Advaita Made Easy
Advaita provides answers to all of the difficult questions!
Who are you? What happens when you die? Is there a God? Is the universe created? Advaita is a teaching with a tradition of thousands of years which provides totally reasonable answers to all such questions. This essential introduction from the acclaimed author of numerous books on the subject will demonstrate why it is so successful.
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Why Advaita works by Dennis Waite in ‘Watkins MIND BODY SPIRIT’ (Issue 35/Autumn 2013) Living within a western society we identify with heavy media advertisements, and it’s these ‘things’ that shape what we want and desire. However, it’s this often unattainable materialistic lifestyle, where the promise of happiness is only obtained by the few, that is frequently pushing many towards the spiritual in the hope it will bring peace and a more durable sense of personal happiness. Cautious of the majority of ‘new age’ techniques, which promise the superior guide for future happiness but rarely deliver, these ‘spiritual seekers’ leap from the worldly to the unknowable to find something that will truly satisfy. But of course it doesn’t. Such worlds are not only unknowable but also imaginary, and desiring the illusory is ultimately no more satisfying than obtaining the desirable. The solution lies in the internal; a deeply personal search for our own wants and desires, which is fundamentally set within a refined sense of reality. The result? The realisation that we desire the happiness these objects bring and not the objects themselves. We need to learn that happiness cannot be defined or confined by objects. Instead, that happiness’s natural home is in our self. Happiness is and has always been our natural state. Therefore, the true aim is in fact to discover this natural state, where we no longer search for a self, but to desire self-knowledge. This shift in focus can be found through Advaita. Written thousands of years ago and past through masters of the art, Advaita is a proven teaching methodology to provide such knowledge of self. What does Advaita say? Critical of a dualism understanding of self and others, it teaches of a non-dual reality known as Brahman. According to custom, the essential self, known as Atman, lies beyond body and mind and should be seen as Brahman. Positioning the individual self as reality, Advaita doesn’t call for the abandonment of reason, but encourages a deeply critical approach to everything. The focus remains to promote self-control of mind and senses, so that discrimination may operate in a still mind. From this blank page, a more coherent sense of enlightenment can be achieved. ~ Watkins, Mind Body Spirit
In his book 'Advaita Made Easy', Dennis Waite does a great service in presenting the teachings of traditional Advaita, whilst also shining a comparitive light on its various modern incarnations. The word 'Advaita' is often bandied about by people who really have no knowledge whatsoever of the traditional teachings of Advaita. Many have not even bothered to read any of the essential scriptures, written many hundreds of years ago, and yet they will rush to buy the latest book written by an author purporting to be writing about Advaita, but who has probably also not read any of the traditional teachings or had any contact with a traditional teacher. We are living in an age where concentration levels are low, and instant results are demanded, in every area of life. This extends into the field of self-enquiry, and we want our gurus to tell us that enlightenment is available immediately, and not only that it is available immediately, but that we are already enlightened - and, indeed, some of our teachers do actually say this. Of course, it is all very gratifying to be told that one is already enlightened, but it is not adequately explained why one then continues to suffer and feel emotional ups and downs. Dennis Waite patiently explains the methods of the traditional Advaita teachings, highlighting key differences with their modern counterparts. He argues well for more consideration to be given to the traditional teachings of Advaita, and his knowledge and understanding of the subject is very impressive. If you are new to Self-Enquiry, Advaita or Non-duality, and wish to gain a broader view of the subject, then 'Advaita Made Easy' is the perfect book. Yes, do read the books advocating instant enlightenment, but also take the opportunity to get closer to the original source of the teachings, find out what they are about, who the key writers and teachers were, what the main scriptures are and have the subtle philosophical points explained clearly. Needless to say, 'Advaita Made Easy' is highly recommended - both for new and experienced students of Advaita/Non-duality. ~ Roy Whenary, author of The Texture of Being and Living In Open Awareness