17 April 2010

Again, from my friend David:

In North America alone, Eckhart Tolle has sold three and five million copies, respectively, of The Power of Now and A New Earth.  The books have been translated into 33 languages, so international sales figures are surely in the tens of millions.  One of his Internet broadcasts with Oprah attracted over 11 million viewers.  He is a very wealthy man, but still charges $99.95 for six months access to his Internet broadcasts.

There is nothing wrong with mass market spirituality.  I am sure it makes some people feel a little better for while.  It's just important not to confuse the relationship between a for-profit spiritual teacher and a his or her audience with the relationship between the satguru and his devotee.  They are completely different.

When a teacher charges people for satsang, he turns a sacred union into a commercial enterprise and makes it impossible for the bond of trust and surrender that is necessary for the guru-disciple relationship to form.

When someone gives money in exchange for access to something, he expects tangible benefits.  If he gets them, he says (or thinks), "I got my money's worth."  If he doesn't, he says, "This was a waste of my money."  It is impossible to surrender to the guru when you are evaluating the financial merits of his teachings instead of opening your heart to him.  It's like trying to form a loving relationship with someone you are paying for sex.  It just can't work.  Any truly enlightened teacher would be aware of this and would never, never, never charge devotees money to be with him.

It is the emanation of grace from the guru that sets people free, not the words he speaks.  If someone else speaks the same words, they will not have the same effect.  Unrealized teachers with a profit motive who repackage and re-disseminate teachings of jnanis do not have the power to set people free.  The current of grace grace that flows through the jnani does not flow through them, and even if it did, by charging money for satsang, they are making it impossible for students to open themselves to receiving that grace.



  1. I know for a fact that some people on Eckhart Tolle TV site are planning to write a book about how so many of them are " awakening"........Thats when cancelled my subscription, when I finally realised I was one pawn in the midst of many many deluded seekers. Ed is not as "feely/touchy" as Eckhart, but he tells the truth, no matter how shitty it may be.

  2. SENT TO ME:

    i've gotten alot from eckhart tolle's teachings. the money
    charged probably has to do with
    overhead costs.

    at any rate, with all the evil
    in the world, to focus criticism
    on a gifted teacher of all things
    is a little suspect.

    jealousy david and ed? not
    necessarily of his monetary
    success, but of his clarity
    and insight.

    'the power of now' has given me
    much more than the rambling


  3. I believe Dan's comment is an example of what Tolle would refer to as "reactive mind." It proves my point that mass market books can help to an extent but cannot give lasting peace. I am glad you have such low overhead, Ed, and do not require millions of dollars in order to present your teachings. How do you do it?

    People take the joke known as the human condition way too seriously. My life and the lives of everyone close to me are full of chaos and pain on the outside, but I'm at peace. I live in the truth that's behind the veneer of insanity that shrouds this world. As for being a hypocrite, I may very well be -- most people are to some extent. If it will make Dan or anyone else happy, I'll admit to being whatever they want me to be. I don't need to be anyone or anything in particular.

    I have no hard feelings towards anyone and wish Eckhart and the gang happiness and joy. Everyone and everything is in the right place.


  4. Robert said he never talked about other teachers. He rarely did. He knew what trouble and acrimony it would bring.

    Already I have received complaints that I am a hypocrite because I have a donation button yet dare to insinuate that some teachers are for profit, and David says there are more authentic, non-profit teachers.

    But take a look below at various teacher websites. The first group, the not for profits, are information rich with dozens of free downloads, some with free audio talks, and thousands of pages of free teachings. A few sell books, but mostly the bulk of the information is free.

    Robert too sold his talks. He used to charge $60 for six months of lessons mailed out. He never advertised it. It is just there was so little of his material available, that students wrote to him asking for talks.

    Robert could not work. He had Parkinson's Disease and could barely function coming to Satsang let alone work physically as he had. His total income came from his wife's seamstress business, donations from Satsang, the few lessons he sold seekers asking for more, and donations from close students when he asked them individually for money.

    I, on the other hand, still work in the "real" world editing medical reports. My wife works too.

    I get some money from donations and soon, Autobiography of a Jnani will be out in print. You can still download it from the itisnotreal.com website, but for those who want the book in hand, it will be sold. I have yet to determine whether it will be sold on the website or I will refer others to where it can be bought.

    But over 500 pages of Robert's transcripts are available on the not real website, as well as the Autobiography, Hunting the I, two books I wrote on Self-psychology, the papers I published about Robert in Yoga Journal and other places, as well as four or five of Robert's Audio talks.

    Besides that there are hundreds of other pages of free information.

    But there is not even a donation button on the site.

    Some people want more information, and I tell them how they can get more information about Robert for a fee, but they come to me because they want more than the hundreds of pages on the not real website.

  5. Part 2:

    Now then, take a look at the Michael James site below. Again, there are hundreds of pages of free downloads, and tons of information and links to other free information.

    The same holds true of the Godman site, and the two Ramana Maharshi sites. All have tons of free information, free talks, links and are exceeding dense with free information.

    They may sell books too, but it usually is of books they already allow you to download free from their sites. The clear difference is that the sites immediately below are not money oriented even if they may make a few bucks selling books or tapes. One can hardly survive in this world without selling something, from labor, to books, or accepting donations. Because one may sell some books also offered free, or sell tapes for those who want more than all the free stuff, one cannot call them a hypocrite because they accept enough money to live on. The one who calls the other a hypocrite are usually the for profit teachers who comment anonymously, or one of their students.

    Most of the not for profit teachers hate accepting money for books or talks. It is just a necessity.

    Not for Profit:




    http://itisnotreal.com; http://itisnotreal.blogspot.com

    Michael James: http://www.happinessofbeing.com/

    David Godman: http://www.davidgodman.org/

    Now take a look at what David might call the for-profit sites.

    These are not information rich. Very little is said about the teachings, little is said about the path, and almost nothing is said in terms of dialogues between student and teacher about practice, teachings or anything else. 90% of the site is advertisements for books, workshops, etc.

    One can just see the difference and the emphasis. One is spiritual model, the other is the business model.

    For Profit Sites:

    The Tolle website:


    Charlie Hayes: http://charliehayes36.tripod.com/

    Sw. Shankaranabda: http://shivayoga.com

    Nicole Adams: http://robertadamsinfinityinstitute.org/

    John Wheeler: http://www.naturalstate.us/

    Siddha Yoga:

  6. "The clear difference is that the sites immediately below are not money oriented even if they may make a few bucks selling books or tapes."

    I agree. This is an important distinction. The best teachers never charge for satsang, offer most or all of their teachings for free in person or over the Internet, do not aggressively solicit donations, and do not accept money beyond what is necessary to live modestly. Others, in contrast, charge money for satsang, offer expensive retreats, and provide just enough of their teachings for free to get people interested in buying more.

    Some teachers claim that they need to charge so much money in order to cover their costs of spreading the teachings. But the great ones like Ramana, Robert and Nisargadatta never did this, and their teachings and legacies have flourished, even long after the demise of their physical forms. A TV producer once wanted to get Robert on Larry King. Robert had no interest in this, even though he could have addressed a large, national audience. He ran away from fame and money. He gave away everything he had. Once a homeless person asked him for money, and he had nothing else to give, so he gave him his new shoes, taking the man's old ones in exchange.

    In any case, none of this matters. People are drawn to the teachers and teachings they need. I'm sure Eckart and co. have helped a number of people, and that's good. I'm sure these kind of teachers have also given some a false sense that they are liberated, and that's also absolutely fine. All is well, and everything is unfolding as it should be. I wish everyone well.


  7. So Eckhart Tolle has gotten wealthy by selling his books. That in no way diminishes the good those books have done for many, nor the value of that good.

    A few years ago, I was berated and threatened by a very angry man, a neighbour of a friend for whom I was house-sitting, because I had the television on too loud in the morning, unaware of how thin the walls were between apartments, and had apparently also parked my car improperly. Turning off the t.v. and apologizing profusely did nothing to quell his anger, and when he said he would call the police, I said, "Maybe that would be best," at which point he stormed back to his apartment.

    Later that day, I happened to pass by a bookstore, and on a whim, I went in to find that there was one copy left of The Power of Now (which I had recently read). I bought it and returned to the building, where I knocked on his door. His wife answered, and I apologized again for the noise that morning and said that I wanted to give him that book as a peace offering. She said she wasn't interested, and as she closed the door in my face, I said I would leave it in their mailbox and he could does as he saw fit with it.

    The next time I saw that man was when I emerged from my friend's apartment a couple of weeks later to see him brushing the snow off my car. For the next two and half years, every time I happened to see him outside his apartment when visiting my friend, he greeted me warmly and asked how I was. The last time I saw him, last spring, he called me over and said he wanted to show me something.

    It was the book I had left for him, on the inside of the front cover of which he had written a sort of thank you note to the stranger who had given him the book that helped him see life in a new light. At the beginning of this summer, my friend told me that her neighbour had become very ill very quickly and passed away. The next time I was over there after that, his wife was outside, so I went to offer her my condolences.

    During our brief conversation, she told me that as much as losing him had devastated her, he had been a changed man after reading that book, and she was grateful for their last couple of years together because of it.

    So Eckart Tolle makes craploads of money because folks by his books. I have no problem with that.