Jerry Katz
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Nonduality Salon (/\)

Highlights #119

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From Thomas Merton:

solitude, land of evening, declines and departs. the abyss
of solitude's absence is its advent, its arrival.
solitude's claim to presence is not a form or outer
appearance but a persistence, an insistence-on. solitude is
a realm, a domain that shelters, secures, conceals.
solitude is self-revealing and self-concealing.

Picasso remarked he had made himself an "unsuspected
solitude".its continuance is not tied to usage, need, or
custom. to brook solitude is to think. solitude is for
thinking, not singing. solitude is expressly to collect
unique disclosure along the lines of Being, of
Appropriation. the dawn of solitude comes to pass in events
of order/disorder, of jointure/disjunction. solitude joins
but never conjoins.

its expanse is calls and gestures, belongings,hearings,
attunements, something spoken,conversation. a
historiography of solitude is absurd except in relation to
destiny, destining, Fate. solitude is an aspect of the
destining of Being. the ground of solitude is a brilliant
abyss in which what lingers for a while can stay for the
time being or emerge much later.

it is not for protection. its gathering is the one that
clears and shelters. one's standard of solitude is one's
proximity to it, one's place in it. for those whose abode
is solitude, it is a riddle and enigma, an enigmatic
keyword, a right, a justice, a wrong, an injustice.

it is reckless and considerate. to dispatch oneself toward
solitude is never fitting. there are no vocational skills
to acquire in solitude. solitude, the fateful itself, is a
dispensation to beings to be Being.

solitude is the Same in beings, language, sayings. to
translate solitude is to cross over, to go down, to set the
never-setting of unconcealment/concealment.

solitude is the surmounting of the oblivion of Being, the
perception of something at hand which appears to be not
representational thought but Being coming to the fore,
coming into view. to preserve solitude is to hold sway,
reign, rule, dominate.

solitude occurs essentially in a belonging together, an
apportionment or allotment, of Being and beings, in the
unfolding of this twofold existence.


Mira: Oh yes I've been a fool!
When I still knew what right looked like, I went out in
search of what is right, When I still knew what wrong looked
like, I went out to battle against the wrong, Only to find
that I will always be that fool, And will never again know
the difference.

Dan: I know I am right about the position that there is no
difference between right and wrong. Because I know there is
no difference, I can state that clearly in just the right

Mira: Leaving the wrongs and rights behind me, Nowhere to
go, Nothing to be done, Everywhere to go, Everything to get
done, Consumed, In the contentment of this moment.


i feel a great affinity with (Merton), as a person who
aspires to exterior solitude and never *quite* achieves it.
had a nice chat conversation with cathy last evening.
discussed the fact that interior solitude can be had on a
crowded subway train. . . but it is in true solitude that
poems are born. and dreams become rich. self becoming
agreeable to self.

i had a dream the other night. a recurring dream
image/place for me is a tree, a blazing sun, and a treehouse
that i'm building. well i was up in my treehouse and found
the following message:

you are the dream the dream is a covenant the covenant is
the shadow of the real.

i continued to build my treehouse, but kept glancing out the
new windows. ..


what is as loud as the silence of a soul?
a moon in transition nightly slips out aglow with it's
mirrors, not looking for something to reflect on. . .

below a cauldron of lives with a lie in it a disturbance
with fear in it days veins with no feature no motion in
them. it is a story, read it, but do not accept it.

in the story, the horrible bonds of the place the boredom of
immaculate green leaves in a shadeless life. . .
quickly and quietly we look out storming with our
hesitations looking for something to speak. . .

the soul's table may be empty but it has no equal--silencing
nervous dull gates remembering-- the soul may be wild,
original out of sense, wordless. . .
the flesh of the sun burns in it's own veins, eats nothing
of the day.
asks nothing of the senses.
asks not for something to remember.
asks nothing of relation.
speaks not of the mirror (wonders not if the mirrors of
places are genuine)

the sealed world closes its eyes nightly. what is so real
as the top of the world in a dream? a night in mirrors,
nightly it speaks out, envisioning immaculate green leaves
in a shadeless life reflected white. . .


Nisargadatta has said that it takes 3 years of attention to
I AM to move into its depth (and then beyond it). Not bad,
considering it takes 4 years to get a useless degree!

I can't help but thinking that it's not the therapy or the I
AM that matters, but the person undergoing the process,
their intention and hunger to get to the core of the matter.


What if, realizing that the personal entity is a creation of
thought, and in that sense unreal, I then go on to
consciously continue to create that personal entity?

In the chatroom yesterday I found myself saying, "We create
ourselves by what we say to ourselves, We create the world
by what we say to the world."

It's another way of stating the thought that's been working
on me recently that I am both the unconditioned 'I am' and
the mythical being 'andrew' with 'andrew' being included in
'I am'. If I denied the personal entity 'andrew' I would be
denying death, and lose the poignancy of life.

Whenever it's thought of, there it is.
I say this entity is a mythical being, because it's a myth
or a story, the entity 'andrew' is the ongoing story of a
life. Does a character in a novel exist when the book is
sitting on the shelf? In a way yes, in a way no. There is
the realization that a story is all it is but I live in the
story, the story lives in me.

Because I am aware of this, self aware, I write my story,
'andrew' can be the person he wants to be, the hero of his
own story. If I am not aware, then 'andrew' is not a
conscious being, he is more like an automaton, or an animal
operating on instinct.

There's this detachment which comes with nondual realization
which I feel must be overcome. It's like you struggle to
climb out of the whirlpool, then you plunge back in, just
because you love to swim in the fast water.


Yes andrew, indeed. When having lost identification as a
separate entity, one can then proceed to play the game
wholeharteldy, fearlessly and full of love. This, to me, is
tasting and sipping every drop of Life's mysterious elixer.
It is the greatest high. To act like one is a person,
without being one. It is a wonderful intimate little game,
that I play with myself.
Yes I love Life! ~ I know I am Life ~ But this way I can
love it!

Love, ~Mirror~


Fire! Just today I was reading something about fire. A
beautiful Buddhist poem, "HOKOJI: Visions of a Torn World"
about a fire that took place in Kyoto, Japan, year 1177.
Kyoto was then the capital of Japan, and the poem captures
the transitory nature of everyday life. Here is an
excerpt. Beautifully translated by Yasuhiko Moriguchi and
David Jenkins:

The wind blew wildly -- this way! that way!-- and the fire
spread, like an unfolding fan.

Houses far away engulfed in smoke!

Closer by, hungry flames licked the ground.

Sky crimson all about!
Cinders flashing, lit by fire!

Flames driven by unrelenting gusts flew whole blocks.

Who, in all this, would not be scared to death?

Some suffocaated by smoke fell upon the ground.
Some swallowed by flames died at once.

Some scarce able to save themselves, lost all their worldly

Many treasures reduced to ash!

Dreadful, dreadful loss!

The fire destroyed sixteen noble houses -- who knows how
many more?-- I hear one third of the entire capital.

Scores of men and women perished.

Countless horses, countless cattle, also died.

All of man's doings are senseless but spending his wealth
and tormenting himself to build a house in this hazardous
city is especially foolish.

-- contributed by Greg

Greg wrote:
Therapy often gets a bad name in advaita circles, for
perpetuating the notion of the personal entity. I know many
people who would do quite well in therapy or 12-step
programs, but don't do it because they heard an advaita
teacher talk about it. But Becky's is a real case where
therapy naturally and organically came to a conclusion
through her own insight. This insight opened the door to
investigate fear itself, along with the myths of the "one
who's making progress," etc. If Becky had tried looking
into these things before doing her therapy, who knows? It
might have all been gibberish!

Dan wrote:
Yup. Greg - this reminds me of Dharma's posting about waves
and quanta on the Harsha list. Advaita is quanta and
therapy is waves. So which is "right" - is reality
discontinuous or continuous, is it timeless or is it time?
It all depends on your point of view... and in this case,
"no point of view" ends up being a point of view. Being
able to function coherently as a wave might be very useful,
even though the wave dissappears when you view the quantum
reality. Is one more *real* than the other? Perhaps there
is a danger in negating either "side" here while affirming
the other - might lead to an imbalanced expression of being
if either side is used to eliminate its "opposite."

-- peace in dao of waves, quanta, and foam


I've acquired a book entitled The Pathway of Nonduality:
Advaitavada, by Raphael (published by Motilal Banarsidass).
It's about 88 pages, and I'll copy about 2 pages per day
five or six days per week. I am editing it so that it flows

It accords with Greg Goode's philosophical work and balances
the Salon with a different kind of brain food. I hope
you'll find pleasure in dipping into this philosophy.

On the cover it says, "Raphael, the founder of the Asram
Vidya Order, is a practicing Asparsin and at present, after
over thirty five years of oral and written teaching, lives
at the Hermitage, devoting himself completely to retirement
and silence."


The most difficult problem discussed by philosophers down
through the ages is that of Being and non-being, of One and
many and, as a consequence, the question of generation.

Is the Absolute Being Unity, Duality or Non-duality?

Is the world of names and forms created ex-nihilo, is it
manifested or emanated? And again is it real or unreal or,
paradoxically, both, the one and the other? ..

What has Advaita philosophy, presented by Guadapada and
Samkaracarya and re-proposed here by Raphael, got to say
with regard to these matters?

We may say that this doctrine .. not only gives an answer
that is new to the West but it also points out the pathway
(Asparsavada) by which to achieve Identity of the being with

Raphael ... helps us to understand the 'vision' of
Gaudapada and Samkaracarya who, solidly extablished in
metaphysics, show how the Supreme Being is pure actuation
which excludes not only multiplicity, duality and
ontological unity, but also all passages from potentiality
to act.

To speak of the ever-present and infinite Being in terms of
even theoretical phases is impossible. The Ever-Present has
no history, no actuation, no motion because It has no
generation (ajati).

Pure Being is what It is. It is not what was nor what will
be. And if at times one speaks of 'three levels' of Being,
this is done only to help the minds of men ... and only
with a view to free them from the illusion of 'two' and

'Multiplicity', 'two', and 'one', that is, pluralism,
dualism, and the mathematical one, exasperate and disappoint
us because unconsciously we tend towards the Non-duality
(Pure Being) or the Absolute which is ever present and makes
thought and phenomenal appearance possible.

If the Absolute is 'that which is free from relations, that
is, exists and is what It is, without any need to be in
relationship with anything else, or what is fully
sufficient, self-sufficient independently of any other thing
or reality', then Gaudapada, Samkaracarya and Raphael
indicate the true metaphysical pathway leading to the
realization of the unqualified Absolute Being. Asparsa
means, in fact, 'free from relations', from connections with
other things; it means self-sufficiency, this is,


Measuring oneself with the Absolute, with the Whole (as
Plato says), with Being rather than becoming, implies a
precise subsequent change of all the usual points of view,
of the meaning of life itself and a new hierarchy of values.

The knowledge of the Whole, according to Plato, requires
'breaking chains', requires 'ascesis', demands 'dedicating
one's whole self', a change of life and, as Raphael says, 'a
transformation of consciousness'.

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Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: