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Nak Khid

Who is the first Western teacher to be known for teaching "Non-Duality"

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Who is the first Western teacher to be known for teaching "Non-Duality"

Obviously non-duality is taught  in Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism and other traditions

but who the first to become known in recent years as a teacher of non-duality. the word non-duality as the main word they are associated with ?

 

https://www.newharbinger.com/about-us/non-duality-press

Non-Duality Press

Since 2004, Non-Duality Press has been the leading publisher of contemporary literature on the subject of non-duality, a translation of the Sanskrit word “Advaita,” meaning “not two”—not separate from the universe or from each other. Contemporary non-duality stands firmly in the immediacy of the present moment, but often draws on the wisdom of ancient teachings, such as Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism, to bring them into the intimacy of our modern lives.

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Neo-Advaita

Neo-Advaita, also called the Satsang-movement and Nondualism, is a New Religious Movement, emphasizing the direct recognition of the non-existence of the "I" or "ego," without the need of preparatory practice. Its teachings are derived from, but not authorised by, the teachings of the 20th century sage Ramana Maharshi, as interpreted and popularized by H. W. L. Poonja and several of his western students.

According to Lucas and Frawley, the spiritual root of neo-Advaita is Ramana Maharshi, whose teachings, and method of self-inquiry,could easily be transposed to North America’s liberal spiritual subculture

Lucas has called the popularisation of Ramana Maharshi's teachings in the west "the Ramana effect".[14] According to Lucas, Ramana Maharshi was the greatest modern proponent of Advaita Vedanta, well known for emphasizing the enquiry of the question "Who am I?" as a means to attain awakening.[14] According to Lucas, following Thomas Csordas, the success of this movement is due to a "portable practice" and a "transposable message".[14] Ramana Maharshi's main practice, self-inquiry via the question "Who am I?", is easily practiceable in a non-institutionalized context.[14] His visitors and devotees did not have to adopt the Vedantic culture, nor to commit themselves to an institution or ideology, to be able to practice self-inquiry.[14] Ramana's teachings are transposable into a western context. Ramana Maharshi himself did not demand a shift in religious affiliation, and was himself acquainted with western religions, using quotes from the Bible.Neo-Advaita teachers have further deemphasized the traditional language and worldframe of Advaita, using a modern, psychologized worldframe to present their teachings as a form of self-help, which is easily accessible to a larger audience.

 

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George Gurdjieff

"Man is immersed in dreams... He lives in sleep… He is a machine. He cannot stop the flow of his thoughts, he cannot control his imagination, his emotions, his attention... He does not see the real world. The real world is hidden from him by the wall of imagination."

 Leo did a video on Gurdjieff quite a while ago but I can't locate it. "Man is a machine" was the main theme.

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George Gurdjieff lived from 1866-1949. A generation before Alan Watts. I wonder if George influence Alan in any way. They didn’t have the internet back then. . .

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Alan Watts is more associated with Zen. Non-duality is a part of that but I'm talking about teachers less associated with a tradition and who are described specifically as as teachers of non-duality as their primary description or also the first Western teachers talking about Self Inquiry.
20 years ago I did not hear people talking about non-duality as a spiritual teaching  in itself, just mentioned within various traditions, Buddhism and Hinduism mainly, not in this more secularized way.   It's like this term "mindfulness"

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@Nak Khid I would agree that pure nonduality teachers are relatively recent in Western civilizations. My hunch is that the internet accelerated the process. 

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@cetus56 I like how he implores others to understand. Krishnamurti did that as well. It’s like you have an amazing gift you genuinely want to give to others. 

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@Serotoninluv Was thinking Krishnamurti at first but how to categorize him -semi-western maybe? On that note David Bohm then springs to mind as a western Non duelist.

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@cetus56 I’d consider krishnamurti an honorable mention as a westerner. In particular because he transcended the pressures of his native culture and became his own authority. He had no allegiance to anything. I love that about him. 

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2 minutes ago, Serotoninluv said:

@cetus56 I’d consider krishnamurti an honorable mention as a westerner. In particular because he transcended the pressures of his native culture and became his own authority. 

That would be an accurate assessment.

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Anaximander, Heraclitus, Plotinus

Hegel was a bit later, but had an excellent grasp of it.


"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." -- Rumi

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1982

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Christianity and the Doctrine of Non-Dualism, a work which was first published in French in 1982 first published in English in 2004

"As for ourself, we will say unequivocally that after more than forty years of intellectual reflection on this doctrine [of non-dualism or advaita-vâda], having allowed it to impregnate us more and more profoundly, we have found nothing that has seemed incompatible with our full and complete faith in the Christian Revelation." - A Monk of the West

This semi-anonymous work was written by 'A Monk of the West' who used the pseudonym of 'Elie Lemoine' (Alphonse Levée), a French Cistercian monk who, at the young age of twenty, found a copy of fellow countryman René Guénon's Orient et Occident (East and West) in a second-hand book stall while he was posted in Asia. This event had a tremendous impact that endured for the rest of his life and was instrumental in his decision to take up the monastic vocation. 'Elie Lemoine' also worked as an editor of the distinguished traditionalist journal Études Traditionnelles that was central in making Guénon and other traditionalist writings accessible to wider audiences. It was in the discovery of the René Guénon's works that 'Elie Lemoine'--A Monk of the West-- found an integral metaphysical doctrine that was universal in its principles, known in the West as the philosophia perennis--perennial philosophy. The metaphysical 'doctrine of non-dualism' (advaita-vâda) is not exclusive to Hinduism (san'tana dharma) alone but is also present in Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is in this universal light that Christianity and the Doctrine of Non-Dualism was articulated.

Though this book on 'Christian Ved'nta' is modest in its length, it is dense in its scope and reflection. The book begins with a thorough and insightful Preface by the late perennialist Alvin Moore, Jr. (1923-2005). The work consists of eight chapters and a Forward: 'Philosophical Monism and Non-Dualism', 'I am Brahma', 'In All Things Like Unto Men', 'Without Me You Can Do Nothing', 'Who am I?', 'I am not the Christ', 'East and West' and the Conclusion.

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I challenge somebody to find a book in a European language that has "non-duality" in the title earlier than Christianity and the Doctrine of Non-Dualism from 1982.  

However I am going to propose Rupert Spira* is the first European to be called a teacher of Non-duality where that word is put front and center, prove me wrong

 

*fun fact one of his talks about nonduality is included in the video game The Witness.

Edited by Nak Khid

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1970

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Here's a 1970 book, Non-Duality in the subtitle
Immediate Knowledge and Happiness (Sadhyomukti): The Vedantic Doctrine of Non-Duality

Shree Atmananda (1883-1959) was a modern day sage who taught a Vedantic approach to self-realization, and was well-respected by Paul Brunton and others. Brunton himself would send people to Atmananda desiring a traditional guru-disciple relationship, a function that he himself as principally a writer did not provide. Atmananda was a sage among sages who had attained proficiency in all yogas prior to assuming his principle role of teaching jnana. John Levy and Walter Keers were influential in bringing his work to the attention of the West, with Levy personally assisting Atmananda in the English translation of his works Atma Darshan and Atma Nivriti. Atmananda urged Levy to promote his teachings in a more accessible form, and to that end Levy wrote The Nature of Man According to Vedanta and Immediate Knowledge and Happiness (Sadhyomukti), while teaching students out of his home in London.

 

 

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The term nondualism of non-duality is negative.

It's a word with "non" attached

as opposed to "oneness" or "monism" 

So it's hard to warm up to the term "non-duality" in my opinion but any word might be deficient.
"Oneness" has become somewhat trite sounding and monism has that horrible "ism" attached to it

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nak Khid

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Posting this 2011 book  just as an FYI because it has 26 interviews including

David Bingham, Daniel Brown, Sundance Burke, Katie Davis, Peter Fenner, Steve Ford, Jeff Foster, Suzanne Foxton, Gangaji, Richard Lang, Roger Linden, Wayne Liquorman, Francis Lucille, Mooji, Catherine Noyce, Jac O'Keeffe, Tony Parsons, Bernie Prior, Halina Pytlasinska, Genpo Roshi, Florian Schlosser, Mandi Solk, Rupert Spira, James Swartz, Richard Sylvester and Pamela Wilson.

(although much of the book is transcripts from videos than can be seen on youtube)

 

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7 hours ago, Serotoninluv said:

I’m sure there are earlier ones, yet Alan Watts comes to mind. 

Did he even attain to enlightened ? I read that he descried himself more like "enlightement entertainer", I don't know to what extent he lived what he preached.

Edited by wavydude

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