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Paperback Myths of Light : Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal Book

ISBN: 1608681092

ISBN13: 9781608681099

Myths of Light : Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal

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Book Overview

Master mythologist Joseph Campbell had a genius for finding the unifying symbols and metaphors in apparently distinct cultures and traditions. In Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal , Campbell explores, with his characteristic clarity and humor, the principle that underlies all the great religions of India and East Asia, from Jainism and Hinduism to Buddhism and Taoism: the transcendent World Soul. Joseph Campbell began his comparative...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Myths of Light

Myths of Light is a compilation of articles and lectures given over the years by Joseph Campbell. The topics explored in these pieces are quite varied. However, the main theme that ties these works together is that they all explore aspects of Eastern belief, mythology, iconography, and symbolism. Written from the perspective of the outsider taking a look into the beliefs and mythology of the East, Campbell provides an insightful overview. Campbell takes the stance that whether our stories are based upon fact or are merely fiction meant to illustrate proper behavior really isn't the issue. The truly important thing is that within mythology, dogma, and ritual we see the remnants of belief. I believe it is this viewpoint that allows Campbell to look within the various belief systems of the Eastern World with wonder and objectivity. Quite interesting. Perfect for new to the study.

Great Introduction to Asian Religion

I heard about this book at the Campbell Foundations website and was very interested--I'd always wanted to learn more about Asian religions but had found the books I'd looked at either too hard-core academic or too new-agey or too obscure. I tried reading the Bhagavad Gita ten years ago, and thought it was cool, but couldn't really understand it. This book really gave me an insight into the mindset that lies behind Buddhism and Hinduism. I'd always thought the emphasis on reincarnation was a little creepy, but now I have an idea of what its about. Campbell tells some wonderful stories and connects the dots between what seem like really random ideas. And the short section on the Bhagavad Gita was really eye-opening. I went back and reread the book and feel like I finally understand it.This is a perfect book to start your exploration of Eastern Religion.

A wonderful introduction to asian religion

This book was a lovely, focused introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism, with a little Jainism and Taoism thrown in for good measure. I loved Cambpell's ability both to find the lovely, telling details in each of these traditions, and to find the overarching themes--especially the idea of Brahman, which he sees as underpinning all of them. I also particularly loved Cambpell's sense of humor--in one section he's describing the reincarnation of the soul, and says it's putting on and taking off bodies "like a shopper at Macy's trying on scarves"! That page is marked in my copy by the tea I sputtered because I laughed so loudly.The only downside from my point of view was an emphasis in the sections on Buddhism on Mahayana as opposed to Theravada Buddhism. Though he does discuss the older branch of the Buddhist tradition, it is somewhat in passing. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book enormously.


Having devoured Campbell's work in the nineties, I'd almost given up on his unpublished essays and lectures ever seeing the light of day. Then came Thou Art That and now Myths Of Light. These books are just perfect echoes of Campbell's comparative conclusions, only more concise. After a lifetime of work, his lectures honed his thoughts into great clarity. These two books are actually great introductions to Campbell's thoughts and work. They touch here and there on historical evidence, but mainly stay in the line of clarifying what occident and orient mythology entails. If you've been waiting a long time to read more Campbell, you'll have bought these books already. And if you haven't, you'll be very surpised.

A joyful exploration of a fascinating subject

Having not much more background in Asian religion than a Zen Buddhism class I took to fulfill a distribution requirement in college 20 years ago, I approached this book with some anticipation and some anxiety. My main memory of those long-ago days in that lecture class was of reading and discussing religious texts that seemed to have been written by another species--the basic assumptions were beyond me, and my professor (who had spent his adult life immersed in the study of esoteric Buddhism) had a hard time understanding why we didn't just get it. But I'd been fascinated by what little I'd understood and always wanted to find a more accessible guide to the ins and outs of Asian myth. This book is it! Campbell, who I knew from Power of Myth, lays out the basic principles that underlie Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism (and he touches on Taoism too) with the same sort of humor and wisdom that I'd expected. What a fun book to start the summer reading season with!
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