Enlightened Contemporaries: Francis, Dogen, and Rumi: Three Great Mystics of the Thirteenth Century and Why They Matter Today

Steve Kanji Ruhl. Monkfish, $16.95 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-948626-13-2
In this insightful study, Zen Buddhist minister Ruhl (The Constant Yes of Things) examines the lives of St. Francis of Assisi, Dogen Kigen, and Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi to explain how they’ve become “superstars” of their respective mystic traditions: Christianity, Soto Zen, and Sufi Islam. Ruhl argues that the “mystic experience” is critical to living a full human life through its ability to “expunge the petty ego.” He further argues that Francis, Dogen, and Rumi remain relevant—and popular—because of their involvement with timeless human theological, social, environmental, and sexual concerns. The work is divided into four sections: biographies of each mystic, their thinking on five specific topics that were prominent in each one’s life (love, nature, the body, the role of women, and spiritual retreat), their poetry, and a conclusion suggesting what these three have to offer the modern world. For instance, both Dogen and Francis “pioneered new opportunities for women seeking to devote themselves fully to spiritual life,” and Dogen’s seated meditation and Rumi’s ecstatic dance “can serve as models for affirming the power of the body in experiencing the sacred.” This is an excellent group biography of three mystics of critical importance to their own traditions and to mysticism as a whole. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/14/2020
Release date: 06/01/2020
Genre: Religion
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