The Black Pearl

The Black Pearl

Spiritual Illumination in Sufism and East Asian Philosophies


Publisher: Monkfish Book Publishing (June 1, 2005) | Language: English
Paperback: 240 pages | ISBN-10: 0974935956 | ISBN-13: 978-0974935959





Table of Contents

Secrets of the tea ceremony
A Sufi’s worship
On war
Unity and its family
From nature to God
Life after death
God in East Asian culture
Emptiness or God?
Confucius : the exoteric dimension
Indra’s net
Self-cultivation in Sufism
The end of the journey.



Book Description

This sparkling book shows, as never before, how the highest metaphysical reaches of East Asian philosophies are scaled by contemplative Islam. Combining insightful analysis and personal reflection, Henry Bayman explores the mystical dimensions of Sufism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zen and Confucianism. He delves into the striking parallels and seemingly irreconcilable differences in their conceptions of Absolute Reality: God, the Tao, Buddha-nature, the One. Bayman shows how each system of thought can illuminate the inner meaning of the others. Most importantly, he shows us how we, ourselves, can approach the divine.


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The Black Pearl is the third book by Henry Bayman. I would like to describe it as the apex of a triangle and the other two points or corners as the two books which precede The Black Pearl (The Station Of No Station and The Secret Of Islam: Love And Law In The Religion Of Ethics).

In essence The Black Pearl is a powerhouse of light which shows us how a correct understanding of Islam (naturally coupled with contemplation and reflection) acts as/is a great mirror which reflects the highest metaphysical reaches of East Asian Philiosophies.

Whilst reading the chapter of “conclusion” I was swept away by its beauty and truth. Tears rained from my eyes and in my heart I felt a great sense of peace and happiness. Obviously I was reading something I could understand and identify with. It was a beautiful and inspiring moment.

“There Is Only One Truth”… and the chapters/subjects that precede the chapter of “conclusion” (and the appendix: how to perform a formal prayer, which in my opinion is an invaluable section) certainly informs us and helps us to understand that “There Is Indeed Only One Truth”. Here is where The Black Pearl begins. One can start to see how much in common Islam has with East Asian Philiosphies, and as human beings or more importantly vicegerents of God, we shouldn’t deny all the jewels of experience and wisdom from all the worlds religions… and this book sincerely offers us these jewels! In my opinion The Black Pearl is “un capolavoro” (Italian for masterpiece) encrusted with sparkling jewels.  – Jamil Ahmed

Bayman writes in a style that makes Sufism accessible to people like me who have not had the opportunity to step outside their western culture. I related deeply to the passages concerning unity, ethics, and an energy that connects individuals. Bayman’s language, stories, and metaphors resonate easily, naturally within me as if the wisdom of this tradition is something I have known all along that I am just now remembering. In addition, the book provides a different context in which to understand eastern traditions; I found the exploration of nothingness particularly illuminating.

If I could share only one comment about my reading, however, it would be about the powerful and unexpected access to peace The Black Pearl has provided me. Throughout my reading, I felt a pervasive sense of peace unlike anything I have experienced. There was nothing contrived about this sense, nothing manufactured by me. It was…a glimpse of Truth, for lack of language. I know no words to explain it. I have never felt such a heady mix of peace, joy, rightness, love for God, love for the world, and lightness of spirit. The Black Pearl may prove a powerful mirror for those who are willing to look.  – Angelique

ERRATA for The Black Pearl

There are various typographical errors in the book. Of these, the most important is on page 79. Near the exact center of the page, “hexagram Y,” should be “hexagram Yü”.

As of this writing, by far the most serious error in the book occurs at p113n96. This footnote is wrong. It should read: “Chittick, Sufi Path of Love, pp. 176-178.”

pxxii, n9 should read: Osman Hulusi of Darende (1914-1990).

pxxiii, line 3: A dervish should be on the way, has no reputation to bolster

should read: The fame of a dervish should appeal to both rich and poor

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