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Contemplative Life
12995 N. Oracle Rd.
Suite 141-405
Tucson, Arizona 85739

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Price: $18.95
Product ID : 6043
Manufacturer: Bede Griffiths
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Of all Griffiths' books this is surely the most beautifully written and the most profoundly mystical. In the first chapter he gives a kind of progress report by reflecting on what life in India has done to him, on how his mind has developed over the years, on the changes that have taken place in his way of life and in the depths of his soul. As a framework for all this he explores the meaning of the three vows of religious life: poverty, chastity, and obedience.

He understands humans as products of evolution, including the evolution of consciousness, and culture and religious expression as conditioned by history. What makes humans unique is their capacity for self-transcendence, and this is what religion is all about. Each religion is a culturally determined medium (or vehicle) to undertake the search for ultimate reality or absolute being. This reality has been revealed in a variety of ways in different circumstances and historical epochs.

In subsequent chapters, Griffiths looks at the meaning of original sin as a failure to appreciate the idea of interiority. He looks at the eternal nature of each person as a thought in the mind of God. Death, he says, should not be feared or despised but regarded as a sacrament of passage into eternal life. He contrasts the eternal religion with the church as a sacramental entity and explores each of the higher religions in terms of three features they all share: organization, ritual, and doctrine. In a fascinating later chapter he speaks of the Spirit as the feminine principle guiding the development of the world. Not all Christians will be pleased with this author's critical views of the Church. But they are views with which we can all agree after some reflection on our own history and culture and on the real meaning of our own religious belief and practice.

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