- Paperback: 600 pages
- Publisher: Mantra Books (January 12, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1905047614
- ISBN-13: 978-1905047611
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita Paperback – January 12, 2007
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His book provides a rich experience for those who enjoy pondering the deepest questions, not only regarding Advaita, but ultimately the Truth beyond all labels. Nirmala (Teacher and author of "Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self") A wonderful book. Encyclopedic in nature, and destined to become a classic. James Braha (Author of "Living Reality: My Extraordinary Summer with 'Sailor' Bob Adamson") This is definitely one of the most complete and exhaustive books on advaita ever, and is the first book that I have seen that not only deals with advaita but also expands upon the various different types and styles of teachings including contemporary ones, analyses and compares them and helps the seeker in selecting the one that matches his temperament the most. Dr. Nitin Trasi, author of "The Science of Enlightenment" Dennis has poured his love of Truth and humanity into this precise and luminous work. Highly recommended. Isaac Shapiro, Teacher and author of "Outbreak of Peace" A profoundly astute and masterful guide to the field of Self-discovery. An authoritative scholar, Dennis writes with supreme clarity as he skilfully expounds, logically analyzes and insightfully integrates the wisdom of classical and contemporary teachers with the principles of Advaita. Katie Davis, Teacher and author of "Awake Living Joy: The Essence of Spiritual Enlightenment" Dennis Waite is the West's pre-eminent explicator of Advaita Vedanta. In driving home his point that our nature is Awareness, Dennis brings to light many of Advaita's "hidden" teachings, which have never been circulated outside of specialist schools. He also does something I've never seen anywhere in print. He opens a critical dialogue between the ancient and the modern paths, whose exponents don't always agree. Fascinating! Dr. Gregory Goode, PhD (Philosophy), Philosophical Counselor and non-dual teacher. Absolutely brilliant...an ease of writing with a water-tight argument outlining the great universal truths. This book will become a modern classic. A milestone in the history of Advaita. Paula Marvelly, author of "The Teachers of One" and "Women of Wisdom" We must congratulate Dennis Waite on his highly researched study of Advaita which comprehensively states all the different aspects and angularities of this Great Teaching. It will surely prove to be a most helpful guide to the contemporary reader. Alan Jacobs, President of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK and author of "The Principal Upanishads," "The Bhagavad Gita," "The Wisdom of Balsekar" and others. I have played an imaginary game which has a teacher/guru who is composed of various elements of known teachers; let's say Francis' poetic language skills, Tony's natural friendliness and accessibility, Ramesh's Indian credibility (don't know how this would manifest), Ramana's holy gaze, Wayne's laugh, Satyananda's handsome face, etc etc etc... well since this cannot be in the flesh I can console myself with finding it as your book! Monica Alderton Dennis Waite's book "Back To The Truth" is a superb exploration into the vast subject that is Advaita philosophy. As a student of the Sanskrit language he is well qualified to delve more deeply into the background texts, which make up traditional Advaita, than most people who are interested in the subject. This excellent and long awaited book also takes an extensive look at modern teachers and writers on Advaita, and, I would say, is essential reading for anyone at all interested in the subject. It is a clear and refreshing overview of the whole genre that is Advaita - not just one aspect of it - offering the facts, from the historical past right up until today, when non-dualistic teachings abound but often emphasise different aspects of the historical teachings. This is a tool for anyone who genuinely wishes to gain a thorough comprehension of Advaita. Roy Whenary author of "The Texture of Being" A beautiful, articulate and extensive, yet compact anthology of pointers adverting to Truth. This compilation in itself is all that is needed for true understanding. Justus Kramer Schippers, Teacher and author of "Living from Neutrality" This work is a major achievement and should appeal to a wide audience of serious seekers and other students of life. Moller de la Rouviere, author of "Spirituality Without God" "Back To The Truth" is a comprehensive treatise on Advaita for those with an abiding interest in this subject. Dennis Waite is an experienced seeker and author who has the knack of imparting an immediate and satisfying sense of the underlying themes. The text is lucid, the references relevant and wide ranging, and the overall effect expansive and clarifying. This book is recommended to experienced Advaitins, as well as to those whose initial interest has led to a desire for a comprehensive review of the principles underlying this remarkable philosophy. John Lehmann, Principal, School of Advaita, Philosophy Foundation, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA Using a variety of relevant sources, Dennis Waite brilliantly succeeds in challenging the validity of the beliefs we use to protect our non-existent ego from total annihilation. Chuck Hillig, Author of "The Enlightenment Quartet" Dennis Waite in his new book on Advaita has given us a detailed, clear and balanced study of what this ancient wisdom means to us modern seekers, particularly with respect to the differences between the traditional school based on the scriptures and the more direct approach which finds favour with many spiritual seekers today. He has cleared away unnecessary verbiage which surrounds this abstruse subject. Mr Waite deftly and cogently outlines the complex richness of the Advaitic view of the world and our relationship to it with a simplicity that only a person in command of his subject can reveal. The Mountain Path (Journal of Sri Ramanasramam) Dennis Waite's strength as an author and scholar of Advaita really shows. He is thorough and exhaustive in his examination of the Advaita teachings, a sort of Ken Wilber of the Advaita world. His book is excellent for "beginners" and newcomers to Advaita simply because he covers all the bases with scrupulous honesty. But his writing is also excellent for long time seekers and those who have already "gotten it," those who have already had a profound opening and may wish to compare notes and sit back and sip the wine of a fine overview of this most ultimate of spiritual pathways to the Home that we never truly left. Philip T. Mistlberger, Teacher and Author of "A Natural Awakening: Realizing the True Self in Everyday Life" This is the most comprehensive, academic book on the so called "tradition" of non-duality we have seen. The questions, and curiosity within, may assist in turning over every rock. . The material here may be like a mirror-snake that reflects on itself, while eating its own tail - a disappearing act. Brian Lake and Naama Livni, Teachers
About the Author
Dennis Waite has been a student of Advaita for over 20 years and maintains one of the most visited websites on the subject. He is a member of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation and a moderator for the Advaitin e mail group. He lives in Bournemouth, England. He has previously published The Spiritual Seeker's Essential Guide to Sanskrit (Black & White) and The Book of One (O Books).
Top customer reviews
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Everything is covered; Discovering Who We Are Not, Karma, Meaning and Purpose, Knowledge and Ignorance, Paths and Practices, Who We Really Are, Nature of Reality, and Teaching Methods in a fairly balanced way. While there is some author's bias towards what Dennis calls "traditional advaita", it is not strong.
Dennis does a wonderful job categorizing the different teaching approaches in a very useful way between "traditional", "direct" and "neo". He does seem to go a little far in trying to appease Tony Parsons, the current iconic "neo".
The summaries at the end of each chapter are well done and very useful.
There is also great value in the 180 pages of appendices. Sections on the advaita "timeline", teacher lineages, modern teacher listing, internet resources and recommended reading are noteworthy. It is unlikely that teacher lineages will mean much in the future as knowledge is now so ubiquitous that the classical model of studying with just one teacher and approach will be rare, but it is interesting history.
A criticism would be with Dennis' using the iTrans transliteration of Sanskrit, which is infrequently used. ITrans was created to make Sanskrit keyboard-friendly in that capital letters, tildes, and "h"s are used with typical Roman alphabet characters in place of the Devanagari characters.
As few readers will know or learn the Devanagari, what is typically done is to approximate the sounds with Roman characters, without resorting to iTrans. ITrans requires making the same Roman character be two different characters/sounds, depending on whether it is a Sanskrit word, or an English one, which can be overly confusing without being illuminating.
Interestingly, Dennis' favorite advaita book from a teacher he regards very highly, Swami Dayananda's Vivekacudamani, does not use iTrans, nor do any publications from that particular lineage that I have seen.
Another criticism is Dennis' refusal to entertain any possibility of a role for science in advaita, a typical "religious" argument, which is surprising in something as arguably "scientific" and logical as advaita. In the 50 page section on "Knowledge and Ignorance", Dennis covers "Science" disparagingly in less than one page.
In a recent workshop I had with one of the senior swamis in Swami Dayananda's gurukulam, a Ph.D. in chemistry, he readily acknowledged the importance of modern physics, and folk like Einstein, in supporting and validating the claims and teachings of advaita. To write "science" off in such an uninformed and cursory manner as was done in this book, is really unfortunate. Dennis needs to read up on his "science".
All in all, this is a fine book, and well worth the purchase.
Happiness Beyond Thought
It's an incredible, awe inspiring work. Dennis Waite is truly a gift to the World. His web-site, Advaita.org.uk, has been my lifeline since I discovered it.
It is an bottomless source of Wisdom, knowledge and resources, and a truly enormous amount of work goes into maintaining it--to do this, write books, especially a Masterwork like "Back To the Truth", while still responding to emails with hapless questions from, I'm sure, many `miserable seekers' like myself, in his quiet, totally accessible way, in incomprehensible to me.
The style of Back To The Truth--his ability to draw from so many varied sources, from the most traditional of ancient Vedic Scriptures, to the most current (so called) `neo' Advaitin writings, What a skill! Then factor in his knowledge of Sanskrit.
The appendixes are nearly overwhelming--offering more resources and reviews, plus a glossary of Sanskrit terms. OK. I'm done; this review could go on and on...but I must end it.
I have to say this, however, before I do. To me, it is not the many quotes, and words of wisdom, past and current, that make this book so powerful, but Dennis's own words...his writing has a simplicity and clarity that is deceptive; like the gentle surface of a lake, there is great depth there.
Don't be put off by the size or the scholarship of this book. The best thing about Dennis, his web-site, and his writing, is his generosity and his Integrity. It shines through everything he touches.
This most excellent book covers every topic that has obsessed this me these last 32 years, I might have written it myself, but I couldn't Waite.
For those that would like a bit more guidance than "you are that", this IS the book. FULL STOP with this one, submerge yourself in it, change the way you see the world and your self.
This book will make sense of the various teachings you may have already encountered, put them in perspective, clear confusion and correct misdirection. This book explains the direct path and how it works.
Knowledge is everything and here you will find the knowledge that provides clear pointers back to the truth of that which you truly are.
Non-duality, Advaita and Zen are all at home here and the material is supported by a massive amount of quotes from modern and traditional sages and teachers.
This is an excellent read, a substantial resource and I am sure will remain amongst my favourites.