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Comment: Publisher: World Wisdom
Date of Publication: 2006
Binding: paperback
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Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi & Meister Eckhart (Spiritual Masters. East and West) Paperback – March 1, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

[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 2007

From the Publisher

The aim of this book is to contribute to the elucidation of an important but much neglected theme in comparative religion and mysticism: that of transcendence. More specifi cally, we intend to shed light on the meaning of transcendence both in itself and as the summit of spiritual realization; thus, both as a metaphysical principle and as a mystical attainment, our principal concern being with the concrete dimensions of the spiritual paths leading to what we shall be calling here "transcendent realization." What we wish to offer is an interpretive essay on this theme, taking as our starting point what three of the world’s greatest mystics have said or written on this subject.
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Product Details

  • Series: Spiritual Masters. East and West
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: World Wisdom (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941532976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941532976
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,500,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This long-awaited book certainly represents one of the more important work recently released by World Wisdom.

Reza Shah-Kazemi is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London and one of the most preeminent contemporary Perennialist writers. Although initially written as a Doctoral Thesis, this book is dedicated to the memory of Frithjof Schuon, and presented here as a demonstration of the "transcendent unity of religions" based on a comparative study of three major figures of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity (Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart) and their approach of the non-dual Absolute both at the doctrinal and practical level. Each study is divided systematically into three parts: a first one on the doctrine of the Absolute, the second one on the spiritual path and the last on the return of the God-realized man to the creatures. The book concludes on the "essential elements of communality" between the three spiritual masters. In very substantial appendices, Reza Shah-Kazemi criticizes some of the more contemporary attempts to "reduce the transcendence" by academia but also by pseudo-Perennialists such as A. Huxley.

Reza Shah-Kazemi's work is indeed both a metaphysical and erudite demonstration of such communality at the summit of the great religious traditions and a merciful response to the predominant relativism in the field of Comparative Religion. A master piece ....
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This is one of the most edifying books I have ever read. The author studies carefully the principles of the teachings of Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart concernng Transcendence, showing astounishing similarities between them. The language is clear and the text very elucidative. In fact, taking in account the complexity of the subject, the text is an example of superb writing skills, bringing to comprehension notions and concepts that sometimes are extremely subjective and, as seen in History, not always understood. In my opinion, It is truly an excellent manual for people trying to understand the unitive and universal truth behind the veil of every tradition.
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Buy this book with the understanding that it is not light reading. It is basically all substance. That substance is the Summit of religious experience: what Shankara might call Liberation in this very life. It is the transcendental awareness of the Absolute Oneness of the Godhead and that the essence of our soul contains an "uncreated spark" of the same Essence of the Godhead.

The author knows the three subjects of investigation--the transcendental thought of Shankara from the Vedantin tradition, Ibn Arabi from Islamic tradition, and Meister Eckhart from the Christian tradition--quite thoroughly. There is more concentrated information in this book than one might get from a half dozen others on the same subject.
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This is one great scholarly work that explores both the conceptions and the realization of the Absolute as described by the three renowned mystics and metaphysicians Adi Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Eckhart. Being an extension of a Phd thesis, the work is of course not an easy read, as it is not supposed to be considering the topic of the book; but going through it slowly and with great attention, the result is rewarding. The book shows that the metaphysical backbone of authentic traditions is not in mental constructs and wild speculations of their founders but rather they are attempts at describing the essential content of a transcendental experience in which the Absolute is said to be known or realized. The conclusion is that the summit of spiritual ascent is one and the same throughout these spiritual traditions. That it should be the same is obvious because transcendence is precisely a transcending the limits of the individual state and its contingencies.
I very much recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a rigorous and yet experiential approach to religion and metaphysics.
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