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Karl Renz coming to Bay Area

10-01-07 - Andrew Main passes along this tip:

There's been some discussion on about various Western freelance "Advaitin" teachers and exemplars, whom many of our community of idiosyncratic Zennies have found of interest. Here's another, who will be in the Bay Area this week:

Karl Renz was born in Germany in 1953, and, after some years of rather unorthodox "seeking" (including time spent in Mexico looking for Don Juan), experienced an Awakening in the late 1970s. He travels around the world talking about, well, what can't be talked about -- and does pretty well at it, in my experience. He's visited Santa Fe each fall the last five years or so, offering evening "Self- Talks" ("the self talking to the self", as he puts it) at the home of a friend. You can read about him at his website: <> Especially here: <>

Q: "Do you have a teaching, and which one?"

Karl: "Recognize everything as a lie, specially the one who recognizes everything as a lie."

A book of his transcribed talks was produced in Germany, named "Das Buch Karl"; in 2005 an English version appeared: "The Myth of Enlightenment" . (Not Karl's title, actually; he seemed to find it rather funny.) It's pretty good, though Karl in person is better. (Karl sometimes mentions names of German philosophers like Heidegger and Wittgenstein -- household words when I was a child, as my father was a student, later teacher, of Western philosophy, though I still don't know much about them -- and he found it amusing when I characterized his book as "an antidote to German philosophy".)

Here's the introduction from the book: "The Merry-go-round".

A couple of talks by Karl can be found in Inner Directions Journal: <> <>

Karl generally spends part of January at Tiruvannamalai, the site of Ramana Maharshi's ashram and "Mecca" for the loosely-associated Advaita community. Of course Karl never met Ramana, and he has no official affiliation with the ashram; but he says he feels at home there. This website has some videos of Karl's talks in Tiruvannamalai, with samples: <>

Karl will be in the Bay Area (Mountain View, San Francisco, San Rafael) October 3-7 (see the schedule at <>). I think most anyone wth a Zen background would enjoy him. He's pretty direct and uncompromising, sometimes makes me think of Rinzai, though he really has little flavor of any tradition, as his own realization was/is sui generis. Although he can sometimes be a little rough with questioners, there's always a lot of humor, and generally everyone has a good time.

A couple of quotes:

"For being what you are, neither work nor development is required. All concepts of a 'way,' of development, and even of cognition appear with the first 'I'-thought. This first idea creates time, space, and thus the entire universe. And as long as this 'I'-thought appears to be real, which means separation (duality), there appears the desire for unity and the longing for a way out, for an end to suffering.'- Karl Renz

"The first false idea, the one of 'I,' conditions everything false which follows it. Therefore, only the absolute cognition of being prior to the 'I'-thought, and thus recognizing the false as false, removes the root of all problems. By being what you are, or rather, as you are—absolute, prior to all and nothing—all concepts are destroyed." - Karl Renz

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