Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Challenge

Our hope for this special issue is that the field of Religious Studies may take guidance from the field of Consciousness Studies. This will entail a renewed emphasis on religious experience in the study of religion, which seems only appropriate considering the significant degree to which traditions themselves stress the importance of these experiences. The meditative schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, not to mention Kabbalah and mystical Christianity, all stress direct experience of the profound. Figures such as Sankara, Meister Eckhart, Nagarjuna and countless others all have stressed the necessity of integrating experience along side conceptuality, and using it to sharpen one's views. To do justice to these traditions and inspirational figures, we must give full attention to the description and analysis of experiential realities.

It is time for the field of scholarship to remove the barriers that have constrained our vision. A range of approaches illuminate reality, which itself reflects interactive and reflexive causes, requiring a range of methodological glasses. It is time to look through all of them, and to see religion and human life in the richly complex hues that they are. (Andresen & Forman, 2000)

Andresen, J. & Forman, R. K. C. (eds.) (2000). Cognitive models and spiritual maps. Thorverton, UK: Imprint Academic.
A book reprinting the Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7, No. 11-12, 2000

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