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.

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