Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential teaching of Eastern spiritual traditions - probably all you need, 14 April 2012
This review is from: True Meditation (Hardcover)
This short book is a very practical and potent guide to awakening. In my mind is represents a summary of the essential teachings of most of the Eastern spiritual traditions. I think the words here are all you really need if you are able to listen to and imbibe them. He uses very straightforward language throughout which makes it much more accessible that many traditional texts. However I never felt the teachings were being dumbed-down as so often happens. I did feel he was talking from his own genuine experience and even though not all the details were covered, the flavour comes through. And that is what matters, again, if you are open and willing to listen.

Essentially the book teaches that there are 2 main steps to spiritual enlightenment, and also has a accompanying CD which contains 3 guided meditations.

1) Firstly you develop a meditative mind in which all things such as thoughts, feelings and sensations are allowed to come and go as 'they' please. This means that you as the meditator or egoic centre have to let go and not control. This is what Adyashanti calls true meditation. He points out that this is not the concentration that is often touted as meditation, such as following the breath or a mantra or a visualisation. Concentration is a form of control in which the egoic centre is perpetuated. These concentrative practices are however helpful, if you are drawn to them, in order to gather and centre oneself before entering into 'true meditation'.

This is in line with most schools of Budhism which the concentration is called samatha and the allowing is called vipashyna/vipassana. It is also in line with Advaita Vedanta methods in which concentration is developed in order to develop a calm mind in which greater truths can be pondered such as self-inquiry/jnana yoga.

2) Second is spiritual-inquiry, which is best performed in this meditative state of mind. This involved posing deep and intimate spiritual questions that you are drawn to asking yourself. The deepest and most intimate of these questions is 'What am I'. Adyashanti takes us through how to pose the question, the negative approach of saying what you are not, and the positive approach of discovering what you are. This is in line with many Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta traditions, although leans more towards Mahamudra and Vedanta in the way he expounds it.

Along the way he points out that meditation without inquiry can leave the meditator lost in experiences and states with no lasting realisation attained. Similarly inquiry without meditation can lead to not truly exploring ones felt-experience leading to an overly intellectual/dry understanding which again does not result a transformation of one's life. He also touches upon meditation posture as well as stating the importance of continuing these 2 activities away from formal meditation practice.

3) The guided meditations gently take you through what he has taught, inviting you to awaken to your true self.

Incidentally, the tone of the book reminds me of a book called "Heart advice from a mahamudra master" and the subject matter reminds me of a mix of Shankara's Vivekachudamani and Namgyal's Clarifying the Natural State. The latter 2 books are much more detailed in various specifics of meditation and inquiry, but my feeling is that this level of detail is not necessarily required if you are able to understand what is in this book of Adyashanti's. If however your mind/ego still has further questions and want further reading, any of the above 3 books may prove helpful.

In summary this book/CD is powerful, comprehensive and practical as a spiritual tool. Highly recommended.
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