and Buddhism, two traditions that demand that he qualify his initial position on the impossibility of ethics within a mystical worldview.

But if we regard the contents, all mysticism down to the present is unsatisfying, because it denies the world and life and has no ethical content. And the reason for this is that in the history of the Universe . . no ethical principle can be discovered. No ethics can be won from knowledge of the Universe. Nor can ethics be brought into harmony with what we know of the Universe. . So the remarkable paradox emerges that thinking, when it is in agreement with facts, is unable to justify the world-view of ethical world and life affirmation.

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