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#2160 - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    The Nondual Highlights #2160 - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm Letter to the
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       The Nondual Highlights
      #2160 - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz
       
      Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm  
      Letter to the Editors: Click 'Reply' on your email program, compose your message, and 'Send'. All the editors will see your letter.
       
       

       
       
      This issue features a book review by Jerry Katz of Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom, by Ibn 'Arabi. Interpreted by Shaydk Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti.
       
       

       
       
       
       
      Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom by Ibn ‘Arabi
      Including What the Seeker Needs and The One Alone

      Interpreted by Tosun Bayrak
      Fons Vitae (1997) ISBN 1887752056 paperback - Index 302 pp. $19.95
       
       
      Reviewed by Jerry Katz
       
      ~ ~ ~
       
      I was glad to discover the publisher of this book, Fons Vitae. I recommend visiting their website and catalogue: http://www.fonsvitae.com/MG1.html.
      The following, from the website, is an introduction to this publisher:
       
      FONS VITAE (Al-Kauthar), a non-profit, charitable foundation, and refereed press, is devoted to making available works from the world's great spiritual traditions which could be of true use to a person of any faith seeking Wholeness or Holiness. Literally translated from Latin as "the fountain of life," fons vitae refers to the Knowledge which flows out to humanity from the Divine Source.

      Although Fons Vitae was established in 1997, its efforts are a continuation of publishing begun in Cambridge, England in 1979 as Quinta Essentia--focused on symbolism, the arts, and universal spirituality-- and the Islamic Texts Society--whose aim is to translate important work in the Islamic tradition, especially Sufism. Our wish is to bring out books which are exquisitely produced and impeccable in scholarship, which could be used with confidence by both the university professor in classes and by the person interested in the eternal verities, with no compromise to a recent soft focus on spirituality. A person seeking the realm of the sacred must have authentic and reliable, traditional sources to find the sustenance required for his or her own path and inspiration.

      Fons Vitae is a refereed publishing house, which ensures the highest academic standards for its publications. Members of its editorial advisory board include such scholars as Robert Thurman, Huston Smith, Ewert Cousins, Seyyed Hussein Nasr, Anne Feldhaus, William Chittick, and William Graham. See full list of editorial advisors with biographies. Fons Vitae is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, having 501c3 status. As such, all donations and contributions are eligible for 100% tax deductions.

      Sincerely,

      Gray Henry (fonsvitaeky@...)
       
      ~ ~ ~
       
      Now, to the review...
       
      I bought this book for the 20 page section entitled The One Alone, which is very nondual. I also read the 18 page Translator's Introduction, which tells about the life of Ibn 'Arabi. These two sections alone make the book an important addition to a library of nonduality books. The bulk of the volume, a book of wisdom on governing oneself, I have only so far scanned and therefore have not included any other mention of it in this review.
       
      Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi lived from 1165 to 1240. He "has become one of the most important expounders of Sufi wisdom." "Ibn 'Arabi all his life felt the pain of not being understood. Yet the breadth and depth of his wisdom, insight, vision, and knowledge was and is awesome to whomever catches a glimpse of it. Many of his expressions of divine mysteries have never been improved upon. Many important affairs, which he foretold centuries ago, have taken place and continue to take place."
       
      This introduction is brief, a distillate of the life of Ibn 'Arabi. It covers his life from birth to death, describes his physical appearance, reveals extreme controversy surrounding Ibn 'Arabi, demonstrates his wisdom, tells about a meeting with an adolescent Rumi, and more. Throughout this distillate is communicated the author/translator's love and understanding of Ibn 'Arabi, the person and his works; clearly, it must be the case, otherwise how could Ibn 'Arabi's words set forth in this book cut so cleanly?
       
      The One Alone is a work of pure nonduality. To demonstrate that, here are a few quotations, a few fragments which do not do justice to this entire work:
       
      "Therefore, if you know yourself without being, not trying to become nothing, you will know your Lord. If you think that to know Allah depends on your ridding yourself of yourself, then you are guilty of attributing partners to Him -- the only unforgivable sin -- because you are claiming that there is another existence besides Him, the All-Existent: that there is a you and a He."
       
      "You presume others to be other than Allah. There is nothing other than He, but you do not know this. While you are looking at Him you do not recognize Him. When the secret opens to you, you will know that you are none other than He."
       
      "...do not think that you need to become nothing, that you need to annihilate yourself in Him. If you thought so, then you would be His veil, while a veil over Allah is other than He. How could you be a veil that hides Him? What hides Him is His being the One Alone."
       
      "When the secret of a single atom out of all the atoms from which the elements are made becomes known, the secrets of the whole universe visible and invisible will be revealed. Then you will not see anything but Allah either in this world and in the Hereafter."
       
      "Thus when you know yourself, your self and selfishness will leave you, and you will know that there is nothing in existence but Allah."
       
       "...the meaning of 'The eyes cannot see Him...' is that there is no existence other than His. The Truth can only be conceived of by Itself, which has no other identity except the Truth: Allah sees Himself by Himself and by none other than Himself. His Essence sees His Essence."
       
      I am not aware of The One Alone being available on the internet. If it is, it could easily be incomplete, inaccurate, or intentionally modified. There is an excerpt on my website at http://www.nonduality.com/ibn.htm, but I haven't checked it for accuracy, and it is only a very brief portion of the entire work. The One Alone may be the most nondual writing in Sufi literature. It may also be called nondual Islam. Look how (and how could it be surprising?) close it is to nondual Judaism:
       
      Islam (via Ibn 'Arabi): "If you think that to know Allah depends on your ridding yourself of yourself, then you are guilty of attributing partners to Him -- the only unforgivable sin -- because you are claiming that there is another existence besides Him, the All-Existent: that there is a you and a He."
       
      Judaism (via Kabbalah): "If you suppose that Ein Sof emanantes until a certain point, and that from that point on is outside of it, you have dualized. God forbid! realize, rather, that Ein Sof exists in each existent. Do not say, 'This is a stone and not God.' God forbid! Rather, all existence is God, and the stone is a thing pervaded by divinity."
       
      Islam and Judaism is the vast ocean of nonduality. In the name of understanding and peace, The One Alone, along with The Essential Kabbalah, by Daniel C. Matt, should sit together on a book shelf.
       
      --Jerry Katz
       
      Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom by Ibn ‘Arabi
      Including What the Seeker Needs and The One Alone

      Interpreted by Tosun Bayrak
      Fons Vitae (1997) ISBN 1887752056 paperback - Index 302 pp. $19.95
       
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