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How to Attain Enlightenment: The Vision of Nonduality Paperback – Feb 16 2010
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The Vision of Nonduality explains methods of Vedanta in his survey of spiritual techniques, pairing theory with practice and explaining the myths and realities behind an enlightened state. From reflections on moving to a larger living space and clutter to assimilating experiences, How to Attain Enlightenment is a powerful survey any new age library needs. (The Bookwatch, May 21, 2010)
How to Attain Enlightenment explains and focuses on Vedanta, the science of self-inquiry, and considers the myths behind the state of enlightenment and its connections to happiness. The ancient teachings of Vedanta form a foundation of knowledge and practice that has questioned the nature of reality itself, and this survey of love, lifestyle, experience and more offers a fine survey perfect for new age libraries. (Midwest Book Review)
Though based on the ancient wisdom and knowledge of Vedanta, it comes as a breath of fresh air. A biased outlook may regard this information as old and musty, but the modern perspective displays a new approach to this gleaming and invaluable treasure.
Any worldly and material knowledge is incomplete, for it is merely a minuscule part of the whole Universe. But self-knowledge, which emphasizes oneness and the non-dual, presents knowledge which is complete and whole.
This book goes through the entire gamut of topics covered by the Vedas, making use of yoga, detachment, the ego, karma, dharma, love, meditation and much more, to bring about an inner growth, wherein is visible the enlightened and luminous self. (East and West Magazine)
Sentient Publications presents its next best-seller, How to Attain Enlightenment:The Vision of Nonduality by acclaimed author James Schwartz, who offers his ample wisdom on the ancient teachings of 'Vedanta.'
In Hinduism, Vedanta is a system of philosophy that further develops the connotation in the philosophies that add to the theology of ancient Hinduism.
In his first chapter, Inquiry into Object Happiness Schwartz holds the key to what it means to discover enlightenment… rather, a higher sense of awareness and consciousness to receive guidance and be in unison with the power of the Universe:
'What we call reality is governed by the uncertainly principle,' writes Schwartz, 'Because our source of food, animal or vegetable, is unconcerned about our need to survive, we are forced to either pursue it or cultivate it. Shelter does not simply happen on its own but requires effort to obtain.' The same principle holds true in what he further elaborates that even when material needs have been met, individuals often find that they are still not completely fulfilled or satisfied in their lives―this is where having and maintaining a state of Vedanta helps soul seekers to be at one with the self and with the Universe, regardless of life circumstances.
If you are on a quest for wisdom and are ready to manifest a heightened state of consciousness so that you can become liberated and freed from the limitations that negate your personal and spiritual happiness, then gain the knowledge you need that Schwartz offers in his book How to Attain Enlightenment through a vast array of teachings, meditations, and more. (CarolAnnB)
Would you like to learn how to attain enlightenment? Well regardless of the semantics of whether enlightenment is something to be attained, welcome to the enlightenmentdudes.com review of How to Attain Enlightenment by James Swartz.
This really is a handbook of enlightenment. He covers what enlightenment is not, such as not an experiential state, and then gets into what enlightenment is. He talks about qualifications, or a background of spiritual maturity the seeker needs to have. And he explains what self inquiry really is.
Swartz also spends time debunking enlightenment myths and exposing the inaccuracy of the teachings of neo-advaita (primarily western) instant enlightenment spiritual teachers.
The book reminded me of how it is to enter a relationship. It started off well, but then you reach a point where you ask yourself whether you want to go on. There was a period where I was wondering what kind of point he was trying to make and if it was actually going anywhere. Like weathering a relationship through the tough times, I went on, and I’m glad it did.
Swartz is very funny in parts of the book, and it was refreshing to see a guy write in a fashion that uses descriptive terms that don’t have you reading the words consciousness, awareness or pure being in every paragraph. There are too many spiritual books full of that crap, and Swartz is a very pleasant departure from that.
The writer has a very keen understanding of self inquiry and other methods on the spiritual path, and he discusses the benefits of each. Swartz spent considerable time in India learning self-inquiry and has a chapter dedicated to questions about Ramana Maharshi. Swartz’s teacher was not a Ramana follower so there are areas where he differentiates from Ramana. He also discusses how one’s lifestyle has a major impact on enlightenment and he differentiates terms awakening and enlightenment as being two different things.
Overall, if you can get through the slow parts, this is an excellent and comprehensive book. You’ll realize when you get through it that slow parts actually were part of a plan and have importance. Enlightenmentdudes.com highly recommends this book, and gives it an 8 out of 10 on our infinity scale. (Enlightenmentdudes.com)
About the Author
James Swartz grew up in Montana and attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and the University of California at Berkeley before finding his niche in the world of business. He saw great success as a businessman, but in 1967 he experienced a major epiphany that turned him away from that path. Instead, he traveled to India on a spiritual journey, searching for the path to enlightenment. It was here that he learned of the famous Indian sage Swami Chinmayananda, whose knowledge and teachings proved to be the means to set James free. Now a disciple of the sage, James travels extensively to cities in America, Europe, and India to hold seminars on Vedanta, the science of self-inquiry. He provides resources for understanding non-duality through his website, www.shiningworld.com. James has previously self-published two non-fiction books: Meditation: An Inquiry into the Self (1998) and The Mystery Beyond the Trinity (1998).
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Top Customer Reviews
Furthermore, this excellent book is supplemented by Jame’s website, ShiningWorld.com, which is by far the best resource for Vedanta I have found. It offers, in the tradition of a true teacher, FOR FREE, most of this book in an uncompiled form, James’ booklets, Vedanta texts, and commentaries , his spiritual autobiography (what a story), audio files of his teachings from his retreats, his satsang Q & As (invaluable), his weekly webnars, and his freely offered retreats. There is much for sale on the site, but it is really just additional to what is freely given. I challenge you to find another teacher to give so freely. Most important of all however is that James is a living teacher who offers himself and the traditional teachings of Vedanta to all. What more could you ask for?
Good information like happiness is not in the object and everything has a pro and a con....awkwardly worded though when conveying concepts. I would recommend it to anyone who is seeking. Provides that missing link that a lot of non-dual teachings don't provide which is what to do to attain enlightenment.
James Swartz has given the world a great gift by writing this marvellous book. With "How to attain enlightenment" he has managed to distil the world of Vedanta into one single very readable volume that seems complete in itself. This book may very well prove to be the last or only spiritual book you'll ever need to read. The philosophy and methodology of Vedanta are clearly explained and unfolded, and the way it's presented leaves the reader in no doubt about the supreme importance and efficacy of this ancient spiritual teaching. It should be noted that James Swartz is no spiritual neophyte. He studied and practiced extensively under the personal guidance of such spiritual luminaries as Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayananda, who were two of the 20th century's greatest exponents of Vedanta and non-duality.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Why can't I see that `I am pure, unlimited Awareness'? Swartz will tell you exactly why and offers the proven methods to realize Awareness [Self]. These concepts are not Swartz's concepts; they go way back to the ancient Indian scriptures. They are proven, scientific methods of realizing the Self. Swartz has an excellent understanding of these methods and his presentation is easy to follow. I copied his triangular illustration of Self Awarness to keep handy as I read the book and I marked it up [as well as my book!] with notes as I progressed through the book. It summarizes quite well the condition of the 3 bodies all wrapped up in ignorance [Maya] through the 3 energies. There is so much more I can't begin to adequately summarize it. If you are serious about Advaita Vendanta, then you better get serious about getting this book. And don't forget his website at [...]. He has some of the key scriptures you can print off.
Thanks James, I was getting pretty dizzy! Now I know what to do.
After some initial interest in some modern teachers of Non-Duality (namely Tolle), I decided to read a few classics, such as "Be As You Are" and "I am THAT", which moved me deeply but failed to provide me with day-to-day tools. I was then led to James' book, "How to Attain Enlightenment", after quite some consideration about where to go next.
The author has learned from Swami Chinmayananda in India, former leader of a vast Vedanta mission. He has subjected his mind to the full teaching tradition, removed his self ignorance and went on to study numerous ancien texts for several decades. He walks the talk and is quite agile at delivering clear and down to earth explanations about anything related to the topic of interest. He isn't just throwing at you a few Neo Advaita half-truths, feel good methaphors or even his personal experience of the Self. The whole methodoloy is exposed in a practical, logical and meticulous way and all of it makes complete sense as you contemplate it.
To me, this book is like my bible. I have read it multiple times and refer to it constantly. Since initially getting the book a year ago, I have made a lot of progress and my psychology has totally defrosted. This book helped me develop the qualities such as dispassion and discrimination.
Following Vedanta's tradition, you find all relevant topics such as the limitations of object happiness, the qualifications for self realization, the three yogas (karma, bhakti and jnana), the gunas and so forth. The author's real life examples are quite entertaining too and the reader can easily recognize him or herself in them. At first it may be hard to grasp all the teachings, as it can get quite dense and everything is totally interconnected. Over time, if you expose your mind to it consistently, the truth will stick to it more and more and you will find yourself agreeing with what is taught, because your own experience and logic will point towards the same understanding. This book delivers the template from which to conduct your life if you are interested in developping a pure mind, one which will be able to understand and assimilate the knowledge that culminates in the realization "I am the Self".
As I began reading the first chapter or two I found myself feeling impatient for the author to "get to the good stuff." Having read it all I can see how the beginnings were laying the groundwork for a patient, in-depth and very thorough exploration and preparation for what is to come--and it does come. I don't feel like anything was held back; it's all right here.
The last chapter explores what the author considers to be some of the shortcomings of "neo-advaita." The critique is thoughtful and insightful, and the body of the book as a whole furnishes enough in-depth background to understand the basis of his point of view. His occasional characterizations of seekers and teachers is delightfully snippy, bringing a smile and an occasional cringe when the snippy approaches the all too familiar. His website, shiningworld.com, is full of very good content as well. I had to explore the whole site before I finally bought the book.
What always used to put me off about yoga and vedanta was the inferred exclusivity of it all, "only for the truly dedicated seeker," etc. And then there was the solace of a possible "payoff" if only one were willing to be patient for what might be just a few more lifetimes. I just never was a gung-ho "seeker-type." But the inner drawing, on the other hand, the mystery that has sustained my curiosity for all these years, has never diminished. Whatever IT is, I used to think, is certainly already right here, right now. And this eloquent book clearly seems to agree.
"Neo-advaita" has brought the ultimate human issue into the immediate present for many of us, and in a language that westerners can relate to. So personally I really have no criticism of it. But in my opinion, this book provides the missing backstory. If you feel drawn to the promised payoff that the title infers, get this book. I'm sure you'll enjoy it and appreciate how James Swartz has laid it all out so beautifully. Clearly, a lifetime of heart went into this work.
How To Attain Enlightenment thoroughly defeated and destroyed my Buddhism. As a result Buddhism has been banished from within me. Having read many other books on Advaita Vedanta I thought I really understood it. I did not. Not until I discovered genuine Advaita Vedanta presented by James Swartz--a disciple of the great Chinmayananda and Abhedananda--in a step-by-step "How to" manner that results in genuine understanding and genuine realization. Swartz is a realized being and a master of Advaita Vedanta. My eyes were opened to the fact that Advaita Vedanta is the Truth that enables one to realize enlightenment. I began to watch cherished Buddhist errors fall and be replaced by the Truth. Therein lies the vast difference between reading an abstract book written by a mere academic and reading a book written by a realized being, a living master (the best kind).
If you're serious about enlightenment and are tired of "always learning but never arriving at a knowledge of the Truth" then obtain How To Attain Enlightenment. Read it, study it, contemplate it, discuss it, and make this Truth your own. Advaita Vedanta is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Let James Swartz, a realized being, teach you. Visit his extensive, multifaceted, and engrossing web-site at shiningworld dot com
James Swartz is seventy years old and in apparent good health. Nonetheless, you should consult him as best you can while he still walks among us. Of course, if you're a mere dabbler, a dharma-fly, the solid no-nonsense presentation by Swartz is probably not for you. Swartz does not pander to the zeitgeist or any spiritual fad or the confused, aloof, and lazy mindset of the average seeker.
The author has a rich source of his other writings on his website at 'shiningworld' as well as his interesting biography and time with guru while a young man.That website is where I started.It also provides a full chapter of this book,more of a sample than Amazon provides.
James Swartz is in his 80s and has developed the teaching ability to provide clearity as he leads the reader.