How to Attain Enlightenment: The Vision of Nondualityby James Swartz
This complete guide to enlightenment presents the wisdom of the ancient science of self-inquiry, a time-tested means for achieving spiritual freedom. The author convincingly refutes the popular view that enlightenment is a unique state of consciousness and debunks a host of other myths. In his straightforward style he reveals proven methods for purifying the mind, and… See more details below
This complete guide to enlightenment presents the wisdom of the ancient science of self-inquiry, a time-tested means for achieving spiritual freedom. The author convincingly refutes the popular view that enlightenment is a unique state of consciousness and debunks a host of other myths. In his straightforward style he reveals proven methods for purifying the mind, and takes the reader from the beginning to the end of the spiritual path, patiently unfolding the logic of self-inquiry.
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.
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.
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.
- Sentient Publications
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