Guru: The Spiritual Master in Eastern and Western Traditions-Authority and Charisma-

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Item Code: IDI048
Author: Antonio Rigopoulos
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 8124603901
Pages: 562
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 5.6"X 8.8"
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This Volume comprises most of the papers, which were presented at the National Conference " Guru. The Spiritual Master in Eastern and Western Traditions: Authority and Charisma," held in Venice, 18-20 April 2002, organized by the Venetian Academy of Indian Studies (VAIS) in Collaboration with the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Venice, Ca' Foscari' and the Cultural Center Palazzo Cavagnis. These Twenty-seven essays are grouped according to the different cultural and religious traditions involved, moving from West to East and circularly coming back to the West. In a crossing of boundaries which sharpens the comparative exchange, we move through the following civilizations and worldviews: Ancient Greece, Judaism, Christianity, Islam Hinduism, Indian Shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism, Native Americans. Two final articles on the guru as mediator of healing and on the figure and role of the master between East and West bring the Volume to a close.

Though the Majority of papers are devoted to the religions and philosophies of India and the manifold expressions of its guru institute the main focus of the Conference -all other traditions are fairly represented, each scholar aiming at rigorously placing in context the nature and function of the master. I must stress that an interdisciplinary and truly sophisticated comparative interest animated the Conference, especially during the lively debate sessions. The essays mirror two basic formats, as per their authors' wish: they either reflect with minor modifications, one's speech as it was originally delivered and thus are often short contributions meant for discussion, or else they are expended, revised versions of one's paper i. e. full-fledged articles with critical note apparatus.

The Thirty- two Italian scholars who participated in this rich and intense three-day meeting open to the public (which attracted hundreds of people to the Waldensian and Methodist Church of Venice, where the Conference took place, making it an 'event' of sorts) were: Attilio Andreini, Stefano Beggiora, Paolo Bettiolo Piero Capelli, Claudio Cicuzza, Chiara Cremonesi, Thomas Dahnhardt, Fabrizio Ferrari Gain Giuseppe Filippi, Gaetano Lettieri, Franco Macchi Massimo Makarovic, Monia, Marchetto, Giangiorgio Pasqualitto, Gianni Pellegrini, Cinzia Pieruccini, Corrado Puchetti, Claudia Ramasso, Massimo Raveri, Paolo Ricca, Francesco Spagna, Aldo Tollini Giovanni Torcinovich, and myself . The Conference was also honoured by the presence of a most distinguished guest (himself a guru!): the Sanskrit acaryaPandit Vidya Nivas Mishra from Varanasi who delivered a short, momentous Pravacanaor speech.

The theme of the guru institute and, more broadly, of the master/ disciple relationship is certainly crucial within all religious traditions. In Italy, Important monographs have been dedicated to the subject in recent years, especially with reference to classical and late antiquity Judaism, early Christianity and Christian Monasticism. Devoted to this same issue and the crucial them of education paideiais the latest stimulating book written by George Steiner, >I> Lessons of the Masters(Cambridge and London, Harvard University Press 2003), outcome of the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures held in Harvard in 2001-2002. From the outset our Conference was thought of as an exploration concerning the sources of legitimation of religious authority within any given tradition and as a critical examination of the special charisma which the spiritual master exhibites or is in any case attributed to him/her by any given community. The focus of attention has been directed upon India and Eastern traditions, cultivating an approach of 'dialogical', comparative opeppess towards all other traditions.

Indeed especially in his years Foucault, himself influenced by the writing of Pierre Hadot, dedicated special attention to the theme of the unending search for wisdom and the perfecting of the self through the detaching from oneself. For Foucault such transformation is to be understood as an ongoing process of discovery, implying an 'ethics of unsettlement' (contra any juridical foundation of a 'perennial' ethics), never established once for all: what he called a transformative or 'ethopoietic' wisdom, an unending search to be aimed at through exerting one's critical eye in primis upon oneself and one's fixed conventions. A critical investigation, which the philosophers of classical antiquity cultivated precisely through the practice of asceticism and spiritual exercises. Foucault's study focused upon an in depth analysis of figures such as Socrates Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Epicurus up to a final consideration of the meditatio mortis to be found in the writings of Seneca and Epictetus.

The understanding of philosophy as a taking care oneself and as a practical, 'performative' tool is nowadays more emphasized: one is here reminded of the seminal work of Gerd B. Achenbach, PhilosophischePraxis (Koln, Dinter, 1948). In Italy, along the same lines, an important contribution has been recently of fered by Romano Madera and Luigi Vero Tarca, La filosofia come stile di vita. Introduzione alle pratiche filosofiche (Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2003). To be sure, the religious and philosophical traditions of India and of Asia in general have much to say and to offer concerning this fundamental orientation towards a practical experiential wisdom (characterized by the primacy of oral teaching and the dialectical method versus any written from of transmission of knowledge).From ancient times these traditions have conjugated sophisticated ideologies and worldviews and the practical application of the same to man, never divorcing pure intellectual theory from its necessary existential implementation.

As VAIS, we think of this Conference as an initial exploration of a most important rich and intricate field too often subject to superficial analyses or naïve simplifications (one is here remineded of the use and abuse of the very term guru). These proceedings should promote further debate and a deeper probing into the complaxity of the issues involved with a growth in multi- disciplinary openness and sophisticated hermeneutic analysis: I hope this collection of essays may represent the first tentative steps in the right direction.

From the Jacket

The book containing papers presented at a conference held in Venice, Italy, examines the relevance attached to the institution of the guru with special reference to the religions and philosophies of India. It explores the nature and function of the guru figure and the master- disciple interaction in religious traditions of the world including those of Hinduism Buddhism ancient Greek, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Confucianism and native American traditions. It delves into the dynamics of the guru's influence and guru-disciple interaction that involves two aspects of power spiritual power and the very worldly Socio-political and economic interests. It deals with characteristics and Chrisna associated with the figure of the spiritual master his authority pupils devotion for him trials for a pupil motivations of a guru Pandita as guru and recognition of the true master. It scrutinizes the difference in the Eastern and Western traditions Vis-a Vis the guru disciple relationship referring to a variety of sects thinkers and works: the Mahabharata, Sufism, tantric traditions, Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism, and the guruvada among Bauls of Bengal.

The study meticulously unravels certain fundamental questions like sources of legitimation of religious like sources of legitimation of religious spiritual tradition. It throws light on the link between overcoming fear ritual death and immortality and the guru figure in Indian traditions.

The book will interest scholars of religion and philosophy particularly those studying Hindu and Buddhist religious spiritual traditions.

Dr. Antonio Rigopoulos is a reputed historian of religions and philosophies. Having had a two year stint as Assistant Professor of Indology at the California University Santa Barbara he is now engaged in research work at the University "Ca'Foscari" of Venice.

Currently Secretary- General of the Venetian Academy of Indian Studies (VAIS), Dr Rigopoulos is the well Known auther of several books and articles on Sai Baba of Sirdi and Lord Dattatreya. His preferred field of research in India is Maharashtra and northern Karnataka.

Michele Botta
Socrates and the Maieutic Enterprise15
Chiara Cremonesi
Apollonius of Tyana or the spectecle of Wisdom27
Piero Capelli
Kinds of Doctrinal Transmission in Late Ancient Judaism45
Pier Cesare Bori
The Interior Master in the Understanding of the First Friends81
Angelo Scrable
Master and Disciple in the Islamic Sufi Tradition in the Writings of 'Abd al -Qadir al -jilani91
Thomas Dahnhardt
Encounters with Khidr: Saint -Immortal, Protector from the Waters, and Guide of the Elected Ones Beyond the Confluence of the Two Oceans105
Gian Giuseppe Filippi
The guru and Death 121
Giovanni Torcinovich
The Custodians of Truth137
Cinzia Pieruccini
Authority, Devotion, and Trials: Teachers and Pupils in the Mahabharata157
Antonio Rigopoulos
The guru gita of "Song of the Master" as Incorporated in the Guru- caritra of Sarasvati Gangadhsr: Observations on its Teachings and the guru Institute.169
Monia Marchetto
The Function of the guru in Tantric Traditions 227
Corrado Puchetti
The Twenty - four guru-s of Dattatreya avadhuta235
Fabrizio Ferrari
The Jewel of the Secret Path or the Neglected guru? Some Remarks on the guruvada among the Bauls of Bengal247
Claudia Ramasso
The Master Architect in the Corporations of India285
Gainni Pellegrini
The Figure of the pandita as guru305
Stefano Beggiora
The Subtle Teacher. Typologies of Shamanic Initiation: Trance and Dream among the Lanjia of Orissa327
Francesco Sferra
Teaching and Spiritual Counselling in Indian Buddhist Traditions. Some Considerations on the Role of the kalyanamitra345
Claudio Cicuzza
The Spiritual Teacher in Theravada Buddhism : Inner Motivations and Foundations of Mindfulness373
Fabian Sanders
Tulku, the guru by Birth409
Aldo Tollini
Dogen zenji, a Buddhist Master in 13th Century Japan419
Maurizio Scarpari
Zi yue, "The Master said…," or Didn't He?437
Attilio Andreini
The Paradoxical Virtue (de) of the Sage in the Laozi471
Massimo Markarovic
The Master in Dan Taoism509
Francesco Spagna
Awordless Teaching: Native American Spiritual Masters519
Luca Caldironi
The guru as Mediator of Healing529
Giangiorgio Pasqualotto
Figure and role of the Master Between East and West539
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