What is the Perennial Philosophy?

October 21, 2012 — Leave a comment

The term “perennial philosophy” was coined by Agostino Steuco (1497–1548), and is defined by Aldous Huxley this way:

[The] metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical to, divine Reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being ; the thing is immemorial and universal.

More simply, the perennial philosophy says there is only one Reality (call it God, Tao, Dharmakaya, Brahman, Great Spirit, Consciousness, Universe, etc.) that is the source and substance of all creation; that while each of us is a manifestation of this Reality most of us identify with something far smaller, i.e. the individual and isolated ego; that this misidentification gives rise to needless fear and unnecessary suffering; that compassion and justice naturally replace such fear and suffering when we realize our true nature as a manifestation of this nondual Reality; and that the great sages and mystics of every people throughout human history have discovered and rediscovered these truths and articulated them in the language of their time and culture.

The practices and texts that form the curriculum of One River Wisdom School are rooted in this philosophy, and aim to help you experience it directly. Our focus is not on teaching the various texts and techniques of the world’s religions, but only those that speak from and point us back to the Perennial Philosophy. This is, we think, one of the things that makes One River Wisdom School unique.

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