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Krishnamurti on Meditation

In our last entry we took a critical look at meditation techniques and methods. Now, let's hear from those who advocate that meditation be free of such systemization. Perhaps the two most eloquent voices on this subject are J. Krishnamurti and Toni Packer. We'll first take a look at Krishnamurti.

Jiddu Krishnamurti was born in India in 1895. He was schooled in India and Britain, and moved to the United States in the 1920s, where he remained based until his death in 1986. As a child he had been groomed by a quasi-religious organization, the Theosophical Society, to carry the mantle as their prophesied "World Teacher." In 1929, he rejected the annointed position, disbanded the organization that had been prepared for him, and famously declared that "Truth is a pathless land." For the next sixty years, he traveled internationally giving thousands of talks on the problems of living from the perspective of a meditative mind. Krishnamurti was adamantly independent of any organization, critical of traditional approaches to meditation, and encouraged listeners to learn by observing their own lives. He published numerous books, and regularly engaged in dialogue with artists, scientists, philosophers, religious figures, and politicians. While he achieved a certain amount of recognition in his lifetime, he remains greatly under-appreciated. Krishnamurti's books are widely available and highly recommended.

Here's a passage in which he discusses meditation in relation to meditation techniques:

There are various schools, in India and further East, where they teach methods of meditation — it is really most appalling. It means training the mind mechanically; it therefore ceases to be free and does not understand the problem.

So when we use the word "meditation" we do not mean something that is practiced. We have no method. Meditation means awareness: to be aware of what you are doing, what you are thinking, what you are feeling, aware without any choice, to observe, to learn. Meditation is to be aware of one's conditioning, how one is conditioned by the society in which one lives, in which one has been brought up, by the religious propaganda — aware without any choice, without distortion, without wishing it were different. Out of this awareness comes attention, the capacity to be completely attentive. Then there is freedom to see things as they actually are, without distortion. The mind becomes unconfused, clear, sensitive. Such meditation brings about a quality of mind that is completely silent — of which quality one can go on talking, but it will have no meaning unless it exists.

[Meditations, p.80.]


Krishnamurti's books at

Krishnamurti Foundation Trust

Krishnamurti Foundation of America

Krishnamurti Foundation of India

The Teachings of J. Krishnamurti

Krishnamurti Information Network

The Link — a quarterly publication discussing Krishnamurti's work

Oak Grove School — K-12 school in the U.S. founded by Krishnamurti

Brockwood Park School — school in the UK founded by Krishnamurti

Wikipedia Encyclopedia entry on Krishnamurti


Krishnamurti on meditation techniques

Krishnamurti on stillness

March 4, 2005 | Meditation | Permalink


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