The common goal is to overcome the ego and awaken to reality. Ordinary egocentric reality is considered to be a trancelike succession of automatic impulses and attachments. The path to awakening involves daily training in contemplation, recollection, non-attachment, charity and love. There are different paths up the mystic mountain, but Huxley suggests that the peak experience is the same in all traditions: a wordless, imageless encounter with the Pure Light of the divine.
Whatever else it is, The Perennial Philosophy is an extraordinary work of synthesis, and it injected a global spirituality into mainstream Western culture. In what sense, then, is it universal? He was the grandson of Thomas Huxley, a renowned Victorian scientist who ridiculed Christian superstitions and suggested that evolutionary science could be something like a new religion. He could no longer handle living in a materialist, meaningless universe.
Heard thought that psychology and other sciences could provide an empirical evidence base for spiritual techniques such as meditation. This empirical spirituality my phrase appealed to Huxley. He and Heard became leading figures in the pacifist movement of the s. But they abruptly abandoned hope in Europe, and moved to Los Angeles in For a while they, along with the novelist Christopher Isherwood, became prominent members of the Vedanta Society of southern California Vedanta is a form of Hindu mysticism.
I suspect the mystical expats felt deeply guilty for abandoning their friends and families in Europe. This is apparent in some passages of The Perennial Philosophy , which was written during the war:. Most people are in thrall to various forms of idolatry and ersatz-religion — worship of progress, worship of technology, and above all worship of the nation-state.
Abrahamic religions are also, largely, religions of time he argues which is why they have led to so much bloodshed. This looked an unlikely prospect, so Huxley withdrew to the Mojave Desert to try to become a saint. Alas, total selflessness turned out to be hard to achieve.
I t was only in May that Huxley felt he finally had a mystical experience. And that was when he took mescaline, a psychedelic drug found in the peyote cactus. He discovered a ski lift up the mystical mountain. Psychedelics, he believed, gave ordinary people a glimpse of experiences once confined to saints, and helped intellectuals like him go beyond conceptual thinking.
He also got out of his head through somatic practices such as Tantra , Gestalt therapy, the Alexander technique. He even celebrated ecstatic dance. He seemed to relax and become more at peace with himself in the s — friends such as Isaiah Berlin came away struck by a sense of his goodness. With this relaxation came an optimism that civilisation might not be headed for collapse.
Perhaps the perennial philosophy might become popular after all. It was promoted in places such as the Esalen Institute in California and celebrated in pop culture by everyone from John Coltrane to the Beatles. Before he died in , Huxley became a hit on US campuses, lecturing on mystical experience to thousands of fascinated students. Like Huxley, this group practises spiritual techniques from many different religions — yoga, mindfulness, plant medicine — and seeks to test out these methods with empirical science.
A majority of American Christians, again according to Pew, now believe other faiths can lead to heaven. Katz pointed out that mystical traditions are actually very different. Christian mystics have Christian mystical experiences, Buddhists have Buddhist mystical experiences, and so on.
It is true that Huxley equates ideas that are, on closer inspection, often quite different. At the same time, Katz suggests that we can never escape our cultural conditioning, and should all just stay in our lane.
Katz ignores the extent to which mystical traditions can be shaped by our common neuropsychology mystics were the great psychologists of their day, Huxley suggested. Many mystical practices are based on the cognitive theory of the emotions — the idea that our ordinary self is constituted by habitual automatic beliefs, which we can notice, explore and change.
The second major critique of perennialism came in , with the book Revisioning Transpersonal Theory by the Spanish-born psychologist Jorge Ferrer. He points out that perennialism is hierarchical and thereby potentially intolerant. All religions are true, but some are truer than others. But in fact, many famous mystical experiences are highly emotional I-thou encounters with the divine in a particular form: Jehovah, Krishna, the angel Gabriel and so on.
Good mystics such as the German theologian Meister Eckhart experience ego-dissolutions into the Pure Light, while bad mystics have passionate I-thou encounters. This is a bit rich from someone who never had a mystical experience except on drugs. Perennialism also over-emphasises individual experience, according to Ferrer, which can lead to spiritual narcissism and thrill-seeking this is all too obvious in the psychedelic community.
It can be self-validating — the proof of the philosophy is the special experiences of the saints. As his friend Bertrand Russell retorted, why declare one state of mind ultimate and not another. Finally, Ferrer argues that perennialism is objectivist and essentialist — it insists that there is a reality of spiritual facts waiting, out there, to be discovered. Humans co-create reality in a participatory interaction with the mystery. The religion of Buddhism arose full-blown almost overnight.
I know understand that Buddhism is not all meditation and relaxing As well as leaning many new things about Buddhism, after reading this chapter it has changed my opinion on what Buddhism really is. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly Hinduism and Buddhism Essay Words 8 Pages.
By doing this, they are freed from the continuous cycle of reincarnation. Hinduism and Buddhism Essay Words 8 Pages. Topic: Buddhism and Hinduism Order Description Directions: Provide essay answers for the buddhism huston smith essay paper following questions. I came to learn who the Buddha as a man really was, and the steps he took in becoming a religious icon. The Religions of Man was written and submitted by your fellow student. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 4.
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The goal of the yogas is to come in to and remain in touch with Brahman. The Buddha's Life: Two Documentaries 8. Hinduism is another one of the ancient religions still very much in practice in the world today Surprisingly, Buddhism derived from dissatisfaction with the Hindus religious system. I know understand that Buddhism is not all meditation and relaxing In Huston Smith's "The World Religions," he purports that there are currently two conflicting schools of religious theory.
The nineteen essays collected in Huston Smith: Essays on World. It arose as a monastic movement during a time of Brahman tradition. Based upon the article type a reflection using this prompt from activity p 78 : "Buddhism holds that one is to work out your salvation with diligence. World Religions and Human Liberation, ed.
Inherently, religion requires people above average to occupy administrative positions, and rituals come into existence The paper will be due on April Huston Cummings Smith is among the preeminent religious studies scholars in the United States.