Shimmering Mirrors

Reality and Appearance in Contemplative Metaphysics East and West

By Patrick Laude

Subjects: Hindu Studies, Comparative Religion, Comparative Philosophy, Philosophy Of Religion, Asian Religion And Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438466828, 272 pages, July 2018
Hardcover : 9781438466811, 272 pages, November 2017

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. Shimmering Reality: Contemplative and Mystical Concepts of Relativity

2. Christian and Buddhist Insights into a Metaphysics of Salvation

3. On the Good beyond Good and Evil

4. On Hindu Bhedābheda and Sufi Barzakh

5. Knowing the Unknowable: Upāya and Gods of Belief

6. Transmutation, the Sacred Word, and the Feminine


A study of comparative metaphysics that explores the concepts of Reality and Appearance and their relevance to contemporary religious consciousness.


In this pioneering work of comparative metaphysics, Patrick Laude delves into Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, and Jewish concepts of Reality and Appearance to offer a uniquely lucid exploration of metaphysical representations of reality, relativity, appearance, and illusion. Laude includes discussions of the Absolute and the Relative in Hindu Advaita Vedānta, Kashmiri Śaivism, Sufi wahdat al-wujūd, and Madhyamaka Buddhism; the metaphysics of salvation in Buddhist and Christian traditions; and the metaphysics of evil and the distinction between Reality and Appearance in the Jewish Kabbalah, Śaivism, Christian mysticism, and the Sufi school of Ibn al-'Arabī. The book explores how a discerning and subtle apprehension of the relationship between Reality and Appearance may help contemporary readers and seekers respond to the acute predicaments of contemporary religious and spiritual consciousness.

Patrick Laude is Professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He is the author of several books, including Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guénon, and Schuon and (with Jean-Baptiste Aymard) Frithjof Schuon: Life and Teachings, both published by SUNY Press.


"This book is a pioneering exposition on comparative metaphysics, demonstrating exceptional breadth and depth. While certainly not intended for the casual reader, it will no doubt reward serious seekers who hunger for a more profound perspective on religion and its inner dimensions." — Sacred Web

"I have rarely read a work that is so lucid in explaining complex philosophical theories across multiple traditions, so articulate in constructing concise ideas, and so strategic in assembling a framework for analysis. This is a unique and special work of comparative metaphysics rarely found in contemporary works on philosophies of religion." — Lee Irwin, author of Alchemy of Soul: The Art of Spiritual Transformation