Foreword by Justin Stone
When I delivered the talks for the four videos that make up this book, some years ago, I had no idea they would one day be transcribed into a volume to be read. First of all, spoken words are usually quite a bit different from those carefully written. Secondly, and more important, the lectures were an academic endeavor, pulling together what I had mostly studied in others’ books, and matching them with my own experience. This is in contrast with my other books, almost all of which are experiential in nature. I am not interested in scholarship but believe what I have experienced or what has been revealed to me. Here I am interpreting others’ words for the most part.
Those who have worked so hard in transcribing the videotapes believe it is valuable to make known my insights into the various subjects covered in this book, feeling that otherwise, interested parties would not have a chance to be exposed to these different ideas. I hope they are right. I have no desire to be remembered as a scholar.
Preface by Justin Stone
There are six basic philosophies of India from which sprang nearly all spiritual activity in South and Southeast Asia. They have to do with the six Darshanas, insights or philosophies. Of these six philosophies, six insights, I am going to try and concentrate mostly on Samkhya and Vedanta. These names are not generally known in the West. People have heard of Vedanta though I don’t think they know what Vedanta means. We’ll comment more briefly on the other four philosophies. To these six principle philosophies, I have added a seventh, Kashmir Shaivism, which appeals to me a good deal. Kashmir Shaivism has to do with Shiva and Shakti and is the basis of Tantra. Furthermore, I will discuss the general characteristics of Indian philosophy and religion and touch a little on Yoga. There is probably more being written about Yoga than on any other subject in the world except, maybe, Indian Buddhism. (Indian Buddhism requires a complete change of outlook. You have to be completely open because it goes contrary to the way we normally think.) Then we’ll move to Japan and discuss Japanese Zen and a couple of the other Buddhisms there. In addition, we’ll go into some of the new religions of Japan, quite a few with which I’ve had close experience. Next we’ll move over to China and continue with Chinese Buddhism and Taoism. Along the way, we’ll touch a little on Tibetan Buddhism and Sufism.
Please realize that I am giving an overview of [South and Southeast Asian] philosophy in only four lectures. Remember, these brief summaries were spontaneously spoken, very much unlike being written in books or articles. Since each one of the categories we’re going to talk about could be discussed for a hundred hours, these lectures should be considered to be a rough framework.
Introduction from Ann and Amy
Many years ago, when Jean Katus was the Good Karma publisher, I rented Justin Stone’s [South and Southeast Asian] Philosophy lecture series videos. I was immediately overwhelmed and dumbfounded by the depth of the knowledge densely compacted into the five videos. I knew I could not possibly aurally digest the thousands of years of [South and Southeast Asian] philosophy that Justin shared with his Albuquerque audience. I asked Jean if it would be okay to transcribe the material, and, given her blessing, I began. It did not take long for me to give up on the task. It was just too much work. When I mentioned the project to Amy Tyksinski, she said, with a twinkle in her eye, “I’d love to help!”
Amy and I have munched through pounds of raw carrots and nuts as we worked through the transcription. We would frequently notice that the work would put us into a meditative state. In the process of writing down Justin’s words and trying to understand them, we have learned so much about who and what he is. We are greatly honored to have been part of the project. We thank Justin for his instruction on Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese terms and yes, on the proper use of commas!
– Ann Rutherford, T’ai Chi Chih teacher
Recently in trying to decide which booklet of Justin’s transcribed T’ai Chi Chih Conference talks to give my students, I stumbled upon an interesting portion from Evolution Through Chi (1990 T’ai Chi Chih Teacher Conference, Vallombrosa, Menlo Park, California.) Justin commented, “At the end of February and in early March (1990), I went to Albuquerque and gave ten hours of lectures on [South and Southeast Asian] Philosophy,….we’re trying to determine now what to do with those tapes,…whether it should come out as a book and whether these lectures should be made available on tape or what….for those who are really interested, it’s like being in a candy factory because so much is made available…(19-20).”
Sixteen years later, the candy has indeed proven to be delicious. I would like to thank Ann Rutherford for the quality of her heart and willingness to venture into unexplored territories. This project has been an incredible journey.
Justin has quoted Yogi Vashishtha as saying, “Ignore the taster; ignore the thing being tasted; rest in the tasting alone.” It would appear an apt approach to this book.
– Amy Tyksinski, T’ai Chi Chih Teacher
Acknowledgements from Amy and Ann
Many thanks to Carmen Brocklehurst and Doug Shilson for recording production of the talks; to Kim Grant and Good Karma Publishing for bringing the book into being; to Jess Posniak for her gracious help with Sanskrit terms and spellings (any remaining errors or inaccuracies are not her errors); to Gary Rutherford for coming to the rescue on many occasions when we were bereft of carrots and peanuts (to our delight, Gary always arrived in the nick of time with transfat-filled Costco consumables); to Amy’s dear friend Amy Hackenberg (without whom the candy wouldn’t taste as sweet) for walking with her in this life; and to Justin Stone, T’ai Chi Chih, and the Turiya meditation, the experience of which is infinite compassion and support of us all in our journey though the candy factory
This article is published in Gateway To Eastern Philosophy & Religion.