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#4574 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #4574 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights ... Nirvana, Awareness and The
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      #4574 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz
       
      The Nonduality Highlights
      - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
       
       

       

      Nirvana, Awareness and The Absolute
       
       
      by Colin Drake
       
       
      Although the Buddha remained silent when asked about the existence of an Absolute Reality, here is an ‘inspired utterance’ he is said to have been made about nirvana:
       
       
       
      There is monks a domain, where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no wind, no sphere of infinite space, no sphere of neither awareness nor non-awareness; there is not this world, there is not another world, there is no sun or moon.  I do not call this coming or going, nor standing, nor dying, nor being reborn; it is without support, without occurrence, without object.  Just this is the end of suffering.[1] 
       
       
       
      This suffering is overcome when one stops craving by realizing that ‘phenomena or sense objects are impermanent … and empty of self or anything belonging to self’. [2]  This cessation of craving leads to escaping from the samsaric cycle of conditioned arising and to nirvana, as Nagasena pointed out when answering the questions of King Milinda:
       
       
       
      The cessation of craving leads successively to the cessation of grasping, of becoming, of birth, of old age and death, of grief, lamentation, pain, sadness and despair – that is to say the cessation of all this mass of ill.  It is this cessation that is Nirvana.[3]
       
       
       
      That nirvana, or ‘awakening’ is achieved by realizing the truths of anicca and anatta, which leads to the cessation of craving, is also stated in the Dhammapadda : ‘Him I call a Brahmin who is free from I, me and mine, who knows the rise and fall of life.  He is awake: he will not fall asleep again.’[4]  One is free from ‘I, me and mine’ when one realizes that there is no essential self, anatta, and one knows the ‘rise and fall of life’ when one realizes the truth of impermanence, anicca. 
       
       
       
      It is interesting to compare this with that which is discovered when one investigates one’s direct experience which consists of thoughts/mental-images, sensations and the awareness of these. This reveals the properties (or non-properties!) of awareness, the constant conscious subjective presence which is found to be:
       
       
       
      Motionless                   Still                  Aware of all movements occurring in it.
       
      Noiseless                     Silent               Aware of all sounds occurring in it.
       
      Formless                     Void                Aware of all forms occurring in it.
       
      Flavorless                    Bland              Aware of all flavors occurring in it.
       
      Odorless                      Neutral           Aware of all odors occurring in it.
       
      Senseless                     Insensate         Aware of all touch/feelings occurring in it.
       
      Thoughtless                 Quiet               Aware of all thoughts occurring in it.
       
      Imageless                    Empty             Aware of all mental images occurring in it.
       
      Stainless                      Pure                Untainted by anything occurring in it.
       
      Faultless                      Pristine            Undegraded by anything occurring in it.
       
      Limitless                      Infinite             The source/container/dissolution of all things.
       
       
       
      If one truly identifies with awareness by seeing (and ‘feeling) that this represents the ‘aware nothingness’ relative to which, in which and by which all ‘things’ are seen; and that this is the underlying substratum in which mind/body (thoughts, mental images and sensations) appear and are ‘seen’, then one can merge the mind into this resulting in peace. For this one has to remain ‘aware of, and identified as, awareness’ throughout the investigation. In this there is ‘no self’ (anatta), all things are seen to be impermanent (anicca) and there is the absolute cessation of craving … which is nirvana.
       
       
       
      Let the wise merge the speech in the mind, and the mind into intelligence (philosophical reason); let him merge intelligence in the great self (pure awareness), and that self into peace.
       
       
       
       Beyond the unmanifested seed is Brahman [aware nothingness] …  None beholds him with the eyes for he is without visible form.  Him words cannot reveal, mind cannot reach, eyes cannot see.
       
       
       
      Yet in the heart is he revealed through meditation …  When all the senses are stilled, when the mind is at rest …   That say the wise is the highest state.  He who attains it is freed from delusion.
       
       
       
      (Verses from the Katha Upanishad)
       
       
       
      This ‘aware nothingness’, consciousness at rest, is the Absolute Reality in which all things, cosmic energy – consciousness in motion, arise, are spied, abide and subside. As all motion arises in stillness, exists in a substratum of stillness, is seen relative to that stillness, and subsides back into stillness. So the realization of the Absolute, by investigation of experience, leads to nirvana. Or you could say that nirvana is synonymous with being totally identified as, and with, awareness - The Absolute Reality.
       
       
      Colin Drake's books are available at http://nonduality.com/colindrake.htm
       

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       
      [1] Udana 80 in, R. Gethin, ‘The Foundations of Buddhism, 1998, Oxford, p76-77
       
      [2] Choong M., ‘RELS305/405 Buddhism: A History, Lecture Notes’, 2004, Armidale, p.14
       
      [3] Conze E., Milindapasha in Buddhist Scriptures’, 1959, Harmondearth, p.156
       
      [4] Easwaran E., ‘The Dhammapada,verse419’, 1986, Petaluma,  p.199
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