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Paths to Enlightenment

Another important part of the journey which is expressed in both books is the union of opposites. The Western way of seeing and thinking is generally based on a duality in which opposites are in conflict with one another. In these two books, however, we find these opposites being brought together. In Galland, for example, we find a woman from the West, from a Christian background, struggling to understand the Eastern way:

In Tibetan Buddhism, the symbolic union of male and female deities is completely bound up with the highest spiritual experience of enlightenment. This is not the world of God the Father or even God the Mother. This is the world of ecstatic union, of father and mother, male and female, the Great Bliss. . . . I was on unknown ground (Galland 102-103).

Although Pirsig marks his journey continuously with meditations on Western philosophers, the heart of his book is the concept of Quality, which turns out to be a thoroughly mystical and Eastern-oriented phenomenon. Pirsig sees philosophy not as a willful act of the consciousness alone, but a more natural event which flows from the unconscious: : "He knew he had reached some kind of culmination of thought he had been unconsciously striving for over a long period of time" (Pirsig 215).

Again and again in both books we find references to the creative nature of the spiritual journey, the importa


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Paths to Enlightenment. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:05, October 23, 2014, from
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