“In 1959, I had the opportunity to go to the United States as a Fulbright scholar, part of an exchange program aimed at international understanding. That proved to be the beginning of a new career, a shift from education for degrees to education for living. In the US, I lectured widely on the spiritual heritage of India. Often, people would come up after the talks to ask questions, and some were eager to learn how to meditate. I have always enjoyed teaching; sharing what I love comes naturally. I studied everything I had learned from my own practice and worked on a way to present it simply, practically, and systematically. In this way I distilled from those years of effort an eight-point program for daily living based on passage meditation. …
I am still surprised to see the immense potential in this simple program. Without intending it, I had found a path that anyone can follow — a path with all the richness and depth of traditional wisdom, regardless of one’s culture or belief, together with a practical method for bringing that wisdom into daily life. By the time I was asked to teach meditation on the Berkeley campus, I had worked out a systematic presentation that, like a good professor, I could sketch on the board and fill out week by week on a semester of talks.
Out of those classes, tested further over the next ten years, came this book. …
In India, meditation is called ‘the end of sorrow’ and ‘mastery of the art of living.’ It is my deepest prayer that through this book you will find these promises fulfilled in your own life.”
~ Eknath Easwaran from Passage Meditation
This is Note #6 on Eknath Easwaran—officially making him the teacher I have profiled the most in these Notes. (We also shared his translations of The Dhammapada and the Bhagavad Gita along with Conquest of Mind, Your Life Is Your Message and Take Your Time.)
Easwaran came to the States as a Fulbright scholar in 1959—at 49 years old when he was a prominent professor of English Literature in India. He went from education “for degrees” to education “for living.”
(In fact, at UC Berkeley in the 60’s he taught what was probably the first course on meditation ever offered for credit at a major American university.)
He is a dedicated, humble guide and I love this line from his mini-bio as it’s so obviously true: “Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him enduring appeal as a teacher of deep insight and warmth.”
As you’d expect, this book (get a copy here) is packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!
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