In this issue, Greg Goode writes about the Nondual
Dinners he's been holding for over ten years in New York.
His description is followed by a poster he designed for one of his dinners,
and the written description of that meeting.
If you are interested in starting their own nonduality gathering, or
finding out about others, join our new forum, Nonduality
Another Kind of Gathering - Nondual Dinners
"Nondual Dinners" have been going on for over a decade here in New York
City. In the mid-1990s they were called "Nacho Satsangs," to distinguish them
from the Papaji-style satsangs where you couldn't eat or freely converse during
the event! About 1998 or '99 we began to call our events Nondual Dinners.
We meet in a classic 24-hr Greek diner, about once a month (it used to
be once a week). The events are free, except for what food and beverages we
order. The attendance is between 4 and 14 people. 14 is the official max because
of the restaurant and table size. We do get to sit in a back room, where they
are accustomed to having other meetings.
And the food is a great example
of diner fare. Fresh, with lots of variety.
If we can, we have a topic
and speaker, which we choose by consensus. It can be on any topic related even
tangentially to "nonduality, " and as you can imagine, it's a broad
spectrum. The talk lasts 20 minutes, then Q & A, then it merges into general
Who has attended? Writers, scientists, psychologists,
anthropologists, musicians, satsang teachers, rabbis, priests, mystics, tantric
practitioners, billionaires, food critics, TV stars, people from many different
religious and spiritual backgrounds.
Everyone has a voice, and the
events usually evince a companionable sharing and dialoguing. Every once in a
while someone comes who tries to dominate everyone else. But those times are few
and far between.
You name it, we've talked about it: Advaita, Buddhism,
Christianity, Judaism, Sufism, enlightenment, emotions, language, books, UFO's,
gurus, sex, philosophy, teachers and teaching styles, the variety of paths,
unadorned gossip and plain conversation. Only once in all the meetings I
remember did we ever talk about current events or politics. That was the eve of
this last presidential election, and only one person in attendance was even
interested. He did most of the talking!
I guess over the years we have
met about 200 times in total. There is another group in Seattle doing the same
thing last I heard, meeting in a food court at a mall. There could be many
others as well. If you like to talk about this stuff, and if you like to eat,
then it's a nice mix!
At our last meeting, we spoke about an innovative
but not new format of nondual teaching - emptiness teachings using
Western sources. [The flyer for the meeting and a written description,
Joyful irony is a holistic and nondual
way to engage the Madhyamika Buddhist Emptiness teachings in a secular Western
context. It is a radically deconstructive, pragmatic, time-tested and
life-affirming way to embrace the webwork of relations that give meaning to
Joyful irony is not a path. It is not meant to replace one's path.
It shows up more as an attitude toward one's path. An ironic engagement of
Buddhism, Advaita, Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Zoroastrianism can add the
taste of lightness to whatever else is being experienced. And for those studying
Emptiness teachings themselves, joyful irony provides a Western
The joy in joyful irony results from realizing the
essencelessness of the self and the world, which are no longer experienced as
heavy, independent, or fragmented. The joy enables one's insights to expand
towards more loving and compassionate engagement with others.
is a lack of attachment to views, resulting from the insight that even one's
most cherished views are devoid of essence and objective grounding. This irony
inspires a spirit of creativity, making life precious and joyful.
To be in harmony with emptiness
to be in harmony with all things.
something nor nothing
Remains to be known,
There is no alternative
But complete non-referential ease.
of emptiness dissolves the afflictions
of delusion, clinging, and antipathy
into insight, nonclinging, and compassion.
--C.W. Huntington, Jr.
ironist, therefore, is not just like an artist, but is an artist...
Epic irony is rather an irony of the heart, a loving irony;
it is greatness filled with tenderness for little things.
Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you
want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the
external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.
Richard Rorty, Philosophy
and Social Hope.
Especially Ch. 3.
Adrian Kuzminski, Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented
Mark Siderits, Personal
Identity and Buddhist Philosophy: Empty Persons.
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth
in Ancient Wisdom.
Marie McGinn, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and the
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, How to See Yourself as You Really