East Meets West:
Hindu and Buddhist Influences on Thoreau and Emerson

Laura Duggan, Author of An Inquiring Life: Weekly Contemplations
Original date: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Download MP3 Audio File Here (8.3 MB)

Like a breath of fresh air in the stale environment of Puritan New England, Thoreau and Emerson encountered the teachings of the Vedas and the Buddha, and found it echoed the universalist and transcendental philosophies they were carving for themselves. As Emerson wrote of the Vedas, "It is sublime as night and a breathless ocean. It contains every religious sentiment, all the grand ethics which visit in turn each noble poetic mind." In this evening event we will explore the teachings that the American Transcendentalist poets encountered, and the unique American expression that they gave to them.

Laura Duggan has been studying meditation and the philosophies of India for the past 30 years, and is currently putting them into practice as a public school teacher. Author of the recently published volume An Inquiring Life: Weekly Contemplations, she is also the former director of Muktabodha Indological Research Institute, which preserves and disseminates endangered treasures of India's religious and philosophical wisdom.

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