The Philokalia is the supreme ascetical text of two thousand years of Christian history. The Greek title means love of the beautiful, the exalted, the good. Its subject is an interpretation of life IN the Divine Christ. St Philotheos' 'Forty Texts on Watchfulness' especially, and Theophanis the Monk's 'Ladder of Divine Graces' (both in vol. 3) sing like a burning bush! This is ancient Christianity, supple and free. &It's interesting that Peter of Damaskos, in the pivotal texts on the Eight Stages of Contemplation, seems to borrow the language, and gestures, even, of Buddhist thought, Zen in particular. John of the Cross shook of a kindred understanding of emptiness, but Desert spirituality, the Greek Fathers are something else again, something more striking, more pungent than even the Discalced mystic. The Philokalia's entire creed is 'know thyself.' Constantly the text presents both a belief system and a system of ascetic philosophy and practice that curse the whimpering centuries as they pass now, make no mistake. The disciple's world isn't pretty, and these men from the centuries of the early Church after the Declaration of Constantine preach a honeyed death in order to live, as do the Psalms.. These priests and hermits roamed Egypt and Palestine living the lessons, injunctions and bliss even as they were composing the Philokalia. The Greek texts first translated into Slavonic became grafted to Russian spirituality, and are the richer for that; however, the real treasure of the Philokalia reveals itself disinterestedly to any reader who behind the primitive gestures of antique exegesis sees only That which Is, and thereof understands himself whole, like Gregory of Sinai, Callistus and Ignatius. The Philokalia is unbuttered Christianity you won't find in churches. Therefore, highest recommendation to you of right intention.