Advice to the Serious Seeker

Advice to the Serious Seeker, James S. Cutsinger

Advice to the Serious Seeker

Meditations on the Teachings of Frithjof Schuon

James S. Cutsinger 

“Man has grown up and is called to take charge of the universe, whose very future depends in some way upon the evolution and actualization of the human spirit.”

This book is described by its publisher (State University of New York Press) as “an introduction to scholars to the perennialist school of comparative religious philosophy and at the same time a guidebook for the general reader who is looking for intellectually serious but accessible answers to questions about the spiritual life.”

We at Gleam of Light fall into the second category and believe we share with all thoughtful readers the great intrigue we felt at the prospect of learning about Frithjof Schuon, the man Huston Smith called “the greatest religious thinker of our century.”

As Cutsinger makes clear in this remarkable primer, Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) lived his own belief that “only inwardness is capable of regenerating the world.” He devoted his life as a thinker and writer to the “perennial philosophy,” the quest for enlightenment which was known to the Hindus as the “eternal religion” and was carried on and given new form in the philosophy of Plato, the Christian mysticism of Meister Eckhart, and in Islamic Sufism.

James S. Cutsinger, “one of the world’s foremost academic authorities on the perennial philosophy” tells us from the start that in order to make this introduction to Schuon’s ideas as fluid as possible, “without unnecessary detours and without my commentary taking center stage . . . I see no point in having to attach Schuon says to everything that comes from his pen.” As one reads on, one becomes increasingly aware of a complete lack of separation between Schuon’s ideas and those of Cutsinger. One becomes increasingly aware of the brilliance of both.

This is a compelling, challenging and provocative read from start to finish. And as with many great books, it leaves the reader with as many questions as answers. It reminds us of some of the unanswerable questions that will always be part of the human quest for truth, and it inspires the new questioning that forever renews and enriches that quest. At times, so unsettling so, we find we must stop reading and momentarily close the book.

In the early pages of the introduction, for instance, as Cutsinger describes the importance of Schuon’s work, he says it “cuts straight to the heart of what should concern us all most: our relationship with God.” One cannot help but pause in contemplation of such a bold and provocative statement. Could we not all engage in endless discussion about this idea alone? – whatever our beliefs or thoughts concerning God. This was just a glimmer of the lush landscape ahead.

Advice to the Serious Seeker introduces us to two formidable spiritual thinkers as it plunges us into the depths of our own inner questioning.

The Gleam of Light Team

Advice to the Serious Seeker
James S. Cutsinger
1997, State University of New York Press
Series in Western Esoteric Traditions

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