Eckhart Tolle Diluting The Dhamma

There is a reason why Eckhart Tolle is a world renowned author. He is teaching the Buddha’s teachings, but leaving out a lot of the most important aspects which affect rebirth: Morality and Kamma.

Not many here want to consider morality because it prevents us from living a free for all, do what you please, undisciplined lifestyle. Virtually no one will awaken like Eckhart Tolle has magically. The rest of us have to do it like the Buddha did, by following moral precepts so as to put the brakes on creating bad Kamma and sit for long long hours of meditation to pierce the veil of our own deep delusion.

Adyashanti is another popular spiritual teacher teaching a pale version the Buddha’s teachings minus morality and Kamma and is massively popular. He too talks about already being enlightened, but this is not the reality. If we were already enlightened we would be completely free from all worldly/sensual desires, greed, hatred and delusion - and self interest.

The Abbot of the Buddhist monastery I stayed at in 2013, Ajahn Kevali, put it so well when I asked him. He said, yes it’s like there is a mirror and it’s perfect and reflects reality accurately and free from distortions but we have dirt on our mirror and so cannot see the reality of what we really are in the mirror or much of reality at all, it’s like looking into a wavy pond.

The truth is, not only do we have dirt on our mirror, we are trying to clean it with a sullied cloth because of lacking true virtue or Sila as the Buddha taught and we’re adding new dirt to the mirror all the time compounding our work and making it even more difficult to see clearly. It’s like we are thinking we are cleaning the mirror but are only smearing the dirt around and pushing it to different areas of the mirror and not removing it, or removing some of it, pushing the rest to the sides of the mirror, seeing something new and forgetting about the rest of the mirror - the whole mirror or the whole reality. We see something we were not aware of before and think the job is done, but there is so so much more to do, so much more to purify to truly be able to see the depths of our lives and reality.

Awakening cannot happen by hearing words from another or having a lackadaisical practice. It took the Buddha - The Awakened One - 6 years of intensive meditation to awaken. Adyashanti used to meditate 14 hours a day, but teaches that you don’t need to go that hard to awaken. The fact is that he did go that hard and he appears to have awakened.

There are 2 types of Buddhas. One has awakened but cannot teach the path to awakening truly, Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti, Mooji and others are potentially this kind of Buddha (A Paccekkha Buddha). The other type is far more rare. The 2nd type is a Samasambuddha (Someone who has awakened fully and knows and can teach the full path to awakening.

Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti and Mooji and Gangaji talk about awakening and what it feels like to be Awakened, but they do not teach the steps of how to awaken. They rarely mention the Buddha because their teaching is one that is selling books and retreats. The true Dhamma is free and is taught by the Sangha freely.

You can read the instructions for awakening at and for free and all that is left to do is to contemplate the path to Awakening and walk it (practice meditation). There is no question, if we follow the path to awakening laid out by The Awakened One our lives will “slant towards Nibbana.”


This is just something I shared on FB and I thought I’d post here, although I know I don’t need to convince anyone here about the need to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.


I totally disagree, but that’s fine by me, and hopefully you too


I thought he claimed to have stumbled on his awakening by accident: Eckhart Tolle - Wikipedia
He seems to draw on ideas from all sorts of sources, religious and otherwise, so “teaching the Buddha’s teachings” doesn’t sound like an accurate characterisation to me.

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In a similar vein, I would suggest that “dharma” should be used in connection with Mr. Tolle’s teachings, rather than “dhamma”.

I experience all of the above mentioned to address their teachings from heart to heart (direct approach), and if one hasn’t trained that aspect of the possibilities one might have available, what do one really know about them?

I have very high respect for one of the so called “miracles” in the eightfold path, and also what Lord Buddha like to mention when monks and lay people wanted to talk about fantastic stuff, and that is the “miracle of instruction”

Maybe I’m totally bonkers, but I haven’t paid anything else than my sincere concentration when listening to these individual teachers, and I found a lot of nice pieces of gold there …

And by the way, how much does one pay in dollars and cent’s for joining and maybe getting attached to organized retreats by our own Theravada organisations?
I haven’t been to one yet myself, but I have supported a quite a lot of my own funding’s to make others have a chance to participate, and will continue anyway.

And they haven’t yet drawn me away from Lord Buddha’s teachings, but removed doubt about where the safe base is located, so I always know my way back if I starting to wobble

If one doesn’t dare to challenge all of what one belive is true in one’s own mind, how can one be sure of anything before a possible “enlightenment”?

Sorry, but I actually got a bit upset about this OP - and my question to @amimettalove is: How much time and concentration did you spend before knowing what is true or false?

:bread::watermelon::carrot::baby_bottle::red_car: :anjal:

I would venture to say here that Eckhart Tolle doesn’t dilute the dhamma in the sense that he doesn’t associate with it or claim to have awakened to the buddha dhamma.

So a little like @awarewolf mentions, having his books or online teaching allows us to confront ourselves with other views and our own attachments to the dhamma or what we take to be the Buddha sasana.

For everything else, I can only say that I’m not sure, and I’m not searching for certainty.

I have somewhat given up on this :smiley: .

Nonetheless I appreciate the OP for putting the questions out here, thanks @amimettalove.Hopefully he and others including me will benefit from it, whichever way that turns out to be :anjal: .


If I have offended anyone, my apologies. I was just sharing because there was advice from an Ajahn in it, not to convince anyone.

The purpose of sharing it on FB was to hopefully show others that while theseband other teachers are helpful in ways, there is a much deeper teaching that these spring out of and is worth not overlooking, especially since much harm can be done to one’s “self” and others when living so-called free-spirited lifestyles without considering the kammic impact on one’s future birth and the feelings and lives of others.

Believing this is the only life or that consciousness evolves automatically, as many “spiritual” people do is a very pernicious view which can lead one to not adequately evaluate the consequences of one’s actions while living in “the NOW”. One can do quite a many harmful thing while being mindful. One can be aware of the body and commit adultery or other harmful actions and if one doesn’t know the potential impact upon their future life or that there even could be an impact, untold harm might be done.


I can’t find it at the moment, but once saw a webpage / story listing the richest dharma teachers. #1, by a large margin, was Mr Tolle – something on the order of net worth $15-20 million.

This, however, did come up today:

(Why does that show as just a clickable link and not show the sort of preview like the one below?)

btw: This also, quite surprising:


Very interesting post @cjmacie,

I bought one of Tolle books a long time ago and gave it away as I do for most books.

It is clear that incorporating and providing teaching at a price is not going to change earth…

… but what can we do? At least from the teaching standpoint it is not bad.

On the ethical level, it is dubious and we can’t know whether he practices what he preaches… and he surely is not making any effort to show that.

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When dwelling on views
as “supreme,”
a person makes them
the utmost thing in the world,
&, from that, calls
all others inferior
and so he’s not gone beyond disputes.
When he sees his own advantage
in what’s seen, heard, sensed,
or in habits & practices,
seizing it there
he sees all else, all others,
as inferior.

That, too, say the skilled,
is a binding knot: that
in dependence on which
you regard another
as inferior.
So a monk shouldn’t be dependent
on what’s seen, heard, or sensed,
or on habits & practices;
nor should he theorize a view in the world
in connection with knowledge
or habits & practices;
shouldn’t take himself
to be “equal”;
shouldn’t think himself
inferior or superlative.

Abandoning what he’d embraced,
not clinging,
he doesn’t make himself dependent
even in connection with knowledge;
doesn’t follow a faction
among those who are split;
doesn’t fall back
on any view whatsoever.
One who isn’t inclined
toward either side
—becoming or not-,
here or beyond—
who has no entrenchment
when considering what’s grasped among doctrines,
hasn’t the least
theorized perception
with regard to what’s seen, heard, or sensed.
By whom, with what,
should he be pigeonholed
here in the world?
—this brahman

who hasn’t adopted views.
They don’t theorize, don’t yearn,
don’t adhere even to doctrines.

A brahman not led
by habits or practices,
gone to the beyond
doesn’t fall back.

Snp 4.5

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I would associate Tolle with New-age rather than Buddhism.


Rest assured that you haven’t offended this guy, and the reason for my reaction is explained in my postings - but i will add some more to it now.

I’ve been standing under (Ajahn Sumedho) as my main teacher (and all the rest of excellent teachers in Ajahn Chah - lineage), and all other outside teachers are filtered through the result of standing under (understanding) his teaching until one rest in “stable unknowing”, - and feeling free enough to test one self by letting all other words and concepts carpet bomb Luang Por’s deep understanding and excellent capability to reflect the dhamma that has been understood here.

This has had the result that just a few days ago I could with all my heart send a direct message to Luang Por Sumedho, and it was simply:

I love you!

I know that my teacher get’s the meaning, and are therefore sure that it will give him pleasure in times when the teachers body is cracking up. My fear was that I would end up like this:

To My Teacher
An old grave hidden away at the foot of a deserted hill,
Overrun with rank weeds growing unchecked year after year;
There is no one left to tend the tomb,
And only an occasional woodcutter passes by.
Once I was his pupil, a youth with shaggy hair,
Learning deeply from him by the Narrow River.
One morning I set off on my solitary journey
And the years passed between us in silence.
Now I have returned to find him at rest here;
How can I honor his departed spirit?
I pour a dipper of pure water over his tombstone
And offer a silent prayer.
The sun suddenly disappears behind the hill
And I’m enveloped by the roar of the wind in the pines.
I try to pull myself away but cannot;
A flood of tears soaks my sleeves.

  • Ryokan

Luang Por would have scolded me if he could, if I were to disregard other teachers without given them proper respect and listened thoroughly, and as far as I have understood the whole teachings of Lord Buddha, is it not right view to judge one thing up against another thing, because that is destructive and destroys both things. One is to leave the world as it is, fall totally in love with it all, and by that eradicate hate and greed in oneself.

So I have done my job/duty and let every word and consepts being filtered through the truth of dhamma, and the dhamme shines brighter now, because it has been polished in my heart.

Disregard for “the Teacher” is not dhamma

When it comes to what different monks say and mean, is off course all right by me, because the robe is empty. But I will still bow down in respect for anybody wearing it, and do my best to take care equally regardless of how useless their teachings are to me personally

There was a young western monk responding quite "hysterically" when I mentioned another lay teacher and that I had a book he could seep through when we drove ca 500 kilometers so he could rest safely in a monastery (Thai monastery, btw)).

The teacher has his very original take on much of the same consepts, and is really both fun and wise enough (for me at least), to that degree that I had direct insight into sunjata in a flash, and this brought me forward significantly.

The monk looked at me with some panic in his eyes and said:

I’m not allowed to seek enlightenment outside the lineage …

That is also not dhamma enough for me, but i kept my mouth shut and concentrated to bring him to safety so he would not get hurt by dangerous teaching from “outside”

Lord Buddha said something like “everything can be your teacher”, or am I totally wrong (I don’t try to remember anything special), and trust in mindfulness and a vibrant and functional citta in a head that is comparable to a Hermit’s address book, you see …:slight_smile:

Be bright!

How much/what kind of effort have you laid down in penetrating the teaching, before concluding or as I understand the word “new age” in Eckhart Tolle

I have listened a lot, so i willing to have a nice talk about our different understandings!?

This is what happens when the “dhamma”/“dharma” is sensitive to market forces (teachings aren’t truly free). Things that aren’t palatable get to the paying audience get downplayed.

Everything belongs, never mind what one calls it

Does he? Did he ever claim to teach buddhism?
I read / listened to some of his stuff long time ago, and as far as I remember, he was teaching about his own experience / insights.

So you are basically criticizing someone who does not claim to be buddhist, for being not buddhist enough, are you? :wink:


Also, I should note, the intention is and was not to criticize Eckhart Tolle. His teachings helped me a lot years ago. The point was to help others (not any of you here) discover a deeper teaching, namely the Buddha’s teachings which have the full picture instead of only a few pieces of the puzzle.

You served it out on something rather “darkish” called facebook …

Eckharte Tolle talks of mindfulness and the present moment, but crucially doesn’t say he isn’t talking about Buddha’s dhamma AFAIK. His approach leaves the listener able to project any or all of his or her spiritual imaginings on to it, hence, perhaps, all the money. I am reminded of the Kalama sutta AN3.65 again. Here’s my own personal interpretation of it (I tried to tease out non-overlapping categories):

Come, Kālāmas, do not go by,

  1. an accurate method of transmission [written down, etc.]
  2. the teachings of a certain sect, or school [Mahayana, etc…]
  3. by a witness statement [‘I was there when this miracle happened’]
  4. a certain philosophy or teaching [Buddhism, Hinduism…]
  5. by logic, [I can’t remember a past life so there is no rebirth]
  6. by a theory or principle [there is no kamma so I can do any negative act]
  7. by crude thinking [I can drop a bomb and then win]
  8. a persuasive argument from someone [charismatic, evangelical, spiritual sounding speeches]
  9. by listening to an expert on the subject [celebrity/wear a certain dress/abhidhammika etc]
  10. respect for your teacher [my teacher said it and I believe it unquestioningly: ‘jump off a cliff, throw poison gas in a subway’]

We must develop the skill of subjecting someone’s teaching to the kalama sutta, or at the very least see if it falls in line with dhamma-vinaya. :slight_smile:

I might add -by untestable future rewards (blowing up people for heaven), -by unethical rewards in this life (wealth at the expense of others).

with metta

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