by Kenneth W. Morgan
Anima Publications, Chambersburg, PA; 1990;paperback, 207 pp.

As a graduate student the auth or began his journey into Asian religions through an extended visit to India in which he resided at numerous ashrams. Some of the questions that he wished to have answered were how important ritual is to a religious way of life, whether purity is a relevant concern, and how charitable deeds enter into fulfilling religious responsibilities.

He discovered that while his quest had started out as “learning about” other religions, it evolved into “learning from” those religions. His own spiritual journey allowed him to contrast personally the worldview of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jain s, and Taoists as he struggled to understand karma, ahimsa, and wu-wei as an Asian does.

Morgan manifests remarkable sensitivity to all the good in nature, in artistic expression, in love and loyalty, and in helping others that he observed among the Asians with whom he lived and worshipped and learned. The focus throughout is on “Sacred Reality,” or Ultimate Reality. Morgan concludes that those choosing to follow a religious path find along the way other seekers who may help them to live within “the given natural and sacred realities that set the limits for human life.”

Advice is extended to the seeker on the importance of asking questions, of evaluation, and of showing respect for any help received. Most import ant of all, however, is to make one's own decision and then to follow that path.

The methodology, according to Morgan's summary of various religions, is regular participation in ritual plus individual ways of improving religious understanding and behavior. This summary was derived through his seeking out persons who “push and search beyond the current cultural form ... toward the edges of possible human outreach.” Among those with whom Morgan became acquainted were Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

Morgan is a skeptic regarding a number of issues for which he has found no evidence in his own search, for example, of mantras, miracles, or rebirth. He does concede, however, that karma seems to be a “dependable guide” for following a religious path.

Morgan set out to achieve a greater understanding of the world around him through his spiritual journey and has ably shared his findings with the reader. The warmth with which he embraces his subject encourages the reader to pursue his or her own journey.


Summer 1991