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Rumi, Vedanta, and Buddhism

  • Mostafa Vaziri
Chapter

Abstract

Before delving into studying the parallels among the philosophical outlooks of Rumi, Vedanta, and Buddhism, it is worth mentioning that social scientists—anthropologists in particular—have generally been more interested in studying the differences and cultural distances between human cultures. But today’s global circumstances have created a more compelling responsibility than ever before to study the similarities. This shift has brought with it the welcome possibility of better understanding the similarities and interactions of people and cross-influences among cultures. It is hoped that such studies will also further our understanding of the field of consciousness, by assessing the similarity of mystical experiences stemming from the underlying web of human universal consciousness, in the transcultural search for the ultimate reality. The interconnectedness of mystical-philosophical experiences also relates to new areas of scientific awareness in the fields of astronomy, theoretical physics, and parapsychology.

Keywords

Cultural Distance Mystical Experience Ultimate Reality Islamic World Final Liberation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Of course, among others, Abul Abbas Iranshahrī, Marvazī, Gardīzī, and Dārā Shokuh studied and praised Indian religious traditions (the first three authors wrote on Buddhism). See also Yohanan Friedmann, “Medieval Muslim Views of Indian Religions,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 95/2 (April–June 1975), 214–21. The seventeenth-century Safavid philosopher Mīr Findiriskī (d. 1640) also made some attempts to compare Vedic philosophy and Vedanta with Sufism in Isfahan, but received no attention.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  14. 32.
    Annemarie Schimmel. Mystische Dimensionen des Islam: Die Geschichte des Sufismus. 2. Auflage (München: Eugen Diederichs, 1992), 112, 192; see also A. Schimmel, Al-Halladsch Märtyrer der Gottesliebe (Köln: Jakob Hegner, 1968), 81.Google Scholar
  15. 38.
    Daryush Shayegan, Hindouisme et Soufisme: Une lecture du Confluent des Deux Océan le Majma ʻal-Bahrayn de Dârâ Shokûh (Paris: Édition Albin Michel, S.A., 1997; 1968 PhD dissertation; first published 1979), 23; see also Mojtabai, Hindu-Muslim Cultural Relations, 66–67.Google Scholar
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    See David Loy, “Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?” PhD diss., National University of Singapore.Google Scholar
  17. 41.
    There is a brief earlier attempt to connect Rumi with Vedanta, but only from the religious-scholastic point of view, by R. M. Chopra, “Rumi’s Tasawwuf and Vedantic Mysticism,” Indo-Iranica 61, nos. 1-2 (2008), 28–38.Google Scholar
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  19. 45.
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  20. 47.
    Swami Prabhavananda, The Spiritual Heritage of India (Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2003), 284.Google Scholar
  21. 66.
    “This invisible and subtle essence is the Spirit of the whole universe. That is Reality. That is Truth. Thou are That” (The Upanishads, 118). See also Joel P. Brereton, “‘Tat Tvam Asi’ in Context,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 136 (1986), 99–109, and R. C. Zaehner, Hindu and Muslim Mysticism (London: University of London, The Athlone Press, 1960), 95.Google Scholar
  22. 67.
    Translation from M. Vaziri, The Guru of Rumi: The Teachings of Shams Tabrizi (Varanasi: Pilgrims Publishing, 2008), 53. It can be said that Rumi is neither an eternalist, interested in the next world, nor a nihilist, who believes only in this world. He is a transcendentalist, or, according to his poem, perhaps none of them.Google Scholar
  23. 70.
    Nāgārjuna was the prime architect of “non-self” and “emptiness” in Mahayana Buddhist philosophy: see David J. Kalupahana, Mūlamadhyamakakārikā of Nāgārjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2006, first published by the State University of New York, 1986).Google Scholar
  24. 71.
    Muso Kokushi, Dream Conversations: On Buddhism and Zen, trans. Thomas Cleary, (Boston and London: Shambhala, 1994), 61.Google Scholar

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© Mostafa Vaziri 2015

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