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A Christian critique of Adyashanti Login/Join 
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Originally published on Facebook
An earlier forum discussion of Adyashanti can be found here.

This discussion pertains primarily to how he speaks about Christianity.


Every now and then, I give Adyashanti's writings a go, and if I ever expect anything more than some westernized expression of advaita (nondual mysticism), I come away disappointed. Most infuriating is when he and others (Tolle, Chopra, etc.) presume to tell us what Christianity is really all about. Like this:

“Spiritual autonomy is knowing who and what you are—knowing that you are divine being itself, knowing that the essence of you is divinity. You are moving in the world of time and space, appearing as a human being, but nonetheless you are eternal, divine being, the timeless breaking through and operating within the world of time. To Jesus, spirit is everything. Nothing matters more than spirit or, as I like to say, divine being. Divine being is what Jesus is here for; it is the vitality source from which he moves, from which he speaks, from which his critique arises. He is the living presence of divine being. He’s a human being too, but he’s here to convey divine being, and that comes out most clearly in the Gospel of Mark. This gospel uniquely conveys Jesus’ search for himself. Mark’s Jesus is a Jesus who is very much a searcher: he’s looking for his identity, he’s looking for his role, he’s experimenting, he’s finding out what works and what doesn’t. He’s on a journey, and he’s inviting all of us along for that journey with him as if we were also the disciples.”

"Resurrecting Jesus"

Sorry, but if we really were divine beings, we wouldn't be confused about who we were. We wouldn't commit evil acts, either, unless divinity itself was morally tainted. As is so often the case with gnostic writers on nonduality, he conflates the human spirit with the divine. Jesus never did so, nor did he teach that we were divine beings. Also, his interpretation of Mark would also be news to most Christian biblical scholars. Jesus searching for his identity? This is not the Jesus who was about his Father's business at the age of 12.

What's really wrong here is that many today seem to think that writers like Adyashanti and Tolle are teaching what Christianity is really supposed to be about. Instead, it seems that they're re-formulating Christianity through the lenses of their own experience and metaphysics. While there can surely be nuggets of wisdom expressed here and there in their writings, there's too much that's "off-key" to resonate with Christianity. These teachings do not lead one to Jesus or his Church.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,
Posts: 3856 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Try this Facebook quote from Adyashanti.
""This life is a dream. To call it a dream is not to disparage it; that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. It's no different from dreams you have at night. You wake up from your dreams into this dream we call life, and when you go to sleep, you wake up in another dream world. But that which is awake in both worlds, the dreamer, is always the same. Awareness is always present. That's the reality. What doesn't come and go, even in the dream state? That's who you are."

OK, but that isn't necessarily divine. In Christianity, we know this to be the spiritual awareness of the human soul, which is created, not eternal, and which has both reflective and non-reflective dispositions. In its non-reflecting aspect, it is the witnessing state, a background awareness, or Self, that perdures through all manner of changes in life. It is not omnipotent and omniscient (as divine being), but is finite and limited in perspective and experience to this embodied individual. My experience of it is not privy to yours, hence duality is real; there are other creatures sharing this existence with me, and it is not a dream. Granted, we have our illusions and projections, but there's also something real always coming through, and what we do with this life is important.

Adyshanti makes no distinction between this nonreflecting aspect of human consciousness, the Holy Spirit, and the transcendent Father. For him, it seems, there is no divine Other; once one awakens to spirit, that's it -- no more God "out there" to pray to or even think about. No First Great Commandment. No One to say thank you to. Obviously, this is all quite different from what one sees going on with Jesus and the Gospel, for Jesus never stops relating to his Father, even after the resurrection. The human Jesus is still "there" after the resurrection. In Christianity, duality is affirmed, and relational spirituality is emphasized. Adyashanti's spirituality emphasizes realizing your innate divinity, and so it's ultimately a type of gnosticism with very little in common with orthodox Christianity. It might resonate with some apocryphal scriptures, and, indeed, he seems to really love the Gospel of Thomas.
Posts: 3856 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It seems to me that Christians who look to teachers like Adyashanti and Tolle for guidance had best know what they're doing and why, and be able to tune out the nonsense while sifting for helpful gems. As with Buddhism and other eastern approaches, these teachers can provide helpful guidance concerning detachment and clarifying one's spiritual awareness, but they fall short in so many other areas as to be fairly useless, on the whole. Their venturing out into interpreting Christian teaching is especially concerning, as they speak with great authority about who Jesus was and what he taught while generally presenting Christianity as having lost its way (e.g., we didn't follow the gnostics). Some of this seems self-serving, though I don't doubt their sincerity. Still, if it helps to sell a few books and gain a few followers . . .
Posts: 3856 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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