The classical Sufi masters often behaved in dramatic and unexpected ways in marketplaces, palaces, village streets, wherever people assembled. The purpose of these demonstrations was to create an event that people could think about and learn a lesson from.
In 1969, Idries Shah, author of over thirty books on Sufi teaching and learning, used modern methods of mass communication to create a teaching-event for the modern world.
"The Book of the Book", first published in that year and now in its seventh printing, transmits a 700-year-old narrative on the theme of "do not mistake the container for the content". But it projects this lesson in a highly unconventional way.
Reactions to "The Book of the Book" ran the gamut. Some people were infuriated. One "expert" at the British Museum said it was "not a book at all". Others either thought the cover price was too high for a "book that was not a book", or simply bought it for novelty value and kept it on hand to mystify their friends.
In time, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. Readers and reviewers now understand that unlike any other literary product ever published, "The Book of the Book" offers the opportunity to participate in a major Sufi teaching-event ... for the price of a book.
Expect the impact of "The Book of the Book" to continue to ripple through the literary marketplace for decades to come.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The value of this book cannot be overstated. It shocks and invigorates the reader, drawing out his or her psychological 'hot points'-the blocks that prevent understanding. But the value goes beyond this: it gets to the heart of the matter, emphasizing what it is that is really important in reading, studying, learning, and understanding. The words in the text may be few, but they pack quite a punch. This book is one that teaches not only by what is written in it but by what it does to the reader. Or, to put it differently, the blank spaces in the book are as useful as those darkened by the print in it. Those who wonder how this may be possible are encouraged and invited to explore this truly wonderful work by Idries Shah.
Have you ever read a poem or listened to a piece of music that just kept opening up? And the more you listened, paid attention, the more you learned? Like an intricate Persian carpet with endlessly recurring themes and patterns, The Book of the Book will open a door in your life and consciousness. Repeated readings do not diminish the power of this multidimensional Sufi Teaching Story.
While Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching states that that the "Tao" cannot be "told" or "named," this "book" reveals that truth in its nakedness. Enought said... or written.
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