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September 03, 2013

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I'm glad you wrote about Nagarjuna - we've been listening a lot to a series of talks by John Dunn about him. (we like Dunn a lot!). So every story, every parable has an exoteric, esoteric, and hidden meaning. If we accept that Nagarjuna went "all the way", then he is talking about what can't be put into words, and you can only know it when you have completed the same journey. I accept what he is saying as a truth that I will one day realize.

"When a direct identification is asked for,
We can only say, "Not two."

Ian: It follows logically from Maharishi's statement that God is illusion, and illusion is God. Which is true.

Nagarjuna is telling us that ontologically Nirvana and Samsara are not-two.

This makes perfect sense, because Nirvana, being unconditioned, "overflows", spills over, into the conditioned.

Similarly, the German philosopher Hegel analyzed finitude and infinitude and arrived at these conclusions:

1) Suppose finitude and infinitude are opposed, different; therefore, since they are oppose, when finitude ends, infinitude begins; where infinitude ends, finitude begins. (Determinatio est negatio.)

2) So we arrive with this concept at "bad infinity". Bad infinity is that quantity which is "always more". We can imagine the largest number in the universe, with as many zeroes as there are grains in the Ganges, and still infinity will be bigger than that. It is called "bad" because such conception of infinity is always MORE than we imagine, it is always PUSHED over into the unimaginable.

3) When we see this, we arrive at the true infinity, which is NOT other than finitude. To give an example:

"Bad infinity" is the infinity is the case where in Natural numbers there is an infinite progression, we can never arrive at the biggest number.

The true infinity is the infinity of Rational Numbers: even though between "1" and "2" there are infinite numbers ( 1,01 ; 1,001 ; 1,0001 ; 1,00001 , etc. ad infinitum - this is the basis of Zeno's paradoxes) - between "1" and "2" is, at the same time, a FINITE , discrete quantity: 1 (1+1=2).

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If we say "Nirvana is essentially different than Samsara", we limit it; it becomes conditioned (conditioned by its negative relationship towards samsara).

The truly unconditioned Nirvana must therefore also be the same as Samsara.

But if we are exact Nagarjuna only says there is NO DIFFERENCE between them, not that they are identical.

Now suppose there was an essential difference between Nirvana and Samsara.

Would that difference itself be a part of Nirvana or Samsara? Would it transcend both? Would it be both at once, or neither? Or neither "both", nor "neither"?

Thus, the greatest philosopher of all times, Nagarjuna, shows us his supreme vision of emptiness.

If we draw from it wrong conclusions ("Ah, so we're already enlightened!" or "Then we don't need to go chasing after enlightenment if nirvana and samsara is the same!") - then that is our own stupidity typical of beginners in Buddhism who are not yet able to distinguish between the Two Truths (the Ultimate and the Provisional Level of Reality).

"The world is an illusion,GOD is real,GOD is the world" Ramana Maharishi"

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