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Back To The Truth: 5000 Years Of Advaita [Kindle Edition]

Dennis Waite
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A systematic treatment of Advaita which demystifies it, differentiating between approaches and teachers, enabling you to decide which approach is most suitable for you.

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His book provides a rich experience for those who enjoy pondering the deepest questions, not only regarding Advaita, but ultimately the Truth beyond all labels. Nirmala (Teacher and author of "Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self") A wonderful book. Encyclopedic in nature, and destined to become a classic. James Braha (Author of "Living Reality: My Extraordinary Summer with 'Sailor' Bob Adamson") This is definitely one of the most complete and exhaustive books on advaita ever, and is the first book that I have seen that not only deals with advaita but also expands upon the various different types and styles of teachings including contemporary ones, analyses and compares them and helps the seeker in selecting the one that matches his temperament the most. Dr. Nitin Trasi, author of "The Science of Enlightenment" Dennis has poured his love of Truth and humanity into this precise and luminous work. Highly recommended. Isaac Shapiro, Teacher and author of "Outbreak of Peace" A profoundly astute and masterful guide to the field of Self-discovery. An authoritative scholar, Dennis writes with supreme clarity as he skilfully expounds, logically analyzes and insightfully integrates the wisdom of classical and contemporary teachers with the principles of Advaita. Katie Davis, Teacher and author of "Awake Living Joy: The Essence of Spiritual Enlightenment" Dennis Waite is the West's pre-eminent explicator of Advaita Vedanta. In driving home his point that our nature is Awareness, Dennis brings to light many of Advaita's "hidden" teachings, which have never been circulated outside of specialist schools. He also does something I've never seen anywhere in print. He opens a critical dialogue between the ancient and the modern paths, whose exponents don't always agree. Fascinating! Dr. Gregory Goode, PhD (Philosophy), Philosophical Counselor and non-dual teacher. Absolutely ease of writing with a water-tight argument outlining the great universal truths. This book will become a modern classic. A milestone in the history of Advaita. Paula Marvelly, author of "The Teachers of One" and "Women of Wisdom" We must congratulate Dennis Waite on his highly researched study of Advaita which comprehensively states all the different aspects and angularities of this Great Teaching. It will surely prove to be a most helpful guide to the contemporary reader. Alan Jacobs, President of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK and author of "The Principal Upanishads," "The Bhagavad Gita," "The Wisdom of Balsekar" and others I have played an imaginary game which has a teacher/guru who is composed of various elements of known teachers; let's say Francis' poetic language skills, Tony's natural friendliness and accessibility, Ramesh's Indian credibility (don't know how this would manifest), Ramana's holy gaze, Wayne's laugh, Satyananda's handsome face, etc etc etc... well since this cannot be in the flesh I can console myself with finding it as your book! Monica Alderton Dennis Waite's book "Back To The Truth" is a superb exploration into the vast subject that is Advaita philosophy. As a student of the Sanskrit language he is well qualified to delve more deeply into the background texts, which make up traditional Advaita, than most people who are interested in the subject. This excellent and long awaited book also takes an extensive look at modern teachers and writers on Advaita, and, I would say, is essential reading for anyone at all interested in the subject. It is a clear and refreshing overview of the whole genre that is Advaita - not just one aspect of it - offering the facts, from the historical past right up until today, when non-dualistic teachings abound but often emphasise different aspects of the historical teachings. This is a tool for anyone who genuinely wishes to gain a thorough comprehension of Advaita. Roy Whenary author of "The Texture of Being" A beautiful, articulate and extensive, yet compact anthology of pointers adverting to Truth. This compilation in itself is all that is needed for true understanding. Justus Kramer Schippers, Teacher and author of "Living from Neutrality" This work is a major achievement and should appeal to a wide audience of serious seekers and other students of life. Moller de la Rouviere, author of "Spirituality Without God" "Back To The Truth" is a comprehensive treatise on Advaita for those with an abiding interest in this subject. Dennis Waite is an experienced seeker and author who has the knack of imparting an immediate and satisfying sense of the underlying themes. The text is lucid, the references relevant and wide ranging, and the overall effect expansive and clarifying. This book is recommended to experienced Advaitins, as well as to those whose initial interest has led to a desire for a comprehensive review of the principles underlying this remarkable philosophy. John Lehmann, Principal, School of Advaita, Philosophy Foundation, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA Using a variety of relevant sources, Dennis Waite brilliantly succeeds in challenging the validity of the beliefs we use to protect our non-existent ego from total annihilation. Chuck Hillig, Author of "The Enlightenment Quartet" Dennis Waite in his new book on Advaita has given us a detailed, clear and balanced study of what this ancient wisdom means to us modern seekers, particularly with respect to the differences between the traditional school based on the scriptures and the more direct approach which finds favour with many spiritual seekers today. He has cleared away unnecessary verbiage which surrounds this abstruse subject. Mr Waite deftly and cogently outlines the complex richness of the Advaitic view of the world and our relationship to it with a simplicity that only a person in command of his subject can reveal. The Mountain Path (Journal of Sri Ramanasramam) Dennis Waite's strength as an author and scholar of Advaita really shows. He is thorough and exhaustive in his examination of the Advaita teachings, a sort of Ken Wilber of the Advaita world. His book is excellent for "beginners" and newcomers to Advaita simply because he covers all the bases with scrupulous honesty. But his writing is also excellent for long time seekers and those who have already "gotten it," those who have already had a profound opening and may wish to compare notes and sit back and sip the wine of a fine overview of this most ultimate of spiritual pathways to the Home that we never truly left. Philip T. Mistlberger, Teacher and Author of "A Natural Awakening: Realizing the True Self in Everyday Life" This is the most comprehensive, academic book on the so called "tradition" of non-duality we have seen. The questions, and curiosity within, may assist in turning over every rock. . The material here may be like a mirror-snake that reflects on itself, while eating its own tail - a disappearing act. Brian Lake and Naama Livni, Teachers

About the Author

Dennis Waite has been a student of Advaita for over 20 years and maintains one of the most visited websites on the subject. He is a member of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation and a moderator for the Advaitin e mail group. He lives in Bournemouth, England. He has previously published The Spiritual Seeker's Essential Guide to Sanskrit (Black & White) and The Book of One (O Books).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine exposition of Vedanta 10 April 2007
This book is an erudite, comprehensive, but at the same time very readable survey of the main issues of Vedanta philosophy. The author draws on many sources, both ancient and modern, to present his overview, and there are extended quotations from classical and contemporary texts. As far as I know, this is the first book to compare and contrast ancient and modern teachings, which makes it particularly valuable at the present time.

I would not recommend this book to anyone completely new to Vedanta -- the author has written a shorter, more simple book introducing the subject, entitled 'How to Meet Yourself' -- but for the student who already has some knowledge of the philosophy and wishes to learn more, 'Back to the Truth' is really indispensable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
What a book! Dennis Waite is a treasure. His website has long been a hub for Internet Advaita. (Google him, or start out on Amazon's Dennis Waite page; he's everywhere.) His excellent Book of One (which, interestingly enough, Amazon kindly informs me that I bought almost exactly seven years ago from the date this review is being written--back in August of 2004--is a touchstone of modern Advaita. Rather sadly, the many fine teachers within the broad field of Nonduality can write much faster than I can read, so I haven't yet read Dennis', 'Enlightenment: the Path through the Jungle', but you can bet I will. I see it's been reviewed positively by brighter lights than this one.

So THAT'S who Dennis Waite is, but what about this book?

Here's the longer review, which isn't very long:

Well, it's just an amazing work. It's BIG--as one might expect a $50 paperback to be. (Thank you for the nice discount, Amazon.) It's good scholarship, as one would expect from the scientifically-trained Mr. Waite. But it is the magical combination of Mr. Waite's own deep spiritual understanding, compounded with a tremendous intellectual and intuitive grasp and presentation of the traditional scriptures, specifically the Upanishads, that grants us this quite surprising and welcome element: this book, all by itself, is capable of stimulating Self-realization. I'd put money on it.

It's not a walk through the park to read this book. Beyond the intellectual challenge, there's a fair amount of Romanized Sankrit to deal with. I concede, however, that there really is no easier, more effective alternative to Sanskrit for exploring the traditional, and still very valid, Indian view of Nonduality. But these difficulties leave me making another wager.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Advaita Classic ! 25 Aug. 2011
Why is this work so important for today's Advaitic (any truly inspired) seeker?

'Viveka' in sanskrit means the ability to objectively discriminate and reason - very important for the serious seeker of Truth. Dennis Waite's work reflects that - deep maturity of a voice of toil and patience, of deep felt earnestness to uncover for you in the most honest and uncompromising manner, the principles of Advaita. If you are done exhausting the interest over the 'new-age' watered down pseudo advaitic influences (Tony Parsons, Jeff Foster, Unmani and a host of other youtube gurus), and find that it is time to go for the kill, the real deal, consider this work. You will see the need for the right knowledge, which is so easily dismissed in this age of instant-nirvana with callous statements like 'a path implies future - a mind trap'. If 'Nothing ever happens' was the starting point from your youtube/satsang guru/book. If 'Stop seeking Now,cos now is all there is' is what you would have been told. And if you persisted , you may have been trumped with questions like 'To whom is this seeking seen?'.

Hopefully you have made use of those messages only to keep your interest alive. And if you really want to respect that deep desire to uncover the truth, get real.This book helps here. Come prepared, bring along your trusted old ally - patience, oil the gentle lamp of single pointed desire - to know the Truth,sharpen the pencil of reason, and make use of this wonderful companion to guide you along.

But if 'peace of mind','kundalini fireworks', 'stress busting', and 'stillness in the now', 'meditation' is what you are after, you need to look elsewhere.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This is a monumental effort to expound with profound lucidity the core teachings of advaita, based on Vedanta and Upanishads of the Vedas, the Science of Self-Knowledge. It dispels many of the myths propagated by Neo-Vedanta and Neo -Advaita satsang culture. It does away with erroneous beliefs and proceeds in a logical fashion to instill in the minds of the aspirant that what is ultimately required to remove ignorance is not to go on seeking an experience of Enlightenment but to arrive at an understanding of the nature of Reality and the nature of one's own being , i.e, knowledge of the SELF.
Right at the outset Vedanta proclaims that each individual is in essence that SELF, the limitless, indestructible, whole and complete Awareness/Consciousness and that there is only that Non-Dual Reality in existence. In other words we are told that we are experiencing the Non-Dual SELF all the time and we are what we are seeking. However because of our identification with the Body-Mind-Ego, we have come to believe ourselves to be limited beings and experience separateness in duality. Effort is therefore required to slowly peel away these false beliefs and tendencies. Ramana Maharshi had the death experience during which he realised his true nature, and to ensure that his understanding would survive that experience and that his mind would permanently establish in the SELF, he spent the next 20yrs in a cave making that effort. Neo-advaita culture would obviously dismiss this for making effort does not come easy due to our tamasic(inertia) tendencies.
This book will reveal that Vedanta is a means of Knowledge of the SELF and not any experience of it, and like other bodies of knowledge in the objective world e.g Physics there are levels of acceptance of reality and the process of sublation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Buy it ... v good
Published 8 months ago by Present Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, profound
Excellent, profound, well-written, intelligible, exhaustive... What else can I add? I hate the woord 'must' with regard to books etc., but I'll make an exception for this book. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Von Fleckenstein
5.0 out of 5 stars Nihilism without tears
Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita is an all you wanted to know book about Advaita but where too afraid to ask. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Halifax Student Account
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
I can highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Advaita. There can be found a useful list of internet resources and recommended reading. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Julia
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book
I have read a few books on non duality this is very comprehensive. is a broad description of the main Tenets. Read more
Published on 24 Dec. 2012 by lostonrye
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Guide to Advaita
A profoundly astute and masterful guide to the field of Self-discovery. An authoritative scholar, Dennis writes with supreme clarity as he skillfully expounds, logically analyzes... Read more
Published on 10 Jan. 2012 by Katie Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - All you wanted to know about Vedanta but didn't know who...
Bought and read this book a few years ago so this review comes a bit late. I still highly recommend this book - read it cover to cover and also recommended to several friends (with... Read more
Published on 24 Jun. 2011 by Read Indian
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint-hearted!
Oh dear! I hesitated before writing this review as I can't give it five stars. I guess my reaction to reading this book just shows how asleep I must still be. Read more
Published on 27 Nov. 2008 by Andrew Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars 5,000 Years of Advaita in One Book has to be Acknowledged as a...
Following on from 'The Book of the One' Dennis Waite seems to have done it again with this book. In many ways Waite has supassed is previous work and managed to incorporate so much... Read more
Published on 30 Dec. 2007 by Mr. S. Wollaston
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ken Wilber of Advaita
The most refreshing thing about Dennis Waite's books is the fact that he makes no claims for himself as to whether he is `self realised' or not during his forays into the great... Read more
Published on 10 Jun. 2007 by Paula Marvelly
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