Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Transformation of the Body Through Spiritual Somatic Liquid-like Phenomena in the Path to Enlightenment, or Union with God, in Eight Mystical Paths: A Comparative Analysis
by Giusti, Igor, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2018, 807; 13427835
Abstract (Summary)

What if it was possible to attain enlightenment, or union with God, in the physical body? What if instead of using meditation or prayer to merely transcend embodied existence, practitioners were to transform the experience of their body in order to bring a sense of transcendence into their very physicality and the world itself? These questions are timely. There is much dialogue around the relationship of enlightenment, or union with God, and the body. Using a hermeneutic methodology, this study first explores 8 spiritual concepts (in 8 different spiritual traditions) that refer to subtle spiritual phenomena occurring in the body. These phenomena are alternatively described as a liquid, oil, nectar, or water that penetrates the body, and hypothesized to relate to consciousness as experienced through somatic awareness or awareness occupying the body. These concepts and traditions are as follows: amata (and rapture and pleasure) in Theravada Buddhism, amrita in Vajrayāna Buddhism according to the Nyingma and Geluk school, amrita in Hinduism according to Hatha Yoga, amrita in neo-Advaita Vedānta, "the descending force" in Śri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga, the "water of life" in Christianity according to St. Teresa of Avila, shefa in Judaism according to the Zohar, and "presence" in A. H. Almaas' Diamond Approach. The first part of the study uses canonical texts and authoritative commentaries for hermeneutical analysis. Subsequently, by adopting a comparative methodological approach, the second part compares and contrasts the findings to understand the differences, similarities, and role of the experiences to which these 8 concepts refer in relation to the body and enlightenment, or union with God, as these spiritual goals are understood by each tradition.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ferrer, Jorge N.
Commitee: Hartelius, Glenn, Ish-Shalom, Zvi
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: East-West Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Metaphysics, Spirituality, Comparative religion
Keywords: Amrita amrta amata, Body embodiment, Mystical union, Shefa divine influx oil water milk, Water of life
Publication Number: 13427835
ISBN: 978-0-438-83889-5
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