Nonduality: What is Nonduality

What is Nonduality

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Nondual Highlights Issue #2084 Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Nagarjuna's Mahamudra Vision

Homage to Manjusrikumarabhuta!

1. I bow down to the all-powerful Buddha
Whose mind is free of attachment,
Who in his compassion and wisdom
Has taught the inexpressible.

2. In truth there is no birth -
Then surely no cessation or liberation;
The Buddha is like the sky
And all beings have that nature.

3. Neither Samsara nor Nirvana exist,
But all is a complex continuum
With an intrinsic face of void,
The object of ultimate awareness.

4. The nature of all things
Appears like a reflection,
Pure and naturally quiescent,
With a non-dual identity of suchness.

5. The common mind imagines a self
Where there is nothing at all,
And it conceives of emotional states -
Happiness, suffering, and equanimity.

6. The six states of being in Samsara,
The happiness of heaven,
The suffering of hell,
Are all false creations, figments of mind.

7. Likewise the ideas of bad action causing suffering,
Old age, disease and death,
And the idea that virtue leads to happiness,
Are mere ideas, unreal notions.

8. Like an artist frightened
By the devil he paints,
The sufferer in Samsara
Is terrified by his own imagination.

9. Like a man caught in quicksands
Thrashing and struggling about,
So beings drown
In the mess of their own thoughts.

10. Mistaking fantasy for reality
Causes an experience of suffering;
Mind is poisoned by interpretation
Of consciousness of form.

11. Dissolving figment and fantasy
With a mind of compassionate insight,
Remain in perfect awareness
In order to help all beings.

12. So acquiring conventional virtue
Freed from the web of interpretive thought,
Insurpassable understanding is gained
As Buddha, friend to the world.

13. Knowing the relativity of all,
The ultimate truth is always seen;
Dismissing the idea of beginning, middle and end
The flow is seen as Emptiness.

14. So all samsara and nirvana is seen as it is -
Empty and insubstantial,
Naked and changeless,
Eternally quiescent and illumined.

15. As the figments of a dream
Dissolve upon waking,
So the confusion of Samsara
Fades away in enlightenment.

16. Idealising things of no substance
As eternal, substantial and satisfying,
Shrouding them in a fog of desire
The round of existence arises.

17. The nature of beings is unborn
Yet commonly beings are conceived to exist;
Both beings and their ideas
Are false beliefs.

18. It is nothing but an artifice of mind
This birth into an illusory becoming,
Into a world of good and evil action
With good or bad rebirth to follow.

19. When the wheel of mind ceases to turn
All things come to an end.
So there is nothing inherently substantial
And all things are utterly pure.

20. This great ocean of samsara,
Full of delusive thought,
Can be crossed in the boat Universal Approach.
Who can reach the other side without it?

- Nagarjuna, posted to DailyDharma

She went on to say that from the moment they first met me, they had nicknamed me Fosforito, little match. "You burn too fast and uselessly." She gestured for me to remain quiet and added that I didn't know how to focus my energy. "It's deployed to protect and uphold the idea of yourself." Again she motioned me to be silent and said that what we think is our personal self is, in actuality, only an idea. She claimed that the bulk of our energy is comsumed in defending that idea.

Chapter 18
Florinda Donner, posted to The Other Syntax


Holy one, pray instruct me in such a way that it will be perfectly clear to me that the mind is non-existent.

KUMBHA said:

O King, there is not and there never has been an entity known as the mind. That which shines here and is known as the mind is indeed the infinite Brahman (consciousness). It is ignorance of its true nature which gives rise to the notion of a mind and the world and all the rest of it. When even these are insubstantial notions, how can 'I', 'you' etc. be considered real? Thus, there is no such thing as the 'world', and whatever appears to be is uncreated. All this is indeed Brahman. How can that be known and by whom?

Even in the beginning of the present world-cycle the world was not created. It was described as creation by me only for your comprehension. In the total absence of any causative factors, all these could not have been created at all. Therefore, whatever there is is Brahman and naught else. It is not even logical to say that the Lord who is nameless and formless created the world! It is not true. When thus the creation of the world is seen to be false, then surely the mind that entertains the notion of such a creation is false, too.

Mind is but a bundle of such notions that limit the truth. But, then, division implies divisibility. When the infinite consciousness is incapable of division, there is no divisibility and hence no division. How can mind, the divider, be real? Whatever appears to be here is perceived in Brahman, by Brahman, and such perception is, by courtesy, known as the mind! It is the infinite consciousness alone which is spread out as the universe. Why then call it the universe? In this plane or dimension of consciousness, whatever slight appearance there seems to be is but the reflection of consciousness in itself: hence there is neither mind nor the world. Only in ignorance is all this seen as the 'world'. Hence the mind is unreal.

Only creation is negated by this, not what *is*. The reality that is seen as this world is beginningless and uncreated. [. . .]

When the world does not exist as such, where is 'I' or 'you'? Hence, remaining at peace with yourself, engage yourself in non-volitional actions as are appropriate from moment to moment. All this is but Brahman which is peace; 'I' and the 'world' are but words without substance. When the insubstantiality of such expressions is realized, then what is seen as the world is realized as Brahman.

The creator Brahma is but an idea or notion. Even so is 'self' or 'I'. In their right or wrong comprehension lies liberation or bondage! The notion 'I am' gives rise to bondage and self destruction. The realization 'I am (is) not' leads to freedom and purity. Bondage and liberation are but notions. That which is aware of these notions is infinite consciousness which alone is. The notion 'I am' is the source of all distress. The absence of such a feeling is perfection. Realize 'I am not that egosense' and rest in pure awareness.

When such pure awareness arises, all notions subside. There is perfection. In the pure awareness, perfection or the Lord, there is neither causality nor the resultant creation of objects. In the absence of objects, there is no experience nor its concomitant egosense. When the egosense is non-existent, where is samsara (the cycle of birth and death)? When thus samsara does not exist, the supreme being alone remains. In it the universe exists as carvings in uncarved stone. He who thus sees the universe, without the intervention of the mind and therefore without the notion of a universe, he alone sees the truth. Such a vision is known as nirvana.

Even as the ocean alone exists when the word 'wave' is deprived of its meaning, Brahman alone exists when when the word 'creation' is seen as meaningless. This creation is Brahman; Brahman alone is aware of this creation. When the word-meaning of 'creation' is dropped, the true meaning of 'creation' is seen as the eternal Brahman. When one enquires into the word 'Brahman', the ALL is comprehended. When one similarly enquires into the word 'creation', Brahman is comprehended. However, that consciousness which is the basis and the substratum for all such notions and their awareness is known by the word 'Brahman'. When this truth is clearly realized and when the duality of knowledge and known is discarded, what remains is the supreme peace which is indescribable and inexpressible.

- excerpt from
Yoga Vasistha, trans. Swami Venkatesananda

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