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The Awakened Ones - Phenomenology of Visionary Experience


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Table of Contents

Preface List of Abbreviations Introduction Book 1. The Visionary Experience: Theoretical Understandings Book 2. Mah?y?na: Salvific Emptiness, Fullness of Vision Book 3. The Cosmic "It": The Abstract Being of the Intellectuals Book 4. Penitential Ecstasy: The Dark Night of the Soul Book 5. Christian Dissent: The Protest Against Reason Book 6. Theosophies: West Meets East Book 7. Modernity and the Dreaming Book 8. Contemporary Dreaming: Secular Spirituality and Revelatory Truth Envoi-Intimations of Mortality: The Ethnographer's Dream and the Return of the Vultures Notes Glossary Index

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Opening alternative paths to knowledge through the study of meditative trances, spiritual visions, and the dark night of the soul.

About the Author

Gananath Obeyesekere is professor emeritus of anthropology at Princeton University. His books include Cannibal Talk: Man-Eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in the South Sea; Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth; Land Tenure in Village Ceylon; Medusa's Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience; The Cult of the Goddess Pattini; Buddhism Transformed; The Work of Culture: Symbolic Transformation in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology; and The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific, which won the prize for most outstanding book in sociology and anthropology from the Association of American Publishers and the Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.


The Awakened Ones is the most sustained and powerful treatment since William James of the forms of knowledge and life that visionary experience makes possible. It is a remarkable combination of panoramic reference, detached analysis, and the most personal intensity of feeling and style. -- Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University In his impeccable style, with an unmatched eloquence, a series of sparking, sparkling insights, and an expansive comparative vision, Gananath Obeyesekere gives us what can only be called a spiritual-intellectual testament. In the process, he calls on us to unite the rational and the nonrational at the highest levels of scholarship and cultural work and to envision a cross-cultural enlightenment that is as indebted to the visionary teachings of a Buddha or a William Blake as to the humanities and social sciences. A stunning and edifying achievement from a major intellectual. -- Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University, author of The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion In a world subjugated by the reification, if not deification, of rationality and science, this is a sorely needed antidote... Highly recommended. Choice A stunning scholarly achievement. The Ecclesial University The Awakened Ones: Phenomenology of Visionary Experience is Gananath Obeyesekere's magnum opus, his summa, his valedictory volume, to use three Latinate terms that come down to, it's a great big book into which he's put all the wisdom of his long lifetime. -- Wendy Doniger Current Anthropology [Obeyesekere's] cultural and historical range is as impressive as his epistemological thesis is focused and tight. -- Jeffrey J. Kripal History of Religions In this finely written, massive essay, ethnographer Obeyesekere elucidates a dialectic epistemology that utilizes both rational-scientific thinking and what he calls "passive cerebration." Religious Studies Review

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