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#3154 - Friday, May 2, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

Nonduality Highlights - 

The following is from my new blog at A couple of the writings in the blog also appear in the Highlights, but most of them will never see the Highlights. 

Photo: unprofessional photo by jerry katz. The book is 81/2 x 11, very attractively designed and packaged by like a precious piece of delicate electronics. I have never seen a book so securely packaged. When I received it, I didn't even think it was a book. I though someone had sent me a Mac Air, or something.  

Nondualism & Educational Drama and Theatre: A Perspective for Transformative Training

Dr. Kriben Pillay has published a new book: Nondualism & Educational Drama and Theatre: A Perspective for Transformative Training. I have known Kriben since I first came online in 1998. Prior to that time he had started a nonduality journal called Noumenon, which he still publishes. His publishing efforts and objectives inspired the direction of my online work.

Dr. Pillay lives and works in education in South Africa. He is an activist opening the door and leading people into the room of nondualism. It’s never easy. I hope that if you have an interest in both education and nondualism, as well as human freedom and creativity, that you will investigate this work.

Very brief excerpt:

The scope of this study is encapsulated in the following three questions:

1. In what way does nondualism as critical theory bring about greater theoretical precision to the practice of educational drama and theatre?

2. Can the experiential dimension of nondualism radically extend the practice of educational drama and theatre?

3. Can educational drama and theatre be used as a tool in effecting the traditional, ontological concerns of the experiential dimension of nondualism?

Here’s another excerpt that gives some perspective to the treatment of nondualism itself.

“Nondualism will be explored within the concept of multivalence, in contrast to much of Western thinking that is built up on binary oppositions or bivalence. Much of our education, even in the arts, is bound to a mind-set that sees the world in terms of this or that, black or white. Nondualism is concerned with a world as a continuum where the finality of binary opposites makes way for the relativity of multivalent perspective.”

Dr. Pillay notes that the field of educational drama and theatre has come under threat, especially in Britain. Underlying this is the sense of comfort and security people feel when they view the world as black and white, rather than in grey, even if such a view is, in a creative and freely human sense, crippling.

Read the Table of Contents of Nondualism & Educational Drama and Theatre: A Perspective for Transformative Training at You may also order the book there.

Please forward this email to anyone you know who is interested in both education and nonduality.

Here is a portion of the Preface to the book, which isn't included in the blog entry:

Nondualism, as a philosophical world-view, in essence sees the traditional dichotomy of subject and object as false, although it accords it a relative place in our perception of reality. Increasingly, supported by the insights of theoretical physics and that branch of mathematics known as fuzzy logic, it is emerging as a critical tool in a number of disciplines (although not always referred to formally as nondualism), because it allows the confounding problems presented by subject-object discourse and experience to be seen in a radically different way, thus allowing for such problems to be resolved through more practical solutions. It is not within the scope of this thesis to detail the full history of nondualism as a critical tool, but to explore its potential value in making more productive the discipline of educational drama and theatre.


Nondualism will be explored within the concept of multivalence, in contrast to much of western thinking that is built up on binary oppositions or bivalence. Much of our education, even in the arts, is bound to a mind-set that sees the world in terms of this or that, black or white. Nondualism is concerned with the world as a continuum where the finality of binary opposites makes way for the relativity of the multivalent perspective.


Educational drama and theatre, as displayed by its pioneering practitioners, is also intuitively about multivalence, but this is largely hidden by theoretical imprecision where ambivalence is equated with multivalence; a problem compounded by educational systems and world-views unconsciously, if not consciously, forcing a culture of bivalence. This study will argue that nondualism provides an intellectual platform that allows for greater theoretical precision, which in turn will have positive consequences for the clearer practice of educational drama and theatre.


Further, the study will look at the experiential dimension of nondualism, which, traditionally in spiritual practice, has always been oriented towards a change of the ontological perspective. It will be argued that an application of this experiential dimension to the context of educational drama and theatre will release the latter from its sometimes contradictory and self-limiting uses, for a more powerful incorporation into educational initiatives that are oriented towards multivalence. Drama and theatre techniques, such as role-play, will be critiqued to show that they are already being used within a psychological, therapeutic framework, and are thus appropriately suited to the experiential, ontological dimension of nondualism. In this way, educational drama and theatre can match the strides taken by the multivalent discipline of fuzzy logic in the mathematical sciences, where the advances of the latter have not just been confined to theoretical speculation but to very practical applications in the applied sciences. Similarly, a new world of empowerment is available to educational drama and theatre when it begins to explore itself more emphatically as a multivalent tool with the potential to feed back into the traditional, ontological concerns of nondualism.


From the two views of nondualism—as both a critical tool and an experiential technique—it will thus be demonstrated that far from being an exotic, impractical philosophical system of thought, the nondual perspective, if approached rigorously, has much to offer practitioners of educational drama and theatre.

And here's another excerpt from the books which demonstrates that the Pillay's work is grounded in the teaching of sages. It is part of an interview between Kriben Pillay and Douglas Harding:

KP: There is a kind of paradox, isn’t there, that one has to practise to be what one is naturally?


DH: Yes—well you practise to really get rid of the illusion—not to achieve the Reality.

KP: Yes, that is a very important point, because in the spiritual supermarket that has mushroomed over the last 20-25 years, there seems to be a constant movement to achieve some extraordinary state, and you’re directly the opposite. Would you not say that we’re really practising only to remove the illusion?


DH: That’s right.  All of us are living from this.  Ramana kept saying everyone’s living from this—everyone’s enlightened.  Everyone is firmly stationed—where else could they be but in natural nature—and the only difference between himself and others is that he enjoyed it and others ignored it.  It’s not any different at all—except in that.


KP: But you would not deny that certain disciplines, if practised arduously at great sacrifice, can lead to fairly extraordinary experiences, but they’re simply experiences, and we are over-looking the experiencer?


DH: Oh yes, indeed, and one of the traps, one of the side diversions of this whole thing, is at a certain stage to cultivate the siddhis, powers, that do come with the seeing of who one is— and they do come. And it’s different for different people. Some people get a good old helping, others don’t. But that’s one of the snags, one of the diversions, and it’s a very serious one.


KP: And perhaps because it’s simply just that, an experience—no matter how extraordinary it is—it’s what  prompts those who have these to don some fancy clothing and set themselves up on a pedestal.


DH: I think that in some cases, yes—and it is to get power over others and this is the criterion, really. I mean, am I out to get power over people? And one of the ways to doing it is to claim that one’s special and dress up in special way  and put on holy airs and so forth.  I think this is such a pity.


KP: Douglas, the other question I think readers would like to enquire into is the dreaming one.  A lot of psychologists, and some—I’m going to use the ugly word—enlightened people, say that dreaming very often is simply the working out in sleep of problems that we have left unattended to during our waking hours. So symbolically, the brain is trying to bring some order to itself—and most dreams, not all, are simply that—and therefore, theoretically, a problem-free mind  would not dream as much in sleep.  What’s your response?


DH: My response is a very simple one. The mind is made up of  problems. The problem-free mind is a contradiction in terms.


KP: The mind is a problem.


DH: That’s a problem.  I mean, here I have mind-body, here my universe and my mind are together—they really are together and they run on problems.  This is a very good diagram.  I have a negative, sinister hand and a positive one, and see where they are coming from here [pointing inwards] which is problem-free.  But out there are all problems. I dreamt last night—Catherine had to wake me up—I had this vivid dream, it wasn’t a nightmare, but it was a vivid dream and Catherine had to wake me up because I disturbed her—and I really had quite a dream last night. A very complicated one and I’m not a bit surprised. I mean there’s the mind having problems. And this fallacy of misplaced perfection, to think you can clear up the mind, is absolutely ridiculous. The mind is like that.


But, I would say that this seeing who I really, really am—I haven’t been the most wonderful practitioner—but this has been my aim through the last half century—a really long time—and I would say that  there’s no effort to be clear here—it’s with me and sometimes vividly and sometimes not.  But the idea that Douglas’ mind has got to be cleared out and made to function perfectly is ridiculous.  But made to function better is not ridiculous, and I think it is obvious that when I live my life on the basis of a pack of lies it is not worthwhile.  When I live my life on the basis of what is so—and this has been my aim for the last half century—it’s going to work better, and indeed I’m sure it does work better.  And I can give you lots of instances of that, but that may make it sound like a kind of self congratulation, but I am quite sure—this again is not reasoned out, it’s a hunch, I guess; I think it’s more than a guess, my faith—that anyone who sees who she or he is, however briefly—and you can’t do it wrong, either you do it or you don’t, it’s a 100 % or nothing—the effect is going to be there in one’s life. It doesn’t mean that one’s humanity is perfected, but it’s somehow sweetened.


KP: Douglas, what would your response be to a situation where someone says—‘I’ve been to one of the workshops and I’ve participated in the experience and I really do see who I am, but I still need to go to a therapist’?  Do you feel there’s a contradiction?


DH: No, I don’t.  It depends on the nature of the problem, on why you’re going to the therapist. I mean I break my leg, I go to an orthopaedic surgeon, and if I have a phobia—well there it is, this problem—hopefully the therapist might be able to do something right there.  But I’d say, have a go first—really, really dedicate yourself to the truth of who you are—and I think the chances of your needing psychotherapy are very, very small.                         .

Read the Table of Contents of Nondualism & Educational Drama and Theatre: A Perspective for Transformative Training at You may also order the book there. As I noted earlier, does a superb job of packaging and shipping books. My book arrived in Canada in perfect condition. Please forward this page to anyone interested in nondualism and who works in the field of education.

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