Vedanta

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Re: Vedanta

Postby rachMiel » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:41 pm

James Swartz wrote:The whole of Vedanta can be reduced to one simple equation found in the Upanishads ‘You are that’ where ‘that’ is the self and ‘you’ is the self in the form of the experiencer and the verb ‘are’ is indicates the identity between the two.

I ran this by Dennis Waite, who's agreed* to be my Advaitin Hit Man (my wording) and address all the crazed questions that occur to me while I'm studying Advaita Vedanta, and he said: "Effectively, that is correct." Good to get corroboration on this, since it's so utterly key to Advaita.

* For a reasonable hourly fee; if you're interested, email him to set something up.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby rideforever » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:53 pm

You say this piece is here and that part there, and this is the diagram of the human. But is the human a static construction ? And if so why are there so many stages of consciousness and awakening ? It's not that simple.

Surely there is no "diagram" that is fixed. Everything changes as you go further into it. It might not even be possible to say that here is the diagram of the final position and you incrementally add bits on until you get there.

The biggest obstacle to communication of these things is that few are able to make an exposition of the changing situation, instead all trying to arrive at the final diagram, but that really is not use because for each person at a different step on the journey, the diagram is different, the areas of growth are different.

Also, if it was so easy to just look in and find it mankind would be a fully enlightened species by now. We have been trying very hard for thousands of years. It just isn't that easy.

Gurdjieff would also contribute that the great challenge for a man is to make his "will" burn so brightly that consciousness is created inside - and that this creation is the path ... and it is not a question of stumbling onto the hidden thing inside. It is actually not inside unless you create it ... and this is why it is so difficult.

In my view this kind of "diagram" does not give instructions to the seeker on how to arrive; and such instructions would more concern how to approach the inner and outer environment a seeker faces.

Also I have recently heard the following from Anadi : Ramana Maharshi describes the spiritual heart as being on the right-hand side of the chest which is not the normal position for humans ... this means that he may not have been the same as most people, he could have existed in a slightly different dimension from the rest of us. This piece of hard technical information has many implications : if he is not like us, then can his path help us ?
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Re: Vedanta

Postby samadhi » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:11 pm

rideforever wrote:It's interesting he begins by saying that commenting on texts is so difficult for many reasons, did the sage really say these things ? how are we to interpret them ? and who is interpreting them ?

... and then he goes on for 100 pages doing all these things he is warning about ! Ha !

He is indeed an expert about himself !


Well...actually there's very little of himself in 'his teachings'. That's why I respect him - unlike virtually every Western spiritual teacher, he hasn't tried to create his 'own' teaching, his own brand. There's no need for anyone to try to reinvent the wheel, because this stuff was all already figured out and elucidated beautifully - millennia ago :P He's spent 40 years teaching traditional vedanta and he has an incredible understanding of its pretty much impenetrable logic. Because of that, and the fact his teaching isn't about him or some spin he's put on it himself, he's one of the few spiritual teachers out there who I believe are genuinely qualified to teach. He's the real deal, although he doesn't appeal to everyone because he has an edge and is about as far from the cuddly, peace-and-love guru stereotype as you can get.

On his website http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/james_swartz/neoAdvaita.htm he again goes into to analysis overdrive about the who can and who can't, should shouldn't, deserve or doesn't deserve.

Yeah ... this is really helpful for the seeker who is confused enough !


If you're talking about the 'qualifications' bit, it's amazing how this rubs so many spiritual peeps up the wrong way. I guess it takes some of the romance and mysticism out of people's spiritual notions. Yet if you stop to consider it, it's a real gift. They figured out centuries ago - at least as far back as the time of Shankara - the reason that so few spiritual seekers ever become finders.

I mean, let's face it, the spiritual world has a pretty dismal success rate - if you take 100 spiritual seekers, how many of them will ever 'reach' enlightenment - maybe 4 or 5? The reason some people 'attain' and others don't comes down to whether or not the mind is qualified - and if it's not qualified, you simply work on it and GET qualified. It has nothing with 'deserving'. If someone is driven by passions, has the wrong values, is unable to discriminate or control the senses,is suffering addictions and emotional attachments then they will find it hard/impossible to assimilate the truth that they are pure, limitless, objectless, actionless nondual awareness and thus through that knowledge attain liberation. Doesn't mean they don't deserve to, or can't or shouldn't - just means they need to clean up the decks and work on getting their mind into the appropriately balanced and receptive state. To me this just makes perfect sense.

Schwarz leaves you in the dark.


Well you can only really speak for yourself in this instance. He didn't leave me in the dark - quite the contrary. But you can't expect to just have a quick dip into this teaching, or take some out of context quotes etc and find it illuminating. You can maybe do that with Mooji and Gangaji or whoever else, but they don't teach a system, just off the cuff rumination on the Self.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby samadhi » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:59 pm

rideforever wrote:
Also I have recently heard the following from Anadi : Ramana Maharshi describes the spiritual heart as being on the right-hand side of the chest which is not the normal position for humans ... this means that he may not have been the same as most people, he could have existed in a slightly different dimension from the rest of us. This piece of hard technical information has many implications : if he is not like us, then can his path help us ?


Ramana's talk of the spiritual heart has caused a lot of confusion. He wasn't a traditional vedanta teacher and his teachings would vary considerably depending on who he was addressing them to, as a result causing a number of contradictions in his recorded dialogues. In the words of David Godman, one of his foremost translators, "the Heart 'as it is' is not a location, it is the immanent Self and one can only be aware of its real nature by being it." Its placement on the right side of the chest was given as a tool to aid meditation/focus for some people, probably beginners who weren't ready for the deeper teachings of inquiry. It seems he spoke of it as being on the right side of the chest to differentiate it from the physical heart, so people wouldn't end up focussing on a physical organ and end up with erroneous notions about it.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby steve Davidson » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:16 am

I found this old but interesting thread on Vedanta. I have been reading some older threads and it seems several members on here are Vedantists or were into it at one time. Does anyone have any further thoughts on Vedanta and its teachings compared to Tolles Teachings. Rachmiel, where are you now in regards to Vedanta, are you still studying it in your own way? Can someone summarize in Tolles terms the basic fundamentals of Vedanta?
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Re: Vedanta

Postby steve Davidson » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:01 am

Runstrails, i would love to hear from you too, about what you have been doing with Vedanta, if anything, since you posted this thread. Has it helped you to better understand Tolles teachings and to go further? Are you still studying Vedanta and if so, with what teacher? I find it interesting to hear what others are doing to help on their path besides working with Tolles teachings.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby runstrails » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:02 pm

Hi Steve,
Thanks for resurrecting this old thread. It made me think of samadhi one of our fine members. I hope he is well.

Vedanta did the trick for me and I'm still very much a Vedantin. The essence of Vedanta is not different from Tolles teachings, but it goes much deeper. It has a methodology which has been around for thousands of years and the teaching is unfolded in a very systematic way. Vedanta is for mature seekers---those who understand that the answers for inner peace and happiness do not lie in the material world.

The basic philosophy is similar to Tolle (i.e., your true nature is formless consciousness/existence). Vedanta establishes this for you in an irrefutable way using logic (as opposed to experience) and then provides practices to retrain the brain such that your identity shifts from the limited being to limitless consciousness. Limitless consciousness is of the nature of a witness and so is unaffected by anything that happens to the limited being (i.e., body/mind). This realization and shift in identity results in liberation for the limited being.

For Western seekers, James Swartz (www.shiningworld.com) and Ted Schmidt (www.nevernotpresent.com) are excellent teachers.

If you want to go deeper there are wonderful books on the Gita and Upanishads by Swami Dayananda and audio lectures by Swami Paramarthananda in English.

Swami Sarvpriyananda from the Ramakrishna order has some excellent question and answer utube videos online.

Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have specific questions.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:15 pm

steve Davidson wrote:Can someone summarize in Tolles terms the basic fundamentals of Vedanta?




My answer is, no. That's what neo teachings have been trying to do, sorta, but they leave out key components, ect. Vedanta has a methodology behind it, so needs to be taught in a certain order and manner by a qualified teacher.

Here is a teaching by James Swartz. He is for anyone, but especially the westerner. Start with part 1, don't skip around, ends with part 16. Over 20 hours of Vedanta teaching unfolded sysematically...for free.

WORKSHOP - PRACTICING VEDANTA - JAMES SWARTZ - WESTERWALD GERMANY - MARCH 2014: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... Q2Jl89MBnJ
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:23 pm

The reason I said, no, btw is that for me there is so much left out of the neo-advaita teachings, that it eventually left me very frustrated. So, I wouldn't want to leave anything out, by summarizing.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby steve Davidson » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:03 pm

Thank you two for the responses and the links, might check some of them out.

I do have one question. It is, I have read quite a bit of Ramana Maharshi and he is recognized pretty much universally as an Enlightened Sage, but I have heard some Vedantists say he was not

traditionally trained. Okay, fine, i can accept that, but my question would be, what he shared with others, is it in line with Vedantas teachings? Is what he said helpful for someone who is not

traditionally trained? Can one still get something helpful out of his utterances? Do you read Ramana now and appreciate what he shared and it makes sense to you now?
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Re: Vedanta

Postby rachMiel » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:25 am

dijmart wrote:The reason I said, no, btw is that for me there is so much left out of the neo-advaita teachings, that it eventually left me very frustrated. So, I wouldn't want to leave anything out, by summarizing.

Fantastic resource these 16 Advaita lessons, and very generous of Swartz to provide them for free! At some point I'll binge 'em, do a mini 2-3 day retreat on my own with the videos. Thanks for the link.

Interestingly, I have almost the exact opposite reaction as you: The ultra-rational thoroughness of traditional Advaita teachings kind of frustrates me, and the feel of suggestive mystery of my favorite Neo's — Tolle, Spira, Goode, Mooji — opens me to __________________ (ya know).

Many paths (eventually) lead home, I think.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:33 am

Okay, fine, i can accept that, but my question would be, what he shared with others, is it in line with Vedantas teachings?


Compared to all the reading I've done over the years...I havent read that much of Ramana. For whatever reason I was drawn more toward Nisargadatta. Even though they are considered Vedantin's it doesn't mean they were "teaching" Vedanta (meaning, I dont know if either thought of themselves as teachers) or were taught Vedanta in the classic way, but both read the scripture's (Gita, Vedas, ect) and I believe both we're sages. Neither were qualified teachers- systematically, methodically unfolding the teachings.

Is what he said helpful for someone who is not traditionally trained?


I can speak on Nis, I liked reading books on him and abstracted some usefulness out of it, prior to Vedanta but was confused often too. Now when I read his stuff It's much more clear.

I don't read Nis that often anymore, since I have my "go to" teachers/teachings. If anything, now I'll read it more for a fun read.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:51 am

Fantastic resource these 16 Advaita lessons, and very generous of Swartz to provide them for free! At some point I'll binge 'em, do a mini 2-3 day retreat on my own with the videos. Thanks for the link.


Your welcome! Yes, very generous of him to release the entire teaching series. There are many other videos of his available on youtube also. Funny you mention the binge watching, because that's exactly what I did with the lessons (on a weekend), prior to reading his book or anything else.

Interestingly, I have almost the exact opposite reaction as you: The ultra-rational thoroughness of traditional Advaita teachings kind of frustrates me


James says something to the effect of, Vedanta is meant to remove your Self ignorance, it's not meant to give you feel good vibes like the neo teachings.

Hey, I loved me some "feel good" Mooji back when, I gotta admit. Not that I couldn't watch them now, if so inclined, no harm in it.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby rachMiel » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:53 am

dijmart wrote:Vedanta is meant to remove your Self ignorance, it's not meant to give you feel good vibes like the neo teachings.

Hey what can I say ... I'm a feel good kinda guy. :-)
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Re: Vedanta

Postby steve Davidson » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:40 pm

Thanks Dij for your replies, i enjoy reading everything you write, and it is all so helpful, thanks again. I am waiting for RT to reply to my question too that i asked, i am interested in RT's response. I checked out a few youtubes by the Vedantin Swami RT recommended and enjoyed listening to him immensely. I am not a Vedantin, but if i were to follow that path, i would probably choose the Ramakrishna/Vivekananda one where he is from, instead of the James Swartz path, but each to their own, both have value and help a lot of people.

Rachmiel has not chimed in if RM is still reading Vedanta and exploring it, like RM was when this thread was started. I am still curious, but will not push for you to reply, but if you would like to share, that is another story, lol. And too bad Samadhi is not posting anymore, he or she sounds like a interesting wise person and would like to hear more from them too.
Last edited by steve Davidson on Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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