on December 11, 2003
I read the book with the ardour of a high school student.
Dennis has done a wonderful job in covering the entire gamut of
advaita all the way from its Vedic roots to the masters of the new age. The effort is commendable both for its contents and the way they have been organized in a very systematic manner.
The paperback has eighteen chapters, perhaps an intentional or
unintentional take on the Bhagwad GItA, the advata classic, and makes very delicious reading for an aspiring palate. No wonder therefore that masters and veterans like Isaac Shapiro, Leo Hartong, Jerry Katz, Alan Jacob, Dr. Gregory Goode, Pamela Wilson, K. Sadananda and Jay Lakhani are all praise for it.
Dennis, as I know him from his profound contributions at Yahoo Group Advaitin and other web communities is a systematic researcher. The pains he has taken to collect, organize and elaborate information is obvious from beginning to end.
As the veterans have eloquently noted, it is a precious reference
book too for all advaitins. Dennis maintains a well-organized, very helpful website ... Just a peep into it reveals his great mastery and involvement. This book, the crowning glory, brilliantly supplements his web efforts. It should therefore prove a precious asset to libraries of philosophy the world over.
Dennis, the philosopher, doesn't forget to smile. In fact, he smiles all through, infectiously so, so that the reader keeps smiling too! Reading his book is like taking a stroll on the shores in the evening breeze in the company of a friendly uncle with the ocean of advaita roaring beside. Yet, Dennis is less avuncular than friendly. And, there lies the secret of this book, which is quite unlike others on the subject that leave the reader more confused than enlightened.
The book is a must for Westerners and English-educated Easterners interested in Advaita. Any book on advaita should stand above continental diversities. It is very heartening that Dennis and his work stand tall and tower over them.
I am sure all advaitins, both aspiring and accomplished, would cherish to possess this book and ruminate on its illustrative examples.
I wish the book universal acclaim.
on June 15, 2005
There are many books on the market that focus on the theme of advaita (nonduality). However, what separates Waite's book from the others is his meticulous and yet practical approach to its theory and practice. Many modern schools of advaita advocate the `nothing to do, nowhere to go' approach - this is fine in itself but can be greatly misunderstood to be a form of hedonistic fatalism. Whilst acknowledging that, ultimately, the ego is a non entity, Waite offers useful techniques and delineated steps along the path to freedom. Written in an elegant and accessible style, 'The Book of One' is, in my opinion, the standard `text book' for modern-day advaita. Highly recommended.
on May 21, 2005
I just read this book recently after a long and torturous 40 year search for the "truth." It is like I have dogged Dennis' every step to finally arrive, in my understanding, at what he so simply expresses in this charming book. His list of references looks like the line up in my bookcase. As I read the book I witnessed myself sighing a series of quiet "yeap, yeap,..., yeaps." I was neither elated nor frightened by what I read, rather I was overtaken with an attitude of resigned recognition of the undeniable and blindingly obvious - like it or not, how else could it possibly be? I wondered what I would have felt if this were to have been the first book that I had read on this subject. I can't say for sure but my guess would probably have been either total dismissal or recoiling fear - in both cases my ego would have been running for its life. I think this because about 20 years ago I had both reactions when I first started to understand the real implications of realisation or enlightenment - no ego, no future, no past - no me! So what can I say to you about it? I don't really know, but if this is the first or the last book that you read on your search, what I can say is that you will, sooner or later, if you are serious, be forced to sigh in total resignation. As you go around and around the block you will have no choice but to finally admit that you will have to leave the block to parts unknown to ever have a hope of satisfying your insatiable thirst, and it will be the very last thing that you would have expected or hoped for but there it is - neatly and clearly summarised in Dennis' book. Do yourself a favour and just read it all the way through even if you then drop it and turn away from it for the next twenty years, you will be back one day and you will be glad. And then you will need and want to read, "I AM THAT" by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.
on October 19, 2005
Advaita Vedanta has been examined and explained by numerous sages and philosophers over the past three thousand years; and each writer on this theme does so with his own style and signature. Dennis Waite has written "The Book of One" in an admirably reasoned and contemporary style, producing one of the most cogent and methodical expositions of Advaita Vedanta yet written.
Understanding and Self-realization are not the same. However, there is an indelible link between the two. Intellectual understanding opens wide the consciousness of a new and wondrous perspective, and sets the stage for direct apperception, for clarity of awareness, for re-cognition of eternal Truth. It is understanding which awakens the subtler faculties of awe and intuitive knowing. As Mr. Waite points out, hearing or reading the words of the enlightened is essential for an awakening of consciousness, and Mr. Waite's "The Book of One" is carefully crafted to provide one of the most excellent sources of understanding available. I highly recommend it to the contemporary student requiring a thorough introductory guide to the philosophy of Advaita (Non-Dualistic) Vedanta.
Postscript: I am struck by both the similarities and the dissimilarities of this book with my own book on the same subject (The Wisdom of Vedanta, first published in 1991 and to be re-released by O Books in July, 2006). The similarities appear in our common understanding of the basic principles of Vedanta, and the dissimilarities appear in our temperaments: his being predominantly that of a jnani (or knower); and mine being predominantly that of a bhakta (or lover). In nearly all of my writings, I have discussed the fact that, while it is necessary to develop both sides of one's nature, everyone is predisposed to a predominant temperamental inclination toward one approach to Reality or the other; either jnan or bhakti. One of the best examples of this difference in temperaments is found in Sri Ramakrishna (a bhakta) and his esteemed disciple, Swami Vivekananda (who was a jnani). One may cite also as exemplars of this temperamental opposition Paramahamsa Yogananada (a bhakta) and Sri Ramana Maharshi (a jnani).
Mr. Waite acknowledges these two "paths" as dependent on temperament, but seems to relegate the bhakti "path" to a position inferior to his own "path" of jnan, and gives it very short shrift. From my observations, it is usually the bhakta who acknowledges both "paths" as valid, and the jnanis who maintain their own path as superior. I suppose that is only to be expected. Whether love or knowledge is viewed as superior, again, seems to be linked to one's own temperamental preference, neither having that status in any absolute sense. My thought is that, in the most perfect circumstance, the two blend together to form a sweet but unnamable state of being.
(Author of History of
Mysticism, The Supreme Self, The Wisdom of
on May 20, 2007
The Book of One is a sweeping, fresh overview of consciousness subjects shaping the path of Advaita Vedanta. Topics are handled with confidence, and their most non-dual depths are struck effortlessly. Waite offers Advaita as a resolver of the problems of life and death. The book is practical, grounded in scripture, and respectful of the reader's inclination - whether active, meditative, intellectual or devotional - and his level of familiarity. It is directed toward beginning seekers, researchers, students of philosophy or religion, those who are already familiar with Advaita, and those already Self-realized who enjoy keeping up with what's being written. If you take yellow brick roads that wind through Internet fields, this book will be particularly valuable and interesting.
Unique about this book is the confident and graceful manner in which the author integrates and moves between Western, Eastern, and, if you will, Cyber influences. It is clear that Waite himself is intimate with the terrain of Cyberspace, the paths, people, and places. This book has the fluidity of the World Wide Web. He creates a swirl in which the ancient familiarity felt with sages such as Ramana or Nisargadatta, is transferred to Kant, Schopenhauer, Berkeley and Plato. This role of the internet and Western thought upon Waite's work is related to his intellectual and spiritual relationship with Dr. Gregory Goode, who is a teacher in New York, scholar in Western philosophy, and pioneer/participant in Non-duality on the internet.
The Book of One is framed by an exceptional Table of Contents, valuable Appendixes, and an index. The Table of Contents itself serves as an excellent introduction to the book and shows how carefully the author constructed this work. As well, there are numerous pages of recommended Websites. Along with Waite's newer title, Back to the Truth, this book belongs on a shelf along with the best Advaita books of our time.
on February 8, 2007
Dennis Waite's `The Book of the One' must surely have been a labour of love. As an author myself, I cannot image how long it must have taken him to compile such an extensive summary of the essential teachings of Advaita Vedanta and write in such an accessible style.
The publishers, O Books, seem to be setting a standard with such works, where philosophy is not merely left to the realms of high intellectual thought, but brought home by making the primarily mystical insights of Vedanta relevant to our postmodern world, as well being pragmatic, with crucial chapters on meditation and other spiritual exercises.
This book remains one of my key references on the subject. Any student of non-dualistic wisdom will surely find `The Book of the One' indispensable, as it covers numerous core areas of philosophy and spirituality, such as facing our fears, the subject of death, what consciousness is, the limitations of the intellect and ultimate questions about Reality.
on April 7, 2007
Dennis Waite draws his resource information from an extremely wide base of most, if not all of the giants of the Advaita philosophy. He really shows his humility by not including himself in that very honored group. The book really covers all the bases, and is organized in a very orderly and logical arrangement. The principled, and sensible way he approaches the teachings reminds me of the writings of Alan Watts.
on January 5, 2008
The Book of one is a clear and beautiful book. It takes lots of attention to reed, which is also the main point of the book. To be in the present with a clear mind and do everything according to your best intentions.
But beyond that it gives a a unique look on who and what we are. With clear examples. Of-course more questions arise but through the book it inspires you to look on more information about advaita.
on September 5, 2005
Whether you are a follower of Advaita,as I am, a novice or just interested in learning about world religions this book has something to offer. Very ease to read and understand.
on March 1, 2008
The Book of One is a masterful, comprehensive and pragmatic guide to non-duality. Dennis writes in an intimate manner, which makes it a joy to read. I especially enjoyed his skillful use of parables and metaphors. His accurate study is well documented and referenced, with excellent appendices, which serve as a fine resource for readers. I highly recommend The Book of One to those who are open to the Unknown.
Katie Davis, Author, "Awake Joy"