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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: October 20, 2004 07:27AM

I ordered this book from the library, as so many people were talking about it.
There is just too much to go into, but I find many aspects of this guys stuff not helpful, and even destructive.

First off, he talks about how...

"until my 30th year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression".

Then he gives a bizarre account of how one day his...

"mind stopped", and "there were no more thoughts", "for the next 5 months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss", "the suffering self collapsed".

then he talks of how,

"I had no relationships, no job, no home, no identity. I spent almost 2 years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy".

Now I have no idea if this is true, or is a story, or a delusion, or what.
But it sounds to me like he might have some type of Identity Disorder, and perhaps a Depersonalization episode, or something of this nature.

Then he goes on for hundreds of pages about how one must get away from the "mind" and move into "Being".
It seems to be a type of fusion of some Buddhist ideas, with the old Christ Consciousness schtick.

But it gets much worse than this.

Its a type of Cognitive War against the human mind and self.

This is very dangerous and disturbing stuff.
Cults could use these very techniques to "soften up" the minds of their Targets, in the guise of "Enlightenment", and destabilize peoples very sense of Identity and Self.

Its amazing that what he is preaching is the exact opposite to what most experts would consider psychologically healthy.

To me, we need to use our wonderful minds to sort the wheat from the chaff in life.
We can also use our wonderful minds to relax, and to practice Mindfulness, and to get rid of excess anxiety, worry, and things of this nature.

What is ironic is that he is USING HIS MIND, and WORDS, to talk about not using the mind or words!
He is just replacing one set of Cognitions, for another set of Cognitions.

There is so much here, I could go on for many pages, but I will leave it at that.
What disturbs me is that so many people are following this guy right now, and the benefits of Relaxation, are greatly outweighed by the dangers in relation to the Self-Mind.

We can use our terrific minds to learn to relax, and even becomes somewhat "enlightened" in the sense of not letting life drive us nutty.
But this type of retreat from the mind, this hatred for the wonderful human mind, I find very disturbing.

Its as if he has projected his suicidal self-hatred of his possible mental illness onto his Mind and his Self. Instead of killing himself, he wants to kill his mind, and achieve No-Self, No-Mind, to eliminate his horrible emotional suffering.

I think he might be a very psychologically disturbed person.

Isn't it ironic that time and time again, people seem to have these mental illnesses, which they then think are Divine Gifts, and convince many other to follow them in their illness?
The weird thing is, a "normal person" is not going to be able to "achieve" what he has allegedly achieved.
He even says himself that it HAPPENED TO HIM, before he had even read the spiritual books!
(this sounds like a BS story to old Coz to create a bestseller...)

I really do see what he is saying as a type of metaphysical suicide attempt. Its sick.

Why not embrace our wonderful human mind, which is a wonder of evolution, and still unexplained by science?
We can still learn to relax, and enjoy life, and use our POWERFUL critical faculties to not be duped in this manner.

He's preaching nihilism, and Ego-death.
Scary stuff.

Old Coz smells a rat, and a person with possibly some type of identity disorder, or depersonalization disorder, or something of that nature.

There is much more to it than this, but I gotta get back to my ENJOYABLE Life, Mind, and Self!
I like my Mind very much, thank you very much.

No Thanks!


PS: he also mentions how you can slow down the aging process of the cells of your body!!! (where's the proof?)

Also, notice how his "mystical enlightenment" occured when he was Age 30, which is New Age code for the Christ CONsciousness.

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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 21, 2004 01:25AM

Coz, thanks for starting this thread.

The social and economic context in which ideas of all kinds are marketed these days can undercut the efforts of the kindest and most well intentioned teacher, unless that person is aware and is constantly, and strenuously taking precautions to ensure that social context and the pressures of marketing dont undercut the integrity of his or her teaching career.

In their publicity outreach, it appears that many gurus present their teaching in the framework of a personal narrative about the guru's pre-enlightement life and subsequent transformation.

Often, this narrative is the story of a story of a cure.

Many of us begin spiritual practice because we feel unhappy and seek a cure.

So when we read of some spiritual teacher who was in a state of severe misery and then suddenly 'dropped it' or 'woke up' and was suddenly cured, and went on to become rich, adored and a famous spiritual celebrity, this story will make us crave the same magic for ourselves.

By listening to that teacher or even following that teacher, we hope to achieve a similar cure.

Part of what makes Tolles story so interesting is the story of his sudden healing from suicidal depression.

The book, and ET's public appearances contain teachings which invite us us to become free of suffering by transcending personality and past history. But the book and its author are being promoted through a marketing context which emphasizes the author's unique personality-linked past history.

These cure-narratives and the way they are marketed/glamorized trigger ego-driven craving--craving for seats at the lectures, craving for cure, and perhaps in some persons, craving for the success enjoyed by ET and those like him.

This craving is incompatible with enlightenment. Craving generates suffering in the form of mental and emotional turmoil and this turmoil is a hindrence to insight, not an aid to it.

A teacher can have great intentions and excellent material, but if he or she relies on American style marketing to do outreach, that teacher, may without realizing it, create a social context that sabotages his or her best efforts---a Sorcerer's Apprentice situation.

The medium may offset the message.
All this can happen when a teacher has the very best of intentions, but runs smack into cravings instigated by the way enlightenment has become glamorized in seekers' minds--[b:43d54b8e6f]before they've even left home. [/b:43d54b8e6f]

Just to be a seeker of enlightenment, all too often means being socialized to have certain expectations, to hang out with persons who share tehse same cravings, with the result that you're in a state of craving before ou even meet your first guru.

When a marketing driven social context is added, this just makes it worse.

As soon as you crave something, you've made an ego-driven distinction between your self and the state of mind you crave to acquire.

Once this split occurs, you're trapped, unable to realize enlightenment, though you may have plenty of amazing experiences along the way.

Result: When enlightenment is fetishized, glamorized, commodified, you're in a state of mind in which enlightenment becomes impossible. The whole situation puts you in a state of craving. Its an unwinnable game.

It would be good to know where Tolle studied with to develop or refine his insights. Deep insights are beyond language, but to talk and write about them, a teacher has to acquire a vocabulary and set of concepts--and those are usually obtained from existing traditions.

([i:43d54b8e6f]If Tolle has published this information, could someone please post it, along with citations or URLs where it can be fact checked?)[/i:43d54b8e6f]

No enlightement experience can be coded into language, and shared with others unless that person has a vocabulary and set of concepts--and to get those, you have to use other people's material.

That is why it is imporant for people to tell us who their teachers have been.

Its also worth asking how Tolle was fed, clothed and sheltered during his years sitting on the park bench--was he homeless, did he manage to keep working? Did he have some money saved up?

Ramana Maharshi went through a time when he became ill. He survived because a man in the neighborhood admired him, regularly went to Maharshi's cave, and made sure M had what he needed. Anonymous benefactors like this should be honored remembered and honored.

If Tolle was unable to work during that period, and needed someone to take care of him, that means enlightenment (or early stages of it) could put some of us at risk of homelessness or severe social disability--and bring hardship to those who care about our wellbeing.

Most of us have to employed to pay rent and dont have a family or friends willing to support us while we are blissed out & unable to work.

On Sarlo's Guru Rating service, if you scroll down you will find one person's description of attending an Eckhart Tolle event in Southern California which seemed to trigger a great deal of craving in participants--to get a seat!

([i:43d54b8e6f]At 75 dollars a shot. In other parts of the country, seating for Tolle events costs less. Google around and do some comparison shopping)[/i:43d54b8e6f]


Cos mentioned depersonalization. THis article is a good read


There is a discussion on the Google listserve that raise intersting points

[i:43d54b8e6f]'A cessation of mentation as a result of intense concentration _may_ be
a precursor to Awakening in some "accidental" enlightenment
experiences (e.g. Eckhart Tolle's, or John Wren-Lewis'), or in some
very thorough systematic approaches (like the Theravada), but it is
not Awakening itself: or, put it this way, it isn't a _necessary_
precursor to Awakening. In fact, Awakening is a BREAK in any form of
samadhi-like concentration (taking "samadhi" in its lesser meaning -
for it can also mean the Result itself, in some systems). It's at
complete right angles to anything you've ever experienced or imagined.
(I say this based on your writings - you may be playing a game of some
sort, but I am responding to your words as they stand.)

It's like this: if you fix your gaze, the saccades (the little
jerkings about) that your eyes constantly unconsciously make cease,
and because the visual system normally sees things by noticing
borders, edges and differences, the visual system "whites out". (This
fact is taken advantage of in some Daoist practices, and some Dzogchen
Longde practices, if I'm not mistaken - right Namdrol?)

Since the whole mental system works in an analogous way, by noticing
differences, I believe something analogous may happen if the _whole
mental system_ is "frozen" in a concentrative state - it ceases to
experience anything at all. BUT THAT IS NOT AWAKENING.'[/i:43d54b8e6f](from)


Getting back to the practical issues:

All consuming bliss is survivable if you have someone to support you, (Ramana Maharshi had someone who brought food to him in his cave and took him in for medical care when he got sick).

In all these guru legends, they rarely talk about the family members who supported these people--or who were abandoned by them. Too often the focus is on the marvellous wisdom of the guru, but nothing is said about whether his or her family or friends had to pay a price supporting that person.

(One of the few who ever gave full credit to his family for saving his life was Gopi Krishna. Krishna was incapacitated for many years by a cripplling mental and physical ailment that befell him as a result of his strenuous yoga practice. He describes the kind of nursing care he needed from his wife, and tells how his father went mentally off balance from yoga practice and reduced his family to poverty. It was G Krishna's mother who took over the family and her son pays her full tribute--all this and more in [i:43d54b8e6f]'Living with Kundalini' [/i:43d54b8e6f]by Gopi Krishna)

Without a support system, an enlightenment experience of the kind Tolle describes could leave us homeless. The social welfare network is not as good as it was, back in the 1960s.

If enlightenment means someone else has to be your caregiver, and for an extended period of time, that's a little scary--and seekers need to know about that. And they'd better find out if their family or friends are willing to be their caretakers.

The older traditions warn us that realizing enlightenment is only the start. All kinds of deep reaction patterns still linger in one's body and central nervous system, along with social biases and traumas one has incurred while growing up.

You can have valid enlightenment and then still have to do lots of intentional work to extend that new found awareness into these blind spots and neuroses. This process takes time and cannot be rushed. And everybody needs a different approach--no one method works for everyone.

Agehananda Bharati in his book [i:43d54b8e6f]The Light at the Center: Context and Pretext of Modern Mysticism[/i:43d54b8e6f], interviewed many people who had had enlightenment experiences. Bharati had had a number of 'zero experiences' himself. He reported that enlightenment does NOT automatically endow a person with infallibility and it doesnt automatically heal pre-existing neurosis or educational deficits. As Bharati put it, if you're a nice or a mean person before enlightenment, your temperament will remain nice or mean afterwards. Enlightenment doesnt automatically cure people of sexism, phobias, nor does it give superhuman powers.

In India, Bharati met people who assumed he knew higher mathematics just because he was a renunciate monk, and, presumably enlightened. Time and again, Bharati had to tell them that was nonsense, enlightenment doesnt make you infallible, any more than mastering the piano or some other fine art. He'd still have to take classes and do the homework if he wanted to learn calculus.

Regarding Poonja, this dialogue is intriguing.


I am not aware that anyone has disputed the veracity of this account.( If they have, send in the citation or URL so we can post it. )

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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: October 21, 2004 03:12AM


I really do see what he is saying as a type of metaphysical suicide attempt. Its sick.

Why not embrace our wonderful human mind, which is a wonder of evolution, and still unexplained by science?
We can still learn to relax, and enjoy life, and use our POWERFUL critical faculties to not be duped in this manner.

He's preaching nihilism, and Ego-death.
Scary stuff.

This entire post is very well stated. And the comparison to metaphysical suicide is very helpful.

Looking over Tolle's official website, I notice that he is marketing himself actively, including photos of himself that can be bought. Photos that can be used by devotees to meditate and space out over.
The thought stopping, thought denying language is familiar to me from past experience with destructive cults. I even purposefully scan such language when I come across it, rather than read in depth always, cause it still bothers me.

"Eckhart encourages us to linger no more, to take the evolutionary leap to freedom from the compulsion to think and end the human madness."

Quote from his website, about one set of his tapes titled "Awakening Out of Thought". Sounds suicidal to me.


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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: October 21, 2004 03:29AM


Among other things, I am not aware that Tolle has ever mentioned which groups or teachers he studied with to refine or develop his insights.

(If Tolle has published this information, could someone please post it, along with citations or URLs where it can be fact checked?)

On his web site, under News, following the Archive link at the bottom of page, then link to India Tour, his #1 woman Kim Eng pretty much states that Tolle is already an enlightened being equal to any great Indian guru. I haven't been able to find anything yet that details what group or teacher he has studied with.
This passage written by Eng is telling:

[i:c3fe17088c]After Pondicherry, Eckhart made a short three-day stop to visit the ashram of the late Sri Ramana Maharshi and the sacred mountain of Arunachala. Eckhart and a group of thirty people ascended to the hill top caves and, much like Ramana, Eckhart and the group sat silently within the cool cave walls meditating, engulfed by the shakti energy, that intensified by the minute. On the last day, the president of the ashram, who made several private visits to Eckhart and was absolutely taken by Eckhart’s presence and serenity, asked Eckhart, on his next visit to India to return to the ashram and give a talk. This kind of invitation to another spiritual teacher, especially western, was virtually unheard of. I was deeply impressed by the sincere and open invitation and saw it as another confirmation of Presence recognizing Presence and the one-life ready to meet itself in the different manifested forms. Om Shanti.[/i:c3fe17088c]

I also note on the page titled Eckhart this bit:

[i:c3fe17088c]Eckhart Tolle is emerging as one of the most original and inspiring spiritual teachers of our time. Eckhart, who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition, but excludes none, travels and teaches throughout the world.[/i:c3fe17088c]



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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: October 21, 2004 04:47AM


Tolle listed as in the lineage (or something) of a Shri H.W.L. Poonja.



From an interview titled "The Power of Eckhart Tolle
A teacher of Tolle's work describes his unique brand of 'secular spirituality.' An interview with Dr. Gunther Weil", about Tolle:

"He spent the next two years reading Krishna Murti, Ramana Maharshi, going to some Zen meditations, reading The Course in Miracles, connecting with Buddhists in the London area, and so on. And so he began to assemble, after the fact, the intellectual cognitive structure for his own enlightenment. He didn’t have a word for it before [laughs], didn’t have a way of framing it – all he knew was that he was happy, he was in a state of stillness and bliss."



Oprah quote about The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle:

" I keep this book at my bedside. I think it's essential spiritual teaching. It's one of the most valuable books I've ever read."



I skimmed briefly through some posts, I noticed that those who express doubts and confusion, who question, are told that all that is just their ego in the way.


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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: October 21, 2004 12:50PM

This is replying the post from another thread on Tolle, but i will just keep it to this thread.

If "something happened" to him, as he described, then he didn't do anything to "become happy", or "enlightened", etc.
He didn't "learn it" like a Tibetan Buddhist monk might learn it, after decades of mental training.

To me, it sounds like he had some type of a mental breakdown, after feeling suicidal for many years.

So when a "normal person" reads his stuff, they are not going to experience whatever state of mind that he is allegedly experiencing.

He writes in a bizarre, depersonalized, detached, almost "schizoid" inhuman manner. Almost in a 3rd person style.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

(hey, what the hell, he doesn't have a Self anymore, so what should i expect!)

I am just going to be blunt and call it as i see it.
I don't think he is "enlightened".
I think he sought to escape from the terrible pain of his own illness. I feel empathy for folks who are trapped in a mental illness. For some, suicide seems to be the only way out.

But i guess he doesn't understand that for most people, Life is not that bad. Its not a living hell 24/7.
The "mind" is not the enemy.
The Self is not the enemy.
Why be so terrified of Life, Mind and Self? Is it really that bad?
For most of us, no. Its mainly pretty good!

I find what he is selling as "enlightenment" to be very unhealthy.
What the heck is wrong with being a "normal person" and having "normal emotions", both joys, and sadness, with a full healthy range of emotions?
Why be so terrified of ones own Mind, so that one has to slip into a world of Imagination, and pretend one is "not having any thoughts".
Its a total self-con job.

His ENTIRE BOOK is full of "thoughts", that is, Cognitions, and Language, and mental images, etc. I see it as a blatant self-con job.

Now of course, we can MODIFY our thoughts, so we can be calmer, happier, less angry, less upset, less depressed, etc.
And we can just "accept the self without judgement", which is supposedly much healthier than "self esteem" and can lead to wonderful happiness.
But to shoot for happiness 24/7, all day, no matter what?
That just seems nutty for me, unless one is going to live in a cave somewhere.
Its really really really extreme thinking. Its not healthy, in my view.

But this obsession with destroying ones own Mind, Self, and Identity just seems "crazy" to me. Why?

I do think it is a desire to escape from mental-emotional anguish.
Escaping suffering.

But i think there are much better ways to do this than Ego-Death. Its like wanting to cut your right hand off because you punched someone with it!!

(its interesting to see sort of the opposite to the normal Ego-Mania of the cult-leader. But he is selling many books, and pics of himself, etc...hmmmmm)

Schizoid Personality Disorder
DSM Diagnostic Criteria
A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

-neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family
-almost always chooses solitary activities
-has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
-takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
-lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
-appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others
-shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity

Does not occur exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia, a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, another Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.

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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: October 21, 2004 02:21PM

Gee whiz, he seems pretty "attached" to selling videos to local groups he is starting, and getting people to associate their deepest wishes for Peace to HIS voice and image.

Selling photos of himself. Notice how some of the photos on the website are close-ups, and his EYES really stand out. This allows people to "look into his eyes", and create a false sense of intimacy and attachment with him.

Lots of products

He also seems somewhat "Ambitious" as he seems to want to LEAD a "a global spiritual awakening".

How many more Global Spiritual Awakenings by Prophets do we need?

Sorry folks, this doesn't add up.

Here we have a guy claiming to have attained No-Self, who seems to be launching a global spiritual Cult of Personality based around himself!

Touche' !!!


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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: October 21, 2004 02:33PM


Gee whiz, he seems pretty "attached" to selling videos to local groups he is starting, and getting people to associate their deepest wishes for Peace to HIS voice and image.

I was just putting together a similiar post on this fact, money money money being made. He encourages followers to listen to the tapes often. There are many of what they call "local silent groups" and each group is supposed to buy a full library. Buy his photos, stare at them and get tripped out, decide he is speaking directly to you, buy his increasingly expensive sets of tapes, go to local groups and listen to him more, talk with other followers and pump each other up further....Oprah loves must be raked in.
Reading the essay and interview with Tolle that Kim Eng did is informative also. This bit is spooky, Kim speaking here of her own experiences:

[i:6fff85dec6]What is it like to be in relationship with an enlightened being?

As long as I have the idea in my head "I have a relationship" or "I am in a relationship," no matter with whom, I suffer. This I have learnt.

With the concept of "relationship" come expectations, memories of past relationships, and further personally and culturally conditioned mental concepts of what a "relationship" should be like. Then I would try to make reality conform to these concepts. And it never does. And again I suffer. The fact of the matter is: there are no relationships. There is only the present moment, and in the moment there is only relating.[/i:6fff85dec6]

Tolle could be in an intimate relationship with her, or anyone, and claim that they weren't -really- in a relationship, while shirking any form of healthy responsibility. And get away with it, while they probably then feel they simply need to listen more to he and his tapes and lose their mind and ego.


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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: October 21, 2004 03:37PM


For $6 plus $2 for shipping and handling we can buy a NOW symbol for our cars, for some reason we are instructed to place it on the left rear trunk area.

[i:0aad7902d7]The NOW Symbol

Formed by two simple characters, the NOW symbol signifies the present moment. > represents the completed past. < represents the future, which is unknowable. The gap between the two marks is NOW - the present moment. It is only in the moment that we can really enjoy life and release ourselves from the mental noise that clutters our brain. [/i:0aad7902d7]

I figure that a really good joke could be made of this fact, but I can't quite dream one up yet. Besides, if I don't stop reading up on Tolle soon, it will really take a toll........:) has 461 some reviews of his The Power of Now book.

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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - Cognitive Suicide
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 22, 2004 01:11AM

In his essay 'Lotus Feet of Clay' Dr John Wren-Lewis describes an unsought awakening he had as a result of a medical crisis. He went to the mystical literature to do research. Lewis found himself 'drifting out' of his awakened condition, (though, once aware of it, he could return to it. But all the mystical writings and teachings he encountered made it seem there was such a thing as permanent enlightenment with many gurus speaking and writing as though they were enlightened 24-7, including when lecturing about it. Wren-Lewis wrote:

'This was of course another issue on which I initially hoped for some help from mystical writings or a spiritual movement: was there anything I could do, like meditation or diet, to reduce the frequency of drifting out? I was extremely puzzled when my research turned up almost no reference to any such possibility. Krishnamurti is the only spiritual teacher I know whose writings hint at experiences similiar to mine in this respect; [i:69af0b8ade]everywhere else, it's taken for granted that one is either a disciple on the path, practising meditation or guru-darshan or whatever to reach God-consciousness, or else a Master who is supposed to be in it permanently. [/i:69af0b8ade]

Now while I'm quite prepared to believe there may be Masters who enjoy the consciousness uninterruptedly, the total silence about the drifting-out which I experience daily seemed highly suspicious.

I was therefore very interested to come upon Agehananda Bharati's important book The Light at the Center [8], in which he asserts quite categorically that "permanent enlightenment" is only a conventional fiction of the guru-system, possibly never actually realized, [i:69af0b8ade]but maintained in order to foster the total surrender which is believed essential for the system to work. [/i:69af0b8ade]

[8] Agehananda Bharati, The Light at the Center (Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson, 1976).

'The trouble is that once such a system is swallowed, the guru cannot admit to lapses without completely discrediting his claim to have any enlightenment to pass on.

'So from the highest possible motive, a sincere desire to share his God-consciousness, he is tempted to rationalize, probably even to himself. Sexual advances toward attractive disciples become tantric exercises or studies of the chakras, a beer-belly is due to the descent of shakti-power, outbursts of temper are to weaken disciples egos or to test their devotion, collection of money is needed for spreading the Word, gifts are accepted because the disciples wish to show their devotion, and so on through the whole hackneyed catalog.

Even worse, there is a tendency for the wish to spread the Word to pass over into the most insidious of all power-trips, with the Master thinking of himself as God rather than vice-versa, the phenomenon Jung called inflation. I know about this from personal experience; some of my worst lapses into impatience come when I'm wanting to get on with writing about God-consciousness! But because I'm not claiming to be a Master, no-one gets sucked in and I'm soon forced to come off it.

' When the Master-disciple relationship has been established, disciples have to go along with the Master's rationalizations [i:69af0b8ade]or abandon the hope they've placed in him. [/i:69af0b8ade]

Agehananda Bharati was a Sanskrit scholar, born in Austria who became a monk in India and had a number of enlightenment experiences himself. He discovered that the professional mystics of India had created a coded language which made it seem they were enlightened while speaking about enlightenment, when in fact, enlightenment is an ecstatic experience that is incompatible with verbal fluency.

[i:69af0b8ade]According to Agehananda Bharati, You have to evict yourself from enlightenment in order to talk about it. [/i:69af0b8ade]

The observations below were from on article about Da Free John(now kwown as Adi Da Samiraj) but may apply to other teachers of enlightement who aggressively market themselves as such.

'In my original essay, I entertained the suggestion of Agehananda Bharati that enlightenment, or the “zero experience” as he calls it, is by definition temporary. It cannot be clung to, and anyone experiencing it is basically incapable of normal functioning, for as long as it lasts.

'Doesn’t this go against nearly everything “enlightened” masters have claimed? Not exactly, at least not as Bharati explains it. Bharati’s most effective argument hinges on the distinction between [i:69af0b8ade]emic [/i:69af0b8ade]and [i:69af0b8ade]etic [/i:69af0b8ade]modes of speech. Though the nuances of these technical terms drawn from anthropology are not always clear in Bharati’s work, basically emic refers to the encoded private language of “in-groups,” while etic refers to the language of the “objective” outside observer.

'Bharati contends that the [i:69af0b8ade]emic [/i:69af0b8ade]speech of Indian sadhus is governed by complex, unspoken codes, codes that are rarely noticed, much less understood, by outsiders, no matter how clever or perceptive.

[i:69af0b8ade]One of the unwritten rules is that gurus must never acknowledge being in any state other than that of full realization.[/i:69af0b8ade]

“Master, how often do you enter that state of highest bliss and realization?”

“My child, I am in that state even now.”

Bharati’s claim is that because of the rules governing the speech of Indian mystics, the guru has no choice but to assert that he is always enjoying satchitananda, even when he knows perfectly well that he is not. [i:69af0b8ade]Further, according to Bharati’s understanding, the very fact that the guru is exerting himself by speaking in public proves that he is not, in that moment, enjoying the state of enlightenment. If he were, there would be no motive to speak. [/i:69af0b8ade]Most importantly, from the emic perspective of insiders, there is no dishonesty in this claim to permanent enlightenment, despite the undeniable fact that it is objectively false.

Bharati asserts that a dispassionate look at the evidence will suggest, though not prove, that enlightened states [i:69af0b8ade]are by their very nature temporary. [/i:69af0b8ade]

The great mystics are those who frequently enter transcendent states and make the cultivation of the zero experience the dominant focus of their lives, but no one is permanently in the state of highest illumination. The very idea that one can experience enlightenment twenty-four hours a day is the product of a too literal etic understanding of the emic speech of professional mystics, who not incidentally benefit from this linguistic confusion.'

From 'The Strange Case of Franklin Jones'


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