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Sample Interview

SELF: Enlightened Masters

Suggested Interview Questions

for Berthold Madhukar Thompson, author of
The Odyssey of Enlightenment:
Rare Interviews with Enlightened Teachers of our Time

(Wisdom Editions: 2002)

1. You've written a book about the experience of an "odyssey" during the course of your twenty-year search for enlightenment. What were some of the highlights of your journey?

2. After this continuous search for truth over two decades, where are you now? Are you practicing a set of teachings? Are you studying with a teacher or guru?

3. What, if anything, is the key teaching that comes out of your experiences? Did you come to any conclusions about an approach, a method, or a form of practice?

4. You indicated in your book that you are a Vedanta practitioner, and that the core of Vedanta teachings point to an experience of "Self" that goes beyond words. So how is it then that you came to write books on Vedanta? Wouldn't it be better to just be a practitioner?

5. What is the common ground, if any, of the twelve teachers that you studied with and interviewed in your book? Is there a core teaching or experience that they all speak about?

6. How is Vedanta different from other spiritual paths like Buddhism, Yoga, or Christian mysticism? Is Vedanta a religion or a philosophy?

7. In your book you chronicle the fact that you went through a lot of difficulty and confusion with the various gurus that you studied with. After all that, do you think one really needs a guru?

8. Given your many years of experience, what are the greatest pitfalls for a spiritual seeker? Why should someone go on a spiritual path if there are so many misguided teachers and such a confusing diversity of teachings?

9. Why should readers buy your book as opposed to other books on Vedanta or the Eastern path? Is there something unique about it?

10. You seem to have a preference for that school of Vedanta known as "Advaita." Can you explain how this is different from other schools of Vedanta?

11. When all is said and done--what really is enlightenment?