The Perennial Philosophy

The Perennial Philosophy

by Aldous Huxley

The Perennial Philosophy is defined by its author as "The metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds." With great wit and stunning intellect, Aldous Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains them in terms that are personally meaningful.An inspired gathering of religious writings that reveals the "divine reality" common to all faiths, collected by Aldous Huxley"The Perennial Philosophy," Aldous Huxley writes, "may be found among the traditional lore of peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions."With great wit and stunning intellectdrawing on a diverse array of faiths, including Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, and IslamHuxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains how they are united by a common human yearning to experience the divine. The Perennial Philosophy includes selections from Meister Eckhart, Rumi, and Lao Tzu, as well as the Bhagavad Gita, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Diamond Sutra, and Upanishads, among many others.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Rating: 4.23
  • Pages: 336
  • Publish Date: April 13th 2004 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • Isbn10: 006057058X
  • Isbn13: 9780060570583

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It speaks of the philosophy which connects all religions, and should be used as a way of relating to one another.

For instance:"Samsara and Nirvana, time and eternity"; "Nirvana and Samsara are one"; for instance: "the path of spirituality is a knife-edge between abysses"; for instance: "to be diabolic on the grand scale, one must, like Milton's Satan, exhibit in a high degree all the moral virtues, except only charity and wisdom." Huxley also does a pretty good job of explaining why mysticism is not equivalent to sticking one's head in the sand, and why its denial of self-separateness is not the same as the dangerous forms of collectivism and indifference to difference. There is a cult of unity that is not the religion of unity, but is "only an idolatrous ersatz." He gets at everyday ignored truths in a blunt and (to me) refreshing way: he notes that "bondage to self-will" is "the root and principle of all evil." It's often really hard to explain my interest in the mystical, given that it coincides in me with much its opposite. I think Huxley's book has helped me understand my interest in mysticism. I almost wrote "not boring as a mode of thought." Except, of course, meditative states, "centredness," certain experiences possible through psychedelics, and so on do not necessarily revolve around thought or knowledge. But what is different in the throes of the mystical experience is that the software running from the hardware (let's pretend that's a valid way of looking at it) changes entirely. It is that they have an extremely narrow account of reality and of the possibilities of the human mind, and make their system make sense by excluding anything out of the ordinary, making it disorder and insanity. To quote Huxley: "one of the most extraordinary, because most gratuitous, pieces of twentieth-century vanity is the assumption that nobody knew anything about psychology before the days of Freud." Unfortunately, we are still dragging that nonsensical baggage behind us, even as we enter into a larger and more comprehensive understanding of mind and brain. I suspect that my meditative practice has led me to what the mystics call the "divine" anyway. So a large portion of what Huxley talks about here and what is central to the mystical tradition makes sense to me, because I have had what counts as "mystical" experiences. An experience that often leads to a taste of beatitude, blessedness, which as Huxley notes is "something quite different from pleasure... The mystical is a way out of what Huxley calls "a certain blandly bumptious provincialism which, if it did not constitute such a grave offence against charity and truth, would be just uproariously funny." Of course, not all those in the mystical tradition are all that concerned with God. Huxley neatly steps past Orthodox Buddhist thought to focus on the more spiritualist Mahayana practices, for instance. The amazing thing about the mystical tradition is that it repeatedly de-emphasizes and even annihilates everything bad about religious practice and belief. To end, I'll note that the book contains some unexpected surprises, including Huxley's various interesting, if not (in my mind) accurate, readings of various poems and the like.

But, I realized, that the book somehow lit an unconscious spark in me. But the book was a VERY necessary read for me at this point in my life.

This is an interesting book but the style and the language are pretty difficult (at least for me).

This is not an easy book to digest and Huxley did an amazing job presenting such a succinct overview of the Perennial Philosophy drawing from so many resources, it's just plain awe-inspiring. This book is not a light read by any means and it forces one to take a long hard look at life.

While much of the material is quite interesting I wondered if he didn't write the book simply to show how Christianity has 'gone wrong'.

Felsefenin metafizik inançlar ile dorudan ve dolayl olarak balantl akmlarna da k tutuyor ve böylelikle inançlarn felsefi olarak irdelenmesi gerektiini savunuyor. Hatta baz akmlarn mantksz savlarn kadim felsefenin altdallar ile karlatrp eletiriyor.

Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts.