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Emptiness/Fullness and Non Duality/Duality

Emptiness/Fullness and Non Duality/Duality

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Published by Charles Day
Thoughts on the Emptiness/Fullness and Nonduality/Duality teachings of Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta
Thoughts on the Emptiness/Fullness and Nonduality/Duality teachings of Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta

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Published by: Charles Day on Oct 11, 2010
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Charles Daywww.DesMoinesMeditation.org
Following are thoughts on emptiness/fullness and nonduality/duality inresponse to email questions from a meditator exploring the differencesbetween dualistic and nondualistic philosophies:
From a "nondualistic" point of view, one must be careful not to consider theperceiver/conceiver and the perceived/conceived to be separate from thewhole. There is only the indivisible, undivided unified whole, withoutdistinction between nondual and dual, between emptiness andmanifestation, between self and no-self, between subject and object,between knower and known, between perceiver and perception, betweenme and you, between the individuated Atman and the indivisible Brahman.To talk about "it" suggests there is a non-it; language separates andcategorizes, creating the illusion of distinctions, differences, andseparateness.Awareness is aware of itself. There is nothing other than awarenessmanifesting as an indivisible whole. What is perceived and a perceiver areindividuated parts of that unified undivided whole. The illusion of adifference arises when we separate the whole into so-called individuatedparts, forgetting that the "we," "the act of separating" and "calling oneinterpretation real and another illusion" are not different from but are in factmerely parts of an indivisible unified whole.Spiritually speaking, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts; onlyhumans have decided otherwise because they perceive themselves asstanding outside the whole without realizing that they and their perceptionsare just being conceptually separated out as individuated parts or manifestations of an otherwise undivided whole.Admittedly, the drama, the game, the play of life as we know it, and havebeen conditioned to know, experience and think about it, and to take thatconditioning literally and seriously, definitely does not comport with our spiritual reflections about an eternal now or presence, an indivisible whole,emptiness, and nonduality. Our parenting, socialization, education, and life
experiences all aim at producing the sense of a separate and mature self that perceives and conceives in consensually agreed upon ways of physical and mental objects as separate and distinguishable from oneanother, assisted, if not entirely based upon, the evolutionary instinct tosurvive. And language is an intrinsic part of facilitating these psychologicaland social developmental processes.Dualistic thinking and living is how the vast majority of us experienceconventional space/time reality. A proponent of dualism who claims never to have had an experience of nonduality - an experience that ischaracterized by mystics in all religious traditions as transcending thedualistic ego and its experiences of form, time, birth, and death - mightcontend that such is really just a unique form of dualistic experience.Dualistic thinkers can ask whether dualism is the illusion or is nondualismthe illusion, are both illusions, or are neither illusions? And this brings usfull circle.According to the mystic, until nonduality and egolessness are deeplyexperienced, the person with the sense of a separate self or ego raisesthese issues and questions as debatable or unanswerable out of inexperience, misunderstanding, skepticism, or doubt. The nondualistmystic, on the other hand, who has transcended the sense of separateness, may participate in a discussion about emptiness/fullness andnonduality/duality, but it will be with the realization that the issues andthose discussing them are merely individuated parts of an indivisible whole.Philosophy and theology deal with different conceptual points of view,sometimes emphasizing differences, sometimes reconciling "apparent"differences. Zen Scholar Alan Watts and nondualistic Buddhist and AdvaitaVedanta philosophies try to reconcile them, as is my inclination, as well.From a nondual point of view, there is only the timeless, formless, birthless,deathless unity, the whole, the oneness without an opposite, that containssimultaneously all dualities, opposites, dichotomies, divisions, anddifferences. Robert Wolfe calls it "presence" in his excellent book "LivingNonduality: Enlightenment Teachings of Self-Realization." Seehttp://www.livingnonduality.org/.In conclusion, I remind myself and I caution you to remember that Buddharepeatedly emphasized not becoming too attached to any concept, point of view, opinion, or judgment, to anything I've said or to anything you think. As

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