A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 2: From Gautama Buddha by Mircea Eliade

By Mircea Eliade

Publish 12 months note: initially released in French lower than the identify Histoire des croyances et des idees religieuses. Vol. 2: De Gautama Bouddha au triomphe du christianisme Payot, Paris, 1978. First released in english in 1982

In quantity 2 of this huge paintings, Mircea Eliade maintains his magisterial growth throughout the heritage of non secular rules. The religions of old China, Brahmanism and Hinduism, Buddha and his contemporaries, Roman faith, Celtic and German religions, Judaism, the Hellenistic interval, the Iranian syntheses, and the delivery of Christianity—all are encompassed during this quantity.

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The Tao "circulates everywhere in the universe, never being stopped" (chap. 25). The life and death of beings are also explained by the alternation of the Yang and the Yin: the former stimulates the vital energies, but the Yin brings rest. However, the holy man hopes to withdraw from the universal rhythm of life and death; by realizing emptiness in his own being, he places himself outside the circuit. As Lao Tzu expresses it, "there is no place in him [in the holy man] for death" (50. 13). "He who is supplied with a plenitude of Te is comparable to a newborn infant" (55.

25 and 52). It is symbolized by the "divinity of the Valley," the "Obscure Female" that does not die. 67 The image of the valley suggests the idea of emptiness and at the same time the idea of a receptacle of waters, hence of fecundity. Emptiness, the void, is associated, on the one hand, with the notion of fertility and maternity and, on the other hand, with the absence of sensible qualities (the special modality ofthe Tao). The image ofthe thirty spokes converging toward the emptiness of the hub inspires an especially rich symbolism, evident in "the virtue of the leader who attracts to himself all beings, of the sovereign Unity that gives order to mUltiplicity around it," but also evident in the Taoist who, "when he is empty, that is, purified of passions and desires, is completely inhabited by the Tao" (Kaltenmark, p.

It is neither a matter of wholly external ritualism nor one of an emotional exaltation deliberately induced during the accomplishment of a rite. Every piece of correct ceremonial behavior releases a formidable magico-religious power. 4). For the cosmos and society are governed by the same magico-religious powers that are active in man. "With a correct behavior, it is not necessary to give orders" (13. 6). "To govern by virtue [tel is as if one were the Pole Star: one remains in place while all the other stars circle around in homage" (2.

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