In the middle ages, Christianity shared much with Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies. Read on to learn how Christian mystics came to the same conclusions as those from very different faiths. This edition has been adapted from the 1923 version into modern English to make the ideas more accessible to today’s reader, the Cloud of Unknowing distills a complex mystical epistemology and discipline into engagingly readable prose.
The Cloud of Unknowing is a work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. It is a spiritual guide, which focuses on using contemplative prayer to know God by abandoning consideration of God’s particular activities and attributes, and having the courage to surrender your mind and ego to the realm of “unknowing”, at which point one may begin to glimpse the nature of God.
The book counsels the young student to seek God, not through knowledge and intellect, but through intense contemplation, motivated by love, and stripped of all thought. This is brought about by putting all thoughts and desires under a “cloud of forgetting,” and thereby piercing God’s cloud of unknowing with a “dart of longing love” from the heart.
For over two thousand years, this books has been the foundation of Chinese family life.
Based on a series of conversations with Confucius, and supplemented by a series of story examples by an Emperor in the 11th Century, it is essential to understanding the nature and order of Chinese society. It speaks of how one should behave towards a senior such as one’s parents, elder brother or ruler, and the obligations that follow in the opposite direction. Written in 400BC, the Xiaojang is legendarily a dialogue between Confucius and Zeng Zi, a disciple who was well known for his filial piety.
Since that time, it has been an essential tool of Chinese civilisation, often being the first book that Chinese children are given when they are able to read it. For Confucius and his disciples, family life is the foundation and cornerstone of society, and recognising the value and impact of family harmony on both the local and greater environments is crucial to stability and prosperity.
SOME OPINIONS OF THE PRESS
The Athenaeum.–“We wish that there were more of them; they are dreamy, lifelike, and fascinating.”
Pall Mall Gazette.–“No translation of this important work has been made since the beginning of the eighteenth century.”
Manchester Courier.–“Worthy of close study by all who would penetrate to the depth of Eastern thought and feeling.”
The Scotsman.–” should not fail to please readers of the more studious sort.”
Southport Guardian.–“will find considerable favour with all Students of Eastern Literature and Eastern Philosophy.”
Bristol Mercury.–“We commend these little books to all who imagine that there is no knowledge worth having outside Europe and America.”
A prose translation of the Tao that focuses on bringing out the subtlety and depth of the classic Way.
Most translations of the famous Way and Virtue (Dao De Jing/Tao Te Ching) focus on the poetics and depth of the original. In contrast, Giles’ translation focuses on telling stories with the text, drawing out the nuances in a way that is more familiar to Western audiences from philosophical and religious texts.
“Few can help being struck by the similarity of tone between the sayings of Lao Tzu and the Gospel enunciated six centuries later by the Prince of Peace. There are two famous utterances in particular which secure to Lao Tzu the glory of having anticipated the lofty morality of the Sermon on the Mount. The cavilers who would rank the Golden Rule of Confucius below that of Christ will find it hard to get over the fact that Lao Tzu said, “Requite injury with kindness,” and “To the not-good I would be good in order to make them good.” It was a hundred and fifty years later that Plato reached the same conclusion in the first book of the Republic.
It is interesting to observe certain points of contact between Lao Tzu and the early Greek philosophers. He may be compared both with Parmenides, who disparaged sense-knowledge and taught the existence of the One as opposed to the Many, and with Heraclitus, whose theory of the identity of contraries recalls some of our Sage’s paradoxes. But it is when we come to Plato that the most striking parallels occur. It has not escaped notice that something like the Platonic doctrine of ideas is discoverable in the “forms” which Lao Tzu conceives as residing in Tao. But, so far as I know, no one has yet pointed out what a close likeness Tao itself bears to that curious abstraction which Plato calls the Idea of the Good.”
Book Includes images of Wang Bi’s classic commentary to the Dao.
Contained in this book are ruminations on philosophy form the most basic (what is the value of religious intuition, or intuition in general?) to the most subtle and difficult (how does the constant and inevitable erroring translation affect our processes?). Many of the ideas deal with problems of mind, and of how we can think without the chilling effect of hard logic, while retaining the valuable effects of our deeper selves.
There’s also a range of content which focuses on Postmodernism. First, there’s a set of articles on the philosophy of postmodernism – ways of using the approach that it suggests to unpick or sophisticate other thoughts. Secondly, there’s a series of case studies of specifically postmodern artefacts, from buildings and albums to films and literature. Explorations in using philosophy to navigate the real world problems of mind, learning, making mistakes, and the minefield of abstraction that is postmodernism. There are a few questions that have always kept me wondering. This book is my attempt to answer or at least understand some of them, including: What is the value in being wrong? What is intuition? How can development of the mind and soul be improved in practical ways? What is postmodernism, and what actual impact does it have? How can we use it to rethink the world? What is religion, and why is it useful?
The classic work of Sufi mystical thinking from 1100CE, available in audiobook for the first time. It is also known as A Niche of Lamps.
In the middle ages, Sufi scholars reconciled rationality and faith, both of which were ascendant in the empires of the time. This is one of the great philosophical and theological works from that period, and shows another side to Islam than the doctrinaire version that is more commonly spoken of.
Al-Ghazali is often called “the proof of Islam” (hujjat al-islam), because he tried to bridge inquiry, legislation and mystical practice. One could call al-Ghazali the prototype Muslim intellectual.
This translation was done in 1823 by WHT Gairdner, who also includes a commentary upon the ideas that Al-Ghazzali presents.
The Niche of Lights, written near the end of his life, is about the need for balance between the authority of the divine and reason, seeing both as essential to real spiritual development.
Join the intrepid Captain Biggles, hero of the Royal Flying Corps, as he fights on the front line of World War I. The stories in this volume covers ambushes, disaster, mysteries and more than a few ridiculous stunts, all based on real-life events in the life of WE Johns. Fun for adventurers of all ages.
This book was the first mainstream outing for a classic British hero. Wry, brave, and with more than a little taste of absurdity and heroism, Come join Biggles, Algy and the Professor in a bygone era, when being British meant that even one’s enemies were to be treated with honour and nobility.
In this volume, Biggles, Algy, and the other pilots are at the front lines, towards the end of the war. Come along as they fly dangerous missions against zeppelins, airbases and fortified positions, hunt a dragon, get shot down and escape captivity, and much, much more.
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