Saturday, June 16
- ED ARRONS
What irony, the idea of thoughts arising in a non-local
presence as being "your" idea. :)
But then, who else's would they be?
The Dissolusion of the mind, comes release from limited views:
It is not the universe and planes that dissolve, rather the
use of attention to focus the Self effulgent "I" sense into a
limited range of images appearing in the conscious field of
the mind and assuming that one is these images, that these
images and impressions make up and are one's identity.
With the recollection of one's Self as the single "I",
subject with no object, there is an inwardly pulling
sensation that dissolves this use of the focusing power of
the mind, as the "I" is drawn in Its ever abiding Singularity
and the appearing images are outshined.
Rather than contraction, there is release. The old mind and
erroneous views simply cease, and we abide as simple
"Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe
stands always before your eyes.
"Infinitely large and infinitely small: no difference,
for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen."
from Third Zen Patriarch "Faith Mind"
I am the first one to admit that I am phisophically
challenged, but if anyone can give me a better understanding
it would be welcomed.
Is Ramana only saying that all of mindville are concepts and
therefore just imaginary? Does that not include the concept
of the SELF?
Yes I am your imagination. If you had opened the link I sent
you about 5 times you wouldn't have to ask me that.
Don't we have to differentiate here between a brick wall and
a blue sky to function?
Yes we do. You can imagine yourself as beeing a little
cristal, (size doesn't matter) since YOU are the cristal,
saidly enough you miss out on all the colors of the rainbow
but get to see only the kind of like "center" of it, which
is, not really there, since we live in eternety, again saidly
enough all black. Well yes, I'm sorry to tell you but that's
all you can see of yourself, it's just me, was never there.
Alton wrote: "Is Ramana only saying that all of mindville are concepts and
therefore just imaginary?"
We must mind our concepts and keep them ordered.
Human understanding (usually/statistically) proceeds by way
of concepts, and your questions are not an exception. So into
the realm of concepts we go, to parse the 'wheat from the
" ... just imaginary?", as compared to what?
If we say that there is an 'imaginary', we are also at the
same time, saying that there is something which is other than
imaginary. And in popular thought, the word 'imaginary'
carries a certain impact, yet, the 'imaginary' is itself
imaginary. In reality, there is no imaginary, there is only
the display of analogical symbols, taken to be perception,
reality, imaginary, dream, etc.
Humans differentiate between agreed-upon categories of
perception, and usually assign a value-judgement to each
category. The "obviously" insane person perceives what are
called by others, to be 'hallucinations' and 'delusions', and
those words carry a certain value-judgement. The perceptions
of the competent, or of super-competent persons, are deemed
to be of greater value than those of the insane or the
If we can for a moment, feel our way into the model of "all
perceptions being a display of analogical symbols", we can
see that all perceptions are actually equal; in other words,
we can see that what we are reacting to, as we perceive (as
you now perceive this letter) anything, is a neutral
reportage, delivered to us for processing.
The 'tragedy' of the usual way, is that all perceptions are
filtered through value-judgements, thus converting neutral
'information/sense-data' into emotion-evoking and thus
We humans are in constant communication with our surrounding
environment, which is itself, as we perceive it, 'nothing
but' a constant stream of language, presented as a display of
analogical symbols. It is what we do with these symbols,
which is the issue.
Popular culture treats the display of analogical symbols as
'external reality', and has built a veritable cult around
this assumption. But ask yourself, "what if" there is no
actual external reality, no sky or bricks or time or space?
Inevitably, the question arises; "There must be something
which is real, what is it?"
Self is what is real, it is the only real thing, and "there
is only self". One can tinker with the definitions of self,
to create the 'Self vs self' duality, or one can proceed
experimentally using 'there is only self'.
Your realization of yourself as self, is the trans-personal
moment of re-knowing, this time consciously,of what you have
always known, since earliest childhood, and before.
The final impact of this realization, puts directly into your
hands, the ultimate responsibility of what you do with the
'display of analogical symbols', appearing as external
reality and 'other'.
To have compassion for yourself in this moment, allows you to
forgive yourself of the enormous blunder, which is to have
marched to the tune of human assumptions, and to resume your
blissful journey, which was somehow seemingly interrupted,
but which is actually, still in progress.
This concept of 'display of analogical symbols'deserves
expansion and clarification.
First, it may be apparent that any 'analogical symbol' which
is true to its name, must by definition, be analogical to
'something'. Analogical symbols, as I use the term, are
analogous only to _other analogical symbols_.
Thus, when we perceive, we perceive what we _make of the
display_ of analogical symbols, and yet, each symbol is
related only to other symbols, not to any supposed 'thing'.
This above, is the hardest one to 'get', for if you follow
the thread, it leads with great certainty to 'nothing'. That
is to say, that if our reality is composed 'only of a display
of analogical symbols' (meaning, words, concepts, and all
unconsciously/transparently computed assumptions), and that
each symbol is referenced only to other symbols, the entire
shebang rests firmly on nothing; nothing is the origin of all
that arises as meaning, whether taken as 'reality', 'dream',
Now that we have arrived at 'nothing', or what is also called
'emptiness', we can begin to see the entrancing power of the
analogical display of symbols. As we understand that 'all of
it rests on nothing', we can also see that we are either
free, or entrained/entranced by the attention-grabbing
display of analogical symbols.
In this context, freedom means that a person is not obligated
to treat the display itself as real; that the display is
itself, en mass, like a big mouth constantly saying things,
and we are free to pay attention, or not, and to react to
what is being said, or not.
Clearly then, what one chooses to 'do' in reaction to what is
perceived, is the issue. It is permissible to do 'nothing',
or anything, and certainly, anything can be done. Again, it
is not what is being said which is the crux, and not even
what is understood, or not, matters a great deal. It is what
we do with what we perceive, which is the crucial point of
the whole thing.
"Doing" is said by some, to result in 'creation of Karma',
and those same speakers also say that understanding itself is
the rescue from constant rebirth in hell/Maya. Whatever one
makes of such pronouncements, there is no doubt that 'doing'
reinforces the impression that the 'doer' is a thing, among
other things, like a planet is a body in space, among other
To abide the constant apparent messages of the display of
analogical symbols, is to allow the eventual arising of a
perfect functional relationship between the observer and the
observed; this is to say, an understanding that what is
observed is the display of self, and none other.
If one uses experimental tolerance in this approach to this
union of self and other, one may perceive a glimmer of
intuitive knowing, an issuing of deep confirming of abiding
We gladly share that it is fine to play the game of human
reality, and that at any time, as this game is being played,
it is appropriate to acknowledge to oneself the status of
oneself as self. One is not beholden, as there is no other
one to hold; there is only one, and that one is self.
Enjoy the multitudes, for each one is and represents every
possible facet of self. That is the way of self.
To Alton: I've spent a lot of time over the years trying to
understand utterances like the one you quote from Ramana
Maharshi. Many, perhaps all, non-dualists present similar
material...annoyingly interspersed with other quotes of a
much less radical nature. One is unpleasently struck by the
observation that if one set of assertions is true, the other
set can't be as they appear to be mutually contradictory.
This wouldn't be so serious, at least to me, if it weren't
almost universal among modern Advaitic thinkers, from
Nisargadatta Maharaj to Mucktananda, whose thinking was
particularly applicable to my situation in his standing as he
was my Guru.
Here's what I came up with.
First, that their are at least 2 seperate Advaitas. One of
them could be thought of as the theoretical basis of the
Sanatana Dharma, the basic ground for all conventional
Buddhist and Hindu thought. It includes the law of Karma,
re-incarnation with all it's variables, and the concept of
the Self/not-Self to which all phenomena can be reduced.
Second, there is the Advaita based on the central tenet that
only what can be directly observed is admissable as evidence.
This Advaita would allow re-incarnation to be admissable only
if it could be directly and repeatedly experienced, which is
how the enlightened commentator accounts for the Self/not
self experience. He/She is the experiencer of the Self as
his/her constant and singular immediacy. Of equal value to
the perceiver is that he/she sees that mind, or more
accurately, the objects of mind that arise in conciousness
are dependent on...shot through with...this Self/not Self
The problem with all this is that no teacher in my experience
sticks entirely to either of these Advaitas, but frequently
alternates from one to the other based on the preconceptions
of his questioner. Nisargadatta Maharaj is probably as good
an example as any as he derives a great deal of shock value
from the alternation of his stance. Until one appreciates
this radical alternation from what I think of as Radical
Advaita to the more conventional Sanatana Dharma Advaita, the
effect is a cognisant dissonance of alarming proportions.
From the point of view of the 2nd Advaita, which the Maharshi
is employing in your citation, anything which constantly
changes (ie. which has no self nature) is unreal. By this
line of reasoning at it's most extreme, even the Present is
only a movement of mind and has no ultimate reality. Needless
to say, no thoughts or mere theories, no matter how hallowed
by conventional acceptance, can be thought of as anything but
illusion. As far as I have been able to understand it, this
notion of the non-reality of all thought constructs (ie.
Everything)...in so far as everything that comprises
conventional reality arises in the mind, can be traced
specifically to the Buddha, particularly as his thought was
interpreted by Nagarjuna and the Madhyamika School. Many
Indian scholars think that even such a distinguished thinker
as Shankara was building on Buddhist thought.
The Maharshi, however, knows well that this "non-reality" is
experienced in different but simultaneous ways by all of us,
and is to the seeker, as the Buddha pointed out,
Unsatisfactory or Painful. His comments are mean't to point
to That...the Self in his philosophical experience...which is
also Nirvana, or constant and eternal Bliss.
I think one of the reasons Swamis Muktananda and Lachshman
Joo have so successfully introduced Kashmir Saivism in the
West is that this philosophy grants our perceptual world the
status of Reality. Even here, however, it is clear that this
status is only granted in so far as perceptual reality
participates and is generated by the Supreme Reality of
Shakti/Siva...which gets us right back to the Self.
I think we are living in an era in which a Neo-Vedanta
or Western Vedanta is being developed. It is worth noting
that Buddha, as well as Shankara after him, developed their
philosophies for the enlightenment of Monks, homeleavers as
Buddha called them, full time religious professionals who had
the will power and the motivation to pursue the the
Realization of this philosophy through strict and unyielding
methods; methods that exploited the "Unreality" of life in
ways that are radically nonsupportive of Life as we know it.
Alton, I hope these (all too) voluminous comments are helpful
in some way.
No, I've been ranting lately about how much energy we in the
west use, and how the generation of that energy releases
green house emissions, which is warming the planet, and may
well become a serious problem. So, having harangued several
lists about reducing the use of energy, I decided to do so
myself, and it's not easy to break bad habits. I am
continually walking out of rooms without turning off the
"Put your money where your mouth is" is an expression meaning
something like "walk the talk or shut up." It's so easy to
ask others to do things that one is not doing oneself. Ah
well, I see that the kitchen light is on again, while I am
here in the living room. I think I'll go shut it off and shut
my mouth off as well.