The Challenge of Change
The eNewsletter of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America

and Oak Grove School

August 2010

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KFA's Website
Oak Grove School
Teachings website
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To donate click here

Reminder
Dr. Hillary Rodrigues

“Is Freedom from Conditioning Really Possible?”

Saturday, August 28, 2010
K Education Center, Ojai

You must make a reservation for lunch in advance, and pay at the sign-up page. The event is free but donations may be made at the door if you wish.

Hillary Rodrigues

Legacy Circle Invitation
Legacy Circle members, people who have indicated they intend to leave a bequest to the Krishnamurti Foundation, are our most committed and supportive donors.

The purpose you support is really quite simple, yet profound. By supporting the KFA, with current donations and through your bequests, you offer the world a place where any visitor or student can be quiet, observe, see. A place where you are free to inquire, to find and be…yourself.

“Truth must be discovered, but there is no formula for its discovery. You must set out on the uncharted sea, and the uncharted sea is yourself. You must set out to discover yourself…”
J. Krishnamurti
Commentaries on Living I

Click here for suggested ways to make a bequest.

Recurring gifts
If a number of you made a pledge to give even $10 a month, it would make a big difference. To make a monthly recurring gift, click here and select “Monthly Gift.”

I welcome hearing from you. If you have questions or observations, contact me.

Troy Sumrall
Chief Operating Officer, KFA

Oak Grove School Annual Report    We are delighted to share with you the Annual Report of the Oak Grove School available to you on our website as a digital flipbook. Please click here to view.

Planning for financial sustainability during these economic hard times is more challenging than ever, but with challenge also comes incredible opportunity. Our Annual Report indicates clearly that our community of support both near and far is solidly behind us and our school will continue to offer the highest quality education within the context of our unique mission far into the future. Enjoy!

Meredy Benson Rice, Head of School

OGS sign Oak Grove School Admissions    Oak Grove School seeks highly motivated, caring and compassionate students who are interested in making a difference in the world.  Act now to take advantage of Oak Grove's unique environment and outstanding college preparatory program. 
Applications now being accepted for 2010-2011.

See the latest Oak Notes - Summer/Fall 2010.

missing K word This is a frequency map of words that appear in a large collection of Krishnamurti's works. The larger the word, the more frequently it is found. The most frequent word has been erased, which would be where the square box is. What is the word? Send your suggestions in.


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Teaching Academy


"Those who educate safely proceed in such a way that their first-order beliefs (about excellence, motivation, ability, intelligence, teaching, learning, academics, school and the so-called 'real world') are never called into doubt. They begin with an assumption that they know a great many first-order things to be true, and for them, education essentially involves a search for principles and practices that would justify and apply these beliefs. Those who educate with risk, on the other hand, expose these first-order beliefs to the perils of inquiry. Why curriculum? Why math? Why art? Why teacher? Why student? Why school? Everything is up for grabs."

[adapted from Rachels, James. 1993. 'Moral Philosophy as a Subversive Activity'. From Applied Ethics. Edited by Winkler and Coombs. Oxford UK & Cambridge USA: Blackwell Publishers. (changed considerably from philosophy to education)]

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Starting from scratch

If you are interested, create a learning environment from scratch that would bring to life what you understand is essential in education. Include:

  • Intent - What is the intent? Is this different from an aim? How does it take into account: subject matter, student, teacher?
  • Resources - What are the basic ingredients? What is the relationship of these to the intent?
  • Organization - What is the context / environment and how is it organized? eg. furniture, seating, etc. Is prior knowledge / skill necessary?
  • Reflection - What is the connection of observational feedback to the intent?

Can learning environments be designed to be different from the transfer of known information, known understandings or known frameworks?

What is your burning question regarding education / teaching / learning to which you really don't have an answer?

Describe (non-evaluative, detailed) one pivotal episode or event in your schooling.

Make one claim about the nature of learning and one about what teaching is not.

Send us what you come up with.

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"Teaching is entombed in myth. They are available in every film about teaching, in all the popular literature, and in the common sense passed across the generations. A sample:

  • Good teachers begin with the curriculum they are given and find clever ways to enhance it.
  • Good classroom management is an essential first step toward becoming a good teacher.
  • Teachers learn to teach in colleges of education.
  • Good teachers are always fun.
  • Good teachers always know the materials.
  • Good teachers are good performers.
  • Good teachers treat all students alike.
  • Good teaching can be measured by how well students do on tests.
  • A good teacher knows what's going on in the classroom.
  • All children are above average.
  • Kids today are worse than ever before.

[from William Ayers, 1993 To Teach, The Journey of a Teacher]

To read his explanations of these, try Amazon or Google book preview and search for a unique phrase in one of the myths.

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"The old patterns of thinking with regard to teaching and freedom and order have been taken away from you. Therefore you are looking at problems differently. The difference is that your mind is now free to look, free to examine the issue of freedom and order. Now how will you convey to the child that you are not going to punish him, not going to reward him and yet he must be totally free and orderly?

Because you are free and understand freedom, you will be punctual in your class and from freedom you will talk to the student and not from an idea. To talk from an idea, a formula, a concept is one thing, but to talk from an actual fact which you have seen - that the student must be free and therefore orderly - is totally different. When you as a teacher are free and orderly you are already communicating it, not only verbally but non-verbally and the student knows it immediately.

Once you see the fact that punishment and reward in any form are destructive, you never go back to them. By throwing them out, you yourself are disciplined and that discipline has come out of the freedom of examination. You communicate to the child the fact of that and not any idea. Then you have communicated to him not only verbally, but at a totally different level."

J. Krishnamurti Krishnamurti On Education, Talk to Teachers, Chap.1

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Ideas for radicalizing school

When asked in an informal discussion his vision for a radically different school, Teaching Academy Director Gopal Krishnamurthy replied (roughly) as follows: Having been in Krishnamurti schools as a student and a teacher, I've seen at first-hand the inertia toward institutionalization. Running the school, keeping it going takes precedence. New tinkering and solutions bring new problems and so the horizon of our vision and conversation often moves toward the so called “practical” and “marketable” possibilities.

Most schools start with infrastructure, then go looking for people. What if we started differently? Let's start a school with a group of people working together - no hierarchy (principal, director, or school boards); we figure out everything together from scratch (curriculum, buildings, salaries, fees, etc.). For some decisions, we might involve a parent or invite someone from outside to share their expertise e.g. where to invest money. In fact there is at least one school that started in the following way:

Salaries are 'need-based', and discussed openly by all the teachers, i.e. what are our individual needs? In the beginning, some teachers may have to work outside or get support from a spouse etc. to supplement their income. If we take money from a donor, all the teachers would discuss it: are there strings attached, what are the implications, etc. The whole financial structure would be aimed at reducing the usual top-heavy administrative overheads.
Money is put into an endowment. Buildings and infrastructure come much later, so we don't need indiscriminate enrollment just to pay for maintenance of the infrastructure. If the school were to shut down, the interest is enough to pay the teachers for 4-5 more years. So there is no pressure to take students or parents just to pay the bills. There is a long preliminary interview process to explore the fit between the parents’ questions and those of the school. There are mandatory meetings to explore a different way of living and not just for parental concerns for their own children and not merely to disseminate information/solve problems. It is not a customer/service provider relationship - so it is clear from the very beginning that we are all working together.
There is no set fee structure: We explain that it is not a profit-making enterprise but you contribute as much as you can, to run the school and keep it small. The idea is to take kids from a very young age. If the parents are on board, it doesn't matter which kids we work with. Since there is no hierarchy, interpersonal issues that came up are discussed together. So there is learning for everyone even (and perhaps especially) when the going gets tough. The buildings built by students, parents and teachers and are designed to meet the specific needs of teachers and students.
People divided into age groups (e.g. classes) often doesn’t make sense. For example, at Brockwood Park when Mary Zimbalist, Krishnamurti's secretary / friend was older and would walk down the corridors, there was a big guy (the students were primarily teenagers) who liked to run through the corridors and was frustrated that he couldn't else he might crash into Mary. But he understood that he couldn't run since there was an older person living there too, otherwise you have to get into a verbal negotiation of rules and authority. But he had an actual relationship with Mary which created his own understanding of discipline and freedom. The same applied to his relationship to younger students.
Regarding exams, this can be explored with parents and students. The school doesn't give grades, but will help those who may need exams for their future activities/college. It is not ideological - exams vs. no exams - but this needs to be discussed together. Some students are supported to do apprenticeships in areas that interest them.
Even for a school like this, when teachers get older and need to work less or retire, one question has become how to get young educators with the same commitment. When new people come into a school that is already established – it’s "someone else's", their relationship to it is different.
Can we go further, in both new and existing schools, in keeping the intent alive?

  • For instance, consider the Buddhist sand mandala - likewise, if you had 5, 7, 10 years for the life of the school, what would you do? A group of people really coming together to live differently, but it has an end. This could take away many of the institutional pressures to compromise and conform in order to keep a school going for the sake of keeping it going.
  • Another is hinted at by renouncing the glossy brochures with success stories that schools tend to produce. Could the difficulties be looked at and shared as well? Not the 'dirty laundry', but all the challenges documented - a reflective journey about the life of the school.

In sum, these are possible considerations for starting or running a school:

  • Small, not hierarchical, run by teachers,
  • Institutional impermanence with an end in mind.
  • Record everything, including the difficulties and challenges.

These are only a beginning, there is plenty more to be explored with regard to teaching and learning, subject matter, curriculum, and the daily schedule etc. which the Teaching Academy explores intensively.

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Teaching Academy Resources

  1. Education and the Significance of Life. Krishnamurti, J. (1953). San Francisco, CA: Harper.
  2. The Whole Movement of Life is Learning (Letters to the Schools). Krishnamurti, J. (2006). Brockwood, UK: KFT.
  3. What does it mean to be well-educated? Kohn, A. (2004). Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
  4. What Time Is It, Denise? Asking Known Information Questions in Classroom Discourse. Theory into practice, Vol. 18, No.4. Mehan, H. (1979). Philadelphia, PA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Taylor and Francis Group).
  5. Culture against man: Golden rule days: American schoolrooms. Henry, J. (1963). New York, NY: Random House.
  6. Punished by Rewards. Kohn, A. (1999). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
  7. Excellence as a guide to educational conversation. Noddings, N. (1993). Columbia, NY: Teachers College Record.
  8. Schools Kill Creativity. Robinson, Ken (2006). TED talk on: www.TED.com
  9. Bring on the learning revolution. Robinson, Ken (2010). TED talk on: www.TED.com

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Oak Grove

A Look at the 2010 Krishnamurti Summer Study-Intensive & Retreat Program, by Richard Waxberg / Director of the program

The 2010 Krishnamurti Summer Study-Intensive & Retreat Program, Energy, Creativity and the Nature of the New Mind, took place at the Krishnamurti Education Center on the East End of Ojai, California, amid an atmosphere of affection, encouragement and support. 

11 participants, including 6 college students, joined us from the United States and many countries around the world.

During our 9-day program, participants and the three co-facilitators (professor Satish Telegar, Richard Waxberg and Deborah Kerner) entered together into 2 penetrating dialogues each day, to explore questions that naturally lead to a deep understanding of the root causes of human psychological suffering. We also explored the illusion of separation that severs our connection with life's vital creative energies; our psychological need for security; our unexamined beliefs that shape our perception and create reactions that lead to conflict with ourselves and the world; the true nature of a creative mind and what it really means to be free, unburdened by the psychological accumulations of the past, individually and collectively.

We also watched a DVD each day with Krishnamurti in dialogue with leading educators and scientists. We stopped the DVD at key moments to informally discuss together the implications of Krishnamurti's insights. Evenings, participants read from Krishnamurti's writings and also presented questions that they felt needed deeper exploration. There were many spontaneous informal dialogues that occurred throughout the day, which the beautiful quiet grounds of the Krishnamurti Study Center encourages and is a feature of our program.

Both the Krishnamurti Summer and Winter Study-Intensive & Retreat Programs, use a shared inter-active dialogical format to explore Krishnamurti's teachings openly. The dialogue, as fully realized in our program, becomes a laboratory of seeing consciousness in operation. This results in a very dynamic and immediate "seeing" into oneself and encourages insight, without accumulating fixed ideas, criticisms, or the forming of opinions. 

By placing our attention on "seeing" and "listening" to what is actually taking place inwardly, as well as what is unfolding all around us, which Krishnamurti felt was the essence of true meditation, we can release potentially transformative energies that have been trapped as conditioned responses in our unconscious mind since childhood. The release of these vital energies occurs spontaneously as we gain a deeper understanding and clarity in our thinking.

The intention of our work together is to free the mind of accumulated distortions and psychological residue, so that we can meet life freshly, with enormous energy, unburdened by any experiences or psychological conditioning of the past. 

Our program also offers us the opportunity to learn to dialogue together; to communicate openly with each other with affection and sensitivity; to penetrate to the deepest levels of our mind so that we can actually see how the mind operates; to discover for ourselves what is responsible for psychological distortions in the mind; as well as exploring together the possibility of ending all suffering, stepping out of psychological time and how to bring clarity to our thinking.

With Warmest Regards ~ Richard Waxberg, Director Krishnamurti Study-Intensive & Retreat Programs, Ojai, California

Summer Intensive-3  Summer Intensive-1

Here are a few comments from our participants that give an insight into our shared work together in the program.

• The dialogue work we did in the program in Ojai was the catalyst that unleashed all these unknown energies within me. By the end of the course, I was equipped with the tools of awareness needed to examine the thoughts which had been suppressing these energies. Mere words cannot express the gratitude I have for what went on in the program. Every single person there was a unique human being and contributed so much to the group’s collective exploration. I would personally like to thank Deborah, Richard, and Satish for the extended talks that went on during lunch, dinner, and late after the last dialogue. You guys could have easily just left when you got tired but you chose to stay and talk personally with us. These selfless acts really touched me and proved that you guys care whole-heartedly. ~ Ryan

• The 9 day session Richard, Satish and Deborah planned for us was a total and complete immersion into K’s living ideas. We watched videos, read books, but most importantly we created a community and understanding through honest and thoughtful discussion and dialogue. Most of us need a community of learners, of partners, of friends who help us shine a light on K’s teaching this way and that, upside down and inside out. We need people who offer examples, but more than that, we need people who challenge Krishnamurti’s thinking, just as K had hoped we would do, and said so many times. In our sessions, we did just that. We lovingly challenged, and lovingly learned what it means to function in the world with a deeper understanding that we absorbed through K’s ideas.  

All of us underwent a fundamental change during those 9 days. None of us will be the same. Not that we will become missionaries. We will live through observing who we are in this world, living in the present moment and watching our interactions with others. In this way each group who is fortunate enough to go through this important program, and I hope there will be many taught at the KFA over the years, will change their small part of the world. ~ Carol

• The Krishnamurti Summer Study Intensive has undoubtedly changed my life. It has turned on a light which allows me to see, search, and explore myself in a way in which is truly immeasurable. Certainly I have discovered a new approach, a new way to observe, and through the teachings of Krishnamurti and intense yet relaxed dialogues, new insights come to me every day.

An immense energy has been released. An energy that I have been holding back for so long and was afraid to look into the reasoning of. It is of utmost importance that anyone and everyone begin this exploration to also possibly release this energy. I would highly recommend this program to anyone that I know and to anyone that has the slightest intention of looking for a change. 

Deborah, Richard, and Satish have shown each of us the utmost affection and compassion during the program. This compassion is very difficult and takes a tremendous amount of effort to go into, and I would like to express my utmost appreciation that they had the courage and love in them to do so and accomplish such a feat. 

I truly hope that a program like this should not only continue to be highly supported, but also expanded, because nothing is more important than spreading this sense of beauty that every human is capable of seeing. ~ Aria

• Thank you very much for your kind work in the program! Thank you for your attention and compassion! The most unusual thing for me was the fact that people with different backgrounds and different conditioning could feel and understand each other so deeply. Sometimes there was an extraordinary calmness and clarity in my looking at myself and at the world around me. So, there was no separation between me and the rest of the world at all. There was no separation between my heart, my brain and my body. That was a feeling of direct perception of myself, nature, all the people around me, the feeling which I would call the true love. ~ Eugene

• When I finished the 9 day Intensive, I left Krishnamurti’s home in an awakened state that I felt was a gift. It was not mine alone, but shared amongst fellow beings that came together, and voluntarily agreed to question every thought and every idea that we were stuck too. This new awakening to life and deeper sense of awareness took place in an atmosphere of great warmth, humour, and insightfulness. ~ Christopher

• I cannot express adequately with words how amazing this program was, that I participated in with facilitators Richard, Deborah, and Satish, and all the students and participants.

It simply changed the way I look at life now in every aspect, how I relate to my family, my students, nature.

I observe and see with new eyes. I look at people around me that I already know, as if I am seeing them for first time, and it is really liberating and opens space within me that I didn’t know existed.

I now pay attention to my thoughts and listen. There is a different quality to my understanding and people around me feel it. So I hear again and again my students saying “Maya, you radiate,” which is proof that this program planted seeds for profound changes. ~ Maya

• The Krishnamurti Summer Study Intensive doesn’t end after the nine days but carries one back into the world of daily living; this “daily living” rides on the surface of a much deeper and profound peace and quietude that remains undisturbed.

Richard Waxberg with the help of Deborah Kerner and Satish Telegar creates a harmony with the participants which is free from ego and authority. In this environment, the group as a whole is transformed into a state of unity, free to explore the serious questions Krishnamurti raises so the truth of our existance may be revealed. This program is a blessing, open to all who are serious to examine inside and outside of themselves. This intensive, through grace, reveals the truth which has the potential to set us free. ~ Pam

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The Krishnamurti Foundation of America is excited to present the 2011 Krishnamurti Winter Study-Intensive & Retreat Program, in Ojai, California. 

The Birth of a New Intelligence and the Movement Toward Freedom and the Unknown / Stepping out of Psychological Time into the Creative Present.

An 8-day fully-immersive dialogical exploration into the life-changing teachings of J. Krishnamurti / Sunday, January 9th to Sunday, January 16th, 2011.

Please join us this winter in warm, beautiful, and sunny Ojai, California, to study together in the lovely former home of J.  Krishnamurti. As a small group of explorers, we will enter into a shared inquiry in order to understand what is preventing us from birthing a new intelligence that is unfragmented, an intelligence that is whole, that does not harbor psychological distortions, an intelligence that has enormous energy and freshness and that is in harmony with life. 

We will also explore together into the possibility of stepping out of psychological time to unburden ourselves from the accumulated patterns of the personal and collective past. Together, within the dialogical process, we will enter into the potent energies of the present where true creativity can be experienced as the moment to moment unfolding of the startling beauty of life itself, of nature in all of its expressions, of the mystery of the universe.

Please check the Krishnamurti Foundation of America Website for further information and Tuition fees: http://www.kfa.org/

Also, for further information, please call the director of the Krishnamurti Study-Intensive Programs, Richard Waxberg / 805.640.0532, or contact Richard at: richard@kfa.org

Richard will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the upcoming 2011 Krishnamurti Winter Study-Intensive & Retreat Program.

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The Pepper Tree Retreat and Education Center attracts people from all over the world, who come to learn about themselves using Krishnamurti's teachings as a basis for inquiry. The Education Center hosts speaker panels, dialogue groups, conferences, and study programs within a context of cooperative, shared inquiry into the fundamental questions of human life. The Center is a forum, and takes no positions except to encourage a spirit of inquiry on the part of those who choose to come and participate. The grounds and facilities are available to groups interested in holding events that correspond with the intent and quietness of the place. Click for more information.

Visitor Center / Library Hours - Note: expanded hours
Thursday and Friday, 1-5pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10-5 pm.

Location / Contact Information
Pepper Tree Retreat and Education Center
1098 and 1130 McAndrew Road, Ojai, CA 93023 (directions and map)
Phone: (805) 646-2390 or send email

Pepper Tree Retreat Testimonials

Never before have I felt so at home.  This welcoming home and grounds created a nurturing environment to just be!  Kim & Scott MacInnis, Nova Scotia on 9/9/09

Maybe the most relaxed & peaceful experience I’ve had in years.  We’ll be back undoubtably.  Edward, Karen & Michael Voorhees, Los Altos, CA on 9/7/09

Love the Retreat - was everything we thought and more.  It was a thrill to be in the house, visit the library and have access to a house with such a history.  The hospitality of Elizabeth and Michael was exceptional, you can tell they love it too.  Bob & Rebecca Golling, Loomis, CA

Thank you for letting me read K books and I hope to spend more time in the future!  It felt like being completely welcome. D. Weyschede, day visitor on 8/28/09

This place has a beauty and peace about it that is hard to describe.  Elizabeth and Michael were warm, welcoming, and wonderful hosts, and helpful and friendly beyond the call of duty.  Thank you for making me feel so comfortable!   Pramod Mehta, Ottawa, Canada on 8/25/09

Everything I expected.  Thanks for the hospitality - much appreciated. Hopefully this stay will help me absorb K’s teachings.  Probably will come back again. Akash Jaggi, Michigan, 8/23/09

I am in love with this place.  Thank you so much! Felipe Merizalde, Bogota, Colombia

Thanks Elizabeth for being a beautiful hostess & making us feel so welcome. Mary Rivas

I have come here at just the right time.  As they say, when the student is ready, the teacher will come.  It all makes great, simple sense.  I am walking away with much clarity about the past, present, and future.  Everybody in the home was perfect & wonderful.  Fatima Rivas LA 8/20/09

Incredibly inspirational.  Makes one serious and attentive to a very high level that there are more questions to ask & inquire; all by one’s own self. Ananth Raghavendra, Tennessee on 8/19/09

Paradise on Earth! Michael and Elizabeth are amazing- Enjoy Ojai : ) Dawn T., Del Mar, CA, 8/16/09

A wonderful find!  It has been a slice of heaven staying here - the beauty & tranquility have been inspirational.  Priti and Pravin, England on 8/11/09

Thanks for the wonderful hospitality and oasis of calm.  Real “fresh air to the mind”  Chris and Sue Hammond, England on 8/5/09

Re-union.  Happy to come back, visit, walk the area, study.  Glad the place is running smoothly with such interesting passengers.  Claude Palmer, Berkeley, CA on 8/2/09

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Perhaps we are the first...

First we feared the other creatures who shared the Earth with us. Then, as our power grew, we thought of them as our property, to dispose of however we wished. The most recent fallacy (a rather nice one, in comparison) has been to play up the idea that the animals are virtuous in their naturalness, and it is only humanity who is a foul, evil, murderous, rapacious canker on the lip of creation. This view says that the Earth and all her creatures would be much better off without us.

Only lately have we begun embarking upon a fourth way of looking at the world and our place in it. A new view of life.

If we evolved, one must ask, are we then not like other mammals in many ways? Ways we can learn from? And where we differ, should that not also teach us?

Murder, rape, the most tragic forms of mental illnesses - all of these we are now finding among the animals as well as ourselves. Brainpower only exaggerates the horror of these dysfunctions in us. It is not the root cause. The cause is the darkness in which we have lived. It is ignorance.

We do not have to see ourselves as monsters in order to teach an ethic of environmentalism. It is now well known that our very survival depends upon maintaining complex ecological networks and genetic diversity. If we wipe out Nature, we ourselves will die.

But there is one more reason to protect other species. One seldom if ever mentioned. Perhaps we are the first to talk and think and build and aspire, but we may not be the last. Others may follow us in this adventure.

Some day we ay be judged by just how well we served when alone we were Earth's caretakers.

David Brin, November 1986 - postscript to The Uplift War

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The Gospel of Thomas: Rediscovering the Nondual Enlightenment Teachings of Jesus. by Robert Wolfe

Do conventional Christian and academic understandings of The Gospel of Thomas miss its real significance? Does Thomas record the nondual teachings of Jesus which were not included in the New Testament? The author of Living Nonduality, Robert Wolfe, examines the scholarships and the gospel itself.

Download
Download pdf version

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THANK YOU for those who participated in the Spring Challenge Appeal. The benefit your gift provides will spread far and wide. The ripple effect will reach many whom we do not know, as well as benefiting the beautiful children in our care, and the dedicated teachers and staff who serve them. We hope you will come to Ojai and enjoy the restful atmosphere of the East End retreat and program center; or visit the school. And please take advantage of our searchable website to read or download Krishnamurti's work. It will inspire you.

Questions? 
Call or email Troy Sumrall at: 805-646-2726, x30 or email.

To make a donation now,  CLICK HERE.

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