Fourth Way Books and the Fourth Way Teaching

A definitive characteristic of a living teaching or ‘way’ is that it cannot be found in any book. Whilst it is true that books may make us aware of the existence of a way and somehow help us find the threshold, it is rare for a book to give precise direction and guidance for an effective journey. Strictly the word ‘teaching’ applies to a direct relational experience in the presence of a Master, of which one specific aspect is oral transmission. It should noted also that the word ‘esotericism’ is often used indiscriminately, and it should be emphasized  that the principal distinction between the word esotericism and exotericism is not in the ideas themselves but in the capacity to understand them actively. This involves an experiential and practical work which gives knowledge the taste of wisdom. The Fourth Way books listed below consist of three categories – books ‘of’ the teaching, books ‘on’ the teaching, and books ‘about’ the teaching. There is only one book , except for the books of Gurdjieff himself, which can be considered really useful for followers of the teaching. This is In Search of the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky. It is a brilliant, honest and faithful exposition of the author’s memory of what was transmitted to him.

Reference

Gurdjieff, An Annotated Bibliography (1985) New York: Garland Publishing, by J. Walter Driscoll and the Gurdjieff Foundation of California, 363p. Contains an essay on the Gurdjieff literature by Michel de Salzmann, descriptive entries on all of Gurdjieff’s published writings and music, descriptive entries followed by succinct annotations for 1108 English and 597 French items (mostly books, essays and articles) about Gurdjieff, and ends with a 40 page title index. Out of print since 1994, this comprehensive and definitive work offers exhaustive bibliographies on several of Gurdjieff’s prominent pupils; J. G. Bennett, Maurice Nicoll, A. R. Orage, P. D. Ouspensky and others. J. Walter Driscoll has been at work on the second edition of the Gurdjieff bibliography since 1994. An interim selective bibliography containing descriptions of 82 key books, supplemented by a bibliographic essay and descriptions of Gurdjieff’s writings is available as Gurdjieff: a Reading Guide. The second comprehensive edition will follow in a few years.

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