Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse

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Laughing Buddha
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Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse

Post by Laughing Buddha » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:54 am

One of the most extraordinary books on non-duality to emerge over the last few years is Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse. This book takes a very direct, honest and uncompromising approach to spirituality and spiritual awakening, and reading it means embarking on a journey beyond the individual self, to a place of stillness, oneness and clarity.

In the world of spirituality all words are but pointers to the ultimate truth, but David Carse comes closer than virtually all other authors and teachers in giving expression to that which truly is beyond words. Perfect Brilliant Stillness is an unusually profound and far-reaching work, and there's enough highly explosive spiritual dynamite in this book to enable it to act as a powerful catalyst to the reader's spiritual understanding and awakening.

David Carse is a writer of incredible clarity and depth, yet has a rather unusual way of writing and expressing himself. There is something raw and unpolished, wild and untamed about his writing, and this very unique style gives the book a freshness and vitality that's quite rare. This also helps to make the book virtually free from the many clichés and banalities often found in writings on non-duality, and it is almost as if it's consciousness or stillness itself that speaks through this book. Perfect Brilliant Stillness is a work of exceptional spiritual maturity, so much so that it deserves a place amongst the best books on non-duality ever written.

David Carse plays down the importance of his own person to such an extent that he even refers to himself as 'the david thing', yet in spite of this he skilfully interweaves aspects of his own journey into the book. We learn that he died and was reborn while staying with an indigenous tribe in the heart of the Amazon jungle, and that it was only after his spiritual awakening that he started reading books on non-dual spirituality. He also started meeting some of the leading teachers of Advaita today, and had a close spiritual relationship with Ramesh Balsekar for more than two years.

This book was written by somebody who clearly doesn't want to draw too much attention to himself. It is stated quite specifically that he does not teach and even after 'the thing in the jungle' and all that followed on from that, yes even after writing this excellent book, he still works as a carpenter in Vermont.

The spiritual awakening that David Carse went through happened quite spontaneously, and without much in the way of previous spiritual practice or knowledge about non-duality and suchlike. He had never practiced meditation or any other spiritual disciplines and was never affiliated with any particular spiritual teachers before his awakening occurred deep in the Amazon jungle a few years ago. He was on his way to becoming a catholic priest many years prior to all this, but that seems rather irrelevant in the context of the kind of radical and total spiritual awakening he went through later.

Perfect Brilliant Stillness contains not only some of the most stark and direct statements of spiritual truth ever written, but also a lot of very interesting and enlightening comments on the current state of spirituality and spiritual practice in the western world. The text is sprinkled throughout with plenty of relevant quotes from many excellent spiritual teachers and authors such as Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Wei Wu Wei, Tony Parsons, Adyashanti, Jed McKenna, Robert Adams and Ramesh Balsekar, celebrated poets like Hafiz, Rumi and Kabir as well as a number of classic Zen masters from the more or less distant past.

Perfect Brilliant Stillness is an extraordinary book in all respects, yet it is clearly not a book that will be suitable for everybody. This book is a true gift for people who have gone beyond the ego or individual self or who are in the process of doing so, but the vast majority of spiritual seekers, people who are mainly trying to improve themselves or become better or more spiritual people, will probably not find it particularly helpful. It's certainly not a self-help book, in fact it would be more accurate to say it's a book that is more likely to dismantle the self altogether.

To give potential readers a taste of the flavour of Perfect Brilliant Stillness, it might be useful to quote the first few paragraphs from the author's preface, which he calls 'The fine print':

"There are many books out there that will help you to live a better life, become a better person, and evolve and grow to realize your full potential as a spiritual being.

This is not one of them.

At the time of this writing, almost every popular spiritual teacher in America and Europe is teaching that ultimate spiritual enlightenment, once attained only by certain yogis, gurus and other extraordinary beings, can now be yours; that reading their book or attending their seminar will help you toward that end.

This book will tell you that these ideas are absurd, because it's quite obvious that neither you nor anything else has ever existed."

Pathik Strand

Moderator added link for Perfect Brilliant Stillness: ... 0976578301

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Re: Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse

Post by Mouse » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:55 pm

David Carse wrote:".......because it's quite obvious that neither you nor anything else has ever existed."
Thanks for that review Pathik Strand.

I always find the above statement quite shocking. My self kind of says "Oh damn, I shouldn't be here." It got caught appearing again.

To lessen the impact I say that David's statement and all those shocking advaita statements should have the condition of in Truth included in the run of the sentence, such as..."because it's quite obvious in truth that neither you nor anything else has ever existed."

This demonstrates to me that only what I live is the truth. There is no truth other than what I live and realise every moment. So when I am identified with the dream of being my self that is my reality that I am conscious of.....because it's quite obvious that that, my self, that moment...but perhaps not the next....thanks to reminders like yours.

So to me 'In Truth' can be read as 'when it is the Truth in my experience', or what 'I live and realise every moment'. This allows and accounts for everyones experience of being their self.
I have been inspired by Barry Long's teaching and I write this so as to acknowledge my source of inspiration. It is a wonderful help, and it is a wonderful gift.

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Re: Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse

Post by Sighclone » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:24 pm

Just a brief note - I'm halfway through "Perfect Brilliant Stillness" - I have read about 75 books on nonduality. This is my current favorite. Hands down. It is really not for beginners, however -- kind of abrupt in the first 50 or so pages, which is not his best writing...get past them. More later -- it is a must read for anyone truly, deeply interested in this. A must read. Even slightly better than Tim Freke. Same stuff, different story-teller...

Struggling with "doership" and "little me" ??? This book will either take you right back to square one with those or help you break through the gateless gate.

Thanks, Laughing Buddha, for the recommendation!

A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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