Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_195


The word ecstasy is derived from the Greek “ekstasis,” meaning “beyond or outside the self,” and has different meanings depending on whether it is used in a religious or psychological context. One definition that can be used to underscore these different ecstasies might be “an experience of blissful non-duality.” This involves an experience of dissolution of ontological boundaries between an internal sense of self and external otherness, leading to an intense affective experience of oneness or union of rapturous intensity called ecstatic.

Religious Perspectives

Religious accounts of ecstatic experience are present in the mystical wings of most major world religions, including the Abrahamic, Dharmic, and “indigenous” traditions (also known as shamanic or pagan faiths). Accounts of ecstatic experience are common to charismatic and contemplative Christianity, the Sufis of Islam, the Kabbalists of Judaism, the Vajrayana practitioners of Buddhism, Tantric Hinduism, and the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sri Lanka International Buddhist AcademyKandySri Lanka