New member introduction Dennis Koenig

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Jul 26 00:17:33 CDT 2000

        I reside in Rochester, New York, USA, where Ann (my wife) and I are
students at the School of Philosophy run by the Foundation for Philosophic
Studies (founded by Mr. Cedric Grigg), a branch that evolved from the
similar Boston school, which grew out of the School of Economic Science in
London, UK.  The school professes to draw primarily from Advaita Vedanta in
its overall philosophy, frequently quoting Shantanand Saraswati (and highly
recommending his book, Good Company), though it makes frequent reference to
Western philosophers as well.  In our first twenty weeks with the school (a
few hours per week), we have been introduced to some reportedly Vedantic
concepts and terminology, and rudiments of how to apply them ... tamas,
rajas, sattwa, guna balance, buddhi as the faculty of reason, recognition of
the "Light of Consciousness" (the Absolute) as our true nature, recognition
of "knowledge, consciousness and bliss" as the principles within us,
becoming aware of our thoughts, habits, and conditioning, noticing our role
in relation to the temporal passing flow of events, discriminating between
the transient and the eternal, choosing "recourse to consciousness" versus
"recourse to habit," noticing the motivations of desire and aversion,
meeting the need of the moment with measure, selfless compassionate service,
practicing a brief exercise for a few minutes twice each day to give
attention to the present moment and the experience of our five senses in the
moment, and practicing pausing momentarily between activities (both of these
intended to draw increase of Sattwa), etc.  We are encouraged to be
experimental in our approach, to think things through for ourselves, to
neither accept nor reject anything, but rather observe, practice and
consider.  Future classes will introduce a deeper meditation practice.  The
name of the course is "Practical Philosophy."

        My direct personal experience with Vedantic studies outside the school
includes a brief independent look into the Bhagavad Gita, at that time from
the perspective of one interested in the Eastern sources of inspiration to
the observations and conclusions made by Ernest Holmes (founder of Religious
Science/Science of Mind) and in Aldous Huxley's book, The Perennial
Philosophy.  My wife and I are not committed adherents of any one religion
right now.  We recently left the Religious Science church after four years
of participation there.  Lately Huxley's PP has been somewhat of a "bible"
to me, in that I find it deserving of very careful attention.  Ann is an
ardent admirer of the work of Ken Wilber.  I am also influenced
significantly by the Buddhist teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and Surya Das.
In the distant past I invested heavily in the practice of Christianity,
beginning around the age of 19.  My family of origin did not practice any
religion, but I was influenced by stories of the experiences of my
Grandfather in his study and practice of yoga, Christian Science, and
chiropractic (with a general interest in the mind-body relationship).  Ann
was raised Catholic, but has not practiced that for decades, since
adolescence.  We have been initiated in the practice of Transcendental
Meditation, as well as other meditative techniques, but have not been
practicing any of them consistently.  I am very interested in ITP - Integral
Transformative Practice - as taught in the book The Life We Are Given,
written by Michael Murphy and George Leonard (1996).  In general, I suppose
we are just looking for the same thing everyone wants, contentment with what
and who we are.

        I am 43 years old; Ann is 53.  I work as a computer analyst in a law firm
and she is an administrative specialist in a law library.

        (By the way ... Recently I began putting together an experimental
members-only web site where friends and family share in their considerations
of the practical implications of perennial philosophies.  It is just getting
started, only a few weeks old.  Anyone here interested is invited to join
... upon applying for membership just say that Dennis invited you from the
Advaita Vedanta mailing list.  See  It would be wonderful to
have more fellow students and teachers of Advaita join us.  Two of our
tutors and some students from our School are members now, along with other
friends and family.  So far there are 14 members.)

        Well, I suppose that is MORE than enough of an introduction, and somewhat
of an explanation of our interest in advaita vedanta.

        Thank you all for this mailing list and the replies given to my question
about the advaita perspective on gender roles, etc.  I am less than a novice
in Advaita Vedanta.  Your kind consideration is very helpful.

Dennis Koenig
denniskoenig at

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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