Letters to the Editor

Readers write about 'A New Earth' and the Falun Gong.

In defense of Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth'

Regarding Peter Jones's May 5 Opinion piece, "The old error of 'A New Earth": I believe Mr. Jones has overlooked the bridge that connects the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle and the wisdom of the Gospels. Mr. Tolle describes an awareness of a state of unity in which we can't say that we are "as gods." Rather, Tolle says, God is present in everything, in us, in our neighbors, in all living creatures and nonliving objects. The idea of unity is that God is both immanent and transcendent. This is far from the Gnostic's rejection of the world. It is far from the grandiosity of declaring that I am the "I Am."

I hope that Christians will not find confusion when weighing Tolle's ideas with their faith. Rather, I hope that they will find the same good news of the Gospels expressed in fresh words. In seeing parallels between their faith and other faiths, I hope that Christians will not prefer to stand apart but will see how Christianity can take its place in the world community of faiths as a true partner.

William Hassan Gebel
Worthington, Mass.

In response to Peter Jones's recent Opinion piece on "A New Earth: Awakening to your life's purpose": Nowhere in Eckhart Tolle's book does he state or imply "that man is God and that 'God' is merely a human creation," to use the words of Mr. Jones.

Mr. Tolle challenges us to move beyond an emotional state of reacting and into a state of trusting, one could even say trusting in God.

He says "When you appreciate something simple – a sound, a sight, a touch – when you see beauty, when you feel loving kindness toward another, sense the inner spaciousness that is the source and background to that experience." In other words, sense the presence of God in yourself.

Lynda Sayre
Big Sur, Calif.

Regarding Peter Jones's recent Opinion piece on "A New Earth": I have been listening to the Tolle-Oprah "New Earth" series, and have been thrilled that it is going out to millions of people. This book is not confusing to Christians, as Mr. Jones claims, but brings all churches into oneness, and I, for one, am grateful for any truth that unifies mankind. Tolle is doing just that. And Oprah is helping to bring it about.

Hope Anderson
Needham, Mass.

In response to Peter Jones's recent Opinion piece on Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth": Carefully reading "A New Earth" has blessed my life. It has shown me what dysfunctional human thinking is (in its many forms) and how to reorganize it in myself and others, thereby dissolving it in thought and behavior.

This has brought a wonderful new dimension into my life and I'm able to see myself and creation more fully not "as" God, but as the image and likeness of God.

Doris Va-Tapek
Clayton, Ga.

Acknowledge persecution of Falun Gong

Regarding the May 2 article, "Cheers outweigh protests at Hong Kong's Olympic torch relay": From this article and others, I have noticed that it is common to characterize Falun Gong "as a "spiritual movement banned elsewhere in China as a deviant cult." But this is not an accurate characterisation of the situation.

Falun Gong is not just "banned," it is mercilessly persecuted in China. Adherents are tortured to death, shocked with electric batons, put into psychiatric facilities, and injected with nerve-damaging drugs. They are put into forced labor camps for years without trial, their houses are ransacked, their families destroyed, and there is evidence that they are systematically killed for their organs to be sold, on a mass scale.

To say the practice is merely "banned" is ridiculous. If Falun Gong were only banned there would not be such a mass movement around the world to stop the persecution.

Besides that, when you refer to the Dalai Lama, you would use a neutral description. You would definitely not use the violent language of the Communist Party to describe him.

Matt Robertson
Wanniassa, Australia

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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