East-West Spiritual Encounters—Historical Reflections

Contemporary spiritual life is unimaginable without yoga mats, Buddha statues and mindfulness practices. In order to unmask this, we undertake a brief recent history of East-West dialogue or transmission. Beginning in the 19th century, we examine the way Indian and East Asian spiritual traditions shifted from being objects of colonialist denigration, into objects of veneration (and reification). In this episode we explore the rise and fall of Theosophy, the transmission of Japanese Zen and Tibetan Buddhism into America and the relationship between counter culture and ‘eastern’ traditions and practices.

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