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Book Reviews

Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent

Sacred Teachings Annotated and Explained

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At the heart of any search for meaning lie several basic questions that have spurred seekers throughout the ages: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How shall I live, and why? Rabbi Rami Shapiro has addressed these questions with wisdom from the world’s sacred and philosophical teachings and his own illuminating commentary, enhanced by Eknath Easwaran’s practice of “Passage Meditation, to create a ‘bible’ for the spiritually independent.”

In sharing the fruit of his own search for meaning, Shapiro has admirably stepped into the role of guide to independent seekers. He has come to know that all diversity is part of a greater unity; that the sense of a separate self is a functional necessity rather than an absolute reality; that suffering is rooted in mistaking the limited and labeled self as the truest self; and that, with practice, it’s possible to shift one’s awareness from the limited egoic self to the infinite divine Self that is all Reality. He writes: “Because you know all the names of God can be of value, you are free to explore the sacred literatures of the world to cull the wisdom they have to offer. Because you know that no name is exclusively God, you are free from having to surrender yourself to any one name or system of belief…You are open to wisdom from whatever system of belief it may come, and yet free from having to believe in that system as a whole in order to benefit from its wisdom.”

There is no fixed destination on the spiritual path, Shapiro writes, only a moving from fear to love, from a closed mind to an open mind, from a constricted heart to an open heart. This book beautifully shows the way.

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