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This is previously unpublished material.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:

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.

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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.


First and Last Freedom, The

Book Cover: First and Last Freedom, The
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 288

The First and Last Freedom has sold more copies than any other Krishnamurti publication. Aldous Huxley, a dear friend of Krishnamurti, wrote the forword to this wondrous book. Aldous Huxley states in the first paragraph of the foreword, “Man is an amphibian who lives simultaneously in two worlds—the given and the home-made, the world of matter, life and consciousness and the world of symbols.” Huxley continues, “Only choiceless awareness can lead to non-duality, to the reconciliation of opposites in a total understanding and a total love.”

Huxley ends his ten-page foreword with Krishnamurti’s powerfully insightful words, “Love is love, not to be defined or described by the mind as exclusive or inclusive. Love is its own eternity: it is the real, the supreme, the immeasurable.”

Publisher: Harper Collins
Author/Editor: J. Krishnamurti
288 pp

Excerpt:

To be fully aware of the present is an extraordinarily difficult task because the mind is incapable of facing a fact directly without deception. Thought is the product of the past and therefore it can only think in terms of the past or the future; it cannot be completely aware of a fact in the present. So long as thought, which is the product of the past, tries to eliminate contradiction and all the problems that it creates, it is merely pursuing a result, trying to achieve an end, and such thinking only creates more contradiction and hence conflict, misery and confusion in us and, therefore, about us.

Reviews:Wyndwalkyr on Amazon.com wrote:

★★★★★
Krishnamurti should be taught in all the schools as an example of how to think clearly. The effect would be astonishing. This is an excellent introduction to his methods, and you will be well-rewarded if you read this book and take it to heart. If you were to break with tradition and attempt to explain Zen in logical terms, this book could be yours. K's robust sanity is a symbol of hope for an ego-ridden humanity.

Spirit Seeker on Amazon.com wrote:

★★★★★
Anyone wanting to discover themselves will want this book as permanent part of their library. Krishnamurti guides you to find your truth and not the truth of others. It will stimulate your quest for life's meaning. It provides discussion on why there are no authorities on life. It is powerfully insightful and will ignite your quest personal growth. As a comparison to this expanded and open philosophy, I recommend reading Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer", then you determine your truth.


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."


Total Freedom

The Essential Krishnamurti

Book Cover: Total Freedom
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 370

Counted among his admirers are Jonas Salk, Aldous Huxley, David Hockney, and Van Morrison, along with countless other philosophers, artist, writers and students of the spiritual path. Now the trustees of Krishnamurti’s work have gathered his very best and most illuminating writings and talks to present in one volume the truly essential ideas of this great spiritual thinker.

Total Freedom includes selections from Krishnamurti’s early works, his ‘Commentaries on Living’, and his discourses on life, the self, meditation, sex and love. These writings reveal Krishnamuri’s core teachings in their full eloquence and power: the nature of personal freedom; the mysteries of life and death; and the ‘pathless land’, the personal search for truth and peace.

Warning readers away from blind obedience to creeds or teachers – including himself – Krishnamurti celebrated the individual quest for truth, and thus became on of the most influential guides for independent-minded seekers of the twentieth century – and beyond.

Publisher: Harper Collins
370 pp

Reviews:Chaz on Amazon.com wrote:

"This presentation of Krishnamurti is the most complete to date. It contains four parts that are entitled:Early Works, Insights into Everyday Life, Life's Questions, and You are the World. The most important insight that the reader will gain is... a person does not have to become a member of any religious sect in order to gain peace of mind. J.K. asks us why we have certain fears, why are some of us so depended upon others for fulfillment?The insights presented within the book are not "teachings" in the sense of providing a system for the reader to follow. Instead, Krishnamurti asks us to question tradition and certain forms of dogmatism. I think the best analogy that could be used in describing this book would be to compare it to a mirror in which a person has to take a good hard look at his or her life, thoughts, fears, traditions, and habits. The reader is directed to look for the truth within, through observation, without any rigorous vows or monastic practices. Essential reading indeed."


Awakening of Intelligence, The

Book Cover: Awakening of Intelligence, The
Editions:Paperback
Pages: 538

This book is a must read—for any person interested in Krishnamurti and his teachings. This is one of the most comprehensive texts of Krishnamurti's teachings, containing discussions with various individuals — including Professor Jacob Needleman, Alain Naudé, Swami Venkatesananda, and Professor David Bohm.

Professor Jacob Needleman asks about the present situation of the young, the role of the teacher, of tradition and its relation with direct perception, and the need for awareness of a “cosmic dimension.” With Alain Naudé he discusses the problem of good and evil, the fragmentation of consciousness and the possibility of psychological revolution.

Venkatesananda puts important questions to Krishnamurti on traditional Vedanta methods: he invites Krishnamurti to scrutinize the paths of the four Yogas and the present-day validity of certain mahavakyas from the Upanishads.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Author/Editor: J. Krishnamurti
538 pp - Paper

Excerpt:

From the book:

Krishnamurti: Felicity and so on. Now what is good? I feel goodness is total order. Not only outwardly, but especially inwardly. I think that order can be absolute, as in mathematics I believe there is complete order. And it is disorder that leads to chaos, to destruction, to anarchy, to the so-called evil.

Naude: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Whereas total order in one's being, order in the mind, order in one's heart, order in one's physical activities - the harmony between the three is goodness.

Naude: The Greeks used to say that perfected man had attuned in total harmony his mind, his heart and his body.

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Krishnamurti: Quite. So we shall say for the moment that goodness is absolute order. And as most human beings live in disorder they contribute to every form of mischief, which ultimately leads to destruction, to brutality, to violence, to various injuries, both psychic and physical. For all that one word may be used: "evil". But I don't like that word "evil" because it is loaded with Christian meaning, with condemnation and prejudice.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:J. Garcia on Amazon.com wrote:

"If you are looking for something to help reflect on yourself and you are not afraid to challenge your way of thinking, then this book is Awesome! Krishnamurti takes you to a realm of the unknown by questioning every way of thinking and believing. If you are ready to discover your true self and willing to go into the unknown, then take a look."