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The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions Paperback – March 2, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author Wayne Teasdale believes that we're entering the "Interspiritual Age," when a new civilization will be formed--a global culture based on common spiritual values. "Such a universal society will draw its inspiration from perennial spiritual and moral insights, intuitions, and experiences," Teasdale predicts. Throughout this ambitious book, Teasdale examines the world's religions and highlights the underlying beliefs and yearnings that will ultimately link humankind.

Nonetheless, Teasdale is also a proponent of spiritual diversity, urging readers to protect and study their own indigenous religions (or in many cases the religions of their childhoods) before rejecting them. In his glowing introduction, the Dalai Lama also speaks to the importance of preserving religions while simultaneously joining forces to create a more spiritually evolved and compassionate planet. In his final chapters, Teasdale offers ideas for cultivating a more spiritual life. Although his suggestions aren't startlingly original ("Gravitate toward silence," "Always leave the door of hope wide open.") they are tried and true and well worth the reader's time and investment. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Wayne Teasdale was a lay monk and best-selling author of The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions; Bede Griffiths: An Introduction to His Interspiritual Thought and A Monk in the World. As a member of the Bede Griffiths International Trust, Teasdale was an adjunct professor at DePaul University, Columbia College, and the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Wayne Teasdale was coeditor of Awakening the Spirit, Inspiring the Soul: 30 Stories of Interspiritual Discovery.

Dr. Beatrice Bruteau has pioneered the integrated study of science, mathematics, philosophy, and religion. She is the editor and author of many books, including Jesus Through Jewish Eyes and The Holy Thursday Revolution.

Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet's capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong's Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. In 1959, Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives. He is the author of numerous books, including "The Good Heart", "The Meaning of Life", "The World of Tibetan Buddhism", and "The Compassionate Life".

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library (March 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157731140X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577311409
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As one who practices in the mystic tradition of dzogchen, I greatly appreciate the insight and effort of Teasdale to articulate a universal perspective of spirituality. I share his approach to integrating core understandings of the great traditions and his desire to transcend (though not eliminate) differences. Far from "tedious," as one reviewer saw it, I thought that it was well written and easy to follow. Two reviewers criticized the book for failing to articulate each of the various traditions' or mystics' perspectives. They are correct. It does not. Yet that is not his purpose. There are other sources if that is what one is seeking. Rather, he is illustrating the interspirituality found in these diverse mystical traditions. Granted that his perspective is colored by his own Catholic tradition, but he is clearly open to and appreciative of what other traditions bring to the table. I thoroughly enjoyed the the book, one of the best I have read outside of those in my own tradition (my own bias showing here <grin>), and I highly recommend it!
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Format: Paperback
The Second Vatican Council issued a document called Nostrae Aetate, which called for dialogue among all religions in terms of prayer and spirituality. The Cistercians and Benedictines were commissioned to lead this dialogue. Since that time there have been cross spiritual or interspiritual dialogue among Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems and others. Wayne Teasdale is a Benedictine monk who has spent considerable time studying the religions of the east. In this book he writes of the different emphases of these religions as well as their commonality. He maintains that spirituality is the work of all religions and cultures. He blends insights from spiritual masters of the east and west. For Christians, Teasdale notes how some practices in eastern religions match those of Christianity. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is much the same as the eastern practice of being one with God in compassion. The united presence of all people and God relates to the Cathgolic devotion to the Eucharist.

Teasdale calls not for a bland homogenous spirituality, but one which does not cultural accretions to blind people to the beauty of prayer, devotions and mysticism available to all. This movement is not a denial of a particular religion, but a way in which all religions can benefit. Additionally, one can find support from one's own tradition. And yet receive insight from another that enhances one's own. This book offers hope that spirituality can unite humankind, not divide.
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Format: Hardcover
Review by Bill Williams, Hartford Current, CT, USA January 8, 2000 Submitted by Gary T. Mallalieu
Wayne Teasdale calls this "the interspiritual age" and predicts that interspirituality will become "the religion of the third millennium." The author, who grew up in Windsor (CT) and now lives in Chicago as a Catholic lay monk, offers an inspiring vision of a world where people draw from the wisdom of all the great spiritual traditions.
He begins with the assertion that" every one of us is a mystic" capable of "direct contact with the divine, or ultimate mystery." As well as any recent writer, Teasdale draws on the insights of Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism to shed light on the spiritual journey. He sketches a vision that is at once practical and uplifting. He discusses social action, solitude, nature, solidarity with all living beings, nonviolence, simplicity, and other attributes of the spiritual quest.
The goal of any spiritual journey is to "prepare ourselves to be receptive and sensitive to the divine presence by slowly awakening our spiritual senses." This is a landmark book in the field of interreligious dialogue, written with sensitivity and deep respect for all the great traditions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Teasdale speaks of his own mystic encounters, he is interesting. But that is a small percentage of the book. His overview of how mysticim figures in the world's religions is also of interest, particularly if you are not very familiar with Hinduism. But apart from Hindu and Christian, he seems to be looking at everything else from quite a distance, so that we never get much of a feel for what Jewish or Islamic mysticism look or feel like.
His description of the natural mysticism of American Indians works well only because he never goes into any depth or details. He can talk lightly on one page about harm no sentient life, and then on the next page extol American Indians as paragons of virtue, with no comment on the fact that they were hunters and warriors for the most part.

My main complaint is that he seems overly-impressed with the ability of the group that he's a part of (Parliament of World Religions) to change the world. A United Nations-type committee to bring about world mystical harmony is more or less absurd to my mind.

Teasdale gives us too many generalities and too many lists of virtues and guidelines. There is a sermonizing quality to much of what he says, a desire to be moralize.

Also, his bottom line seemed to be that Christian mysticism leads to union with Love itself, while some other forms of mysticism lead to a state that is compassionate and blissful but may also be experienced as Void. To me this indicates that Christianity is a step beyond earlier mystic insights (although it has not done as well in leading people to follow Christ to this end-point). But Teasdale seems far more critical of Christianity than he does of Hinduism and other traditions.
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