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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Jiddu Krishnamurti

Phenomenology of Compassion in the Teaching of Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) by Veronica Boutte (Studies in Asian Thought and Religion, V. 23: Edwin Mellen) offers a reading of Krishnamurti's teachings which emphasizes its psychological and phenomenological aspects. Chapters discuss the limiting influence of knowledge, the possibility of living without conflict, solidarity, the relationship between science and religious thinking, and "active being." Five color photographs show Krishnamurti's home in Ojai, California and the place where he taught.

Phenomenology of Compassion in the Teaching of Jiddu Krishnamurti is a description of Boutte’s understanding of Krishnamurti's teachings. Krishnamurti's written works are not systematic, primarily because he was talking about his experiences, which are mystical in nature, as some of the events surrounding his life indicate. Krishnamurti defies easy categorization. Perhaps a teacher, religious thinker, or philosopher. But such labels miss the essential-less, formless center to his inquiry. Boutte claims he had great qualities and also frailties and paradoxes as human being. However, he had the capacity to communicate and in person emit a charisma, a quality of the vast energy and spaciousness that permeated his consciousness and was a palatable sensed by many who met him.

Boutte selected a number of topics that she considers characteristic of a psychological approach to the teachings of Krishnamurti. She has the us consider the nature of our conditioning, the preformed fabric of our experience that causes states of conflict perceived individually and collectively. Boutte suggests four angles in Krishnamurti's approach that can enhance the feeling of unconditional love, or what Krishnamurti calls compassion:

1. New ways to communicate in dialogue and expand the mind beyond the intellect.

2. The necessity to be unafraid and inclusive of all human experiences.

3. The acknowledgment that science, not separate from the sacred, shows the beauty of a universe that cooperates with our noble actions and desires.

4. A call to study promote the energy of consciousness or vital force which is present in human beings.

Boutte’s believes that the urgency to study these topics deeply permeates Krishnamurti s personal notes, as well as his books and public talks. Boutte’s attempt is to communicate the essence of the teachings, which I consider to be a great contribution to the fields of religion, philosophy, psychology, literature, and consciousness studies. It is my premise that compassion is a state of consciousness that is ignored and/or misunderstood in most disciplines.

Boutte has tried to explain that compassion, far from being just a feeling of the sentimental kind, is inherent to the psycho­spiritual nature of human beings. Furthermore, Boutte is convinced that the science of neurobiology will be able to illustrate this fact within the next decades. For this reason, Boutte consider it important to leave the horizon open to those who, whether familiar or not with the teachings of Krishnamurti, will be able to take it further than I could into the field of consciousness studies.

We have just entered a century dedicated to human freedom, peace, and happiness, during which science will bring us the opportunity to discover more than ever before about the universe and who we are. If Krishnamurti was ahead of his time, I hope that his contribution will become part of an era of simplicity, elegance, and lovingkindness.


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