Tony Parsons -- What is the Truth?
Date: August 13, 2020 05:18AM
Tony Parsons is not a self-confessed criminal nor an accused (and virtually confessed) rapist like James Swartz.
Tony Parsons is, what?
I don't know, personally. I've never met the man, attended one of his meetings, or even read anything he's put out. Unlike with James Swartz, nothing Tony Parsons has done has hurt someone I care about. Nor has Tony sent me threatening messages and insults as has Swartz.
However, some persons whose judgment I trust have sent me some claims about Tony Parsons which, to say the least, are concerning. Among them are:
---"Tony Parsons has ruined Advaita in the UK for a generation. He's a used car salesman who had a partial-awakening and semi-realization at a Vipassana Retreat and he's turned it into gold for himself, and tragically skewed the spiritual path for thousands."
---"Tony Parsons has no wisdom or deep understanding of that which he teaches. However, he is very clever, and he is an interesting speaker who can be charming and convincing. Except, what he teaches is wrong and incomplete. He says, "The body is unreal, but the world is real." He claims that any "doership" is false, a mistake, and pointless, so his 'students' are left with nothing to do except, perhaps, to deeply consider whatever that means (which is a doing in itself, which must be even more confusing)."
---"Tony Parsons? I saw him once being interviewed and he told the interviewer that the way to Enlightenment was to "feel the resonance" that he, as an Enligtened One, gave off. Right. You bet. Funny that the Buddha or Ramana Maharshi didn't use that method for their followers."
---"Damn, some followers of Tony Parsons came to Tiruvannamalai and they ran around telling everybody that all their meditations, sadhanas, and pradakshinas (pilgrimages around the holy mountain Arunachala) were bullshit. They said, 'Tony taught us that all this was unnecessary; that you don't need to do anything.' Funny, that. His followers felt impelled to run around telling everybody else they were messed up--isn't that a 'doing' in itself?"
Still another friend said:
---"What you've heard about Tony Parsons is absolutely correct. He's a terrible teacher who is only of benefit to people who've practiced for years who then are told that they're ready for a next step. And he teaches that by accident!
"Except, be careful! Tony Parsons' followers are dedicated and they defend their master with great vehemence and cleverness. Regarding Tony they're like some Republicans about Trump. Facts don't stand in their way. I simply won't communicate with them anymore. It's pointless."
Okay. So what is the truth here?
Some of Tony Parsons' people react to criticism of him like they're indoctrinated cult members, but Tony Parsons is not the usual cult leader.
Tony Parsons' teachings are, if they are as described to me, reprehensible. Every great teacher advocates some form(s) of practice for persons as they begin their 'spiritual seeking.' Ramana Maharshi at various times advocated at least ten different types of practice, and translated and advocated Adi Shankara's Vivekachudamani, which promotes "The Four Sadhanas", one of which includes "The Six Virtues." Nisargadatta "practiced" before and after Enlightenment. So did Papaji. For Tony Parsons to say "Practice is wrong" is to say that these teachers were all mistaken?
Plus, the most elementary "Practice" of all is what all spiritual persons do. That is, to engage in 'Shravana' (listening to and reading the words of true spiritual masters), 'Manana' (to reflect and meditate upon these words), all with the goal of 'Nidyidasana' (being one with the conviction arrived at). (Note- Manana is very different in meaning and pronunciation than the Spanish word for ‘tomorrow.’)
So, with all that said, what is the truth about Tony Parsons and his teachings? Is he a "true teacher" facing the criticism that seems to always come the way of spiritual masters, or is he a half-baked fellow who found a better way to make a living than to sell used cars?