In his entry for the term “mysticism” in the updated edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion, Peter Moore writes that “the varieties of mystical practice tend to receive less scholarly attention than the varieties of experience or doctrine.”1 Bernard McGinn similarly claims that many studies of mysticism “so emphasize the moment of mystical contact . . . that they neglect the study of the fullness of the via mystica, particularly the ascetical and moral preparation for such contact.”2 Following from suggestions such as these, this article will do a comparative reading of two mystical texts: the Yoga Sūtra, a third-century Indian work attributed to Patañjali, and The Cloud of Unknowing, an anonymous fourteenth-century English treatise. Specifically, it will consider two dimensions of the mystical practices taught in these texts. These are the taking of vows and the contemplative stilling of the mind.
"Practice and the Comparative Study of Mysticism:
The Yoga Sūtra and The Cloud of Unknowing,"
Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies:
Vol. 29, Article 8.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7825/2164-6279.1631