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Education for Awakening
An Eastern Approach to Holistic Education

Yoshiharu Nakagawa

Full electronic book on CD-ROM $14.95

Holistic education has been developing in the West (primarily North America) since the late 1970s. Drawing from diverse sources including the ecology and human potential movements, systems theory and "new" science, and teachings from various spiritual traditions, holistic education attempts to address a full range of human possibilities with an appreciation for biological, cultural, moral, and spiritual meanings of experience. A number of Japanese scholars see this movement as a way to reconnect with holistic elements in their own traditional culture and have welcomed holistic education as an effective alternative to the mechanical school system Japan imported from the West in the nineteenth century. Yoshiharu Nakagawa is an educational philosopher who recently completed several years of advanced study with holistic education theorist John P. Miller at the University of Toronto, and this marvelous book is the result.

Nakagawa explores the holistic philosophy underlying an "Eastern" view of the world which he finds primarily in Japanese Buddhism but also connects to diverse Asian traditions from Sufi to Confucian teachings. These traditions, says the author, teach that reality is comprised of five dimensions — objective, social, cosmic, infinite and universal. Western-style reductionism is only concerned with the first two of these, while Western holism addresses the third but does not comprehend the infinite and universal realms to the depth that Eastern philosophy, aided by meditative insight, has attained. Nakagawa explains how an integrated (East and West) view of the world would contain complementary philosophical insights and lead to a full development of the human being.

Until now, most of the work on holistic education has been written in a fairly popular style. Although serious and thoughtful, the literature has not plunged deeply into sophisticated philosophical discourse. Education for Awakening provides an extremely useful step in that direction. Thankfully, Nakagawa avoids arcane terminology and jargon, and his lucid English will be accessible to any intelligent reader — yet he does examine finer points of epistemology, ontology and hermeneutics, giving holistic educational theory a firmer intellectual foundation. Nakagawa draws from a wide range of philosophers, sages and scientists to explain his thinking. He introduces Western readers to the ideas of important Japanese thinkers such as Kitaro Nishida, Shinichi Hisamatsu and Toshihiko Izutsu in an attempt to explain the meaning of "enlightenment," "emptiness," and other terms that Zen masters have always used cryptically to refer to dimensions of existence outside rational, objective definition. Building on this multi-dimensional view of the world, Nakagawa describes an education that leads to genuine communion with the world.

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