RE: Eckhart Tolle

Robin Woods, modified 6 Days ago.

Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/28/12 Recent Posts
Is Tolle being deeply disingenuous by telling people they can get to experience what he does by occasionally paying attention to their bodies? By selling people very limited practises which played no role whatsoever in his own awakening? He never practiced what he preaches? 
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Pepe, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 273 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
I started to read The Power of Now. Just the first 50 pages so far, his statements/pointers are much more comprehensive than "occasionally paying attention to their bodies". There are a couple of implied eternalist postures and perhaps questionable biblical quotes, but nothing too far off, so far.
Sam Gentile, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 901 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
I was interested in Tolle quite a bit in years ago before Buddhism but was always sucipious of his "sudden enlightenment", that he obtained enlightenment sitting on a park bench one day. I dove into his books and lectures. The Power of Now is an excellent book sying all the right words. But the reason I abandoned Tolle is he would never show you methods. His meditations were not really meditations. He was like Krishnumurti. I guess you were just supposed to get enlightened by listening to him.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 591 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Tolle gets it, IMHO. He isn't pretending, though he might be inarticulate - he knows what he is talking about.

This idea that there are specific methods or practices that will allow anyone interested to suddenly "get" it is ridiculous. Seen from the perspective of enlightened mind, meditation techniques are nonsense. Ask any stream enterer, "Which SPECIFIC practice caused your enlightenment"? I'd wager that the answers will be "none", or at least utterly different in almost every case.

The Buddha didn't invent enlightenment, and there is no school of thought, buddhist or otherwise that has a monopoly on it. Enlightenment happens all the time, to people with very little practice history or Buddhist teaching. 

It's great to have exposure to someone who knows what they are talking about, but NO teacher can enlighten you. They can only point out what you are looking for.



As Daniel says, the characteristics of enlightenment are:

1 Complete Interdependence
2 Perfect Lawful Causality
3 Total Agencylessness
4 Total Centerpointlessness
5 Total Subjectlessness
6 That Manifestation=Awareness both ontologically and geo-spacially.
7 Atemporality
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8 Total Boundarylessness

-

These aren't abstract, intellectual understanding but very REAL understanding and experience. There is great clarity here. It is worth investigating what these might mean to "you", should you fully appreciate them as experiencing vs. ideation.
Robin Woods, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/28/12 Recent Posts
Yeah - I'm definitely not saying that he doesn't 'get it'. It's just that that he didn't awaken by following the techniques he now advocates. 

if you spend any time on a Tolle forum, despite the number of people claiming that he 'changed their lives' - you really don't get the sense that anyone has changed anything - and the vast majority of the time is spent whinging about personal problems. If any of it did anything- the entire Oprah audience would be enlightened by now. 

Also - does enlightenment really happen all the time? I get the impression it's very rare? 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 591 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Yeah - I'm definitely not saying that he doesn't 'get it'. It's just that that he didn't awaken by following the techniques he now advocates. 

I'd agree, and IMHO it's true of any "person" who has awakened. It isn't a technique that precipitates awakening, though those causes and conditions may correlate with it. 

I think that the list of practices Pepe has shared are as valid as any other practices I have seen. They have the flavor of neo-advaita direct pointing. 
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if you spend any time on a Tolle forum, despite the number of people claiming that he 'changed their lives' - you really don't get the sense that anyone has changed anything - and the vast majority of the time is spent whinging about personal problems. If any of it did anything- the entire Oprah audience would be enlightened by now.

I think this is probably true in the spiritual community of any well-known teacher. I DO think learning to see your story for what it is can be a valid spiritual path, however, and I think Tolle pointers work with that. 


Also - does enlightenment really happen all the time? I get the impression it's very rare?

Depends on how you want to define "enlightenment" (or define "rare"), but there are a decent number of at least stream-enterers on this board. They would have an understanding and experience of the non-dual nature of reality, and many could articulate it clearly.
Robin Woods, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/28/12 Recent Posts
Oh yeah - there a definitely a lot of stream enterers on this board - because they are practicing intensive, intensive meditation. 

I doubt there are that many anywhere else - certainly not on the Tolle Facebook forums.
Sam Gentile, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 901 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Robin Woods
Oh yeah - there a definitely a lot of stream enterers on this board - because they are practicing intensive, intensive meditation. 

I doubt there are that many anywhere else - certainly not on the Tolle Facebook forums.
I guess that's my point Robin and Sterling. There are definetly a lot of streamm enterers here - because they are practicing intensive, intensive meditation not because they are reading a Tolle back and then waiting on a park bench for ennlightenment to come.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 591 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Sam Gentile
Robin Woods Oh yeah - there a definitely a lot of stream enterers on this board - because they are practicing intensive, intensive meditation.  I doubt there are that many anywhere else - certainly not on the Tolle Facebook forums.
I guess that's my point Robin and Sterling. There are definetly a lot of streamm enterers here - because they are practicing intensive, intensive meditation not because they are reading a Tolle back and then waiting on a park bench for ennlightenment to come.


...but how many of them were actually PRACTICING when they "awakened"? Tolle's park bench story is actually a common sort of awakening as these thing go. Speaking for myself, I hadn't meditated for a few months, and had given up on actively pursuing the path temporarily. The following path shifts have always taken place when walking or in the car. Of the 10 or so awakened people I have met, none of them awakened while on the cushion, or counting vibrations - not to discount these types of practice. Admittedly this isn't a huge sample size, but I do think that the aspects of surrender, dropping the story, and momentary presence get short shrift, especially around here. Attachment to practices and rituals is a fetter - just another obscuration. There isn't one practice that is more valid than another, and certainly nothing ridiculous about Tolles recommendations. 
Sam Gentile, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 901 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Stirling Campbell
Sam Gentile
Robin Woods Oh yeah - there a definitely a lot of stream enterers on this board - because they are practicing intensive, intensive meditation.  I doubt there are that many anywhere else - certainly not on the Tolle Facebook forums.
I guess that's my point Robin and Sterling. There are definetly a lot of streamm enterers here - because they are practicing intensive, intensive meditation not because they are reading a Tolle back and then waiting on a park bench for ennlightenment to come.
...but how many of them were actually PRACTICING when they "awakened"? Tolle's park bench story is actually a common sort of awakening as these thing go. Speaking for myself, I hadn't meditated for a few months, and had given up on actively pursuing the path temporarily. The following path shifts have always taken place when walking or in the car. Of the 10 or so awakened people I have met, none of them awakened while on the cushion, or counting vibrations - not to discount these types of practice. Admittedly this isn't a huge sample size, but I do think that the aspects of surrender, dropping the story, and momentary presence get short shrift, especially around here. Attachment to practices and rituals is a fetter - just another obscuration. There isn't one practice that is more valid than another, and certainly nothing ridiculous about Tolles recommendations. 

Ok, I have to take your word for it (and your direct experience)  because he is definetly enlightened.​​​​​​​
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Pepe, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 273 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Some random pointers in his book:

* If you find it hard to enter the Now directly, start by observing the habitual tendency of your mind to want to  escape from the Now. You will observe that the future is usually imagined as either better or worse than the present. If the imagined future is better, it gives you hope or pleasurable anticipation. If it is worse, it creates anxiety. Both are illusory.
* Be present as the watcher of your mind of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. 
* Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future. Don't judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don't make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.
* Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don't interpret. See the light, shapes, colors, textures. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. Be aware of the space that allows everything to be. Listen to the sounds; don't judge them. Listen to the silence underneath the sounds. Touch something - anything - and feel and acknowledge its Being. Observe the rhythm of your breathing; feel the air flowing in and out, feel the life energy inside your body. Allow everything to be, within and without. Allow the "isness" of all things. Move deeply into the Now.
* Make it a habit to monitor your mental and emotional state through self-observation. ''Am I at ease at this moment?" is a good question to ask yourself frequently. Or you can ask: "What's going on inside me at this moment?" But don't answer these questions immediately. Direct your attention inward. What kind of thoughts is your mind producing? What do you feel? Direct your attention into the body. Is there any tension? Once you detect that there is a low level of unease, the background static, see in what way you are avoiding, resisting, or denying life - by denying the Now.
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Derek2, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 174 Join Date: 9/21/16 Recent Posts
It's just that that he didn't awaken by following the techniques he now advocates. 

There's plenty in the same boat.

Several people had awakenings due to the intervention of a single powerful individual, H.W.L. Poonja. They then encourage people to come to their "satsang" meetings, despite the evidence that they themselves lack the necessary power.
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 159 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
"You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher."

Sounds horrible to me, like adding another head to the Hydra.  If you see that creepy watcher ruuuun!
Soh Wei Yu, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 2 Join Date: 2/13/21 Recent Posts
Angel Roberto Puente:
"You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher." Sounds horrible to me, like adding another head to the Hydra.  If you see that creepy watcher ruuuun!


Eckhart Tolle realised Thusness Stage 1 and 2 http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

In the path delineated in AtR and as elaborated in the AtR guide, the I AM/Eternal Witness is an important phase to go through, although not final. It seems MCTB seems to bypass or not emphasize on this phase at all. Personally, depending on the path you take, the I AM/Witness may not be something to be downplayed. Although, if you wish to only focus on Vipassana, then you may not want to look into I AM. Depends on your path and conditions.

John Tan (Thusness) wrote in Dharma Overground back in 2009,

“Hi Gary,

It appears that there are two groups of practitioners in this forum, one adopting the gradual approach and the other, the direct path. I am quite new here so I may be wrong.

My take is that you are adopting a gradual approach yet you are experiencing something very significant in the direct path, that is, the ‘Watcher’. As what Kenneth said, “You're onto something very big here, Gary. This practice will set you free.” But what Kenneth said would require you to be awaken to this ‘I’. It requires you to have the ‘eureka!’ sort of realization. Awaken to this ‘I’, the path of spirituality becomes clear; it is simply the unfolding of this ‘I’.

On the other hand, what that is described by Yabaxoule is a gradual approach and therefore there is downplaying of the ‘I AM’. You have to gauge your own conditions, if you choose the direct path, you cannot downplay this ‘I’; contrary, you must fully and completely experience the whole of ‘YOU’ as ‘Existence’. Emptiness nature of our pristine nature will step in for the direct path practitioners when they come face to face to the ‘traceless’, ‘centerless’ and ‘effortless’ nature of non-dual awareness.

Perhaps a little on where the two approaches meet will be of help to you.

Awakening to the ‘Watcher’ will at the same time ‘open’ the ‘eye of immediacy’; that is, it is the capacity to immediately penetrate discursive thoughts and sense, feel, perceive without intermediary the perceived. It is a kind of direct knowing. You must be deeply aware of this “direct without intermediary” sort of perception -- too direct to have subject-object gap, too short to have time, too simple to have thoughts. It is the ‘eye’ that can see the whole of ‘sound’ by being ‘sound’. It is the same ‘eye’ that is required when doing vipassana, that is, being ‘bare’. Be it non-dual or vipassana, both require the opening of this 'eye of immediacy'.”
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 159 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
On paper anything can be explained away or defined according to taste. The explaining and counter explaining become endless.  I'm far from being a fundamentalist, but the witness is not what the Buddha taught.  If you want to become aware, practice awareness from the start and keep on going, always.  You can't stand apart from experience and develop deep awareness of it at the same time. That's what we always do, it's the eat your cake and keep it also syndrome. Stay aware of the moving show and you're already there, at some point this will become clear, but "Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart."
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Angel Roberto Puente
On paper anything can be explained away or defined according to taste. The explaining and counter explaining become endless.  I'm far from being a fundamentalist, but the witness is not what the Buddha taught.  If you want to become aware, practice awareness from the start and keep on going, always.  You can't stand apart from experience and develop deep awareness of it at the same time. That's what we always do, it's the eat your cake and keep it also syndrome. Stay aware of the moving show and you're already there, at some point this will become clear, but "Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart."

I think you are reading a simple dualism into this that isn't actually there. It's still dualistic in the sense that it mistakes transient states for the real deal, but it's not a subject-object dualism. That's just a language limitation. 
George S, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 1228 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
To be fair, in his 2015 BATGAP interview Kenneth talked about the watcher being a false refuge and expanded on it in this DhO post:

No, I'm saying something completely different. I'm questioning your assertion that "at every moment, experience has two components -- (1) appearances (thoughts, perceptions, sensations) which come and go; and (2) awareness, which does not come and go." This, I maintain, is a misunderstanding.

I'm suggesting that there is no experience of awareness. Awareness is always inferred. The experiences you are calling "awareness," however subtle, exquisite, profound, and self-validating, are just experiences, with no more or less claim to Ultimate Reality than an itch, or a thought, or gas pain. I'm suggesting that neither you, nor I, nor anyone else, past or present has ever perceived or apperceived, quasi-perceived, or otherwise-perceived awareness, either personally or impersonally. What people (understandably) mislabel "Awareness" is, in fact, a mental construct, a composite of physical and mental phenomena. I'm suggesting that the next step for you (and anyone who is talking about Awareness) is to grieve the death of your projection. With this understanding, this process of awakening takes a sharp turn into territory we never bargained for and couldn't have anticipated in advance. This is why it's hard, and rare. Most people will not take this step. They will park themselves in their mental constructs, surround themselves with people who believe the same thing, and fail to move beyond their current understanding.

-Kenneth
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Pepe, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 273 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
George, to be fair John Tan & Soh Wei Yu say the same as Kenneth Folk, just in different order. The I AM stage comprises the exploration / development of :

(1) impersonality ("no sense of a personal doer... I and everything is being lived by a higher power, being expressed by a higher cosmic intelligence").
(2) the intensity of luminosity ("experience as much vividness as possible and have clarity on the luminous aspect of awareness first. Touch, taste, smell and sound… are all equally vivid as compared to seeing. Experience the texture and fabric of awareness")
(3) dissolving the need to abide in I AMness  ("abiding in Presence ... may result in the oceanic experience ... (but) it is a pitfall that prevents effortless and non-dual experience of Presence (this requires deeper insights) and is a form of efforting") ,
(4) experiencing effortlessness ("any form of clinging, be it Self/self or Presence, will prevent a practitioner from correctly experiencing effortlessness")

Those aspects look similar to what 3rd Pathers describe here in DhO. What Soh Wei Yu says is that once you deepen in those four areas, then you can make fast progress into Anatta through two practices:
 
(1) "contemplating 'where does awareness end and manifestation begin' or 'is there a border/dividing line between awareness and manifestation' until Witness/phenomena collapses into a borderless one mind, one field of awareness where mind and manifestation can no longer be distinguished. This is *NOT* anatta".

2) "contemplating Bahiya Sutta (in seeing only the seen, on hearing only the heard, etc) until it is suddenly realized that the whole structure of Seer-Seeing-Seen doesn't apply and there is no seeing besides colors -- no seer, no hearing besides sound -- no hearer, no awareness besides manifestation. This is not just realising the lack of borders or duality but realizing the Absence of an inherently existing Self/Agent/Awareness behind manifestation. This is the realization of anatta".
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Ben V., modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 339 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
This is not a reply to one person in particular but just a few thoughts on the topics of the thread.

I was exposed to E. Tolle after lots of practice and lots of studies of Buddhist texts. E. Tolle helped me to simplify a lot, to get glimpses of the state of 'presence' beyond meditation technqiues. Before reading him I was a lot into inquiring whether I was meditating correctly, applying the technique correctly. I appreciate E.T.'s simplicity. It made me feel that meditation techniques are not meditation per say, but rather doors of entry into meditation, into the state of presence. 

I also found that when E.T. teaches, instead of giving detailed instructions into a technique, he would simply induce the state of presence into his listeners; at least that's the effect he had on me when I listened to his talks.

I guess whether a teaching style (e.g. technique-oritented or direct pointing, etc) is helpful or not depends on where one is on the journey. 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 3763 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I also found that when E.T. teaches, instead of giving detailed instructions into a technique, he would simply induce the state of presence into his listeners; at least that's the effect he had on me when I listened to his talks.


​​​​​​​I watched him teach in person once and this is a very good way to describe what he did that day.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I think this might be very close to what Tibetans refer to as telepathic transmission.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
This thread made me think that I should give the guy a chance and listen to him. I have been discouraged to do so, because my experience has been what others have described here: lots of people who praise him seem to suffer hellishly and spend lots of their time complaining about it - while at the same time guilttripping both themselves and others for suffering because it's all about what you transmit to the world. I have suspected that it's more to him than that, but still wasn't motivated to find out. I think I can let go of that aversion now. It's not his fault that lots of suffering people get overly enthusiastic about something that they have misinterpreted but that still resonates with them somehow. 

Also: oh, the joy! I just noticed that Thusness and Soh Wei Yu quotes and summaries are no longer Greek to me. It's actually very clear! It's what I'm working with now! I didn't ever expect to understand any of that. What the fuck happened?! 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: Eckhart Tolle

Posts: 560 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
I have read some E.T. book, enough to get a good feel of the man.


He does not have deep answers because he went to a nice mind state, noticed what sustains it and what would most likely break it(also assessed it based on previous experiences) and that is that. Investigating further was either not interesting for him, he did not think there is anything more to discover or he was afraid knocking further can wake some demons that best stay asleep. He was not the first and won't be the last.

I mean in some sense he has answers but at the same time they do not go very far. And this is the general condition anyone who thinks he/she is enlightened is in. On one hand constant struggle is not good but at the same time settling on current experience is no different than what most people do for their whole lives.

Why do I complain?
Because despite a lot of things he talks about, especially observations about other people, is valid and presented solutions are kinda valid, it all is extremely simplistic and my impression always was that everything he says is extremely obvious to the point that there is little value in it. At the same time he is right about the whole "now" (if it is properly defined) he does the same errors he says people do when they suffer and doesn't seem to realize it because he never analyzed it enough to know that. In other words there is nothing special about his "now" other than there is more relevant things in this "now". Otherwise suffering, cause of suffering, cessation of suffering and path leading to suffering not arising remains oblivious to him. But that is perhaps fate of teachers. If one decide to teach their own personal progress must be killed to not interfere with messages. He is not first in this fate and not the last.

And solution is so simple: see buddha? terminate his sorry a.s emoticon