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HIGHLIGHTS - Sunday 25th June 2000

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  • Manchine
    IS IT A COP OUT? ... KKT: With Bannanje Govindacharya and Andrew Cohen AC: In the West at this time, there s literally an explosion of interest in Advaita
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2000
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      IS IT A COP OUT?

      With Bannanje Govindacharya and
      Andrew Cohen

      AC: In the West at this time, there's literally an explosion of
      interest in Advaita philosophy, mainly due to the influence of
      Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, H.W.L. Poonja
      and Ramesh Balsekar. And there are also now a number of
      Western teachers propagating the advaita or nondual teachings.
      In Advaita, what is emphasized is the unreality of the world--
      the unreality of manifest existence . And in that, what's being
      stressed by many teachers is also the unreality of the ego .
      Therefore, it is said that the sadhaka need not make any effort
      to struggle against the negative ego in their pursuit of inner
      freedom because the very object that they're trying to free
      themselves from--the ego--is merely an illusion. The teaching
      goes: Simply realize that the ego never existed and then live
      happily in the knowledge of one's own inherent freedom.

      Now my view on this is that it's only the rarest of rare realized
      persons who could get away with saying such a thing--that the
      ego is an illusion--and that therefore one need not make any
      effort to liberate onself from its corrupting influence . Indeed, only
      the rarest of rare individuals, someone like Ramana Maharshi or
      Ajja, could say something that absolute, that outrageous, and
      it actually be true . Why ? Because those rarest of rare beings
      are already finished--their ego has been utterly destroyed, burnt
      in the fire of spiritual experience until there was nothing left. But
      to encourage a seeker who is very, very far away from that kind of
      extraordinary attainment to presume that their ego is an illusion
      appears to be a dubious form of instruction. In fact, it could be
      dangerous in some cases because it opens the door for self-deception
      and/or self-indulgence . The seeker could easily, under the guise
      of enlightened understanding, abandon all effort to censor or control
      impure motivations or tendencies that actually do exist within them.
      In other words, "Well, the ego doesn't exist; everything is unreal,
      so nothing really matters anyway ."

      BG: Just to deny ego is of no consequence at all. If somebody
      merely says that they have no ego, THAT is ego--that is the
      greatest ego . "I don't have ego so I need not reject it" is a foolish
      statement. Somebody who says, "I don't have ego," is at the
      same time EXPRESSING his ego . This is against our experience .
      It's just escapism through philosophy . These people say the ego
      is false and not existent and that therefore they don't have to reject
      it. But what is existent then? Does that mean everything is
      nonexistent? Then why practice? Practice is nonexistent! If the
      whole thing is false, if it doesn't exist, and if only the real essence
      exists, then why practice? A REALIZED person can say that
      they don't have ego because it is a self-ASSESSMENT; it is not
      self-assertion. THEY can say it. But not ALL people can say
      it. It is not a common, general statement.

      You see, the problem is that in Advaita there is no acknowledgment
      of individuality . Advaita says that all is only one ATMAN [Self].
      But Advaita is just a certain sect in India; it's not the whole of Indian
      philosophy . In fact, Shankara, who lived in the seventh century, was
      the only major Indian philosopher who preached Advaita . Later
      philosophers--Ramanuja, Bhaskara, Nimbarka, Madhva--everybody
      condemns Shankara . Nobody accepts him. But nowadays, Advaita
      has become a fashion.

      Any comment?



      Dearest and most wonderful brother KKT,

      Your posts always bring a smile as you seem to have such breadth in
      everything. Advaita, Krishnamurti, U.G., Ramesh, Osho, in fact, anyone who
      can be named.

      Dear KKT, your reflections are profound as they often address the immediate
      questions of creating a bridge between "what to do?" and "how to be?" in the
      spiritual context. Perhaps such a bridge is made of tears only from the life
      struggles, but I love the spirit of your company and the attitude of honest
      inquiry. Of course, Advaita is just one school of thought. It does not
      if it is in fashion today. Fashions indeed come and go and following any
      fashion can exact a price.

      How can we be concerned with fashions without having an investment in it.
      People such as BG are concerned that some aspirants are "falsely" denying
      ego while the "TRULY REALIZED" "authentically" denied the ego as it had been
      destroyed in them. BG may be a wise person and that concern might be very
      genuine. But after all, it is BG's concern and not ours. It is for BG to
      out his concerns and un-entangle himself from his involvement about fashions
      and non fashions, etc., if such exist in him.

      My beautiful friend, all the wise sayings and fashions and non fashions and
      opinions and views of great people, and poetry and commentaries of subtle
      profound nature are left behind and fall away into nothingness.

      Now and then, once in a while, in some life, we hear the words of a friend,
      "You are the light, the Truth, and the Way, and you will come to your Self
      through your Self." That friend is the Guru and only a reflection of the
      Self. Those words work in a flash when the time is ripe and then dissolve
      into the Self.



      Ego/not an ego
      Me/not me
      Expert/not an expert

      Who is constructing
      these dichotomies?

      For every side that can
      be taken, there is
      an opposing side.
      Every opinion is met
      my another opinion.

      Peace/No Peace,
      Dan/not Dan


      Andrew Cohen always seems to hit the nail on the


      And once Harsha and Dan have spoken, I may as well
      go back and lay in the hammock. :)


      Can I join you there, Glo?
      I want to hear about Lalla...



      GLO adds:

      Sure, Dan, anything for you. So glad you are back, have
      some lemonade and listen to Lalla.

      Siva is with a fine net spread out
      He permeath the mortal coils
      If thou whilst living canst not see
      Him, how canst thou when dead
      Take out Self from Self after pondering over it

      I saw and found I am in everything
      I saw God effulgent in everything.
      After hearing and pausing see Siva
      The House is His alone; Who am I, Lalla.

      Siva pervades every place and thing;
      Do not differentiate between Hindu and Musalman.
      you art intelligent recognise thine own self;
      That is the true acquaintance with God.


      DAN, MARK, JUDI Everyday Stuff:


      Mark, you're right.
      The birds and the car
      are heard within the silence.
      And where are you while you're


      Sorry Dan,

      I don't hear any birds or cars. The stereo (TransEuro Express by
      Kraftwerk) is here, oh what's this?... cars...Metal on Metal...
      I'm in the toolbox, awaiting the next need for me.
      Breakfast is swimming nicely inside. Coffee sitting next to the computer.
      This is a new album to me, and I like this song. My body is relaxed, a
      little warm. There is a clarity flowing through. Through what? no need
      to answer this one, it's just flowing nicely through... Yours is a useful
      question without a useful answer. the question can remind me of the habit
      of continuity and help me let go. The ego thoughts continue to rise, the
      difference is that I disagree with them now. Looking, I also see that
      the silence is there, not forced or willed. That's VERY nice. So I am
      here within the silence just as the birds and cars are. Yum. Shabda
      yoga on the stereo now. Have a lovely day Dan.

      Hi, Mark.

      Now, what the heck is an "ego thought"
      and why is it worth disagreeing with it?

      I'm not having a day, the day is having
      me. I hope I'm tasty.

      As we're here in Silence, let
      me just say this about that:

      One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and
      justice for all.
      > >
      > >Many nations pretending to be one, dominated by fundamentalist
      > zealots,
      > >seriously fractured along racial, gender and class lines, with
      > liberty and
      > >justice only for the rich.
      > >
      > >Love, Sarlo

      Amen, brother.
      But at least
      we can reassure each
      other that it's
      all "under God"

      So is this some puritanical insistence on the missionary position?


      Like Wayne says, seeking is like having sex with a
      600lb gorilla. You're not done till he is! :-)


      All of this is nonsense!


      YES!!!! Come on in! the nonsense is fine...

      Love, Mark


      JUDY / DAN, tale of WAYNE
      (continuation from yesterday's story of Wayne's crash )

      This is a rich tale.
      If one listens closely,
      he never actually says
      the body-mind mechanism
      received Grace.

      ****** Yeah, that's what he says! :-)

      First, when asked if "your body-mind
      mechanism received Grace,"
      he says, "there is
      Understanding here"
      (and just where is that,
      Wayne? ;-)


      The questioner seems distracted
      by the idea that Wayne has
      a body-mind mechanism that
      received something, and
      the questioner has one, too,
      and thus he or she says
      "I have understanding here, too" ...
      and Wayne's response indicates
      it's not about that kind
      of understanding, that the
      body-mind mechanism thinks
      it has here.

      ***** Yes, exactly. It's 'understanding' of a different

      If the questioner had listened
      carefully, he or she would have
      noted there was no body-mind
      mechanism affirmed or negated
      in Wayne's original answer,
      and wouldn't have gone on to
      the next question. A more useful
      question would have been "where
      is 'here'?", but it's far more
      comfortable to sit back and
      listen to a recounting of
      "where the body-mind was
      when 'this event' happened".
      But no event happened to a body-mind,
      and Wayne *says* it's a "non-event".
      The questioner is too comfortable
      to really get this,
      and it's very comfortable to be "just
      curious, just curious," yet
      Wayne's story isn't about being curious,
      it's about really "burning" desperately,
      it's *urgent*, and there's no way out...

      ******* Exactly. When there are no alternatives and
      you see that you are simply suffering and nothing but.
      That sort of gets your attention. :-) It did me. :-)

      And maybe that's why Wayne said,
      "pay close attention, you may
      have to do this, too"... like,
      okay, you may think you can
      get comfortable and listen
      to my story, but it's not
      really about comfort, and it's
      not about getting someone's

      ****** Yes again. It's a walk that must be made alone.
      Which is the story and culmination of your own life.
      And it's not something that one would choose if you
      had a choice. :-)

      So the questioner persisted, because
      it's really important to know these
      details about where was the body-mind
      mechanism, because then maybe I'll get
      a clue how mine can "get it", too,
      someday, right? Something to
      shoot for... Wayne does go
      on to say that there was nothing that
      was gotten, but is the questioner
      in a place to really hear that?

      ******* I didn't hear the questioner say "oh shit",
      so I'm assuming not. :-)

      And when asked again where was
      the body-mind mechanism,
      Wayne says, "here's the story."
      So he tells a story.
      And, of course, he has his story,
      which is to say, he knows how
      to describe himself as "Wayne,"
      the body-mind with a location
      in time and space, going
      through events. But, if
      it was heard that this is
      a "nonevent", then it would
      be known that this story
      about events isn't the "nonevent".

      ****** Yes, exactly. That's because it's a 'nonevent'.

      So the body-mind, fictional, structures
      a fictional response, compassionately,
      for the sake of another fictional
      being taking itself as "really real".
      But there's nothing to get that will
      affirm the questioner's existence the way
      that is being sought. It's reassuring
      to walk away from this thinking, "he's
      got his story and I've got mine," but
      the fact is he doesn't and I don't either.
      It doesn't matter that he's a good story-teller,
      he still doesn't get to have his story.
      This is a story about the loss of his

      ****** Yes. And it was such a nice story too. :-)

      It's a matter of readiness.
      My story won't make you ready.
      But maybe in listening, if you're
      really listening, you'll learn
      that your own demise is inevitable,
      and when you're ready to hear that,
      you can see who you really are.

      ******** Yes. It's not about gaining, it's about losing.
      And not really even that. It's much worse. :-)

      Once someone asks "where was the body-mind
      mechanism?" a story is sought, and one
      is constructed in response,
      and then that someone can add that to
      that someone's story,
      "I was with Wayne, and Wayne told me
      this story about his enlightenment..."

      And without these stories,
      there'd be nothing to do,
      nothing to have, nothing
      to get...

      ***** Makes for good conversation at dinner parties.

      He says, "pay close attention,
      you may have to do this,"
      and whom is being invited
      to do this, and what is to be
      gained by close attention to
      this story? There is literally
      nothing to be gained, at
      least, that's how I hear it:

      "You can't avoid this, because
      the you believed to be here
      isn't what's here"...

      And then he uses a story-teller's trick,
      "give me your full attention" ...

      ******** right here baby! :-)

      it's the art of story-telling.
      Mesmerized we are, by our
      need to have things described
      so we can believe, so we can
      describe to ourselves what
      happened, what is going on,
      so we can believe there's
      somewhere we can go
      with this.

      One might say, "you've given
      your attention too well to
      words and ideas. You've hypnotized
      yourself into a false sense of
      control and comfort. Forget
      paying attention, forget
      these words, forget what
      you think you know about this."

      This is what the
      body-mind mechanism
      is - a story construction,
      always inventing a past
      and future, keeping
      itself at the center
      of the story...
      a story of its survival
      and enhancement...
      a story
      of itself as a thing
      with a past and future.
      The story of "me," "my
      people," "my country,"
      "all the things I've been through,"
      "my happy future".

      It just functions according
      to its program. It receives
      Grace when it realizes
      it's nothing special, it's
      just another story-constructing
      It's when it breaks apart, when
      it can't hold its story,
      can't hold itself in place,
      that Grace *is* (if
      there's "readiness").

      Its Grace that receives
      Grace without any movement,
      without anything given.
      So, yes, it's a "nonevent".

      And he's right, there's
      no "me" to be gotten
      rid of.
      There's so much talk about getting
      rid of this "me" that isn't ...
      as if someone could do that ;-)

      ******* It's sort of like roaches scurring in the dark
      and when you shine a light on them, they disappear.
      It's in the realization, in the 'seeing', the understanding
      of what that 'me' really is. Just an activity.

      Hey, you can steal my parking
      space or I can fight you for
      taking my lunch money ...
      that still doesn't give
      either of us a "me" ...
      Just lots of storm and fury
      signifying nothing.
      And that's all it ever
      signifies... ;-)

      I'd tell you my story
      about how everything fell
      apart (and it did),
      and how it all came back, but
      didn't either ...
      And that would be
      another story, it would
      be "mine", wouldn't

      ******** You'll have to tell me sometime.

      So, really - there's only "This"...
      it didn't come from anyplace
      and it's got nowhere to go...
      Like Steve Martin once said,
      "What the heck is that?"

      And there's always only
      one story - it's about
      birth, death, and rebirth.
      Who dies and who's reborn? -
      well, according to Bullwinkle,
      it isn't Boris nor Natasha.

      Hey Wayne and Judi --
      thanks for sharing,
      now it's time to step
      back in the fire ;-)

      Submitted by MATTHEW:

      Andrew Cohen from "Halfway up the Mountain, Premature claims to
      enlightenment" by Mariana Caplan.

      Many mistakenly feel relieved from the burden of responsibility for
      their own behavior because of erroneous conclusions drawn from their
      spiritual experiences of no-separation. Realizing that "everything is
      the Self", they concluded that therefore there was nothing and nobody
      to be responsible for. In this way of thinking, responsibility
      implies duality, and any notion of responsiblity is therefore seen to
      be an expression of ignorance. In this view almost any mode of
      conduct becomes acceptable- when one proponent was asked why he
      habitually acted rudely and with dishonesty, he said "oh that is not
      real, that's just my personality."
      Another student said, "Nothing matters because it is all the Self".
      Others have answered with incredulity when asked about responsibility
      for behavior, "How can there be responsibility for Freedom? Who's
      responsible?".....Many people do have profound experiences when
      exposed to such teachings, but the teachings usually have the effect
      of enslaving a person to a deluded view that they ae completely free
      simply because they had a glimpse of the fact that there never could
      have been a separate entity who could be bound in the first place. It
      is at this point that the Advaita view, as it is frequently
      proclaimed these days, becomes completely ridiculous. Such a view can
      make a person extremely confident, because any difficulty can
      be "Advaited" by saying that it is all unreal or all the Self anyway.

      I think this is usually called the 'Advaita Shuffle'. Timothy Schoorel
      speaks of
      in-responsable versus ir-responsable in his book, if I recall correct. My
      Alexander Smit had a nice term for this: "spiritual autism".

      One thing that comes up for me is, "how can we draw the line?".

      We are on this journey. We're on the path, then we're off, then on again.
      Along the way we arrive at so many points that are either satisfactory,
      or seem like "home". Each individual takes a different journey.

      So where are we in this journey? Perhaps I have come to some fabulous
      realization that helps me feel O.K. Why shouldn't I stop there? Perhaps
      I am better off than when I first started. I can stop now. Am I "me"
      focused? If I am "me" focused, my "high" isn't going to last long. I
      am too separate. This separation IS the cause of grief. If there is
      grief, it is because I am "me" focused. If there's no grief because
      I've wiped out compassion, that is "me" focus.

      "If" one becomes truly Self realized, and looses the "me" focus, a
      different urgency is seen. There exists the possibility of complete
      and utter liberation in this lifetime. 100% dedication to Self
      Realization. That has nothing to do with me.

      XAN submits Papaji:

      First of all, most important, is burning desire for freedom.
      Burning desire for freedom alone is enough, you see.
      Then if you have burning desire for freedom,
      it will come to you to still your mind ...
      wherever the mind goes bring it back to the center.

      There is no separation.

      Don't believe it
      Not even for a nanosecond.

      All is one.
      Believe it or not.


      Peace - no exceptions to prove the rule - Michael

      I realized that I needed to separate from being separate
      to be whole.



      Yum!!! (but is this true?) It looks from here that there are infinite
      separations (layer upon layer), but only one "together"... Can you
      become completely joined with the separation you mention? Fear is love
      if you look hard enough... (I think...) The thought of separation is
      VERY clever!!!! (You have to just love it, like a rascally child...)
      100% (so much more than Ivory...)

      I was thinking about the enneagram. There are two shock
      points. The first has to do with attention and the second has
      to do with the transformation of negative emotions. I have
      been thinking about the first shock as active and the second
      as passive. As I keep my attention and not display negativity
      the emotion can at times turn or transform. It is not something
      that I actively "do" but that seems to be done through me.
      Anyway it was during those ponderings that the thought occurred
      to me that separating from being separate was a connecting or
      a making whole again. When "done" consciously by means of
      transformation of negativity, it is a separation from being separate.
      Make sense?

      yes it does.. People do not always think in the same directions. I
      think I tend to think of the transformation of negative emotions as an
      active process, that I can "do". Energy is what one does with it. (I
      think...) In fact, I think this may be the same as what I said earlier
      today about disagreeing with ego thoughts. Dan asked what they were,
      which helped point me to the realizazation that thougts are thoughts,
      and the label "ego" may not have meaning. ("Now, what the heck is an
      "ego thought" and why is it worth disagreeing with it?")

      What I meant by "ego thoughts" was the concept that I am limited in some
      way, and that there is searching for a solution to that problem. When I
      get "close" to "realization of LOVE", thoughts arrise that I am not
      ready, or that it can't happen to mortals, or that it will happen
      sometime in the future, when I am "ready". I've seen through these (at
      least temporarily...). The fun thing is that I see the extrreme
      cleverness that these thoughts have created to survive!!! (such fun!!!)
      It swas such a problem Friday, and it is such a source of joy today!!!
      Who knows about tomorrow? I don't (and that''s fine!)) Intent is so


      Oh, lookit me! I'm so separate from myself :=))))))

      Oh, lookit me! I'm so connected to myself. :"))))

      GAHD! I'm laughing so hard I can harldy type!

      You know, the I AM is having a ball with us! Ain't we a hoot!


      Peace - Surrender Dorothy! - Michael
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