Alan Watts on the perils and pitfalls for Westerners of attempting to follow Eastern spiritual paths

Becoming Human

In this talk, Alan Watts explains the cultural presuppositions underpinning Taoism, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, and consequently some of the problems and contradictions often linked to their adoption by Westerners. Essentially, his argument is that these systems are designed to achieve liberation from specific forms of cultural conditioning; for those who do not share those forms of cultural conditioning, they make considerably less sense, especially if not appropriately reinterpreted. It is particularly problematic when Westerners simultaneously attempt to adopt the cultural framework of reference as part of the practice, given that the practice is designed to liberate from that very cultural framework. Watts argues that esoteric forms of these religions were essentially conceived to protect them against social forces that otherwise would have repressed them, and that the esotericism is therefore epiphenomenal. He points out that any effort to supersede the ego which is driven by the ego, which is…

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One Response to Alan Watts on the perils and pitfalls for Westerners of attempting to follow Eastern spiritual paths

  1. Jangali says:

    Thanks for sharing it! Love and light.

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