PREFACE: THE GATHERING OF THE SEVEN SCHOOLS OF GOD-TALK
he Basket Of Tolerance is an essential gathering of traditional and modern literature, which I offer to all students and practitioners of the Way of the Heart (and all students of the traditions of mankind) as a useful and valuable resource for study of the historical traditions of human culture, practical self-discipline, religion, religious mysticism, “esoteric” Spirituality, and Transcendental Wisdom. I have selected, arranged, and commented upon the many books listed here, in order to provide a basic, inclusive, and comprehensive (but not overlong) representation (and Revelation) of the “Great Tradition” (or common Wisdom-Inheritance) of mankind.
The texts I have selected for inclusion in The Basket Of Tolerance were originally (or otherwise simultaneously) chosen by me for inclusion in “The Seven Schools Of God-Talk” (an extensive bibliography, consisting of several thousand volumes). “The Seven Schools Of God-Talk” was selected (and is continuously being developed) to fully (and rather exhaustively) represent (or Reveal) the total “Great Tradition” of truly human culture, practical self-discipline, perennial religion, universal religious mysticism, “esoteric” Spirituality, and Transcendental Wisdom. The Basket Of Tolerance epitomizes the “Great Tradition” (and “The Seven Schools Of God-Talk”) with approximately twelve hundred books.
My most fundamental intention relative to the books included in this essential gathering (as well as in “The Seven Schools Of God-Talk” as a whole) is that they should be studied with discrimination, in the context of formal study (and either simultaneous or eventual practice) of the Way of the Heart (which I have thoroughly described in my own Teaching literature).
Although the various texts in this essential gathering may be read individually (either for information or for inspiration and enjoyment), formal study of this literature should be done systematically, by studying the books in the progressive order I have indicated (according to the groupings indicated by the various headings). Such study will itself likely be progressive, first developing an overview of the entire list, and then, by degrees, developing a more and more extensive acquaintance with each and every part. As such study progresses (even over many years), the approach should remain orderly and consecutive. Some books may be read completely and others may be read in part. And the study should be served by the help of good instructors.
For the sake of further simplicity and economy of study, I have indicated a smaller number of books in each section, marked by asterisks. These books, taken together, represent a shorter course of communicative literature that should, in general, be readily accessible to all and usable by all. As in the case of the larger gathering of listed books, this selection from the whole should be read in the order given, group by group, and although full study of the larger gathering of books grants more detail to one’s comprehension of the “Message” of the “Great Tradition”, the discriminative and rightly guided study of this more select group of books, along with the study and consideration of The Basket Of Tolerance (in itself, including all its commentaries and headings, and the description of titles and authors given in each entry), is certainly and happily recommended.
I have also indicated a small number of books with double asterisks. (Likewise, for convenient reference, these few books are listed together in a separate section, entitled “The Epitome of Traditional Esotericism”.) The texts in this very condensed selection are intended for special study by practicing devotees in the Way of the Heart (and even by any one who has developed a basic overview of the seven stages of life in the “Great Tradition” through earlier study of The Basket Of Tolerance and the traditional and practical literatures listed within it). This small group of specially selected books represents an epitome of the esotericism of the “Great Tradition” in the form of documents that uniquely summarize and convey the traditional Primal Teachings relative to the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh stages of life. The selection in the case of these few books is not intended to be inclusive of all historical traditions, but it is intended to represent the primary essentials of esotericism itself (which primary essentials appear, in various forms, in the many historical traditions).
The order and the groupings of the various texts listed in The Basket Of Tolerance generate, from beginning to end, book by book, a continuous and progressive “Grand Argument”. This “Grand Argument”, followed with sensitivity and intelligent understanding, guided by the framework and the considerations developed in my own Teaching literature, should give the serious student a sufficient “basic education” in the total “Great Tradition” and all the traditional fundamentals that must be considered even by modern praaitioners of the Wisdom Way.
The “Great Tradition” as a whole is the (one and inclusive) tradition acknowledged and embraced (as the common, or commonly inherited, tradition of mankind) by praaitioners of the Way of the Heart. No one part of that “Great Tradition” is sufficient by itself. Likewise, the individual books listed in this essential gathering are not, in any single case, self-sufficient. No one tradition among many, no one traditional text among many, and no partial (or non-inclusive) group of traditions and traditional texts is sufficient or of exclusively ultimate importance in the study of the “Great Tradition”. Only all these traditions and texts (or an inclusive and comprehensive gathering of the “Great Tradition”), taken together, as a whole, is a sufficient Revelation to the mind, and that Revelation in mind is a useful preparatory foundation (or traditional inspiration) for those who would otherwise Awaken to the Ultimate Revelation that transcends even the mind itself.
Therefore, study this gathered Word of the “Great Tradition”, book by book. “Listen” to the “Grand Argument” of its totality (or “Whole Body”), and (by understanding yourself in the context of real practice) “hear” the summary “Message” of its Heart. In this manner (and by many means), prepare yourself also to “see” That Which Is Revealed only by Grace and by stages of Realization in the necessary ordeal of real and inspired practice.
Likewise, by this study (and by “listening”, by “hearing”, by “seeing”, by practice, and by Realization) learn the lesson of tolerance. The display of many books in this essential gathering demonstrates the traditional range of divergent views that may, each in their moment, seem to you (or to any one) to be necessary, sufficient, and even absolute. Individuals and cultures all stand and change within a single but progressively developing range of characteristics possibilities (or “seven stages of life”). The ideas or persuasions of any individual or culture are a direct expression of the stage of life (or Realization) that is, to that moment (or in that moment), Realized. Therefore, understand. Understand yourself, understand all others, and, by your speech and activity, promote the culture of tolerance, which understands and allows all temporary views and calls every one to self-study and constant growth and outgrowing, until the conditional self and the conditional worlds are “Outshined” in their Source.