Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent: Sacred Teachings-Annotated & Explained

Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent: Sacred Teachings-Annotated & Explained

by Rami Shapiro

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A "bible" for the religiously unaffiliated, weaving sacred texts from the world's major religions into a coherent exploration of the core questions at the heart of every religion’s search, with insightful commentary on using these texts in our daily lives.See more details below


A "bible" for the religiously unaffiliated, weaving sacred texts from the world's major religions into a coherent exploration of the core questions at the heart of every religion’s search, with insightful commentary on using these texts in our daily lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Even the spiritually independent can use a wise pastor, and Rami Shapiro steps into this role admirably, with his inimitable combination of wit, irony, honesty and luminous mystical understanding. The perfect guide for navigating the deep seas of perennial wisdom!"
Cynthia Bourgeault, author, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, The Wisdom Jesus and The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three

"Do not read this book, unless, that is, you want insight into life's biggest questions.... This book is the fruit of the author's own search for meaning and will bear fruit for any reader who approaches it, and life, with sacred sincerity."
Tom Stella, author, Finding God Beyond Religion: A Guide for Skeptics, Agnostics & Unorthodox Believers Inside & Outside the Church

"Marvelous ... it will change your life. Sufis say that once the Blush of the Beloved graces you, there is no going back to being a green apple."
Imam Jamal Rahman, author, The Spiritual Gems of Islam: Insights & Practices from the Qur'an, Hadith, Rumi & Muslim Teaching Stories to Enlighten the Heart & Mind

"Wise ... I want all my friends to read and savor this book!"
Gordon Peerman, Episcopal priest and psychotherapist; author, Blessed Relief: What Christians Can Learn from Buddhists about Suffering

“A deep mine filled with jewels of wisdom, each and every one radiant with light. When seen with our hearts, these jewels blaze the light of truth into the darkness of our limited understanding. A wonder-full offering.”
Krishna Das, internationally known chant artist

Spirituality and Practice - By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

We never liked the terms "spiritual but not religious" (SBNRs) or "nones" for people who describe themselves as not being affiliated with a religion. The negativity built into those terms make them inappropriate in this age of pluralism and multifaith activity. When we talked to Rami Shapiro, one of the most creative, eclectic, and witty spiritual teachers of our time, we were pleased to hear him refer to the spiritual seekers who now comprise 20 percent of the American population as "spiritually independent" individuals.

This term brings to mind political independents, people who find good ideas and policies in different political parties but choose not to join one in particular. They are less interested in where ideas come from than in how they contribute to creating the world they want to see. Similarly, Shapiro describes the spiritually independent as "people who share the same existential questions as almost every other human being but do not confine their search for answers to any one religion." After years of study and writing on all the world's religions, this teacher has identified five core questions which can serve as a starting point for these "seekers without borders" and others to explore the wisdom of the ages:

1. Who am I?
2. Where did I come from?
3. Where am I going?
4. How shall I live?
5. Why?

We are grateful to SkyLight Paths for publishing this timely paperback book in its Illuminations Series and for encouraging our recent E-Course "The Way of the Spiritually Independent with Rabbi Rami." It a perfect resource for our times when there are more materials available for those on a spiritual journey than ever before and people are turning to a wide variety of sources for wisdom and inspiration. Shapiro shares sacred texts and passages which fall under the umbrella of "perennial wisdom." Here you will find material from such diverse sources as Talmud scholars, the Desert Fathers, Lao Tzu, Meister Eckhart, Kabir, Ramakrishna, Howard Thurman, and many others. On facing pages, Shapiro adds his own commentaries for each text, relating it to traditional teachings and modern applications.

Shapiro has found Eknath Easwaran's "Passage Meditation" to be a practical and profound way of making these texts and teachings your own by memorizing, repeating, and contemplating them. Here are a few of the central points of perennial wisdom, according to Shapiro:

• The Oneness of God
• The multiplicity of Creation
• Everything as a manifestation of the Source
• God as the Whole and the Part
• The wonder and beauty of your True Self
• The universe as your Body
• The mystery of the Ancient One and the mysteries of humans
• Interdependence
• The charge to live courageously; practice peace, compassion, and justice; and be fearless in the face of death.

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Product Details

Skylight Paths Publishing
Publication date:
SkyLight Illuminations Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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Meet the Author

Rami Shapiro, a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions and a noted theologian, is a popular speaker on the topics of religion, theology and spirituality. He is author of the award-winning The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice; Recovery—The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice and Hasidic Tales: Annotated and Explained; among other books.

Rami Shapiro is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Writing—The Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice
  • Stop Playing God: 12 Steps as Spiritual Practice
  • Biblical Wisdom for Post-biblical Times: An Exploration of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job
  • The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Cultivating Compassion in Daily Life
  • Hasidic Wisdom: An Exploration of Hasidic Storytelling, Theology and Contemplative Practice
  • Saints and Sages: Biblical Prophets, Ancient Rabbis and the Building of a Just World

Click here to contact the author.

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, internationally known inspirational speaker and author, is founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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