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Enlightenment: The Path Through The Jungle Paperback – April 9, 2008
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I am sure it will assist many who are becoming increasingly confused and disillusioned by Neo Advaita, and may turn to the traditional approach. ~Alan Jacobs, President of the Ramana Foundation UK I heartily recommend this book. ~James Swartz, teacher and author Dennis Waite offers necessary help to sincere seekers who wish to learn how to discern between the diamond-like brilliance of authentic Advaita-Vedanta, from the rhinestone approaches represented by popular neo-Advaita. ~Mariana Caplan, Ph.D., author of "Halfway Up the Mountain"This is a valuable addition to Advaitic literature and should be read by all those who are perplexed as to the truth of this noble tradition. ~The Mountain Path, TiruvannamalaiIn his new work: ENLIGHTENMENT, Dennis Waite rises to the challenge of this modern spiritual dilemma confronting the key issues between the traditional and modern approaches to Advaita/Non-Duality head-on. In this regard, he is a lone, rare voice, and should be commended for his diligent work. "oy Whenary, author of "The Texture of Being"
About the Author
Dennis Waite has been a student of Advaita for over 20 years and maintains the most visited website on the subject. He is a member of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation and chief moderator for the Advaitin e mail group in 2007. He lives in Bournemouth, England.
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On a few occasions, I could attest to "glimpses" of the Absolute, Awakened State or "God" but as EXPERIENCES ONLY, they were simply transient. Nothing substantive really remained so I continued maintaining a fair amount of my inner conflicts, bouts of insecurity, etc. In that respect, the book has served to confirm the value of my ongoing meditative practice(actually self inquiry)because I came to realize the limitation of JUST meditation alone.
If someone could awaken simply from the messages imparted by a recognized, bona fide Neo Advaitan, I extend my heartfelt congratulations but my advice would also be to not start counting the chickens before they're hatched or equally "All that glitters ain't gold!"
Traditional advaita is a process, a culture, and a methodology for achieving enlightenment. It is founded in Indian scriptures, but more important than scriptures are the teacher and the methodology, according to Waite.
What is neo-advaita?
Neo-advaita gets right to the point that so many people already sense, intuit, and know from experience. The point is that "this" is "it." Stop and see. Neo-advaita confesses the truth that there is only "this." Neo-advaita doesn't go through a process of education, nor does it unfold scriptures chapter by chapter. It just says what is, in various ways.
Since it's impossible for people to gather around any interest at all without some kind of organization arising, there are processes, methods, and a culture of neo-advaita that can be identified, but they are very thin compared to traditional advaita..
Some of the teachers of neo-advaita, though they themselves do not use the term neo-advaita, include Tony Parsons, Jeff Foster, Richard Sylvester, Nathan Gill.
Theme and purpose:
The theme of this book is that you can become enlightened through traditional advaita, while it is unlikely you will become enlightened through neo-advaita and satsang.
Dennis writes about the book's purpose: "The purpose is specifically to address the concerns of seekers who are dissatisfied with the satsang or neo-advaitin approaches to the teaching of advaita and to answer related questions." Waite says, "I am not primarily criticizing neo-advaita in respect of the truth or falsehood of its actual statements but as regards its utility as a teaching methodology."
The evolution of advaita:
Neo-advaita is less than 30 years old and evolving. Traditional advaita is 1200 years old and it too is evolving. For example, one organization, The Philosophy Foundation in Waltham, Massachusetts, is dedicated to traditional advaita and offers an Eckhart Tolle reading group. Swami Chinmayananda's ashram offers youth camps and senior citizens homes. Both those organizations are mentioned by Waite in his book and their recommendation is implicit.
Dennis Waite has freeze-framed the evolution of neo-advaita, analyzed it, and suggested it bend and graft onto traditional advaita. More than anything else, that suggestion makes this book controversial. It sounds as though he is asking Tony Parsons to teach classes in the Upanishads. That is unnatural. Kindly allow me to ask, When did Dennis Waite become the Pope of advaita?
This is an important book in the nonduality genre for several reasons. Dennis Waite makes a distinction between neo-advaita and traditional advaita that is detailed and clear. Well-known players in the nonduality game back Waite's thesis. Also, Dennis Waite has developed a potential force for the evolution of neo-advaita. If his book is read by people who attend Western satsang and if they ask the right questions, that force could be absorbed by neo-advaita and a new faction might split off that looks like a neo-traditional advaita.
While there will be some that take his assertions about the necessity of effort on the part of those who wish to find enlightenment and end their suffering, and his criticism of certain "neo-advaita" teaching methods, as negative, I feel it is worth the time of everyone to read what he has written and pause to digest these gentle assertions and see if they do not ring true. There is that old adage: "You get what you pay for," which, if you see your efforts to reach understanding as the payment, holds just as much in this realm as in any other.
Of course there will always be those who are in too much of a rush to "stand in line," and they don't listen to anyone anyway. This book isn't for them.
There is a disturbing current finding favor in modern Nondual circles, which Dennis points to, which I characterize as anti-Intellectualism. Concepts, more and more frequently of late, are considered to be wrong in all cases. And it is this judgment that leads to teachers today presenting an understanding of ultimate reality as requiring nothing more than a short tagline, such as "you are That!," to achieve. As Dennis explains, this is the reason that effort is rejected and scriptural authorities are ignored. But it isn't that easy to dispel ignorance, and if you spend the time to contemplate the good feelings of being together with your satsang and how you were before, you will see that all you have done is replace one misunderstanding of reality, coupled with whatever suffering, or dis-ease, this brought on, with assertions that you really don't understand when you try to make sense of them, coupled with the good feelings of companionship that one finds in satsangs. And it is this failure to make sense of these assertions that is today esteemed because it means that one is not "lost" within concepts. Yes, but one is also bereft of understanding!
You are That, and nothing needs to be done to change you, but until you understand what that little tagline means you are not enlightened. It is the conceptual wisdom of a long tradition like Advaita that has proven effective in moving individuals like you and I to this understanding. It is the ignorance that must be dispelled, as Dennis points out, and that does require effort. Understanding is not like coins in the pocket - something that you have - and you do not get $200 for just passing "Go". Understanding is something that you are, and this book will help you realize what you are "doing wrong" to become that!
An Introduction to Awareness
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Some people might like more of the neo-advaita writers, while others might like more of the...Read more
For whatever it's worth, I tend to agree with Dennis Waite about the