Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi & Meister Eckhart (Spiritual Masters)
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on May 13, 2006
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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on June 6, 2010
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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on June 26, 2014
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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on July 14, 2015
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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on November 15, 2015
On the one hand, this is a good study showing how certain contemplative experiences are objective and transcend cultural time and space (useful against sloppy & amateurish writers like John Horgan who attempt to study this field & conclude that there are no universal contemplative experiences). On the other hand, the writer's commitment to Perennialism leads him to the erroneous conclusion that he has identified the ultimate spiritual attainment.

For those well versed in Pali Buddhism, for example, it is obvious that the mystics described here are describing the "arupa" spheres. Most likely the "dimension of infinite consciousness" and "dimension of nothingness.". In Pali Buddhism, these are not the ultimate spiritual attainments. So, Perennialism is both right and wrong. Right, in that there are definitely universal contemplative experiences. Wrong, in that it hasn't identified the ultimate spiritual attainment.
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on June 19, 2014
Excellent, though at times difficult reading, this is a book well worth reading for anyone interested in the UNICITY of All.
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on June 28, 2009
This "book" is a barely readable college thesis. It's writing is hopelessly and needlessly convoluted.

Many, many sentences are more than 100 words in length. This one is a randomly selected example: "Each element negates the non-transcendent dimensions that are implicit or conceivable in one or both of the other elements: to say that the Absolute is "Reality" means that its being "never fails," in contrast the forms of things which, being modifications, are existent at one time, only to "fail" at some other time; since, however, this may imply that the Absolute is a non-conscious material cause, the the term Knowledge ..." This sentence goes on for another forty or fifty words!

Yes, even messy sentences like this one can be understood if they are carefully parsed by the reader. But, I think it is the author's job to parse his own thoughts and and then put them into a reasonably readable form.
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