Daniel Capper deposited Learning Love from a Tiger: Religious Experiences with Nature on Humanities Commons 1 year, 2 months ago
In every religion animals, plants, and other nonhuman natural beings are divine messengers, bringers of spiritual or material gifts, gods, guardian spirits, or sacred ancestors. Sometimes natural entities are holy models for emulation, kin who share human souls, arbiters of virtue and vice, or partners in the project of existence. At other times religious experiences with natural beings solidify notions of humanity’s separateness from the rest of the natural world. However, to date we have not asked why such experiences appear as they do nor have we posed questions regarding what they mean. distinctively does just this. This accessible book is filled with gripping tales of mystics who learn from house cats how to meditate, rivers who grant spiritual salvation, trees who teach us how to develop patience, shamans who shape-shift into jaguars, sacred human-apes, mountain gods who seek servants, bees who receive revelations, cobras who reward spiritual respect with gold, amorous lion goddesses, crickets who pray, and many more. Primary subjects include Christian, Muslim, Hindu, indigenous Mayan, indigenous Himalayan, Buddhist, and Chinese shamanic encounters with nature, along with the nature mysticism of the American naturalist John Muir. Many of the experiences derive from original field work done in a Christian church, a Hindu ashram, and a Buddhist monastery, adding a contemporary, personal, and living character. With its unique and fascinating tales this book will appeal to anyone interested in relationships with nature or world religions as well as researchers from a variety of fields. Its readability also makes it a great choice as a text for college courses on religion and nonhuman nature or, more broadly, culture and nature.