Caplan (TO TOUCH IS TO LIVE) asserts that "the reality of the present condition of contemporary spirituality in the West is one of grave distortion, confusion, fraud, and a fundamental lack of education." She claims that, as positive as the tremendous rise in spirituality is, there is not any context for determining whether any particular teaching, or teacher, is truly enlightening. Caplan compiles interviews with such noted spiritual masters as Joan Halifax, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi on the nature of enlightenment. In the first section, Caplan examines the motivations people have for seeking enlightenment and contends that very often they seek this state as a means of gratifying the ego. This "presumption of enlightenment," she says, often afflicts teachers masquerading as spiritual leaders. These teachers sometimes look down on their students and gloat over how far they have come and how far the students have to go. A second section focuses on "The Dangers of Mystical Experience," in which Caplan claims that many seekers mistake the mystical experience itself for enlightenment; she and the teachers she interviews all assert that enlightenment always involves gaining some knowledge about self and others. The third section, "Corruption and Consequence," focuses on the nature of power and corruption; the fourth section, "Navigating the Mine Field: Preventing Dangers on the Path," provides a survey of the ways in which practitioners can avoid the "pitfalls of false enlightenment." A final section, "Disillusionment, Humility and the Beginning of Spiritual Life," concludes that "the Real spiritual life [is] the life of total annihilation and the return to just what is." Caplan's illuminating book calls into question the motives of the spiritual snake handlers of the modern age and urges seekers to pay the price of traveling the hard road to true enlightenment.
Release on 2017-05-11 | by Anders Kaliff,Terje Oestigaard
Comparative Cosmologies and Centuries of Cosmic Consumption
Author: Anders Kaliff,Terje Oestigaard
Pubpsher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Category: Social Science
Death matters and the matters of death are initially, and to a large extent, the decaying flesh of the corpse. Cremation as a ritual practice is the fastest and most optimal way of dissolving the corpse’s flesh, either by annihilation or purification, or a combination. Still, cremation was not the final rite, and the archaeological record testifies that the dead represented a means to other ends – the flesh, and not the least the bones – have been incorporated in a wide range of other ritual contexts. While human sacrifices and cannibalism as ritual phenomena are much discussed in anthropology, archaeology has an advantage, since the actual bone material leaves traces of ritual practices that are unseen and unheard of in the contemporary world. As such, this book fleshes out a broader and more coherent understanding of prehistoric religions and funeral practices in Scandinavia by focusing on cremation, corpses and cannibalism.
"Aghor Medicine moves seamlessly between an ethnography of religion and medical anthropology. The stories of suffering and renunciation, of collective experience that turn Indian hierarchy and discrimination upside down are quite marvelous. The writing is clear and direct and the interpretations balanced and scrupulously documented. Barrett has written one of the best accounts on local traditions "modernizing" in ways that combine indigenous significance with globally crucial changes that react against health and social inequalities."—Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University "Ronald Barrett's fine account of aghor medicine reveals essential characteristics of India's popular culture, and, since an ashram in California has an important role in the story, of American popular culture as well."—Charles Leslie, author of Death Row Letters (forthcoming)
Integrating the World's Great Therapeutic Traditions to Create a New Transformative Medicine
Author: Rudolph Ballentine
Category: Health & Fitness
Draws on the principles of ayurveda, conscious nutrition, Chinese medicine, body and energy work, homeopathy and cell salts, and flower essences to present a therapeutic approach to healing the mind, body, and spirit
The Aghora trilogy have been embraced world-wide for their frankness in broaching subjects generally avoided and their facility for making the 'unseen' real. We enter the world of Vimalananda who teaches by story and living example.
Drawing upon the rich inter-connected levels of meaningwithin the Fakir culture, especially with respect to the living,breathing paradigmatic Mother 3 as Nature, as the Goddessto be worshipped and as the mother whose service is heridentity 3 The Goddess and the Slave demonstrates the crisisfaced by the unique Baul-Fakir sadhana, by the non-urbanBengali, and by Indian society itself through the major changesbrought by modernization and globalization.Rudrani Fakir, as an anthropologist and as a practitioner, usesthe Fakir sadhana as a critical tool of understanding, presentingthis objective study through her highly engaged subjectiveperspective. The first part of this book outlines the Fakir societyand esoteric sadhana. The second part delves into the declineand decay of the reality of the Goddess, the changing status ofwomen and of the true nature of wealth, and draws together thethreads of the old knowledge paradigms 3 esoteric and modern,spoken and wordless, powerless and empowered.