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on May 28, 2016
Aldous Huxley, take on spirituality and the base of all religions as seen through the eyes of saints and spiritual leaders. It's a life changing beautifully written book. Aldous Huxley is one of the greatest minds of our time. (As an advice, this was my first spiritual book outside the Bible, so it was kind of a Perennial Philosophy crash course for me. Some words are difficult to understand, so it's better to have a background on other religions to fully understand.)
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on May 30, 2016
We know Huxley for his famous book, "Brave New World." However, for the spiritual seeker, there are very few books as excellent as this one. It is even more insightful than the classic book by Williams James, "The Varieties of Religious Experience." It goes deeper, and summarizes the essence of all religions, and shows the similarities among them,including the connections from Christian mysticism to Hinduism. This book is good for the individual reader, but also would be an excellent book even for university students in a class.
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on May 23, 2016
Staple book for any Aldous Huxley fan. Very interesting read.

As I was brought up Catholic, I was sent away to boarding school for 11th and 12th grade. In 12th grade we were to study world religions. That study is what broke me loose of all the things my Family had struggled so hard to instill in me, and helped me reach a deeper connection and understanding of many religions. Aldous Huxley touched on a few points I was not able to nail down, and it was refreshing.
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on April 21, 2015
This book is nothing short of a masterpiece. Not only because it's content is brilliant, but because Huxley put it together with such brightness, that only a genius mind could do it. The Perennial Philosophy is a manual for anyone interested in Eastern Philosophical and Religious Thought. It goes deep inside the heart and teachings of the most influential Mystics that ever lived. The book is practical, clear and detailed, covering important subjects that would take many students years to collect from several different sources.

Huxley proves brilliantly the Unity, Truth and Wisdom behind most religions. They all share a common source and ground that passes from faith, repentance and death to self into a divine nature of pure love and joy. He covers topics such as "Personality, Sanctity, Divine Incarnation, God in the World, Charity, Truth, Grace and Free Will, Good and Evil, Rituals", etc. So many important topics for one interesting in pursuing a divine path with a sincere heart toward God. Here are just a few quotes to inspire you to read this book:

"Liberation cannot be achieved except by the perception of the identity of the individual spirit with the universal spirit"

"The best that can be said for ritualistic legalism is that it improves conduct. It does little , however, to alter character and nothing of itself to modify consciousnesses"

"What could begin to deny self, if there were not something in man different from self?"

"Love seeks no cause beyond itself and no fruit; it is its own fruit, its own enjoyment."

"To the extent that there is attachment to "I", "Me" and "Mine", there is not attachment to, and therefore no unitive knowledge of, the divine ground"

"Everything is ours, provided that we regard nothing as our property"

"To find or know God in reality, by any outward proofs, or by anything but by God himself made manifest and self-evident in you, will never be your case either here or hereafter. For neither God, nor heaven, nor hell, nor the devil, nor the world, and the flesh, can be any otherwise knowable in you, or by you, but by their own existence and manifestation in you. And all pretended knowledge of any of these things, beyond or without this self-evident sensibility of their birth within you, is only such knowledge of them, as the blind man hath of that light, that never entered into him."

"You are as holy as you wish to be"

"if most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion."

"Turning to God without turning from Self"- the formula is absurdly simple; and yet, simple as it is, it explains all the follies and iniquities committed in the name of religion"

Enjoy the book!
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on April 7, 2014
This review (and rating) is specifically for the Kindle version of this book. The book itself is great--if not a bit tedious, but that's just the nature of the content and Aldous Huxley's scholarly (and slightly disorganized) approach. It's an insightful read for any spiritual seeker or open-minded religious devout. However, the Kindle version I purchased had frequent transcription errors--typos, formatting errors, etc. There was one later chapter in particular (which one specifically now escapes me) that had at least 5-10 noticeable mistakes, to the point of being distracting and discouraging. It wouldn't be as noteworthy if this was one of Amazon's free or less-than-$3.99 offerings, but at over $10, you'd expect a little bit more of a cleaned up transcription. It doesn't affect the overall readability/comprehension of the book much, it's just content flaws you'd rather not have to notice or decipher while enjoying a book.
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on June 17, 2016
Huxley's book is well researched and covered more than I learned in college. This is a must read for anyone researching the human condition.
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on June 19, 2016
This is the most eloquent and beautifully plumbed exploration of the mystical traditions in world religions. No one has ever done it better than Mr. Huxley, and I wish he were still alive so I could send him a heart-felt fan letter.
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on May 15, 2014
In "The Perennial Philosophy," Aldous Huxley, the celebrated novelist, turns his attention to spiritual philosophy and attempts to explicate and elaborate the Perennial Philosophy, which he considers the "Highest Common Denominator" found in the "higher religions"--Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, and Islam. He argues that at the mystical core of these religions is "the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all Being." And because this book is an anthology, he provides excerpt after excerpt from the "Great Traditions" to buttress his argument.

I have the utmost respect for Huxley, a brilliant thinker, writer, and humanitarian; and I applaud him for his noble effort in this book, which, in my opinion, generally, but not completely, succeeds in explicating and elaborating the Perennial Philosophy.

Positively, Huxley continually points to the divine Ground, the Godhead--the God of Being rather than becoming--as the alpha and omega of true, or mystical, spirituality. Negatively, his thesis is "flattened" by his "Vedanta-ized" approach, which places the essence of the higher religions under a single, staid umbrella.

At the time Huxley wrote this book, 1944, he and fellow great writer Christopher Isherwood were deeply into the Hindu Vedanta teachings of Swami Prabhavananda. While I like Prabhavanda's writings--I've read books by him on the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, Patanjali, and the Sermon on the Mount--there is a certain exoteric flatness to them, which makes them more suitable for beginners and intermediate students of Truth than for esoteric mystics; thus Huxley's book is brought down a notch by this conventional "Vedanta-ized effect."

This "Vedanta-ized effect" manifests itself in the topics and extracts Huxley chose for this anthology. In short, these topics and extracts emphasize the themes of moral purity (of heart) and self-emptying (poverty) as the keys to the Kingdom of God. One who reads this book will, mistakenly, think he has to become a self-nullified saint in order to become Self-realized, and few will find this demand enticing or possible.

Huxley misses the boat relative to God-realization because he didn't "crack the cosmic code." Hence the "astrolabe" he emphasizes for "locating" the Divine is essentially apophatic; and he essentially ignores the positive, or cataphatic, means to the Godhead, which is the practice of (Plugged-in) Presence, or Divine Communion. The integral spiritual astrolabe is a dialectic, with Plugged-in Presence representing the thesis, self-emptying the antithesis, and reception of Divine Power the synthesis.

Because Huxley didn't crack the cosmic code, he reveals his spiritual-philosophical limitations in a number of places throughout this text. For example, he doesn't understand the Buddhist Trikaya (or "Triple Body"), which is analogous to the Christian Holy Trinity; and some of his philosophizing falls flat. For example he writes:

"Love is a mode of knowledge, and when the love is sufficiently disinterested and sufficiently intense, the knowledge becomes unitive knowledge and so takes on the quality of infallibility."

I don't concur with his analysis of love, which is a mode of feeling, and not of knowing. Without Higher Knowledge (Gnosis), love is hardly infallible.

In summary, "The Perennial Philosophy" is a classic spiritual text that I wholeheartedly recommend for novice and intermediate students of esoteric spirituality. But if you're an advanced student of mysticism, you probably won't find many, if any, nuggets in it.
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on March 14, 2002
When I first read this book many years ago I was one of those young men eagerly seeking Truth. I had been raised in a very primitive fundamentalist sect and did not have any concept of the vastness and immense age and depth of mankind's search for God, spirit, truth.

Here Huxley brought together in one book the extraordinary beauty and universality of many different traditions-- I was amazed. It became quite obvious to me, and now still is, that there is a natural universal hunger in people to know the truth, the way to live in accord with the highest Good.
The book is loaded with many quotes from many different spiritual traditions and one can very easily see the source of them all is the pure seeking heart of human beings.

For seekers of every level of expertise or development this book could be an important key to further spiritual breakthroughs...there is no end, the experience of the enlightened heart expands forever in all directions. This book may make the journey easier and more pleasant, at least, that has certainly been my experience.
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on September 7, 2016
This is an inspirational book that you can open anytime, to any page, and always find scholarly material worthy of serious reflection. I love it!
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