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How to Attain Enlightenment: The Vision of Nonduality Paperback – February 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Sentient Publications (February 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591810949
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591810940
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Vision of Nonduality explains methods of Vedanta in his survey of spiritual techniques, pairing theory with practice and explaining the myths and realities behind an enlightened state. From reflections on moving to a larger living space and clutter to assimilating experiences, How to Attain Enlightenment is a powerful survey any new age library needs.
(The Bookwatch, May 21, 2010)

How to Attain Enlightenment explains and focuses on Vedanta, the science of self-inquiry, and considers the myths behind the state of enlightenment and its connections to happiness. The ancient teachings of Vedanta form a foundation of knowledge and practice that has questioned the nature of reality itself, and this survey of love, lifestyle, experience and more offers a fine survey perfect for new age libraries.

(Midwest Book Review)

Though based on the ancient wisdom and knowledge of Vedanta, it comes as a breath of fresh air. A biased outlook may regard this information as old and musty, but the modern perspective displays a new approach to this gleaming and invaluable treasure.

Any worldly and material knowledge is incomplete, for it is merely a minuscule part of the whole Universe. But self-knowledge, which emphasizes oneness and the non-dual, presents knowledge which is complete and whole.

This book goes through the entire gamut of topics covered by the Vedas, making use of yoga, detachment, the ego, karma, dharma, love, meditation and much more, to bring about an inner growth, wherein is visible the enlightened and luminous self.
(East and West Magazine)

Sentient Publications presents its next best-seller, How to Attain Enlightenment:The Vision of Nonduality by acclaimed author James Schwartz, who offers his ample wisdom on the ancient teachings of 'Vedanta.'

In Hinduism, Vedanta is a system of philosophy that further develops the connotation in the philosophies that add to the theology of ancient Hinduism.

In his first chapter, Inquiry into Object Happiness Schwartz holds the key to what it means to discover enlightenment… rather, a higher sense of awareness and consciousness to receive guidance and be in unison with the power of the Universe:

'What we call reality is governed by the uncertainly principle,' writes Schwartz, 'Because our source of food, animal or vegetable, is unconcerned about our need to survive, we are forced to either pursue it or cultivate it. Shelter does not simply happen on its own but requires effort to obtain.' The same principle holds true in what he further elaborates that even when material needs have been met, individuals often find that they are still not completely fulfilled or satisfied in their lives—this is where having and maintaining a state of Vedanta helps soul seekers to be at one with the self and with the Universe, regardless of life circumstances.

If you are on a quest for wisdom and are ready to manifest a heightened state of consciousness so that you can become liberated and freed from the limitations that negate your personal and spiritual happiness, then gain the knowledge you need that Schwartz offers in his book How to Attain Enlightenment through a vast array of teachings, meditations, and more.



(CarolAnnB)

Would you like to learn how to attain enlightenment? Well regardless of the semantics of whether enlightenment is something to be attained, welcome to the enlightenmentdudes.com review of How to Attain Enlightenment by James Swartz.

This really is a handbook of enlightenment. He covers what enlightenment is not, such as not an experiential state, and then gets into what enlightenment is. He talks about qualifications, or a background of spiritual maturity the seeker needs to have. And he explains what self inquiry really is.

Swartz also spends time debunking enlightenment myths and exposing the inaccuracy of the teachings of neo-advaita (primarily western) instant enlightenment spiritual teachers.

The book reminded me of how it is to enter a relationship. It started off well, but then you reach a point where you ask yourself whether you want to go on. There was a period where I was wondering what kind of point he was trying to make and if it was actually going anywhere. Like weathering a relationship through the tough times, I went on, and I’m glad it did.

Swartz is very funny in parts of the book, and it was refreshing to see a guy write in a fashion that uses descriptive terms that don’t have you reading the words consciousness, awareness or pure being in every paragraph. There are too many spiritual books full of that crap, and Swartz is a very pleasant departure from that.

The writer has a very keen understanding of self inquiry and other methods on the spiritual path, and he discusses the benefits of each. Swartz spent considerable time in India learning self-inquiry and has a chapter dedicated to questions about Ramana Maharshi. Swartz’s teacher was not a Ramana follower so there are areas where he differentiates from Ramana. He also discusses how one’s lifestyle has a major impact on enlightenment and he differentiates terms awakening and enlightenment as being two different things.

Overall, if you can get through the slow parts, this is an excellent and comprehensive book. You’ll realize when you get through it that slow parts actually were part of a plan and have importance. Enlightenmentdudes.com highly recommends this book, and gives it an 8 out of 10 on our infinity scale.
(Enlightenmentdudes.com)

About the Author

James Swartz grew up in Montana and attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and the University of California at Berkeley before finding his niche in the world of business. He saw great success as a businessman, but in 1967 he experienced a major epiphany that turned him away from that path. Instead, he traveled to India on a spiritual journey, searching for the path to enlightenment. It was here that he learned of the famous Indian sage Swami Chinmayananda, whose knowledge and teachings proved to be the means to set James free. Now a disciple of the sage, James travels extensively to cities in America, Europe, and India to hold seminars on Vedanta, the science of self-inquiry. He provides resources for understanding non-duality through his website, www.shiningworld.com. James has previously self-published two non-fiction books: Meditation: An Inquiry into the Self (1998) and The Mystery Beyond the Trinity (1998).

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Customer Reviews

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The book explains this all very thoroughly.
A customer
I recommend this book very highly as an indispensable pointer on the spiritual path.
Paul Bahder
As the author says, this book is not one to read, but one to immerse yourself in.
Von Fleckenstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Michael Heun on March 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is quite an honor to give the first Amazon book review for this Swartz book as it just might be the best Advaita/Vendanta (Science of Self Inquiry) written by a Westerner. I have read numerous Neo-Advaita books and 90% of them leave my head spinning with concepts that blow the mind (i.e. `You are no thing', `Just look, its right in front of you', `There is nothing for you to do, you are already IT' and on and on). This book will stop the spinning remarks and get you anchored in real Vendanta (knowledge). Swartz asks that `you become immersed' in the book and that is what happened in my case. If you think you have to drop the Mind, the Ego and the Intellect to become enlightened you had better read this book as these tools are the vehicle that will help you get there.
Why can't I see that `I am pure, unlimited Awareness'? Swartz will tell you exactly why and offers the proven methods to realize Awareness [Self]. These concepts are not Swartz's concepts; they go way back to the ancient Indian scriptures. They are proven, scientific methods of realizing the Self. Swartz has an excellent understanding of these methods and his presentation is easy to follow. I copied his triangular illustration of Self Awarness to keep handy as I read the book and I marked it up [as well as my book!] with notes as I progressed through the book. It summarizes quite well the condition of the 3 bodies all wrapped up in ignorance [Maya] through the 3 energies. There is so much more I can't begin to adequately summarize it. If you are serious about Advaita Vendanta, then you better get serious about getting this book. And don't forget his website at [...]. He has some of the key scriptures you can print off.
Thanks James, I was getting pretty dizzy! Now I know what to do.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Natalie on October 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(Update below)

Tired of the line, "There is no 'you' to do anything"? Those days are over. Finally, we Westerners have a real, traditional Vedanta teacher, a dyed-in-the-wool Shankara Vedantin who has been studying and teaching scripture for forty years, since his self-realization in his late twenties under the discipleship of Swami Chinmayananda in India. James Swartz is not like the others; he will not tell you there is no "you" -- quite the contrary. First he'll tell you to grow up and get qualified. According to traditional Vedanta -- a teaching that actually works, as opposed to the vague, uninformed fluff that passes itself off as teaching nowadays -- you need to get qualified for self-inquiry, and you need to apply a means, and it takes time and effort. There is quite a bit of "doing" involved.

Swartz's book will affirm rather than deny what you instinctively know: that there is a person having experiences and suffering in ignorance. The person is not real in the sense of being eternal and unchanging, but he does exist. He is able to seek, mature, clean up his lifestyle, grow spiritually, and finally hear the highest message of the scripture from the level it is intended to be heard: from Self to Self. Swartz gives you a detailed road map for accomplishing all of this. Aren't you about ready for a map? I know I was.

Swartz skillfully leads you through an incredible amount of complicated material, step by step, demystifying it and making it relevant to what you experience as a seeker. He builds a larger picture little by little, until eventually there emerges a beautiful, shimmering collage of the entirety of creation -- the "mandala of existence," as he calls it -- the macrocosm and the microcosm, and where "you" fit into this picture.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By V. Binette-Lamb on April 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Although provocative, this book lives up to its title, as it unfolds the complete methodology of Advaita Vedanta, which purpose is to attain Self realization. I will not explain what Self realization is, as anyone slightly familiar with Vedanta already knows about this.

After some initial interest in some modern teachers of Non-Duality (namely Tolle), I decided to read a few classics, such as "Be As You Are" and "I am THAT", which moved me deeply but failed to provide me with day-to-day tools. I was then led to James' book, "How to Attain Enlightenment", after quite some consideration about where to go next.

The author has learned from Swami Chinmayananda in India, former leader of a vast Vedanta mission. He has subjected his mind to the full teaching tradition, removed his self ignorance and went on to study numerous ancien texts for several decades. He walks the talk and is quite agile at delivering clear and down to earth explanations about anything related to the topic of interest. He isn't just throwing at you a few Neo Advaita half-truths, feel good methaphors or even his personal experience of the Self. The whole methodoloy is exposed in a practical, logical and meticulous way and all of it makes complete sense as you contemplate it.

To me, this book is like my bible. I have read it multiple times and refer to it constantly. Since initially getting the book a year ago, I have made a lot of progress and my psychology has totally defrosted. This book helped me develop the qualities such as dispassion and discrimination.

Following Vedanta's tradition, you find all relevant topics such as the limitations of object happiness, the qualifications for self realization, the three yogas (karma, bhakti and jnana), the gunas and so forth.
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