First Last HOLY MADNESS

ISBN 13: 9781890772543

HOLY MADNESS

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9781890772543: HOLY MADNESS

Holy Madness explores the religious phenomenon referred to as crazy wisdom -- the purposefully outrageous, conventiondestroying behavior of spiritual adepts in every great tradition, from Christian Fools for Christ through the Sufi Path of Blame, to the charismatic leaders of new religions. The author explores the core of the spiritual process through eight critical indepth cameos of holy madness in action in the lives of eight contemporaries, including Chgyam Trungpa, Bhagwan Rajneesh and Aleister Crowley. This revised and expanded edition includes a new assessment of the American guru Adi Da (formerly Da Free John) and the psychopathology of blind faith, using the example of Shoko Asahara (founder of Japan's infamous terrorist sect AUM). The author offers guidelines for choosing a wise, enlightened guide or guru, and tips for avoiding the exploitative.

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About the Author:

Georg Feuerstein, PhD is the author of over 30 books, including Yoga for Dummies; The Yoga Tradition; The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga; Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, and Lucid Waking. He has specialized in the spiritual traditions of India and is a practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The disappointments experienced by Western seekers with Eastern gurus is in my view part of a healthy development of recognizing and withdrawing unhealthy projections and proceeding on the spiritual path with sound realism. We must not idealize and certainly not idolize our teachers but see them as they are’warts and all. Prior to his death, the Buddha advised his disciples to rely on his teaching and nothing else. This good counsel still holds true, for a teacher is only as good as his teaching. Moreover, when a teaching has given rise to a long line of realized teachers, as in the case of Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, we can reasonably assume that it contains the necessary elements for us to grow on the spiritual path as well. Teachers unquestionably have an important role to play, especially in the more advanced stages of inner growth. They can catalyze much, but in order to relate to them rightly, we must already be familiar with our idealizations and other projections. In other words, to benefit from our teachers, we have to be able to see beyond them to the teaching itself. The spiritual process is inherently radical’that is, it goes to the root of the problem of our spiritual ignorance: the ego’and hence it is vastly challenging. A good teacher is one who holds us to this process; to put it colloquially: he or she will be in our face. Naturally, this will trigger all kinds of emotions in us that we would do well to fully understand lest they should get out of control. All too often, students become caught in a lovehate relationship with their teacher, or they abruptly convert fervent devotion and adoration into everlasting anger and disappointment. Experienced teachers will definitely be aware of the games their students play out relative to them. They are not perturbed by this, but many Eastern teachers also do not seem to be particularly interested in, or skillful at, assisting their Western disciples to navigate the treacherous waters of interacting with a traditional teacher. Many gurus or lamas underestimate their Western students’ psychological complexity and unspoken expectations of a teacher; they definitely fail to appreciate the intricacies of transference and the inner conflict most Westerners experience vis...vis authority. Were it not for the fact that some Western students have actually attained to higher spiritual realizations, not a few Oriental teachers might by now have given up teaching us.

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