MEDITATION AND THE BIBLE BY ARYEH KAPLAN SAMUEL WEISER, INC. York Beach, Maine First published in by Samuel Weiser, Inc. Meditation and the Bible by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Aryeh Moshe Eliyahu Kaplan was an American Orthodox rabbi and author known for his . (Kaplan himself utilized the meditative form of Kabbalah on a daily basis.) From onward . “A Tribute To Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan”.

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The same way Swami Vivekananda took the medieval Kurma Purana and turned it into modern meditation about sitting straight and focusing. Should we follow his method and take the plethora of kabbalsitic texts published by scholars and adapt them as 21st century meditation? What if this had been the path into modernity for Judaism the way it was for Neo-Hinduism?

What if the Reform and Orthodox movements of rhe turned to transcendental idealism to create biblee meditative Torah? Now, one can only do verbal archaeology by looking at meaning of words as translated in older commentaries which may preserve the true meaning. Meditation and the Bible. Among the older commentaries are the works of the Kabbalists.

Within the book are a few paragraphs about the infinite of the Creator and the need to direct our hearts to the ten limitless dimensions when addressing God. The next paragraph after the ten dimensions moves quickly to the relevant point that God does not appear to us as these limitless dimensions but rather as the ever changing shekhinah. In contrast, Kaplan turns the presentation of the creator into a meditation on Infinite Space. The creator has no limit, boundary or appearance. If He possessed a limit the way every creature has limits, how could he be in the midst of all and not be touched by all….

To consider the unity of the ten directions and there is no other.

Aryeh Kaplan – Wikipedia

Consider the sublime lit. Rather, think of the creator as sublime above and none else and the impossibility of understanding Him. Similarly, below into the depth, the depth who can fathom, and none else. He is impossible to understand. Think of the expanses of the sky and below as well as the directions of east, west, north meditatiom south. Think about before the world from the beginning until the end [lemaaleh].

Do not place a limit to your thoughts that you think about the creator. Rather, He exists from the primordial past until now, there is bile other. Similarly, for the end of days, from now mediration forever. Begin thinking from the beginning of time without limit to your thought except He is God and there is none else. Similarly, for the ends of the depth of good and depths of bad, which show beneficence to the good and to destroy the bad.

To exist in exaltedness and variations. The creator is completely desire and filled with knowledge and power. We find changes in the Shekhinah [appearing] sometimes as a young man and sometimes as an medjtation man.

Know that the reason is because the Kavod glory appears to the prophets according to the needs of the moment. Aryeh Kaplan in his book Sefer Yetzirah turns these intentions to the infinite Creator- Father in Heaven into mental and nonverbal meditations on infinite. The Sefer Yetzirah speaks of depths of the world in Mishanh 1: Kaplan identifies those depths with the Kabbalistic sefirot and with the depths described by Rabbi Eleazar of Worms.


He also places the ten dimensions as a temporal sequence. He also removes reference areh this as done at the time of prayer or to the personified Father in Heaven. Although the depths of these directions is infinite, it can be described meditatiom.

The first ane involves verbal thought… Gradually, then, once can learn to depict these infinite depths non-verbally. Let the mind travel back to a moment ago, ayeh an hour ago, a day ago, a year ago, continuing laplan you reach a level where you are trying to imagine an infinity ago.

Then do the same with regard to the future. The next exercise involves trying to imagine good and infinite evil. The limits are pure ideas, which cannot be verbalized. Finally, one must imagine the limits of the spacial [sic] dimensions. One must perceive the height of the sky and beyond the sky.

The depth of the earth and beyond the earth. Kaplan took an obscure medieval text and made it sound like a 20 th century meditative path. Goleman also focused on Buddhist meditation on infinite space as starting in the 5 th level of Buddhist meditation.

This was not the era of meditation tye mindfulness, rather meditation was considered as great acts of mental focus. However, Kaplan did not actually teach these techniques in his classes nor did he practice them.

He did not create a meditative school. Most of those who came japlan him because they were interested in Asian meditative techniques returned to their Hindu and Buddhist teachers, even among some of his closest students. His accomplishment was presenting texts only known by scholars and only discussed in their harder to find articles in the public domain.

And for the last forty years, English language books on Jewish spirituality are indebted in his popular presentations and adaptations.

He argued that Hinduism is not temple worship to statues but a modern kappan of the mind, an activity eminently progressive form of New Thought and philosophic idealism. Largely because of him, we use the words mantra and yoga in English.

Vivekananda took a few pages of the medieval work Kurma Puranaa long work of legend, mythology, geography, pilgrimage, and theology, as his base by which to abstract a system of meditation.

Here is the medieval version. From yoga comes knowledge; knowledge, again, helps the yogi to obtain freedom. Yoga is divided into two parts: Sit in a straight posture.

The next thing to do is to send a current of holy thought to all creation. The more you practice this, the better you will feel. You will find at last that the easiest way to make ourselves healthy is to see that others are healthy, and the easiest way to make ourselves happy is to see that others are happy. Another meditation is given: Think of a space in your heart, and think that in the midst of that space a flame is burning.

Think of that flame as your own soul.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan – Creating 20th Century Jewish Meditation | The Book of Doctrines and Opinions:

Inside the flame is another effulgent light, and that is the Soul of your soul, God. Meditate upon that in the heart. Then the wise man should ,aplan upon the luminous, benign form of the Lord…Then he must meditate upon his oneness with the luminous form of the Lord. Lastly, he must let the form vanish and meditate upon the Atman. Meditation is cultivating a single thought reminiscent of the subject of meditation by repeating it over and aeyeh again.


By following the same method and concentrating on the same subject at the same center of consciousness, that single thought becomes a giant thought-wave.

In course of time the mind develops a channel for that thought-wave and the practice becomes effortless. No practice, however mechanical or intermittent, is ever lost. Kaplan used the language of mantra and meditation that Vivekanada bequeathed to the English language. Many of these same adaptation techniques in his translations mdeitation a medieval text were done by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

Now imagine, if Kaplan had lived in and wrote works against Western and Eastern European Jewry arguing that a modern Judaism should be meditative and about the elevation of the mind. Further imagine if he had established in dozens of meditation centers and centers for Jewish Innerspace or a modern denomination of meditation. If he had done this, then we would now know Judaism as a meditation religion.

Modern Jewish thought might have been about consciousness and mind cultivation. However, Kaplan himself would have not actually done this since he did not practice or teach the meditations, such as the one above. If he had not died, he would have been more interested in string theory in the kabbalah than a Jewish ashram.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan – Creating 20th Century Jewish Meditation

But was the latter a valid source of meditative knowledge? Why did Kaplan gravitate to that work? Lama Anagarika Govindapolymath scholar, mystic, mexitation, painter and poet, was not a real lama, rather a German philosopher and artist who moved in India and thought Buddhism was the path to enlightening our minds and leading to creativity.

Govinda wrote essays on the relationship of time and space and the need to reach a point of infinite space above these categories. Academic scholarship in its discussions of Ashkenaz Piety and early kabbalah translate many passages about contemplative visualization done in that era.

The soul must arywh imagine or think about the creator, the glory and images of sacred space. Here are some passages from E. How would Kaplan have read them as imperatives and as about cultivating the mind? Kaplan did not read texts as visions, he did not a visionary path but one of internalization and mental contemplations.

Kaplan also removed as much as possible any anthropomorphism or direct visions of God. So, if we wanted to apply his method, how would he have scripted the following texts? Yet, there is a place in which the Holy One, meditarion be He, shows the created glory to the prophet according to the need of the hour. One might ask- how can one bow down to something created? The comments are moderated and checked when I get to them. While in India, that is likely to be once a day at best.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The Book of Doctrines and Opinions: Sodei Razaya Aryeh Kaplan in his book Sefer Yetzirah turns these intentions to the infinite Creator- Father in Heaven into mental and nonverbal meditations on infinite.

In this manner, one gradually trains the mind to depict the infinite. Eliezer of Wormes [sic] ftnt Kaplan took an obscure medieval text and made it sound like a 20 th century meditative path.

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