The German author of The Way of Transformation and Zen and Us continues his subtle mapping of the highways and byways of...

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THE CALL FOR THE MASTER: The Meaning of Spiritual Leadership on the Way to the Self

The German author of The Way of Transformation and Zen and Us continues his subtle mapping of the highways and byways of spiritual development in this penetrating study of masters and disciples. To many, the words ""spiritual master"" conjures up distasteful images of fat, greedy adolescents or grinning, yellow-robed satyrs--con men, one and all. According to Durckheim, however, real spiritual masters not only exist amongst the frauds, but their reception by today's youth ""is opening a new era in the history of the Western spirit."" Durckheim speaks here of sage men and women who have spent years tempering their natures in the fires of spiritual discipline. Masters may strike society as eccentric, even dangerous. They may use ""shock tactics"" as well as charisma to teach their charges. In doing so, they teach that ""Life"" (or God or Being--Durckheim uses these terms interchangeably) is change, growth, evolution, rather than stasis. Durckheim distinguishes three kinds of master: the eternal (i.e., archetypal) master; the here-and-now (i.e., flesh-and-blood) master; and the inner master (the master who lies buried deep within each of us). He analyzes the student's ties to each, and, in an insightful last section, shows how our relationship with our body, with our ""center,"" and with death can awaken us to the need for dramatic spiritual change. Although somewhat marred by Durckheim's Germanic propensity for thunderous declarations and dense cogitation, this glows with the power and insight of someone who apparently knows what he's talking about (Durckheim, now 91, is a revered spiritual teacher in his native land). A welcome counterpart to the many sensationalistic exposÉs of masters now flooding the bookracks.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1988