Advice to the Serious Seeker

Meditations on the Teaching of Frithjof Schuon

By James S. Cutsinger

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions
Paperback : 9780791432501, 236 pages, April 1997
Hardcover : 9780791432495, 236 pages, April 1997

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Table of contents


Introduction: Landmarks on the Road Ahead


1. The Way of Knowledge
2. Thinking the Unthinkable
3. Proofs of God
4. The Intellect
5. Degrees of Reality
6. The Doctrine of Illusion
7. The Open Door


8. Conforming to God
9. Perfection and Anonymity
10. Humility
11. Charity
12. Veracity
13. Predestination and Freedom


14. A Space before God
15. The World as Symbol
16. The Message of the Human Body
17. Sacred Art
18. The Practice of Beauty


19. Movement toward God
20. Faith
21. Method and Grace
22. Concentration through Intention
23. Invocation of the Name
24. Spiritual Direction
25. Our Final Goal

Epilogue: Perennial Philosophy and Transcendent Unity

Sources of Quotations
Bibliography of the Works of Frithjof Schuon
Suggested Reading

This is an introduction to the perennialist school of comparative religious philosophy and a guidebook for the general reader seeking intellectually serious but accessible answers to questions about the spiritual life.


Two books in one, Advice to the Serious Seeker is an introduction for 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.

Scholars will find a comprehensive introduction to the work of Frithjof Schuon, the leading contemporary figure in the perennialist or traditionalist school of comparative religion. Written by James S. Cutsinger, one of the world's foremost academic authorities on the perennial philosophy, the book provides a detailed commentary on the full range of Schuon's spiritual writings.

But the book is also intended for inquisitive and searching readers in general. Composed in a style that is simple and conversational, it reads as an open letter to the author's students. The aim is to cut through the banality of much that passes for spiritual instruction today and to provide intellectually serious but accessible answers to questions typically posed by cynics and skeptics, conservative believers, and persons attracted to the so-called "new age" religions.

The author's Advice takes the form of a series of meditations on Truth, Virtue, Beauty, and Prayer, which Schuon regards as the fundamental elements in every authentic spiritual path. Covering a range of issues both theoretical and practical, topics include proofs of God, the problem of evil, classical virtues, predestination and freedom, symbolism and cosmic hierarchy, sacred art, the relationship between spiritual method and grace, techniques of concentration and meditation, the role of the spiritual master, and human destiny. The book concludes with an epilogue on Schuon's well-known thesis concerning the "transcendent unity of religions. "

James S. Cutsinger is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Thought at the University of South Carolina. His previous work includes The Form of Transformed Vision: Coleridge and the Knowledge of God.


"A magnificent introduction to the greatest religious thinker of our century. " — Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

"To have been brought up and educated in the modern world is to be, in some degree or other, inwardly divided against oneself; this book will be gratefully remembered, by the best of its readers, as a golden key which opens wide the door of escape from inner tensions and mental confusion. " — Martin Lings, formerly Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts in the British Museum