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Return To The One: Plotinus's Guide To God-Realization Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Adrasteia Publishing (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977735214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977735211
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

In addition to Return to the One, Brian Hines is the author of Life is Fair and God's Whisper, Creation's Thunder. More information about these books and Brian's current writing projects can be found at, his website. A serious student of meditation, metaphysics, and philosophy for over thirty five years, Brian has a bachelor's degree in psychology/humanities, a master's degree in social work, and two years of doctoral-level training in systems science. He has been a research associate at the Oregon Health Sciences University, a manager with Oregon's health planning agency, and executive director of Oregon Health Decisions. Most recently, Brian was the communications director for Eco-Enterprises, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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As a summary: this is a good book about a difficult subject.
In his book the author, Brian Hines, interprets and explains the mysticism of Plotinus' Neoplatonism as he expressed it, his philosophy, in the Enneads.
Sharon Y.
Reading this provocative book will, hopefully, help us to better understand our spiritual roots and to better understand ourselves.
Patricia Herron

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty on October 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
The philosophic and religious thought of Plotinus, a third-century philosopher and mystic, was primarily responsible for initiating the philosophical movement we call Neoplatonism and was an important influence on the development of early Christian thought. Plotinus' writings were published by Porphyry, who was one of his students, in six books of nine sections and was called the "Enneads." Plotinus' ideas can be very difficult for many people to grasp, especially in this modern age which is so beset with empiricism and materialism and looks on mysticism and religious meditation with a skeptical eye. We are fortunate now to have Brian Hines, a longtime serious student of meditation, metaphysics, and philosophy, write a book in easily-understandable language to explain the many concepts, some of them very obscure, that Plotinus presents in his "Enneads."

The book, entitled "Return to the One: Plotinus's Guide to God-Realization," is, however, more than just a theoretical explanation of Plotinus' thought. It is also a practical guide to the procedures that Plotinus suggests will enable an individual to accomplish what he or she really longs for, which is to return to the "One," which, as the author points out, "may be thought of as 'God,' if this more familiar term for ultimate reality is stripped of its personal or theistic connotations." The One or God, according to Plotinus, is not only the supreme inconceivable reality but also the principle of all realities.

The invisible world as well as the visible world, man included, is nothing other than a derivation or emanation from the One. The One is true happiness for man; but as man cannot reach full knowledge of the One by reason, so also he cannot possess happiness of himself; his intellectual knowledge is not sufficient.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By B. Koole on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Plotinos (Latin: Plotinus) is not well known to the general public, much less than Plato in whose tradition he stands. Nevertheless Plotinos is well known in smaller circles on behalf of his enormous influence on Western mysticism, and not less as a very original philosopher. However his writings are not read very often outside the small circle of lovers. And this is understandable because what is left of them, is mostly restricted to an - although extensive - collection of loose and often smaller tractates, after adaptation bundled by his pupil Porphyrius. Due to Plotinos' influence on christian mysticism and on philosophy in its stricter sense many introductions to his work are written from those viewpoints, and so are rather christian-theological or more strictly philosophical. Too soon forgotten then is Plotinos' objective of a view of life that is to be lived, and this as well without reference to christian theology and without the modern opposition of philosophy and practice. Perhaps it might even be said that in so far the tradition of the hellenistic mystery schools was integrated or still got some place within the christian West, this mainly took place through Plotinos and the neoplatonism inspired by him.
Ofcourse it is possible to look at Plotinos in the ways described, and this even has become the norm for a long time in the past. But historically and practically it is possible to read the original Plotinos in a way which does not take those interpretations as the norm. A way which is distinct and at least as original. This is my opinion after reading Brian Hines book. However what I am not capable to do, is tracing exactly the accordance of his interpretation with Plotinos' texts or rather with the system entailed and described in those.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By E. Woontner on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Plotinus and his work, but I had never found anybody who described it with suck simplicity and clarity. Hines must be commended for his hard work and for all the huge help that he provided for spiritual seekers. I hope to see this book translated in many languages and becoming widely known. There is so much trust in stupidity today and reading this book has been a refreshing, comforting experience, like going Home.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donna J. Olsen on August 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hines' book comments and expands on a variety of paragraphs from the Enneads, a set of treatises by Greek philosopher and mystic Plotinus. The "central message . . . .is that what each of us truly longs for, even if we don't consciously realize it, is to return to the One--which may be thought of as `God'. . ." Even in translation Plotinus is difficult for the modern reader, and Hines does a good job of making this very religious philosopher accessible.

Plotinus is often Buddhist and sometimes Christian in his outlook. No matter what their stance, this book can help readers of all traditions identify the yearnings that drew them in the first place. Hines concludes, "If religious pursuit is viewed as akin to a trek up a mountain with God at the apex, then the various religions may be conceived as paths that attempt the ascent up different vertical divisions of the mountain." His point is not merely that the differences are differences of symbol, language, and understanding of revelation. His point is a deeper one: that the Divine One offers us unity, not mere relationship with Another. In these chapters, Christians might find themselves thinking of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; Buddhists might think of Buddha Nature or even Dependent Arising in general.

Hines has a gift for short, memorable comments:
* The soul isn't in a body: it is a body that is in the soul.
* Simplicity is a reliable guide to truth.
* If I'm bad it isn't because the Devil made me do it. I'm just insufficiently filled with the Good.

Many readers will disagree with Plotinus' concept of each soul's pre-existence, the idea that each of us has had "an enduring soul-essence" that has been reborn in this universe.
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