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About Stuart Ray Sarbacker
At Oregon State, Professor Sarbacker was awarded the Bill and Caroline Wilkins Faculty Development Award in support of his innovative teaching and research, and he has served as a Fellow of both the Center for the Humanities and the Spring Creek Project. His research and teaching has been also been supported by the Hundere Endowment for Religion and Culture and by the Horning Endowment for the Humanities and Sciences. He is currently participating in a 3-year Luce Foundation funded program on religion and technology that is being administered by the Institute for Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. His project focuses on the ways in which the philosophical and ethical issues associated with self-transformation in Indian contemplative traditions mirror those arising from emergent technologies of human augmentation.
His teaching focuses on topical issues in Comparative Religion and Indian Philosophy, along with broad introductory courses on World Religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. He offers a range of courses on the religions, philosophies, and cultures of South Asia, and on topics relating to spirituality and ecology and religion and technology. In many of his courses, Sarbacker utilizes innovative contemplative pedagogies that aim at bridging the gaps between academic study, self-reflection, and engagement in civic life.
Professor Sarbacker has worked with a variety of students on graduate-level research, including in Applied Ethics, Environmental Humanities, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He has also served as a member of the Alternative Masculinities Seminar sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at Oregon State.
He is a co-founder and former co-chair of the American Academy of Religion's Yoga in Theory and Practice section, and has also served as the co-chair of the American Academy of Religion's Mysticism section.
In addition to his academic credentials, Professor Sarbacker is an active yoga practitioner and teacher, having trained extensively in contemporary yoga and meditation traditions in India and the United States.
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A clear, concise guidebook to the essentials of yogic thought and practice
Many people think yoga simply means postures and breathing. Not true. The intention of this short guide is practical and straightforward: to say what yoga really is and to apply its principles to everyday life. It leads us through the eight-limbed system, a coherent framework that has been handed down and elaborated upon for thousands of years and consists of five "outer limbs," which pertain to our experience of the social world and the operation of our senses, and three "inner limbs," which focus on the mind. Stuart Ray Sarbacker and Kevin Kimple present the eight-limbed system as something that can be turned to again and again to deepen and expand understanding and practice. As an introduction and overview to the essence of yoga, The Eight Limbs of Yoga is unparalleled for clarity, usefulness, and concision.
Clear, accessible, and meticulously annotated, Tracing the Path of Yoga offers a comprehensive survey of the history and philosophy of yoga that will be invaluable to both specialists and to nonspecialists seeking a deeper understanding of this fascinating subject. Stuart Ray Sarbacker argues that yoga can be understood first and foremost as a discipline of mind and body that is represented in its narrative and philosophical literature as resulting in both numinous and cessative accomplishments that correspond, respectively, to the attainment of this-worldly power and otherworldly liberation. Sarbacker demonstrates how the yogic quest for perfection as such is situated within the concrete realities of human life, intersecting with issues of politics, economics, class, gender, and sexuality, as well as reflecting larger Indic religious and philosophical ideals.
Stuart Ray Sarbacker is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Oregon State University. He is the author of Samādhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga, also published by SUNY Press, and (with Kevin Kimple) The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A Handbook for Living Yoga Philosophy.
A historical and comparative study grounded in close readings of important works, this book explores the dynamics of the theory and practice of yoga in Hindu and Buddhist contexts. Author Stuart Ray Sarbacker explores the fascinating, contrasting perceptions that meditation leads to the attainment of divine, or numinous, power, and to complete escape from worldly existence, or cessation. Sarbacker demonstrates that these two dimensions of spiritual experience have affected the doctrine and cultural significance of yoga from its origins to its contemporary practice. He also integrates sociological and psychological perspectives on religious experience into a larger phenomenological model to address the multifaceted nature of religious experience. Speaking to a broad range of methodological and contextual issues, Samadhi provides numerous insights into the theory and practice of yoga that are relevant to both scholars of religious studies and practitioners of contemporary yoga and meditation traditions.
“Stuart Sarbacker has written an important book for the study of yogic and meditative phenomena, one of few that advances the discussion from where Eliade left off in his own work.” — Philosophy East & West
“One of the most fruitful aspects of Sarbacker’s investigation is his comparison between Classical Yoga and Buddhism, which underscores the yogic roots of Buddhism on the one hand and the Buddhist influence on Classical Yoga on the other.” — Traditional Yoga Studies
“Sarbacker tackles an immense swath of material and accompanying secondary literature and manages to do something genuinely creative with it all, that is, develop his own phenomenology of meditative experience via his central categories of the numinous and cessative.” — Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism
Stuart Ray Sarbacker is Lecturer in Religion at Northwestern University.