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Choiceless Awareness: A Selection of Passgaes from the Teachings of J Krishnamurti

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The passages in this Study Book have been taken directly from Krishnamurti’s talks and books from 1933 through 1967. The compilers began by reading all the passages from this period which contained the phrase choiceless awareness—the theme of this book. This would not have been possible without the use of a searchable fulltext database, the ‘Krishnamurti Text Collection’, produced by the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, England. Over 600 passages were studied in all, and the aspects of choiceless awareness most frequently addressed by Krishnamurti were noted. These aspects then formed the outline for the contents of this book.
The material selected has not been altered from the way it was originally printed except for limited correction of spelling, punctuation, and missing words. The only other change to the text is the use of ellipses. Ellipses introducing a passage, or ending it, indicate that the passage begins or ends in midsentence. Ellipses in the course of a passage indicate words or sentences omitted.
Krishnamurti spoke from such a large perspective that his entire vision was implied in any extended passage. If one wishes to see how a statement flows out of his whole discourse, one can find the full context from the references at the foot of each passage. These refer primarily to talks which have been published in The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti. This seventeenvolume set covers the entire period from which this Study Book has been drawn. A complete bibliography is included at the end of this book.

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I. An Overview

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What is Awareness?

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QUESTIONER: What is the difference between awareness and sensitivity?

KRISHNAMURTI: I wonder if there is any difference? You know, when you ask a question, what is important is to nd out for yourself the truth of the matter and not merely accept what someone else says. So let us nd out together what it is to be aware.

You see a lovely tree with its leaves sparkling after the rain, you see the sunlight shining on the water and on the grey-hued feathers of the birds; you see the villagers walking to town carrying heavy burdens, and hear their laughter; you hear the bark of a dog, or a calf calling to its mother. All this is part of awareness, the awareness of what is around you, is it not? Coming a little closer, you notice your relationship to people, to ideas, and to things; you are aware of how you regard the house, the road; you observe your reactions to what people say to you, and how your mind is always evaluating, judging, comparing, or condemning. This is all part of awareness, which begins on the surface and then goes deeper and deeper, but for most of us awareness stops at a certain point.

 

The Division between the Observer and the Observed.

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QUESTIONER: What is the difference between awareness and sensitivity?

KRISHNAMURTI: I wonder if there is any difference? You know, when you ask a question, what is important is to nd out for yourself the truth of the matter and not merely accept what someone else says. So let us nd out together what it is to be aware.

You see a lovely tree with its leaves sparkling after the rain, you see the sunlight shining on the water and on the grey-hued feathers of the birds; you see the villagers walking to town carrying heavy burdens, and hear their laughter; you hear the bark of a dog, or a calf calling to its mother. All this is part of awareness, the awareness of what is around you, is it not? Coming a little closer, you notice your relationship to people, to ideas, and to things; you are aware of how you regard the house, the road; you observe your reactions to what people say to you, and how your mind is always evaluating, judging, comparing, or condemning. This is all part of awareness, which begins on the surface and then goes deeper and deeper, but for most of us awareness stops at a certain point.

 

A Different Kind of Learning

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All human problems arise from this extraordinarily complex, living centre which is the me, and a man who would uncover its subtle ways has to be negatively aware, choicelessly observant.

London, 6th Public Talk, June 17, 1962 The Collected Works, Vol. XIII, p. 202

I wonder what most of us are seeking. And when we do nd what we seek, is it totally satisfactory, or is there always the shadow of frustration in that which we have sought out? And is it possible to learn from everything, from our sorrows and joys, so that our minds are made fresh and are capable of learning innitely more?

Most of us listen to be told what to do or to conform to a new pattern, or we listen merely to gather further information. If we are here with any such attitude, then the process of listening will have very little signicance in what we are trying to do in these talks. And I am afraid most of us are only concerned with that: we want to be told, we are listening in order to be taught, and a mind that merely wants to be told is obviously incapable of learning.

 

The Self and its Activity

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All human problems arise from this extraordinarily complex, living centre which is the me, and a man who would uncover its subtle ways has to be negatively aware, choicelessly observant.

London, 6th Public Talk, June 17, 1962 The Collected Works, Vol. XIII, p. 202

I wonder what most of us are seeking. And when we do nd what we seek, is it totally satisfactory, or is there always the shadow of frustration in that which we have sought out? And is it possible to learn from everything, from our sorrows and joys, so that our minds are made fresh and are capable of learning innitely more?

Most of us listen to be told what to do or to conform to a new pattern, or we listen merely to gather further information. If we are here with any such attitude, then the process of listening will have very little signicance in what we are trying to do in these talks. And I am afraid most of us are only concerned with that: we want to be told, we are listening in order to be taught, and a mind that merely wants to be told is obviously incapable of learning.

 

The Field of Consciousness

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What we are going to do this evening, if we may, is to learn about this particular thing called consciousness. To learn about consciousness, obviously, you must come to it afresh. You may have read books, you may have ideas, opinions; what you have read, your opinions, your knowledge according to somebodyall that is not what is, is not the fact. To understand a fact, opinions are not necessary; on the contrary, they are a hindrance. And to inquire into this consciousness, one must be free, not bound to any particular theory or knowledge.

So the rst requirement of a serious human being who wants to learn is that he must be free to inquire, that means, not to be afraid: to be free to look, to observe, to criticize; to be intelligently sceptical, and not to accept opinions. We are going to inquire into something that demands all your attention, and you cannot attend if you have an opinion, an idea, a formula, or knowledge of what other people have said. As we said the other day, if you walk in the light of another, that light will lead you to darknessit does not matter who it is that offers the light. But to walk in the light of ones own understanding, that can only come about when there is attention and silence, and that demands a great deal of seriousness.

 

Thought and Memory

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What we are going to do this evening, if we may, is to learn about this particular thing called consciousness. To learn about consciousness, obviously, you must come to it afresh. You may have read books, you may have ideas, opinions; what you have read, your opinions, your knowledge according to somebodyall that is not what is, is not the fact. To understand a fact, opinions are not necessary; on the contrary, they are a hindrance. And to inquire into this consciousness, one must be free, not bound to any particular theory or knowledge.

So the rst requirement of a serious human being who wants to learn is that he must be free to inquire, that means, not to be afraid: to be free to look, to observe, to criticize; to be intelligently sceptical, and not to accept opinions. We are going to inquire into something that demands all your attention, and you cannot attend if you have an opinion, an idea, a formula, or knowledge of what other people have said. As we said the other day, if you walk in the light of another, that light will lead you to darknessit does not matter who it is that offers the light. But to walk in the light of ones own understanding, that can only come about when there is attention and silence, and that demands a great deal of seriousness.

 

The Ideal and the Actual

ePub

What we are going to do this evening, if we may, is to learn about this particular thing called consciousness. To learn about consciousness, obviously, you must come to it afresh. You may have read books, you may have ideas, opinions; what you have read, your opinions, your knowledge according to somebodyall that is not what is, is not the fact. To understand a fact, opinions are not necessary; on the contrary, they are a hindrance. And to inquire into this consciousness, one must be free, not bound to any particular theory or knowledge.

So the rst requirement of a serious human being who wants to learn is that he must be free to inquire, that means, not to be afraid: to be free to look, to observe, to criticize; to be intelligently sceptical, and not to accept opinions. We are going to inquire into something that demands all your attention, and you cannot attend if you have an opinion, an idea, a formula, or knowledge of what other people have said. As we said the other day, if you walk in the light of another, that light will lead you to darknessit does not matter who it is that offers the light. But to walk in the light of ones own understanding, that can only come about when there is attention and silence, and that demands a great deal of seriousness.

 

Awareness and Time

ePub

What we are going to do this evening, if we may, is to learn about this particular thing called consciousness. To learn about consciousness, obviously, you must come to it afresh. You may have read books, you may have ideas, opinions; what you have read, your opinions, your knowledge according to somebodyall that is not what is, is not the fact. To understand a fact, opinions are not necessary; on the contrary, they are a hindrance. And to inquire into this consciousness, one must be free, not bound to any particular theory or knowledge.

So the rst requirement of a serious human being who wants to learn is that he must be free to inquire, that means, not to be afraid: to be free to look, to observe, to criticize; to be intelligently sceptical, and not to accept opinions. We are going to inquire into something that demands all your attention, and you cannot attend if you have an opinion, an idea, a formula, or knowledge of what other people have said. As we said the other day, if you walk in the light of another, that light will lead you to darknessit does not matter who it is that offers the light. But to walk in the light of ones own understanding, that can only come about when there is attention and silence, and that demands a great deal of seriousness.

 

Transformation and the Energy to Change

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The very awareness of what is is a liberative process. So long as we are unaware of what we are and are trying to become something else, so long will there be distortion and pain. The very awareness of what I am brings about transformation and the freedom of understanding.

Ojai, 5th Public Talk, May 5, 1946 The Collected Works, Vol. IV, p. 75

As long as you are looking for transformation, a result to be gained, there will be no transformation. As long as you are thinking in terms of achievement, in terms of time, there can be no transformation, for then the mind is caught in the net of time. When you say you are thinking in terms of immediate transformation, you are thinking of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Such transformation within time is merely change, which is modied continuity. When thought is free of time, there will be a timeless transformation.

As long as a problem is thought about, the problem will continue. Thought creates the problem. That which is the result of the past, the mind, cannot solve the problem. The mind can analyse, can examine, but it cannot resolve the problem. The problem, however complex and however close, ceases only when the thought process comes to an end.

 

The Mirror of Relationship

ePub

The very awareness of what is is a liberative process. So long as we are unaware of what we are and are trying to become something else, so long will there be distortion and pain. The very awareness of what I am brings about transformation and the freedom of understanding.

Ojai, 5th Public Talk, May 5, 1946 The Collected Works, Vol. IV, p. 75

As long as you are looking for transformation, a result to be gained, there will be no transformation. As long as you are thinking in terms of achievement, in terms of time, there can be no transformation, for then the mind is caught in the net of time. When you say you are thinking in terms of immediate transformation, you are thinking of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Such transformation within time is merely change, which is modied continuity. When thought is free of time, there will be a timeless transformation.

As long as a problem is thought about, the problem will continue. Thought creates the problem. That which is the result of the past, the mind, cannot solve the problem. The mind can analyse, can examine, but it cannot resolve the problem. The problem, however complex and however close, ceases only when the thought process comes to an end.

 

Seeing without the Image

ePub

The very awareness of what is is a liberative process. So long as we are unaware of what we are and are trying to become something else, so long will there be distortion and pain. The very awareness of what I am brings about transformation and the freedom of understanding.

Ojai, 5th Public Talk, May 5, 1946 The Collected Works, Vol. IV, p. 75

As long as you are looking for transformation, a result to be gained, there will be no transformation. As long as you are thinking in terms of achievement, in terms of time, there can be no transformation, for then the mind is caught in the net of time. When you say you are thinking in terms of immediate transformation, you are thinking of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Such transformation within time is merely change, which is modied continuity. When thought is free of time, there will be a timeless transformation.

As long as a problem is thought about, the problem will continue. Thought creates the problem. That which is the result of the past, the mind, cannot solve the problem. The mind can analyse, can examine, but it cannot resolve the problem. The problem, however complex and however close, ceases only when the thought process comes to an end.

 

Seeing without the Word

ePub

The very awareness of what is is a liberative process. So long as we are unaware of what we are and are trying to become something else, so long will there be distortion and pain. The very awareness of what I am brings about transformation and the freedom of understanding.

Ojai, 5th Public Talk, May 5, 1946 The Collected Works, Vol. IV, p. 75

As long as you are looking for transformation, a result to be gained, there will be no transformation. As long as you are thinking in terms of achievement, in terms of time, there can be no transformation, for then the mind is caught in the net of time. When you say you are thinking in terms of immediate transformation, you are thinking of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Such transformation within time is merely change, which is modied continuity. When thought is free of time, there will be a timeless transformation.

As long as a problem is thought about, the problem will continue. Thought creates the problem. That which is the result of the past, the mind, cannot solve the problem. The mind can analyse, can examine, but it cannot resolve the problem. The problem, however complex and however close, ceases only when the thought process comes to an end.

 

1. Envy

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Can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word?

This is rather a complex process but, if you will kindly listen, I am sure you will get the signicance of it. Let us say I am greedy, envious, and I want to understand that envy completely, not merely get rid of it. Most of us want to get rid of it and try various ways of doing that, for various reasons, but we are never able to get rid of it; it goes on and on indenitely. But if I really want to understand it, go to the root of it completely, then I must not condemn it, surely. The very word envy has a condemnatory sense, I feel, so can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word? Because the very terming, giving a name to that feeling as envy, with that very word I have condemned it, have I not? With the word envy is associated the whole psychological and religious signicance of condemnation. So can I dissociate the feeling from the word? If the mind is capable of not associating the feeling with the word, then is there an entity, a me, who is observing it? Because the observer is the association, surely, is the word, is the entity who is condemning it.

 

2. Jealousy

ePub

Can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word?

This is rather a complex process but, if you will kindly listen, I am sure you will get the signicance of it. Let us say I am greedy, envious, and I want to understand that envy completely, not merely get rid of it. Most of us want to get rid of it and try various ways of doing that, for various reasons, but we are never able to get rid of it; it goes on and on indenitely. But if I really want to understand it, go to the root of it completely, then I must not condemn it, surely. The very word envy has a condemnatory sense, I feel, so can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word? Because the very terming, giving a name to that feeling as envy, with that very word I have condemned it, have I not? With the word envy is associated the whole psychological and religious signicance of condemnation. So can I dissociate the feeling from the word? If the mind is capable of not associating the feeling with the word, then is there an entity, a me, who is observing it? Because the observer is the association, surely, is the word, is the entity who is condemning it.

 

3. Ambition

ePub

Can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word?

This is rather a complex process but, if you will kindly listen, I am sure you will get the signicance of it. Let us say I am greedy, envious, and I want to understand that envy completely, not merely get rid of it. Most of us want to get rid of it and try various ways of doing that, for various reasons, but we are never able to get rid of it; it goes on and on indenitely. But if I really want to understand it, go to the root of it completely, then I must not condemn it, surely. The very word envy has a condemnatory sense, I feel, so can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word? Because the very terming, giving a name to that feeling as envy, with that very word I have condemned it, have I not? With the word envy is associated the whole psychological and religious signicance of condemnation. So can I dissociate the feeling from the word? If the mind is capable of not associating the feeling with the word, then is there an entity, a me, who is observing it? Because the observer is the association, surely, is the word, is the entity who is condemning it.

 

4. Fear

ePub

Can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word?

This is rather a complex process but, if you will kindly listen, I am sure you will get the signicance of it. Let us say I am greedy, envious, and I want to understand that envy completely, not merely get rid of it. Most of us want to get rid of it and try various ways of doing that, for various reasons, but we are never able to get rid of it; it goes on and on indenitely. But if I really want to understand it, go to the root of it completely, then I must not condemn it, surely. The very word envy has a condemnatory sense, I feel, so can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word? Because the very terming, giving a name to that feeling as envy, with that very word I have condemned it, have I not? With the word envy is associated the whole psychological and religious signicance of condemnation. So can I dissociate the feeling from the word? If the mind is capable of not associating the feeling with the word, then is there an entity, a me, who is observing it? Because the observer is the association, surely, is the word, is the entity who is condemning it.

 

5. Desire

ePub

Can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word?

This is rather a complex process but, if you will kindly listen, I am sure you will get the signicance of it. Let us say I am greedy, envious, and I want to understand that envy completely, not merely get rid of it. Most of us want to get rid of it and try various ways of doing that, for various reasons, but we are never able to get rid of it; it goes on and on indenitely. But if I really want to understand it, go to the root of it completely, then I must not condemn it, surely. The very word envy has a condemnatory sense, I feel, so can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word? Because the very terming, giving a name to that feeling as envy, with that very word I have condemned it, have I not? With the word envy is associated the whole psychological and religious signicance of condemnation. So can I dissociate the feeling from the word? If the mind is capable of not associating the feeling with the word, then is there an entity, a me, who is observing it? Because the observer is the association, surely, is the word, is the entity who is condemning it.

 

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