The teacher
February 10, 2013

Advaita Post, 14 #3


Text satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Rotterdam, January 24, 1980

The teacher

I have experienced that the trust in someone who “is standing on the other side” is very important for the final release. Letting go of everything doesn’t just happen. It concerns that which you unconsciously thought was the basis of your own existence. Then that trust is extremely important. That you believe someone when he says: “You are Brahman”. When you believe it, it is also so; from the one moment to the next you see it. One minute you’re still conditioned, the next moment there is the unlimited Reality. Because you unconditionally believe it, you see it. For most people that seems to be difficult. There are hundreds of people who come to great masters and there’s only just a few who accept it and so realize the Ultimate.

See the limitations of your ‘I’ increasingly clearly and realize that you are the Self, as free being-awareness, in which your whole world can dissolve. Imagine yourself open for that. Believe in it, so that you see it. Give yourself over to it. It is similar to allowing the ‘I’ to collapse into a deep abyss. When you dare to jump into the abyss you have overcome all fear. When that doesn’t happen you continue to hold on tightly to yourself and you remain stuck in limitation. There is a fear-of-death phase for the little ‘me’ who wants to survive. This is overcome when you have a great confidence in the space in which you will land, a trust that you will be received. A guru can be of inestimable significance for this, yet not as a person, but rather because you see that he is the space. In him you see that this is possible. Then you just let it happen.

You have been practicing yoga for years and you think, “this is my path”. You have an idea of ​​progress. When you look back you see that you were very different a number of years ago, that it’s better now. You live life more relaxed, more aware, healthier and you think you’ve traveled a good distance along the path. But when you are fully engaged with yoga, there is no past anymore. Every moment can be new. You can let go of the old every moment, the old ideas about the goal, about liberation. See that it’s about this moment, now. The ideas belong to the past, to a rigid and limited ‘I’. The ‘I’-thought is glued onto all concepts. The ‘I am’ in the ideas about conception, birth and death. Bring these points of your ego together, here before you. You can grab it just like that and in this way it can disappear. The ‘I am’ is everything. Experience it and see it very clearly. Then the realization of the highest reality can come.




Letter from Douwe about the Foundation Openness / Advaita Center after his death.


Letter from S.K. Mullarpattan, Nisargadatta’s main translator, dated 20 March, 1981
January 5, 2013

Nisargadatta's comments about Douwe

Nisargadatta’s comments about Douwe

Even though his connection with Nisargadatta was readily apparent, as a teacher of non-duality Douwe was reticent to speak of this or to use it as any kind of calling card. People might ask him about his experiences with Maharaj yet he would consistently return the discussion to the seeker’s own situation and in this way resisted telling stories. Nevertheless, just two months ago and so shortly before his passing, Douwe posted a letter from S.K.Mullarpattan, the main translator of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, containing Maharaj’s comments regarding Douwe’s level of insight. Due to the constrictions of this blog format we cannot completely reproduce it here but rather direct the reader to the Advaita Center website where it is available to read in full.

Non-Duality, the groundless openness has now been published!
November 26, 2012

Non-Duality, the groundless openness

Recognize the essential, non-dual nature of your own experience.

The English translation of Non-dualiteit – de grondeloze openheid is now available. Printed under the Mantra imprint of John Hunt Publishing of the U.K., it can be ordered via Amazon US or Amazon UK , your local bookstore or one of the many other online booksellers. ISBN: 978-1780992891

Advaita vedanta for the 21st century

Written by Douwe Tiemersma, university professor, student of Nisargadatta Maharaj and teacher of Advaita Vedanta in the Netherlands for 30 years,  Non-Duality, the groundless openness, is a comprehensive sourcebook, pointing in an incisive and precise way to the eternal truth that is always, already present within the experienced reality of the reader. Douwe’s knowledge of the traditional texts of Vedanta is introduced as necessary, while his fully versed and integrative knowledge of the Western arts and sciences provides yet another bridge for the contemporary seeker after truth. This book is well suited to anyone who has been pursuing any form of spirituality for a long period of time, one who is ready to grasp the purest essence of their own longing without any sacrifice of their own rational intelligence.

Notes from the translators

Approximately 5 years ago, my husband and I encountered non-duality through reading I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj. This led us shortly thereafter to Douwe Tiemersma who wrote the foreword to that selfsame book. Encountering Douwe, who speaks English fluently but teaches in Dutch, provided us with the incentive we needed to improve our language skills. He agreed to help us when, in the fall of 2008, we decided to embark on the translation of this book. Chapter by chapter we sent him our rough translations. Chapter by chapter he returned them with corrections. Over time, the errors began to fade as we increasingly understood the meaning behind his words. In the end, transposing his original text into English without loss of its profound subtlety was an exacting but wonderful challenge.

But what is his teaching? And how does it differ from the myriad other books currently available about non-duality? Having read a mere sampling of that ever increasing myriad, I can only speak from the translator’s perspective, which is simply this: each sentence in this book is written in a purposeful and focused way. Each paragraph is created from such sentences, each sub-chapter from such paragraphs, and each chapter from such sub-chapters; in effect, producing a book which “forms a more or less coherent philosophy”. Yet make no mistake, this is not a philosophy to be held at arms length like some foreign object, rather it is a newly invigorated example of the perennial philosophy, and as such is an invitation to embark upon an intelligent examination of your own knowledge of yourself, an investigation which, I might add, is well grounded in bodily experience.

The purpose then is about directing the reader’s attention toward certain subtle existential qualities of being-experience, qualities that are always, already present within the experienced reality of daily life yet whose significance as such are rarely recognized. These sparks of insight recognition encourage a focused concentration to develop in the reader, an energetic intensity, which can lead to both an expansion and a joyful release. So this is not just a book to read, but rather to savor, to contemplate, digest and to use: at once practical and sublime. May it prove to be so for you.



In this book Douwe speaks from this Openness, about this Openness, to the Openness in each of us, encouraging us all to awaken to this Blessing. Read this book, see who you really are, and discover you are part of a world-wide ‘satsang’ – a growing circle of friends who are enjoying the truth that sets us free. This freedom, this wonderful Openness, heals all divisions. As Douwe says, “Everything is lovingly included as yourself.”

– Richard Lang, author, the Headless Way


This is an excursion through the world of nonduality. Douwe Tiemersma steers you through alleys of advaita, into Nisargadatta’s room, from question mark to question mark, to the corners and turns of his spiritual biography, and into the experiences of witness-being and self-being. Tiemersma is a nonduality pioneer. He wrote the foreword to Nisargadatta’s I Am That, which is why his name is familiar. Yet he is low key, writing in his native Dutch, teaching through his Advaita Center in Gouda. Tiemersma is a reason why the Netherlands is a world center of nondual activity. Openness is a key theme in this book, a repetitive reminder to enjoy the vistas and sounds and flavours of nondual descriptions and confessions while staying with “the Openness that is not limited by anything and goes right through everything.” Thanks to this English translation, Douwe Tiemersma, the quiet gem of the Netherlands, is [now] available to a much wider audience than has ever known him.

 – Jerry Katz,


This book is really a pearl, because it provides much clarity and transparency about the direct path.

– InZicht Magazine 11-1 (Febr. 2009)


Whoever feels the need and has the courage to examine the correctness of his ideas about himself and the world finds an abundance of welcome help.

 – OHM-Vani (Broadcast) 15-2 (April 2009)


This book is a jewel because it discusses the many aspects of spiritual development so fundamentally: from the perspective of individual being-experience and assessment of experiential truths.

– Tijdschrift voor Yoga  20-4 (Dec. 2009)