Guide to the Nagualism of Carlos Castaneda' s don Juan, Tibetan Buddhism, Adi Da, and the mastery of awareness
The Four Yogas
Of Enlightenment
Guide to Nagualism, Tibetan Buddhism, Adi Da



 The Four Yogas Reader Reviews
 
   

 
Reviews by students of Adi Da Samraj, Hubert Benoit, Tibetan Buddhism (Dzogchen and Mahamudra), Zen Buddhism, Carlos Castaneda, Lama Surya Das, Paramahamsa Hariharananda, Carl Jung, Bokar Rinpoche, Jigme Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Don Agustin Rivas, Scientology, Chögyam Trungpa, Ken Wilber, Siddha Yoga (nondual Shaivism), Tensegrity

I am thoroughly enjoying the book you have written, particularly those aspects dealing directly with the sorcery techniques of don Juan and their correlation to other esoteric methods. It is of course the techniques of don Juan I am interested in. I have flirted with other esoteric methods, but it was the force, directness, beauty and profound simplicity of Castaneda's works which ‘hooked’ me if you will. There is a muscularity and manliness to don Juan's way of life which I have never sensed in the eastern esoteric methods (the obvious exception of course being the martial arts). For many years now I have tried to integrate don Juan's teachings into my life, but your work has been expanding my intellectual appreciation of these teachings in relation to other esoteric methods.

Thank you.

George B. Shaw
Toronto, Canada

Extract from East Meets West - Towards a Global Mysticism, by Judy Kennedy.

Dion Fortune: Some day there will come an American who will pick up the ancient Maya contacts, adapt them to modern needs, and express their forces in an initiatory ritual which shall be valid for the civilization to which he belongs.

Judy Kennedy: I've thought long and hard about what she says there, and the first thing that immediately came to mind was the works of Carlos Castaneda. In the past few decades, much research and analysis has gone into his books; perhaps the most revealing being the work of Edward Plotkin, who has documented the similarities between the complex teachings of the Yaqui sorcerer, Don Juan, and the more esoteric tenets of Tibetan Buddhism, such as Tantra and Dzogchen.

Judy Kennedy <waywardmuse@waywardmuse.com>
Mesa, Arizona

I enjoyed visiting your website and found what you had to say in your book about Carlos Castaneda, Buddhism, and Adi Da to be fascinating and perceptive.

I have attended the public workshops now being given by Carlos Castaneda himself under the auspices of Cleargreen Inc. of Santa Monica, California, and what he teaches there works well together with your book to prove what you have accomplished.

Leigh Goldstein <70304.211@compuserve.com>
Los Angeles, California

 

I'm the editor at the Hans-Nietsch-Verlag and just read your book, The Four Yogas Of Enlightenment. To say the least I'm impressed.

Norbert Classen
Editor in Chief
Hans-Nietsch-Verlag, Germany

Norbert Classen is the author of Carlos Castaneda und Das Vermächtnis des Don Juan (Carlos Castaneda and The Legacy of don Juan).

Hans-Nietsch-Verlag is the publisher of the German edition of The Five Books Of The Adidam Revelation by Adi Da Samraj.

Edward Plotkin


Thank you for the great work that you put into The Four Yogas. I'm halfway through, taking it slowly.

What I most appreciate about the work that you have offered is your broad spectrum exposure to vantage from. Although I have been a student of the works of Carlos Castaneda for about 10 years now, having read and reread the series several times, I am more involved with it in mind than in actual transformative practice.

Your writings and exposure to other masters is now spurring me into action, into practice of meditation, into realizing what I mostly know about only intellectually, what I have been longing for but not sober enough to do.

Thank you again,
Paul Huff
Rainier, Washington


I began studying Tibetan Buddhism just a few years ago. I am certain the timing is just right for your arrival on the scene to help integrate the teachings of don Juan with the teachings I have gained during the past 7 years. I left my teacher relationship in July, '99. How good it feels to have that open space filled with something really wonderful.

I like the clarity of your writing. With certain books, I have the feeling of an ‘over voice’ speaking. It is as if I am reading the words, yet a voice is speaking in an energy way that puts me on full alert. The ‘over voice’ is not saying the same as the written words. The ‘over voice’ carries the deeper meaning or intent of the words, and it moves into my mind/body in a very different way1 than books that do not carry this ‘over voice’. The Four Yogas carries this ‘over voice’.

I am so thankful to you for your journey, and for your writing of your book.

Teresa Ramsey
Dayton, Ohio


1 Carlos Castaneda experienced this heightened awareness when in the presence of the Nagual don Juan. The Nagual's blow to the assemblage point, and especially teachings delivered from the transcendental position of awareness have this extraordinary effect. The Four Yogas empowers this shift in awareness. The emergence of the double or witness-consciousness is a prelude to the development of fearlessness, serenity, wisdom, and ultimate enlightenment.

Tranquility and insight are the essential requirements. Tranquil absorption is the foundation for insight into the nature of mind and ultimate reality.  When thought projections are cleared the mind becomes stable and immobile. Just as salt dissolves in water, the mind dissolves into its intrinsic nature.

Edward Plotkin


I feel a deep sense of gratitude. Because of your book, which I'm reading again, and through our email conversations, I am experiencing such an exciting desire to get on with it, to engage the true work that opens through meditation. I find myself taking moments otherwise engaged in thinking or reading to get still and observe.

I have read so many books about the transcendental and have experimented with some power plants that cause a shift in the assemblage point, and through that have been in this place of wonderful timeless stillness that I have called Ground Zero1; where even my breathing stops and everything is just suspended, just present awareness. My soul has longed for something that I could never quite put my finger on. I've gone to different gurus, teachers and channels and stayed with these only for brief periods because the people and the rituals, the dogma that surround these for the most part seem counter productive.

So my gratitude is that something is now Clear. It is for your straight talk. For your courage to walk this path and then talk about it to us. Again, for your willingness to be in communication and the sense of you as a real person in real time, knowing the freedom to break the bonds of person and time.

In Love - Respect & Gratitude,
Paul Huff
Rainier, Washington

1 The shift in the assemblage point experienced with entheogens (psychoactive power plants, i.e. marijuana, peyote, etc.) is awesome and temporary. It may awaken the soul to an unspecified longing, the place where ‘everything is just suspended’. This is the position of the assemblage point where don Juan noted the world stops. Over time, as the apprentice becomes more proficient in meditative absorption, attention stabilizes at center, Paul Huff's Ground Zero. Eventually, without relying on entheogens, the awakened meditator effortlessly resides in meditative absorption, the samadhi of the nonmeditation yoga.

Edward Plotkin


First of all I just want to congratulate you on a superb book, beautifully written. Such a refreshing change, writing that is specific and truthful, as opposed to some of those nebulous books out there that never really do it for me!

In the last couple of days, I have noticed a change in my meditation. My mind is making less effort to interfere with my focus, and I have reached a point of consciousness yesterday that I don't think I have ever been to. I was very calm and did not have to make an effort to concentrate.

Your wonderful book provides me with inspiration everyday. Thank you so much.

Peter Apps
Sao Paulo, Brazil



Your book is great. I really want to achieve my dream. Please, let me know if this book is available in the Russian language.

Thank you very much.

Natasha Tsibulskaya
Portland, Oregon


I have completed retreats with Bokar Rinpoche (dharma heir to Kalu Rinpoche1) and Lama Surya Das (Western Dzogchen teacher2), and meditate in the very hierarchical, but profoundly intelligent Shambhala Dharmadhatu path3 (Chögyam Trungpa legacy and sangha4). Your book is an extraordinary exegesis, and series of signposts in content and meaning. Thank you for your book.

Joel Puleo
Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1 A master of meditation practice in the Nyingma Dzogchen and Kagyü Mahamudra tradition, Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989) taught extensively in America and Europe. During his three visits to the West, Kalu Rinpoche founded teaching centers in over a dozen countries. Mahamudra is an advanced doctrine and practice of the Kagyüpa order of Tibetan Buddhism, and a foundation teaching presented in The Four Yogas Of Enlightenment.

2 Dzogchen (The Great Perfection) is the consummate practice of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and an exceptional path towards the fully awakened state of enlightenment.

3
The Shambhala tradition teaches activities that awaken the meditator through mindfulness practices. The three gates of Shambhala are: Dharmadhatu, for the study of traditional Buddhism; Shambhala Training, which empowers a fully lived life through the awakening of discerning wisdom; and Nalanda, a contemplative approach and discipline that explores relating to the world as it is.

4 Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987) was a Tibetan Buddhist Kagyü meditation master. Chögyam Trungpa published six books (including Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior), established three meditation centres and a contemplative university, Naropa Institute.

Edward Plotkin

I am finding The Four Yogas to be of considerable value, being very familiar with the concepts presented. I have practiced Vajrayana1 at the Feet of a completely unknown western born female Master since 1974. I am also very well versed in the works of Adi Da and Castaneda, so for me the book is a wonderful summation and source of reference for all those aspects of my own Practice.

Joshua Rosslee <joshua@hixnet.co.za.>
Johannesburg, South Africa

1 Vajrayana or indestructible vehicle training generally places emphasis on the master-student relationship. Perfected in Tibet, Vajrayana is based on transmission and empowerment.

Edward Plotkin


Thank you for making a significant contribution to the understanding of the Great Tradition of religion as a unified legacy of mankind.

Let me announce where my prejudices lies: as a devotee of Sri Bhagavan Adi Da, my practice is centered on Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga, or devotion to my most beloved guru.

Nevertheless, I feel I can recommend your text quite highly to those not prepared for submission to a guru.

Best wishes, and keep me informed of your future works.

Louis Nelson <Lnelson@Op.net>
Paoli, Pennsylvania

I want you to know that your book has moved me forward significantly, it is in line with my own work and personal growth. I thank you from the depth of my heart. If ever I may be of service to you let me know.

Garry Isenstadt <eaglesgift@aol.com>
La Jolla, California 


Your work is extraordinary. I am astounded by its clarity. I found you because of Hubert Benoit (The Supreme Doctrine: Psychological encounters in Zen thought). He has long been a ‘mentor’ of mine. I had been floundering in my own process, trying to organize the profusion of material and processes.

‘You don't have to reinvent the wheel’ the inner voice said. Then, I got a ‘hit’ that I was supposed to look up Benoit's name on the internet...and there you were. I cannot begin to tell you what a pleasure your book is bringing me. It is the next step I very much needed...a map of the myriad things I had accumulated and confirmation of much of the process.

I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to study The Four Yogas...and to make it part of my own process.

Judith Timmons 
Pensacola, Florida


I visited your site and like it very much. First let me compliment you on your page design. You've found a way to make frames work for you so that it enhances the surfing experience. Not an easy task I'd say based on some sites I've visited. I like the notebook motif. 

But more importantly, I like your spiritual approach. I have enjoyed a few don Juan books, dabbled in Siddha Yoga and found something special in Buddhism without seeing any of those paths excluding the others. I agree with your valuing of cross verification. If wise men in the Mexican desert and in Tibet come up with the same truths there must be something there.

Tom Barrett 
Web Page: Interlude: An Internet Retreat

I read your book cover to cover and was stunned and amazed by its mind-boggling clarity. It revolutionized my thinking. However I am left with a strange longing, like I am supposed to meet someone I will probably never meet. Oh well, that is a bit of a bummer. Nonetheless, I am now confident I know more about mysterious things than most other people, and my sense of self-esteem has been delightfully enhanced. When the topics of yoga and enlightenment come up, I will be well prepared and no longer appear the bumbler. For this, I am most grateful.

Stephen Needham 
to lightmind.com/daism Adi Da Samraj newsgroup

It happened for the first time today, that experience that it says in your book when you are in a state of complete clarity...like a bird flying across the sky1. It felt like I was on the crest of a wave, perfectly balanced not needing to affirm that things are arising, but just knowing in an effortless way. It is so simple! Why does it take so long to get to this place of natural mind?

It is like each feeling or sensation, or thought that arrives gets dissolved by the emptiness. I am amazed at how incredible it feels to be in that place, I am afraid that I won't get there again!!  Is this the beginning of the one pointed yoga, and it is just a question of continuing and practice?

Many, many thanks for your replies.

Peter Apps
Sao Paulo, Brazil

1 Maintain trackless consciousness, like a bird flying across the sky.1 Meditation by the great Tibetan sage and teacher Gampopa for maintaining the unmodulated, natural state of mind.

The purpose of this meditation is to maintain undistracted mindfulness while remaining aware of the nondual nature of consciousness. By stabilizing the mind in tranquil absorption, while simultaneously studying the abiding nature of mind, we can embark upon the path of self-realization.

Direct experience of this state will lead to the first or one-pointed yoga, which is designated as a single pointed awareness of the mind's essential nature. The meditator will have gained insight into the simplicity of consciousness, which while manifesting itself uninterruptedly is detached from transitory thoughts.

Edward Plotkin
1 The Four Yogas, Ch. 11, p. 127. Gampopa (1079-1153), Tibetan Kagyü lineage

Ed- I've finished reading The Four Yogas of Enlightenment. I want to take a moment and express my gratitude.

Little bit of history. Over the past 5 - 6 years (maybe even longer), I have been unable to embrace the union of emptiness with physical reality. I could not explain this to anyone! I was beginning to think I was dysfunctional in relationships. Every time I would get close to someone, my projection onto them, of my ‘stain of emptiness’ frightened me tremendously. It was my sure death! I could not explain what was going on. I finally gave up!

I understood ‘nothingness’ conceptually and intellectually. I am a Ken Wilber fan. But this fear was overwhelming, unbearable and stuffed deep down into my subconscious. I really didn't want to face its reality. Well, anyway, I really connected with your description of this deep terror. It has been a very frustrating and gradual process in releasing and understanding this intense emotion.

I stumbled onto your book at the right time. I don't think I could have consciously integrated what was happening to me without your book. Your book allowed me to step into a process of understanding the void with appreciation.

Once again, thank you.

Elijah DeRoche
Boise, Idaho 


I am actively engrossed in exploring consciousness, and my projections within. I have been a student of Ken Wilber's The Spectrum Of Consciousness1 since it's publication. I have already learned from your book, just from reading from a different angle/perspective, which is exactly what you stated in the very beginning of your book.2 I look forward to the continued study of the knowledge that your book contains.

Michael Wheaton
Kopolei, Hawaii

1 Ken Wilber's book presents a synthesis of Eastern and Western paths to enlightenment, a tour de force in the mapping of transcendental awareness.

2 Meditative awareness is synergistically enhanced through exploration of the teachings of different masters and traditions. With an understanding achieved in more than one tradition, cross verification of terms and states of consciousness can be correlated. Without correlation, progress is exceedingly difficult because there is no contrasting point of view with which one can glean an intended meaning nor a deeper understanding.

Edward Plotkin


I have just opened your book and I have already found it more than I expected it to be. I had noticed the similarity between the teachings of Tibetan Yoga/Buddhism and Nagualism and was searching for Tibetan Buddhist information on the net when I came upon your site. I was first impressed with your site design: elegant and to the point. Now I see that your book is very valuable, or can be, to anyone who decides to take awareness seriously.

Thank you.

Charles deWinter <dewinter@montrose.net>
Telluride, Colorado


I am on the spiritual path for more than 30 years now. I started with an initiation into Kriya yoga by Paramahamsa Hariharananda, went on with 10 years work of Bagwan (Osho), then Tibetan Buddhism (Kagyü lineage by Jigme Rinpoche), followed by an initiation into shamanism by Don Agustin Rivas from Peru, who works with ayahuasca. The energy I got contact with on the latter was so strong that my assemblage point broke loose, and it took me 3 month to stabilize a new cohesion of my world perception. I feel near to formlessness, but have not manifested it in total until now.

My chakras are floating free, except a block of energy over my head. I am solo auditing on OT 2, but I am not in the Scientology church, but the technique to handle stuck flows is incredible. I also do Tensegrity, since I have studied Castaneda for about 25 years now. I have had some glimpses about the totality of self (Tonal-Nagual, Samsara-Nirvana, the physical universe - the beyond) but I have the sharp realization, that I have not yet reached it.

Ingo Heil
Vienna, Austria

Until one can effortlessly attain and maintain the witness-position in consciousness (the nonmeditation yoga or moksha-bhava samadhi), it will seem to the meditator that there is something left to be reached.

Ayahuasca, marijuana, peyote, and other mind altering substances, shift the assemblage point away from its customary position, the self or ego. Once the shift away from self is accomplished, awareness often feels ecstatic in its newfound liberation. Of course, when the effect of the substance wears off the meditator is once again confronted with the self. If the meditator is unable to attain the witness position in meditative awareness, he/she will remain entrained in whatever state arises. Substituting one illusory state, the ego, for another, the mind altered drug induced state, will not be resolved into the freedom of awareness of enlightenment. The cycle of drug induced apparent liberation may result in habituation unless shamanic or yogic intervention takes place.

Once the warrior has sufficient personal power to stop the world (savakalpa samadhi) in yogic or meditative awareness, the self is seen as a nondual, illusory, nonbinding projection in consciousness, and entrainment in the ‘self’ is severed. With further practice a turning about in the seat of consciousness occurs, and enlightenment is permanent.

From the fourth yoga, the nonmeditation yoga, or moksha-bhava samadhi, it is seen that there is nothing to attain or reach. Consciousness configures the dream of being in a field of appearance and emptiness. Ultimately and eternally consciousness precedes matter. There is no ‘out there’ beyond consciousness.


I highly recommend Ed's technique's and writing. He is as concise as possible for the topics, and there is much there directly or tangentially related to what we are involved in/with/near/around...

Ed posts on and off, but his balance and content is so sublime and welcome. :)

....he is quite knowledgeable about energy flow from more than one discipline.

Ed has balance without truncation, a rare act, indeed. :)

don Pequeño, Houston, Texas
to alt.dreams.castaneda newsgroup


I love the book, and that's a real compliment because I'm a writer and picky, picky, picky. Very clear and mysterious at the same time. Lovely. You've been a great help already. Synthesis is one of my favorite things.

Patricia Donovan <pdonovan@buffalo.edu>
Senior Editor/Humanities, Architecture, Education
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York

I have just begun to read your book, and I just find it wonderful. I will keep you informed about the results.
 
Gilberto F. Bicalho <gilbert@rio.com.br>
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

.....posted in honor of Ed Plotkin, whose insight and guidance in matters of perception have been invaluable to me, and in the true spirit of nagualism.

Carlos Grau 
to alt.dreams.castaneda newsgroup


This is one of the best books I've read in years. It clearly transpires both your academic research work, and what is more important even your personal involvement and experience. In the past I have worked hard on Castaneda's books and I entirely agree with your treatment of his work and your cross-correlation of terms.

Piero.Cinguino@cselt.stet.it
Torino, Italy


I have been a student of Siddha Yoga for 10 years. In my early college experience I was an anthropology student and studied Carlos Castaneda works. As a therapist for 13 years, I resonate with Jungian theory in many ways.

As a seeker, I have dabbled in many areas, trying on this one and that one; not unlike many modern day explorers. However, it often troubles me that there is so much information out there, it is so easy to become confused. (One of my life lessons no doubt) I have been trying to find the golden thread that ties it together.

Thank you once again,

Harriet Cianci
Terryville, Connecticut
 

I now have the book and it's excellent. I'm very pleased to read how you state the don Juan material in terms of the 4 yogas - it's really a new perspective for me. Especially helpful to understand ‘seeing’ better (and to acknowledge that I've actually had the experience of ‘seeing’ myself and can recognize it, even if I don't ‘see’ all the time.) Same for what you write re the assemblage point. I've been dazzled by the ‘special effects’ of the Castaneda books, and did not understand these teachings quite this way. Also interesting and new for me - how you present the ally. When all this sinks in a little more I'll write some on it and ask some questions.

I feel I'm understanding what you're saying in term of Padmasambhava's book on listening in the Bardo1...The 4 yogas are what the Dhyani Buddhas and their respective consorts are about - Vajrassattva, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi. The book throws much light on this process, and I feel encouraged that I can make use of this ‘map’ to navigate my own crossing over...to stalk enlightenment. It's beginning to seem more doable.

Thank you for your help, and for the tremendous book. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who sees that what Buddhism and don Juan are talking about are not completely different things.

Aida Rodriguez-Parnas <aparnas@fclass.net>
St. Louis, Missouri

1The Five Dhyani (meditation) Buddhas....Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi, visualized during meditation embody five transcendental wisdoms. The Bardo Thodol, known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and attributed to Padmasambhava, guides the aspirant towards these transcendental wisdoms, and the resultant spiritual transformation and enlightened consciousness.

Edward Plotkin


I am enjoying your book very much, and meditating on The Four Yogas everyday to deepen my insight.

Thank you and best wishes.

Klaus Wieben
Melbourne, Australia 


.....a quick comment, here: I've studied The Four Yogas of Enlightenment and enjoyed it immensely! Some really hard work went into that document; ....this is top-rate!

Mark Seven Smith
to alt.dreams.castaneda newsgroup

Thanks a lot for everything; The Four Yogas, and your timely correspondence. I carry a copy of the text in my book bag to work daily. I believe I told you before that many of the traditions that you have represented were a part of my own personal study, and you've seemingly lifted each of the major ones (especially don Juan's Nagualism...which is usually where other people get off the boat) and focused on them, highlighting their similarities. For this effort, I am truly grateful---if, for no other reason, only for the kinship of souls who refuse to discriminate the teaching for the teacher.

Bless you and your efforts.


Phillip Hale
Detroit, Michigan

Just a note to let you know I'm reading your book in more detail now and find it even better than I did at first. It's interesting that it begins about where my own book ends. Further, if I had your vocabulary, I'd be dangerous.

Scott Smith <kimmerjohn@aol.com>
Lewisville, Texas

Whenever I think of you, or take your book into my hands, there's a lot of power coming through. I can feel that you really made it. Will follow this path in spite of all reactions. Am slowly grasping the idea that I have to be a source instead of the seeker.

Bernd Schaefer <Cenninah@wolfsburg.de>
Velpke, Germany 


Readers are invited to contribute their reviews to The Four Yogas

Please include comments that you would like to share with other readers from around the world who have been meditating on The Four Yogas.

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I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your participation in raising the worldwide banner of enlightened awareness.

 

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Guide To Don Juan's Nagualism & Esoteric Buddhism

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Edward Plotkin, Madison NJ

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