Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion with Jeffrey Kripal.
Esalen has always been on the edge. Famous for its natural hot springs and stunning locale on the face of the Pacific coastline, the institute has long been a world leader in alternative and experiential education. Many luminaries have gathered there to develop their revolutionary ideas, transformative spiritual practices, and innovative art forms.
In his new book, Jeffrey Kripal recounts the spectacular history of Esalen and its birth in the American counterculture. Forged in the literary and mythical leanings of the Beat Generation, inspired in the lecture halls of Stanford by radical scholars of comparative religion, the institute was the remarkable brainchild of Michael Murphy and Richard Price. Set against the heady backdrop of California during the revolutionary 1960s, Esalen recounts in fascinating detail how these two maverick thinkers sought to fuse the spiritual revelations of the East with the scientific revolutions of the West, or to combine the very best elements of Zen Buddhism, Western alchemy, and Indian yoga particularly in its Tantric forms into a decidedly utopian vision that rejected the dogmas of conventional religion- Cody's Books
Jeffrey J. Kripal
Jeffrey J. Kripal (Ph. D., University of Chicago 1993) is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA. He is the author of Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism (Chicago, 2001) and Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (Chicago, 1995, 1998).
He has also co-edited volumes with Glenn W. Shuck on the history of Esalen and the American counterculture, On the Edge of the Future: Esalen and the Evolution of American Culture (Indiana, 2005); with Rachel Fell McDermott on a popular Hindu goddess, Encountering Kali: In the Margins, at the Center, in the West (California, 2003); with G. William Barnard on the ethical critique of mystical traditions, Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism (Seven Bridges, 2002); and with T.G. Vaidyanathan of Bangalore, India, on the dialogue between psychoanalysis and Hinduism, Vishnu on Freud's Desk: A Reader in Psychoanalysis and Hinduism (Oxford, 1999).
His areas of interest include the comparative erotics and ethics of mystical literature, American countercultural translations of Asian religions, and the history of Western esotericism from ancient gnosticism to the New Age.