Kindle Fire Kindle Tequila Learn more about Cloud Drive Learn more about Cloud Drive Get the free desktop app View Looks View Looks Shop All Clothing Best Books of the Month Best Books of the Month Best Books of the Month

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Amazon Prime Free Trial required. Sign up when you check out. Learn More
Sell Back Your Copy
For a $0.92 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy

The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy [Paperback]

Robert K. C. Forman (Editor)
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews) Like (0)

Price: $60.00 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. Details
  Special Offers Available
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Want it delivered Thursday, May 31?
Order it in the next 13 hours and 6 minutes, and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout.
14 new from $29.02 15 used from $24.88
Kindle Book
Tell the Publisher!
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don’t have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.
Print Book
Just so you know...

Your Browsing History
Customers Also Bought
Textbook Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for students on millions of items. Learn more


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback $60.00  
Sell Back Your Copy for $0.92
Whether you bought it on Amazon or somewhere else, you can sell it back through our Book Trade-In Program at the current price of $0.92.
Used Price$24.88
Trade-in Price$0.92
Price after

Book Description

March 6, 1997 0195109767 978-0195109764
Are mystical experiences formed by the mystic's cultural background and concepts, as "constructivists" maintain, or do mystics sometimes transcend language, belief, and culturally conditioned expectations? Do mystical experiences differ throughout the various religious traditions, as "pluralists" contend, or are they somehow ecumenical? The contributors to this collection scrutinize a common mystical experience, the "pure consciousness event"--the experience of being awake but devoid of intentional content--in order to answer these questions. Through the use of historical Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Jewish mystical writings, as well as those of modern mystics, the contributors reveal the inconsistencies and inadequacies of current models, and make significant strides towards developing new models for the understanding of mystical phenomenon, in particular, and of human experience, in general.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Buy $50 in qualifying physical textbooks, get $2 in Amazon MP3 Credit. Here's how (restrictions apply)

Customers Viewing This Page May Be Interested in These Sponsored Links

  (What's this?)
Find a path meant just for you. Visit the Rosicrucian Order.
See a problem with these advertisements? Let us know

Frequently Bought Together

Customers buy this book with Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness $18.16

The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy + Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness
  • This item: The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy

  • Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness

Editorial Reviews


"A useful contribution to the literature, and should help to foster an ongoing dialogue on the topic."--Philosophy East & West

"An important contribution that advances the discussion of a very fundamental issue in the comparative study of religions, this book is highly recommended for all libraries supporting religious studies, especially those responsive to the needs of course offerings on mysticism."--Religious Studies Review

About the Author

Robert K.C. Forman is Associate Professor of Religion at City University of New York's Hunter College, and author of six books and numerous articles on religion and religious experiences.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (March 6, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195109767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195109764
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Must-reading. July 6, 1999
A couple of decades ago, a backlash arose against the notion of a Perennial Philosophy/Psychology (Aldous Huxley, Ken Wilber, et al.) or Primordial Tradition (Frithjof Schuon, Huston Smith, et al.) in the study of mysticism by the so-called "constructivist" camp of scholars, led by Steven Katz and Robert Gimello. This camp can actually be classified within the entire postmodern "deconstructivist" wave of academics who today dominate the humanities and social sciences in general. The postmodern constructivists/deconstructivists accuse perennialists of circular reasoning, naive hermeneutics, and unsound use of primary texts. This camp maintains that there are no cross-culturally shared features of mystical experience, no shared spiritual "core experience," but rather that each person's mystical experience is just his/her ordinary experience, not some true realization of God or Absolute Reality. Thus, mystical experiences are not at all veridical, they cannot point to any true spiritual "Reality" beyond themselves. Katz, et al., think that mystics' experiences are strongly colored by or actually caused and produced by a superimposition of their beliefs and conditioning upon arising experiences. All experience, in other words, is mediated by culture, language, and psycho-physiological factors. No experience is immediate. In response to this attack, Robert Forman and the other fine contributing authors to this volume-- Daniel Matt (The Essential Kabbalah, The Zohar), Anthony Perovich, Philip Almond, Donald Rothberg, Mark Woodhouse (Paradigm Wars, A Preface to Philosophy), Paul Griffiths, Christopher Chapple, et al., have advanced a powerfully persuasive set of arguments in favor of perennialism and the primordial tradition against the views of the postmodern constructivist/de-constructivist camp. They completely destroy the "constructivist" theory of Katz, Gimello and others, on both logical and empirical grounds. Mind you, the constructivist view is still quite useful in accounting for "visionary" experiences (e.g., the Christian seeing Jesus, the Hindu seeing Krishna) and what have sometimes been called "prophetic" states of consciousness, what Ninian Smart would call "numinous" experiences. Notwithstanding the fact that most religious experiences are "constructed" or mediated by cultural, linguistic, psychological and physiological conditioning, constructivists simply cannot adequately account for the deepest intuitive or contemplative mystical experience, what Forman calls "the Pure Consciousness Event" (PCE), which, because it is formless, has no "contaminating" influence from conditioned forms of thinking, perception or feeling. In other words, the Pure Consciousness Event--what I call "mystical realization of Spirit or Pure Awareness or Absolute Being"--is not shaped by concepts, theological dogmas, symbols, memories, emotions, diet, body type, patterns of social interaction, or anything else. It just is, in all its blessed simplicity and purity. Ostensibly, the PCE is an immediate intuition of the Divine Ground or Absolute Reality, that is, it is a radical form of de-conditioning or liberation and direct experiencing of the Real. Katz would disagree, saying that the perennialist dream of ultimate freedom and God-realization is mere delusion, bereft of evidence. Forman and I would strongly argue against this, on the basis of both direct experience and also the obvious, magnificent freedom of the most acclaimed sages in the sacred traditions whom one can meet or read about (e.g., Eckhart, Juan de la Cruz, the Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta masters, nondual Sufis and Kabbalists, contemplative Taoists, et al.). This freedom or de-conditioning makes a real difference: a method to easily test this is to seat Katz and any spiritual master together in the same meditation hermitage for a month without any distractions, and see who fares well in "the art of just being" and who does not. No contest. Monitoring their brain waves, stress hormone levels, and so forth would show even more clearly that the genuine mystic enjoys a tremendous state of ease under such "trying" circumstances that simply cannot be faked by anyone who has not awakened to the Real. --Timothy Conway, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, author of *Women of Power and Grace: Nine Astonishing, Inspiring Luminaries of Our Time.*
Was this review helpful to you?
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The Problem of Pure Consciousness is essential reading for all students of mysticism. Mystics often report that they experience pure consciousness events, that is, events of consciousness wherein they think nothing, feel nothing and will nothing. The problem is that scholars of mysticism have denied that such events are possible. Scholars argue that all mental events, even mystical ones, are never "pure" -- but always show traces of the individual's intellectual and cultural heritage. By quoting from the great Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, Robert Forman shows that the pure consciousness event is quite clearly described. Other contributors discuss other examples of the pure consciousness event, from various religious traditions. Hats off to Robert Forman and his colleagues, for letting mystics, rather than just scholars of mysticism, speak for the realities of mystical experience!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customers Also Bought Items By


Inside This Book (learn more)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Tag this product

 (What's this?)
Think of a tag as a keyword or label you consider is strongly related to this product.
Tags will help all customers organize and find favorite items.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

Customer Discussions


So You'd Like to...

Look for Similar Items by Category

Look for Similar Items by Subject



If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us.
 Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?
Is there any other feedback you would like to provide? Click here

Your Recent History (What's this?)