Is it adequate, is it helpful, to refer to Krishnamurti’s teachings as ‘stories’?

One can of course speak in a loose way about any verbalisation being a story. This is one approach. It is very popular in the present day, because it implies complete relativism. You do your thing, and I do mine.

However, in general stories are ways of thinking which are felt to not have any immediate underlying actuality. A story of the universe is not the actual universe. A story about love is not the same thing as actually being in a state of love.

So, if we take some of Krishnamurti’s teachings:

Thought is limited. Thought is fragmented.

Because thought is limited and fragmented it cannot grasp the whole, it cannot perceive truth. Moreover, because thought is limited and fragmented it creates division in the world, as well as within ourselves.

Consciousness is its content. The content of consciousness is put together by thought. This content is shared by all human beings. Therefore we are the world. One’s consciousness is the consciousness of all humanity.

The first step is the last step. There must be freedom to observe. Observation means to see - to see without images, to see without the word - to be aware, without choice, without judgement. To observe without the ‘observer’ (who is memory).

The observer is the observed. That is, I am not different from my greed, my anger, my envy, my loneliness, my suffering. Therefore I am greed, anger, loneliness, etc. The complete perception of this fact the fact of ‘what is’ - is the ending of the fact.

The ending of sorrow is the passion of compassion. Compassion is the highest form of intelligence.

Death is the total ending of attachment. And can one live with death, so that living and dying go together?

Meditation is not something which can be practiced or achieved or ordered according to a method or system. It is not a conscious process. Meditation is the emptying of the contents of consciousness.

Are these stories with no immediate underlying actuality? They can be of course, just as any verbalisation can be a theory or story with no immediate underlying actuality.

Or are K’s teachings verbal pointers to actual facts which require or imply direct discovery for ourselves?

One can reduce Krishnamurti’s teachings to the level of theory and story, as has happened (unfortunately) to the teachings of the Buddha, etc. But is it adequate, is it helpful, to describe them as theories and stories?

Or does using such language betray a want of seriousness in discovering for oneself the things that Krishnamurti spent his life pointing to?

K says:,“The word is never the thing . The word wife is never the person; the word door is not the door. The word prevents the actual perception of the thing or person because the word has many associations.“

This means that “the what is” cannot be found in words, no matter how eloquently one can “describe” it.

Words do play a role…? Or what’s going on …? Can a word be empty of the past ?

Most of the time words stir up the mind.
In rare cases they silence the mind.
I do acknowledge that these 2 statements are not accurate, but they point to the state of the mind.

More accurate statements:

  • Ultimately the state of the mind which hears the words is that which is important, and not the words. No matter how turbulent the word is to others, it can not disturb a quiet mind. And I am not saying that a quiet mind can’t act, on the contrary.

Words carry stories.
Take one single word and it can invoke infinite number of stories. And, to be more accurate, the mind creates the story and not the word.
In a dialogue one relies so much on words as being the source of one’s state of mind. I think the state of mind is that which establishes the role of the word. The word can be empty of the past or full of the past depending on the state of the mind.

Unfortunately the word as we hear it is full of the past, which means the state of mind is not quiet.

You are saying - aren’t you Crina? - that the state of the mind which listens to the words of another is at least as important as the words themselves. And that the word is not the thing.

I agree with both these things.

But does this mean that there is no difference between listening to a story, a theory, an idea; and listening to someone who is attempting to communicate the truth of a thing?

Are the two the same?

Maybe they are, I don’t know. Listening is listening after all.

But for me there is a difference.

For me, calling something a story (or a theory) is a way of relativising it, dismissing its truth value, ignoring it. It is actually a way of not listening to it with complete openness.

A story is ultimately something not real, so I do not have to take it seriously. But if someone is telling me something true, then it is important that I listen to it fully, with complete attention.

Do you see the difference?

Yes. Language and story have their own power. We are not disputing this fact.

But my question is, when people say that Krishnamurti’s teachings are a story among other stories, is this framing of what he talked about helpful, adequate?

When someone says that there’s a fire :fire:, an actual danger :warning:, do we sit back and call it a story?

Or do we pay attention and listen as though our lives depended on it?

Not if we have relegated all sense of individual agency to awareness, the silent mind. All threat is rendered impotent by awareness, apparently. K’s “I don’t mind what happens”, or I have never controlled anything in my life". But we are not K, are we? Do we have any clue what a silent mind is? Apparently some do.

Are those of us who cannot make such a claim to be dismissed and charged with being intellectual, lost in words because our minds are not silent? Because we wish to understand for ourselves, to settle for nothing other than what is really real for us? Because if there is any truth to what K is saying, I cannot think of anything more important than to spend one’s life giving one’s all to truly understand what he is pointing to. Is it no longer pc in the Krishnamurti world to exercise rigor? Of course, we have to wary of being held in the stranglehold of words and all that … but to jump from that to imagining freedom is to give up.

Seeing what is going on in the world, the unspeakable violence, life has become too serious an affair to play with. Maybe the violence was always the case, just now accelerated and intensified.

My grandmother, who was raised in an English colony, used to read me what she called “nancy stories” when I was scared of the dark as a child and could not fall asleep. Now that I am grown and know better I can no longer be lulled by stories.

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I’m guessing you are responding to what Crina said about

? - As well as to a one time throw away line made by Krishnamurti once - ‘I don’t mind what happens’ - which Eckhart Tolle helped to make go viral, and which some people on Kinfonet seem to like.

But I don’t know if I can respond to this right now, as having a silent or quiet mind is not the present topic of this thread. Crina brought it up for her own reasons which she will have to explain for herself.

All I am saying for myself is that Krishnamurti’s teachings have a content that requires not merely listening to in some vague state of quietness, but understanding through using one’s reason as well as one’s sensitive perception.

And it makes a difference if one approaches it as something made up, something superfluous, like a story about angels. Or if one approaches it as a communication of profound human truth. As you say,

Especially, as you say, given the way the world is, with its violence and ever increasing danger.

So there is an urgency to what K talked about that the word ‘story’ does not communicate.

I think we are talking about two slightly different things Crina.

You are talking about the state of a mind that is quiet, that is perhaps capable of deep listening.

While I am asking about our approach to Krishnamurti’s teachings as a whole: do we approach his teachings as any old story, with one story being as good as another?

Or do we approach his teachings with a mind that wants to understand the truth of what he is trying to communicate?

Am I making the question clear?

Of course, to listen to anything we have to have a somewhat quiet mind. But we are not talking about some exceptional state of quietness. We are talking about the ordinary quiet listening that one needs to listen to someone talk - but with the attitude that the truth is important, not merely sitting back and enjoying a good story or escape.

“Jump” is exactly what is called for… not to “imagining” of course, (or “giving up”) but to ‘freedom’. Thought cannot do it, it can never be free, it is the past. I recall K using the word ‘jump’ in the past but I don’t recall the context…I always thought of him saying it as necessary for ‘outwitting’ know-it-all thought and its grip on the mind and its confidence….in the moment: “Just do it sir!”

After all, his story, unheeded as it was, is “The house is burning”….(Don’t ‘explore’, get out!)

@James @Dev

Taking a break from this platform. I am feeling a loss of interest to express my story to others. It looks it generates nothing more then more words and more questions.

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I’m sorry that you feel this way Crina. Probably you were wanting to communicate something that I wasn’t able to capture. There has obviously been some miscommunication along the way. I’m not rejecting anyone’s personal story, so I think you may have misunderstood the purpose of my question, just as I have misunderstood the meaning of your misunderstanding! It’s most likely a language issue - the curse of having to limit ourselves to written text, often in a second language (which makes meanings even less precise).

But maybe taking a break is a healthy thing too. :pray:

I am sorry too, Crina.

Man! What would it take for us to create a space where everyone can feel they can speak freely no matter where they are in their journey with the teaching? Yet still be able to carefully consider what another is presenting as their point of view, whether it aligns or not.

But as James says, it is good to take a break. This stuff is hard on all of us. But if it wasn’t hard, it would be of no value. And much more common.

I appreciate your response

I appreciate your response.

Good start would be treating everyone with respect instead of threatening those who don’t fit the template. Have you noticed the successive disappearance of several regulars since the Inquisition began? Do you care?


Is this a bar where being a “regular” carries with it personal and monetary considerations for the proprietor and his/her customers? As far as I understand it, this is an independent forum set up to explore Krishnamurti’s teachings. If a person has this interest, then they will participate as they see fit. Nothing need block them.

Obviously, if a person has objectively contrary interests, if their heart lies elsewhere - in some other philosophy or school or teaching - then this website is simply the wrong place to be. Just as, if this were a Theravada Buddhist website, and someone was consistently drawn to Advaita teachings, it would become apparent that they were in the wrong place. That’s all.

Similarly this is, as I understand it, a forum for exploration, not for gurus or proto-gurus. If people want to claim to have special insight and to be in a position to lecture others or teach from a place of spiritual authority, they also may find they are in the wrong place. If they are convinced of their special insight, then they ought to set up their own website so that people can discover what they teach.

Personally, I am only here to reflect on, explore and investigate with like-minded others what Krishnamurti taught. That’s it. I’m not here to make friends or hang out and socialise. Does this mean that I’m part of an “inquisition”? If people seriously want to re-invent Krishnamurti’s teachings as “stories”, as relativistic myths or theories, and to promote such views here on this website, then no one is stopping them. But they have to be open to being questioned by others, that’s all. If they refuse to respond with clear reasoning, and cry harassment for being challenged, then that’s up to them too.

For me the correct way to approach Krishnamurti’s teachings is not through the prism of stories or fables or theories to be compared and contrasted with other theories - though clearly they can be compared (with Buddhist ideas, Daoist ideas, Vedantic etc), and I have done so myself. Rather, the correct way - or the way that I wish to approach them - is as possible communications of truth. Because if they are communications of truth, then I want to be able to listen to what they say so that it transforms my life. This is the attitude I have for myself.

If others do not share this attitude, that’s up to them. If they leave or stay, that’s up to them. If they refuse to talk or reason with me about what they feel or think, that’s up to them. I am not anyone’s boss.

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In the context of this forum, what I care about is to be true to myself, to not deceive myself with regard to my interpretation of the teaching, to not be lulled to sleep with a concocted story. To not mindlessly parrot K-isms as if they were my own living reality. I welcome and invite challenges to my interpretation because if my understanding is valid, it will withstand scrutiny and if it isn’t then I will willingly let it fall and begin again. That is what safe means to me, to be able to express my current understanding freely, not tolerance, certainly not anything goes. A place where each one here is sharing their understanding - again of Krishnamurti’s message - and is willing to take the time and energy to articulate why they feel what they feel and think - again, with regard to the teaching, for goodness sake.

The only role tolerance has is in being patient if English is not someone’s first language or expressing themself does not come as easily to them as for others. But this is a question of patience, generosity and care, not tolerance. If someone is absolutely sure they have a clear understanding and is not interested in entering into a discussion with another person with a contrary or slightly different view then frankly this is not a healthy place for them and I totally understand why they would leave. In fact I encourage them to do so. It is not a place for people who have arrived. It is a place for people actively studying the teaching. The door is always open if their outlook changes. That is, if we are still here.

The priority here is not personal friendship - it is to test out one’s understanding with equally serious people, to tear it to pieces if need be to see if it still stands. Getting the teaching right is the only thing of import. This has nothing to do with the personal. In fact, it is only when we prioritize the personal over the interpretation, over what is being said rather than who is saying it, that issues arise.

In my role as guardian of this space, I actually see myself more like Francis of Assisi than the Grand Inquisitor, if one is forced to compare. I appreciate though that many will not see it that way. As I said elsewhere, numbers do not play into my thinking. This is not a business. It a matter of life and death.

K’s teaching is not a story, it is about being factual.


It’s your forum, your vision of it rules. I’ve been resisting, because I feel a forum should reflect the vision its members bring to it, not just its founder. Collaboration, not hegemony. We disagree about that, but I recognize and respect your authority in the matter. Again: It’s YOUR forum.

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From the FAQs:

This forum has a very specific purpose. It is to provide a space for participants to share and clarify their understanding of Krishnamurti’s teaching. If you have no interest in that or feel compelled to debunk some or all of Krishnamurti’s teaching, please do not post here.

As such:

  • Don’t post here if you fundamentally disagree with the substance of Krishnamurti’s teaching.

  • Don’t use the forum as a platform to spout personal theories, general philosophy or religious dogma.

  • Don’t post material only tangentially related to Krishnamurti.

Disagreeing fundamentally with Krishnamurti and seeking to debunk his views is verboten. Okay. Does that leave room for questioning the validity of his views, for exercising critical thinking?

To me, the ‘teaching’ is personal and simplicity itself: “The house is burning”. Get out before you burn up along with it! Understand that everything you’re attached to is the past and let it go or you’ll die hanging on to it. And the misery will continue. What could be more personal than “Just do it sir!” …not ‘get it right’ with thousands and thousands of words…just, do it!