• Parabola 41:2 Innocence & Experience

Parabola 41:2 Summer 2016

Innocence & Experience

When he grew to adulthood, wrote Paul the Apostle, “I put away childish things.” Yet his teacher, Jesus, advised that “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

We tend to think that experience destroys innocence. But the koan of contradiction presented by Jesus and Paul suggests that both innocence and experience play essential roles in the search for meaning, and that experience can feed a wisdom that may nurture a renewed innocence. As the Buddhist teacher Thanissara narrates in this Summer issue of Parabola, the Buddha needed to experience the sights of aging, illness, and death before he could gain enlightenment.

Philosopher Jacob Needleman contributes to this issue; so do Buddhist scholar Mu Soeng, Taoist master Solala Towler, author John Shirley, Jungian thinker Helen Luke, and others. While their spiritual paths differ, all manifest an understanding that it is through an awakened acceptance of the experiences of life, accepting them as a child accepts the dawn of a new day, that life is best lived.

That kind of openness is easier said than done. To learn how to accept, we can turn for help to all sorts of guides and companions—even a fallen angel, Lucifer, considered in Tracy Cochran’s contribution, and even animal guides, as we see in Joan Chittister’s entry about a new puppy, and in a photo gallery of wonderful animals gone forever.

We also remember Jean Sulzberger, a pillar of Parabola for forty years, who died this past February. A brief memorial to her can be found in this issue, which we hope will be of benefit to you along your way.
—Jeff Zaleski

Table of Contents


The Editors, Become as Children: The joy of bringing innocence to experience

Tracy Cochran, Lessons from Lucifer: Falling into life

Lee van Laer, Innocence and Experience in the Halls of Man: A museum inspires deep questions about our past, present, and future

Rachel Jamison Webster, To Bring into Harmony the Tyger and the Lamb: Two great poets and the search for understanding

Joan Chittister, Danny Comes Home: A puppy teaches, and the author listens

Jacob Needleman, A Hidden Yearning: The professor discovers a Way forward

Gilles Farcet, The Others Were My Masters!: A wild conversation with filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky

Mu Soeng, Wordly Happiness / Buddhist Happiness: What the Buddha really taught

Solala Towler, The Path of the Sage: Wisdom from a modern Taoist master

David Ulrich, The Reenchantment of Vision: A photographer learns to break “the spell of the rational”

Thanissara, A Great Awakening: The path of the Buddha—and the family he left behind

The Editors, And They Were Good: Wonderful animals we will never see again

Lorraine Kisly, Then It is Given to You: A conversation with Jungian thinker Helen Luke

Gregory Shepherd, The Zen Master: “Does anyone mind if I smoke?” asks the enlightened one

J.M. Barrie, Innocent and Heartless: What happened when Peter Pan returned

The Editors, Remembering Jean Sulzberger: She was a pillar of Parabola


Kabir, God Is the Breath of All Breath 


Joseph Boettiger, Talking About the Weather: Finding God in the cloud

Alexandra Ashmore, A Triumph No Villain Can Defeat: In the new Star Wars film, the Force is with all of us


Richard Smoley, How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible | reviewed by John Shirley

Ravi Ravindra, The Pilgrim Soul: A Path to the Sacred Transcending World Religions | reviewed by Patty de Llosa

Grevel Lindop, Charles Williams: The Third Inkling | reviewed by Doug Thorpe



Parabola 41:2 Innocence & Experience

  • ISBN: 03721596412
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  • 11.30€