The Advaita Meditation Center began as the Philosophy Foundation in 1970, offering classes in downtown Boston. The foundation soon attracted a large group of people interested in investigating and practicing traditions that uncover an underlying transcendent unity in the world and in humanity.
The Philosophy Foundation was originally affiliated with Leon MacLaren, an inspirational spiritual teacher who had a rare gift for transmitting deep experience to his students. MacLaren was a student of Shri Shantananda Saraswati, for many years the Shankaracharya, or spiritual leader, of the Jyotir Math in northern India. The teachings of these two fascinating men formed the basis of the foundation’s work for 25 years. Following their deaths in the mid-1990s, our senior members experienced a growing need for a living connection to the tradition of Advaita.
A New Beginning
In 2005, several of our members made contact with His Holiness, Shri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal, the Shankaracharya of the Sringeri Math in southern India. This Math is the first and foremost of the four centers established by the renowned 8th century philosopher-saint Shri Adi Shankara, the principal exponent of Advaita. Shri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal is the 36th in an unbroken lineage of student-teacher relationships that lead directly back to Shri Adi Shankara.
A New Name
Reflecting our deepened focus on mantra meditation and other meditative techniques useful for self-realization, as well as our affiliation with the principal center of Advaita practice (Sringeri), we became the Advaita Meditation Center in 2008.
In addition to Advaita, we maintain a deep respect for and interest in the relevant traditions of the West, including:
- The underlying principles of the major religions
- The philosophical approaches to experiential unity, such as the New England Transcendentalists
- The mystics, esoteric teachers and poets who have evoked so many of the same ideas
Our readings, discussions and references draw from these many sources of inspiration and aim to direct mind and heart to that which lies beyond any form and definition.