Hello,

Did anyone here read a book named The Teaching of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda?

This book is mentioned by a total of another American four authors in their own four books respectively. They all hold /held a Ph. D. and two of them were professors. In one book, two co-authors even quoted the Don Juan's remarks as a metaphoric ending. I like the books of the four people's I've read very much.

I browsed around 50 pages of The Teaching of Don Juan, and it seemed to me the book is about the experience of indigenous south American people on taking certain hallucinating herb, and I soon lost my interest. However, I don't figure out why four well-educated people would mentioned it in their books, and I guess I miss something or misunderstand something on the book.

I've read the review on Wikipedia.

I'd appreciate if anyone here would have read this book and could share their insight with me.

This book, one of a series, was popular back in the 1960s when drugs were seen as a way to experience extraordinary events, including religious experiences. It pretends to be a serious account of the student researcher and his search for an authentic native shaman. However, it is really, to my mind, about the search for meaning and wonder. It is also funny because the student keeps getting surprised and doesn't know what to make of the stories he hears and the experiences Don Juan provides him. It is not for every taste.

I'm very glad to find someone who have read the book here, though I just harboured a very slim hope when I created this thread. Thank you for sharing your input with me.

So is the book just fiction, but not the real experience of the author? I had thought it had been the real story of the author's.

I heard about that in South America or other areas indigenuous people would use certain mushroom to induce halluciation in their religious rituals.

Is the teaching about the effect of taking the herb? I blurredly remember that Carols described that he saw some dogs charged at him when he ate something. I think he was fooled around by the shaman unintentionally who didn't have the scientific knowledge of herbs.

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There has been some debate about whether the book is basically a non-fiction book about anthropology or if it is a largely fictional story. I would say that it may be based upon some actual events and people (the native use of hallucinogenics is well documented). However, the book has been structured to tell a story, not simply to report on factual events.

It has been ages since I read the books. And I no longer have them on hand to double check. However, I would say that the drugs and their effect on "Carlos" is not the main point. The "Sorcerer" Don Juan uses the drugs in order to shake loose the everyday ideas of "Carlos." His "teachings" are not really about the drugs. They are about another way of looking at reality and how to act given that new reality.

I hope this helps.

They are about another way of looking at reality and how to act given that new reality.

"What is reality" is the denominator in four books by other American authors. One of them is Paul Watzlawick who even wrote two books about reality. One is How Real is Real, and the other one is The Invented Reality. I don't read these two books, but I guess these are relevant to reality- how people view the world.

You answers are very helpful, especially the words I hightlighted in blue. Now I can imagine what the book is about. That ignites my interest to read The Teachings of Don Juan.

Thank you very much!