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Yoga, Meditation, and Mysticism: Contemplative Universals and Meditative Landmarks (Paperback)
  • Yoga, Meditation, and Mysticism: Contemplative Universals and Meditative Landmarks (Paperback)
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Yoga, Meditation, and Mysticism: Contemplative Universals and Meditative Landmarks (Paperback)

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£28.99
Paperback 264 Pages / Published: 22/03/2018
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Contemplative experience is central to Hindu yoga traditions, Buddhist meditation practices, and Catholic mystical theology, and, despite doctrinal differences, it expresses itself in suggestively similar meditative landmarks in each of these three meditative systems. In Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism, Kenneth Rose shifts the dominant focus of contemporary religious studies away from tradition-specific studies of individual religious traditions, communities, and practices to examine the 'contemplative universals' that arise globally in meditative experience. Through a comparative exploration of the itineraries detailed in the contemplative manuals of Theravada Buddhism, Patanjalian Yoga, and Catholic mystical theology, Rose identifies in each tradition a moment of sharply focused awareness that marks the threshold between immersion in mundane consciousness and contemplative insight. As concentration deepens, the meditator steps through this threshold onto a globally shared contemplative itinerary, which leads through a series of virtually identical stages to mental stillness and insight. Rose argues that these contemplative universals, familiar to experienced contemplatives in multiple traditions, point to a common spiritual, mental, and biological heritage. Pioneering the exploration of contemplative practice and experience with a comparative perspective that ranges over multiple religious traditions, religious studies, philosophy, neuroscience, and the cognitive science of religion, this book is a landmark contribution to the fields of contemplative practice and religious studies.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781350065260
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Kenneth Rose rehabilitates interreligious comparison as a necessary and powerful tool of Religious Studies. Moreover, he shows how comparative work on religious experience benefits from the insights of cognitive science and neuro-physiology without falling into the trap of materialistic reductionism. Studies like his created a constructive and much needed link between Comparative Religion and Interreligious Theology. * Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Professor of Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology, University of Muenster, Germany *
Kenneth Rose's Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism breaks through the somewhat stagnant discussion between the impoverished arguments of the perennialist/essentialist proponents of mysticism and the by now predictable rebuttals to these from the contructionists. His project is to recover or rehabilitate religious essentialism, but not, like his perennialist predecessors, based on a search for shared underlying concepts or universal symbols, which are easy targets for constructivist deconstruction, but based on the trans-cultural commonalities of contemplative experiences themselves. Using deeply researched case studies from Buddhism, Yoga and the Christian traditions, Rose identifies five "contemplative universals' or shared landmarks of the meditative journey common to these traditions. In other words, he identifies an almost identical set of meditative experiences accompanying the deepening focus of consciousness in these traditions precisely because they are based in experience rather than preconditioned doctrine. Rose harness neurobiology to his cause here (ironically, given it is a field primarily inhabited by materialists convinced of a neurological correlate of consciousness), where meditative states show repeatable, observable neurological chemistry that is shared trans-culturally, and trans-doctrinally and therefore not socially constructed. Part of Rose's stated purpose is to seek to loosen the all too often dogmatic materialistic presuppositions and reductionistic ideologies that hold sway over the production of much scholarship in the academic field of Religion, and secure a sui generis grounding for the religious life, at least in its contemplative forms, eschewing the pitfalls of previous efforts in this regard. Thus Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism will likely be welcomed by intellectually responsible meditation practitioners who seek a spirituality grounded in a trans-sectarian metaphysics of meditation that resonates with cutting edge research in the emerging field of contemplative neuroscience. And I envision it will certainly be a seminal text for the next generation in the academic study of mysticism. * Edwin Bryant, Professor of Hindu Religion and Philosopy, Rutgers University, US and author of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with Insights from the Traditional Commentators (2009). *
Insofar as theorizing on religion and mysticism, on comparison and approaches to religious experience, Rose's latest book is a must-read: the argument is compelling, carefully researched, effectively structured, and convincingly presented. * Reading Religion *

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