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Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 11:57 AM
>It seems to me that you have been criticizing language quite a bit lately.
What I’m criticizing is our attitude towards language, not language itself. We learn about the universe through language. What we are not taught however is that language is a social convention. Our linguistic ability is a double edged sword that both clarifies and confuses us. We define, for example, body one way and we define mind another. We run into confusion because we assume they are two different things rather than two aspects of the same whatever.
Everything has its "that," everything has its "this." From the point of view of "that" you cannot see it, but through understanding you can know it. So I say, "that" comes out of "this" and "this" depends on "that" - which is to say that "this" and "that" give birth to each other.
The problem is that we do not have a word that stands as a symbol for the unity of mind↔body. Our hassles in discussing the apparent dualism arise from a condition I call Oneitis, an assumption that one or the other side of an issue is the truth. I submit this is a mistaken approach because we confuse the oneness found in mathematics with oneness found in metaphysics. Consciousness is neither rational nor intuitive it is a rational intuitive unity that is harmonious. It is neither Mind nor Body; consider the Taiji; neither Yin nor Yang that comprise the entire image.
‘Subject’ is a concept one can wrap their mind around. ‘Object’ is a concept one can wrap their mind around. Talk about ‘subject’ is just that, talk. Talk about ‘object’ is just that, talk. They are ways to talk about reality, they are not Reality Itself. This does not, however, mean that talking about them is useless as humans communicate through the use of symbols.
What we need to keep in mind is that a logical paradox is not an existential state of affairs. The difference between ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ as I see it - the former is how we experience reality while the latter is how we talk about reality. Our problem is that we confuse the symbol for the reality and as a result make idols out of icons.
It is not a question of “Is it A, or is it B?” It is a question of “What is it that manifests as A and B?” Both A and B are allusions to a deeper truth; neither one is The Truth. The dualism is not existential, it arises from our assumption the map is the territory. Reality is a that manifests as either A or as B and it is this we should be focusing on in our search for the answer.
Tao is obscured when men understand only one pair of opposites, or concentrate only on a partial aspect of being. Then clear expression also becomes muddled by mere wordplay, affirming this one aspect and denying all the rest.
What stands out strongest to me is that people constantly confuse the oneness of nature with the dualism of language, in one example yapping about the Conditioned Mind and the Unconditioned Mind as if they are separate entities. It is not the case that we have two things (Poor choice of words but we have no other method of describing it) acting in different ways, there is but one thing acting in the way it is taught to act.
Think about it, as we grow, the Conditioned Mind is developed through the process of socialization.
When a man no longer confuses himself with the definition of himself that others have given him, he is at once universal and unique. He is universal by virtue of the inseparability of his organism from the cosmos. He is unique in that he is just this organism and not any stereotype of role, class, or identity assumed for the convenience of social communication.
In this process, we are taught to identify ourselves solely with the Consciousness aspect and to ignore the Awareness aspect. Gurus tell us that we are not the ego and they are correct, up to a point for we are not just the ego. Just as Yang is part of the Tao, the ego is part of who we are.
>Every once in a while you use a quote from Alan Watts about scraping the images off the window of the mind. Are you saying we should ignore our mental images?
We communicate in symbolic language, which makes the symbolism necessary. Ignoring our images is just as detrimental to advancement of knowledge as blindly accepting them. Our hassle is that we all too often fail to recognize the difference between the symbol and that which is referred to. This is like believing the painting “Starry Night” by Van Gough as a realistic painting. Paintings belong on walls and not on windows, else they obstruct the view. The proper use of the windows of our minds is to view reality as it is rather than how we think it should be.
The Copernican Revolution was one of many events that should have taught us this lesson but obviously none of them have. I submit we should maintain the attitude we do not know everything, remaining open to the possibility of a deeper understanding. Admitting the incompleteness of our knowledge does not mean we are taking the attitude that we are stupid. All it means is there is more that we will learn sometime in the future.
Sunday, August 26, 2012, 5:37 PM
The Way has no boundaries; words do not have constant meanings. But because people want to say, ‘this is...’, boundaries were created. Let me tell you about these boundaries. There is left and right; there are theories and debates; there are divisions and disagreements; there are victories and defeats. The wise person does not deny these boundaries, but pays no attention to them.
Nondualism has fascinated me since I was introduced to the academic study of philosophy. One of the first issues we studied in the Introductory Class was that of whether Rationality or Intuition was the source of true knowledge. It struck me almost immediately the answer depended on the context. When one is communicating in the language of the mind, rationalism holds, and when one is communicating in the language of the heart, intuition holds. The language of the mind can be thought of as Yang and the language of the heart as Yin in the Tao we call Mind. It is not the case that we have a rational mind and an intuitive mind working side by side, no matter what it looks like it is doing.
My main objection to the Nondualistic approach is over the use of the term “illusion” The term is commonly taken under the connotation of false, which leads to a negative attitude about physicality. I prefer the term “allusion’, taken under the connotation of a ‘pointer at a deeper truth’. The sides of an apparent duality are allusions that point to a deeper truth. Reality is not ‘this’. Reality is not ‘that’. Reality gives rise to ‘this’ and ‘that’ and is neither, in and of itself. Our calling metaphysical truth “Deeper Truths” makes a lot of sense when viewed this way.
Our hassles in discussing the apparent dualism arise from a condition I call Oneitis, but it is called Monism, an assumption that one or the other side of an issue is the truth. I submit this is a mistaken approach because we confuse the oneness of mathematics with the oneness of metaphysics. Consciousness is neither rational nor intuitive it is a rational intuitive unity that is harmonious. It is neither Mind nor Body; consider the Taiji; neither Yin nor Yang that comprise the entire image. This either/or stuff is linguistic, not existential.
Compounding the issue with Oneitis is our campfire story of the metaphysical as beyond the physical. This is only part of the campfire story for at the same time, the metaphysical is within the physical. To have an ‘outside’, one has to have an ‘inside’, and the Divine Oneness is neither exclusively. Outside and Inside are linguistic conventions that have no more reality than ‘this’ and ‘that’. Thinking along the terms ‘outside’ is a consequence of the language of the mind while thinking along the lines of ‘inside’ is from utilizing the language of the heart. A coin is one of the best examples; we do not have a thing called tails sitting next to a thing called heads; what we have is a tails/heads unity. It is from that unity the coin becomes valuable; we could not spend them in the marketplace if we were to file off one side of the coin.
In the language of the mind, gravity is the reason water flows downhill while in the language of the heart; it can be said it is the nature of water to flow downhill. We need to get away from the idea that one or the other campfire story is the truth, because it depends on the context of your discussion as to which language you are using. Neither language, in and of itself, is The Truth, at most it is partial truth.
Keep in mind that the languages are harmonious compliments rather than the conflicting opposites we are taught. Problems arise when we take our campfire stories as absolute rather than relative truth. We are not in possession of infinite knowledge therefore we should not make the claim “This is it” While the campfire story told in the language of the mind has much validity, there are aspects of reality it ignores in order to make things fit. The same can be said about the campfire story told in the language of the heart
Find the middle ground where they have commonalities, allowing one to shed light on the other. Drop your clinging to the idea of Oneness in a mathematical context. Reality is neither Material nor Spiritual in essence; it is a from which Material and Spiritual arise. It is this that nondualistic philosophy alludes to as it points a finger at the Moon.
Friday, September 23, 2011, 6:28 AM
Teachers on the mystical paths have been teaching for many years that all this is an illusion. Because most of them take the negative connotation of the word, it takes on the understanding of fake. I submit it would behoove us to look at all this as an allusion, a pointing towards a deeper truth; we call metaphysical truths ‘deeper’ truths after all. The Divine Oneness is not limited to the categories of ‘real’ and ‘false’. Accept the validity, as well as the falseness, of things; embrace both without being concerned with which one is true. From one direction, it is real. After all, there is something going on that gives rise to all these impressions. From another, it is false, because all these ‘things’ are manifestations of the One, not the One.
- An indirect reference; a hint; a reference to something supposed to be known, but not explicitly mentioned; a covert indication
One of the reasons I prefer ‘allusion’ to ‘illusion’ is because the latter is understood in the context of fake; what is fake can be dismissed. An ‘allusion’ is a pointing at a deeper truth; it may not be real, but neither is it false. One can dismiss an illusion because it points at itself; an allusion points at ‘something else’ and we fail to see the point when we dismiss the pointer. In addition, realizing the allusion is a pointer at a deeper truth prevents it from becoming an idol to be worshiped in place of the ‘thing’ it pointing out. This approach also prevents the pointer from becoming dismissed as unworthy of consideration.
It is not a question of “Is it A, or is it B?” It is a question of “What is it that manifests as A and B?” Both A and B are allusions to a deeper truth; neither one is The Truth. The dualism is not existential, it arises from our assumption the map is the territory. Reality is a that manifests as either A or as B and it is this we should be focusing on in our search for the answer.
The traditional monistic answers to this issue barely qualify to call themselves monism as far as I’m concerned. They pick one ‘side’ as being reality and do their best to degrade the other. The trouble is that picking one side over the other locks us in a prison of our own making. From the moment we choose a side, we must defend that choice, even if it means we must ignore the equally valid evidence presented by the other side. Reality is not a ‘One side or the other’ type of thingie, no matter how hard traditional Monists attempt to prove themselves right.
The only thing that keeps these issues going is the fear of paradox. The truth has to be one or the other and we end up going through tremendous mental gyrations to keep it that way. We have nothing to fear from paradox, for paradoxes are not contradictions outside of linguistics. Particles do not contradict waves nor do waves contradict particles. Material does not contradict spiritual nor does spiritual contradict material. The paradox is that whatever the Source of all this is, it manifests in a dual fashion yet is not a duality itself.
This is beautifully illustrated by Chuang Tzu - “this” gives birth to “that”. According to Chuang Tzu, the wise person recognizes the boundaries between left and right but she ignores them. He recommends that we acknowledge and accept the paradox.
What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Watson
When we accept the paradox, we gain the freedom to see reality as it is without having to impose limits based on what we think it should be. Reality can be expressed as material as well as spiritual with equal validity; all picking one over the other accomplishes is to lock us in a prison of our own making.
The doors to this prison are not locked by anything but habitual thinking. We can leave confinement any time we choose. As we walk away from the prison, we do not have to choose between travelling either the material or the spiritual path because the path is a unity that manifests as material ‘and’ spiritual.
The Grand Allusion.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011, 10:14 PM
The third myth is the ‘duality’ of -O- and Man.
Just as the world can reveal itself as particles, the Tao can reveal itself as human beings. Though world and particles aren't the same, neither are they different. Though the cosmic body and your body aren't the same, neither are they different. Worlds and particles, bodies and beings, time and space: All are transient expressions of the Tao.
Chapter 33, Hua Hu Ching, (Partial)
As I talked about above, reality does not consist of minds/bodies existing in some parallelism, or -O- on the one hand, and Nature on the other. In the same line of thought, it is not a duality here either. Oneness does not consist of two distinct entities; Oneness is simply Oneness. I submit this is not an existential reality but a logical paradox, as I’ve discussed earlier. We build lovely campfire stories about what is -O- and what is Man but the trouble is that we take the campfire story we like best and believe it is real.
Let us think of -O- as the Yin and Man as the Yang of the Taiji. Man would not exist without -O- and -O- would not exist without Man. The Totality is not Yin, nor is it Yang; it is not two things acting in harmony, as many look at it, but a harmonious Oneness. Hinduism has a lovely campfire story in the Avatar, but I prefer to tell a variation on the story. The avatar is not, in my version of the story, a special incarnation of -O- in times of great need; each of us is an avatar.
One of the greatest ideas that has ever been produced is the Hindu idea that the world is a drama in which the central and supreme self behind all existence has gotten lost and has come to believe that it is not the one supreme self, but all the creatures there are.
Looking at it this way sheds light on this so-called dualism of -O- and Man.
A version of this campfire story tells us that Reality is a dream -O- is experiencing. Basically, there are two different types of dreams, the kind where we take the dream as reality and a lucid dream, wherein the dreamer realizes they are dreaming. We can image it this way, the unenlightened person is -O- still lost in dreamland and the enlightened person is -O- having a lucid dream.
In the part where I yap about the ‘duality’ between Man and Nature, I stated that we are the universe become alive and aware. In this ‘duality’, we are -O- become aware. It is as if each one of us functions as a sense organ for -O- and this is how -O- experiences the dream. This could be what the Buddhists are hinting at with the Theory of Transmigration. On one hand, there is the denial of individual souls traversing the Cycle of Nonbeingness to Beingness to Nonbeingness, yet on the other hand, there is silence about what is traversing the Cycle.
In this particular version of the campfire story, a person moves from Nonbeingness to Beingness when -O- ‘starts’ a dream and moves to Nonbeingness when -O- ‘wakes up’ from that dream. This does not say that one person is a reincarnation of another because in the Divine Oneness, there is only -O- on the Cycle; each person is a Dreamshape -O- assumes. Perhaps Chuang Tzu has the best rendition of the story. This particular campfire story has made sense to me since the first time I read it.
Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou. But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. Between Chuang Chou and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.
The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, translated by Burton Watson
I submit this is one way of understanding “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed.”
Man is the dream, -O- is the dreamer, and Oneness is the dreaming.
So what does all this mean? There is no duality in any of the issues I raised in this little blurb; no matter where we look, there is Oneness at the existential level. Call it what you will, God, -O-, Allah, Brahman, Tao, Unity, it doesn’t matter. Names are nothing but attachments; they aren’t the thing in itself. We point our finger there and say “This”. We point our finger here and say “That”. It is not the pointer or the pointee that is the reality, the pointing is the reality.
Life is a verb. Life is not a noun, it is really "living" not "life." It is not love, it is loving. It is not relationship, it is relating. It is not a song, it is singing. It is not a dance, it is dancing. See the difference, savor the difference.
Chuang Tzu was right on the mark - recognize there are boundaries between ‘this’ and ‘that’ but do not make idols of them.
When you focus on ‘this’ you lose touch with ‘that’. Through focusing on ‘that’, your sense of ‘this’ vanishes. Spend too much time clinging to one or the other and you end up taking a lopsided image of reality as reality itself. To paraphrase Dogen - Do not take the word ‘mountain’ for the mountain; the actual mountain is much grander than the word ‘mountain’ can ever be. Do not take the actuality of -O- for whatever word you choose to use for the same reason.
-O- is much grander than any and all things that can, and more than likely will, be said. The same holds true for Nature as it does for Man.
When this is understood, it is obvious that walking, eating, sitting, washing, and working are done in God, may therefore be done in a contemplative way, to the glory of God, and thus done constitute the real translation of liturgy into life.
There is nowhere you can touch and not feel -O-. There is nowhere you can look and not see -O-. There is nowhere you can listen and not hear -O-. It is -O- that you drink when you are thirsty and it is -O- you eat when you are hungry.
No matter which way we turn, we are in the midst of the Divine Oneness, thusly in the Presence of -O-.
This is the link to the entire document on Scribd.
Thoughts on Oneness
© 2011 by Dino Meurs
Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 8:41 AM
You do not find an intelligent organism living in an unintelligent environment. Here is a tree in the garden, and every summer it produces apples; and we call it an apple tree because the tree “apples” - that is what it does. Here is a solar system inside a galaxy, and one of the peculiarities of this solar system is that, on the planet earth, it “peoples” in just the same way that an apple tree “apples.”
The second duality myth is the ‘duality’ between Man and Nature, which includes the mythical mind/body ‘duality’. Most people think of the body as something that separates us from the universe, but this is a mistake for the body connects us with the universe through the senses. The driving factor in this dualism, in my mind, is tied to the question of “Who am I?”
Where is there a separation when looking at the full moon at night? The light we see from the moon is a reflection from all the light sources in the universe that gets translated from electromagnetic waves into whatever it is we call vision. The process is a single event - the electromagnetic waves meet our eyes, where they are translated into nerve impulses that are then translated by the brain into what we see, then the mind translates that into words in order to communicate the experience.
To be separate, we would have to be self-sufficient. We do not supply our own oxygen; that comes from the air we breathe. Our bodies require food and water, which is not carried within, we transform food and water into our bodies. Our vision is not a separate something that has been teleported in from somewhere else, but is an ongoing translation of the basic energy of the universe. I highly doubt -O- has a warehouse of ‘things’ called ‘tree falling’ that gets teleported to the scene every time a tree falls. We are so innerrelated with the universe that if one part of it - let us say oxygen, were to be removed would mean our death.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this separation myth is our speculation about what happens after we die. I find it amusing that so many are concerned about the afterlife yet pay no attention on the prelife. We worry about the rewards of Heaven or Nirvana, the punishment of Hell, or a plain nothingness, thinking they are eternal states of being. Think about it, we were dead before we were alive and we will be dead once again in a never ending dancing in and out of the light The Nonbeingness of prelife is the same Nonbeingness of afterlife.
As I’ve written elsewhere, we are Reality become alive and aware, if you listen to the secular campfire story I like to tell. From the perspective of the spiritual side of that campfire story, we are Avatars of -O-. This ‘duality’, as with all ‘dualities’, is not existential; it is limited to the playground of logic. Our immediate experience of reality points to an infinite wholeness that doesn’t always play by the rules of logic. We need the ‘dualisms’ to comprehend, but we have fallen into a habit of mistaking the map for the territory.
‘Mind’ and ‘body’ are two aspects of the same oneness, not two separate somethings acting in tandem. Yes, ‘mind’ is a valid campfire story. Yes, ‘body’ is a valid campfire story. When I use the word ‘mind, I’m referring to ego, which is what we identify as mind. Neither story is the complete truth in the same manner that neither Yin nor Yang is the Tao.
Nature is the substance; mind, the function. The function never separates from substance, nor the substance from the function. Function and substance, though separate, are causally connected. Nature governs the mind, and the mind is nature’s function; they mesh. Although both retain their own character, they are inseparable.
The Heart Sutra
Think about it, ‘mind’ can be daffyfined as ‘not body’ and ‘body’ can be daffyfined as ‘not mind’ In the symbolism of the Taiji, we can think of mind as Yin and body as Yang. Once again we run into the limits of either/or thinking with the assumption the truth lies in a one or the other answer. Do we find bodiless minds or mindless bodies?
We are a mind/body oneness that ‘stretches’ from our innermost core to the ‘outer edge’ of the universe. This is a truth that applies to each and every one of us. When you expand your knowledge of the universe, you come to discover you have no choice but to identify yourself with everything there is.
All things in the universe move from the subtle to the manifest and back again. Whether the form is that of a star or a person, the process is the same. First, the subtle energy exists. Next, it becomes manifest and takes on life. After a time, the life passes away, but the subtle energy goes on, either returning to the subtle realm, where it remains, or once again attaching to manifest things.
Chapter 34, Hua Hu Ching, (Partial)
Identifying yourself as mind only or body only does nothing other than deny yourself your full heritage as an expression of the Totality.
If you must have an identity, identify with the Totality then quit thinking about it. Thinking about it too much leads one to think they are something special. What is so special about the everyday? Those who lord it over others have completely misunderstood the experience
Thursday, June 30, 2011, 2:47 AM
Behind the father-image, behind the mother-image, behind the image of light inaccessible, and behind the image of profound darkness, there is something else which we cannot conceive at all.
Let us examine some of the duality myths through the image of the Taiji (the Yin Yang symbol). I’m not using the word ‘myth’ in a derogatory manner; a myth is a story that is not quite true and not quite false. The first duality myth I would like to yak about is the ‘duality’ between -O- and Nature.
Is -O- separate or is -O- identical? Think of Yin as the dark portion of the symbol and Yang as the light. The Yin aspect of -O- can be thought of as the ‘other’ aspect while the Yang can be thought of as the ‘identical’ aspect. -O- is a Reality that encompasses both Yin and Yang in a harmonious whole. -O- is ‘other’ in that no one thing is -O-. We can say.-O- is ‘identical’ in that -O- is the core Reality of each and every thing. Each is a partial truth as -O- cannot be limited to ‘other’ or ‘identical’.
Once we start imaging it as there being one type of thingie that is called -O- and another type of thingie called Nature, we set up a duality based on the mistaken idea that truth is either/or. There are times the experience can be described as ‘other’ and there are times when the experience can best be described as ‘identical’. Neither side is the Whole Truth for each side is but a finger pointing at the moon. Neither side denies the other because they are polarities that balance each other in a harmonious whole. There is a balance between the Yin of ‘other’ and the Yang of ‘identical’.
A paradox is a statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition; or, it can be an apparent contradiction that actually expresses a non-dual truth.
A. All things are devoid of independent existence. (Sunyata)
B. All things manifest from the same Source. (Tathata)
C. All things can be said to neither not exist nor to exist.
Sunyatatha is my attempt at comprehending the dualistic appearance of Reality. As indicated by the Sunya portion, Reality is empty, but as indicated by the Tatha portion, Reality is full. While this may seem to be contradictory, it is only linguistically so, as the actual nature of Reality is not a choice between Sunyata and Tathata as the One True Story. There is truth in Sunyata and there is truth in Tathata but Truth can be found in neither story alone.
Sunyata is true but we should not dwell there. Tathata is true but we should not dwell there either. They are not independent of each other and cannot exist apart from the other. Yin and Yang is no different in essence, than ‘other’ and ‘identical’ is, in the overall. Oneness is not Yin or ‘other’. Oneness is not Yang or ‘identical’. Other can be known, is true, but is not real. Identical can be known, is true, but is not real. -O- is true and real, but cannot be known in the same sense that we know "One plus one equals two."
Rather than contradiction, this is paradox. Emptiness, think of ‘other’ is a partial understanding; Suchness, think of ‘identical’ is a partial understanding. The reason they are partial is that neither alone is Reality. They are codependent - without the ultimate affirmation, there would not be the ultimate denial. There is no inherent Tathata; there is no inherent Sunyata. By inherent, I mean an independently existing reality. With the negation of inherency, contradiction is replaced with paradox. When one thinks contradiction, one is thinking dualistically, as in there are two distinct realities, one of which cannot be true. When one thinks paradox, one is thinking nondualistically, as in there is a unity that can be explained two ways, neither of which is true.
Does it matter that neither side is the absolute truth? Not in the least, for Reality is much grander than either Tathata or Sunyata can encompass. I realize this is crude and clumsy, but one can think of the physical aspect of reality as the body, and the spiritual aspect as the mind, of -O- in an integrated whole. Both Tathata and Sunyata are the surface of that what cannot be comprehended.
The Divine Oneness is the ultimate paradox.
Sunday, June 26, 2011, 7:06 PM
To go anywhere in philosophy, other than back and forth, round and round, one must have a keen sense of correlative vision. This is a technical term for a thorough understanding of the Game of Black and White, whereby one sees that all explicit opposites are implicit allies ‑ correlative in the sense that they “gowith” each other and cannot exist apart.
Perhaps the hardest thing there is to imagine, other than Nothingness, is Oneness. To what do we compare One with? We communicate through the manipulation of symbols, thus we require a symbol as an aid in that communication. The most effective symbol that has been used to illustrate Oneness is the Yin Yang symbol of the Tao.
The symbol includes the positive with the negative in balance, generating an image of Oneness. That which is Yin is not the Totality; that which is Yang is not the Totality; the Totality is Tao. Without Yin, there would be no Yang and without the Yang, there would be no Yin just as a coin has ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ sides. Reality has the appearance of duality and we make a mistake by assuming each side is a fundamental and separate reality. Yin and Yang are not two separate realities as in either/or, but two aspects of the same reality, as in neither/nor.
This is where dualism, monism, and nondualism fail as far as I’m concerned. Dualism assumes Yin and Yang are inherently real and existentially separate entities. This is looking at the surface and thinking one has plumbed the depths. Monism fails because it assumes one ‘side’ is real and the other false. This is intellectual laziness, like ignoring something in the hope it will go away. Nondualism is closer to truth but the point is still missed. One can take the path of acceptance and end up in Tathata, or the Suchness of Reality. One can take the path of rejection and end up in Sunyata, or the Emptiness of Reality.
Each of these stances is true but they all fail when taken past a certain point. Dualism is true until you posit that each ‘side’ of the duality consists of intrinsically real entities. Monism is true up until you posit the reality of one ‘side’ and the falsity of the other. Nondualism in the sense of Sunyata is true in a limited sense and nondualism in the sense of Tathata is true in a limited sense. As it is written in the Heart Sutra - “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form”.
It is the working of the mind that requires the duality. If I want to explain ‘light’, I have to explain dark, for without the contradistinction, ‘light’, in and of itself, is a meaningless concept. Without the concept of ‘right’ there can be no concept of ‘left’ and without the concept of ‘this’, ‘that’ has no meaning. ‘Hot’ is that which is not ‘cold’ and cold’ is that which is not ‘hot’. The concepts of hot and cold are relative - a piece of steel heated to glow red is hotter than frozen water and at the same time, it is colder than the center of a star.
We communicate through symbolic language but the trouble is that we confuse the symbol for the reality, assuming the name is the thing. We cannot satisfy our hunger by eating the word ‘sandwich’ and we do not breathe the word ‘air’. One problem is that language is mechanistic and causal, thus giving one a map chock full of things, which does not match the territory. It was bad enough to have made the split in the first place and I think we blew it by forgetting that the split was a matter of linguistic convention to begin with.
Sunday, June 19, 2011, 10:17 PM
This is going to be a series of Thoughts on Oneness. I have no idea how long this would be if it I were to wait until this was completely written out and I would like to share this as it grows. It is my sincere hope that all of you will enjoy reading these little blurbs as much as I will have in writing them.
What do we mean when we say “One”?
Chapter 22, Hua Hu Ching
How can the divine Oneness be seen? In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe- inspiring miracles? The Tao is not obliged to present itself this way. It is always present and always available. When speech is exhausted and mind dissolved, it presents itself. When clarity and purity are cultivated, it reveals itself. When sincerity is unconditional, it unveils itself. If you are willing to be lived by it, you will see it everywhere, even in the most ordinary things.
I submit there is great confusion over the concept of one. There is the mathematical understanding of 'one' as singular or exclusive and there is the metaphysical understanding of 'one' as manifold or inclusive. Mathematical oneness comes from the language of the mind and metaphysical oneness comes from the language of the heart.
This confusion is apparent when we talk about the 'oneness' of -O- as we assume a mathematical 'one' that is separate while we are discussing a metaphysical 'one' that is unity. It is true that -O- is "one" in the mathematical sense of the term, but it is also true that -O- is "one" in the metaphysical sense of the term. -O- is singular in that there is nothing but -O- and at the same time -O- is unity for the same reason. -O- is not a separate one nor separate manys for the one contains the many while the many contain the one.
The biggest problems with using the mathematical concept when discussing Metaphysical issues is the idea of separate entities. -O- is separate from Nature. Man is separate from Nature. -O- is separate from Man. These separations are true only in a logical sense for one cannot separate one from the other in an existential sense. Mathematical ‘oneness’ is a product of dualistic thinking that looks at the surface and assumes it has plunged the depths.
One does not ‘find’ the Divine Oneness in certain places and not in others. The Divine Oneness is everywhere. This what is behind one of the teachings off all the Great Masters - “Look”
Chapter 48 Hua Hu Ching
Do you wish to free yourself of mental and emotional knots and become one with the Tao? If so, there are two paths available to you. The first is the path of acceptance. Affirm everyone and everything. Freely extend your goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances. Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it. The second path is that of denial. Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth. Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness. Though these paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: spontaneous awareness of the Great Oneness. Once you arrive there, remember: it isn't necessary to struggle to maintain unity with it. All you have to do is participate in it.
It does not matter whether you confirm or deny for confirmation is denial and denial is confirmation. -O- is not “There” because there is no “There” -O- is not. Denial is true up to a point just as confirmation is true up to a point. Neither is true, in and of itself, and both are false if taken as all there is to reality. Is relies on Is Not in order for us to comprehend reality, not to experience it.
More to follow...
Friday, June 17, 2011, 7:35 PM
Have you ever received one of those messages from a complete stranger asking to start a relationship, even when your profile says that you’re in a relationship? I keep my Bnet mailbox open in case members of my group wish to contact me. I get a lot of these “Hi, my name is...” messages.
I’m getting to the point where I’m considering setting up an email account under a fake name and responding to these damnfool messages with something that will scare them silly.
Sorry, but I had to get that off my chest.
Saturday, May 7, 2011, 12:24 AM
Part of a work in progress.
One of your favorite sayings is “-O- is and the rest is commentary.” Would you explain that please?
The commentaries are the statements we make about -O-. A commentary is a belief statement in a particular -O-image, not a faith statement in the reality of -O- and there is a major difference between a belief statement and a faith statement. -O- is not a thing that is definable in the same manner we can define the sun. When we make the claim “-O- is this”, we restrict -O-’s ability to be that. -O- cannot be restricted in any manner. How can we say that -O- is “This” or “That” without stepping into the mudpuddle of blasphemy?
It isn’t that I have a problem with the commentary. What I have a problem with is the attitude the commentary actually reflects the reality. There are times we have no choice but to talk about -O- in terms of being but we make a major mistake when we take the menu for the meal. It may be that -O- is a being, but I highly doubt that this type of being is imaginable to us humans. The Infinite is infinitely more different from what we understand as a being as a single celled organism is different that a human. The most we can say about -O- is to make the statement “-O- Is.” To reiterate what Lao Tzu said, once we open our mouths, we are 186,000 miles off target. We would be just as truthful saying “Yak blab blah.”
This should not be taken as a condemnation of our images. It is a condemnation of our habit of daffyfining the Infinite with word pictures, which, by their very nature, are finite. What I mean by “Daffynition” is a word picture that we insist matches the reality. I can say that -O- is the mother of all creation but the minute I say -O- is a female, it becomes a daffynition. As long as we all believe that -O- is, it does not matter what we believe -O- is. -O- is like this to me, -O- is like that to you, -O- is like thus to that person, -O- is like so to another person. Not a one of the images is the Actuality. Have you fully considered what you are doing when you say “-O- is thus?” I have to question whether -O- wants to be thus or would so be better?
The way I look at it is that saying a particular -O-image is -O- is to show a profound lack of faith. The Tao is my particular -O-image but I’m not silly enough to make the claim the Tao is -O-. If we limit the Actuality to God, what is going to happen when Goddess needs to manifest? As I’ve said many times, this Actuality we call -O- is Infinite and there is no way to finite the infinite. People say there is no consistency to a -O- that is all things to all people. The ability to be all things to all people is consistency - no matter where we look, there -O- is. Everything in the universe - you, me, this, that, concepts, when I say everything, I literally mean everything, is an emanation of -O-.
Think of it as a type of Relativity, -O- does not change, the frames of reference change. It is the commentary about -O- that undergoes change and the commentary is not -O-, as I’ve yapped about many times. The way I see it is that too many are focusing on their particular commentary as an Absolute, rather than a Relative Truth. What people fail to comprehend is that -O- is not a one size fits all phenomena that can be neatly placed into a logical box. We make a major mistake in our drive to get all to agree on a particular commentary. In concentrating on a particular Whatness, we completely ignore that all of us agree on the Thatness, thus raising problems where none need exist.
Each of these Whatness statements reduces -O- to a thing we can claim to comprehend and I highly doubt many people realize what they are doing. A -O- that can be reduced to one true image is not much of a -O- as far as I’m concerned. Other than ‘Is’, the only word we can use adequately when discussing -O- is ‘infinite’. The most we should do with a -O-image is take the mindset that ‘This is what -O- is like for me.’ for, when we say ‘This is what -O- is.’ we step firmly into Idolatry and forcing others to worship our particular image becomes Blasphemy.
One major mistake of Western theological thinking as far as I’m concerned that has long confused me is where do we get this assumption that The One True -O- can be explained by One True Statement with the precision of a scientific theory? We take the approach of ‘one out of many’ rather than ‘one in many’ and so we lose the grandeur of Reality as it is. Much of this loss comes from how we think of the term ‘one’ in that we think of it in the connotation of ‘exclusive’. That is one but not the only way to look at ‘one’ for we can also look at it in the connotation of ‘inclusive’. No one -O-image is -O- for the simple reason that -O- is the Source of all images.
We have no problem with the idea that although light appears white, we can spread it with a prism and see that light is ‘composed’ of many colors. Red and blue are not two different lights; they are two aspects of the one light. The Hindu image of the Divine is quite different from the Jewish image of the Divine but they are both images of the Divine, just as blue and red are aspects of the same light. In the same manner that red does not compete to be The One True Light, the various -O-images are not in competition.
The Wave-Particle duality of light is a good illustration of how our dualism of -O- being either self or other causes problems. Light has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it acts like a particle. It has also been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it acts like a wave. The photon is neither particle nor is it wave, so what is it? Through the mystical experience, -O- can be experienced as either completely self or as completely other with the experience holding as much truth as the evidence supporting either a particle or wave. If -O- is neither self nor other, how can we image -O- accurately?
As I’ve said many times, I’m not suggesting we throw away our images. We need the images to communicate our ideas. We fail to realize an image is ‘what it is like’, not ‘what it is’. There are times one has to talk as if -O- is the Stern Father slapping you upside the back of the head for screwing up but we cannot say that is the actuality of what is happening. We do not confuse a road map of the United States with the actual United States, do we? This is what we do when we say ‘-O- is thus’. An image of -O- is no more -O- than the map is the United States. If we are going to make the claim ‘-O- is thus’, we are going to have to deny the Infinity.
‘Infinite’ is another concept all faiths confess, making ‘thus’ and ‘so’ integral aspects of the Infinity. Each -O-image is not of a different -O- as so many want to believe. It is more like a multilayered holographic image. The red ‘layer’ looks one way and the blue ‘layer’ has another appearance. The Truth of the hologram is the totality, not the red or the blue. When we reduce the hologram to a black and white image, we cannot see the beauty of the colorful image in front of us.
All I’m suggesting is that we have to get rid of this idea that any one particular -O-image has to be true for everyone. The closest we can come to actually defining -O- is the phrase “-O- is infinite” and leave it at that. We can find truth about -O- in an image but the truth of -O- cannot be limited to one image. Your particular -O-image reflects your particular innerreaction, my -O-image reflects my innerreaction; each one of us has a slightly different innerreaction. This means that each -O-image will be slightly different, reflecting the Infinity of -O-.
I want you to think about what you’re (I’m using the term ‘you’ in the generic sense) doing with this attitude about -O-images. You’re attempting to reduce -O- to a thing that can be understood. The most a -O-image should be is an icon to be venerated. All too many elevate it into an idol to be universally worshipped, which, as far as I’m concerned, is Blasphemy. As far as I’m concerned, something that is simple enough to be completely understood is too simple to be thought of as -O-. Despite what we may wish to think, -O- is going to be what -O- is going to be. The images of the Stern Father and the Loving Mother say nothing about the essence of -O- as all they yap about is how we interpret our experience of -O-. This is why I call them ‘commentaries’.
Another thing you’re doing is assuming different -O-images represent different -O-s. To use an Orchestra as an example, what we are doing is concentrating on one instrument and filtering out the rest. We do not have Orchestras made up of one instrument just as a piano has more than one key. Even when all the instruments are playing the same melody, they have their own sounds. One way I like to describe Theology in general is Symphonia Religiosa because it makes sense to me to think about the whole enterprise as the music of -O-.