Friday, December 28, 2007

The Shambhala Guide To Sufism

The Shambhala Guide To Sufism Cover

Book: The Shambhala Guide To Sufism by Carl Ernst

THE SHAMBHALA GUIDE to SUFISM is a virtuoso performance in academic scholarship. The complex difficulties of the subject can be readily appreciated form the fact that the first 30 pages are devoted to an effort to define the meaning of the words sufi and sufism. It is a global misfortune that in our commonly received historical accounts political and religious forces have been conflated, leading Islam and Christendom to regard each other as enemy. Into these dark clouds of mutual misunderstandings Prof Ernst brings his brilliant light. His book needs to be widely read, for the benefit of both East and West; pace Kiplng, in Ernst the twain have met.

It's difficult to find a more meticulous Introduction to Sufism than the Shambhala Guide. Professor of Islamic studies Carl W. Ernst shows us the many facets of Sufism, from the time of Mohammad to contemporary Sufic leaders. He introduces both the political sphere of Sufism--how the orders have played significant social roles and because of this are persecuted by modern fundamentalists--and the personal sphere--the Relationship between master and disciple, the sacred texts, the mystical experience. Ernst also provides critical background information for poetry, music, and dance that is difficult to find in the many Sufi literary anthologies. Shambhala Publications may have gotten more Scholarship than they expected from Ernst, but the occasional hairsplitting is welcome for its absence elsewhere in English Sufic literature.

The soaring voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the ecstatic dance of the Whirling Dervishes, the rapturous verse of Jalaluddin Rumi—all are expressions of Sufism, often regarded as the mystical tradition of Islam. Who are the Sufis? They are more than mystics; they are empowered by the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad. They are guided by saints and masters. They belong to orders ranging from North Africa and Turkey to India and Central Asia. In addition to prayer and fasting, they practice techniques of meditation. They recite poetry, delight in music, and perform dance, all towards one goal—union with God, the Divine Beloved. This comprehensive introduction clarifies the concept of Sufism and discusses its origin and development. In addition, the author discusses the important issues of Sufism's relationship with the larger Islamic world and its encounters with fundamentalism and modern secularism, along with the appropriation of Sufism by non-Muslims and the development of Sufi traditions in the West.

Buy Carl Ernst's book: The Shambhala Guide To Sufism

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Zoroaster - The Chaldean Oracles
Franz Bardon - The Golden Book Of Wisdom
Ro Winstedt - Shaman Saiva And Sufi
Anonymous - Witchcraft A Guide To Magic
Paschal Beverly Randolph - Seership Guide To Soul Sight

Monday, December 24, 2007

Summoning Spirits The Art Of Magical Evocation

Summoning Spirits The Art Of Magical Evocation Cover

Book: Summoning Spirits The Art Of Magical Evocation by Konstantinos

This book is your guide to the art of Magical Evocation. It is the only book you'll ever need to learn this ancient practice, and it is unique in that it covers
every aspect of magical training necessary to obtain results. Even if you've never practiced Magic Before, you can still safely perform evocations by first practicing the magical training exercises in the following chapters.

The names and seals of many useful spirits are found in Ancient Grimoires. Some of the spirits are so vaguely described, however, that a magician summoning them for the first time has little idea of what to expect. So to make things easy, in Chapter 9 I've included a listing of entities and their sighs that I have personally evoked and found useful. These entities are fully explained, including their appearances, areas they are knowledgeable about, and tasks they could best perform. This way you can begin conjuring without wondering what it is you're calling, and more practically, without another visit to the bookstore. As an added feature, I made sketches of some
of the entities and gave them to a professional artist who created the illustrations for Chapter 9.

Buy Konstantinos's book: Summoning Spirits The Art Of Magical Evocation

Books in PDF format to read:

Phil Hine - Aspects Of Evocation
John Dee - The Practice Of Enochian Evocation
Malcolm Mcgrath - Practical Magickal Evocation
Konstantinos - Summoning Spirits The Art Of Magical Evocation

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Major Groups Of Canonical Daosist Texts

Major Groups Of Canonical Daosist Texts Cover 1. Dongzhen (Cavern of the Realized) (The Shangqing School)
Includes books of the Shangqing ("Consummate Purity") School revealed starting in 364 to a certain Yang Xi (330-386) by apparitions of Wei Huacun, founder of Shangqing.
However also included here are some Lingbao charms and liturgies, as well as the Huangdi Yinfu Jing (Yellow Emperor's Classic of Esoteric Charms).
2. Dongxuan (Cavern of the Mysterious) (The Lingbao School)
Includes the Lingbao ("Spiritual Treasure") scriptures, traditionally thought to be originally collected by GE Xuan, a relative of the IVth century alchemist GE Hong. They are a collection of rituals, liturgies, and talismans.
However, some Shangqing texts are also to be found here, including the Huangting Neijiing Yu Jing.
3. Dongshen (Cavern of the Spirit) (Putative Writings of Lao zi and Other Sages)
This section originally included the Sanhuang Jing ("Scriptures of the Three Sovereigns"), which contained magic formulas and invocations, claiming to date from the Three Kingdoms period (25-265). They were destroyed in the Tang dynasty (618-907).
That did not prevent the section name being kept in use. In later canons this section includes the Daode Jing, Zhuang zi, and related materials, as well miscellaneous later texts attributed to Lao zi. (In today's canon this section also includes some Lingbao texts, including the BEidou Yansheng Jing.)

You also can download this ebooks:

Max Heindel - Teachings Of An Initiate
Michal Jerabek - The Book Of Enoch Vol I The Watchers
Jester Raiin - Major Arcana 2nd Update And 1st Typohunt

Friday, December 21, 2007

Humanistic Judaism Organisations

Humanistic Judaism Organisations Cover Humanistic Judaism has existed since the early 19th century as an intellectual tradition. It was first formally organized in 1969 as the Society for Humanistic Judaism -- founded by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine in Detroit, MI. The Society currently has about 50 affiliated communities in the U.S. and about 35,000 members worldwide. According to their official web site: "Humanistic Judaism embraces a human-centered philosophy that combines rational thinking with a celebration of Jewish culture and identity. Humanistic Jews value their Jewish identity and the aspects of Jewish culture that offer a genuine expression of their contemporary way of life. Humanistic Jewish communities celebrate Jewish holidays and life cycle events (such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvah) with inspirational ceremonies that draw upon but go beyond traditional literature."

The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism was founded in 1985. According to their official web site, the Institute "is the intellectual and educational arm of the Secular Humanistic Jewish movement. It was train Humanistic rabbinic and non-rabbinic clerical leaders and teachers and to provide philosophic and cultural guidance to all its members. The Institute's commitment to Jewish identity and continuity forms the foundation of its programs. Humanistic Judaism sees pluralism as the best guarantee of Jewish survival. By training rabbis, leaders, and educators for communities and schools, by publishing philosophical and celebrational texts, by offering adult outreach and children's programs to the world Jewish community, the Institute serves as a positive force for the continuation of the Jewish people, enriching life for all Jews." 5 The Institute has published a book "Judaism in a Secular Age;" it assembled "the secular Jewish voices that the Enlightenment allowed to be heard." They have also sponsor Colloquiums on various topics, such as: "Reclaiming Jewish History," and "The Struggle for a New Jewish Identity." Plans are underway for Colloquium 2001, which will discuss secular spirituality.

You also can download this ebooks:

Marcus Cordey - Magical Theory And Tradition
John Dee - Enochian Magic Spanish Translation
Anonymous - The Mysticism Of Masonry

Buddhism In America

Buddhism In America Cover

Book: Buddhism In America by Richard Hughes Seager

This "road map to the American Buddhist landscape" succeeds in being both "engaging and informative," as the author intended. While it could be used as a text for a college class, it will also be of interest to American practitioners of Buddhism (like me) who want to know more about our roots and about the variety of forms of Buddhism in America.

Part One provides background material on the history of Buddhism and its transmission to America and includes a short chapter on "Very Basic Buddhism" for those new to the subject or wanting a refresher. Part Two, the largest part, discusses the various forms of Buddhism in America, with chapters on Jodo Shinshu, Soka Gakkai, Zen, Tibetan, Theravada, and "other Pacific Rim migrations." And Part Three explores some "Selected Issues": gender equity, social engagement, intra-Buddhist and interreligious dialogue, and the Americanization of Buddhism.

Richard Seager marks out a magnificent road map, directing us to important people, places, and issues in multifaceted Buddhist America at the turn of the millennium. . . . Under Seager?s guidance we discover a great deal about the Buddhists of America, but also a great deal about the Americanization of Buddhism.

Seager does a great job of providing a thorough and detailed history while managing to stay accessible to readers who may be new to the topic. His goal is to show and explain how Buddhism has been Americanized since its arrival, and how it is now its own entity, different from the Buddhist sects around the world. He has example after example to support his statements; when talking about the "flower power" 60s, he quotes several different people and gives specific details about times and places such as "Storlie recalls finding himself at Sokoji for the first time in 1964, after an LSD trip on Mount Tamalpais" (Seager 99). There is no room for generalizations in his work, and this book represents a wealth of knowledge that could probably not be equaled in five other books on the subject.

The only problem with this book is that he spends so much time detailing events and the lives of the people involved in them, that he neglects to really discuss the practices and thoughts driving the Americanization. There are points where the reader is so caught up in keeping track of people, places, and events that when he makes a statement such as, "Some Buddhists are also concerned that Americanization will lead to a decline in the dharma if the aspiration to realize Buddha mind becomes overidentified with psychotherapy, or if practice becomes too accomodating to the economic and emotional needs of the American" (Seager 112), that the reader is too surprised to really pay attention to the point of the statement. These few ideological statements are usually posited at the very end of chapters, probably because he feels he needs to say something conclusive before moving on to the next sections. These would be much more interesting if he actually gave them attention in the bulk of the text, instead of as afterthoughts related to the history. The reader reaches the end of the work having gained a multitude of knowledge regarding specific information about Buddhist American history, but having no knowledge of the ideas and actual practices that were at the heart of Buddhist Americanization.

Find Richard Hughes Seager's book in
Buddhism In America

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Atalanta Fugiens

Atalanta Fugiens Cover

Book: Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Majerus

Hermes, the most industrious searcher into all the Secrets of Nature, doth in his Smaragdine Table exquisitely thus succinctly describe the Natural Work when he says: 'Wind carried Him in his belly,' as if he should have said that He whose father is Sol & mother is Luna must, before he can be brought forth into the light, be carried by windy fumes, even as a Bird is carried in the Air when it flies.

Now from fumes or winds (which are nothing else but Air in Motion) being coagulated, Water is produced, & from Water mixed with earth all Minerals & metals do proceed. And even these last are said to consist of & be immediately coagulated from fumes, so that whether He be placed in Water or fume the thing is the same; for one as well as the other is the master of Wind. The same the more remotely may be said of Minerals & Metals, but the Question is: Who is He that ought to be carried by Winds? I answer: Chymically it is Sulphur which is carried in Argent Vive (contained in quicksilver), as Lully in his Codicill cap. 32 & all other Authors attest. [Marginal note: "Lully ibid: 'The wind carries him in his belly;' That is, sulphur is carried by Argent Vive; & Ch. 47: 'The Stone is Fire carried in the Belly of Air.'"] Physically it is the Embryo, which in a little time ought to be borne into the light. I say also that rithmetically it is the Root of a Cube; Musically it is the Disdiapason; Geometrically it is a point, the Beginning of a continued running line; Astronomically it is the Center of the Planets Saturn, Jupiter & Mars.

Download Michael Majerus's eBook: Atalanta Fugiens

Books in PDF format to read:

Rabbi Michael Laitman - Kabbalah For Beginners
John Dee - La Tabula Sancta French Version
Michael Majerus - Atalanta Fugiens

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Asatru As A Religion

Asatru As A Religion Cover Asatru is a serious, modern religion inspired by historical knowledge of the past, but adapted to our current conditions. It seeks to enhance the spiritual connection of the past, present and future and to make the Gods and Goddesses of our ancestors relevant to daily life in today’s world. As a Godhi, you will have the important responsibility of promoting Asatru and helping people experience this spirituality by following their ancestral religion.

Asatru is not a role-playing game. It is not a dress-up game. It is not an opportunity to fantasize about being a Viking or recreating a society that existed a thousand years ago. We want to avoid make-believe weekend Viking role-playing and rather bring a Spiritual Vision and guidance leading our people to goodness and prosperity in Midgard and to a communion with their Gods, Goddesses and ancestors. Additionally, we are preparing the way for future generations. These are solemn tasks that require focus and seriousness.

Asatru is derived from a deep understanding of the practices and beliefs of our ancestors. It is not just "made up." There is a strong historical basis for just about everything in Asatru. It has been said that "Asatru is the religion with homework" because there's so much to learn about in rediscovering the spiritual ways of our ancestors. To do this, we are learning about and reconstructing past beliefs and practices and then adapting those beliefs and practices to the modern world. The various readings in this course will guide you through a lot of historical literature. Additionally, there are readings, which are modern syntheses of those historical ideas into Contemporary practices.

Asatru is not part of a larger "Pagan" religious grouping which includes religions such as Wicca or other foreign or eclectic paths. We do not welcome their influences. Admittedly, we have some of our modern origins with some of those groups, but our values differ significantly. Whereas they revel in universalist pantheism, as polytheists we have set forth a path which reverently places our own Gods and goddesses at the forefront while leaving foreign ways behind. Asatru is not a Universalist religion. It does not seek universal salvation for all human beings. What it seeks to do is help the individual find meaning and spirituality in their gods and goddesses in Asgard, their folk in Midgard and their ancestral roots.

Asatru is a Folk or Ethnic religion; we believe that our Gods and Goddesses have a special affection for us because we are their descendents. We believe that our gods and goddesses are our oldest ancestors, that our ancestry is good, and that we must promote our unique and special ancestral identity and culture into an enduring future. Consequently, we believe that we have a responsibility to promote a Folk existence, which is more important than anything else in Midgard.

Ethically, Asatru holds high regard for both the individual and ethnic folk. It is not a self-denying religion; we want the Individual to discover their personal strengths, weaknesses and insights, but to also willingly apply them for the good of the folk. Asatru is also a life-embracing spirituality, which does not merely prepare the individual for an afterlife. We seek to apply ourselves to accomplish great things, to live a worthy and full life and experience the joy of our time in Midgard.

But, there are many ways of looking at Asatru as a religion. We can compare and contrast it with other religions. We can describe it as we see it today. We can describe it as we’d like to see it. We can describe it as it is practiced individually. We can describe it as it’s practiced in groups. Looking at it in these various ways will help us better understand the many aspects of modern Asatru.

Books in PDF format to read:

Irv Slauson - The Religion Of Odin
Aleister Crowley - Great Drug Delusion
Anonymous - Asatru And The Paranormal
Lil Bow Wow - What Is A Warlock
Reeves Hall - Asatru In Brief

Friday, December 7, 2007

Jainism As Sramana Tradition

Jainism As Sramana Tradition Cover In the Ancient World, the Jain tradition was known as the Sramana tradition. The sramanas were ascetics, who led pure and austere lives, without possessions, wandering from place to place and subjecting themselves to rigorous austerities and self-discipline. They focused on renouncing the causes of sin and suffering to achieve liberation from pain and the cycle of births and deaths. Through the teachings of Parsvanatha and Mahavira, the last two of the 24 tirthankaras, the tradition grew into an organized religion, attracting a sizeable following in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. To those who are familiar with Hinduism, the beliefs and concepts of Jainism sound familiar, making one wonder whether there was any connection between the two in some remote past. There is an argument that Jainism was a popular ascetic tradition of India with its roots in prehistoric times, whose beliefs regarding soul, nature of existence, liberation, austerities, time, karma and incarnation of souls found their way into Hinduism directly or indirectly and enriched it greatly with a strong spiritual and Philosophical base. In this article we will discuss some of the important concepts and core beliefs of Jainism, by knowing which we will gain a fair Understanding of how it differs from Hinduism.

Books in PDF format to read:

Anonymous - Odinism And Asatru
Robert Mathiesen - Magic In Slavia Orthodoxa The Written Tradition
Bylaws - Unicorn Tradition Of Wicca
Marcus Cordey - Magical Theory And Tradition
Robert Ambelain - Martinism History And Doctrine

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness

The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness Cover

Book: The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness by Susan Greenwood

This work is an anthropological study of magic and Consciousness conducted through an examination of nature spiritualities. Often collectively termed ‘nature religion’, nature spiritualities are concerned with developing intense personal
relationships with nature, as demonstrated by my own encounter with the Snowdonian elements above. In Western cultures, nature, the earth, or ‘the environment’ as it is now frequently called, has been progressively devalued by some dualistic conceptions of the universe that separate humans from nature. A definition of the environment as ‘all material entities which exist on planet Earth but which are not human’ reveals the fundamental separation between humans and the natural world (Simmons, 1993:1). The central theme of this work is to examine how practitioners of nature spiritualities overcome this cultural alienation and relate with nature as a living and inspirited cosmos.

The sociologist Max Weber observed that the ‘fate of our times’ was characterized by rationalization, intellectualization and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world’ (1948:155). Through the use of Friedrich Schiller’s disenchantment phrase, he was referring to the degree in which rationalization had displaced Magical Elements in modern Western societies (Gerth and Wright Mills, [1948] 1970:51). Non-Western cultures have not been so affected and the anthropologist Victor Turner has astutely noted that African thought, which consists of autonomous linked world-views, ‘embeds itself from the outset in materiality’, but this materiality is ‘not inert but vital’ (1975:21).

The methodology that I adopt for this research is one of direct involvement. I have dealt at length with the complexities of conducting anthropological fieldwork from a participatory approach in previous works. This is notoriously difficult when studying magic due to the varying and often derogatory attitudes to what is seen as the non-rational and non-logical in Western social science.

Buy Susan Greenwood's book: The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness

Books in PDF format to read:

Nathan Elkana - The Master Grimoire Of Magickal Rites And Ceremonies
Sir James George Frazer - The Golden Bough A Study Of Magic And Religion
Susan Greenwood - The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness

Understanding Sufi Poetry

Understanding Sufi Poetry Image
Speed-linking few notable sites and articles across the web on Sufi Poetry, their background meanings and on Sufi Poets.

[::] Sufi Master Inayat Khan's writing on Sufi Poetry, Poetic Imagery is a good place to start with. From his writing "Sufi poetic imagery stands by itself, distinct and peculiar in its character. It is both admired and criticized for its peculiarity.... These free thinkers of Persia, with their dancing souls and continual enthusiasm, began to express their souls in this particular imagery, using words such as 'the beloved, wine, wine-press,' and 'tavern.' This poetry became so popular that not only did the wise benefit from it, but also the simple ones enjoyed the beauty of its wonderful expressions, which made an immediate appeal to every soul. No doubt souls who were already awakened and those on the point of awakening were inspired by these poems. Souls who were opening their eyes after the deep slumber of many years began to rise up and dance." read here. more writings.

[::] One of the most comprehensive web resource on Sufism and Sufi theme is maintained by Dr. Alan Godlas at University of Georgia. His page on SUFI POETS AND SUFI POETRY has a good deal of information.

"Sufism and the encounters that Sufism facilitates - encounters with God, love, and the deepest aspects of human consciousness - have evoked feelings in Sufis that have poured out through their ravaged hearts onto their lucid tongues, providing us with some of the most beautiful and profound poetry ever written." visit here.

[::] Whenever classical Persian poetry is discussed, the subject of the symbolism and meaning of its images is bound to arise. The article in The Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society talks about Jami's Symbology on Divine Love and the image of wine. read here.

[::] Poetry Chaikhana has a introduction to Islam and Sufi Poetry with works from eminent masters. Also you can browse the Sacred Poems on different theme here.

[::] Seeker After Truth has a nice article by Hossein M. Elahi by the title, Poetics and Aesthetics in the Persian Sufi Literary Tradition. good read. Also check other entries on Sufi Poetry. Western Encounters with Persian Sufi Literature by Farhang Jahanpour is another article worth reading.

[::] A wonderful Interview with David Fideler on Sufi Poetry and on his latest book "Love's Alchemy" where he address quesions such as "How did Rumi ever become the best-selling poet in America or what makes Rumi so popular"?

Answering the important question, WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE DO YOU THINK THE SUFI POETS HAVE FOR US TODAY, AS MODERN PEOPLE LIVING IN TODAY'S WORLD? David Fideler responds "I think that people are incredibly hungry for a deeper vision of human nature than is offered by, or even recognized by, American culture. It's probably safe to say that we have developed the most self-centered kind of psychological outlook ever seen in human history - and the perspective of the Sufi poets is directly opposite to that.

For the Sufis, you only begin to discover who you really are when you go beyond yourself. While that may seem like a paradox, it's a major theme in the poems we've collected in "Love's Alchemy".... The reason that love can be such a transformative force is because, in love, the ego is no longer in control, or the center of the personality. If you are really in love, someone else becomes far more important than you yourself - love forces you to go beyond yourself. In the words of one of the poets, "When I went beyond myself, the pathway finally opened."

When we start having experiences of depth in our lives - and develop the ability to no longer identify with the socially conditioned ego - that's an opening, and an invitation to discover who and what we really are.

Another thing that people resonate strongly with is the Sufi view that there is an underlying, divine unity that binds all people together, despite the outward differences of religion and culture. That's something that many of us instinctively realize and feel, but no one says it better than the Sufi poets - and they were saying it hundreds of years ago". read the full interview. its very rich.

[::] Spirituality Practice has a lovely section on Sacred Poetry.

[::] Salonim has a nice article by Ali Alizadeh by the title, Confused About Sufi Poetry? The article takes on the rise in the contemporary mainstream Western readers' interest in Sufi poetry which he points at the same time potentially positive, and yet paradoxically dubious.

[::] The Arab World Book website has an article on Sufi Poetry and selection from Rumi's Masnawi (A. H. 670). "The very essence of Sufism is poetry, and the Eastern Mystics are never tired of expatiating on the 'Ishq or "love to God," which is the one distinguishing features of Sufi mysticism"

[::] Giuseppe Scattolin's article: The Key Concepts of al-Fargh^ani's Commentary on Ibn al-F^arid's Sufi Poem, al-T^a'iyyat al-Kubr^a (pdf) via The Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society

[::] Wikipedia Entry on Sufi Poetry[+] Please visit MysticSaint.Info For full multimedia experience and enjoy special music.


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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spirit Guide A New Life Guide

Spirit Guide A New Life Guide Cover

Book: Spirit Guide A New Life Guide by Raym

The contents of this book have formed the basis of many hours of interesting discussion. Raym is a lightworker and Crystal Master and he practises in Byron Bay and by appointment in Sydney. I recommend a session with him. But what do you do if you do not know any switched on, respected, intelligent, effective healers and spirit workers? Where does one find out about the link between human beings, the spirit world and the physical world? This book is a good starting point. Throughout the book are concepts and possible experiences which may seem far out or impossible to anyone who has no previous exposure to them. There are challenging thoughts on matters ranging from the spiritual hierarchy to why you should watch less TV. It introduces the “New Age” and deals with aliens and angels, the miraculous and the mundane. The emphasis is on trying things for yourself in a safe and supportive environment. The point of it all is to make your life more fulfilling, joyful and balanced.

We create our own realities. What does yours look like? Is it perfect? If you want to know more about “Reality” and how to change it then I recommend that you read on. After you read parts one and two of this book you will be ready to
try some of the healing modalities described and listed in alphabetical order, in the third part. Naturally, reading about these things is not a patch on experiencing them for yourself. If you want change and growth in your life, jump in and try a few, being guided always by your higher self and your heart. Knowing Raym has changed my life. I hope this book will change yours. Kim Fraser, July 1997

Download Raym's eBook: Spirit Guide A New Life Guide

Also read this ebooks:

Charles Webster Leadbeater - The Hidden Life In Freemasonry
Isaac Bonewits - Witchcraft A Concise Guide
Raym - Spirit Guide A New Life Guide

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Buddhist University In America

A Buddhist University In America Image
Located in suburban Los Angeles, UWest (formerly Hsi Lai) was founded in 1991 as a contemporary, well-funded, Buddhist college. This graduate and undergraduate university is intent on educating, inspiring, and preparing students for a globally interdependent world.


The free exchange of ideas and Buddhist traditions across cultures is no longer restricted by borders. It is advanced by international collabora-tion, cooperation, and community. UWest is at the center of this cultural and intellectual exchange as a multidisciplinary and multi-cultural institution. This fully accredited college integrates the finest in liberal arts, business, and religious studies with a decidedly humanistic and global perspective.

The University of the West is a member of the:

* Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
* NAFSA: Association of International Educators
* American Assoc. Collegiate Registrars font-size:78%;">In PETERSON\'S GUIDE to graduate programs in Humanities, Arts & Social Science

You also may enjoy this free books:

Aleister Crowley - Rosa Coeli Rosa Mundi Rosa Inferni
Benjamin Rowe - A Short Course In Scrying
Algernon Blackwood - A Prisoner In Fairyland

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What Is Agnosticism And What Do Agnostics Believe

What Is Agnosticism And What Do Agnostics Believe Cover
Agnosticism is a concept. It is not a full religion, like Judaism, Christianity or Islam. It is a belief related to the existence or non-existence of God. However, many people have added a moral code, rituals and other items to Agnosticism, and have created a belief system with many of the attributes of a religion.

The one principle linking all meanings of "Agnostic" is that God's existence can neither be proved nor disproved, on the basis of current evidence. Agnostics note that some theologians and philosophers have tried to to prove for millennia that God exists. Others have attempted to prove that God does not exist. Agnostics feel that neither side has convincingly succeeded at their task. Further, most Agnostics act on this belief by concluding that they cannot believe -- or disbelieve -- in a deity without evidence.

When asked what their religion is, many of those who are unsure of the existence of a God will reply "Agnostic." Since so many Agnostics regard this as their religion, we have a policy of capitalizing the term out of respect, as we do for all religions on this web site. This is not often seen on the Internet or in print, but we feel that it is appropriate.

When asked whether they believe in the existence of one or more Gods and/or Goddesses, Theists will answer in the affirmative; strong Atheists will say no. Agnostics often cannot give a straight "Yes" or "No" answer. They might respond with one of the following:

- I don't know.
- The Gods that various believers worship are like unicorns: they are obviously fictional creations of humanity. But, who knows. They might actually exist.
- There is no way to know, but perhaps someone will find a proof or disproof in the future.
- There will never be any way to know.
- The question is meaningless.
- I doubt it, but cannot be sure God doesn't exist.
- I think so, but cannot be positive that God exists.
- I don't know but will lead my life in the assumption that no God exists.
- I don't know but will lead my life assuming that God does exist -- perhaps because of the rewards I would receive if God does exist.
- I will have to withhold my opinion until God, if he exists, decides to make his presence known. Rearranging, say, 10,000 stars in the sky to read "I AM" would be a great start. Even recreating an amputated leg would be a strong indicator. But, of course, neither has ever happened.
- I think that God exists, but have no proof.
- I worship a god (or a god and goddess, or a goddess, or some combination of god(s) and goddess(es) but cannot prove that they exist.
- I cannot give an opinion because there is no way that we can prove the existence or non-existence of God given currently available knowledge.
- I cannot give an opinion because there is no way to know, with certainty, anything about God, either now or in the future.
- Yes, God exists. But we do not know anything about God at this time.
- Yes, God exists. But we have no possibility of knowing anything about God, now or in the future.
- etc.

Some people criticize Agnostics as simply being indecisive -- unable to make up their mind. But most Agnostics have actually taken a firm stand that it would be meaningless to become a Theist or strong Atheist without evidence. Not being able to prove his/her/its/their existence, most Agnostics consider it unethical or irrational to pick a side.

Many Theists believe that Agnostics are merely going through a phase in their spiritual life. They are actually searching for God, perhaps without being aware of it. They will eventually find God. The Bible promises it.

Ultimately, the term "Agnostic" is something like "Christianity." Both refer to a wide diversity of belief systems. In many cases, an individual asserts that their particular definition is the only fully valid one. There are many definitions circulating, and no real consensus.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Alchemical Catechism

Alchemical Catechism Cover

Book: Alchemical Catechism by Baron Tschoudy

In his Ritual de la Haute Magie, chapter 19, Eliphas Levi, describes a Manuscript of Paracelsus supposedly in the Vatican, entitled "the Chemical Pathway or Manual". He claims that a this was transcribed by Sendivogius and used by Baron Tschoudy when composing the Hermetic Catechism in his Le Etoile Flamboyant ou la Societe des Franc-
Macons consideree sous tous les aspects, 1766. I have not been able to locate the Paraclesus work in the Vatican nor Sendivogius' transcription, however, the Hermetic Catechism of Baron Tschoudy is a fine piece of hermetic philosophy. The version here has been taken from A.E. Waite's Translation published in the two volume Hermetic
and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, which he heavily edited of masonic remarks of Tschoudy.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Conjuration Of The Four Elements

The Conjuration Of The Four Elements Cover

Book: The Conjuration Of The Four Elements by Eliphas Levi

The four elementary forms separate and specify by a kind of rough outline, the created spirits whom the universal movement disengages from the central fire. Everywhere spirit works and fecundates matter by life; all matter is animated; thought and soul are everywhere. In seizing upon the thought that produces the diverse forms, we become the master of forms and make them serve for our use.

The astral light is completely filled with souls that it disengages in the incessant generation of being; souls have imperfect wills which can be dominated and used by more powerful wills. They then form great invisible chains, and can occasion or determine grand elementary commotions. Phenomena ascertained in the processes of magic and all those recently verified by M. Eudes de Merville have no other causes.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Two Buddhist Schools On Rules

The Two Buddhist Schools On Rules Image
Processon of monastics representing all traditions, Vesak 2009, Orange County (WQ)

There are two distinct Buddhist traditions, the older more "orthodox" Theravada and the newer, more "reformed" Mahayana. (Other traditions, like Zen and Vajrayana, are actually forms of Mahayana Buddhism). People rarely make the distinction because the separation is not absolute. Most of what is known about Buddhism is less to do with the historical Buddha and more to do with the Mahayana school and its teachings.

* The Bhikkhus' Rules: A Guide for Laypeople (Bhikkhu Ariyesako)
* Questions about meeting a Buddhist monk (

Buddhist monastics, known as the Sangha, are governed by 227 to 253 rules depending on the school or tradition for males ("bhikkhus"). There are between 290 and 354 rules, depending on the school or tradition, for females ("bhikkhunis"). These rules, contained in the VINAYA, are divided into several groups, each entailing a penalty for their breech, depending on its seriousness.

Four rules for males and the first eight for females, known as parajika or "rules of defeat," mean immediate expulsion from the Sangha. The four applying to both sexes are:

* sexual intercourse
* killing a human being
* stealing to the extent that it entails a gaol sentence
* claiming miraculous or supernormal powers

Nuns have additional rules related to various physical contacts with males with one relating to concealing from the Sangha the defeat of another. Before his passing, the Buddha instructed that permission was granted for the abandonment or adjustment of minor rules should prevailing conditions demand such a change. These rules apply to all Sangha members irrespective of their Buddhist tradition. The interpretation of the rules, however, differs between the Mahayana and Theravada traditions.

The Theravadins, especially those from Thailand, claim to observe these rules to the letter of the law. But in many cases the following is more in theory than in actual practice. The Mahayanists interpret the rule not to take food at an inappropriate time as not meaning fasting from noon to sunrise, like the Buddha specifies in the Vinaya, but to refrain from eating between mealtimes. The rule of fasting (from solids) from noon one day to sunrise the next might be inappropriate, from a health angle, for monastics living in cold climates such as China, Korea, and Japan.

When one examines why this rule was instituted initially, it is possible to reach the conclusion that it is currently redundant. It was the practice in the Buddha's time for mendicant ascetics to go to a village with bowls to collect alms. To avoid disturbing the villagers unnecessarily, the Buddha ordained that monastics only visit once a day, in the early morning. This would allow the villagers to be free to conduct their day to day affairs without being disturbed by ascetics requiring food. Today, however, people bring food to temples, monasteries, and nunneries or prepare it on the premises. So at least part of the original reason for the restriction may no longer apply. In any case, that is how the Mahayanists have chosen to alter the rule.

In Theravadin countries, the monastics still go on early morning alms rounds. This is, of course, more a matter of maintaining tradition than out of necessity. (It humbles and disciplines a person to recollect that s/he is dependent on the support of others -- and it is just this sort of asceticism that reform movement reject).

There is also a rule prohibiting the handling of "gold and silver," in other words, money. Mahayanists consider this rule a handicap, if it were it to be strictly observed in today's world. So they interpret it as avoiding the "accumulation" of riches, which leads to greed.

Theravadins split hairs on this rule in that, although most will not touch coins or cash, some might carry credit cards or check books, which they recognize as money. This skirts the letter of the rule but no way skirts the clear spirit of the rule. It is a wrongdoing to be confessed by conscientious ascetics. There is an alternative in place as laid down by the Buddha, and neither school need violate this precept: It is permissible to have money set aside for an individual monastic or collectively for those living together through a steward.

The steward is a responsible layperson (or a ten-precept observer) who handles money and requisites donated. Permissible items and needs, having been donated and deposited with a steward in a monk or nun's name, are then able to be utilized without violating the rule against handling money.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Souls In Jainism

The Souls In Jainism Cover
Jainism envisions a universe filled with innumerable eternal souls in varying degrees of perfection and purity. Soul is the basic unit of consciousness which makes all experience possible because it is capable of perception and experience both in its mundane state and its pure state. Based on their level of perfection three types of souls are recognized. The Nityasuddhas are eternally pure and perfect. They are impervious to the inflow of karmic substance. The Muktas are the liberated souls, who are freed from the cycle of births and deaths and the ordeals of embodiment. They live in a blissful and transcendental state, indifferent to what is going on in different worlds. As freed souls, living in a state of pure existence, they possess ananta jnana (infinite knowledge), ananta darsana (infinite perception), ananta virya (infinite power) and ananta sukha (infinite bliss). The thrid type of souls are baddhas also known as sopadhi jivas. They are the bound souls, who are imperfect, subject to the cycle of births and deaths and karma produced by their own actions. Not all souls have the potential to become free. To become free a soul needs to have bhavyatva, a special quality that has to be activated by its karma to set the process of its liberation in motion. Some souls either do not possess this quality or can never activate it by their karma. So them remain bound for ever.

Depending upon the number of senses they possess, the jivas are divided into five categories, those having one, two, three, four and five senses respectively. Plants have only one sense, the sense of touch. The mammals have all the five senses. In between there two are the jivas having two, three or four senses. Human beings, gods and higher beings possess an additional sixth sense, called manas or mind, which gives them the ability to think and act rationally. The number of senses is an important criteria in selecting right kind of food for consumption to practice the principle of ahimsa or non injury. Since it is not possible to consume food without indulging in some form of violence of injury to living beings, it is better to select plants which have only one sense. Eating food prepared by killing animals having two or more senses would lead to greater sin and adverse karma.

One of the distinguishing features of Jainism is its belief that souls exists both in animate and inanimate objects. The souls are found every where, in every conceivable object, not only in men and animals, but also in the plants, planets, stars, elements, oceans, rivers, wood, metal and even a dew or a rain drop. The Jain believe that there are planetary souls, elementals souls, ethereal souls and souls living beyond the reach of our senses in invisible and subtle matter. The condition of a soul depends upon the body it occupies. The consciousness of souls which reside in inanimate objects or elemental bodies remains in a latent state in contrast to souls living in more dynamic bodies. The condition of one soul per one body also does not apply in Jainism. Some times a multitude of souls may occupy one body as in case of some tuberous plants. Innumerable souls may also exist together as a loosely held cluster occupying vast stretches of space encompassing the whole world as one complex organism. They are called nigodas, which act like a vast store houses of souls. Suspended in the atmosphere, the nigodas keep filling the empty spaces automatically, whenever they are left vacant by the departing or liberated souls. Like the major air currents that crisscross our planet, the nigodasput great responsibility on us to act carefully lest we harm some souls unknowingly.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Minerals And Gems In Indian Alchemy

Minerals And Gems In Indian Alchemy Cover

Book: Minerals And Gems In Indian Alchemy by Mira Ray

The Indian alchemical literature in Sanskrit and Tamil refers to the multi-dimensionaluse of a wide variety of minerals. The most important are: (A) mica, calamine, copper-pyrite, tourmaline, iron-pyrite, copper-sulphate, bitumen and lapis lazuli, called superior minerals and orpiment, alum. sulphur, realgar, tinstone or cassiterite, red-ochre. antimony and iron-sulphate. caIled subsidiary minerals. An interesting aspect relates to the purifications of these minerals with a view to importing to them the necessary qualities for alchemical operations leading to the preparation of
"elixir"and such other medicinal compositions.
Yet another aspect is concerned with the extraction of what is in alchemical literature as their "essence". the chemical details of which are not exactly clear.
The other types of minerals are classed under the headinggems.They are: ruby, pearl. coral. emerald. topaz. diamond. sapphire. zircon and eat's eye. nine in number.
Even these gems are subjected to various processes in order to obtain theiressences.
Several apparatuses and contrivances were being designed and used for conducting necessary operations.
Refreshingly. some of the alchemical text also mention the distribution and characteristics of various minerals including gems. thus revealing the technical knowledge of those involving the preparation of several mineral-based medicinal compositions.
The paper attempts to discuss these and aIliedaspects pertaining inthe minerals and gems as embodied in the various texts in Sanskrit. called the"Rasasastra".

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Selected Novels

Selected Novels Cover

Book: Selected Novels by Howard Phillips Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft wrote only three novels among his many short stories and novelettes, and each of them is properly viewed as a short novel. The most ambitious of these is undoubtedly The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, originally written in 1927-28, but not published until 1941, when an abridged version appeared in Weird Tales.

Though his early work was more especially fantastic, influenced by Lord Dunsany, Lovecraft soon turned to themes of 'cosmic terror' and spiritual horror in such remarkable tales as The Colour Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, The Whisperers in Darkness, and others, among them that unique and memorable horror-tale, The Rats in the Walls, quite possibly the best of its kind written in America since 1900. Soon after his stories began to appear in the magazines, the pattern which became known as the Cthulhu Mythology became evident in his work, deriving its name from The Call of Cthulhu, the first story clearly revealing Lovecraft's design. That the theme of the Cthulhu Mythology had always been in Lovecraft's mind was manifest when he wrote of his work:

"All my stories, unconnected as they may be, are based on the fundamental lore or legend that this world was inhabited at one time by another race who, in practicing black magic, lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside ever ready to take possession of this earth again."

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Golden Book Of Wisdom

The Golden Book Of Wisdom Cover

Book: The Golden Book Of Wisdom by Franz Bardon

Only a fragment of The Golden Book of Wisdom survives, but the fundamentals of Bardon's system are still available. The fourth page in the Book of Wisdom is the fourth Tarot card, which depicts a wise man or, sometimes, an emperor. The description of the fourth Tarot card is of very great assistance to magicians, spheric magicians and Kabbalists, for it allows them to penetrate more deeply into the secrets of wisdom and thereby enables them to solve the greatest problems. This is true not only from the point of view of knowledge but, more importantly, from the point of view of cognition, and thereby from the point of view of wisdom.

Thus far, the high mysteries symbolized by the fourth Tarot card have been passed on only in the language of symbols, and consequently they have usually remained obscure to the intellectual. The reader will no doubt appreciate the fact that, with the permission of Divine Providence, I have made an effort to translate the fourth book into the language of the intellect, in order to make it intelligible not only to the initiate but to the non-initiate, i.e. the philosopher and the theorist, as well.

Anyone who completely masters the Book of Wisdom will have a thorough knowledge of the foundations of the Hermetic philosophy, and may be considered a Hermetic philosopher from the standpoint of the universal laws. Also, the Hermetic brotherhoods and orders that teach the true Hermetic knowledge will class such a person with the philosophical practitioners.

If this fourth work is accepted with the same enthusiasm that greeted my three preceding books, then the description of the fourth Tarot card, which symbolically represents the Book of Wisdom, will also have done its job. Therefore, may this book too be an inexhaustible, ever-flowing source of knowledge and wisdom to the interested reader. May the blessing of Divine Providence accompany you all, to a high degree, on your path to perfection.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Eliphas Levi Biography

Eliphas Levi Biography Cover Alphonse Louis Constant usually known by his pseudonym "Eliphas Levi Zahed," which is a translation of his name into Hebrew, this Parisian was almost single-handedly responsible for the popular resurgence of the Secret Traditions in the 19th Century. Levi synthesized Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Qabalism, Gnosticism, Masonry, Rosicrucianism, Alchemy, Tarot, Mesmerism, Spiritism, along with the writings of Boehme, Swedenborg, Paracelsus and Knorr von Rosenroth into what we know today as "occultism."

Constant was born the son of a poor shoemaker in Paris. He attended a Catholic school for poor children, where he showed a great aptitude for religion. At 15, he entered the seminary of Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet to study for the priesthood, where he learned, among other religious matters, the Hebrew language. The master of this seminary, Abbe Frere-Colonna, taught the young Constant that humanity, fallen from the bosom of God through original sin, must return towards Him by a process which tears him away from matter and gradually spiritualizes him. He also taught the boy that history was divided into four great eras of progressively greater spiritualization: the first began with Adam; the second began with Abraham; the third began with Jesus; and the fourth was to begin with the advent of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. Abbe Frere was deposed for his views while Constant was still attending the seminary. Constant always remained faithful to the basic tenets of Catholicism, but he never forgave the Ecclesiastical authorities for disgracing his beloved teacher.

In 1832, he entered the theological college of Saint-Sulplice and was ordained Deacon in 1835. His years at Saint-Sulplice were dreary and disillusioning, as the students vied for the favor of the directors who manipulated and coerced them. He was scheduled to be ordained Priest in 1836, but he had met and fallen in love with a young girl. Although nothing ever came of the relationship, he realized that he could not live without human affection and abandoned his vows before his ordination. After hearing of his apostacy, his mother committed suicide.

After Saint-Sulplice, Constant spent a period associating with revolutionary socialists, including Flora Tristan, grandmother of Paul Gauguin and M. Ganneau, the "Mapah." He spent three short terms in jail for his "seditious" writings. In 1846, he married Noemi Cadiot, who left him seven years later.

In 1852, Constant met the messianic mathematician Jozef Maria Hoehne-Wronski (1778-1853), whose brilliant attempts at fusing philosophy, religion and mathematics provided Constant with the impetus towards synthesizing the disparate elements of his own life: Christianity, utopian idealism, mysticism and rationalism. This synthesis manifested as occultism, whose tenets Constant set forth in a treatise called Dogme de la magie, written under the pen name Eliphas Levi. The treatise was later developed into Levi's most famous work, Dogme et rituel de la haute magie.

After Noemi had left him, he moved for a short time to England, where he met with Sir Edward Bulwer (later Lord) Lytton, and where he performed his famous evocation of Apollonius of Tyana. He returned to Paris, took on a number of pupils, and became increasingly famous and influential through his unique writings on philosophy and scientific theurgy, as well as his personal charm.

Aleister Crowley considered him to have been an Adeptus Major, as well as his own immediately previous incarnation. Crowley translated his La Cle des Grandes Mysteres ("The Key of the Mysteries" 1861), which Crowley considered to be his own Adeptus Exemptus thesis. Levi's Dogme et Rituel de la haute magie (1855-56 & 61, translated into English by A. E. Waite under the title "Transcendental Magic") is included in the Liber E Reading List and is required reading for entry to the probationer level of A:. A:.

His other major published works include: Histoire de la magie (1860), La Mysteres de la qabalah (Ms. 1861, publ. 1920), Legendes et symboles (1862), La Science des esprits (1865), Paradoxes of the Highest Science (1883), Livre des splendeurs (1894), Cles majeurs et clavicules de Salomon (1895), Le Livre des sages (1912) and The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum (1970).

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hare Krishna Getting Centered

Hare Krishna Getting Centered Image
For our viewing and listening pleasure, today I am sharing this little site:

Shiv Shakti Peeth"

"This site is about prayers to God. It includes favorite bhajans from Hindu religion, mantras and prayers. It features online indian temple bhajans such as Radhe Krishna temple bhajans, Ganesha temple bhajans, Vaishno mata temple bhajans, Hanumana tample bhajans, Parvati Shiva temple bhajans and Sita Rama temple bhajans.

What does all that mean? Well it means that they have these wonderful prayerful mantras and songs. I played the Hare Krishna mantra when I went there, and it felt so good. The music went straight into my heart and actually brought tears to my eyes.

As I was surfing for new and different prayer sites, one thing was constant, no matter what the content, or the intent, or the consciousness, or the religious affiliation - the concept of getting still, and finding a place of alignment or closeness to God was mentioned almost every time. And so I think it must be important. That's what these hindu prayers did for me - so that's why I am sharing them here.

To listen to these prayers you will need Windows Media Player. You can get this free plug-in from the Microsoft web site

There are different pages, with different prayers and mantras, the page I went to was the Radhe Krishna Temple Prayers, and if you scroll down the page you will see various links to various mantras, bhajans, and even some talks given by the Swami.

Note: Looks like these links no longer take you to the right pages. But hey, I've got something better! It's a video. George Harrison and the Radha Krishna temple singing Hare Krishna. Enjoy!

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Lesser Invoking Ritual Of The Pentagram

Lesser Invoking Ritual Of The Pentagram Cover

Book: Lesser Invoking Ritual Of The Pentagram by Order Of The Golden Dawn

The Lesser rituals of the Pentagram, or commonly called Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, and the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram, (LBRP/LIRP) were the only actual rituals taught to and used by the Outer Order of the traditional Golden Dawn. This Invoking Pentagram Ritual should be used as a Daily Ritual which will help invoke the energy and call the spiritual forces into ones temple or ritual space.

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Order Of The Golden Dawn - Lesser Invoking Ritual Of The Pentagram

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Recipes For Immortality

Recipes For Immortality Cover

Book: Recipes For Immortality by Richard Weiss

Despite the global spread of Western medical practice, traditional doctors still thrive in the modern world. In Recipes for Immortality, Richard Weiss illuminates their continued success by examining the ways in which siddha medical practitioners in Tamil South India win the trust and patronage of patients. While biomedicine might alleviate a patient's physical distress, siddha doctors offer their clientele much more: affiliation to a timeless and pure community, the fantasy of a Tamil utopia, and even the prospect of immortality. They speak of a golden age of Tamil civilization and of traditional medicine, drawing on broader revivalist formulations of a pure and ancient Tamil community.
Weiss analyzes the success of siddha doctors, focusing on how they have successfully garnered authority and credibility. While shedding light on their lives, vocations, and aspirations, Weiss also documents the challenges that siddha doctors face in the modern world, both from a biomedical system that claims universal efficacy, and also from the rival traditional medicine, ayurveda, which is promoted as the national medicine of an autonomous Indian state. Drawing on ethnographic data; premodern Tamil texts on medicine, alchemy, and yoga; government archival resources; college textbooks; and popular literature on siddha medicine and on the siddhar yogis, he presents an in-depth study of this traditional system of knowledge, which serves the medical needs of millions of Indians. Weiss concludes with a look at traditional medicine at large, and demonstrates that siddha doctors, despite resent trends toward globalization and biomedicine, reflect the wider political and religious dimensions of medical discourse in our modern world. Recipes for Immortality proves that medical authority is based not only on physical effectiveness, but also on imaginative processes that relate to personal and social identities, conceptions of history, secrecy, loss, and utopian

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