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RICHARD SYLVESTER Interview with non-duality magazine
http://www.nondualitymagazine.org/nonduality_magazine.2.richardslyvestor.interview.1.htm

NDM: Can you please tell me about your childhood religious belief systems. What did you learn about 'God' from your parents, school and society in general. What was the impact of this religious indoctrination had on you? Richard Sylvester: When talking about nonduality, questions about our personal history can be misleading. Liberation is impersonal, and as such has nothing to do with the story of the individual who is reporting on it. As soon as we start to tell this story, we may be thought to be implying that there is a causal path that led to liberation, where no such causal path can in fact exist. Why any individual's head is caught in the tiger's mouth is always a mystery. Nevertheless I'll answer your question in the spirit in which it is are asked. My parents were agnostic humanists who brought me up with no creed. The concept of 'God' had little meaning in our house other than as a philosophical concept or a superstitious idea. At school the dullness of assembly greeted me every weekday morning – the dreary hymns, the mumbled prayers requesting God's favour to fall particularly on our ruling class, the empty words of the address given by an unenthusiastic teacher in a black gown. In spite of the tedium of school assemblies and Christian Sundays in England before the loosening of the Sunday trading laws, I did have a

brief flirtation with Christianity when I was about sixteen. This was partly because my school was very strict, and the local church youth club was one of the few places we were allowed to go where we could meet girls. A pushy young curate at St Nick's got hold of my soul and I was actually confirmed – I guess to the horror of my mother. But the God vaccination failed to take properly, and by the time I left school there were other opportunities for meeting girls. Christianity fell away from me shortly afterwards. NDM: Can you tell me about your pre-awakening period and your early spiritual seeking? How did this begin? What kind of methods did you try, what gurus did you follow, and what books did you read? What results, if any, did all this bring? Richard Sylvester: I'm sorry to be so picky about language, but I would not call it 'my pre-awakening period'. Liberation is the dropping away of the person, the seeing that there is no one who has ownership of anything. Neither the story before awakening nor the story after awakening is owned by anyone. But again, I'll enter into the spirit of your question, and write a little about my spiritual roller-coaster ride, which was like many other people's at the time. First, a major acid trip in my early twenties revealed that there is, as it were, an intimate connection between consciousness and reality. This everyday reality, and the nature of time and space within which it unfolds, is only one possible version of reality. Tinker with the chemistry of the brain with a small quantity of L.S.D., or some other drug, and a quite different reality emerges. In some ways this powerful acid trip was like being kicked in the head by a mule, and I do not recommend it. Nevertheless the trip, combined with a certain amount of existential despair and some reading of Alan Watts, led me into some amateurish and failed efforts at the practice of Buddhist meditation and an interest in Yoga. Then, at the age of thirty, after a broken relationship had added a little more despair to my life, I stood one sunny May afternoon on the doorstep of the Transcendental Meditation Centre in Pimlico holding a bag of fruit and feeling pretty foolish. Transcendental Meditation, like acid, was a revelation. In that first meditation, having handed over my bag of fruit, I felt as though I was bathed in warm honey and experienced a freedom and free-floating happiness that I had never experienced before. I became a fanatical meditator, sometimes turning up at dinner parties and demanding a spare room to meditate in before I would join the other guests for soup. I talked frequently to my friends about Transcendental Meditation, and a few of them paid large sums of money to learn it but

got little or nothing from it. I went on TM retreats and determined to 'destress' as much as possible. I considered giving up my reasonably paid job as a lecturer in order to train as a TM teacher. Then, after two years, I heard the words 'Guru Raj Ananda Yogi' and fell in love with My Guru. 'The Teacher Who Is The Yogi King Of Love' was a short round charismatic man with dark limpid eyes. I have given a brief account of his career as a guru in my book 'I Hope You Die Soon'. He taught very powerful meditation techniques, involving mantras and candles and mandalas and chants and a huge Tibetan gong, and I became one of his teachers. Then, after about three years, the scandal hit the fan and his organisation imploded. Cast adrift, I looked around for another guru to fall in love with. I hung around Muktananda's ashrams for a while but never felt any pull towards him, nor towards either of his pair of young replacements after he died. And soon scandal engulfed them too. Scandalous revelations were becoming an occupational hazard of being a guru, and several guru cults self-destructed at about this time. Although I'd accumulated three spiritual names (two Yogic and one Shamanic), the Guru Raj years proved a complete inoculation against any further involvement with gurus. I continued meditating for many years, and even now practise tai chi which might be considered a replacement, but I never spent quality time with a guru again. After a few years of following gurus and doing spiritual practices, it became clear that yogic meditation techniques were very effective at stirring things up, but not so effective at dealing with the psychological and emotional after-effects. So like many other people I became involved with psychotherapy, firstly through 'POPS', or 'Psychologically Orientated Groups', such as EST and Self Transformations, then through personal one-to-one therapy, and finally through training as a Humanistic psychologist and therapist. I was always drawn in therapy to a mixture of Transpersonal and Humanistic approaches, and I respect those therapies that combine the two, such as 'Spiritual Encounter'. Without the transpersonal, humanistic approaches can eventually hit a wall, and without the humanistic, transpersonal approaches can suck you into an endless round of visualisations and forgiveness processes. The temptation for some of us to float away into spiritual realms without doing the work of bucketing out the mud and silt from the bottom of our well, to use Robert Bly's wonderful image, can lead to what Eva Chapman calls ―Sugar on shit.‖ This is why, under the aura of love and peace, some spiritual people often seem so irritable. By the way, I strongly recommend Robert Bly's book 'Iron John' to anyone who either is a man or who knows a man.

NDM: In your book 'I Hope You Die Soon' you refer to seeing that there is no separation. How is this "seen" exactly and what does seeing it mean? Richard Sylvester: From the time that self-consciousness first arises when we are very young children, most of us feel that we have a separate identity and exist as a subject in a world of objects. The thoughts, feelings and perceptions that arise seem to be my thoughts, feelings and perceptions, and consciousness seems to be coagulated here in my individual being, although by extension we assume that other people have their individual consciousness as well. In other words we live in a world of separation and differentiation. At any moment it is possible that this sense of separation into an individual identity may simply drop away. If it does, it is seen that there is in fact no separation and no differentiation, that there is only emptiness out of which all apparent phenomena arise. The Buddhists describe this very well when they speak about ―Empty phenomena rolling by.‖ I will quickly add, in case this sounds existentially depressing, that when liberation is fully seen, the emptiness from which everything apparently arises is also seen to be full of love. In other words, every phenomena is the outpouring of love. NDM: When you write "the sense of vulnerability and fear that attaches to the individual falls away" does this mean that vasanas, samskaras and karma, also fall away at this time? Richard Sylvester: My charismatic guru gave some exciting and colourful talks

about vasanas, samskaras and karma. These talks were very sweet and inspiring, because at the time they were listened to by a mind that wanted to believe in them and the evolutionary path to enlightenment that they implied. 'Vasanas', 'samskaras' and 'karma' are stories that seek to make sense of the mystery of being. Many other stories seek to do the same, such as the stories of the Kabbalah, of Buddhism, and of salvation through the love of Jesus. If you want one of these stories, have it. But while you are following it, the wonder of presence is being missed. Particular personalities will be attracted to particular stories, but in general all minds seek for meaning, and many minds are attracted to stories that seem to explain injustice and to promise justice, if not in this lifetime, then in the next or in the one after that. This is why the story of karma is so delightful. The mind hates the idea that it can get no purchase on liberation, that where liberation is concerned it is in reality helpless and none of its stories count for anything. By the way, the stories of vasanas, samskaras and karma are excellent ones for explaining certain psychological tendencies and processes that go in on people, just as Freud's stories or Jung's stories provide excellent modern alternatives which require fewer metaphysical beliefs. NDM: You write “Liberation cannot be described in words. It cannot be understood by the mind. It cannot be seen until it reveals itself. Then no words or ideas are able to express it and no mind is able to grasp it.” However Vedanta says the exact opposite. The Vedas - the secret forest teachings, and the Upanishads - the Chandogya, Kena, Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Katha, Mundaka, Taittriyaka, Brihadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Isa, Prasna, Mandukya and the Maitri Upanishads, all say the opposite. The writings of Adi Shankara, Ramana Mahârshi, Jñâneshvar, Vasishtha, Ashtâvakra, Nisargadatta, his Guru Siddharâmeshvar Mahârâj, Yajñavalkya, Nâgârjuna and many others all describe exactly what liberation is and even how to attain it step by step. They lay out a clear-cut method, through self-enquiry, Atma vichara, and Karma, Bhakti and Jnana yoga, of how to do this and they say exactly what liberation is with words and concepts, so that the mind clearly understands it. In fact they say that if the mind does not understand it, liberation is not possible. What are your thoughts on this? Richard Sylvester: Perhaps some of us have too much respect for the

words of dead Indians. Others of us may have too much respect for the words of dead Hebrew prophets or dead Italian Cardinals. Therefore we do not recognise how over the centuries the mind builds complexity on complexity on top of an original insight into ultimate reality, like the monstrous temple built on top of Nasruddin's dead donkey.* The original seeing of liberation could never in any case have been put into words, as the Buddha recognised. The idea that oneness would need to follow a particular path with prescribed procedures in order to reveal itself is utterly absurd, an invention of the mind and the egos that attach to it. And you cannot put enlightenment in a box and sell it. Oneness is neither a petty bureaucrat nor a door-to-door salesman. Oneness is the lover who is constantly whispering in our ear ―I am here. I am closer to you than you are to yourself. Notice me.‖ There have been many hints of the real nature of liberation in many cultures and at many times. Some of the clearest are from the Upanishads, for example:―The Scriptures even proclaim aloud: there is in truth no creation and no destruction. No one is bound and no one is seeking liberation. No one is on the way to deliverance. There are none who are liberated. This is the absolute truth, my dear disciple. This, the sum and substance of all the Upanishads, the secret of secrets, is my instruction to you.‖ Usually these hints have been misunderstood or ignored, because they offered no purchase for power or wealth to be built on them. They were instead the purest expression of anarchy. Some who hinted at this were murdered by the sects and creeds that held power at the time. I'll quote from just one of these, Marguerite Porete. Before being executed by the church in the early fourteenth century, she wrote ―Now this soul has fallen from love into nothingness, and without such nothingness she cannot be all‖, and ―If you do not understand, I cannot help you. This is a miraculous work, of which one can tell you nothing, unless it is a lie.‖ Perhaps you recognise an echo of the Kena Upanishad here - ―Advaita is not an idea. It is! The lightning flashes, the eye blinks... Then? You have either understood or you have not understood… If you have not understood, too bad!‖ Nor was Marguerite Porete impressed by those who sought sanctity through morality, writing ―the annihilated soul is freed from the virtues‖. *One day, Nasruddin's father, who was a famous spiritual teacher with a huge temple and many thousands of followers, became so fed up with his wastrel son that he sent him packing with just the clothes he stood up in and his decrepit and aged donkey for company.

After a while some more travellers came by and seeing Nasruddin and the mound. the wastrel Nasruddin. until there was an enormous temple and there were hundreds of followers. until word even reached his father. his donkey suddenly keeled over and died. they thought that perhaps Nasruddin was grieving the loss of a friend.‖ So they built a little cairn of rocks and went on their way. They saw Nasruddin sitting wretchedly by his donkey's corpse and they said to each other ―This poor man has been so saddened by the death of his donkey that he does not even have the heart to bury it. and then sat down by Nasruddin to imbibe his wisdom. Each added a little more to the temple. about this great holy man who had so many devotees. Seeing Nasruddin and the rather impressive little building. leaving Nasruddin sitting silently by the cairn. This poor unhappy man is so saddened by the loss of his friend and travelling companion. Nasruddin watched them without saying a word and continued to sit there after they'd left.‖ So they set about burying the donkey and then proceeded on their way. another group of travellers came by. saying ―See. Let us out of charity bury the beast for him. a group of travellers came by.Nasruddin roamed aimlessly till he was far from home in a strange country. the hundreds of followers became thousands. more and more travellers came by. the mound and the cairn of rocks they thought that perhaps a rather important man. and after pushing his way through the great throngs of people he was astonished to see his son. They too took pity on him. sitting on a great velvet cushion on an . Gradually. then sat to drink in the spirit of this master. Let us build a small pile of rocks on the burial mound to comfort the wretched fellow. leaving Nasruddin sitting silently by the burial mound. Some time later another group of travellers came by. perhaps a teacher. built maybe by some followers of his. After a while. So they determined to build a little mausoleum over the grave to show respect. After a while. Out of respect. As Nasruddin's fame spread. He was miserable and tired and to make matters worse. had died and that Nasruddin might be his devoted follower who would not leave his grave. Seeing Nasruddin. that though he has buried him he has no strength to erect a little memorial for him. Nasruddin was so downhearted that he just sat down in the dirt beside the dead donkey and sank his head into his hands. they added a wing at both ends of the temple. Still Nasruddin hadn't said a word. far away in his own temple. Nasruddin's father determined to travel to this teacher to see for himself his great spiritual aura. Eventually he reached the huge temple. they thought perhaps that Nasruddin might be a teacher and the mausoleum his temple.

There are no words to describe No Thing.” What about vedic sanskrit? What about the poetry of the Sufi mystics such as Rumi. theatre.” Richard Sylvester: There is Emptiness. perhaps because I am quite lazy myself. as you suggest.‖ NDM: You write “Language by its nature describes duality.‖ (Ryokan) Another favourite of mine. the Absolute. starting with the dead donkey and finishing with the mighty temple and the crowds of devotees. I'm amazed. is the following:―Among a thousand clouds and ten thousand streams. frozen in its saddle. Everything.ornate golden throne. his father approached Nasruddin in private and said ―My son. pours forth in unconditional love. No Thing. Words can only describe phenomena. Of course the Relative is not different to the Absolute – it is No Thing appearing as Everything. out of which Fullness. Nevertheless. There is no language to describe nonduality. . Here lives an idle man. As soon as he was able to. the Relative. poetry and prose. Tell me. my shadow creeps by. how did you become such a great teacher with so many followers?‖ So Nasruddin told him everything. still not saying a word. or the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. Exactly the same thing happened to me. Even words like 'emptiness' and 'silence' can only be pointers to the seeing of liberation. When he had finished his father looked at him in silence for a moment and then said ―That's incredible. One of my favourite pointers is this:―How can we ever lose interest in life? Spring has come again And cherry trees bloom on the mountains. the stuff that happens. dance and the visual arts as well as humour can all sometimes point towards liberation in a beautiful way. or Zen Haiku? What about dance and theatre and art? What about the following:“Crossing long fields.

‖ (Han-Shan) NDM: When you write 'the sense of self suddenly disappears. might actually get stronger. The seeing of liberation has no necessary implications. I am lived. How pleasant to know I need nothing to lean on. Liberation has been described as living with the blinkers removed – everything is more raw and immediate when the person is no longer in the way filtering and toning down experience. but no doer thereof‖ is a traditional way of putting this. . but the separated seeking self still seems to remain a reality.. which can be experienced between awakening (a sudden glimpse of the emptiness of the self) and liberation (the seeing that there is both emptiness and fullness and that the nature of oneness is love). To be still as the waters of the autumn river. ―Actions there are. anger. all the stories about personal seeking have been seen through. In this desert. so instead of a long period of neurotic irritation there might be a short period of natural anger. These might disappear.. It could not be liberation otherwise. sometimes apparently very successfully as issues manage to re-emerge. emotional pain somehow still have to be experienced. and there is a tendency for certain feelings to lessen or to drop away entirely. the divine puppet'. boredom. we are likely to gallop off after another story of meaning and significance.' Do you still experience emotional pain. anxiety. but actions happen through me. such as irritation and anxiety. which could be described as more natural feelings.In the day time wandering over green mountains. as boredom. are you referring to not being the doer or the actor? Richard Sylvester: Yes. This often results in a sense of hopelessness and despair. I do not live. Nevertheless. for liberation is all-embracing. At night coming home to sleep by the cliff. NDM: Then you say: 'However during the next year the selffrantically tries to reassert itself. I do not act. Anything that occurred before the seeing of liberation could occur after it... For example many feelings have a distinctly neurotic element to them. It is only a metaphor and of course there is no puppeteer. It is seen in liberation that there is no person who does anything. liberation is a profound energy shift. If we do not recognise this. frustration and so on? Richard Sylvester: These words refer to a period which is sometimes known as 'the desert'.. irritation. But we should also beware of this phrase 'the divine puppet'. Other feelings.

it may seem natural to search for bliss.external problems like paying the bills or internal problems like fear? Richard Sylvester: Before liberation. joy and sorrow still arise. NDM: Lao Tzu wrote 'Those who know. like any feelings. NDM: And what about contentedness. so the ordinary and the everyday becomes fascinating. For that try heroin. But since you've asked. Without it we would long ago have been wiped out by sabre-toothed tigers.' If this is the case then why write books about this at all? What is the point of trying to articulate the ineffable. I'll report that boredom and depression are now unknown. Bliss is another experience. Liberation is so far beyond bliss that they are not even within the same paradigm. do not know. NDM: You write 'Liberation does not bring unending bliss. Those who speak. to try to take some of the . Liberation is the seeing that they do not come and go for anyone. as long as we feel incomplete. paying the electricity bill. We might notice that the end of any rainbow retreats from us at exactly the same speed that we try to approach it. can come and go. another feeling.The topic of what experiences happen here is not very interesting. do not speak. Fear is a natural feeling. Dudjom Rinpoche said ―Even in the greatest yogi. paying the electricity bill. presence.‖ NDM: What about problems . as Alan Watts said. prozac or a lobotomy. Is it. After liberation. is seen not only to be all that there is. joy. Liberation is neither an experience nor a feeling. In liberation it is seen that bliss has no more meaning or significance than any other experience. but also to be enough. bliss is the ultimate pot of gold at the end of the spiritual rainbow.' What do you mean by bliss? Richard Sylvester: For many people. As long as we are searching for bliss. But as long as we feel a sense of separation. we are missing the wonder of this. Boredom is unknown because this. or happiness? Do you feel any of these? Richard Sylvester: These feelings. Depression is unknown because there is no longer a person here suppressing natural feelings and draining the colour out of life.

Let's be clear. I love Alan Watts' remark.‖ I know that this saying is authentic because I found it printed on a bar mat in a pub in Wales. Liberation does not need scriptures or gurus or priests to make itself known. where. If anything I've effing written has taken some of the effing out of the ineffable. NDM: What is the difference between doing psychotherapy to purify the subconscious mind and deal with the shadow. not even if I have said it. has always been very practical. One moment there's somebody crossing a field. Of course if we take it literally. The non-existence of the person is seen in that. it's just a consequence of the nature of language. The mind rarely regards anything as sufficient in itself. I hadn't come across it before. unlike modern Western philosophy. and doing self enquiry or jnana yoga? Richard Sylvester: Quite probably there is no difference. I shall be very pleased. we wipe away the Upanishads. The Buddha said ―Believe nothing. the next moment there's nobody crossing a field yet it's seen that crossing a field is still happening. Eastern philosophy. Nevertheless. unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. The mind takes an instrumental view and treats most things as a means to an end. It's not intended. no matter who has said it. as combinations of psychological and philosophical insight. for example. techniques derived from Buddhism are being used with patients to very good effect. except that the techniques used are sometimes different. oneness obviously sometimes enjoys attempting to write or talk about itself in as clear a way as possible. there is no reason to write books about this and there is no point in trying to articulate it. nothing studied and no technique. the Buddhist sutras. It is part of the madness of the mind that it always looks for a point to everything and for reasons why. Many mental . The effectiveness of certain ancient Eastern practices in dealing with psychological and emotional problems is now being acknowledged within our mental health services. Nothing written or spoken. It is probably best to regard advaita vedanta and Buddhism as psychophilosophies.effing out of it? Richard Sylvester: Your quotation from Lao Tzu is pithy and pointed. Please excuse the personification of oneness in that last sentence. Maybe that would not be a bad thing. and everything else ever written about this. can have any purchase here.

health workers have now been trained in mindfulness. Perhaps these metaphors are useful. It simply says ―Do not do to other people anything that you would not want them to do to you. The trouble with 'understanding' is that it implies that concepts about liberation are relevant here. but 'seen' seems to me to be the nearest that words can get. NDM. What do you mean when you write about liberation being 'seen'? What about 'knowing'? What about 'understanding'? Richard Sylvester: There are no good words for describing this. NDM: Do you believe in cause and effect? Or is everything acausal? Richard Sylvester: In your dream last night you may have waved your hand at a taxi in the street. no street. in which the dream of cause and effect arises. But you know that this was an illusion. In liberation this is seen through and it is known that there is only this. Morality also belongs to the person. I could have written 'sensed' or 'known'. This is so simple that a child of seven can understand it. In this dream of time and space there seems to be cause and effect. or to have an exquisite understanding of liberation but without seeing it. causing that taxi to stop and pick you up. What about Dharma? What about Morality? Richard Sylvester: The idea that we have a special dharma is a story which is very appealing to the ego of the person. The first is like enjoying a cake without knowing what the ingredients are. But they have no relevance at all. The second is like knowing what the ingredients are without ever tasting the cake. But when you woke up you could see that actually nothing had happened – there was no taxi. there can be no dharma because there is only this. But in this waking dream it is much the same. If you want to concern yourself with morality. Or a week ago you may have gone to see a film in which Humphrey Bogart's steady gaze and proferred cigarette lighter caused Ingrid Bergman to fall in love with him. presence. NDM. It is possible to see liberation with no understanding of it. I'd suggest that all that is needed is the golden rule. perhaps not. . no waving of your hand.‖ That's pretty comprehensive. Perhaps that is why there is a version of it in many different cultures. But when it's seen that there is no person. just flickering light falling on a screen.

NDM: Some of what you write sounds very close to existentialism.NDM. For example. Richard Sylvester: My experiences with my 'guru of the single malt' were overwhelmingly positive. they deliver knowledge and remove ignorance. That was the most enjoyable ride that I went on in the Spiritual Fun Fair. But when the person drops away. for the first time. .‖ NDM: When you speak of liberation. The word 'awareness' is just a word. I am. Richard Sylvester: We will just have to agree to disagree about this one. is by that very claim disqualifying themself from having anything authentic to say on the matter. it is awareness. It would be more accurate to say ―There is only the light in which everything arises. Anyone who claims to be a liberated person. I am. all the stories about meaning and purpose fall away because the person has been seen through. also the light in which everything arises. NDM: You write about words being pointers. and it becomes difficult to hang around them any more except for the sake of old friendships or for the sheer colour and entertainment offered by some of them. or to be an enlightened person. and so is Lizzy and Tommy and Jimmy and Anne. I prefer to walk round the park and drink coffee by the lake now. what are you liberated from? Richard Sylvester: I am not liberated. So they lose their fascination. all stories of evolutionary paths to enlightenment or other forms of salvation. Instead. as you are. Are you an existentialist? If not. what are you? Richard Sylvester: An existentialist is someone who has seen through all the stories about meaning and purpose but still feels themself to be a separated person. But in traditional Vedanta words are more than pointers. the glory of presence is seen. This often leads to depression. There is no such thing as a liberated person. a very ordinary bloke. are seen for what they are. We're back to Alan Watts and the effing ineffable. Do you have an aversion to Indian gurus and wisdom traditions because of the negative experiences with your own 'guru of the single malt' which you write about in 'I Hope You Die Soon'. perhaps like you. the word 'awareness' is not a pointer. all stories of becoming. This does not tend to lead to depression. as simply stories. In liberation. No one is liberated. Awareness itself can never be put into words.

What I said was that irritability is a neurotic manifestation of anger. or three kinds of nottwoness.Liberation is seen. I didn‘t say that irritability doesn‘t arise. for example. at times. The idea that there are three kinds of oneness. It makes as much sense. NDM: What are your thoughts on neo-advaita? Richard Sylvester: I've come across the suggestion that there are three kinds of advaita. impersonally. when the person drops away. which even spills over into 'web-rage'. When this message is communicated clearly then the cliff face crumbles and all the hooks fall out. No. There is no reward. . to say that there is in any case only liberation. denying the mind any possibility of getting higher up the cliff. and therefore it is thought that there is a pot of gold to search for. but in being asleep it is believed that there is a difference. And that is such a hook for the mind to grab hold of. Halina: In your book you say that irritability doesn‘t arise in liberation. According to this description. Richard is the author of 'I Hope You Die Soon Words on Non-duality and Liberation'. The mind is desperate to find any hook that it can use to haul itself up the craggy cliff face of liberation. It generates a great deal of heat on the internet. However. Interview with Richard Sylvester . in neo-advaita there is liberation but no path to liberation. To suggest that irritability.Feb 2007 Richard met Tony Parsons five years ago and attended regular discussion groups in Hampstead. some sort of gain. Liberation has nothing to offer to a person. and in pseudo-advaita there is neither liberation nor a path to liberation. is very entertaining. He now holds his own discussion groups in London. can no longer arise would be to suggest that there is some sort of gift in liberation. It is possible that when liberation is seen neurosis will decrease and so the character may be more likely to feel angry rather than irritable. in traditional advaita there is both liberation and a path to liberation. But it has no importance. Richard: (Laughs). by the way. that being awake and being asleep are the same thing. Tunbridge Wells and other locations. in being awake they are known to be the same thing. the internet equivalent of road-rage.

What can happen in liberation is that this is simply seen through. of course I couldn‘t remember what I was going to say so I told the group ―That‘s a pity because the secret of liberation was in that answer but we had a cup of tea instead. Whatever happens simply happens and that could contain irritability. It seems undeniable to a person that ―I have a mind‖. We could say that the words ―mind‖ and ―person‖ are almost synonymous. that there must be something thinking these thoughts and producing this energy. .‖ But really you are better off with a cup of tea because you can do something with it. So it‘s best just to forget the idea that you may become less irritable or envious or depressed. In liberation there is a release of energy.what is the mind? One of the things that is seen when the sense of a person drops away is that there is no such thing as a mind. You can drink a cup of tea but you can‘t do anything with liberation. It is as if a lot of the energy bound up with thought dissipates. The mind is something like an idea or a sensation which seems to be interpolated between nothing and a thought. feelings and perceptions. There is nothing wrong with thinking.I was giving a talk recently and I was just about to answer a question when someone interrupted me and called us for tea. an energetic shift. It is simply seen that thoughts arise from nothing. thoughts come so thick and fast and seem to have so much energy attached to them that an impression is created that there is an entity called the mind which is thinking these thoughts. There is a sense that this something must be ―me‖. They arise and then they fall back into nothing. The sense that there is a mind produces the sensation that there is a person and vice versa. We cannot see that thoughts arise from nothing and so we imagine an intermediary called the mind. It‘s just something that happens. But this just falls away in liberation. From the aspect of no-self. These are simply phenomena arising in awareness one at a time. After tea. There are thoughts. because what happens when liberation is seen may be exactly the same as what happens when it isn‘t seen. This is not a gift or a goal. Thinking doesn‘t stop in liberation. But when there is a person.

For example advertisements continually offer the promise of personal happiness if we take this holiday or use that baldness cure. But it can fall away. I especially like one quote from your book: ―Awakening is seeing the emptiness of the void. Everything shouts at us ―You are a person and you can experience personal fulfilment. It is simply seeing the fullness of the void. Rather than seeing it in terms of positives and negatives I would say that selfhood just happens. That‘s no more attractive than a cup of tea. What is seen in awakening is the complete nonexistence of the self and the emptiness of the void. There is nothing wrong with being a person for there is nobody who could be doing anything wrong.‖ The sense of self inevitably arises. Liberation is seeing the fullness of the void.‖ Can you talk about that? Again I am aware that the phrase ―seeing the fullness of the void‖ can sound attractive and so it can become another hook for the mind. What I was trying to describe were two apparent events. at the centre of the individual there may be the feeling that there is something wrong. And this is clearly what fuels a lot of activity. The self is just awareness arising as the individual self. It is continually reinforced by everything in society.You mention Suzanne Segal‘s book ‗Collision with the Infinite‘ She describes the frightening experience of suddenly there being no-self. There may be the idea that there is something wrong with ―me‖ or with ―you‖ or that there may be something wrong with life. When self-consciousness arises it brings both the promise of personal fulfilment and the threat of personal suffering. Tony talked about self developing as a protection for the organism. When we talk about underlying unity it is difficult not to give the impression that we are saying there is something wrong with being a person although that is not what is being suggested here. Can you say why there is such a development of self? Are there any positives? For a person there are lots of rewards but there are also difficulties. But it isn‘t attractive. How could there be anything wrong with that? Nevertheless. The first event I would call awakening. It is how the game of life is played. This is referred to in .

It reminds me of the cartoon showing twins in the uterus and one asks the other: ―Do you believe in life after birth?‖ ―No‖ replies the other one: ―It is just a myth. But ―cosmic‖ does not contain rewards. Saying that everything is love is not a teaching. What can the mind make of that? Yet that is what is being said here. Later on there was another event and it was realised that it is a very full emptiness. what is it full of?‖ It‘s full of love. The mind is always trying to make something of this but it is impossible for the mind to grasp it. sensations and feelings continue to arise. Thoughts. Whether or not presence is seen. These words are paradoxical and don‘t get the mind anywhere but that is the best I can do. this can sound very baffling to the mind. So when we talk about liberation there are a lot of personal hooks around transition. It is just a description of what is seen in liberation and it may make no sense to the mind. We might say that there is a shift and that this shift is both tiny and cosmic. The mind might say ―Look at what is going on in the world! How can that be love?‖ The only answer I can give is that is just how it is. There is simply emptiness. Whilst we are asleep we feel as if there is something to be . People get obsessed by the idea of the transition from being a person to ‗being‘. The shift is both tiny and cosmic. The mind might ask ―If it is a full emptiness. Can you explain what this means? It is paradoxical and an attempt to prevent another hook from being hammered into the cliff face of personal enlightenment.‖ My NCT group focused on the birth rather than the idea of having a baby afterwards. Actually what is realised is that there is no self. phenomena continue to arise. However when we look at certain aspects of the apparent manifestation. There is no lower self and there is no higher self.some traditions as seeing the emptiness of all phenomena. Everything simply arises from Presence Another quote from your book is that ―being awake and being asleep are the same‖. In that sense there is no difference between being awake and being asleep but this cannot be seen whilst we are asleep. All that can be said about this is that everything is emptiness and everything is also love. It‘s paradoxical that in other traditions they talk about ―self-realisation‖.

When the person vacates the premises they may take a few suitcases of neurosis away with them. It is difficult for a person to feel compassion when they are obsessively wrapped up in their own story. isn‘t it? It can sound quite frightening to a person to hear that there is no such thing as relationship. However I would say that when there is a personal identity then there may be more neurosis and neurosis is a great crusher of compassion. And when liberation is seen there is no longer anyone there who feels that they need to make things better. But when the person isn‘t there anymore relating simply happens. It is possible that relating might be more intimate or more loving if the concept of relationship has dropped away. The person feels that we can get somewhere or gain something that will at last make us feel fulfilled. some people see compassion as an attribute of the heart.gained and this fuels the life of the person as we may rush about trying to get something. Neurosis grabs the attention of the person and can produce an inward looking self-obsession. I relate to that. Yes. There may be more immediacy when there is awareness of presence in which ideas and concepts no longer play an important part. Somehow the qualities without ownership are richer. Being a friend arises instead of someone who is a friend. Of course ―relationship‖ is a concept. But ultimately compassion. In the story there seems to be ―me‖ and ―you‖ but really there is just Oneness manifesting as two apparent people. . religious and spiritual ideas. From a non-dualistic perspective what would you say is compassion? It is difficult to talk about because compassion is bound up with moral. Tony talked about the qualities that arise when there is no person. which is confusing. simply arises out of nothing. For example. like everything else. This may leave more space for compassion to arise and more awareness of how difficult it is for others to be a person. We will try to do all sorts of things to cure our dissatisfaction. When awakening happens this may all be seen through. That might be making a lot of money or praying to God for a change in our circumstances or seeking enlightenment for example.

I was listening to an interview with Mathieu Ricard on the radio last week. The Expectation of Happiness Tony also said how there was no expectation on people attending meetings and after spiritual striving this can be a relief. Expectations can be so subtle. He is a French Buddhist monk who has written a book about happiness. American scientists have tested his brain wave patterns and found him to be the happiest person that they have ever come across. He said that after one visit to Tony there was such incredible relief. the expectation that I must not be miserable or that I am failing my Buddhist teachers by not being happy enough. I know somebody who was brought up in a strict Christian family. That expectation of being happy seems the major foundation on which the self continues. . I would love to spend an afternoon with him. But can you imagine the expectation of going to a Buddhist retreat where happiness is being taught! You‘d probably be trying to gauge your happiness and comparing yourself to the other students in the room! In a way it is another form of oppression. Yes. He sounded like an absolutely delightful man. He could let go of all that need to please God. I have just been contacted by someone who is a Christian who said it was a revelation to realise that he didn‘t need anything else from God. A person has the idea that if I do this or that I may become happier.I used to have lots of ideas about personal growth and spiritual development. I loved that part of his interview when I read it on your website. It‘s something else to fail at. Paradoxically it was more difficult then to notice suffering in another person as my thinking was bound up with assessing my own progress along an imagined spiritual path. There is more space in an empty house for compassion to arise. It may lie at the heart of a person seeking happiness on a Buddhist retreat or of a terrorist setting off a bomb. We all want to be happy. There are always expectations if you are a student. Yes. It is very seductive and lies at the heart of much of our activity. People spend so much time praying to God for so many things.

But so far that hasn‘t happened! Words always seem to come from the immediacy of presence. apart from maybe scribbling down one thought on a piece of paper and stuffing it into my shirt pocket before a meeting in case I find I am absolutely paralysed and there is nothing to say when the time comes. It is impossible to prepare. But the fact that there are so many of them should make us suspect that they don‘t really work. My intended two minute preambles sometimes stretch to half an hour while the character Richard sits watching. whether I am coming here to be interviewed today or giving a talk. We must remember that in talking about this . lots of words seem to arise. One of the things that surprises me is the absolute impossibility of preparing anything to say about this in advance. In trying to point to this we are attempting the impossible. It is difficult to talk about this. Nevertheless. It doesn‘t really matter. but there are probably ways of thinking about this that will only emerge if an attempt is made to communicate about it. agog at what is being said. Do you have a similar sense when this is being communicated? Very much so. I have taught adults all my professional life and I am used to teaching workshops on Psychology or Counselling where everything is carefully prepared.The Communication of Non-duality In writing about non-duality for your book do you feel anything has fallen into place? The only thing I would say is that in writing about this the communication may have become clearer. Instead of writing a book about non-duality do you think you could have written a more lucrative one about becoming a more successful person? (Laughing) Yes. So it may appear that things are being realised that were not realised before but that is only an appearance. I talked to Tony about the way this message of non-duality comes out almost as a surprise to the character of Halina. except that every part of that field has been covered. If you go into any bookshop the shelves are groaning under the weight of self-help manuals.

The story of non-duality. I would simply notice that thought was appearing and disappearing. "Natural Rest: Finding Recovery Through Presence. His other website is www. I wouldn't reach for the fly). SCOTT KILOBY Interview with non-duality magazine Scott Kiloby is the author of "Love's Quiet Revolution: The End of the Spiritual Search" and "Reflections of the One Life: Daily Pointers to Enlightenment. As thoughts would appear. July 2010 NDM: Can you please tell me how you came to this realization? Was it sudden.blogspot. Krishnamurti. every position and belief gets challenged.kiloby. J.. This became very natural and effortless over time. I only read their books. Scott travels across the U. and also all of our ideas about spirituality. when expressed clearly. This is the gradual part of it. I didn't meet them. I wouldn't engage the content (i. My first teachers were Eckhart Tolle." He is also the creator of an addiction/recovery method called Natural Rest. In these meetings. But some stories point clearly towards what is and some stories point confusingly away from what is. Scott's main website is www. I would notice them in the way one notices a fly buzzing by. I noticed that I was experiencing more and more peace. This second site contains a free PDF text called "Living Realization" pointing directly to nondual awareness.we are still telling a story. His book. This leaves those attending completely open to allow the present moment to unfold in a new way. .e. free of identification with thought. INTERVIEW. and overseas giving talks in which those attending experience nondual presence. and the world.living-realization.com. I did this very often. The point of the meetings is allow each person attending to go home and discover for themselves the freedom Scott's message is pointing to.com. others. I began to relax without thought for periods throughout the day. including every belief about the self. the story of non-duality. Through these teachers. or gradual? Did you use a method or practice of any kind? Scott Kiloby: Both gradual and sudden." is scheduled for release in early 2011. points as directly as possible towards what is.S. simply looking without thought.

I saw that time is an illusion and that death is not what we think it is. This stage is less like a "Big Bang" experience and more like a settling into or stabilizing in a sense of permanent well-being. As thoughts would arise. There has been another kind of gradual deepening after these big experiences. do you mean with some kind of deliberate meditation or just whenever? For how long do you mean exactly? Scott Kiloby: Yes. throughout the day. I would let them be as they are. The space of the present moment became more apparent. the streetlight. etc. So I would call what I did more like "living meditation" where. There have certainly been challenging situations and this or that self-centered thought or negative emotion or defense arising during this deepening process. The sense of being a separate self just vanished. whenever possible. using the mind only for practical purposes. DM: When you say that you began to relax "without thoughts". it became automatic and natural. There were two big experiences. Letting all "story thoughts" arise and fall without engaging them. I did not want to limit meditation to a method I did only in the morning or only under certain circumstances. little temporary movements that don't last unless you engage the content of them. I would take another moment and let that thought come to rest and then relax again into thought-free presence. I'm speaking of resting in thought-free presence in all situations in my life. and nondual satsangs and saw a lot of people doing that and seeking for years. states. a deliberate meditation but not meditation as it is traditionally known. where all thoughts. leaving me with a very quiet mind. and joy. not like a practice at all. The second was a Oneness experience where I could find no distinction between myself and the wall. emotions. sensations. and experiences that make up the "world" are seen to be inseparable from awareness. whenever I remembered to do so. but it all ends up looking like love or the "one essence" at this point. In not emphasizing the thoughts.freedom. In making this a repeated practice that happened many times throughout the day. peace. the carpet. More like home! . And when I found myself engaging them. This is where the sudden part comes in. the first experience was a seeing of the total impermanence of everything. I looked around at the Buddhist Sanghas. I would take a moment and drop all conceptual labels about the moment and just rest there. and freedom. Without going into detail. letting the body relax into the stillness of the present moment. they became less important to my existence.

more or less? For example how many minutes can you go without a thought appearing on the screen so to speak? Scott Kiloby: It never occurs to me to count how long the periods are without thought. walking to the courthouse or working on some case.For how long do you mean exactly? Seconds. I would simply look around the room at colors and shapes. The big experience happened July 2007. tai chi or anything at all like this where you have to concentrate and focus your mind on a single point of some kind. NDM: Would you say after a several month period it went from milliseconds to where the mind got permanently quiet? Do you mean perfectly still. I dabbled very lightly in some of that stuff.. NDM: When you say that you began to relax "without thoughts". minutes or longer? Scott Kiloby: The first time. while working as an attorney. That seemed to help calm a lot of the stories that arose while working out like. exercise. Then. The gradual aspect happening from that point until early 2007. I would focus on a single point sometimes. The moments got longer and longer and there was a tipping point where the mind got permanently quiet. all of them. NDM: When did this begin to happen by the way? How long ago? Scott Kiloby: I assume you mean when did I start this method? Around 2005. during the day. like on a treadmill or lifting weights. What I mean is. it was probably milliseconds or a second. But the focus was more on resting without thought instead of focusing in on one particular object. I would use the conceptualizing aspect of mind only when needed for work. Such as when you go into the flow with jogging. as I did it more often. the moments got longer. in the middle of a busy day. martial arts. yoga. "Can't wait for this to be over. that kind of one-pointed focus was helpful. or work of some kind? Scott Kiloby: These are all wonderful practices. When I worked out. until eventually over a several month period. I mostly focused on the "method" I've already explained. however. The point of my message is not to end thought but to see thought as none other than awareness. there was an automatic return there." Also.. archery.NDM: Have you ever practiced meditation. Just as silence and sound are . without conceptualizing them into objects.

"I see a bird" or other object. I saw that the one who would choose one over the other was the separate self sense. it is only labeling that creates the appearance that thoughts are separate from emotions or awareness. NDM: Before this shift. Thoughts SEEM to be found. like before. etc. So one doesn't even find thoughts "in the end. But only another thought would call them "thoughts. etc. The first experience where the mind quieted was a big change. I have found that any other formulation is dualistic. it became more and more quiet. . how would you have described the activity in your mind." Similarly. and the stabilization after that. To say that it's seen that there is no self is to go looking and to not find this self. It's all labeling. Was it mostly calm. trying to get somewhere else in the future. self doesn't find no self. NDM: What do you mean in the "seeing" How is this "seen” How can you see awareness? Do you mean known? Scott Kiloby: It's not seen in the way one says. which doesn't exist. how noisy it is. The realization is in seeing through the need to measure how quiet it is v. the subject and the object. very active. Once the Oneness experience happened. I began to see the line between thought and no thought as still dualistic. There are thoughts. One definition of the separate self sense is the controller or measurer who is measuring experience. "furniture" or any other thought. Quieting the mind is only a tool." If you sat in a room and did not have the thought. fluctuating between periods of activity and some quietness." In the same way. including trying to privilege silence over sound or not thinking over thinking.inseparably one. In my message. Lots of thought. you would not see furniture differentiated and separate from "floor" or "ceiling. in the so-called subtle realm of thoughts and emotions. Very quiet at that point." So-called "thoughts" have no independent existence as something apart from something else called "awareness. to a quieter state. The one who is looking is not a self and the one who is looking finds no self. realization is not measured by how quiet one's mind is. That was seen through. So thought happens a lot today. clear. but it is like a movement of the quietness itself. active. These thoughts create the appearance of "two" as if one can find or know or see the other. Mind is dualism. energetic or dull? Or would it fluctuate between all three? Does it still fluctuate in terms of its energy or speed of thoughts and so on? Before the shift. awareness and all movements of thoughts are inseparably one. ALL is. But through the gradual period. Both are thoughts. Not two things happening or fluctuating or oscillating back and forth.

not a "person" who brings about or controls these things. without placing conceptual labels or stories on those emotions. One doesn't know or see anything. rather than lazily thinking about themselves and what they think about awakening or about traditions or methods they've studied before and rather than engaging their stories of past and future endlessly. where he simply relaxes his body and mind completely. In addition.Subject doesn't find object. what its conclusions are.) The best statement I've heard about all this is. creating non-existent problems and questions. This kind of noticing. But the same question would arise: "How is this known?" "How can you know awareness?" Then we are back in a maze of dualism that doesn't exist except in mind. what it means. dualistic thought is what it is (or appears to be). The mind complicates it. and at some point there would be a natural and automatic return to this thought-free awareness. So to answer them from the knowing that there aren't two here is a funny game. the moments would get longer. This gives him a direct taste that he is that which is aware of all these things. throughout the day. At first. ALL is. on a repeated basis. each sensation as it arises. I would have him notice emotions as soon as they appear. the moments might be very short.e. letting all thoughts come to rest. I would help him notice all the appearances coming and going through this thought-free awareness. gambling and so on? Scott Kiloby: If someone came to me. teaching tools at best. but that is part of the fun. isn't it? NDM: When you teach this how do you do this? Do you have some kind of method that you use? Scott Kiloby: The point of my message is to put people in a position where they are awake to what is happening within them at the time it is happening. You could call it knowing. . gives him a taste of the fact that there is no doer. To notice a thought is different than to engage the content of a thought. without trying to .. without emphasizing the content of it i. So it is in the not finding of any separate thing that this seeing happens. I would have him notice what is happening in his body throughout the day. I would then invite him to take very brief moments at first. isn't it? Yet. I encourage people to simply notice thought coming and going. The questions come from the assumption that there are two here. coupled with resting in thought-free presence. It captures the simplicity of being. But in repeatedly doing this. I would invite him to let all appearances be as they are. In my message. Things are merely happening on their own. This is all a mind game. where it is leading. NDM: For example what would you say to someone that had bad habits like drinking.

emotions. Self remembering by Gurdjieff. is a book that contains a method of recognizing awareness in all situations. from your description. I would present any number of methods to help unravel and relax those points of view (not emphasize them for a sense of self. This also sounds like vipassana. My text.com. Buddhist mindful-ness and concentration from the eightfold path. Parts of it like shamAdi ShaTka sampatta from advaita tradition. It can be found at www. If he continued asserting certain beliefs. It may not. I can't even share some of them because they are in the Natural Rest: Finding Recovery Through Presence book. What is it about "Scott's way" that is any more clearer or is going to give someone any other benefits than these traditional methods? Scott Kiloby: My ―method‖ is really simple and in plain English. this sounds a little like the "Forth Way". Appearances include thoughts. One has to try and see. If one is .change. states. What those methods are is beyond the scope of this article.livingrealization. to say it another way). this person gets a taste of everything arising spontaneously and involuntarily. English-speaking people might resonate more with what I‘m doing. Living Realization. neutralize. NDM: Ok. positions. Would it give you other benefits than the methods you listed? My message is different than those traditions in a lot of ways. outside the body. sensations. I do reveal them on a private basis to anyone I meet with. I didn't get involved with heavy reading of traditions. I just took up these practices and it wasn't a "hard road" at all. But as the message continues and one looks more deeply. and experiences as well as "people and events and seeming objects" happening out there. overcome. Some of the traditions are difficult for people to understand because of language differences. It may provide exactly what you need. understood. or points of view that made it difficult for him to rest in thought-free presence. No guarantees for you. It takes the sense of personal will away. The publisher is asking me not to reveal those methods until the book is released. In letting all appearances be as they are. or get rid of them. one begins to see that the objects outside the body are actually thoughts and sensations. It's already been released. Also step 7 and 8.blogspot.

Was there anything unusual going on at the time? Health issue. Without drugs. NDM: Did you go cold turkey or get off gradually? Scott Kiloby: Off the drugs. What kind of physical and psychological withdrawals did you have? Can you please tell me how you felt exactly while going through this? Scott Kiloby: Painful. emotions still arise at all? Scott Kiloby: After the big experiences. shock. which triggered a spiritual search. flu-like symptoms. emotional energy in the body (like a heat swell). What do you think triggered this. They haven't been that intense at all. but many times with no thought at all. accident. the mind began looking for something else. . Oh. Was it recreational. let me add that I got clean off drugs in 2004. NDM: When you say there were some challenging situations and the self-centered thought or negative emotion or defense arising during this deepening process. health issue. NDM: When you say that the big sudden experience left you with a very quiet mind. They would be more like sudden bursts of energy. they don't. and pot. dark night of the soul. Seeing of the total impermanence of everything. accompanied sometimes by thought. just this practice. etc. feelings." Emotionally. I felt a lot of fear and experienced anger and resentment that I had been medicating for a long time.? NDM: Yes. but by the time these big events happening. NDM: What kind of drugs exactly. there was no trauma. let down. cocaine. Either way. It was the next "drug chase. This is when seeking enlightenment came in. Stopping drugs was very scary. death of a loved one. they find their way to my message. mainly painkillers but also meth.interested. How intense was this and last for and do these thoughts. I didn't know how I was going to live without medicating feelings. or anything else? Scott Kiloby: No. If not... alcohol. all is well. these things would not last long at all. medicinal or for something else? Scott Kiloby: I used for 20 years. depression of some kind.

they fall away very soon. not like things that arise IN or WITHIN it (not something separate from the quietness). It's like it falls back into quiet space. It feels like everything that arises. And the thoughts and emotions feel like movements of the space itself. pleasant? How would you describe it? Scott Kiloby: As far as the region in the body. For example. there is no sense that I brought them about. Was it uncomfortable. Every now and then.These days. for example) but whatever energies arise. here and there. a rush of fear went through my body but there was very little story about that. something will very briefly arise. recently my life was threatened in litigation by a father on the other side who lost custody. always open. it leaves no trace. Even when self-centered thoughts or emotions arise. the chest or stomach area. making my argument to a judge or responding to other attorneys in litigation (meeting energy with energy in a heated talk about something that is really important to my client. When thoughts just pass by very quickly. He made death threats and when I heard that. so it passes right through immediately. Did you notice this in any particular region of your body. Even when thought and emotion are happening. which there isn't 98% percent of the time. emotional energy in the body (like a heat swell). It's like there is a gate within me. where something gives me a charge. but it causes no suffering because it isn't carried over into the next moment. NDM: When you say they would be more like sudden bursts of energy. I might get really involved with a case. is already on its way out when it arises. It can be uncomfortable if there is resistance to it. always allowing everything to be. . No matter what happens. They arise involuntarily and spontaneously. My client was awarded custody. good or bad. sometimes the throat. Where would it begin and where would it end. There have been a few times. the emotion has nothing to "sink its teeth into" so to speak. NDM: Do these thoughts and emotions still have a charge? Do they pack any punch so to speak? Also do you have any triggers someone can push? Something that still sets you off? For example can a judge or another attorney in heated battle unsettle you in any way? It is difficult to upset me. the quiet space underneath it all is still there. leaving no trace. I don't normally experience negative feelings or a slew of self-centered story-of-me type thoughts. But as an attorney. for example.

because the traditions render it differently. I mean the absence of what I TOOK myself to be. One teaching might render this whole discussion one way. as you know. NDM: When you say nothingness. by using terms like "no self. how has Greg Goode been helpful? Scott Kiloby: Greg has really been clear on showing me how language determines how we talk about non-duality.so there is no ownership of them. this is more like an absence of that assumption that there is a separate self behind it all and then a sense of seamlessness or inseparability of life that became apparent when that absence was realized (ha ha) by no one. Since the experiences. no--not in the beginning. in Direct Path Advaita and Tibetan Middle Way emptiness teachings. let's say I'm a raw food eater. had you read any traditional scripture on non duality at any point prior to this? Western or Eastern? Scott Kiloby: Very little traditional scripture. and the Great Freedom Teaching. separate self who has control and is acting autonomously within a selfcentered story of time. For example. on an informal basis. do you mean this in a Buddhist sense. I only eat raw . which really helped me see that nothing that arises has an independent nature from space. If you mean any of the traditional Buddhist schools or Traditional Advaita or even Direct Path Advaita. Greg Goode. NDM: When you had these experiences. which is a central. I like the Buddhist description better." Another teaching might never use the term no self and instead might talk about awareness and points of view of awareness (without ever mentioning whether there is a self). If I were to pick one or the other. The Advaita awareness lends itself to some weird interpretations and even fundamentalism in some cases. NDM: Can you give me an example of these weird interpretations and fundamentalism? Scott Kiloby: Anyone can be fundamentalist or absolutistic about anything. like shunyata or Brahman in advaita? What do you see is the difference? Scott Kiloby: Good point. NDM: Ok. most of the modern teachings carry some of those elements in them. I became interested in Dzogchen at some point. But. But it's a good teaching that helps many. My teachers after the big experiences were people like John Astin. I have studied with Greg Goode. For me.

which gives one a sense of having "transcended the world. Only a select few that use it to bolster a sense of self. traditions. The mind will attach to any content to strengthen a sense of self. vasanas? Inclinations? Scott Kiloby: Who is driving me to type comes from the assumption that there must be a who or a what. But they don't point outside themselves. When that thought is not operating. The "world" gets made into a lesser form. personality. other teachings. and paths are seen as lower forms. there is just typing. The mind thinks in terms of objects. I'm a self-righteous know-it-all. somehow cut off from each other and from life. I mean the sense of a separate self behind the doing. more--anything than others. Talk. so that it can feel better than. With Advaita awareness. more enlightened. Not at all. Remain silent. the sense that we are separate objects. The self behind the typing only seems there when we emphasize the thought that there must be a separate object behind the typing. except that it closes off the mind. methods.' Words cannot destroy 'this.' NDM: Also on your website it says "NEW-Non-Duality in a Nutshell' What do you mean by 'new" exactly? How does it differ from Advaita Vedanta for example? . there is a way to realize that and maintain complete humility without arrogance and selfrighteousness about it. I'm not condemning everyone in Advaita.foods because I've come to see the health benefits of that. In those instances. Although the world is illusion. more knowledgeable. The same thing can happen in spirituality. acting on personal will. By person. The mind gets lazy. Both equally 'this. If I identify heavily with that mental label and believe "I have found the truth above and beyond all other truths about food" I'm not going to be a person others want to be around. reverting back to "what I already know" instead of relying on awareness and being open to what arises." it is especially ripe for self-righteousness. as if the people in it who have not realized their true nature are something below or lower than those who have realized their true nature. NDM: Also what do you mean by "person" underneath? Do you mean character. A little bit of intellectual knowing or even experiential knowing about nondual awareness easily becomes selfrighteousness. There is nothing inherently wrong with absolutism or fundamentalism. It's no different than a Christian Fundamentalist standing at the front of the church condemning to hell everyone who does not follow his religion. Thoughts are believed and we think they are pointing to objects.

inclinations. like a grounding point. It would look like this. NDM: By vasana. Is this what you are saying? Are you still the doer. One could say.Scott Kiloby: "NEW" means that writing is new on the site." during dinner. It normally puts it in the sense of self that is somehow "behind" it all. thinker? Scott Kiloby: No. wouldn't you say? :) The "you" in the pointing is our true nature as nothingness. what I meant was an ingrained habit that gets illuminated by awareness and energy that manifests as typing." Who is the 'you" that is not making this privilege or this choice? Are you saying there is still a Scott floating about in there somewhere and Awareness? What or who is doing this? Scott Kiloby: I speak in conventional language. What do you mean by this "The appearances are inseparable from awareness. we could not have this email discussion. You don't even privilege awareness over appearances or vice versa. "Hey Oneness. NDM: Also on the subject of habits. sorry misunderstood. there is only typing. dispositions. NDM: So do you still have a sense of a separate self behind the doing. And we would be deathly boring at parties. In a conventional sense. I don't look for or see any identity or object behind the typing. experiencer. The mind wants to place identity somewhere. Do you still have these? . Otherwise. Thought it meant some new non dual movement. do you see yourself as the action taking place. awareness is to say that there is no person underneath all that who could manage or control or privilege these things. talking and so on. To say that there is no privileging of form v. the question falls away. NDM: Ok. When that falls away. thinking or experiencing. our communications would be very awkward. no sense of doership or personal entity behind the doing. there is a Scott and a John. The typer? Scott Kiloby: I don't see myself. like and dislikes aversions and so on. I was asking you. formlessness or appearances v. please pass the salt to Oneness. Without conventional language.

The mystery lives itself through us. life feels totally free in this moment. When that is seen through. They say you can change your name and call your self Mr. They both say that if certain steps are not taken. like I say. attention and so on? Scott Kiloby: As for hopes. Therefore. . loving dogs or eating prime rib or whatever--not to reach a later goal.Scott Kiloby: I still like the same foods I've always liked. I never use them. I don't see a future. NDM: What about worldly ambitions of any kind. and we believe we must be very careful to avoid certain consequences or bring about other. the karma. as if we are thought-based. we believe we are making choices to bring about other things. There is no suffering in any of it. You could say these are likes and dislikes. as if something is missing that must be found in the future. the question of karma disappears. unfolding as it will. Certain conditioning. There is never a moment when the sense of peace and well-being is missing. the question of karma disappears. Some part of the conditioning continues on. arises but contains to suffering. like appearing to choose to listen to the Beatles over something else. I don't fear death. hopes dreams. dreams. no. It's the sense of a separate self behind it all that has been seen through. time-bound selves who live from past to future. I don't see a past or a future that has any objective reality. They are just happenings. NDM: Do you experience bliss. Life is simply lived presently. nirvana. When that is gone. I still love the Beatles. aspirations for fame. NDM: What are your thoughts on karma? Scott Kiloby: When we place identity in time. I still love dogs. life is just lived in the here and now. We believe we are in control. are you saying that just by "seeing through this". (Action) which creates samskaras which in turn create and form vasanas. without a notion that actions are leading somewhere that can be known or ascertained or controlled on a personal level. positive results. I still like to play and write music. like the way a lion might prefer sleeping by a certain tree. So these preferences are not a problem. That there are no more binding vasanas. Advaita sees this differently so does Buddhism. it has no pull. It's just a thought. I would say it this way. are you a Jivanmukta? Scott Kiloby: These are terms relevant only to certain traditions. NDM: So. with no energetic or emotional pull. and aspirations. Even if a thought were to arise about it. I no longer live with any sense of lack.

But where is the line? When you really look for it. NDM: Also would you say that the objects that are arising are also .Awareness all day long and it will make no difference because its superficial. Awareness is like air and thought is like a breeze moving through the air. as you know. The notion of recognizing awareness. language. Scott Kiloby: I don't call myself enlightened or Mr. It depends on context. NDM: Which one would you say you are? The subject being awareness or the objects." or "getting sucked in" are all thoughts--movements of awareness itself. What tradition. The word "enlightenment" spoken by itself." Does this fluctuate at all. an ever deepening adventure where one should remain open to see any ignorance that arises. history. NDM: When you say "The appearances are inseparable from awareness. From being the witness to getting engrossed or sucked into a thought? Scott Kiloby: No fluctuation. not something separate that interrupts awareness. language. For pointing purposes. etc. tradition. And to claim one is enlightened then would be to say that he is enlightened within a particular conceptual framework. They aren't states in time. Do you shift from going from one to the other. That determines what enlightenment is. It conveys nothing. We say there is a subject and an object. in my opinion. In that case. or perhaps transcend and include it as one of many frameworks that create objects including objects called "enlightenment" which have no fixed definition without reference to culture. being lost in thought. it is not there. You don't even privilege awareness over appearances or vice versa. not recognizing awareness. like Advaita. he would not be enlightened at all. Thought is none other than awareness. To say one is enlightened would be to act as if that word has one meaning. without reference to these things. lineages. Then we might try to say there is both. It would be necessary to wake up out of that framework. what are arising in awareness? Or both? Scott Kiloby There aren't two. being "clear. The breeze does not and cannot destroy the air because it is air itself. There has been a seeing here beyond the personal self. Awareness or any of that stuff. we talk of two. is completely meaningless. I consider a lifetime. This keeps humility in place and any egoing that wants to arise in check. culture. one appearing after the other. teaching is talking about enlightenment. even after awakening to the Absolute.

Germany. as that link stated that you sent me. NDM: I ask this because in traditional advaita. all that is seen through. NDM: Yes. or turiya. So to talk about inside. culture. To divide them would only be for teaching purposes. So evaluating phenomena would have to take into account what conceptual framework one is looking from. but it isn't thought about. this is another way of saying what I'm saying. as if they are witnessing them. the question is answered because the teaching says that "Brahman" is without attributes. to help someone stabilize as the witness. But there can be a collapse. There is no reminding myself of this mentally. no matter what is going on? Scott Kiloby: Yes. Did it become permanent? Are you always awareness. and history determines the actual objects we see. influences. but one has to be very careful when they are "evaluating phenomena" if one thinks they are doing that from an objective "view from nowhere. Or on its surface? In other words what's the difference with an object that arises and the subject being awareness? Scott Kiloby: These are subtle questions and good ones. It's just being that. In this "state" they say that . however according to traditional advaita Vedanta. what is right in Idado. It's a careful rope one walks across when using terms like "evaluating phenomena. In that sense."in" awareness at all times. when this shift took place. totally permanent. language. outside. there is what is known as Sahaja Samadhi. and other "objects" arising in awareness. the pointer "everything arises in awareness" can be helpful. as if something contains something else doesn't match the experience. I know that people first have the experience of thoughts. ultimately. what happened after that. such that the question cannot be answered because there is no visible or knowable line between the cognizing space and that which appears within the space. In other words. if one doesn't leave this in the dualism of the witness. USA is not necessarily right in Munich. But. beliefs. Scott Kiloby: Yes. But that is not the final seeing. effortlessly." Our conditioning. Yes. emotions. NDM: Do you see non duality on two or more levels? Scott Kiloby: I would agree about the levels. To speak of them as two is to make a division where there isn't one. The witness is seen as not separate from what is witnessed." NDM: When you talked about awareness earlier. The mind thinks of things in or out or within or without.

After the recognition of nondual awareness. but there is a specific definition for it. No amount of witnessing my thoughts and emotions would see through it. unconditional love. because I thought it was the OTHER PERSON's problem." There is no oscillation. Since that time. while still stuck in this aspect of it. I would see it in friends and family members and would have a very strong negative reaction to the trait. empty awareness. Next you dialogue with it." But in my message. Thought is experienced as an inseparable movement of the awareness. equanimity. I use the word "oscillation" where one experiences periods of the clarity of awareness followed by periods of being "lost in egoic thought" or "in ignorance. For me. emotional and physical calmness. one is freed from it immediately. I have endorsed this process and gotten his permission to use it in my new recovery book. Can you please tell me if any shadows popped up after your awakening shift.one is permanently the non dual witness. NDM: "Shadow" in a Jungian sense (sub conscious) is a modern word for vasanas. I finally stumbled upon Ken Wilber's 3-2-1 shadow process and that hit the spot exactly. It has nothing to "sink into. In this "state" they say there is also a underlying bliss. It really isn't nondual inquiry. Shadows. No wavering. going back and forth anymore. First you spot the shadow." The process works like this. silence. One "is" Awareness itself. composure. If so what you did about them? Scott Kiloby: You'll have to excuse me because I'm not very familiar with the word "vasanas. I was falsely believing that I had seen through ego in myself. taken from Western Psychology. These traits are really aspects of our own personalities that have become repressed and then projected onto others. controlling people were . spacious. There is no wavering. in the way I define it. it was this controlling trait in others. For me. And in that seeing. finding out what it is about this trait that really bugs you. but there remains an openness to see any ignorance or self-centeredness when it arises. no matter what is going on? Is this how you would describe it? Scott Kiloby: Exactly. are very strong negative or positive traits that we see in others. I think Eckhart Tolle uses "pain body" for this. I do talk about shadows. "Natural Rest. I found myself really fixated with people who were "controlling" for example. It doesn't carry over into a story. I couldn't find any eastern teachings that really dealt with this. Very nice description. Shadow work is ego work. in time. evenness of temper. a mental." There is only clear.

I highly recommend it. religions. we come to see that all these ego stories. But whatever we disown or deny comes screaming back at one point or another. It's the more deeply rooted. lying around somehow independent of thought. I had a few of those too. a zen master: www. I re-enacted this shadow process on the controlling trait with Diane Musho Hamilton. even looking back into your story for it. It allowed a more open attitude about all personalities. repressed aspects of ourselves that are the real killers. obsessing on. They keep going back to their traditions looking for the answers.overbearing and presumptuous. The point is to re-own parts of your ego that have been split off because they are too ugly to own or see. A little investigation would reveal that Western Psychology has already spotted it. It really cleared stuff away to be and live in non-discriminating awareness. deepening what had already been discovered through nondual awareness. the habits of judging. These are stories that arise and fall within awareness. really re-owning this aspect of yourself. On my site. are not who we ultimately are. our real identity. The 3-2-1 shadow work is great. It is easier to disown them and pretend only that others possess them. That was a nice by-product. Middle Way teachings were helpful in this regard. But confirming and re-confirming my identity as awareness. It allowed a seeing through of my arguments with other teachings that I thought were unclear or other views out there that I had disowned." Then you spot the ways in which you are controlling. without trying to manipulate them in any way. and otherwise objectifying "things" fall away. Once you dialogue with it. teachings.mp3 If vasanas is not referring to this kind of shadow. but more to general habits of mind and emotion that can survive beyond awakening. this is ego work. In re-owning shadows.kiloby.com/uploads/DianeHamiltonFeb20100. and worldviews. worked to see through those. not nondual inquiry. and letting all thoughts and emotions be as they are. you re-own it. I see shadow boxing happening a lot in many teachers who cannot see it. An amazing peace came about. for purely personal reasons. good and bad. on the KiloLogues page where I interview many teachers. Remember. In addition. making me feel as if they were intruding on the personal will of others. not being able to find it. For that I needed shadow work. Once this is seen through. "I'm controlling. I saw through the idea of objects out there. blaming. while still appreciating the capacity for reason and discrimination on the relative side. You say. . controlling and not controlling.

inclusive. is illusion. It's like waking up out of waking up. etc. Not very fun at a dinner party and really arrogant actually! When that tendency to be right. and worldviews INTO the Advaita framework. This is a massive act of reductionism. denied. worldviews. very exploratory." is seen through. Sufis over there talking about something else. But it would also include waking up out of the idea that Advaita Vedanta or one's path. when taught clearly.NDM: Can you please tell me. the tendency might be to try and reduce all other paths. Not dismissed. It's often thought of as more than an object. other teachings. But when one wakes up from the teaching itself and looks around. argued against. traditions. Something more akin to Integral than anything else. appreciate all . to really. teachings. What is so beautiful about Advaita is how well it works and how accessible it is for people. paths. what is your definition of enlightenment? Scott Kiloby: It would include a recognition of non-dual awareness as one's true identity and the seeing that the world. views. seeing your own teaching that helped you wake up as one of many objects that can be transcended and included. At that point. traditions. if you take non-duality all the way. whatever that is or was. It's limitation is that it is just another object like all other objects. There becomes this sweet. etc. you are free of it. being free from your own liberation.. like some ultimate truth by the ones selling it to seekers (and I don't just mean "charging" money. really believe "My path is the right and only path. there is a new kind of openness that is available.I mean selling it as truth). as you see it. one sees that there were Buddhists over here talking about emptiness and dependent arisings. It would be to wake up out of one's conceptual framework into a larger frame of reference that is open to all views. but totally included along with everything else no matter what perspective or frame of reference it comes from. is the right and only path. etc. non-marginalizing energy or knowing that arises that wants to take other perspectives. and Christians over there talking about Christ. This means you don't even absolutize your conceptual viewpoints about your path or about Advaita or any of that. I say. a kind of violence we do towards other each other. compassionate.. I found myself fighting with other teachings because of this ethnocentric tendency within me to absolutize my own concepts about awakening.

Here is another example: If I am stuck in my view about formless awareness being the ultimate and final seeing. one is not enlightened if they see themselves only as pure awareness "free from objects. I might find that an Integralist has a different view altogether. not any kind of ultimate bedrock. what it means. Whatever you see depends on what conceptual framework (i. final seeing. For example. teaching.. That can rub someone in Advaita the wrong way if there is Advaita-ethno-centric thinking going on. time. for me. Non-Dual ever present abiding in the Absolute. a discriminating mind is important and included. fluid. phenomena. experience. waking up would include knowing and seeing this. The photographer is not independent from the photograph." It is an ongoing. just for example. and whether it is right or wrong. from this view. And so my definition of enlightenment would not be a landing point or arrival. I am not seeing that THAT is a conceptual framework. And yes. in whatever frame of reference they appear. For example. locks one into an awkward place. who says that awareness is just a dependent arising and that one should not essentialize awareness or even emptiness itself. It would not be an attitude of "I already know. Advaita. conditioning. This avoids the embarrassment of opening your mouth believing that somehow you are speaking truth that is somehow true across all cultural. So there is a seeing that it is the lens through which I'm speaking. openness to what arises. which does not include ONLY timeless and formless awareness but also the world of form. regional. or Mr. national. Any other definition. or clear or unclear. the framework from which this answer is written is what I call Integral or the Open View. In my definition. But. You would see at this point that what an object is. any discrimination that happens would only make sense by understanding what the frame of reference is. depends on the culture. An integralist or even a pluralist does not follow or appreciate only formlessness. "lens") you are looking from. I will find myself in a funny place when I meet someone from a Tibetan Middle Way teaching. It would include knowing what your conceptual framework is when you are speaking.forms as they appear. religious lines. A Taoist might read this and be put off or not understand what I'm saying or may think it's nonsense. open to see ignorance arise even after one believes he or she has recognized nonduality or whatever. In Integral. and conceptual framework that "creates" or frames the object. .e. Or Advaita talk can rub someone from the Tibetan teaching the wrong way if there is a "closing off" or absolutizing of a viewpoint in the one who holds the Tibetan view. if I sit back claiming to be Mr. There are those in certain Middle Way schools who would not say that emptiness is the same as non-dual awareness.

"Don't be so sure." no real conversation takes place. culture. which. They say there are . Brahman. language. all form. I encourage an openness to continue seeing where one's framework is limited. We hunker down within conceptual views that are only real when we emphasize them. etc. into an open view. God. Can you see how ethnocentric thinking could lead someone to be so entrenched in their view that they cannot see beyond it? They only keep seeing objects that take to be real. If one cannot see beyond a cultural object. religions. countries. and then to wake up out of the teaching or any other ethnocentric thinking. a few years back. I think.. something called Traditional v Neo Advaita. where shadows are arising. But the one who stands back is just another perspective. The recent "discussion" between Neo and Traditional Advaita is a good example of this nonsense. We can definitely have a talk about whether these paths and teachings include a similar realization or whether one might be better for some people and the other better for other people. time. is just ego 101. We find division and separation by the way in which we frame objects. Hmmmmm. making absolute claims as if there is a "view from nowhere. from plants. This. teachings. humans." Can you see where the conflict arises? It is tempting to want to stand back and try to decide which view is the right and correct view. the path to that is first and foremost the recognition of one's true nature as non-dual awareness. time. find a view that is really open. I say. So I say. This too can rub someone the wrong way if they are entrenched in the view that it's all about being "free of. is why some teachers have fallen from grace." they must also be at one with form. And we frame objects based on our conditioning. These are cultural objects. If not." So the point of my message is to wake up beyond ego. Buddism.. It's all about being right. Once one has recognized non-dual awareness. totally divorced from conditioning. But until we get over this hump of defending one's own view. all disciplines are welcomed. held very ironically and lightly (not essentialized or absolutized) so that all views. etc. I found in myself. Advaita v. but then ACTING AS IF separation is real. in my message. teaching. to science.time and form. all teachings. Be free of this separation. objects. Obviously. for me. as if Advaita or Tibetan Middle Way is a real object. where ignorance and separation is still coming up. we take our thoughts to be pointing to real objects in the world. philosophies. would that be enlightenment? Some say yes. Atoms v. the Tao v. animals. religions. that there was a tendency to say that one has seen through separation.

but then molest. knowing that there is no one. it was possible to have a teaching very regionalized in one place where certain concepts were passed around as truth. a very deep love and compassion for all arises. Centuries ago. These paths and traditions like Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism are true treasures. on my site is free. Borders. then it isn't so universal after all. but still obeying the basic ethics and laws and common decency within the cultural framework you find yourself (e. Midwest America. Yahoo. as the only truth. Google. You aren't a perfect human being. or that the world was created from holy Sanskrit syllables. hurt.g.writings. except books. ridicule. giving email satsangs. Nothing else was getting in to challenge or influence that from the other end of the earth. And you are free to "play" a character in the relative world. obsess on the others that apparently don't exist. seekers of self-awareness had to trek to India or the Himalayas to see someone who could impart a message of liberation. English. cultural frameworks for absolute truths. Amazon. But they are being reinvented today. These days there are many routes: Barnes & Noble.. But that is not coming from some high moral ground or from some belief that . That we are now in the age of the "cyber guru'. we are waking up to what we've been doing.heartofnow. NDM: Do you see we are living in a time of the end of the traditional guru. If one takes non-duality all the way. or Beirut). illuminated. which allows all imperfections to be seen. The perfection of life is realized. or the universal guru that speaks one language only. "If it can't be said in my language. People are saying.com/files/other. mistaking regional. The point Greg seems to be making is that awakening is not found NDM: What about this money issue.no others.html Scott Kiloby: I feel as Greg does." Even as recently as thirty years ago. Charging for teachings or for guru-ship? Scott Kiloby: Most of the content. Greg Goode says: No longer can people believe that liberation speaks only Tibetan. mobile phones and BlackBerries" NDM: What is your take on this? www. As the internet age is sweeping us into mass communication.

It pays for travel expenses. As . I'm thankful that people paid my teachers to talk or else I would never have seen their books or benefited from their messages. more and more. I certainly wouldn't want him working in a factory. .no one will hear it . What is dying. I would pay for him not to work so he could give me guidance.. Personally." Many people have made the claim that so and so teacher is money hungry because he charges. like most. It's a cultural difference.gurus shouldn't charge money. perhaps it was wrong to do this in some areas or in some teachings. When that happens. In the East. It really only becomes an issue when the hunger for money overrides the heart of the message--the intention to help others. perhaps more people would hear it. the ego of the guru has crept back in. is the idea of the guru itself. that's probably what is going to happen--nothing. Well then. To me. If I remain open. But you can't always tell if that is the case from the "outside.. There are a lot of good teachers out there who are not getting their message out because of some idea that they shouldn't charge or market or sell books or whatever. Therefore. many who might benefit from my message just don't hear it. the notion that there is someone who has something special that others don't. this is a non-issue. the free market system is thriving. In the West. If there is a good teacher out there anywhere who can help the realization of freedom. But then I've gotten to know that teacher and see that it is just false. If I were suffering. And the marketplace takes care of itself. I've done no marketing. up until now. I don't mind charging at the door if people ask me to come and give a talk. cannot be answered in an absolutistic way. The intention of the teacher is authentic.. I am certainly glad I didn't have to go to India. Whatever we think tends to to become our reality. .. An unclear message will. But it has limitations because. eventually. If I remain closed to getting my message out. or only a few will. It comes from wanting to make the message accessible. fail in the marketplace of teachings NDM: Is it right or wrong to charge? Scott Kiloby: The question.

The guru just sells water by the river until people see that they can take a drink themselves and become the river. I had several initiations into my true nature as "I Am. or a realization of some kind. It was clear that I needed to investigate my early initiations into "I Am. Whatever way that message gets to people. That's when gurus start feeling like Gods. they aren't going to pay for it anymore. For more info visit www. What got me to revisit them was dissatisfaction with life and the sense that there was something more meaningful I needed to find out about. It is said in the Kaballah that the stumbling block is in your hand. is on its way out. It's not separate from you.com JERRY KATZ Interview with non-duality magazine NDM: Can you please tell me about your awakening. Perhaps as this idea of the exalted guru goes away more and more.. You stumble upon yourself." . I don't know this for sure.ultimately. At that point. this issue of charging money will clear itself up. You stumble into those moments. given what has happened in the last ten years. so the issue is dead. whether someone charges or not. The best nondual teachings are the ones where no one returns. stop off for a sandwich on the way to experiencing the stumbling. And it keeps people trapped in projecting all sorts of personal stuff onto the guru. For most people there is more than one stumbling.this thing blossoms more and more. There is plenty of room for abuse in the guru/student relationship." They occurred between the ages of 7 and 10. I knew they were important and meaningful but I never knew how to live life with them. and so many teachers that the idea of enlightenment being a special thing reserved for special gurus will die out.kiloby. You can't plan for them to happen and. So I forgot about them until around age 25. That. as if he is superhuman. There's nothing linear about stumbling into truth. there will be more and more books and websites. moments when truth is stumbled into. I call them initiations. I think. when I revisited them. I'm all for it. I just suspect this. Those moments could take the form of a sudden awakening.. or a question. you know. how and when this happened? Jerry Katz: In anyone's spiritual biography you can identify turning points. If it was linear you would see the stumbling block and walk around or over it and never stumble.

it's bad but it's not me. I studied Science of Mind and the correspondence course offered by the Self-Realization Fellowship of Paramahansa Yogananda. and finally there is only awareness. "There is only awareness." NDM: Then when you finally realized that you are "only awareness". one must live responsibly in the world. "Well. To exercise a bad habit and to dismiss it by declaring. atma vichara. which was important for being able to focus on "I Am. "There is only one day. To say anything beyond a variation of. or is there? NDM: When you came to this Self realization. there was and still are habits and negative psychological states. Another way of talking about this progression is to say that I started out aware of awareness. They are not so extreme. limitations in expression and ability. feeling them." or "There is only awareness. then there was the sense that I was awareness. even though to talk about it one might say. "I am only awareness.it is too much -. Still.I spent a couple of years writing about my early experiences. or perhaps you could say one moment. or exposure to ultimate spiritual teachings. Having said that. So that's a story of awakening. The works of Osho (Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh). and Da Free John (Adi Da) were especially helpful. and wanting to be stabilized as this "I Am." It is enough -. in today's language you could say I was living in the now." "There is only this. which was aware of me. Around the age of 25 when I started to investigate "I Am. There is still everyday life. or anything else like Vedanta. problems. or Buddhism and so on? Jerry Katz: As a boy between ages 7-10 the initiations into "I Am" were spontaneous and beyond and outside the influence of any practice. At this point what kind of a vasana load did you have? Jerry Katz: There's no realizing that you are only awareness." Everything was seen as one day." I read a number of books. investigating them from different angles. that stabilization happened and was marked with the spontaneous utterance." After about two years. However." further diminishes the statement or confession of what is. yeah. The latter two helped me to discipline day to day living. The one day feeling lasted for about ten years and then it gave way to an immediacy of awareness as the "I Am" itself apparently dissolved. were you studying the Kaballah. that you are "I Am". in my words it was as though there was only one day. in 1977. Most importantly it is realized that are not me." . reading.to say there is only awareness.

Ramana responded by saying. "Only awareness" is recognition that you are the sun. NDM: Can you please explain the difference between sense of being awareness and finally only awareness? Jerry Katz: The difference is that in the former there is a fascination with awareness which is sparked by a seeming distance from it. Are they boasting. NDM: What would you say to someone who was saying they were liberated but were still acting out on their vasanas for violence. Essential Writings on Nonduality. Compare initiation to a so-called aha experience. The destruction of vasanas. Sri Ramana talks about the importance of vasanakshya. a recognition that burns away any forgetting that you are anything else. to be liberated." Ramana said to "remain as you are. but if someone came to me with that attitude I would want to know why they have come to me. Even though it was not until the age of 25 that I began to investigate my sense of "I Am." prior to that the initiation into "I Am" exerted an influence upon my life. are they experiencing hallucinations or hearing voices? Are they looking for . I am sure that having experienced the "I Am" conditioned me early on toward a life of simplicity. aha moments are useful in living effectively.is an abuse and neglect of discipline. That's what initiation is all about: it is a deep penetration of truth at a cellular level. One. The sense of being awareness is like the sense that the sun is going to come out. NDM: On page 16 of your book entitled. However. Nothing is not liberated. are they testing me. (moksha) without destroying these vasanas? Jerry Katz: The questioner. a distance which from time to time disappears." Liberation is complete liberation including the liberation of the vasanas. much as the clouds move away from the sun and it is said that the sun comes out. it's important to have realizations about the nuts and bolts of day to day living. and saying they are not the doer/perpetrator. was seeing the importance of vasana-kshya. are they questioning themself. The latter is more superficial and activates an energy which tends to burn itself out quickly or which gets channeled toward seeking and self-improvement rather than resting in knowing. "You are in that state [of realization] now. not Ramana. That it is God that is the doer/perpetrator of this violence? Jerry Katz: It's too hypothetical a question. Do you believe it is possible to be Self Realized.

However. otherwise they might go home and wait for Grace to strike while they're sitting on the couch watching TV. or a businessman. NDM: Ok. Do you see it this way or is anyone fit for this. a professional athlete. then follow calmness. self-control. all the study of Vedanta will be as useless as the swinging of the goat‟s fleshy beard unless. 78. with the aid of Divine Grace. self-control. being fit for Liberation and realizing Liberation are two different things. a doctor. no matter how they behave or are acting out? Jerry Katz: Divine Grace doesn't discriminate. so anyone is fit for Liberation. so very difficult to get rid of. The first step to Liberation is the extreme aversion to all perishable things. forbearance. NDM: Yes divine grace but how about being fit to practice atma vichara? Sri Adi Shankaracharya says: 69. fitness allows you to handle Grace.‟ Sri Adi Shankaracharya says: The first step to Liberation is the extreme aversion to all perishable things. then follow calmness. forbearance. let me put it another way. Being fit for liberation is nothing more than being fit to live life effectively. and the utter relinquishment of all work enjoined in the Scriptures. Sri Ramana said: „For those who are very attached to their filthy bodies. and the utter relinquishment of all work enjoined in the Scriptures. is alone fit for Liberation. the touch of God. Such fitness doesn't attract Grace but it allows Grace to operate optimally. which can be quite a life-changing blow. Self-enquiry will be successful. and none else – even though he be versed in all the six Shastras. He who is free from the terrible snare of the hankering after sense-objects. (Vivekachudamani) Sri Ramana Maharshi also says: „Only to such a mind which has gained the inner strength of one-pointedness.me to justify their excuses to be irresponsible? Are they shifting responsibility to God? I want to know where they are coming from then I would respond. Students and seekers are best not told that. But a weak mind will be like wet wood put into the fire . and that fitness is useful whether you are a spiritual seeker. their studies lead them to subdue their egos.

It doesn't tell you to Full Stop. Neo-advaita is a partial teaching. "There is no right or wrong. some suggestion of what to do in order to realize what the neo-advaitin confesses. but for a given individual it could be a whole teaching. The Avadhuta Gita doesn't tell you to investigate anything. For those who are not prepared. For the rest. depending on what one is ready to receive. as 'Sailor' Bob Adamson advises. Suzanne said. at once. books. that's all.org/nonduality_magazine.' Jerry Katz: You primarily have to have the hunger to want to know who you are. The Avadhuta Gita has no such instruction. It simply focuses on the portion of advaita that confesses the reality of what is. That hunger alone will "clean up" your life and make you fit to further practice. The Avadhuta Gita makes such statements over and over again: "How can I speak of good and evil? I am free from disease -. renunciation. the concentration on the Self.nondualitymagazine. it is either less or more. It will steer you to others who will help you see the blind spots in the way you conduct your life.htm Jerry Katz: I like the neo-advaita movement. guides.1.my form has been extinguished. Neo-advaita writings or discussions probably always have contained within them some instruction.‟ „It is easy. That's the pure confession of neo-advaita. etc. NDM: What are your thoughts on neo advaita. it does not mean you live a solitary life in the force field of that inner hunger and avoid other teachers. discrimination. which is possible for him who has pure mind full of sattva. It doesn't replace traditional advaita or anything else. www. It doesn't suggest you inquire into who you are. However. and while being open to nature itself. as Nisargadatta has urged. It doesn't tell you to follow the I Am. discrimination. Neo-advaita is nothing new. depending on how much one has these qualities. guides. what you're doing. it is very difficult. one-pointed mind. Self-enquiry is impossible. Trust yourself while being open to other teachers. if not impossible. gurus.suzannefox ton. for him who has qualities like dispassion. dispassion. etc. No meaning? Please See interview with Suzanne Foxton. why . No right or wrong." The Avadhuta Gita and a few other texts are more "neo" than neoadvaita.of jnana-vichara „If the aspirants have not one-pointed mind. It is another offering. That hunger to want to know who you are is Grace and the Guru." That's true. Saying that there is No morality. and helpers..

Jerry Katz: It is appropriate for today's mainstream nondual spirituality audience.you're here. But what about on the relative level. such as delivered by Swartz in his book.org/neo-advaita. includes Avadhuta Gita style of confessions in his book How to Attain Enlightenment. It just confesses. Jerry Katz: Yes. I am pure knowing. NDM: Yes. before I went on the Internet. experience. The morphing. even though there is nothing to know. a current and strong proponent of the stepwise teaching of traditional Advaita Vedanta. too. these confessions and the Avadhuta Gita itself become understandable. www. absolute and . For example. See here. Even James Swartz. I am not male. With the proper preparation.ht m. NDM: The Ashtavakra Gita is also from the absolute level. and watching that evolution is the delight of being involved in the world of nonduality. NDM: Yes on this absolute level there is no right or wrong. If you inquire from time to time.com/~bindu/windsong/stafreeindex. Such a questioning is an inquiry. The Ashtavakra Gita is more popular than the Avadhuta Gita. called The Wild Song of Standing Free. but Avadhuta Gita is also reading material meant for the use of advanced students. I have never lived or died ." The entire book explains details about life. I wrote that in 1997. practice. "Is this the relative level?" "Is this the absolute level?" at what level do you find yourself upon making these inquiries? Questions about right or wrong.html Jerry Katz: People may teach with reference to such levels. Neo-advaita is not as extreme as some very old writings.. he says. or with a strong intuition of truth.enlightened-spirituality. but teachers don't go around thinking about what level they're in.. female. what the truth is. I feel. Neo-advaita is an evolution. and it served to prepare me for the adventure of introducing nonduality to a mainstream audience and to deal with all the people I would be encountering. which is available online here: http://members. or neuter . "I am neither a person nor a non-person .upnaway. the evolution continues. I wrote a series of verses based on the Avadhuta Gita. and those confessions occur at the end of the book in a section called Beyond Enlightenment.. One might question whether there is a relative level or an absolute level... Period. or anything at all.. a morphing of those writings and at the same time a morphing of traditional advaita.

Jeff Foster are some kind of neo advaitic tantric Aghori? Breaking all taboos and violating traditions? Jerry Katz: I'm not saying that. posed randomly throughout the day. NDM: Yes.relative levels. intense temptation by your ego to co-opt this in any way. all you know is the relative? You can understand it to a degree. haha! Truth is truth and it is expressed in multitudes of ways by people with all kinds of backgrounds. Behind all efforts there must be the hunger to know who you are. For example. One must find an inquiry that truly draws their attention. NDM: Dattatreya is considered by some to be the predecessor of the Aghori tradition. The knowing only comes with realization. Jerry Katz: The inquiry is sufficient if a person has had only an intuition of the absolute. Dattatreya's tradition doesn't have a bearing on his confession of truth. "Such a questioning is an inquiry. however it doesn't mean Jeff keeps kosher. Although it wouldn't hurt if he did. If you inquire from time to time. "Is this the relative level?" "Is this the absolute level?" at what level do you find yourself upon making these inquiries? Would not that depend on the level you are at. Such as your shadow self at the time trying to make a power grab and use . Jeff Foster. but cannot "know" it. how could a non realized person even know the difference without "knowing" the absolute level? If you are not the absolute. Jay has written that as a Jew he keeps kosher and follows other Jewish practices. Many of the expressions sound alike. Turning a question into an inquiry exposes the door and opens it. However. I don't recommend doing inquiry just for the heck of it. the question. "Is this right or wrong?" It may be seen that there is no right or wrong in that moment of inquiry and also that there is no relative or absolute level. And then where do you find yourself? For example. may state things similar to Jay. Are you saying that neo-advaita is a new western left hand path of the Aghori? That Tony Parsons and Suzanne Foxton. The tantric left hand path. Inquiry is a powerful tool. close to your realization. There is a sharing in the similarity of expression but not necessarily in other details of a person's life. NDM: Did you experience at any point. "Is there right or wrong?" can be turned into the inquiry. for example. have doors within them that take you out of the questions. Jay Michaelson has recently introduced nondual Judaism to the world. When you said earlier. ok.

it for its own motivations? Bernadette Roberts talks about this here. there is only one true archetype. We're each put together differently and we each unravel differently. their own inner hunger for truth. I'm sure a lot of the shocks encountered in the adventure to nonduality were. I like some and don't like some. ameliorated by the substantial initiation into "I Am" that occurred in my childhood. prophet. What is unlimited are the various masks or roles self is tempted to play in the state of oneness . As I see it. both Christ and Buddha were tempted in this manner.html Jerry Katz: You'll see in my work on nonduality that I have never been into rating gurus. healer. and to allow the inner force to be one's teacher and guide.htm Jerry Katz: I never had such dramatic experiences. www. This ground is a "stillpoint". It doesn't interest me too much -. One of the qualities of my work has been to create a list of gurus/teachers/realizers/confessors which included just about anyone who spoke with some real knowing of the realized state. in the transforming process we only come to terms with the archetypes of the personal unconscious. Mother Earth. They are all temptations to seize power for ourselves. and in that unraveling the sparks of all kinds of experiences and psychological encounters could take off.org/b_roberts_interview. you name it. martyr. but in fact. In the state of oneness.spiritualteachers.net/topics/gurus/IMZ_guru. " www. not a moving energy-point. If so. the archetypes of the collective consciousness are reserved for individuals in the state of oneness. Seekers and students need to connect with their own inner knowing. Jung felt that these archetypes were unlimited. but they held to the "ground" that they knew to be devoid of all such energies. but I don't rate.saviour.except in a gossipy way. in my case. That. I don't see that some people are more enlightened than others. is the Guru. from a practical point of view one should learn as . to think ourselves to be whatever the mask or role may be. "The major temptation to be overcome in this period is the temptation to fall for one of the subtle but powerful archetypes of the collective consciousness. One may then be led to this or that teacher. because those archetypes are powers or energies of that state. NDM: What are your thoughts on Sri Aurobindos intermediate zone? Do you think this could be an explanation for Adi Da and Osho? Please see here.kheper. and that archtype is self. in fact.

" It is enough -. however they were screwed up in some ways and hurt people too. To say "It is. As far as getting to know this." is. To say anything beyond a variation of. "I am only awareness. "There is only awareness. There is only it. The music isn't necessary. further diminishes the statement or confession of what is. Their intellect and charisma allowed their teachings to become valued and widespread and to benefit many people. They were human beings with human limitations and blindspots. They were not different from you or me in that way. again. your thoughts on this? www." or "There is only awareness. too much. it isn't seen. What's amazing to me about those guys is not that they were enlightened but that they were in possession of awesome intellects and charismatic qualities. NDM: It obviously isn't "seen" as neo advaita people say because a seer cannot see itself no more than an eye can see its own pupil? Jerry Katz: Yes. it is said that Direct Path teachings can facilitate that. NDM: When you say" There's no realizing that you are only awareness. even though to talk about it one might say.to say there is only awareness.youtube." "There is only this.". When incidents of controversy as exhibited by Adi Da and Osho are seen. Take these incidents and make them your own inquiry.com/watch?v=l_bokk0KR7I Jerry Katz: I watched it." So what is it that "knows" that it is awareness? What is this knower that knows this and how does this knower get to know this? Jerry Katz: There is no knower and no knowing of it. It's a nice video of an interesting guy. especially if they are What are . then one must investigate what is about them that is bothersome and puzzling. NDM: What do you think that happened in the cases of Da Free John (Adi Da) and Osho? Jerry Katz: Probably nothing new to add to this. which is why silence is a teaching. These days Greg Goode might have the best handle on the "There is only awareness" realization.it is too much -. It is.much as possible about a prospective teacher. It is possible to get caught in the charismatic and psychological grip of certain people. NDM: Have you seen this silent teaching by Adi Da. I don't make much of it.

a word means. I would call the "I Am" the Christ Consciousness. not the West. I had to read the article on Wikipedia to refresh myself on him. Self knowledge removes the one who is looking. and so on. How do you see this? Jerry Katz: Formal Advaita starts out as a pointing and develops into a . and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God. and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing. celebrity. He says the difference is a pointer leaves you looking. It‘s not a pointer. as a sublime expression of reality beyond which is what could perhaps be called the Father or emptiness or awareness. It is more than using pointers. It is a statement that delivers knowledge. At some point the terms we use need to be defined. when all that excitement settles down it resolves itself as the "I Am": a simple presence and knowing residing in the atmosphere of awareness itself. mind. It removes ignorance. so words can only give us a direction in which to look" James Swartz for example says that Vedanta is Shabda. It's saying the sun rises in the East. soul travel. Apparently he was talking about nonduality in the way the audience of his time (19201950) could understand. being by its nature cannot be known. not toward the fundamental nature of what I am. A quote from the Wikipedia article shows that he was saying nothing different from Ramana Maharshi: "Self-realization is the knowing in all parts of body. This video turns me toward the psychic energy of Adi Da. He says that it is crystal clear on where to look and what to look at. and psychic magnetism.extremely attractive in the way of intellect. meetings with heavenly beings. not toward what he or she is on a psychic or some other energetic level. NDM : On page one of your book you say "However . For example. seeking. Although the experience of Christ Consciousness or Mystical Oneness may be full of literal light." My sense is that he would not have seen Christ Consciousness as an object but as who he was. that God‘s omnipresence is your omnipresence. power. searching. or a reflection of the Self? Jerry Katz: It's been too many years since I've studied Yogananda. NDM: What are your thoughts on Christ consciousness as Paramahansa Yogananda describes it? Was he seeing this as an object? Consciousness as a thing. that you do not have to pray that it come to you. It does not point to anything. I look for a teacher that turns me toward what I am on a fundamental level. The word Awareness is Awareness. It is a statement of fact.

the statement could strike a chord of clarity for a person. and that at Ein Sof. there is talk of pointing and the failure of words. Do you believe that Jesus Christ also made the exact same Self discovery as Moses? Jerry Katz: Yes. You don't have to be a legendary religious figure. his . Residing in or abiding in the perfect arising as the perfect arising. At some point the words themselves are known as not separate from what is being pointed to. Anyone can know these." It could resonate with a person's intuition or intellectual understanding of interconnectedness. but let's say it was the case. his people. However. to deliver that statement as a first and last teaching consisting only of words and bearing no knowing-substance on the part of the teacher. individual and without division. This is this: this perfect arising of individualistic things. The Father. The I Amness. NDM: In the chapter on the Kaballah in your book you hint at Moses being given this secret non dual truth by God. The same could be said about the guy sweeping floors." as the neo-advaitins confess. that of the "I Am" or the Holy Spirit. Therefore." or "There is only God. One is not more wonderful than the other. clarity arises when there is substance behind the words. ok. Some people know these truths and sweep floors for a living. As part of some response or description. could mean you have meaningless words. NDM: Yes. Why is he or she sweeping floors when he knows the Absolute? Jesus and Moses each had his way. or with their experience of oneness. and then there's talk of all things arising as they are.more refined pointing. Advaita means "not-two" so how could there be separation between the finger and what is being pointed to? They ever-arise perfectly. what am I? What am I not? So yeah. his time. Others have served as the seed for major world religions. It becomes known that "There is only this." "There is only truth. or." There is only this moment."? How does that deliver any clear knowing? Jerry Katz: The statement is a variation of "There is only awareness. If nonduality isn't coming across as paradoxical then it's been cooked too long. There are two bottom line teachings. but what is "There is only this. NDM: Why did Jesus talk about this truth in public while Moses kept this truth hidden? Jerry Katz: I'm not a scholar on this topic so I can't confirm the assumption. in Christ's term. substance consisting of the teacher's realization and the student's or devotee's intuition and experience of nonduality.

NDM: The way that Ein sof is explained sounds almost identical to the Vedas. But don't ask me why Grace does what it does. twitter. The best known nonduality teaching is Zen. a blog. At the time. I would call the evolutionary force Grace and. Persia. interviews. I introduced the word "nonduality" itself and colored it according to a . Do you have a method of teaching. NDM: What do you teach by the way. Do you think this was a coincidence? Jerry Katz: I'm not up on the history to be able to answer this. Certainly Grace wouldn't know.job to do." to the spirituality mainstream. email forums. serving him. Do you do satsangs or anything like that? Jerry Katz: I don't teach or give satsang. Pakistan and into India? The Shaktona (symbol of shiva/shakti union) is identical to the Star of David. publishing ebooks. the circles of certain teachers. conference development. trying to understand him. which belongs to Buddhist tradition. public speaking. writing book reviews. I would have to research it. and each had different people around him. My intent was to bring nonduality "to the streets. representing him. organizing local gatherings. Do you know if the people of Moses' time ever visited India through the silk trade routes. Great questions. 1997. I wanted to introduce nonduality as a broader Zen. To do that. They were different men operating in different spheres of engagement. individual correspondences. Grace is always present and exerting a force. and more. Implicit in the question is whether some evolutionary force was involved in the differences between the two men. Arabia. and as well as part of the lesser known teachings of the world's religions. yes. encouraging and supporting various people in the field of nonduality. too. radio appearances. and university departments of philosophy and religious studies. NDM: How long have you been doing this work of bringing non duality awareness to mass consciousness? Can you please elaborate a little more on your work and the impact this has had? Jerry Katz: I first went onto the Internet in November. If I did teach there wouldn't be any method. across Iran. I would look at what each person requires and offer direction and guidance that is right for that person. My work is to bring nonduality to mass consciousness in a variety of ways: Through websites. Of course a lot of teachers do those activities. nonduality was a topic and a word largely reserved for discussion within ashrams.

Yogic side to nonduality which benefits a person's life. Over the years the broad teaching of nonduality and the word "nonduality" itself have entered the spirituality mainstream and even the general mainstream. Seeing who your really are. Yogic type of path.nonduality. Practically no one is exempt from that harshness since layers of ego strategy are constantly re-constituting.vision. it is my opinion that the word "nonduality" has its own significant meaning or "color. For living life effectively. Just as the word "Zen" has a certain magic and power to it. which is the atmosphere in which this effective life is lived (and which it actually is) requires that one question the effective life even while living it. Knowing who you are requires a cutting away of who you think you are. I highly recommend the holistic. Lives are impacted in different ways. I have provided online spaces for people to gather and talk about nonduality in whatever way they wished and have welcomed and encouraged a number of people.in which our ego strategies are seen through or split wide open." I have tried to keep nonduality wide open and all-embracing. There's a peaceful. Then there is the jarring and harsh side of nonduality -.the bottom line nonduality -. It's tricky business and only those who have no other choice will engage in it. For more visit www. Many people are involved in bringing nonduality to the mainstream. holistic. It is more about coherence and oneness.com DENNIS WAITE Interview with non-duality magazine . harmonious.

) NDM: Do you know who first coined the term "neo advaita”? Dennis Waite: I don‘t know who first coined the term. in which they advertized forthcoming satsangs (without necessarily endorsing the teachers) and a quarterly journal of essays. not always complimentary! I guess that it was simply the case that. NDM: What exactly happened when you read Tony Parson‟s book. later. They used to have a regular newsletter. Probably because of my scientific education. I found their material fresh and exciting. I bought Tony‘s book ‗The Open Secret‘ and Nathan‘s booklet ‗Clarity‘ after reading the essays. satsang and book extracts etc. is to mark up (in 3B pencil) any passages in books I read that trigger comment or seem particularly useful. "The Open Secret”? How did it go from it being fresh and exciting to something other than this? Was there a particular moment. Around that time the names of Tony Parsons and Nathan Gill began to appear and. by the time I came to read books such as Nathan Gill‘s ‗Already Awake‘. I have always insisted that any teaching that I encounter is totally amenable to reason. (This is effectively a practical definition for the Sanskrit term ‗shraddhA‘. There is a proviso here that I am prepared to take something new ‗on trust‘ temporarily if I am sufficiently familiar with previous books or teaching of that author/teacher and therefore know that they are ‗trustworthy‘. It spoke of the ‗here and now‘ and seemed immediately relevant.July 2010 NDM: When and how did you first become aware of "neo advaita" and can you please tell me what your immediate impression was? Dennis Waite: I think my first exposure to those teachings (which I did not come to know as ‗neo-advaita‘ until much later) was through the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK around 1999 – 2000. however. as I read more in general and came to understand Advaita more and more. a sentence or a paragraph when you began seeing red flags? Dennis Waite: I can‘t remember much about what I read yesterday. so there is no chance of remembering from 10 years ago! What I have done for the past 5+ years. there were some intriguing extracts. . Initially. for example. And I know that. I know that Greg Goode has attributed it to me but I don‘t think this is strictly accurate. I was scribbling quite a few comments. I became more critical.

you cannot say that ‗they teach advaita but without the traditional methods‘ because the traditional methods are really what constitute advaita. namely that there is only Brahman (or whatever you want to call the non-dual reality). So no. there is no one searching for the truth and no one who can help them to find it (i. when the proponents claim to be speaking of non-duality but reject the traditional teaching. NDM: What are the criteria for being labeled a neo advaita teacher? Is it simply someone who teaches Advaita. Dennis Waite: A neo-advaita teacher typically claims that the world and the person are unreal. but deemed qualified by the sampradAya system. Consequently. Taoism. so I don‘t think any kudos should be attached to its inventor! NDM: Do you see that this would also apply to other traditions such as Zen. There is therefore no point in wasting time and effort looking for the truth. or the background of their attendees. I guess there might be people trying to teach those and bypass the related methodology. The same social standard applies to religious organizations. through a succession of linage? As Wright and Wright put it. Gnosticism and so on? Does it apply to anything that deviates from traditions? Or does this just apply to Vedanta? Dennis Waite: I don‘t know anything about other non-dual traditions but since the final message is presumably the same. neither seeker nor teacher). „If one cannot prove natal legitimacy. use of the Sanskrit terminology and so on? Or is it someone who has not been initiated by a Guru. I suppose that it is only because of a particular teacher‘s background. one may be cast out as a bastard. study of the scripture. In fact. Advaita is a proven methodology for helping seekers to remove the ignorance that is preventing them from realizing the already-existing truth. self-enquiry.Probably someone else casually used it in an email and I then started referring to it regularly through my website and then later took it for granted in my books. the scriptures are of no value and so on. it risks being dismissed as illegitimate".e. Neo-advaita makes the same claim but offers nothing at all to help the . that one can identify a ‗neo-teaching‘ as related to Advaita rather than another tradition. Certainly it is an obvious term. Sufism. but without the traditional methods of meditation. Kaballah. If a religious group cannot prove its descent from one of the recognized traditions.

There is no substitute for self-knowledge". but this is effectively all that the neo-advaitins do. Simply saying that it is true is of little help. neither theory nor practice. Know yourself correctly. It does not denote a level of consciousness. NDM: When Nisagadatta was asked about this by a questioner who wished to join the Navnath Sampradāya. he said. Your belonging is a matter of your own feeling and conviction. By initiation or by succession? Maharaj: Neither. So if this is the case. Question: How does one become a Navnath. "The Navnath SampradAya is only a tradition.. neither ignorance nor realization. a way of teaching and practice. Given that there is only Brahman. you join his SampradAya. The Nine Masters' tradition (Navnath Parampara) is like a river – it flows into the ocean of reality and whoever enters it is carried along. It gives them the pleasure of belonging to an established lineage.. After all it is all verbal and formal. In reality there is neither Guru nor disciple. But clearly we do not know this to be true. If you accept a Navnath SampradAya teacher as your Guru. could anyone who has realized the "I Am" call himself or herself a Navnath (As Nisargadatta stated here)? Or would that still not make them legitimate enough to teach advaita? Dennis Waite: The usage of the term ‗sampradAya‘ is not in accord with the tradition as it comes down through Shankara. It all depends upon what you take yourself to be.seeker remove the ignorance. The key point about . They may decide to verbalize their sense of kinship by calling themselves Navnaths. Question: Or is it simply acceptance by a living master belonging to the same tradition? Maharaj: Those who practice the sādhana of focusing their minds on "I am" may feel related to others who have followed the same sādhana and succeeded. we are obviously already That.

So. (In the past. neither formally recognized anyone as their ‗successors‘ either.org/index. Ideally. As far as I am aware. and knowing how to explain their meaning to a seeker. one has to have studied with a teacher of that sampradAya for however long it takes fully to understand all of the aspects (i.gangaji. He did not belong to any recognized sampradAya either.php?modules=content&op=lineage Would this lineage claim be considered legitimate or rather an illegitimate lineage according to the sampradAya teaching system? Dennis Waite: The term sampradAya (for Advaita) implies a lineage effectively stretching back to Shankara and Gaudapada in a continuous guru-disciple chain. Which sampradAya system did Sri Ramana belong to? Which sampradAya system did Papaji belong to? Dennis Waite : Ramana did not belong to any sampradAya. too. one should be enlightened. the answer to this question is that no one claiming to be a follower of Ramana and/or Papaji belongs to a . NDM: What about the sampradAya roots of these often followed teachers: Sri Ramana and Papaji. many years). although numerous teachers now claim that they were ‗authorized‘ to teach by Papaji.teachers in a sampradAya is that they are qualified to pass on the teaching of that sampradAya. one should also have the appropriate skills of a good teacher. in the original Sanskrit. Such as this one see here: www. in order genuinely to ‗belong‘ to a sampradAya. Papaji is generally regarded as having been a disciple of Ramana. Thus. NDM: There are a number of teachers in the United States who advertise and claim lineage from both of these teachers. Unfortunately a single example does not disprove the general rule. And the key point about such teaching is that it has been proven time and again to work.e. He is someone who is acknowledged to have attained enlightenment without any of the usual prior teaching and is therefore held up as proof by many modern teachers that prolonged studies with a qualified guru are not necessary. this would have meant learning scriptures by heart.) And in order to become a teacher oneself. but Shankara himself pointed out somewhere that this is actually of lesser importance. and history shows that most do need prolonged formal teaching.

‖ I derived pretty much all of the information for these charts by looking at the websites of the teachers mentioned. I trust what they say. stories.org. You seem to be making much of this sampradAya issue.) N. Shouldn't he also be on this list since his Guru was Papaji? . give seminars. in many cases. This is therefore not a formal lineage. Not formally belonging to a sampradAya does not mean that a teacher is ipso facto not worthy of reading/listening to. write books. NDM: I don't see Mooji on the list by the way. The point is that the probabilities are imponderable outside of the sampradAya. Ramana Maharshi never authorized anyone to teach in his name. Strictly speaking. a teacher has been added simply because his or her website states that they were influenced by Ramana – i. So. metaphors and so on that would automatically be handed down.B.htm is an offshoot? There are about 75 well known teachers here from all across the world who give satsang. Since none of these can prove natal legitimacy to the sampradAya dating back to Shankara and Gaudapada. should they all be cast out as a "bastards" so to speak? Or to put it in polite terms. retreats and so on. understanding etc. It is unfortunately the case that there are many self-claimed teachers who are simply in the business of making money (a sampradAya teacher would never ask for money). But they may still be a good teacher by virtue of their own reading. What it means is that they are much less likely to have a complete grasp of all of the teaching methods and aids.sampradAya.uk/teachers/ramana_parampara. and because whoever taught them had a good grasp. learned and totally understood within a sampradAya. considered neo Advaita? Dennis Waite: You will see the note at the top of the Ramana ‗lineage‘: ―(Note that a solid line represents a direct teacher-disciple link ('in the flesh') and a dotted line an 'influence' only.advaita.e. NDM: So in effect this chain (please see here) www. and who are neither good teachers nor enlightened. All entries are to the best of my knowledge and may be mistaken.

” Despite this. NDM: Can you give me the names of any western teachers today . (Most agree that it was probably the latter. I think only about 3 or 4 people have ever contacted me to tell me about errors or omissions.uk/teachers/navnath_sampradaya. Even in the case of Shankara. I am not setting myself up as any sort of authority. Also. the person is not a real entity. In advaita. there will no doubt be many teachers who do not have an 'Internet presence' so that I will be unaware of them. NDM: So what about Nisargadatta and his line? How does this differ since according to your chart. after all. So thank you! I have now added Mooji to the Ramana chart – and my apologies to him if he reads this.e. with conclusions being anything from several centuries BC to around the 8th century AD. doesn't his line go all the way back to Dattatreya? Dennis Waite: As before. in the past. suggest additions (or deletions) etc.g.) The only probably valid historical records of lineage are in the Shankara mathas. given the limited information I have available . Zen or Dzogchen) but nevertheless write articles that 'read' as if they were Advaita . I am asking for help from all visitors to correct errors. my judgment as to whether a given teacher is a teacher of Advaita is often dependent upon a quick appraisal of the content of their website.I have given these the 'benefit of the doubt' in some cases. I have not contacted every living teacher to ask them where they consider they should be placed.Dennis Waite: The ‗home page‘ of the lineage information has the following statement: “In the charts.org. Some indicate other traditions as being specially influential (e. his line only seems to go back to the 13th century and not to the 8th century and Shankara? /www.htm However. I have only been able to take whatever information I could find on the Internet. You also have to accept that. I have listed teachers as accurately as possible. Indians had no real interest in documenting any personal history.i.advaita. Some teachers may appear on more than one chart. Finally. primarily the Internet. academics still argue about when he lived. Others may have been excluded because there is simply no material on their website by which to make an assessment. Accordingly.

could unilaterally decide to do things differently. If you want to ask Indian cultural-type questions. But I think this is another red herring. as I said earlier. it doesn‘t say anything about ability or worthiness. as implied by the name. Teachers such as Swamis Chinmayananda and Dayananda are associated with Swami Sivananda and the former now have Western disciples who are teaching. Advaita did not really come to the attention of Westerners until very recently. being the pontiff of Advaita Vedanta? Dennis Waite: The formality of the lineage is part of the Hindu tradition. Michael Comans is now ‗Sri Vasudevacharya‘. NDM: Can you please take a look at this question and answer below with Suzanne Foxton and tell me how morality is understood according to traditional Advaita Vedanta? . so maybe he is the only Westerner I am aware of who can trace back to Shankara. John Lehmann. I understand that only saMnyAsI-s are given the title of ‗Swami‘ and a new name. But I don‘t know if Sivananda and Tapovanam can be traced back to Shankara. But all this discussion is really outside of my field of expertise. For example James Swartz was a disciple of Chinmayananda and Michael Comans of Swami Dayananda. you need to ask someone else. and I don‘t think that lifestyle appeals to most Westerners! Also. Shankaracharya or not. Certainly a number of Westerners have studied with Swami Dayananda and become excellent teachers in their own right. relatively speaking. I don‘t think any individual. I think the other point about the tradition is that.who belong to the lineages dating back as far as Shankara? Dennis Waite: Westerners probably only began to learn about this teaching with the advent of people like Ramana and Nisargadatta and we have already spoken about these. of the Advaita Meditation Center in Massachusetts receives guidance from Shri Bharati Tirtha Swamigal. procedures are long-established. But then he has not been formally accepted into the lineage as far as I am aware so that reduces the number to zero! NDM: Why do you think that no westerner has been accepted up to this point? What are they missing? Is it their skills or something else? Wouldn't His Holiness Shri Bharati Tirtha Swamigal make this decision. who is the present Shankaracharya of Sringeri Sharada Peetham.

by doing so. tearing. The seeker usually has a lifetime of misconceptions and erroneous convictions about this and the process of resolving these is necessarily a gradual one. I know very little about Hindu dharma but I think that is a red herring here. A qualified teacher will know this and acknowledge that any implication to the contrary is both misleading and effectively immoral. NDM: Do you believe that some neo advaita teachings are violating Hindu Dharma by misleading others about the nature of reality and truth? Dennis Waite: As I said. You allow others to believe what they like as long as. probably with different teachers who know nothing about the seeker‘s personal level of understanding. Dennis Waite: Hindu dharma is a vast subject with many entire books written about it. creating NOW. And I am certainly no expert! Very simplistically (according to my understanding). In the context of spiritual seeking. Including many differing ideas about what is right and what is wrong. just as you would not want others to hurt you. growing. We are Utopia. dualistic playground with every possibility shining. Having said this. the function of a teacher is to help the disciple to realize the truth.. yet if every apparent individual were consistently compassionate without exception. requiring skill and patience on the part of the teacher. it does not cause you any harm. It is ludicrous to expect that one or two satsang attendances. most neo-advaitins deny that they are teaching anyway so one might argue that they avoid this contradiction and escape any possible charge of deception or dishonesty.Where does morality (right and wrong) play into this equation? Suzanne Foxton: There is no right or wrong. can bring about enlightenment. You try not to hurt others. destroying. compassion often seems preferable. There is what is.. weaving. either physically or emotionally. But then they do advertize their satsangs and residential courses and they do charge seekers to .gag. We are the perfect. However. anyway. the key point is similar to Kant‘s ‗moral imperative‘: behave towards others as you would wish them to behave to yourself. barf! How dull would THAT be? AND there'd probably be a loved-up population explosion. We live in Utopia.

the individual is not other than brahman‘. there is the very significant problem that most do not have a proper understanding of what is meant by the term. Accordingly. irrespective of whether or not they are enlightened. (Experiences. the world is mithyA. What do you conclude if someone tells you that they are enlightened? It smacks of egoism. suffice to say that I do not have any specific ‗enlightenment experience‘ to communicate. Enlightenment = Self-knowledge. have a beginning and an end in time so have nothing to do with the ever-present freedom of mokSha. here. What you appear to be talking about here is jIvanmukti – the peace. but what about on . none of which are traits one would associate with enlightenment.attend them.) NDM: Can you tell me more about this mokSha? What is this freedom like? Is it like a state of constant bliss? What does this do to your vAsanA-s? Do you still have any dislikes or likes. after further nididhyAsana for as long as necessary. Everything is taken ‗as it comes‘ with equanimity. Everyone is already ‗free‘. Also. lack of worries. albeit to a lesser degree. it is impossible to know whether or not someone else is enlightened so the answer to this question is irrelevant to anyone else. You no longer have any doubts about this. the jIvanmukta will still have desires etc. which means that you know that ‗brahman is the truth. So. This is the condition which results either a) on attaining enlightenment. if you answer ‗yes‘. So. they can only interpret this in connection with that misunderstanding. detachment. indifference to results and so on. in any case. but the point is that there is no elation if they are fulfilled or disappointment if they are not. In addition. NDM: Can you please tell me about your awakening? When was it and how did it happen? Dennis Waite: As I mentioned in a previous answer. hubris or superiority. (Or so I understand!) NDM: Yes at an absolute level they are free. it is a somewhat ambiguous situation. at the very least. when sAdhana chatuShTaya sampatti had been fully satisfied beforehand or b) following enlightenment. aversions or desires? Dennis Waite: You are still mistaking the terms.

An obvious example would be Nisargadatta‘s apparent addiction to bidis. the body falls and there is no rebirth for that ‗person‘. Thus he will (have to) experience certain desires and attachments and so on. know that they are Brahman. the extent to which one gains the ‗fruits of enlightenment‘ (jIvanmukti) is determined by how mentally prepared one was prior to enlightenment‘.this empirical level. The person who only just made it will still have a lot and it is this person who may be perceived to act in ways that we would deem to be inappropriate. The jIvanmukta has very little and consequently has virtually no desires/fears etc. being a slave How is that going to stop them to these unwholesome desires? from being reincarnated as a jackrabbit in the next life? Dennis Waite: One who is enlightened still has a body-mind and vAsanA-s but also knows that ‗he‘ does not act. Another way of looking at it is that the j~nAnI (enlightened person) still has to use up the prArabdha karma that brought this body into manifestation in the first place. obviously knowing that they were bad for the health of his body. But it is also unreliable for the unenlightened to make pronouncements on the basis of what they may perceive as inappropriate actions. there has to be an ego and some degree of ‗identification‘. yet still have an uncontrollable predilection for chasing after beautiful women or men. gambling. When the prArabdha has been burnt up. the petrol provides the motive power for the tank or the ambulance but is not affected by the motives of either. What if someone has self-knowledge. Yet most Western . In order to be able to interact in the world at all. As an analogy. drinking and drugs? What kind of mokSha is that. will still retain the maximum (commensurate with enlightenment) of negative mental attributes. It is understandable that there should be strong feelings on this issue and these have no doubt been exacerbated by the behavior of some who had been acclaimed as enlightened but who presumably were not. One who was just sufficiently prepared to be able to ‗take on board‘ the Self-knowledge. As explained elsewhere. and any action will not affect his Self-knowledge. albeit that both take place only by virtue of Consciousness. Action is only at the level of the body and it is the mind that enjoys the result.

Regarding behavior. If you are reading a book they can‘t do this.com/watch?v=d1i3sMVOBg4 Dennis Waite: You cannot know the mind of another. have dots on their foreheads. And someone who is not a jIvanmukta may also exhibit behavior that is popularly deemed to be inappropriate for someone who is enlightened. As long as you remember that enlightenment relates only to Self-knowledge. have Indian sounding names. If you are in their presence. NDM: Yes. wear beads. and they say something with which you disagree. orange robes and so on? See here: www. Unfortunately. some of these gurus have the mokSha shtick down pat.seekers today seem to accept that he was enlightened. you should be able to answer any similar questions yourself. There is ample evidence of accepted enlightened individuals displaying anger or pain or sadness etc. Ken Wilber said something like “a schmuck before enlightenment. the moment in apparent time when this "apparent Dennis" put his head in the mouth of the tiger and this apparent Dennis was devoured by this . smile all the time. This is why you accept what you are told by a personal friend when you would question it if told by a stranger. then maybe you will eventually become enlightened also. Failing that. If he or she is a very good teacher. you must fall back upon what I said above regarding learning useful things. NDM: So what about the sublation of Dennis.youtube. NDM: How do you know if someone has attained mokSha or is faking it? For example. For as long as you continue to learn useful things from them (as determined by your intellectual discrimination). And in order to be able to believe them. Some even quote from the scriptures. a schmuck after enlightenment” based on the old Zen quote. all you can do is to listen to them teach (or if that is not possible) read their written material or transcripts of their talks. How does one know whom to trust with so many scandals breaking out? Dennis Waite: If you do not have direct experience yourself. they must have proven themselves to be trustworthy. they are good teachers and therefore useful. this is not necessarily indicative of their status as ‗enlightened‘. you will have to rely on the words of someone who does. you can question them and maybe they will clarify the issue.

After a break to get married. that he was enlightened on a relative level as well as an absolute level? That you were born an avatar of some kind like Krishna. After being made redundant in 2000. I eventually stopped going and I recall telling my parents that it just did not make any sense – if there was a God. by which time I was convinced that I was never going to gain any lasting satisfaction from worldly pursuits and decided that I had to look to philosophy for some explanations. He realized that he was not this physical form. And I stayed for a couple of years until they wanted me to part with a week‘s salary to be initiated into TM. he knew for the first time that he was not the snake. they were still mainly influenced by Ouspensky and their teaching was a bit weird to say the least. I returned to SES in the mid eighties. but the stick. I began attending the School of Economic Science in response to the ‗Course of Philosophy‘ lectures that they advertized on the London Underground. by which time their teaching was much more influenced by Advaita.tiger. then he couldn‘t be in heaven. But at that time. get divorced and re-marry. My parents sent me to a Methodist Sunday School and I attended for maybe 6 – 9 months. Brahman. I started the website and began to write on Advaita full time. I left because I had realized as a result of outside reading that the school‘s advaita was corrupted by other philosophies such as Sankhya. not the Self. It does not have to be like this. It was really this process – setting down all of . by which time I had myself been tutoring for a number of years. When this non-dual light of awareness entered into the picture. always knew this from his physical birth? That Dennis was always never ignorant about this. he had to be everywhere. mind. And I stayed until around 1998. which he had been identifying with all his life. the five sheaths and so on. Yoga and Grammarians. But I didn‘t actively begin seeking until my early twenties. I guess the first hint must have been when I was about 6 – 8 years old. I also followed Francis Lucille for a while at this stage. Are you saying that "Dennis". have a child. Vishnu or Shiva? Dennis Waite: You still seem to be hung up on the idea of a sudden transforming experience. That he was Brahman. I tried to set up my own computer consultancy for a couple of years and wrote a book on Earned Value metrics. When this didn‘t work out.

As I point out in a Q &A just posted to the site.the aspects of Advaita. And I am certainly not a jIvanmukta. I have been doing this every day. One does not gain the mental/emotional benefits (j~nAna phalam) unless one is fully accomplished with respect to sAdhana chatuShTaya sampatti prior to enlightenment.) But. I came to the realization that I had no further questions. that there was no question that I could not answer (to my own satisfaction!) (Note that this does not mean I can answer all questions to other‘s satisfaction. I am still prone to the usual human failings. evenings and weekends included since 2002. And.) NDM: When you say. driven by prArabdha karma (the arrow continuing to its target once the bow string has been released). Dennis still quite definitely exists. The person continues until death of the body. I am not sure that you appreciate the significance of all of this at the transactional level. again. unfortunately. I never became fully accomplished! NDM: Was Francis Lucille of any help at this point in time with his pointers and satsangs? Dennis Waite: Francis was very helpful. one reason being that there are still lots of scriptures that I haven‘t read! And. It is a mistaken belief that the person somehow disappears on enlightenment. Also. through the question and answer section of the website. And. And I was very impressed with the satsangs in general and the way that he answered questions. I was totally convinced of the truth of the teaching and found. (This is not to say that I always agreed with what he said. some seekers are so entrenched and committed to their existing mistaken beliefs that they cannot open up to any new ones. and I am not always able to provide these. It is a mistaken belief that the person somehow disappears on . Basically. "Dennis still quite definitely exists. I emailed him a number of questions a year or two before meeting him and he answered them in detail (they appear in his book ‗Eternity Now‘). A lot of this teaching is stepwise and you cannot leap to the top step without traversing the intermediate ones. The parable of pouring more tea into a cup that is already full applies here. of course. asking questions. reading lots of books until any points that I did not understand were cleared up – that consolidated my understanding. some seekers may require lots of quotations from scriptures to back up an answer. over the period of say 2004 – 2008 for the sake of argument.

realization gradual or sudden etc will differ. the mask of Dennis? Do you mean you still identify with this. is really not something I approve of. is that because it is also misleading and can send others barking up the wrong tree so to speak? Like if someone has a sudden enlightenment holding a bucket of water over their head while dancing the Macarena. not constant. along with j~nAna yoga. Examining the minutiae of any one person‘s experience really is pointless. not permanent) and so on like any other object? Dennis Waite: Dennis still moves around in the world. what kind of meditation. I know that this body-mind is mithyA but still sometime behave as though I don‘t. bhakti yoga. transient. Answers to questions such as these are really of no help to any other seeker. probably around 15 years of karma and meditation twice per day for 30 minutes. or that you know that it‟s mithyA (false. karma yoga. NDM: Did you ever experience nirvikalpa samAdhi prior to this realization? Dennis Waite: I‘m going to cut short this line of questioning. doing all of the sorts of things he used to do and outwardly appearing as normal.enlightenment. had you done previous to your realization? Dennis Waite: No bhakti. NDM: Yes. Note that this habit of not saying ‗I‘. will others think that by holding buckets of water over their heads while dancing the Macarena. It is an affectation really. glimpses of the truth." What about the identification with this "persona". NDM: As far as not being a jIvanmukta. that it will also bring them enlightenment? . or referring to oneself in the third person. Pedantically knowing that ‗I am not this person‘ does not escape the fact that it is this person who is speaking as far as most hearers are concerned! So to use this method of speaking is tantamount to saying to the other person ―Just remember that you are not speaking to another ‗ordinary‘ person but to someone special!‖ And ‗I‘ am not special – ‗who I really am‘ is ‗who you really are‘. Each one‘s path.

huffingtonpost.html Dennis Waite: I don‘t have any direct experience of Andrew Cohen‘s teaching. He also states that he is challenging the ancient traditions with his new teaching.Dennis Waite: That‘s a good way of putting it. . where one is or what is happening at the moment that final. Comments that some trustworthy contacts have made about him did not inspire me to find out more. He says it‟s to come back again and again and again and again to enjoy this physical world. NDM: In sutra number 18 of your book. yes! The bottom line is that only Self-knowledge can give enlightenment because Self-knowledge is enlightenment. NDM: What is evolutionary enlightenment? Does this have anything to do with Shankara‟s interpretation of the Upanishads or Advaita Vedanta? Andrew Cohen. Whatever one might be doing. www. Path Through The Jungle you say that some Neo Advaita teachers may be helpful. is totally irrelevant. Enlightenment. Papiji's disciple was in India recently promoting his ideas about "evolutionary enlightenment". particularly the ones who try to embody some methodology in their teaching. At 17minutes and 10 seconds into the video he talks about this. What kind of methodology were you referring to? Is there any teacher you can think of who is doing this? Dennis Waite: I‘m referring to the traditional prakriyA-s or systematic procedures that are given in the scriptures and ‗unfolded‘ by a skilled teacher. He says he doesn't believe the purpose of enlightenment is to attain freedom from incarnation. What he says above would seem fully to justify this decision. full Self-knowledge dawns.com/tom-huston/spirituallife_b_514189.

this difficulty is avoided. particularly because Nisargadatta uses the words ‗Consciousness‘ and ‗Awareness‘ differently from most other teachers. By using the correct Sanskrit term (and it is acknowledged that one has to learn what these mean before using them in conversation). . differentiation between seer and seen (dRRik dRRishya viveka).These include such things as the three states of consciousness (avasthA traya). Even seekers who are familiar with ‗spiritual discussions‘ may not clearly understand what is meant. what would you say is the difference with using the word awareness? Dennis Waite: The problem with using English words that are used in everyday conversation is that they can lead to confusion or misunderstanding. or may use a word in a way which is understood differently by the other person. gold and rings/bangles etc. There are many of these and they are all demonstrably valuable for showing a seeker how to look at things in a new way and thereby overturn habitual patterns of thinking. the five ‗sheaths‘ (pa~ncha kosha). and the classical metaphors such as rope-snake. pot-space and pots. NDM: In sutra 22 you speak of the terminology to be used. The word ‗awareness‘ is a common example. such as Brahman and atman.

You will need to ask someone like Greg Goode. Today. We do not have to study the reasoning or meditate upon it for a long time. NDM: In sutra 50. sudden insight through an epiphany? Dennis Waite: That sutra is talking about pramANa-s – the ‗means for acquiring knowledge‘. leaving the bare equation that X and Y are the same person. Do you see any difference in the way this is taught? Dennis Waite: As answered in an earlier question. since leaving school you lost touch and have forgotten all about him. both went to school with a third person. throughout.‖ All of the contradictory aspects. I do not really know anything about Buddhism. scruffy. Although it cannot be stated categorically that enlightenment does not ‗suddenly come to one for no apparent reason‘. A now makes some comment such as ―Y has come a long way in the world since we knew him. NDM: In sutra 54. A then makes the revelatory statement: ―Y is that X whom we knew at school. This is the function of the scriptures and guru. Similarly. We have the sense organs – sight etc – for acquiring knowledge about external objects. external source to tell us and explain it. the knowledge is aparokSha – immediate. you say we do not have any organ for self knowledge. You have seen films starring Y and admire him very much. you knew him quite well but. while Y is a rich. you happen to be walking along with A and see Y. spotty oik that you once knew at school. Although you were not particularly friendly with X. but there is no organ for acquiring knowledge about the Self. famous and talented actor.NDM: Can you give me an example of bhAga tyAga lakShaNa? Dennis Waite: Suppose that you and a friend. A. walking by on the other side of the street. Furthermore. you talk about avidyA. this is not the normal route! Also. the traditional route is. totally amenable to reason whilst the ‗epiphany‘ route is totally . we cannot infer and have no reason to assume that the Self is the non-dual reality. that X is an insignificant. This is also at the core of the Buddhist teachings. who is a famous film star. are all cancelled out. X. Hence we need a trusted. hasn‘t he?‖ You are mystified since you have never even spoken to Y as far as you know and you ask A to explain himself.

nor speech.inaccessible to reason. if you sit around waiting for something to ‗happen‘. or directly spoken of. It is distinct from the known and above the unknown". “The eye does not go there.‖ The point is that Brahman cannot be seen. cannot be known as an object) and yet it is different from the unknown. It is different from the known (i.e. the ultimate subject – infinite. it is referring to the usual means of knowledge – perception. akhaNDAkAra vRRitti can be attained through nirvikalpa samAdhi? Dennis Waite: No. NDM: Ok. the evidence is that you will get there eventually. we do not know "That" (meaning Brahman). on the contrary. How can this be? Simply because we already are it. when nirvikalpa merges into and becomes Sahaja samAdhi while being awake and alert? . inference etc. or known (as an object) by the mind. which says: ―Thus we have heard from those who have gone before us. it is saying that ‗we do not know how to teach it other than by using such seemingly paradoxical statements as ‗the eye of the eye‘. but what about after waking from this nirvikalpa samAdhi? After the fact. as it were. When it says that we do not know how to teach it. you are likely to be waiting a very long time! If you commit to a traditional path for as long as it takes. NDM: The Kena Upanishads say. then how is this known and who or what knows this? Dennis Waite: It is interesting that you should choose this verse because it is effectively an explanation of the need for sampradAya teaching. We do not know how to instruct one about it. ‗the ear of the ear‘ etc. undermining erroneous views and coming at it from behind. Furthermore. If this is the case. period‘. meaning that we nevertheless know it. But you have omitted the last sentence. NDM: Do you think that the mental disposition. And it is not saying that ‗we do not know how to teach it. nor mind. It has to be taught in an elliptical fashion. I can‘t point to it or say ‗what‘ it is. because Brahman is not an object of any sort but. who told us about it.

Brahman. as I pointed out earlier.55 (to end of chapter 2) talks about the man of ‗steady wisdom‘ as one who is ‗without desire‘ but not ‗without thought‘. The akhaNDAkAra vRRitti is an instantaneous ‗dawning of knowledge‘ in which the mind suddenly gels (as it were). how could any sort of change or vRRitti (mental disposition) occur in it? In any case. We have a ‗thought-free‘ mind every night during deep sleep but nevertheless still wake up believing we are the body-mind.40) What do you think he meant by this? Dennis Waite: A temporarily thought-free mind is not a mind that has effectively ‗taken on the form of Brahman‘. is called the state of Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi (the natural state of abidance in the Self when all differentiation has ceased). I would say that it is not possible to ‗engage in the activities of worldly life‘ with a thought-free mind. but only of Self. and arises as a result of the akhaNDAkAra vRRitti. I understand. unlike samAdhi.18. Nirvikalpa samAdhi is a state of mind that is temporarily object-free. when the full realization of non-difference from Brahman occurs as a result of the crystallization (as it were) of knowledge gained in the past. especially when taken out of context. with a still mind devoid of differentiation of Self and non-Self even while being engaged in the activities of worldly life.In the Ribhu Gita by Sri Ramana writes. Furthermore. conscious. v. But. Since it is empty of anything (‗nir‘ vikalpa means ‗without‘ difference or distinction). . even read much scripture prior to his enlightenment. sthitapraj~na means the ‗state‘ of being in. so some of his statements may be suspect. As I said earlier (I think) Ramana was a brilliant teacher and unquestionably enlightened but he did not have sampradAya training and had not. So I am not sure what exactly is meant by this passage. it is not really a state. it is rather that the Atman is now (known to be) Brahman. (Ch. the ‗I‘ of infinite perfection as contrasted with the ‗I am the body‘ notion of those who have not realized the Self. This is called Akhandakara vritti. Maybe the earlier verses throw some light on this. it is not the same as it. The Bhagavad Gita II. Remaining alertly aware and thought-free. 30. samAdhi-s are experiences and only knowledge can remove ignorance. I haven‘t read and don‘t have a copy of the Ribhu Gita.

there is no such thing as karma or reincarnation but then. All of this ‗doing‘ – whether working. morality and responsibility apply. becoming enlightened. and all of the usual issues of society. or is it Brahman doing this? Oneness. not act or act differently from the dictates of past habits. But you have to be very careful not to mix up the levels. It is said that when a given situation is presented. In this case who is the doer/enjoyer? Is it this Neo Advaita teacher‟s vAsanA-s. Traditional advaita says that the position into which a given person is born is determined by their actions in past lives and they have to ‗work through‘ the related karma. or this apparent man‟s vAsanA-s? Dennis Waite: Again. And this brings us onto the topic of free-will. playing. people and objects. there are no people or objects. Most conceptual problems in advaita result from doing precisely this. At this level. giving time and money to charity or having sex with young boys – all takes place within vyavahAra. of course. the transactional or worldly level. The desires they have are determined by their vAsanA-s. seeking. What are your thoughts on this? Dennis Waite: This is what the neos mostly do. the individual person is responsible for his actions. Dennis Waite: This sort of confusion arises because of failing to differentiate ‗levels‘ of reality. no time.NDM: A few days ago someone told me about a western Neo advaita teacher in India who pays impoverished young Indian boys to have sexual relations with him. They try to make absolute pronouncements. which accumulate karma and eventually bring about the appropriate ‗fruit‘ of puNya or pApa – good things or bad! In reality. which I don‘t want to enter into or we will be here indefinitely! From the standpoint of absolute reality. as some neos would say. which again are determined by past actions and formation of habits and so on. They say there is just "oneness". space or causation. from the vantage point of the world. there is duality. there is no person either to worry about such things. NDM: Who is responsible for this karma "oneness”. NDM: The neos say that there is no karma because there is no apparent man or vAsanA-s or saMskAra-s. as if from a pAramArthika (absolute) . one may act. You decide which aspect you are talking about and stick to it.

" What he is saying here sounds like the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. defecates. But at the same time they seem to expect these statements to be meaningful and helpful to a seeker who is suffering. but the "search" implied that it wasn't. that enlightenment is already the case. right here.advaita. does a dog have Buddha nature? A cat or a dog also does not have a sense of self nor is it attached to a personal identity. The best that we can do to assess this is to compare what .htm Jeff said.. now and now. NDM: In a dialogue that you had with Jeff Foster. Mostly it just causes frustration and often increases the suffering because such a view does not accord with the seeker‘s experience.. It comes when its name is called. our pasts and futures.is all there is. This is about seeing that the miracle that we are searching for is always fully present. And everything. Do you think that he is missing the obvious here? That you can be in the now all day long and still not be enlightened? Is it possible that he still has not realized the Self? It‟s like he has only climbed half way up the mountain and mistaken this plateau for the top? I say this because this brings to mind the Zen koan. That this moment .uk/discourses/trad_neo/jeff_dialog. it urinates. but it does not know that it is non-dual awareness. fornicates and so on.This is about the possibility of absolute freedom. of course. now. www. The seeker is unable to rationalize what the neo tells him without both prior mental preparation and significant preliminary instruction. Dennis Waite: It is impossible to know whether or not another person is enlightened. absolute "happiness" as you put it.org.". It eats when it‟s given food...perspective. trying to understand what is happening at the level of the world and looking for guidance to help them remove this suffering. "This message is about the simple and obvious appearance of life. And yes. THAT is a story too! And so this can never really be expressed in words. right now. our whole lives.right now . are just stories appearing now.. being in the now. It's the attempt to put into words what could never be put into words.

The mistaken views have to be undermined and then rejected or corrected. with how the scriptures have been interpreted by those whom we believe to have been enlightened). You have to go through the process of examining your experiences and beliefs and. This enlightenment business is getting very expensive. But there is simply no point in telling you this. Especially if I buy their DVDs and books. I'm getting depressed and confused by all this neo babble and feel like I'm at the end of my rope. you are right – you could be ‗in the present‘ all the time and still not be enlightened. it is not enlightenment. Only when this has been done. Enlightenment is Self-knowledge and has nothing to do with experience. And. The problem is that you think you are this body-mind. I suppose that it is an aspect of nitya-anitya vastu viveka – discriminating between the real and unreal. the way I asked these neo teachers. perfect and complete. would you tell me I'm enlightened already. in itself. for most of us.the person says with what has been said in the scriptures (or perhaps. photos of them as well. What would you say to me? Would you be able to help me do this without having to learn a new language and to study Vedanta like you did for 25 years? Is there a short cut? A direct path I could take. (I may say this more than once in answers to these questions but repetition of this fact is very worthwhile for most people!) NDM: If I came to you asking you to help me become enlightened. . But this has to be tempered with the fact that it is possible for people to learn pat answers without really understanding them. so I don't go broke or old waiting for this to happen? Dennis Waite: This is a good example of the way that neo teachers mistakenly present the message of advaita. Each time I go to one of their satsangs it costs me 30 bucks. This all adds up. Then they tell me there is no hope. Living ‗in the now‘ and recognizing that there is *only* the present moment is part of the mental preparation for enlightenment. will you be ‗enlightened‘. I'm still the same miserable jerk as before. the transient and eternal. or meaning. It is true that who-you-reallyare is already free. no need to do anything and so on? That I'm already perfect just the way I am? The problem is this hasn't changed a thing. and the mind definitely does not think it is perfect and free. But.

Accordingly. This need not be an insurmountable problem. to the exclusion of all other desires. Unfortunately there are not many of these around as we have already discussed. some of whom are acknowledged academic experts or established traditional teachers. the best that they can do is to read as much and as widely as possible (but perhaps taking guidance from someone who knows more about all this). everyone. But this is really not a great hardship. . For them. you will have to utilize the means of knowledge available to you (mainly perception. where you can ask all of the questions that will arise and have them answered by a number of very experienced and knowledgeable people. acknowledge that what he or she tells you is true. logical. Ideally. Traditional teaching. if this is really what you want. I would say not really. most seekers do not have this all-consuming passion. One of the main qualities for a seeker is mumukShutva – the desire to achieve enlightenment. simply because there are no equivalent words in the English language. (There is a story in the scriptures of someone being ecstatic when told it would only take as many lifetimes as there were leaves on the tree under which he was sitting!) You certainly don‘t have to learn Sanskrit either. It is really for a particular sort of mind – very sharp. then. on the other hand. you will find a suitable teacher and commit to studying with them for as long as it takes. inference and scriptures) and your faculties of reason and discrimination. nor is it suitable for. It is certainly worth investigating this but it does not appeal to. can cater for all levels of mind. You do have to learn a number of Sanskrit terms. And join an internet discussion group such as Advaitin. All of this will cost much less than attending satsangs! But the process will take as long as it takes. Regarding short-cuts. Realistically. with slow or fast-track techniques according to ability. ever-ready to drop a prior conception if reason or experience dictates that it was wrong. You will overcome all the obstacles in order to do this. There is the Direct Path teaching of Atmananda Krishna Menon. possibly with a little bit of faith to begin with. perceptive and intellectual. currently being taught by people such as Greg Goode and Rupert Spira. you can ‗simply‘ move to somewhere where there is a qualified teacher.with the help of a qualified teacher. In this.

they were discussing about the nature of Brahman. which is all (everything). Buddha replied. How could this (something) world have originated from nothing? NDM: What if someone recognizes himself or herself as Shunyata. This would seem to be diametrically opposite to Brahman." said the Brahmin". This includes Buddhism. shunya means ‗empty‘." Answered the Brahmin. realizing absolute truth according to the Shankara and the Vedanta school or is this also a form of heresy or Neo Advaita? Dennis Waite: In the Brahma Sutra and bhAShya. neither has he. has he seen him?" "I don't think even he saw Him. Obviously people can believe and claim whatever they want but they cannot legitimately claim to be Advaitins unless their teaching corresponds with that of Advaita. NDM: When the Buddha came across some Brahmins. On the face of it.NDM: What would you say is the difference with Brahman and Shunyata? Dennis Waite: I know very little about any spiritual path other than Advaita. and the Buddha asked. It would seem to be nonsensical to claim that there is nothing – who would there be to claim this? It is also our experience that we and the world exist." "Or your grandfather. . has he seen him?" asked the Buddha "No. Vyasa and Shankara refute all of the other philosophies that were prevalent at the time. is this considered being enlightened. "My friend how can you discuss about a person whom your father and grandfather never saw? According to Shankara you don‟t have to be enlightened to teach about it. "Have you seen Brahma?" "No. "Or your father. or ‗void‘ and I understand the belief of some branches of Buddhism to be that there is literally ‗nothing‘.

cannot be received from books. It is because books cannot give us that impulse from outside. how can a doctor perform brain surgery if he doesn‟t even know what a brain looks like? Denis Waite: Brahman is not an object and cannot be objectified in any way.. as I think we have already discussed. on the other hand. there would have to be a subject treating it as an object and that would be duality. absolute statements without any supporting rationale or mental preparation. the teacher. Principally. there are subtle differences which only become apparent when your understanding of the teaching is quite advanced. in order to know Brahman. Neo-vedAnta may initially seem to be identical to traditional advaita.. But. I think that neo-vedAnta is ‗corrupted‘ as it were by confusion with aspects of Yoga philosophy." Selections. However. I have not made a study of these differences so cannot say a great deal about them. They therefore place great emphasis on samAdhi. we sometimes are deluded into thinking that we are being spiritually helped. denying the existence of seeker. states .. To quicken the spirit. and not the spirit. we may become very intellectual. is the attempt to convey the truth through simple. Vivekananda said: This quickening impulse. but when the time of action comes. From "The Teacher of Spirituality. We may study books all our lives.. and equate nirvikalpa samAdhi with realization. which comes from outside. If it could be objectified. the soul can receive impulse from another soul. you do not need to objectify it – you are Brahman. and nothing else. that impulse must come from another soul. but if we analyze ourselves we find that only our intellect is being helped. In particular. teacher or of any path that might be followed. In studying books. That soul from which this impulse comes is called the Guru. Advaita. Dennis Waite. pp. Neo-advaita. but in the end we find that we have not developed at all spiritually. That is why almost every one of us can speak most wonderfully on spiritual subjects. they claim that Enlightenment is a spiritual experience rather than a vRRitti (disposition) of the mind.. 51-51.Using the logic of the Buddha. we find ourselves so woefully deficient. NDM: Can you please tell me the difference between Neo Vedanta inspired by the Vivekananda and the Ramakrishna Mission and Neo Advaita? On book learning.

It is likely that you will not even notice the minor discrepancies. But it should be noted that many of the books by swamis of the Ramakrishna Missions etc are excellent. they all become redundant."? Selections. Vedas. and dualisms. Upanishads. It is never possible to ‗describe‘ reality in any way. teachings are mithyA. I only discovered the problems myself when I began write my own books on Advaita and began to encounter statements in their writing which contradicted my understanding. So.. including Shankara‘s commentaries and these are often brilliant. etc. commentaries. The supreme knowledge is that which makes us realize the Unchangeable One. It is true that all scriptures. it is not learning but being. in a sense... The Vedas. From "The Sages of India. Dennis Waite. NDM: In your book. What are your thoughts on this. for the enlightened person. Grammar. with a beginning and an end in time. and even the Vedas themselves. No amount of doctrines or . but in realisation. got to know this when there weren‟t any books or teachers at the time? Was it not through direct intuition? Do you feel that book knowledge and scripture are superior to intuition? Isn‟t intuition the internal Sat guru as well? Vivekananda also said: You must keep in mind that religion does not consist in talk. or doctrines. "All these talks. p.. Astronomy. all these are secondary. secret forest teachings. and monisms. 237. but seem to relegate intuition.that this is simply another (albeit very profound) experience. secondary things. and reasonings. They translate and comment on Upanishads etc. How do you think the first sages who spoke these scriptures. are but preparations. you talk a lot about knowing through the aid of scripture. and philosophies. NDM. or books.

The less you read of books. the dry bones of religion. like the first sages of the Vedas.. And this .. You have been hearing ‗You are That‘.. lose the spirit. the better for you. Dennis Waite: Intuition is fine – but where do you go to get this? What can you do to increase the likelihood of getting it? In a sense. the process is one of guru teaching disciple. 64-65. Korans. Vedas. It is a tendency in Western countries to make a hotch-potch of the brain. 54-55. Those who deal too much in words. and others. as I said in respect of the sampradAya. but they are only words. The whole world reads scriptures. listen to a guru giving satsang or did he sit out in the forest alone until this realization came to him intuitively? In a flash." Selections. From "The Need of Symbols. 64-65. the final realization might be called ‗intuition‘.philosophies or ethical books that you have stuffed into your brain will matter much." Selections." Selections... and let the mind run always in the forest of words. And then. And... who then becomes the next guru and so on. how did Buddha realize the truth? Did he read books all day long. ‗Everything is Brahman‘ etc.. pp. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think these old scriptures should be thrown overboard in order to realize this truth intuitively.. there is the overwhelming certainty: ‗Ah! Now I see – everything is Brahman! How could I not have appreciated that before?‘ But. and what you have realised.... you have to first throw all books overboard.. time and again but nothing has happened. pp. only what you are.. Bibles... To be religious. In many cases it becomes a kind of disease but it is not religion. for the vast majority. "The Teacher of Spirituality. From "The Need of Symbols. this only comes as the culmination of prolonged study with a qualified teacher. through gnosis? For example. p. The network of words is like a huge forest in which the human mind loses itself and finds no way out. suddenly..

seekers and the world itself are mithyA. This is a false picture. if you want to sit around on the off-chance that some intuition will suddenly come along – fine! But don‘t hold your breath… Regarding the quote from Vivekananda. secondly. Vishnu or the lotus-born Brahma were your instructor. very few enlightened people in the world. by all means throw all of the books away if you like. NDM: Yes what about this one? The Ashtavakra Gita says: My son. So. explained with crystal-clear logic. they were learned by heart in the sampradAya-s. Long before scriptures were written down. The enlightened person still lives on in the world for the remainder of that embodiment. the scriptures and their unfoldment by a teacher such as Swami Dayananda are beautiful – the most profound truths embodied in simple verses and metaphor. OK. it is gurus and scriptures that will have brought you to this point. and that most of these reached enlightenment by chance or sudden ‗intuition‘. most of whom have become so as a result of following a traditional path. so why throw away such beautiful things? Read and enjoy! I think you are still caught up in the idea that there are very. but you will not be established within until you can forget everything. that maybe most of the ones who were enlightened are now dead. I suggest that there are actually quite a lot of enlightened people. you may not want to accept that there never actually was a human author. 16. all scriptures. Only the Self is satyam.process is said to stretch back to the beginning.” How do you interpret this? . Ones like Buddha and Ramana are the exception rather than the rule.1 “If even Shiva. until you have forgotten everything you cannot be established within. You don‘t get to hear about them because they do not have ‗teacher vAsanA-s‘. gurus. yes. but we are talking about scriptures that are thousands of years old. you may recite or listen to countless scriptures. But I would make two points: firstly (if I may repeat). for the vast majority. So. once you are enlightened.

(kevala kumbhaka) www. like the rest of the world. no matter how many times they are repeated. does one eat the paper menu or the dinner? What do words made out of ink and paper taste like? Dennis Waite: The words alone will never bring about enlightenment.com According to the Christian Gnostic traditions. And of course the words themselves are not the reality – they point towards it and need to be understood.jhanas. contemplation. to be aware and mindful in all activities and movements both physical and mental Investigation (dhamma vicaya) into the nature of dhamma Concentration (samAdhi) a calm. PratyAhAra. but where do you go to get this? What can you do to increase the likelihood of getting it? Well according to the Buddhist tradition. Niyama. which can result in sahaja samAdhi. meditation and ascetic fasting and devoting ones life to God.e. mind and soul. one-pointed state of concentration of mind This leading to the ninth jhana www. reciting and studying the scripture.com/yoga/hol_yoga_breathing_4stages. Your quote about Shiva etc is really emphasizing the need for nitya-anitya vastu viveka – the ability to differentiate satyam from mithyA. “Intuition is fine. . Some would say through the discipline of meditation. he prescribes adherence to eight "limbs" The eight "limbs" or steps are: Yama.holisticonline. NDM: You ask. not satyam (the menu.When one goes to dinner. with all ones strength.htm or waiting for it to fall out of the sky.     Mindfulness (sati) i. PrANayAma. Leading to nirvikalpa samAdhi. some would say through prayer. DhyAna and Samadhi. DhAraNA. Hence the need for a qualified teacher to explain their meaning. even if learned by heart. Heart. you don't sit around holding your breath. You have to ‗forget‘ the unreal world before you can realize the real Self. As I said earlier they. even though this is a PrANayAmna method. Asana. The mind of the seeker has to be suitably prepared and there must be the intense desire for enlightenment above all worldly pursuits. not the meal if you like that metaphor). According to Patanjali. are mithyA.

which happens when the witness disappears. Or through Tai Chi and Qi gung and doing so will open up all the meridians including ones "third eye". karma yoga and all the other yogas would result in intuition. But I would think most would prefer to go the certain 99% route rather than the maybe 1%. even though it‟s not a state. No identification with any objects at all. Dennis Waite: The reason why we do not already recognize that we are free. Incidentally. it comes to an end and we are back in duality. NDM: Sorry. There are so many ways and means to heighten ones intuition. But I don‘t agree with your comments regarding turIyatIta or jIvanmukti in respect of Vedanta. they cannot bring enlightenment. being knowledge itself. I don‘t know. inaction or non-doing . the ajna (brow) chakra and the sharastara chakra. Others some would say bhakti yoga. I have no knowledge of other traditions. The Taoists would say through the practice of Wu-wei .usually translated as non-action. Maybe the remaining 1% lead to sahaja sthiti. as I said. turIyatita. as well as studying the scripture as in your case with advaita Vedanta. in themselves. You clearly have a much wider understanding than I do. The third eye. What I meant by turIyatIta is not a state but it is non-dual awareness. Does not . in 99% of cases at least. When linked to the Tao .is one of the most important Taoist concepts.the creator and sustainer of everything in the Universe – non-doing means the actionless of Heaven. Clear vision. unlimited. non-dual Consciousness is that we are ignorant of our true nature. At this point you become pure awareness. Others would say through grace. Samadhi may be a beautiful experience of the oneness of all things but. This is JIvanmukta in Vedanta or nirvana in Buddhism. Action of any kind can never remove ignorance because action is not opposed to ignorance. ever-present. or Brahman. There is also a socalled fifth state. All of the things that you mention are great for preparing the mind and this has to be done before enlightenment can occur but.Or turIya. The only thing that can remove ignorance is knowledge. the fourth state. I wasn‟t being clear.

praj~nA (deep sleep): non-apprehension of Reality and of duality. It is our true nature. Regarding the definitions that you quote from the article. It refers to the non-dual reality.e. www. or meditation. as I said before. I would prefer to say that: .one become a jIvanmukta if one is permanently turIyatIta? I don‟t mean as in some kind of samAdhi. refers to the person whose prior or post mental state means that he or she also has the ‗fruits of knowledge‘. i. the background against which the other states (waking. There is only ever this so that we are always this.htm): literally the "fourth" [state of consciousness].advaita. I read this on your site by the way. or an experience of some kind one has to go into.org.htm turIya (Atman): non-apprehension of duality.uk/discourses/teachers/turiya_peter. (If defined merely as the highest "state" then Ramana Maharshi calls our true nature 'turiyatita' but this word is not encountered in the scriptures.org. taijasa (dream state): non-apprehension of and misapprehension of Reality.) Unfortunately the link to this page is missing from the menu! (Thanks for enabling me to discover this!) turIya could be considered as a synonym for brahman. I wouldn‘t have defined them likes this. if you like. taijasa is associated with ignorance and error . whether or not we are enlightened.uk/sanskrit/terms_tu. The other three states are mithyA. Am I misreading or misunderstanding it. jIvanmukti. Please correct me if I‟m wrong. Enlightenment is. vishva is associated with ignorance and error . vishva (waking state): non-apprehension of and misapprehension of Reality. Dennis Waite: The word turIyatIta is defined in the site dictionary as follows (http://www. the realization in the mind that we are turIya.advaita. mental equanimity etc. dream and deep sleep) arise.

NDM: Sailor Bob said. Understanding this. provided of course that I had understood it myself to begin with! Accordingly. But without awareness. But then maybe he didn‘t intend this connotation.. it is that it implies that ignorance cannot obscure Self-knowledge. mainly because I don‘t want to travel and there is insufficient interest in my area to begin a formal group. So… call me what you like. "Subject-object thinking seems to cover the natural state (awareness). it is not possible to say. If he . It is a subject that is endlessly fascinating and ultimately the only one worth pursuing. turIya is associated with neither ‗Ignorance‘ is ignorance of the fact that I am turIya. it seems natural to write books on Advaita. thinking could not take place. Bob is using the term ‗awareness‘. thinking cannot obscure awareness". through the question and answer section of the website. Do you see anything wrong with this statement? Dennis Waite: First of all. NDM: You said. Because thinking appears in awareness (like a cloud appears in the sky). do you see yourself as a guru or a pundit? Dennis Waite: I discovered during my work on defense communication systems that I had a particular skill for describing complex software functions in ways that newcomers could easily understand. that there was no question that I could not answer (to my own satisfaction!) So. But I believe that the way this is put in the essay is actually saying the same thing. just in a different way. prAj~na is associated with ignorance only . whereas it can and does. where most would use ‗Consciousness‘. realise that thinking in essence is awareness. I don‘t teach formally. “I was totally convinced of the truth of the teaching and found. ‗Error‘ is in thinking that I am the limited individual. It is not that what he says is wrong. But this is OK because he is following Nisargadatta. maintain the website and answer questions from seekers. Without the complete context in which the statement was made.

It is an understandable and slightly negative feeling born out of you have accomplished everything that had to be accomplished in this life. But before you set out to do so.did mean to imply this. although it is a well-known malady. usually a strong sense of goodwill toward everyone arises at this time and you almost invariably feel that you should share what you know with others. you have enlightenment disease. It should be treated quirkily before it becomes a chronic condition. this is what the neo-advaitins say – but it is wrong. If you interpret this nothingness of reality as a void and become vaguely disillusioned. due to unpurified traces of tamas. One benign symptom of enlightenment sickness is transcendental boredom. of course. He calls it pseudo enlightenment or enlightenment sickness. He says "after realization. Enlightenment is not the experience of the void. You may long for a bit of excitement and confusion marked your life in ignorance but you know you can‟t go back. since everything is Brahman (or Consciousness). one might as well say that. It is caused by the residual sense of doer ship and unpurified traces of rajas. It is similar to enlightenment and is difficult for the sufferer to diagnose. therefore there is nothing that can or should be done to attain enlightenment. NDM: What are your thoughts on James Swartz‟ “Enlightenment sickness‟? He refers to this on pages 261 and 262 of his book "How to attain enlightenment". If you hear yourself telling others you are awakened. If you formulate your enlightenment as a grand happening and make it into a big story. only the pureness of awareness appearing as the void. the realization that what you do from now on will not fundamentally make any difference – ignorance is here to stay after all – and the crystal clarity about the basic emptiness of life. or enlightened or . you better check you are not suffering from the disease of enlightenment. There is no void. And. know that you have enlightenment sickness.

Within that paradox lies enlightenment.) The one thing I would add to what he says is that I don‘t think that all of those teachers exhibiting the symptoms actually have the disease. Apparently. can you please tell me about your awakening. He doesn‘t pull any punches.org. it takes me ages to get through any particular one.more if they were available. If you believe that your words are gospel and your deeds whether they correspond to common sense or not and with reason. correcting all of the mistaken views out there regarding spiritual ‗seeking‘. Having now read the last chapter. you need help". For more info visit www. how this happened exactly. or whatever we're calling it today. (It goes without saying that it merits 5* . What was going on in your life at the time? Suzanne Foxton: Let me start by saying that the overwhelming quality of "my awakening" was the realisation that there is no such thing. and what I had taken myself for was a whimsical fabrication. or whether they are in harmony with dharma and tradition.advaita. That "I" couldn't "awaken" because there was no me to awaken. deliberately adopting all of the expected traits and learning the key phrases off by heart so that they can simply earn an enjoyable and easy living at others‘ expense – cynical this may be but I do fear it is true. Dennis Waite: James Swartz is excellent! He may not be the best Western teacher in the world but he is almost certainly the best Western teacher for the typical satsang attendee.htm SUZANNE FOXTON NDM: Suzanne."cooked" you have enlightenment sickness. I‘m glad you asked this question because I‘ve been reading this book for the past 2 – 3 months but. I had been going through some very thorough. albeit a fascinating one. why you believe this happened. when this happened. End of quote. are a teaching stratagem . it prompts me to review the book on Amazon and hopefully get others reading it too. because I always have so many books on the go at any one time. very effective . I fear that there may be a few who are knowingly taking advantage.uk/index.

I then wandered around the kitchen. just dropped away. like Bill and Ted on their excellent adventure. and the only thing that actually existed was a sort of absolute knowing. fleshily. Re-entering the drama of life on these new terms. It was all. that everything was illusory. knifing. no matter how "bad". That what I had been looking for was this. My persona. I was going through in a Western fashion the kind of deep self-inquiry that many Eastern paths advocate. the importance dropped away. so I seemed to see a sort of cosmic winking in and out.three separate issues . No one wants to hear about how everything is utterly meaningless. my mind needed to supply visuals. I began writing the blog to give vent to my urge to describe what had happened. There was no difference between me and everyone and everything. to an extent that cannot be communicated. and saw my past for exactly what it was. it was life. creation on a grand and colourful scale. I was washing some dishes. Bit by bit. In other words.. In the midst of this. for my ego. swirling being sucked into some kind of black hole and renewing. over and over again. most obviously. the loneliness of my childhood engulfed me. all me. except in its intrinsic worth by virtue of mere existence. arising as vivid flashbacks. saying to the ether. was to be rebuffed by anyone I tried to explain it to. but it actually didn't exist. I took a knife from the sink. not for the stories I had told myself about it. It's so obvious!" NDM: What was obvious? Suzanne Foxton: Well. I could smell my attacker and was seemingly in the room where the attack occurred. A kind of vision engulfed me. it was exactly right. The thrust of the therapy was dealing with past trauma. or replaced me. the regret and remorse over an incident where I was the perpetrator overwhelmed me. The memories of the trauma . the same thing. everything I had considered so important. NDM: Why do you think that this knife looked different from all .hit me hard. certainly. "Whoa!" I said. and I saw I was free. one by one. impossibly real and existent.. I knelt on the kitchen floor.therapy. "It's so obvious. The knife became an amazing wonder. existing in no time and no space. that everything was everything. and yet fruitily. it was the most knifish knife that ever knifed. the gift of duality. My ego and its conceits were stripped away. I faced these traumas.including trying to communicate that it never happened at all. Everything. the game of life. was the icing on the cake of awareness. all around me. unravelled the story of my life.

and that nothing in "real life" exists other than in our apparent ability to see energy arranged in a certain way. Do you mean this on the relative level. exactly what it was. There was nothing different about the knife. make judgments about it. or on the absolute level or some other way? Suzanne Foxton: It's difficult to describe. "wrong" with the ego.the other times you had seen this knife? Suzanne Foxton: It didn't. It lasts forever. Just.' What do you mean by ego exactly? Suzanne Foxton: I suppose my poor ol' overworked. "Everything was everything" I guess means that everything is just exactly as it is. NDM: When you say "Re-entering the drama of life on these new terms. the construct of the individual. impossibly real and existent. analytical need for description. fleshily." What do you mean exactly by "everything was everything" and that it did not exist. no interference. no projection. NDM: How long did this knife experience last for? Suzanne Foxton: It wasn't strictly "an experience". I suppose I mean that I saw that everything is appearance. that everything was everything. It happens now. which seemingly negotiates and navigates its way through the story of life. and the story of life. by the way. The less concepts. . and yet fruitily. but not taken as the be-all and end-all anymore. was to be rebuffed by anyone I tried to explain it to. Perhaps there was something different about how I was apparently seeing it. very simply. there seems to be no one "here" to receive "an experience". overvalued mind would describe ego as the personality. not taken so seriously. without having to think about it. There is nothing whatsoever. for my ego. existing in no time and no space. It seemed to be a knife with no filters. The poetic expression of it conveys the quality of reality more accurately than the mind's specific. or figure it out. so poetic language seems to come up to try to do it. NDM: When you saw that "It's so obvious. but it actually didn't exist. that everything was illusory. the "better". And it seems the ego is here.

and is as much an important part of life as anything else. or was that a broad generalization. NDM: Where does morality. In the unfolding story. what about the unhealthy ego of someone who is injuring others. also more irrational sociopathology. everything is.. a distinction of these levels or do you not recognize or acknowledge these levels? Suzanne Foxton: I'm not sure what you mean. However. if I hadn't been taking my story to be all that I am. by the way. yet if every apparent individual were consistently compassionate without exception. it is unlikely I would have been suicidal. certainly seem to exist. Contemplating suicide. Do you mean your own ego in particular. There is nothing wrong with anything. I was suicidal for years. Homicidal tendencies and acts exist. the stuff that doesn't make it into the news as much. Absolutely. or ego as a useful labelling concept. wrong with this ego". there is no one suffering. There is what is. or itself.NDM: When you say that "there is nothing whatsoever. a liar and so on? Suzanne Foxton: There is nothing wrong with anyone's ego. Unhealthy egos.gag. philanthropy. of course. If so. a thief. perhaps suicide wouldn't even come into the question? NDM: Do you mean this strictly from the absolute non dual level. and. remembered now. 12 or so attempts. or the relative dualistic level? Do you see a difference. two of them nearly successful. NDM: Is someone with a (ego) "story" like this also not to be taken seriously? Suzanne Foxton: If a suicidal ego wasn't taking the life story so seriously.. including everyone else's egos as well. altruism. (right and wrong) play into this equation? Suzanne Foxton: There is no right or wrong. barf! How dull would . people who are big fat meanies. and other good stuff like that. Including many differing ideas about what is right and what is wrong. Relatively. or those labelled as such. Or as in the extreme case of a murderer. I suppose these are balanced by creative joy and loving nurturing kindness. as well as suicidal ones. but suffering certainly happens. compassion often seems preferable.

tearing. .. Just the gift. understand it. Lots of anger. then which self are you? Are you saying there are two selves. or you are still this ego.THAT be? AND there'd probably be a loved-up population explosion. Based on your experience with communicating this message.. No knower. living in Iraq or Afghanistan for example. who had just had their family and children murdered. How do you believe this would be interpreted? Suzanne Foxton: Wow. We live in Utopia. the goal. the horrific and the beautific. home destroyed and so on. If it is still there. from the gift to the gift. We are the perfect. weaving. Just the knowing. or something other than it? Suzanne Foxton: I'm saying that there is only one thing.what I am. The mind will try to split it. growing. NDM: Can you please tell me what happened to this ego as a result of this realisation/awakening? Suzanne Foxton: Nothing happened to the ego. No giver. but also acceptance. It's amazing. perhaps) by itself than before. NDM: So if nothing happened to the ego. what kind of apparent healing can occur. or doing. paradoxically. creating NOW.or not. Knowing known by itself. It's incredible. if that's the preferred way of putting it on a Thursday morning. much as you describe. And through anecdotal evidence. what is. The ego still arises in awareness. I guess the point is that there seems to be at least a lot less of some sort of receiver of knowing. often. We are Utopia. categorise it into this compartment and that pigeon hole. I've had contact with people who have had problems on the level of Job. if peace is. A gift. what is bearable. looked upon with more affection and tolerance (compassion. NDM: If someone was not aware of these neo advaita teachings and were to read this. or seeing feeling touching hearing smelling. and ego.. it wildly varies. I suppose the ego is. those who respond to devastation with compassion are the ones who feel the most peace. outrage. indeed.. It can be judged. can be labelled "awareness". destroying. dualistic playground with every possibility shining. or being. All things unfold.

go for it. Just the kind of "notice your breath" stuff that gets into mainstream Western mental health circles.but I understand we have to use limited concepts and language. 'Oh no! I'm thinking about not thinking. meditate. every act. a prayer.' "After" whatever it is with the apparent knife "happened". how is the knowing possible? Who or what is this knowing known to? Suzanne Foxton: How the knowing is possible is something the mind is preoccupied with.. There is stillness present in the loudest cacophony.that's weird. I thought about the gap! Now I'm thinking about thinking about the gap. I didn't study and formal meditation. If it's good and blissful and still and calming and seems beneficial. unto itself. but I'm definitely making progress here so I'll just let the weirdness slide. I read no books about nonduality "before".my therapist.. something like that. Oh shit.. the mind... At the time I thought. It's unnecessary. It's all one thing. But I suppose for "me" that all apparent states seem meditative. whole. NDM. perfect. Also. seamless. I don't even attempt it. AND I have to pee. Jesus. Ah there's a gap. the feelings.. 'OK. It wants to figure it out.. If you want to meditate. the wall. just the knowing. I saw Tony Parsons and thankfully got some words that seemed to fit the seeming phenomenon of 'clear seeing'. however. Oh. or any traditional forms of spirituality before your awakening or read any books about this subject of non-duality or consciousness? Suzanne Foxton: It's not my awakening.' That's about how a meditation session goes for me. Sit down in an uncomfortable position and try not to think. He called it "metaphysical nonduality". NDM: Did you ever study meditation. and I'm not talking to any other apparent egos "out there". There is only One.toast in the morning. No. There is bliss within turmoil Every state is meditation. So if there is no knower or giver. I can't meditate to save my life. the giving is given to the gift. follows a spiritual teacher and he introduced the concept to me. The knowing is known by knowing. the gift. f*** it. Knowing is. kids needing a ride to the cricket match. the body. all seemingly arise in this awareness. .

guises. My mind didn't know how to handle that stuff. not really.or. The exact relationship between these elements . NDM: What words did Tony Parsons use that seemed to fit the phenomenon of 'clear seeing'? Suzanne Foxton: It was simply the phrase "this is it". I occasionally felt like I was seeing from just next to the right of my head and a little higher than my eyes. The identification I got with the description of "awakening" (or whatever) from Tony was just enough to reassure my fevered brain. habit formations. He's friends with this French guru-dude named Alain Forget. or investigating through self enquiry. My therapist would just say. who has a kind of non-traditional formula called the .For a while. 'Oh. more accurately. NDM: After your awakening. easy for you to say Mate. don't worry about it. even crazier. The habits. fascinating. these inclinations. I just let 'em rip. and that I had no edges. inclinations etc. urges to write blogs and so on? What is the exact relationship between these elements? Suzanne Foxton: I see everything as being me. The subconscious mind up to this point in time? Suzanne Foxton: None.oneness and the ego-bundle . predispositions. your shadow self. all that seems to have settled down. habit formations. My identity is unleashed. in apparently different. was he Self realized or was this some form of "neo advaita" therapist? Suzanne Foxton: Neither I think. Taking note of them with amusement seems to happen a lot. although there's no process in time. I thought I was going crazy . I'm coming out of the top of my head here! However. are just what seems to come up. urges. how much time did you spend contemplating. predispositions. NDM: Was this metaphysical non-duality therapist knowledgeable in traditional Vedanta. that I was coming out of my body through the top of my head.' I thought.is that they are the same thing. urges. NDM: Can you please tell me which one do you see as being you? Which one is your identity? Oneness or these inclinations.

it seems calm.that's not good. which is as laid-back as Christianity gets. and more or less along the lines of the Wiccan philosophy of "Do what you will and harm no one". Probably that I was having a therapeutic psychotic break! He likes my blog though. the non duality stuff is just his hobby.235th time in a row! NDM: What were your spiritual beliefs before this awakening took place? Suzanne Foxton: My spiritual beliefs were very vague. I'm not sure what he thought it was. UM minister: 'So you sinned? Well. clear. I was raised in the United Methodist church. except when my husband leaves the cap off the toothpaste for the 4. Brain not really fevered. don't sleep too much (not from any worries. for want of a better way to put it. NDM: Has this changed at all since your awakening or do you still practice this? Suzanne Foxton: Pretty much. dis-identification. and I forget the other two. somewhat agnostic. by the way. or very clear? Suzanne Foxton: The "fevered brain" was just a pretty turn of phrase. I've never been a Wiccan. do what you will". NDM: When you describe your brain as being fevered.4-D's: distanciation. NDM: When you said you were coming out of the top of your head. but oh well. When this occurred what did this metaphysical non duality therapist say this was? What do you think this was? Suzanne Foxton: My former therapist is an expert in trauma and addiction. just try not to do it again. NDM: Have you heard of the Sanskrit terms samskaras and vasanas that are created through karma? Past actions that leave deep psychic imprints? . but I've always liked that phrase. Also.. This is most of the time.' The UM philosophy is not so far off "and harm none.. active but nicely paced. How would you describe the energy of your brain today? Is it usually active or dull. he just told me not to worry about it. but because I seem enthusiastic to start the day).

apparently.. And THAT just sounds silly! And what was I free from. NDM: Do you have a choice. and more magnanimous thoughts. it's. why do you think you are doing this? Suzanne Foxton: I suppose the actions are similar. When these tendencies arise. exactly? Free from all the boxed-in ideas I had about what my life was. but not to the same extent. I can't communicate it no matter how many times and in how many different ways you ask. complicated and involved as you like! NDM: When you say "I'm still a procrastinator and a bit of a perfectionist. or a feeling or a concept. choice of words. yes. goal achieved. More importantly. much as the characters in a film often seem to make choices. The story can be just as interesting. contentment still elusive. everything borne of nothing.Suzanne Foxton: I have read these things. Truly. Free from everything I ever thought was important. NDM: When you said that "I was free. Whatever happens. do you still act out on them like before. behavior and so on? Suzanne Foxton: Perhaps. action. or is this something beyond your control? Suzanne Foxton: Apparently there is an unfolding story where I have a choice to change certain behaviours. more relaxed feelings. it is choiceless.. I don't poke it with a stick all the time.well. If so. but these don't seem to be character traits that are judged to be "bad" anymore. NDM: When these emotions arise. free from the story of my life being the be- .. Free from the treadmill of goal. it can't be communicated because it's not an idea.' What were you free of exactly and why do you say this cannot be communicated? Suzanne Foxton: Well. happens.. but the feelings and thoughts are quite different. Free from having to make things "better". do they have an impact on your decision making or your actions. to an extent that cannot be communicated.

. There it is. NDM: When you say "I began writing the blog to give vent to my urge to describe what had happened' Where did this urge come from. one of whom was deserted by her best friend of 20 years when presented with a similar concept. except in its intrinsic worth by virtue of mere existence. NDM: You mentioned in your conscious TV interview that you went to see Tony Parsons after your awakening. Free from the tyranny of the body and the mind and the emotions. view. which is nearly 100% negatively. habits. His words seemed to fit.or at least have some vague handle on what's going on..it would seem that blanket meaninglessness is not a popular idea. Limitless. comforting to my mind. and I'm venting it. I don't particularly care where it comes from. apparently. which still thinks it needs to figure everything out. conclusion you arrived at and if so can you please tell me what is the basis for this view? Suzanne Foxton: Well. either. It's my urge. NDM: When you say "No one wants to hear about how everything is utterly meaningless.. How do I know? I could be totally wrong.. it's just there.that was a broad and sweeping generalisation. It was. .. I finally had some words to describe what "had happened". more or less. based on the anecdotal evidence of how friends and family react when I present this concept. Was he helpful to you in understanding this and if so. except in its intrinsic worth by virtue of mere existence". Perhaps there are a heck of a lot of people who want to hear that everything is utterly meaningless. temperament. I was never anything at all. and buoyed by further accounts from a disciple or two at a Tony Parsons meeting. Who's urge was it and who was venting it? Suzanne Foxton: Ida know where the urge comes from. However. Is this your personal opinion. can you please explain how? Suzanne Foxton: I believe I answered this in a previous question. belief. NDM: Has your character. personality.all and end-all. Free from everything. because I was never anything that could be enslaved.. in the drama of life that seems to unfold but is taken with a wryly raised eyebrow "these days".

at the moment. inclinations changed since your awakening? Suzanne Foxton: It's not my awakening.they just can't believe it. NDM: What would you say is the difference with an awakening glimpse and liberation? Suzanne Foxton: Ida know. However. over the everything in fact. This is it. Being isn't going to be any more existent than it is.. even the misguided commentary.proclivities. but without bouts of depression or running away from what used to seem unbearable. This is enlightenment. and if it was a glimpse I'm still glimpsing.you can have it! Free for all.if my head ever managed to shut up for a minute. But I suppose I've apparently become less "lost"... And it is all fantastically. right down to the pile of dog poo I tell the kids to step around. although there is pain. whatever. and in fact. after all. I'm still a procrastinator and a bit of a perfectionist. it's all been one big glimpse. with interesting and perhaps misguided commentary laid on top... which. but these don't seem to be character traits that are judged to be "bad" anymore. and the very interesting job of tending to my family. the perfectionism seems to foster more carefully honed work. if my head is noisy. "reality"... Everything is enlightenment. Life is enlightenment. It implies something that can be obtained by some non-existent person in some non-existent future. I ignore it. NDM: What would you say is enlightenment? Suzanne Foxton: I'd say there's no such thing. is writing and work in Photoshop.even "before". It all seems much the same. It seemed to whack me over the head. It's all life. There doesn't need to be some knifish knife or years meditating or the careful stripping away of the ego. Now. there is very little suffering. it was much the same "before".. all those "negative" states and emotions seem to be relished (if not enjoyed) rather than resisted. on a tight deadline. phantasmagorically fascinating. It can do what it likes. The procrastination leads to adrenaline-fired creativity. Oneness isn't getting any "one-er". exactly as it is. there are Seven Factors . NDM: According to the Buddhist tradition. What people are perhaps looking for is their life.

of Enlightenment/nirvana. There are also 5 hindrances to enlightenment/nirvana /perfect wisdom. The seven factors are: 1. Mindfulness (sati) This is being mindful of every word, thought and action one takes. 2. Keen investigation of the dhamma (dhammavicaya) This is similar to atma vichara, self enquiry practiced in Vedanta. It is ongoing investigation of the Self , or awakened nature, Buddha nature and other. 3. Rapture or happiness (piti) 4. Calmness (passaddhi) 5. Concentration (samadhi) One pointed concentration in what ever you are doing. 6. Equanimity (upekkha) What are your thoughts on this? Suzanne Foxton: My thoughts are OMG, what a lot of work! Many of these qualities and actions, interestingly, seem to be unravelling "backwards" (after my thingy - call it awakening if you want! NDM: These are the five hindrances to enlightenment according to the Buddhist tradition. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. kamacchanda — sensual desires vyapada — ill-will thinamiddha — obduracy of mind and mental factors uddhaccakukkucca — restlessness and worry vicikiccha — doubt

What are your thoughts on these? Suzanne Foxton: Again, unraveling backwards, these "blocks" may well arise from "time" to "time"...but they are not taken seriously. Nor do they arise with any force. Any "defects of character" that seem to come up for the character, Suzanne, apparently making her way through Samsara, are

regarded (by who? Ida know) with affection, tolerance, amusement, compassion. The same with the same traits arising in the behaviour of apparent "others". It seems that rather than clinging to the world, the world is loved by the world; the world is love, manifest, and because it is expressed in duality, both sides of each coin are love, and loved. NDM: When you say already "here", do you mean like to "be in the now" as in the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. What do you mean by "here" exactly ? Suzanne Foxton: I mean that there is only now. You don't have to make some effort to "be in the now". You are in the now, whether you want to be or not. You are the now, whether you know it or not. This is it, whatever thoughts are arising. It is always now o'clock. This is wholeness, now. There is nothing that needs to be done, but most people don't believe that and would rather play. So play! That's fine too. It's all the same thing. NDM: If I came to you and asked for your help, after having tried everything else, psychotherapy, yoga, meditation and all the rest. What would you say to me? Suzanne Foxton: I'd say, give up! You're already here. NDM: What if I'm here like Angulimala, a vicious serial killer? A serial killer in the now? Every time I cut off someone's finger and wear it around my neck my watch says "now o clock." How is giving up, I'm already here going to get rid of my ignorance? www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Angulimala Suzanne Foxton: Well, I see what you're getting at. If a serial killer came to me for help, I'd probably say "you're already here" as I surreptitiously dialed emergency services. If the serial killer had tried psychotherapy, yoga, meditation, etc., I'd say he'd be likely to confound the cast of Criminal Minds. If it's illusory, it's illusory, all of it, including vicious serial killers named Angulimala. Oneness is oneness, including murder. It's the mind's confoundedness with these conundrums of morality that keep the mind locked in a cycle, unopened; yet an unopened mind is Oneness, too. All is one, and all is a perfect expression, even the horrible bits, and compassion arises for it all; it is all compassion. Now if my head was locked in a vice by Mr. Serial Killer, whether boundless compassion would arise is up for debate. But it's possible, though in pain, there would be no

suffering. As I said, devastation can be met with compassion as well as the more common negative judgement, resistance and revulsion. NDM: This is what I meant earlier by the relative and absolute levels of reality. Here is an article by a direct student of Nisargadatta Maharaj on this. www.enlightened-spirituality.org/neo-advaita.html What are your thoughts on this? Suzanne Foxton: Absolute reality, Brahman, as opposed to illusory dayto-day reality,Maya, seems as logical a way to conceptualise Oneness as any. The mind loves the categorisation of it, the sense of it, the comforting explanation of how illusory reality arises in awareness. If it's Oneness, it's oneness, beyond judgement, beyond right and wrong, beyond all concept. There is simply this, now, what arises, and the stillness it arises in. Being tricked or fooled by Maya is the devil in another guise; duality needs the bad to balance the good. What is, is. Maya is loved; maya is love, manifest. NDM. What about dharma, the natural harmonious laws of the universe Anything that deviates form this law is considered adharma, meaning immoral, unnatural, wrong, wicked or plain evil. Suzanne Foxton: Sure, there's dharma, and there's adharma. How else would it be? NDM: What are your thoughts on karma? Suzanne Foxton: There's many many ways the mind goes about splitting reality, retelling it, perpetuating the ego ad infinitum. It's what the ego/mind does. It doesn't want to perish. So there's karma, and a hundred thousand lifetimes to balance karma. What a great deal! NDM: Do you consider yourself a teacher of non duality, do you do satsangs or hold meetings on this subject to help others in some way? Suzanne Foxton: No, I definitely don't consider myself a teacher, I don't hold satsangs, although I get lots of queries about this. I did a thing at Never Not Here in Chicago last January, at Richard Miller's request, and it

in the character who ends up changing a great deal. Despite Appearances . indigenous or Native American non duality traditions and so on or do you see this more or less as dogma. but have little (nonexistent) time! I know a fair amount about Hinduism and Sufism. love in healing. full of sound and fury. meaningless. and a refusal to change. signifying nothing" NDM: When will this book be published? Suzanne Foxton: The book is coming out early 2011.. Buddhism. nonsensical stories? Suzanne Foxton: I'm interested. If it seems to help some nonexistent soul.. Judeo Christian mysticism. NDM: Do you have any interest in learning about the ancient wisdom traditions of non duality. I also did an interview with Urban Guru Cafe and www. Have you read any of the classics by Nisargadatta or Sri Ramana by the way? Suzanne Foxton: I'm afraid I just read a few blogs on the subject here and there. and I'm happy to do these things if asked..tv/nonduality. and stony skepticism about spirituality.html they contacted me after seeing my blog."a tale told by an idiot.that's why I love 'em. religious indoctrination. And all stories are meaningless and nonsensical. a mental breakdown that turns out to be "a good thing". Published by Julian Noyce of Nonduality Press. Sufism. that turn out to not change that character at all. and healing that turns out not to be necessary. NDM: Can you please tell me about your book "The Ultimate Twist". Taoism.conscious. Vedanta. It's also about life-changing revelations on a trip to Pakistan.was quite the merry ride keeping the thing going for THREE AND A HALF HOURS. Gnosticism. What is this book about exactly? Suzanne Foxton: The Ultimate Twist is about a love triangle that isn't really a triangle at all.. as I studied them at university. Visit Suzanne Foxton's blog Nothing Exists. why not? NDM: As far as teachers go.

The second stage roughly represents self realization/awakening. as well as how is this manifested. It is many thousands of years old. How this New Vedanta introduced the idea of four paths or yogas: action. according to Vedanta and the ancient teachings? Who was the first person to use this symbol? Ram: It is a Sanskrit word that comes from the word ‗muc‘ which means to release from bondage. pornography. to set free. It is the hard and fast knowledge ―I am limitless non-dual ordinary actionless awareness…assuming that it renders all vasanas non-binding and cancels the sense of doership. Chapter 2 of my book deals with this topic in depth. Most modern teachers are simply awakened. Do you think the reason why the yogic path seemed to take off more than the knowledge path because westerners are hardwired differently and have been conditioned to be fundamentally more corrupted and pleasure seekers. How the traditional Vedanta only focused on action and knowledge. It is impossible to tell who used it first. NDM: What do you see as the distinction between Bodhi/awakening and moska/liberation? Ram: Awakening is an experience that happens to the mind.‘ The word enlightenment is not actually technically suitable because of its experiential connotations. one that gives the individual some kind of understanding that there is something beyond the visible. television. Essentially programmed from birth and were using yoga . the root meaning of this Sanskrit word. knowledge and meditation.e. Enlightenment is moksa. you go into the history of how Vedanta was brought to this country and somehow became distorted. It is not enlightened. including awakening. The self is ‗the light.JAMES SWARTZ PART 1 NDM: Can you please also tell me what exactly is "moksha". 'How to Attain Enlightenment". It is not enlightenment although it is often thought of as enlightenment. There is a sub-heading in the chapter called Stages of Enlightenment. a ‗me‘ and the ‗self‘ which appears as an object. devotion. called ‗enlightenment. experienced the self. NDM: In your book. and the notion that the self is limited. sybarites. There is still the sense of duality. through hardcore advertising. freedom from experience.‘ It never slept. which is not a stage. where there is still an individual who has ‗realized‘ i. Rock and Roll and so on. It differs from the third stage. Hollywood.

etc. as opposed to how it was used in India and in the Yoga scriptures of Patanjali? James: Yes and no. The word ‗veda‘ means knowledge and self knowledge is still respected in India today. an petty awakening experience. by transmission. But it is only a matter of degree. People are experience oriented and their suffering makes them unimaginative. This is why they are eager to call an epiphany. enlightenment. or laying hands on someone's head or other parts of their body? James: Shakti sadhanas are useful up to a certain point in that they . by yoga. No. like alcohol or LSD to get high.experientially. so that they cannot connect the suffering with self ignorance. They just want quick relief and are susceptible to the idea that there is some kind of permanent blissful experience that they can gain by Grace. What are your thoughts on Deeksha and Shakipat and the "Oneness school" An Indian school that teaches westerners to give Deeksha? Or a blessing in the form of a mantra. in the sense that the yogic view of enlightenment is the dominant view in India as well and has been the dominant view for thousands of years. But yes. Indian‘s crave experience like everyone but the society is duty oriented and based on the Vedic model which is knowledge centered. NDM: . in the sense that materialistic cultures like ours place very little value on self knowledge although they value relative knowledge highly because it is instrumental in gaining worldly things.

Deeksha.generate epiphanies. ―Energy as Enlightenment‖ in the Enlightenment Myths section that will help with this. awakenings. Epiphanies can be helpful spiritually or they can be a serious hindrance if they cause you to formulate enlightenment as a kind of permanent feel good shakti experience. There is a subheading called. which is similar . I debunk the shakti as enlightenment myth toward the end of Chapter 2. Shakti is not liberation because shakti is fickle. Shakti is just a particular subtle kind of experiential energy. It comes and goes and has many forms.

Kalki‘s son broke with him over money and power and took many of the dasas with him.to Reiki. But you will be happy to know that Kalki and his wife are set for life. It is a . is a big con game cooked up by a greedy ambitious fellow. Tony Robbins. Fortunately the bloom is off the rose and Deeksha is suffering the bad karma that inevitably flows when the idea behind it is incorrect. They have predictably taken up with a big money person. Kalki ‗Avatar‘ and his equally greedy wife to sucker gullible do-gooders out of their money. who has mined and monetized the lowest levels of spirituality with great success for years.

even though you are poorer. You get high from it and then. like any drug. you may be a bit wiser. you come back to reality only to discover that the brain rewiring was faulty and you are caught up in your old world view once more. Hopefully. kundallini or any other kind of energy? . It is hardly worth discussing. orgone. NDM: Do you believe it‟s possible to transmit permanent enlightenment. I satirize it at the very end of the book in the Chapter on Neo-Advaita. It will die because shakti is fickle.fad that has lost most of its appeal in America and has had to move to other countries to stay alive. qi. prana. chi. through shatki.

experience will remove this ignorance.James: Definitely not. The idea that enlightenment is an experiential something that it can be transferred to another person is a fantasy that appeals to lazy people who do not want to do sadhana. Non-dual experience. If the self thinks it is an individual and bound. Only the application of self knowledge will. if interpreted correctly. the experience. Shakti will not change the orientation of one‘s thinking patterns. has worn off ignorance almost invariably reasserts itself and the self goes back to thinking that it is incomplete and bound. There is only one self and it is already free. once the shakti. The best shaktipat can do is to give you a glimpse of your true nature. He himself cynically said they were not qualified for . NDM:. And even then. highly mature individual like Ramana. may give rise to this knowledge but it will only cancel the belief that one is bound in a very subtle. no energy i. Can you please describe the difference between the self enquiry that Sri Ramana taught and the self enquiry that Papaji and his followers/disciples teach in the west today? James: Papaji‘s very unrefined notion was to simply ‗be quiet‘ and wait for something to happen. His idea suited the level of seekers that came to him.e.

It saddens me to see the terrible exploitation that goes on in the Western spiritual scene. It worked. away.moksa and he gave them shaktipat as an indulgent parent gives children ‗lollipops‘…to use his own words. Sri Ramana or Adi Shankara or any of these sages ever charged for instruction or satsang? James: There is no history. I charged once in Tiruvannamalai only to keep the gawkers. Wealthy donors who value spiritual culture support the teachers. a profession. It is an aggressive moment to moment inquiry into the nature of the self. I would like to ask you about this new school of advaita. but now I use other methods to get rid of them without denying access to the teachings to sincere seekers. NDM: What is the history and Vedanta tradition of charging for satsang or guru instruction? For example do you know if Dattatreya. One English teacher by the name of Tony . window shoppers. Often referred to as neo-advaita. NDM: . Ramana‘s view was that self inquiry was only for highly qualified mature purified individuals. It presupposes self knowledge and asks the inquirer to apply the knowledge ―I am the self‖ when the inquiry has revealed a limited dualistic orientation. A true teacher does not see what he does as a career. My guru took care of my room and board for two years and never asked a dime. Vedanta‘s conception of self inquiry is akin to Ramana‘s but is much broader. and lifestylers.

would have responded to this. That communication can sometimes seem to be “non-dual” when the teacher describes the nature of oneness. but it contradicts itself by recommending a process which can help the seeker attain that oneness through self-enquiry. It is a superficial ill-considered counterintuitive belief system that seems to be reasonable on the surface. Traditional Vedanta .Parsons says "Any communication that supports and encourages the seeker‟s belief or idea that it can find something it feels it has lost is only reinforcing and perpetuating a dualistic illusion. but does not hold up when you actually think about it. I do not think highly of it. How to Attain Enlightenment. It amounts to little more than the denial that you exist as a human being and offers no methodology for preparing the mind for enlightenment. etc" How do you believe that someone like Adi Shankara the Indian philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. The Vison of NonDuality. much less serious experience based teachings that patiently and effectively remove self ignorance. Shankara would have had a good condescending laugh.. He spouts a plethora of vague advaitic ideas that have gained a certain degree of traction because Westerners are very spiritually unsophisticated and want a quick easy enlightenment. There can arise a wish to help or teach other people to have a similar experience.. meditation or purification.. according to his teachings? James: I have a whole chapter on NeoAdvaita in my book..... Tony Parsons exemplifies the worst of the Neo-Advaita teachers.

It is not a school of thought or a philosophy. It is actually incorrect to see Shankara as a philosopher. He has virtually no knowledge of Yoga and Vedanta apart from the recycled conventional wisdom that has been circulating since Papaji‘s minions infected the spiritual world with their advaita-lite version of non-duality. If this is a non-dual reality. Even if you could ‗make a difference‘ and change the world. NDM:. however. Do you believe that God is evolving? . In terms of the apparent reality. Rare individuals committed to truth do tend to grow spiritually. getting rid of something unhelpful. rather than getting better. Do-gooders and world ‗saviors‘ are held in high esteem by gullible well meaning people. Evolve to where? There is no evidence that life is not as evolved or un-evolved as it always was.completely disagrees with Tony‘s statement. He is one of the most illinformed of the Neo-Avaita types. The initial appeal of Deeksha was largely based on the absurd notion that the planet is devolving and that enlightenment could save it when 2012 comes! It is a notion that appeals to worried people who would greatly benefit the world if they quit thinking about the human race…which after all is just a concept…and cleaned up their own problems. the Vedanta tradition that stretches back to the Upanishads. it will still be a fool‘s paradise because the absence of suffering is only the negative half of moksa. but it is not helpful to think of it in terms of evolution as much as purification. How does suffering help? Suffering usually makes you dull at first but if you suffer enough and hit bottom. it is basically a religious belief that ambitious spiritual types like Andrew Cohen tend to promote and exploit to gain fame. which has the danger of feeding a self righteous ego‘s sense of vanity. In the spiritual world it is a long standing belief. made popular by Aurobindo in the last century. there is no evolution. NDM: What are your thoughts on "evolutionary enlightenment"? James: In so far as there is only one self and it never changes. it can wake you up. then everything here is the self and as such it serves the self. And Vedanta is a only a means of Self Knowledge. This happened to me. I am very grateful for my suffering. Chapter 3 of my book clearly explains Vedanta as a means of knowledge…a pramana…and debunks this myth. He was just a link in the sampradaya.

The one who has the ignorance is almost never objective enough about his or her self to see where he or she is caught up in beliefs and opinions about the nature of reality. But there is no evidence that the human race is getting any better. I did this with . no matter how ‗conscious‘ we think we are. in very rare cases. Ideas do not evolve. manipulative and so on? James: No. There is no evidence that it is getting any worse either. NDM: In your book you say that "Ramana Maharshi gained enlightenment without a teaching and a teacher. it is definitely not evolving. Ignorance is hardwired and universal. possible to realize the self without help. We unconsciously interpret what we experience in terms of their ignorance. If enlightenment was up to an individual‘s will anyone who wanted to become enlightened would become enlightened. competitive. is not a person. perhaps less. or stuck somewhere? James: Because the self is beyond perception and inference and can only be realized by the removal of ignorance. He or She is already perfect. less narcissistic. Only collective systematic proven knowledge that comes from an objective source can help. The light and the dark forces that make up the apparent reality…duality…are always more or less in balance. It does not feel that way at all. And we are so conditioned to take our feelings to be knowledge that we need to be shown how we are actually whole and complete. Aside from the fact that it is.James: In terms of the limited scientific view. The human ego is just a notion of incompleteness. In my case I exposed my mind to Vedanta for a long period and was eventually freed of all the things that limited me. Consciousness is non-dual. the odds are about the same as winning the lottery. greedy. However. Where will evolve to? NDM: Or that the human ego is evolving in some way? Becoming less violent." What are the reasons that you believe that it is almost impossible to become enlightened without a teacher? Or the reasons why someone without a teacher is bound to become self deluded. But God. Presumably. less deceitful. So if ‗God‘ means consciousness. certain rare individuals do consciously change in line with certain ideals. It formulates itself in many subtle ways. pleasure seeking. it seems nature…which is one aspect of God…is evolving but even this view presupposes that there is some ultimate purpose to life. separation and inadequacy. It is completely counterintuitive that you are whole and complete. So you need help. war mongering. If there is any purpose it is to get rid of suffering because that is what people are attempting to do all the time. And there is no evidence that there is such a purpose. whatever that means.

And you will leave it alone when you know who you are. Enlightenment cancels the notion that you are an ego. vassanas and vrittis and how do these hinder one from becoming enlightened? James: It is very important because they extrovert the mind and keep it from meditating and inquiring into the nature of the self. An extremely highly developed and sophisticated egos way to escaping responsibly for ones actions. so you will not do anything to make the ego healthy or unhealthy. I had had much experience of Samadhi and every conceivable major epiphany and I am not a stupid person but I could not crack the code without help. NDM: What is the importance of being aware of samskaras. It dismisses action and the doer and sadhana as ‗duality. Or a form of nihilism. NDM: Do you see Neo-Advaita as a form of a depersonalization. You will love it warts and all. it is definitely incompatible with enlightenment. action…karma…is indispensable for gaining enlightenment if it is used to prepare the mind for enlightenment. . I am eternally grateful to God for giving us this tradition. NDM: Do you believe that it‟s possible to be liberated and still maintain a healthy ego with desires. Self knowledge is the direct means. The mind needs to be qualified (See Chapter3) for enlightenment.‘ Being ‗ripe‘ is an indirect means of enlightenment. However. a 'dissociative disorder' a psychotic break of some kind. If it is sick it will become healthy if you leave it alone and stay with the self. whether it is healthy or not. due to past actions? James: It depends on what you mean by karma. In fact you do actions to gain enlightenment because you are ignorant of the simple fact that you are already free.the help of my teacher and scripture. Enlightenment is not causal. aspirations. And in the presence of your love it will become healthy. NDM: How does karma play into this enlightenment equation? Do you believe that enlightenment is causal. thoughts and deeds. de realization disorder. You just see your ego for what it is. No action can give you something that you already have. or the result of someone being ripe. attachments and aversions? In essence to maintain a personal and a separate sense of self? To be Brahman. You need not tamper with it. as well who you always were? James: A healthy ego and enlightenment are nearly synonyms. This is where Neo-Advaita is completely ignorant. if someone is ‗maintaining‘ an ego. However. or intellectual solipsism.

the tradition. works in very subtle ways to maintain its purity. NDM: Many people believe that being enlightened is a license to teach about enlightenment. for one to become a teacher of this. criteria. It will give the idea that Vedanta is elitist. Ordinarily. In the tradition of Vedanta. It is true that the spiritual world attracts a lot of psychologically wounded people who really belong on the psychiatrist‘s couch but this has always been the case. people are just lazy and denial works well with them. It is actually a pretty harmless phenomena. than a serious spiritual path. lying happens. because there is 'no doer". The sampradaya. It is very rare to find an ambitious Vedanta teacher because most of them are really enlightened. If you just break in off the street loaded with desires and are not mindful of dharma and seeking for the wrong reason. cheating. It isn‘t. They say what causes suffering or guilt is the illusion a separate person is lying. James: This kind of doctrine is ridiculous. I do not want to talk about it in detail.James: No. the complaint is that Vedanta is ‗only intellectual. murdering and so on. meaning that they do not care if they teach or not and are not interested in fame or fortune. It is more about the sanga. It is a two way street owing to the nature of the means of knowledge. yes. First of all. that everything is acausal. So you will wander off. As if to say that oneness or God is doing it and that once you know its God doing it. This is because you only get access to the tradition if you are qualified. satgurus that would make these determinations? James: In a way.‘ You will want some kind of emotional connection. there is no suffering nor guilt and therefore nothing wrong with it. Such as murder happens. It will not make sense to you. some kind of ‗heart‘ connection and you will not be subtle enough to get what is actually going on. Most of them are only there because others are there and they don‘t want to miss out on ‗the energy‘. you will not last long enough to be accepted by a teacher. It allows them to continue being the fools they are and imagine that it is somehow hip and cool to pretend that they do not exist. cheating or stealing happens and it‟s not happening to a separate person. tests that one had to overcome to prove without a shadow of a doubt one was enlightened and qualified to be a teacher? Such as a peer group of teachers. so it really doesn't matter because things just happen. were there certain guidelines. And also you have to be admitted by the teacher and in Vedanta. from awareness‘ . NDM: Some of these neo advaita teachers say things like there is no karma. You cannot just decide that a certain teacher is your guru. If you are not meant to be there you will be out the door very quickly. the company of like minded people.

e.e. Doing and non-doing are just concepts that are meant to reveal the nature of That because of which doing and non-doing exist i. and we call it God or Maya or Iswara with reference to the whole creation. when I got over my headache. this whole issue as I just mentioned needs a lot more discussion that we can give it here. they can be helpful or harmful depending on your understanding. the creator. If it could not apparently act it would not be limitless. Doership may be a problem. James: Aurobindo and epiphanies. in which case. In any case. But the doer. awareness. Awareness is beyond God. Yes. As I mentioned already. We call ignorance avidya when it applies to the doer. I concluded that his view about them is more or less correct. the one who believes these ideas. There is no choice about action. I take it up in detail in my book. and the doer is awareness under the spell of ignorance. But the self is limitless and can apparently act. is not God. the doer. Continued to part 2 For more info visit about James Swartz visit www. But he certainly makes a big deal out of something that is relatively simple. in which doing appears to happen is not non-existent. This whole topic needs careful analysis. but conscious action apparently happens too. Knowing God as the doer does not remove your suffering unless you are God. God is the source of the ideas of doership and non-doership. So it is the doer who believes that things happen.shiningworld.point of view. although it is not real either. The whole idea is silly because there is nothing wrong with the doer. NDM: What are your thoughts on Aurobindos "Intermediate Zone" letter to his students about the pitfalls and dangers of seeking enlightenment. you are not the doer. As a human being you are definitely a doer but you can do without a sense of doership. the individual. Things do just apparently happen.com JAMES SWARTZ PART TWO . So if you say these things happen they only mean something to awareness under the spell of ignorance. And the apparent reality. nothing ever happened. you can see that you are the self. i. Becoming delusional and so on. I suffered through the pretentious Aurobindo torture on epiphanies and.

Once I realized that I was the Self…it is not actually correct to say that I realized the self…the purification took place automatically as a result of the knowledge. how much of a vasana load did you have at that time and how much were you able to shake off and how long did this take after your realization of the self? James: My vasana load was quite light. so it would not be completely accurate to say that ―I‖ was shaking off anything. The tendencies were there but they were non-binding. ―There is no purifier like (self) knowledge. There is nothing to be gained by being vasana free.NDM: When you met your guru Swami Chinmayananda. NDM: When you say "there is nothing . The Bhagavad Gita says. That is why I was able to assimilate the teachings. I worked out my worldly desires…sex.‖ In so far as there was a functional ego there…a James…I directed him to make certain choices that resulted in the further attenuation of the remaining non-binding vasanas…as a kind of hobby. money and power…by my late Twenties. If the knowledge ―I am awareness‖ is firm it does the work.

to be gained by being vasana free", what do you think Sri Ramana meant when he said "owing to the fluctuation of the vasana s, realization takes time to steady itself. Spasmodic realization is not enough to prevent rebirth, but it cannot become permanent as long as there are vasana s there." James: This statement of Ramana‘s needs a little bit of analysis. Not all vasana s destabilize the mind. In fact there are many…self inquiry, devotion, meditation, etc. that compose the mind and enhance self inquiry and are considered means of self realization. The vasana s that causes violent fluctuations in the mind or that make it cloudy and dull are the vasana s he is talking about, I believe: greed, anger, lust, attachment, hatred, etc. On this score he is definitely correct. The reason you want a composed mind is so that you can assimilate the knowledge that is equivalent to vasanas. You have to remember that Ramana was not a teacher. He was an enlightened person of the highest character but he spoke one on one to people with specific questions. He did not carefully unfold the complete teachings of yoga or Vedanta in a systematic way in order to resolve both apparent and real contradictions. The idea that vasana exhaustion is equivalent to enlightenment, which I assume he means by ‗prevent rebirth,‘ is called the vasana kshaya theory of enlightenment. It is best known through Pantanjali‘s Yoga sutras in which he says ‗yoga chitta vritti nirodha.’ ‗Yoga is the removal of the waves in the mind,‘ not to put too fine a point on it. Patanjali and traditional Vedanta would both agree that only the binding vasanas need to be elimintated for vasanas. A binding vasana is one that you are compelled to act out. Why do you act it out? Because you identify with it. You identify with it because you think it will complete you, make you feel happy. Why do you identify with it? Because you are ignorant of your true nature, which happens to

be whole and complete and in need of nothing, but which unfortunately which is unappreciated by you. To make it simple, the idea is that you have to get rid of some of your psychological baggage if you want to be enlightened. The vasana s themselves have no power. They are just ideas in awareness. But they become powerful tendencies because of a person‘s self ignorance. Therefore it is the identification with the vasana that needs to be removed, not the vasana itself. The identification needs to be removed because you should identify with the self if you want to be free. Confident identification of oneself as the self neutralizes the vasanas. So, speaking from the self‘s point of view the vasanas are not a problem. They are only a problem from the point of view of an individual who wants to realize the self and then only the binding ones need to be dealt with. In that statement I was speaking from the platform of the self.

NDM: Do you believe it‟s possible for someone to drop their entire vasana load immediately and all their life times of samskaras, karmic debt, conditioning and so on with realizing the self. Or is shaking off and unwinding these vasanas, samskaras usually a gradual process that takes time, work and additional self-enquiry after one has realized the self?

James: The complete dropping of the vasana load at one time is a Neo-Advaitic fantasy. There is no reason for vasanas to be a problem when you know that you are awareness. You can easily live with them. The presence or absence of vasanas is not enlightenment because the karmic mind/ego entity is not opposed to awareness. It is merely an appearance in awareness. Those making this claim are fame seekers who equate enlightenment with purity. It is just big talk.

Additionally, nothing like this happens in nature. Everything in nature is a gradual process, some call it evolution.

NDM: What was it that qualified you to receive Swami

Chinmayanandas Vedanta teachings?

James: The hard and fast realization that there was not one thing in samsara that could make me happy. I would have preferred to die to living another day chasing the things I chased with such a passion before. There are so many seekers and so few finders because most seekers still have hope that samsara will work for them one day. I was one hundred percent convinced that the world was empty.

NDM: What are the odds that a typical westerner would be qualified, have the right disposition, temperament, intelligence and the other factors to study Vedanta with a satguru?

James: About the same as winning the lottery. It is particularly difficult for Westerners because the culture presents no alternative to samsara. It is in love with samsara. It tells everyone that they are inadequate incomplete consumers and it offers enticing sexy solutions. It is unlikely in India too, but there is visible culture there that will respond to the deeper needs of the soul.

NDM: Do you believe it‟s a result of one‟s karma, action in prior lives that someone would even begin seeking, or come across a satguru?

James: Yes, Although everything prior to right now is a ‗past life.‘ No one knows the answer to this. It is best to think of it as the self throwing off the shackles of ignorance. NDM: If someone would like to study Vedanta with a guru. How does one go about finding a

So the best thing is to do your very best spiritually according to your own understanding.legitimate qualified traditional Vedanta teacher outside of the contaminated modern day satsang market without traveling to India like you did? James: It is not really advisable to seek a guru. The reason the NeoAdvaita scene is so dangerous is because it has only a (half-baked) understanding of the teachings of non-duality and. I know several. It will happen. If you are ready. live as pure a life and possible and ask God…however you see it…for freedom. Seeking has become just another lifestyle these days. there are Western people who are realized and who are good teachers. more important. but they have the good sense to keep their heads down and work quietly out of the limelight. NDM: What is the difference . Please don‘t ask me their names. the guru will appear. It denies samsara altogether so it does not deal with karma and dharma and all the other essential knowledge and practice that prepares one for the dialogue with a proper mahatma. Having said that. it does not matter where you are. no road map out of samsara.

He gives five or six sentences. if he wants to debate it is fine with me but I have no idea what he is saying‖ so the person gave me a copy of his book Breath of the Absolute. . I said ―OK.‘ You cannot make it to the feet of a proper Vedanta teacher unless you are qualified. Presumably Ramana‘s famous enlightened cow‘s offspring could wander into one of Mooji‘s Tiruvannamalai satangs… which takes place in an area where cows wander freely…and ‗get it. I was recently given a copy of a book by Mooji who as you probably know is one of the big luminaries in the Neo-Advaitic world. One of his followers wanted me to debate him. ―Here you are not being told that you must be fit for this journey.‖ He may be the Avatar of Avatars but this is just nonsense. Mind you I am not saying that I think Mooji is enlightened or not.all the usual no this and no that…and then he says.with going to a satsang and getting Vedanta instruction with a guru? James: The way the satsang scene has evolved here is a joke.. On the very first page he goes into the theory of Advaita quite correctly. The sampradaya keeps those that are unqualified out..

Anyway. Her life was so difficult and enlightenment was so hard and…boo hoo. enlightened or not. as long as they follow dharma.‘ She was an emotional wreck and broke into tears within minutes.. I switched channels quickly before I was overcome with nausea but I suppose what happened next…as it does in these Neo-Advaita satsang s…the guru dishes up some terribly clever vague ‗advaitic‘ psychobabble and the grateful recipient wanders off ‗fully‘ enlightened. She took her hand and lovingly stroked her hair and said. I do have an ax to grind with NeoAdvaita but I have no problem with any person doing what they are inspired to do. .was so ‗supportive. there you poor dear‘ or some sort of equally sappy nonsense.I know that some will say that I have an ax to grind and it is probably churlish to say this but one day I was channel surfing and I came across Gangaji in satsang on a public access channel.. ‗There.‘ so kind and compassionate…like enlightened people are supposed to be.it was all so tawdry like the ‗reality‘ shows on TV. this woman came up to sit in the ‗hot seat. And Gangaji…of course….

Neo-Advaita is more or less in the same category as religion because without a valid means of self knowledge you can only believe that everything is non-separate from you. All the apparent contradictions have been handled. meaning it has very little food value. Vedanta is the complete tool kit. You need many tools to attack it. And what I discover is that these people are completely confused by what they have heard. I never met any of these teachers but sooner or later some of them show up at my doorstep and I hear the list of names…it is always the same. nobody is going to invent a new Vedanta. It works and it will continue to work forever. because the satsang here is white bread. persistent and very pervasive. It crystallized into its perfect form in the Eighth Century. There is only one teaching and it is very refined and sophisticated. But Vedanta has not changed since the beginning.Secondly. . not denied. Just as nobody is going to invent a new wheel. So and so said this and so and so said that etc. Ignorance is hard wired. Finally. people wander from one guru to another.

But ‗fully enlightened‘ delusional people generally do not show up. And it is such a skillful means of self knowledge that it takes away the doubt quite nicely without giving you a complex in the process. do you feel it is your responsibly to speak out against misleading neo advaita teachers? Why not just keep quiet. I am not motivated by responsibility. works very nicely to keep unqualified people out. He left. you make matters worse. I told him I did not argue and when he got aggressive I asked him to please leave. Then he wanted to argue with me. When you approach people with the understanding that they are unenlightened.‘ The thing about Vedanta is that the sampradaya. You are forced to tell them that there is something wrong with them and that they should do something to get what they already have…like quit thinking and let go of their suffering and surrender their ego and what not. It is not my identity. I am motivated by desire. It is a hat I put on when I am asked a question. It is not helpful. because I said ‗please. I later asked him why he left and he said. NDM: As a teacher. As soon as the answer is finished the hat comes off. How you deal with someone who is delusional and sincerely believes that they are "fully enlightened" according to neo-advaita standards? James: Those who are attracted to Neo-Advaita only come to traditional Vedanta because Neo-Advaita has not worked for them. I WANT to show the weakness . The interesting thing about Vedanta is that it assumes that everyone who is there is enlightened.NDM: So when these neo advatins show up at your doorstep confused by these satsang teachers. turn the other way and allow these people to take their money and waste their time. He bided his time and then decided to show his enlightenment to the group. Teaching is more or less like a hobby. It is not a career. I almost never have to deal with it. It assumes that you already know who you are but just lack a bit of clarity. I do not feel it is my responsibility. to find out the hard way? James: First of all I do not think of myself as a teacher. Everyone was completely turned off. I have only had one in the last three or four years. It speaks to them as the self. the tradition.

I am quite happy to be criticized. I accept it and if there isn‘t. I have respect for everyone as the self.of the Neo-Advaita teachings…but I think this is what you mean. I have no teachings. I don‘t. So I am not upset on my behalf. good or bad. these are not ‗my‘ teachings. And although it sometimes may not seem so. If there is. Anyone squawking away in public like myself should be ready to take the heat. deluded and ambitious people corrupt the teachings. I‘m a very happy person with a great life quite apart from Vedanta. Mind you.‖ for example. Unfortunately certain names are associated in the public‘s mind with certain teachings…Ramesh Balsekar with the idea ―You are not the doer. It does not enhance or diminish me in the slightest. I have the highest regard for Vedanta and I hate to see how uniformed. I listen to what is said and see if there is truth in it. so Ramesh may have his feelings hurt…well. And as . he won‘t now because he is dead…when someone criticizes his words…if he is attached to them. Let people say what they think.

far as Vedanta goes. I teach Vedanta which is a very positive and complete teaching. Mind you. First. everyone is enlightened. I feel justified in having a go at Neo-Advaita. teaching is something you elect to do. Everyone is the self. You are not special because you say you are enlightened. you cannot actually attack it unless you are ill informed. It has endured for thousands of years. It is an unruly Hodge podge of ideas that gained a certain currency in the last fifteen years and is now losing steam as a spiritual force because it is basically a Western fad. You definitely have an agenda. When you have been taught Vedanta you can see very clearly which teachings and teachers are unskillful and harmful. In the fullness of time Neo-Advaita will not even rate a minor footnote in spiritual history because it has no proven methodology. Secondly. The way I see it. not because they subjected themselves to the tradition and heard it from the inside…in which case they would be qualified to attack it. The Neos don‘t really attack it because most of them have no idea what it is. I do this in two ways. One of my agendas is to help sincere people understand the limitations of teachings that are not in harmony with tradition. You are not special because you are a teacher. or if they do it is only because they read a few books. not for myself…I could care less…but because I get many emails every day from people around the world who have been through the Neo-Advaita scene and want .

but because it is an unskillful uninspiring teaching. I reveal the many proven teachings like Karma Yoga. Saying that samsara does not exist is not a road map. it is unfortunate that certain names are associated with certain teachings…the Buddha with emptiness. NDM: How would you answer the charge that you speaking out about other teachers is shadow projection. or playing game of one upmanship or a negative competitiveness vasana playing itself out? . Fame is a big drag. Since I have started criticizing Neo-Advaita the interest in the way I present traditional Vedanta has increased ten-fold. discrimination. What‘s wrong with it? It can‘t be helped. among other things. It a nasty job but someone has to do it. I give solid reasons based on scripture and the seeker‘s own experience why Neo-Advaita comes up short as a means of enlightenment. if that is what they are. Second. The Vedantins and the Buddhists have been going at it for two thousand years. are not aimed at the person. Why is it uninspiring? Because it denies the existence of the seeker. it does not work. you are simply frustrating me. not because there is anything sinister about it. Everyone fights with everyone else. in spite of its sometimes seemingly reasonable ideas. the three gunas and many others that do work. It is not mindless criticism.to know exactly why. For every complaint I get…and there are not many…I get twenty ‗thank yous‘ for saying that the Emperor has no clothing. They are aimed at the teaching. You can tell me until you are blue in the face that I do not exist but unless you can prove it to me and give me a way to discover what that means by myself. I did it because I could see the harm that these half-baked teachings do. I explain the limitations of Neo-Advaita. but I do not leave you there. The idea is to stimulate people to think and provide them with a road map out of samsara. The last point I have to make is that my attacks. Mind you I didn‘t do it for fame. for example…and unsophisticated people think that the attack is on the person. As I said. I don‘t do it because I am an angry self righteous do-gooder out to defend the faith and get the people to come to the church of Vedanta. If you read my book you will see that ninety five percent of it is traditional Vedanta with no mention of NeoAdvaita. I give all the reasons why Neo-Advaita does not work. There is one short chapter in which I take on Neo-Advaita. Some ideas work and some don‘t.

I live a righteous life. shall we say. Mind you there is nothing wrong with peace and harmony. 'flaws' in her personality. I am part of an ancient lineage. I invite any Neo-Advaita teacher to do dharma combat on the topic of moksa and how to attain it…specifically the way to attain it…assuming we can agree on a definition of moksa and have impartial rules so that it does not end up being just opinions. We are all damaged goods. I help a lot of people and I happen to know what I am talking about. I‘m all for hugs and kisses and the warm fuzzy stuff. In the old days people were busy surviving and did not have time for such frivolities. Everybody thought Mother Theresa was a saint until her letters were published posthumously and people who were out from under her thumb started pointing out certain. Controversy is healthy. They had great debates that lasted weeks with all the different spiritual teachers taking on each other. There is a new book out on Ramana in which it is suggested that he was verbally abusive.James: This is certainly the age of pop psychology and it is very fashionable to psychoanalyze people. My teachers are the top Vedanta men in India. I am a good person. the society reveled in debate. But there is this notion that spiritual life is about living up to some kind of ideal. I personally doubt it. a third don‘t think anything and a third think you are a scoundrel and are happy to vilify you. I have been a student of Vedanta for forty years. In the old days. The problem is that nobody knows what Christ and the Buddha were actually like. But it has caused a big . As far as the general public is concerned about a third think you are a saint and are happy to worship you. Maybe he was and maybe he wasn‘t. And when you are a public figure you are inviting projections. living the life Christ or the Buddha and the like. Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayananda. controversy. I honestly do not care what people think.

Is life like that? Was it ever like that? Will it ever be like that? Human beings are a mixed bag. We are all playing some kind of roles in this Divine Comedy and no role is more important than any other. They are supposed to be saints. Trying to sweep the ugliness under the carpet is not helpful. . had better be able to take the heat. particularly if you are attacking just to attack and do not have any logic to support your statements. It has always been this way. but there is some value to it. Let them express themselves as they are. the myth we have about enlightened beings. The world of human beings is very beautiful and very ugly. like Jesus. They have wonderful qualities and not so wonderful qualities. NDM: What about the belief that enlightened people are not judgmental or do not criticize others? That doing this only proves that one has "not arrived" yet? James: It is just a belief. And people who speak out. They are supposed to usher in the Millennium when everyone will be walking around with halos over their enlightened heads hugging and kissing everyone.fuss in some circles because it contradicts the ideal. But I do not think that enlightened people are any more important than rock stars or politicians.

Enlightenment has nothing to do with you. it’s okay to continue to self enquire? . it is simply the removal of ignorance. Tony Parsons said somewhere that Ramana Maharshi was still living from duality or words to that effect. not celebration.As far as I am concerned. Why? Because you have always been awareness. For example. I actually believe that to say you are enlightened…that you have ‗arrived‘ to use your words…should be cause for embarrassment and shame. You are that because of which enlightenment is known. Even self enquiry is often criticized and questioned For example this is from an interview with Jeff Foster. Is this cause for celebration? It is not correct to say that you are enlightened or that you are unenlightened. NDM: There seems to be a bit of a war going on. When a morbidly obese person looses four hundred pounds he or she is heralded as an emblem of courage and accomplishment. Q: So. But is going back to normal an accomplishment? What about the corruption that led the person so far astray in the first place? Enlightenment is not the gain of a special status. Things are just as they are. regarding Vedanta and neo advaita. nobody is getting anywhere.

gradually removes the doubts standing in the way of the full assimilation of the meaning of the statement. the question was just arising in This. it is true from the self‘s point of view. The person who makes this statement is probably just making it for his own satisfaction. although it is true from the self‘s point of view. then of course. That is real Freedom. But so what? This person does not seem to understand that self inquiry is much more that the question Who am I? That the Who am I question is just a clever sound bite that is meant to encapsulate a vast tradition of Vedic wisdom. The answer is ―I am limitless nondual ordinary actionless awareness.‖ But again. Self inquiry is a body of experienced based knowledge that. probably to make himself look enlightened or profound.‖ NDM: What are your thoughts on neo advaitas position on free will. AM. Self inquiry is not a question. no question needs an answer.Jeff Foster: "Yes. If you find yourself self-enquiring or playing pool. I. because the answer is well known. All I found ultimately with self-enquiry was three words and a question mark: WHO. dharma or karma? . All I found was the question and what was seen was that the question was already that. if you find yourself engaged in that. It didn’t need an answer. so what? This is something to be appreciated. that is all I found. when applied to a qualified mind. and a question mark." NDM: What do you make of this teaching? James: Well. then that’s what’s happening. ―I am awareness.

If it is real for me. although it is only the first step to developing a serious means of enlightenment. You cannot say that the world does not exist or that it is unreal. It is actually karma to say that there is no free will. From the self‘s point of view there is neither free will nor the absence free will. It is one of the most important teachings and it is completely lost on the Neos. you are confronted with apparent choices in the apparent reality. I hope that some Neo-Advaita teacher with an open mind reads this and thinks about it because it would be immensely helpful. If there is no consequence. Apparently untrue means that as long as you take yourself to be an apparent person. Speaking like this without the means to back it up is like asking people to believe in the tooth fairy. no natural order. It does not take into account the apparent reality. then why is this person making the statement? He is making it because he wants a result. It mindlessly denies the existence of experience. It is illuminator of the idea of free will and no free will. The definition of reality is ‗that which is unborn and eternal. James: It is true if you look at the individual from the point of view of the total mind. 2) There is no dharma or karma (no good or bad. It is apparently untrue from the point of view of the individual. If there is no karma. Let me try to explain it.‖ So what is the world with its free will and karma etc? It is apparently real. The word is mithya in Vedanta. and no consequences for one's actions) James: The same answer applies to these statements. then I am going to need something more than the statement that it doesn‘t exist to make it apparently real for me. You have to exist to make that statement and you cannot deny your own existence. This is a very good example of one of the serious limitations of Neo-Advaita. I am explaining what is right and wrong about it. Why? Because it does not last.1) There is no free-will. Why? Because it is experienced. What does mithya mean? It is real for you as long as you take yourself to be something other than awareness. In this very rudimentary discussion of an important topic I did not attack . At the same time you cannot say that it is real either. He wants us to think that what he says is the truth. then how does this statement get made? And there is definitely a consequence to this person‘s statement.

dharma etc and it is meaningless because it is only in the mind. But let‘s accept it. The instant enlightenment teaching of the Neos…transcend the mind. drop the mind. I did not willy nilly slag it off and move on as if I was some kind of authority on the topic whose word should be taken as gospel. It says some old fuddy duddies cooked up karma. All of human civilization. It is consciousness functioning in the apparent reality. You cannot dismiss it. . But you do not get rid of the problem by dismissing the mind. because of its lack of methodology. It is a fact. was built by the mind. I attacked the idea. When it is stuffed with ignorance it is definitely a problem. It does not remove the supposed villain in the piece. You handle the mind by giving it discrimination so that it can separate what is real from what is apparent. The mind is a very useful instrument when it contains knowledge that is in harmony with the nature of reality. a psychology and for want of a better term a theology. futile. NDM: What about people that say things like karma. I gave the reasons why it was OK and why it was not OK.‘ I guess the idea is that you will just wander into the satsang and ‗get it. dharma and free will is in the mind. cultivate it. Isn‘t the idea that it is meaningless only in the mind too? If that is true. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the human mind. only adds to the mind‘s confusion about the nature of enlightenment. although it may seem so. It has a plethora of methods for cultivating the mind…the yogas. Krishna and Shankara in a story. made up by some characters named Buddha. You have to educate it. Vedanta is a complete science of enlightenment. That in essence it‟s all meaningless. Christ. I have no idea who he is. You cannot just contemptuously dismiss it and hope to be taken seriously. good and bad.this person. It deals with values and ethics and love and every conceivable topic of interest to spiritually inclined human beings. etc…is popular because it is meant to be ‗instant. how can we take it seriously? Turning the mind into a villain is another of Neo-Advaita‘s extremely silly teachings. It has a cosmology. At best it is a very skimpy and blunt tool that. and hopeless and any meaning is simply in the mind and so on? James: This is an ignorant statement. It actually makes me laugh. He is just a name associated with an idea.‘ Satsang is a great institution but the way it has evolved in the West is a parody of a proper satsang.

That human beings are essentially controlled. there is no doing or destiny. NDM: In chapter one of your book. Other people. not that. "There is no such thing as free will or choice. If there are all these pre-existing conditions. habits. they seem like real choices for you. It is true from the self‘s point of view. or governed as a result of their samskaras. by mindless denial. NDM: Here is another example on neo advaita and free will. The belief that there is a seeker (subject) who has the free will to choose to self-enquire in order to discover clarity (object) simply maintains the dreamer in the hypnotic dream of separation. how much true free will does a person who is not liberated have if almost everything they do or say is done on auto pilot or in a state of sleep walking? James: You have apparent choices in samsara and since you believe that samasara is real. not this.‖ And the removal of the apparent is not accomplished by believing in this teaching. but it is not actually properly understood by the teachers. I deal with it carefully in my book. But you really don‘t have the choice to choose to be out of samsara altogether because you do not know there is another alternative. applying inquiry to everything that happens in you on a moment to moment basis. This apparent reality teaching is quite sophisticated and I cannot do it justice here. conditioning and so on. . all that Neo-Advaita has is neti neti. It is called neti neti. you should chose to follow it instead of worldly impulses. It only comes about by intense self inquiry. motive or purpose. Negating the mind can take you quite a way. vasansas. The one who is making this statement has exactly the same order of reality that the imaginary seeker that is being denied. Bascially. there is also no one making this statement that there is no seeker." James: This is another half truth masquerading as truth. But if there is no seeker. but it cannot close the deal because the denial of the apparent reality is not tantamount to the hard and fast realization ―I am limitless non-dual ordinary actionless awareness. karma. love and so on and how this cannot bring lasting happiness. you talk about people chasing objects.Neo-Advaita picked up this teaching from traditional Vedanta. In this case. This contradicts experience. if you feel a spiritual inclination.

you get a glimpse of another possibility. being noncoercive. But if you want to assume that liberation is something that some people have and other‘s don‘t. according to the knowledge you have at any stage. you are really shooting yourself in the foot. At this point you know there is another way to see things and at this point free will becomes real for you. James: Yes. usually as a result of some kind of existential trauma. however.At a certain time in the lives of certain people. Awareness is always free of everything. But you still have to exercise it to work your way out of samsara. In other words. NDM: How much free will does a person who is liberated have and what is the difference between a liberated persons free will and a non-liberated persons free will? James: The problem with this question is the idea that there is a liberated person. So the idea of free will is not an issue for you. It is useful for purifying the mind and preparing it for self knowledge. An enlightened person is happy with the self alone. ‗grace‘ will not descend because the self. Liberation means liberation from the person. whereas an unenlightened person will be happy when the results are favorable and unhappy when they aren‘t. I have experienced every conceivable samadhi. It is a technical discussion and there is not . This means that you know you are awareness. he or she will not be attached to the fruits of his or her actions. If you equate nirvikalpa Samadhi with liberation. Samadhi can be a great help. If you do not exercise the free will you have to get out of samsara. NDM: Have you ever experienced nirvikalpa samadhi or other types of samadhi and can you explain how does samadhi help one to realize the true self. a ‗raincloud of dharma‘ to quote Panchadasi or it can be a complete hindrance. will assume that the choice you exercised not to use your free will was your exercise of free will and it will leave you as you are suffering under the tyranny of your vasanas. then a liberated person‘s free will is exercised without the belief that he or she will be changed as a consequence of the results flowing from the choices he or she makes. Because of lack of real knowledge many of the Neo-Advaita teachers…I won‘t name names… present the idea of determinism in such a way that a seeker can draw the conclusion that even the decision to do sadhana is predetermined and so the seeker conveniently uses the no-free will teaching as an excuse not to do anything for his or her enlightenment.

it was in my thirtieth year. There is a very nice sub-heading in the third section of Tripura Rahasya ―On the uselessness of fleeting samadhis and the way to wisdom.‖ If you mean the ‗big spiritual nirvana‖ again I can‘t recall. but if you mean nirvalkapa Samadhi. I go into it in my book. because in that nirvana you are not there to experience it as a person.time to go into it here. if you think I am a person. NDM. When did you first experience nirvana and what was this like for you? James: It depends on what you mean by nirvana. although the first time I had an orgasm probably qualifies. We experience thousands of mini nirvanas through the year when our minds become resolved. Sorry for being purposely obtuse. If you mean savilkalpa . an experiencing entity. But then it would not be accurate to say that I experienced it. How to Attain Enlightenment. Second to the last chapter. So probably the day I popped out of the womb and suckled on my mother‘s breast. I believe.

the pavement glistening from a light morning shower. I noticed a jaunty old man. NDM. appropriately attired in Bermuda shorts. Since my guru erased the veil I am in savikalpa Samadhi all the time. Then. In other words. that describes it in detail. I` was sluggishly lumbering through the International Market Place on my way to the Post Office. my consciousness peppered with thoughts of suicide. ―Since I am not an accomplished writer and cannot describe my feeling of self-loathing well. As he got closer I realized we were on a collision course and sent a message to my feet to move left.Samadhi I experienced it unconsciously on and off for about three years from twenty six to about twenty eight. because the mind that I formerly thought was ‗mine‘ is locked permanently on me. the sun playing hide and seek with big billowy clouds as the plumerias sprayed their erotic fragrance and gentle trade winds rattled the palm fronds. aloha shirt. tennies and a straw hat. Can you please tell me about an epiphany that helped you to realize the self and do you believe it‟s possible to realize the self without some kind of an epiphany? James: Here is the passage from my autobiography. perusing his mail as he ambled my way. on a lovely tropical morning. after a drunken and debauched night with a woman whose husband was out of town. because I am not actually ‗in‘ Samadhi. It means nothing however. a vacationer or pensioner come to Hawaii to idly pass the sunset years. By unconsciously I mean I did not know what it was then but now that I do I can look back and see that did experience it. Mystic by Default. except continuous peace. For the next two years I experienced it about 95% of the time. . Samadhi is ‗in‘ me. it is an experience that appears in me. you will have to take it on faith that I finally hit bottom.

"Don't mention it. flowing like nectar from a deep place within. the mind settling on the concerns of the day. Someone else had taken over! Since I had no idea what the voice was about to say. sir. which had a mind of its own. I'd say you're forty-three. I tried to apologize but the words wouldn‘t come. I ran frantically around inside my mind looking for the control panel but reality. Certain that I was going mad. But as I entered the foyer I lost it again! Instead of proceeding into the Post Office proper as programmed. how old do you think I am?" Since I already knew the answer and didn‘t have the slightest interest in the opinion of the doddering old codger. not again! Am I flipping out?" I thought anxiously. "Well. was completely uninterested. "Well. shoot. yes. I tried to move out of the way a second time but the body wouldn‘t respond! I had completely lost control. proceeding on his way. sonny. thank you very much. pulled on his pipe. a kind smile on his wrinkled face. feet welded to the floor. I was having a good look. resumed. "Excuse me. But I wasn‘t going mad. I was completely flabbergasted. I didn‘t indulge my fear. And then I regained control and proceeded toward my mailbox. unaware of my distress. courtesy of God. A couple of seconds before impact the bodies stopped face to face and I heard a sweet voice speaking through me. and judiciously replied. he was deliberately underestimating my age to spare my feelings." A long history of untruth meant I could spot a lie a mile away. "Oh no. the body confidently turned left." he said. sonny. sure. The old man stepped back. eyes glued straight ahead. may I ask you a question?" it said." Then the voice. but the experience was permeated with such a sense of clarity. "Out of curiosity. I wasn‘t connected at the mouth either! The old man looked up. sir. sonny. I seriously considered the possibility I was losing my mind. entered the men's room and parked itself in front of a big mirror over the wash basins." the voice said sweetly.but nothing happened! Panic stricken. gave me the once-over. at . "Yeah.

what I had become. I don‘t know how long I stood there, unable to move a muscle - perhaps a full five minutes - aware but unaware of the stares of the men coming and going, the flushing toilets and the irritating flicker of the neon light over the mirror. But it didn‘t matter because a brand new world had miraculously opened up, an inner world illumined by a powerful light in whose presence I saw every last bit of the sin and corruption that I was. The moment of truth in the post office lifted a monstrous weight, like Saul on the road to Damascus. Though I still looked a wreck, overweight and run-down, my face etched with deep pain lines, I felt young again, inspired by the conviction that I might find an exit from my dark labyrinth. And for the first time in my twenty-six years I realized there was a compassionate God.‖ Is it possible to realize the self without an epiphany? Oh yes, definitely. Epiphanies can be very useful or they can be a complete impediment. In my experience about half the people who get moksa through Vedanta have not had an epiphany. It is what kind of experiences you have had in life that matter. It is how you assimilate them, what they mean to you.

NDM. Do you think there is a neurological aspect to enlightenment? For example some neuroscientists believe that there are changes in the right amygdala and the left hippocampus and other regions of the brain, such as the anterior commissure, a bundle of nerves connecting the two cerebral hemispheres. James: I don‘t know what they are trying to prove, but I bet that they are in the ‗chemistry is destiny‘ camp. So the answer is no. However, the state of your mind, which is the result of your knowledge or ignorance, does have an impact on your cells. Vedanta says that these people, who are materialists with a dualistic mentality, have got the cart before the horse. Consciousness causes matter, not the other way around, although as I suggested, there is a connection. But they are not equal principles. Matter is a subset of consciousness. Their view, which purposely ignores common sense, is that consciousness is a subset of matter. NDM: What was your experience like living in a cave with a python and your guru. Did you sleep on some kind of make shift bed, where did you get your food and water from? James: I slept on the sand wrapped in my dhoti. Sadhus and local kids

brought me food and I sometimes walked to Laxman Jhoola to get it myself. I drank from the Ganges. My guru was downstream a couple of miles in his very comfortable ashram. NDM. Do you believe there is there such a thing as a third eye and is this connected to the pineal gland? James: I suppose you mean a physical third eye? You have to read Lobsang Rampa to find about about that . There is a chakra in the third eye location between and slightly above the eyebrows, but what it is meant to do I am not sure. In Vedanta we say that the scripture is the third eye. It is knowledge that cures the disease of ignorance that is the result of looking at the world with two eyes. NDM. What is your take on the chakra system and can one be enlightened if there are blockages or ethereal knots of some kind in the chakras? Such as Brahma Granthi, Vishnu Granthi and the Rudra Granthi? Here is an email and my reply that deals with this question. I have a question. When I was reading the book "Play of Consciousness" by Swami Muktananda…maybe you have read the book also…it caused a question. Swami is talking much about the Kundalini and the process of awakening that snake energy so it can get up through your chakra's. He is supposing that it is necessary to awaken the kundalini for getting enlightenment. I searched your Vedanta-CD and found little about it. Just in one of your satsangs you pointed something out which gave me some more insight. But while I already had the idea of laying the question at your feet, I still want to do. It might still help give me more stable view at the topic. On the CD you said, "The Self is everything and everything is the Self, so why bother working on kundalini? It will happen when it needs to happen, and when it doesn't happen it doesn't need to happen." Is that your answer? What use is it anyway? James: What does it mean to say that the kundalini is awakened? When most people think of kundalini they think of the incredible psycho-spiritual ‗mystical‘ experiences that happen when the kundalini awakens and passes through the charkas on its way to union with Shiva. Additionally, people often believe that if these experiences do not happen in the way that they have read about them or heard about them from others that they will not get enlightened. So they take

up certain practices that they believe should initiate the shakti and start this process in motion. As they are described these experiences are almost always incredible, fantastic, and exotic. Considering that most people feel sensation-starved the they are attracted by this kind of shakti sadhana. But trying to wake up the kundalini is a little like the tail wagging the dog. If they happen…and it is not necessary that they do happen for enlightenment contrary to what Swami Muktananda says…they should be the result of the spontaneous awakening of the kundalini. The kundalini does not awaken in the same way in every person. It often produces dramatic experiences but in most cases it does not. You can assume that your kundalini is awakened if you have an interest in religion, mysticism, meditation, etc. If you find yourself attracted to chanting, reading holy books, associating with spiritual people, going on pilgrimages, etc. then your kundalini is awakened. If you have experienced altered states of consciousness it means your kundalini is active. What actually is the kundalini? It is the Self creating experiences that shake you up and cause you to seek answers to the basic existential questions: what is this world and who am I? The kundalini of everyone in the so-called ‗spiritual‘ world is active to varying degrees; they all have had ‗spiritual‘ or ‗mystical‘ experiences that have caused them see the world and themselves in a different way. It is not giving you experiences just for the fun of it. An awakened kundalini is not enlightenment. It just means that the mind has become somewhat subtle and can now experience ‗inner‘ states, not just sense objects, emotions and thoughts. These inner experiences are of every imaginable type, positive and negative, gross and subtle. The type of experience that an individual has depends on the nature of his or her vasanas when the kundalini wakes up. What cause her to wake up? Usually the person has had enough worldly experience. They are fed up with the world, bored perhaps. They know there is nothing in it but they don‘t know where to go. The Self is awaiting for this to happen. When it does it illumines the latent vasanas for spiritual experience and something dramatic happens…one‘s life starts to flow in a different direction. There is nothing mystical about the ‗chakras.‘ They are just

For example sexual energy means that the kundalini is associated with the root charka and this causes creativity and sexual desire. These temporary Self realizations or ephiphanies are useful in so far as they give the experiencer an idea that there is a Self (Shiva) and maybe some insight into its nature. But. inner or outer is kundalini.‖ It is the hard and fast knowledge that all my experiences are me but I am something more than my experiences. An experience of great power means that the kundalini is associated with the manipura charka. In fact every experience that we have. subtle and gross. with Pure Consciousness.general categories of experience. This tempts us to ask: what is this ‗becoming?‘ A ‗becoming‘ means that something that was in one form before changes into another form.‘ my autobiography. limitless awareness. the Self. In short. The kundalini symbolism is very beautiful and very dramatic and mysterious and so people are attracted to it. is a gross desire for union. So the next question is: what is this ‗union?‘ Supposedly it is an experience in which the subject and the object ‗become‘ one. This is what one might call ‗temporary‘ Self realization. You may have read ―Mystic by Default.‘ So what happens is that the person who ‗became‘ the Self. Ninety nine percent of people. In fact most of the ‗kundalini‘ sadhanas you find in the West are not proper kundalini sadhana at all. It is important for a spiritual person not to turn the idea of kundalini into a big romantic fascination. This means that there is no such thing as a ‗permanent experience. ‗becoming‘ is subject to change. who are practicing ‗kundalini‘ yoga are not qualified for kundalini sadhana and will not see it through to the end. An experience of universal love means that the kundalini is associated with the heart chakra. the energy of Consciousness. To use the yogic metaphor. Spiritual literature is full of these experiences. if the person believes that enlightenment is the . This is all very fine as an idea but it presents a very real problem: experience. Enlightenment is the knowledge ―I am the Self. And so on. Eastern and Western. something limited inadequate and incomplete ‗becomes‘ limitless adequate and whole. Kundalini Yoga says the enlightenment is the union of shakti and shiva. the individual soul that ‗merges‘ into the universal soul. the Self in the form of matter and energy. ‗unbecomes‘ the Self after the experience of union has run its course. the anahata. It has become a fashion now and almost completely corrupted by the Westerners. In it there are many ‗kundalini‘ experiences. It never stops changing.

It will not turn you into the Self…I think this is what people believe. forgoing every worldly attachment and desire. this sadhana is so severe that only one person in ten million can practice it successfully. So as the Self you are already beyond the kundalini. It may lead you to the Self or it may lead you far away. But rather than cultivate it. and devotion will awaken the kundalini and produce a ‗spiritual‘ experience. However. it comes and you must learn how to deal with it. limitation and incompleteness. it is better to . This is important because most of the time it is in direct contact with the Self and this is desirable if you want Self knowledge. If you have even a small attachment to your body or to worldly things it will not work. When the energy that generated the experience plays out the experience ends and one returns to a state of separation. It says that the problem with this ‗union‘ idea is: anything that was caused by action.‗permanent experience of the Self‘ he or she will simply develop a vasana for Self experience by practicing a sadhana designed to produce Self experience. Kundalani is a karmic force. This is why you have so many frustrated people in the spiritual world. It is the awareness of waking and sleep. is a very mixed bag and not something to be sought after. Nonetheless. the Self is not awake because it was never asleep. Vedanta questions the whole idea underlying yoga. sex. But you should know that if something wakes up it will definitely go back to sleep. So the kundalini. If it comes. concentration. the mind. which is what is waking up. It is the knower of the mind. will only last for a finite time. It is the Self operating in time. like a larva becomes a butterfly…but this is just imagination. The desire for liberation has to be one hundred percent. This is karmic law. In fact sports. Remember. karma. will eventually become so energized with shakti that it will only fall back to sleep for very short periods. They think they will be ‗transformed‘ into the Self. It may even cause madness in people who are weak minded. Much of the mild insanity you see in spiritual people is caused by their inability to integrate their spiritual experiences into everyday life. There are many sadhanas beside kundalini sadhana that give experience of the Self. day and night without a break. if you pursue the sadhana that awakens kundalini with incredible intensity. It is the knower of the kundalini. Any practice that you do with great faith. accidents. the energy of the Self. This is why the yoga shastras encourage the pursuit of a sattvic mind. and many fear related activities produce Self experience.

Without it you cannot function in this world nor can you separate the pure Self from the moving Self. Yes. Vedanta says that experiential sadhanas may purify the mind but they will not produce enlightenment. a power. an energy. the kundalini shakti. It is not real. This is not a conscious seeking. Experience will not remove ignorance. It is trial and error. When it gets stuck in a painful experience. It foolishly clings to pleasureable experiences because it doesn‘t realize that experience is changeable and that the pleasure will eventually disappear. but cultivating love for the Self in some form is more natural than forcing the body and mind to do a lot of very complicated and potentially dangerous practices. the shakti. unconscious. this shows that it doesn‘t have discrimination or it would have avoided the experience in the first place. Only the knowledge that arises with experience can do that. bhakti is a dualistic path. who is it that misunderstands that he or she is separate from the Self? Is it the kundalini? It is not the kundalini. Sometimes it goes into a positive experience (Pingala nadi) and sometimes it goes into a negative experience (ida nadi) (I may have these names reversed). But Vedanta says there are not two selves. So who is it that takes his or herself to be limited? Who is it that wants to erase this sense of limitation and is therefore open to the seductive message of kundalini yoga? The common answer is that it is the ego. And it can get stuck in an experience which is very pleasureable or very painful. It has (is) a strong feeling that it is missing something and so it works its way through many experiences (the charkas) seeking for freedom from this sense of limitation. just like kundalini. . Kundalini is just a force. a higher enlightened Self and a lower ignorant ego Self. Now. It says that there is only one Self that has been misunderstood to be two or many. Activated by the Self it moves. If you don‘t know this you can have all sorts of amazing mystical experience and be as Self ignorant as an animal. This is so because enlightenment is the removal of Self ignorance. Discrimination is the most important function of consciousness. The Self alone is real. Vedanta says that there are not two separate selves that must become one. There is only one Self. it changes and causes all sorts of things to happen but it does not know anything. because the kundalini is not conscious. the kundalini is the Self but the Self is not (only)the kundalini. That it gets stuck indicates that is it ignorant. Yes.cultivate devotion for God.

pure Awareness. The definition of Maya is: that which is not. not some incredible state of consciousness.e. incompleteness and limitation once again. Whether it produces knowledge or not depends on what you think enlightenment is.Now we come to the most difficult thing to understand. This is why kundalini yoga and all the other yogas rarely bring about enlightenment. you have freed yourself of experience. that it is limitless and whole and therefore does not need any particular experience to erase its sense of limitation and make it whole. This is what Vedanta calls inquiry. complete. How can something that is not. unless you understand that incredible state of consciousness to be you. and that this Self is capable of both knowledge and ignorance. which we can call kundalini. is: does the experience of union with the Self erase ignorance and produce knowledge? Knowledge means that you understand that you are whole. Or to put it another way it says that there is only one Self. You can see the problem in the definition. It would not be limitless if it were unable to be ignorant. When the experience of oneness happens one needs to remain alert and try to determine what one is actually experiencing. If you think enlightenment is the permanent experience of the Self then you will not ‗get enlightened. If you understand that what you are experiencing is you. and limitlessness for a time and that experience will wear off and you will then experience duality. limitless and free. wholeness. This capability of being two opposite things at once is called Maya. be? Well. how can it forget who it is? Vedanta says that it can‘t forget but that it can forget. This means that when ignorance tries to rise up . If there is only one Self and this Self always knows who it is. And the answer is that it may produce knowledge and it may not produce knowledge. You never have to practice yoga again.‘ You will experience oneness. But it is possible for yogis to get enlightened if they develop inquiring minds as a result of their spiritual experiences. the seer. Now the question that arises with reference to the process of experience. it can. If you are trained to observe and draw the correct conclusions from your observations you will see that the ‗oneness‘ that you are experiencing is you. the experiencer. Why? Because when are you not you? How far are you from you? What kind of knowledge is it? It is immediate ‗experiential‘ knowledge. i. strangely.

leads them to a jnani. Self inquiry. Muktananda does say that enlightenment can only come through kundalini sadhana but he knew that this was not true. Is it possible to ‗attain‘ enlightenment without an awakened kundalini as it is presented in the kundalini shastras? Yes. Is it common. not the other way around. You won‘t be able to accomplish anything solid or real in the world with this going on. Ramana. Shakti sadhanas can be very dangerous without the right teacher and the right karmic situation. So for these people the Self as kundalini awakens inquiry. Enlightenment according to Vedanta is the removal of Self ignorance brought about by the understanding that the Self is limitless actionless awareness and that I am that Self. I have met perhaps twenty enlightened people whose kundalini was not active in that it was not producing mind altering inner experiences. The spiritual world is full of peole who have had it going on for varying periods and it does not rise up and ‗mate‘ with Shiva. He is an example of a yogi who had an inquiring mind and practiced vichara. it has nothing to do with the way it came about. I have also met at least one hundred people who were having intense kundalini experiences…sometimes for many years…and who were actively seeking ways to turn the experience off…since it completely disrupts one‘s life. you have a good laugh and can let the whole process of desire die before it produces karma. It generates the experiences that are necessary to stimulate inquiry. And in a way you are. You say and do things that make normal people think you are nuts. It just bounces around in the chakras. He was very smart about psychology and he was trying to . and their ignorance is removed by the non-dual teachings. Certain people have developed very subtle minds as a result of the way they have lived. It is too disturbing and it often has a strong negative impact on the people you come in contact with. It is also important to know that kundalini does not generate the same experiences for everyone. Their enlightenment is in no way inferior to the people who have realized who they are during or after an intense kundalini sadhana. not kundalini sadhana. for example. it produced his ‗death‘ experience. It means you are the master of your mind.and tell you that you are missing something and you see your desires being activated. did not practice kundalini sadhana although his kundalini was obviously active. absolutely. Enlightenment is enlightenment.

Jesus may be ‗a‘ way but the only way? I don‘t think so. Is that your answer? But what is the use of it anyway? Ram: I would not advise ‗working on kundalini. and when it doesn't happen it doesn't need to happen".build a big religion…Siddha Yoga…and it does not help to give people too eclectic a view of enlightenment…it just confuses them…so you say it is the only way. And so you build up a vasana for experience and you fantasize the big one…enlightenment…which you always imagine is just around the corner. What should happen when you take up an experiential sadhana like kundalini is that your mind should become subtle and inquiry should start to happen. It‘s like going to Las Vegas and pulling the long arm of one of those big slot machines. It may work…there is no sense putting it down…but I would bet my bottom dollar that of all the enlightenments that happened since the beginning of time not more than one or two percent were the result of a classic kundalini sadhana. All that happens is that you get a big experience vasana. Well. etc. Question: How do you see kundalini and trying to work with that in relation to Vedanta and Self-knowledge. You want to meditate all day and go into traces and have transcendental experiences. Every experience you have is kundalini. It never happens. "The Self is everything and everything is the Self. so why bother with working on kundalini? It will happen when it needs to happen. It is very much like the Christians who say Jesus is the only way. So when you begin consciously searching you are naturally drawn to yoga because it promises a spectacular experience that is supposed to solve all problems. But what usually happens is that you get addicted to experience. But experience is only as good as one‘s ability to understand it. In a way this is true but in another way it is not true. . You want to hang out with powerful gurus and get shaktipat. You pay and pull and pay and pull and in your mind every minute you are waiting for the big Ka-Ching! and a flood of money to bury you.‘ Vedanta says that kundalini is just another name for the Self. Look at all the great enlightened people that have come out of Buddhism and other paths…and they are not talking kundalini. So everything is already kundalini. The truth is that everyone is basically in love with experience and this is all we have to our credit when we awaken. The same with Kundalini.

The question of enlightenment can be solved very simply when you understand this. You . And it is not something that needs to happen. Enlightenment is the nature of the self. Kundalini is a very fickle bitch. One minute she is seducing you and driving you wild with passion and the next minute she abandons you without so much as a by-your-leave and you end up angry and depressed. This presupposes that enlightenment is some kind of special experience that depends on certain conditions. Without you there is no energy. It depends on how you assimilate or interpret your experience.the Self . So don‘t long for it and imagine that you are spiritually incomplete unless you have had it happen. Aim for shanti. If you had a certain experience and you found yourself walking out of the house without saying goodbye to your family and getting on a plane that was going somewhere and when you got off you met a strange man in a café who invited you home and you started to spontaneously perform kriyas and have visions and felt amazing things taking place within yourself then that would be kundalini and you would be into it and there would be no question of ‗working on it. it beats shakti every time. I had it happen and it all stopped many years ago and I am very happy that it all stopped. meaning it is the nature of everyone.‖ NDM: Can someone be enlightened/liberated if their Sahasrāra (Crown Chakra) is not opened? James: Yes.are the source of the energy. of course.the shakti. She is completely unfaithful and inconstant. it does not depend on your experience. It is something that happens.‘ It is not something you work on. You are not this little body/mind instrument that perks up with the influx of energy and wilts when the energy leaves. Why limit it to a particular set of experiences or a particular process? You can have all sorts of amazing experiences and never learn anything about who you are and you can also have very boring ordinary experiences and suddenly understand who you are … because you were thinking clearly. As I said above. If you .

thoughts.understand the value of understanding and how ignorance works and you expose your mind to a valid means of knowledge like Vedanta. I do not know. Westerners have almost no idea of the great Vedanta sampradaya and of the many people that gain enlightenment through it. I have met many enlightened people all over the world who did not come through any of the traditional means. mindfulness and so on. In the end. If you are completely fed up with samsara and you earnestly strive to be free. the self will see to it that you realize who you are irrespective of your karmic situation. They may work. concentration. NDM: Buddhism has the eightfold path that addresses moral issues. What does Vedanta have to say on moral and ethical issues such as these? James: It agrees with Buddhism completely on these issues as indirect and secondary means of enlightenment. Sufism. occupation. speech. such as right view. . NDM: What are your thoughts on other paths of enlightenment like Buddhism. and Christian Gnosticism? Do you believe that they all lead to the same place? James: I don‘t have any beliefs. that is all that is required for moksa. it is an individual thing. I fell into Vedanta when I was very young. It finished my search and I have had no interest in other paths. Why? Because it is actually the self waking up to itself and it its will cannot be denied. conduct.

The word ‗sin‘ means to miss the mark. as awareness. insight and not just from external sources such as gurus or teachers. for whatever reason. indeed. That is to say. Christ and Buddha consciousness? James: It depends on what you mean by consciousness. So in that sense they are just forms of consciousness who supposedly realized that they were consciousness. Krishna. Christ and Buddha were supposedly people that realized they were consciousness but we have no way of knowing whether they did or not because they are not here to testify to their realization. It is not really up to the person because there really isn‘t someone other than the self. . There is no one way. I almost always manage to get their stories and it turns out that it does happen quite frequently outside of any established tradition…all over the world. It means that when you take the self to be the body/mind entity. you failed to see yourself as you are. NDM: What about attaining knowledge from the self through gnosis. the self gets fed up living in an ignorant form. James: Yes. it will wake up and realize who it is irrespective of the situation. So when.NDM: What is the difference between sin and negative karma? James: None. you have missed the mark. It can happen in any way. But the website attracts maybe eight or ten enlightened people a year. Some make perfect or near perfect scores on my enlightenment quiz. NDM: What is the difference between Khrisna. in practice. Because I have been more or less sheltered in the great Vedanta sampradaya and know of many of the many successful inquiries in that world I have not…until about six or seven years ago when I put up shiningworld…had much knowledge of enlightenment outside of the tradition. When this happens you make many dumb choices that lead to inappropriate and untimely actions which fructify as unpleasant experiences. Vedanta says that there is only consciousness appearing in many forms.

But the problem with this argument is that the self is not a person who is suffering under the spell of ignorance. These things apparently exist as long as ignorance is operating. beyond the limitless creation. the sat guru.com "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. it can. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. power. It views everything equally. God. And it is just as happy with ignorance as it is with knowledge. is infinite knowledge. You cannot actually say what it is or that it is the source of anything.shiningworld. Do not . For more info visit www. But if reality is non-dual. It does not need to enlighten itself because it is already enlightened. desire. then there is no such thing as the creation and no knowledge. Usually the best way for it to do this is to ‗hit bottom. it will have to invoke itself (see how silly this sounds…but that‘s Maya!) to generate an awakening. etc. If it suffers under the spell of apparent ignorance and thinks it is a suffering person.NDM: Doesn't the Self. Perhaps you are implying that nothing needs to be done. NDM: Isn't the self the source of infinite knowledge. A proper teacher and a valid teaching is helpful because not everyone has the purity and maturity to inquire and remove his or her own ignorance. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. and intelligence. Many people do 99% of the work on their own and then show up at the feet of a teacher for the finale. It is the illuminator of ignorance. It has all qualities. This type is well suited for Vedanta and can finish the search in a very short time. and intelligence? James: The self in its capacity as Isvara. So it is ―beyond‘ God. that the self will just do it without any outside assistance? Yes. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.‘ That gets its attention and starts the process of evolution. It is that because of which limitlessness and limitation are known. also shine light on the ignorance of the mind? James: I‘m not sure what the import of the question is. but the self is free of them.

In my experience. when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. your thoughts. our life itself. the facts of the world. how we perceive the body and the world. All of that is in you. thought or feeling based upon the illusion of separation is such an unnecessary burden. between a chair and a table. from fear and desire. to establish such a separation. Any activity. The separation comes after the fact. of the mind as they arise. to see it as separate from the perceived. We can perceive the body and the world free from any psychological interference. We have to welcome it completely at . The mind always wants to have something. Separation can exist only between two perceived objects. of the body. Even if you create the thought that there is someone who is separate from that as the observer or the perceiver. we should be able to perceive the perceiver.Francis Lucille Welcome the totality of it [all]. But how can we talk about separation between something that we perceive and something that we don't perceive? Between something that is perceived and that which perceives? In order to see. See also the tendency of fixation of the attention either in some form of thought running in circles or some form of bodily sensation. We are not talking about philosophy here but about perception. the sound of my voice and the birds.” Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha welcoming the totality “Separation can exist only between two perceived objects” . this thought itself is one more appearance from which you are not separate. free from the superimposition of a 'me'. But after observation and analysis. Ask yourself. All of that is at a zero distance from you. from like and dislike. Practicality demands that we eliminate anything that has no purpose. Recognize the immediacy of all appearances as a fact. for instance. See just the facts. It may sound theoretical but it isn't. The restlessness of the mind has to be completely seen. That which triggers this activism is often a sense of lack. It is only practical. a localization of the body. And that is not possible. then accept it and live up to it. as an interpretation of the fact.believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. And that is especially true of the way we perceive the body and of the way we perceive the world. the sensations in your body. some object to chew on. do I stand separate from that which I perceive? Your experience is the only point of reference in deciding this question. a compulsion. no meaning and which is a waste of energy.

That which is perceived is part of the mind and we don't share it with others. The object being contemplated with this indifference liberates the awareness. we all feel pulled inside by this seeing in which there is nothing to be seen. That which we share is not perceived. We can meet those fixations in the body with total indifference. It comes from the inside. of seeing seeing seeing. The peace of our true being doesn't get revealed by the elimination of objects. ~ Francis Lucille . but rather through our overlooking of the objects. It is very mysterious how this silence propagates. It is the perfume. of seeing knowing seeing. seeing that sees itself----takes place. to work on them. The way to welcome it is to give it the space and the time it needs to unload its psychological content. It is the perfume of the seer knowing itself. When we are among truth lovers and when seeing seeing seeing----in other words. makes it available to itself. to interfere with them. The last thing we want to do is to try to eliminate them. through this dispassionate welcoming.the feeling level.