In August 2000, a meditator at the Spirit Rock Meditation Centre, Marin, California, kindly gave me a copy of The Power of Now (price $21.95) by Eckhart Tolle that had been published the year before. She told me she had bought a dozen copies to give to her friends. She wrote on the inside cover:
“Thank you, Christopher. I am grateful for your guidance and your support in my awakening. May this book be a blessing to you. It is changing my life.”
Many people worldwide express immense appreciation for the spiritual teachings of Eckhart Tolle. His teachings have made a difference to people’s lives. He has the capacity to communicate his spiritual/psychological insights in ways that make much sense to those who follow his approach.
Within a few years of writing his first book, Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher brought up in Germany, formerly worked in Britain and currently living in Canada, has become one of the best known spiritual teachers in the Western world offering retreats, public talks as well as appearing on various television programmes. Millions have read one or more of his four books:
- THE POWER OF NOW. A GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT.
- THE PRACTISE OF THE POWER OF NOW
- A NEW EARTH. CREATE A BETTER LIFE
- STILLNESS SPEAKS
Published in 35 languages, these four books have gone onto sell some 12 million copies or more between them. The cover of my 2009 copy of A NEW EARTH states “The 6 million-copy worldwide best seller.”
Mind the Gap
Is there a growing gap between the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and his immense wealth? Is this the price of enlightenment? Eckhart speaks regularly of the illusions people live in. But is he aware of the disillusionment that people feel when spiritual teachers become incredibly wealthy?
In October 2013, Eckhart and Kim Eng gave a five day retreat in Italy. His website said the retreat cost $995.00. I took a second breath when I saw the price for the retreat. And that was before I noticed the dreaded asterisk. On the asterisk below, it read:
*Tuition price only. Accommodations and meals package is additional.
Eckhart and Kim Eng charged $995.00 (£600, €725) for their tuition of participants for their five day retreat, plus sales of books, DVDs, calendars and so on. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to work out how much money they receive when a reported 500 attended. They could have made for themselves about half a million dollars in five days.
Participants booked through Eckhart Teachings to pay to stay in nearby hotels, ranging from $500 to $1000 for the five nights – a walking distance to the huge conference hall to listen to Eckhart. If participants make their own housing arrangements, then they pay Eckhart Teachings, a “commuter fee of $295 including meals and yoga mat.”
Eckhart gave a two day retreat in Australia in 2011 to hundreds of people. Eckhart charged $695.00 for two days of intuition. It’s seems to be a money spinning guide to enlightenment.
Eckhart charges individuals between the cheapest seats at £50 to £75 for the “platinum seats” to listen to him give a two talk with questions and answers. In an evening programme in a theatre in the East End of London in October 2013, more than 2500 people attended. It meant that the commercial arm of Eckhart Teachings probably received around £150,000 gross from tickets sales, plus sales of his books, his DVDs, his calendars, cards etc. Costs include rent of the theatre for the evening etc.
Eckhart gives talks addressing the suffering of clinging to ownership. Yet, it is stated on his website: “Absolutely no recording devices of any kind are allowed at the retreat.” Eckhart Teachings keep a tight control over recorded access to his words.
The cover of The Power of Now tells readers that the book is a guide to spiritual enlightenment. For whom is this spiritual enlightenment? It would seem this enlightenment is for those with disposable income, mostly middle class people in their 50’s and older.
Exclusion of those with a low income
The door charges and retreat charges effectively exclude many teenagers, single mothers, the poor, the unemployed, the low income, backpackers, people in debt, people struggling to pay bills for sickness and the elderly living on a state pension. The cover of A New Earth tells us his book is to “create a better life.” For whom?
Around 13 million people or 20% of the population in Britain live below the poverty line. Far too many families have to choose between food and heat. Figures are probably similar in other Western countries. The poor can’t afford to buy a CD or go to an Eckhart Tolle talk, let alone a retreat
Yes, his teachings are freely available on YouTube, as his followers regularly point out. This is welcome. Many benefit from watching his teachings on Youtube. There is a real difference between Youtube teachings and sitting in the same hall with a much-loved teacher. A wealthy man can offer the teachings from time to time for those in the low-income category. There is no substitute for being in the presence of a teacher. Direct oral teachings resonate deeply.
Why can’t wealthy spiritual teachers enable the poor to attend their live programmes? Are they obedient to the will of those who run their foundations and business enterprises?
The Business Company
Eckhart Tolle has established a huge worldwide commercial enterprise through his business company, Eckhart Teachings. Last month, Watkins Bookshop in London named Eckhart as the world’s second most influential spiritual teacher after the Dalai Lame and immediately ahead of Pope Francis.
Tolle’s highly successful commercial activities have put him firmly on the world’s RICH MAN’S LIST in the space of 15 years.
It is surely appropriate to question whether his growing personal wealth, and his desire for more, is compatible with his spiritual teachings.
If one of his books sells for roughly around $10.00, then then total income from his books alone amounts to $120,000,000. Eckhart would receive a percentage (probably around 7.5% – 10%) of this from royalties.
His commercial activities in the UK alone include Eckhart Tolle TV Live Stream for six months. $99.65, New Earth Card Deck for £19.00, New Earth Calendar for £11.00, Inspirational Selections from A New Earth £18.00, Eckhart Tolle’s Findhorn Retreat (2 DVDs and a book). £27.00, Eckhart Tolle’s Music to Quiet the Mind £13.00, In the Presence of Mystery (Audio) £22.50 and much, much more. Bulk production of a DVD with box, label and inserted jacket costs less than a $ per item.
Some Eckhart Tolle fans will defend these substantial charges. Concerts and sports events cost much the same amount of money for the same amount of time so why should not a spiritual superstar charge top prices for admission? There is a difference. And it is a big difference. Entertainers and sports stars do not offer spiritual teachings on letting go, dropping desire, living without attachment, trusting in the now and enlightenment.
Data on Eckhart Tolle Foundation, classified as a religious organisations, provided by the IRS (Inland Revenue Service – US tax department) https:/
Wealth and Spirituality
When asked about wealth and spirituality, Eckhart replied on YouTube:
“Many in traditional religions have renounced material things did not realise that they have not renounced desire in their mind. So they tried to suppress desire by having no possessions. The true renunciation is about attachment to which operates on an inner level. It is the inner that matters.”
Mr Tolle lacks the experience and understanding of men and women living a life of intentional renunciation or a complete lack of interest in materialism. Monks, nuns, sadhus, swamis, spiritual communities, spiritual seekers, meditators and more explore a different way of life. His claim that those who live such a way of life are ‘trying to suppress their desire by having no possessions” tells us about a judgemental mind.
As a former Buddhist monk in the East, I would suggest Mr. Tolle spends some time in a monastery to experience such a way of life. In my experience as a monk, there are very few ordained who suppress desires. The vast majority can’t see the point in a materialistic way of life and accumulation of wealth with death never far away.
Is Eckhart Tolle honestly trying to claim that he has renounced desire while desiring to charge exorbitant tuition fees to listen to him? Some of those renunciates in religious traditions, who have little or no possessions, include such Buddhist monks as the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thich Nhat Hahn, the fourth most popular spiritual teacher in the Watkins Bookshop list. Another renunciate from the Christian tradition, Pope Francis chooses to live in simple rooms in the Vatican.
In A New Earth (page 46), Eckhart writes about the problem of the ego. “I don’t have enough yet” by which the ego really means “I am not enough yet.”
“Having – the concept of ownership – is a fiction created by the ego… Wanting keeps the ego alive much more than having. It is an addictive need….
“The thought forms of me and mine…I want, I need ….pertain not to content but to the structure of the ego.”
Fine words, Mr. Tolle. You have made $millions in the last 15 years. Do you really need to own so much money? Why do you still want to make even more money?
May I humbly suggest that you reflect on your insightful words for your readers on page 99: “My God. Is this what I have been doing? Once you see what you have been doing or are doing, you also see its futility and the unconscious pattern, then comes to an end by itself. Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”
- Please explain to your many followers how your desires and needs to make so much money from your talks, retreats and commercial sales contribute to a new Earth.
- Please let your followers know what you do with your immense wealth?
- Do you use your money to create a better life for people?
- If so, what organisations, trusts, charities do you give to?
- Do you invest you invest your money in the financial markets? If so, which?
- Do you leave your money in your bank? If so, why?
If the thought of such transparency is too difficult for you to handle, then I have a small suggestion.
The Power of Donation
Mr. Tolle, You are on the world’s Rich Man List. You are very wealthy. From now on, please offer all or many of your public talks and retreats on the basis of dana (a Pali word meaning the act of giving, the offering of a donation) and minimise the price of your books, cards, calendars etc. Your wealthy devotees will still give you a generous reward for your fine teachings.
The Buddha spoke frequently of the power of dana. Dana covers many aspects of the inner life:
- An important aspect of spiritual enlightenment
- The power to let go
- The practise of generosity
- To abide in trust
- To be free from greed
- To end measuring of one’s worth through fixing a charge
- To live without desire for financial security in the future
- To see through egoic needs and identification with wealth
- To show compassion to many people with financial hardship
- To treat teachings as truly priceless
- To support creating a better life for everybody.
Your teachings have given much support to the spiritual journey of your followers. You deservedly receive a lot of goodwill from people. You can make a contribution towards developing trust in spiritual teachers and their teachings. Your practise of dana would dispel the growing widespread disillusionment with spiritual teachers who accumulate vast sums of money. This is not a hair-shirt philosophy but an act of kindness and support for all regardless of their financial status.
If you developed trust in dana, you would show to yourself and your followers the power of now to let go of old desires. I am sure you would agree.
Note to Readers. This is a critique of the fusion of spirituality with accumulation of immense wealth. There is no intention to deter readers from listening to Eckhart Tolle on YouTube or reading his books.
May all beings understand the Timeless –
unbound to the past,
unbound to the now
and unbound to the future.
PS. I wrote the blog in 2014. At that time, his wealth was estimated at $15,000,000. In 2021, the net worth of Eckhart Tolle is currently $80,000,000 according to the WealthyPersons.com website.
The global pandemic has currently blocked the opportunity for all, regardless of income, to attend public events of spiritual teachers, and others. The wealthy and the poor unite on YouTube.
All you say here is in accord with what Chogyam Trungpa laid out in his brilliant “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism”–ego can’t grasp real spirituality as it undercuts its existence, so it apes it by translating it to a level it can grasp–which is exactly what Tolle and his ilk do. Ego, as I know all too well, is pure guile–“The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of oneself”–Jane Addams
He’s a good fakir?. Ulrich toll is a great purveyor of other people’s knowledge. You can tell he’s bogus by the money and the silly mock humility. His last name ain’t toll for nothing! Rajneesh would be proud of him. Thanks for your article!
What we see as spiritual teachers are just deluxe monkeys like the rest of us, we give them way too much credits.
I suppose all of these comments go against his premise that awakening involves not allowing the ego to be in judgment of others.
To quote the chap himself:
“the ego loves to be offended…….Why am I always right and others always wrong, wierd!”
Thank you very much for writing this. You have put voice to what I have struggled when it comes to Eckart Tolle and the power that monetary wealth and accumulation can have on us all. I read The Power of Now and was very moved. I went on to read A New Earth. They are both good books with the power to change. However, I do not believe that we come to a point on this earth where we ever actually “arrive,” and that includes Eckhart Tolle. It is too easy to put people on a pedestal thinking they have learned all there is to learn. I find the lack of financial transparency (which leads me to assume that there is also a lack of generosity) to be a huge red flag, especially when talking about the importance of letting go.
Tolle’s philosophies have touched me to the core and my perspective on life and my emotional regulation have dramatically improved.
I am so grateful to live in a country where his work is easily accessible. I am grateful to be able to afford WiFi and purchase a book every now and then.
It is unfortunate his message is unavailable to those who don’t have WiFi or book stores. His empire only touches those who live in westernized locales.
I don’t much think about his accumulated wealth. But, I do wonder why he is not more involved in areas where poverty and destitution are the norm. People who don’t have access or money are just as much in need of inspiring solutions and clear explanations – as those with means.
But, I imagine there are many things that go on in Tolle’s world that I’m unaware of. For that reason, I will refrain from judgment and learn what I can using the limited resources I have.
I came here with similar thoughts. And here are my reflections. Who is disturbed by the contradiction in Tolle’s action? It’s the egoic self as Tolle would put it. The act of following a spiritual guru is also a an act of attachment so fragile that a mere ticket price can shatter it. As such, there is a value chain of people who make livelihoods through such events. It’s not just Tolle that determines pricing. I read here that Tolle lives a simple life and in the end that’s what matters. But let’s say even if he was a grifter as some opined here, can you make peace with that icky feeling? Wouldn’t that be the spiritual accomplishment that we are chasing / not chasing (in zen fashion)
Eckhart Tolle along with Sadhguru helped me a considerable amount when I needed it the most. But when I discovered how much money these two teachers were making it added a dimension of doubt in everything they said. Always in the back of my mind there was the thought asking if they were genuine or con artists.
If they charged donations I would not care how wealthy they were. But because they have a charge for spiritual teaching and they are pretty significant charges it adds the element that for them enlightenment is only for the wealthy which makes them no different to all the money hungry capitalists charging heaps for low quality products.
Me too. Sir.
I have never got good vibes from Sadhguru.
P.S. I have Now Learned I Am Spiritually Awakening to OUR TRUTH of BEING HUMAN. Love and Enlightenment to ALL.
Don’t you feel that netflix should go on donation (dana) too so that everyone can watch good films and learn from them? Don’t you feel that McDonald’s burgers and kfc chicken should be given on donation basis ?
Here’s the thing buddy. I don’t think that you have understood life even at a kindergarten level. What’s disturbing is your own lack of education in Spirituality.
The most important thing to ask is not if someone who is spiritual is going on the rich man list or not. The main thing to ask is how many corrupt people , people who have shit loads of black money or other assets, or people who have earned money through harming other innocent people like you , by feeding them sugars, tobacco, medicines, calories, addictive substances like ajinomoto ( which are present in your kfc burgers btw) and what not. How many of these people are on the rich man list?
Good people, who are genuinely capable of making conscious change should be empowered. Should be rich. Should have the power to do so. Because mr.christopher , the world needs them.
The world need conscious rich people right now who have the ability to make change. We can’t go on empowering pharma companies, temples , big corporations, tech giants. Because mr. Christopher, the money is going to be there you can do what ever you want. But it will exist. So better it goes into the pockets of some conscious monk like you or Eckhart. Better not go to unconscious destructive people.
Netflix, burger king and McDonald’s don’t offer promises to help people from a spiritual perspective. I don’t recall ever having gone to a fast food place ( I don’t anyway as I’m a rugby player an eat healthily) or sitting down to watch Netflix in the hope it might help me with crippling feelings of depression, that I’m missing something in life, and so on – people who get tangled up in the commercialised world of Eckhart DO.
I noticed you’re American (by the sounds of it) so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that you’re more than happy to promote wealth beyond avarice and worship of profit , as this is what capitalism is all about – profits before people (and no, before you yelp “communism attack”, I don’t believe in communism, or socialism for that matter, I believe we need something new, where greed and the willingness to step over people is encouraged, as it is with capitalism). Eckhart’s actions, don’t fit his recommendations I’m afraid.
Now contrast him with the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thich Nhat Hahn. There is a gulf of a difference isn’t there? They are doing this thing called, walking the talk.
I’m not sure what prompted me to comment really. Mostly that I detest scamsters and money hungry people. I mean, I’m an atheist for crying out loud and it’s my belief when you’re dead, you’re dead, we are just animals after all – science and all that.
But, it does bother me when these spiritual and self help gurus look to absolutely coin it, whilst recommending people let go of materialism and so on. It’s telling that the biggest shelf sections in US (and now, sadly, many European) bookstores are the self help/self improvement sections, filled with scam products from the likes of Napoleon Hill, right on through to Tony Robbins and Tolle.
That’s a spot on reply. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
All these so-called teachers have the same thing in common they propose ways of being and thinking about freeing oneself from the egoic mind while intentionally feeding the minds and egos of others and their own in the form of attributing great wealth. In other words they take advantage of people’s desperate need for liberation from suffering and from feeling lost in order to capitalize off of their desperate desire which stems from the ego. The ego doesn’t just want to be filled with greed and secure itself it also wants to be free but from a desperate place of “I cant do it on my own, I need a master, and/or teacher to help me.” It’s not real, you don’t need to pay anyone taking advantage of your need for liberation of suffering in the form of having you pay them a lot of money and giving your personal attention to them while they do not attend to you on any personal level in order to understand anything and no it wont lead you to self-awareness; instead it’ll just make you co-dependent which benefits capitalism. Anyways remember this if you believe that your natural state is peaceful, liberated, loving, and adequate, you don’t need anything to be yourself; liberated and happy
Look at the life of Mahatma Gandhi or Jesus for that matter. These men did great things and lived in austerity. If you are indeed spiritual, you will understand that one cannot serve two masters.
My first noticing of Eckhart Tolle was when I went thru a “Change both Mentally and Physically” which lead to my confusion of “What just Happened” I have never meditated, followed spiritual anything until I read the Bible. In doing so I noticed deep compassion and emotions that would come alive in my lower abdomen/stomach area. I can’t explain why or how this happened as I have never been interested in many “Preacher’s on TV but all of a sudden these tv channels were showing up and I really began to Love hearing about God and Jesus and when I read the Apostles writings again it stirred something inside of me. The next thing I knee I/within/my Spirit began to slowly show me how Negative the Local TV News was, the Music Inlistened to, even as far as Littering. This was Not Man Taught but Spirit Taught and it grew somewhat slowly over the years..Gossip, Clicks, I felt Other Peoples Negativity just by talking to them and my Energy would become depleted. My Thought process and judgements became loud and clear. Now I am far from a Saint but as more time went by I ended up on Youtube one night and there was Eckhart talking about his Panic Attacks, horrible Night fears, his upbringing and It suddenly occured to me that I was Spiritualy lead to this Man. I focused on his Experiences and Changes as well and than was led Spiritually to yet another YouTube Teacher whom seemed to show me the New growth I had been experiencing and so on. It’s been 10 years.now and the Only Path I am following is the Path that is playing out ad I am Experiencing this Growth of Experiences and to Whom Next has a Teaching/Experience/Explaination as theynhad experienced as well. I am Amazed at how God/Universe has completely changed my Life from WithIn and What a Stronger, Less Fearful, Working on less judging and growing into more Loving I am BeComing and Not by Man or Woman of Any Cult like flow. I do now Meditate as I was led to and I do Love it and find it very amazingly Peaceful like I’ve never felt. Life still gets hard, messy, I still smoke Cigarettes but I notice I’m eating better and feeling better. I also experienced a couple times where I was in such deep mediation that Inliterally lost a whole day and last remembered Meditating before I snapped out of it and had no sense of day or time but quickly ran to my Phone and Clock to see the date and time of day. Than I learned they call that a Spiritual Ascension. Than Instarted getting turned off by certain foods and became physically Ill and that is called Ascension Flu. Than I learned about Blocked Trauma Chakras and as I have looked into that and learned some “Clearing Pointers” they actually helped. This is Not a Mental nor Emotional nor Physical Breakdown. This is a Spiritual Breakthrough and I Am riding this Wave as it comes and subsides at times until my dying day bc I KNOW This IS GOD, Jesus and the Holy Spirit Preparing me to Be Whom He Created Me to Be and that IS a TRUE Spirit having a HUMAN Experience . Be Safe and Listen WithIn not WithOut and Feel Blessed if it Happens to YOU. I Am came Before We Did and I Am is how WE say almost Everything 1st in this Human Being Language. I Am Teresa. I Am a Housekeeper now Retired. I Am a Mom. I Am a Dog owner. All of Who and What I Am came before Me as God said “I Am That.” Bless You All and I Pray WE ALL See the I Am WithIn Ourselves as Human Beings. Lots of Love and Light
I am going to give a very subjective opinion about Tolle so I apologize. I’ve always felt that Tolle was a grifter and too commercially focused.
Also his writing feels like copy pasta of D & W. He grew up in a time when he should have been a disciple of Watts or Dass but he never mentions them. As far as I know.?
He definitely has the potential to awaken people because he exports the dharmic teachings. I think his efforts are on the whole good but yet I still feel he himself comes across as an unabashed capitalist and cult leaderesque. Maybe because he looks like Linus from lost. Maybe. ?
Anyway, the world is probably better for his book in it. Although…I would really recommend Ram Dass and Watts talks on Youtube or their writings instead. As far superior.
Thank you very much Justin.
I have a similar view as yours.
Tho Eckart’s voice / teaching is one of the only that resonate with me / really points me in the right direction, the to many emails I get every weeks, trying to sell me ether CDs or events, gives me an weird taste in my mouth.
I have a few books of his, and probably have watched all his free YouTube videos, and they have helped a lot.
But my mind can’t but wonder why he is charging so much, if his goal is “really” to enlighten as many of us as possible. And this article show just about how much wealth he has, and perhaps how unethical all this is. And why doesn’t he take some of that wealth to really help people. I get that all needs to be making a living. But unless he is building some sort of non profit center to enlighten the planet, just goes in his bank account. I can’t say what his intentions truly are at this point. Due to all this.
I’ve listened to a lot of Watts over the years.
Quite enjoyable as well. And you could get all his
Audio sessions on DVD or download, plus all his books, and you would still have only paid about 1/4 of the attendance fee to one of Eckart’s speeks.
I love Tollé. He got me the closest to the truth.
But this money thing is always going to be in my mind.
And in a way, I chosen to take this as a practice in itself.
Yo not let my mind think about that fact to much 😀
Perhaps he is collecting all those millions to eventually build enlightenment centers around the world, where you can attend his readings for free? One can only hope.
Anywho, I just wanted to take the time to thank you for suggesting Ram Dass, as I never heard of him. And his teachings seems quite good and similar to Tollé.
Plus, on his .org website, you can find a lot, if not all, of his teachings, audio as well, for free. And downloadable.
Again, all needs to make a living. Ram Dass way of doing things should be the way for any enlightenment teachers to follow. People that appreciate you, will give you money, and buy extra stuff from you, to thank you and show appreciation.
Plus, hey, he is seen as a religious entity for tax purposes.
Meaning no taxes to pay on all those millions ? Ummm.
Hey, I still love you Mr. Tollé, if you read this.
But, unless you have some secret plans to free the world somehow, please consider going inside, and show us that you are also practicing your own teachings.
Sincerely, a lost soul seeking my way home.
People cherry pick who they want to.
There so much more in this world to focus on.
And replies are cherry picked too.
This is just another disgruntled group hding under spiritual growth.
So much more to tear down.
I find it interesting this article (opinion) is still receiving comments 7 years after it’s posting. Obviously some have an ego they have not confronted, it is not Mr. Tolle.
Money and material wealth are pants.
They are unique to homo sapiens and they disempower them.
Capitalism relies on greed , why would you want to support that? ?
I think that’s why most spiritually enlightened people traditionally steered clear of material accumulation .
Keep safe! Challenge the concept that being wealthy means accumulating money and lots of possessions.
I think the future of homo sapiens and the beautiful planet we are privileged to be part of depends on it.
Thank you for all your comments over several years. This might be the first time I have written a comment. I have received a full range of appreciations and criticisms of my concerns about spirituality and accumulation of immense wealth. Thank you for taking the time to write. Jesus said: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19.23). I still agree with Jesus, who stated this on more than one occasion.
May the teachings of Eckhart Tolle continue to be beneficial and insightful.
May all being understand the inter-dependence of the past, the present and the future
May all beings understand the timeless – unbound to past, the now and future.
Jesus also said,”Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. Better a ”spiritual teacher” than an arms dealer. Don’t be jealous of wealth, one can only eat one dinner and sleep in one bed at a time.
The Red Cross once experimenting give out money instead of food in a famine. It didn’t work.
Patrick, please keep your projections to yourself. We aren’t “jealous” of Eckhart Tolle! lol.
There are people in history that I am absolutely envy. People who made wonderful contributions to this Earth precisely because they walked the talk. Eckhart Tolle is not one of them. Why would we be jealous of mere financial wealth? Many of the worst villains on Earth have piles of money. I have zero desire to switch places with them.
The fact that you are putting Tolle above criticism is part of our complaint. Tolle supporters point to our egos as the source of our problem with Tolle. Yet what part of his supporters are judging us for having criticisms? THEIR egos! Hello!
And amazingly, that is ok. Everybody is allowed to be flawed and everybody is allowed to be criticized. Eckhart included. Pro-tip: Worshiping a human being is usually a pretty bad bet. It is a form of groveling. A commenter (Hokken) said it best when they said that most of these spiritual teachers are “deluxe monkeys”. They are no better than we are and their grift depends on people looking to be “saved” by another person. Simply take what the person says that resonates with you and run with it. No need to proverbially kiss their butt because you enjoyed a lecture.
I listened to what was unusual for Eckhart Tolle, a video teaching from the bible of Jesus’ words at the end of the sermon on the Mount concerning the wise man building his house on the rock and the foolish man building on the sand. He talked about it in terms of referring to suffering and completely missed the introduction to that passage where Jesus says that anyone who listens to his words (the sermon on the mount that preceeds) and does them, is like the wise man.
The great irony is that the passage immediately before is about false teachers and is directly connected to the one which Tolle taught on. He completely exposed his ignorance (and arrogance) in bringing his own off the wall interpretation. But then the essence of his teaching, so common to New Age philosophy, is the power of self, and that you can be like god – without him.
It is exactly the same deception given by the serpent, (representing satan) in Eden and indeed marks Eckart Tolle as one of the false teachers, the anti- Christ’s. Tolle so ironically ignores this when he expounded Matthew chapter 24-27. Whether or not Tolle is rich us largely immaterial, it is the love of money which is the root of evil, not money itself.
God alone can judge Echart’s motives in making money, though they may well be exposed by what he does with it. However, Jesus teachings about false teachers were given as warnings so that we could judge by truth and not be seduced. It is tragic that so many of his followers are completely blind to his dead-end and self-centred path of so called enlightenment. It is directly opposed to the Christian teaching that he claims to understand.
Maybe your understanding and interpretation of Jesus’ teachings are completely wrong and his are correct and perfect. You talk about his arrogance, but your irritatingly pompous comment reeks of arrogance. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
ALSO, your interpretation of Eckhart’s teaching is completely off, too. He does not teach that you can become like God without him. Not at all. You totally and completely missed it. He teaches that you can become a fully functioning, creative, powerful, centered, peaceful human being ONLY by depending on God, and that any other way you will always fail and suffer. Only, he doesn’t call that superior power God, but the one consciousness.
I would say that you’re misrepresenting Mr. Tolle by ascribing his teaching by describing them as being “New Age philosophy”…. The Scriptures are full of multiple meanings that’s one of their magical qualities. While Hip-Hop artists might impress themselves with their “doubles” and “triples” of only some of their bars, this pales in comparison to the scriptures (Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Baha’i) which contain whatever the word would be for thousands of simultaneous meanings for not just some but practically every word.
Mr. Tolle claims to never really study religion and I find this claim credible, but I have a doubt that his psychological transformation was a) authentic and b) from God. The type of transformation Jesus speaks of many times when he speaks of persons being resurrected. Eckahart Tolle seems to have been genuinely resurrected from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive, and furthermore he describes this process in a personal experiential manner in his books. However. he also exposes the limitations of having such an experience, on this side of divide between life and the afterlife. Because in the end this really seems to be more psychological than spiritual—although, obviously, there is no real separation between the two. The point, for me, is I don’t regard Mr. Tolle as being very spiritually deep (despite his resurrection), but I do regard him as being practically perfectly sane. Along the lines, I agree with Mr. Tolle’s assessment that state of conscious awareness where the mind is always going, running in the background and not really under the voluntary control of the person a horrible mental affliction—although, one not recognized by the mental health establishment today because virtually everyone alive is suffering from it.
He is one man reaching millions of people.
With all the problems in the world, you focus on him who is guiding millions.
Jealousy is not peace within.
You spend time to do research on him.
All to make yourself look better than him by quoting the bible and making yourself look aligned by it.
I can see through your intent. It just doesn’t come across as a peaceful person living with no resistence.
Actually causing conflict.
Practice what you preach and find peace within and look at all the simple things in life. Don’t just say it and not follow it. Find more peace and you will focus on what is already right in front of you.
“Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.”
In this society money is power. It creates a subtle distortion of truth.
In truth there is this infinite universe of limitless love and truth.
Yet we live on a finite planet with finite resources there is enough to sustain us but not for each person to accumulate excess. This is obvious and readily apparent.
The planet requires that we live
in harmony with its natural cycles of production and regeneration. The future of humanity depends on this.
The accumulation of great wealth is not harmless.
Our teachers need to model right livelihood to have credibility. Eckhart is silent on this….
Notice his jokes and humor revolve around put downs of the non-enlightened individuals and masses. Its subtle but there..Humor without putdowns require a refinement of heart and mind.
There is a permeating arrogance behind his mask , don’t be attached to your money, job or partner while he accumulates excess.
The commodification of spirituality is rampant once its after taste is experienced its hard to ignore.
Great blog, thanks for questioning the unspeakable!
And thank you for speaking our thoughs.
You speak wisdom, and point out the truth.
The ? Mark was supposed to be the thank you emoticon. Sorry, this site doesn’t allow those.
So to be clear, I’m not questioning your saying.
It was interesting listening to Joel Osteen talk today about God brings people wealth and that his church is worth $400 million dollars and the church is no longer a second class citizen because of that. God has brought them wealth.
And by working hard, you will receive many benefits this year like income, wealth, new contracts, all gifts from God.
Christopher, could you compare that with Ekhart Tolle. And also compare the wealth of the Vatican with Ekhart Tolle?
The Vatican is estimated worth between 10 and 15 billion dollars.
What are your thoughts of this massive wealth in religion as compared to your thoughts of Ekhart Tolle’s wealth?
And what is the individual threshold where one prrson has too much wealth in today’s world?
I look forward to your response.
Neither Eckhart Tolle nor the Catholic Church preach a “prosperity Gospel”. So I don’t understand the logic behind the attempt to associate the three?
The Catholic Church spends all the money it brings in each year, much of it charitably. It is very misleading to call the Catholic Church wealthy as that wealth formulated from its real estate and artistic holdings. The Church could sell its Churches (and the property they’re built upon) but then where would Catholics assemble? As for the art? The Bishops understand that to be as much of a spiritual trust as the profane world considers it a material trust? In other words, who’s putting the material value on that stuff, anyway? If the churches sold the art for money, then to what end—it’s not like the Vatican just has this money hanging around that it’s refusing to spend on the poor? Although, there is some legitimacy in criticizing the Vatican’s involvement with banking—and indeed there have been multiple scandals involving its banking activity. Nevertheless, Catholic church’s (because each Bishop controls the wealth of their respective Church) as a combined entity does more daily for the poor all around the world than any other institution on the planet, and as it currently stands this is sustainable while if the Church sold what it could for money where would any future monies come from to help the poor after that money had been spent?
As for Mr. Tolle one might legitimately criticize him for not doing anything charitable with his money, but in the end it is his money. My understanding is that Mr. Tolle doesn’t really do anything with the money at all. It just sits there growing in the bank, and he feels neither the compulsion to defend that, explain it or use it. This again is very different that Mr. Olstein’s explicitly non-Christan “prosperity gospel”.
This was one big complaining festival for someone who’s jealous of someone else’s success. I’m happy for his success and he has earned it. Instead of tearing someone else down go out and try to make the world a better place. I don’t see Ekhart spreading hate, ever think that maybe that’s why you’re poor and he’s not?
I don’t know the man or his teachings. I am here quite by accident, and I find it fascinating that there are such divergent opinions of this “enlightened” person. As an outsider ignorant of his work, it seems that he must be providing information of substantial value to a lot of people.
To those who believe he should charge much less, or not at all, my question is, why? Is the info. not worth the price? – from what I read, that doesn’t seem the case. And for people who can afford the price, would they value the information as much if it was free? I doubt it, because they are used to paying for something of value, and most are suspicious of freebies and would be asking themselves “What’s the catch”.
If people who cannot afford the in-person classes have access to the information for free, what more do you expect from the man? After all, it looks like the information is the item of most value – not the person who delivers it. Also, to me it looks like his methods of distributing the info. allow anyone who wants it to have access to it. Seems like a win – win for all.
Right.I love the guy Eckhart.I just erased two full e mails about Ekchart Tolle and the twists of life with I and another , and Eckhart and he is so much a lovely guy…but anyway … It’s the teachings .. But ” swing things material to help the ethereal…YES! ” …Lets trust Ekchart will do something cool in that direction. Maybe a big wad is needed for something , or maybe trust that people’s fear and uncertainty about Eckhart’s teachings due to saved riches …that will be put to rest by something really good happening with the money of course…I would love!
Then put it to rest ! Have enough worry than to worry over why with the money they’ve got they don’t do what they don’t do.
Stick with the teachings and see what gives I suppose?
Has anyone ever seen how tolle lives? He lives very modestly… In a small apartment,. And he doesn’t vacation in all the hotspots around the world, he doesn’t seek to buy the best products… He only buys what he needs to live… Also don’t you know that he is one of the very few humans on this earth who have 1 foot rooted in this earthly dimension and his other foot firmly planted on the other side. You can see when he speaks that he’s drunk with bliss… He’s so high and so full of bliss that it’s bursting out of his chest. Sometimes he struggles with words because human language doesn’t come easy when you’re so full of peace. as far as what does he do with his money? He gives out to many many charities… He’s not boastful in telling everybody that… Look at the clothes he wears… The car he drives… Does this seem like a man who is interested in showing the world how much money he has? He is truly egoless, And realizes the money is meaningless… It actually seems to mean a heck of a lot more to you than it does to him. My thoughts are that your practices are not working and it sounds like you do not see the oneness in everything. Remember there is only one source… And that is us, all manifesting as separate individuals… So if Eckhart Tolle is wealthy… Don’t you think you’re just as wealthy as him? Just because he has more pieces of paper that are green and have some president stamped on it there’s no indication of wealth whatsoever… Wealth if you forgot, is how connected you are to the source within you. You are as he said, a begger sitting on a box and you don’t know that that box is filled with $ a100 million. Also don’t you realize that Eckhart never talks about money? He never asks for it, he never solicits, he never tries to sell his books or audio tapes or retreats… It’s only the promoters that do that… He’s so far removed from the ledger sheet it’s not even funny… his only concern or only desire is to sit on a park bench, and talk to himself. The park bench is the stage, and the self are you and I. The only question you should be asking, is how awake is he… And he is one of the last few living scenes as he is completely awake… Compared him to Nisarra Gadata, The Indian sage who was a purported enlightened being… But anyone could say it was nothing of the like…Anybody who is a chain-smoking wildly gesticulating individual, it’s not an awakened being… He relied on the nicotine high rather than the naturally occurring blissful being coursing through the body, but he’s easy to spot as a fraud… Well easy for me anyway, he has fooled many… Also I surmise that your blog article was simply a devil advocate piece, and you don’t believe that… You just want to get people talking about spirituality… Nicely done ruse 🙂
Yes, I think you’ve nailed Mr. Tolle’s problem (to the extent that it is a problem at all—presumably not for him, although certainly it seems for lots of other persons): the guy doesn’t seem to spend enough effort thinking about money. He just lets it sit there in the bank and doesn’t use it for anything—not for himself, but also not for others. But then he also keeps charging a premium for his services so that his wealth keeps growing. Of course, whatever he’d use it for would generate its own criticism (even a charitable use of it), but this still leaves the criticism open: why is he charging so much for access to his presence, since this action would make it appear too many that his goal is to keep increasing his wealth?
I love this post because it offers Truth. No one would have a problem with what is simply factual unless it cast a light on where their lives are lacking Truth. Extreme wealth is an obvious sign of dysfunction as all excess creates a lack of balance. Eckhart Tolle seems like a genuinely kind man who is fallible and self-centered like the majority of humankind. This is noteworthy because people are dropping money by the thousands under the false notion that he’s special. People will always tell themselves the real answers can be found externally because acknowledging that’ll Truth (that they can only be found within) means that we are required to take full responsibility for our suffering. THANK YOU for writing this post! Those who seek the Truth will find it valuable!!
Just because a person teaches about spirituality doesn’t mean they should not get paid IMO. They have a role, it takes time and time is the only thing we can never get back. Everyone deserves to be paid for their time. Who knows what he does with his money anyway? For all you know he donated a lot.
I am currently attending my second free online retreat with Eckhart and Kim. They have a foundation to bring teachings to those who cannot afford the sticker price. As far as accessibility, the teachings are very easy to access for anyone. YouTube is full of their recordings and they don’t seem to go after accounts that don’t have permission to post their content, they allow it to stay.
As far as how one supports oneself financially, none of your business? I don’t think he ever claimed to follow any set of rules or even be some kind of monk.
To put it “zen”: this author is analysing finger that points to the Moon 🙂
This article was not written by a person who is spiritually awaken 🙂
Quote from this article (published in 2009) -> “He never made a conscious decision to promote himself, he maintains, and it’s hard not to believe him: he isn’t surrounded by a loyal band of followers, and he seems to live, Vancouver penthouse flat notwithstanding, much as he ever did.”
Source / URL : https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/apr/11/eckhart-tolle-interview-spirituality
Isn’t the whole idea to be practicing non judgment as that leads to suffering?
Why are so many worried about what another man does or doesn’t do with his money?
You don’t know whether he is attached or unattached to the money, nor could you ever really confirm that. Focus on you and your awakening or growth or dissolution of ego. Whatever you’re working with. What he does really doesn’t have anything to do with you.
If you like his message, great, soak it in, if you don’t like his message, great, ignore it. So many appear to be suffering in these posts in regards to something that doesn’t have anything to do with them. I hope you get well soon. Just remember you suffer to the extent that you judge.
No, that’s hypocrisy – wake up.
Well said, I agree. I can’t afford the retreat, but I’m happy with the books and webinars. They have helped me immensely. I’m not going to begrudge someone their right to go on a retreat just because it’s not in the cards for me. Also, I can’t imagine giving a second’s though wondering what someone does with their money, much less ask them.
Hmm judging others because they have discernment…
My issue with this blog post is that it’s framed by Christopher’s blog ‘A Buddhist’s perspective,’ though feels more like a rant. It’s not that I disagree with the content or questions, I don’t. But the post felt quite accusatory.
I definitely question the millions he is making and feel uncomfortable with the price of his courses. I guess the question a lot of us might ponder is what is he doing with his money. Which is kind of none of our business, however, I feel it is appropriate to question whether his growing personal wealth and his desire for more, is compatible with his spiritual teachings.
I feel like he would give an honest answer to that question. Although you would probably need more than one answer to get to the truth.
When we get in touch with our inner stillness blessings are poured on you like rain out of the sky, I know because during my life I have experienced this but being not good at self discipline I was unable to maintain this, Eckhart clearly has and reaped untold riches, he didn’t set out to make money but everything he touches literally turns to gold, even if he was not famous this abundance would have come to him in other forms, try it and you will be pleasantly surprised, peace be.
What a timely comment. One would think that true inner stillness, whatever that really means, would be it’s own reward. Made during a time when the lobotomized crowds are wearing masks as the middle class is slowly brought to its knees through lockdowns etc.
People have already died from Pfizer vaccines. There’s a particular ‘power’ to ‘NOW’. As it anagrams into ‘OWN’. There’s also a NEW WORLD on the horizon, in which YOU WILL BE OWNED and subsequently stripped of power.
That’s all we needed in this discussion: the world as seen through conspiracy theories.
Over 500,000 Americans died before the vaccines became available. How many were killed by Pfizer, did you say?
Now who is lobotomized.
all gurus are fake all spiritual practises are fake.there is nothing to understand no heightened state to be attained.all spiritual states are thought created in order to generate false hope. that is how self-awareness perpetuates it self
I would love to hear you explain how you know this for sure. You seem so definite in your comments. It is as if you believe you have the one true answer to life. Why should I be convinced by what you say? And why should I believe you more than any guru?
I like your comment Nick.
Yes, people have to get up, go to work and pay bills. It is hard work and challenges people everyday to deal with work, competitive job market, personal health, children, family, relationships.
I feel when someone is awakened, the value of peace is so high, the self awareness is so high, the understanding of others is so high, that the belief in God and the universe, creation leaves you in a state of the deepest gratitude and compassion. You cannot lose that. The compassion part is exactly what he is doing. He did not keep that knowledge and wisdom for himself. He is eager to pass it on to people. And he does it in a way that is different than Buddhism, Religion & Bible, Psychology. He knows his soul which is very rare for any human on earth. He began sharing this wisdom in his apartment I think. To people in and around his circle. Now, he inspires millions world wide and changes perspectives. Ultimately, the changed perspectives lead to God or highlight God to a higher degree. The same or similar principles or wisdom as Buddhism and Religion. He has a gift from God and a new way of teaching people. All that gives him the joy he already has in his life. Money does not enhance that even though he has it.
Very judgmental. Someone can be spiritually enlightened and wealthy. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
His big sin is he isn’t transparent about what charities he gives to? and he doesn’t offer free personal enlightenment sessions? Good grief. The world has much bigger problems and much more problematic people.
The problematic people are called capitalists (no, I don’t support communism, or socialism for that matter), big business interests, their political puppets and media chums (the propoganda wing as I call them). You cannot have infinite growth from a finite planet.
I’m an atheist, I believe in science and research. To that end, I can tell you thing; There is a climate change catastrophe coming down the road and it will not leave anyone unscathed. Mass starvations with billions dying as large parts of the planet become uninhabitable, mass migrations, water shortages, war over resources, it’s all coming.
I’d be worried about that if I were you. Remember that when you think about those chasing endless growth via wealth who have created this mess. Our species is on its way down, sadly as the greedy animal of the kingdom that we are, well be driving every other organism who has to share the planet with us to extinction, too. Aren’t we great. You’ll be seeing the writing on the wall over the next decade, won’t be pleasant. Spirituality probably won’t help very much either.
You can thank them later, by the way (big business such as Amazon and so on, politicians,the media) for lying about what’s coming.
I’m really quite shocked from all the reactions to this post. I just don’t get it and I guess I only seek to find one answer… to all the people who agree with this post and think that Eckhart Tolle is a fake, would you all feel better and believe him if he was homeless?
I highly doubt people would start listening to a homeless guy talking about awareness or enlightenment or consciousness. I guarantee that if a homeless guy did this he would be on the news or YouTube or on some social media site and everyone would be saying he is crazy. Yes Tolle has made money from his retreats and books etc but does that make him a fake? He could have never reached that many people if he didn’t become famous for being spiritual. Isn’t Jesus famous too? If spiritual leaders didn’t become famous how would we know about them? Aren’t all religions making money in some way or another? Don’t churches pass around a tray so the people attending can pay a fee for who knows what?
I don’t want to say that one view is more right than someone else’s as we are all entitled to our own opinion, but I just don’t understand what difference it makes how much money he has. He has helped thousands of people through difficult times in their life and that’s all that matters. The person who wrote this post, and in particular the person who claims to have known Eckhart Tolle, should look at their own reflection and maybe focus more on what they don’t like about themselves.
After my awakening I went to a Buddhist Monestary to speak to a Monk about my experience. I was told me experience was very rare for any human on earth. For about 7 months I wrote my new perspectives and later confirmed them through psychology and spiritual teachers. There is still so much to learn. I talk to some people and try to inspire them when they have large challenges in their life and they kind of understand what I am saying to them. Others lose what I am saying or do not understand it at all. For others who have had near death experiences, I seem to give them understanding of what they experienced and what they feel today. I will never reach millions of people and am not enlightened. I have no desire to be popular and reach millions of people. To do so, would be such a big reduction of the peace I feel. I feel that people who go out of their way to teach to millions of people are putting themselves at the same thing. It would be a true test of presence to do so. In my awakened state, I felt pure peace and never did think of these things as it was so profound, I simply was amazed at what I felt. After my awakening, I thanked God. Today, gurus that are free to watch help me as much as I feel I want to understand. I realize challenges are in our life in mind and body sometimes daily, weekly or they can last for long periods such as a week or two. It was intersting visiting the Buddhist Monestary because realized how big and beautiful the house was. For me, I have a degree and live cheque to cheque. I remember telling the Monk that I still have goals to buy my own house as I have always rented. I pointed out that the large house the Monks lived in would have been perfect for me and my 5 children. I still want to buy a house one day. If I get to the point of that and begin to accumulate some modest wealth, it is not the wealth that intersts me, it’s the amount I need to live a very modest life in this relentless world that requires us to pay for all we have. I say relentless because we can become homeless or live in poverty especially as a retired person. And if we live 30 years past retirement, we need money. Ekhart’s teachings are a model of reaching millions of people. Many people find that the price paid is related to the value. I read that Sadhguru spoke with over 100 world leaders. The fame is partly to what lead to that I believe. It’s marketing to influence these world leaders. I’m sure there are awakened people in areas all over the world that help others in their neighborhood or small circle. They will not or do not desire to help millions of people. Helping millions of people is truly a special talent and desire. You face criticism for something you simply enjoyed privately amongst your small circle but the payoff is the feeling of helping others. When you are enlightened, I believe the peace you have within, is greater than anything money can buy. You protect that peace by following your own routine of mindful practice. I can see how that can be more difficult for people like Ekhart and Sadhguru. It’s one thing to be a monk but it’s another to experience an awakening or to advance further to enlightenment. They all can teach but the actual experience is something that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
I’d say the first key point to consider is attachment.
I have very little but quite attached to it yet I have worked for men of great wealth who give away freely.
For me the second key point is why people spend so much on these books, conferences etc. ? What is it they think they can get from someone else ?
Thirdly the Dalai Lama is backed by an incredibly wealthy organisation.
Christopher Titmuss: Do not ever stop speaking your truth about the many hypocrisies associated with the person known as Eckhart Tolle. People who hang onto Tolle’s every word will attack you like a savage beast. LET THEM! I have never met such a level or Arrogance that protrudes from Eckhart Tolle. The fact that he would be endorsed through Oprah is enough to convince me that I would never personally consider a word he has to say. If the students who worship Tolle had “truly arrived” at the state of mind that Tolle states we need to arrive at, then they would never be motivated to attack you. No one who defends Tolle has found enlightenment in any way and nor will they ever. One cannot follow another person into enlightenment. One can only follow themselves.
Exactly, thank you.
This is an appalling analysis Mr. Titmuss… sounds like YOU have a problem with Eckart’s money and success… ? See I’m just an ordinary person living on a small health pension but Eckart’s fortune doesn’t bother me… he is a great teacher and his success has brought him fame and fortune. So what ? At least it is not in a dishonest way like many… As the saying goes, the problem lies in the person who feels disturbed… I would suggest you go and look inside yourself what it is that triggers so much reaction and criticism.
You’re a very troubled man. Don’t associate your thinking with Buddhism or Dharma for their sake, please.
i agree vast personal wealth and spiritual awakening do not go togeather especially when the wealth come from the supposed awakening
Thanks Christopher Titmuss for an excellent post.
Theres no way around it, for sure, material wealth and spiritual health don’t go together.
Some of the most deserving people who would benefit so very much from teachings are excluded .
Yes, we all have to eat and provide shelter for ourselves (is capitalism really the most intelligent way of doing this…? Looking deeply and with an open heart I think the honest answer is not at all )
There are ways of helping those folks , once you’ve fed yourself why not live modestly and use your “wealth” to provide free retreats ?
I just think that money doesn’t make you rich. I do think that it’s a great tool for feeding greed though and no one is immune to its siren call which is why adhering to a modest life is the safest way to protect yourself and your community.
I can’t say for sure if Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra have actually reached enlightenment or not. There is no doubt that both have had deeply personal spiritual experiences, but that is not enlightenment by itself. Given the fact that both have worked very hard In order to profit from the God given truth that we are all a part of, I tend to suspect that both are somewhat fraudulent. However, what any truly enlightened individual knows is that it doesn’t matter. If their experience of life is meant to show them that wealth isn’t important, and if your experience of life is meant to show you that you that you don’t need to concern yourself with the life paths of another, then both needs are being fulfilled. What is, is. It’s that simple. Opinion is irrelevant as is any “thing” else. It is all just patterns of energy doing what energy within the realm of duality does. You mustn’t concern yourself with such things, they only distract you from the real truth, which is what you seek.
(2/2) There is one more very personal perspective I want to leave you with. Eckhardt Tolle’s wealth and celebrity helped his message get to me. I had already consumed so much content on Vedanta, Buddhism, Daoism, Jordan Peterson and what not. But Tolle’s words were still like eureka moments. If we are all unified consciousness and Tolle is working in its service, his growth is probably willed by that consciousness! If you get this intuition, try surrendering to this thought and not let mind drag you down from a state of peace! Because chaos will put up a fight against the rise of consciousness within you!
Mr. Titmuss, I’m baffled by your subtle attack on Eckhart Tolle. First of all, your outlook rides on a very narrow principle of what a person should/should not do with their personal wealth. The personal wealth that they have worked for their whole life.
But more importantly, two pieces of crucial information have escaped your research, somehow:
1. There are literally thousands of free Eckhart Tolle material anyone can access on the web, including YouTube videos, articles, free mini-series, etc.
2. The Eckhart Tolle Foundation provides scholarship and volunteering opportunities to those who would like to attend his retreats but are not able to afford to. Similarly, it offers scholarship towards online courses, as well. The application process is ridiculously easy. You basically write a couple of paragraphs to explain why you are passionate about Eckhart’s teachings and attending the specific retreat/course, and why you need the scholarship.
I’m not even going to go into the wisdom and absolute necessity of his teachings. I’ve seen many people express that here in the comments, including how they were affected personally. More people like Eckhart Tolle is exactly what we need in this world.
I’m poor, I was able to access a scholarship to his new teaching of conscious manifestation which had a value of $300 just by asking. But I do see your point in grappling with the teachings of Jesus as Eckhart refers often and charging such prices to see him in physical form. I myself would like to think if given such vast amounts of money, I would take what is needed and only do good with the rest ? have a great day
As a complete contrast to the high prices charged by Eckhart Tolle and others for their seminars etc. one has only to look at the beautiful books Theravada Buddhists give for free and the monasteries in the lineage of Ajahn Chah in the U.K. and elsewhere that are wonderful and completely non-commercial! I find that really inspiring, though I admit that they have the advantage of having support from local immigrant populations of Thais and Sri Lankans.
I’m in AA and joined a book study group thinking it would be based on their literature. It turned out to be a study on The Power of Now. So I plonked down my 10 bucks and sat down and listened. I have grown more uncomfortable the further I read. AA is self supporting through member contributions. The groups cannot make a profit, or own the buildings they meet in, or endorse any church or treatment facility. We say you have to give it away to keep it. We seek to stay sober and sane by living our lives by a few (12) time tested spiritual principles. I think I’m going to leave the book with the book study group and use my time to help another alcoholic stay sober.
That’s unusual that such a book that has nothing to do with AA, its members or its program would be approved for use within the program, unless it was an independent group that was meeting outside of AA. That would bother me too. In Alanon we use conference approved literature because we know a lot of eyes have looked at it and know the message of recovery isn’t being bastardized. If it happened in Alanon, and it was a book study under the umbrella of Alanon, someone would probably speak up and say it’s not our literature, we should not be using it. If one wants to meet somewhere outside the program feel free, but if we’re meeting as an Alanon family group, we need to have literature that we trust. That’s how the program stays on track and doesn’t get derailed. There’s nothing the matter with reading other books but there’s a time and place. I would not want to read Tolle’s book in an Al-Anon group. I do understand where you are coming from and glad you shared what you did. I think Tolle is a lightweight and I would rather read heavyweights, the most humble of sages whose words have stood the test of time. I’m sick of these self appointed so called enlightened pretenders. You and your cohorts in 12 steps have far more wisdom I am betting than Tolle and what does a meeting cost a person – a $1 donation?
It’s also free to become a Catholic or an Orthodox—or a Muslim for that matter. Although I do think that many Catholics (as well as Muslims for ritual prayer) would benefit from the Power of Now in regard to participating in the Mass. The Orthodox on the hand haven’t lost touch as much touch with this practice of presence in their tradition. My point though is that both of these religious practices probably offer more for the majority of people today than would Theravada Buddhism. In fact, Theravada Buddhism outside of monastic life isn’t really Theravada Buddhism at all, as for the meditation modalities these are present already in the generalized form of secular meditation known as the mindfulness meditation practice being studied scientifically, which of course everyone should practice (according to objective scientific research). But by itself probably not sufficient to really contribute to one’s spiritual attainment—outside of the positive psychological transformation it can effect. I think that’s part of the problem with people understanding of Eckhart Tolle too: he didn’t have spiritual experience so much as a psychological one, at least to the extent that we can separate any experience into those two categories…. Likewise, today Buddhism doesn’t have much to spiritually offer someone, beyond the psychological transformation.
Time to reread his books. Often with the passage of time….we suddenly understand.
Pick it up asap…and reread. If it still doesnt resonate with you, then, like the rest of us, you may take all the “time” you need.
The anger of the Tolle worshippers is hilarious! They are so lacking in ‘The Power of Now’ that they are writhing and frothing in rage at the very thought of criticism of their ‘lord and saviour’.
I have read some of his drivel and seen some of his YouTube videos, yet have never got further than a few pages or a few minutes before finding something better to do. I met Tolle in the early ’90s, and he talked drivel then, too.
Good for him: he proves that a sucker is indeed born every minute!
And if sad people who are incapable of finding meaning in their privileged lives are happy to throw some of their excess cash in Tolle’s direction, then why should he refuse it? And the same sad people will damned well believe it because they have paid for it. That’s how modern consumerism works, and that’s how the ‘New Age’ movement has always worked; and both movements have been around for about the same length of time (C.100 years or so).
But let’s not forget that money is just a form of energy, and all energy ultimately comes from the ‘higher divine oneness’ that resides within everything, even if YOU don’t realise. And if YOU don’t know this as your ‘spiritual’ experience, then that’s because YOU have not attained the ‘higher levels of consciousness’! BUY MORE OF MY BOOKS, LOSERS!
Anyway, I must go and engage in Supreme Tantra for a few kalpas!
A good point that people get deluded when they see spiritual teachers have wealth but Eckhart at least acknowledged that he asked the universe for wealth in one of his videos so it’s not like he’s hiding anything. Moreover he has spent considerable time in his life with uncertainty about money.
And the most important thing is that his books are enough to instigate awakening unlike a few other teachers who only write theoretical stuffs about spirituality and in order to get practical understanding you must attend their programs but in case of Eckhart his books are enough. Of course the programs would be better but it’s law of nature that as you become better in what you do you the high demand raises the money value of what you’re offering.
I am asking the universe for wealth today .
As long as the spiritual world remaining poor, the greedy and bad business will have the money. Which is not serving anyone.
Money is just energy if someone is an abundant spiritual being and the money energy will attract to them.
I believe this is actually a good thing if all the spiritual teachers are wealthy so they can serve even more people in the world
Rather than a company like Coca-cola, and another business practice is making money from people on addictions.
I am here today to help merge spiritual and business, so we can really shift the world in a big way.
I think it is fair to raise the concerns that you have done about the amounts that Eckhart Tolle is charging for his seminars.
I’m involved in open source computing and software developers often ask for donations for the good softwares that they produce. However, the level of donations are often quite modest (even from those that can afford it) and certainly not enough to live on. Therefore, I don’t have a problem in anyone charging for their services, Eckhart Tolle included.
His books and ebooks are cheap and and affordable, he provides the core guidances and course essentials for free on his Youtube channel and his own website. He is also one of the very few modern teachers who supplies powerful binaural beat meditations absolutely free of charge and that really is rare. He does offer extra tuition and support to anyone for a couple of hundred USD a year; that is more affordable and people can stop at any time.
The people I’ve come across who come from wealthy and privileged backgrounds just do not have a clue about how the rest of us live, e.g. budgeting, having to save, not having enough money to do stuff and so if Eckhart Tolle is taking large sums from such people for retreats then he is doing two very good things – he’s enabling those wealthy people to become more compassionate, concerned and awakened individuals and, very importantly, he’s using those same funds to provide all the free stuff for everyone else who cannot afford to go on the retreats. I just do not see a problem here.
On a personal note, I did buy his Power of Now book a few years ago but I couldn’t see what he was getting at. Now that I’m watching his free Youtube talks, I’m starting to get it and see the points and concepts that he is trying to make.
Tim, this is a very interesting take on his pricey retreats – I quote you with “and so if Eckhart Tolle is taking large sums from such people for retreats then he is doing two very good things – he’s enabling those wealthy people to become more compassionate, concerned and awakened individuals and, very importantly, he’s using those same funds to provide all the free stuff for everyone else who cannot afford to go on the retreats.” – I still think access to him personally would be amazing and so valuable, as Christopher correctly remarked. But you do have a point here – I’m still glad I discovered this amazing human being and got so much out of the little money I spent, am on a shoestring budget like so many people.
Well said. And, I also have only experienced him through the many free YT videos. I have the Power of Now, but it doesn’t do much for me. But, his videos show me he’s the real deal. But, Christopher has great questions and a great recommendation at the end of his commentary. But, unlike J. Geils, first I look at the teachings and really don’t concern myself with the purse.
Where is he on the “Richs-Mans-List”? Cant find him on forbes.
Hi Guys, Happy New Year! Just wondering.. have thought about the expenses he might have when he organizes retreats?? Because he’s very unlikely to take all hte money for him. venues, expenses of all sort, plus VAT, plus tax plus insurance…etc you know what I mean? It’s not only how much you earn it’s how much to spend that’s important. If you’re not self employed you cannot really understand. As far as I’m concerned, I’m following a lot of ‘gurus’ Tolle, Hicks, Burt Goldman.. to be honest, every time I feel better, it helps me deal with life, and that’s enough. I never spent anything for a retreat all the contents available on youtube for free are enough, plus the books. just wanted to share my thoughts with you. All the best!
Why dig into his wealth,just use his wisdom,I do,and it’s quite cheap.
This is a terrific blog. Thanks Christopher. My wife and I have often discussed these topics. What are Adyashanti, Gangaji and Eckhart (to name a few) doing with all their millions?! As followers of Ramana Maharshi and other Advaita Vedanta teachers who never lived in extravagance or were involved with money, it is sad to see a gathering of ‘personal’ wealth through spirituality when so many are in great need.
@michael, I think that there’s a key test of whether a spiritual teacher has gone rotten.
That’s when they start to do really extravagant self-aggrandisement expenditures or projects like buying half a dozen Rolls-Royces or building a huge new mansion for themselves that’s full of gold leaf, that kind of thing.
I only recently listened to him. One reason I have not is when I saw oprah was his new best friend. I found his teachings spiritually enlightening, yet it one pursues this path, he is not stating anything new. Then I looked up his worth, truly appalling. I thought maybe he gives most away, hopefully, yet one can not find much about that. Seriously no one needs that kind of money. Another aspect in this is mainstream, mostly if pushed by that,something is geing manipulated. I agree, if he truly cared about humanity, he is beyond wealthy enough to provide his insights to those who can not afford his retreats.
I’m not here to denigrate Tolle’s image, because I know all his books and I like it.
If he wants to be a billionaire, it’s his decision, I have nothing to do with it.
But his teachings are not definitive, there are others that are not publicly proclaimed and more assertive.
I would never pay values like this to be in front of Tolle, I trust myself and I am enough.
There is another spiritual teacher who claimed fortunes: Osho.
I have never covered for teaching because I know that everything comes to me and I can guarantee that many need help, ie, being a teacher is not my profession and I do it with great care and care.
In fact, the true teacher just needs to sit on a square bench and stay in the now and let new potentials and new energies permeate creation.
This Eckhart Tolle is just another shrewd cunning money maker who hung a new coat around old wisdoms dug up from many old scripts, got them published and through personal charisma and the gift of gab, hey presto, his polished up cliches went over the counter like hot cakes, bit by bit the millions fell for his “wisdom” and thus we see what we have seen so many times before: the humble preacher is now the multimillionaire who fleeces the wealthy and gives his critics half baked avoiding answers which don’t strike a match. Let the poor be happy they never gave a penny to this fraudster.
This was such a nice article to read. I hope more people become aware of the huge hypocrisy behind some of these pseudo gurus.
Money is not bad per se, but if you are in a “spiritual” carreer, where your main focus is to help others in a selfless way, then it’s absolutely unacceptable to create a business around your teachings.
I remember seeing an old interview where Tolle is asked about all the money he earns, and he clearly looked uncomfortable with the topic… not quite an “enlightened” attitude from him at all.
If you want as much Eckhart as possible, am not content with what is available for free (watch partys on FB host videos, endless material on YouTube, you name it) and want to visit a retreat, it’ll cost you – I find the prices too steep, would not be able to afford those retreats. However, I find the line of thought / arguing that Christoph, himself a great human being, suggests here rather unconvincing. Because becoming wealthy as a spiritual teacher does not lessen the quality of the teaching or makes it in itself questionable aka “if it’s not 100% free, it’s shady”. There are dangerous cults out there without a doubt, the so called “church of $cientology” comes to mind – which try to sell enlightenment in increments – “Pay us 200k US$, and you have reached the highest level we offer” – which of course is a scam ! But Eckhart repeatedly emphasizes that there should be no attachment to him or other teachers, that words are only pointers. “In the end, every technique has to be let go off” – Eckhart in his own words. I personally feel Eckhart has given us a gift by making spirituality accessible to laymen for a very modest price. If you buy his main books, “The power of Now” and “A new earth”, it’ll cost you around 15 GBP … doable I think for everyone.
I understand it won’t cost someone if they genuinely don’t have the money and reach out to his organization. Did you ever try to do this yourself? If not, we should be careful be sure about the correctness of our facts before to committing to them.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. He hoards wealth. He charges a fortune for the privilege of his company. I spent 10 years studying with my teacher, attending two week retreats once a year and never made $30,000 a year. He lived in a tent, and while most of us financially supported his organization, he provided bulk of that support with money he made from his books.
His teaching was up close and personal–a transmission–and books don’t offer that.
We learn by pissing against the electric fence, so Tolle and his followers are learning something by ‘chasing the dragon’ of the false desires of a false self.
Just don’t try to tell me this is the real thing or it’s wrong to call it spiritual bullshit.
This is lack mentality. Perhaps his wealth allows him to reach even more people? To donate even more money to causes he feels close to?
Spirituality does not mean poverty. It’s not the 1593 and he is not a monk.
I t really depends on what one gets out of his teachings, his wealth has nothing to do with me.
As you notice it reads “All proceeds will benefit the Eckhart Tolle Foundation”…. not all “All proceeds will be donated to the Eckhart Tolle Foundation” or “50% of proceeds will go to the Eckhart Tolle Foundation” rather…. “will benefit”…… What does “will benefit” even mean? It’s deliberately ambiguous and you have to ask why? Whatever new-age clap trap about abundance and entitlement you use to justify it, its greedy and hoarding to retain so much personal income when you promoting and message of oneness and non-attachment. There is a reason St Francis of Assisi renounced all his personal wealth and took a real vow of poverty. Times may have changed but fundamental principles remain the same. Great article by the way, really nails the issue.
Eye opening and left me feeling sad. Xxx