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Highlights, Thurs, Oct 14

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  • umbada@xx.xxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxx)
    We welcome back the Gang of Three: Skye, Marcia and Xan, not to mention Tim G. Their postings will appear tomorrow. Annette will do the Highlights for Sunday.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 15, 1999
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      We welcome back the Gang of Three: Skye, Marcia and Xan, not
      to mention Tim G. Their postings will appear tomorrow.
      Annette will do the Highlights for Sunday. Write me if you'd
      like to edit the highlights!

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      DAN:

      I want to look fully, with all of my awareness.
      To find any place to rest or answer is only speculation,
      belief, and assumption.

      JL:

      Beautifully put, Dan. An ideal of perfect pursuit; of
      looking without pretense. I'm there with you in spirit.

      -- yet, as we know well, a conundrum arises as one
      speculates, believes, or assumes to be looking fully with
      all awareness. To desire. To arrive. We're ever left with
      unfilled desire. Ever approaching, never arriving.

      Perhaps in extraordinary pursuit, we begin to internalize a
      reality of "no end;" and in such knowledge we come to know
      our work
      -as- rest. Unfulfillment as Answer. Taken to an extreme,
      such becomes the unimaginable immensity all energy, held in
      such perfect universal balance that the slightest breath
      would alter its dynamic stasis.

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      DAN:

      To all who ponder (or refuse to ponder) the various forms of
      the "Who Am I" question...

      The statement: "This statement is false" is a
      self-reflexive assertion.
      If the statement is true, it is false; if it is false, it is
      true.

      The "self" questioning "itself" is a self-reflexive
      investigation.
      It needs to be pursued fully into every possible nook and
      cranny, until the full impossibility of either asserting or
      denying a self becomes evident.

      ANDREW:

      I walk on alone, chewing on something I can't swallow and
      can't spit out.

      SARLO:

      I have an answer to all these questions which serves me
      quite well, and never mind the metaphysical who is being
      served. . .
      The answer is, "I don't know."
      Among other things, it deals with, for me, the tremendous
      difficulty of the rationale underlying these explorations:
      "I may not know who i am but i can be sure of one thing,
      THAT I AM, so i just have to keep asking who i am (or where
      or why or wha for that matter)." The difficulty is that i am
      not sure and cannot be sure that i indeed am. My one sure
      point of reference is that i do not know. This "sure point
      of reference" may seem pretty insecure but what's wrong with
      it? I am bolstered in this safe port in the ontological
      storm by seeing everywhere people claiming to know, their
      knowing apparently being very attractive to seekers mired in
      the metaphysical swamps, who want some assurance about
      something, excuse the mixed metaphors. Their knowing could
      well be the truth, or at least their truth, so great!, but
      oftentimes it's not.
      Looked at from a different point of view, not knowing can be
      quite positive. It is wonder, awe, mystery. Not knowing is
      no impediment to acting decisively when that is needed. And
      the beauty: not knowing is easy and fun and you can do it in
      your spare time at home.

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      Phil: Is the statement that there is "no separate self"
      known as a fact or is it just something that is reiterated
      as a nondual party line?

      Dan: In attempting to make a categorical statement that
      there "is no separate self," one is making a comment that
      encompasses all of reality.
      One therefore is asserting that one knows all of reality,
      all that is possible and impossible, when one makes such a
      statement. How can such a statement be made if there is no
      "knower"? With no knower to make the statement, asserting
      there "is no separate self" is of no particular value, for
      to whom is the statement being addressed, and to benefit
      whom?


      Rainbo: Uh, Dan, that's a big jump there *g* ... just
      because I know that I am not separate does not assert that I
      know all of reality :-)


      Judi: If you *know* there is no separation, then you
      automatically know "all" of reality, because it is all the
      same stuff. Big difference between knowing that air exists
      and breathing it.


      Rainbo: Yes, but I don't *know* all the light of creation, I
      know light, but light thins and thicks, being in the cosmic
      ocean of bliss and
      *knowing* the center of the ocean, or the originiation of
      the bliss are different ... this is what I meant.


      Phil: Here is an alternate take on this. "There is no
      separate self" means "A separate self is not appearing."
      Or, the object in question cannot be ascertained. This is
      Buddha's teaching I think. It does not mean a categorical
      statement with ontological truth value. It means THERE (in
      the field of awareness) it is not found. Error 404.

      This can be demonstrated quite practically. Simply remove
      the "I"
      reference from thought and nothing changes. "This is
      Buddha's teaching I think" might be, "It is thought to be
      Buddha's teaching." Ego is an unnecessary and dysfunctional
      multiplication of objects.
      On the other hand, ego is an attention-getter.


      Dan: Yes. I agree that the Buddha did not attempt to make
      categorical statements of ontological truth (truth about
      "what being is"). To me, that is perhaps the most
      intriguing aspect of his teaching and where it differs from
      most religious teachings (which rely on assertions about an
      ultimate truth of being). Much of the later Mahayana
      Buddhist thought comes close to such ontological assertion
      around the concepts of Emptiness and the Void (although
      negative terminology is used to minimize the assertion).
      This development (toward the appearance of asserting a
      "final truth") in Buddhism indicates, to me, that it is
      extremely difficult for people to resonate with a teaching
      that doesn't centralize the assertion of a Truth.
      The concept of nirvana has been taken by some in the
      direction of such assertion (as an ultimate state of some
      kind) - yet the teaching about nirvana as I understand it
      simply expresses the ending of an attempt to grasp an
      illusory sense of existence.

      The Buddha seemed to want to clear away the kind of thinking
      and emotional reaction that distorts awareness. The
      distortion he addressed was the tendency to need categorical
      beliefs and assertions to guide responsiveness. Indeed,
      responsiveness becomes artificially limited when we have the
      preexisting agenda to either assert or deny in a categorical
      way, or when we need to find something which can be asserted
      or denied. The Buddha (and Nagarjuna) took this approach to
      most questions addressed.The questioning of self, therefore,
      is not to deny a self exists, but to come to a Middle Way
      that isn't assertion or denial, that doesn't base a self in
      existence or as not existing. This kind of questioning can
      even be applied to awareness. Ultimately, the Middle Way
      leads to one's moving in a fluctuating relativity of
      experience without needing to assert or deny anything that
      "underlies" reality or "moves through" reality in a fixed
      way. As I understand it, it is this release from fixity
      that is associated with the Buddhist teachings of "no
      permanent self" and "no continuing identity".

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      The Pathway of Nonduality

      by Raphael

      Chapter 5

      ADVAITA VEDANTA

      Q. We often hear people speak of Advaita Vedanta as a
      religion, as philosophy, and metaphysics. But what is it
      really?


      A. First of all we must underline the fact that certain
      questions are asked more in the West than in the East. In
      addition, the misunderstandings met with by many are
      worsened by the fact that some words have different meanings
      in the West and in the East.


      It must also be pointed out that the answers given to the
      various questions are only meant as a stimulation towards a
      deepening of the knowledge to be acquired through the
      reading of specific and suitable texts.


      In the West we have a concept of religion, philosophy and
      metaphysics that does not correspond to the Eastern meaning
      of the same terms. For us the concept of religion is
      derived from the Jewish-Christian-Islamic context and has a
      precise meaning connected with the theological constructions
      elaborated by those religions. To speak of Hindu religion
      may seem improper because Hinduism, on the whole, and over
      the ages, more than an organized, hierarchical and dogmatic
      religion in the Western sense, is a 'way of being', of
      living, of expressing oneself. We may speak more
      appropriately of 'Hindu civilization', of 'Hindu
      consciousness', of 'Hindu attitude'.


      Hinduism is based upon the Vedas which, rather than a
      theological or dogmatic corpus are a synthesis of
      philosophy, metaphysics, mysticism, cosmogony, traditional
      magic and other sciences and practices. The Hinduist would
      say that in the Vedas there is all that one needs to know.
      The seeds of Upanisadic speculation and of the Sastras are
      already present in the Vedas. The central ideas of Buddhism
      and of Jainism are not new. They, too, are present in the
      Vedas.


      The Hinduist holds that the Vedas, and therefore the
      Vedanta, which are the later Scriptures that crown the
      Vedas, are Sanatanadharma, the eternal dharma above and
      beyond time. This dharma, being timeless, has no history
      because it has no beginning. Christianity, Judaism and
      Islamism can all be dated, they all have precise beginning
      and a founder....Hinduism has no such founder. The Rishis
      themselves, who drew up the Vedas, are only the transmitters
      of an eternal Truth which is non-human and beyond history.
      Many of the Rishis are not even remembered by name; some of
      them have a name that is more mythical than real. For
      example, Vyasa is held to be the compiler of the Vedas, of
      many other Vedic writings andof the very same Mahabharata,
      but Vyasa more than the name of a person refers to a
      'function'. It is a mythical name and cannot be considered
      in the same way as the name Jesus or Moses.


      In the West the concept of religion implies a founder (in
      space and time) who formulates certain moral-spiritual
      principles to be followed by the devotees. This is not so
      with Hinduism. To this concept of religion perhaps Buddhism
      is somewhat closer, but in this case, too, many distinctions
      must be made.


      Therefore Hinduism is not a religion in the Western sense.
      It is also for this reason that it is not easy to accept or
      be part of or 'convert' to Hinduism. A Jew who wishes to
      become a Christian has only to be baptized to become
      automatically part of the Christian religious community, but
      for any person who wishes to become a Hindu it is not a
      question of being baptized, also because no such baptism
      exists. Some hold that one must be born a Hindu. But it is
      also true that in the West there are many 'Hindu
      consciousnesses' just as in the East many feel being
      Christians or Moslems. The term 'East' may be considered
      not in a geographical sense.


      We should also note that in the East philosophy and religion
      go always together -- the very opposite of modern West. In
      the East the one completes the other. Gaudapada, for
      instance, commented on the Mankukya Upanisad from the
      standpoint of the Sruti and of dialectical philosophy. In
      other words, he united Revelation and philosophical
      reflection.


      With reference to the Advaita Vedanta it is not at all the
      case of speaking in terms of religion. The Advaita Vedanta
      -- whose codifier was Samkaracarya -- is obviously linked to
      the Vedas of which it has grasped the purely philosophical
      and metaphysical factores. Its roots are, therefore, Vedic.
      The trunk was nourished by Gaudapada -- the Teacher of
      Samkara's Teacher - and the branched-out tree with plenty of
      fruits was developed by Samkara.


      The Advait Vedanta may be considered as philosophy and
      metaphysics, but these terms must not be taken in their
      Western sense.


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