Ron Bonilla was a seeker of the Absolute from the days of his youth. Of Hispanic heritage, burning questions were first raised for him while a parishioner in the Catholic Church, and he subsequently roamed across the Christian spectrum, even to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I don’t recall meeting anyone who’s had more experience with the various forms of Christianity. It was disillusionment, mainly, that led Ron to look beyond, for that which can’t be contained within a chapel.
By the time we had talked, he had acquainted himself with the teachings of nonduality to the extent that all he needed was confirmation that indeed he had realized the Self.
As many do, who’ve ended their search, he’s felt the urge to share his awakened perception with those who still are experiencing the agony of perceived separation from ultimate Reality. As a consequence, Ron has set up a blog site, Nonduality State Park, wherein he’s begun writing brief, occasional monographs on personal insights relating to Advaita.
Prior to meeting Ron, I’d heard from a Catholic priest in the San Francisco area who’d just finished reading my book, Living Nonduality. He too came for a visit, and told me that he had discovered the Eastern (and Western) Advaita literature, over the course of the past several years. It so affected his homilies, as a priest, that he basically was asked to resign—which he has recently done.
He still has a circle of parishioners who look to him for guidance and spiritual inspiration. So, he has begun to write a “letter” which he xeroxes and sends to them from his (now) rural abode. Sending one to me, he asked for my comment. I felt that it didn’t venture far enough away from Christian doctrine to clarify his intention to express his current perception. My suggestion was that he expose his readers to the teachings of Meister Eckhart—Catholicism’s most profound mystic—and that he point out to them the essence of the message that Eckhart delivered in his sermons (which resulted in his being called before the Inquisition).
So, when Ron Bonilla asked me to suggest what he might consider a worthwhile theme, my response (over the phone) was: “Doesn’t it say in the Bible, ‘The harvest is ready, but the workers are few.’? With your extensive experience with Christianity, there are many ‘disaffected Christians’ (Ron’s phrase) who could find of value what you can tell them.”
We have all grown up in a Christian culture; many of us have a personal background in it (I, for one). The Eastern teachings, such as Advaita, have been basically hidden from view of churchgoers. They are confused about the “individual’s” relation to “God.” We know their concerns. And we can address those concerns. There are those who are ready, even prepared, to hear what we can share with them.
See pp. 139-43 of my book, The Gospel of Thomas: The Enlightenment Teachings of Jesus, for details.