• The Teachings of Don Juan

  • A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
  • By: Carlos Castaneda
  • Narrated by: Luis Moreno
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (996 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For over 40 years, Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan has inspired audiences to expand their world view beyond traditional Western forms. Originally published as Castaneda’s master’s thesis in anthropology, Teachings documents Castaneda’s supposed apprenticeship with a Yaqui Indian sorcerer, don Juan Matus. Dividing the work into two sections, Castaneda begins by describing don Juan’s philosophies, then continues with his own reflections.

©1969; 1996 Regents of the University of California; Carlos Castaneda (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"It's impossible to view the world in quite the same way after reading him.... If Castaneda is correct, there is another world, a sometimes beautiful and sometimes frightening world, right before our eyes at this moment - if only we could see." ( Chicago Tribune)

What listeners say about The Teachings of Don Juan

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Teachings of Don Juan

I was very fortunate to have actually met the author. This was sometime in the late seventies or early eighties. I was living with my teacher, who was a native american medicine person. When this odd sort of person just showed up one day and stayed for... somewhere around one or two weeks. He would always sit away from the main group and simply watch, listen, and write. I do not wish to elaborate here, but I have to say that the personal experiences I had when I would notice him were enough to make me believe that Mr. Castaneda did indeed have a spiritual gift and that he had also received some very real training. He ended up leaving a notebook behind when he left and I did read what he had written. One page included an unpublished declaration of release, by Don Juan. To this very day, I still use it!

62 people found this helpful

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I liked it better when I was in high school

The Teachings of Don Juan was an influential book for me in high school. It was my introduction to thinking about “the meaning of life” and the ephemerality of life... that we are all beings that are going to die. Castaneda says the real struggle of man is with infinity, and is actually an acquiescence to infinity. His key message that still resonates with me, even this second time through....that all paths lead nowhere, but the path with a heart makes you strong.

While I still relate to and embrace this message, the cadence of the book, and professorial-like instructions / teachings, especially at the end of the book, seemed less meaningful to me than they did in high school.

Maybe it’s just another reason why getting old sucks!

32 people found this helpful

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I can't believe I ever thought this was great

I read this ages ago, when I was in college. Why I ever thought the ramblings of some grad student getting high was worthy of my praise is kind of beyond me now. It was a period piece. Served its purpose when I was 20. I'm 'way past this now.

18 people found this helpful

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Fiction or Non Fiction? You decide

Lots of skepticism around this book. Worth checking out and deciding for yourself. I loved it and find relevance regardless whether it is a true account or not.

15 people found this helpful

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Not quite what I expected

If you could sum up The Teachings of Don Juan in three words, what would they be?

The world is a dark and frightening place that's out to get you unless you have a powerful ally or access to magic powers.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Didn't make it to the ending.

If you could give The Teachings of Don Juan a new subtitle, what would it be?

For shamanic practitioners

Any additional comments?

I can't quite blame it on the book, to be honest. Rather it was a case of misplaced expectations on my part. For some reason I expected it to be a story of an inspiring spiritual journey, self discovery and rising consciousness. Instead it was a very detailed and meticulously transcribed personal encounter with shamanic culture and rituals. I found the narrator talented and artistic, who used his quite voice skillfully to enhance the drama of the story. Again, you may find the book fascinating if you are interested in the shamanic culture. I am not, so I never made it to the end, although I found it amusing at times but not much more.

12 people found this helpful

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And the point is ....???

There are entities living in hallucinogenic plants. One of them has a lizard. You must listen very carefully to what this lizard says and do exactly what it tells you. Of course, you have no hope of ever achieving enlightenment if you and this lizard dont click, or if you fail to inhale or imbible this specific plant.

If I had access to these plants, I might conceivably find a Blou Koggelmander lizard and it might even dance for me, providing we have a good connection, and my cats don't eat it first.

I have no idea what I was meant to have gleaned from these "trips" or how to make any sense of it. So what when he turned into a crow, or managed bodily to fly around? How very irritating. I have even less idea of what this book was trying to tell me. The only part which had any reasonable cognitive content was the Addendum. Couldn't he just have written that, and saved us the punishment?

Toltec wisdom can be rather difficult to grasp at times, but this book is an exercise in exasperation and futility. Perhaps those interested in experimenting with these plants could find more value in it.

Although it was adequately read, I found the narrator's voice to be rather too forceful, lecturing and hard.

I've read other Castaneda books, which I find far better than this.

Possibly the worst book I've come across on Audible.



11 people found this helpful

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great story

What does Luis Moreno bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Moreno gives a great reading of this story. I am happy with his narration.

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent story and presentation

Includes note from Carlos Castaneda that were added to the 30th Anniversary publication edition. I found these most useful in tying together many of his early and later works. Luis Moreno does a wonderful job reading the work and additional comments.

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BORING, INFLATED SCHOLARSHIP, PROBABLY FICTION

THIS BOOK IS A TERRIBLE LISTEN! Save your credit unless you are intensely interested in this stuff! I will quote a critic of Castenada from the Wikipedia article:

In The Power and the Allegory, De Mille compared The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge with Castaneda's library stack requests at the University of California. The stack requests documented that he was sitting in the library when allegedly his journal said he was squatting in Don Juan's hut. One discovery that de Mille alleges to have made in his examination of the stack requests was that when Castaneda was alleged to have said that he was participating in the traditional peyote ceremony – (the least fantastic of many episodes of drug use that Castaneda described in his books) – he was sitting in the UCLA library and he was reading someone else's description of their experience of the peyote ceremony. Other criticisms of Castaneda's work include the total lack of Yaqui vocabulary or terms for any of his experiences.[15]

_______________________

[This is the third New Age author I have read that I now believe to be completely phoney. The others are Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, an alleged Tibrtan monk who was actually an old Englishman; and Lyn V. Andrews who thinks you can sweep a cabin floor and create a beautiful and powerful medicine bag from the beads and trinkets in the sweepings! Alas, I bit and read all their books!]

In the first two-thirds of this book, a young man spends time with an old shaman who guides him through elaborate ceremonies to prepare and use peyote and then jimson weed to achieve other realities. In this part of the book, Casteneda removes all his clothes, plays with a dog while high, rubs substances on himself, travels, flies and does terrible things to lizards.

In the last one-third of the book, Castaneda categorizes and generalizes and philosophizes about the hallucinogenic experiences with his teacher. He uses big words and high-flown concepts to dignify it in such a way that his professors were impressed . . . for a few years, at least. THIS BOOK IS THE AUTHOR'S SCHOLARLY THESIS! It was never intended to be popular reading. Get it, folks, this is graduate-level crapola! On the other hand, this may be a valuable anthropological record of shamanic practice and philosophy. But there are many more helpful books today telling how to meditate, how to travel and see things without ingesting hallucinogens, and how to get answers for living. Try Sondra Ray, Louise Hay or my favorite, Stuart Wilde.

Castaneda was very bright and a good writer. I have no respect for his truthfulness nor his spiritual attainments. He died at 72 of cancer. In his later years, he surrounded himself with women. Some of them wrote books. Some of them disappeared soon after he died. The old guy must've been magnetically charming. Total ego trip!

THIS WAS A TOUR DE FORCE FOR THE NARRATOR, LUIS MORENO. Obviously both he and the author are completely bilingual. Luis moves into lovely Spanish when called for. In the complex and boring last third, he slows down to make clear the stacked clauses and complex sentence structure. This material might as well have been the Martinez listings of the San Francisco phone book! Bravo, Luis!

The special afterword written in 1998 on the 30th anniversary of this book is interesting. If you spend your credit on this and get bored, skip to the last 45 minutes.

7 people found this helpful

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Absolutely enthralling from beginning to end

Best narration! Even better story! I honestly am not sure whether I'm in the reality of the book or this reality while listening it was so we'll done!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jim Vaughan
  • 02-15-15

Altered States and Strange Encounters in a Shamans World

I really like books that show the world from an unusual perspective. This is the (allegedly) true account of the apprenticeship of Carlos Castaneda, an anthropology student, to a Yaqui Shaman named Don Juan. It is well read and enjoyable.

What I liked best was the contrast of cultures. So, after Castaneda is scared witless by an encounter with the peyote god "Mescalito" who "teaches a man how to live", the following day he keeps asking "does Mescalito really exist?".

For Don Juan this question is totally missing the point "did you not see Mescalito?" His concern is on what Mescalito communicated and the significance of the encounter for a "man of knowledge". It is the clash of modern rational science with aboriginal religion, in a still enchanted world. In the end it becomes too much for the young student and, fearing he is going mad, he terminates his apprenticeship.

This is a book of its time, written in the early 1960s when people were experimenting with altered states and strange religions. It does give a glimpse of an aboriginal worldview populated by spirits and "powers" who can be called on for help as allies or must be confronted and overcome as adversaries.

I very much enjoyed the narrative section of the book, which raised many questions for me about religion, science and reality - and purpose in life. Sadly the "analysis" section at the end of the book avoids these ontological questions, attributing Casteneda's experiences to "suggestion" combined with the effect of powerful psychoactive plants, and thus is much less interesting, though luckily short.

I will be getting the next in the series, when he returns to his apprenticeship, but not for a while. Overall it is a thought provoking book, very well narrated, but a little strange.

10 people found this helpful

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  • m
  • 12-27-13

a brilliant story with many lessons

Would you consider the audio edition of The Teachings of Don Juan to be better than the print version?

have not read the book

What did you like best about this story?

being on a spiritual / shamanic path I have come across this book several times in the past and have considered reading it but have been put off by the bad reviews. I decided that alot of books especially on these type of topics have some bad reviews. These bad reviews are normally from academics or people from a religious back ground who are ignorant to the topic that they are criticising. Sometimes the bad reviews are from people who are not happy about outsiders wrting about a topic that they were not born into. I do not know if the story in this book is real or fictional. I do however know that I learned alot from the book and have come away with a much better understanding of the world of a Yaqui shaman. This book is great for someone who is on a shamanic path and wants to understand the heart and discipline that is required to be a true shaman. Most of us in the west may become shamanic practitioners but this is on a whole other level.

The second part of the book is more for a student of anthropolgy or someone who wants to know the ins and outs of the plants used in the book. There will not be many readers in that category who have the patience or understanding for this. This does not mean I will review this part of the book badly. I am glad I have finally bought this book and will definitely buy the other books from this author

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-21

Captivating

A story that from the beginning felt like mumbo jumbo turned into a great story, like the ones we heard from our parents as kids.

At the same time it gives you a sensory impressions that words can not explain. It is a book one have to read for them selfs to find out what I'm talking about

1 person found this helpful

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  • James B.
  • 10-31-20

Really interesting.

A great introduction to old school Yaqui shamanism delivered with an intriguing narrative. If you're interested in substance induced altered states of consciousness and enjoy learning from a good story, this'll do you well!

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  • Morgoth
  • 09-03-19

Loved it!

I’m hooked, I’ll have to get the rest now... A delve into the world of the shaman, and psychedelic plants.

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  • Charlie Crome
  • 05-10-19

A good book, not a practical one

The nuggets of wisdom in the book are sparse, little is applicable for most people

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  • Brian R Larcher
  • 05-04-19

Classic Castaneda beautifully read

It has been many years since I was first introduced to the work of Carlos Castaneda in 1989. Since then having been an avid reader of his work it was with great pleasure that I discovered this Audible recording and the several others of his books now in the Audioble collection. Luis Moreno reads with a sincere depth of feeling which adds to the enjoyment and clarity of these classic works.

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  • Jna
  • 06-01-17

Boring

Didn't finish. Left after 9 chapters. The emotions expressed by author does not resonate at all. It feels like a disconnect between author and reader. Also, if this is a fiction or a reality is also debatable topic.

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  • Sharon jeffrey
  • 11-16-15

most interesting

the first part was most interesting and enjoyable however the 2nd part I found difficulties to follow and to fishish and had to relisten to some parts.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-21-22

Fascinating. Enchanting.

Fascinating. Enchanting.
A whisp upon a dream of knowing something deep inside that is like an echo or a memory of once upon a time.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-02-20

bit dry

I love don juans teachings , but this broke the process down, almost too much.

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  • Michael
  • 11-15-20

freshens the mind up

love it. the very last chapter i have listened to over and over now. Really helped clear my mind up and helped me understand alot of mental concepts.

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  • david
  • 05-03-18

question everything change everything

well written excellent field notes I have read it through twice because of the information available within the covers I perceived more out of it the second time. and I feel even now I have only scratched the surface.

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