Author R.E. Mark Lee spent 20 years interacting with the renowned philosophical teacher J. Krishnamurti and most of his adult life furthering Krishnamurti’s work through his foundations. Knocking at the Open Door, a title referencing the doors of perception, details Lee’s early years as a spiritual seeker and the decades that he spent in leadership positions at Krishnamurti’s institutions, observing his mentor.
Lee notes that “There is ample extant literature on Krishnamurti’s extraordinary life.” His book is not another biography or collection of teachings but a memoir of one person greatly influenced by “the Teacher.” Because of Lee’s long connection to Krishnamurti’s organizations, he offers a unique perspective on Krishnamurti’s fundamental topics of personal exploration and how followers have tried to “philosophize, codify, or sanctify” the spiritual teachings that Krishnamurti expressly did not want to become orthodoxy.
Lee’s poetic descriptors of California and India perceptively contextualize Krishnamurti’s wisdom within time and place. He describes South India’s “dirt, squalor, crowds, poverty, and starvation” as “merely part of a society where nothing was hidden or taken for granted. India absorbs social ills and evils… At the humblest levels, there is happiness, joy, and tolerance …”
Krishnamurti acted as an “honest mirror” for the author through the years, gently guiding Lee toward a change in perception along his spiritual path. Yet the clear portrait of Krishnamurti that emerges is not idealized. The author notes, for example, that more mundane matters were often a challenge for him to negotiate with his mentor. For example, Krishnamurti “had a vague understanding of how the foundations were run and usually left the room when budgets and finances were discussed at board meetings.”
Although there are more dates and names than the average reader will find interesting, Lee’s account delivers smooth, well organized, and sometimes poetic writing. Readers will appreciate this thoughtfully compiled and gracefully executed offering.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.