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The Underlying Religion
This site includes The Underlying Religion’s pictures, online articles, slideshows, reviews, table of contents, and more.
Underlying Religion, The
Underlying Religion, The
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Comparative Religion

Price:  $24.95

ISBN:  978-1-933316-43-7
Book Size:  6 x 9
# of Pages:  368
Language:  English

The Underlying Religion is an anthology of 25 essays by 14 of the leading exponents of the "Perennialist" or "Traditionalist" school of comparative religious thought, associated with René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon. This school is well known for its espousal of the "transcendent unity of religions"-the idea that religions are different paths leading to the same summit. Focusing its selection on the most accessible of the Perennialist writings, and structured in such a way as to allow for the easiest possible comprehension, The Underlying Religion aims to be the most accessible introduction yet to the perspective of the Perennial Philosophy.
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Detailed Description of The Underlying Religion

The Underlying Religion is an anthology of 25 essays by 14 of the leading exponents of the "Perennialist" or "Traditionalist" school of comparative religious thought, associated with René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon. This school is well known for its espousal of the "transcendent unity of religions"—the idea that religions are different paths leading to the same summit. Focusing its selection on the most accessible of the Perennialist writings, and structured in such a way as to allow for the easiest possible comprehension, The Underlying Religion aims to be the most accessible introduction yet to the perspective of the Perennial Philosophy.

Martin Lings was Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books at the British Museum. He is the author of the widely known and admired book Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, and was himself one of the most prominent and active Perennialist authors of the 20th century. Dr. Lings died in May, 2005. Clinton Minnaar is a professional editor in the field of religious studies. Originally from South Africa, he currently lives with his wife in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

About the Author(s)

Martin Lings

Martin Lings (1909-2005) was a leading member of the “Traditionalist” or “Perennialist” school and an acclaimed author, editor, translator, scholar, Arabist, and poet whose work centers on the relationship between God and man through religious doctrine, scripture, symbolism, literature, and art. He was an accomplished metaphysician and essayist who often turned to the world’s great spiritual traditions for examples, though he is probably best known for his writings on Islam and its esoteric tradition, Sufism.

Dr. Lings co-edited The Underlying Religion (2007) with Clinton Minnar. This book is a survey of central perennialist ideas and authors. Dr Lings contributed the following essays to various World Wisdom books:

  • “The Past in the Light of the Present & The Rhythms of Time”, “The Decisive Boundary”, “The Symbol”, and “The Spirit of the Times”, as well as a preface, to The Underlying Religion
  • The “Introduction” to The Essential René Guénon

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Clinton Minnaar

Clinton Minnaar was born in Namibia (formerly South West Africa) in 1972. An early attraction to contemplative spirituality saw him travel to the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe in search of religious, cultural, and historical sites of interest. His encounters with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, coupled with a deep interest in Eastern religions, saw him complete undergraduate studies in Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and English. Further graduate studies included an MA on the Perennialist school of comparative religious thought, and a teaching degree with specialties in English and Religious Studies. For more than a decade he has combined these specialties in editing books on world religions for adults, teens, and children. Clinton Minnaar lives with his Argentinean wife in Bloomington, IN.

The Underlying Religion (2007) was co-edited by Martin Lings and Clinton Minnaar.

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Reviews of The Underlying Religion

“Perennialist/traditionalist thought strives for a unity that transcends each individual religion and its unique doctrines. This look at primordial religion edited by the late Lings (Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources) and Minnaar, a professional editor in the field of religious studies, is an anthology of 25 essays of the leading 14 exponents of sophia perennis: Frithjof Schuon, René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and Titus Burckhardt, to name a few (there are biographical notes on all). . . . The authors discuss Truth, Prayer, Virtue, and Beauty in a way that crosses cultural, linguistic, and ethnic boundaries . . . [and] go deep into an esoteric and mystical realm most readers rarely get the opportunity to visit. This insightful and amazing glimpse into Eastern thought as interpreted by Eastern and Western scholars deserves second and third readings. Recommended for academic and public libraries.”
Library Journal, review written by Gary P. Gillum

Twenty-five essays by fourteen leading authors of the 'traditionalist' school of comparative religious thought are provided in Martin Lings' last book on Perennial Philosophy, and makes this a top pick for any comprehensive spirituality library. Its essays reflect the foundations of perennialist thought and is intended as a basic introduction to the philosophy and spirituality of the movement: as such it's a powerful foundation pick for any serious discussion of the topic.
Midwest Book Reviews

"The Underlying Religion brings together compelling essays by the most authoritative exponents of the sophia perennis in our time— a veritable light in the darkness for those seeking the unchanging principles at the heart of all integral traditions."
Professor Harry Oldmeadow, La Trobe University Bendigo, and author of Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy and Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions

"I do not know, and cannot even imagine, a better book [than The Underlying Religion] to introduce the reader to the most profound incursion into the understanding of religion that has appeared in modern times. I am speaking, of course, of the Perennialist position."
Dr. Huston Smith, Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University

"It is a magnificent and important book. The various contributions powerfully advance the ideas of the perennial philosophy."
Dr. William Stoddart, author of Sufism: the Mystical Doctrines and Methods of Islam

“It is the notable distinction of this anthology—intended as an introduction to the perennial philosophy—to have been selected and prefaced by one of the great masters in the filed, a task which Martin Lings completed shortly before his death. As he himself tells us, recalling a Sufi poem, what is here offered—“to those in the Tavern”—constitutes in essence “an altogether transcendent Wine.” One can only wish that this Wine will inebriate all who come to partake of it!”
Professor Wolfgang Smith, author of Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief and The Wisdom of Ancient Cosmology

"The Sword of Gnosis, edited by Jacob Needleman in 1974, was instrumental in introducing the perennialist perspective to the English speaking world. This new anthology has the depth and breadth to become the next classic of the kind. Spanning the range of perennialist generations, the editors have provided us with a carefully collected set of essays that cover all the fundamental grounds of traditionalist thinking."
Patrick Laude, author of Singing the Way: Insights in Poetry and Spiritual Transformation

“By its very nature the perennial philosophy is demanding and difficult of access, and even an introduction to the subject will therefore require much of the student. This thoughtfully constructed propaedeutic reduces that requirement as far as possible, but without in any way compromising the integrity, or reducing the luster, of the truths presented. Selections from several of the world’s most authoritative perennialists have been carefully chosen to lead the attentive reader, step by step, from a diagnosis of the ills of his condition to the very doors of initiation.”
James S. Cutsinger, author of Advice to the Serious Seeker: Meditations on the Teaching of Frithjof Schuon

The following summary of the sections in The Underlying Religion were excerpted from a review in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2009:

"[Section One] describes the hiatus that divides the sacred orientation of the traditional world from that of the secular and progress driven modern and post-modern world.… [Section Two] underscores the implicit limitations of modern science, its failures and destructive tendencies for not receiving its directives from divine principles utilized since time immemorial in both East and West.…[Section Three] gives a clear exposition on what is and what is not integral metaphysics according to the perennial philosophy which has nothing to do with ‘New Age’ spiritualities.…[Section Four] contextualizes symbols outside the pale of modern psychology or that of the ‘‘unconscious’’ from which they are commonly thought to originate rather than that of their true origin in divinis as are ‘archetypes’.…[Section Five] provides a revision and an expansion, mutatis mutandis of what has been commonly attributed and often wrongly so as the perennial philosophy or the ‘transcendent unity of religions’. It is through the perennial philosophy that true and authentic interfaith dialogue can precede for both the differences and similarities are taken into account without compromising the integrity of each tradition.… [Section Six] makes it clear that it is incumbent upon anyone on a spiritual path to live within a context of beauty for spiritual support vis-á-vis highlighting the inherent the dangers and pitfalls of not having such an integral milieu.…[Section Seven] provides important notes on spiritual guidance, complementing the previous chapters dealing predominantly with that of traditional doctrine."
Samuel Bendeck Sotillos

Table of Contents for The Underlying Religion

Preface by Martin Lings
Introduction by Clinton Minnaar

1. "Religion and Tradition" by Lord Northbourne
2. "Modernism: The Profane Point of View" by Lord Northbourne
3. "Looking Back on Progress" by Lord Northbourne

4. "The Past in the Light of the Present & The Rhythms of Time" by Martin Lings
5. "Evolutionism" by Titus Burckhardt
6. "Modern Science and the Dehumanization of Man" by Philip Sherrard

7. "Oriental Metaphysics" by René Guénon
8. "The Decisive Boundary" by Martin Lings
9. "Scientia Sacra" by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
10. "Understanding and Believing" by Frithjof Schuon

11. "The Symbol" by Martin Lings
12. "The Traditional Doctrine of Symbolism" byGhazi bin Muhammad
13. "The Language of the Birds" by René Guénon
14. "Symplegades" by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

15. "The Spirit of the Times" by Martin Lings
16. "Paths That Lead to the Same Summit" by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
17. "Mysticism" by William Stoddart
18. "The Perennial Philosophy" by Frithjof Schuon

19. "Foundations of an Integral Aesthetics" by Frithjof Schuon
20. "An Introduction to Sacred Art" by Titus Burckhardt
21. "Do Clothes Make the Man? The Significance of Human Attire" by Marco Pallis

22. "Virtue and Morality" by Tage Lindbom
23. "Frithjof Schuon and Prayer" by Reza Shah-Kazemi
24. "A Letter on Spiritual Method" by Titus Burckhardt

Afterword: The Revival of Interest in Tradition" by Whitall N. Perry
Notes on Contributors
Biographical Notes

Selection from our Library about The Underlying Religion
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2Subject WW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
Oriental MetaphysicsTomorrow, Vol. 12, No. 1. (Winter, 1964); also in the book "The Underlying Religion"Guénon, René Comparative Religion, Metaphysics, Modernism, Perennial Philosophy, Spiritual Life, Tradition
Modern Science and the Dehumanization of ManStudies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 10, No. 2. (Spring, 1976); also in the book "The Underlying Religion"Sherrard, Philip Christianity, Comparative Religion, Modernism, Science, Tradition
SymplegadesStudies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 7, No. 1. (Winter, 1973); also in the book "The Underlying Religion"Coomaraswamy, Ananda Comparative Religion, Mythology or Legend, Symbolism
Virtue and MoralityStudies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 9, No. 4. (Autumn, 1975); also in the book "The Underlying Religion"Lindbom, Tage Comparative Religion, Inspirational, Spiritual Life
Introduction to "The Underlying Religion"The Underlying Religion: An Introduction to the Perennial PhilosophyMinnaar, Clinton Metaphysics, Perennial Philosophy
The Language of the BirdsThe Underlying Religion: An Introduction to the Perennial PhilosophyGuénon, René Metaphysics
 6 entries (Displaying results 1 - 6) View : Jump to: Page: of 1 pages

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