Friday, November 21, 2014

Knowledge of Self vs. knowledge on Self

Knowledge of Self vs. knowledge on Self

Recently at one of the Advaita online discussion fora, one of the participants made the following observation:

"By philosophy I mean a formal academic body of knowledge – complete with its theories, literature, methodologies, technical terminology etc.  Any debate on Advaita Vedanta would then necessarily have to be restricted to this domain .. because in a debate every one must talk about the same subject matter.

If it is said that the stand taken by mere “theoretician” Advaitins is not probable, it implies perhaps that a personal ‘direct’ experience is more powerful and meaningful than mere theories. That may be so. But then, that cannot be the subject of a debate because only ideas and concepts can be debated. Ideas and concepts formulated into a coherent theory and through that theory subjected to critical inquiry can only survive the test of time. This is the case with Advaita Vedanta also."

Ramesam:

The view expressed by the discussant reflects the way we are educated about gaining knowledge on a subject like Physics, Engineering, Medicine or skills like carpentry or car driving etc. etc.

The well defined layout spelt out by him about what should constitute the platform and ground rules suit excellently in the acquisition of and discussions on “knowledge” that pertains to mundane worldly subjects.

But Advaita is a philosophy that tells us about "the ineffable, unthinkable and inexpressible Self".
['Self' being the word used as a pointer to that which is indicated by mantra 7 of mANDUkya.]

If one is desirous to obtain “knowledge of Self” in an academic sense in a pedantic atmosphere using pedagogic tools, there’s no need to look any further than the approach suggested by the discussant.

If, however, one is desirous to obtain “Self-Knowledge,” the design prescribed by him is eminently unsuited and is also improper.

Why?  Because there is a difference between 'knowledge' (lower case 'k') and "Knowledge (upper case "K")." The difference is explicit in the Upanishads – “Knowledge” is that “knowing which all is known.”

We should remember that ‘knowledge’ is accumulative, makes one an ‘expert’ and it is always based on memory and hence belongs to the past and therefore, considered ‘dead.’ OTOH, “Knowledge” is ever fresh, alive and cannot be stored in memory.

Acquisition of ‘knowledge of Self’ may make one an ‘Expert on Truth'; but it does not make him/her a “Knower of Truth.”  (For an explanation of these terms, please read: here )

Honouring the desire of a sincere seeker who goes in search of “Self-Knowledge,” the objectives and direction of goal of any discussion groups on Advaita have to be as broad and as “inclusive” as possible.

Discussions:

What does constitute a discussion on “Knowledge” and how does it differ from a discussion on ‘knowledge’?

“Discussion” amongst seekers on “Knowledge” is more in the spirit of ‘nididhyAsana’ (contemplative meditation after learning the Non-dual message and reflecting on what is learnt) in order “to grok” the subject but not to prove or disprove anything. The human mind, however intellectual and intelligent it may be, cannot prove anything which is beyond itself.

Hence discussions by committed seekers are only done with the purpose of surmounting one’s own impediments (pratibhandaka-s — shAstra vAsana (what is taught) is one of the most difficult pratibhandaka-s to get rid of. I have a post  on this topic here) in the process of ingesting the ultimate Truth. This is in stark contrast to a discussion on ‘knowledge’ because this sort of discussion is aimed at proving one’s statement and disproving another’s and such an exercise often unfortunately morphs into an ‘egofest.’

A genuine question may arise then that if word meanings are not standardized, any debate may be totally incomprehensible to the participants at large. The answer to this lies in the fact that one should carefully assess the meaning of a ‘word’ as used by a teacher instead of trying to declare his expression to be wrong. Further, knowledgeable Vedanta Pundits say that our scriptures hardly tied themselves into knots giving significance to sabdArtha (the word meaning); they went for bhAvardha (the salience of the content) in a spirit of true learning. Hence it will help matters if a discussant defines upfront his/her usage of terms to avoid confusion. After all, the meaning of any word depends on what meaning 'you' give to it.

The seeker's interest is in converting the knowledge on Self gained by him to Self-Knowledge.

Admittedly, knowledge of "Self" has to be obtained first before the 'tipping point' occurs when finally even the Knowledge along with itself burns away all knowledge acquired, like fire (true Knowledge) also ends after burning away a faggot of wood (the bundle of accumulated knowledge).

Friday, October 24, 2014

Enhancing Our Senses

Enhancing Our Senses 

Melinda Wenner Moyer writes:

Our world is determined by the limits of our five senses. We can't hear pitches that are too high or low, nor can we see ultraviolet or infrared light—even though these phenomena are not fundamentally different from the sounds and sights that our ears and eyes can detect. But what if it were possible to widen our sensory boundaries beyond the physical limitations of our anatomy? In a study published recently in Nature Communications, scientists used brain implants to teach rats to “see” infrared light, which they usually find invisible. The implications are tremendous: if the brain is so flexible it can learn to process novel sensory signals, people could one day feel touch through prosthetic limbs, see heat via infrared light or even develop a sixth sense for magnetic north.
Miguel Nicolelis, a neurobiologist at Duke University, and his colleagues trained six rats to poke their nose inside a port when the LED light above it lit up. Then the researchers surgically attached infrared cameras to the rats' head and wired the cameras to electrodes they implanted into the rats' primary somatosensory cortex, a brain region responsible for sensory processing. When the camera detected infrared light, it stimulated the animals' whisker neurons. The stimulation became stronger the closer the rats got to the infrared light or the more they turned their head toward it, just as brain activation responds to light seen by the eyes. Then the scientists let the animals loose in their chambers, this time using infrared light instead of LEDs to signal the ports the rats should visit.
At first, none of the rats used the infrared signals. But after about 26 days of practice, all six had learned how to use the once invisible light to find the right ports. Even after months of doing so, the rodents were able to respond to whisker neuron stimulation in addition to the infrared light, which suggests that sensory neurons can, when necessary, respond to multiple types of cues. This approach could help scientists create “sensory channels” for prosthetics users that provide constant sensory feedback to and from artificial limbs, facilitating control. The findings also suggest that the human brain can handle an expanded sensory repertoire—that we might one day be able to see, hear, touch and smell what we now cannot.

Sourced from:  Click


Your Thoughts Can Release Abilities beyond Normal Limits: 


Ozgun Atasoy writes:  (13 Aug 2013)
There seems to be a simple way to instantly increase a person’s level of general knowledge. Psychologists Ulrich Weger and Stephen Loughnan recently asked two groups of people to answer questions. People in one group were told that before each question, the answer would be briefly flashed on their screens — too quickly to consciously perceive, but slow enough for their unconscious to take it in. The other group was told that the flashes simply signaled the next question. In fact, for both groups, a random string of letters, not the answers, was flashed. But, remarkably, the people who thought the answers were flashed did better on the test. Expecting to know the answers made people more likely to get the answers right.  

Our cognitive and physical abilities are in general limited, but our conceptions of the nature and extent of those limits may need revising. In many cases, thinking that we are limited is itself a limiting factor. There is accumulating evidence that suggests that our thoughts are often capable of extending our cognitive and physical limits.
......

As this line of research advances, we will likely discover new ways of taking control of our mindsets. Weger and Loughnan, the researchers who improved people’s knowledge test results with a bogus prime, wrote, “People have significant psychological resources to improve their well-being and performance, but these resources often go unused and could be better harnessed.” The mind and body are not separate; our thoughts have remarkable control over our bodies; and our mindsets are capable of improving our brains’ performance.
-- Ozgun Atasoy

Sourced from:  Click

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sexual Instincts and Spiritual Pursuit - A Question

Sexual Instincts and Spiritual Pursuit - A Question 

[Sitara Mittag, herself an accomplished Non-dualist, is a Coach and Consultant in personal and spiritual matters. She is also an Astrologer publishing a monthly column of forecasts. After following Osho’s teachings for a couple of decades, she pursued initially the Western style of Non-duality and soon moved on to the traditional Advaita Vedanta. She had spent many years in India and loves the Indian culture. Sitara teaches Advaita to several students mainly on a one-to-one basis. In addition to maintaining her own Web Site, she also blogs regularly at Advaita Vision, UK. She lives in Germany and can be reached by e-mail
I am grateful to Sitara for readily consenting to provide her mature advice and guidance on a sensitive question that puzzles everyone’s mind but rarely gets asked – ramesam]


Question:  Sexual instincts are natural to the gross physical body. How does one balance these physiological desires with the aspirations of pursuing the spiritual goal of knowing the Absolute Advaita Truth while living the life of a householder in the modern day world?


Sitara Mittag: 

The key to this question is in identification or attachment.

Sitara Mittag
All senses can be experienced with or without attachment. Remember the chariot analogy of Katha Upanishad. What counts, is the buddhi (Intellect), as the driver of the chariot (body). The Upanishad compares the body to a chariot, the senses to the horses, and manas (mind) to the reigns). If the buddhi is sharp and clear and knows the goal, all will follow her. That does not mean that the chariot or the horses or the reigns should be dropped. No need for that.

As much as you may enjoy a delicious meal, a beautiful piece of music or your children’s laughter, equally you may enjoy sexuality with your spouse. It is a natural and a beautiful way to express love and intimate closeness. Just take care that your sexual activity is not egocentric and is not disconnected from the heart. Share the enjoyment in making the experience enjoyable for both. This is the dharmic way: treat the other the way you would like yourself to be treated.

By practicing sexuality like this, it becomes a spiritual discipline. In the end it is like meditating together. Lust is not anymore in focus but for a sense of ‘offering’ and surrender to the flow of love where ‘me’ as doer is absent.

Such sexuality will not come in the way of spirituality.

I have discussed these matters in my interviews with Non-Duality Magazine and can be found here and here.

A Question on 'Sexual Desire and Happiness' was also answered by me and my co-bloggers here.
                                                                                         --  Sitara

Friday, August 22, 2014

The three states (avasthA traya) according to Shri Ramakrishna

The three states (avasthA traya) according to Shri Ramakrishna
by Guy Werlings


[Shri Guy (pronounced in French as 'gi' in give) Werlings was born into a religious Roman Catholic family.  At the tender age of ten, he lost his father in an accident and that shook his faith in an embodied saviour God. Being deeply spiritual yet analytically inclined as he was, Guy was soon drawn to the teachings of “jnAna yoga” by Swami Vivekananda. As a teen ager, he was initially under the tutelage of Rakhal, the disciple of Swami Siddheswarananda and a monk at the local Ramakrishna Mission near Gretz. He then moved on to study many Advaita texts including the advanced works like the Mandukya Upanishad and karika of Gaudapada, Drig Drisya viveka of Shankara, several books by Shri V. S. Iyer, Swami Ishwarananda and others. Guy acquired some knowledge of Sanskrit and dedicated over 50 years of his life in the pursuit of avasthA traya vicAra. He translated many Advaita writings from English to French for local dissemination. Post retirement, he lives with his wife Rachèle in Corribert, a small village in Champagne district, about 125 km east of Paris.

I am obliged to Shri Guy for his short contribution to our Blog and look forward to his active interaction in the future – ramesam.]


The three states (avasthA traya) according to Shri Ramakrishna
by Guy Werlings

Guy Werlings
Sometime in 1990, after having pursued Advaita for 30 years, I wondered if Shri Ramakrishna had ever talked on the three states of consciousness (avasthA traya). When I decided to check on this, I was pleasantly surprised to note that Shri Ramakrishna did in fact discuss this subject, though his exposition of the avasthAtraya approach was not in the style and manner of Gaudapada or Shankara.  I found reference to the three states in the index of the book called “Gospel of Ramakrishna,” – a compilation of the notes taken by his lay disciple Mahendranath Gupta, known as “M.” The book was originally written in Bengali but later got translated into English by Swami Nikhilananda. I translated the relevant excerpts into French.

I am presenting here a few instances, though not exhaustive, to show how Shri Ramakrishna used avasthA traya in his talks with his disciples. I have provided full citation and reference to the extracts to facilitate further study. At a few places, I could not refrain from interspersing, within brackets, short remarks of my own.

All the quotes are from “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,” New York, 1952, Second Edition.
1.  Chapter 21 — A day at Dakshineswar,  Saturday, April 5, 1884 [Page: 417]
According to Vedānta the waking state, too, is unreal.
Once a wood-cutter lay dreaming when someone woke him up. Greatly annoyed, he said:  “Why have you destroyed my sleep? I was dreaming that I was a king and the father of seven children. The Princes were becoming well versed in letters and in military arts. I was sure on my throne and ruled over my subjects.
“Why have you demolished my world of joy? Fool!,” said the wood-cutter.  
‘But that was a mere dream’ said the other man. ‘You do not understand my becoming a king in the dream was just as real as is my being a woodcutter. If being a wood-cutter is real, then being a king in dream is real also’”.
...
2. Sunday, October 26, 1884, Page: 651
(To Mahimacharan) “In the light of Vedantic reasoning the world is illusory, unreal as a dream. The Supreme Soul is the Witness – the witness of the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep. These things are in your line of thought. The waking state is only as real as the dream. Let me tell you a story that agrees with your attitude.
[Here I note that the alleged illiterate non-advaitin seems to have at least heard something about the matter — Then he proceeds with one of these vivid illustrations, sometimes inopportunely termed as parables which were very typical of him, (it is true he was only a Bengali priest of peasant origin – and definitely not a pundit)].
Shri Ramakrishna, Dec 1881
There was a farmer who lived in the countryside. He was a real jnani. He earned his living by farming. He was married, and after many years a son was born to him, whom he named Haru. The parents loved the boy dearly. This was natural, since he was the one precious gem in the family.
On account of his religious nature the farmer was loved by the villagers. One day he was working in the field when a neighbour came and told him that Haru had [652] had an attack of cholera. The farmer at once returned home and arranged for treatment for the boy. But Haru died. The other members of the family were grief-stricken, but the farmer acted as if nothing had happened. He consoled his family and told them that grieving was futile. Then he went back to his field. On returning home he found his wife weeping even more bitterly. She said to him : How heartless you are ! You haven't shed one tear for the child”. The farmer replied quietly: “Shall I tell you why I haven't wept? “I had a very vivid dream last night. I dreamt I had become a king; I was the father of eight sons and was very happy with them. Then I woke up. Now I am greatly perplexed. Should I weep for those eight sons or for this one Haru?”
The farmer was a jnāni; therefore he realized that the waking state is as unreal as the dream state. There is only one eternal Substance, and that is the Atman.
[Not that bad for a non-advaitin tantric bhakta!]       
But for my part I accept everything: Turīya and also the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep. I accept all three states. I accept all – Brahman and also māyā, the universe, and its living beings. If I accepted less I should not get the full weight”(all laugh).
...
3.  Chapter 33 Sunday, October 26,1884, [Page: 653]
Mahima: “’A’, ‘u’ and ‘m’ mean creation, preservation and destruction”.
A Scene from Corribert
Master: “But I give the illustration of the sound of a gong: ‘tom’, t–o–m. It is the merging of the Lila in the Nitya: the gross, the subtle and the causal merge in the Great Cause; waking, dream and deep sleep merge in Turiya. The striking of the gong is like the falling of a heavy weight into a big ocean. Waves begin to rise: the Relative rises from the Absolute; the causal, subtle and gross bodies appear out of the Great Cause; from Turiya emerge the states of deep sleep, dream and waking. These waves arising from the Great Ocean merge again in the Great Ocean. From the Absolute to the Relative and from the Relative to the Absolute. Therefore I give the illustration of the gong's sound, ‘tom’. I have clearly perceived all these things. It has been revealed to me that there exists an Ocean of Consciousness without limit. From It come all things of the relative plane and in It they merge again. Millions of Brahmandas rise in that Chidakasha and merge in It again. All this has been revealed to me; I don't know much about what your books say”
[For Shri Ramakrishna the matter was not a question of punditry but of experience, anubhava, or as Shankara would have perhaps termed it aparoksha anubhUti.]
...
4.  Wednesday, February 25, 1885, [Page: 699]
Shri Ramakrishna was at the house of Girish Ghosh in Bosepara Lane, Calcutta. It was about three o'clock when M. arrived and prostrated himself before him. The Master was going to see a play at the Star Theatre. He was talking with the devotees about the Knowledge of Brahman.
Master:  “Man experiences three states of consciousness: waking, dream, and deep sleep. Those who follow the path of knowledge explain away the three states. According to them, Brahman is beyond the three states. It is also beyond the gross, the subtle and the causal bodies, and beyond the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. All these are māyā, like a reflection in a mirror. The reflection is by no means the real substance. Brahman alone is the Substance and all else is illusory”.
The knowers of Brahman say, further, that it is the identification of the soul with the body that creates the notion of duality.[700] In that state of identification the reflection appears real. When this identification disappears, a man realizes ‘I am He; I am Brahman’”.
[Rest of the conversation not dealing with the three states.]

A Scene from Corribert

Friday, July 18, 2014

What is the purpose of life?

What is the purpose of life?
[We often wonder what all this life is about. The survival of all the religions depends on how elaborate and complex is their answer to this simple question of 'purpose of life.' The answer given by the religions demands unquestioning 'faith' and total acquiescence. Discerning people however remain skeptical about these unfalsifiable explanations. How does Advaita respond to the question on the purpose of life? I am reproducing here an answer given by me abut a year ago at the Advaita Vision Web site -- ramesam.]
Q: What is the purpose of life?  
If, as stated in Advaita, we are actually in a state of sat-chit-Ananda and we are actually this ‘Self’ already, why have these ‘illusions’ and this ‘ignorance’?
 How can we believe in lila? What could be its purpose? There is no convincing answer – I am sure you will concur. This then raises my more fundamental query. This ‘Self’ on which reams have been written – what is the proof that such a ’Self’ exists?
 The root problem is that in the end, even Advaitic teachings finally rely on ‘blind faith’ to put their point across. There’s nothing wrong in having faith. All religions ask for blind belief in the almighty to get you your promised ‘Kingdom of God’. It’s only in Advaita that folks try to push their case by saying: “No, it’s not pure faith, it’s by reason and discourse that we reach the truth etc”.
 To quote Gaudapada in his Mandukya Upanishad kArikA, “That which is stated in the scriptures ‘and is supported by reason’ is true  and nothing else”. The ‘reason/discourse’ argument for following Advaita is pure bunkum, in my opinion. It relies on blind faith not on a deity, but in an obscure ‘Self’.
 And even if reality is non-dual, why this seeming duality? Why does this mithyA of life exist?
 Ramesam:
 Q: What is the purpose of life? 
A:  The question betrays the fact that you are assuming that there has to be a purpose behind everything and life (which, perhaps, you presume to be something very lofty) should have an exalted purpose. Why is it so? 
Can’t  things “just be” purposelessly? 
Sometimes you might have caught yourself whistling or humming. Did you ask yourself for what purpose was it? Certain things just happen as a celebration. Purpose is a later attribute, a second-guess most of the time, or an attempt at explaining away things.
 Q:  If, as stated in Advaita, we are actually in a state of sat-chit-Ananda and we are actually this ‘Self’ already,
A:  This statement of Advaita is valid if and only if you have “Realized” it by yourself. It is not a dictate to be taken as a dogma or a command to be accepted.
Q:  …. why have these ‘illusions’ and this ‘ignorance’? 
A:  If one has really understood Advaita, a statement like, “these are illusions” IS itself illusory.  To say, “this is ignorance” IS ignorance. There is NO scope for any other thing like illusion or ignorance – what ALL is Brahman and Brahman alone!
 Q:  How can we believe in lila? What could be its purpose? There is no convincing answer – I am sure you will concur.
A:  Yes, there is no convincing answer. “Lila” is an explanatory artifact for someone who is interested to appease his/her mind with such fictitious artifacts.   That is NOT the ultimate teaching of Advaita.
Q:  This then raises my more fundamental query. This ‘Self’ on which reams have been written – what is the proof that such a ’Self’ exists? 
A:  There is no need to aggrandize or demonize “Self.”  Let us keep it simple. 
Whatever you are conscious of has to simply “be”, that is to say, it has to be present and existing.  Even if someone says, “there is nothing”, nothing has to ‘exist.’ If nothing exists, how can he say “there IS nothing”?
Or, say, you fantasize in your mind something which is not physically present in front of you. That means there is a ‘thought’ and you are conscious of your ‘thought’ mentally. Do not worry about what that thought is concerned with (i.e. the content of the thought). The thought itself is existing and present and what you are conscious of is that thought only.
Thus existence or beingness IS fundamental to everything and can never be denied.
So “Existence” or “Beingness” is the one common denominator for all things. And that’s all what Advaita speaks about  – there is “Existence” and It is the only One thing that exists and eternally present.
Or look at this way. Can you say that ‘I do not exist’? Even to say that, someone who says so has to exist!
Therefore, there is no requirement of a faith in some other person’s word or belief in some handed down wisdom to say that you exist and that you are conscious of your existence.
And examine a little more closely to see if there is an additional ‘you’ other than existence and the knowing of your presence.  You will not find any other entity than just your beingness and knowing that you are.
And that’s all what Advaita teaches. You exist (sat) and you know (chit) that you exist and ‘you’ are not different from that Beingness and Consciousness.
 Q:  The root problem is that in the end, even Advaitic teachings finally rely on ‘blind faith’ to put their point across. There’s nothing wrong in having faith. All religions ask for blind belief in the almighty to get you your promised ‘Kingdom of God’. It’s only in Advaita that folks try to push their case by saying: “No, it’s not pure faith, it’s by reason and discourse that we reach the truth etc”. 
A:  Your contention is wrong about the role of ‘faith’ in advaita.
We have proved the Advaitic teaching with reason in the answer given above.
Let us see what role ‘faith’ plays in Advaita.
Any transaction that takes place between two individuals requires mutual faith in one another until at least the transaction is completed.  For example, when you go to pick up a can of soup from a store, you have faith that what is described on the can is truly present inside it. As you pick up the can and walk, the shop-keeper has faith in you that you will make a payment.  After that, it is up to you to “experientially realize” that the claim made on the label of the can (about what the soup is made from and its taste) is true or not.  Neither the can nor the shop-keeper can a priori make you feel the taste without your own effort and experience.  Right?
Similarly, Advaita wants you to have faith in what it says and the teacher only till the transaction of the teaching is completed.   If you have posed the question here on this forum, it shows that you have come with some faith on the web site. Will you raise your questions here if you have no faith at all in this transaction of Questions and Answers?
Now is it unreasonable to require this sort of faith to complete the transaction?  Can you bundle this faith with the sort of ‘faith’ demanded as a pre-condition by the religious philosophies asking you to blindly believe in their savior who is projected to be the only one you can depend on?
Actually Advaita makes you independent. It asks you to examine it by your own analysis and understanding by a thorough reflection on what it says and deeply contemplating over it.
 Q:  To quote Gaudapada in his Mandukya Upanishad kArikA, “That which is stated in the scriptures ‘and is supported by reason’ is true and nothing else”. The ‘reason/discourse’ argument for following Advaita is pure bunkum, in my opinion. It relies on blind faith not on a deity, but in an obscure ‘Self’. 
A:  You will  not be faulted if you say, after a thorough study, “It is bunkum.”  Why?
Advaita is all inclusive. It does not exclude anything.
How can anything be outside Advaita when all that IS is One and nothing else exists?  Therefore, a statement ‘that it is bunkum’ also falls within the domain of Advaita!
If you did read and understand fully Revered Gaudapada, the Acharya himself said, “there is no bondage, no liberation, no seeker nor any salvation; this is the final Truth.”
 Q:  And even if reality is non-dual, why this seeming duality? Why does this mithyA of life exist?
A:  Who says that duality exists? Only “you” say it if you think you are a separate self.  Advaita teaches that it is ALL one thing only (including you).
The world you see is your own creation, like the dream world you create when you go to sleep.  And is your dream different from who you are? Whom can you blame for what you dream?

******
Added on 18 Jul 2014 @ 7:15 PM: 
Peter Dziuban commented as follows through an e-mail:
"Life, Divine Perfection (which is the only Life), is already perfect, and It is ALL, Total, Complete--so It can't have a purpose."  If there were a purpose, a goal, that would imply incompleteness and not Totality, Wholeness.  All wouldn't be complete, or ALL.
 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World by Peter Dziuban - Part 4

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World - Part by Peter Dziuban

[From Peter Dziuban's Online e-Book: "Timeless Infinity." 
The pdf e-book can be procured from Peter's website:  http://peterdziuban.com/reading-room/  
Please click on the Consciousness Is All tab when you get to the Reading Room page.  The e-book is the 2nd item down.] 

(Continued from Part 3)

(The following is adopted from Chapter 18: The Only 'Stance')

Ven: And doesn't narrative (2) mean that there will be a greater degree of compassion for 'world affairs' because the inter-connectedness is emphasized rather than the non-existence of the 'world affairs.'

Peter: From the perspective of a finite mind or "witnessing consciousness" where there appears to be inter-connectedness—yes, it might seem that this means more compassion. However, as this is the realm of duality, this inter-connectedness equally could make for an easier spread of hatred.

What is so important to realize about the reply and comments regarding "world affairs" is that it is starting from, or taking the stance as, Awareness, Allness, Oneness, THIS which is without a second.  Here, all there is, is Reality, and nothing is seen as "unreality." This is "far better" than inter- connectedness because inter-connectedness involves a multiplicity, a many—and just as it can be connected, it can be divided. Where there are "not two" there is no need for connecting—nor any possibility of division.

When we start from a "mind-thinking" stance, which is dual, it seems there are Reality and unreality, or that something is being "wiped out." Awareness, as silent, gently alive Presence-without-a-second, does not think, so does not arrive at such "conclusions."

Now, after that long explanation, let's keep it simple and "see" what is actually present right here, now, as far as "world affairs."

There is present Awareness, which, as we've shown repeatedly, has no history. Any claim that there has been a prior time, a history in which there have been world affairs (or even a material world, for that matter!) would, at most, be just a current thought. And even the notion that Awareness has been present before (and that we've discussed this before!)—even that would be a current thought.

So…starting or taking One's stance as THIS (because this is what Awareness, the only One presently aware is doing)—all there is, is history-less-ness. All there is, is absolutely un-aged LIFE, being all Presence.

As THIS, there hasn't even been time before to create space or physical distance or dimension. There is no such thing as "out there" or "off there" where "past problems" could be continuing and perpetuating—because there is absolutely no evidence of either a past, or of any locations. The notion that there are, would  be only a current thought trying to arise "in the moment"—but for that thought to arise or entertained—there first would have to be an ignoring of Awareness. And Awareness can't do that.

It is not true that "places" or "conditions" have their own presence somewhere out there, and are existing on their own. No matter how "real" or "separate" they may seem to the "mind"—again, they have no presence or existence apart from the very current thought of, or as, them. When there isn't that thought, these "conditions" or "problems" are utterly non-existent.

Why is this "stance" not a matter of being cold or aloof, or un-compassionate? Standing as this effortlessly present, un-stoppable, absolutely un-aged Awareness-As-All, there is no evidence of an opposite, or of any kind of opposites. It would take two to have opposites or opposition—but these can't be found. As this un-opposed, un-aged Awareness is all that is, then this is all the Presence or "Substance" existent. This means there simply is nothing else out of which any kind of in-harmony could be made!!

"Standing One's ground" here is being as "compassionate" as can be—because here (which is All) there is only Oneness-which-cannot-fight-with-Itself.  Here, there is nothing to argue to the contrary—because there is no other to argue. Here, there is no evidence of lack or poverty, or lesser minds that are suffering due to beliefs. Here, there is no evidence of a prior state in which disease became an accepted part of daily living. Here, there is no evidence of "long-term" problems that must therefore continue to linger. Who says so?!

There is only the Self-immediacy of never-before, "fresh" Life, unrestrainable ease, utterly un-weighed, concept-free Awareness. 

(The four Part Series on Conflicts in the World completed)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World by Peter Dziuban - Part 3

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World - Part 3
by Peter Dziuban

[From Peter Dziuban's Online e-Book: "Timeless Infinity."  The pdf e-book can be procured from Peter's website:  
http://peterdziuban.com/reading-room/  
Please click on the Consciousness Is All tab when you get to the Reading Room page.  The e-book is the 2nd item down.] 

(The following is adopted from Chapter 18: The Only 'Stance')




Ven: It seems to me that there can only be two 'narratives' for our experience of the world. Both are consistent with the premise that consciousness is the closest description that there can be of a 'me' and that without consciousness there can be no other experience here.

The first narrative then is in line with you and ajata/advaita, and makes the assertion that because there can be no experience without consciousness, therefore everything else is unreal. An apple is simply a set of sensations that are combined in the mind and witnessed by consciousness but has no real existence in itself.

But presumably, the second narrative is equally valid - which is that there is an apple 'out there' which is the object of the sensations that are experienced.  Clearly this apple may well be perceived very differently by different humans, or indeed animals, etc., based on what their senses are programmed to pick up.

Now this second narrative can be deconstructed in line with Dzogchen reasoning that these other 'objects' do not have separate 'inherent' existence and that everything is inter-dependent.

I think you end up at more or less similar non-dual conclusions, but narrative (1) seems to deny the reality of the world outside consciousness, whereas narrative (2) seems to accept that there are objects 'outside' of a 'personal' consciousness, but that the apparent separation is wholly illusory.

Not sure if I'm being clear or not, but how have you arrived at narrative (1) being the explanation rather than narrative (2)?

And doesn't narrative (2) mean that there will be a greater degree of compassion for 'world affairs' because the inter-connectedness is emphasized rather than the non-existence of the 'world affairs'


Peter: First of all, let's clarify that we're talking about what appears as "experience of the world" here, not Reality.  In the recent replies [to some of the participants], it was discussed that, in the deepest sense, Infinite Awareness is "beyond" or "pre" even the witnessing awareness which "experiences a world." So…in this sense, Reality does not fit into either of these two narratives. But you did qualify it by referring to an experience of what appears as the world.

Ven: …because there can be no experience without consciousness, therefore everything else is unreal.

Peter: Not clear how you mean that.  My take on the statement as it is worded would be: if there's no experience without consciousness, then there is only consciousness and no "everything else"—thus nothing else to be unreal. Maybe you can clarify? Agreed that an "apple" would be merely sensations and not separate from the "mind."

Ven: …narrative (1) seems to deny the reality of the world outside consciousness, whereas narrative (2) seems to accept that there are objects 'outside' of a 'personal' consciousness, but that the apparent separation is wholly illusory.

Peter: Again, need to be clear about what is meant by "consciousness"…in this case, I take it to mean "witnessing consciousness" or what I still call the "finite mind." On this basis, it isn't really a denial of the reality of any thing—it's not denying what seems or appears to be there—but it definitely is denying the assumption that there's anything separate, or "outside" of the witnessing consciousness or finite mind. In other words, it's not a denial that an apple appears to be there—but it is denying that the "apple" is separate or outside the mind.

Ven: I think you end up at more or less similar non-dual conclusions, but narrative (1) seems to deny the reality of the world outside consciousness, whereas narrative (2) seems to accept that there are objects 'outside' of a 'personal' consciousness, but that the apparent separation is wholly illusory.

Not sure if I'm being clear or not, but how have you arrived at narrative (1) being the explanation rather than narrative (2)?

Peter: I think paragraph #7 in particular, below, addresses this. If I understand your comments above, then what is said below is neither narrative 1) or 2):

From CIA p 132-133:


               …It's a topic that has been debated almost for as long as there appear to have been philosophy and metaphysical teachings. The question always had been whether this apple experience (and thus by extension, all sensory human experience!) would be going on outside the mind, or inside the mind. In one regard it might be said either view is correct. Actually, neither is correct. It all seems to depend on the viewpoint.
               
               Outside or inside the mind is not the real issue.
               
               What never changes is that the apple experience is inseparable from the mind. The "apple" is neither outside nor inside the mind, but is the mind itself in its so-called operation! To see why this s so, first see why neither of the other two is true.


               The traditional, physical or materialist viewpoint assumes the world and universe are physical and that the mind is located inside the body. If the mind is said to be inside the body, then any thing or experience outside of the body (such as the apple) would be considered outside the mind.



               But if one takes a meta-physical, or "mental" viewpoint, everything is seen in reverse. On this basis, the mind is not in the body—the body and all else is said to be in mind, or in thought. So not only the apple, but one's entire experience, is seen as within the mind, or "mental."



               However, neither of these two viewpoints could be true, or be changeless Truth.



               Why? The validity of either view changes depending on the premise, depending on whether one arbitrarily starts on a "physical" or "mental" basis. One is no more or less valid than the other. Both viewpoints also mistakenly imply that the apple is somehow separate from the mind itself; or at least that the mind and apple are two different things. They're not.



                The third alternative which has been largely overlooked is, again, that the "apple" is neither outside nor inside the mind, but is the mind itself in its so-called operation. For example, when the mind experiences the sensations associated with "apple," it can't be said those sensations are  produced by an apple that is separate from the mind, because no separate apple is there to have produced them. Yet if it were not for that particular seeming item or "apple," that particular package of sensations wouldn't exist either. One wouldn't experience those specific sensations with an "orange."



               The "apple" and those specific sensations need each other. Why? The act of sensing and the "thing" sensed are one. No thing exists separate from the sensations of it—and no sensations exist separate from what is sensed. In other words, there aren't sensations of a thing—only sensations as that thing.



               This appears to be true for all items in finite human experience, not just apples!  What it means is, there isn't the finite sensing mind and any item, or any form of experience apart from the mind. It all is the mind; it is one. It means the finite "sense-mind" doesn't ever think about a condition—the mind is the condition. The mind doesn't visit or think in terms of places; the mind literally is the places. It doesn't sense all the planets and things in the stellar universe.  The mind is all the things; it is the universe.


(To Continue ..... Part 4)