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Traditional Vedānta

Generation after generation, from time immemorial, a vision of the non-dual nature of reality has been handed down from teacher to student. This vision is known as Vedānta.

Knowledge or vision is common to all—we all have a view of how things are. However, our seeing is coloured by preconceptions and the like, generating error. Through careful analysis, a traditional Vedānta teacher brings clarity to this situation, thereby correcting error.

Essential to this tradition is not only a properly qualified teacher but an adequately prepared student. A qualified teacher is both established in knowledge of the non-dual nature of reality and fully versed in the Upaniṣads, the ancient texts enshrining that vision. An adequately prepared student is one whose mind is quiet and steady enough to hear and follow what is taught, and whose heart holds dear sound values and śraddhā in the teacher and śruti.

Gradually, through śravanam, mananam and nididhyāsanam: listening to the teacher, reflecting on what has been taught, then fully ascertaining it through contemplation, a growth in understanding occurs. This transformative understanding is not a replacement of one set of notions about reality with another: it is a change in one's view of oneself and the world, an understanding in which dawns an attitudinal shift that brings freedom from unhappiness. That is why it is said to be transformative.

The accent throughout is on knowledge. Some say that knowledge alone is not enough, that special practices, such as samādhi, are required to either augment or complete one’s understanding. However, truth or reality being ever-present, its hoped-for experience can never come—it is already in and through each and every experience.

Since truth or reality is ever-present, the knowledge that removes the misconceptions covering it is sufficient. Knowledge is the only correction needed because only knowledge, not practices or experiences, removes ignorance.

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Adi Shankara