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Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment Paperback – October 10, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

All the figures profiled in Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages have one experience in common: they achieved enlightenment, the elusive promise of "profound peace, extreme happiness, and a deep understanding of the truth," as editors Robert Ullman and Judith Reichenberg-Ullman describe it. In gathering the autobiographical stories, essays, and poems written by these various seekers, the editors explore diverse pathways to transcendence. Some, such as the Buddha, suffered. Others found the right guide, such as the Sufi poet Rumi, who met his beloved teacher in a bustling Turkish marketplace. Some went to the brink of suicide, such as the Canadian Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. The editors offer a brief biographical sketch before each essay, giving readers context for digesting these inspiring experience, which span thousands of years and many regions of the world. The editors claim to be nondenominational, but there are significantly more contributions from Eastern traditions than any other. -- Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

In Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment, Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman comb the world's religions for examples of human beings who have apparently transcended earthly limitations and achieved a state of higher consciousness. These enlightened masters, say the authors, have experienced a sense of interconnectedness with all life. Casting a wide net, the authors include writings from Krishnamurti, Saint Catherine of Siena, the Baal Shem Tov, Paramahansa Yogananda, Peace Pilgrim and the poet Rumi, among others. Each primary source is introduced by a brief (and somewhat superficial) biography of the mystic who wrote it.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: RedWheel / Weiser (October 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573245070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573245074
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Cassandra Barnes on May 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman are naturopathic and homeopathic physicians who have also studied with numerous spiritual teachers. Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment is their seventh book, in which their "intent is to capture the experience of enlightenment as clearly and succinctly as possible."
While recognizing that each individual's experience will be unique, the Ullmans believe that the stories of others will serve as models or signposts for those who are still seeking. They emphasize that "no one religion, country, socioeconomic class, or gender has laid special claim to enlightenment." They've chosen a diverse collection of stories, ranging from Buddha to St. Catherine of Siena to Suzanne Segal. A total of thirty-three stories are told.
Each story focuses on the moment of transformation in each individual's life. The Ullmans include a brief informational essay, describing the culture and times the individual lived in and his or her teachings. The enlightenment stories themselves are in the words of the masters themselves whenever possible; or from those closest to them.
An extensive bibliography provides a variety of sources for readers wishing to delve further into the lives and times of the individuals.
Although every enlightenment experience is different, the authors describe the common elements they discovered. These include interconnectedness and ego transcendence, timelessness and spaciousness, acceptance, beyond pleasure and pain, clarity, and shattering of preconceived notions.
In his foreword, His Holiness The Dalai Lama says "each human being has an equal opportunity to attain wisdom, happiness, and enlightenment by cultivating a correct motivation-a sincere aspiration to benefit all sentient beings-and engaging in diligent practice." He adds that Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages "is a valuable, inspiring book." It belongs in the library of all readers seeking spiritual insight.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn Uyemura VINE VOICE on July 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
33 stories of enlightenment, straight from the horse's mouth. Thirteen of the enlightened persons in the book were born in the 20th century, and photographs are included of many of them. This in itself helps me overcome the sense that these folks are completely "other."
The stories of enlightenment cover as wide a spectrum as you could imagine, from 16 year old boys in India who suddenly attained enlightenment, to middle age businessmen, to the very troubling story of Suzanne Segal, a young pregnant women whose mind suddenly disengaged from her body one day as she stepped onto a bus. For some, their experience was the culmination of a long-sought spiritual release. For others, it was spontaneous and not entirely pleasant.
The absence of Jesus in this book is regretable, but perhaps the lack of any first-hand account of His experience excuses that (though I think John 14-17 would have made a nice addition). Several Christian mystics are included however.
Apart from the absence of Jesus, the editorial choices are excellent. The editorial comments, however, leave something to be desired. Often the little introductory blurb simply pre-tells the story that is told quite clearly in the excerpt to follow. There's no point in quoting what someone is about to say! In general, however, enough biographical information is provided to place the writings of each enlightened person in context.
If you have read (or experienced) some mysticism and wonder where this is all going or how enlightenment actually comes about, this book is for you. If you want a theoretical or philosophic introduction to mysticism, look elsewhere. For me, this book was very-- well pardon the pun, but very enlightening! The variety or paths and yet the commonality of experience does lead to some conclusions.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Mystics, Masters, Saints & Sages gathers stories of enlightenment and includes them under one cover, traversing spiritual traditions to include accounts from Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, Jewish and other disciplines. The holy experiences of saints and master teachers which led to their awakening make for inspirational reading packed with quotes and biographical as well as spiritual insight.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Seidman on January 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Being a bit of a spiritual seeker myself, I was hoping that these stories would provide some insight. However, in most cases they're discussions of the actual moment that enlightenment occurred, which I found less than useful. For most of these people, enlightenment was a spontaneous event. That's not to say they hadn't spent years of traveling a path to get to that event, but the book doesn't describe that path.

Also, especially for the people who lived long ago, I have to doubt the accuracy of the stories. It's a sad fact that enlightened people tend to develop a mythology around them. When the tales have had centuries to evolve, and the people involved are seen as saints or even gods, it's hard to believe third-party accounts are unbiased.

So, while interesting, and occasionally inspiring, this didn't help me find my path in the way that, for example, The Odyssey of Enlightenment did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. I have read a ton of spiritual literature and had heard of many of the people featured in this book, and yet I still found it informative and enlightening (pun fully intended). I discovered several self realized beings for the first time, particular the "regular" people the authors intentionally included. It was fascinating to hear about their unexpected journeys to self realization, some of them not able to identify what was happening to them until long after the big events (or non events, as some would argue). Among my very favorite stories were the ones about Peace Pilgrim and Suzanne Segal... wow. Inspiring, heart wrenching stuff. This book delivers on its promise to recount stories of enlightenment, first hand where possible, without adding much in the way of opinions to the mix.
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