Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression



ONE, by Jerry Katz

Photography by Jerry Katz

Dr. Robert Puff



Rupert Spira

DISSOLVED, Tarun Sardana

HIGH JUMP, Tarun Sardana

Greg Goode -
After Awareness: The End of the Path

Consider joining our Facebook discussion community, Nonduality Salon, going on 20 years of active participation. We were the first online discussion group dedicated to nonduality in a popular sense.


Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

#1506 - Monday, July 28, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

Photo from Calla Visage:  

Dharma Bums
Jack Kerouac  

"Did you know the prayer I use?... I sit down and say, and I run all my friends and relatives and enemies one by one in this, without entertaining any angers or gratitudes or anything, and I say, like 'Japhy Rider, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha,' then I run on, say, to 'David O. Selznick, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha'... when I say the words 'equally a coming Buddha' I want to be thinking of their eyes, when you think 'equally a coming Buddha' you think of those eyes and you really do suddenly see the true secret serenity and the truth of his coming Buddhahood."

* *

"Look," said my brother-in-law, "if things were empty how could I feel this orange, in fact taste it and swallow it, answer me that one."

"Your mind makes out the orange by seeing it, hearing it, touching it, smelling it, tasting it and thinking about it but without this mind, you call it, the orange would not be seen or heard or smelled or tasted or even mentally noticed, it's actually depending on your mind to exist! Don't you see that? By itself it's a no-thing, it's seen only of your mind. In other words it's empty and awake."

"Well, if that's so, I still don't care." All enthusiastic I went back to the woods that night and thought, "What does it mean that I am in this endless universe, thinking that I'm a man sitting under the stars on the terrace of the earth, but actually empty and awake throughout the emptiness and awakedness of everything? It means that I'm empty and awake, that I know I'm empty, awake, and that there's no difference between me and anything else."

* *

"We've dedicated ourselves to prayer for all sentient beings and when we're strong enough we'll really be able to do it, too, like the old saints. Who knows, the world might wake up and burst out into a beautiful flower of Dharma everywhere."  

Live Journal

Chapter 1: The story of an awareness body aware of awareness  

Chapter 2: The story of awareness aware of an awareness body.  

Chapter 3: Awareness.

Live Journal


BAMBUCICLETAS by Steen Heinsen  

I am riding a bamboo bicycle through the main street of
Christiania. Usually it takes quite a bit to make the roughies
turn their heads - but this bamboo bicycle does the trick. It
is beautiful, light and fast - and it is nice to touch.  

As I park the bamboo bicycle in front of the Shop in order to
have a black currant juice it feels almost as if I am
dismounting a Harley right next to a café - several people
come over to touch the frame and to check out how the bike is

"Where have you got that from?” they ask, here in the Paradise
of Bicycles, the almost car-free town in the middle of

So where have I got it from? - Well, from The Smithy next to
The Grey Hall. The Smithy of Christiania has for the last 30
years been a furnace of innovation on the bicycle front. First
came the Dursly-Pedersen bicycle whose rider feels like he is
in a camels saddle. Then came the bicycle trailer, which
became car free families way of transporting groceries on
holidays and on weekdays, and at the moment The Smithy sells
carrier bicycles for the transportation of children and many
an odd purpose. And now the bamboo bicycle is being

Flavio Deslandes is the man behind the development of a
bicycle made of bamboo. He is Brazilian and he is an
industrial designer from the PUC-Rio University. I met him in
his small workshop next to The Smithy.  

- The bicycle is one of the worlds most brilliant inventions.
It is hard to find a disadvantage (to the bicycle) - except
the material it is made from. Light bicycles are made from
aluminum, which is one of the most resource demanding
materials that exist. My bicycles are made of grass, he says.  

I scan my own knowledge and experience with bamboo. Let’s skip
the cane and the flower sticks - what else is there? Garden
furniture and squeaky armchairs. It is hard to find anything
particularly brilliant about that material.  

But Flavio makes me see things differently: Bamboo is a
resource of immense potential. And it is strong too. What
makes it possible to build bicycles from it is that it is
stronger than steel when strained in the longitudinal
direction, 17% to be exact.  

I can stuff my thoughts about squeaky furniture. History
teaches us that it was bamboo Faber glowing in Edisons first
electric bulb and that it was bamboo that kept the very first
airplanes in Paris, constructed by Santos Dumont, together.
Bamboo is beneficial to the CO2 value of the atmosphere. While
growing it emits more oxygen that the equivalent amount of
wood pulp.  

So please caress your bamboo bicycle gently while you marvel
at the thought that bamboo keeps more that two billion people
around the world employed, that it grows without fertilizer
and that it can be used for almost everything - from tasty
rice dishes to building material. Bamboo is a species of grass
and every third year it can be harvested. It needs no
replanting and it comes in sizes from small to extra large
literally speaking: The biggest ones grow up to 60 meters

While Flavio turns on the computer he tells me a couple of
more facts about bamboo. The first thing flowering in
Hiroshima after that the bomb had destroyed everything was -
take a guess. The only building still standing after the earth
quake in Costa Rica in 1992 was - yes, that is the correct

Flavio searches in his CAD program and comes up with a wheel.
Not that he invented it but he looks just like he did when he
looks up at me with sparks in his jet black eyes.  

"This is going to be a revolution: the bicycle wheel made out
of bamboo. There is steel in the assemblies of my bicycles.
But unlike everything else that is made out of bamboo - for
instance the furniture that you talked about - the steel used
here serves the bamboo, not the other way around. I use bamboo
in its natural form in the bicycle. If you start bending it,
drilling holes in it or you put nails or spikes into it you’ll
weaken the structure,” he says. He shows me how every part of
the frame is fitted into the assembling and kept in place with

"But I keep on researching in order to find even more
replacements for the metal parts. This wheel here is one
hundred percent bamboo: Rims and hub are made out of laminated
bamboo and the spokes are made out of straight bamboo sticks.
I also work on being able to produce pedals and pedal arms in
bamboo,” Flavio says proudly.  

"Building these bicycles is art. It is not something you just
do. Every bamboo must be selected and fitted into the frame
according to size and quality. The secret lies in treating and
handling the material the right way. Learning that takes times
and the maintenance takes time as well. Just like it takes
time to learn how to play football,” Flavio Deslandes says and
smiles Brazilianly.  

Live Journal

"There is a unity that binds all living things into a single
whole. This unity is sensed in many ways. Sometimes, when
walking alone in the woods far from all the traffic which
makes up the daily experience, the stillness settles in the
mind. Nothing stirs. The imprisoned self seems to slip outside
its boundaries and the ebb and flow of life is keenly felt.
One becomes an indistinguishable part of a single rhythm, a
single pulse.  

Sometimes there is a moment of complete and utter identity
with the pain of a loved one; all the intensity and anguish
are felt. One enters through a single door of suffering into
the misery of the whole human race with no margin left to mark
the place which was one's own. What is felt belongs nowhere
but is everywhere binding and holding in a tight circle of
agony until all of life is gathered into a single timeless

There are other moments when one becomes aware of the thrust
of a tingling joy that rises deep within until it bursts forth
in radiating happiness that bathes all of life in its glory
and its warmth. Pain, sorrow, grief, are seen as joy becoming
and life gives a vote of confidence to itself, defining its
meaning with a sureness that shatters every doubt concerning
the broad free purpose of its goodness.  

There are the times of personal encounter when a knowledge of
caring binds two together and what is felt is good! There is
nothing new nor old, only the knowledge that what comes as the
flooding insight of love binds all living things into a single
whole. The felt reverence spreads and deepens until to live
and to love are to do one thing. To hate is to desire the
nonexistence of the object of hate. To love is the act of
adoration and praise shared with the Creator of life as the
Be-all and the End-all of everything that is.  

And yet there always remains the hard core of the self,
blending and withdrawing, giving and pulling back, accepting
and rejoicing, yielding and unyielding-what may this be but
the pulsing of the unity that binds all living things in a
single whole-the God of life extending Himself in the manifold
glories of His creation?"  


Howard Thurman
Harper & Row, Publishers (1961)

R.K. Shankar
I Am list

Atma Bodham Gracefully Granted by Bhagawan Sri Ramana -
A Tamil Rendition of Bhagawan Adi Shankara's Sanskrit Text

Verse 60:
parumaiyu nuNmaiyuR paththi vinAsang
kurugalu nItchiyung kUdA - dhuruvang
gunankula nAmamung koLLAma luLLa
dhuNarga birammamend RutRu   


" 1)  Measurable fullness, immeasurable smallness,
        manifestation, demanifestation,
        contraction and expansion
        without adjoining -
   2)  form, attribute,
        type and name
        without accepting,
   3)  that which abides,
   4)  is Brahman." thus perceive enquiring (into It).


Verse 61:
edhanoLiyi nAllLiru mEyiravi yAdhi
yedhanai yavaiyoLirkka vElA - dhedhanAlE
yindhavula gellA milagu madhuthAnE
yandhap pirama maRi.        .


" 1)  By the Light of which Sun, etc., shine,
   2) which they 'are not fit to and cannot' illumine,
   3) by which(!) all this landspace abides shining,
   4) that itself(!) is That Brahman.",
know thus.


Verse 62:
oLirndhulaga mellAndthA nuLveLivi yApith
thoLirndhidu mappirama mOrvA -yoLiru
neruppiniR kAyndhangi nEroLiru mandah
viruppuNdai yaippOla vE        

" 1)  That Brahman (which is) Illumining, (It)self pervading inside (and)
outside all universe, (and) shining,
   2)  Know to be only like the dull ball of iron that shines like fire,
having got roasted in fire."

Gene Poole

(broadband connection recommended)  

(Summary: Internet mailing lists and the technology of
threading of lists)  

This has directly to do with manipulation of media content,
with unexpected effects on the 'consumer'.  

Text in lists is media content.  

Readers of lists (one or more lists) are subject to the effect
denoted in the speech content of the above linked website.  

We have a crux between conscious and deliberate thought and
intention, and unconscious or automatic thought and surprising
or unexpected conclusions.  

It is a common strategy of the reader of lists to deploy
'filters' to make the content of read lists 'linear'; that is,
that readers often (or always) adjust their perceptions to
take into account what seems to be incomplete or fragmented
information (postings).  

One side-effect of such filters is the disappearance of
information to be gleaned by accepting the nonlinear content
of lists (including content of many lists, not just one list).  

This effect is termed by social psychology to be a 'latent
function' of the technology of lists (threading).  

List ecology must take this effect into consideration, even if
it is understood that each reader has deployed filters which
are quite different than any other reader.  

Meanings derived from reading of lists (threaded postings) are
not only subject to ordinary misinterpretation, but also, to
the effect of joining nonlinear information which has
infiltrated the mind of the reader, information which has
bypassed the filters (assumptions) of the reader. Such joined
information may manifest in a manner that is either
progressive or retrogressive, with effects which are
experienced as pleasant (progressive) or unpleasant
(retrogressive) by the reader.

Islam Online  

Betwixt the Conceptual and the Affective: Hayy Ibn Yaqzan Revisited  

By Ahmed El-Sayed A doctoral Student of Philosophy  

Born in the year 506 A.H. (Islamic Calendar), or 1110 A.C.,
Ibn Tufayl has widely been esteemed as one of the most eminent
Arab and Islamic philosophers and physicians. Although he was
a prolific writer in multifarious fields, like medicine and
astronomy, what he is most famous for of his extant work is
his worldwide acclaimed treatise “Hayy Ibn Yaqzan”.  

The several, repeated Latin, French and Spanish translations
of this exceptionally eloquent and philosophically profound
treatise are often considered indicative of its value and its
far-reaching influence on medieval and the later renaissance
philosophy. Though this magnificent treatise of philosophical
literature could very well be read as an attempt on the part
of Ibn Tufayl to establish a reconciliation between religion
and rational speculation as lot of his predecessors and
contemporaries were wont to do, there is philosophically and
religiously more to it than this merely ideological motif.  

As Hayy, the protagonist and avatar of the immediate,
primordial and indeed theoretically non-positing inquiry into
being, develops the reader gets appositely presented with a
series of original and stunningly deep insights that artfully
maps the trajectory that philosophical reasoning is wont to
follow. Not only does Hayy arrive at the necessary existence
of God by dint of reason, but he proceeds further with his
investigation to identify the limitations of such an
identification vehicle. At a climax-like point of
enlightenment, Hayy realizes the primacy and power of the
affective experience of God in the worldly sphere. Even his
purely immediate faculty of reason and consciousness has to be
overcome to allow all his rational and animal turbulences to
settle and attend to the concrete flood of the divine. Getting
acquainted with the orthodox rituals of traditional religion,
Hayy is filled with frustration and is resolved to return to
his marooned isolation and rejoice in his solitary yet more
authentic experience of God .  

What is in Between?  

In a move that is quintessentially Aristotelian, Ibn Tufayl
sets out to investigate the telos (end goal) of oriental
philosophy and wisdom in the experience of communion with God;
the affective experience that can only be attended to in the
actual instance of the lives of those who earned its matchless
joy and rejoiced in its ineffable splendor. In a manner
similar to Aristotle's characterization of happiness in the
Nichomachean Ethics, Ibn Tufayl asserts that his (quite
corresponding) being-in-communion-with-God is conceptually
irreducible; ideally, then, it is to be sought in actual
sphere of experience. Further, such exalted mode of being is
posited as the necessary culmination of any inquiry into the
dynamics and character of being. To demonstrate this claim,
Ibn Tufayl constructs the literary imagery of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan
to portray the actuality of what he envisioned the natural
dialectical development towards truth. This path is
systematically delineated as Hayy advances from the initial
child wander through the accumulation of empirical knowledge
by trial and error, the discovery of the faculty of reason,
the rationally deduced proof of the necessary existence of the
divine, and the investigation of the attributes exclusively
specific to Him until the concluding recognition of the
limitations of reason vis-à-vis the irreducible affective
wholeness of the one. All of his intermittent moments of
intellectual frustration (vis-à-vis those of ecstatic
enlightenment, existential anxieties and crises, bewildered
inquiries, emotional ambivalences and affective repressions
and paroxysms) correspond quite stunningly to different
moments in the history of philosophy from the Pre-Socratics
down to him. Commencing with a recounting of the decisive
infliction points and the momentous transformations of Hayy’s
life, our undertaking will endeavor to explore and interrogate
the philosophical foundations of Hayy’s propositions.  

Demonstrating his profound understanding of the structure of
reason and its essentially negative mode of knowing, Ibn
Tufayl aptly chooses Hayy’s first experience of absolute
negation and existentially imposing anxiety at the death of
his doe-mother to mark the initation of Hayy’s lifetime
inquiry. Starting with the dissection and the observation of
the dynamics of the elements of his immediate experience, Hayy
begins to develop his own cosmogony—model of origin of the
world. In his description of such an undertaking, Ibn Tufayl
critically surveys most of the philosophical propositions of
ancient Greek antiquity, starting with the Pre-Socratic idea
of the four primeval elements and down to the matter-form
primacy debate between Aristotle and Plato. As time elapses,
Hayy’s understanding of the world progresses in a dialectical
process in which his inductively formulated theses either
cancel or reinforce each other, up to the point at which he
arrives at the principle of causality. By that time Hayy has
already found out two important ontological facts; first, that
despite the plurality of things an underlying oneness always
seems to ground being; and second, that there is always
something, namely the soul, that transcends sheer physicality.
As he traced the chain of causes, Hayy eventually came to
realize that there must be a cause that is prior to the world
and that it can’t exist within the sphere of space and time.
Such cause is God, the necessarily existent. At this moment he
realizes that consciousness, the investigative tool he has
used to recognize the existence of God is, like Stoics, the
divine manifestation in man. Further, he came to the
conclusion that the only way to reach happiness in life and
experience a proper death is to always be in the presence of
such all-powerful necessarily existent. To achieve that, he
embraces his three modes of existence, namely, as an animal, a
heavenly body—which he deemed higher than animals and more
devoted to the divine—and as in communion with the necessarily
existent. As for the first one, as an animal, Ibn Tufayl,
seems to espouse the stoic prescription to eat only what is
sufficient to sustain you, and to always try to add to the
cycle of life by replacing whatever you consume by means of
prudent use and cultivation. The perfection of the second
mode, that of a heavenly body, was, to Hayy, to spend the
longest time possible in a detached meditative state to free
himself of all distractions, disturbances of desires and
animal temptations. To achieve the third and highest mode of
being, the communion with the divine, Hayy decided that since
transcendence of physicality is the constitutive feature of
God he should relentlessly try to die to himself, to always
experience his nothingness. Regarding this as the highest
possible form of communion with God, Hayy was quite
disappointed when he left his island to see how ordinary
religious communities worship God. He thought that there way
was quite reductive and unsatisfactory to the necessarily

Having introduced the main ideas Ibn Tufayl puts forwards in
Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, we can move on to an analysis of such theses.
To begin with, it could be said that Hayy Ibn Yaqzan is the
Islamic literary extrapolation of Aristotle’s
actuality-oriented ethics. The way Hayy’s reasoning on nature
evolved into a highly complex belief in God clearly
demonstrates this point. Ibn Tufayl emphatically asserts that
reason and rational inquiry are never sufficient as a proper
ground for what, as he intimates, could be described as the
fully actualized experience of and most irreducible mode of
comportment towards God. In the process of knowing, the
knowing subject is still fully aware of himself as he
identifies, appropriates and constructs the objects of
experience. Riding himself of his ego was Hayy’s way to
achieve communion with God; the stage at which all turbulences
of conscious subjectivity settle down and one becomes but a
mirror wherein the divine can manifest Himself. Substantially
then, Ibn Tufayl supports the view that calls for a return to
the primordial unity with the world. On the way to redeeming
this unity, reason plays an important role as it dialectically
proceeds from one thesis to the other. Once reason hits its
limits at the question of God—the thing which is, in its own
right, quite Kantian—affective experience should be allowed to
give itself as the province where meaning in its authenticity
and full concretion unfolds. Though Ibn Tufayl does not thus
formulate the point, the least that could be said in this
respect is that he quite embraces a view of reason that is
most akin to that of the conception of nous (the rational part
of the human soul) in the Pre-Socratic tradition. Such a path
of thinking tends to understand reason, qua a discourse, not
as identical with the rational: the conceptualizing faculty
that is necessarily governed by a rigidly defined set of laws
otherwise labeled “transcendental logic”, but rather as a
whole aura of experience where no trace of the classical
subject-–object dichotomy exists. The similarity to Aristotle
has hence unfolded. Positing authentic actual experience
rather than intellectual abstraction as the condition for
happiness and communion with God, renders Hayy Ibn Yaqzan
thereby the Islamic version of Aristotle’s ethics.  

However, two questions pressingly emerge. The first is as
regards language; Hayy operated in a complete absence of any
linguistic experience. Accordingly, the path of his thought
was disburdened of all cumulatively hermeneutical
sophistication, as is usually the case in any form of human
society. In other words, the immediacy of his primordial
experience of the worldly-given was not over burdened with the
restraints of the pre-molded sets of concepts and definitions
the human agent is bound to linguistically function within as
it socially evolves. But is such linguistically void
experience of the world an authentically immediate one or is
it rather objectively reified?; as such man comports itself
towards and associates with the world through its capacity to
discourse. But how and within what experiential sphere is such
discourse possible? It is possible through language. Yet what,
if it is at all possible to interrogate language through a
“what”, is that which we call language? Is it the totality of
words, concepts and definitions visually illustrated in terms
of script. If so would not this ultimately amount to the
problem of the appropriation of meaning and the overloading of
language that hay was spared as he evolved in complete
isolation from any form of encounter with the human other? It
certainly would. So what is that that we call the authentic
form of language? That is the vocalized form, place of the
occurrence of language, the voice. Being sequestrated deprived
Hayy of the verbal experience of voice and utterance. Thus his
immediate experience of language as the realm of the authentic
manifestation of being was impinged on by the absence of
voice, the actual opening in which language reaches its full
concretion and wherein the ethical emerges in the summoning of
the other, the opening that in its won right ontologically
grounds for and makes possible the meaning of the communal (or
ummah) in Islam. So if the authentic and full experience of
God is one that goes beyond the fetters of the rational and is
accordingly one that is grounded in the more basic and indeed
immediate realm of affectivity; how could it possible to thus
be in complete solitude? In other words how is affectivity at
all possible in the absence of the other and so the absence of

Further what is also quite paradoxical is the repudiation of
the body that Hayy has reached and axiomatically maintained.
If the essential animal needs are inescapable and if we need
to continuously be in the presence of God, how can my body,
the most immediate medium of affective experience be
marginalized? The Platonic tendencies towards formal
abstraction of Ibn Tufayl have obviously swayed him in this
respect. In order to secure the rigor of the argument, the
role of the body which is already emphasized in the Islamic
creed and enactments should have been acknowledged. Otherwise,
the problem of over-conceptualization that the logical
interpretation of Islam would not even partially resolved.  

Notwithstanding any criticism, Hayy Ibn Yaqzan definitively
stands as an exceptionally philosophically insightful piece of
classical Arabic literature. The originality of its ideas and
their timeless relevance and importance will continue to
intrigue speculative minds especially at moments of crisis
like the one we are presently living, moments at which the
need for re-discovering what has already been discovered
appears to be must to redeem, to the presence of thinking,
what has long been consigned to oblivion.

top of page

Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression



ONE, by Jerry Katz

Photography by Jerry Katz

Dr. Robert Puff



Rupert Spira

DISSOLVED, Tarun Sardana

HIGH JUMP, Tarun Sardana

Greg Goode -
After Awareness: The End of the Path

Consider joining our Facebook discussion community, Nonduality Salon, going on 20 years of active participation. We were the first online discussion group dedicated to nonduality in a popular sense.