- At first glance, your last response shows a Tibetan mode of
thinking, which is quite similar to Gnostic thinking. Most notably ,
both traditions are supremely aware of the dual, yin-yang nature
of the world in Taoist fashion.
However, unlike the Taoist, both Gnostics and Tibetan Buddhists
(as most exemplified in The Bardo) see the need to transcend
this duality, whereas the Taoist is practical and engages in a
balancing act with worldly reality and typically seeks a Confucian
middle path of wisdom.
Ans do, when it comes to your stick metaphor, the Gnostic and
Buddhist prefer to jump above and beyond the stick, while the
Taoist stands in the middle of it.
And then there are the Stoics, which your response most closely
approximates, though not perfectly. And stoics would say treat
the stick all as one, just as you suggest. However, you seem a
bit more serene about it than they would be. That is, they would
recognize that we get whacked with this stick of oneness often
enough to know it hurts, but since it won't go away, get on with it.
Sort of a Singapore of the mind, if you will.
In any case, it's worth noting that both the mode and, one might
say, the spiritual place of transcendence differs between the two
traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Gnosticsm. Namely, while
both ultimately reject this world, one does so more by
abnegation, while the other does so through realization (or
gnosis). This is a subtle distinction, but gnosis does not reject
the world as illusory in an ultimate sense--no, it's all too real, in
fact. However, it is 'virtually unreal' one might say, when
compared to the fullness or Pleroma of reality.
One can see this in the tree of life in Kabballah, which includes
this worldly reality, but note the it is only the smallest and lowest
REALm. For Buddhists, it is such a small realm so as to be
considered as nothing. And yet, ironically, nothingness is their
More ironically still, this nothingness isn't REALLY nothingness,
that is, Buddhists do not hope their being to be, well,
non-being.Their goal certainly is not to be vanquished, but rather,
they believe the transcendent is so removed from this world as
to be nothingness (when viewed from an earthly position).
So what they're really saying is that it's relative nothingness. And
so, the transcendent world is entirely incomparable, and thus
relatively nothing when compared to our current world, and not
surprisingly, there are no satisfactory earthly words to describe it.
And visa versa. That's how separate the realities are.
And so we see that the Gnostic and Buddhist are essentially
saying the same things, but their worldly attitudes toward the
next world differ a bit.
In any case, both believe that you can experience the other world
while in this world. In fact, if we didnt' have a bit of the other world
in us already, we never could attain to the next world.
However, again, neither Buddhist, nor Gnostic, nor Stoic are
serene in oneness with this world, even though there is a kind of
oneness in this place of division. It's just that it's such a small
oneness when compared to the real transcendent oneness.
That's what we're after--and it's the only oneness that will make a
Gnostic or Buddhist happy--the reality that really is.
But I'll assume this is the reality of oneness you were speaking
about, and thus my understanding was illusory.