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#2224 - Sunday, August 7, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz

This issue features a dialogue between Faithe and Jerry that took place on the newly re-opened Nonduality Salon list. The purpose of the list is to discuss nondual perspectives. That's what the dialogue is about. You may join the list at


There's also a photograph by Al Larus which was submitted to Nonduality Salon







Photo by Al Larus. More photos of this style here:





On Nondual Perspectives


Dialogue on Nonduality Salon


Dear Jerry,


I have yet to see a concise

generally accepted definition 

of what constitutes nonduality.


If the term is not definable, or

unknown, then how are we

to offer nondual perspectives?


I would appreciate a definition

of this term that we can use

on this forum.


In asking for a definition, it is

not with the intent to debate

what you offer, but

to use it as a guideline in

determining whether something

I want to share meets the

general criteria.


Right now, I do not have a

clue what constitutes a

"nondual perspective".


Thank you,






Dear Faithe,


Yes, "Nondual perspective" should be defined. Here's what I wrote and I welcome comments:

"Having a nondual perspective means being grounded in the understanding of the nondual nature of reality and bringing it to what you do."

You'll recognize a nondual perspective when you sense that someone is doing their work from the awareness of their true nature and they have a very clear knowledge of what that is. They're stabilized at that place. You can see it in their terminology and you can recognize it in their values. There are some examples below.

What does nonduality or 'nondual nature of reality' mean?

Lots of ways of defining nonduality. I'll give one. Nonduality means 'not two', nonseparateness. When we speak, we speak from a disposition. There are two basic dispositions: one from the place of oneness or "I Am" or Truth, Consciousness, God, Reality, whatever you want to call.

The second is the disposition from the Absolute, which is where the direct experience people come from. People like Tony Parsons or U.G. Krishnamurti. They say there is no God, consciousness or whatever you claim to be. They're coming from nothingness, the Absolute. From that point of view there isn't even nonseparateness. There's nothing and no one. That's the 'real' nonduality. That's true Advaita. But no one can get it. You can't do anything to get it. There's no getting and no one to do the getting.

But we can get the nonduality that pertains to God, consciousness, truth, reality. We can get it through intention, inquiry, surrender, and different means. We can taste it and know it as our true nature, as the truth of who we are.

A big problem on email lists is that you sometimes have two people speaking to each other, one from one disposition and the other from the other disposition.

What follows is a parade of nondual perspectives. You'll recognize the names of some authors. These are people grounded in nondual nature of reality and bringing that to their work. That's done by them in a natural way. Whatever they do they would bring that to their work. These people are coming from the disposition of "I Am," truth, reality, enlightenment, realization, awakening. You'll see some of those terms, and others, used in the quotations below. I'm not saying these people as individuals are limited to coming from that disposition, only in their setting forth of their perspective.

Now with the perspectives of religion, particularly Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, Judaism, Sufism, and Christianity, you'll see expression from the disposition of the Absolute. It's important to recognize the difference between the two dispositions.

Nonduality and Education:                                                

Awareness doesn’t need more information. It needs only enough information. This intelligence, the quality that mediates information into wisdom, is seldom referenced in school. If we do not include awareness in what we convey to our children, then aren’t we teaching them to be unconscious and to be consumers of an endless stream of pointless information and products? –Steven Harrison

Nonduality and Art:

A mature creative life, which has discovered its source, finds it is linked to everything. When we are able to tap this source and link the illumined threads, we no longer want to live our creative lives separate from it. A creation that does not have the residual glow of its source can, at best, only sound a deathly rattle – however impressive that rattle may be. –Jerry Wennstrom

Nonduality and Aikido:

[Aikido], The Art of Peace, begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter. –Morihei Ueshiba

Nonduality and Cinema:

"Who were you that I lived with, walked with? The brother, the friend? Strife and love, darkness and light--are they the workings of one mind, features of the same face? Oh my soul. Let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look out at the things you made. All things shining." –The Thin Red Line

Nonduality and Music:

To a Hip-Hopper the cipher (or cypher) represents the womb, an urban placenta that gives birth to emcees and beatboxers through the sharing of spiritual energies, transferred around and through a cosmic circle of combined rhythms. It is the training ground for those who aspire to reach the heights of the greatest emcees, a soapbox for the believers in a higher mode of expression and communication, a forum for those who wish to just enjoy in an individual-collective experience, or a combination of all three. The cipher embodies the sacred principles and dynamics of relationship found in and between all things, even if the practitioner is not cognizant of the subtle events taking place. –Justin Miles

Nonduality and Haiku:

These intimate haiku-pauses ground us in the mystery of being as we open ourselves, time and time again, to new vistas and to keener insights into the living, changing universe we inhabit. They allow us to be attuned to the rhythm, colour, sound, scent, movement and stillness of life, from season to season, whoever, whatever or wherever we are. –Gabriel Rosenstock

Nonduality and Farming:

That this realization in itself has great value does not mean that any special value is attached to me. I remain a simple man, just an old crow, so to speak. To the casual observer I may seem either humble or arrogant. I tell the young people up in my orchard again and again not to try to imitate me, and it really angers me if there is someone who does not take this advice to heart. I ask, instead, that they simply live in nature and apply themselves to their daily work. No, there is nothing special about me, but what I have glimpsed is vastly important.

–Masanobu Fukuoka

Nonduality and Western Philosophy:

Proving the nondual nature of reality is not an overall goal for Western philosophy.  A few philosophers have created nondual metaphysical theories; and others have argued against metaphysics altogether.  But most philosophers who dissolve or dismiss dualities are not nondualists.  The dualities left in the dust by these writers are merely casualties of their other work.  In fact, the cleverest and most persuasive arguments tend to come from the works focused on narrower issues.  These arguments can be very helpful in the course of one’s nondual inquiry.  As the old-time news editors used to say, “We can use it!” –Greg Goode

Nonduality and Psychotherapy:

Are awakening psychotherapists in the same lineage as the Buddha or India’s other illustrious sages? It seems obvious that any awakening or awakened beings will transmit their understanding according to their capacities and limitations in any moment. This holds true for psychotherapists and nonpsychotherapists alike. In some ways being a psychotherapist may make awakening more difficult, especially if there are strong attachments to theories about the mind. On the other hand, psychotherapists are in a unique position in modern society to offer a sanctuary for individuals to sort out their lives and more intimately explore their direct experience. –John J. Prendergast

Nonduality and Religion:

Advaita Vedanta: “The essence and the whole of Vedanta is this Knowledge, this supreme Knowledge: that I am by nature the formless, all-pervasive Self.”

Buddhism: “If anyone listens to this discourse and is neither filled with alarm nor awe nor dread, be it known that such a one is of remarkable achievement.”

Sufism:  “...if you know yourself without being, not trying to become nothing, you will know your Lord. If you think that to know Allah depends on your ridding yourself of yourself, then you are guilty of attributing partners to Him – the only unforgivable sin – because you are claiming that there is another existence besides Him, the All-Existent: that there is a you and a He.”

Judaism: “Do not attribute duality to God. Let God be solely God. If you suppose that Ein Sof emanates until a certain point, and that from that point on is outside of it, you have dualized. God forbid! Realize, rather, that Ein Sof exists in each existent. Do not say, ‘This is a stone and not God.’ God forbid! Rather, all existence is God, and the stone is a thing pervaded by divinity.”

Christianity:The truth of the body, then, is the revelation that Christ is all that is manifest of God or all that is manifest of the unmanifest Father. Self or consciousness does not reveal this and cannot know it. In the ‘smile’ there was no knower or one who smiles, nor was there anyone or anything to smile at or to know; there was just the smile, the ‘knowing’ that is beyond knower and known.”

Native American Tradition: “We believe profoundly in silence – the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit. Those who can preserve their selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence – not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the shining pool – those, in the mind of the person of nature, possess the ideal attitude and conduct of life.”


   Evince the plainness of undyed silk,

   Embrace the simplicity of the unhewn log;

   Lessen selfishness,

   Diminish desires;

   Abolish learning

Faithe comments:

You name two dispositons in paragraph one, the first coming from the I AM, etc., the second from the Absolute. Are not Disposition one & two concepts as well? Is not "concept" needed in any discussion?

You also mention that nonduality is "nonseparateness". Nonseparateness from what? I keep reading about all this suffering by people caused by the idea of separateness...I do not understand that.

You use the term "reality". This word also seems to carry a lot of baggage with it. What is "reality" as you are using it? It would help if you could give me an example of the "duality of reality" contrasted with "nonduality of reality".

Thanks again.





Hi Faithe,

The two dispositions are concepts as well. I want to give a little more description to show their difference. The "I Am" place is about unity or the unitive state. People use terminology such as Source, Presence, Being, suchness, Buddha Nature, Eckhart Tolle speaks of "vastness of being."

The so-called "I Am" disposition is about practice, transformation, right diet, success, meditation. It’s about everything that populates the spirituality mainstream. It’s about leaving the spirituality mainstream and going into solitude. It’s about everything you do, even if it is being totally alone and authentic. It is everything you can be and know and all universes, past, present, and future, and quantum theory. It is about self-realization, enlightenment, emptiness, and everything it is possible to learn, know, and talk about. It's about this discussion of the two dispostions.

Although the “I Am” is the right place to come from while living in the world; and while it is takes extreme attention to stably reside as “I Am,” and few do stably reside there, the “I Am” is still some entity, some thing, some being or presence.

The profound teaching from the I Am disposition is given by Nisargadatta Maharaj in this example:

"Hold onto the sense of 'I am' to the exclusion of everything else. When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the 'I am'."

and Ramana Maharshi:

It is important for one who is established in his Self to see that he does not swerve in the least from this one-pointed absorption. While swerving from his true nature he may see before him bright effulgences, etc., or hear unusual sounds or regard as real the visions of gods appearing within or outside himself. He should not be deceived by these and forget himself.

Here's Nisargadatta speaking some more from the "I Am" disposition:

“To know what you are,” says Nisargadatta Maharaj, “you must first investigate and know what you are not. And to know what you are not you must watch yourself carefully, rejecting all that does not necessarily go with the basic fact: 'I am'. ... Separate consistently and perseveringly the 'I am' from 'this' or 'that', and try to feel what it means to be, just to be, without being 'this' or 'that'.”

While the "I Am" place is about the understanding of the Self / I Am / being / vastness, the Absolute place is about their falling away. In the following confession by Christian contemplative Bernadette Roberts, the falling away is described, and the two dispositions are further explained. Notice how she uses the terms being, source, ground of experience, unitive state to refer to the "I Am" place or disposition:

The no-self event is first and foremost the falling away of the divine center, the source and ground of the experience of 'life,' 'being,' energy and a great deal more. ... it happens in great stillness and is not an experience. No event could be less spectacular or more momentous. In the strict sense this event is not a milestone of the journey; instead, it is the true end or ending of the journey. The events beyond this line are not meant for this world and have nothing to do with it; no-self or no-consciousness is not the true human condition, nor is the dimension beyond self comparable to the unitive state. What characterizes the unitive state is the love, charity and compassion of egoless giving and living, but what characterizes the no-self condition is knowledge of ultimate Truth as it lies beyond all self; this is its sole purpose, revelation and concern. While the unitive state is indeed man’s true mature state in this world, the no-self condition is not compatible or even integrable with the human condition.

Da Free John has spoken of the two dispositions in terms of secondary and ultimate nondualism. You can read about it here: (scroll down).

Jed McKenna is one of the few to speak plainly of the two dispositions. He calls the "I Am" dispostion Human Adulthood and he says people can achieve that. The Absolute disposition he calls Enlightenment.

If this list is going to talk about nondual perspectives, the two dispositions, I feel, are important to get straight. It's conceptual and it has some use in talking about nonduality and in understanding what people are saying.

Your other questions I'll respond to in a separate mailing. I invite others to chime in.



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