The fundamental thought in the Oriental philosophical world

The fundamental thought in the Oriental philosophical world is that the mysterious, ultimate truth, that which you seek to know, is absolutely beyond all definition. All categories of thought, all modes of imaging fall short of it. When we ask, “Is God merciful, just, loving? Does he love me, does he love my people more than those? Are these not chosen, are those not rejected?”––this from the Oriental standpoint is sheer kindergarten stuff.

-- Joseph Campbell
Myths of Light (p. 6)
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Myths of Light

This previously unpublished title brings the focus of Campbell's remarkable knowledge and intellect to one of his favorite topics: the myths and metaphors of the Asian religions. By his own account, Joseph Campbell began his comparative study of the world's religions with a chance meeting with the renowned Indian Theosophist Jeddu Krishnamurti on a trans-Atlantic steamer. Though he was deeply fascinated by mythologies and religions from every continent, Campbell's imagination was most captured by Asia's potent mix of theologies as they offered him paths to understanding the essence of myth. Readers who have been waiting for an accessible summation of Campbell's insights into the great Asian traditions will have it in this compact volume.

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Other quotations from this Title
Nirvāṇa literally means “blown out”; the image is that once one has realized one’s unity with what is called the Buddha mind — this is the Buddhist conception of Brahman — then one’s individual ego is extinguished like a candle flame, and one becomes one with the great solar light.   [share]
The amazing thing about Indian mythology is that it could absorb the universe we talk about now, with the great cycles of stellar lives, the galaxies beyond galaxies, and the comings and goings of universes. What this does is diminish the force of the present moment. [share]
Look up at the lights on the ceiling. Each bulb carries the light. We can think of this totality as many bulbs. On the other hand, we can focus on the one light that emanates from all the bulbs. What are we focusing on, the light or the lights? [share]
Eternity is not a long time; rather, it is another dimension. It is that dimension to which time-thinking shuts us. And so there never was a creation. Rather, there is a continuous creation going on. This energy is pouring into every cell of our being right now, every board and brick of the buildings we sit in, every grain of sand and wisp of wind. [share]
The fundamental thought in the Oriental philosophical world is that the mysterious, ultimate truth, that which you seek to know, is absolutely beyond all definition. All categories of thought, all modes of imaging fall short of it. When we ask, "Is God merciful, just, loving? Does he love me, does he love my people more than those? Are these not chosen, are those not rejected?"––this from the Oriental standpoint is sheer kindergarten stuff. [share]
Life throws up around us these temptations, these distractions, and the problem is to find the immovable center within. Then you can survive anything. Myth will help you do that. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go out on picket lines about atomic research. Go ahead, but do it playfully. The universe is God's play. [share]
The realms of the gods and demons––heaven, purgatory, hell––are of the substance of dreams. Myth, in this view, is the dream of the world. If we accept gods as objective realities, then they are the counterpart of your dream––this is a very important point––dream and myth are of the same logic. [share]
Mythology is composed by poets out of their insights and realizations. Mythologies are not invented; they are found. You can no more tell us what your dream is going to be tonight than we can invent a myth. Myths come from the mystical region of essential experience. [share]