Five traditions of mysticism.
Mystical approaches to life.
In Review: The Greatest Achievement in Life by R.D. Krumpos © 2012.
The greatest achievement in life? Living in conscious oneness of ultimate reality, found in Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Kabbalah, Sufi, and comparative mysticism. This ebook summarizes many similarities among those five traditions and outlines mystical approaches to life.
It states science has only addressed five per cent of ultimate reality.
The book was impressively inspired by the author’s meetings with 19 mystics in 12 countries*.
The author says the manuscript was sent to 10 religious leaders/scholars of the five faiths and 10 professors who teach comparative mysticism across the U.S.A. Their suggestions led to many revisions prior to posting on the Internet.
These people freely gave the author their advice, time, erudition and experience. As a result, the author has made this important, seminal review of contemporary mysticism free of charge.
However, in a serious omission, nowhere is there mention of mysticism being a spontaneous life-changing mystical experience of Reality.
Throughout this otherwise excellent book, the assumption is that it can be achieved by human effort, though this is never stated explicitly.
All my experiences of MER (the mystical experience of Reality) were spontaneous. I have never come across evidence that it can be produced by human effort or ability, however saintly.
My experience suggests MER comes from outside, not inside humans. As Dr. Deepak Chopra says, it is not a human invention. Others agree, like St Francis of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesuits, and Professor Puri of Sant Mat in his book on Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Even the biblical “Jesus” says it comes and goes, from and to where, nobody knows.
Another issue that arises is the author’s apparent dislike that “a few” mystics don’t care to share with other humans.
Buddhists understand those particular mystics who feel humanity is a distraction from their path to Nirvana. They call these enlightened ones, pratyekabuddhas, or paccekabuddhas, the so-called “silent buddhas” who do not try to share their realization with the world.
Pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides, by “dependent origination”, (spontaneous rebirth?).
Traditionally, Paccekabuddhas give moral teachings but not enlightenment. (See unedited descriptions in Wikipedia).
In my experience of MER there is nothing to be learned from the study of human beings. Deus sufficit. Or, in mystic parlance, Ultimate Reality is enough.
Despite those two caveats, this book delighted me, not only for its clarity and English but for having what Jan de Hartog wrote in another context: “… the indescribable but undeniable presence …” of Reality.
*Those mystics interviewed were: A Nobel astrophysicist in Chicago, a Vedanta scholar/spiritual director and the chairman of a global bank in New York, a professor of philosophy in Kyoto, a Zen abbot and a Cistercian monk on Lantau, a Quaker missionary in Victoria, Hong Kong, a Therevada monk at Nakhon Pathom, a Hindu priest on Bali, a Vajrayana abbot in Kathmandu, a sadhu/scholar in Lucknow, the Vice President of India in Delhi, a Sufi shaykh in Teheran, a professor of political science (and shaykh) in Cairo, a member of the Knesset, a professor of history and a Greek Orthodox monk in Jersusalem, a retired police inspector in Copenhagen, and an Anglican bishop in Bath, England.