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Camden Philosophical Society: Advaita Vedanta – In Person & On Zoom

Tuesday, January 16 @ 3:30 pm 5:00 pm

At its next hybrid gathering on Tuesday, Jan. 16, the Camden Philosophical Society will be discussing material that pertains to Advaita (literally “non-secondness,” but usually rendered as nondualism) Vedanta (the oldest extant scholarly tradition of the orthodox Hindu school Vedanta). The readings have been selected and the discussion will be led by Susan Wright, a long-standing Society member who will be participating via Zoom from her home in Portugal. All are welcome to participate in this hybrid gathering, in-person at the Picker Room of the Camden Public Library or by Zoom.

If you wish to participate via Zoom, please email sarahmiller@usa.net. You will receive a Zoom invitation on the morning of the meeting. Click on the “Join Zoom Meeting” link in that invitation at the time of the event.

Susan provided the following explanation and access to readings and videos:

“Non duality is the understanding of and the release from the notion that we are separate beings of mind, body and world. We are consciousness experiencing. There is only consciousness modulating in experience”  Rupert Spira

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness…albeit a very persistent one… This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein 

Following up on our explorations past and future of several ancient Western philosophies and teachings, I wanted to lay the foundation for this particular Eastern thought in a clear and simple way. To that end, I have combined readings and videos.  

Over the last couple of years, I have noted numerous similarities, albeit some key differences, between ancient Western thought and Eastern experience.  So I am looking forward to it all !  It seems to me there are many paths and pointers but really only one destination, which has always existed. 

If you can, I recommend both the readings and the videos.  I advise you to watch the videos in the order attached here. 

Two videos by Rupert Spira, a current and well regarded teacher of non-duality, the experience of consciousness and separateness. The first one, “The Pinnacle of Non-Dual Understanding”  is a good introduction (about 46 minutes). The second one (much shorter, 13 minutes), “The Direct Path to Inner Peace and Happiness” puts forth the seminal question of non-duality.  

The Reading 

I Am by Jean Klein (PDF sent via email. Please contact sarahmiller@usa.net if you would like a copy)

By way of introduction, “Jean Klein (1912-1998), a musicologist and doctor, traveled to India, where he was influenced by Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, studied Kashmir Shaivism, and was sent to the West to teach Advaita Vedanta. He is regarded as one of the most eloquent communicators of non-duality in the second half of the 20th century. More about him can be found here:  https://www.stillnessspeaks.com/teacher/jean-klein/

Please read as much as you like in the pdf,  but for our discussion you will find the following pages most helpful.
Pgs vii-ix For The Reader

Pgs 1-11, 19-39, 57-66, 91-96

(Pages noted refer to the numbers on the bottom of each pdf page.)

The text is written much like a Satsang, with questions posed and the teacher’s, in this case Jean Klein’s, responses.  Hopefully, this makes the reading easier and emphasizes key points of the non-dual teaching.  Also, beyond the suggested pages above, you can skim through the questions and find others that may be of interest…if so, please read those as well and bring them into our discussion.

Susan Wright