In reality, there are 'not two things' - this is the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word 'Advaita', the eastern philosophy of the Self and reality. This book is the story of Advaita, an elucidation of that philosophy; this is the Book of One.
A 21st Century treatment of the ancient eastern philosophy of Advaita, this book addresses all of the issues that are covered by both traditional teachers from the lineage of Shankara and by modern Direct Path methods stemming from Ramana Maharshi and Krishnamenon. Topics are explained in an accessible and readable manner, using amusing quotations and stories along with an abundance of metaphors from a wide variety of sources. Some of the most difficult concepts are clarified, whilst recognising that this knowledge is ultimately beyond language or intellectual understanding.
The Book of One [Second Edition]
O Books (April, 2010)
Buy Amazon.US, Amazon.UK or Infibeam, India
The Book of One [First Edition]
Second printing May 2004. You can read extracts
from this book by clicking on the links at the
bottom of this page.
Endorsements received to date:
"Dennis Waite has written a masterful and profoundly insightful survey of the Advaita Vedanta Teaching and the Contemporary Scene. This book will greatly contribute to a deeper understanding of this important movement, sweeping the West, and which eventually leads to Self Realisation." - Alan Jacobs Chairman , Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK
"There are many places to find advaita teachings - in ancient texts, modern books, in satsang, and on the Internet. Dennis Waite has found them all. He writes as a friendly tour guide, presenting the teachings with simplicity, humor and deep understanding. The appendices alone are worth the price of admission, and contain a wealth of reference material available nowhere else." - Dr. Gregory Goode, PhD (Philosophy), Self-realised teacher of Advaita in New York.
"A refreshing approach to Advaita from a Western point of view. a personal, structured approach to a very difficult topic." Jay Lakhani, Vivekananda Centre London
"'The Book of One' is a sweeping, fresh overview of consciousness subjects shaping the path of Advaita Vedanta. Topics are handled with confidence, and their most non-dual depths are struck effortlessly. Waite offers Advaita as a resolver of the problems of life and death. The book is practical, grounded in scripture, and respectful of the reader's inclination - whether active, meditative, intellectual or devotional - and his level of familiarity. It is directed toward beginning seekers, researchers, students of philosophy or religion, those who are already familiar with Advaita and those already Self-realized who enjoy keeping up with what's being written. If you take yellow brick roads that wind through Internet fields, this book will be particularly valuable and interesting.
"Unique about this book is the confident and graceful manner in which the author integrates and moves between Western, Eastern, and, if you will, Cyber influences. It is clear that Waite himself is intimate with the terrain of the Himalayas of Cyberspace, the paths, people, and places. This book has the fluidity of the World Wide Web. He creates a swirl in which the ancient familiarity felt with sages such as Ramana or Nisargadatta, is transferred to Kant, Schopenhauer, Berkeley and Plato. This role of the internet and Western thought upon Waite's work is related to his intellectual and spiritual relationship with Dr. Gregory Goode, who is a teacher in New York, scholar in Western philosophy, and pioneer/participant in Non-duality on the internet.
"'The Book of One' is framed by an exceptional Table of Contents and Appendices/Index. The TOC itself serves as an excellent introduction to the book and shows how carefully the author constructed this work. As well, there are numerous pages of recommended Websites." Jerry Katz, owner of the first and largest non-dual E-list on the Internet.
"'The Book of One' takes the reader step by step on an intellectual inquiry of the truth of oneself. It provides a critical examination of the meaning and purpose of ones life. This is one book that needs to be studied again and again. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed studying this intellectually stimulating book." Dr. Kuntimaddi Sadananda, disciple of Swami Chinmayananda and a principal teacher at the Washington Chinmaya Mission.
"An excellent understanding with many good analogies of a tricky subject to write about. Dennis invites the reader through careful examination to see through our usual sense of ourselves to what is real." Isaac Shapiro, Self-realised teacher, author of 'Outbreak of Peace' and 'It Happens By Itself'.
"It is an impressive piece of work and the style is clear and has humour woven into it. It gives loads of information without feeling heavy." Leo Hartong, Self-realised author of 'Awakening to the Dream'.
"I am very much enjoying your exquisite and erudite book on Advaita. I have been savoring the thorough and razor sharp insights! A bow of gratitude for your love of truth." Pamela Wilson, Self-realised teacher of Advaita.
The Book of One is a masterful, comprehensive and pragmatic guide to
non-duality. Dennis writes in an intimate manner, which makes it a joy to
read. I especially enjoyed his skilful use of parables and metaphors. His
accurate study is well documented and referenced, with excellent appendices,
which serve as a fine resource for readers. I highly recommend The Book of
One to those who are open to the Unknown.
Katie Davis Self-realised author of ‘Awake Living Joy: The Essence of Spiritual Enlightenment’.
Congratulations on your book: 'The Book Of One' which is an interesting and erudite overview of the whole subject of Advaita.
Roy Whenary (Author of ‘The Texture of Being’).
Dennis Waite is Advaita, “not two.” First and foremost, Dennis is an extremely talented writer, who is clearly devoted to his subject – the Truth of Being and its realization. If, up until now, you have missed the profound meaning and import of this cornerstone of Eastern Philosophy, The Book Of One will serve as your One needed teaching and reference guide. Dennis literally brings together a world of existing wisdom in this incisive and eloquently crafted writing, that offers every reader the supreme opportunity of an authentic life.
Sundance Burke (Self-realised author of ‘Simply Being Free: The Radiant Wisdom of the Heart’).
His book is the most masterful and all-inclusive source that I have found to date for those studying Non-Duality.
Floyd Henderson (Author of numerous books on self-help and non-duality).
A common element of Western society in recent times has been the tendency to adopt trends, and in order for these trends to become accessible for a culture dominated by materialism and rampant distractions, the direction has usually been toward the superficial, that is, presenting these trends in an increasingly superficial light. This applies in most areas and certainly in the field of spiritual teachings. Zen Buddhism made inroads in the West in the mid-20 th century, and was popular in the 60s and 70s, much as Tibetan Buddhism became in the 80s and 90s. But in both cases the tendency to reduce these teachings into very simple elements has been a double-edged sword. The problem with simplifying is that a failure to understand the philosophic basis of the teachings easily happens, resulting in a “feel-good” mysticism that conveniently glosses over the one quality essential for bona fide spiritual deepening— commitment. Without being committed to awakening, without prioritizing it in one’s life, there is little hope in realizing it.
In more recent decades Advaita Vedanta has joined Zen and Tibetan Buddhism in the Western market place, and the field is now busy with many teachers of Advaita and books on Advaita. Many of these are good but few -- almost none of those written in a popular manner for Westerners—has bothered to delve deeply and fully into the philosophic foundation of Advaita. Dennis Waite’s book “The Book of One” does exactly this. In covering the teachings in such an exhaustive fashion he prevents a superficial view of non-dualism from seeping in. In contrasting Advaita with some of the teachings of the Western philosophic tradition, Dennis also helps us to avoid simply “reinventing the wheel” by illustrating the universal nature of intelligence and how, ultimately, there are no original thoughts anywhere, precisely because the individual is an illusion, which is itself the very core of non-dualism anyway.
I recommend “The Book Of One” for all serious students of the great tradition of Nondual spirituality, as an essential roadmap into the infinite realm of Consciousness, and the realization of our identity as that.
Philip T. Mistlberger (author 'A Natural Awakening: Realizing the Self in Everyday Life').
There are many books on the market that focus on the theme of advaita (nonduality). However, what separates Waite's book from the others is his meticulous and yet practical approach to its theory and practice. Many modern schools of advaita advocate the `nothing to do, nowhere to go' approach - this is fine in itself but can be greatly misunderstood to be a form of hedonistic fatalism. Whilst acknowledging that, ultimately, the ego is a non entity, Waite offers useful techniques and delineated steps along the path to freedom. Written in an elegant and accessible style, 'The Book of One' is, in my opinion, the standard `text book' for modern-day advaita. Highly recommended.
Paula Marvelly (author ‘The Teachers of One’ and ‘Women of Wisdom’)
I would like to thank you very much for the 'Book of One'. I stumbled upon it at some point after 'the jungle', and coming from nothing with no background in all this, it was actually extremely helpful in supplying concepts with which to parse what came unasked. I particularly liked the discussion of the difference between reality and appearance in terms of sublation - helping to fill in the questions to the answer as it were. Your writing is sound and good, finding a way through the chaos of teachings and hand-me-downs.
David Carse (author of 'Perfect Brilliant Stillness')
Advaita Vedanta has been examined and explained by numerous sages and philosophers over the past three thousand years; and each writer on this theme does so with his own style and signature. Dennis Waite has written "The Book of One" in an admirably reasoned and contemporary style, producing one of the most cogent and methodical expositions of Advaita Vedanta yet written.
Understanding and Self-realization are not the same. However, there is an indelible link between the two. Intellectual understanding opens wide the consciousness of a new and wondrous perspective, and sets the stage for direct apperception, for clarity of awareness, for re-cognition of eternal Truth. It is understanding which awakens the subtler faculties of awe and intuitive knowing. As Mr. Waite points out, hearing or reading the words of the enlightened is essential for an awakening of consciousness, and Mr. Waite's "The Book of One" is carefully crafted to provide one of the most excellent sources of understanding available. I highly recommend it to the contemporary student requiring a thorough introductory guide to the philosophy of Advaita (Non-Dualistic) Vedanta.
Postscript: I am struck by both the similarities and the dissimilarities of this book with my own book on the same subject (The Wisdom of Vedanta, first published in 1991 and to be re-released by O Books in July, 2006). The similarities appear in our common understanding of the basic principles of Vedanta, and the dissimilarities appear in our temperaments: his being predominantly that of a jnani (or knower); and mine being predominantly that of a bhakta (or lover). In nearly all of my writings, I have discussed the fact that, while it is necessary to develop both sides of one's nature, everyone is predisposed to a predominant temperamental inclination toward one approach to Reality or the other; either jnan or bhakti. One of the best examples of this difference in temperaments is found in Sri Ramakrishna (a bhakta) and his esteemed disciple, Swami Vivekananda (who was a jnani). One may cite also as exemplars of this temperamental opposition Paramahamsa Yogananada (a bhakta) and Sri Ramana Maharshi (a jnani).
Mr. Waite acknowledges these two "paths" as dependent on temperament, but seems to relegate the bhakti "path" to a position inferior to his own "path" of jnan, and gives it very short shrift. From my observations, it is usually the bhakta who acknowledges both "paths" as valid, and the jnanis who maintain their own path as superior. I suppose that is only to be expected. Whether love or knowledge is viewed as superior, again, seems to be linked to one's own temperamental preference, neither having that status in any absolute sense. My thought is that, in the most perfect circumstance, the two blend together to form a sweet but unnamable state of being.
(Author of History of
Mysticism, The Supreme Self, The Wisdom of
See also the review from 'The Mountain Path', by Alan Jacobs. This is incorporated with the essay comparing the approaches of Traditional and Western Neo-Advaita.
Comments from Readers:
"I am enjoying your book and am in admiration of its breadth, depth and clarity. But also am pleased that you have managed to make it an accessible, 'friendly' and down-to-earth approach to this subject. It gets the point across that Advaita is not 'special' or 'elitist', it's just the plain and simple truth of reality. I made some notes as I was reading, to remind me of the various aspects I particularly liked, but I've lost them! So, I'll just mention a couple ; it is especially useful to have all the web references and also the appendix. There are several quotes which I especially like. I love the story of Ramana's analogy of looking in the mirror to see if you need a shave, then looking in the next mirror and the next..........and the fact that the mirror can't shave you."
Pauline Mills, UK.
"I received last Wednesday from Amazon.com "The Book of One: The Spiritual Path of Advaita" authored by our Dennisji. I am still reading it with the ardour of a high school student.
"Dennisji has done a wonderful job in covering the entire gamut of advaita all the way from its Vedic roots to the masters of the new age. The effort is commendable both for its contents and the way they have been organized in a very systematic manner.
"The paperback has eighteen chapters, perhaps an intentional or unintentional take on the Bhagwad GitA, and makes very delicious reading for an aspiring palate. No wonder therefore that veterans like Sadaji, Gregji and others are all praise for the book.
"Dennisji, as we all by now know, is a systematic researcher. The pains he has taken to collect, organize and elaborate information is obvious from beginning to end.
"As the veterans have eloquently noted, it is a precious reference book too for all advaitins. We all know that Dennisji maintains a well-organized, very helpful website. This book brilliantly supplements his web efforts as, I have no doubt, it is going to be a precious asset to libraries of philosophy the world over.
"I thank and congratulate Dennisji for the great work and his ardent love for advaita. He has done a great service to us all."
Madathil Nair, Kuwait
"I read it a few months ago after getting a copy from your publisher.
It is one of the greatest books I’ve read. I did come up with a few
questions after reading it (mostly dealing with how Advaita deals with
ethics or ‘right’ behavior), so I might pose them to you (or to one of
the reference points that you give in the book) at a later time after I
re-read the book. I plan to give a few copies to (good) friends too.
Thank you for such a great book!"
Geoffrey Faustman, New York
"I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the immense contributions you are making with your website and with the book. I heartily encourage everyone who attends our weekly meetings to purchase and read your book."
Tom Davidson-Marx, Aloha Satsang, Hawaii
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, The Book Of One, the Spiritual Path of Advaita. It will serve as a good introduction to Advaita, as a viable spiritual path to any one not raised in the Hindu religious and cultural traditions either in India or outside it. I like specially, the chapter "The Direct Path ", which includes the sayings of current/contemporary Self realised people.
"It is this fact, that makes Advaita still a goal to seek purposefully with confidence in its
attainability. I see and appreciate your effort to demystify the classical traditions that have somehow gained a very austere and imposing aura as something attainable to only those mortals who are somehow more than "mere mortals", even while keeping the essence intact."
"I extend my heartfelt thanks for your comprehensive and most excellent book, “The Book of One” on Advaita! I consider it to be a resource manual written in a scope that is usually only seen in books intended for college courses. It is truly excellent and I’ve been recommending it to everyone that has any interest in Advaita.
"P.S. By the way, thanks SO MUCH for explaining in your book how to correctly pronounce all those Sanskrit words!"
Julie K. Walton
"I have bought several copies to give to various friends who ask me about Advaita, as it is one of the best explanations in words that I have come across, apart from the scriptures themselves, which my friends don't seem keen to approach to begin with!"
"I discovered this amazing book only a few weeks ago and have been happily enthralled by its clear and timely wisdom. For the nondualist contemplative seeker, the lover of Advaita Oneness, I know of no other book as valuable and important as this one. From cover to cover its all here: the insights, the systems, the sages, the books, the internet sites; this book is richly comprehensive yet notably succinct. Dennis Waite has given us here a rare jewel of Ultimate Wisdom. If you are a lover of Advaita, of ultimate Truth, you are sure to love and enjoy this volume very much. From the teachings of the most ancient teachers to the modern sages among us today, this volume makes Truth accessible to anyone willing to pick up the book and read and See."
Orva T. Schrock
"Just wanted to drop you a note and say how grateful I am for your site and especially your book, which I just recieved last week from amazon.com. I must say, in between the words, there is a rather direct "transmission" happening that's as precise, profound and pervasive as anything I've ever read. Thanks"
Carmel Valley, CA
"Gday Dennis...I've just finished your title The Book of One and found it a fantastic read."
"Yours was a wonderful book. Truly wonderful. As someone who spends all of his time getting comfortable with the intellectual underpinnings and explanations of the landscape before I make any sort of dive -- I found your book unparalleled in its exposition and clarity."
William C. Archibald
"Thanks for your consideration, for a great website and one of the best books ever on advaita and nonduality."
I have been dipping into Dennis' "The Book of One" - it is wonderful stuff. A great reference for finding out about these Sanskrit terms that are banded about in Advaita circles and it draws lots of threads together and explains them in simple, easily digestible terms.
I just read this book recently after a long and torturous 40 year search for the "truth." It is like I have dogged Dennis' every step to finally arrive, in my understanding, at what he so simply expresses in this charming book. His list of references looks like the line up in my bookcase. As I read the book I witnessed myself sighing a series of quiet "yeap, yeap,..., yeaps." I was neither elated nor frightened by what I read, rather I was overtaken with an attitude of resigned recognition of the undeniable and blindingly obvious - like it or not, how else could it possibly be? I wondered what I would have felt if this were to have been the first book that I had read on this subject. I can't say for sure but my guess would probably have been either total dismissal or recoiling fear - in both cases my ego would have been running for its life. I think this because about 20 years ago I had both reactions when I first started to understand the real implications of realisation or enlightenment - no ego, no future, no past - no me! So what can I say to you about it? I don't really know, but if this is the first or the last book that you read on your search, what I can say is that you will, sooner or later, if you are serious, be forced to sigh in total resignation. As you go around and around the block you will have no choice but to finally admit that you will have to leave the block to parts unknown to ever have a hope of satisfying your insatiable thirst, and it will be the very last thing that you would have expected or hoped for but there it is - neatly and clearly summarised in Dennis' book. Do yourself a favour and just read it all the way through even if you then drop it and turn away from it for the next twenty years, you will be back one day and you will be glad.
Excellent Introduction to Advaita Philosophy. If you want a solid introduction to non-dual philosophy, then this book is for you. Unlike many books on Eastern philosophy that take for granted that the reader is already familiar with the terms and concepts, this book gives definitions of Sanskrit words and clear explanations of the key concepts...
Non-dual philosophy can be a difficult subject, but Mr. Waite does a good job of laying down all of the basics involved, as well as a few advanced ideas. There are many enjoyable quotes taken from various figures placed throughout the book. Mr. Waite references many of the past masters, such as Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Osho, and more. This book probably won't give you the same deep feelings as a book by someone such as Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta would, but it is a very good place to get started learning all of the concepts and ideas of Advaita philosophy and I would recommend it to anyone serious about learning non-dual philosophy.
One great book. Whether you are a follower of Advaita,as I am, a novice or just
interested in learning about world religions this book has something to
offer. Very ease to read and understand.
David P. Seibert
I discovered and read your book "The Book Of One" while on a seminar in the USA in 2003 and I found it as the simplest, yet most comprehensive book on the philosophy.
I have just completed reading THE BOOK OF ONE, and it was extremely helpful to my understanding of Advaita. The clarity of your writing style is just what is needed for this sometimes difficult subject. I marked many passages which I know I will reread many times. It is an excellent resource for both the beginner and the advanced student.
I just finished your book "The Book of One" and absolutely loved it! Thank you so much for such a magnificent piece of work! I
have been studying Advaita, etc. over and over again for about 10 years now and your book is by far the most well written explanation under the sun (I have read nearly everything!). Too bad I didn't discover it earlier and feel very grateful that at least I discovered it now. Unfortunately, I have no one to talk to about this stuff where I am from so a book like yours is priceless.
I have started to study THE BOOK OF ONE. I am highly impressed by your work! Thank you! This book would undoubtedly become a best seller were it not for entrenched beliefs in western society.
Rev. Ron Bell
Third reading - satasang every time! This book points the way to nonduality in a no nonsense manner without being overly poetic, manneristic or obscure and without being overly factual. Plenty of information and lots of pointers for stream enterers and the practiced alike. I think of this book as an important and contemporary guide to the evolution of consciousnes. I'll probably pick through it a fourth time and then end up reading it all again.
An Excellent Manual for Students of the One: Dennis Waite's `The Book of the One' must surely have been a labour of love. As an author myself, I cannot image how long it must have taken him to compile such an extensive summary of the essential teachings of Advaita Vedanta and write in such an accessible style.
The publishers, O Books, seem to be setting a standard with such works, where philosophy is not merely left to the realms of high intellectual thought, but brought home by making the primarily mystical insights of Vedanta relevant to our postmodern world, as well being pragmatic, with crucial chapters on meditation and other spiritual exercises.
This book remains one of my key references on the subject. Any student of non-dualistic wisdom will surely find `The Book of the One' indispensable, as it covers numerous core areas of philosophy and spirituality, such as facing our fears, the subject of death, what consciousness is, the limitations of the intellect and ultimate questions about Reality.
Mr. S. Wollaston "Santoshan"
Dennis Waite's The Book of One is an invaluable find and I would highly recommend it to everyone who is looking for a comprehensive yet very accessible approach to Advaita. Every page is alive with insight, encouragement and inspiration, which is what I want when the 'road winds uphill', as it frequently appears to do. I don't care for writing book reviews, I'm a reader not a writer, but I feel privileged to make a rare exception for the The Book of One. Thank you, Dennis Waite.
The Book of One is a clear and
beautiful book. It takes lots of attention
to reed, which is also the main point of the
book. To be in the present with a clear mind
and do everything according to your best intentions.
But beyond that it gives a a unique look on who and what we are.
With clear examples. Of-course more questions arise but through
the book it inspires you to look on more information about advaita.
S. P. Nagtzaam
Dennis Waite draws his resource information
from an extremely wide base of most, if not
all of the giants of the Advaita philosophy.
He really shows his humility by not including
himself in that very honored group. The book
really covers all the bases, and is organized
in a very orderly and logical arrangement.
The principled, and sensible way he approaches
the teachings reminds me of the writings of
A brilliantly written book, which introduces all the key concepts of Advaita from a traditional Indian perspective. But Dennis is open enough to present all the teaching styles of Advaita teachers in his book - this makes for a great overview. However, the latter half of the book may be a tough read for an absolute beginner in Advaita. It does help if you have a little basic understanding of Hindu concepts. If not, perhaps try Dennis' How To Meet Yourself introductory book.
The book is in three sections:
Part 1 considers the unreality of what we currently believe to be the nature of ourselves, our behaviour and the world. It looks at those factors that motivate us, such as happiness and fear, the means by which we acquire knowledge and at our actions and their consequences.
Part 2 looks at the traditional spiritual paths that are available, together with their pre-requisites, to enable us to move from this position of ignorance to realisation of the truth. Bhakti, karma and jnana yoga are covered, the value of religions examined and the theory and practice of meditation is explained. Other helpful practices, such as the use of attention and keeping good company are addressed, together with the place of the guru in these endeavours.
Part 3 considers the Reality that will be found once the goal of the Seeker is attained. The reasons for our mistaken views of the world are explained, using the Advaitic theories of maya and adhyasa. The ideas of Kant and Schopenhauer are used to show how we can never know reality in an objective sense. There is a detailed examination of the notions of cause and effect and the ideas of free-will and destiny. Other topics considered are the nature of time and Consciousness, death and reincarnation. The nature of the Self is addressed, together with an explanation of what exactly it means to become 'enlightened'. Finally, the Direct Path teachings are considered, being not the 'instant enlightenment' that some modern teachers would have us believe but the true 'end of knowledge' for those who have suitably prepared themselves using more traditional methods.
Knowledge of Sanskrit is not required, though terminology and pronunciation is fully explained so that other texts may be read and understood subsequently. There is a comprehensive Appendix referencing Organisations that teach Advaita, identifying resources on the Internet and providing a recommended reading list.
See List of Contents. A number of extracts may also be read below. The book is now available in the UK/US and in a German translation.
You can order the second edition of Book of One from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, direct from the publisher, O-Books or from your local bookstore: ISBN 1 903816 41 6
The German version of the book, 'Was ist Advaita' is also available.