A SERIOUS LOOK AT "THE GOOD LIFE"
Snazzy Free Newsletter:

Spiritual Giants: A User's Guide

Expanded Version

A. H. Almaas
Based In: California, Colorado, other locations through the country
Main Message: The Diamond Approach to Inner Psychological Spiritual Work
Specialty: Almaas Vies with Roy Masters as "best and most unknown psychologist in the country," focuses primarily on the interaction between psychological and spiritual growth.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: As only "New-Age" therapist.
Sample: "The Diamond Mind knowledge is a multifaceted understanding of the nature of human beings, our consciousness or psyche, and the potential for expansion of our capacity for experience and inner development."
Web Site: www.ridhwan.org, www.ahalmaas.org



Adyashanti
Based In: San Francisco Bay Area
Main Message: Zen
Specialty: American Zen .
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: Only the typical ways most Zen and Advaita teachings are misunderstood.
Sample: "The door to God is the insecurity of not knowing anything."
Web Site: www.zen-satsang.org



Ammachi
Based In: India, and often tours internationally
Main Message: Live a spiritual life of love and service.
Specialty: Open darshan (events) with plenty of hugging, good vibes, and worldwide philanthropy
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: Primarily just culture shock.
Sample: "The knowledge that teaches us how to live, how to lead contented lives in the face of obstacles, is spiritual knowledge, the mind's knowledge. That is what we should acquire first . . . Only by striving for Self-Realization can we enjoy everlasting bliss."
Web Site: www.ammachi.org



Arjuna Ardagh
Based In: California
Main Message: Advaita Vedanta with psychological therapeutic twist
Specialty: Advaita Therapy
Known scandals: None. (although he recently suggested to us, "I suggest you talk to my ex wife, she'll provide some dirty gossip.")
How likely to be misunderstood: The typical ways most Advaita teachings are misunderstood.
Sample: "This book offers a . . . simple set of tools for returning to what we call 'Clear Seeing,' a state in which no individual identity is to be found . . . There is all the difference in the world between understanding this as an intellectual concept and experiencing it directly."
Web Site: www.livingessence.com



Ramesh Balsekar
Based In: California
Main Message: Advaita Vedanta
Specialty: Advaita
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: The typical ways most Advaita teachings are misunderstood.
Sample: "All there is, is Consciousness. If that is understood completely, deeply, intuitively then you need read no further."
Web Site: www.rameshbalsekar.com



Saniel Bonder
Based In: San Marin, California
Main Message: "Beyond Hypermasculine Dharma," a teaching of transmission
Specialty: Very good claim of success rate
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "The bad news is, guess who awakens? You, essentially as you have always known yourself to be! Not some squeaky clean, saintly, superhuman version of you. No - just you, as you are and have been."
Web Site: www.sanielbonder.com.



Pema Chodron
Based In: Nova Scotia, Canada
Main Message: Tibetan Buddhisism in lineage of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
Specialty: Translating Tibetan Buddhism for Westerners
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: ". . . fearless, open-hearted, compassionate action in the world shows the relationship of mindfulness-awareness meditation to the complete spiritual-secular Shambhala path. "
Web Site: www.pemachodrontapes.org



Andrew Cohen
Based In: Massachusetts, centers also in London, Boston, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, New York, Rishikesh, Sydney, and Cologne.
Main Message: "Freedom," original teaching inspired by Vedantic tradition
Specialty: International teaching, exploring and commenting on the modern spiritual scene
Known scandals: A record of statements and critiques made by former associates can be found at www.whatenlightenment.net.
How likely to be misunderstood: The generic "cult leader" accusation of anyone not in the mainstream, the ordinary misquotes, quotes out of context, etc.
Sample: "I'm speaking about a revolutionary possibility in which the individual . . . has become unconditionally committed to becoming fully liberated in this life . . ." ". . . that fundamental shift that brings with it a profound trust in life."
Web Site: www.andrewcohen.org



Adi Da
Based In: Fiji, other centers throughout the United States
Main Message: Comprehensive teaching covering basically all aspects of life.
Specialty: "Guru Yoga," "Crazy Wisdom" transmitter of kundalini shaktipat
Known scandals: Has made almost every mistake in the book.
How likely to be misunderstood: Is there anyone who does understand?
Sample: "I do not speak as an ordinary man to you."
Web Site: www.adidam.org



Lama Surya Das
Based In: Concord, Massachusetts
Main Message: American Tibetan Buddhist.
Specialty: Making Tibetan Buddhism accessible
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "Everybody thinks they know what Buddhism is. People think of Buddhism as being quietistic or meditation-loving and not progress-loving, and that's partly true. But I think East and West have something to offer each other."
Web Site: www.surya.org



David Deida
Based In: Austin, Texas; travels through the world.
Main Message: "Opening in relationship" and the integration and role of sexuality and spirituality
Specialty: Sex roles, a type of spirituo-sexual neo-tantric philosophy
Known scandals: None, but writing is not for the faint-hearted.
How likely to be misunderstood: Heated, controversial territory all the way around.
Sample: "Have you ever loved a woman? I mean, really, really loved her?"
Web Site: www.deida.com



Anadi (formerly Aziz Kristof)
Based In: India
Main Message: "awakening of both tthe personal and universal through the three gateways of being: consciousness, heart, and hara."
Specialty: A thorough and clearly-communicated approach that includes commentaries on the modern spiritual scene.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: "most likely to be misperceived as just another spiritual system" according to one user
Sample: "It is not enough to reform past traditions, for they carry a heavy weight of the already crystallised vision of reality. A New Perception of the spiritual awakening must arise. This new perception includes the full understanding of the complexity of the awakening process as well as the complete inner map of awakening."
Web Site: www.anaditeaching.com



Arnaud Desjardins
Based In: France
Main Message: Post-Gurdjieffian spiritual-psychological message.
Specialty: A positive and life-affirming approach to spiritual work; teaching on love and sexuality.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "But my own experience - that of a man who has entered the secrets of hundreds of human hearts - has shown me that the profound frustration of my fellow man, be it latent or manifest, springs primarily from failure in love and sex."
Web Site: None.



Georg Feuerstein
Based In: Northern California
Main Message: Yoga, author and commentator on crazy wisdom, the modern spiritual scene
Specialty: Exploring and commenting on the modern spiritual scene, making yoga understandable to the west.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "This volume contains my reflections on the great issues of those forms of spirituality that endeavor to communicate an essentially incommunicable realization to those who can as yet barely hear the 'thunderous silence.'"
Web Site: www.yrec.org



Gangaji
Based In: Novato, California
Main Message: Neo-Advaita Vedanta
Specialty: Articulate message of modern vedanta.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "But the most sublime truth of all has never been stated or written or sung. Not because it is far away and can't be reached, but because it is so intimately close, closer than anything that can be spoken."
Web Site: www.gangaji.org



S. N. Goenka Institutes
Based In: All over the world.
Main Message: Vispassana Meditation
Specialty: Meditation retreats and communities
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose."
Web Site: www.dhamma.org



E. J. Gold
Based In: Nevada City, California
Main Message: Post-Gurdjieffian Shamanistic-type psychological teaching
Specialty: Author, artist, "proponent of darkside dreamwalking"
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: Question is, how to be understood.
Sample: "Practical Work On Self: A primer of idea/exercises for attention and essence development . . ."
Web Site: www.slimeworld.org/gateways



Joseph Goldstein
Based In: Massachusetts.
Main Message: Buddhist Vispassana meditation.
Specialty: Co-founder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Insight Meditation Society.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: Pretty straightforward.
Sample: ". . . any one of the three is potentially the gateway to liberation: people can go through the door of impermanence, the door of suffering, or door number three, of selflessness."
Web Sites: www.dharma.org/bcbs.htm, http://www.dharma.org/ims.htm



Stanislov and Christina Grof
Based In: Mill Valley, California
Main Message: Author, theorist, and teacher of transpersonal psychology
Specialty: Holotropic breathwork therapy, altered states of consciousness
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: ". . . radical inner transformation of humanity and rise to a higher level of consciousness might be our only real hope for the future."
Web Site: www.breathwork.com



Douglass Harding
Based In: London, England
Main Message: Simple, practical, and direct seeing for oneself
Specialty: "Look for Yourself: New Techniques for Realizing Old Truths"
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "One of the inalienable rights of man, we are assured, is the pursuit of happiness . . . Are we, in fact, serious about this pursuit?"
Web Site: www.headless.org



Thich Nhat Hanh
Based In: Southern France
Main Message: Buddhism and mindfulness meditation
Specialty: Writing, poetry, peace activism, teaching
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "The practice of mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, is like the power of the sun. It allows you to illuminate the aspects of your life that are in darkness."
Web Site: www.parallax.org



Steven Harrison
Based In: Boulder, Colorado
Main Message: Western consciousness and spiritual seeking
Specialty: Writing, teaching, and activism (Nepal)
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: Along the lines that his experiments can be easy to "see," but more difficult to actually "apply."
Sample: "Happiness grows only out of the profound silence in which the thoughts we call our self arise. In the moment our thoughts come still and just before the next thought arises - there, just there, is happiness. There, in the vast quiet, just there, is relationship."
Web Site: www.doingnothing.com



Chuck Hillig
Based In: Ojai, California
Main Message: Practical non-duality encompassing psychology and spirituality
Specialty: Presenting profound messages very simply and clearly.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: Through getting the "simplicity" but not the "profundity."
Sample: "Give up waiting for the proverbial "Enlightenment Bus" to come along for you. It's never going to show up. Not ever! Who you really are will never...and can never...get enlightened. Getting enlightened is not a big task for who you are. Getting enlightened is only a big task for who you are not."
Web Site: www.blackdotpubs.com



Cheri Huber
Based In: San Francisco Bay area
Main Message: Zen
Specialty: Western Zen with a psychological twist.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "These words are interchangeable: I, ego, egocentricity, conditioning, karma, suffering. The definition they share is that they are the illusion of a self that is separate."
Web Site: Unknown.



Phillip Kapleau
Based In: Rochester, New York
Main Message: Zen
Specialty: Founder of Rochester Zen Center, Western Zen
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "All thoughts, whether ennobling or debasing, are mutable and impermanent; they have a beginning and an end even as they are fleetingly with us, and this is as true of the thought of an era as of an individual."
Web Site: www.rzc.org



Jack Kornfeld
Based In: Northern California
Main Message: Insight meditation and clinical psychology
Specialty: Integration of Buddhist meditation to with Western psychology
Known scandals: None, although some criticize the mixing of Buddhist meditation and psychotherapy.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "Unbounded freedom and joy, oneness with the divine...these experiences are more common than you know, and not far away. But even after achieving such realization, we are faced with the day-to-day task of translating that freedom into our imperfect lives. We are faced with the laundry."
Web Site: None.



H. H. the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso)
Based In: San Francisco Bay area
Main Message: Buddhism
Specialty: The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Leader and activist for Tibet
Known scandals: None, although the Chinese government accuse him of various sorts of malpractices.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "I believe that happiness can be achieved through training the mind."
Web Site: Unknown.



John Wren-Lewis
Based In: Australia
Main Message: Experience of nonduality
Specialty: Former spiritual-cynic turned messenger of nondual perspective
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "It was as if I'd emerged freshly made . . . from a vast blackness that was somehow radiant . . in fact it makes each present instant so utterly satisfying that even the success or failure of creative activity becomes relatively unimportant."
Web Site: Unknown.



John Daido Loori
Based In: Mount Temper, New York
Main Message: Zen
Specialty: Western Zen
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "If you want to free what is stuck and loosen that which is bound, simply remove all traces of mental activity. At this very moment, if one's vision and hearing are clear, and color and sound are purely perceived, tell me, which side is the right side?"
Web Site: www.zen-mtn.org



Albert Low
Based In: Montreal, Canada
Main Message: Zen.
Specialty: Äuthor, Western Zen.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "In the second noble truth Buddha said the cause of suffering is desire or hunger . . . the çraving for individual existence'; the craving to be 'someone'. . . it is the power behind politics and sport, behind business, even behind the arts and sciences . . . we try to embrace our true nature within the confines of experience, and so drown in illusion."
Web Site: www.zenmontreal.ca



Lee Lozowick
Based In: Northern Arizona
Main Message: "Crazy wisdom" teacher of enlightenment.
Specialty: Aligns himself with the Baul tradition of Bengal
Known scandals: Rumors of sexual affairs in early years.
How likely to be misunderstood: Plays in a rock band, and, as "crazy wisdom" variety, prone to all sorts of interpretations.
Sample: "The Divine is not meant to be discovered in heaven. If the Divine was meant to be discovered in heaven, we would be in heaven and not here."
Web Site: www.leelozowick.com



Roy Masters
Based In: Oregon
Main Message: Christianity and ancient "centering prayer"
Specialty: A practical deeply psychological message focused around teachings of Christianity
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: Perhaps the most misunderstood guy on the page. Non-Christians often dismiss him as a Christian, "Christians" often dismiss him as a non-Christian, most have never listened to or heard of him, those who hear of him rarely seem to understand him, if they do understand him they often get angry at him, if they don't get angry at him they often think he's totally great.
Sample: "Cultivate the awareness of what is going on inside your mind."
Web Site: www.fhu.com



Jed McKenna
Based In: "east central Iowa, about twenty miles from Iowa City and half an hour from the Mississippi River."
Main Message: Spiritual Enlightenment
Specialty: Straight, blunt, no-nonsense, down to earth, and humorous teaching of enlightenment, jumps with both feet into areas that other teachers fear to even mention
Known scandals: None known, aside from goring several sacred cows, and therefore the likelihood of ruffling a few feathers (that may well need to be ruffled) - e.g. "... to say it plainly, the vast majority of the world's authorities on enlightenment are themselves not enlightened."
How likely to be misunderstood: Misunderstandings of McKenna's message most likely due to selectively choosing key phrases of his book and using them as platitudes while ignoring the rest of his message. For example, focusing on a phrase like "Enlightenment isn't when you go there, it's when there comes here" and ignoring the part that says "We have to fight and scratch and claw our way to wakefulness" - or, in another variation, merely repeating what Jed found through practicing "Spiritual Autolysis" instead of someone actually practicing it themselves.
Sample: "Sit down, shut up, and ask yourself what's true until you know."
Web Site: www.wisefoolpress.com



Scott Morrison
Based In: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Main Message: Neo-Advaita.
Specialty: Author, teacher, speaker
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "Most people, out of ignorance (a lack of clear understanding), don't truly know how life works, and therefore, don't know how to be happy or put an end to suffering."
Web Site: www.openmindopenheart.org



Richard Moss
Based In: Oakhurst, California
Main Message: A unique spiritual teaching with psychological and medical perspectives.
Specialty: Medical doctor, author, teacher, speaker
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "The spiritual core of a human being is that part of our soul that has direct contact with God. It is a state of consciousness available to everyone."
Web Site: www.richardmoss.com



Satyam Nadeen
Based In: Costa Rica
Main Message: Neo-Advaita
Specialty: "From Seekers To Finders"
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "Does Anyone Really Know What Enlightenment Is? . . . What I mean by enlightenment is that a person has gradually, or sometimes suddenly, remembered who they are at their core essence."
Web Site: www.satyamnadeen.com



Claudio Naranjo
Based In: Berkely, California
Main Message: Western Psychospiritual teaching
Specialty: Integrating Enneagram and spiritual perspectives with academic psychology
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "The bottom line of all psychopathology is the loss of being (i.e., the absence of the direct experience or cognition of being) that theologians have called ignorance."
Web Site: None.



Bernadette Roberts
Based In: San Francisco Bay area
Main Message: Christian "No-Self" experience
Specialty: Outlines the Christian mystical path beyond St. John of the Cross
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: (Book Title) "The Path To No Self: Life At the Center."
Web Site: http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/umbada/berna.htm.



Huston Smith
Based In: Boston, Massachusetts
Main Message: Pioneer scholar of world's religions
Specialty: Wrote the textbook on world religions.
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "The only thing good without qualifications extended vision, the enlargement of one's understanding and awareness of what reality is ultimately like."
Web Site: None.



Amber Terrell
Based In: Novato, California
Main Message: Neo-Advaita
Specialty: Very good claims of success rate
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "Ego is pure illusion, created by the mistaken identification with mind and all its projections - mental, emotional, physical, and circumstantial - as who one is . . . Most people cannot see through the illusion, or the defense, long enough to really sever the habit of mental identification . . . the resolve and ruthlessness required to cut the habit of mind is rare."
Web Site: www.truelightpub.com



Eckhart Tolle
Based In: Vancouver, Canada
Main Message: Integral Neo-Advaita
Specialty: Western teaching of practical spiritual psychology; being liked by Oprah.
Known scandals: None known.
How likely to be misunderstood: By dumbing it down to "enjoy the moment." Also translates practically into "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die." When a message is clear and simple, folks can often take one idea, phrase, or concept from it (e.g. "Be here now") and think they're enlightened.
Sample: ". . . the mind is using you. You are unconsciously identified with it, so you don't even know that you are its slave. Basically, all emotions are modifications of one primordial, undifferentiated emotion that has its origin in the loss of awareness of who you are beyond name and form."
Web Site: www.namastepublishing.com



Melvyn Wartella
Based In: Northern California
Main Message: Straight, no-nonsense teaching about enlightenment
Specialty: A refreshingly clear, direct, and jargon-free message
Known scandals: None known.
How likely to be misunderstood: While selective listening/reading, quoting-instead-of-experiencing-directly, and plain old misunderstandings are always potential hazards in communicating about spirituality, Wartella does about as good of a job at working to be understood correctly as any other known teacher today - in fact, a good deal of his message is concerned with cleaning up a great deal of misunderstanding that have been created by the teachings of others.
Sample: "Enlightenment, awakening to that which is real, is beyond everything the mind has put together. Let us end the dream and the dreamer." "The ego is a fluke of evolution, a by-product of the thinking process, and when one sees this clearly, it will be a guide to keep you free from a lot of nonsense being taught about what Enlightenment is."
Web Site: www.friendsofreality.org



Ken Wilber
Based In: Boulder, Colorado .
Main Message: Integral Studies
Specialty: Prolific articulator and integrator of eastern and western spiritual teachings, science and modern thought
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood: As only an academic intellectual dealing in abstract, far-out things.
Sample: "After you realize that the manifest world is illusory, and after you realize that Brahman alone is real, then can you see that the absolute and the relative are not-two or nondual, then can you see that nirvana and samsara are not-two, then can you realize that the Seer and everything seen are not-two, Brahman and the world are not-two - all of which really means, the sound of those birds singing!"
Web Site: http://wilber.shambhala.com



Vartman
Based In: Sweden
Main Message: Neo-Advaita
Specialty: Modern vedanta
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: "A point was reached that I could not continue to deny my direct experience any longer.I could no longer pretend that I was who I imagined myself to be."
Web Site: www.vartman.com


John Kabat-Zinn
Based In: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Main Message: Insight Meditation
Specialty: Practical mindfulness and meditative applications to coping with stress
Known scandals: None.
How likely to be misunderstood:
Sample: (Book Title): "Wherever You Go, There You Are."
Web Site: None.




This is what we have for now. This list is constantly changing and evolving. If you have suggestions, revisions or glowing praise, please reach out to us.




...and if you dig the above, definitely don't miss

Dharma Combat: Where Spiritual Giants Duke It Out



- and also don't forget to use protection for your mind:

The Battle for your Mind