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#3078 - Saturday, February 16, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #3078 - Saturday, February 16, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz Nonduality Highlights - http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/NDhighlights ... Dennis Waite has written a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2008
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      #3078 - Saturday, February 16, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz
       
       
       

       
       
      Dennis Waite has written a new book: Enlightenment: The Path Through the Jungle: a criticism of non-traditional teaching methods in advaita. The Foreword was written by Greg Goode.
       
      We present an extract from an E-Book which is a larger -- 37 page -- extract of the book, and very attractively designed, by the way. You may read more about this new and important work by visiting http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/enlightenment/enlightenment.htm. You will also find instructions for receiving your own copy of the E-Book. I highly recommend this work to anyone interested in the teaching of nonduality and how it is viewed and set forth in these times.

      Please find attached the E-Book as promised. Hope you find it interesting! Please tell others about it (after all, this is a marketing exercise!) but rather than emailing the book to them yourself, please ask them to contact me via the website for a copy. This is partly so that I can (at least initially) keep track of who has been sent a copy. I can also let people know when the book will be available and perhaps offer a discount for a pre-bookshop copy.

       

       
       
      Enlightenment
       
      100. The neo-advaitin claims that 'we are already
      enlightened'. This is a fundamental error, which results from a
      failure to define terms clearly, and causes much confusion. It is
      true that we are already brahman, the non-dual reality, because there
      is only That. The point is that we do not realize this. Enlightenment
      takes place when we do. This is why the term Self-realization is also
      used - it is the direct knowing of the Self that we already are.
       
      101. The error may well arise from the use of the Sanskrit term
      mokSha for enlightenment. Strictly speaking the word means
      'liberation', which is misleading because we are already 'free' in
      reality. What it refers to is liberation from the mistaken belief
      that we are not free.
       
      The 'person'
       
      107. Subsequent to enlightenment, that 'person' is known not to exist
      as a separate entity at all; it is known that 'I am That (i.e.
      brahman)'.
       
      108. Consequently, statements such as 'there is no person to become
      enlightened' are willfully ignoring the context in which these terms
      are used. At the level of empirical reality, which is all that the
      seeker initially knows, there is most definitively a person to become
      enlightened.
       
      Ego
       
      113. Similarly, the mind does not have to be literally destroyed in
      order to become enlightened - if it were so, how would the j~nAnI
      [one who knows the truth, i.e. someone who is 'realized']
      subsequently function in the world? What is required is that it be
      metaphorically destroyed by selfknowledge. This is achieved by
      realizing that the mind is mithyA and does not have a separate
      existence.
       
      Satsang Teaching
       
      147. The modern, Western connotation of this term is considerably
      different and does not really qualify as satsang in the true sense at
      all. The teacher may begin with introductory remarks on a particular
      topic (the nature of which the seeker rarely knows in advance) but
      this lasts only a short time and is followed by questions and answers
      on any topic at all, usually quite unrelated to the initial speech.
       
      151. Satsang has come to be regarded by Westerners as though it,
      alone, were an adequate means for achieving self-realization.
       
      Neo-advaita
       
      158. Effectively, it states the 'bottom-line' conclusions without
      having carried out any of the intervening stages. Instead of
      systematically undermining all of the seeker's pre-existing beliefs,
      it attempts to supplant them with a radical new belief. This new
      belief is contrary to everyday (i.e. dualistic) experience and there
      is no rationale given in justification.
       
      159. Neo-advaita has no methodology, since its teachers explicitly
      reject the scriptures as a pramANa along with everything else. This
      aspect is the key to the essence of traditional teaching. Just as the
      eyes are the means for acquiring knowledge of form and color, the
      ears the means for acquiring knowledge of sounds and so on, so are
      the scriptures (together with a teacher who understands the methods)
      the means for obtaining Self-knowledge.
       
      165. Neo-advaita is a belief-system without a system - i.e. no
      structure, no method, no practice; the 'bottom line' without any
      preceding text.
       
      Reality
       
      171. Neo-advaitin teaching states that reality is non-dual; that we
      are already brahman and therefore there is no one to do anything and
      nothing to realize.
       
      This is effectively nihilism. Here is the definition of that term
      from the New Oxford English Dictionary: "The rejection of all
      religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is
      meaningless; (in Philosophy) the extreme skepticism maintaining that
      nothing in the world has a real existence.
       
      172. The inappropriateness of this can be illustrated by a metaphor.
      Telling students that there is no creation, that there are no objects
      and no separate person, without having unfolded this gradually and
      logically, is like telling them that a lump of iron is mainly space.
      It is true (at a certain level of teaching) that iron is a lattice of
      iron atoms and that each atom consists of a central nucleus of
      protons and neutrons surrounded, at a relatively vast distance, by
      electrons of differing energy. Proportionately, the main 'content' of
      the atom is space. So, says the student, there will be no adverse
      effect if I hit you over the head with this lump of space!
       
      Enlightenment
       
      207. Since the premise of the book is that satang teaching alone does
      not bring about enlightenment, it is most important that the reader
      is clear what this term means.
       
      What Enlightenment is not
       
      213. Enlightenment has nothing to do with 'merging with the Self' or
      'becoming one with God'. In reality, we are already the Self so that
      these expressions could have no meaning. Nor is it a 'feeling of
      unity'.
       
      When a pot is broken, the 'pot space' does not merge with the 'total
      space'; the 'total space' is entirely unaffected by the presence of
      the container and remains the same before, during and after the
      temporary appearance of the pot.
       
      226. Those teachers (principally neoadvaitin ones) who claim that
      there is no such thing as enlightenment are trying, as always, to
      speak from the absolute reality standpoint. But this should be made
      very clear. If they say that, for example, 'here and now, for the
      seeker, there is no enlightenment', then they are wrong and are
      deluding themselves, as well as the seeker.
       
      259. Becoming enlightened does not mean that the world ceases to
      exist.
       
      The advaita theory of ajAtivAda means that there has never been any
      creation, but the world as an appearance of name and form continues
      as before; it is simply now known to be not other than our Self. This
      is widely misunderstood.
       
      What Enlightenment is
       
      261. So, what is enlightenment? There are many descriptions and
      definitions and those in New-Age type books should generally be
      completely ignored. Epithets with capitalized letters or containing
      familiar words with unfamiliar endings (usually '-ness') should
      generally be avoided.
       
      264. In truth, there is only the non-dual reality - call this the
      Atman. Nevertheless, there is usually a firm belief that 'I am a
      separate person'. The 'entity which has this thought' is called the
      jIva in traditional advaita. You, the jIva, are clearly not
      enlightened while the Atman is already free. Enlightenment occurs
      when you, the jIva, realize that you are in fact the Atman (and
      simultaneously cease to believe that you are a jIva).
       
      In the metaphor, the snake does not have to become the rope - there
      never was a snake. What is needed is knowledge of this.
       
      286. Neo-advaitins repeatedly tell us that 'I' cannot become
      enlightened since 'I' do not exist. But there is very good reason why
      'I' am unable to accept this. The simple fact is that I know that I
      do exist - it is the single thing about which there is no possible
      doubt. The problem is that the mind is mistakenly identifying who I
      really am with the body and mind - the 'person' - this is the
      ignorance that needs to be corrected. When this occurs, it is not 'I'
      who becomes enlightened, since I am already brahman; it is the mind
      (buddhi) that realizes this truth. Enlightenment is the dissociation
      of the truth of 'I' from the prior identification with mind and body.
       
      (There is) No Doer
       
      293. The neo-advaitin view only acknowledges the absolute, ultimate,
      pAramArthika viewpoint, insisting that there is no person; only a
      'story' about a person. This story may include following a spiritual
      path and becoming enlightened or not - it makes no difference to
      anything.
       
      Needless to say, this position is not very helpful as far as the
      seeker is concerned. She still feels that she very much exists and
      wants to escape from her suffering etc. Furthermore, this is a very
      misleading statement for the seeker. The truth of the situation is
      that 'I am' or 'I exist' is the one thing about which I can be
      absolutely certain. I may negate everything else but I could never
      negate this, since 'I' would have to exist in order to do the
      negating. Therefore, in order to understand such a statement, the
      seeker must be able to differentiate between 'I' and 'me, the
      person'. The neo-advaitins never provide the teaching that would
      enable the seeker to do this, since such a distinction can only be
      made in the context of vyavahAra.
       
      (There is) Nothing to Do
       
      315. The confusion arises because of the failure to differentiate
      between being and knowing. We cannot do anything to be That which we
      already are but we can do something to remove our ignorance of the
      fact - namely seek selfknowledge.
       
      Shankara says (commentary on Bhagavad Gita XVIII 50): "Therefore it
      is not for the knowledge (of brahman or the Self) that any effort is
      needed; it is needed only to prevent us from regarding the not-Self
      as the Self." (Ref. 87)
       
      324. If nothing is done, nothing will happen! The 'person' will
      continue in his or her life of suffering. Of course this is
      irrelevant at the level of reality - after all 'I am brahman' - but
      to the ignorant jIva it makes all the difference. Simply hearing the
      message repeated is not on its own sufficient, as many satsang
      seekers will testify. If the basic understanding is not present, the
      message will simply be unintelligible.
       
      (There is) No Path
       
      336. The ego of seeking is not an obstacle (in fact, it is a gift).
      It will destroy itself when the time comes. Attempting to 'do
      nothing' is a mental self-delusion ('doing' doing-nothing).
       
      337. David Carse (who does not teach) gives the neo-advaitin view of
      how seeking appears to be going somewhere but isn't really:
      "Spiritual seeking is the art of walking in very small circles. This
      does two things: it creates the illusion of motion, of getting
      somewhere; and it prevents one from stopping, from becoming still,
      which is where one would look around and see the futility of it all."

      (Ref. 7) But, if direct self-knowledge is manifesting, the 'seeking'
      that is bringing this about cannot be futile from the standpoint of
      the seeker. And this self-knowledge is most unlikely to arise without
      prompting from a qualified teacher.
       
      Practice is of No Value
       
      365. John Wheeler says that: "You do not need to practice to be what
      you are." (Ref. 16) and goes on to say that: "Once the mind gets hold
      of the notions of awakening or liberation, there is invariably an
      attempt to turn this into some kind of goal, which the individual
      hopes to attain."
       
      Both statements can be accepted as true. The mistake is to link the
      two. Practice in the traditional sense does not relate to the mind
      trying to achieve enlightenment but to mental preparation.
      Self-knowledge can only be gained in a mind which is relatively calm
      and peaceful. When the selfknowledge occurs, there is no practice
      involved; its happening is inevitable. There is not, in any case,
      anything seriously wrong with the individual having the goal of
      enlightenment. The misunderstanding associated with this is probably
      inevitable and will naturally be resolved by a good teacher.
       
      ~ ~ ~
       
       Enlightenment: The Path Through the Jungle:  a criticism of non-traditional teaching methods in advaita, by Dennis Waite. Foreword by Greg Goode.
       
      You may read more about this new and important work by visiting http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/enlightenment/enlightenment.htm. You will also find instructions for receiving your own copy of the 37 page attractively designed E-Book.
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