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SpiritualityWhat It Is and Why It Matters$
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Roger S. Gottlieb

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738748.001.0001

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Spirituality in Religious Tradition

Spirituality in Religious Tradition

(p.53) 3 Spirituality in Religious Tradition

Roger S. Gottlieb

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that spirituality, understood as the pursuit of spiritual virtues, is not a recent cultural innovation but an important element within traditional religion. This claim is supported by an examination of the role of compassion and paradox in Mahayana Buddhism; ecstatic devotion to God in Sufism; humility in the teachings of the Catholic Saint Thomas a Kempis; and joy in everyday life in Hasidic Judaism. In each case religious tradition stresses aspects of spirituality that are compatible with today's “spiritual but not religious” perspectives, and which often form the basis for many of today's spiritual teachers. In each case the spiritual power of the traditional teaching can be detached from a particular framework of religious belief about God or revelation.

Keywords:   traditional religion, spirituality, Mahayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Rumi, Thomas a Kempis, Hasidism, Baal Shem Tov, compassion, joy, love of god, humility, Nagarjuna

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