Fingers pointing towards the moon
WEI WU WEI
Oriental philosophy from the writings of Wei Wu Wei
(pseudonym of an Irish nobleman n/o Terence Gray – 1895-1986)
(Wei Wu Wei is a Taoist term which translates as action that is non-action)
From: ‘Fingers Pointing Toward The Moon’
- As Ouspensky tells us: on the noumenal plane – the plane of Reality, multi-dimensional – Time exists spatially, and temporal events exist – they don’t happen. ‘Effects’ co-exist with their ’causes’, and moments of different epochs exist simultaneously and contiguously. Points far apart in tri-dimensional space can touch one another; proximity and separation become affinity and repulsion, sympathy and antipathy. There is neither matter nor movement. Nothing is dead, nothing is unconscious. If that is what he said, need he have said anything else?
- All concepts are dualistic. Therefore in order to transcend dualism (the opposites and complementaries) we must transcend concepts. That is known as direct cognition.
- It is less the medicine than the doctor that cures. It is less the doctor than the organic consciousness that heals. Always the organic consciousness is responsible for illness and for its cure. The doctor inspires, gives the impulsion that leads to health, the medicine helps or hinders locally to that end. Medicine-only is an attempt at healing despite the organic consciousness.
- How may the organic consciousness be persuaded to re-establish balance, health (wholeness)? It is not a question of functional and nervous ailments more than of organic and lesional. When that is understood Lourdes will be understood, Jesus will be understood, healers of all techniques will be understood, and medicine will at last become rational, i.e. in accordance with relative reality, with the psycho-somatic entity as we can know it.
- Suffering is exclusive to the false ‘me’. It is therefore self-imposed. What we think is its cause is merely some phenomenon that releases the machinery of self-torture.
· Live Thought or Dead? The Zen Point of View:
The Masters of Zen rarely discoursed. Discoursing they regarded as one of the obstacles to enlightenment, for it encouraged and developed the wrong kind of thinking – that ‘mentation’ or ‘intellection’ which affirms our false identification with a fictitious ego.
‘The ignorant are delighted with discoursing,’ the Lankavatara Sutra states, ‘discoursing is a source of suffering in the triple world.’ We would not doubt it; yes, indeed, but when the Lanka says that discoursing is a source of suffering it means more particularly that it is a hindrance to the removal of ignorance, and so perpetuates our normal state of suffering.
But, nowadays, what was meant by discoursing is chiefly represented by books. In books, as conventionally and commercially produced today, no idea can be conveyed in less than about ten thousand words – with apologies for not making it a hundred thousand, in which form it would have been much ‘better’. No chance for anyone to think except the author!
Yet, when ideas are buried in a haystack of verbiage, who remembers them, and, conversely, when ideas are concisely expressed, who pays any attention to them? The most vital statements of the sages and prophets, even of the Buddha and Jesus, are not taken seriously – presumably because they are not served up in a sauce that conceals their flavour and substitutes its own.
Instead of apologizing for not burying their ideas even more deeply in verbiage would not modern authors do better to apologise whenever they are unable to express an idea more concisely than in, say, one thousand words? Ideas may vary in the amount of expression they need, for many a hundred words should be ample. After all, the more fully ex-pressed the less juice there remains in them, the more complete the exposition the more dead they are on delivery; ideas mummified in words are only museum specimens.
The ideas of the Masters, expressed in half a dozen words, are still alive after centuries, but they are fingers pointing to intuitional understanding, not fossilized examples of intellection.
- The Void: What is it?
Have we any greater difficulty than the famous ‘Void’ which forms the principal subject of so many sutras and statements of the Masters as of the Buddha himself? How many hair-splitting definitions, negations of negations and contradictions of contradictions have been attempted in order to suggest its meaning to our tri-dimensional minds?
Supposing we ask Hui Hai?
‘The Void is simply non-attachment’
It may be necessary to regard the Void in a more metaphysical aspect. ‘Emptiness’, ‘the Void’ – if one thinks about it, surely the epithet most suggestive and least misleading to us today should be just ‘Non-Manifestation’?
If anything is clear it is that the Taoist conception of Non-Action is the basis of all action. Similarly Non-manifestation must be the basis of all manifestation.
Most, if not all, sects of most, if not all, superior religions seek to transmute hate into love, i.e. negative into positive. Zen alone requires no such transmutation between two aspects of a single thing, which are evaluations of an affective manifestation. Instead it requires absolute non-attachment, the exclusion of both hate and love, which may be defined as the abolition of affectivity itself. One may look for the origin of this in the original Taoism.
But if Caritas, impersonal compassion, be an accurate description of the resulting state, one must envisage it as a strictly non-affective condition of the mind…. Detachment is a state; it is not a totalization of achieved indifferences.
- No action is right or wrong in itself, or by virtue of belonging to a category of actions so classed for purposes of social order.
Every action should be an adequate response to circumstances, whether that be slaughter or self-sacrifice.
Since our egos hinder us from responding adequately to circumstances we are well-advised to abide by the classification into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ devised for purposes of social order, but do not let us imagine that they are really such.
- We are apt to be appalled when we find ‘discrimination’ roundly condemned, as all the Masters condemn it, and then, on the next page, ‘discrimination’ lauded as a high and essential activity of the bodhisattva. The explanation is simple enough once it is understood. Discrimination on the plane of seeming is equivalent to identification and attachment, for it is affective; but discrimination on the plane of intuitive cognition is neither more nor less than vision of Reality.
As regards discrimination on the plane of seeming no quotation is necessary, since every Master has condemned it. As regards correct discrimination Hui Hai says ‘An equal combination of abstraction (‘abstraction’ here means detachment from affectivity) and understanding is called deliverance.’
‘To be able to distinguish minutely between every kind of good and evil is called understanding. Not to feel love or hatred or to be in any way affected at the moment of making these distinctions is called abstraction (detachment). This is an equal combination of abstraction (detachment) and understanding.’
And, therefore, ‘is called deliverance‘.
But let us not forget that on the plane of seeming discrimination (i.e. affective), discrimination between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is illusory.
Hui Hai also states, ‘No attachment means that feelings of hatred and love do not arise. That is what is meant by no attachment.’
- Wise men don’t judge: they seek to understand.
Judging is an automatic response of the ego asserting itself: in so far as pure-intelligence (buddhi) has reduced the power of the ego, the automatic response to stimulus is understanding.
- Eternity: That which is born dies. That which is not born cannot die. We do not think clearly in this matter. Some of us think that what is born may live ‘forever’, but that is a concept dependent on the time-illusion. Our difficulty arises in conceiving anything that is not born.
We tend to conceive everything as subject to our notion of time. But ‘living for ever’, i.e. going on living, is not the same thing as being eternal. The former is impossible, a pure illusion; the latter the only reality. Being eternal is never having been subject to the conception of time.
Being eternal is not ‘going on living’: it involves no process of becoming: being eternal consists simply in Being.
- ‘Union’: Human love is a will-o’-the-wisp. How could any human being either possess or unite with another? Psychically, there is nothing possessible to possess, nothing dispossessible to give, nothing with which to effect union. Physically, contact of surfaces is only juxtaposition, and no simulation of penetration can ever go deeper than surfaces.
Whatever we may do we find a surface opposed to another surface.
On the plane of Manifestation each of us is utterly separate and alone. Union is only on the plane of Reality, and thereon mutual possession is universal and absolute.
Our notion of love is perhaps a nostalgia for that.
- Love: The positive and negative elements, in the form known as masculinity and femininity, two aspects of a single manifestation, are in a state of imbalance in male and female respectively, each manifesting an excess of one element.
The association of male and female has the apparent effect of restoring this double imbalance to a state of equilibrium. Since the attainment of equilibrium is constantly and automatically sought throughout manifestation, the mutual attraction of male and female and the mutual need of one another thereby becomes comprehensible.
But it is a need that can never attain fulfillment during life, nor anything but a simulation thereof. From this, there results all sexual performances on the one hand, and all specific conflict between the sexes on the other.
- The primary intelligence does not know how to discuss. It only knows how to argue. And argument as far as it is concerned is a contest which it must ‘win’ at all costs. Instead of seeking to extract the maximum of meaning from the statements of others the primary intelligence seeks to refute everything it hears.
This inadequate utilization of the mind is even more clearly defined when the subject matter is personal. Whereas a controlled mind will receive personal criticism with interest, even with eagerness, seeking to benefit by any truth it may be able to recognise in the criticism – since it is inevitably difficult for human beings to regard themselves dispassionately, so that the criticism of others can be of great value – the primary intelligence will fight back at once, using any argument, however inadequate, that comes to hand, and without any reasoning other than self-defence, self-justification, or offence.
Thus it becomes virtually impossible for the primary intelligence to learn anything from discussion, particularly concerning itself. Strange as it may seem this condition can be observed even in people who, otherwise, have quite a high standard of culture.
One would have thought that the first object of education should be to remove this obstacle to mental development. But education seems to be more concerned with effects than with causes, much as primitive medicine is more concerned with symptoms than with their origins.
· Promises: At the most a promise is an expression, at a given moment, of a desire, seen as intention, to carry out the action promised. At the least it is a children’s game of ‘Let’s Pretend’ played by adults who take it seriously.
Since, in our present state (conditioned by conditioned reflexes), we are the unconscious ‘victims’ of an intricate mechanism that goes by the name of cause-and-effect and can only do what we must, it makes little difference whether we know that we know what we have to do, whether we suspect that we know what we have to do, or whether we are totally unaware that we know it.
It is inevitable that we know it, since we have done it again and again in the beginningless and endless circuit of the time-process which we see as future-into-past, but which from the dimension at right-angles is a composite present.
To promise to do something which we must do anyhow is meaningless. To promise to do something that may not be, or is not, what we must do, is not only meaningless but sets up a conflict between what we think we want to do and what we have to do, a futile conflict, since ultimately we can only want what we must, and this conflict represents an attempt to obtain what we want by doing something that we are not able to do, or, if you prefer, an attempt to want one thing and obtain the result that could only come from another.
A promise, therefore, is devoid of significance; it cannot have any part in reality. It is no more than a form of words which in no circumstances can express more than the desire or sentiment which actuates us at a given moment.
To make a promise in all seriousness presupposes the notion that we are free to do as we will at any given moment, which is manifestly absurd, and which only ignorance and incomprehension could allow us to suppose. Knowing this, to make a promise is either dishonest or just a conventional form of words to express a sentiment. To try to ‘keep’ a promise, or to try to oblige another to do so, is as futile as trying to stop the tide from coming in because you want to keep your feet from getting wet….
- ‘From the Beginning Nothing Exists’ – Hui Neng
Louis de Broglie and Schrödinger, crowning half a century’s work in physics, seem to have demonstrated mathematically and in the laboratory that there is nothing real that exists, nothing absolute that could exist. Mass appears to be only resistance to change (to movement of energy), decreasing in bulk in accordance with acceleration and increasing proportionally in energy. Matter, therefore, has no existence as such.
Hui Neng seems to have known that about 1300 years ago. Scientists have now demonstrated it. Wise men believed Hui Neng; the unwise will believe the scientists.
- Parable – Timing: ‘There is a tide…’
An inexperienced shot will fire at a partridge the moment he sees it. When this error is brought home to him he tends to go to the other extreme and to wait until the bird is out of range before he shoots.
An experienced shot, on the other hand, understands the curve of opportunity, aims with unhurried deliberation, and shoots at the summit of that curve. And, if for any reason, for instance the intervention of circumstances beyond his control, he misses the effective period of that curve of opportunity, he forbears to fire when he could only hope to wound the poor bird, and allows the occasion to pass as though it had never arisen.
- Between Ourselves:
PERSONA (literally ‘mask’: the artificial ‘me’): You say that I don’t exist, that I have no reality; you liken me to a puff of smoke, vapour, a passing cloud, even a mirage. But here I am.
RELATIVE EGO: Look, there is passing cloud!
PERSONA: Then what am I?
RELATIVE EGO: You are the resultant of all my contacts with the ‘not-me’. Your substance is memory, also called ‘habit energy’, your vitality is psychic tension, and you live on affirmations and negations.
PERSONA: Is my substance not real?
RELATIVE EGO: Memory is not real; it is like a reflection or echo of that which has been perceived and is no longer perceived – though it has not ceased to be; it is a distorted image of a perception.
PERSONA: Even if I am not real, how can you maintain that I do not exist?
RELATIVE EGO: Because you are not a thing-in-itself. You only exist in the colloquial sense that everything we recognise may be said therefore to have an appearance of existence. You are an evaluation, not a reality.
PERSONA: Yet you and your friends spend a lot of time talking about me as though I existed. You say that the ego of so-and-so sticks out like the bristles on a hedgehog, that such another has an ego like a boil on his nose, that a third is an ‘insufferable egoist’. You have just been saying that pride and humility are merely functions of the ego, that when I am powerful they manifest as pride, and that when I am weak they manifest as humility. How can they be a function of something that does not exist?
RELATIVE EGO: They do not exist as things-in-themselves just as you do not, and for precisely the same reason; just as they are merely estimations of a function depending on you, so you are also just a functional manifestation.
PERSONA: So they are a function of a function? What is a function?
RELATIVE EGO: It is defined as ‘a quantity that is dependent for its value on another quantity’. No function exists as a thing-in-itself.
PERSONA: Of what am I a function?
RELATIVE EGO: Of me.
PERSONA: And what, pray, are you?
RELATIVE EGO: As Bodhidharma stated long ago to the Emperor of China in reply to the same question – I do not know.
PERSONA: Is that a qualification for accusing others of not existing?
RELATIVE EGO: I am a function of maya. When Reality refracts Itself through the prism of Time, and appears in Mind as manifestation in three dimensions – which is maya – I appear as the nucleus of this so-called individual.
PERSONA: Why so-called?
RELATIVE EGO: Because the word ‘individual’ means that which is undivided, and the manifestation in question is just the opposite of that. He is a ‘dividual’, but he has the superficial appearance of singularity.
PERSONA: Multiple or single, are you real at least?
RELATIVE EGO: Good Heavens, no: I am relative.
PERSONA: That is a comfort.
RELATIVE EGO: Thinking of yourself as usual!
PERSONA: That is my job. How do you know that you are not real?
RELATIVE EGO: The Lord Buddha, in the Diamond Sutra, many times used a phrase which was admirably inclusive. That which must not be conceived as really existing he termed ‘an ego-entity, a personality, a being or a separated individuality’. We are all in that.
PERSONA: Well, what is the difference between us?
RELATIVE EGO: I fulfil a useful function; without me this so-called individual would disintegrate, could not remain in manifestation.
PERSONA: And me?
RELATIVE EGO: You are just a nuisance, a by-product, a malady, a bad smell. I have only to cut off the psychic tensions which are your life-force, or deprive you of the affirmations and negations on which you feed, and you dissolve like a puff of smoke, vapour, or a cloud in the sky.
PERSONA: You try! I am strong; I know how to fight and protect myself.
RELATIVE EGO: Nonsense, you are a clown, an illusionist. When one grows up and sees through the tawdry mechanism of your tricks, and watches you performing them, you wilt and crumple up like a balloon that is burst. Your strength is that of a bully, but you are only a poor fish. You have nothing substantial anywhere in you to hold you together. You are just hot air.
PERSONA: You think you are somebody just because you have Reality behind you, attached to your name by a hyphen.
RELATIVE EGO: Potentially I am Reality, but as long as I am encumbered with you I am tied down to perception in three dimensions and can only know that intellectually. When I am rid of you I shall be free to turn round – paravritti it is called in Sanscrit, the ‘turning over of the mind’ – and live in accordance with cosmic necessity, free from conflict, free from all the miseries that come upon me through your antics. I shall be able to cast off relativity.
PERSONA: Can’t I come in on that?
RELATIVE EGO: In that state there remains no sense of a ‘me’, there is no longer differentiation between one and other. How then could you participate therein?
PERSONA: That’s all ballyhoo; I’m off to see if I can’t find a means of having a good time. I ‘exist’ all right in my own way.
RELATIVE EGO: Incorrigible! What a lout! You could not understand it, but to ‘exist’ connotes ‘dualistically’; all idea of existence is dualistic. That is why it is unreal, why nothing exists in reality – as Hui Neng told us. But ‘being’ is always in unicity. And nothing dualist (relative) IS.
- Parallelism of Lives:
The Zen masters made it clear to us that we must ‘die to the past’; the Lankavatara Sutra, which, with the Diamond Sutra, constitutes the Buddhist basis of Zen, explains the disastrous role of habit-memory in anchoring us to the fictitious self which finds therein its principle source of power.
But the Zen masters show little sign of having understood the nature of time. Let us, therefore, seek to interpret this essential concept in the time-context. The past does not exist as such, neither past nor future can be passed or to come – for nothing is either ‘before’ or ‘after’ anything else. That, the time-sequence, is merely a phenomenal illusion, a product of our receptive mechanism. We visualise time-as-the-fourth-dimension-of-Space as best we may – that is spatially. Perhaps we use the analogy of the runway lights, seen one after the other from the aeroplane that is gathering speed, but seen simultaneously in a pattern when the further dimension of height has been gained.
But we can approach more nearly to reality than that, even though ultimately it should be necessary entirely to discard a spatial concept: the notion of parallel lives is surely a clearer reflection of the truth.
Ouspensky seems to have sensed this, though he never – to my knowledge – developed the intuition, preferring the already admirable, and ancient, concept of recurrence in time. But surely the nearer-truth is that we live lives parallel to the one of which we are conscious from moment to moment. Every moment of our lives should be parallel to every other, so that we live every moment of our lives simultaneously. We do not live again and again in circles of time, as Ouspensky – and no doubt Pythagoras – suggested. We are not reborn every seventy odd years in the same conditions (period, place, and circumstances), repeating every detail of our lives unless we have been able to change our selves and evolve in a further dimension; rather are we living every detail of our lives at the same time on parallel planes.
In this there may seem to be two concepts apparently confused: parallelism of each moment as it enters consciousness, that is parallelism of the time sequence itself, and simultaneity of every moment of the complete time-sequence of a life. In this apparent confusion two different dimensions are involved, at right-angles to one another, in which a single phenomenon is envisaged from two different angles.
Of the dimension in which the simultaneity of a complete life is visualised I know of nothing to say, save that it is difficult for us to conceive, but the dimension in which we are living in parallel to ourselves at this, and every, moment is nearer and may more readily be visualised. Indeed it may merely be the fourth.
- ‘Freewill’ – The Basis of an Apparent Illusion
The alternatives that appear to be offered us at every moment of our lives may not be the pure illusion that we have assumed them to be. It may be possible, theoretically at least, to ‘choose’. But in practice it is unlikely that we often can, or that most of us ever do, for in order to ‘choose’, that is to change the ‘alternative’ that lies in front of us on the tram-line of our one-dimensional displacement in time, we must necessarily have effected or undergone a change in ourselves – and that happens rarely, if ever, to many of us. But, admitting such a change, or the culminating moment of a process leading up to such a change, it would seem probable that we find the points ahead of us re-set and our tram switches over to a line that, at that moment, is running parallel to our own. On such an occasion we are unaware of any variation in our surroundings (or are we always unaware?), but we have in fact switched over into a parallel life.
* * *
But who are the ‘we’ that have switched over? Who are the ‘we’ that have experienced a change in our selves?
* * *
Satori should be the supreme example of such a change-over, and it is likely that all authentic ‘spiritual’ experiences are so also, but there seems no reason to suppose that such a change is necessarily accompanied by any recognisable ‘experience’ as such.
The change in the self that precipitates such an event should inevitably be a reduction of the fog of illusion that surrounds the relative self in the form of the supposed personality or fictitious ego, such reduction liberating the element of reality and enabling it to become conscious of life on a more brightly-lit plane.
But what becomes of the other trams which were left behind on the other line; won’t they miss ours? And won’t they be surprised to see ours on the new line to which we have switched over?
We are only using a metaphor, we are not describing something that exists as such. How difficult it is to bear that in mind! Let us say, then, that the ‘points’ are a railway junction and that we change trains. Both trains run from a beginningless beginning and go on to an endless end, but one is on the Inner Circle and the other is on the Outer.
And let us remember: there are no trains anyhow, and no passengers, but only fluctuating force-fields in which energy pullulates in diverse patterns, energy that is conscious of itself.
From: ‘Why Lazarus Laughed: The Essential Doctrine Zen-Advaita-Tantra’
- If one seeks to rid oneself of, or even to transcend, a false self, ego, or personality, one thereby accepts as a fact the existence of such entity and so-doing affirms its stranglehold (a constraint can be real or imaginary – such as that of the chicken’s beak held by a chalk-line).
That of which we need to rid ourselves, to transcend, is the false concept whereby we assume that entity’s existence. We have only to look with penetration in order to perceive that there is in fact nothing in us that corresponds to the concept of an entity, in our ever-changing kaleidoscope of electronic impulses interpreted in the false perspective of a time-sequence. A pulsating force-field is not an entity to be transcended, any more than is vapour issuing from the spout of a kettle, or the apparently living being resulting from the rapid and consecutive projection of isolated and motionless ‘stills’ (or quanta) on to a cinematograph screen.
There is not, there could not be, any entity; the Buddha based his doctrine upon that realisation; there can be nothing of which to rid ourselves, or to transcend, except an erroneous concept….
- Play your part in the comedy, but don’t identify yourself with your role!
- Manifestations of multiple energies, what else are men?
- A school is an efficient instrument for reinforcing the stranglehold of the so-called ‘ego’.
- ‘Non-attachment’ in the sense of the Zen Masters, or as so translated from the Chinese, may sometimes mean awareness, but in the sense of non-attachment to all mental processes, i.e. thought and feeling, so that in the absence of ‘mentation’ pure consciousness can flood in and take possession of the psyche.
That is a highly technical sense of what is ordinarily meant by Non-attachment or by Detachment, and that may be what the word Dhyana, so inadequately rendered by ‘Meditation’, really implies.
The Zen Masters’ condemnation of meditation applies to mental meditation, which implies thought, whereas Dhyana may imply non-mental (No-mind) meditation. Misunderstanding of the meaning of words, in translation, is the cause of much confusion.
- It is as absurd to blame the historical personages for the parts they have played in history as it is to blame the personages of a novel or of a film.
It is no less absurd to blame our contemporaries in the moment of history in which ourselves are sustaining a role.
We may envy or pity those who have to play certain parts – that can hardly be called absurd, although ultimately we ourselves play every part and are the picture itself.
If to praise or to blame is evidently an example of failure to understand, is their extension, ‘loving’ and ‘hating’, any less idiotic?
- On the phenomenal plane we seek pleasure and the avoidance of pain. On the noumenal plane we know the absence of both – which is bliss.
- What may be meant by ‘reincarnation’? That the dream goes on, for death is merely a phenomenon and changes nothing but appearances.
- Integration: ‘There is no mind but Mind’
Nothing is permanent except Consciousness Itself. Everything, intelligence, sensation, the body, is discrete, without continuity or duration. Every momentary manifestation of every one of these notions is a fresh manifestation of Consciousness Itself. That each such manifestation seems to resemble its immediate predecessor, giving the illusion of a continuous entity, has obscured the realisation of this essential condition.
This reveals the full meaning of what the Sages have told us, and we can see that Consciousness is the only Reality, alone IS, alone is us, and that there is nothing else to look for since It only is here and now.
It is us, we are It, anything else is just an apparent object of that Consciousness, i.e. a concept therein.
* * *
At every moment and in all circumstances we must realise our identity with Consciousness Itself, once and for all we must see ourselves united Therewith, observe as the Witness Itself everything perceived via senses or mind, including that mind and body themselves, realising everything so observed as apparent objects within this Consciousness outside Which there can be nothing.
This is the transference of identification from the so-called psycho-somatic apparatus to Reality, but it is in fact merely the removal of a false identification and a return to the norm. Nothing any longer can be seen as from a subject, as the object of a subject that is other than pure and original Consciousness (Reality) Itself. I, we, no longer see, hear, touch, smell, taste, think, feel, for there is not, could not be, any I or we, which were only notions that transformed transitory objects of Consciousness into imaginary entities. Such imaginary entities were powerless to do anything whatsoever, they were only thoughts renewed every instant, apparent objectivisations of Consciousness Itself. ‘I’, ‘we’were evaluations, notions, ideas: I, we are nothing but Consciousness, Reality, and never could be anything else.
‘We’ have no percepts, concepts or ideas of any kind, ‘we’ have nothing – for ‘we’ do not exist, only Consciousness appears to have them, and as Consciousness we know them.
Now that we are seeing directly at last – have we understood what we ARE?
* * *
That is the meaning of Vedanta Advaita, of the Lankavatara Sutra, of the Diamond Sutra, of Hui Neng, of Huang Po, of every explanation of the Maharshi.
Every authentic explanation coming from the plane of Reality tries to tell us just that. A re-statement, certainly not in any way ‘better’ in itself, but in current language, may cause understanding to arise, but such understanding cannot come from the transient phenomenal aspect of mind: it can only come if an intuition of Consciousness Itself finds sudden dualistic expression via the projected mind.
- When you give a shilling to a beggar – do you realise that you are giving it to yourself?
When you help a lame dog over a stile – do you realise that you yourself are being helped?
When you kick a man when he is down – do you realise that you are kicking yourself?
Give him another kick – if you deserve it!
- The Dreamer
ONE: The universe is My dream. Every thing therein, including ‘you’ and ‘me’, is an element of that dream – from elephant to virus, from nebula to atom.
TWO: Then each of us dreams a universe? How comes it that we all dream the same universe?
ONE: Each of us does not dream a universe. Only I dream the universe. You all perceive the same universe because you are all elements in My dream.
TWO: Is that concept not – let us say – somewhat egotistic?
ONE: ‘Egoism’ is a dualistic concept and implies ‘non-egoism’. But there is no such thing in reality as non-egoism. Therefore there is no egoism either. There is only I – and nothing else (which would be necessary) to constitute egoism.
TWO: But why is the universe your dream any more than mine?
ONE: I have already told you: ‘you’ do not exist except as dreamed by Me.
TWO: Supposing I reply that ‘you’ do not exist except as dreamed by Me?
ONE: That is unnecessary: it goes without saying.
TWO: There is evidently something I have failed to understand.
ONE: That is due to our dualistic language, inadequate to the communication of truth. We have to use the same word to convey several meanings. You are still thinking in terms of identification with a body. You are using the terms ‘you’ and ‘me’ in order to indicate the unreal elements of My dream which are holding this conversation. Unreal elements of a dream cannot dream the universe of which they are elements.
TWO: Then who dreams it?
ONE: I do. Anyone who says ‘I do’. For that I is the Absolute, Reality, Consciousness Itself, Cosmic Mind, Tao. That I is One – no matter who says it.
TWO: Obscure, very obscure!
ONE: ‘Obscure’ my foot! It is as clear as daylight, as simple and obvious as anything within the grasp of Mind in manifestation. Only its expression is obscure – for it has been expressed in words.
TWO: So I am everything in this universe, as I am everything in the universe of my sleeping dreams, every elephant, every virus, every nebula, every atom, ‘you’ and ‘I’?
ONE: You have understood.
TWO: What more is there to say?
ONE: Nothing whatsoever. Everything is explained, every word of every Sage and Master. That is the meaning of the Lord Buddha expressly conveyed in the Lankavatara Sutra, and Sri Krishna if he be regarded as responsible for Vedanta Advaita.
1. Will is an imaginary function of an imaginary entity.
2. As ultimate Reality we can have no will, for Non-Being is devoid of attributes.
3. As relative Reality, in the dualist aspect of Consciousness and objects of Consciousness – Observer and all that is observed – we are integrated in the Cosmos and act accordingly.
- As individuals we are merely figments and cannot have will other than as desire and its opposite.
Will, therefore, is just a figure of speech. We are like passengers in a railway-train who think that we can change our mind and make the train go anywhere we wish.
· La Vida es Sueño
The apparent self in our dreams believes in himself; the sea or motor-car in front of him is real, dangerous, powerful or whatever it may be, and the people, some of them to us long dead, are as real as they were when we knew them. The mind that dreams our dreams as convincingly as the mind that dreams our so-called waking life. When we awaken, our critical mind, applying its waking standards, sees the dream personages as unreal, as distorted, as fantastic, as what it calls ‘figments of the imagination’.
And those who awaken from their ‘waking’ dream, from the dream of ‘daily life’, can we doubt that they see their ‘waking’ dream personages as we see those of our sleeping dreams, i.e. as unreal, distorted, fantastic, as figments of the imagination? From their words it seems clear that they do, and that so it is.
Neither dream, and there are other kinds of dream experienced in other states, to which the same applies, is one whit more or less real than the other, for both, all, are mind-manifestations experienced by consciousness in different conditions.
The only reality in either, in any kind of dream, of mind-manifestation, is Mind Itself.
- Time: The Past is a memory, i.e. an idea, an object of consciousness. The Future is an image, another idea, another object of consciousness. The Present, which we never know until it is Past, is therefore also an idea, a notion, an object of consciousness. None of them is real, each is imaginary. Time does not exist.
The eternal present, the now-moment, the interval between thoughts, which we normally never perceive, alone is real.
- Everything we perceive is only an interpretation in a dualistic, temporal and formal framework, of a suchness, a reality which we are unable to know. Were we able to know the reality of anything at all, we may surmise that it could only appear to us as something such as a mathematical or algebraic symbol.
Many of us realise this well enough, but fewer have understood that what we regard as ourselves are also objects that we perceive, subject to the same conditions of perception as everything else. If we strip ourselves, our friends and our dogs, of the names, functions and qualities we clothe them with, nothing remains but our suchness – which cannot be represented otherwise than, just possibly, by a mathematical symbol. Let us not forget that the image which ‘strikes’ a retina only produces chemical changes therein, and that these changes, transmitted by nerve-impulses, only effect corresponding chemical changes in cerebral matter, the resulting image being merely an interpretation in consciousness of chemical changes in that cerebral matter. To suppose that anything really is (is in timeless, formless Reality) that which it appears (as an interpretation, in a space-time context, of chemical changes in matter) – is surely the limit of absurdity! At the same time the image that ‘strikes’ a retina is itself the projection of that image in consciousness, as is any such image when we dream it, and is not anything external – for nothing can be external to consciousness.
So much for what we aren’t! But what are we? Strange as it may seem to us – who have been thinking that we are what we think we see in a looking-glass – we are reality. Just that, and nothing else whatever. If we could get that into our heads our troubles surely would be over.
- The Day of Pseudo-Glory: In a pre-Columbian religion it is recorded that a young man chosen for sacrifice was accorded one day during which he was treated like a prince. He was dressed in gorgeous robes, given everything generally considered desirable, and was the object of universal acclamation. He enjoyed every prerogative of a prince except the power to do anything whatsoever.
Was this not a symbol of man set up as an individual, a separate self, an ego, an independent personality? For his day of life as such he imagines himself an independent being, possessing free-will and all sorts of ‘rights’ and dignities (‘la dignité humaine’, ‘la personne humaine’, ‘the rights of man’, ‘liberty’, ‘justice’, and all that clap-trap), and he never notices that, as an individual – he has exactly no power whatever to do anything whatsoever except glory in his illusory situation. Both are puppets, for neither has any existence at all as what he imagines that he is.
- Personalised Deity: To anyone firmly identified with a supposed ‘ego’ – God is necessarily his supreme enemy, and the embodiment of injustice.
- When a friend or a child has a nightmare one tries to awaken him; often one has to shake him or thump him in order to bring this about.
And yet we wonder and are shocked when we read that the Zen Masters treated their pupils so roughly, using these same methods to the same end!
- In the Wan Ling Record, Huang Po says textually: ‘A perception, sudden as blinking, that subject and object are one, will lead to a deeply mysterious wordless understanding; and by this understanding will you awake to the truth of Zen.’
Evidently in our consciousness, dualistically divided, we know ourselves as subject and object, as positive and negative, as yang and yin (as the Chinese put it), and since we are unable to be conscious of more than one thought at a time we have to recognise these dual aspects of ourselves consecutively, and can never recognise them together, which indeed is the mechanism of duality. Yet Huang Po tells us that they are not divided in reality, that they are one, and that to realise that unity in an intuition – since we are unable to realise it as a concept – is to realise our reality.
How simple it appears!
Perhaps it is? What, in fact, is hindering us from experiencing this essential intuition? Surely just the concept whereby we think of our objective aspect as subject? That is an erroneous identification, for subject and object are one but object is not subject when experienced dualistically, and that error is responsible for the notion of an ‘ego’ which all the Masters told us does not exist.
Subject and object, positive and negative, can have no independent existence; when one appears both are present: therefore they are one whole thing in reality. Are we the obverse or reverse of a coin, the effigy of the sovereign or the symbols of sovereignty, ‘heads’ or ‘tails’, ‘subject’ or ‘objects’? We are the coin itself – nothing else in the reality of this image; in its dual aspect we appear as both sovereign and symbols, but our reality is just gold.
As subject I speak, look, listen, as subject I am action – but that which seems to do it is object.
- Reintegrating the Subject: The Masters are continually telling us to cease image-making, conceptualisation, mentation of all kinds, and to rest in the void. – – – What, then, isthis so very important process, and this void? The process is surely the original form of Dhyana, so unfortunately translated ‘Meditation’ – how much less inaccurate an idea they would have given us if they had rendered it as ‘Non-meditation’, though ‘Meditation- Non-meditation’ may be a more valid description of it.
Some people go out to the far-East in order to learn it. Even so one wonders what, in fact, they learn, and, more particularly, if that really is what the Masters meant – sincethey roundly condemned ‘meditation’. In meditation there is movement; in concentration there is effort; in dhyana there is neither.
– – In short it is dualistic thought which has to be transcended. Huang Po goes so far as to say, ‘Yes, my advice is to give up all indulgence in conceptual thought and intellectual processes. When such things no longer trouble you, you will unfailingly reach Supreme Enlightenment’.
To most of us the idea of letting go of our precious intellect, even for a moment, is almost unbearable. – – Is the answer not simple – as answers should be, if they are real? Are the Masters not asking us just to withdraw our subjectivity from the object, thereby reintegrating the subject?
In that state, if someone comes and insults us, practises a fraud upon us, or strikes us – we do not react. How could we? What we misinterpreted as an ‘ego’ is no longer there. It is almost as though we were reading about such actions in a newspaper, only, in the latter case, we tend to identify ourselves with the victim – and react.
In that state the mind is still, but there is no lack of – but increased – awareness. No concepts arise, but intuition can enter freely. Its tranquillity is restorative, and its serenity has an element of bliss.
Ouspensky sought to inculcate a similar practice, which he called ‘self-remembering’?
- Detachment and the abandonment of Discrimination are the inevitable and automatic result of the elimination of an ego-notion, and cannot be brought about by any other means.
We have been doing what primitive medicine did – attacking the symptoms in order to cure a disease, and aggravating the disease by so doing. For instance, a fever is a defensive measure on the part of the body controlled by organic consciousness, and where, by artificial and violent means, doctors counteracted the fever they thereby thwarted the body’s defensive mechanism and aggravated the malady.
Need we be surprised at the unsatisfactory results of our efforts? Did the Masters not warn us not to make them?
We have only to eliminate the ego-notion by succeeding in the difficult task of understanding that it does not exist except as a notion. Which, by the way, is the subject/object of this book!
- People running away from themselves as fast as wheels can take them, always hoping they have left themselves behind, putting their feet more firmly on the accelerator every time they perceive that they are still there, like animals with a tin can tied to their tails. Neither ever seems to stop and try to find out what is there; if they did they would realise that it is only a tin can, quite empty – or void as the Buddhists like to describe it.
- Why do I call myself a Buddhist? If it should be necessary to attach oneself to any denomination, and in daily life there may be circumstances which render that necessary, Buddhism is the only religion which is large enough, in spirit and in practice, to include all the others.
Speaking in a general manner it may be said that almost every point of view favours the idea of reincarnation – or transmigration as it is less inadequately termed – except one.
It is explicitly accepted by almost the whole of the Eastern and wiser half of the world, and none of the Masters has ever denied it: it is taken for granted by wise and simple, and the Sages frequently refer to it as a fact. But against it there is one apparently insuperable objection. The central or pivotal element in the doctrine of the Buddha, and the fundamental belief of everyone who has ever fully understood that doctrine, results from the realisation that no entity has ever existed, exists, or ever could exist, and that therefore there is nothing, could not be anything, that could incarnate, reincarnate, or transmigrate in any circumstances whatsoever!
We all understand this, I hope. But let us consider this matter once more, and in the simplest possible manner.
What can we imagine ‘reincarnating’ anyhow? Anything might reincarnate if there is anything to reincarnate, but unless it were potentially identifiable as having incarnated already it could never be known as having done so, and the very idea would be meaningless. Nothing, however, can fulfil this essential condition but that which has the notion of self. In other words – if anything can ‘reincarnate’, that thing must be, or must be accompanied by, the I-notion.
But – and who knows it better than we do by now? – what is the I-notion? It is a concept. And a concept is not an entity. Do we know what becomes of a concept? When an I-concept finds the body decaying that it supposed was itself, what does it do, what becomes of it?
I do not, of course, know; nor, I presume, do you; but being subject to Time, why should it not attach itself to another nascent body, if it can find one? And might it not be attracted to one with inherent, or genetical, similarities to the one that has left it high-and-dry by dissolution? Whatever it be in metaphysics – a minute electronic force-field in flux, a fluctuating vibrational complex, might it not be associated with residual experience which it could bring over and deposit in the psyche-soma in which it has found a new home? If that reads like a description of an entity, the fault is mine: it is not an entity in the sense of the Buddha, any more than is a cloud or a smell or an electric storm.
What may have occurred is like any other occurrence in the ‘waking’ dream of manifestation. The concept-complex had a discrete existence in illusory time, as an object of a dream-subject, and, after an instantaneous experience of timelessness on the dissolution of its past, associated body-object, it became attached to another nascent body-object and re-entered the sequential or time-illusion.
From: ‘Ask The Awakened’
- Silence, regarded metaphysically, is considerably different from conventional silence, dualistically defined, silence as one element in a comparison of opposites, silence as the opposite and complement of noise. The silence which the Maharshi states is more powerful than speech, a more potent medium of instruction than words, the silence in which, and by which, occurs the transmission of mind via mind in which the ultimate doctrine of the Buddha was handed down from patriarch to patriarch according to the Ch’an Masters, is rather the background of the time-illusion, the interval between thoughts that is normally imperceptible to divided mind, of infinitesimal duration, but which is in itself intemporal, of no, or of infinite duration. If we can seize it, so we are told, and hold it, the mind stays open, and we are awake at last.
What, then, is it – this metaphysical silence? Clearly it is the ‘Buddha-mind’ of Ch’an, the ‘Witness’ of Vedanta, the ‘Father’ of Christianity, i.e. whole-mind. The mechanism of dualism seems to be that of the escapement of a clock, which is also an instrument for recording time. One half momentarily stops the flow of time, and then the other, tic-toc, tic-toc. So does each half of split-mind, tic-toc, tic-toc, and the interval between each tick is pure movement, the background, the intemporal reality which, measured by each alternative tick, becomes time as we know it. And the tic-toc, the alternative stoppage, is the comparison of opposites, the activity of split-mind, which we know as thought and mentation.
We can now see why every one of the awakened tells us ad nauseam that all we need to do is to arrest the movement of thought in order to know whole-mind and find ourselves awake. It explains also why wu or satori is always precipitated by a sudden sound, anything from a clap of thunder to the snapping of a twig, or, indeed, any other sensory perception whatever. Such perception momentarily arrests the eternal tic-toc of thought and, the subject being ripe, whole-mind takes possession and is no longer split.
That the awakened continue to know divided mind, in communicating with those who remain identified, is evident, but for them that condition is the abnormal, and the state of whole-mind the normal, instead of the contrary as with the rest of us. But it is surely an error to suppose that we do not know whole-mind in our daily life – for the consciousness that is aware of our having thought is certainly that, a consciousness that is ever awake, is always present, and that alone is ‘real’.
- The Void is nothing, absolutely nothing – and Nothing is absolutely everything. For both exist only in mind.
All talk about the Void being this and that, not meaning that and the other, is not only baulking the issue – it is shutting oneself off from the truth. It is necessary to realise that the Void means exactly Nothing, and that exactly Nothing is all that there is. And that that is the reason why anything can appear to be. Otherwise one has the whole situation the wrong way round, for one continues to think that reality is positive, something positively existing, of which the negative is inconceivable. But reality itself is negative, and its positive is just appearance, and both are concepts of the split or samsaric mind. In whole-mind, reality is neither positive nor negative – for there is nothing of the kind.Reality simply IS NOT.
This seems to be the Essential Doctrine of the Prajna-paramita, revealing the illusion which constitutes the bondage of Samsara, the barrier which prevents mind from knowing itself as no-mind, pure negativity or the absolute unconscious.
- The idea of a void – for it is an idea like any other: The phenomenal, objective, relative world of sense-impressions is an interpretation by divided and reasoning mind (which operates by a comparison of opposites) of noumenon, the absolute, subject, none of which (if you regard them as different in any way or as aspects of one whole) it is able directly to perceive. And the contrary, with which everything here in question is to be identified, is called Emptiness. As the Void it is the counterpart of Plenum, and all these qualities, these dharmas, treated as though they were ‘things’, are therefore elements in that plenitude. A void, however, is a total negative. If you think of Reality or Being, as you are taught to do, you are assuming something positive, and each of these positives is inevitably accompanied by its negative, which we have to term Non-reality and Non-being. It is this negative that is the Void or Emptiness, and that negative implies its constituent plenum, so that this Void, being that which is not, is also that which appears to be, i.e. Non-manifestation manifested – which is the phenomenal and apparent universe or Samsara.
The ‘real’ nature of all manifestation is no-nature, and of all ideas of ‘reality’ and of being – for all such are concepts or dharmas. They are directly negative or void, and only indirectly positive and relative.
To look upon the Void as an emptiness that exists somewhere in a cosmic fullness will never open the mind to its wholeness. Vision must start afresh by realising that a cosmic plenitude is an imaginary implication, and that the cosmos itself is not. The Void is not nothing somewhere within something: that something is nothing, there is nowhere within it, and the Void is that.
- The Buddha’s Formula in Relative Reality: It may be possible to understand the Buddha’s formula by means of an example based on phenomenal existence.
Take any object – say a jug – and let it represent, be a symbol for, reality. If you then photograph it you have a negative representation of it in two dimensions, composed merely of light and shade. The positive reproduction of that symbol reverses the light and shade, and reveals an image which we can recognise as that of what we know as a jug. An animal, unable to form concepts, cannot normally recognise the object, but sees only light and shade.
That, in fact, is the Buddha’s formula, in reverse. The positive image is that which appears to be in phenomenal existence. The negative image is the background of that, its relative reality from which it derives, that which precedes it and without which it cannot be. But both are just two-dimensional images composed of light and shade, quite illusory, unrecognisable except by beings who use concepts – just representations of the jug-reality whose existence is in a further dimension.
So you have the formula exactly: it is (as an appearance); it is not (is a negative): therefore that which is represented (and is real) alone is.
Note 1: We notice in passing that this example reveals clearly the three degrees of perception available to man: perception of ‘reality’, known only to the awakened; perception of ‘relative reality’, the objective world known to us; perception of images and symbols by means of conceptualisation. The first is real; the second is a representation of the real; the third is imaginary. The Buddha’s formula treats of the two first forms of perception; our example is applied to the two latter.
Note 2: The photographic apparatus represents the sensorial apparatus by means of which we interpret, or create, the apparent world which surrounds us.
- The Buddha, Original, or Self Nature: This ‘real nature’ with whose revelation the Ch’an Masters are primarily concerned, or the Atman-‘I’ of the Vedantists, is not the far-off, unreachable will-o’-the-wisp we are apt to imagine, but just the within of which we know the without. It is just the other side of the medal, and it lies wherever our senses and our intellect cease to function.
At that point it is to be found, and that ‘point’ is in every direction, so that wherever we turn we cannot avoid it. Nor, of course, is it a long way off. It is not ‘off’ at all: it is within, here and now, and where we are before we start to look for it. We don’t have to look for it, nor could we ever see it by looking. By the absence of looking, listening, touching, tasting, smelling, and thinking we realise that we are it. For it is the unmanifest of that which we see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and think of as manifest. It is the negative of everything that is positive to us, the reality of every illusion – and every sensory and conceptual experience is an illusion. I have only to cease to be in order to become that which an I is, to realise that I am not in order to be That I Am.
Where our sensory and intellectual experience ceases, where we can no longer know anything by their means, there lies what to them can only be Nothing or the Void – that is our ‘real nature’, that is pure consciousness which is all that is, and it is just that.
Put in another manner, it is just the underside of the surfaces which are all that we are aware of anywhere or in anything, the within of the without which surrounds us on all sides, the back of the front. It is the Unmanifest from within which everything manifests, the Not-I which is all theI that is.
- Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself –
And there isn’t one.
- Truth is that which lies in a dimension beyond the reach of thought.
Whole-mind has no ‘thoughts’, thoughts are split-mind.
- A man who is seeking for realisation is not only going round searching for his spectacles without realising that they are on his nose all the time, but also were he not actually looking through them he would not be able to see what he is looking for!
- The Void is not of the nature of a black abyss or a bottomless pit.
Rather is its nature ‘vast and expansive like space itself’.
It is apprehended as ‘serene, marvellous, all-pure, brilliant and all-inclusive’.
Above all does it partake of the nature of light.
And it is not anything.
For Void is Mind Itself, and Mind Itself is Void.
- We do not possess an ‘ego’,
We are possessed by the idea of one.
- A myriad bubbles were floating on the surface of a stream.
‘What are you?’ I cried to them as they drifted by.
‘I am a bubble, of course’ nearly a myriad bubbles answered,
and there was surprise and indignation in their voices as they passed.
But, here and there, a lonely bubble answered,
‘We are this stream’, and there was neither surprise nor indignation in their voices,
but just a quiet certitude.
From ‘All Else is Bondage; Non-Volitional Living’:
The Doctrine is the doctrine of non-doctrine,
The Practice is the practice of non-practice,
The Method is meditation by non-meditation,
And Cultivation which is cultivation by non-cultivation.
This is the Mind of non-mind, which is wu hsin,
The Thought of non-thought, which is wu nien,
The Action of non-action, which is wu wei,
The Presence of the absence of volition,
Which is Tao.
- The seeing of Truth cannot be dualistic (a ‘thing’ seen).
It cannot be seen by a see-er, or via a see-er.
There can only be a seeing which itself is Truth.
- THIS which is seeking is THAT which is sought, and
THAT which is sought is THIS which is seeking.
- As long as we are identified with an object: that is bondage.
As long as we think, act, live via an object, or as an object: that is bondage.
As long as we feel ourselves to be an object, or think we are such (and a ‘self’ is an object): that is bondage.
- The purest doctrines, such as those of Ramana Maharshi, Padma Sambhava, Huang Po and Shen Hui, just teach that it is sufficient by analysis to comprehend that there is no entity which could have effective volition, that an apparent act of volition when in accord with the inevitable can only be a vain gesture and, when in discord, the fluttering of a caged bird against the bars of his cage. When he knows that, then at last he has peace and is glad.
Non-volitional living is glad living.
- Let us live gladly! Quite certainly we are free to do it. Perhaps it is our only freedom, but ours it is, and it is only phenomenally a freedom. ‘Living free’ is being ‘as one is’. Can we not do it now? Indeed can we not-do-it? It is not even a ‘doing’: it is beyond doing and not-doing. It is being as-we-are.
This is the only ‘practice’.
- This Which We Are
Since we are obliged to use dualistic language in order to communicate understanding we should be well-advised to use words in a manner which is verifiable, that is in a way which is etymologically correct.
To per-ceive means ‘thoroughly to take hold of’, but metaphysically there is no one to take hold of anything and nothing to take hold of. Therefore perception is the first stage of the conceptualisation process, and the two elements – perception and conception – form one whole, and that one whole is the mechanism whereby we create samsara.
What we are required to do is the contrary, to lay everything down, to be nothing, to know that we are nothing, and thereby leave behind the whole process of conceptualisation. So-doing we cease to be that which we never were, are not, and never could be. That, no doubt, is nirvana, and, since nothing is being conceived, nothing is being perceived, and nothing is being ‘projected’ via the psycho-somatic apparatus which itself is a conceptualised percept.
At that moment the phenomenal universe no longer exists as far as we are concerned. We are ‘sitting in a bodhimandala’, in a state of perfect availability. So placed – and automatically – we should re-become integrally that which we always were, are, and forever must be. And that – because it is THIS – can never be thought or spoken, for this, being purely non-objective, is in a different ‘direction of measurement’ from any conceptual dimension, being the source of all dimensionality and phenomenality.
This is the sun itself, shining through the dualism of negative and positive, whose rays (which are Itself) appear to split into that negative (nirvana) and that positive (samsara) from which arise all phenomena, the perceptual-conceptual universe, including that which we have known as ourselves.
‘I am that I am’, said Jahweh – which no doubt means ‘this which I am’. We, too are ‘this which we are’, for THIS is everything that ever was, is, or could be.
- Potential Reality
The extrovert assumes that things objectively exist, and that subjectively they do not. That indeed is the accepted sense of those terms and, I think, the theoretical and experimental basis of science.
It requires years of intuitive research to understand that the opposite is the truth: that no thing exists objectively other than as a concept, and that subjectively every thing has potential existence, i.e. permanently exists as potential.
When the Masters say tirelessly that every single thing ‘neither exists nor does not exist’ they mean just that: its only existence is as potential which is the integration of object and subject, of negative and positive, by which each interdependent counterpart has been obliterated.
The term ‘realisation’ – ‘making real, a thing’ – logically is only applicable to the illusory process of assuming conceptual objects do exist, for they have no other reality.
That which ultimately they ARE, and all that they could ever BE, is neither Reality nor Relative Reality (even with capital ‘R’s) but Potential (with a capital ‘P’ if you wish).
- There is no mystery whatever – only inability to perceive the obvious.
From: ‘Open Secret’
- Time is only an inference, devised in an effort to explain growth, development, extension and change, which constitute a further direction of measurement beyond the three that we know and at right-angles to volume; and ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ are inferences derived from this temporal interpretation of the further dimension in which extension appears to occur. All forms of temporality, therefore, are conceptual and imagined.
- Are you still thinking, looking, living, as from an imaginary phenomenal centre?
As long as you do that you can never recognise your freedom.
- What do you have to do?
Pack your bags,
Go to the station without them,
Catch the train,
And leave your self behind.
- The practice of meditation is represented by the three monkeys,
who cover their eyes, ears and mouths so as to avoid the phenomenal world.
The practice of non-meditation is ceasing to be the see-er, hearer or speaker
while eyes, ears and mouths are fulfilling their function in daily life.
- The identified man takes part: the unidentified looks on!
- What is non-objective relation?
Wherever there are others there is a self,
Wherever there are no others there can be no self,
Wherever there is no self there are no others,
Because in the absence of self I am all others.
That is non-objective relation.
- I am not, but the apparent universe is my self.
- There is no valid evidence for the existence of a world external to the consciousness of sentient beings; external world is therefore seen to be nothing but the cognisers of it, that is – sentient beings themselves.
But there can be no factual evidence for the existence of sentient beings, either as subject or as object, who therefore are merely a conceptual assumption on the part of the consciousness in which they are cognised.
It follows that ‘consciousness’ also can only be a conceptual assumption without demonstrable existence.
- Consciousness, or ‘Mind’, does not ‘project’- the phenomenal universe: ‘it’ IS the phenomenal universe which is manifested as its self.
Metaphysics, relying on intuition or direct perception, says no more than this, and points out that no word, be it the Absolute, the Logos, God, or Tao, can be other than a concept which as such has no factual validity whatsoever.
- The past is gone. But the Present has become the Past before we can know it, i.e. before the complicated phenomenal processes of sense-perception, transmission and conception have been completed. Therefore the Present has gone too.
And the Future? We cannot know it until it has become the Past – for it can never be known in the Present. Then how can it be at all, for we cannot know the Past (which is gone)? Surely we cannot: neither Future, Present nor Past can we ever know.
How, then, do they exist – if existence they have? And if any of them exist, which exists? Or do all of them exist as a unity unextended in time and space, a time and space which only come into apparent existence with them, hypothetically, in order to render them cognisable?
Clearly none of them exists as a thing-in-itself, as objective events in their own right, as phenomena separate from the cognisers of them.
Future – Present – Past appear to be three illusory aspects of a single subjective phenomenon known as ‘cognition’.
- Our dreamed ‘selves’, autonomous in appearance, as in life, can be seen in awakened retrospect to be puppets totally devoid of volitional possibilities of their own. Nor is the dream in any degree dependent on them except as elements therein. They, who seem to think that they are living and acting autonomously, are being dreamed in their totality, they are being activated as completely and absolutely as puppets are activated by their puppeteer. Such is our apparent life, on this apparent earth, in this apparent universe.
All this which is dreamed is the product of the dreaming mind, of the subject-object process called ‘causation’, within the consciousness in which it occurs; it is integral in consciousness, it is consciousness itself, and there is nothing else whatever that IS. But ‘consciousness’ is only a concept as such: it is no thing, no object, has no subject therefore. It can only be indicated as the Unmanifested, and even such indication can only be a manifestation of the unmanifested.
- There is neither birth nor death; birth and death are objective only.
Objective living is phenomenal. This which we are is not phenomenal: a shadow is not its substance. But it has no existence apart from its substance.
- Of every direct perception, however luminous it may be, we should know that to the majority of the readers of its expression it will appear nonsensical, to a minority a mystery, and to a very few a faint reflection of a luminosity that glimmers within themselves.
For it is the nature of such expression to appear impenetrable to the deductions of the objectivising mind.
- There is every reason, total evidence, to suppose that we are in fact lived – entirely and absolutely lived. Like all dreamed figures in every sort and degree of dream, there cannot be any such factor as volition in the serial development of our lives.
- ‘You look like a man riding a tethered horse’.
– Chuang Tzu, chapter XIII, p. 138.
Each of us spends his time ‘riding a tethered horse’.
The horse cannot be set free;
But each of us can forbear to ride.
- Owing to misuse of words one should not say, ‘Don’t meditate!’ One has to say, ‘Don’t call it ‘meditation’ if it is not, but if it is – don’t do it!’
- Unless you hate you cannot possibly love.
- Surely to-day, and increasingly, there is an exaggerated tendency to overestimate the importance of the fact of living – of our apparent existence as individual phenomena? It is almost a dictum to say that we ‘have only one life’, and ‘must make the most of it’ – understood.
Whatever the origin of this, it seems to be great nonsense, and thoroughly demoralizing. In the first place is there any evidence, let alone likelihood, that it is a fact? Is it not more probable that ‘we’ have far too many? That, certainly, is the view of the oriental majority of the human race.
And even if that were definitely not so, what is this ‘living’ of a ‘life’, subject to conceptual ‘time’, and who or what ‘lives’ it? The notion of the ‘sacredness of life’ – human onlyof course! – is somewhat unevenly distributed over the surface of the Earth.
Dreams and poppycock! Let us find out what in fact we are – and then the importance and apparent duration of this phenomenal experience will seem to matter very little indeed!
‘A long life, and a merry one!’ By all means, and why not? But does it matter? Do we bother about the longevity of – say – fish?
Note: ‘Life’ is only manifestation expressed in a space-time context, entirely hypothetical; there is in fact no ‘thing’ whatever to begin or to end, to be ‘born’ or to ‘die’, and our experience is a psychic phenomenon.
- ‘Who am I?’ If anyone could tell you that, what you were told would necessarily be nonsense – for it would be just another object, as phenomenal as the rest. Some day you will know automatically what you are – which is what the Masters meant when they said so often, ‘You will know of yourself whether water is tepid or cold’ – or, you will just be that knowledge.
- Let the final word be with Huang Po: ‘There is no difference between sentient beings and Buddhas, or between Samsara and Nirvana, or between delusion and bodhi. When all such forms are abandoned there is the Buddha’.
From: ‘The Tenth Man :The Great Joke‘
- We mistake the functional centre of the phenomenal aspect of our noumenality for a ‘self’. It has no more autonomy than a heart, a physical organ, no more volitional potentialities, and no more self-consciousness; yet we attribute to it the sentience which represents what noumenally we are.
A psyche-soma, phenomenal as it is, must have a functional centre, without which it could not be what is seen as a ‘sentient being’. Such centre must be psychic, just as the heart is somatic. The five senses, interpreted by the sixth, depend on this centre for their manifestation as perception and cognition; all functioning, instinctive or rational, is directed therefrom, and it is logical, therefore, that this centre should be considered as the subjective element of the objectivised phenomenon. So, phenomenally, it appears, but itself this ‘subject’ is an object, so that never could it be what we are, but only a part of the phenomenal set-up of the discriminated and separate phenomenon which we think that we are. Never could it be autonomous, never could it exercise volition, never could it be what we conceive as ‘us’.
Moreover our sentience is essentially noumenal, and we are mistaking the switch-board for the power-station, the reservoir for the source, an electronic computer for a mind: the functional centre of a sentient being is purely cybernetic.
The identification which gives rise to a supposed ‘entity’ that then and thereby thinks that it is in bondage, is identification of what noumenally we are, of our natural noumenality, with the functional ‘organ’ in the psyche-soma which becomes thereby a supposed ‘self’ or ‘ego’ with relative, if not full, autonomy and volition. We do not even care to remember that only a small fraction of our physical movements, of our organic functioning responds in any way to the initiatives of our personalised wishes.
How does this situation arise? It arises as a result of the splitting of mind, called ‘dualism’, whereby the phenomenal aspect of noumenality – that is pure impersonal phenomenality – divides into negative and positive, and there appear ‘objects’ which require a ‘subject’, and ‘others’ which require a ‘self’, each totally dependent on its counterpart for its apparent existence.
But mind, though apparently split in the process of phenomenalisation, remains whole as noumenon, and only in the becoming apparent, or in order to become apparent, is it obliged to divide into an apparent see-er and an apparent seen, a cogniser and a thing cognised, which nevertheless can never be different, never two, for though in function it divides yet in its potentiality it remains whole.
All phenomenality, therefore, is objective, that is appearance in mind, and its appearance is dependent on its division into a see-er or cogniser and what is seen or cognised, that is which becomes apparent to an observer whose existence is assumed in order that appearance may appear. It follows that in all this phenomenality there is no ‘ens’ anywhere, for neither the apparent cogniser nor the apparently cognised is an entity in its own right, i.e. having a nature of its own, autonomy or volition.
It follows also that the potentiality of ‘sentience’ whereby all this manifestation is cognised, called prajna in Sanscrit, is an im-mediate expression of noumenality. Utterly impersonal, as devoid of ‘ens’ as are phenomena, ‘it’ is nevertheless, and ‘it’ must necessarily be, what we are, and all that we are. In conceptualising ‘it’ as prajna, ‘it’ is conceptualising ‘itself’, via the familiar dualistic process of splitting into conceptualiser and concept or cogniser and cognised, so that in seeking for what we are – that for which we are seeking is the seeker: the seeker is the sought and the sought is the seeker, and that – as Padma Sambhava told us in plain words – is what we are.
There is no entity involved anywhere, and space-time here is seen as a conceptual framework which accompanies events in order that events may have the necessary extension whereby they may appear to occur.
Total negation is required, for the Negative Way alone abolishes the factuality of all phenomena and the existence of entity as such, but if a positive representation is to be attempted these are the elements out of which the image seems to be composed.
- What we appear to be is a fleeting shadow, a distorted and fragmentary reflection of what we all are when we no longer assume that we are that phenomenal appearance.
- It is only with total humility, and in absolute stillness of mind
that we can know what indeed we are.
- Humility, metaphysically, implies the absence of any entity to be either ‘proud’ or ‘humble’.
- As long as there is a ‘you’ doing or not-doing,
thinking or not-thinking,
‘meditating’ or ‘not-meditating’
you are no closer to home
than the day you were born.
- Having found no self that is not other,
The seeker must find that there is no other that is not self,
So that in the absence of both other and self,
There may be known the perfect peace,
Of the presence of absolute absence.
- A self that prays, humbly,* to God, and a self that, being no longer personal, is God, are basically the same, so that praying humbly* to God, and being, impersonally, God, are not fundamentally different.
*’Humbly’ here is not used as the counterpart of ‘proudly’, for such ‘humility’ is just negative ‘pride’. Humility, metaphysically, implies the absence of any entity to be either ‘proud’ or ‘humble’.
- ‘Space’ is a concept which provides exteriorised objects with the extension necessary to render their appearance ‘solid’, i.e. perceptible tri-dimensionally as objects, and in spatial relation to other objects, just as ‘time’ is their equally necessary extension in duration. Time is an extension of space in duration, and so a further direction of measurement. Space-time as a single concept then utilises four dimensions, three spatial and one temporal.
- The All-Embracing Measure:
‘Dimensions’ are merely our conceptual extension in ‘Space’, which appears in three divergent directions of measurement as length, breadth, and height, a fourth, spatially incognisable but called ‘voidness’, being phenomenally represented by duration.
It is this latter which represents our apparent being, for we appear to exist because we appear to last. Our continuation in time, long or short, our growth and development therein, our process of being born, maturing, ageing and dying seems to take place, or be extended as we say, in ‘time’, so that what we are is seen to be that lasting, becoming, in the framework of ‘space’.
Our appearance must be dependent on the concepts of ‘space’ and ‘time’, for without them we could not appear to be, and without us they are not at all. They are our apparent extension, three directions of measurement conceived as spatial dimensions, the fourth as temporal.
There is no past, no future, and the ‘present’, i.e. existence as such, is no moment, but is this temporal dimension which includes all the others, and so represents what we can be said to be.
- Prajna: When contact is made, by means of a switch, the electric current flows, the wire is instantly ‘alive’, the resistance becomes white-hot, and there is light.
When contact is broken, the current no longer passes, the resistance cools, there is darkness, and the line is ‘dead’.
The electric current is what is implied by ‘prajna’ where sentient beings are concerned: it is the act of action, the living of life.
Nobody knows what electricity is, nobody knows what prajna is: both terms are just names given to concepts that seek to describe in dualistic language a basic ‘energy’ that enables appearance to appear and being to be.
When contact is made we know it as ‘light’ and as ‘life’; when contact is broken we know it as ‘darkness’ and ‘death’. But the source of ‘energy’ remains intact and intangible.
Are we the hot resistance and the light, the cold resistance and the darkness – or the vital current itself?
- Phenomenally, we can know no present, since it must be in the ‘past’ before our senses can complete the process of recording it, leaving only a suppositional past and future; noumenally there is no question of ‘past’ or ‘future’ but only a presence which knows neither ‘time’ nor ‘space’.
- For those concerned with the doctrines of various forms of Buddhism, or as propounded by successive Buddhas, the Nth or inclusive measurement of volume [further directions of measurement than the three which are available to our sensory apparatus] is what is variously described as ‘the Void’, ‘the Middle Way’, and ‘Dependent Origination’. The first is fairly obvious, but the second is senseless as translated, being neither a ‘way’ nor in the ‘middle’ of anything; if conceivable as a ‘way’ it would need to be described as ‘the Inner’ or ‘the Transcending’ Way. The third may be said to find its explanation in super-volume.
- ‘There is neither destiny nor free-will,
Neither path nor achievement; this is the final truth.‘ (Ramana Maharshi)
‘Destiny’, like ‘free-will’, is a word which seeks to describe a concept, as also are ‘path’ and ‘achievement’. They are not sensorial perceptions, interpreted as having objective existence, but structures in mind whose existence is inferential only, i.e. directly conceptual. As concepts, their truth or falsehood depends upon the truth or falsehood of the‘entity’ to which they are attached and whose comportment they are designed to explain.
It follows that if there is an ‘entity’, a question arises as to whether such entity suffers ‘destiny’ or not, exercises ‘free-will’ or not, has a ‘path’ to follow or not, can claim an ‘achievement’ or not.
In all Advaita, whether Vedantic or Buddhic, the totality of great and known Masters have categorically declared that no such thing as an entity has ever existed, exists, or ever could exist. The Buddha mentions the fact nineteen times in the Diamond Sutra alone.
The explanation of Maharshi’s magnificently categorical statement is that there is neither an entity to suffer destiny, nor an entity to exercise free-will, neither an entity to follow a path, nor an entity to achieve an aim.
If we are lived, without attempted ‘volition’ on the part of a purely suppositional ‘entity’, we may ask what could there be to have cares and worries, for the disappearance of a supposed ‘path’ can only leave what inevitably must be our normal and eternal condition here and now, in lieu of ‘achievement’.
Note: An entity requires inferences such as ‘space’ and ‘duration’, an entity is subject to limitation, an entity is an object and needs a subject.
From: ‘Posthumous Pieces’
These pieces are called ‘posthumous’,
Not because I am ‘dead’;
Unborn, that is forever impossible,
But because they are,
Which is inevitable.
They are tombstones,
A record of living intuitions
Which, embalmed in relative terminology,
Are well and truly dead.
- ‘Sudden Enlightenment’ means precisely the immediate apperception of all that in fact we are.
‘Enlightenment’ is ‘sudden’ only because it is not in ‘time’ (subject to sequential duration). It is reintegration in intemporality.
- Whoever thinks as, from, or on behalf of, an entity which he believes himself to be, the more so if he tries to work on himself, by, with, or for such an entity – which is only a concept in mind – has not yet begun to understand what it is all about.
- In order to be effective truth must penetrate like an arrow – and that is likely to hurt.
- Affective fixation on the personality of a master, teacher, guru, is a serious obstacle to ‘liberation’: the person of the liberator becomes the gaoler … The Chinese Masters told their monks to kill the Buddha if by chance they met him.
- Who could there be to be born, to be lived, to be killed?
What could there be to be brought into existence or to be taken out of existence?
Where could there be a ‘space’ in which objective existence could be extended?
When could there be a ‘time’ during which objective existence could have duration?
These notions, so queried, belong to whoever has never profoundly considered these facile and conditioned assumptions, for all are conceptual images in mind, the supposed factuality of which is as imaginary as any mirage, hallucination, or dream, and all of which are experienced as both factual and actual.
But the supreme illusion is not that of the incidence of ‘birth’, ‘life’, and ‘death’ as such, but that of there being any objective entity to experience these conceptual occurrences.
The accessory illusion is that of spatial and temporal extension subject to which the supreme illusion of entity is rendered possible and without which no ‘entity’ could appear to suffer any experience whatever.
Unextended conceptually in ‘space’,
Unprotracted conceptually in ‘time’,
Formless, therefore, and without duration,
Unborn, therefore, and undying,
Eternally we are as I.
- The ‘past’ is a memory,
The ‘future’ is a supposition,
The ‘present’ is passed before we can apprehend it.*
The only ‘present’ therefore is presence and must necessarily be what we are.
Such presence, then, is inevitably outside time and must be ‘intemporality’.
*the processes of perception and conception are complicated and require a lapse of time for their completion.
- Space-Time: There is dialectic validity of the insight whereby we may apperceive that absence of space-time must necessarily be what we are who cannot conceive it.
The phenomenal absence of space-time, being inconceivable, must therefore be our own phenomenal absence as what is conceiving, and – since we cannot conceive our own absence – we must be what space-time is, and space-time must be what noumenally we are.
And that no doubt explains why all that we are, both phenomenally and noumenally, was termed ‘mind’ by the great Masters of China.
Note: We may assume also that this explains why so very few people are willing to face up to the problem of space-time, why nearly all fight shy of it, decline to discuss it, and just accept it as something inevitable, whether philosophers, the religious, or those who seek ‘enlightenment’. Yet surely anyone can see how vitally important it must be, that nothing can be finally understood while that remains unexplained, for it is obvious that whatever is subject to extension in space and to successional duration could not be veritable in itself. The study of space-time in physics may also be the key to the startling fact that so many of the greater physicists have found themselves on or over the borders of metaphysics, and have been brave enough to say so.
- However long or short its duration in a time sequence, it is always a memory that you ‘enjoy’, never the event as it is occurring.
- In myself I am nothing, exactly no thing: I am only a mirror in which others see aspects of themselves and attribute the resulting concepts to ‘me’. But I am also an ‘other’ to my ‘self’.
- There is no ‘us’ at all, never was and never will be! Because there is no ‘time’ in which to ‘last’ and no space in which to be ‘extended’, since both are just concepts in mind.There is no ‘us’ either to experience ‘enlightenment’, to be awakened from a ‘sleep’, or to be freed from any kind of ‘bondage’ – and no enlightenment, no sleep, and no bondage either.
- Happiness is dependent on duration: it can only appear to exist in the sequence of ‘time’. Moreover nobody can know that he is happy – an animal doesn’t, a child doesn’t; a man may know it afterwards. Therefore happiness can only be an effect of memory.
- Humility is the negative form of pride, and pride the positive form of humility: they are not different as what they are but only in their interpretation. What we mean by true or perfect humility is not that at all: it is the absence of ego-entity to experience either pride or humility because, if humility is experienced, it rebecomes a form of its opposite – pride.
- Every sound, and all forms of sense-perception, can lead us directly back to our source, as every shadow to its substance, which is the immutable wholeness of mind… The Buddha is recorded as having stated, regarding the six sense-perceptions, that while by their misuse they are the chief hindrance to our recognition of integrality (or whole-mind), they are at the same time our most direct means whereby such recognition of integrality may be recovered. He also stated that whereas all six senses are of equal value in these respects and that the apprehension of what any one of the six is reveals what all are, one – that of hearing – may be more suitable for a given phenomenal individual.
- All appearance is ‘in mind’, apart from which nothing can appear, and ‘mind’ is only a conceptual symbol for what is cognising and as such has no objective quality to be cognised.
- ‘I do not experience distinctions like « you », « me », and so forth. Waking experiences are no more real than dream experiences.’ (Vasistha)
- Science, recognised as a conceptual structure, built on the shifting sands of sense-perception, can only exist in a frame-work of theoretical space-time, the assumed reality of which it makes no effort either to justify or to explain. As a conceptual interpretation of phenomenality Science is, and must remain, of immense interest to those who are themselves fully identified with the phenomenal, but it is entirely unreliable – because basically fictitious – as an explanation of our relation to the universe which appears to surround us and to which we appear to belong.
The metaphysical development of philosophy alone can reveal – even though it may never be able to state in dualistic terms – what ultimately we are and what is our relation to our phenomenal universe, inseparable from ourselves, a revelation which the most optimistic could hardly anticipate from the empirical methods of Science.
- Reality? An object is ‘sensed’, i.e. a perception occurs in mind: the notion of an object arises in mind, produced by stimulus and obtaining body from memory. Such is the genesis of a thought.
Then this impression is repeated again and again with incalculable rapidity until the impression assumes ‘form’ and is cognised as a ‘table’ or a ‘star’. Each of these repetitions is a separate quanta, and the object is composed of these quanta, and so is built-up as a supposedly material unit. Such is the ‘reality’ of the object, and its dimensions, shape and distance are judged by these quanta, the quanta being attributed to the light by which the object is perceived, whereas they lie exclusively in the perceiving mind.
All light being presumed quanta, all distance is presumed quanta, and all velocity, and all are only in the observing mind. All, therefore, depend upon succession, the sequence of time, which itself is nothing but seriality – the repetition of quanta.
- People have always wanted something positive – joy instead of sorrow, pleasure instead of pain, bliss instead of misery, but what nonsense that is! The Buddha saw the suffering, but no one knew better than he that there is no suffering without its opposite.
- Love-hate can have no existence outside the dualistic universe of sense-perception and personal experience. ‘Impersonal love’ is like ‘immaterial matter’, or any other contradiction in terms.
- Destroy ‘the ego’, hound it, beat it, snub it, tell it where it gets off?
Great fun, no doubt, but where is it? Must you not find it first?
Isn’t there a word about catching your goose before you can cook it?
The great difficulty here is that there isn’t one.
- The Nonsense of ‘Life’ and ‘Death’
What difference could there be between ‘living’ and ‘dying’? ‘Living’ is only the elaboration in sequential duration of what otherwise is known as ‘death’.
When What-we-are functions, extending in three apparent spatial dimensions and another interpreting them as duration, together known as ‘space-time’, there is what we know as ‘living’. When that process ceases we are no longer extended in sequential duration, we are no longer elaborated in ‘space’, ‘space-time’ is no more and the apparent universe dis-appears.
Then we say we are ‘dead’.
But as what we are we have never ‘lived’, and we cannot ‘die’.
Where could ‘we’ live? When could ‘we’ die? How could there be such things as ‘we’? ‘Living’ is a spatial illusion, ‘dying’ is a temporal illusion, ‘we’ are a spatio-temporal illusion based on the serial interpretation of dimensional ‘stills’ or ‘quanta’ cognised as movement.
Only the concepts of infinity and intemporality can suggest intellectually a notion of what we are as the source and origin of appearance or manifestation.
- The Maharshi – shortly before his death, and using three interdependent counterparts – said:
There is neither Creation nor Destruction,
Neither Destiny nor Free-will,
Neither Path nor Achievement;
This is the final Truth.
To confirm it would be presumptuous, to re-state it is a duty, to understand it is liberation.