Originally sent by Culadasa to his Newsletter audience, August 19th, 2021.
Dear TMI Sangha,
As many of you know by now, I have been seriously debilitated by a spread of cancer from my lungs to my brain.
At the moment, I am sitting in the comfort of my condominium in Tucson with my son, his girlfriend, and my student, certified TMI teacher, and dear friend Dor Konforty.
Since June 2019, Dor and I have been working on a second, revised edition of The Mind Illuminated.
During a long retreat under my guidance in Cochise Stronghold, Dor has presented me with comments, as well as his novel ideas, for the adept stages of TMI. Acknowledging his sincere commitment to the Dharma and to TMI, and from a place of appreciation of his knowledge and insight, I asked that he write these into an updated TMI. He gladly accepted.
As Dor continued practicing with me and studied further in the container of my teacher training program, we had also discussed many new refinements and updates to the book. Over the years, we have received feedback from the community, as well as developed new, better ways of framing both the theory and practice detailed in the book in our shared discussions, between the two of us and with the advanced meditators in the teacher training groups.
Unfortunately, recent events make it highly unlikely that that second edition will make it to press in my lifetime. As I am not likely to be around, I will not be able to sign a final manuscript for this updated version of TMI, and so it is unlikely the current publisher holding the rights will accept it. Nevertheless, Dor and I are continuing the work on a new book that I had started, and Dor himself is planning to adapt all the work he has already done for TMI, in communication with me, to create his own, new book that will allow these updates to see the light of day. I realize that I might not be around for the publishing of these, but I’m sure you will find my presence in those books nevertheless.
Those of you who know me very well are quite aware I am always talking, thinking and writing about the Dharma and meditation. The same has been true of the last few years, where I have generated a lot of written notes, though not yet in a publishable form. In many delightful discussions with friends on the path, I have further refined some thoughts and ideas and have acquired new, lovely nuggets of wisdom – which I have of course incorporated into my own thinking. Working with Dor has been a very similar experience, where he would explore various other approaches and practices to meditation and awakening, expanding his understanding and “translating” it to TMI-type language. I have enjoyed Dor’s thinking tremendously; the fresh look he brings to the things I had written, and the ideas and conceptions he’s come up with through his own explorations. The cross-fertilization of our thoughts have sparked many new and useful ideas that I have been excited to share with you for a long time.
For me, this kind of gestational understanding is really what sangha is about. Despite my condition, I still hope we might be able to share all of our ideas, albeit mine perhaps incomplete, with the rest of the sangha. For this purpose, Dor has been spending time here, collecting and refining my notes with me, so that we can bring them to fruition and to publication. I trust that Dor will do his best to bring to you, the TMI Sangha and meditation community at large, what we have been working on, and in whatever form it may take: books co-authored by the two of us, a book he’ll write on his own, and essays published online.
Dor has my blessing to continue in this effort: to carry on the work that I have started, to collect, synthesize and create the best ideas and practices as I have done in TMI, and to present them through a modern, science-based lens as a skillful means for people living in the western world – for the purpose of awakening, liberation from suffering, and for peace and happiness for all sentient beings.
Love and Best Wishes,
Culadasa, John Yates