HOME


SPONSORS


ONE, by Jerry Katz

Photography by Jerry Katz

Dr. Robert Puff

THE NATURAL BLISS OF BEING

       

Rupert Spira

DISSOLVED, Tarun Sardana

HIGH JUMP, Tarun Sardana


Greg Goode -
After Awareness: The End of the Path




Consider joining our Facebook discussion community, Nonduality Salon, going on 20 years of active participation. We were the first online discussion group dedicated to nonduality in a popular sense.

 

 

Nonduality Salon (/\)

Highlights #325

Click here to go to the next issue.


Continuation of incredible discussion between Dan and Greg, one of the
finest
ever to appear on NDS.

>Hi Gregji --
>Footnotes, too! Thanks, indeed.
>You're right, I do question views often,
> see reality as no-thingness, and
> hence enjoy Buddhism. So I'm questioning
> the M. view - why not... and that's the main
> reason for using a silly term like "selfness".
> I could say "x-ness" and it would be the same.
>
>You went further than me by using words like
> "nonsensical". I don't see M. as nonsensical,
> except maybe in the way that G-d is nonsensical.
> I see M. as not resolving the issue of selfness.
> I do see the point of M.
> The way you explained it, it seems to me
> there is 'selfness' evident
> in the very use of M. to 'release' attachment.
> If no selfness, why would it be devised and used,
> and how would be ascertained the situation and
> way to use it, and for whose sake?

Hey Dan-ji,

Writing this, I've got a cup of capuchino by my side.

In Madhyamika, everything is empty of inherent existence. Even emptiness
is empty of inherent existence. There is no inherently existing self
anywhere. There are ideas and notions and feelings that seem to imply an
inherently existing self, but these are empty of inherent existence.
Everything that exists has conventional or dependent existence. For M.,
this includes people, books, computers, religions, Buddhas, enlightened
beings, Bodhisattvas and their 10 levels, monks, lamas and llamas, the
yearning for liberation, the fear of emptiness, etc.

M's task is a conventional task : save all beings. Emptiness, along with
Madhyamika, is conventional. In this conventional sense, M. is for the
sake of these beings. The method of M is also conventional. If there were
a true, inherently existent self, say an inherently existing non-liberated
self, then this being could never be saved. Part of its non-dependent,
inherently existing nature would be as an non-liberated being. If it
exists as an inherently existing, non-liberated being, then nothing can
touch that being to liberate it. Therefore, only dependently existing
beings can be liberated. The dependency in question a responsiveness to
causes and conditions. Inherent existence would be totally independent of
causes and conditions, as well as consciousness.

So, the philosophy of emptiness and dependent arising (one philosophy of
which is M), as well as our discussion here about these things, are all
conventionally existing things. Now, it is conventionally true according
to M. that most beings see themselves and the world as though these things
had inherent existence. M's idea is that this feeling of inherent
existence is a very common thing, and the root of suffering. To see the
emptiness of all phenomena is the (conventional) goal of M.

> In questioning the opposition of 'this'
> to 'that' and pointing to 'mutual arising
> of this and that', the
> questioning/pointing itself is the selfness that isn't
> 'this' or 'that'. Itself is the meaning that doesn't
> depend on meaning, the reality that doesn't depend
> on any other. That's why it was able
> to raise the question of attachment to meaning (selfness)
> in the first place! Its very questioning presents
> that which is the object of the questioning.
> It's a no-self self, not merely no-self.

If you can see the *questioning* as no-self, then what's wrong with *M's*
no-self??

> If I am the basis of meaning and no-meaning,
> then my attachment to meaning is absurdity itself.

If? I'm not sure about this theory of meaning, it sounds vaguely advaitic.
Looking at M on its own terms, M holds that meaning arises in interaction
among people, meaning is conventional in the socio-linguistic sense. M
doesn't push meaning back to an "I".

> There is no opponent for it -- the thorn isn't
> needing to be removed; in fact, the thorn is the reason
> the questioning can take place, the opportunity
> to 'show itself to itself' as questioning/pointing.
> My suggestion: let's enjoy the
> situation as is, as it reveals 'selfness' whether
> in the form of Buddhism, or any other
> form of pointing/questioning that seems relevant
> and attentive to deep biases/assumptions.


Enjoy I do!! What do you mean by selfness?

Love,

--Greg
______________________________________________


>Hey Dan-ji,
>
>Writing this, I've got a cup of capuchino by my side.

Hi, Gregji -
it's a cup of tea here.

>In Madhyamika, everything is empty of inherent existence. Even emptiness
>is empty of inherent existence. There is no inherently existing self
>anywhere. There are ideas and notions and feelings that seem to imply an
>inherently existing self, but these are empty of inherent existence.
>Everything that exists has conventional or dependent existence. For M.,
>this includes people, books, computers, religions, Buddhas, enlightened
>beings, Bodhisattvas and their 10 levels, monks, lamas and llamas, the
>yearning for liberation, the fear of emptiness, etc.
>
>M's task is a conventional task : save all beings. Emptiness, along with
>Madhyamika, is conventional. In this conventional sense, M. is for the
>sake of these beings. The method of M is also conventional. If there were
>a true, inherently existent self, say an inherently existing non-liberated
>self, then this being could never be saved. Part of its non-dependent,
>inherently existing nature would be as an non-liberated being. If it
>exists as an inherently existing, non-liberated being, then nothing can
>touch that being to liberate it. Therefore, only dependently existing
>beings can be liberated. The dependency in question a responsiveness to
>causes and conditions. Inherent existence would be totally independent of
>causes and conditions, as well as consciousness.

D: Yes. This all seems valid. The question is
without selfness how can there be a position
from which to make this observation?
I know that selfness can't be stated
accurately in words, only metaphorically.
However, what I'm questioning here is whether simply
making no statement whatsoever is all that helpful,
once it is seen that all statements are relative,
subject to variable interpretation, etc. With
no statement whatsoever about selfness, we are left
with a gap concerning how anything appears to
arise in the first place. How is
any comparison ever made that gives even the illusion
of appearance? Selfness is the so-called 'numinosity'
of being unknowness itself. The reason I'm making this
point is because it seems much *more* than simply
"no inherent selfhood, identity, or entity-hood".
It's all meaning, all life, the basis of all experience.

>So, the philosophy of emptiness and dependent arising (one philosophy of
>which is M), as well as our discussion here about these things, are all
>conventionally existing things. Now, it is conventionally true according
>to M. that most beings see themselves and the world as though these things
>had inherent existence. M's idea is that this feeling of inherent
>existence is a very common thing, and the root of suffering. To see the
>emptiness of all phenomena is the (conventional) goal of M.
>
>> In questioning the opposition of 'this'
>> to 'that' and pointing to 'mutual arising
>> of this and that', the
>> questioning/pointing itself is the selfness that isn't
>> 'this' or 'that'. Itself is the meaning that doesn't
>> depend on meaning, the reality that doesn't depend
>> on any other. That's why it was able
>> to raise the question of attachment to meaning (selfness)
>> in the first place! Its very questioning presents
>> that which is the object of the questioning.
>> It's a no-self self, not merely no-self.
>
>If you can see the *questioning* as no-self, then what's wrong with *M's*
>no-self??

D: I never said anything was wrong with it.
It's just that without the "self" of a no-self self,
there's no way to explain how tendencies,
memories, associations are "carried",
how perception is experienced as meaningful.
That there is no entity, no separate inherent
being, no structure for identification
makes sense.
But how is this declaration being understood?
The very making of the declaration, the idea
that there is meaning in relieving suffering,
the very understanding (or even moreso the
awareness of a no-understanding beyond
understanding), reflects "selfness", something
beyond negating everything that can be negated.

>> If I am the basis of meaning and no-meaning,
>> then my attachment to meaning is absurdity itself.
>
>If? I'm not sure about this theory of meaning, it sounds vaguely advaitic.
> Looking at M on its own terms, M holds that meaning arises in interaction
>among people, meaning is conventional in the socio-linguistic sense. M
>doesn't push meaning back to an "I".

O.K. But these observations made by M. From what
"place" are these observations being made?
From "where" are these statements being
understood? For me, this "place" can be
called "selfness" or "x-ness" -- it's
more than just taking away. Saying 'no self'
simply negates statements made that aren't
ultimately real. This via negativa takes away
something erroneously supposed to be there.
When that is taken away, there is some kind of
'realization'. I'm saying
that there is 'selfness' implied all along - in the
taking away, in the recognition of something that
can be deconstructed, in 'experiential realization'
and 'realization beyond experience'.
By the way, do you differentiate these last two, Greg?

Although there may be no good
word for "it" -- "selfness" seems good enough. I find
that Buddhism, as wonderful as it is, sometimes
seems limited by
a kind of "attachment to nonattachment" - to an adherence
to a way of negation.

>> There is no opponent for it -- the thorn isn't
>> needing to be removed; in fact, the thorn is the reason
>> the questioning can take place, the opportunity
>> to 'show itself to itself' as questioning/pointing.
>> My suggestion: let's enjoy the
>> situation as is, as it reveals 'selfness' whether
>> in the form of Buddhism, or any other
>> form of pointing/questioning that seems relevant
>> and attentive to deep biases/assumptions.
>
>
>Enjoy I do!! What do you mean by selfness?

The meaning of selfness is the meaning of all meanings.
There is meaning to Buddhism, that is why texts
are preserved, debates occur, lineages form,
monastaries are formed, etc. Although ultimate meaning
per se is negated by the radical relativism taught
by the Buddha, there is a meaning to that very teaching,
i.e., the relief of suffering. So there is "selfness"
in that meaning, in the awareness of suffering as
something to be addressed. It is meaningful to
eliminate attachments to one-sided meanings. Thus,
"behind" the whole project is a non-one-sided Meaning.
Not an existing or non-existing Meaning, to be sure,
but not simply no-independent-selfness, which is
simply a negation of a tendency to one-sided
interpretation. The negation of attachment, of
one-sided interpretation is for the sake of: what?
Multidimensional or Omnidimensional Meaning itself, i.e.,
"selfness". Ken Wilber made
a big point of differentiating prepersonal, personal,
and transpersonal 'levels' of experience. Although
I have some major difficulties with Wilber's scheme
of reality, there is validity to this differentiation.
A way that I can understand it is in terms of
a prepersonal oneness that is a kind of fusion of meaning
into an undifferentiated beingness
and an ultimate oneness beyond beginning or end,
that is infinitely 'differentiatible' without
in any way negating its nonsplitness. Thus,
there is 'selfness' here: an ability to grow, to
evolve, along with a nonevolving Totality as
presentness. There is time and eternity simultaneously.

I think the best way to explain what I mean is to
go back to the flame analogy. The flame isn't the
same instant to instant, nor is it totally different.
How is this known? It can only be known as a knowing
of knowing itself. Knowing can know its
own process/non-process reality. This is where
it "sees" no inherent self. How would such
knowing be possible if there weren't a transcendent
truth simultaneously beyond/within/as the relative
situation?
'No inherent selfness' isn't enough because it doesn't
explain how this 'no inherent selfness' is observed,
from what vantage point, how suffering is being
understood as suffering, and
*paricularly* how suffering is 'carried'.

Sorry for bringing up so much at once.
It's probably too much to address in this forum.
But I would like to address this one thing -
how can suffering be 'carried' (and it's
clearly addressed as being 'carried' in
Buddhism - which aims at releasing the carrying
process) if there is no self whatsoever?
This is where the flaw in Buddhist 'logic' is,
from my perspective. Selfness is the "realization"
or "knowing as unknowable, the no-static-self Self" who
is the One who has 'carried' suffering, unmindful
of the lack of suffering in the original nature
of 'selfness'.

That's the best I can do at
the moment ;-)

Love,
Dan
__________________________________________________

Hi Dan-ji,

Switching to tea myself now, 6:21pm.


>D: Yes. This all seems valid. The question is
> without selfness how can there be a position
> from which to make this observation?

The position itself is conventional, so it would be based on scriptures,
sutras, Nagarjuna's work, the dialectics of Madhyamika, etc. M. doesn't
purport to speak from an absolute postion, in fact says that to do so would
be impossible.


> I know that selfness can't be stated
> accurately in words, only metaphorically.
> However, what I'm questioning here is whether simply
> making no statement whatsoever is all that helpful,
> once it is seen that all statements are relative,
> subject to variable interpretation, etc.

The statements are helpful if the listener is attached to a notion of
inherent self. The attachment, which is conventional only, and lacking of
an inherent self, might become dislodged by hearing the Dharma, which is
also conventional only.

> With
> no statement whatsoever about selfness, we are left
> with a gap concerning how anything appears to
> arise in the first place. How is
> any comparison ever made that gives even the illusion
> of appearance?

For Buddhism, arisings/appearances are in a beginningless chain of causally
and cognitively-interrelated appearances. This is where the metaphor of
Indra's net of jewels is used, from the Avatamsaka Sutra. No entity with
inherent existence, rather each entity consists of nothing other than
relations with all other "entities."

>D: I never said anything was wrong with it.
> It's just that without the "self" of a no-self self,
> there's no way to explain how tendencies,
> memories, associations are "carried",
> how perception is experienced as meaningful.
> That there is no entity, no separate inherent
> being, no structure for identification
> makes sense.
> But how is this declaration being understood?
> The very making of the declaration, the idea
> that there is meaning in relieving suffering,
> the very understanding (or even moreso the
> awareness of a no-understanding beyond
> understanding), reflects "selfness", something
> beyond negating everything that can be negated.

Thank you for filling in your notion of self-ness. It is a very deep
difference from the way Buddhism sees things. I'm speaking here mostly of
Madhyamika, whose dialectics I'm more familiar with. Dzogchen and
Mind-Only say different things, more like what you're saying. M says that
an inherent self would make meaning and understanding impossible. An
inherent self would be an entity or nature that is:

-totally independent of cognition of it
-totally independent of all causes and conditions
-totally independent of all qualities, characteristics and attributes

How is that entailed by any declaration as you point out above? How is
that entailed by the meaning of suffering? How could any such entity be
known? How could it know anything? How could it suffer? How could it
experience or be experienced? How could everything that supposedly has a
self have one of those independent entities?

>The meaning of selfness is the meaning of all meanings.
> There is meaning to Buddhism, that is why texts
> are preserved, debates occur, lineages form,
> monastaries are formed, etc.

This makes sense. Among the debates is the age-old debate between Advaita
and Buddhism, monasteries, ashrams, texts, teachers, teachings, etc. Self
vs. no-self. One-and-not-two vs. not-two/not-One. Sat-chit-ananda vs.
emptiness of inherent existence. We've spoken about this before on this
list or Harshasatsangh a few months ago, remember Dan-ji? Much of the
difference between these two approaches boils down to temperament. Among
those folks who hear about both these approaches, most peoples'
constitutions are made up such that one of these approaches resonates more
than the other, regardless of the logic.

> Sorry for bringing up so much at once.
> It's probably too much to address in this forum.
> But I would like to address this one thing -
> how can suffering be 'carried' (and it's
> clearly addressed as being 'carried' in
> Buddhism - which aims at releasing the carrying
> process) if there is no self whatsoever?

Although most Buddhism has no inherent or absolute self, it does speak of a
conventional self, made up of the 5 aggregates (form, no sensation,
perception, discrimination, consciousness). It is a bundle of these
aggregates which is said to carry the suffering, and which desires
liberation. In Buddhism, it is said even to carry the suffering between
lives. (Like the Dalai Lama says, "What transmigrates is neuroses.")
Since this bundle can grow and change and respond to causes and conditions,
it can suffer at one time and gain liberation at a later time.

Imagine the alternative. An inherently existing self. Independent of
subject/object, independent of causes and conditions, independent of
whole/part/taxononomy. How would the inherently existing self ever carry
suffering? How would it ever gain release from suffering?

That's all for now. To come down to earth on this a bit - I like both ways
of speaking about this stuff, Advaita and Madhyamika, both non-dualism and
emptiness/dependent arising, both One and not-One. I think that for people
who come to this stuff as adults or who were not raised with it,
non-dualism is easier to understand even intellectually, and is a much more
pleasant approach. In the Madhyamika of Nagarjuna and Tsong-Khapa's
school, there are lots and lots of warnings to the teachers about the
scariness of emptiness teachings, and injunctions not to expose the student
to these teachings "unless tears come to the student's eyes at the very
mention of the word 'emptiness'." But I'd also say that the Madhyamika
metaphysic is a sharper and clearer dialectic. And for the intellectually
inclined, it might be an effective tool to rid the aspirant of grasping
onto a rarified and subtle consciousness/witness state.

Perhaps we could continue this offline if we'd like to go into it some
more. I don't what to wear out NDS readers' Delete keys!!!

With you in coffee and tea,

Love,

--Greg

top of page

 

Home Search Site Map Contact Support
 
 

Non-duality books

Specialises in book and audio resources on Advaita and non-duality

Awakening to the Dream

The Gift of Lucid Living.

"This book will be of great assistance to the seeming many." Sailor Bob Adamson
www.awakeningtothedream.comooooooooooo
"The Enlightenment Trilogy"
by Chuck Hillig
Enlightenment for Beginners Read the Reviews
The Way IT Is
Read the Reviews
Seeds for the Soul
Read the Reviews
www.blackdotpubs.com | Order now
"Pure Silence:
Lessons in Living and Dying"
Audio CD by Mark McCloskey
Highly recommended."
--Jan Kersschot, M.D.
Reviews | sample track | Buy Now
The Texture of Being
by Roy Whenary
"We do not need to search in order to find our true Being. We already are it, and the mind which searches for it is the very reason why we cannot find it."
Reviews, excerpts and ordering info.
oooooooooooooooooooooooo
For over two years this website has been hosted expertly by Experthost
~ ~ ~
Search engine sponsored by
Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment