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#1794 - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - Editor: michael

The one "I am" at the heart of all creation,
Thou art the light of life.

Shvetashvatara Upanishad


One Big Mind

Dear Friends,  

Universal Conciousness. One Big Mind to rule them all.   Here are some web sites that address the advaita concept of universal mind/conciousness. The last website is offered in the hopes that we don't take the whole thing too seriously.  

You are the universal One Big Mind! Well, maybe not The one big mind but ... <grins> nobody is left out.  

Thinking about you,  


The readers write back:  

Hi Michael,
          It seems that when you get into zen matters, there is nothing but this. Pretty much the same as dzogchen.
          At present I am rereading, and attempting to understand, a book called " Buddhism is Not What You think " by Steven Hagen, and American zenmaster in Minneapolis and a pupil of the late, wonderful Dainin Katagari. He shatters everything and seems to say, in substance, that there is  only this - and nothing can be said about it.
          Naturally he is of the view that we have no separate existence from things - and leaves me in doubt whether there is anything that exists, in his view. He says, for example, that people err when they say that the Buddha taught that everything is constant change, being borne and dying endlessly. Instead,  he says " he (Budha) saw that there isn't anything that comes or goes, that is born or dies." (p.49 ).
          That is where I am stumped.  He  seemingly suggests that there is just one big Mind and we and all things are just part of it. If anyone has read and can explain Hagen's viewpoint, I certainly would like to hear it.
          He is not simple, I'll say that.

          Earl McHugh

Hello Earl,  

This edition is dedicated to you, all of you everywhere.  


Dzogchen Part:1
Hermetic Buddhism              
There is a Buddhist saying that explains Consciousness and Enlightenment. It describes Consciousness as having three levels. The first level of consciousness is about how an individual sees and understands the world as something outside of 
him. In other words, he himself is the subject observing objects. The second level of consciousness is about a certain degree of awakening. The individual's consciousness realizes that the way he sees and understands what goes on around him depends on the level of awakening of his own consciousness. He knows that he is the one who projects reality and gives meaning to his world. Finally, the third level Consciousness allows one to fully understand that the only truth is that Consciousness is the Creator of Creation and that without consciousness nothing can exist.

Here is the summary of that Buddhist saying: it goes like this: In the first degree, first, mountains and rivers are seen as mountains and rivers. This statement represents an individual identifying himself as the subject and seeing an object. In this case the individual is totally involved as a subject with whatever he is perceiving and observing as an object. This is what the ordinary person does. In the second degree of Consciousness awakening, mountains and rivers are no longer seen as mountains and rivers. Objects are seen as the mirrored projection of the subject. They are perceived as illusory objects in Consciousness and therefore unreal.

Finally, in the third degree of awakening or Enlightenment, mountains and rivers are once more seen as mountains and rivers. That is, when the individual is awakened and whatever is perceived is known as Consciousness itself manifesting as mountains and rivers. Subject and objects are not seen as being separate.

The rest of it at:


True emptiness exists when the mind

is clear and all forms have vanished.


This is a condition one achieves first

by determined and disciplined sitting

in meditation, zazen. With practice and

perseverance, the condition extends its

effects into all of one's living, still or

moving, awake or asleep, working or



Externally, one perceives no objects.

There is no sensation of physical body.

Internally, there is no mental activity, no

thinker, no thoughts. Nothing exists, not

even emptiness. Not time, nor space,

nor gravity. Nothingness.

Immense and infinite clarity, pure

awareness without any object,

without any knowing thereof.

The cloud of unknowing.


But there is ' something '....


Immensely important, immensely

interesting and significant. Immensely

potent, wondrous and awesome.


True emptiness is impossible to explain

with words, but it is universal. There

are reports and descriptions of its

achievement from every time and from

every culture. From Meister Eckhart to

the Kabbalists, from Gautama Buddha

to Leonardo da Vinci, from the Shamans

of Siberia and South America, to Nagarjuna,

to Plotinus, to Patanjali, etc., etc., thousands

and thousands of individuals, from all around

the world, for thousands of years, have striven

to explore and describe mystical experience,

essentially indescribable, within the limitations

of their particular conceptual and linguistic



Because of the great differences between

cultures resulting from historical events,

temporal and geographic location, social

and philosophical traditions, political and

sectarian rivalry, there is much confusion

of terminology, every tradition having

its own preferred map of the one

territory, often delineated in obscure

and archaic technical language.


Whether you talk about jhanas or lokas,

whether you talk about Ain Soph, nirvikalpa

samadhi or the Celestial or the Immaterial

Realm, whether you talk about sunyata, or

the Ground of Being, Chakras or Sephiroths,

Brahman or Allah, God, Tao or Dharmakaya,

whatever, it is all entirely, totally, absolutely,

decisively, emphatically irrelevant to the

actual real physical and spiritual work

involved in the direct and real experience.

Got that ?


' It ' has no name.


There is a reason why it has no name , and

the reason is this. Because that portion of the

mind, of the brain, the aspect of one's self, the

level of consciousness ( or whatever type of

terminology you prefer ) which names things

and which is forever prattling away to itself

using the things that we call thoughts, - that

part is not operating, is switched off, asleep, or

suspended. You do this every time you fall

asleep. Not a big deal, really. It means you can

explore without the distraction of the 'monkey

mind ' which is forever jumping from one

thought to the next. Asleep, but very wide

awake, simultaneously. It is an entirely natural

faculty, lost to most because it is not culturally

understood, supported or endorsed.


So, that part of the normal person which is

a cognitive construct, a mental model of the

' me ', or ' self ', or 'ego', ( or whatever is your

prefered term ), built up by the thinking mind,

the bit which thinks of itself conceptually as

" I am < insert your name here > ", the ' me ',

can never have this particular experience,

because that particular mental faculty ceases


Hence Nirvana defined as a cessation.

Think of it as turning off loud music, so that

you can hear the whispering wind outside, or

switching off your bright electric lights, so that

you can see the twinkling stars.


Thus,' nobody ' can ever have this experience.

But that does not mean that the experience

cannot be had. It just means that the intellect,

the rational thinking mind, is not the tool for

the job. And since Western culture is built

upon exhaltation of the rational mind, in its

arrogance and conceit, it finds it impossible to

comprehend anything else, or even to admit

the possibility of anything else. Sad, really.


The people who are too lazy, ignorant, defiled,

misled or confused to do the work, like to

quarrel and fight over the words.

They are no better than poultry squabbling

over a piece of dirt, and one must pity them.


' What exactly do you mean by ego ? ', they


That does not matter. The dividing up of

reality into 'the ten thousand things' with

scientific precision, is another arena, the rational

domain, a kind of bureaucracy which wants

everything labelled, pigeon holed and entered

in the ledgers under the right heading.

All well and good, if you are a taxonomist,

a lexicographer, or want to argue all day

whether a rose is a rose is a rose or not.

But no use at all for following the Way.


Some people call it ego death, some call it

transcendence, rapture, out-of-the-body, etc, etc,.

There are dozens of terms, but all of them

useless, because none of them will assist you

in the slightest towards having the actual

experience, which is what matters. Not words.

They are all a hindrance.


Loss of ego, a silent mind, being without

thought, etc, is a beginning, but only a

beginning. There is much further to go.


Taoism distinguishes three levels at the

high end of the human condition.

These divisions are largely meaningless,

because if you do not experience them

directly, they remain metaphoric, poetic,

merely ideas. And if you do experience

them, and are sufficiently advanced to

discern the boundaries, there is no need

to label them analytically, as it serves

no useful purpose so to do.


The lowest grade of enlightenment is

called the High Pure Realm. From this

status, one exists in harmony with

nature and people, and is considered

virtuous in human terms.


The next station is called the Most Pure

Realm, where subject and object, self

and other, are still differentiated, but

are both experienced as integrated into

the Tao.


The ultimate level is called the Jade Pure

Realm, where one has achieved wu chi,

complete union with the Tao.


If you really want to find this ' thing '

you don't need to concern yourself with

ANY of the cultural traditions.

' It ' does not care whether you are a Jew,

a Sikh, a Buddhist, a Quaker, a Pagan, Jain,

Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Hindu, or any

of the myriad human categories.

The Universe, the source of our being, is

not the property of any particular

school of thought, belief system, ethnic

group, world view, cosmology or religion.

It does not sell franchises.

The above found at:

"Universal Consciousness: Of its Own Free Will" by Swami Muktananda

in Siddha Path, Feb. 1983 :13.

p. The Pratyabhijnahridayam is a very important universal doctrine, and is one of the principal texts of Kashmir Shaivism. There is a saying in Karnataka tha whatever happens, you must always repeat at least three words from Pratyabhijnahridayam every day. [ **author Jaideva Singh and published in 1982 by Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi India 110-007].

The first sutra of the Pratyabhijnahridayam is

chiti svatantra vishva siddhi hetuhu:"Chiti, the supreme Consciousness, has of Its own absolute free-will brought this universe into existence." Chiti is God's creative power, His dynamic energy, which is completely one with God. Everything from the supreme Lord Himself to the smallest creature of the earth is contained in that Chiti and is illuminated by It.

The creation of all this, from the higest principle to the lowest, is the work of Chiti. Its preservation, with all its light, is also the work of Chiti. When having created the universe and preserved it, the Lord finally withdraws it into Himself, Chiti is the cause of that withdrawal. Moreover, the same Chiti which carries on the working of the entire universe is also the one who gives the fruit of all the actions that go on in the world. Chiti not only gives the highest fruit, but also is the means by which it is received. It is the giver of all attainments as well as the means for that attainment.

Chiti is abolutely free. There is nothing which is beyond Chiti, nothing which is freer than Chiti, nothing which is greater than Chiti. Chiti is of the form of supreme Shiva, and is in no way different from Him. Moreover, Chiti is in no way different from every thing in the universe.

The rest of it at:  

Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness

Alice Coltrane

Jazz Music by Alice Coltrane    

An Inquiry into the Meaning of Consciousness

Consciousness can be defined as an awareness of the self and/or the environment. Consciousness enables the individual to react to changes in the self and/or the environment.

Consciousness may have varying levels of organization. Consciousness may or may not include organized thinking. Individuals may be conscious, and yet may not be capable of organized thinking.

Conscious individuals react to changes in their own physical being, or to changes in the environment. Thus, consciousness attempts to organize the self and/or the environment.

Consciousness may include self-consciousness, i.e. awareness of an individual’s own existence as a conscious being. Self-consciousness may include the awareness which individuals have of their own thoughts and feelings.

Consciousness may be subdefined as individual, group, class, collective, social, or universal.

Individual consciousness is the consciousnss of one individual. Group consciousness may include a group of individuals. Class consciousness may include a class of individuals. Collective consciousness may include a family, order, species, or other class of individuals. Social consciousness may include a whole society. Universal consciousness may be an order of consciousness which includes all consciousness.

Group or class consciousness is a consciousness shared by a group or class of individuals. Group consciousness may include each individual’s consciousness of the self in relation to the group. Group consciousness may also include the group’s consciousness of itself in relation to other groups, or in relation to a larger group such as society.

Collective consciousness is consciousness shared by many individuals. The term overlaps group, class, and social consciousness. A group, or class, or society, may be said to have a collective consciousness. Each individual in the group or class or society may have varying levels of consciousness. Thus, what is present in collective consciousness may not be present at the same level of consciousness in each individual.

Social consciousness is consciousness shared within a society. The term is ambiguous, however, because it may refer to an individual consciousness, or to a consciousness shared by many individuals.

The commonly used phrase, “socially conscious,” may refer to an individual’s consciousness of self in relation to society. This consciousness may become a collective consciousness if it is shared by many individuals.

On the other hand, social consciousness may also refer to a society’s consciousness of itself as a society.

Individual consciousness by definition is not a universal consciousness, unless the individual is assumed to be conscious of every other conscious being. Therefore, individual consciousness is limited and finite. Individual consciousness is usually confined to a limited area of the environment. Individual consciousness may seek to expand or contract itself.

The expansion or contraction of individual consciousness may be successful or unsuccessful, functional or dysfunctional, pleasureable or painful, satisfying or unsatisfying, necessary or unnecessary.

Individual consciousness is the consciousness of one individual. Individual consciousness is in-itself. No individual can experience the consciousness of another individual simultaneously and in exactly the same way as the other individual experiences it.

Individual consciousness may communicate itself to other individual, group, collective. or social consciousness. Individual consciousness may also attempt to identify itself with the consciousness of another individual.

A part of individual consciousness may become collective or social consciousness.

Individual consciousness, by attempting to communicate itself and to merge with the consciousness of others, seeks to become shared, collective, or universal.

Individual consciousness seeks to universalize itself by communicating its contents. The degree to which individual consciousness can universalize itself is an indication of its success in communication. The universalization of individual consciousness does not in any way limit its uniqueness or expressiveness.

Individual consciousness, although it may seek universality, cannot become universal consciousness, unless it is already assumed to be conscious of every other conscious being. Universal consciousness cannot be achieved by finite individuals, unless finite consciousness universalizes itself, but universal consciousness may still communicate itself to individual consciousness.

Universal consciousness includes all individual consciousness. Universal consciousness includes the consciousness of all conscious beings.

Universal consciousness is the unity of all consciousness. Since consciousness may expand or contract, it may be possible for universal consciousness to expand or contract, along with the expansion or contraction of individual, group, class, or other forms of consciousness. Universal consciousness includes all consciousness.

If individual consciousness is finite, then it may be finite in terms of time and space. If universal consciousness includes the consciousness of every conscious being, then it is not confined by time and space.

If universal consciousness may communicate itself to individual consciousness, then individual consciousness may be aware of universal consciousness as a transcendent reality.

There is a lot more of this at the above link.

Religion is Bullshit!

Articles and opinions on the absurdity and danger of religious beliefs

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