Monday, July 10, 2006

Conscious Being as Egoity

If it appears that I haven't been writing in this blog all week, it's only because of the very lengthy dialog I've been having with Friend in the previous posts' comments section, which not everyone may have noticed. Most of the dialog can be found there, though some occurred in the post just preceding it, and in the comments section. Just follow the links in each post. Here's the latest post/reply:

Friend,

I've read your responses to both me and Kang, and I get a better sense for what you are trying to describe. Your description of “conscious being” is fairly clear. Conscious awareness, the consciousness of being, the “intelligent observer”, these are all good descriptions of a basic intelligence that is a good step above ordinary assumptions about ourselves, such as scientific materialism or just basic unquestioning bodily identification. However, contrary to what you have assumed, this is not what Ramana calls the Self, or what Niz and others describe as realization. In fact, it's really not even close. It's just a very basic understanding of ourselves as conscious beings. It certainly solves a basic level of dilemma and search based on doubt of self and irreligious attitudes of atheistic emptiness. But what you describe as the end of your search, is not the end of all seeking, just the end of a particular mode of seeking and disturbance. Obviously you have benefited from not being disturbed and not feeling the need to seek for some greater spiritual understanding of self and world. And I for one don't want to try to persuade you to seek something greater or deeper. I'm not a Guru, after all. I'm not even qualified to offer and opinion in any authoritative sense of things. I'm just responding as a friend and fellow traveler. I could certainly be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. But I also feel fairly certain that I'm at least in the right ballpark.

I like your whole story of your own spiritual search and its conclusion. I don't want to put it down at all. And by saying that it isn't non-dual realization, I hope you know that's not a put-down at all. Lots of people would be very happy to have achieved your understanding. But it isn't a permanent understanding in the sense of being unconditional and transcendental. It's only permanent in the same way that puberty is permanent. Once one's hormones make those changes in our body, they don't go backwards. But the body dies, and when it does, not only will our hormones be gone, but our understanding of ourselves as self-aware conscious being will also go. We will be reborn and go through a similar struggle just to get back to this kind of understanding.

I want to point out that what you are describing is essential for everyone on the spiritual path. Becoming convinced that we are consciousness first, and not the body or material objects, is very important. But it's only the beginning. It's not non-dual awareness. In fact, it is exactly the dualistic awareness that I have been trying to describe to you. Dualism isn't just scientific materialism. In fact, it's hard to see oneself as dualistic while being a scientific materialist, because one doesn't even see experience from the perspective of the conscious observer. One simply assumes that consciousness is a feature of matter, and so in some sense life is “single” and uncomplicated. Adding the conscious observer to the mix makes things more complex, and the materialist doesn't like that. That complexity is essentially the awareness of duality, and all the mirrored features of dualistic mind.

When we become aware of ourselves in this manner, we begin to realize that conscious being is the basic element of life, but this is not the singleness you are trying to describe. Yes, self becomes single, but it is self in the midst of a world of objects. This self that is “conscious being” is the ego. It is the very awareness that must be transcended. But it is also the field of conscious spiritual practice. The most basic form of self-enquiry as taught by Ramana is simple feeling-awareness of the sense of self, of “I”, of awareness feeling awareness. Letting go of identification with this sense of self becomes a natural response over time, but this is not possible until one lets go of all attachments to objects and falls into the source of this sense of “I”. Some people misunderstand Ramana and other teachers, and think that this “I” is the Self, that the “I” and the Self are really the same, because they have heard equations such as “Atman and Brahman are the same”, or that unenlightenment is merely a concept. What Ramana and Papaji both point out is that while this is true, that the truth of the “I” is the Self, that we are already enlightened, this is also just a concept. So both unenlightenment and prior enlightenment are both concepts, until realization itself.

What Ramana makes clear time and again is that the “I”, the conscious sense of being, of awareness, is the false self, the illusion of egoity. His recommendation for practice is not to try to eliminate this, but to settle fully into it, inspect it, and find its source. Where does this feeling of being come from? Ramana points out that this feeling of consicous being is just a thought. He calls it the “I”-thought. He recommends meditation on this “I”-thought, which is the source of all other thoughts. But if one simply accepts this feeling of self as oneself, and lets that assumption simply “be the case” there is no real transcendence of it. We all feel this sense of self. The reason you describe your realization as “no big deal” isn't because true enlightenment is no big deal, it's because knowing oneself as conscicous being really is no big deal.

I know that you don't have some inflated notion of yourself as being a realizer like Ramana and Niz, etc. But you do seem to have made some false assumptions about non-dual practice and realization by simply assuming that what you have come to understand is the same thing. I know it's fashionable to say that enlightenment isn't a big deal, that its simply “ordinary”, and one could certainly in some sense say this is true, but only in a sense. Enlightenment is of course the biggest deal, it is infinitely big, infinite love, infinite being, not just the simple sense of being that comes from recognizing the primacy of consciousness. There's a reason Ramana and Niz are thought of so highly. Such realization is extremely rare, and in a basic sense that makes it a big deal. The understanding you have come to is not very rare at all, and consequently is not such a big deal. It's good, it's highly recommended, but the reason it doesn't feel like such a big deal to you is that it simply isn't.

Now there's a basic sense of understanding in what you describe that is good to keep with you regardless of what exceptional experiences might arise. It's good to keep a basic sense of context here, and not be all that impressed with higher spiritual experiences. But it's not as if higher spiritual experiences have no value either. Still, what you describe could be the basis for non-dual practice if you understood it better. The problem is that some people tend to not know what to do with it. They might even feel that their search is over, that this is the end of the line. That's not true. That's another illusion. I know you probably don't like me saying that, but I do think you ought to look into the matter a little more deeply.

Now I can't go through your post point by point, but when you talk about certain paradoxes, like the genie giving a gift of enlightenment, of course this is all based on misunderstandings about non-dualism. Enlightenment is not given, because enlightenment is already the case. All that occurs in enlightenment is that the contradictions are removed. The primary contradiction that is removed is the “I”-thought, the sense of feeling of conscious being. So rather than asking the genie for a state of enlightenment, or anything at all, one would simply ask that the ego illusion be removed. The genie might then ask, like Bodhidharma, “what ego?”, and if one was ready, that might be sufficient for realization. If not, one would have to investigate, and find out what ego indeed. That would be the course of practice Ramana calls self-enquiry. So the genie's gift is not enlightenment, but the practice of self-enquiry. As Ramana used to say, simple interest in self-enquiry is all the sign one needs that one has been given the Guru's grace, because that is the form it takes.

I don't know if any of that interests you. One of the biggest problems with thinking that one is already there is that one doesn't investigate the nature of the self any further. As you say, your search is over, why look further? I can't answer that. What you have understood might be enough for you, and in that sense it is ultimate as far as you are concerned. But there's a reason why you seem not to understood these non-dual teachings and descriptions of enlightenment very well. You are trying to adapt them to what you know and experience as your own conscious being, and they are not trying to describe that at all. They are describing something that is at best intuited within our sense of conscious being, but the ego always tries to turn that intuition towards its own ends. One of the things it will do is tell us that this is enlightenment. When it does that, the ego feels safe and satisfied. We feel safe and satisfied. That feeling should itself be a warning sign. Spiritual practice should never feel wholly safe and satisfied. Our search should never feel at an end, until infinite love and bliss make it impossible to seek at all. And I do mean infinite. Not just basic and simple and ordinary, but infinite consciousness.

However, almost everyone in the universe is satisfied with far less. It seems that literally only a handful of people are unsatisfied with everything, and won't settle for anything less than infinite love. But we are discussing unconditional realization, meaning infinite in every respect. It can't be equated to the ordinary limited consciousness of simple being that we can all turn to and grow with. The source of our ordinary consciousness is infinite, but without that direct and infinite consciousness of the source of the ego, we are simply being ordinary egos.

17 comments:

friend said...

Hi BY,
Thanks for your reply. I suspected you would lose interest since I am not espousing what you value most highly but your summation is far too categorical in tone, as if you are in possession of greater understanding and 'know' what's what while I don't. I'm perfectly happy to let this conversation come to an end, as i've said several times, but I'd rather it not end on such a misunderstanding. For one thing, I'd just like to try and clear up something you seem to have missed entirely in what I've been saying.

If I was only talking about realizing that the essence of our being is consciousness, which is what you seem to think was my message, then I would let your critique stand without comment. But that was not the import of what I have been saying. Of course, that is just a step in in the process, as you suggest.

Far more significant, and the point I've been trying to get across, is the realization that conscious being is not a sign of the reality of an individual as we normally assume. It is simply reality. There is no self, no ego, no separateness. That is real and actual transcendance, the only transcendance that is significant.

So please, do not be so quick to to sum up my position in such categorical terms when you haven't actually grasped what I have been saying. All you are describing is your interpretation of what I have said and that is far short of what I was actually getting at. It's not that I don't take a certain responsibility for that. I think I assume words are capable of more than they can achieve.

I have been trying to put it as simply as I possibly can because I've noticed that more words tend not to help. But it is not simplistic as you suggest. Simple or not, the trouble is that everything said tends to get reduced to mind, to thought, rather than what is being pointed to, and thought is not satisfactory. Even words like infinite get translated into an idea or mental symbol, which is impossible of course, and the reality is missed. So please simply understand that you did not grasp what I was saying, along with its import. Not that you should, of course. Just please do not misrepresent what I have said. Otherwise, your critique is fine.

Regarding your own position, the funny thing to me is that you are simply deferring the end of your dissatisfaction. You suggest would be perfectly happy to end dissatisfaction if only these infinite conditions were met, and somehow you seem to think that such infinite desire is a more noble course. To me, that's obviously a pretence. You have no intention of ever surrendering. You justify the infinite search very well and have yourself convinced of it, which you have every right to do, of course. But it is not 'the way it is' as the tone of your summation suggests. It is simply a choice you are making, a direction you are taking. It is no more 'right' than what I have suggested, for example and, in my view (emphasis), it is misguided. And let's not pretend your presumed eventual surrender is 'unconditional' by any means. Your search and dissatisfaction is constructed out of impossible to meet conditions, and so guaranteed to perpetuate itself infinitely, congratulating itself all the while.

And, in my opinion of course, you are simply interpreting Ramana and Niz and Papaji to justify your views, just as you interpreted mine. This is natural too, but it is not the 'correct' view as the tone of your post suggests. In my view, you are simply superimposing your inclination on them. To me, you are completely missing the simplicity of what they are actually saying. But again that is your freedom and your choice and you have every right to do so. In fact, it is what you must do, obviously. But of course that's all my opinion and perhaps I have misunderstood you.

In any case, let's not argue the 'rightness' or 'wrongness' of our choices. Perhaps at best, we can simply state our own view and experience and not even hope that anyone necessarily understands. Since I think we have achieved that, I honestly think our road, on this particular issue, parts ways at this point. We are clearly going in different directions. It's been fun and I learned quite a lot. I feel I know you a lot better now. All the best on your journey, sincerely. Until we meet again.

Broken Yogi said...

Friend,

I figured trying to tell you where you are at would sort of offend you. I hope there's no hard feelings. I don't presume to know everything about you, but I don't think I'm greatly misinterpreting you. Yes, I understand that you have developed your understanding of conscious being to the point of acknowledging that there is no ego, no self, no separateness. But these are just concepts. If you had actually realized that there was no ego, no self, no separateness, there would be no problem in dealing with these matters. You would have no mind, no conceptual understanding of these things, they would simply be obvious and infinite. That you do should at least give you a hint that you aren't there, meaning not here, meaning that you are still "elsewhere", lost in mind, in duality, etc. Like me, like Kang, like virtually all of us. This isn't some terrible admission of guilt, or a denial of enlightenment, it's just basic sense.

Look, you are completely right that I impose my own interpretation on Ramana and Papaji and Niz, even though I try not to. I've certainly changed my mind about a lot of things since I started studying them, but I am also certain that I still manage to slip in big chuncks of egoic delusion into their teachings. How could I not? Yes, I am stuck in the concept of unenlightenment, but enlightenment is also just a concept. I can at least admit that I have my delusions, my inclinations, my interpretations based on egoity. It isn't hard for me to do, because I at least don't imagine that I've realized non-separate truth. Can you say the same? Can you admit that you are also deluded, interpreting the non-dual teachings according to your own egoic needs and self-image, which of course is very different from mine by still a self-image, not reality, not the Self?

I would like it if someone could point out my false interpretations of these non-dual teachings. Having a blog like this at least exposes me to the possibility. And some of things you say are a help, they at least give me glimmers of what's fucked up with me. But you seem a little fucked up yourself, you know? I don't mean that in a nasty way, I hope you understand. I just mean that even your criticisms of me seem to come from an understanding that doesn't seem right to me, that seems immature (at least not of the maturity you presume for yourself), unbalanced, and not understanding many basic matters of non-dualism that should be fairly obvious to anyone who reads these teachers closely.

Now maybe I am using Niz and Papaji to justify my views. Aren't you doing the same? Isn't there a way to check up on one another and see what their teachings really are?

You say that I am putting infinite conditions on realization, and that therefore it will take me infinite time to realize, that it will therefore never happen. But isn't that just an imposition of your own views on what I'm up to? Yes, I'm sure I could realize what you have realized in an instant, but why would I want to? What makes you think I haven't already, and found it unsatisfying? Just because you are satisfied with it doesn't mean everyone will be. Some people are satisfied with scientific materialism. From their point of view, their search is at an end. They don't see the sense in being a spiritual seeker either. Does that make them enlightened? Some people are satisfied with their relationship to Jesus, which they feel is complete and perfect in itself, and they have no need to search any further. They have found what they were looking for, and all their questions are answered. How, honestly, are you any different than that? I don't ask that question mean-spiritedly, or even rhetorically. I mean it literally. Yes, the content of what you have found is a little different than theirs, but isn't the basic approach the same? Isn't it just an example of gaining a little bit of wisdom which is far better than what one previously had, and considering that the ultimate answer. So you seem to have found the ultimate answer, and it's simple and real to you, and that's that. If I don't get it, it's because I am holding onto illusions. You get it. I don't. How convenient.

Does this really get us anywhere? Can you actually admit to being deluded, without even precisely knowing how you are deluded? I can. That's my gift, my talent. It's what makes me a broken yogi. Now maybe that's a shitty self-image, and I can understand that, but it still feels pretty much a right-on assessment of where I'm at. The problem I have in talking with you is that you don't seem to have a very accurate assessment of where you stand spiritually. I mean, all this talk about no ego, no self, no separateness, is that really where you are at? Because it sure doesn't seem that way. Not that you're a bad guy. You actually seem like a really decent guy. But you don't seem egoless, selfless, free of separation. You seem to have all the quirks of egoic personality that most people have. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn't consistent with your self-description. It suggests a disconnect. Do you ever feel disconnected in that sense?

Now I know you don't really want to go on with this dialog. You mention in virtually every post that I can quit responding at any time. I think you mean to say that you'd like to quit. I am perhaps stepping over the line here a bit, and getting too personal. It doesn't seem that the dialog can go much further unless we do. And that may not be to your taste. I don't mind, personally. You can say what you like about me, something in it will undoubtedly be true, and some might even awaken some sense of recognition on my part. I wonder if the same is true of you? Do you recognize anything I am saying as having any personal validity for you? Or does it all seem to be my own misunderstanding of you?

I don't see that we have to argue about whether our choices are right or wrong, but I think its important to note what choices we have made, and not delude ourselves into thinking that we have chosen something greater than we actually have. For my part, I have no problem with you telling me I have chosen unenlightenment. That's what everyone says, and they can't all be wrong. But when you suggest that you have chosen enlightenment, I think you are wronmg. You haven't actually chosen enlightenment. You've chosen a concept of enlightenment, and it seems right and good and fine to you. But it's just a self-image, not real enlightenment.

Enlightenment isn't in these concepts. Papaji once said that its very dangerous to have a strong concept of what enlightenment is, because the mind will then generate the experience that corresponds to that concept, and one will think one is enlightened. So even this idea of no-self, no-separation, no ego, just conscious being, this is a concept of enlightenment. It isn't actually egoless, selfless, or free of separation. It isn't the Self, the true Being beyond the ego. It's just the ego creating its own reality through experiential concepts. That may seem offensive to you, but everything you say matches up with that assessment, including how you say it. As I said, I don't know you, but it something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and flies like a duck, it's probably a duck.

There's a lot of people out there who feel that they are enlightened in some way, and most of them are just victims of their own concepts of enlightenment creating the corresponding experience. I remember when Saniel Bonder came up to me outside a restaurant to tell me about his recent seventh stage realization. He was really convinced that it was true, and in his own mind it certainly was. It was just as obvious as pie that it wasn't real at all outside of his own mind. Now, maybe I was just projecting my own dismal concept of unenlightenment on him. I'm sure I was even. But that doesn't mean he really was enlightened. He's done nothing since then to disprove my dismal assessment.

Now I'm sure you're not another Saniel. You're not the typoe to make a big deal of what you've understood, and start charging people big money to "get it" themselves. But honestly, you do sound similarly stuck on a conceptual enlightenment thing. Now maybe I'm stuck on a conceptual unenlightenment thing, and maybe it's no better or worse. But that's exactly my point. A conceptual enlightenment is no better than a conceptual unenlightenment. What Ramana and Papaji and Niz are talking about is beyond both. Until we realize the traps we are in, we can't appreciate what they are really saying.

It's easy to turn the teachings of non-dual realizers into concepts. When they tell you, "you are That!" it's easy to turn that into a concept of "I am That!" And it can all make perfect sense, that I am not the ego, not the self, and not separate from anything. And then accept that as one's understanding, as simple as pie. And yet none of that is real, is what they are talking about. One has to know it directly, as infinite consciousness.

Now I know you don't like that word "infinite", that you think I'm imposing a condition on enlightenment to call it infinite. But that is one of the most common words used by realizers to try to describe it. They use if for a reason. Infinity is not conditional. There are no conditions that are infinite. All conditions are finite. If I am placing infinite conditions on enlightenment, all that is saying is that I am not placing any conditions on enlightenment, because infinity is not a condition. Inifinity is unconditional. So all it is saying is that enlightenment is unconditional. And infinite.

Have you never had a glimpse of infinite consciousness? I have. And it's NOT like ordinary conscious being, not one bit. It is infinitely different, infinitely egoless, infinitely non-separate, infinite Being. That sense we all have of being finite, that sense that I gather even you have, within your sense of conscious being, of being finite in reach, all that is gone in enlightenment. Have you ever felt love go to infinity? I have, and I can tell the difference between a lot of love, and infinite love. Yes, I may have concepts about infinity, about infinite love, about infinite consciousness, but there's more to it than just concepts. It's real. It makes everything else, all limitations and conditions, seem unreal. And that's what I'm talking about when I say the conditional is not real. Any viewpoint that stops short of infinity is yet trapped in illusions of conditional finitude. Maybe I'm wrong, but if so, I'll be really wrong, big-time wrong, which seems to be my specialty.

Now, as for choices, it's kind of obvious that I haven't chosen infinity yet, that I am still hesitant. So you can lower the boom on me on that account. But don't give yourself a break either if you haven't chosen infinity yourself. What exactly have you chosen? Do you know?

Broken Yogi said...

Friend,

I figured trying to tell you where you are at would sort of offend you. I hope there's no hard feelings. I don't presume to know everything about you, but I don't think I'm greatly misinterpreting you. Yes, I understand that you have developed your understanding of conscious being to the point of acknowledging that there is no ego, no self, no separateness. But these are just concepts. If you had actually realized that there was no ego, no self, no separateness, there would be no problem in dealing with these matters. You would have no mind, no conceptual understanding of these things, they would simply be obvious and infinite. That you do should at least give you a hint that you aren't there, meaning not here, meaning that you are still "elsewhere", lost in mind, in duality, etc. Like me, like Kang, like virtually all of us. This isn't some terrible admission of guilt, or a denial of enlightenment, it's just basic sense.

Look, you are completely right that I impose my own interpretation on Ramana and Papaji and Niz, even though I try not to. I've certainly changed my mind about a lot of things since I started studying them, but I am also certain that I still manage to slip in big chuncks of egoic delusion into their teachings. How could I not? Yes, I am stuck in the concept of unenlightenment, but enlightenment is also just a concept. I can at least admit that I have my delusions, my inclinations, my interpretations based on egoity. It isn't hard for me to do, because I at least don't imagine that I've realized non-separate truth. Can you say the same? Can you admit that you are also deluded, interpreting the non-dual teachings according to your own egoic needs and self-image, which of course is very different from mine by still a self-image, not reality, not the Self?

I would like it if someone could point out my false interpretations of these non-dual teachings. Having a blog like this at least exposes me to the possibility. And some of things you say are a help, they at least give me glimmers of what's fucked up with me. But you seem a little fucked up yourself, you know? I don't mean that in a nasty way, I hope you understand. I just mean that even your criticisms of me seem to come from an understanding that doesn't seem right to me, that seems immature (at least not of the maturity you presume for yourself), unbalanced, and not understanding many basic matters of non-dualism that should be fairly obvious to anyone who reads these teachers closely.

Now maybe I am using Niz and Papaji to justify my views. Aren't you doing the same? Isn't there a way to check up on one another and see what their teachings really are?

You say that I am putting infinite conditions on realization, and that therefore it will take me infinite time to realize, that it will therefore never happen. But isn't that just an imposition of your own views on what I'm up to? Yes, I'm sure I could realize what you have realized in an instant, but why would I want to? What makes you think I haven't already, and found it unsatisfying? Just because you are satisfied with it doesn't mean everyone will be. Some people are satisfied with scientific materialism. From their point of view, their search is at an end. They don't see the sense in being a spiritual seeker either. Does that make them enlightened? Some people are satisfied with their relationship to Jesus, which they feel is complete and perfect in itself, and they have no need to search any further. They have found what they were looking for, and all their questions are answered. How, honestly, are you any different than that? I don't ask that question mean-spiritedly, or even rhetorically. I mean it literally. Yes, the content of what you have found is a little different than theirs, but isn't the basic approach the same? Isn't it just an example of gaining a little bit of wisdom which is far better than what one previously had, and considering that the ultimate answer. So you seem to have found the ultimate answer, and it's simple and real to you, and that's that. If I don't get it, it's because I am holding onto illusions. You get it. I don't. How convenient.

Does this really get us anywhere? Can you actually admit to being deluded, without even precisely knowing how you are deluded? I can. That's my gift, my talent. It's what makes me a broken yogi. Now maybe that's a shitty self-image, and I can understand that, but it still feels pretty much a right-on assessment of where I'm at. The problem I have in talking with you is that you don't seem to have a very accurate assessment of where you stand spiritually. I mean, all this talk about no ego, no self, no separateness, is that really where you are at? Because it sure doesn't seem that way. Not that you're a bad guy. You actually seem like a really decent guy. But you don't seem egoless, selfless, free of separation. You seem to have all the quirks of egoic personality that most people have. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn't consistent with your self-description. It suggests a disconnect. Do you ever feel disconnected in that sense?

Now I know you don't really want to go on with this dialog. You mention in virtually every post that I can quit responding at any time. I think you mean to say that you'd like to quit. I am perhaps stepping over the line here a bit, and getting too personal. It doesn't seem that the dialog can go much further unless we do. And that may not be to your taste. I don't mind, personally. You can say what you like about me, something in it will undoubtedly be true, and some might even awaken some sense of recognition on my part. I wonder if the same is true of you? Do you recognize anything I am saying as having any personal validity for you? Or does it all seem to be my own misunderstanding of you?

I don't see that we have to argue about whether our choices are right or wrong, but I think its important to note what choices we have made, and not delude ourselves into thinking that we have chosen something greater than we actually have. For my part, I have no problem with you telling me I have chosen unenlightenment. That's what everyone says, and they can't all be wrong. But when you suggest that you have chosen enlightenment, I think you are wronmg. You haven't actually chosen enlightenment. You've chosen a concept of enlightenment, and it seems right and good and fine to you. But it's just a self-image, not real enlightenment.

Enlightenment isn't in these concepts. Papaji once said that its very dangerous to have a strong concept of what enlightenment is, because the mind will then generate the experience that corresponds to that concept, and one will think one is enlightened. So even this idea of no-self, no-separation, no ego, just conscious being, this is a concept of enlightenment. It isn't actually egoless, selfless, or free of separation. It isn't the Self, the true Being beyond the ego. It's just the ego creating its own reality through experiential concepts. That may seem offensive to you, but everything you say matches up with that assessment, including how you say it. As I said, I don't know you, but it something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and flies like a duck, it's probably a duck.

There's a lot of people out there who feel that they are enlightened in some way, and most of them are just victims of their own concepts of enlightenment creating the corresponding experience. I remember when Saniel Bonder came up to me outside a restaurant to tell me about his recent seventh stage realization. He was really convinced that it was true, and in his own mind it certainly was. It was just as obvious as pie that it wasn't real at all outside of his own mind. Now, maybe I was just projecting my own dismal concept of unenlightenment on him. I'm sure I was even. But that doesn't mean he really was enlightened. He's done nothing since then to disprove my dismal assessment.

Now I'm sure you're not another Saniel. You're not the typoe to make a big deal of what you've understood, and start charging people big money to "get it" themselves. But honestly, you do sound similarly stuck on a conceptual enlightenment thing. Now maybe I'm stuck on a conceptual unenlightenment thing, and maybe it's no better or worse. But that's exactly my point. A conceptual enlightenment is no better than a conceptual unenlightenment. What Ramana and Papaji and Niz are talking about is beyond both. Until we realize the traps we are in, we can't appreciate what they are really saying.

It's easy to turn the teachings of non-dual realizers into concepts. When they tell you, "you are That!" it's easy to turn that into a concept of "I am That!" And it can all make perfect sense, that I am not the ego, not the self, and not separate from anything. And then accept that as one's understanding, as simple as pie. And yet none of that is real, is what they are talking about. One has to know it directly, as infinite consciousness.

Now I know you don't like that word "infinite", that you think I'm imposing a condition on enlightenment to call it infinite. But that is one of the most common words used by realizers to try to describe it. They use if for a reason. Infinity is not conditional. There are no conditions that are infinite. All conditions are finite. If I am placing infinite conditions on enlightenment, all that is saying is that I am not placing any conditions on enlightenment, because infinity is not a condition. Inifinity is unconditional. So all it is saying is that enlightenment is unconditional. And infinite.

Have you never had a glimpse of infinite consciousness? I have. And it's NOT like ordinary conscious being, not one bit. It is infinitely different, infinitely egoless, infinitely non-separate, infinite Being. That sense we all have of being finite, that sense that I gather even you have, within your sense of conscious being, of being finite in reach, all that is gone in enlightenment. Have you ever felt love go to infinity? I have, and I can tell the difference between a lot of love, and infinite love. Yes, I may have concepts about infinity, about infinite love, about infinite consciousness, but there's more to it than just concepts. It's real. It makes everything else, all limitations and conditions, seem unreal. And that's what I'm talking about when I say the conditional is not real. Any viewpoint that stops short of infinity is yet trapped in illusions of conditional finitude. Maybe I'm wrong, but if so, I'll be really wrong, big-time wrong, which seems to be my specialty.

Now, as for choices, it's kind of obvious that I haven't chosen infinity yet, that I am still hesitant. So you can lower the boom on me on that account. But don't give yourself a break either if you haven't chosen infinity yourself. What exactly have you chosen? Do you know?

kang said...

There's an echo in here.

kang said...

BY, I don't subscribe to the idea that I'm unenlightened or lost in duality. I don't affirm the opposite, either. Don't you think it is a good discipline not to say those things about oneself, "I am a sinner, wicked, lost, blah, blah?" Ramakrishna says if you think of yourself as a sinner, you will become one.

I don't think we should go around trumpeting ourselves as being enlightened (whatever the damn hell that actually menas), but I don't think it helps us to entertain negative thoughts, either.

So, apart from denying and affirming, what's left? You've had actual experiences and actual (not theoretical or conceptual) insights. I've read some of them and a few are like ones I've also had. These have changed you in some ways, irrevocably. Right?

So I think there are actual threads to be followed, threads that aren't just based on thinking and reasoning. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone can find such threads in themselves, but usually thinking and reasoning or just superstition takes over and the thread is lost, the thinker goes astray.

So maybe I have more confidence in you than you do in yourself. We are not lost in duality. THERE IS NO DUALITY! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

kang said...

friend,

I'm taking the discussion of JK up here, assuming BY won't mind.
You said:

... I don't find your notion of what JK was saying (regarding consciousnes being its content) supportable,

What do you mean? Those are his exact words! Not as you put it, but "The content of consciousness IS consciousness."

I think if you look back on his work, his emphasis is on non-separation, breaking through difference, breaking down divisions, all of which create conflict inwardly and outwardly. His work is chock full of such references.

Of course, he did a certain amount of social work. But that is certainly not all he was about.

On the other hand, there is nothing I can really remember that supports your notion that he meant consciousnes IS its content in the sense you suggest. If he actually meant such a thing, I'm sure there would have been considerably more such reference and development in evidence throughout his work since, as you say, it would have been a significant point.

Well, we agree it is a significant point, then, but not on whether he actually said and meant it. I remember the phrase clearly (not as you put it in reverse). "The content of consciousness IS consciousness." There are many implications to this, chiefly IMO being that consciousness is always conditioned, is conditioning itself, and therefore freedom is not in it. IMO, freedom is what he was about. "My only concern is to set man absolutely, unconditionally free." (from his talk upon dissolving the Order of the Star) He did not speak about realizing the Self or Brahman or some such objectification like that.

It's revolutionary, you see, because most people (perhaps you, I don't know) believe your "conscious being" is going to continue and get perfected and eventually you'll be in heaven or some such place and it will be all right. You'll be basically as you are now, but no problems. But it points out that conscious being, as it is now, will always be this way. It is bondage. It is the prison cell. It is conditioning, it is NOT freedom. YOU are bondage.

Also, he was not one to encourage affirmative thinking. He famously used what he called the negative approach. So non-separation was far more his style than any idea of unity, for instance, an idea which he found silly and even repulsive.

Do you accept that, then? That there is no such thing as separation means the same thing as the term "nonduality." The appearance of separation is not true. The content of consciousness IS consciousness. That's not all there is to this, though. The further question is, "Can there be freedom from the bondage of consciousness ("the known") which is now and always will be conditional?

Consciousness, the actual fact of it, is obviously not an entity and I definitely don't see it as an entity or as an object at all. I see consciousness as the context of existence, the context of its content. Of course it is distinguishable but not in any objective way as are things in the relative world. As I think I have said here recently, it is a higher, more senior order of reality. But unless we are on the same wavelength, these are all just words.

Yes, you may say this, of course, but I do believe you directly contradict what Krishnamurti taught. But more importantly aren't you contradicting yourself? You said you agree that non-separation is the fact. But here, within the fact of non-separation, you propose a "senior order of reality." Both of these cannot be true. If non-separation is the fact, then a hierarchy of orders of reality has no meaning. These two descriptions cannot reasonably coexist. I say that you are compromising your intuition of non-separation by maintaining that, neveretheless, this certain thing/not-thing called consciousness is distinct and separate enough to be considered a higher order. In this arena, I find that compromise offensive.

I completely agree that everything that is happening or imagined to be happening is a function of consciousness, via mind and thought. But consciousness itself is not a concept. To imagine so is a grave mistake in my opinion. Surely such objectivization of consciousness is the very origin of ego. In that sense, consciousness itself is outside the field of consciousness since any attempt to conceptualize it will be unsuccessful.

No, no, no, that's completely preposterous. You're still clinging to this consciousness as if you are immortal in it. And Krishnamurti is saying, whether or not consciousness continues, it is conditional. It will never be substantially other than what it is right now. Your hope for continuity is the wish to continue living in a box, a prison cell in which you've become temporarily comfortable. Temporary comfort inevitably cycles with temporary discomfort and on and on and on.

Regarding JK's reference to that which is outside the field of consciousness, I think its important again that we don't fall prey to ideas. After such periods of contemplation or meditation, he reports on what he has undergone, attempting to describe what he experienced beyond words. Obviously, it did not consist of 'nothing'.

It consists of freedom from "content/consciousness."

He also explains what he means by 'outside the field of consciousness' in what may seem like a fairly mundane example of undergoing a fearful experience. He points out that at the time of such an experience one actually feels no fear. One is simply meeting the situation with intensity. It is only afterwards, as the experience gets turned into memory and thought that the content of the sense of fear becomes developed. He also talks about losing one's awareness of oneself when intently listening to music or observing a mountain at sunset, for example. All of this is outside of the field of consciousness in his sense, and he encourages making opportunities to allow oneself to experience life in such a non-definable way.

You may think that's all he meant, but I don't get the sense that you understand how radical he really was. Freedom lies "outside the field of consciousness." Consciousness and "conscious being" is a robot, an automaton. It is not free. It is suffering. This has to be realized, otherwise we are merely decorating our prison cell, making ourselves comfortable as best we can within an utterly mundane conception of life, however "spiritual" and high-toned it might be.

I quite understand the meaning of your words when you say that consciousness is "the context" of all this content. But I disagree with you. That is a false notion. It contradicts non-separateness. It projects a "safe place" where you imagine you are immune to change and birth and death and the crushing cycles of samsara.

The word "nirvana" does not refer to such a place, either, imo. It refers to being "snuffed out." Of course, that seems far from desirable to anyone who has not realized the first noble truth, "Life is suffering."

They make that saying mundane as well, by suggesting that, oh if we just do things better we can have life with no suffering. Impossible. It is a statement of identity. "Life" (consciousness) and "suffering" are one and the same. You can disagree with that, and it seems to me that such a disagreement is the root of your argument. All I can say, is just watch it, then. Sooner or later . . .

Broken Yogi said...

Kang,

I don't think enlightenment is a subscription enrollment plan! Either you got it, or you don't. That may sound simplistic, but bottom line, that's the way it is as far as I can see. Now, I understand all that dharma about all of us being already enlightened, and intuitively, I think it must be true. Experientially, I have good reasons to believe it. Conceptually, it seems right. But am I enlightened? No, I'm not. Why not? Because the ego isn't enlightened, and can't be. The ego isn't already enlightened.

All your conversation about Krishnamurti's teachings is good, though I can't really say too much about it since I haven't read him in a very long time. But you keep bringing up the sound notion that the “conscious being” that friend talks about is simply the ego, and conditional, and that this is not enlightenment. You even say that “YOU are bondage.” And this too is correct, insofar as “you” are the ego. The fact is, when we identify with limitations (i.e., the body-mind) we become the ego, for the simple reason that we become what we identify with. I say “fact” because it's plain as day to anyone. Now you can say that we never actually become the ego, and that's fine, but that's simply not convincing to us egos. As egos we are lost souls in bondage, as you say, but we have this funny intuition that something is wrong, not just with our ego, but with this whole world. And of course it is wrong, because in reality we are not egos – not because we are enlightened, but because there is no “you” or “me” or “us” or “we” in reality. But we are not living in reality, not consciously. We are living in bondage, unconsciously. Saying that doesn't make it any more so than it already is, and not saying it doesn't make it any less so.

Now there are great teachings and teachers who tell devotees that “you are That”. Nisargadatta's teacher told him “You are the Supreme Being”. Nisargadatta was so struck by this that he investigated it, and did a deep sadhana of self-enquiry and faith to the point of truly waking up and realizing the truth of that statement. It took him three years, and he went through a remarkable process. Now, contrast that with what Friend is describing, or someone like Saniel Bonder teaches, that this simple awareness of oneself as conscious being is realization, and nothing more is required. What would have happened if Niz had taken that route? Would he be enlightened? According to some people, yes. But I think you know he wouldn't be enlightened, except in that abstract sense that everyone and everything is “already enlightened”. He wouldn't be able to describe in such convincing ways exactly what enlightenment is about. And he wouldn't be of much use to anyone, except as another.

The point is, whether or not one says one is enlightened has no “black magic” effect on whether one becomes enlightened or not. It's silly to dwell on it, but it's no different as a statement of fact than saying “I am not President of the United States”. I'm sure some people feel better about themselves believing that they are indeed President of the United States, but I think its a little pathetic. I don't feel tortured that I'm not President, and I don't feel tortured that I'm not enlightened. It's just a simple statement of fact, and an important one to accept, conditionally speaking. It doesn't mean I can't awaken. It doesn't mean that I disagree with the teaching that we are already enlightened, I just understand that that is only meaningful as an impetus to actually find out. Merely accepting our enlightenment as a fact is deluded, as far as I am concerned. It's simply not a “fact”. Those who see it as a fact, aren't enlightened, it's that simple. Enlightenment is beyond all facts. Facts are signs of unenlightenment. One of the reasons I say that I'm unenlightened is that I am surrounded by facts. I can rattle them off the top of my head. Only unenlightened people live like that.

Now, it's not as if I don't question these facts. I even question my own unenlightenment. I think that questioning is a good thing. But that's really as far as I've gotten. One benefit I get from knowing that I'm unenlightened is that I'm motived to wake up. If I already thought I was awake, why would I bother? Knowing that I'm asleep makes me want to wake up. It makes me question my sleepiness. Now, I suppose taking the other side seriously is also good, if it motivates someone to wake up. But that's the only criteria that really matters. All these concepts are meaningless except to the degree that they motivate someone to wake up. The idea that one shouldn't be motivated, that one should end one's search, this doesn't wake anyone up. The idea that we should go easy on ourselves, this doesn't wake us up either.

I know you laugh when you say that there is no duality, but of course no ego can say that. When we talk about what the non-dual teachings actually say, and what non-dual realization is about, it does not mean that we bring that back into life. In life, it isn't so. Life is duality. Non-duality is beyond life. It is the Life of life, which life doesn't even know. Within duality, there is no sign of non-duality, except in the Goddess Power, the Guru, the Force of the brings even our own petty consciousness into being. Apart from that intuition, life is duality, we are dual beings, and conscious of our being, yet conscious in a dualistic manner. This is merely descriptive of our situation, it is not the “ultimate truth” of ourselves. There's nothing wrong with accurate descriptions, even if they are dualistic.

Spiritual practice, even in the non-dual traditions, is more than an affirmation of enlightenment and refraining from saying or thinking that we are unenlightened. It's neither good nor bad to do either one. Self-enquiry doesn't have anything to do with any of that. Enlightened people don't practice self-enquiry. Only those who know they are unenlightened do so. And that's the problem with going down the road Friend has taken. He has no interest in self-enquiry, because he thinks he's already answered that question. Personally, I'd rather be an unenlightened schmuck practicing self-enqury than someone who thinks their search has come to an end. But that's just me. Others may differ.

kang said...

Hi BY,

Interesting. Unfortunately, I know even less about Niz than you do these days about Krishnamurti. And also, I never think in terms of enlightened or unenlightened. So I can't get on track with you on that whole line.

I tend to think that even "enlightened" people will not affirm such a thing. So if you refrain from making affirmations and denials about enlightenment, it does seem to me that you'll be a step up from one who affirms his unenlightenment.

After all, if you are actually a devoted enquirer, the practice of self-enquiry must be founded in a state of not-knowing. Those who "already know" don't ask. And prior affirmations and/or denials contradict such a state. They have to be dispensed with first.

So you are not really a practitioner of self-enquiry if you begin with such things cluttering up your brain. Yes, affirmations and denials exist. Why identify with them?

On to duality. Perhaps, better than saying duality exists or not, is to say duality is not substantial, in the manner of the Prajnaparamita sutra. Those dialogues repeat the conclusion, "Nothing substantial has ever been produced."

Clearly, even when friend affirms the seniority of "conscious being" he divides the totality into parts. This is accomplished in his own mind. When his mind ceases dividing in this way, duality ceases to appear to him. It is our own minds that are creating this appearance of duality and multiplicity. The idea that all of this exists apart from the action of our mind is a root fallacy.

So in that sense, it's Da's idea that you're pinching yourself, isn't it? And complaining about how much it hurts. "This pain, this duality, exists!!!" we insist, oblivious to our part in its creation and maintenance.

Duality is not substantial in the sense that it does not exist independently of our participation, our action, our karma.

Then some might ask, "Why, if you understand this, do you continue to participate in it?" Very simple. We don't do it for gain, but for the benefit of others. To expound the dharma. Like Krishnamurti's "My only concern is to set man absolutely, unconditionally free."

friend said...

Hi BY,
I’m as surprised that you keep inviting me back to continue the conversation as you seem to be that I keep calling it off and yet coming back. Actually. I was assuming your last summation was sort of a sign of weariness and a movement to bring things to a close in any case. So where do we go from here? It kind of feels a bit like we’re going round in circles, as if we've been through this before.

I'm not saying I'm enlightened in the sense you mean enlightenment. I’m pretty sure we’ve gone over this already. I tried to take the charge off the word and you, it seems to me, keep wanting to put it back on. I don't even believe in your idea of enlightenment so there is really nothing for me to deny. What I might have said was something along the lines that I had realized my own conditions for enlightenment (not yours) which was, specifically, a resolution of the question of who I am, a question which had previously been a desperate pain in the backside for most of my life?

I shouldn't even suggest I did anything, because I didn't do anything but keep pushing the question for years on end, and even that I couldn't help, but it did get resolved. And, I’m sorry to say use the word, but I actually happened to find that resolution incredibly enlightening, remarkably enough. After that question resolved itself I was suddenly able to make sense of most everything the sages had been trying to tell me for years and which previously had been only seemed like slim hints at understanding but which I could never quite grasp. Now I even found their words confirming my understanding. But this is not some grand egoic claim as you seem to imagine due, I think, to your (to my mind) overly grandiose view of enlightenment.

I am simply reporting something as straightforwardly as I can, and trying to describe it as clearly and simply as possible in case it might be useful to someone else. I do consider it a pivotal insight but not in the personal sense. It’s not my insight. I would say it’s more like it hit me and I appreciated it so I thought I’d throw it around and see who else might get hit. I don't think anyone SHOULD find it useful but if someone did it would be great. I would share their joy. I don't mind if you don't find it useful but please don't try and tell me it's nothing. You seem to have something against resolution. It may be conceptual to you but to me it was a concept breaker. I used to think I was a separate self, a separate unit of conscious being, and I found that very confusing. Now I realize there is no such thing, thank goodness. Speaking impersonally, understanding that resolves so much in life. It's kind of funny to me how trying to report on something so simple seems to raise so many hackles. It's exactly the opposite reaction I intend but it's part of the leartning process.

You seem to think I am claiming some kind of perfection. Why? I have never claimed that. I try to keep things as simple and straightforward as I possibly can. It seems obvious to me that you react this way because you have such grand expectations and hopes of enlightenment, along with many other ideas against which you judge my report. The way I see it is that it's part of your myth of enlightenment. In my view, you are chasing that myth along with all its grandiosity.

My guess is that your experiences, which have come and gone, make things even worse. My first such experiences were on drugs, on LSD. It took decades to get over the desire created by those experiences. I was sure I had touched reality and wanted to repeat it and stay there for ever. But one time, I realized that I had come upon it again and was amazed to find myself actually getting bored with it and started looking for a little bit of excitement. Not only could I not keep it, over time I couldn’t really even find it again, although many other equally fascinating states came and went. I’ve even had a few such experiences undrugged.

Such experiences lead us to think we are missing something, call it ultimate reality or infinite love. A craving is created and one has to go through the pain of not re-experiencing it. We always want to repeat what is pleasurable don’t we? Once is never enough. We want to make the transient permanent, or at least habitual. It creates a sort of addiction. But is that enlightenment? Is desire and it’s continual fulfillment, infinite or otherwise, enlightenment? Or is it, as the Buddha suggested, the cause of suffering. If experiences were what it is all about, surely we would all be enlightened by now. Instead, here you are, for example, claiming to be chasing infinite love while at the same time justifying and committing yourself to infinite dissatisfaction.

Speaking my opinion only, and not as one who ‘knows’, I actually think there is something true and real in the search. I see it as a form of devotion to the real. But at the same time there is also a second, untrue stream which often takes over the search. One stream is a result of our confusion over life and the need to get things straight. The second is just a sort of blind desire to get rid of the discomfort and replace it with some good feeling. That, to my mind is the basis of desire and it has a tendency to grow and becomes enormous, even infinite. To me that’s the wrong route. We’re not understanding why we’re searching in the first place.

It seems to me that the driving force of our search is a sense of wrongness and discomfort about our ordinary state. Life is a mystery and we think it shouldn’t be. We don’t know why we are here, and if we get right down to it, we don’t even know where or when we are. And on top of that, we don’t know who we are, though we all come up with some similar conclusion. We make something up but it’s never really satisfactory. We are vulnerable and without specific purpose. It seems obvious our being is going to end and yet that is an impossibility. How can being end? How could it appear in the first place? It seems that we are removed from the ultimate, our source.

Yes, these might seem like kindergarten questions and old hat but the point is that most of us, it seems to me, have not actually settled these questions to the point of actual resolution. Without that resolution there is discomfort and a sense of wrongness which we want to get rid of. But, it seems to me, rather than simply trying to get rid of that discomfort, by chasing some drug called enlightenment which seen as the answer to all our accumulated desires, which is the second stream, we must examine the discomfort itself.

So, I am asking you, if your dissatisfaction is not rooted in these kindergarten questions, and is not merely the second stream of desire, but is still an expression of genuine devotion to the truth and reality of what actually is, or however one might wish to phrase it, what is the driving force of your search now? If you are so much more advanced than me, please let me know what the next phase is, because for myself, having now resolved the kindergarten questions, I can’t even imagine what could motivate the search further, other than perhaps to share these insights if anyone happens to be interested.

friend said...

Hi Kang,
I realize from your remarks that we are definitely using the word consciousness in a different sense. To you, as you say, consciousness is the known. To me, consciousness is what the known is evident to.

Because I distinguish the two you assume I am creating a duality or a separation. This is not so. I have to go back to the old analogy of the wave in the ocean. The wave is not something separate from the ocean. They are not two things. The wave is an aspect of the ocean. The ocean is the context for the wave, the senior reality. Without the ocean there is no wave, but without the wave there is still the ocean. Hopefully we'll get beyond analogies here.

You also seem to think that I am equating the individual self with consiousness. I feel like I have to keep clarifying over and over again that that I certainly don't see consciousness or conscious being as 'mine'. In fact, I am saying there is no self, in the sense that there is no separate unit of consciousness or being. There is only conscious being. These are the particular words that I have chosen to try and express what I have understood but I am not especially hung up on them. It's just that this is what these words have always meant to me. I realize these words are used differently by different people and groups, and even differently by the same person sometimes, so it is important to distinguish our meanings. But in the end, it's what the words are referring to that is important.

Regarding K's "The content of consciousness is consciousness." (sorry I got it slightly wrong) I still don't see that your emphasis is justified by a single sentence, and again, not that I think you are wrong as far as the idea itself is concerned. I think my 'parsing' is supported by his extended work. Otherwise, as I say, there would be a great deal more elaboration in the area you suggest. But I think a lot of this is cleared up by getting more straight about what we mean by different words.

I totally agree with your point that "consciousness is always conditioned, is conditioning itself, and therefore freedom is not in it." But again, that is a slightly different meaning to the word consciousness. I'm not trying to be silippery here. Look at the scientist/philosophers working in the area of consciousness at the moment. Without going into details, there are so many meanings they are having a heck of a time coming to agreement. This actually allows many to avoid what is called "the hard problem", and even to deny that there is such a thing as consciousness. So many meanings, so few words.

Like many of those scientists, you seem to think it is preposterous to suggest that consciousness itself is outside of the field of consciousness. You equate it with something known or knowable But the fact is that is that consciousness cannot be equated with anything known, or even thought. It cannot be objectified - in any way - not even so as to separate it. That's what's so confusing about it. Everything else, other than consciousness is an object, is a thing or activity related to something else. Not consciousness. Consciousness is being itself, the absolute, the context of its content. And BTW, I have no hope for continuity whatsoever. I, as an individual, already don't exist. Continuity is in time. Reality is outside of time, that with no beginning and no ending, just simply that which is, as prepostrous as that may seem to you. That's how radical K was. Remember the ending of time?

You say that his reference to the phrase "outside of the field of consciousness" consisted of "freedom from "content/consciousness." That's only half the story. His notebooks indicate much more. Also read the wholeness of life, I think it was, in which he speaks to a psychologist called Shainberg. What do you think he means by the ground of being, which he goes on and on about? He's talking about coming in contact, so to speak, with reality without consciousnes as the known, naming and such. He, like Ramana is not talking about coming to an end, other than as a separate being. Nirvana is not merely being "snuffed out.", as you suggest. We recently had a lengthy discussion over at the Daism forum on that point. The Buddha was not a nihilist and specifically denied such ideas. But you know what? It doesn't matter to me any more because I already know I don't exist. This shape we call "I" is a product of reality, whatever that is. I, as being or its source, was never born. Your idea of snuffed outness, in the sense of totality rather than as a mere individual, is an idea, an idol of a different kind, and that belief is a little prepostrous. It's certainly not one that K espoused. If you think so, you've misunderstood him, IMO. But it is good talking to you and getting all this cleared up. I enjoy it.

Broken Yogi said...

As to whether it makes sense to say one person is enlightened and another isn't, it depends on the utility of the situation. Ultimately, I don't know, but in practical terms I form meaningful opinions about things in order to function. So my meaningful opinion is that Ramana and Niz are enlightened, and Saniel Bonder is not. That may not be meaningful to you, or to anyone else, but to me its just as meaningful an opinion as looking at my gas gauge and thinking I need to fill up the tank before I run out. It's a dualistic opinion, in other words, and I understand that. But living in a dualistic state of mind, I need to keep track of things to some degree. I don't want to run out of gas, and I don't want to follow the teachings of guys like Bonder. I'd like to keep my gas tank full and my mind on the teachings of people I consider genuinely enlightened. My opinions about enlightenment are formed through a trial and error process, similar but obviously more complex than reading a gas gauge, and I really don't see any problem with that.

You seem to think that a non-dual practitioner should apply principles of non-dualism to everything, including dualistic matters. I disagree, Ramana disagrees, and teaches very clearly that one should not mix the two. He said that you don't walk past a rapist assaulting a woman because both of them are non-separate in God. You step in and help out. And he also said that you don't treat the Guru as if he were an ordinary man like yourself or anyone else. You treat him sacredly. Now Ramana personally refused to be treated specially in various ways, such as being given special foods and things, and he didn't even like to be bowed down to, but he certainly did teach that people relate to him as Guru, and not relate to “everything” as one's Guru. He was practical, and pointed out that as long as you have a dualistic mind, and live in a dualistic world, you have to follow its laws and logic, and “give to Caesar what is Caesar's” so to speak. This applies to spiritual matters as well. He felt that it was important to test one's Guru and feel certain that they were enlightened and trustworthy. He didn't ask for indiscriminate surrender to himself, and he didn't even much like calling himself a Guru in the traditional sense. But he acknowledged the necessity of it.

So I think that while we have dualistic minds we have to be humble about that, and not try to apply non-dual principles to our own thinking. Thought is a dualistic square box, and you can't force it into the round hole of non-dualism. And vice-vera. So while you may not like to put people into the box of “enlightened” or “unenlightened” that doesn't stop your dualistic mind from doing its thing. You just put other labels on it, I'm sure. I gather there are some teachers you respect, and others you don't. That too is applying dualistic discrimination to teachers. If you';re going to do that, why not get more precise with it? Discrimination is a dualistic practice, but a very important one to develop. Yes, one lets it go in self-enquiry, but that doesn't mean the person practicing self-enquiry has no discrimination.

Self-enquiry is practiced in relation to the self. You don't practice it in relation to other people, You don't try to bring a non-dual “attitude” towards your relations with others. As longs as you perceive others, you are functioning from the dualistic mind, and you have to bring discrimination to your relations. So I see nothing wrong with judging others intelligently, and saying this one seems enlightened and this one doesn't. It seems even necessary if one is to discriminate between true and false teachings. Yes, true and false are dualistic concepts, but we are living with dualistic minds, and so they are very important concepts for us to get straight. Going beyond dualism doesn't mean abandoning such knowledge. It means that we simply understand that it is merely dualistic, and thus, as you say in that wonderful phrase “lacking significance”. Of course, it only lacks significance in the non-dual sense. We don't become attached to our invented meanings and perceptions, but we don't simply throw them away either. They remain in place even for the enlightened. They know not to put their hands in fire, not to eat dirt instead of vegetables, and not to believe that people are enlightened who clearly aren't.

I think you are quite wrong to say that enlightened people have no concept of unenlightenment, and don't divide people into the two camps. Yes and no. Yes, in that they see all as enlightened, but no in that they can clearly tell who know this and who doesn't. They can see that very few people actually know they are enlightened, and even many of those who say they are enlightened don't know it for real, but only say so, with some deluded notion about enlightenment fogging their minds. Ramana mentioned or acknowledged in passing a few people who had become enlightened , including his mother and several animals. Clearly he could tell this was true of them, and not true of most other people. This didn't mean that Ramana was stuck in dualistic concepts of enlightenment and unenlightenment. It simply meant that he functioned with natural intelligence about such things. He was also very good at chopping vegetables, and managed not to nip off his fingers. It's a fairly similar skill when it gets down to it.

So I think it's fine to form opinions about such things, in order not to nip off one's fingers. It's good to know if you are enlightened, which Ramana clearly knew about himself, and I think its good to know one is not enlightened, which I know about myself. It's also important to know that all this is just dualistic knowledge, and “lacking significance” in reality. But in the dream, it has meanings and value.

What's important to recognize is that while one is dreaming, one can't simply discard dualistic notions, or mix them with non-dual notions, and expect non-dual results to come about. Non-dual practice isn't about doing anything with or to one's dualistic mind. You could have the worst dualistic thoughts in the world and still practice non-dualism. When you say,

“So you are not really a practitioner of self-enquiry if you begin with such things cluttering up your brain,”

I can't help but laugh. Every practitioner of self-enquiry begins with such things cluttering up their brains, and far worse. You don't sit down to practice self-enquiry by first cleaning out your mind. If you do that, you aren't doing self-enquiry, you are putting attention on the dualistic mind. Ramana's recommendation for practice under such conditions is to simply ask, “to whom are these thoughts arising?” That approach can be made regardless of the thoughts in your mind, from the highest to the lowest.

“After all, if you are actually a devoted enquirer, the practice of self-enquiry must be founded in a state of not-knowing. Those who "already know" don't ask. And prior affirmations and/or denials contradict such a state. They have to be dispensed with first...Yes, affirmations and denials exist. Why identify with them?”

Self-enquiry is not founded in any special state at all. It's founded in this state, right now, whatever state you are in. If you are in a state of knowledge of some kind – and chances are that you are – this is the state in which you practice self-enquiry There is no preliminary practice of entering into some special state of not-knowing in order to practice self-enquiry. You practice self-enquiry because you already have presumed to know who you are – this body-mind. The practice is a questioning of that knowledge. You question whether you really are who you think you are. The more you examine yourself, the more it becomes clear that you don't know who you are at all. So this “not-knowing” is one of the results of practicing self-enquiry, it isn't something else one must do beforehand.

Self-enquiry has NO requirements. Everyone can do it, regardless of their preparation or state. That's the whole point. It's an unconditional practice. Ramana recommended it to everyone, not just advanced beings. So all our prior affirmations and denials are part of what are inspected in self-enquiry. One does inspect the presumption of unenlightenment, which is simply the presumption that we are body-minds. But it is really inspected, not shunted aside. We are truly identified with them, and simply saying that we are not our presumptions has no great meaning aside from finding out who we really are, and finding out our real enlightenment. I haven't done that, so by default it simply makes sense to say that I am unenlightened. It's not by identifying with that statement or concept that I become unenlightened, it's by identifying with the whole complex of this body-mind that I become or seem to be unenlightened. So what is important is not getting rid of such superficial concepts, but inspecting ourselves and see what really is true, and questioning all our presumptions. If you do that fully, then you can call yourself enlightened. Until then, it's no more harmful to call yourself unenlightened as it is to say you are not the President of the United States. It's even helpful in my view. One of the most important virtues to develop in this practice is humility, all these realizers talk about that. And part of being humble is knowing that one is lost in samsara, and needs the help of those who are not. That's why I read the works of enlightened beings – because they can help me. One has to be willing to bow down and put one's head on the floor, give up one's pride, and admit that we don't know what we are doing and need help. That kind of humility doesn't hurt one's chances of being enlightened. It might not be “a step up” from thinking of oneself as enlightened, but I'm not looking to step up. If anything, I'm looking to step down, to humble myself before God. God knows I'm arrogant enough already. Can you imagine what I'd be like if I thought I was enlightened? Truly unbearable.

I like what you said about duality, and that's a great take on Da's whole “pinching yourself” teaching, tying it to this view of conditionality as “not substantial”. What Ramana says about the realizer is simply that they have no volition of their own anymore, because no one is at home. They are lived by the Divine Spirit, and their actions are the actions of the Divine. As Papaji says, he has no mind at all, and hence no desires, because without a mind desire has nowhere to take root. He acts spontaneously, with no thinking at all. It turns out that his actions are for the benefit of others, but how else could it be when there is no self or mind to benefit from them?

Broken Yogi said...

Friend,

I don't want to give you the impression that I think you are deluded about yourself, or have some grandiose idea that you are one of the enlightened ones. You seem like a decent guy who is quite reasonable and not suffering from inflationary problems. What you describe about yourself and the resolution of your personal search seems fine, intelligent, and not out of line in any way.

The problem I have with our dialog is that you make the error, I think, of equating what you have gone through, and where you are at, with the teachings of non-dual realization. I think you have to consider the possibility that when these non-dual realizers speak of having understood who they are, having resolved that dilemma, and being done with the search, that they are talking about something of a different order than you have experienced. That doesn't mean that what you have experienced and understood isn't good and valuable, and hell, maybe even better than what I've done. It just means that we are talking on different levels of meaning. Your level of meaning, when you say that you know who you are, is not the same as what Ramana says when he describes the Self. Yes, I'm sure you see a similar pattern, and can relate to what Ramana says as true and quite sanely evident to you, but that doesn't mean that it the same understanding, the same resolution, the same “self”, or the same cessation of the search that you have come to for yourself. One can get a basic feel and understanding of these basic truths, and feel some sense of simple resolution to our search and confusion, without actually realizing the Self as Ramana and others have.

So I think it's important to be aware of just how deep our resolution of these issues is. Even a little bit of wisdom cuts through great fear, as Adi Da once told me. You clearly have cut through a great deal of the ordinary fears and anxieties that once plagued you. You have gained a little bit of wisdom, and that is a wonderful thing. But I think you ought to consider the possibility that you have not gained full and complete wisdom about these matters, and that your search is not truly at an end. I don't just mean your spiritual search, I mean every sense of search, including the search for ordinary happiness and well-being. I'm not here to try to tell you where you are at. I only get a sense that you have confused your own perfectly valid understanding with descriptions of an ultimate nature. And I think that is why we are having trouble communicating.

I know you think I have an inflated and grandiose notion of what enlightenment is. I, for my part, think you have a reduced and casual notion of what enlightened teachers of non-dualism are talking about? Who's right? I don't really know for certain. I'm obviously biased and think I'm right, but I only think so, based on my own experience, intuitions, and readings from relevant sources. I understand the problems that exist due to the various levels of understanding possible in any discussion, and I just think you ought to consider the possibility that what Ramana and Niz and others are speaking about is not only true at the level you are familiar with, but true at much higher and deeper levels also.

It is difficult to understand non-dual teachings, because they can resonate at every level of our being, but we may only be aware of that resonance in a limited way, at a limited number of levels. We may think that because they resonate at a level where we can understand them, that this is their full and intended meaning and truth. But we find if we persist in studying them that they open at at many different levels that we previously did not understand them on. It's important to understand this, and gain a sense of that multiplicity in understanding that non-dualism is actually beyond all levels, and yet has resonances within them. I like to call these “echoes” of non-dualism that can be felt within the dualistic mind. As I said in earlier posts, synchronicity is one of those “echoes” of non-dualism that can be noticed. So is what you are describing, this sense of knowing yourself and feeling resolved in your search, is an echo of non-dual understanding that you have opened up to at a basic level of your being. But it is just an echo, not direct non-dual truth. It allows you to feel a sense of relief and relaxation in the midst of life, but that is not the final cessation of all seeking, only the relaxation of seeking at one level of the being. It also allows you to relate to the teachings of non-dualism at that level of awareness, and perhaps to open to other levels as well. It's a good thing, in other words, but one should be careful not to identify this opening with the fullness of non-dual truth. As I said, it's merely an echo, and while an echo of truth is better than the confused noise of unconsciousness, it is not full consciousness either. Non-dual understanding must be recognized on every level, and these echoes traced back to their source. It is only when the source of these echoes is found and directly seen that true enlightenment arises.

So you could say that my view is that many people who feel a sense of enlightenment or realization are not so much deluded as they are simply confusing echoes of truth with the original sound, so to speak. These echoes allow them to relate to non-dual teachings, and that is good and important, but confusing the echo with the truth introduces misunderstandings and failures of communication when talking about the ultimate truths of non-dualism. If we identify these echoes at levels we can hear with the ultimate truth of non-dualism, it may seem that non-dualism is no big deal. This isn't true. It is only that the level at which we have understood non-dualism is no big deal. Full and direct enlightenment, however, is, as I said before, and infinitely big deal.

Now you may be right, that I have inflated notions of enlightenment. That may be because I may be open to echoes of enlightenment on some rather high levels at times, and yet not so aware of those same echoes at lower levels. Or open in an intermittent way, and closed in a rather haphazard fashion also. That's one possible explanation for our differences in “style”, as Jimsun calls it. I know I have much to learn, and that I am only open to these non-dual echoes in an uneven fashion, in limited ways, and I may tend to identify non-dualism with the levels I can hear them in. I don't think it could really be any other way. That is why I think it is good to have dialogs like these. We encounter people who are open at levels we are not, and also closed at levels that we are open to, and it's interesting to see how that creates misunderstandings and conflict. I'm happy you have borne with me and not reacted to me in the areas that I am closed in.

But I think it's important to remember that all of these openings and closings we experience about non-dual understandings are only in relation to these 'echoes” of non-dual truth, and not non-dual reality itself. It is only by tracing these echoes back to their source that non-dual truth is directly confronted. And those who have done that are what I would define as “enlightened”. You may or may not agree with that definition. I just offer it as a reasonable way of looking at these matters without simply being mushy and indiscriminate.

So I hope this gives better context for my views about you and your confessions. I appreciate your openness and persistence. It has certainly helped me to feel and think through this in ways I haven't had the chance to before. I hope this clears up some of our confusion. I don't know if it helps you of course. I don't know if I can really be of much help in that sense. I don't really know what you need, if you need anything. That all depends on your impulse.

When you ask me about my “desire” for enlightenment, and divide this desire into two different categories of good and bad, I don't know what to say. I'm sure I could honestly be characterized by both descriptions, and everything in between. But desire can't really be broken down like that. My view is that all desire is really the same, and that it is really a desire for freedom, for perfect happiness, unobstructed joy, absolute enlightenment. My view is that desires all seem different because we wrongly interpret them as applying to various levels of duality. We think we want this or that thing, and we measure our satisfaction by how well we have attained things at that level, including insights and understandings within these levels. When we are able to resonate with the non-dual at some level, we may be feel satisfied with that. But desire is never fully satisfied with any of that, at least not forever. However, it can feel satisfied for a very long time. So we can think of ourselves as having good desires and bad desires, but I feel that they are all the same. Their complexity is simply due to our misunderstanding of what we desire. We desire infinite, which is why desire is endless. We are not satisfied with limited ends because we desire infinite, endless happiness. The difference between usis that you seem to think this is a bad thing, that we should be satisfied with limited desires and limited satisfaction of desire. I disagree. I think we need unlimited satisfaction of unlimited desire, and anything less than that is ultimate unsatisfying. But maybe you are right. This may just a sign that I am screwed up. If so, that's bad news, because I don't see any way for me to free of desire other than to achieve infinite satisfaction of infinite desiring. I don't mean just really big satisfaction, mind you, but infinite satisfaction. I think the empirical evidence of human beings over time shows that this is true. And the only infinite satisfaction of infinite desire is found in enlightenment.

But don't get the idea that I spend my day lusting after enlightenment. It isn't so crude as that. I might be better off if I did, of course. I don't view that as a bad thing, as you do. Most of the great teachers I know of say that the one essential thing that must exist in the aspirant is the conscious desire for enlightenment. When Shirdi Sai Baba was asked how he realized, he answered, “Sheer desire”. So we have a serious difference of opinion, of values in regard to the desire for enlightenment.

Broken Yogi said...

Kang,

I appreciate your spirited replies, even if you don't entirely mean everything you say.

“I would go even further, however, and say that this is the case with everyone at all times. Only those under delusion believe they are acting because they have free will. They do not. All beings at all times are lived by the Divine Spirit.”

Yes, this must be true. But who is aware of it? Are you? Am I? We are only aware of this in echoes of intuition. We certainly don't recognize this otherwise. And that is the difference, if you will, between an enlightened realizer and you and I. They live consciously as Divine Spirit. We live unconscious of Divine Spirit, or conscious only of its echoes in our lives.

“Here's one that I think is not a disagreement, but merely a way of talking about it. You say that the "preliminaries," clarifying the mind, examining false concepts and identification with body/mind, etc. are part of the practice of self-enquiry. Instead of that, I say they are preliminaries. It's immaterial which way you describe it, but I have to ask, under your way of discussing it, one can practice and practice (maybe, so-called) and apparently still not succeed.”

I don't think you understand quite what I'm saying. This is a point I've actually debated in rather lengthy correspondence with David Godman of Ramanashram, and he's quite insistent that Ramana did not consider any practices to be necessary preliminaries to self-enquiry. He advised a few basic supporting practices, such as Satsang, pranayama, and devotional practices such as puja and chanting, but that's about it. His view was that self-enquiry itself was itself the purifying practice that prepared one best for self-enquiry. As David Godman explained to me, it's like learning to play the violin. The best preparation is to practice playing. Even if one isn't that good, it's the best way to get better at it. Self-enquiry is essentially the practice of self-attention, of turnign attention back on its source. The problem with “preparatory” practices is that they invariably put attention on something else, and this increases the problem rather than decreasing it. Or, as Ramana said, the mind is weakened by activity, and strengthened by inactivity. Self-enquiry is not a mental act of using the mind to do something. It's the simple act of turning attention back on itself. Thoughts that arise have no bearing on this practice, they simply are ignored. Whether they go away or not is not material.

“In my way of describing it, you do the preparation, take care of the preliminaries, and with that foundation laid, you make the essential enquiry ONCE, and realization ensures in that very moment.”

And how did that work out for you? It is very rare that this occurs. I take it once wasn't enough? Well, you're not alone. Once wasn't enough for me either. And what exactly would these preparatory practices be? I'd sure like to know. I certainly argued with Godman about this issue, and in the end I had to admit defeat. If you have some good ideas, let me know.

“So I am saying that self-enquiry and realization are really one and the same thing, and all else is preliminary.”

That's not what Ramana says. He says self-enquiry ends the moment realization occurs, that self-enquiry has burned itself up at that point, and the realizer doesn't practice it at all. He also says that even self-enquiry can only take you so far, that it doesn't actually bring about realizaiton. The best it can do it lead you to full recognition of the “I”-thought, falling into the “I”-thought. At that point, Grace carries the devotee beyond the “I”-thought to its source. The Guru draws the “I”-thought down into the heart, and it dies there. Others concur. There's an amazing description of the enlightenment of Muthra Sri Sarada by her Guru, Lakshmana Swami, who was himself enlightened by Ramana, in the book “No Mind – I am the Self”, in which this process is chronicled moment by moment. Lakshmana even had a tape recorder running during the process, and describes the very process in which Sarada's “I”-thought fell repeatedly into the heart only to re-emerge before finally falling into the heart forever and dying there. Quite an amazing book.

“If you want to put it differently, OK, but you have to answer why, if you are really a practitioner, you are not also a realizer.”

I ask that question all the time. It must be that I'm a pretty lousy practitioner! Seriously, I have no pretensions to being an advanced practitioner of self-enquiry. Still, it does a better job of preparing me than anything else I've ever done. If you know better, I'm happy to learn new tricks.

“Elsewhere, you say there is nothing wrong with having an opinion about who is enlightened, even though you maintain you are not one of them.”

Ramana taught that only a jnani can recognize another jnani. But then again, he said that everyone is a jnani. The way I understand this is that everyone has an intuition of jnana, and though it may only be an “echo” of true jnana, it helps guide us to recognize others as jnanis. We can tell, to some degree, who is actually consciously living jnana and who is not. We can't be certain, because our own awareness of jnana is only a partial one of these “echoes”, but it is a useful guide to some degree certainly. I'm sure you can feel a difference between Ramana and Charles Manson, say. I'd suggest it's possible to refine one's descrimination much further than that.

“But how can you not see that using your dualistic, unenlightened mind to have opinions about who is enlightened or not, is EXACTLY mixing the two, which you adamantly advise me not to do. You're having a huge blind spot there, IMO.”

It's not an improper mixing of the two. What Ramana meant about not mixing the dual and the non-dual refers exactly the opposite of what you are suggesting. In other words, you think that judging whether someone is a jnani or not is a mixing of the dual and the non-dual. What he meant is that one shouldn't apply notions of non-difference to the dualistic world of life and relations. What you are doing is taking the “non-difference” approach and saying that it's wrong to see a difference between a realizer and anyone else. Ramana did not subscribe to this view. He was of the school that one should use discrimination to choose a Guru wisely, and not treat them as just another guy.

So having a discriminating opinion about what realization is and isn't, and who is realized and who isn't, isn't an improper mixing of the two. A dualistic mind cannot help but make such distinctions. It can't know with total certainty the answer to these questions, but it must develop sufficient discrimination to chose wisely between teachings that are false and teachings that are true, and teachers that are false and teachers that are true. To presume otherwise is to presume that you can never practice a true teaching because you could never choose one in the first place. Now could you even have a conversation about such matters, because to do so would be to “mix the dual and the non-dual”. This is clearly not what I had in mind, nor did Ramana mean such a thing.

“Yes, certainly, there are persons from whom I gather inspiration (let's say a few, Nityananda, Ramakrishna, Buddha, Neem Karoli Baba, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Buddha, Christ, Milarepa, Sarada Devi, Ramana) and am inclined to pay attention to what they say. My opinion as to their ultimate state is relevant to nothing, though. One has a sense of their authenticity or not.”

And what exactly is so different about what you are doing from what I am doing, except in degree of refinement of discrimination? It would be one thing simply to suggest that I lack enough discrimination to make such calls, it's another to say that it's impossible. Maybe you don't think it's wise for you to make such judgments, but do you really think you can say the same for me? I certainly think I know enough to at least form an evolving opinion about such matters. If you think I'm wrong, fine, but don't argue that it's categorically wrong or impossible to try. If it were, it would also be categorically wrong for you to choose to find your inspiration from these characters and not the winos on the street you pass by. Both involvement discriminative judgements about what represents genuine spirituality and enlightenment.

“If they say something or make some teaching, it has no meaning to me or anyone else to opine as to whether they are enlightened.”

This is so self-evidently false as to be unworthy of refutation. Enlightenment simply means that these teachings come from an authentic source, someone who has literally realized and knows what they are talking about. Are you saying that it is meaningless to opine as to whether a book on brain surgery was written by a genuine brain surgeon, and not a teenage crack whore? It would take some knowledge of brain surgery and medicine to make the best judgments about the value of a book on brain surgery, just as it does when assessing enlightenment and spiritual authenticity.

“It has to be PRACTICAL, something I can actually follow and carry out. If the fruits of a practice come to me, then I can speak on the basis of my own experience and authority about that particular thing.”

Yes, you can. And so can I. And that's what I'm doing. I don't have to be fully enlightened to form and opinion about the value of a teacher and a teaching however. Like you, I can read them for myself, form my own judgments, and get a wider knowledge of the matter and take many other opinions into account.

“If you are speaking about a practice from a position of not having engaged it to the point of maturity and realization, then what the fuck!? OK, you have some faith. That's fine. Snake handlers and Jerry Falwell also have faith. Who needs someone else's faith? We have our own. You should get some fruits.

I never claimed to be an authority, Kang. I refer you to the name of my blog – the Broken Yogi. I'm just another broken down old fart trying to make his way through samsara. I have my views, my ideas about things, and that's all they are, and all I pretend to have. I try to discuss these matters with honesty and integrity, but I'm more like a cab-driver talking politics, I'm not an expert in the field. Still, I try to be faithful to my sources and not mangle the teachings I feel are most authentic. I probably do anyway, but I don't sweat that too much. Yes, I have some faith in some of these sources. I think for good reason, but what do I know? I don't expect anyone will take what I say on faith alone, because I'm certainly not worth of it. People ought to check the sources themselves, and see what they think.

Now as for fruits, yes, I should get some. So should we all. If you have any fruit, feel free to share. I left the whole game of competitive practice long ago. I broke down. I found all that fruit-less in any case. I you don't see any fruits in me, then I must not have any. If you have to ask, then don't.

“Humility is easy to say, but IMO, it's not especially full of opinions. One might reasonably ask, if you have humility, who the fuck are you to have opinions? What makes you that important to me or anyone else? (This is a rhetorical query.)”

Yes, humility is not full of opinions. But I'm not especially humble either. Now, what makes me important to you is for you to answer, not me. You really have to ask yourself why you are wasting so much time reading and dialoging with such a useless guy. I don't know why I'm important to you of late, but it seems that somehow I am. What's that all about?

}In sum, I think it has no authenticity at all for you to make such detailed assumptions about how Ramana thought, what was his view of enlightened persons/unenlightened persons. You can make only crude, grossly approximate statements based upon reading books and, at best, some intuition. If you could actually put yourself precisely in his position, then you would not have to be citing Ramana to give your statements added weight.”

Of course I am only making crude approximations of Ramana's teachings. What else do you expect here? If you want Ramana straight on, then read Ramana by all means. I am trying to be faithful and accurate as to what Ramana actually taught, and if I'm wrong please point it out, but I don't hear you doing that kind of thing. You only seem to complain that I'm distorting his teachings without telling me how, and what Ramaan's undistorted teachings are. It's not like I wouldn't want to know how I was wrong, and what was right. So please go deeper.

“And when you say we must have discrimination, this is exactly part of it. Your approximate versions of how the enlightened Ramana (your presumption) saw things, is (here's the discrimination) light years away from the fact of Ramana actually seeing the thing. You are not, by your own admission, in that place. So what you do is called proselytizing.”

Well now I think you're just being unfair. Of course my take on Ramana's written teachings are insignificant compared to Ramana's own realization. But they are not insignificant in relation to Ramana's written teachings themselves. Ramana did teach with words, to people who understand something of those words. How I understand Ramana's word is certainly significant to me, and it may be significant to others who are similarly struggling to understand his teachings. If not, people probably won't read this blog. It's not like there's mass appeal to this kind of thing, you know? The point is that Ramana taught with words and concepts that we can all try to understand for a reason: that we would try to understand his words and teachings. It's really that simple. And that's all I'm doing. Having dialog with others who are similarly interested seems useful to me. If it isn't, I'll stop. But calling that proselytizing is a little extreme. It's not the message I'm trying to further, just the discriminative mind itself. That may seem counter-productive, and maybe it is, but that's what I'm doing. Eventually I may see through it and stop.

______________________________

“. . .it's no more harmful to call yourself unenlightened as it is to say you are not the President of the United States

Here again you blatantly mix the dual and the nondual. To be President is a mundane, dualistic condition. To be enlightened is not. Yet you fallaciously pretend these two things are on the same level so you can rationalize your behavior.”

You misunderstand the equation again. The point is that while using the dualistic mind, one must use it discriminatingly. It matters not whether the contents being discussed are “dualistic” or “non-dualistic”, they are all objects of dualistic discourse , and thus discrimination must be brought to them. In practicing self-enquiry, on the other hand, one doesn't discriminate, one takes a non-dual approach, and simply meditates on self. What Ramana means by not mixing the two is that one doesn't mix the two modes of attention, not that one doesn't discuss non-dualism with discrimination. When discussing non-dualism, one is engaging in a dualistic exercise, and that requires discrimination. Similarly, in discussing spiritual teachings and teachers, one is using the dualistic mind, and must therefore bring discrimination to the subject. But when one is, say, surrendering unconditionally to one's Guru, one doesn't discriminate or ask whether they are enlightened or not. The exercise itself simply doesn't permit it, any more than self-enquiry does. Of course, one can and even must do both, even simultaneously. In other words, one practices self-enquiry in the midst of life and action, but one doesn't allow the discriminative mind to impose upon it. Similarly, one doesn't let self-enquiry guide one's practical life. Somehow, the two synchronize themselves just fine.

“I read the works of enlightened beings – because they can help me.

Yeah, sure, not. What will help you if you actually practice and not just talk about practicing, and by practice I mean realize as well, as I explained before. Practice and realization are not (in the way I speak of it) two distinct things separated by time or whatever.”

Okay. You're having a bad day or something, right? Well, I wish you much progress in your own practice. I'm glad you want me to realize. Every little bit of encouragement helps.

friend said...

Hi BY,
Thanks for such a thoughtful piece. I think just a couple of quick comments should suffice here in reply.

One is that you speak as if I have a choice in the matter of the search. The fact is that it simply dropped away. Yes perhaps there is an element of the search that I have not yet recognized still existent, but whatever appears that I do recognize doesn't last. Everything gets answered or resolved in this understanding. But, as you say, who knows what I can't see. One thing is for sure. I can't make myself search, nor do I see any point in it. To me it would be unnecessary suffering and, actually, fooling myself.

The second point covers both our situations. You say enlightenment is a big deal and that I make too small a deal of it. And yet you also say that you want infinite happiness and satisfaction. Well, isn't now part of infinity? Isn't now part of non-duality? Why do you exclude the present and the present situation, and your present experience or state, from your understanding of infinity? With all due respect and great love, I believe that this is a very serious question you might to seriously want to inspect.

What is the function of desire in the present moment? I am not suggesting getting rid of desire, simply understanding it. Instead of simply reacting to the impulse and following the 'dream', or might I suggest 'fantasy', or merely memory, perhaps inspect what relationship that impulse has to the present experience. Is it a motion to escape, which we justify with our immense logic? Are we all the time invalidating and avoiding this presently 'poor' experience and state of being which we find ourselves in, as unfit. To me that is the height of duality you see.

When my search dropped away, I realized my ordinary experience wasn't actually so bad at all. In fact, I was enormously grateful for the endless blessings in my life. And please don't make the mistake that I am suggesting being happy with limitation only. I was able to be happy with and rest in this experience of limitation because I understood it was all just part (so to speak, please understand) of the great living infinity of conscious being.

And please don't confuse the cataphatic (affirmative vision or experience of the divine) with the apophatic (understanding the divine by seeing what it is not defined by). The beloved cannot be imagined, experienced or captured in any way. Any sense that we can, do or have done so is both a release (from a previous sense of impossibility of not being able to seeg the divine) as well as an illusion, if held onto and believed in. In actual fact, the beloved is never absent, even now, regardless of your feelings to the contrary. That does not make realization a comparative matter or some samll deal. This is real and present non-duality.

Finally, with regard to our understandings of people such as Ramana, oneLove over at the Daist Forum posted this quote from Ramana which, I think, has significant bearing on your insistance that multiplicity and manifest reality has to disappear for non-dual realization to be the case.

"I have said that equality is the true sign of jnana. The very term equality implies the existence of differences. It is a unity that the jnani perceives in all differences, which I call equality. Equality does not mean ignorance of distinctions. When you have the realisation you can see that these differences are very superficial, that they are not at all substantial or permanent, and what is essential in all these appearances is the one truth, the real. That I call unity. You referred to sound, taste, form, smell, etc. True, the jnani appreciates the distinctions, but he always perceives and experiences the one reality in all of them. That is why he has no preferences. Whether he moves about, or talks, or acts, it is all the one reality in which he acts or moves or talks. He has nothing apart from the one supreme truth."

No preferences! Not even one state of being over another, one experience over another. Now is fine, with whatever is the case being so. That is non-duality. With all love.

Broken Yogi said...

Friend,

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that you seek, or suggesting how you should seek. I'm just suggesting that you not interpret non-dual teachings purely in reference to your own spiritual attainments or sense of ease and understanding. See them in the same pattern, if you will, without being identical in proportion. I'm only suggesting that you can't offer your own experience as the final word on what non-dual teachings mean. You can't divorce yourself from your own experience by any means either. I'm not suggesting that, but you can refrain from making them all-revealing of the nature of non-dual reality. If you are not moved to seek in any special way, then please don't! Just be attentive to the ordinary ways in which you do seek, that's all. It shouldn't be too hard to see.

“Well, isn't now part of infinity? Isn't now part of non-duality? Why do you exclude the present and the present situation, and your present experience or state, from your understanding of infinity?”

Yes, this is a serious question. But the answer isn't as simple as saying that now is a part of infinity. What is now? Is it the room I am sitting in, the body I am sensing the room through, the mind that is perceiving those sensual inputs, the awareness that is aware of all this, what? Now isn't an easy matter to understand. Is it really true that all this is a part of infinity? Or is it merely a part of finitude? See, the problem is that we can't really answer that question through the experience of the now. We can only experience a part of whatever there is, and we can't ever demonstrate that it is infinite at all. I don't exclude the present situation, but the present situation is limited, regardless of whether it is a part of something bigger, even something infinitely bigger. Infinity implies not just something bigger than the present moment, but something of a transcendental nature. It is only by transcending the now that one find infinitely. That doesn't mean exclusing the present situation, but it does mean one doesn't look at the present situation for infinity. Which is why seeking for objects never achieves the infinite satisfaction that we desire. All objects are finite, and there is a finite number of them that we can attain. Only the source, the source of the “I”-thought, is infinite. And that is not found in our present situation. It is only found in our unconditional situation, our reality. That is not absent, but it is not present either. It exists only in the transcendent sense. And so do we. We can't find ourselves in this present situation either. We only exist in the transcendent sense. The problem is that we conceive of ourselves as existing in this present situation, in this now as it seems to be, and yet we can't find ourselves here in any tangible way. It is similar to dreams. We are not “in” dreams either. We simply perceive them. Where we actually are is not known to us. This is not a good thing. We ought to know where and who we are. Now there's a way of talking about a transcendental “Now” that refers to this differently, but I would argue that it boils down to the same thing. When realizers talk this way, there are not talking about “our present situation”, they are talking about a transcendental present, not merely the present moment in time, but the now that is beyond time.

“What is the function of desire in the present moment? I am not suggesting getting rid of desire, simply understanding it. Instead of simply reacting to the impulse and following the 'dream', or might I suggest 'fantasy', or merely memory, perhaps inspect what relationship that impulse has to the present experience. Is it a motion to escape, which we justify with our immense logic? Are we all the time invalidating and avoiding this presently 'poor' experience and state of being which we find ourselves in, as unfit. To me that is the height of duality you see.”

I see the function of desire as being transcendental in nature also. In other words, desire wants what is infinite, what is real, what is transcendental. It's problem is that it cannot perceive the transcendental and infinite, it can only perceive objects. So it seeks the unlimited in forms that are limited. Hence, universal frustration. People tend to blame desire for our dissatisfaction and frustration, and suggest that we shouldn't desire so much. I think the only problem with desire is that we direct it to conditional objects rather than unconditional freedom, which is what desire really wants. I don't see that desire can be quenched any other way than to fall into unconditional happiness. This can only occur by turning desire away from objects, and towards the transcendental, which is located in the self-position, in the heart, not outward in the world or our “present situation”. Turned towards the self, desire is liberating. Turned towards objects, it only achieves bondage. Every experience that we find ourselves “in” is an object to us, and not transcendental in nature. It isn't a matter of devaluing our experience, but simply recognizing that it has no inherent value. We have all the time been trying to attach meaning and value to it, whereas it has none. Simply let its inherent emptiness be obvious, and don't desire what is empty and valueless. Desire what is true and immediate and real, which is only found in the self-position.

Regarding the Ramana quote, I think it's important to understand that Ramana answered people's questions in accord with their ability to understand. David Godman in his compilation of Ramana's teachigns, “Be As You Are” points out that Ramana himself spoke of this, and how people's point of view fell into essentially three categories that he could find a way to make his teachings relevant to. The first were people who essentially were just ordinary religious people, even athiests, who saw the world in very conventional terms, and asked about God and creation and science, etc. He could respond to them on this level, and not try to tell them about higher points of view. The second level entailed a deeper esoteric understanding of non-dualism, but still in a limited way. I'd suggest that the quote you gave is of Ramama responding in this mode. The third viewpoint is what Ramana called the “ajata vada”, which he said was the only one that he personally experienced and approved of as being real, in which “nothing is happening” and there are no separate beings or objects at all. When Ramana refers in this quote to what the realizer sees, he is simply making an accomodation to the questioner's ability to understand the jnani's experience. Since the question is about the vision of the Jnani, he tries to answer it within that context. At other times, with more sophisticated questioners, he will tell them that the jnani does not experience anything at all, but only appears to do so from the point of view of others. Which is correct? Well, it apparently depends on the viewpoint of the questioner. It may be that for you, this quote is what makes sense, and Ramana would have no problem with that. For others, this appears to be only a partial answer, and that the higher truth is contained in Ramana's Ajata Vada teachings. Others would have no part of either, and would want more concrete and simpler explanations. Ramana supplied all three varieties, but he did make it clear that his own personal experience was only of the Ajata Vada, and that the others were mere accomodations for the sake of devotees.

"I have said that equality is the true sign of jnana. The very term equality implies the existence of differences. It is a unity that the jnani perceives in all differences, which I call equality. Equality does not mean ignorance of distinctions. When you have the realisation you can see that these differences are very superficial, that they are not at all substantial or permanent, and what is essential in all these appearances is the one truth, the real. That I call unity. You referred to sound, taste, form, smell, etc. True, the jnani appreciates the distinctions, but he always perceives and experiences the one reality in all of them. That is why he has no preferences. Whether he moves about, or talks, or acts, it is all the one reality in which he acts or moves or talks. He has nothing apart from the one supreme truth."

“No preferences! Not even one state of being over another, one experience over another. Now is fine, with whatever is the case being so. That is non-duality. With all love.”

Yes, this is certainly inspiring stuff from Ramana. But don't presume that Ramana's experience of the non-dual is somehow in relation to the dual. He only speaks of it in this respect to help people who see the jnani relating to others. In reality, Ramana does not experience himself as the body, as relating to others through the body, as moving about, as having an experience at all. The point is not that Ramana sees differences, or objects as real. He sees them as unreal, as superficial, mere surfaces. Even using the word “see” is misleading, because it implies a subject perceiving an object. Elsewhere Ramana makes it clear that this is not how he experiences things at all, that he does not experience things at all, that there is only the Self. The paradox of such statements should make us respect that when a jnani like Ramana is describing his own experience using words and concepts, that we cannot directly interpret them as referring to dualistic experience, simply because words and concepts are all dualistic. Doing so to affirm the reality of the dualistic is not the point Ramana is trying to make. If you asked him about that directly, I think he would clarify that point. His answer is directed at the notion of equality, not the notion of that the Jnani is somehow ignorant of distinctions. Raman's answer makes it clear that he is not speaking about a conventional ignorance of distinctions, but a transcendental grasp of unity.Since the question was about differences, he acknowledges differences in his answer. The point is that the transcendental nature of the Jnani's state is not an exclusive state. The higher teaching of Ajata Vada, that the Jnani sees no objects and has no experience, remains true, it just makes it clear that this is not a lesser state of being ignorant, but a higher state of transcendental unity. When you are arguing that this higher notion of unity I am trying to advocate is an exclusive, even ignorant one, this quote is good for showing that this isn't the case. But if you are trying to use the quote to imply that the lower notion of experience and duality is actually true and real, just “superficial”, I think you are falsely using the quote. Just my opinion, of course. Maybe I'm distorting Ramana for my own purposes, as you have suggested. I just don't think so.

friend said...

Hi BY,
I think this last post of yours is either a sign of a distracted mind or a slippery one, perhaps both. Perhaps its slippery because it's distracted and I wouldn't be surprised because you obviously have a lot on your plate at the moment and I think it may all be more than you can handle.

As a result, you seem to be sort of cruising in auto-pilot to a fair degree at least in this reply to me. But it's sort of interesting to see how your mind operates at the automatic level. For one thing its modus operandi is more obvious. First it denies, then it rationalizes. Usually you at least consider what has been said at a bit more depth and so the response is more sophisticated than this last, relatively thoughtless post. Here I se you as basically sidestepping my points in sort of a slippery non-substantive manner.

Secondly, your unexamined assumptions are more obvious. Some of them make me shiver.

I'll take your last one as my first example of this. You misrepresent my position and then argue against that. You have a serious misunderstanding of my position if, after all this time conversing, you actually think I'm trying to "affirm the reality of duality" or "imply that the lower notion of experience and duality is actually true and real". Far from it. I assume you must be thoughtlessly arguing with some straw man there, probably a composite of other people you have been arguing with, or you are just on auto-pilot.

My point with Ramana's quote is twofold. The first is that it demonstrates that it is not necessary to eradicate the relative world in order for realization to be the case. Ramana said that it was only necessary to point out the unreality of the conditional world to seekers who had lost sight of themselves. Once they had realized their status as conscious being they then understood their correct relationship to the world.

“When a man forgets that he is a Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external material universe is unreal. When once he realises his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman.”

So it is clearly not necessary to eradicate the world to see reality. You are just using that condition as an excuse to hang on to duality yourself.

The second point is that Ramana actually does mean that he has no preferences, or there are no preferences, while you do express very clear and sharp preferences continuously, again with particular regard to the presence of what you insist on calling duality. Your avoidance of these points is another instance of what I mean by your slipperiness in this post.

I am not the one insisting on the reality of duality as you suggest. Quite the opposite. If you would just look a little more closely you'll see that it's actually you who are insisting on the reality of duality and that that is what is supposedly preventing your realization, according to your own assessment.

I am in total agreement with Ramana's endorsement of the vedantic principle of Ajata Vada, which has to do with the absence of causality regarding "Being". It is a great insight. The only real difference between us on this point is that you seem to see it as only a theory, or perhaps just a remote future attainment while I see it as present actuality. Here you leap on the word "now" and try to rationalize the whole idea away as some complicated issue while simply avoiding the actual point of my comment, another reason I refer to your replies in this post as slippery.

My point again is that you cannot claim to be pursuing such things as "...unconditional freedom, which is what desire really wants." or say, "I don't see that desire can be quenched any other way than to fall into unconditional happiness." and yet remain entirely conditional in your stance, as you do continuously. That is a dualistic position. That's the point that I am asking you to face and not simply ignore it. Can you even see that this might be a possibility? You constantly assume that what you call duality prevents or belies your enlightenment. So who believes in the reality of duality or the conditional world? Clearly it’s you and not me as you suggest. I hope you’ll stop projecting your vision onto me and then criticizing me for what you yourself espouse.

Other assumptions of yours that make me shiver are:

“Only the source, the source of the “I”-thought, is infinite. And that is not found in our present situation.”

- The notion that our source is missing, that we are separated from our source, is a typical atheistic assumption. I know this because I was once an atheist too. Even if you don’t consider yourself an atheist now, this assumption is a hangover from that period of your life. You need to allow yourself to see that this ‘missingness’ is simply a learned and arbitrary, unwarranted and unnecessary assumption. It is not true.

“We can't find ourselves in this present situation either….”

-We can only not find our subjective self objectively. No one has any problem finding themselves subjectively, and not as an entity of course, or a thought or an image, since those would still be objective, but as totally obvious conscious being (and not A conscious being, nor any entity BTW).

“Where we actually are is not known to us. This is not a good thing”

- There is no “where”. Place is a relative concept. In the absolute, Being is its own place, as well as its own time.

“When realizers talk this way, there are not talking about “our present situation”, they are talking about a transcendental present, not merely the present moment in time, but the now that is beyond time”.

- The now that is beyond time is the present moment to which I am referring. But this present moment in time is not actually separate from that, as you seem to want to insist.

“We can only experience a part of whatever there is, and we can't ever demonstrate that it is infinite at all.”

- Infinity is part of our present situation even in the conditional world. I know you know the sky never ends. That’s real infinity. The two aspects of reality infuse every aspect of existence: the unlimited and the limited, the time-bound and the eternal, the relative and the absolute, the objective and the subjective, the changeable and the unchanging, multiplicity and singularity, and so on. They are all the case at the same time. They do not deny or nullify each other as you keep wanting to insist. It’s not one or the other. This is infinity, literally.

“… desire wants what is infinite, what is real, what is transcendental. It's problem is that it cannot perceive the transcendental and infinite…”

- The transcendental, the absolute, is not objective or relative so it cannot be perceived objectively. That is the only ‘problem’. But that does not mean that what is infinite, real and transcendental is somehow missing or unavailable That is again another unwarranted assumption based on thinking that the absolute should appear in relative terms. Desire is rooted in the assumption or insistence that the real is presently missing. But the real is not missing at all. It simply is not defined, and cannot be identified in what is limited and conditional, even though people casually do assume so on an everyday basis (And please note, I do not assume that.) No one has a problem realizing reality. People generally make the mistake of thinking that the absolute should be objective or relative like everything else they know. Once one gets over that misunderstanding there is no problem.

If you understand what I am saying here you’ll see that, overall, there is actually very little difference between your position and mine. You are hardly alone in arguing for “higher notion of unity” as you say. It’s no wonder you continue to misrepresent my position if you still don’t understand this. It would help this conversation considerably if you would.

The only difference is that you are saying non-duality is not presently the case while I am pointing out that it already is. And that is the all the difference between us in a nutshell. That’s the reason I refer to your present position as one of duality and that’s what I was asking you to confront in yourself in my last post and what I consider you to have missed or sidestepped in your reply. You say this is not that. I say this is that, and not in any theoretical, conceptual sense, but actually so. I am not merely trying to make you wrong. I am just trying to demonstrate to you that nothing really stands between you and enlightenment as you seem to insist. Unless this is the non-dual, there is no non-dual. This is that. Any other fixed position is nothing but an insistence on duality.

Broken Yogi said...

Friend,

No need to slipslide into insults and accusations. If I misunderstand you, it's not intentional. Many of your statements are not clear at all, and self-contradictory, and I am limited in my ability to infer what you mean from what you say. I'm sure in your own mind you see no contradictions are inconsistencies, but that's the problem. You seem to have trouble seeing yourself from other people's point of view, and instead simply dismiss and say derogatory things about points of view, such as mine, that disagree with yours. I hardly find that a sign of your being in a state of genuine knowledge of the Self and having brought your search to an end. I'm not trying to be insulting, but you seem to have a fair number of rather ordinary social problems and are getting rather emotionally reactive here, in the way that these things often get. Not that there's anything terribly wrong there, it just dloesn't seem like you actually live what you preach, or have really understood what you claim to understand. I don't mind that you haven't realized the Self, but I do mind that you put me down in a rather insipid way as being someone who is purely dualistic and who therefore couldn't possibly understand your arguments, unless of course I think the way you think, and then I will be fine.

As for my last post, I think it was fine. It doesn't misrepresent my views and its not slippery, but quite clear. Implying that I can't handle this conversation is not the kind of thing someone who is awake to their true being would say, it's a kind of passive-aggressive insult, don't you think? Accusing me of operating on automatic, while you can deftly observe me from the position of true being, is a very sophomoric and ad hominem way of arguing, not worthy of you or the non-dual rhetoric you espouse. It's pretty dualistic if you ask me. You accuse me of not recognizing “this” as Divine and Infinite, and yet you treat me like a very finite and unenlightened nabob. How is that? Am I not part of “this”?

You accuse me of denying, and then rationalizing, but give no examples. I don't see any in my post. Please point them out to me. It's not good manners to accuse someone of such things without providing justification. You seem to be sinking into personal insults, which is a sign of a failed argument, and certainly not a sign of living the non-dual life as you claim to be. Quite honestly, I think you have simply run out of arguments, and are reduced to insults and bald assertions like “this is that” which mean nothing more than a kindergardener saying “is so”. When pressed, you merely say that unless I agree with you that “this is that”, I am just stuck in duality and defending duality. I disagree. I have put forth a lot of very sound and grounded arguments why “this” is not “that”, arguments that are found in the traditions of realizers around the world, and you simply ignore them and accuse me of ignorance and a fixation on unenlightenment. That is your presumption about me, and it has nothing to do with how I actually live or think. You don't seem to care that many non-dual teachings contradict you, I suppose you think they are all stuck in duality also.

“You misrepresent my position and then argue against that. You have a serious misunderstanding of my position if, after all this time conversing, you actually think I'm trying to "affirm the reality of duality" or "imply that the lower notion of experience and duality is actually true and real". Far from it. I assume you must be thoughtlessly arguing with some straw man there, probably a composite of other people you have been arguing with, or you are just on auto-pilot.”

If you examine my post a little more carefully, I simply said that if you were using Ramana's quote to affirm the reality of duality, then you were using it wrongly. Now you assert that you were not using it for that purpose. Fine. But just later on you not only assert “this is that”, but, “This is infinity, literally” This is precisely what I mean by asserting the reality of duality, that this dualistic world, as it is, is actually infinite and non-dual. So I'm not misinterpreting you at all. You literally believe that this world is literally non-dual and infinite. You give the false rationale that the sky is infinite. But of course it isn't. As anyone with a little education knows, the universe has only been around for about 13 billion years, not an infinite length of time, and according to Einstein's theory of relativity, a beam of light shooting into the sky will curve through the entire universe and come back from the opposite direction, in about 13 billion years (or wold that be 26 billion years, I'm not sure?). In any case, the sky is very big, but not infinite. Nothing in this universe is infinite, it is all finite, every last drop of it. Give me one example of any “thing” in this universe that is infinite. You won't be able to. So then, how can this finite world be infinite? It can't be, certainly not in any sense that exists within this world. It can only be infinite in a sense that does not exist in this world itself, that sees that this world is not reality, but only a finite reduction of reality to a limited and dualistic illusion. The infinite and eternal nature of the Self is not found in this world, where everything is finite, changing, and mortal. You are mortal, my friend, even if you think you have achieved some kind of eternal consciousness. You haven't. What you have understood will die and be scattered to the winds, because it is finite knowledge, not infinite and eternal and unending knowledge. I think that ought to be obvious. That it is not obvious to you may simply be due to the same cause that you think the sky is infinite – a lack of understanding of the details of these matters. You simply like the idea, the concept, that :”his is that”. You haven't realized it, you haven't worked it through, you simply feel some basic sense that it's true, and that's enough for you. You see no need to actually examine this idea critically. Instead you just attack anyone who suggests you might be wrong. That's how the ego responds to criticism, not how non-dual being responds. So are you the ego arguing with me, or non-dual being. Or is your view that since “this is that”, your ego is actually non-dual being, and so its okay, that your egoic reactions are just more non-dual being doing its thing? In other words, do you have any sense of conscience that tells you when you are being an egoic ass, and when you are being self-surrendering, or do you just think its all one non-dual being? I'm being a bit facetious here, but that's where you seem to be heading with this. If you are going to make me and my personae an element of this argument, then you have to make yours an element also. So what's with you for real? Are you free of egoity and dualism or not?

“My point with Ramana's quote is twofold. The first is that it demonstrates that it is not necessary to eradicate the relative world in order for realization to be the case.”

I never claimed that it was necessary to eradicate the relative world in order for realization to be the case. I did say that it was necessary to eradicate the dualistic mind, and that if the dualistic mind was eradicated, the world would vanish also, since the world is dependent upon the dualistic mind for its existence. Without the mind, there is no world, no this or that, no identity, no difference at all. Nothing is seen, nothing is perceived, because the one who previously perceived is gone. Without a perceiving mind, how can there be a world perceived? So no effort is needed to eradicate the world, One only needs to eradicate the mind, the dualistic ego which creates worlds and places and pretends to percieve them and see them as God even, as non-dual even, all of which is just the mind playing tricks with itself. The end of such tricks ends the whole game of the ego that perceives a world/ You argue as if the world exists outside of the mind, as if there really is some infinite dimension to this world that makes it non-dual, and that when the mind is gone, then we see the world as non-dual also. I argue otherwise, that without the mind there is no world to see, and no perceiver to see it. Who is it who sees the world as infinite when the Self is realized? The Self isn't a being in the world, who perceives the world, just more clearly. When the snake is gone and the rope is seen, there is no one to see it. The snake is the world itself, the mind, the fragmentation of reality into self and world. When that fragmentation vanishes, there is no self or world. The Self is not the Witness. That, again, is just a way of understanding the direction of Self-Realization, not the actual nature of the Self. The Self witnesses nothing, experiences nothing. It is only from the point of view of dualism that we speak of things that way, because it gives us some way to relate to these matters. And similarly with Ramana's quote. He is not describing the actual state of the realizer, that is indescribable. He is only describing how the jnani relates to others within the viewpoint of the dualistic mind. As you acknowledge, the Ajata Vada is his real perspective.

“Ramana said that it was only necessary to point out the unreality of the conditional world to seekers who had lost sight of themselves. Once they had realized their status as conscious being they then understood their correct relationship to the world.”

Ramana didn't stress the unreality of the world to seekers. He only said that it was unreal because it was a creation of mind, but that people shouldn't try to adopt that as an attitude towards life in any kind of practical sense. Instead, he said they should find out for themselves through self-enquiry. He pointed out that the world was not the Self, and that one should direct attention to the self-position, not outwards into the world. Still, in discussing self-enquiry in the context of everything else, he would clearly point out that the world was unreal. He never said that once anyone had “realized their status as conscious being” that they would understand their true relationship to the world, and see it as real. He never spoke about any “realization of conscious being” at all. That is your concept, and your teaching, not Ramana's. He spoke of Self-realization, and clearly stated that in Self-realization the jnani transcends any notion of having a relationship to the world. The world is seen as the Self, and the Self has no relationship to the Self, it is the Self. He not only sees no differences, he sees no world. He sees that nothing is happening at all, and never has happened. I refer you to the quote I posted in this recent post from Lakshmana Swami, one of Ramana's realized devotees.

Now, the point you make that is valid is that Ramana felt it was important to seekers to know that the world was an illusion, that dualistic object-consciousness was false, and that one should direct attention to the true self, rather than to the false world. Since I am a seeker, it is of course fully appropriate for me to see the world as an illusion, and to deepen that sense through self-enquiry. Even you here admit that this is good advice. So why then do you constantly berate me for affirming this, when it is exactly what someone like me should be affirming. I understand the argument about whether the jnani sees the dualistic world as real or not is contentious, but there really should be no contentiousness about whether I should see the world as unreal. As you here freely admit, Ramana felt that it was important for seekers to see the world as unreal. Well, that's me. And yet you constantly decry that I don't see that “this is that”, and tell me I am clinging to unenlightenment by doing so. This seems completely contradictory, and evidence that you are confused and disturbed. If you really were speaking from “conscious being” to me, wouldn't you likewise encourage me to see the world as an illusion in order to faciitate my realization of “conscious being”, so that I could then see the true, non-dual nature of the world as you do? Well, the problem is obvious. You don't really see the non-dual nature of the world or reality. You simply have a concept about it in your mind, and you cling to that concept, and defend that concept, and berate anyone who contradicts that concept. If you knew yourself to be the Self, you wouldn't feel threatened by my assertions that the world is unreal, and you would even encourage me to take that all the way to realization. But instead you do the opposite.

Let's look at a few things Ramana said about this:

M. Only that which lies beyond name and form is Reality.
____________________

Q. What is reality?

M. Reality must always be real It is not with names and forms. That which underlies these is the Reality. It underlies limitations, being itself limitless. It is not bound. It underlies unrealities, itself being real. Reality is that which is, It is as it is. It transcends speech, beyond the expressions, e.g., existence, non-existence, etc.
_____________________

Q. I understand the concept of unity in variety, but do not realize it.

M. Because you are in variety, you say you understand unity – that you have flashes, etc., remember things, etc.,; you consider this variety to be real. On the other hand, Unity is the reality, and variety is false. The variety must go before unity reveals itself – its reality. It is always real. It does not send flashes of its being in this false variety. One the contrary, variety obstructs the truth.
_____________________

Q. Is the seen world real?

M. It is true in the same degree as the seer. Subject, object and perception form the triad. There is a reality beyond these three. These appear and disappear, whereas the truth is eternal.

Q. These three are only temporal?

M. Yes, if one recognizes the Self these will be found to be non-existent even in temporal matters, inseparate from the Self; and they will be going on at the same time.
_____________________

M. Where are you, that you ask these questions? Are you in the world, or is the world within you? You must admit that the world is not perceived in your sleep although you cannot deny your existence then. The world appears when you wake up. So where is it? Clearly the world is your thoughts. Thoughts are your projections. The “I” is first created and then the world. The world is created by the “I” which in turn rises up from the Self. The riddle of the creation of the world is thus solved if you solve the creation of the “I”. So I say, find your Self.

Again, does the world come and ask you “Why do “I” exist? How was “I” created?” It is you who ask the question. The questioner must establish the relationship between the world and himself. He must admit that the world is his own imagination. Who imagines it? Let him find the “I” and then the Self.

Moreover, all the scientific and theological explanations do not harmonize. The diversities in such theories clearly show the uselessness of seeking such explanations. Such explanations are purely mental or intellectual and nothing more. Still, all of them are true according to the standpoint of the individual. There is no creation in the state of realization. When one sees the world, one does not see oneself. When one sees the Self, the world is not seen. So see the Self and realize that there has been no creation.

I think these instructions are fairly clear about the nature of the world. Yes, when the Self is realized, only Brahman is seen, but that is only a figure of speech. There is no “I” to see Brahman, and no Brahman to be seen. There is only Brahman. This paradoxical state could be said to be consistent with the statement “Brahman is the world”, but that is a statement which destroys the very concept of a “world”. If the world is Brahman, it is infinite. Clearly the world we see is not infinite, so it is not “this” world that is Brahman. The world that is seen in realization is a Brahman World, an infinite world, a world without any limitation or karma or, not “this”. Everything about such a world is infinite. There is nothing “in” it that is finite. The table in front of me is not infinite. It is not a “part” of Brahman, because everything in Brahman is infinite. What I see as a table is just a projection of my dualistic mind. If I were realized, I would not see a table, I would see infinity. Thought using the word “see” would of course be contradictory, because there is no seer, seeing, or seen in Brahman.

In other words, you are operating under false concepts, based on your presumption that you have resolved the issue of your Self, and that your search has come to an end. You see “this” as “that”, but who sees this? The ego does. Your ego has simply latched onto ideas of non-dualism and created a personal reality out of them. It holds onto those ideas in the face of all opposition. This is what the ego does. We should all be aware of this. You think you have no ego, no belief in a personal self. But who thinks this, who knows this? The ego does. You cling to the notion that the world is real because your ego needs the world to be real in order to protect itself. That is the whole point of projecting a world around us. It is a protective measure for the ego. And the ego simply will not let go of the world. Instead, it divinizes the world if it can, it eternalizes it, it says “this world is that”. This is the trap you are in. I don't think I can state it any more clearly If you cannot begin to suspect yourself of this error, I probably can't do anything more for you.

“When a man forgets that he is a Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external material universe is unreal. When once he realises his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman.”

“So it is clearly not necessary to eradicate the world to see reality. You are just using that condition as an excuse to hang on to duality yourself.”

I never said that one has to eradicate the world, only the mind. Ramana clearly states that in realization the jnani knows nothing other than the Self. But again, this view of the world as Brahman is not the Ajata Vada, it is simply a paradox of dualistic language. There is no one there to see the world as Brahman, so how can the jnani view the world at all, even as Brahman? In saying that the world is Brahman, you are stressing the “world” side of the equation. I say Ramana is stressing the “Brahman” side of the equation, such that the meaning here is that there is no world, only Brahman.

“The second point is that Ramana actually does mean that he has no preferences, or there are no preferences, while you do express very clear and sharp preferences continuously, again with particular regard to the presence of what you insist on calling duality. Your avoidance of these points is another instance of what I mean by your slipperiness in this post.”

Of course I have preferences. I'm not realized. I have no problem expressing my preferences. I don't feel the need to hide my preferences in order to pretend that I have no search, or have resolved the issue of self. I haven't avoided these points one bit. I've been very clear in stating that I see duality all the time, and yet also intuit something about the non-dual nature of reality. I just don't equate this world with non-duality, as you do, nor do I think that is an error. I actually think it is a virtue to not equate this world with non-duality. I think it is a vice of yours to do the opposite, to equate this dualistic world with non-duality. I think it not only leads you into error, it is a symptom of an even bigger error on your part – that of taking your own spiritual state to be non-dual consciousness.

“I am not the one insisting on the reality of duality as you suggest. Quite the opposite. If you would just look a little more closely you'll see that it's actually you who are insisting on the reality of duality and that that is what is supposedly preventing your realization, according to your own assessment.”

You are the one who is insisting that “this is that”. You claim that this dualistic world is, in reality, infinite and real. I do not insist that duality is real. I do not see “duality” as something “out there” which “prevents” my realization. Duality is simply the nature of non-realization. It neither causes nor is caused by non-realization. In reality, there is no duality, no self and no world, no seer, no seen, and no seeing. What is preventing my realization? My ego, that's all. My conviction that I am this “I”. This is not inflicted upon me from without. It is me. There is no cause. There is simply ignorance. I don't know where you came up with these ideas about what I think, but it wasn't from me.

“I am in total agreement with Ramana's endorsement of the vedantic principle of Ajata Vada, which has to do with the absence of causality regarding "Being".

Apparently you are not in total agreement with the Ajata Vada, which is far more than a notion that causality is absent from “Being”. It is the doctrine of no-creation, no world, no self, that only Self exists, that no world was ever created, and no jivas, no “beings” at all.

“It is a great insight. The only real difference between us on this point is that you seem to see it as only a theory, or perhaps just a remote future attainment while I see it as present actuality.”

But you don't actually see it as your present reality, you only conceive of it that way, and then only in an abbreviated form it seems that negates causality. I conceive of the Ajata Vada as the nature of reality, but not something I see directly and truly. I have had glimpses of this, but I cannot say that it is what I know. I understand that it is not an attainment, but the way things are. As Ramana says, sadhana is not about attaining reality, it is about removing ignorance. So no, I don't see things the way you presume I do. Nor do you see things the way you presume you do. And frankly, that is pretty obvious from the way you are conducting yourself. It's very clear that you are egoic like all the rest of us, and are just posing as a realizer of “conscious being” for reasons that I wouldn't imagine I'll ever know the answer to.

“Here you leap on the word "now" and try to rationalize the whole idea away as some complicated issue while simply avoiding the actual point of my comment, another reason I refer to your replies in this post as slippery.”

No, I don't. I simply try to make it clear that this issue isn't so simple as you would like to make it out to be. It is you who refer to the “now” as “this”, and yet also claim that “this is that” and “this is literally infinite”, when literally it is not, but is literally finite in every observable respect. That's what I call slippery and avoiding responsibility for what you say. I also make it clear that “now” can refer to a transcendental view, but when it does, it doesn't refer to “this” at all, which exists in time and space, and is not transcendental in nature, but finite and conditional. The word I focus on is not even “now”, but your phrase “the present situation”, which I think clearly refers to this conditional appearance, since “situation” is clearly a reference to both appearances and conditions. I didn't choose that phrase, you did, and I think it accurate reflects what you mean, even if you always go back and try to redefine everything you say in transcendentalist terms, as if you are Adi Da adding capital letters to all your words. That's what I call slippery and evasive. You never actually say something that definitively reflects your views, but always find some way to weasel out of it if I call you on it. To this day, I don't even know what your real position is, because you evade responsibility for the words you use and the references you make.

“My point again is that you cannot claim to be pursuing such things as "...unconditional freedom, which is what desire really wants." or say, "I don't see that desire can be quenched any other way than to fall into unconditional happiness." and yet remain entirely conditional in your stance, as you do continuously. That is a dualistic position. That's the point that I am asking you to face and not simply ignore it.”

Is that actually the point of all your posts? Your point is that I am entirely conditional in my stance? Are you really sure about that? Entirely conditional? That's a pretty extreme statement. You might have a case if you said that I am being partially conditional in my stance, or not understanding the true nature of non-dualism and unconditional reality, but entirely conditional? You are just freaking out of your mind, friend. This is the equivalent of a Christian announcing that I am utterly possessed by the Devil, and that's the reason I don't understand how right you are. Well of course we have so much conflict. You, the guy who claims to see that “this is that”, that this is infinite, that everything is unconditional, somehow see me as entirely stuck in conditional views. What kind of bullshit is that? Am I the only aspect of “this” that is not “that”? You certainly seem to think so. Now, I'd suggest that is a dualistic position, and it's yours, not mine. What is it about me that makes it impossible for you to see me as even just a teensy weensy bit wake to the non-dual? It couldn't be your ego, could it?

“Can you even see that this might be a possibility?”

No, not really. I don't see that anyone can be entirely dualistic. I don't see you that way. I just think you are deluded to some degree. Not totally deluded, not entirely dualistic, just partially so. Like me. You just seem more attached than I am to a self-image of being free of all that.

“You constantly assume that what you call duality prevents or belies your enlightenment.”

I have never said that at all. That's your interpretation of what I say. I have never used the word “prevent” in that context that I am aware of. So you are just making things up. Dualism doesn't prevent enlightenment, it is unenlightenment. The notion that there is no such thing as unenlightenment is identical to the notion that there is no duality, that there is no world, no creation, no conditional existence at all. The world does not prevent our enlightenment, because there is no world. We are already enlightened, because there is no world, no mind, no self to prevent it. But as long as we think there is a world, a mind, and a self, we will not know this. It is not those things which prevent us from being enlightened, but only our belief in them, just as our belief in the snake prevents us from seeing the rope. The snake does not prevent us from seeing the rope, because there is no snake.

“So who believes in the reality of duality or the conditional world? Clearly it’s you and not me as you suggest.”

Wrong. We both believe in the reality of duality or the conditional world. I am questioning my beliefs, I admit that I have been enmeshed in samsara and am questioning my way out of those beliefs, but you have tried to solve the situation by pretending that you no longer believe in duality, and instead see the non-dual nature of everything. This simply doesn't work. It hasn't made you enlightened, and it never will. Its just yoru mind telling you your search is over so it can stay safe and unthreatened. The difference between you and me is that I question and doubt my own beliefs, but you don't. You simply affirm and defend them.

“I hope you’ll stop projecting your vision onto me and then criticizing me for what you yourself espouse.”

Practice what you preach, friend! Stop trying to slip out of what you say and espouse by claiming that you actually said something else.

“Other assumptions of yours that make me shiver are:”

First, it's very creepy that you “shiver” at what I say. And this is not egoic on your part?

“Only the source, the source of the “I”-thought, is infinite. And that is not found in our present situation.”

- The notion that our source is missing, that we are separated from our source, is a typical atheistic assumption. I know this because I was once an atheist too.

That's called projecting, friend. Just because you thought certain things when you were an athiest doesn't mean that's why I'm basing my views on. What's really weird about your analysis here is that I of course don't say in the above quote, or anywhere else in my posts, that our source is missing from this “transcendental now” if you will. I merely say that it isn't in “our present situation.” The difference is that “present situation” refers to this conditional appearance, which is devoid of the source. That doesn't mean the source is missing at all, it merely means you are looking for it in the wrong place. We are not in this present situation, we merely observe it. Our source is found in the witness, not in the situation we observe. So it is not missing at all, it is only that we look for it outward, in the world of objects, conditions, and situations. So when I say the Beloved is not in this world, I do not mean that the Beloved is missing, as much as you insist that I do. I have denied this at every opportunity, and you continue to assert it, in complete bad faith. I explain clearly that the Beloved is transcendentally present, but not present in the world, except as the Goddess Power, which is the Guru. Even the Guru is not in the world, but is the Self-Power.


“Even if you don’t consider yourself an atheist now, this assumption is a hangover from that period of your life. You need to allow yourself to see that this ‘missingness’ is simply a learned and arbitrary, unwarranted and unnecessary assumption. It is not true.”

To the degree that athiests see the world as lacking God, they are right, more right than religious believers. I was an athiest until I first awakened to the transcendental nature of consciousness at the age of 12. I never became a religious believer, and doubt I ever will. The athiest is at least honest in not presuming a God that does not exist within the conditional worlds. God only exists in the transcendence of the mind, and the worlds which mind creates. That isn't an athiestic view, that's a reality view. That you seem incapable of grasping that doesn't say much for your supposed realization of conscious being.

“We can only not find our subjective self objectively. No one has any problem finding themselves subjectively, and not as an entity of course, or a thought or an image, since those would still be objective, but as totally obvious conscious being (and not A conscious being, nor any entity BTW).

Pardon me, but I think everyone who is not a completely realized jnani is having trouble finding themselves. You seem to be having more trouble than most. Yes, everyone knows they are conscious, and that seems to be the extent of your knowledge of yourself. But very few know who they are. You certainly don't, regardless of what you imagine. Most people don't delude themselves into thinking that simply being aware that they are conscious is some kind of transcendent realization of non-duality. It takes a particularly deranged kind of mind to imagine that. Most people are much humbler than that, and freely admit they don't ultimately know who they are. Hell, even I'm at least that humble.

“There is no “where”. Place is a relative concept. In the absolute, Being is its own place, as well as its own time.”

Yes there is a “where” in transcendental realization. It's called the Heart. If you don't know the Heart, you don't know where you are. Ramana always described realization as being seated in the Heart. How come you don't know this?

“The now that is beyond time is the present moment to which I am referring.”

No it isn't. You have already said that what you are referring to is this world, where the sky is. The sky exists is time and space. The world exists in time and space. And all these exist only in mind. All of that is conditional, is dualistic in nature. The sky does not exist outside of time and space. It exists within it, and in a limited fashion.

“But this present moment in time is not actually separate from that, as you seem to want to insist.”

It isn't separate from it, because it doesn't even exist. It is simply mind, concept, thought. This present moment in time can't be separate, because it can't be found. Try to nail it down as a thing. Not there. Unknown. Mystery is all one can say about it, even conditionally. And notice how now you are talking about this present moment N time, not beyond time. Are you saying that both are unconditional? How can time be unconditional? It can't, because it isn't. Time is the epitome of conditions. It keeps everything past and future separate from the now.

“- Infinity is part of our present situation even in the conditional world. I know you know the sky never ends. That’s real infinity.”

As mentioned above, this is pure blandersdash. The sky does end. It goes in circles. The universe is finite. Big, but finite. There is no real infinity in this world, just some very large numbers. But every large number is still an infinite distance away from infinity. It's all the same, in other words, from the point of view of infinity.

“The two aspects of reality infuse every aspect of existence: the unlimited and the limited, the time-bound and the eternal, the relative and the absolute, the objective and the subjective, the changeable and the unchanging, multiplicity and singularity, and so on.

Then you are saying that reality is dualistic. If there are two aspects to reality, that is a dualistic view of reality, or more properly, the view that reality is dual in nature. This is what I have been trying to point out to you since the beginning. You aren't a non-dualist at all, you are a dualist. You are Dvaitist, not Advaitist. No big deal. There's a long and respectable tradition for dualism in Vedanta and elsewhere. I don't see why you don't embrace it, since that is how you see the world. You cling to non-dualism for reasons I can't begin to fathom, but I think it has something to do with egoic pride. Dvaitists have always debated Advaitists, often with arguments similar to your own, but they don't pretend to be non-dualists, and accuse non-dualists of being dualists. That's what so fucking crazy about your arguments. You believe there are two aspects to reality, and yet you believe that this is the true non-dual view of reality. Could you be any slipperier than that? I don't think it's possible. Not even I could top that.

What you are saying is the epitome of the dualist view: that even the unlimited coexists with the limited. That both exist and are real aspects of one reality. You might as well throw in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Religion is full of dualistic views of reality, that try to combine the infinite and the finite. That's what makes them dualistic. Non-dual views don't try to make that marriage. They argue that there is only One, not two. If you don't like that approach, you should consider yourself a dualist, and stop trying to make non-dualism fit your dualistic view. Oppose non-dualism outright. At least then we would each openly know where we stand and could carry on a meaningful argument, rather being in this absurd position of having you, who do not even believe in non-dualism, but actively believe in its opposite, acting as if you are the protector of the true non-dualist view. Gives me whiplash, know what I mean?

“They are all the case at the same time. They do not deny or nullify each other as you keep wanting to insist. It’s not one or the other. This is infinity, literally.”

Yes, you are a dualist, literally. Your literal belief in all this makes you a dualist. Your literal refusal to see the contradictions in your arguments makes you a dualist. Your belief that you are not a dualist makes you a dualist. Dualism and non-dualism can't literally be the case at the same time. This is true even definitionally. You have not met the burden of proof necessary to show otherwise. You have not offered any proof at all, just assertions that it is so. If it were literally true that this is infinity, wouldn't all us literal-minded people see it? All we'd have to do is look at something, and we'd see infinity. So it must not literally be infinity.

“- The transcendental, the absolute, is not objective or relative so it cannot be perceived objectively.”

Wait, but you said this is literally infinity. If it is not objectively infinity, then in what way is it infinity? The world is full of objects, and nothing more. If you take away objectivity, you take away the entire world. What's left that is literally infinite? If only the transcendental is infinite, then what about this. You said this was infinite. Now you are going back on that?

“But that does not mean that what is infinite, real and transcendental is somehow missing or unavailable”

Okay, but where is it? Is it literally in this world, this world that you say is literally infinite? If so, where? If not, why not, and where is it?

“That is again another unwarranted assumption based on thinking that the absolute should appear in relative terms.”

I never said the absolute should appear in relative terms. I said the exact opposite, that it never appears in relative terms. It is you who say that this is literally infinite, is that. Which side of this argument are you on?

“Desire is rooted in the assumption or insistence that the real is presently missing.”

I can agree with that. But as I said, the problem is that desire thinks the real is missing precisely because it is looking in the world for it, where it is not to be found. Desire must turn towards its source, the self, and find what it seeks there. That is where the infinite is finally to be located, not in the world. Desire will find that the real is present if it only looks for it in the right place.

“If you understand what I am saying here you’ll see that, overall, there is actually very little difference between your position and mine.”

What?!?!? If you can see that there is very little difference between our positions, then what the fuck was all the bullshit about me being entirely situated a dualistic stance? And what was your entire rabid argument against me about? I for one think there really is a big difference between us. You are essentially presenting dualistic views of the world as being composed of two aspects, the dual and the non-dual, while I am saying that it is not, that the dual is an illusion, and the non-dual is reality. I think that's a major difference, and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. Nothing to spill one's tea over, to be sure, but a major discrepancy all the same.

“You are hardly alone in arguing for “higher notion of unity” as you say. It’s no wonder you continue to misrepresent my position if you still don’t understand this. It would help this conversation considerably if you would.”

I think you've done a remarkable job of misrepresenting yourself all by yourself. You hardly need my help. You are not arguing for a higher notion of unity, you are arguing for a higher notion of duality. That's where we differ. I am arguing for non-duality, and you don't seem to comprehend what it means, and how it differs from duality, even your “higher notion” of duality. You think that by including non-duality in your notion of duality, you have achieved a higher form of unity. This is false. All you have done is debauch non-duality, and make it duality's lapdog. Non-dualism stands Alone. It admits no second.

“The only difference is that you are saying non-duality is not presently the case while I am pointing out that it already is.”

No, I am pointing out that what is already the case is not found in what is merely the case. What is merely the case in the present, by which we mean “this”, is not non-dual. What is non-dual is not found in “this”, but only in what already is. “This” is not already here. It is only here in time and space, in this present moment. It was not here a moment ago, and it won't be here a moment later. It will have changed. What already is, does not change. It does not appear, and it does not disappear. It isn't even an “it”. It is not absent in the midst of appearances, but it is not present in them either. It is transcendental in nature.

“And that is the all the difference between us in a nutshell.”

Yes, it is. You do not comprehend the distinction between what already is, and what is merely and presently the case.

“That’s the reason I refer to your present position as one of duality and that’s what I was asking you to confront in yourself in my last post and what I consider you to have missed or sidestepped in your reply.”

I hope I have made myself more clear this time around. I have tried not to sidestep anything, and I hope you will not either.

“You say this is not that. I say this is that, and not in any theoretical, conceptual sense, but actually so.”

Yes, you have made that very clear. I still don't believe that you have made any convincing arguments that this is so. Nor do I see any evidence that you have actually seen or realized this spiritually, or in any but a conceptually based manner. You simply have become a fundamentalist preacher of this message, without examining or questioning yourself, and seem impervious to questioning from others. I see little difference between you and a fundamentalist Christian parading his views of the Trinity around the block. You have a quick dismissal of all arguments, and no real arguments for yourself, just assertions of personal certainty. This does not come over very well, contrary to what you may think. It comes off as very egoic in nature, and it pisses me off, as I'm sure you can tell.

“I am not merely trying to make you wrong. I am just trying to demonstrate to you that nothing really stands between you and enlightenment as you seem to insist. Unless this is the non-dual, there is no non-dual. This is that. Any other fixed position is nothing but an insistence on duality.”

You are doing a very poor job of helping me to see what you want me to see. All you are doing is preaching and proselytizing, and that doesn't work. You have to step off your pedestal of certainty and pious understanding, and get real. Stop telling me there is nothing standing between me and enlightenment until you yourself are enlightened and can demonstrate that non-separation in this conversation at the very least. All you are doing is insisting that you know reality, and I am a sinner who is insisting on living an unenlightened existence. You dress it up in pious messages, but it comes down to the same obnoxious stance that all well-meaning fundamentalists take. Your insistance that “any other fixed position is nothing but an insistence on duality” is precisely the way fumdamentalists think. They imagine that any viewpoint other than their own must be “fixed”, and it must be false. Have you no insight into how fixed and false your own views are?

I'm afraid not. Unless you can show some sliver of self-questioning, I think this dialog is virtually at an end. I can't waste my time trying to crack a fundamentalist egg. It's been good to get down to this point at least, but if you want to go further, I 'm going to need to see some sign of vulnerability on your part, some openness to the possibility that you are at least a little bit wrong, rather than my coming round to your view that I am entirely dualistic in my views. As I've said, I have plenty of dualism left in me. How about you?