Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

#1835 - Monday, June 21, 2004 - Editor: Jerry  


citycamping list  

Hermit of San Bruno Mountain Evicted  

Even though this story is 17 years old, these kinds of things happen
every day.  Only a few make it to the AP and the national spotlight. 
Worth reading to be reminded that sometimes squirrels and other
creatures supposedly "native" to an area have more "legal" right to
be there than us humans do.
Hermit of San Bruno Mountain Is Evicted
from the San Francisco Chronicle, May 16th 1987
by Michael McCabe
After 10 years of diminishing solitude, the hermit of San Bruno
Mountain has been evicted from his woodsy shelter because park
officials don't consider him natural to the environment.
Dwight, as he is known by hikers and environmentalists in the area,
was kicked out of his homemade shelter Thursday and told not to come
Eight park rangers and sheriff's officers from San Mateo County
swooped down on the site and confiscated most of his belongings and
destroyed the camp site, Dwight said yesterday.
"That's It, I'm getting out, no two ways about it." said Dwight, 44,
who said his full name is Dwight Vernon Taylor.
"I don't know what my next move is, but I know this is the end. I'm
staying here on the mountain for a short time until they return my
belongings and I figure things out."
Dwight, a short, wiry Peninsula native with mischievous blue eyes,
said he found a written warning on Wednesday from the San Mateo
County Parks and Recreation Department posted on his A-frame shelter,
informing him that his campsite was illegal. He was given 24 hours to
vacate the premises.
He had received a similar warning about a year ago, he said, but it
was rescinded when hundreds of friends, and friends of friends, wrote
letters to the county protesting the eviction.  He hoped the same
thing would happen again.
This time someone from Brisbane apparently took umbrage at the
hermit's existence on the north side of San Bruno Mountain and
demanded action.
"I received a public complaint about a week ago that this hermit was
building a cistern on the side of the mountain, leveling off the
land," said David Cristy, director of parks and recreation for San
Mateo County. "I decided it was time to have my rangers and the
sheriff's department move in and return the area to its natural
Dwight was ticketed for camping, building campfires, and "mutilating"
the environment.
"When I saw all those rangers and sheriff's men cutting down tree
limbs to clear the way to haul my stuff away, I got myself very
peeved," Dwight said. "I sat down in silence for a while and watched
them, not trusting myself to speak."
Some environmentalists and friends of Dwight's are outraged by the
"There is nothing unnatural about Dwight," said David Schooley, 43,
founder of Bay Area Mountain Watch, a group interested in protecting
the San Bruno Mountain area from development and other urban
threats. "He is a natural resource to the mountain."
Schooley, who has visited Dwight off and on for eight years, said
Dwight is very friendly and sociable, and often takes children on
nature hikes along the mountainside. "Anyone who has spent any time
at all on the mountain knows that Dwight has become a human adjunct
to the mountain's healing powers," Schooley said. "It's horrible
what's happened."
Dwight said he used to teach music in junior high school until he
reached "burnout stage," and left for long hikes across the country.
Soon, he said, he discovered he could not stand to live within the
confines of a house, with its stale air and restrictions on night
star views.
Gradually, he said, he found himself coming more and more to the San
Bruno Mountain area, long before it became a park. He lives on $30 a
month he gets in dividends from a money market fund. His diet is
primarily brown rice he buys in town. Otherwise, he forages
for "mountain greens," watercress, miners lettuce and mustard greens.
He says he has made himself immune to the ubiquitous poison oak by
eating its leaves at regular intervals.
"I'm a hermit, because some people were just born to be hermits,"
Dwight said, sitting on the side of the moutain yesterday. "But I
have always loved visitors. It's like I have loved people too much
and that has gotten me in trouble. I've always craved solitude--it
gives you an evenness of mood that is not available outside. Time
just floats by, nonverbally.
"The destruction that came yesterday may have been a blessing. I was
getting too many visitors; two or three a week. Now maybe I'll be
forced back into greater solitude again."

A Course in Consciousness, by Stanley Sobottka.
This page last updated June 8, 2004.  

Dialogue in Consciousness

1.  What is the difference between a concept and Reality? 

a.  A concept is a result of conceptualization, which is the process of separating and naming.
b.  Conceptualization is a process learned in early childhood.  The infant does not conceptualize because its intellect is undeveloped.  In contrast, the sage has a well-developed intellect and conceptualizes but sees that separation is an illusion.
c.  Without conceptualization, there are no objects (e.g., in dreamless sleep, under anesthesia, or in samadhi) because, by definition, objects are always separate from each other.
d.  Reality is not a concept.  Rather, It is absence of separation.  Therefore, It is also absence of concepts and objects.
e.  Conceptualization appears to fragment Reality (which is also Wholeness) into separate objects so that Reality no longer seems to be whole.  However, Reality remains unchanged by it.  

2.  What is meant by true and untrue concepts?

a.  A belief is a concept to which the mind is strongly attached.
b.  A belief that cannot be verified by direct seeing is always subject to attack by a counter- belief.  Therefore, it must be constantly reinforced by repetition of the belief.  Blind, unexamined, purposeful adoption of a belief is called faith.
c.  Since Reality is absence of separation, It cannot be perceived.  Therefore, concepts cannot describe Reality (but they can be true, see g and h below).
d.  Example:  A material object by definition is separate from other material objects.  Therefore, material objects are not real.  The belief that material objects are real is constantly reinforced by materialistic culture, and can be sustained only by a failure to see the distinction between objects and Reality.
e.  Although concepts cannot describe Reality, they can point to Reality.
f.  A pointer is an invitation to see directly the distinction between an object and Reality.
g.  If a concept asserts or implies the reality of any object, it is untrue.  If it negates the reality of an object, it is true (but not a description of Reality).  A true concept can be a useful pointer to Reality.
h.  Example:  The concept that material objects are not real is true, and is a pointer to Reality.  

3.  What is the world (the universe)? 

a.  The world (the universe) is the collection of objects consisting of the body-mind and all other objects. The world appears to exist in time and space.
b.  However, time and space are nothing but concepts.  They are not real.
c.  Time is the concept of change.  Since all objects change, all objects are temporal concepts.
d.  Space is the concept of extension (size and shape).  Since all objects are extended in space, all objects are spatial concepts.     

4.  What are polar, or dual, pairs of concepts?

a.  Conceptualization always results in inseparable pairs of concepts (polar, or dual, pairs) because every concept has an opposite.
b . Reality is apparently split into polar (dual) pairs by conceptualization.  However, no concept is real since Reality cannot be split. 
c.  The result of apparently splitting Reality into polar pairs of concepts is called duality.
d.  The two concepts of a pair are always inseparable because the merger of the opposites will cancel the pair.
e.  Example:  I/not-I is a polar pair of concepts.  If the I and not-I merge, no concept remains.   

5.  What is Awareness?

a.  Awareness is what is aware of the world.
b.  Awareness is self-evident because you are aware and you know that you are aware.  It does not change and It has no extension.  Therefore, Awareness is not a concept or object.
c.  The terms “Awareness” and “Reality” are equivalent conceptual pointers.
d.  All objects appear in Awareness and are Its contents.  

6.  What are You? 

a.  You are not a concept or object.  Clear seeing shows that You are not the body-mind because You are what is aware of the body-mind.
b.  Therefore, You are Awareness.
c.  The world and the body-mind appear in You--You do not appear in the world.  

7.  What is existence?

a.  An object formed by conceptualization plus identification is said to exist.
b.  Without identification, there is no object—it is just a concept.
c.  No object is real because Reality is absence of separation.  Therefore, no object exists.
d.  The apparent existence of objects is called dualism (not duality--compare with duality in 4c above).
e.  The sage, being only Awareness and knowing only Awareness, sees no separation, thus he/she sees concepts but no objects, i.e., duality but not dualism.    

8.  What is the I-object?

a.  The I-object is an assumed entity that results from identification of Awareness, which is real, with the I-concept, which is unreal.  The I-object seems to exist, but clear seeing shows that it does not.
b.  You are not an object and You do not exist--You are Reality (Awareness).   

9.  What is it that makes other objects seem to exist?

a.  Whenever the I-object appears to arise, the non-I object also appears to arise.  Then the dualism of desire-for/fear-of the non-I object appears to arise also.
b.  Thus, the non-I object seems real.
c.  Further conceptualization then splits the apparent non-I object into a multitude of objects, and fear/desire makes them also seem real.    

10.  What is the personal sense of doership and responsibility?
a.  The illusory I-object carries with it the illusory personal sense of doership and responsibility.
b.  However, since the I-object does not exist, there is no doer, no thinker, no chooser, and no observer.
c.  Therefore, You can do nothing and You are responsible for nothing.  Thus, if something is supposed to happen, it will.  If not, it won’t.  

11.  If there is no doer, how do things happen? 

a.  Doership is a concept that assumes that both the doer and causality exist (“I can cause this to happen”).
b.  However, since there is no doer, causality is nothing but a concept and is not real.
c.  Since all objects are nothing but concepts and do not exist, everything that appears to happen is also nothing but a concept and does not exist.
d.  Everything that appears to happen happens causelessly (spontaneously).
e.  Even if objects existed, it is easily seen that no putative cause could ever be isolated from the rest of the universe, so it could never act alone.  Therefore, the entire universe would have to be the cause.
f.  Because the I-object and causality are nothing but concepts, so is free will.  It too does not exist.
g.  Like all other objects, God is nothing but a concept, and does not exist.   

12.  What is suffering? 

a.  Suffering is the desire/fear dualism (i.e., where there is desire, there is fear, and vice versa) plus all the other emotions that derive from desire/fear.
b.  Suffering results from identification of Awareness with the concept of “I” as doer, making the I-entity seem real.  With the illusory I-entity comes the sense of personal doership and responsibility, plus the illusory existence of all other objects.
c.  Identification makes all objects seem real, and desirable/fearful.   

13.  What is awakening (enlightenment)? 

a.  Awakening is disidentification of Awareness from the I-concept and therefore also from the sense of personal doership and responsibility.
b.  With awakening comes the awareness that there is no person or entity to do anything, and there never has been any person or entity.
c.  Consequently, there are also no other objects, and there never have been any other objects.
d.  Since there is no I-object, there is no person that can desire or fear.  Also, since there are no other objects, there is nothing to desire or to fear.  Thus, there is no suffering.
e.  With awakening also comes the awareness that Reality has never been affected by either conceptualization or identification.   

14.  What can you do to awaken?
a.  Since direct seeing shows that there is no doer, there is nothing that you can do to awaken, and therefore you have no responsibility for it.
b.  Since awakening transcends time, and all practices apparently occur in time, no practice can bring about awakening.

15.  Does this mean that there is no hope for the sufferer?
a.  Definitely not.  There are many practices that will lead to less suffering.  However, like all other actions, they are never done by a doer since there is no doer.  Therefore, you cannot do them, but if they are supposed to happen, they will.  If not, they won’t.
b.  Any practice of direct seeing can reveal Reality.
c.  Example:  To verify that there is no I-object, look inward for it and see that there is none.  See also that everything that happens, including all thoughts and feelings, happens spontaneously, so there is no doer and there is no responsibility. Therefore, You cannot be affected and You cannot suffer.
d.  Example:  To verify that no object exists, look and see that, if there is no separation or naming, there is no object.  Then, look and see that nothing in the world can ever bring you peace.  Finally, see that nothing can affect You who are pure Awareness and pure Peace.
e.  Resistance is a thought, feeling, or emotion that always resists something, be it a thought, feeling, sensation, perception, or action.
f.  The I-object is formed when there is identification with resistance. 
g.  Disidentification from resistance, and therefore from the I-object, occurs when there is awareness of it.
h.  The more you are aware of the resistance, the more you will transcend it, and the less you will suffer.  

16.  What is the ultimate practice?

a.  The ultimate practice is to go inward.
b.  The more time you spend inward, the more you will realize your true nature, and the better you will feel.  

Margaret & Malcolm  

Who is this for?

Margaret & Malcolm is an open system designed for everyone. Margaret is a database of events. Malcolm is a database of people and skills. Anyone, anywhere can post to Margaret & Malcolm.

Together with the Mandala database of groups and centres, this web application enables a relevant and up-to-date summary of international sangha activity: events, individuals and centres — for all sentient beings.      

      Great Eastern Sun

Sharchen Nyingma - Great Eastern Sun
Ink on paper 1980, 16 x 9 in. (41 x 23 cm)
Signed Chökyi Gyatso
Official seal of the Trungpa tülkus

Private collection

  Three Original Calligraphies   
Chöygam Trungpa   Sealevel is pleased to present three original calligraphies by the Vidyadhara Chöygam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940-1987).

Great Eastern Sun




Recalling rebbe a decade later


Scraps of prayers cover ground near grave of Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson in Cambria Heights, Brooklyn, yesterday.

Upwards of 20,000 people are expected to flock to the Cambria Heights grave of Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson today, the 10th anniversary of his death. 
Jews and non-Jews alike - from across the country and all over the world - will wait for hours and endure long lines for the opportunity to visit the rebbe's grave site, considered a holy place imbued with spirituality.

"People come here and feel an energy that emanates from the grave. They feel there's a spirituality here," said Rabbi Abba Refson, director of Ohel Chabad Lubavitch Center, which adjoins the grave site. "Some people come out weeping and emotional, and others come out inspired and uplifted, but everyone comes out somewhat impacted by standing in the presence of the rebbe."
Read the entire article

top of page