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The Doctrine of Awakening: The Attainment of Self-Mastery According to the Earliest Buddhist Texts Paperback – February 1, 1996


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There are pivotal moments in the lives of all seekers when we realize that we’ve been traveling on our path of growth toward happiness and ful­fillment, but, simply put, we want to go faster.
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Evola ... had a clarity of mind and a gift for explaining tremendously difficult concepts in nonacademic language. His account of the niddana-chain (the twelve stages of conditioned genesis) is a masterpiece. It equips the reader for a whole new understanding, not only of Buddhism, but of the human state in general." (Gnosis Magazine)

"In essence, the Buddhist 'Doctrine of Awakening' is, for Evola, the cultivation of a pure, naked, transcendent consciousness, and his book shines in describing the stages leading to this consciousness." (Richard Smoley, Parabola)

"Evola engages in a well-graduated exposition of Buddhist techniques as seen in this ascetic light, with discussion of the mental/spiritual states encountered. Evola's is the most original book I've ever read on Buddhism." (Dan Byrnes, New Dawn, March/April 2002)

" . . . a provocative study of the teachings of the Buddha by one of Europe's most stimulating thinkers." (Buddha Torrents, Oct 2008)

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (February 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892815531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892815531
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I got a lot out of the book and undoubtedly will get even more when I re-read the book.
Taylor Ellwood
As Evola says, each one should look inside himself to find out what he really desires, and so this is a book the Buddhist spiritual seeker should contend with.
cxlxmx
Julius Evola in his typical elavated style and prose gives us a noble picture of what Buddhism was in it's origins.
Ragnar the Traditionalist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Erehwon on August 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Students and admirers of Evola will, of course, wish to read this significant part of the Evola canon. However, for those interested in, but unfamiliar with, Evola should start with his magnum opus, Revolt Against the Modern World, to better understand his decidedly complex and unusual world view. This book is a poor choice for someone looking for an introduction to Buddhism or meditation. The subtitle: "The Attainment of Self-Mastery According to the Earliest Buddhist Texts" suggests that this is something of a practice manual--it certainly is not. Rather, the book purports to set forth the fundamental ascesis of early Buddhism before it degenerated into a religion of the masses. Whether he has succeeded, I leave to the judgment of scholars of Buddhism. I believe that advanced students of Buddhism (or other serious spiritual disciplines)who are unintimidated by dry, scholarly, intellectually demanding writing will find this work to be fascinating and useful. But, of necessity, this is a very small audience. Evola, the unabashed elitist and aristocrat, would not be disappointed to have a limited, but discerning audience.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Nicq MacDonald on June 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Buddhism has been called by western scholars "a path of annhilation", a "route of destruction", and a "system of nihilistic life-denial". Modern translators and teachers, such as Lama Surya Das and Robert A.F. Thurman, have attempted to portray Buddhism in a modernistic light, as a progressive route of compassion and evolution. However, according to Evola, both interpretations are incorrect.
Evola digs through the earliest texts of the Pali Canon to expose a tradition of "ascesis"- not life-denying, repressive asceticism as we know in the west, but a tradition of detachment and training towards enlightenment through proper thought, reflection, and action. He puts Buddhism in historical perspective, showing it as a movement that started with the intention of renewing the Brahmanical tradition, one based not on modern equality and humanitarianism but on spiritual elitism and the favoring of a spiritual elect known as the Ariya. Lastly, he tries to show how those of us living in the modern world can attempt to follow the tradition of liberation.
Although I don't accept some of Evola's interpretations or conclusions, he brings up many valid points and exposes a spiritual tradition that still holds validity today- and will perhaps for the rest of the age as well.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Woodson on August 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
One of the reviewers said that this is Fascist Buddhism. While some of the views of the book (particularly the Aryan race view) in my opinion are questionable, DO NOT THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER! This is an interesting book. I am certainly not of Aryan origin and I got plenty of worthwhile things out of this book. The spiritual/awakening elements of this book really got me thinking. And even if you don't agree, this book is a fascinating read. Again, be discerning, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I also think, personally from a non-race perspective, that Evola is somewhat right that with the state of the world as it is, few people of ANY racial stripe can walk this path. Is that elitist? Maybe so on the surface. But just take a cursory glance at the people and world around you....
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By cxlxmx on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like reviewer B J Devlin, I have been confounded by Buddhism for a long time, starting with Alan Watts' lecture series, which I listened to on public radio in junior high school. Evola's The Doctrine of Awakening is the most clear exposition I've seen yet, although it is very singular and its accuracy from a scholarly and orthodox doctrinal perspective is up in the air.

The key to understanding Evola's position on Buddhism is understanding his underlying metaphysical outlook. Evola is a Traditionalist (see Against the Modern World) but with his own unique perspective on Tradition that emphasizes activity. As a result, he sees Buddhism not as an original development away from Hinduism but as a re-establishment of spiritual truths found in the older Vedas (Hindu reglious texts) that had been diluted and warped by the time of the Buddha. Evola subscribes to the idea of a universal spiritual degeneration throughout recorded history. For him, the Vedas represent a golden age, when gods walked with men so to speak, parallel to the Iliad and age of heroes in ancient Greece. In this golden age, which he calls "normal civilization," it was easy for men to realize their true spiritual natures through acts of heroism within the context of their own cultures and societies. However, by the time of the Buddha, "normal civilization" had degenerated and "foreign influences" had affected Hinduism so that society and religion were no longer meaningful or useful for men to achieve real spiritual growth.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By qwff on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
First of all, I would suggest "The Doctrine of Awakening" even to people who know nothing about buddhism and are looking for their first book. Many people think that Evola's works are difficult, but the truth is that he takes difficult subjects and decides not to make compromises on their exposition. As Einstein said: "make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler".

Also, this book should be read by anyone who is disillusioned by the apparent contradictions of buddhism, anyone who doesn't buy the plausibility of the ethical newagey concept of karma, or who has ever wondered why people who affirm to believe both in the doctrine of non-self and in reincarnation never really address the problem of what is that reincarnates.

Evola shows how, usually, this kind of stuff is not to be found in the original buddhist method, but contaminated it in the course of the centuries, first as a popular/exoteric version, and in our times as a way to appease westerners and to make it more marketable.
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The book is organized this way: first Evola explains the meaning of ascetism, defining it as making all intention and efforts subservient to one central principle, and focusing them in one direction. He presents buddhism as an ascetic discipline created in the spirit of the warrior caste, looking for its meaning in the cultural and spiritual context of its birth. Then he presents the basic principles in a way that is both essential and complete. Even if we are still in the theory section, one can tell that he has no interest in explaining it as a void philosophical system.

Finally he steps into the practical section.
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