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Record Type: Review   ID: 16

Navajo & Tibetan Sacred Wisdom: The Circle of the Spirit

Gold, Peter

 Anthropologist Peter Gold sets forth and compares the tenets of Tibetan Buddhist and Navajo spirituality, finding many correspondences in spite of their total isolation from each other. They are described under the following headings followed by the number of chapters in each in parentheses: Awakening and Connecting to the Nature of Things (4); Balancing and Unifying Earth With Sky (4); Centering in the Mandala of Self and Cosmos (3); and Becoming: Sacred Rites of Transformation (6). There are 6 interesting appendices, including "Enlightening Experiences," "Harnessing Protective Powers," and "Two Rites of Exorcising." Philip Snyder points out in the Foreword that what Gold has attempted is "a search at the archetypal or collective level, distilling the key elements of each system without attempting to reduce or distort their respective individual entities" (p. xvi). Gold himself points out that in doing this, he has "attempted to uncover the bare essentials of living a life of the spirit." And he notes that underlying the Tibetan and Navajo systems is what he calls a "Circle of the Spirit" (p. 3). In the first stage, we must awaken and connect to the nature of things, symbolized by smaller and larger circles. If all goes well, eventually one realizes one’s "identity with the nature of all things, that we and the universe are one and interpenetrate each other at all times" (p. 3). This is the central teaching of exceptional human experience as well, and individual experiences open a path that leads to this vision, or at least to a partial glimpse.
Publisher Information:Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1994. 334p. Bibl: 323-325; 84 figs; Glossary: 317-322; 100 illus; Index: 327-333; Notes: 280-315
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