« The conversion of the religious into the secular world | Main | The illusion of duality »

December 31, 2019


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Silence is absence of sound, which is an inherently dualistic vantage point which leads back to the emptiness problem – that emptiness, if conceptualized, tends to be misunderstood as a vacuum or “lack” of something when it is by its very nature, from the very beginning, what can be called the unarisen or unborn. If we apply the this/that, not-this/not-that logical framework you refer to in your comment, by ceasing contact with the sense phenomenon, the sense consciousness also ceases but this is not “silence” which is the absence of sound, yet another duality of the skandhic mind system. This is not meant to be pedantic and I broadly agree with much of what you are saying. That is important to point out because these are subtleties easily misstated or misunderstood. I see from your comments you understand this problem clearly, which is why I am surprised to see you talk of being the silence, which adheres in a subtle way to the skandhic system as self. That is why I challenged your views on non-duality as being basically, and again this is subtle, dualistic.

None of this is meant to imply you are wrong, but I do approach this problem in a different way. How I would embark on this question is like this. If you see that there is no disentanglement of self from phenomena, you can isolate one sense, one that is superior or unifies the others, one with which you have greatest karmic affinity. Using this sense like a lever to pry yourself from the others, it is possible to direct meditative focus or inquiry to perceive that the consciousness of a phenomenon arises together with the phenomenon (this/that, not-this/not-that), and by deepening this investigation through concentrative meditative techniques, one enters into total absorption entirely in this one sense. Have you noticed what happens when you truly listen? With that kind of focus there is nothing dull or obscure, but perfectly bright and clear. What duality is there to be found? So rather than reaching the conclusion “you are the silence” instead if I had to state it at all I would say one concludes “you are neither silence nor not silence” (again the via negativa is helpful).

Reading sutras and the like might prepare one for these kinds of spiritual exercises, just as having “pointers” such as you describe from a teacher or a given religious tradition might help those who look to teachers for their answers, and faith of course in general is so very helpful, but as samadhi are only really "known" in praxis, in my opinion no teacher "good" or otherwise, can avail in the slightest, nor can any philosophy. It is entirely an intuitive affair. I hold there is no practice, no teacher, no pointer, no "pre-condition" necessary to recognize one's fundamental true nature except to say, perhaps, via what might be called “grace” in Western terms of the Tathagata which again is truly not elsewhere to be found but one’s very own mind.

Emptiness is empty! No essence, no bounded or unbounded substratum, that is the real beauty about it, nothing outside it. Another way of saying this, is that you have the essence but do not have the function.

As one make use of the unbounded non-dual perspectives, the dual ‘world’ is no-where to be found, And as one make use of bounded dualistic perspectives, the non dual is no where to be seen. But then what is not a perspective? One make use of non-dual perspectives in order to erase out of its sights the dual quite bounded perspectives, and vice versa, but what is not a perspective? Perspectives=viewpoint/view.

‘A ‘good’ teacher knows that if he talks, he will fail, and if he doesn’t talk, he will also fail. Why is that? All he can try to do is to give pointers to his students knowing that he must make use of the student dual mind’s framework in order to reach him. And also knowing that it is this same dual mind framework that ‘creates’ part of the ‘problem’.’

To make use of words such as unbounded, non-dual, etc.. are ‘good’ pointers, especially in the ‘materialistic/objectivist/from without’ actual point of view/view. But beyond being pointers, they are/become meaningless. One should be careful, for example there is a huge difference between knowing/feeling silence, and being silence. In deep Samadhi one knows/can be aware of those silences, vast ‘space’ without obstruction, limits or boundaries, etc. And as those ‘moments’ progressively becomes more frequent and deeper, a shift may happened. Our ‘normal’ day to day let us say taken for granted perception of how things are, is that the world is, and is so in a continuous way. As one meditate, one may experience those silent unbounded ‘moments’ as kind of surging up in a discontinuous way from an ‘unknown’ background, and as the meditation ‘ends’, one goes back to his or her daily activities and what remains of this still, silent, unbounded kind of fades away in ‘a’ background. One can experience a shift also, when this silence which was experience in a discontinuous way, shifts to become continuous and foreground and the world kind of become discontinuous and background. Experiences such as those, kind of soften the solidity of our taken for granted view/viewpoints, for a world that fades away and becomes entirely background and discontinuous, kind of give a final blow to its absolute reality. Many would tend to think that they have reached the or an unbounded or non-dual ‘state’, interpret things this way. But if one is attentive enough, one will still feel kind of a residue, as those are experienced; those are still within the realm of experience and duality. The sudden collapse of the viewpoint within knowing is what I mean by being silent, and it is not dualistic, for it is not an experience. You are the silence itself, you cannot know this silence but do not ignore it any more. That silence has no awareness of itself or presence of itself/a self, but does not ignore it/turns its back to it anymore. I think that it is important to repeat this no awareness of itself, as there is no-point/viewpoint by which any apprehension of any kind can be made, be it of bounded wholes or the unbounded. It has no form and name, and yet it appears. But as I said this unbounded as pointer is quite valid within some context.

My personal way of seeing the whole thing, is that it is crucial to know one’s actual limits/limitations if you which to transcend them. And as one takes a good look/dive within those dualities, just how confusing they are, how deceiving they can be, then there is a chance that one can transcends those, but not from one’s will.

The Buddha said; "if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist". If I remember correctly he did not say this in regard to dualities, but I think that the same saying is valid for those dualities; as one ‘side’ arises so is simultaneously the other side. They co-arise while being mutually incompatible. Those dualities are part of how we grasp ‘the world’ and ourselves.

In our ordinary day to day activities, do you look from? Can you look at? We do look from don’t we? We look from what I call ‘bounded wholes’ and look at a specificity or particularity . In such a way that ‘what we look from ‘is’ what we look at. That ‘is’ isn’t the is of identity or equality, it is the ‘is’ of a process. Emphasis on what we look from is what is meant by subjective, and emphasis on what we look at, the objective. One is ‘within’, the other one is ‘without’. Centrifugal and centripetal trends. 4:44am, January 7, 2020 is the actual time that I look at, ‘without’, but that will be meaningless unless you would have the ‘proper’ context by which to interpret those. And so we look from let us say ‘our’ western civilization conception of time, the whole of it (context) in order to be able to make some sense of those 4:44am….. As one can notice, 4:44am is a specificity or particularity which already is being contained within what we look from, at least in a potential way. Which means what? Which means it is never 4:44am…., never has been, never will be. A meaning invites/begs for its context and vice versa, they co-arises, while being mutually incompatible, one is within (apparently so) and the other one is without (apparently so), One is a bounded whole (that by which you look from) and the other one is a particularity of that same whole; that which you look at. Which says what? Which says that these ‘two’ are talking about the exact same thing, but in different ways; one in a whole way, and the other in a specific way. Now you tell me, when a ‘Jew’ looks at a Palestinian , does he look from or at? Well, what he looks from ‘is’ what he looks at.

Those are mirages, or more or less functional illusions which have more or less value and validity within a specific context, and none whatsoever beyond or in the absence of such context.

What we look from is/are bounded wholes, and what we look at being ephemeral, discontinuous particularities. Our emphasis now collectively is shifting/has shifted towards the what we look at side of this duality (objective/without), and to such an extent that it is no more just an emphasis, but a fixation. We are progressively eroding the center by which we looked from, to fixate ourselves on those ephemeral, discontinuous particularities which we look at; cell phones, etc. But as we do this, we forget/even deny that we also looked from almost entirely and tend to become meaningless phantoms in a discontinuous and ephemeral world that we neither understand or feel we belong to.

And so, if we intend to ease this actual chaos, I would think that it might be a good idea to look into those dualities, especially if we wish to transcend those. And I do not think that it is such a good idea to throw pearls at 'pigs'.

We have to start where we are, as it actually appears to us, ask ourselves why it appears this way, dig in within the inner processes, why these difficulties, confusions, impasses, suffering, conflicts, killings, false identifications.


It's refreshing to have you on board. Thanks for sharing your insights and at the risk of sounding rude, which is not at all my intention, I might challenge this idea about the non-dual, which I agree is easily misunderstood especially via the trap of the sixth consciousness. But it is not like the imaginary line of a border superimposed on a pre-existing material reality. The material reality is not self-existent in the first place and that is the essence of duality, this perception of self-other which comprises default sentient experience of being born or spontaneously appearing as a phenomenon. Hence there is no original duality to speak of as being the non-dual.

It should be pointed out that the non-dual is refuge. To speak of the non-dual is the same as saying liberation. It is not a conceptual trick such as you describe to make the dual appear as non-dual by taking away mental constructs and the dualistic reference points while the karmic/skandhic mind system remains fully intact in the schemata of a being born into the world. In a way it is more like the sentient, who is looking outward into the world, suddenly looks inward and sees no world there to look out upon except the very nature of one's own mind. I firmly maintain the via negativa is the proper path for this discovery. Despite every indication to the contrary in this world where logical positivism prevails as the philosophical underpinning of human civilization, any positive conceptual framework about the non-dual is doomed from the start precisely because such a thing cannot be the non-dual and cannot be considered refuge. Why? Because it is only valid as long as one can focus on it. When one stops meditating upon the non-dual and duality returns, has the non-dual departed? Of course not. Realization of the non dual means it is always available. Therefore concepts about it are like a heavy weight and it is better to drop them. Does not the Buddha point to the highest most realization? How then can lesser realizations be any realization whatsoever. It is only because of the necessity of sentients who are unaware of a higher realization, that it is spoken of as the non-dual but in truth duality and non-duality are dualistic frameworks which easily become conceptual hindrances. If one must think about them at all it is better to think it through to the utmost, to the breaking point, not stopping anywhere along the way for a breather such as imagining (falsely) that non-duality can be likened to a border which both seals and divides two things into one and vise-versa.

But again, there is no cause for fear because direct cognition of the non-dual is refuge. It is when cognition ceases to adhere to any phenomenon and instead reposes in its own imageless and luminous nature without the slightest stirring. Of course this is also a false and dualistic narrative because there is no stirring to begin with. The non-dual doesn't become anything and cannot be defined by the absence of borders or anything else. Nothing is lacking in non-duality, nothing is present in non-duality, and there really is no non-duality except as cognized by the ignorant.

Lots of views

Dear Dr. Jung, Don’t be so protective of your tribe.

As is usually the case with blogs comments on the internet, a lot of what is being said is misinterpreted. I do not participate in any kind of blogs, for I feel that to do so, is to increase the actual chaos which is all over us in the blogospheres/consciousness. I am trying to stay simple, trying to stay away as much as I can from the ‘habitual’ Buddhist discourse. The reason is that most don’t understand anything about it. It certainly is my case. Not that I dislike them, on the contrary, I found in them an invaluable source of deep joy as I read some of these texts. By the way, I started to read some of these texts after more than 25 years of intense practice, and during all these years none whatsoever. Insights and practice nourished each other during all those years.

A ‘good’ teacher knows that if he talks, he will fail, and if he doesn’t talk, he will also fail. Why is that? All he can try to do is to give pointers to his students knowing that he must make use of the student mind’s framework in order to reach him. And also knowing that it is this same mind framework that ‘creates’ part of the ‘problem’.

Let me give you an example of where I see where most people get snare; people talk in terms of duality/non-duality, or bounded/unbounded, or simply in terms of good and bad. They ‘see’ those as dualities, (quite often as polar opposites) but don’t understand anything about it. They write about duality, talk about it, but actually have no idea at all of what they are talking about while talking. I am far from saying that this is the case with the Zennist, I have just encountered his website a few days ago, and only read a few of his blogs. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut as I usually do, I don’t know.

What ‘something’ is, is what it is not. That is what is meant by duality. The unbounded is not the bounded, good is not bad, right? And as we usually do so, we oppose those ‘two’ by making them polar opposites. But what most fail to see, is that as one draws the contour of one, one simultaneously draws the contour of the other. Formatively, each is the other. A simple example will I hope makes you understand how dualities are created. The USA is what it is not, it is not Canada, nor is it China or Mexico, as one draws the contour of one, one draws the contour of the other, furthermore, as one draws the boundaries of one, one draws simultaneously the boundaries of the other. Canada’s borders line is the same USA borders line. Same thing with the left and right political wings, as one draws the boundaries of one, one draws simultaneously the boundaries of the other. Of course there is no Canada, there is no USA, there is no right or left. How do you know your own values?, if not by also knowing what they are not. Logic, in particular Aristotle Logic kind of forbids contradictions, and our mind do not appreciate dilemmas, ambiguities, confusions, and so process ‘things’ out with an either this or that mind set. Either the unbounded or the bounded. But as I said, as you draw the boundaries of one, you draw the boundaries of the other. Furthermore the ‘viewpoint/view’, the USA (or bounded/right/bad) exist, has equal value and validity to the ‘viewpoint/view’ that says that it does not (or unbounded/left/good). Neither one are a superior, better point of view/view, both have equal status. And so eventually you get yourself into an impossible situation or total impasse.

I am neither a psychologist, nor a philosopher, as I have very little ‘formal’ education, I am a carpenter and most definitively not a teacher of any kind. I hope that you have enjoyed reading my comments as much as I enjoyed writing it and reading yours, and that I have succeeded in appeasing all your doubts, misinterpretations and confusions.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo