Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins - Naomi Appleton

Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins - Naomi Appleton

6. Emptiness and Unknowing: An Essay in Comparative Mysticism

Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins - Naomi Appleton

Rupert Gethin [+-]
University of Bristol
Rupert Gethin is Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. His primary research interest is the history and development of Buddhist thought in the Nikayas and Abhidhamma. He is the author of The Fountains of Buddhism (OUP 1998), The Buddhist Path to Awakening (Oneworld 2001), Summary of the Topics of Abhidhamma and Exposition of the Topics of Abhidhamma with R.P. Wijeratne (Pali Text Society 2002) and Sayings of the Buddha: A Selection of Suttas from the Pali Nikayas (OUP 2008).

Description

Over the last fifty years the study of mysticism has been shaped by the debate between ‘perennialists’, who claim that mystical experiences are the same across different cultures, and ‘constructivists’, who claim that mystical experiences are shaped by, and hence specific to, particular religious traditions. The constructivist view is associated with the ‘discursive turn’ that has dominated the humanities for the last half century, emphasising cultural relativism. Nonetheless, the constructivist position is not without problems. Inspired in part by Lance Cousins’ 1989 comparison of Buddhaghosa’s Path of Purification and Teresa of Ávila’s Interior Castle, the present article seeks to bring out parallels in the contemplative exercises and the progress of the ‘spiritual life’ found in Buddhist accounts of meditation (such as the Cūḷa- Suññata-sutta) and Christian apophaticism (as presented in The Cloud of Unknowing). The article seeks to establish specific parallels in the techniques of and approaches to contemplative practice in both traditions, as well as in the phenomenology of the experiences of the meditator (yogāvacara) or contemplative at different stages in the work of meditation and contemplation.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Gethin, Rupert. 6. Emptiness and Unknowing: An Essay in Comparative Mysticism. Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 99-114 Oct 2019. ISBN 9781781798928. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=33391. Date accessed: 17 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.33391. Oct 2019

Dublin Core Metadata