Tony Parsons

Personal enlightenment is a myth.

– Tony Parsons

Tony Parsons

Full Interview with Tony Parsons by John David

I was familiar with Tony’s absolute views on Truth and enjoyed his term, ‘Open Secret’. Meeting him was a delight and so was the clarity and bubbliness of the interview. It was shocking to my silly, holy sensibilities to see Tony down a glass or two of red wine with his lunch, just before his afternoon meeting!

– John David

Questions and Answers

You have given us a profound discourse on awakening. When you meet a passion for awakening, what would your short advice be?

Seekers often have curious ideas about the enlightened state. Please describe your typical day and how you perceive the world.

It appears essential to meet a guru and stay with that guru. Who is the guru? What is the guru’s role? How to recognise a true guru?

What about vasanas, the tendencies of the mind? Must these be removed before Self-realisation can become permanent? Is it enough to achieve a sattvic (calm and peaceful) state of mind and to know one’s vasanas so that they no longer bind? How to remove the vasanas?

It has been suggested that the mind must be destroyed for liberation to occur, Do you have a mind? Sri Ramana used the term manonasha to describe the state of liberation, meaning destroyed mind. How to destroy the mind?

When Sri Ramana was asked, ‘When will the realisation of the Self be gained?’ he replied, ‘When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realisation of the Self which is the seer.” What is the true understanding of the world? How to remove the world?


Sri Ramana said that Self-enquiry is the most direct route to realising the Self. What do you say about Self-enquiry? How to conduct Self-enquiry?

Are there any qualifications for enlightenment? Is sadhana (spiritual practice) necessary? If yes, what form do you advise?

Many Western seekers come to India looking for enlightenment as if it is an experience, What is enlightenment?

Sri Ramana proposed the fundamental question, ‘Who am I?’- Who are you?

What about Destiny? Do you expect things to simply happen or are you expressing your free will and choosing?

Tony Parson's teachings

Tony Parsons is a prominent figure in the realm of spiritual teachings, known particularly for his emphasis on non-duality and the concept of the “Open Secret.” His teachings focus on the following core ideas:

 Parsons promotes a radical understanding of non-duality, emphasizing that there is no separation in existence; everything is one, and the sense of a separate self is an illusion.

The Illusion of the Self
 He articulates that the conventional sense of self — the ‘me’ or ‘you’ — is fundamentally non-existent. There is no seeker, no enlightenment, and no guru, which challenges the traditional teacher-student dynamic in spiritual pursuits.

Absence of Spiritual Practices
 His teachings are marked by an absence of prescribed spiritual practices such as meditation or rituals. He argues that these can reinforce the illusion of a separate self that is capable of achieving something like enlightenment.

Human Suffering and Liberation
 In “The Open Secret,” Parsons delves into the nature of human suffering and presents a view that true liberation comes from realizing the non-existence of the self, rather than through traditional spiritual or religious methods.

Communicating Paradox
 His communications highlight the paradoxical nature of non-duality, exposing the misconception that it is something attainable or possessable.

Through these teachings, Tony Parsons offers a perspective that challenges conventional approaches to spirituality, suggesting that enlightenment is not a state to be achieved but a recognition of an already existing reality.

appears in

Blueprints for Awakening – European Masters

European Spiritual Masters

John David has been interviewing fourteen European Spiritual Masters. The result is a compendium of astonishing wisdom about the biggest secret of all times: the Nature of our True Self and how to realise it.

This book answers all questions of the spiritual search and is for everyone who has an inner passion to find out who they are.

European Spiritual Masters Cover
Other Ramana Maharshi Books
NEW: Aham Sphurana – A Glimpse of Self Realisation

Fascinating dialogues and stories of Sri Ramana Maharshi recorded by Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer in the summer 1936, at Ramana Ashram.

This book contains a selection from the complete manuscript Aham Sphurana. This selection, a brilliant treasure, speaks for itself. Beside the detailed teachings on Self-Enquiry, Surrender and Jnana, it exposes a new glimpse of Bhagavan’s personal day-to-day life at fifty-six, in his middle age.

The Book is available in English and German, as Ebook and Paperback.

Aham Sphurana A Glimpse of Self Realization NEW BOOK NEW TEACHINGS


Tony Parsons, born in London in 1933, underwent a profound spiritual awakening at the age of 20, realizing his nature as unlimited awareness. Initially sharing his insights privately, from 1996 onwards, Parsons began public speaking and hosting retreats across Europe. His work draws on historical non-dualistic teachings from various traditions, including Advaita Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, and Christian mysticism, integrating them with contemporary scientific insights from neuroscience and physics. His approach, often seen as radical within spiritual communities, dismisses traditional paths to enlightenment, emphasizing instead the immediate and ever-present nature of reality. Parsons’ key message is the non-existence of a personal self and the illusory nature of dualistic perception. He details his transformative experience in his first book, “Open Secret,” and continues to influence through both writings and talks, challenging the conventional views on spiritual attainment.

The mind wants enlightenment to be something that happens to a person. The whole fundamental misconception of most teachings, including contemporary teachings, is that there is such a thing as a separate individual, with free will and choice, who can take action and move along a line towards enlightenment. This is the basic misconception that drives most teachings.

– Tony Parsons

Tony Parsons Face
Planning happens, but it happens within this. There isn’t great emptiness; there is only emptiness..
- Tony Parsons