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Phenomenological reduction and yogic meditation: commonalities and divergencies

Western philosophers and scholars have long maintained the assumption that there is a gulf of difference between “Western rational thinking” and “Eastern irrational, mystical-metaphysical brooding” (cf. Beinorius 2005; Carrette & King 2005; Halbfass 1990; Tart 1969). Among those that are reasonably familiar with both traditions, however, it is well understood that neither Chinese nor Indian thinking, for example, is in any way inferior to that which can be found in the West (cf. Fung 1966; Dasgupta (1922-1955; Radhakrisnan (1929-1931)). However, it is not the aim of this paper to make a general comparison of Eastern and Western thought relative to such criteria as level of achievement, rationality, scientificmindedness and so forth. Rather, it’s more modest and specific aim is to compare Edmund Husserl’s (1859-1938) methods for achieving knowledge/truth (i.e., the phenomenological reduction(s)) with those often propounded by the Indian darśana1 or system of thought (i.e., yogic/jñānic) meditation);2 as to the latter of these, my primary source will be Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras.3 More specifically, it

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