Can the Mind be Quiet?: Living, Learning, and Meditation

Book Cover: Can the Mind be Quiet?: Living, Learning, and Meditation

One of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century describes a series of his encounters around the world with a wide variety of spiritual seekers. Their questions and his answers explore the nature of the lived experience, the details of profound self-inquiry and how to live a fulfilled life.

These 60 chapters, with titles like "Solitude Means Freedom", "All Seeking is from Emptiness and Fear", and "Life is an Extraordinarily Beautiful Movement", carry the essence of Krishnamurti's teaching style and profoundest wisdom.

Each one reflects an encounter K had at different times during the sixties and seventies. It opens with a poetic account of the location where the encounter took place, plus occasionally a description of the seeker that K has met. The chapter then moves back and forth between the seeker and the teacher, giving the reader plenty to reflect upon.

This is previously unpublished material. Readers will be captivated by the luminous prose and the piercing insight. The style is enigmatic and poetical but each chapter contains more than enough for the reader to consider, perhaps as a daily practice. In the style of Paulo Coelho they have the quality of fables, but the teaching is far more profound and challenging.

Insights into Education

Bringing About a Totally New Mind

Book Cover: Insights into Education
Editions:Paperback
ISBN: 978-1539500445
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 200
Kindle

Insights into Education presents the educational philosophy of J. Krishnamurti in an easy to use, topic-based format. It is a practical handbook that comes alive when used as an introduction to group investigation and dialogue. What it offers to teachers everywhere is an inroad into the many matters of concern with which they are faced on a daily basis. That we cannot continue as we have been doing, with rote-learning, fact-finding, and a modicum of analysis as the building blocks of education, is obvious to anyone who is at all concerned with teaching and learning in a world with accelerating technological advancement, alienation, and despair. It is these very issues that are tackled here, sometimes implicitly but always at depth.

What Krishnamurti proposes, and here discloses, is a different approach to learning altogether, one that distinguishes itself radically from what we normally understand by that term: the accumulation of knowledge, with its application and testing. By narrowing down our understanding to the pragmatic and the measurable, we forfeit the opportunity to probe deeply and to awaken intelligence in our students and in ourselves. What is meant by intelligence in this context is not the capacity to memorize and measure, but that subtler ability to see the whole which comes alive in a human being when he/she sees the limits of the measurable. To awaken this intelligence is the goal of education.

Excerpt:

Discover the Immeasurable

Book Cover: Discover the Immeasurable
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 88
Kindle
Pages: 88
This series of six lectures given by J. Krishnamurti in Hamburg, Germany in 1956, are based on the need for radical change in relationship to our minds. He explains: 'To understand the immeasurable, which is to enter into a different world altogether, we must understand this world in which we live, this world which we have created and of which we are a part-the world of ambition, greed, envy, hatred, the world of separation, fear and lust. That means we must understand ourselves, the unconscious as well as the conscious, and this is not very difficult if you set your mind to it.'

Publisher: Hohm Press
88 pages

Excerpt:

"Meditation is the process of understanding oneself. Self-knowledge brings wisdom. And as the mind begins to understand the whole process of itself, it becomes very quiet, completely still, without any sense of movement or demand. Then, perhaps, that which is not measurable comes into being."

Reviews:G. R. Christie on Amazon.com wrote:

I've been a Krishnamurti fan for years. This book is filled with brutally honest insite into the nature of personal reality. I highly recommend it.


School Without Fear

Book Cover: School Without Fear
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 222

The dialogues in this book School Without Fear are being published sixty years after Krishnamurti held them at Rajghat Besant School, which he had founded on the banks of the Ganges in the early 1930s. From December 1954 to February 1955, he stayed on the campus and talked to teachers and parents.

Ranging from articulating his most sublime vision of life to thrashing out the practicalities of running a boarding school, he covers every conceivable aspect of education. The result is these twenty-six dialogues, which perhaps form the longest series of dialogues on education in the entire Krishnamurti repertoire.

Excerpt:

Can we discuss the question of the competitive spirit, how to eradicate it, because that may be one of the fundamental reasons why society is crumbling. Culture is crumbling because of this terrible spirit of competitiveness, with its ambition, comparison, and condemnation, and can we eradicate it totally in this school? Giving various reasons, will that really bring about a dynamic activity to create something new? Merely examining the hindrances, will that produce any result? By discussing thoroughly the problem, the competitive spirit in students and in us, we will come to the fact that it exists. Perhaps if we can go deeply into whether it is true and whether we should encourage it, whether we should discourage it, and why we should discourage it, then we shall be able to deal with the other problems.

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Are we ready to expose what we really think— whether we really do believe in competition or whether we don’t care? Are we just caught in circumstances and go along that way? If we are challenged, do we ask whether we really believe in competition with all its implications and therefore we cannot discourage it? If we think that is essential, we cannot discourage it. Does competition bring freedom? Does competition within a society bring peace to the society? Or must society everlastingly be in conflict within itself? And can we create a society in which there is no conflict at all, but where no man is trying to become something but is doing something which he loves to do, and therefore there is no ambition, competition, and struggle with the neighbor? Which means, can we help the student to find out his true vocation, not what society or his father or tradition says he must do, but what he really wants to do? If all of us together say this is what we stand for, then we will die for it, work for it. Do we discuss it with our hearts in it, or merely casually as we have done these last three years?

COLLAPSE

Unconditioning and Education Vol.1

The need for a radical approach

Book Cover: Unconditioning and Education Vol.1
Part of the Education series:
  • Unconditioning and Education Vol.1
Editions:Paperback - Volume I
Pages: 156

This book presents a series of dialogues in which renowned educator and religious teacher J. Krishnamurti explores with parents and teachers the need for a radical approach to schooling and their intention to establish such a school in the Ojai valley in California. They discuss the conditioning effects on children and educators of teaching and environments in schools based on traditional methods of education. They look at the stultifying effects of knowledge-based approaches which, instead of broadening the minds of children in a setting that encourages observation and creativity, conditions them to conform to society. To free the mind’s broader potential and to educate the whole human being they see that there must be right relationship between students and teachers in an atmosphere of attention, care and trust.

Excerpt:

What does it mean to be educated? Is it to conform to the pattern of society, acquiring enough knowledge to act skilfully in that society? Does to be educated mean adjusting oneself to society and following the dictates of that society? Is education merely to cultivate one segment of the mind to use knowledge skilfully?

Is it possible to educate the totality of man, instead of cultivating memory as we do, and depending on that memory to act skilfully? The cultivation of memory and dependence on that is part of the degeneration of humanity, because then man becomes merely mechanical, always acting in the field of the known. When we are acting in the field of knowledge, we are acting according to a past pattern; so then the brain must be conditioned, it has no flexibility.

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Knowledge has become the factor of conditioning the mind to a certain pattern according to which it acts. We are asking if it is possible to educate human beings from childhood and beyond to nurture the whole outward and inward totality of man. Is it possible in our life to educate ourselves completely, totally, inwardly as well as outwardly?

COLLAPSE

Commentaries on Living, Third Series

Book Cover: Commentaries on Living, Third Series
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 312

An unusual mixture of descriptions of nature and the psychological problems which constitute the essence of the human condition, in brief two- or three-page chapters. The three-book series is among the easiest of Krishnamurti's books to read. A few of the many subjects discussed include: ambition, the nature of wisdom, fear, and what is true action.

How can you seek out that which you do not know? You know, or think you know, what God is, and you know according to your conditioning, or according to your own experience, which is based on your conditioning; so, having formulated what God is, you proceed to `discover' that which your mind has projected. This is obviously not search; you are merely pursuing what you already know. Search ceases when you know, because knowing is a process of recognition, and to recognize is an action of the past, of the known.

Publisher: Quest Books
Author/Editor: J. Krishnamurti
312 pp

Reviews:Customer on Amazon.com wrote:

★★★★★
This is a remarkable book. It is actually three books in 88 chapters. Each chapter starts with an absolutely magic description of people in nature. That is the first book. The second book consists of people telling about their problems and comments of Krishnamurti. These comments are very fresh, original and give new insights. They evoke the reaction "why did I never looked at it that way". The third book, the third part in every chapter describes his view of life. This is very difficult to understand. I am not sure I am able or should voice an opinion on this part because it so unique. There are no reference points. It is not a philosophy, it is not a religion, and it is not a spiritual path. From time to time you get the feeling, "I understand", the next moment it is again a mirage. When we look at a beautiful landscape, we can be totally absorbed by the experience of looking. We are not thinking or analyzing. Krishnamurti's idea is that that is the way we should live all the time. He refers to that as "experiencing". As soon as we start thinking or want to achieve something, we will forever be unhappy. Buddha teaches that through concentration and meditation it is possible, by "taming" the mind one can arrive at "experiencing". Krishnamurti totally rejects the need for experience, training and effort. The idea of living without thinking is for me not imaginable. One thing I do not like is that Krishnamurti rejects the wisdom of everybody. Logically, he also totally rejects the idea that people should ever consider becoming his followers or disciples. The risk I see with the book is that people read it as a smorgasbord. Pick up ideas that correspond to those they already have and reject the inconvenient ones. All in all for people with genuine spiritual interests it is a gold mine.


On Conflict

Book Cover: On Conflict
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 160

This theme book examines a particularly important subject in Krishnamurti's teaching through excerpts from his talks and dialogues.

Is it possible to live a life without conflict in the modern world, with all the strain, struggle, pressures, and influences in the social structure? That is really living, the essence of a mind that is inquiring seriously. The question whether there is God, whether there is truth, whether there is beauty can come only when this is established, when the mind is no longer in conflict, says Krishnamurti in this book, which brings together the most significant excerpts on a theme that he dwelled upon frequently in his talks, writings, and dialogues.

Publisher - Harper  Collins
Author/Editor - J. Krishnamurti
160 pp

Reviews:Customer on Amazon.com wrote:

★★★★★
To understand is not hard. You must let go of what you have built inside your mind and see with out judgement. This book is about what exists. Read it.


Krishnamurti’s Notebook

Book Cover: Krishnamurti’s Notebook
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 387

In this unique volume Krishnamurti lets us into the private world of his states of consciousness. Written as a diary, detailing his travels, the day-by-day account moves with breathtaking swiftness from the sights and sounds of his immediate environment to those moments of bliss variously described as “immensity,” “benediction,” or “the otherness.” We are also privy to what Krishnamurti calls “the process.”

Publisher: KFI
Author/Editor: J. Krishnamurti
387 pp

Excerpt:

From the book:

Meditation, in the still hours of early morning, with no car rattling by, was the unfolding of beauty. It was not thought exploring with its limited capacity nor the sensitivity of feeling; it was not any outward or inward substance which was expressing itself; it was not the movement of time, for the brain was still. It was total negation of everything known, not a reaction but a denial that had no cause; it was a movement in complete freedom, a movement that had no direction and dimension; in that movement there was boundless energy whose very essence was stillness. Its action was total inaction and the essence of that inaction is freedom. There was great bliss, a great ecstasy that perished at the touch of thought.

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The sun was setting in great clouds of color behind the Roman hills; they were brilliant, splashed across the sky and the whole earth was made splendid, even the telegraph poles and the endless rows of building. It was soon becoming dark and the car was going fast. The hills faded and the country became flat. To look with thought and to look without thought are two different things. To look at those trees by the roadside and the buildings across the dry fields with thought, keeps the brain tied to its own moorings of time, experience, memory; the machinery of thought is working endlessly, without rest, without freshness; the brain is made dull, insensitive, without the power of recuperation. It is everlastingly responding to challenge and its response is inadequate and not fresh. To look with thought keeps the brain in the groove of habit and recognition; it becomes tired and sluggish; it lives within the narrow limitations of its own making. It is never free. This freedom takes place when thought is not looking; to look without thought does not mean a blank observation, absence in distraction.

When thought does not look, then there is only observation, without the mechanical process of recognition and comparison, justification and condemnation; this seeing does not fatigue the brain for all mechanical processes of time have stopped. Through complete rest the brain is made fresh, to respond without reaction, to live without deterioration, to die without the torture of problems. To look without thought is to see without the interference of time, knowledge and conflict. This freedom to see is not a reaction; all reactions have causes; to look without reaction is not indifference, aloofness, a cold-blooded withdrawal. To see without the mechanism of thought is total seeing, without particularization and division, which does not mean that there is not separation and dissimilarity. The tree does not become a house or the house a tree. Seeing without thought does not put the brain to sleep; on the contrary, it is fully awake, attentive, without friction and pain.

Attention without the borders of time is the flowering of meditation.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Katherine Graham on Amazon.com wrote:

★★★★★
A close friend has been speaking about Krishnamurti to me for years. And frankly, as a Catholic-mystic-traditionalist, I just couldn't get there from here. Then life started to get so bad, I did not walk - but ran (while remembering all my friend said about this precious and great soul). Taking entry by entry ever so slowly, I began...just began to "see" that true wisdom and learning can be the saving Grace if one will just take the time to watch, observe, listen, touch, and smell all that is alive and still thriving around each and every one of us. The Notebook sits atop my night-table, and after I say my prayers (I know this sounds ridiculously childish but I don't care...), I reward myself with another journal entry from Krishnamurti. Now, all I need is a rich relative to purchase everything he ever wrote!

Customer on Amazon.com wrote:

★★★★★
Possibly the most important document produced in the 20th Century, and now thankfully back in print. Just as radical as Jesus's reply to the rich young man who desired eternal life (Matthew 19:16-26), and just as true and uncompromising, and expressed in a manner that contains no dogma, and requires no belief. (One needs to come to this book with an entirely receptive mind.) It is like an extended expression of the Beatitudes in modern language. What is called the "Kingdom of Heaven" in the Bible is referred to variously by Krishnamurti in the notebook as the "benediction", the "otherness", and "immensity". An extraordinary book. Beautifully written. A treasure for the ages.


Think on These Things

Book Cover: Think on These Things
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 272

The material contained in this volume was originally presented in the form of talks to students, teachers and parents in India, but its keen penetration and lucid simplicity will be deeply meaningful to thoughtful people everywhere, of all ages, and in every walk of life. Krishnamurti examines with characteristic objectivity and insight the expressions of what we are pleased to call our culture, our education, religion, politics and tradition; and he throws much light on such basic emotions as ambition, greed and envy, the desire for security and the lust for power – all of which he shows to be deteriorating factors in human society.

From the Editor’s Note Krishnamurti’s observations and explorations of modern man’s estate are penetrating and profound, yet given with a disarming simplicity and directness. To listen to him or to read his thoughts is to face oneself and the world with an astonishing morning freshness.’
~ Anne Marrow Lindbergh

Publisher - Harper Collins
272 pages

Reviews:Dennis Muzza on Amazon.com wrote:

"I discovered Krishnamurti during my freshman year in college and it shattered the way I looked (or didn't look) at life. Ten years later, this book still remains by my side. It's hard to pigeonhole it into a particular category. It could be seen as a self-help book, but it really isn't. Krishamurti's advice is among the most unpractical and difficult you'll ever find and there are no magical recipes here. It could be seen as a book on religion, and even though you get a feel for eastern mysticism, it's very much against the superstitions and dogma we associate with religion. To me it's a book on philosophy in the truest sense of the word. Instead of parroting or following a line of thought set forth by others, it is an exercise in the art of questioning everything, in particular the assumptions, traditions, and prejudices that society imposes on us and which we live by without even being aware. It encourages us to discover for ourselves what we mean by truth, beauty, goodness, and God. Buy this book, read it as many times as you can, and please, think on these things."

Neal C. Reynolds on Amazon.com wrote:

"This is a very good first book in Krishnamurti's philosophy. However, if you've already read some of his thoughts, this is still a good book to read and re-read.

This collection is a compilation of talks given to groups of students and their teachers in India. It is still of universal appeal and for all stages in life. The occasional references to scenes and situations more familiar to his Indian audience than to us give a slight glimpse into this culture.

The style of writing is simple and direct without patronizing
the younger people in his audience. There are questions from the audience in the last part of each chapter, and are quite penetrating.

One sample of his directness is illustrated by a rather weighty question posed by one of the youngest members of the audience and the author's response which indicated his suspicion that one of the teachers gave the question to the student. Another time, he directly tells the questioner that he wasn't listening to the talk. One student asks a question which pits one of the professors against Krishnamurti, a question well handled by the author.

The reader must be prepared to expect basic thoughts, especialy those involving religion, nationalism, and patriotism, to be challenged. However, these are challenges from one who is a friend, not from a guru or holy person."


As One Is

Book Cover: As One Is
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 147

In this series of 8 talks, given in Ojai, California in 1955, he confronts the confusion, habits, and assumptions of the human mind, and claims these lie at the root of all violence and suffering in the world. While these reflections were offered over 50 years ago, their meaning is as fresh and as relevant heard today.

Krishnamurti discusses a world in which booming productivity and scientific advancement promise a happy future, but don't provide it. He points to the ongoing escalation of war, competition, envy and territoriality despite gains in education, religious ecumenism and the technologies of self-improvement.

Ultimately and throughout, he asks his listeners to consider that all apparent progress of the self is not progress toward freedom, but a treadmill of illusion. Knowing one's mind, he asserts, through diligent self-observation, is the only way to freedom.

Publisher: Hohm Press
147 pp

Reviews:Donn E. Kean on Amazon.com wrote:

"What a lovely, wonderful man and writer. He was raised to be the leader of India, the new Krishna, and he turned away from all of that and said basically "believe in yourself, rather than look for answers from me". He gave it all away, choosing instead to teach, instruct, and live life. His words flow like poetry, and his thoughts touch our very souls. He said think, don't follow. He taught that we should look into ourselves instead. I recommend reading everything he has written. He was a kind, gentle, intelligent man, with a strength than most of us will never be able to come close to."

Noel Rieder on Amazon.com wrote:

"If there is only one Krishnamurti book you read, this slim and clear collection of lectures should be it. It is astounding how deep yet clear Krishnamurti can be at his best."