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)


Friday, April 18, 2014

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World by Peter Dziuban - Part 2

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World - Part 2
by Peter Dziuban

[From Peter Dziuban's forthcoming Online e-Book: "Timeless Infinity"] 

(Continued from Part 1)



From CIA p: 231:

               Now look very closely where all—every last bit—of that so-called long past is. The entirety of it  would be found only right here in that current thinking of it. The entirety of what is mistakenly called "the past" isn't past at all—all of it is being projected only right now in that bunch of current thinking. That's the only place you come up with any of it!

               Mistaken human belief would try to say there are both that current thinking of a past and the other "real" past—the one that occurred in a physical world at a previous time. Why is that not  true? Because, again, absolutely all there is, is Consciousness—which precludes there being any physical world. And the fact that Consciousness, All, is changelessly Present only, precludes there being any previous time.
         
               The would-be ignorant "sense-mind" doesn't realize that its "world" never is a separate physical world, but just its own dream-like thought. So all that the entire so-called past ever could have been "made out of" is thought. And when you examine it closely, you see the shocking truth—that dream-thought never is something that occurred "way back then"—for the entirety of it is being  mentally projected just now!
                        
               Go ahead, try as hard as you can to come up with a little bit of a "past," or a whole lot of it, in some place other than the current thought of it. It's impossible.

From CIA p: 233:

               Since the only place all of the so-called "past" would be, is in the thought of it starting right now, there has been no long accumulation of a past!  None! There is no past as a long continuum—for all there is, is Pure Present-ness.

From CIA p: 235-6: (Also found under "Present Consciousness" in the Writings section of the website)

               All-Present Being leaves no firmly entrenched problems!  All-Present Being leaves nothing to function as a secondary time-dream—no time mentality to assume it has long-honored problems  of disease, poverty, morality—or religious or national clashes.
                        
               Even if such "problems" could be legitimately mentioned, they would be exactly like a dream, in  the very first scene of which, the very first words spoken by the first character to appear in the dream were something like, "We've tried and tried to find a way to end this conflict. But it's been  going on for so long, people have grown accustomed to it; it's become a way of life."

               Hey! The dream just started!

               There has been no long conflict, although everything about the background appearance, the dream's story line, would try to make it appear so. Some of the dream characters even may  appear aged, and some young. It may appear they live in an aging universe, and even use dream- science to show dream-evidence of their universe's great age.  But because the dream just began, how old could any of it be?

               If one mistakenly ignores the truth of Timeless Awareness, and starts with time-dream, or the un-  Real, one has taken on its state of unreal thinking. So naturally it is assumed everything has a long   background behind it.  It is assumed there are "long-term" problems that also must take a long  time to overcome. That all would be its assumption, not Yours.

               The Present's Timeless Absoluteness leaves no prior assumption of anything. The Absolute Present leaves no prior time, and no prior dream appearances—none. To the One Who Unfailingly Is All- Present, not a single time-event occurs.

               It isn't that the Absolute Present erases a past history of world problems.

               The Absolute Present leaves no history having occurred.

               The Absolute Present leaves no history of even Itself! Not even the Present has been before!

               All there is, is pristine Never-before-ness.

               There is only Pristine Pure Life in all Its indescribable Beauty—Absolutely Everywhere!

               A sparkling clean slate is all there is—permanently!

               Your entire Existence is so gloriously pure and fresh, so new and breathtakingly free, there are no words for It!  And only this Pure Absolute Freedom is present. Forever!

               This is why Omnipresence, Reality, or God, never can be used to improve previous human affairs, for there haven't been any previous human affairs!

               Nothing has happened yet!

               How could this Pristine Present-ness I Am possibly need to change or improve something that hasn't even happened? How could I fall for a dream appearance when only I Am, and there hasn't been any prior appearance? What's more, how could this Presently Pure One I Am have to improve an appearance that never will appear because only I Am?

From CIA p: 223:

               Does All-Present mean all or not? Are you judging by never-present time-senses, a fictional wispy state of thought that is-not, and letting its dreaming continue to appear as such conditions? Or are you busy being What Is, Absolute Present Reality, Power Itself? What is the Conscious Present Itself doing? Is there another being conscious, present?

               The un-lapse-able Absolute Present completely precludes there being any negation of Itself called time. So there can be no negative effects of time. As the Present specifically aware here, now, is changelessly All Presence, It has given up none of Its Absolute Being so a state of nonbeing, or history of national, religious, or racial animosity could operate.

               In the absolutely present Present, no past has occurred—thus there can be no past tendency of personal greed or selfishness, wreaking environmental havoc on a planet.  Again, in un-set-aside-able Present Reality there is nothing carried over from a past, since no past has happened. So nowhere in Your All-Inclusive Present-ness is there a desire for drugs, which in turn would fuel a history of crime.

               Do you say there are others out there with separate minds that are causing such problems?  Is Omnipresent Awareness Itself claiming such separate minds exist? There are no separate minds  anywhere. This One Present is the only One that is aware.
         
               Are you willing to admit that because this very Awareness is the Absolute Changeless Present, no such "problems" ever have had presence, no history of existence whatsoever—that no such thing ever really occurred? Absolute Present Reality never clears up problems, for no problems are present to be cleared up! They merely cease being "imagined" by a mind that isn't.
         
               It is Your Self that is the Absolute Present being spoken of.  As You are all that is present, it means Your conscious certainty that only the Present is present is all that is ever present—all that is  functioning!
         
So…Awareness (which is THIS present Awareness) precludes there being physical distance where anything separate could go on. There is only the Self-immediacy of Awareness' own ease, lightness, purity. To this present One, there also is no prior time at all—only an absolutely clean slate being the entirety of what exists! This is why this history-less Awareness, which is "without a second," utterly without otherness or opposition—only Its pure, clean Presence—is sometimes labeled "Peace."

From CIA p: 324:

               The Effortless Peace being present right here, now, is as potent and effective at the seemingly  most distant points all across "Earth" and a "universe" as It is right here, now!  Why?  There are no  distant points! All always is right here, as this Present Consciousness, which is Peace Itself. To Consciousness, a sense-dream of time and space and separation, never began—never has been present to interfere. All is Present Consciousness, Peace Itself.
         
               One never tries to correct a dream-world, or tries to have Peace spread "out there," for in Infinite Conscious Being, in All, there is no physical distance in which to have such a thing. Only Here, as  Peace's Conscious Ease, is all of Existence existing. Absolutely all there is, is the Ease of Peace that is alive Here; this All-Present Conscious Love.

               Peace's Changeless Absolute Presence precludes a changing time dream of nations, races, factions, or people developing a desperate need for peace. To insist there is a world separate from One, "out there," needing peace would be trying to superimpose a never-began dream state upon the Ever-Present Peace that Consciousness is Now. Who is there to do such a thing, Conscious Peace Itself being All?
              
               Peace's Utter Presence cannot be resisted by any body or thing. Mere things don't have minds with which to act contrary to the Already Omnipresent Fact that Peace is. Peace Itself is the only Presence, Self, or Mind there is. This never changes. It is Life's one hundred percent guarantee that the Ease of Peace is all that is ever existent and functioning.

From CIA p: 323:

               Peace is all that is ever present—as the Present Itself. This is the only place Peace ever can be—as the Effortlessness of One's Present Being. It means there is no wait for Peace to arrive any more  than this Present Being is waiting to arrive. Peace already fully is.

               Peace, the Effortless All-Embracing One, is being You now. That means You are the only One that ever can "experience" or be Peace, be Heaven, for what appears to be the entirety of Existence.  How often have you seemed to assume (actually Your Self never has) that there is a "personal you" and Peace...that there is "a" Peace you must wait for... connect with ...must some day bring  about...a Peace that hopefully, as you stick with Oneness, will appear to "spread over”  Existence? Absolute Peace already is being all of Existence now—so It is not a hoped-for quality that some  day will "come over" Existence.

               Softly Alive Peace Itself is now "occupying" the entirety of Presence as Omnipresent  Consciousness. Peace is present unconditionally, as All Presence. Omni-Peace already has "happened." Peace does not wait to enjoy Its own Omnipresence.


               …Any attempt to wait for Peace to come about in time, instead of consciously being It now, would   be merely dreaming that Peace can be postponed. Yet Peace never can actually be delayed any more than the Present can be delayed. Peace Itself is the Only One existing, alive, in the first place. As Peace Itself is literally all Presence, It leaves no absence of Its Presence, and no other that could ignorantly wait for Peace.

Bottom line regarding so-called "world affairs": Peace's Presence, as THIS history-less Awareness, is all that exists—eternally. Peace's un-withholdable purity and ease is the only "affair" existent.

(To Continue ....... Part 3)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World by Peter Dziuban - Part 1

Non-duality and Conflicts in the World - Part 1
by Peter Dziuban

[From Peter Dziuban's forthcoming Online e-Book: "Timeless Infinity"] 

Vijay:  I'd like to discuss more of what Awareness "means" when it comes to "world affairs" because it seems this is a topic that doesn't come up much in Non-duality.


Peter:  Yes, it would be good to take a real close look at them. Exactly what are "world affairs"? What, really, is that which appears as international relations, environmental problems, financial/poverty issues, natural disasters, terrorism, and all the rest.  Exactly, specifically where are they going on?

And what has Awareness to do with all this?

First, let it be clear that the "stance" or "perspective" being spoken of here is that of pure Awareness—which is the real, only stance existent, because only Awareness is aware, present, alive to begin with!

So…right here, now...what is Awareness to Its own pure Aware-ing?

This does not mean thinking about Awareness or intellectually agreeing, "Yes, Awareness is aware-ing." It is THIS very Awareness, un-thinkingly alive as the silent Presence It is. Awareness is clear, calm, still, as It "experiences" Its silent aware-ing—rather than thinking about Itself. Because words are being used here, it is easy to identify only with words and thoughts about Awareness. So just stop reading a moment and be or "taste" this silent clear Presence here, now. This now is not another who has "turned to" Awareness—this is Awareness Itself—for only It "knows how" to be aware here, now.

Start or abide Here and be or "feel" this alive ease or Presence while continuing to read.

Now, look directly for evidence regarding Awareness and these "apparent world affairs"—as has been discussed here before.  Can Awareness be said to have a boundary or limit—a point where It goes only so far and some greater state, one outside of Awareness begins? No. Many things appear to be outside or beyond the body now sitting at this computer screen—but nothing is beyond Awareness.  Stop a moment and see this for yourself, as Awareness.

What about what appears as the entire so-called world or planet? Is any of it, even in its apparent form, separate from or outside of Awareness—having its own independent presence? No. If not for Awareness, there couldn't even be said to be a world or planet, or any of the affairs thereon.

Much has been done here in previous posts to show the "transparency" of what appear as all things, or so-called objects. The entire would-be physical world (planet) of separate objects has been deconstructed to show it would be, at most, merely "mental" or thought. There is another example of this in Chap 13 of Consciousness Is All, free on the website on the Reading Room page.

What this means right here, now, is that, what appear as all objects—ranging from the so-called object earth, to land masses or countries, to bodies in those countries—every last one of these so-called "objects" really would be just "mental" or so much  thought, similar to dream-like mental images. Some of the body-objects (which aren't really objects) appear as mental images which are labeled normal citizens, some are labeled as government leaders, some as terrorists.

Now look at these images very closely. Can any evidence be found for separate "minds" or awarenesses inside those images? Are there separate minds there that can disagree with each other, act selfishly or greedily, or hate each other? The images may appear to be animated and have sounds coming out of their mouths called "talk"—but are there really separate awarenesses there? No. At most, they appear to be like images on a movie screen which have no awareness inside them.

Where, really, is the only Awareness, Presence, Power, that is present for what appears as this entire picture? It is THIS very Awareness aware right here. There is absolutely no evidence for another awareness anywhere. This, again, is NOT referring to a so-called personal awareness of a Peter-body, or a Vijay or any other body.  It is bodiless, boundless Awareness.

When it seems Awareness is ignored, and there is identification as one so-called "body," it is easy to assume: "Oh, those world problems are going on `way over there' far away from this body-me, in a distant foreign country.  Fortunately, those problems don't directly affect me (this one body), and besides, there is nothing that I (this one body) can do about them anyway."

First, look at this assumption that there is a place known as "way over there" where there could be problems going on.

It's one thing to start from the five senses and human thinking and say, "Oh, there's no separation, all is One"—all the while mistakenly assuming there still is physical distance, and that everything is somehow connected across that distance.

It is quite different to be pure Awareness, and be crystal clear that there is no such thing as physical distance!

From CIA p. 133:


               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!

               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.

               The traditional misconception always has been that sense data is "taken in" from a thing "out       there" that is separate. There never is a separate object or thing out there from which to take sense data. Rather, it always would be the finite "sense-mind" experiencing itself—which it calls a  body and universe of separate things.


From CIA p. 159:

               The fact that there are only sensations, only "mind stuff"—and no separate physical objects from      which sensations come—proves there is no physical space. Why? To take up space, things would   need to be separate objects—for only objects would occupy three-dimensional space, not passing  sensations experienced in a dream.  As there are no physical objects, thus no physical space, anywhere, but just dream-like thought, then there is no physical distance or depth anywhere.


You already may see what's coming next. What about the assumption that there is a long background or "history" of world problems and international relations that have been going on so long they are un-resolvable? Who says so?  Is history-less Awareness accepting any such thing? Where is One's stance—as ignore-ant dream-thought, or as Awareness? Where is Awareness taking Its "stance" as the only ONE aware? Can Awareness be ignore-ant of Its very Presence?

(To be Continued ..... Part 2)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Baseball and Non-duality

Thanks to all our Members and the readers, we will be celebrating the completion of five remarkable years of this Blog today.

I do not know how far the Blogger Stats can be relied on.  If we go by those numbers, the readership for this Blog comes from eighty countries and the monthly pageviews exceed 2000.  (Members who are more knowledgeable may correct me, but I suspect the count by the Blogger may include the web crawlers of spamsters).

A few of our Posts are reproduced by other blogs and occasionally some get translated into Spanish, Polish etc. languages.  I found one Web site rating this Blog high amongst Non-duality blogs.  We are grateful to all of them.

The most popular Post so far at our site has been the one on Annette Nibley with over  3107 page views to date.  The second most popular article was on Ardhanareeswar with 2846 pageviews.

On this happy occasion it gives me immense pleasure to write about my good friend  Gale McCray who has a charismatic personality and an ever shining smile on his lips.  I know no other person who might have met and dialogued with as many Non-dual teachers as Gale has.  He is a happy volunteer at many Non-dual gatherings like SAND, immersing himself in Non-dual wisdom of all shades.  
Gale is an avid fan of baseball game and he intertwines entertainingly the game with Non-dual teaching.  Jerry Katz interviewed him and Charlie Hayes last Wednesday  on the Nonduality Talk Radio. Here is the link to the audio record of their lively conversation. 

No matter where we are or what we do, every action done as an offering to that attributeless, formless and eternal Beingness-Knowingness-Infiniteness is the ultimate in Non-dual living.  It is this simple message that we learn from Gale's unassuming and modest life.  Thank you Gale.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Contemplative Meditation (nididhyAsana)

Contemplative Meditation (nididhyAsana
by Vijay Pargaonkar

[Vijay Pargaonkar moved to the USA as a teenager over four decades ago. Nevertheless, he did not give up his deep interest in the ancient Indian philosophical thought. He practiced TM and followed the teachings of Ramana and Nisargadatta for a few years. He then shifted to Advaita by taking up a systematic study of dasbodh of Swami Ramdas, pancadasi of Swami Vidyaranya and the Upanishads.

Vijay Pargaonkar is an electrical engineer by profession and lives in Wisconsin, USA. I am grateful to him for his write up on nididhyAsana for publication at our Blog. He can be reached at pargaonkar2003@yahoo.com -- ramesam.]


Contemplative Meditation (nididhyAsana
by Vijay Pargaonkar 

 [nididhyAsana is the contemplative meditation stage in the traditional advaita teaching. It is the third and final phase after shravaNa (learning the Non-dual message) and manana (reflecting on the message until
all the doubts are resolved). nididhyAsana is an umbrella term. It stands for all such methods that are helpful in ingesting the teaching of Oneness of the Seer – seen and in having an unbroken thought on brahman, thus facilitating the abidance as brahman.]

I used to believe: I am a karta (doer/ agent for action), bhokta (experiencer), pramAta (knower) and the jagat (the external world) is real.  After practicing sAdhana – chatushThaya and intense shravaNa and manana and guidance from a few knowledgeable people, I have realized the following:  

 ü jagat is a series of vRitti-s (thought-waves) arising and fading as mind one frame at a time. Each frame seemingly has an object(s) and a subject “i.”  While the objects keep on changing, the subject “i” apparently remains the same assuming different roles as karta, bhokta, pramAta etc.

ü The objects are mere names and forms just for the sake of ID-ing and their substratum is the sat brahman. Also the subject “i” confined to my body-mind does not truly exist. The Witness (sAkshi) of both “i” and the objects is the Real “I”, which is the one Consciousness in all.

ü What I have been taking to be ‘me’ thus far has been in fact a mis-identification of myself with the limited body-mind.  In truth, I am the witnessing Consciousness (sAkshI caitanya) and the substratum for the jagat (Including the ‘me’). So the real ‘me’ (aham) and brahman are the same – aham brahma asmi.

ü Now that aham brahmAsmi realization is ingrained in me, I do not have a sense of a separate “i” or “me”. I understand that there is no separate “me” as an entity anywhere. That means that there is no ‘ego’ existing as an independent entity. So "I" never thinks in terms of “I am ‘this’ or ‘that’.”  However, "I" in its infinite freedom may take the form of "i" as a modulation of Itself.

ü Now that I know there is brahman and brahman only and no-thing else, there is really speaking no ‘separate’ jIva sitting there seeking to get freedom or liberation (mukti). All the jIva-s that appear to be there are already brahman! So there is no question of the jIva-s waiting for the mAyAsabalita brahma (i.e. brahman associated with mAyA) to dissolve at the end of pralaya (dissolution of the world). mAyA sabalita brahma, Ishwara and so on are mere stories postulated by people who in the first place needed an Ishwara as the Creator of the world because of their belief in creation.

ü Now I am free from the wrong notion that I am a doer and an enjoyer. With this my sorrows and happiness(es) have come to an end because there is no more an entity which classifies things / events in terms of polar pairs of opposites and judges them as acceptables and rejectables with reference to the likes and dislikes of an imaginary ‘ego.’

Having realized the above, there are occasional instances when the belief “I am karta/bhokta” and the “world is real” temporarily pop up.  This is when nididhyAsana is needed.

I use a three step prakriya (exercise) to get back on track of unbroken contemplation on brahman (akhanDAkAra vRitti):

1.    I, as a separate self, am not karta/bhokta/pramAta.

2.    "I" am no “thing” but merely a witness of all things.

3.   "I" (I) am not different from what is witnessed. Or I am everything that IS.

This three step prakriya removes the temporary feeling of “me” as a separate being and frees me from the notion that I am a doer and enjoyer.

The most important caveat here is: The above three-step 'aide-memoir' should not stay merely as statements at a verbal level.

It often so happens that an intellectual understanding of advaita message takes place, but the feelings of separation continue at the level of bodily sensations and perceptions. To get rid of them at the body level is the HARDEST part. This is the reason why many practitioners say that they read all the Upanishad-s; they understood the advaita teaching yet complain that they are unable to "realize" One brahman. Or incessantly linger with hope for “Grace” to work a miracle sometime in future forgetting that the “Grace” is right now right here with them.

So a seeker has to be vigilant about the sense of separation rising up or hiding in different nooks and corners of the body. When such 'sensations and perceptions' of separation arise, one should just observe them indifferently, unconcernedly. One should not have any agenda with them - either to control or suppress or modify. Mere observation eventually orphans them. But any agenda to do something with them to get rid of etc. will only strengthen them and will go to perpetuate those feelings.

I also use the following as meditation to stabilize in aham BrahmAsmi:

I am conscious. I do not need any proof for this.
I do not have to specially "do" anything to understand that I am conscious.

I have to exist to be able to know that I am conscious. I do not require any proof for this also.

The “I”, the “knowing” and the “existing” are NOT three different things. It is the one and same "me" only.

If this 'me' thinks that its knowing capacity is limited and is confined to the body-mind and all things exist outside 'me', it leads to suffering. When it understands that knowingness and beingness are one and the same without the difference of inside and outside, that is itself bliss. This means the 'sufferer' ends.  Though 'suffering' per se may not end, the claim of ‘ownership’ for suffering dissolves.

Further, the following meditational prakriya helps to calm down the ego (ahamkAra) attenuating the strong ripples or vRitti-s  of a separate self in mind.  (In this meditation, the separate sense of ‘ego’ is viewed as a reflection (a virtual image) of brahman, the True “I”):

ü  The very first AbhAsa (thought-wave, a ripple) arising in brahman is Ishwara. Prior to this Ishwara thought-wave at t(0), its All One homogeneous, undimensional “whatever-That-Is”.
Unless this Ishwara-perturbation happens, there is no reflection even.

"I" am causal to this wave which is not different from Me. This is My phase as Ishwara.

ü  At the Ishwara level, the cidAbhAsa (reflected image) is no problem. It appears as if (iva) brahman is looking at His reflection in still waters.

ü  Subsequent ripples generate hiraNyagarbha (prajApati, the Creator brahma). 

"I" am causal to this wave which is not different from Me. This is My phase as hiraNyagarbha.
       
 Multiplicity is engendered with a sense of 'me - not me' distinction - the genesis of ego (ahamkAra) takes place.

ü  Coeval with the ego comes the 'jagat', i.e. more fragmented "objects" with independent IDs (with individuated names and forms).

ü  Along with ahamkAra and jagat come likes and dislikes and rAga-dveSha dualities. These qualities congeal chidAbhAsa and propel it to take action (karma) being judgmental in terms of “acceptables” and “rejectables” for self-perpetuation. This is the beginning of the cycle of life and death (samsAra).

"I" am causal to this wave which is not different from Me. This is My phase as virAT.

ü  Now brahman à Ishwara à hiranyagarbha à virAT à ahamkAra are all thus "phases" of brahman only happening within brahman. The 'ego' (ahamkara) phase/modulation of brahman has to dis-cover the extra layers of ripples to know that it is itself brahman.

ü  yoga aims at stilling the ripples and see the simulacrum of brahman in the stilled waters (nirvikalpa samAdhi).

ü  The process of Realization that the Totality of ‘Whatever-that-IS’ (without fragmentation and labels) is, Itself, brahman even with all the levels of the ripples being in place is jnAna mArga (The Path of Knowledge).


Acknowledgments: This write up is a summary of my extensive discussions with Dr. Vemuri Ramesam who steered me through several subtle and a few fundamental misunderstandings regarding various concepts, terminologies and definitions used in Advaita Vedanta.  I am thankful to him for his patience and kindness. I also thank the reviewers of the draft version of this article for their suggestions.