Vedanta

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Re: Vedanta

Postby Rob X » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:23 pm

rachMiel wrote: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).


I have a lot of time and respect for advaita (I’ve done a reasonably thorough study of it) but I agree with your musing here about how traditional advaita is presented. It’s certainly a great way to gain a thorough intellectual understanding and grounding but (for me) lacks the living visceral punch of some other types of presentation.

I’m not keen on the phrase neo advaita since many who are called this do not present (or claim to present) advaita but a form of nonduality/spirituality that is non-sectarian. Most of these teachers do little for me - Tolle’s an exception. But when these teachers get it right they can provide a very powerful form of (what Dzogchen calls) ‘pointing out instructions’ evoking a direct sense of your true nature.

Perhaps a marriage between the two approaches might be helpful for some - especially if stability is an issue.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:34 pm

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


Hi Steve,

Who is the "he" that's "from" the Ramakrishna/Vivekananda teaching?...or did I misread that?

Anyways, so long as it is traditional Vedanta that's being taught (I have no idea if it is or isnt), then it's just a different teacher, not a different "path". James Swartz is very clear that what he teaches is not "his" teaching. He didnt make it up. It is "traditional Vedanta" which is thousands of years old, as taught to him by Swami Chinmayananda and the scriptures.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:16 pm

Who is the "he" that's "from" the Ramakrishna/Vivekananda teaching?...or did I misread that?


Oh, ok..took me a hot minute..Do you think RT is a "he", she's not. Also, to my knowledge her original teacher is/was James Swartz.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby steve Davidson » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:29 am

Hi Dij,

Yes i was not sure if RT was a he or a she, i was leaning towards a he but thought i saw somewhere she was a she, lol. Names like that can go either way, so no real way of knowing. But now i know for sure, RT is a she.

RT recommended to me along with James Swartz and Ted Schmidt, in a earlier post, also this Swami Sarypriyananda. I did check out James and Teds site, but what really interested me and caught my attention was this Swami Sarvpriyananda from the Ramakrishna order. I have read some Ramakrishna before and like him a lot. So it was nice and refreshing to hear a talk by this Swami all about Ramakrishna. This form of Vedanta, is slightly different than the form you follow. They are similar, the same main message but how they go about it seems different to me, at least that is how i see it. Ramakrishna plays a big part in this form of Vedanta, they see him as a Avatar, just like Rama and Krishna.

Hope this clears up any misunderstanding, if you are still not clear, let me know.

Edit: Adding two questions and answers from Dennis Waite, from his website that have to deal with Tolle and with Ramakrishna Order.

Q: I noticed that you rarely cite any work from the swamis of the Ramakrishna Order (apart from a few quotes from Vivekananda). Is there any particular reason for this or is that just that your own interests have lead you to focus on other authors (Chinmayananda, Dayananda, Parthasarathy, etc.)?

A: The reason that I do not often quote from the Ramakrishna tradition is that, following Vivekananda, their teaching began to diverge from that of traditional advaita, embodying teachings from the yoga tradition and blurring the original clear messages. This has been so significant that their teaching is actually given a name in India – neo-Vedanta (not to be confused with neo-advaita!). This is not to say that many of the books written by monks of the Ramakrishna order are not to be recommended – some of them are excellent – but one does need to be careful if still unsure of the ‘correct’ teaching.

and

Q: What are your views of Adyashanti? He seems to have the peace of mind which characterises jnana-phalam. But he doesn't recommend any specific practice. How about Eckhart Tolle? They seem to have different understandings of enlightenment from you. They seem to believe that if you remain "in presence" long enough and frequently enough, eventually the presence will take over.

A: I have not read any books by Adyashanti or heard any of his talks. Some of the material that I have read on the Internet is very good indeed – but his teaching is not pure advaita. In fact, I understand he began in the Zen tradition. If you were being taught one to one for a prolonged period, then maybe he would be a good choice but, as I have written at length, satsang (occasional, short, group question and answer) is hopeless as a teaching method. The same applies to Eckhart Tolle – his books (as far as I have read) are excellent for providing useful practical approaches but I feel that they are short on theory (and not in accord with traditional advaita). ‘Remaining in presence’ is an experience in time; it has a beginning and an end and has nothing to do with enlightenment.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby steve Davidson » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:35 am

From the Ramakrishna Vedanta Center this is what they say in their intro about Vedanta, "What is Vedanta?":

Vedanta is one of the world’s most ancient spiritual philosophies and one of its broadest, based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India. It is the philosophical foundation of Hinduism; but while Hinduism includes aspects of Indian culture, Vedanta is universal in its application and is equally relevant to all countries, all cultures, and all religious backgrounds.

Vedanta affirms:

The oneness of existence,
The divinity of the soul, and
The harmony of all religions.
A closer look at the word “Vedanta” is revealing: “Vedanta” is a combination of two words: “Veda” which means “knowledge” and “anta” which means “the end of” or “the goal of.” In this context the goal of knowledge isn’t intellectual—the limited knowledge we acquire by reading books. “Knowledge” here means the knowledge of God as well as the knowledge of our own divine nature. Vedanta, then, is the search for Self-knowledge as well as the search for God.

What do we mean when we say God? According to Vedanta, God is infinite existence, infinite consciousness, and infinite bliss. The term for this impersonal, transcendent reality is Brahman, the divine ground of being. Yet Vedanta also maintains that God can be personal as well, assuming human form in every age. Most importantly, God dwells within our own hearts as the divine Self or Atman. The Atman is never born nor will it ever die. Neither stained by our failings nor affected by the fluctuations of the body or mind, the Atman is not subject to our grief or despair or disease or ignorance. Pure, perfect, free from limitations, the Atman, Vedanta declares, is one with Brahman. The greatest temple of God lies within the human heart.

Vedanta asserts that the goal of life is to realize and to manifest our own divinity. This divinity is our real nature, and the realization of it is our birthright. We are moving towards this goal as we grow with knowledge and life experiences. It is inevitable that we will eventually, either in this or in future lives, discover that the greatest truth of our existence is our own divine nature.

Vedanta further affirms that all religions teach the same basic truths about God, the world, and our relationship to one another. Thousands of years ago the Rig Veda declared: “Truth is one, sages call it by various names.” The world’s religions offer varying approaches to God, each one true and valid, each religion offering the world a unique and irreplaceable path to God-realization. The conflicting messages we find among religions are due more to doctrine and dogma than to the reality of spiritual experience. While dissimilarities exist in the external observances of the world religions, the internals bear remarkable similarities.

According to the Vedanta teachings there are four paths we can follow to achieve the goal of understanding our divine nature. These paths are known as the Four Yogas. We can choose a path based on our personality or inclination, or follow the practices of the paths in any combination.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:01 am

Rob X wrote:But when these teachers get it right they can provide a very powerful form of (what Dzogchen calls) ‘pointing out instructions’ evoking a direct sense of your true nature.

Yes. For me, Spira, Tolle, and Mooji can all invoke the state of mind of which they speak by their words, pacing, tone, etc.
Perhaps a marriage between the two approaches might be helpful for some - especially if stability is an issue.

Traditional Advaita, Neo Advaita/Direct Path, and Buddhism (especially Tibetan) can all work for me. They're like different paths to the same (non-)place. Sometimes I'm in the mood for one path, sometimes for another.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:14 pm

Thanks for the info Steve. I also liked the Q/A from Dennis Waite. I think he says it best here, "– but one does need to be careful if still unsure of the ‘correct’ teaching", when talking about Ramakrishna order.

Meaning (to me), if you don't already know traditional Vedanta, then how will you know if you are being taught neo or traditional? Then, one might say, does it matter? It would matter if it leaves you chasing your tail, yes, it would. But, does it? I wouldn't know.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:21 am

I stumbled across this James Swartz video today. It's only 5 min. -

"Can you verify/prove Vedanta teaching with experience?"

https://youtu.be/vvktxCqiENo
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Re: Vedanta

Postby steve Davidson » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:17 am

I liked that youtube a lot and enjoyed it. It is a good topic, is interesting. Experiences come and go, but who we really are is not changing, so enlightenment is not a experience. I think we need to be reminded of this from time to time.
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Re: Vedanta

Postby dijmart » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:06 pm

steve Davidson wrote:I liked that youtube a lot and enjoyed it. It is a good topic, is interesting. Experiences come and go, but who we really are is not changing, so enlightenment is not a experience. I think we need to be reminded of this from time to time.


Thanks Steve, yes it's a hurdle to wrap the mind around for sure, so needs to be pointed out over and over again!
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