Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Criticism of Jiddu Krishnamurti



Jiddu Krishamurti was definitely a significant spiritual force that had quite an impact on my own development. Despite its own character flaws and errors in reasoning, he provided one of the first bodies of philosophical knowledge that I could use to reflect upon my own experience. What I respect about his body of work is his ability to speak plainly, with language that can be understood by anyone. Many of the European philosophers were guilty of making their language overly complicated, which I had a difficult time understanding at that time period in my life. Whereas Jiddu Krishnamurti spoke slowly, used plain words, and repeated himself constantly. Perhaps it was his simplicity and lack of an overly complicated intellect that I was attracted to. It was something that hit home hard and quick, despite how thick my mind probably was at that time period. When he said something like, “Attachment is when you prefer something pleasurable, and feel fear in its absence of even the thought of its absence.” This was language I understood. Krishnamurti’s writings reminded me a lot of the Buddha, and he did possess a certain degree of rationality, discipline and spirit that I admire. However, he had some serious flaws in his character and thinking that led me astray and confused me for some time. First of all, from time to time, Krishnamurti described peak experiences which he interpreted as being connected with the source or god, and then he became overly sentimental about the experiences, and also concluded that he was immortal. This is dangerous thinking for anyone, but for a 21 year insecure male, all that sort of thinking could do is cause a lot of confusion, envy, yearnings for power, and hero worship. The other problem I had with him is that he became overly sentimental and emotional over the beauty in nature. His poetry was a sort of drama, a form of theatre or entertainment, and his presentation caused me to become quite confused with how an enlightenment person ought to perceive nature. I ended up feeling inadequate when I observed a mountain and didn’t feel the same intensity to which Krishnamurti did. I thought that I must not be enlightened yet because I didn’t feel the same intensity of emotion for nature’s beauty. The other major flaw in Krishnamurti’s reasoning is that he often concluded that thought or cognition was the problem for man, and that man needed to transcend thought altogether, and achieve some sort of hypersensitive attention not distorted by thought. It was a confusing idea that is not correct. One doesn’t abandon thought altogether, just delusional thinking, or thinking that is not logical.




Krishnamurti also expressed a continuous contempt for science and empirical thinking, which I think actually complements spirituality. Actually much of the behavior of the self can be discovered, described and summed up in the field of psychology. He also constantly downplayed the importance of science while in discussion with David Bohm, a physicist who dedicated most of his entire life to science. It is difficult to determine whether he did this merely to influence Bohm to let go to many of his theories that he was clinging to, and became mentally snarled to, or if Krishnamurti was a tad dismissive of any work done in the scientific field because it wasn’t what he was good at, or what he was doing. The truth is probably a mixture of both. Apparently, Krishnamurti tried for much of his friendship with Bohm to get him to let go of some of the empirical theories that he felt could transform man, but he wouldn’t. And their friendship eventually broke off when Krishnamurti publicly announced that Bohm hadn’t gone through any sort of spiritual transformation at all. Bohm went into a deep depression, and their friendship never recovered, despite the years of intense dialogue.

48 comments:

  1. Thank you. This is incredibly settling and illuminating. I feel that Krishnamurti's work initiated me at a time of intense sensitivity to cultism, asceticism, mental illness, et cetera.

    I also feel that he is a poor teacher. In retrospect, his dryness makes me Unsettled and steered away from my chosen path, quite needlessly.

    He seems to be a hyper-idealist whose thought does not strive enough to say what can be said, and although he stands dogmatically by the notion that what is true cannot be said, he continues saying it. Therein lies his hypocrisy. The belief of no-belief is still a belief.

    Respectfully,

    Dmitry A. Andreyev.

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  2. * STRIVE ENOUGH TO SAY WHAT CANNOT BE SAID

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  3. Hi,


    Could you tell me in a jist what you understand from J Krishnamurti's statements ?

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  4. I have not been able to find any suggestion anywhere that Jiddu openly said that David Bohm had not had spiritual insights. Nor am I able to find anywhere that Bohm was deeply affected by his falling out with Krishnamurti. Where did you read this? These comments are similar to your comment that U.G. "made up" his 7-day calamity where he describes his body as undergoing major changes. He never, ever said that... no one did besides you from what I can gather.

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  5. He IS talking about realizing a state of increased sensitivity. I had a direct perception in which I experienced (if you could call it that) what he talked about and it made my mind extremely sensitive to the space around me and to nature as well. The perception he is talking about is beyond the bounds of one's regular thought-bound perception. It hits you like a ton of bricks. It is a moment of complete stillness in which there is such a complete, whole, perception of what IS that your awareness stretches beyond it to the underlying nothingness that encompasses and is inside everything. From that perception arises real compassion from which action arises. Discarding irrational beliefs and adopting new ones is still within the same limited pattern of thinking and isn't at all what he's talking about.

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  6. "A fool sees not the same tree a wise man sees."
    William Blake

    For someone to imagine direct appreciation of the wonder & greatness of nature is indulging in sentimentality is akin to someone who fails to connect with great art, say The Polish Rider by Rembrandt, justifying this lesser unappreciative state as being the true state, and anyone claiming otherwise to be 'overly sentimental'.

    As for hero worship of Krishnamurti - one would be hard pushed to find a thinker who less invited and desired enslavement of acolytes to a guru-type. If everyone is immortal, how does this possibly invite bowing down to Krishnamurti?

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  7. "Attachment is when you prefer something pleasurable , and feel fear in its absence." - J Krishnamurti .

    In that case , The Bhagavad Gita has taught me not to feel attached anyway . So the only attachment I have is with The Gita .
    Yes , now I would feel fear if it were to go away . But I have a chance to keep these teachings in memory right ?
    If my memory were now to be erased , and as you say , I figured I was all alone in this world without any help , then I might adopt to your drab ways of scrutiny , Mr Krishnamurti .

    But why should I do that if I am not so unfortunate in the first place ? (Because The Gita consoles me in a very scientific way in itself)
    Well , you do have a point when you say we get to be fiercely independent from your procedure . But on the flipside , your process is just so uninspiring and ....pointless . Like ...c'mon !

    You are drab like The Buddha . What you say is rational , yes ! But totally pointless nonetheless for humanity .

    If we are to discard thought altogether ( which you advocate , and believe will satisfy us ,) , it in fact creates anything but satisfaction - leaves us in a void altogether .
    Thought is responsible and indispensable , for a happy life . If we don't mechanically think , we are better off dead . Weren't you "thinking" when you were giving these lectures in the first place ?

    Now yes - it is true that you differentiate thoughts into "rational" and "irrational" (Of which , you support the former .)
    But by merely thinking rationally without any emotions whatsoever , you are telling us to think (maybe with more efficiency but) like robots .

    Yes, there will be no sorrow . But there will be no joy either . The "flavor" of life will be destroyed .

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    1. Not sure if my previous message posted but I have to say it all again. I'll reword it just for so I don't get bored.

      You strike me as someone committed to the belief system of your own culture. Name and mention of the Gita indicate Indian Hindu. Therefore, you completely miss the point of both the Buddha's teachings as well as Krishnamurti's.

      Your opening statements imply to me that you are somewhat biased towards anything non-Hindu and therefore your mind is restricted by what your culture or religion may dictate as "correct" or "incorrect". Instead of taking what Krishnamurti has to say you already judge and criticize it as he knew you would.

      Lastly, The Gita says the same thing Krishnamurti says so somehow his teachings are irrelevant and The Gita's somehow better? The Buddha's teachings are drab? Something tells me you may want to reread both philosophies with a more open mind...

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    2. I second your thoughts, he himself said in every of his teaching, have a doubt, sceptiscim even in his teachings. He never used the word I, always used third person. The moment we start believing in him we get into a lot of Judgement and evaluation. Instead just observe and see and mirror yourself. He is never your teacher.

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  8. I wholeheartedly believe "K" was generations ahead of his time in his understanding of human behavior and what makes us tick. Among the many questions I am left with after repeatedly listening to innumerous hours of his many videos over the years, the one that puzzles me the most is: If there was an actual transformation in the global society and every human being acquired his understanding and vision, what would happen to procreation?

    What would be the spark to make people copulate, given there would be no desire, no lust, no longing to perpetuate oneself, no animal urge to maintain the species alive, etc.. Could it be that such generation would be the last generation of mankind?

    Any thoughts would be highly appreciated. Namaste.

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  9. He said put thought in its place. Right? Not abandon it completely. In regard to his character , he's flawed but hardly Osho.
    Jonas, we'd still procreate. From what i've understood, krishnamurti is saying find out what desire is. I think he's saying it's been smashed with a hammer and is all over the place. Man will still desire to continue and lovers will still mate.

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    1. Matty, you say K was a contradictory fellow - what you say is true. K was big on saying that an "enlightened non-attached person is not contradictory in behaviour. He had some important insights about attachment ... but he still had feet of clay.

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    2. Matty, you say K was a contradictory fellow - what you say is true. K was big on saying that an "enlightened non-attached person is not contradictory in behaviour. He had some important insights about attachment ... but he still had feet of clay.

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  11. Strange.Different people read JK differently. I have always been an atheist and a materialist. I am a practicing psychiatrist. I was greatly impressed by JK. I have read almost all of his book and once heard his talk in Adayar. He is to be understood as a human being with his own limitations. He probably had vascular headache and dissociative experiences, which he interpreted as mystic. He had an unhappy childhood, adopted to a different culture. But his intellect is astonishing. He never mentions God directly. He talked the limitations of religions, ideologies, organizations. I have never heard him denouncing science. Psychology in its current state is not a science. It is only a protoscience or pre-science.It will remain so till we know how the material brain can produce the phenomena of consciousness exactly [He lived before the age of computational and cognitive neuroscience]. We as yet do not know what are the codes of neuronal transmission. All the world is outside is as much a creation of the electrochemical processes of the brain as much as the reality outside. As for sentimentality about nature, I do not hold it against him. He is not a rationalist. Aesthetic experience need not be rational. When he is talking about freedom from thought he is simply describing a state of relaxation, a meditative state, a dissociated state of mind. It is not a permanent state. It is sort of desirable baseline.

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    1. Love your down-to-earth approach S.K! bravo for sanity!

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    2. Love your down-to-earth approach S.K! bravo for sanity!

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  12. Krishnamurti was extremely over-rated as a philosopher and mystic, and he was proven to be a giant hypocrite (see here: http://worldwidehappiness.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/krishnamurti-and-rajagopals.html). But he was a good writer.

    As a philosopher/mystic, he continually focused on pruning weeds rather than cutting to the root of our problems. Thus, his work was a huge distraction. All his followers go on and on about greed, violence, education, thought, etc. Round and round in circles.

    FWIW, the root causes are:

    1. being born into an ignorant world that distracts us away from the innate happiness of being.
    2. acting on distorted motivations and assumptions rather than feeling them and understanding their implications.

    Those two things cause all the greed, fear, anger, violence, etc., that Krishnamurti goes on about.

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    1. Fantastic and very sharp.
      I thought so too.

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  13. Did K ever claim to be a philosopher or a mystic? He may of said things in a philosophical way but he explained that mysticism and philosophy were just distractions and systems created that would lead to the same things over and over again and keep us slaves. "I maintain that truth is a pathless land and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever"

    I would also say that K never wanted people to create another guru system of what he knew either as that would of been just another method,

    However K explained and indicated to those that listened that something quite unique will happen to those that are able to become free. Many find what he talked spoke about as impossible but is it?

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  14. He let Mary Lutyens write a hagiography about him and claim that he was great in so many ways. Only when she was under pressure did she publish material showing that he demanded total obedience from his close followers.

    But my main point is that he focuses on the leaves rather than cutting to the root. That will be obvious to anyone who has actually looked deeply into themselves and life rather than just reading his tiresome superficial books.

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    1. Thank you Martin for your in put, to tell the truth I have never read one of Krishnamurtis books just a few quotes. Good to read your perspective of things

      Joe

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    2. Good one.
      I heard him on you tube and found his arguments specious to say the least. Purely fluff. I've just about started on a journey of seeking under a Guru and it involves yoga. His critique of kundalini and yoga seemed like a child's rant that ignorant and cheesy. Sounded too full of himself. He almost made me doubt. He offers nothing. Wonder why people are in love with his verbal fluff which he used to denigrate experiential methods of yoga. Fluffy as a Mississippi cotton ball.

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  15. It's so odd to see such a circle jerk of people misunderstanding, then reinforcing the misunderstanding and misinterpreting it as sharp or witty. K never claimed to be a guru, he never claimed to have anything to teach, all he did was ask questions and ask if things were possible. From the first words of a K talk, he would ask if it were possible to have a conversation or talk without letting any cultural imprints, parental thoughts, childhood traumas, school learnings, or personal experiences influence the way the question is seen? What would be the quality of that mind? You would view it fresh, as it viewing something for the first time. Then, a deeper question would arise. What if two minds if that same quality were able to look at the question? What would be the difference between these minds? If they are free minds, they would be indistinguishable and whole. Krishna G showed in a Socratic way that all the wars, envy, greed, etc are caused by conflict and it something is whole, how can it conflict with itself? You people are the reason K questioned it he had wasted his life. You're still looking to him as a teacher or guru despite him saying for almost 100 years now that he is no such thing. Sad.

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    1. Edward Bowers wrote: “K never claimed to be a guru, he never claimed to have anything to teach…”

      His claim was false. Indeed, we have evidence that he was a teacher and that he demanded obedience from one of his followers. For example, immediately after Krishnamurti freaked out about threats from Rajagopal to expose his adultery, Mary Zimbalist wrote in her diary: "I said [to K] I had one motive from the very beginning: to protect him and the teachings, to see that what he wants done happens. He said that wasn't enough, 'You are part of me, you must see and feel this in the same way.”

      You wrote: “From the first words of a K talk, he would ask if it were possible to have a conversation or talk without letting any… imprints… influence the way the question is seen? What would be the quality of that mind?”

      The evidence is in. A Krishnamurti follower’s mind is a predictable sequence of boring irrelevant Krishanamurti-isms. I went to his video meetings a few times and read Krishnamurti followers online and they all talk like him and it’s boring and irrelevant - all about symptoms like greed, conflict, belief, etc. rather than digging down to the disease.

      You wrote: “If they are free minds, they would be indistinguishable and whole. Krishna… showed in a Socratic way that all the wars, envy, greed, etc are caused by conflict and it something is whole, how can it conflict with itself?”

      Free minds should be highly distinguishable, like life. And war is caused by illusion about the primary source of happiness, not by variation between minds.

      You wrote: “You're still looking to him as a teacher or guru despite him saying for almost 100 years now that he is no such thing. Sad.”

      What’s sad is that you believe his claim. Your questioning mind should begin with questioning your beliefs about him and his philosophy.

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    2. He often stated and emphasised "You must be skeptical of what I say".

      For those that want to microscope him and try and point to this or that contradiction either in speech or life, they miss the point. If at times he believed he was a guru etc, then that is beside the point of what can be derived from his work.

      He didn't rail against science - the use of thought in the material world was excluded from what he talks about when discussing "thought", just as his discussion of time is about psychological time.

      What he fundamentally alerts us all too is the fact of our thoughts about ourselves - look at it, observe it, be it - once you get what he is talking about you dint need to pore over his words or life and deify him - but you then just move on to dealing with your ambushing yourself - what comes after that is for everyone to find out for themselves and could never be conveyed one to another - is it holy, transcendant etc? Hahahahah - thats just falling into the religious trap - it doesnt matter - it only matters from the outside, when you are trapped ambushing yourself and feel som,e desire for some amazing freedom - and like all things when it is not yours it shines and sparkles and seems like a mystical wonderous thing - when you get it - it just is as it is.

      JK as with Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and all those before him - was not special, not god, not at a higher level - he just was - and, as with the others, when approached with a healthy scepticism, can be beneficial to you - for me - he more than all the others becausehe is more recent and unadulterated - who knows what jesus or buddha actually said adn what one would have thouhht meeting them - we cant know because religious industry arose around their name over centuries - as it may with JK.

      Exp,lore him - and thus realise how you are hurting yourself mentally - how we are all trained to do so.

      Sorry for the bad typing - i have a broken finger :-)

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  16. Well maybe it is better to stop argueing about k's being good bad faulse or anything else . Has anybody tested what 'K'suggests? To end the observer the expieriencer, the ego and all that, by bringing in his life attention without a motiv without the word, as his likes to say? This is the real issue my friends.Because if what he says is true, that is if the mind is capable to act not from thought but from pure observation and perception living into a total different dimension, then all comments,literally all comments are in vain. Has anybody test it?

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    1. Yes - its extremely healthy. But be aware, the end of thought is a phrase - cute but meaningless - its like saying you can live without your heart beating.

      As he more properly says at times - thought in its olace. thought is needed to operate a car, etc - but its not needed to create a specious self image that then externalises all experience and creates internal suffering fear and lust etc. dont get confused with some silly eastern expectation that your self will dissappear - you wont, but the imagined self will lose potency and influence.

      You can start and stop with K saying thought is knowledge, knowledge is memory. When you fear the loss of your job - its not real, you sytill have a job, if there is an issue that threatens it at this very moment - then act! this imagining of tomorrow not having a job is just fiction created by idle thought. When you start to observe how thought works in this "self sense" - it quickly becomes apparent that you are ham,stringing yourself mercilessly - then you start to see how other peiople and tv etc are all doing the same - once the spell is known the spell is broken - but on guard and attentive you must be because its easy to slup into it.

      How do you do it? K never answered because its silly to imagine a unibersal answer - all he could do was point out the fact he saw - well done him. After that, off you go - sort it out.

      Was K perfect - no - none is or ever will be. thats just sillyness - thats the desire for a messiah, guru etc - the construction of thouht that there coudl be some higher perfect being walking amongst us - the creation of another god.

      Good luck

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  17. Well maybe it is better to stop argueing about k's being good bad faulse or anything else . Has anybody tested what 'K'suggests? To end the observer the expieriencer, the ego and all that, by bringing in his life attention without a motiv without the word, as his likes to say? This is the real issue my friends.Because if what he says is true, that is if the mind is capable to act not from thought but from pure observation and perception living into a total different dimension, then all comments,literally all comments are in vain. Has anybody test it?

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    1. Yes, I've tested it. It doesn't work. Much better to look at the most immediate thing, i.e. question your assumptions and see your immediate motivation for adopting K's strategies or any strategies. And see the immediate cause and effect of all strategies. If you follow K or anybody else, you will end up with a pretentious result.

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    3. Gee Matty, after such a kind and open-minded comment, how can I not reply?

      The root cause of our problems is that we were born into an ignorant world that distracted us away from the innate happiness of being. After all, if we had been born into a wise world, we wouldn't have all these problems.

      The solution is to notice how assumptions and efforts cause tension, which in turn causes further efforts, thereby creating a vicious circle.

      The assumptions are derived from the ignorant world. They are about gaining material or spiritual happiness in the future, i.e. they are about distracting us from the innate happiness of being.

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  20. The last paragraph of this blog sums what I was thinking about Krishnamurti and the Buddha. You can’t see everything “as it is” beacause there’s too much there. A perfect example is the light spectrum. We only see way less than a tenth of what light is actually there, moreover our brain ‘projects’ more than it does ‘receive’ information. We do not, ever, see things as they are.

    All in all I don't know why more people don't criticise Krisnamurti, it's probably what he would've wanted and his discussion technique was rude and meandering anyway. He wasn't a god or enlightened. He was a very interesting 'person' with a very troubled past. He needed challenging.

    Kirsnamurti would usually respond to a question with an entirely different question.
    It seems that he'd avoid a lot of discourse maybe because it would appear mysterious or would help keep things within his area of discussion.
    There's a wonderful moment in one talk where he majestically changes the subject instead of answering a question and the questioner says "can we stay on the subject please". Perhaps more people should've been a bit more aggressive towards him? He always seemed to dominate the debate (if you could call it that) by throwing confusing, rhetorical statements or questions at people.

    He had an odd way of talking about the human race, he clearly believed he was peering in from some outside vantage point. This may have been due to a troubled upbringing more than spiritual attainment.

    His assertions that we should all 'instantly change', that we should "change completely" and not being "caught in the idea of progress" were odd. His talent was to paint a picture of a new form of mind, a new mind that we could all meld into instantaneously to experience reality without preconception or expectation. Romantic but nonsensical.
    In his address to the U.N. that we should all "mutate… NOW” as opposed to evolving. Who knows maybe he was right but why the repetition as opposed to discussion? Did he believe he was one step ahead? If so why be so un-helpful?

    Call me cynical but I think he was just a bit rude. Who can blame him though? He was taken a way from his family at a very young age, institutionally abused, moved around a lot during his development whilst being told he was some ind of saviour. It seems like he never had a childhood. He was taught badly and that turned him into a flawed egotistical “teacher”. His way of speaking reminds me of a bitter headmaster who believes they’re right about everything or an angry old man sitting in a random bar somewhere, moaning about the world.

    Perhaps the conversation could’ve been simplified a bit:

    K - "why can't you see it?”
    Everyone - "because were human like you"
    K - "well you shouldn't be, you should change right now"
    Everyone - “OK, bye”

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    1. Boots, Right. If you look at the people he filmed dialogues with, they were all in love with him. They never challenged him. They only begged for more of his questions and explanations. Then they nodded and agreed with everything he said. He and his followers created an aura of divinity around himself, which reinforced the impression that one should be submissive and appreciative. He asked people to question everything, but they never did. They just agreed with him. The hagiographies also built up the impression that he was uniquely great.

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  21. If anyone start testing or living by his teachings, will sure find it difficult to either fully accept or fully reject his "teachings". I have too read some of his books and found few things, which I was able to apply in my life, as true. For ex., "word' is not the "thing". Some of the other things, I may not be able to apply as my living conditions or circumstances are entirely different from his. I cannot say that these things are untrue just because I cannot apply in my life. According to my understanding, his teachings have many similarities with most of the eastern philosophies. Instead of accepting or rejecting him, we should apply his teachings in our life. If we are able to do that, I believe that we can find him very relevant.

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    1. Why should we apply his teachings in our life? Isn't it better to investigate the inner and outer world freshly ourselves.

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  22. What is wrong in testing? Accepting everything blindly is wrong.

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    1. Why would you test Krishnamurti's theories? Isn't it because you think it will produce some positive result? It seems to me that the immediate issue then is the desire for a positive result. Why would we act automatically from that desire? Isn't it wiser to investigate the motive? After all, that is the immediate experience and the basis for action, so we want to make sure that we understand it.

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  23. No. You imply a motive on me. I read him and tested it with out any motive. The experience was as described by him. That's all. My experience validated his theory. Just because of this I am not saying his all teachings are correct or I accept his as my guru.

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    1. Action is always motivated. Even if you read his books because you were bored, it's still a motivation, and motivation is one of our most immediate experiences.

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  25. Thank you all for the comments, some very valid points from you all. For the record, I have a lot of respect for Krishnamurti, and I believe he was an effective philosopher and psychologist in many ways, but not perfect, and I believe he is best understood if studied with conjunction with many other philosophers who talk about the subject of enlighenement, rationality, and overcoming the limitations of the ones own psyche.

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  26. focusing on the core content of the speaker(jk) what my mind has understood that the ideal,the time,the future is the conflict,not seeing clearly 'what is' denies the understanding of what is and breeds conflict.However by following the inquiry method of the speaker one will understand the root of everything and hence fix all the problem,is it not a kind of conditioning,motive and idealizing.The speaker always talks about seeing the what is and at the same time he talks about a radical change,are the not two opposite things.A radical change is an idea and normal life with its regular movements is what is.
    Never the less the speakers contribution seems to be beyond my understanding/perception and i cant help it.

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  27. Would you be so kind as to provide the source for this statement? " First of all, from time to time, Krishnamurti described peak experiences which he interpreted as being connected with the source or god, and then he became overly sentimental about the experiences, and also concluded that he was immortal." Also, " The other problem I had with him is that he became overly sentimental and emotional over the beauty in nature. , why is that a problem? Your comments on Bohm have the ring of gossip. If you haven;t already done so you may want to read Bohm biography Infinite Potential.He also conducted lectures after JK death and spoke highly of him. Bill Seattle

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  28. K thought God as a narrative delusion invented by man. Heightened awareness through silence is no mere vascular headache or dissociative disorder, rather cutting out the bullshit of mental affectations that distort us from seeing clearly 20/20.

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