Enlightened Contemporaries – Steve Kanji Ruhl

Enlightened Contemporaries: Francis, Dōgen, and Rūmī: Three Great Mystics of the Thirteenth Century and Why They Matter Today

Enlightened Contemporaries is the first book to compare the lives and teachings of three of the world’s most admired spiritual masters: Francis of Assisi, the Christian saint; Dogen, the great Zen Buddhist teacher; and Rumi, the Islamic Sufi master. They lived during the same turbulent century. They integrated mystical experiences of the sacred into their lives, and they can inspire us to do the same.

Enlightened Contemporaries combines robust scholarship with brisk, engaging, lyrical prose. Offering a thorough introduction for the general reader as well as specialists, it will appeal to those who enjoy an interfaith approach to spiritual exploration, one that links Christian, Buddhist, and Islamic mystical teachings within a vibrant historical context and shows how they not only complement each other but remain profoundly relevant in the twenty-first century.

Bringing Saint Francis, Dogen, and Rumi vividly to life as complex and compelling human beings, Enlightened Contemporaries lucidly explains their spiritual paths, explores the dynamic age in which these three pioneering teachers struggled and triumphed, and investigates their remarkable poetry. It also deftly examines how Francis, Dogen, and Rumi engaged the world in the context of five shared themes: spiritual love, nature, the body, the role of women, and balancing retreat from society with active involvement. By interweaving the spiritual lives of these Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim teachers, Enlightened Contemporaries will help readers enhance their own lives and find new paths of spiritual understanding.