Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Light of Being

If we speak of "enlightenment", we are speaking of an attainment, an achievement, a milestone. The suffix "-ment" implies the existence of someone who is TO BE enlightened. The suffix "-ment" implies a state.

A "state" is something arrived at. An example is Contentment - it assumes that you are not presently content, and in the future might attain contentment. According to the seeker's belief, "enlightenment" is not presently here, the "state" of enlighten"ment" isn't here, and through various practices that "state" will be achieved.

So let's flip it around. If we take the word and drop the -ment, what do we have? Enlighten. To enlighten. To supply with light.

And what is supplied with "light"? We might say that the senses are supplied with light. We might say that Consciousness is there, sentience is there, because of this light, because of this capacity. It is often called "knowing" or "awareness", but it is the "light" BY WHICH the senses operate, the light supplying sentience.

So that sentience is a function OF enlighten"-ment". And because of this sentience, there appears a world, a body, thoughts, which are then, within this sentience or Consciousness, conceptualized as "someone", as a separate "somebody".

But the appearance of this "world" or "body-mind" is DUE TO this Consciousness or sentience, which is "supplied light" or "enlightened". We might say that the light "behind" Consciousness is the truth or reality - what that light is changed into, through this prism of Consciousness - is the appearance of the world, body and idea of individual.

Therefore the appearance can take any shape or size. It can be conceptualized as anything. The mind is the mechanism by which this pure light is divided into "thingness". There isn't anything wrong with it, except that it's taken to be the absolute reality, the absolute perspective. The individual is a creation of this conceptualization.

The Christian Bible said that God is the Truth, the Life, the Light. The Bhagavad-Gita states "Brahman appears as the attributes of all the organs, is free from all the organs, is unattached and is the sustainer of all, is free from the qualities and is the experiencer of the qualities." Nisargadatta Maharaj said "When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God is the tiny little spark: ‘I am’, apparently so small and yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving." The Yoga Vashistha says "The light of self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by it's own light. What is the light by which one 'sees' (knows), if all the lights in the world from the sun onwards become inert? Only the inner light... The inner light of consciousness shines for ever within and without..."

John Wheeler's latest book is titled "The Light Behind Consciousness". Here is an excerpt:

"The whole world appears in the light of consciousness. Consciousness itself is a time-bound, phenomenal state, an appearance on that unconditioned source which is prior to consciousness. Reality is non-conceptual awareness that does not even know that it is. Simply put, you are the one who is aware of being and of being conscious. That ‘you’ is entirely beyond the body, senses, mind, consciousness and anything else that can be perceived or conceived. It cannot be grasped or even be understood, because it is what you are."

You are not the individual. You are the light. You ARE Enlightenment - what you are illumines or "enlightens" the "Consciousness" or mind and remains while it subsides. You are the light by which darkness is known. You are the light of knowing which is the very substance of the world seen and taken to be made up of separate entities.

What is it all these "gurus", "saints", "teachers" and "seers" are saying? It's blindingly simple, and overlooked because you are the "looking". We are looking FOR our true nature, when all the while we are already looking FROM our true nature. That light of I AM-ness isn't a state to be achieved. It is the true Being-ness.

Now where will enlightenment be found?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The True "I"

Often in Advaita circles we're talking about ending the "I", seeing through the "I". This "I" being spoken of is the individual "I", the "ME", the sense of being a separate individual. This individual "I" is identification - the placing of self-ness upon the body-mind, which is always objective. This "I" must be a thought-belief, a construction of assumption. This "I" is believed to be some soul or individual essence abiding in the body-mind.

This placing of individual self-ness upon that ever-present "I" or "awareness" is itself the concept of the individual. That IS the identification, the very mechanism which seems to construct this individual "I".

What's being pointed out is that the true "I" IS what you are - only it is not the body or mind. It is not a separate being. The true "I" is the light behind perception, the essence of seeing. It has been called "awareness" or "consciousness". If you know "I", you know your true Self already. But what IS this "I"? Is it merely the body-mind?

Here are two examples of expressions about the true "I".

Wei Wu Wei

The eye that sees, the ear that hears, the tongue that tastes are only apparatus, but the "I" that sees, hears and tastes is Reality. We only need to realize that and the first perception becomes satori.

Rupert Spira

Consciousness, the true 'I,' gets exclusively mixed up with a body and seems, as a result, to become a personal entity that is endowed with Consciousness and Being. It becomes the personal knower, feeler, thinker, doer etc., the 'me.'

There is only the true 'I,' the true Self, Knowing Presence or Consciousness, and it is always only itself. There is nothing other than itself. It is 'One without a second.'

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

True Self

300 years and 4000 miles apart, one living in Imperial Japan and one in India under British rule, the differences between Takuan Soho, a Zen Master and Ramana Maharshi, an Indian Guru, couldn't have been more. But their expressions, the realization of what they truly are, are strikingly similar. Here is a taste:

Takuan Soho

True Self is the Self that existed before the division of heaven and earth and before one's father and mother were born. This Self is the Self within me, the birds and the beasts, the grasses and the trees and all phenomena. It is exactly what is called 'Buddha Nature".

This Self has no shape or form, has no birth, has no death. It is not a Self that can be seen with the aid of your present physical eye. Only the man who has received enlightenment is able to see this. The man who does see this is said to have seen into his own nature and became a Buddha. It is to use neither thought nor reasoning and to look straight ahead.

Ramana Maharshi

If a man considers that he is born, he cannot avoid the fear of death. Let him find out if he has been born or if the Self has any birth. He will discover that the Self always exists, that the body that is born resolves itself into thought and that the emergence of thought is the root of all mischief. Find from where thoughts emerge. Then you will be able to abide in the ever-present inmost Self and be free from the idea of birth or the fear of death.

Monday, September 7, 2009

God is Right Here

Thanks to Sandy for suggesting William Samuel as another example of what this blog is all about.

William Samuel, it seems, was a real hero, fighting in World War 2 and Korea, returning to a simple and ordinary life as a baker in Alabama. But somewhere along the way he discovered the simplicity and truth of what he truly was, and expressed it with unmistakable clarity, although not within the confines of what we call "Advaita" or nonduality today. William's site is maintained by Sandy and is located here. Here is an example of this clarity.

"Usually, atheists deny and agnostics doubt the actuality of God as they understand and define God. They are quite right, because God as they define Him could not possibly exist. But God as God is, is neither doubted nor denied by a single person on this earth and never has been. God, as God is, is accepted without question, even without resistance, by everyone because God is the very basis of being, the fact of real existence.Why, God is Life itself. Show me an atheist who will deny he is alive!

Well, be assured, God does not withhold Himself from aught. God is right here, right now, closer than fingers and toes, closer than breathing. There is no distance nor separation between oneself and God, mentally or otherwise. You will find that God is all that is here, and "They shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest, saith the Lord." God's simplicity is astounding. It is this very simplicity that the pompous intellect of mankind can neither see nor understand while struggling through its jungle of erudite beliefs. Let the beliefs go. Let what 'they say' go. Drop all the old personal opinions no matter how near and dear they seem. Start anew, turning with into the heart. Then when you arrive at your own meaning of God, you happily find you are also discovering your own Real Identity and its childlike simplicity. Just as it is impossible to put the principle of arithmetic into a single number ( or into all of them together), it is not actually possible to confine this alone Awareness to a single finite body."

Leaves of God

Even while immersed in the dualistic translations of the Bible which have become the "official" and sanctioned "set of beliefs" from the Christian/Catholic Church, a few have desired to "know God" beyond pure belief, beyond the mythical translation of God as external and judgmental Creator. Those like St. Teresa of Avila laid aside the default beliefs and assumptions handed out with an expectation of obedience and came to know God directly. Much of their writing echoes current Nondual expressions.

"I Will Just Say This"

We bloomed in Spring.

Our bodies are the leaves of God.

The apparent seasons of life and death our eyes can suffer;

but our souls, dear, I will just say this forthright:

they are God Himself,

we will never perish unless He does.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


There is a big rift between Traditional Advaita Vedanta and what has been called "neo" Advaita. The difference is that so-called "neo" Advaita starts with direct Reality - it starts with the "end", so to speak. And realization is that Reality is the present lack of an individual, therefore THIS is it, already. There is no one to do anything because THIS is already IT. Seeking it only assumes the presence of a seeker and something to find.

Traditional Vedanta starts with the seeker, it starts with the idea of an individual who is seeking, and attempts to, using knowledge and logic, questioning what we take as Reality, and leading to the realization that THIS is it. Of course once it is seen that THIS is it and there is no individual, it's the exact SAME realization.

We'll use two opposing viewpoints, one from each "tradition". The first is Jeff Foster, to some one of the "heads" of the "neo-Advaita" movement. Jeff doesn't proclaim himself to be a "teacher" - he doesn't live in an ashram, he takes the bus, lives a normal life. But he's unmistakably clear.

Jeff says "Nonduality (Advaita) means "Not Two". It points to the Oneness at the Heart of all things.

But it's not a "state" to be reached, not something that some individuals "have" and others don't. It's more like awakening from a dream, and realising, with crystal clarity, that it was only ever a dream. It's like being a newborn baby again. Present. Open. Uncontaminated. Seeing with fresh eyes. Seeing for the first time. It's not an intellectual understanding. It's not contained in words or systems of thought. It's your True Nature. And you don't need to do anything to see your True Nature, because you already are It. Fully.

Still, seeking for It may happen. And for the dream character, all that apparently needs to happen, is for the seeking to end, once and for all. And to the dream character, nonduality teachings may appear to be helpful. Until the seeking ends, that is, and the dream teachings dissolve, and with great Laughter, and great Lightness, the dream character dissolves with them. And then it's all over, and there is only ever THIS, and nobody to know it.

Radical nonduality is radical freedom."

The other viewpoint is from Swami Dayananda Saraswati - a traditional "teacher" of Vedanta, living in an ashram, dressing in robes and beards. Swami Dayananda is one of the clearest expressions of nonduality or Advaita Vedanta, although he would be targeted, by so-called "neo"-advaita, as the epitome of the false and progressive path-based teachings. Yet he is equally clear.

"When are you not self-evident? Tell me—when? It is because you are self-evident that you don't need to become self-evident at any time. All my experiences are because of my self-evidence. Therefore, the Self is already experienced—that's what I say. Self is experienced as the ultimate content of every experience. I say, in fact, that our very experience is the Self.

In all experiences, therefore, what is invariably present is consciousness, and no object is independent of that. And consciousness is not dependent on and has none of the attributes of any particular object. Consciousness is consciousness, and while it is in everything, it transcends everything. That's why I say: this is advaita, this is nondual, this is Brahman, this is limitless; timewise it is limitless, spacewise it is limitless. And therefore it is Brahman, and therefore you are everything already. This is the teaching, and what it means is that I need not wait for any experience because every experience is Brahman, every experience is limitless."

The pointing is exactly the same, although it's dressed up differently, expressed somewhat differently. But the mind takes the messenger and throws out the message. The ultimate message is that THIS is IT. Whatever THIS IS, is it. THIS is Reality. THIS is Brahman, to quote the Swami. THIS is Oneness, to quote Jeff.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What is Reality?

According to Wikipedia, Brahman (ब्रह्मन्, brahman, nominative brahma, ब्रह्म) is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this Universe.

But what does that mean? The word "Brahman" isn't as important as that to which it points. And that to which it points is obviously not something you're going to go out and find, not something you can get at a later time. It's not something to be achieved - it's a "description" of Reality, but because Reality cannot be defined by any one "thing" or a group of "things", it must be pointed to abstractly, and that is always confusing and paradoxical to the mind.

The reason it's confusing is because of the default belief that YOU are an individual, a separate "thing" among "things", that YOU had a starting point and will eventually end. That belief requires the parallel and conjoined belief in the world as separate.

Nagarjuna, a Buddhist, said that Nirvana (enlightenment, realization of Truth or Reality) and Samsara (suffering, ignorance) are the same. So what IS, right now, is Reality. It's Samsara when interpreted through the lens of the individual. It's Nirvana when that individual lens is seen for what it really is. Either way it's irrelevant, because it's always THIS.

To the Christian or other believer in a separate individual Creator, God is apart FROM the world, sitting outside of the world, acting upon the world, and that world is made up of pieces or parts, of which the individual is one small insignificant and temporary slice.

That template or paradigm IS Samsara - it's necessarily so because the appearance of a world requires the existence of the individual, in the same way that a mirror which reflects requires objects to be reflected. But Nirvana isn't the opposite belief, because that is one side which requires the opposite. Nirvana is the falling away of ALL templates or paradigms which might be laid upon Reality. Therefore even Nirvana falls away.

So Nirvana or Brahman or Reality isn't the individual reaching anything. It's the fact that what IS, right now, IS NOT divided or limited as this paradigm suggests. God isn't some external creator, apart FROM the world. "God" IS the world, the very form and functioning, the appearance and the knowing of the appearance. That intelligence, that singular essence, manifests itself through this template, through this process of division.

Therefore duality is necessary, samsara is necessary for "Brahman" to know itself. Duality is a celebration of diversity within the wholeness. Recognition of this annihilates all clinging to an "individual" who may recognize, who may find Nirvana, who may become "one with Brahman".

All that remains is the pure IS-ness of this moment, which isn't a "point in time". It's literally ALL there ever is.

Common Ground

There is a lot of confusion and in-fighting within Nonduality and of course Religion in general. It is an obvious pointer to the mind's activity of splitting up everything into opposites, of demanding right vs. wrong, of insisting on reaching perfection through the destruction of opposing views.

This blog is dedicated to showing the common ground among all clear voices - showing the consistent focus of many paths and traditions - the ultimate "end" of all spiritual and religious endeavors - without preference to one tradition, path, culture, or way of expressing.

The blog will bring in voices from Advaita Vedanta, including so-called "neo"-advaita, traditional, direct path. It will find commonalities in teachers from Taoism, Dgozchen and other Buddhist sects, Kabbalah, Gnosticism and Christian Mysticism, and others.

There will be no restriction on so-called "teachers" - if the pointing is clear, it will be included. It will be shown that there are many ways of pointing out your true nature - sometimes that includes starting from the fact that you already ARE that, sometimes it's meeting the seeker where they are.