My favorite nonduality books

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My favorite nonduality books

Post by pinback » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:42 pm

The realization of nonduality is the key to releasing, and allowing to dissolve, the torturous pall of suffering which torments so many of us.

Here are my favorite books/writings on the subject, and though few of them will say right on the cover that they are nonduality books, they are indeed.

This was originally going to be a non-numbered list, but Robb, man, that dude loves a numbered list, so I'll give him what he most desires.

These are listed in ascending order of what I would call "difficulty". That is, the higher the "difficulty", the more likely someone with no previous nonduality study would read it and pronounce it either insane, meaningless, or both.

1. "Radical Acceptance", Tara Brach. Pretty focused on Buddhist mindfulness meditation and its various applications, but with the focus on bringing an "inner yes" to the present moment. It's not clear that this is truly a nonduality book until you get further down this list.

2. "The Power of Now", Eckhart Tolle. Multi-zillion bestseller, he created an empire on the strength of these words. Personally, I think after the first three chapters, it's said all it needs to say, but they're a fine three chapters, and this was the first presentation of some of this material to the masses that wasn't all wound up in goofy, mystical wording. A straightforward invitation to the realization of nonduality, and a good starting point for everyone.

3. "Nothing to Grasp", Joan Tollifson. The first one on this list that DOES mention "nonduality" on the cover. Breezily, confidently written, no mystical horseshit, just an honest, personal, near-perfect set of chapters of pointers to the ultimate. Probably the one I'd recommend first, but I think it does presume you've at least been a "seeker" for a while.

4. "An Extraordinary Absence", Jeff Foster. Like the above, but far more poetic, personal, whimsical. Short chapters, little reminders and quiet little explosions of truth.

5. "This is Unimaginable and Unavoidable", Guy Smith. A comedic, spastic set of quick scribbles, recorded emails, sexual fantasies, terrible poems, all wrapped in a wink and a nod, featuring provocative chapter titles like "The Moon Landing Never Happened", but all with a keen sense of what it's all pointing to. I actually emailed him years after the book came out, and he said his "perspective is much different now". Well, screw him. This book is great.

6. "Nothing Being Everything", Tony Parsons. Any of the Tony Parsons books will do, this was just the first I picked up, and still my favorite. This is both by far the easiest of these books to read, and also the one most likely to seem insane. The most uncompromising communication of nonduality you'll ever come across. The dialogues with the people coming to his meetings are the funniest part, as they keep trying to get something, as he continually insists he has nothing to give them. Nothing even about suffering here. Just ultimate truth, told directly and with a smile, by a sweet old Englishman.

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7. The Diamond Sutra. 2500 years old, and still all you really need to know. Completely inscrutable and absurd without either a lot of preparation or a lot of spontaneous insight, but after that, well, you can probably ditch all the rest. I mean, it's quoted in The Witness, so obviously it's superduper meaningful and important.
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Re: My favorite nonduality books

Post by Tdarcos » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:19 pm

pinback wrote:7. The Diamond Sutra. 2500 years old, and still all you really need to know. Completely inscrutable and absurd
You got that right. Sooner or later every link to a chapter or a page in the work pop a 404 error. They should have found a webmaster who was less interested in LSD and more interested in making the website work.

The real question is, do any of these match reality? I suspect they don't. In which case nothing they say has any value to us in the real world except as fiction.
"I might only have one match / But I can make an explosion."
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Re: My favorite nonduality books

Post by pinback » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:28 pm

Tdarcos wrote:
pinback wrote:7. The Diamond Sutra
You got that right. Sooner or later every link to a chapter or a page in the work pop a 404 error. They should have found a webmaster who was less interested in LSD and more interested in making the website work.
Hmm, I just clicked chapter-to-chapter, hitting the "next" button, and it seemed to work fine. Oh well, there are other translations. Thich Nhat Hanh's is well-known and pretty damn good, though I don't track 100% with his interpretation. He tends to focus the most on everyone being good and helping others and making the world a better place and all that shit.
The real question is, do any of these match reality?
Reality can't be "matched" by a book. Reality is not a conceptual map. Reality is what is. These books merely point to that.

Why did I even reply to this. I am going to regret it, in 3... 2... 1...
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Re: My favorite nonduality books

Post by Tdarcos » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:52 am

pinback wrote:Why did I even reply to this. I am going to regret it, in 3... 2... 1...
Uh uh, oh no you don't! You're a day late. Everyone knows you only get repeats and do-overs on February 2. (Or you kill an Alpha Mimic.)
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Post by Tdarcos » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:09 am

I would not double post except I misread your message. I did not read it as "I'm going to regret it in 3, 2, 1.."

I thought you said "I'm going to repeat it in 3, 2, 1.." and you were making a Groundhog Day joke.

So don't criticize me for making an unfunny joke, I was thinking yours didn't work.

I now declare this and the previous message non-canon to the Tansin A. Darcos universe and they have just ceased to exist.

Hey! That's great and I didn't even have to read any of the crappy books he recommends!
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Post by pinback » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:31 am

I think they're good books. :(
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Re: My favorite nonduality books

Post by Tdarcos » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:46 am

pinback wrote:Reality can't be "matched" by a book.
Oh yes it can.
pinback wrote:Reality is not a conceptual map.
I did not say it was.
pinback wrote:Reality is what is. These books merely point to that.
And that, by definition is the idea of "matching" reality, that what it points to is a valid representation of reality or if it recommends an action that recommendation comports with reality. If it recommends something intending to make our lives better that this be something which it is possible to do and tends to be positive toward life and compatible with it.

Stop trying to play stupid. You're not good at it.
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Re: My favorite nonduality books

Post by pinback » Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:01 am

Tdarcos wrote:If it recommends something intending to make our lives better that this be something which it is possible to do and tends to be positive toward life and compatible with it.
Most of them share a theme of "intending to make our lives better". Except for the Tony Parsons stuff. He has no interest in that, just in layin' down mad truths yo.
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Post by AArdvark » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:29 pm

Maybe Don Rogers could do a show covering this most interesting topic.



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BETTER, ONE CALLER AT
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Post by pinback » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:11 am

No.
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Post by FlyingCarp » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:56 am

I've read numbers 1 and 7, but didn't really think of them as specifically about non-duality. I'm taking you mean non-duality as the belief that there is no real separation between self and not-self. (Admittedly, I haven't yet read Pinback's extensive writings on the subject, which probably clarify the term.) I can get on board with that idea , though it's not something I've put a lot of thought into lately. Perhaps it's time to revisit the Diamond Sutra.

I got introduced to all that stuff through the Beat writers and it has definitely shaped how I interact with the world, though more back then than it does now. The Tara Brach book was suggested to me by a counselor who was pretty far-out herself. So, I read that one and definitely liked the worldview. It's been mostly helpful, but one that's pretty tough to actually put into practice.

Where does this philosophy impact your life the most?

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Post by pinback » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:36 pm

FlyingCarp wrote:I've read numbers 1 and 7, but didn't really think of them as specifically about non-duality.
Well, the Diamond Sutra is exactly about non-duality, with its consistent insistence of the fallacy of "a self, person, living being or life-span", as in...
Thich Nhat Hanh's translation wrote: “Why is this so? If, Subhuti, a bodhisattva holds on
to the idea that a self, a person, a living being, or a life
span exists, that person is not an authentic
bodhisattva.”
...and the playful way it cautions, over and over, against mistaking a word for a real thing:
TNH wrote: “Subhuti, the Tathagata says that these particles of
dust are not particles of dust. That is why they are
truly particles of dust..."
And on and on like that.

#1, I'll agree, probably doesn't really qualify, but I liked it too much to leave off.
I'm taking you mean non-duality as the belief that there is no real separation between self and not-self.
Or anything else, for that matter.
Where does this philosophy impact your life the most?
"My life" is not really "my life". That is why it is called "my life". But, all cuteness aside, I'd say it has effected a marked reduction in depression and anxiety.
Above all else... We shall go on... And continue!

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