Standing as Awareness: The Direct Path
New, Expanded Edition, Foreword by Jerry Katz. Non-Duality Press, October 2009.
When you take a stand as awareness, you don't take yourself as an object such as the body or a personalized mind state, but as awareness itself. You come to experience awareness confirming your stand.
This new edition retains the selection of dialogs from a decade of New York City nondual-dinners, but adds three new chapters
on the fundamentals of the Direct Path, such as How to Stand as Awareness, Falling in Love with Awareness, and "The Witness - from Establishment to Final Collapse into Pure Consciousness."
The new chapters include several experiments in awareness that can help establish and stabilize your experience that the world, body and the mind are nothing other than pure consciousness itself.
Nondualism in Western Philosophy
(PDF eBook; 34 pages, includes Table of Contents, bibliography and endnotes. Cost: $5.00, including tax) Nondualism is often thought to be an exclusively Eastern teaching. But Western philosophy and mysticism have given rise to varieties of nondual expression since before Plato. This is a series of pointers to how the Western approach can assist with one's self-inquiry. It begins with a description of nondualism, Western style. Then various views and arguments are presented that might serve as tools for inquiry, and suggestions are given on how these tools might be used. You will learn how Democritus, Plato, Plotinus, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Fichte, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Wilfrid Sellars, Richard Rorty and others have resolved or dissolved the classic dualisms such as mind/body and appearance/reality. Concludes with a practical, forward-looking dialogue.
Nondualism, What’s Wrong with Dualism Anyway?, Nondualism East and West, Western Mysticism, The Nondualist Reaction to Descartes, Materialism, Eliminative Materialism, Nonmaterialism, Idealism,
Plotinus (205-270), Spinoza (1632-1677), John Scottus 812-877), Berkeley (1685-1753), Fichte (1762-1814), Hegel (1770-1831), The Turn Towards Language, Away from Metaphysics, Where Do I Go From Here?,
Test the Grip of Duality, The Winner Is, A Note about Who is Right, Nondual Nacho Satsang, Weblinks, General, Nonduality, Academic, E-Texts, and Bibliography.
Anonymous. The Cloud of Unknowing.
One of the most profound statements of mysticism and nonduality to ever come from the Christian tradition. Written by an unknown 14th Century English monk because of its unorthodoxy, mysticism and nondualism, this book actually inspired the later and more popular texts such as The Dark Night of the Soul
Berkeley, George. Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous.
Remember the old question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" Well, Berkeley (1685-1753) is the one who answered "NO!" in a resounding way. When his arguments take hold, a great weight seems to drop, and light flowingness is experienced in life. This is the most accessible presentation of his non-materialist theory. The belief that there is a world without awareness is often a block to nondual inquiry. See the link on this site, "Blocks to Inquiry."
See also my articles "Idealism and the World"
and "Physical Objects Disappear!"
Berkeley, George. Free PDF Download of Berkeley's Three Dialogues in modern English,
edited by Jonathan Bennett. See Prof. Bennett's admirable and helpful Early Modern Texts
project for works by Berkeley, Hume, Locke, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and others.
Berkeley, George. Philosophical Works: Including the Works on Vision.
His theories in much more detail. Includes most of his main works, including "Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision"; "Principles of Human Knowledge"; "Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous"; "Theory of Vision Vindicated and Explained"; "De Motu."
Brenner, William. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was one of the most influential philosophers in the 20th century. In his _Philosophical Investigations_, he removes the barrier between language and the world by seeing language not as a reflection, but as a tool. Consequently, he saw philosophy as therapeutic. This book is Brenner's intro to Wittgenstein's _Philosophical Investigations_. This book has all the great quotes and insights, along with informative commentary. It is more understandable, easier to find, than the original. And cheaper too!
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Blanshard, Brand (1892-1987). The Nature of Thought, 2 vols.
This is the magnum opus of a great idealist American philosopher who is virtually unknown outside of academic circles. This book is Brand Blanshard's magnificent nondual vision that thought and reality are not different in kind, but in degree. Reality is thought having come to its full and necessary conclusion. When I read this during my Army years, I lost the feeling of being cut off from the world, and that feeling has never returned.
Blanshard, Brand. On Philosophical Style.
This is less about philosophy and more about writing. Blanshard was one of the best philosophical stylists in English. He tells and shows how to communicate gracefully and skillfully in this short, elegant and humane book. It has changed many people's minds about the enterprise of philosophy itself.
Buber, Martin (1878-1965). I and Thou.
One of the great statements on kindness, love, and the meaningful contact between people.
Feyerabend, Paul (1924-1994). Against Method.
Much of the time we feel separated from the world because we feel that there is an objective world "out there," and we are subjective observers "in here." We feel cut off and blocked from the world, and vulnerable with respect to the potential harm the world can do us. This feeling can be strengthened because we feel that science has proved that there is an objective world. This feeling doesn't correspond to any scientific truth, and it can make one feel empowered to know that scientists just choose a theory and go with it, not enjoying any privileged position unavailable to other people. Nowhere is the debunking of science more radical than in Paul Feyerabend. He is more radical (but less famous) than Thomas Kuhn or any other philosopher of science. Feyerabend wrote with great passion about how there is no privileged way to choose between scientific theories. He came out in favor of cultural pluralism and scientific anarchism. This is his most famous book.
Goldsmith, Joel (1892-1964). The Mystical I.
Goldsmith was a mystic who wrote essentially that God is the the only cause, and everything else is an effect. This is a magnificent therapeutic vision that, when it hits, creates lasting peace. _The Mystical I_ is his most profound book.
Goldsmith, Joel. The Realization of Oneness.
Eric Hoffer (1902-1983). The True Believer. A must for anyone looking for a guru or spiritual teacher.
Hoffer was a longshorman in San Francisco after WWII. Self-taught, he wrote this prescient short book on how mass movements and cults are powered by and are controlled by certain types of psychological dynamics. The philosophies of the mass movements are seen not as unique and formative, but largely as inconsequential surface phenomena. Fascinating combination of psychology, philosophy and sociology, with insights that can be carried over from political psychology to spiritual psychology. Made famous by President Eisenhower who mentioned it on television in the 1950's.
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David Hume (1711-1776). A Treatise of Human Nature.
Hume is most famous for demolishing the idea that there is metaphysical causation between physical events. This is his magnum opus and is written in a lively style. Hume is engaging, and this work is useful for bringing down to earth the notions of freedom, necessity, intellect, emotions, choice, and other philosophical topics that perplex people.
Marinoff, Lou. Plato, Not Prozac!
This is the book that put "philosophical consultation" on the media map. Lou, the founder of APPA is my certifier in the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA).
Plato (427-347 BCE). Symposium.
Contains an amazing oration by Socrates. He explains how the lady mystic Diotima taught him to generalize his love from the physical to the insight that love is all. You can read an analysis online here
, and the full text at classics.mit.edu.
Rorty, Richard (1931- ). Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth.
Rorty has written for almost three decades with great passion and elegance primarily about one thing. Namely, that what causes philosophical, psychological and social problems is the received view that truth is "out there" while we are spectators "in here." This book contains short, well-written articles on how this view makes no sense.
Rorty, Richard. Philosophy and Social Hope.
Rorty writes mostly for professional philosophers, but recently he's written more for general readers. This book is a good example. It's one of his most accessible books, and he's still writing energetically against the received views of truth and reality.
Sartre, Jean-Paul (1905-1980). Existentialism and Human Emotions.
This is a relatively easy intro to Sartre's existentialist philosophy. At 96 pages, it is more approachable than _Being and Nothingness_, and it sets forth his revolt against ideology, determinism and inauthenticity. Sartre arues that living one's own life in self-creation is the only route to meaning and dignity.
Sellars, Wilfred (1912-1989). Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.
This is a short but densely packed book on how "all awareness ... is a linguistic affair." That to have concepts apart from language makes no sense. To deny this, to think we can have knowledge of color or sound, for example, without language, is to fall for the "myth of the given." Sellars's book can be seen as a way to de-mystify and naturalize our ability to form concepts.
Ware, Kallistos, Trans. The Philokalia.
A beautiful collection of meditations on the nature of God, written between the 4th and the 15th centuries by mystics of the Orthodox tradition. Can be read as a Christian nondualism in a slightly veiled way. Good companion piece to the Cloud of Unknowing
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Helpful books — Eastern style
Adamson, 'Sailor' Bob. What's Wrong With Right Now!
Subtitle is "Unless You Think About It." Sailor Bob traveled from Australia in the seventies to see Nisargadatta in India -- and in 1976 Bob's search reached its natural conclusion. Ever since, he's been speaking about this simple message in a powerful, enthusiastic, and uniquely down-to-earth way. In this charmingly simple book, Bob invites the reader to rest in present awareness, which is one's nature. Awareness is never not present, regardless of the presence or absence of thought. Awareness is prior to thought, therefore prior to right and wrong. Anything supposedly "wrong" is always due to some reference point taken seriously. And since the reference point (along with the seriousness!) always arises and vanishes with thought, it can never command any force or reality. Written with a youthful sense of love and joy, this is one of the hardest-hitting popular books on nondualism. Bob's site here.
Tripta, Nitya (ed.) Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda.
Notes kept by Nitya Tripta on talks he attended over a period of years from 1950 to 1959. There is a great amount of detail about the direct approach to nondual realization. Very good table of contents and index; you can also use Adobe Acrobat's Search feature to find the topic you are interested in.
Balsekar, Ramesh (1917- ). Consciousness Speaks.
The inability to find and certify a "doer," or center of conscious control in human action, is a popular way to look for peace. Although merely reading is usually not enough for this viewpoint to hit home, Balsekar's book is one of its clearest statements. Very well organized, edited by Wayne Liquorman.
Byrom, Thomas, Trans. Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha.
One of the many translations of this beautiful Buddhist text.
See the false as false,
The true as true.
Look into your heart.
Follow your nature.
Byrom, Thomas, Trans. The Heart of Awareness: the Ashtavakra Gita.
This is a canto, a celebration, of joyful nondual living.
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Fenner, Peter. Radiant Mind: the healing power of nondual presence.
Not really a book, but an 8-month course combining Buddhist nondual philosophy and time-tested contemplative exercises.
Garfield, Jay, Trans. The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way.
Nagarjuna's Buddhist Middle Way philosophy teaches the emptiness of all things. It is actually the tenet system behind the Gelug-Ba form of Tibetan Buddhism (the Dalai Lama's branch). Middle Way philosophy is an extremely powerful, sophisticated and clear way to pacify fear, doubt, anxiety and aggression, to relieve suffering and find contentment. Garfield's presentation is logical, respectful and clear. Nagarjuna's text is not easy, but it's very rewarding with Garfield's accessible commentary. For serious students only.
Gen Lamrimpa. Realizing Emptiness.
A more popular introduction to Middle Way Buddhist philosophy, and also makes clear that the realization of emptiness is a way to eradicate suffering.
Gaudapada (7th century); Swami Nikhilananda, Trans. The Mandukya Upanishad.
This dense but faithful translation sets forth the most sophisticated teachings of Advaita-Vedanta philosophy, which has been used for millenia to see through the illusions of duality, and to find peace and happiness. This peace is directly tied to the deep realization (explained in the 3rd and 4th chapters) that there cannot be any causation at all.
Lucille, Francis. Eternity Now.
Francis Lucille's first book, in dialogue format. As one is drawn to seek the Truth, certain complex issues and paradoxes can arise, e.g., "How can I really be Awareness, when I seem to be just a person?" With kindness and clarity, Eternity Now
tackles many of these thorny issues.
Hopkins, Jeffrey. Emptiness Yoga.
This is perhaps the best written-down experiential guide to the meditations involved in realizing emptiness. See also my article, "Another Kind of Self-Inquiry"
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Star, Jonathan, Editor. Tao Te Ching.
There are two kinds of Taoism. Esoteric Taoism is a progressive chronological practice that seeks biological longevity and peace in this life. But philosophical Taoism is a deep experience of the non-separation of all things, which is peace itself. This is a more accurate but still poetic edition of the ancient Tao Te Ching. See also the Gia-Fu Feng translation
Tao Te Ching: The 25th-Anniversary Edition
Merton, Thomas, Trans. The Way of Chuang Tzu.
The Chuang Tzu is a more explanatory presentation of the ancient nondual philosophy of Taoism, best read as a sequel to the Tao Te Ching. This edition is a comparative synthesis of several other existing English translations. See also the Burton Watson translation,
Spira, Rupert. The Transparency of Things.
This book is a sweet evocation of consciousness as the being all. There are many pointers from all aspects of experience directing the reader straight to consciousness. And unlike many books on nondualism, there is no trace of nihilism or resignation here, but only an outpouring of love and happiness.
Uchiyama, Kosho. Opening the Hand of Thought.
This is one of the clearest presentations of the method of Zen meditation I've ever seen.
Waite, Dennis. The Book of One.
This is the most encyclopedic mine of advaitic information ever to hit print. Dennis combines information from internet sources, historical research, traditional texts, and live teaching traditions in a way that I've never seen under one cover. Plus, he leads you in a mature and irresistible path towards the conclusion that you are none other than consciousness itself. See also his Advaita web portal at www.advaita.org.uk // The Spiritual Path of Advaita
, which has information available nowhere else.
Wei Wu Wei (pseud. of Terence Gray, 1895-1986) All Else is Bondage.
Written years before Balsekar's Consciousness Speaks
(see above), this may be the first book focussing on "non-doership." This poetic and aphoristic book tells you all you need to know about the spontaneity of what I call "arisings." When this viewpoint really sinks in (not usually from a mere reading), the outcome is peace of mind, and the loss of feelings of guilt, remorse, blame, shame, resentment, etc.
Wilber, Ken. The Eye of Spirit.
Usually, Wilber likes to make simple things complex. But here's an exception. The last chapter of this book, called "Always Already," is a beautiful exception. This chapter is a lyrical meditation on how the very nature of your experience, any
experience, is nothing other than awareness, pure spirit. To understand this — is peace. You don't need to read anything else in this book unless you are into grand system-building. But this one beautiful chapter is worth the price of the entire book.
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