Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Non-duality

Postby christopher::: » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:01 pm

Individual wrote: According to this Sanskrit dictionary, Advaita means "non-duality" and Dvitva means "duality". According to the PTS dictionary, Dvaya means "two-fold" and thus, Advaya means "not-twofold", as he says.

But since the two sets of words seem to be of the same etymological roots, distinguishing them seems weird. Adding the a- prefix is a negation in Pali or Sanskrit. Now, of course early Buddhists didn't speak Sanskrit. But Dvitva also can be translated as "couple" or "pair". So, you could also interpret Advaita as meaning "not two" also. Furthermore, the common usage of language doesn't necessarily follow logic, so it's entirely plausible that Advaya in Pali could mean both non-dualism or monism, in addition to being a description of the Buddhist rejection of both dualism and non-dualism.

Also, I believe some the Advaitins reject monism and dualism as well, by saying that the individual atman (self or soul) is an illusion. The great "Atman" is upheld as supreme ideal, or ultimate, but you have the same notion in Buddhism, regarding Nirvana, the Deathless, etc., although it isn't referred to as Atman. Not referring to it as Atman is a difference, but only a trivial one, really. Both seem to be dialectical monism... Both "self is real" and "self is not real" are refuted as views in favor of direct insight. This disagreement really only arises out of a Theravadin stubbornness to take philosophical positions and conflating the Advaitin Atman with the idea of an existent agent or soul.


Many excellent points, Individual, although "stubbornness to take a philosophical position" is not a unique Theravadin characteristic, imo. I've yet to come across a religious tradition, philosophical school (or Internet discussion board) where this habit wasn't practiced from time-to-time. It seems to arise with literal, defensive and dualistic means of conceptualizing our shared reality....

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Non-duality

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:48 am

Individual: Furthermore, the common usage of language doesn't necessarily follow logic, so it's entirely plausible that Advaya in Pali could mean both non-dualism or monism, in addition to being a description of the Buddhist rejection of both dualism and non-dualism.

This has nothing to do with translations from Pali. It has to do with two Sanskrit terms -- Advaya from the Mahayana and Advaita from Advaita Vedanta Hinduism -- that have specific doctrinal definitions, let repeat here what I said in 4 msgs on ZFI:
kannada:
Advaya means "not-two"; advaita means "one without a second”


Wrong... A (not) Dvaita (Dual)

Not at all wrong. "One without a second” is not at all a bad gloss on Advaita. It is found in the Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1-3, ‘in the beginning sat [being] alone existed, the One without a Second [EkamevAdvitIyaM]. . . . It (sat) reflected, “May I become many! May I be born!”’.

"One without a second” is a common Advaita expression that nicely characterizes the Advaita.

See

See

See

See

See

Wiki

See

kannada: The word 'advaita' means 'non-dual' - end of story.

Maybe for you; however, as neatly shown, "One without a second” is classically characteristic and defining of Advaita, so Guenther's use of "One without a second” was not at all inappropriate.

christopher::: : I'd vote for non-dual as a good English translation for advaita, BUT, from a non-dual perspective isn't "one without a second" also acceptable?

From the two Sanskrit dictionaries I have:

A.A. MacDonnell’s A PRACTICAL SANSKRIT DICTIONARY, Oxford University Press, 1954, in toto and referenced by kannada: advaita, n. non-duality, unity; a. without duality, secondless, single. p 9.

From the great M. Monier-Williams’ A SANSKRIT ENGLISH DICTIONARY, Oxford
University Press, Motilal Banarsidass, 2002: advaita, mfn. destitute of duality,
having no duplicate, S3Br. xiv , &c.; peerless, sole, unique p. 19.

“Secondless,” “single,” “destitute of duality”; in other words: "One without a second.”

Non-dual is, of course, a good, close to literal English translation. "One without a second," however, is and has been shown to be a very appropriate gloss of Advaita, both in terms of what the word denotes and in terms of what it connotes. If one wants to discredit a scholar of Guenther’s stature, attacking his "One without a second" gloss of Advaita carries no weight.
Seems a bit weird to be in a dualistic debate about non-dualism.


(Could it be that non-duality is a highly dualistic concept?) But the immediate “debate” here that I am involved in is if "One without a second” is appropriate gloss of Advaita. It is.

Kannada: No matter how 'classically characteristic' the definition is it is still wholly inaccurate.

So you assert, but have yet to actually show.
Yours and Guenthers' assertion is based on popular interpretation/misconception of advaita, not it's specific meaning. A 'dog' has four legs and a tail, whiskers and a wet nose, so does a cat - but a dog is not a cat. Characteristics, whether classical or not, are meaningless unless they pertain to specifics.
But a dog does not have retractable claws, does not purr, and does not have a barbed tongue or penis. You are making a dictionary argument, which does not quite cut it. You have yet to actually make a reasoned, exampled argument for your case or to counter what has been neatly shown to support my position. You will need to do better than your hitherto gainsaying.
The direct translation of advaita is 'not-dual', not 'one-without-a-second'. If Guenther had used the direct translation of advaita and not its folk-lore interpretation he would have no case, nothing to distinguish from 'advaya'.

The problem with your dictionary argument is that is does not take into account context. One can look at a huge pile of terms shared by Buddhism and Hinduism, but in context, they do not necessarily mean the same thing, given these words can carry very different doctrinal definitions given them by the context of their traditions.

While dictionaries are vital, they are not the final arbiter of what a doctrinally defined word means for a particular tradition. Guenther, coming from an Indo-Tibetan Buddhist standpoint, provides for advaya a definition from his context: ’By saying "not-two" you remain on solid ground, because "not-two" does not mean "one."’

And you have yet to show that Guenther’s gloss of Advaita is actually inconsistent with the Advaita tradition.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Non-duality

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:58 am

Individual: The great "Atman" is upheld as supreme ideal, or ultimate, but you have the same notion in Buddhism, regarding Nirvana, the Deathless, etc., although it isn't referred to as Atman. Not referring to it as Atman is a difference, but only a trivial one, really.


"...you have the same notion in Buddhism...." Not really.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Non-duality

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:03 am

Christopher::: : Nonduality, btw, is something Buddhist teachers have talked about as well, its not something associated only with Hinduism...


Actually, Guenther makes an important and vital distinction between the Hindu non-dualists and the Mahayana position. Take a look at what he is saying again.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Non-duality

Postby christopher::: » Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:44 am

Hi Tilt,

It's difficult for some of us to discuss this at an abstract level, trying to point out differences (concerning a way of seeing the world that emphasizes unity) but using word definitions and scholarly critiques. Speaking for myself, I just don't think that way, sorry.

It's possible that we are saying similar things, but the only way this makes sense (for me) is to look at beliefs in context. There are differences yes, but the entire point of nonduality is to see the similarities and connections, not get hung up (in our minds) on differences. I agree with you, nondual conceptions differ from religion to religion. But many people (not you necessarily) do use the term "non-dual" to refer to a way of thinking that emphasizes that there is no real separation or true difference between this and that - "inside and outside" - at a deep or ultimate level.

The Upanishads describe everything as Brahman. The tao te Ching describes all things as manifestations of the Tao. Many Tibetan Buddhist teachers have emphasized emptiness. Mother Theresa and Gandhi both have said that "God" is in all things. Were Mother Theresa and Gandha conceptualizing God in the same way? Did they hold the same notions of God? Probably not. Yet both held what some of us call nondual views.

Shunryu Suzuki often talked about the Universe, and used the term universal awareness. Thich Nhat Hanh talked about shunyata, emptiness, and emphasized interbeing, how all things are compounded and so nothing exists separate from the rest of the Universe. Ajahn Chah talked about the Dhamma in a very non-dual way.



"If we have awareness and understanding, if we study with wisdom and mindfulness, we will see Dhamma as reality. Thus, we sill see people as constantly being born, changing and finally passing away. Everyone is subject to the cycle of birth and death, and because of this, everyone in the universe is as One being. Thus, seeing one person clearly and distinctly is the same as seeing every person in the world.

In the same way, everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our physical eye, but also the things we see in our minds. A thought arises, then changes and passes away. It is ''nāma dhamma'', simply a mental impression that arises and passes away. This is the real nature of the mind. Altogether, this is the noble truth of Dhamma. If one doesn't look and observe in this way, one doesn't really see! If one does see, one will have the wisdom to listen to the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha.

Where is the Buddha? The Buddha is in the Dhamma. Where is the Dhamma?
The Dhamma is in the Buddha. Right here, now!
Where is the Sangha? The Sangha is in the Dhamma.

Ajahn Chah,
Dhamma Nature


Do Buddhist teachers hold the same nondual notions as Hindus? Probably not. The various religions of the world conceptualize the "ultimate source" "Ultimate Truth" or ground of being in different ways. Each holds a different conceptual picture, using specific concepts, metaphors and imagery. The nondual view of a Buddhist, Christian and Hindu is not the same, but is similar in that what is normally described and viewed as separate (in a dualistic literal view) is seen and experienced as unified and whole, from a nondual perspective.

This experiential aspect is essential to understand and emphasize. The point of a nondual view is that it helps one break free of more literal ideas about separation and individuality, break free from your conception of your "self" as separate from the ground of Being. That does not mean that a Christian or Hindu who holds nondual views is liberated and free in the way the Buddha taught.

It's a way of seeing and experiencing the world, like right view. But will differ from religion to religion, person to person...

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Non-duality

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:45 am

Christopher,

You are making my point, and when I have few more minutes, I'll elaborate on what I am getting at.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Non-duality

Postby floating_abu » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:01 am

The problem with any view or teaching is no matter how true it was/is in practice, when it is adopted as a new or improved position, it becomes somewhat dead in the water.
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Re: Non-duality

Postby christopher::: » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:Christopher,

You are making my point, and when I have few more minutes, I'll elaborate on what I am getting at.


Great.

I also hope you will think a bit about the point i've been trying to make, and why i believe that nondual views are extremely helpful and important. Much pain and suffering has been caused throughout human history by people who held dualistic "black & white" literal views of reality. Militarism, sexism, slavery, racism, nationalism, materialism and most other isms are dependent on dualistic ways of thinking, black/white logic and rigid views.

floating_abu wrote:The problem with any view or teaching is no matter how true it was/is in practice, when it is adopted as a new or improved position, it becomes somewhat dead in the water.


Hi FA,

Sure, to be helpful "good ideas" must be put into practice. As an intellectual position, views can seem meaningless. This really is about wisdom though, i think. What is wisdom? The answer to that (imo) is to understand people, see how the world works, recognize how things change and grow naturally, how everything and everyone is connected...

Leaders like Ghandi, Gorbechev, JFK, Martin Luther King, HHDL and Mother Theresa have been important (and helpful) imo because they were wise, they understood human social dynamics, held nondualistic views and emphasized what connects us together, our commonalities. Compare that with the dominant black/white logic used by leaders like George Bush, and the importance of this topic can't be underemphasized on a practical real-world level.

When put into practice "wisdom" can be extremely helpful and effective. Any worldview that sees all life on our planet as part of a unified whole- all people as sisters and brothers, animals and plants as part of one family- can have dramatic positive effects, when translated into action...

I'd also go so far as to say that such common "wisdom" is in sync with the Buddha's dhamma.

:thumbsup:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Non-duality

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:33 am

Christopher: Do Buddhist teachers hold the same nondual notions as Hindus?


What exactly are the "non-dual" notions held by Buddhist teachers? Do you understand Guenther's point?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Non-duality

Postby floating_abu » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:45 am

christopher::: wrote:When put into practice "wisdom" can be helpful and effective. Any worldview that sees all life on our planet as part of a unified whole- all people as sisters and brothers, animals and plants as part of one family- is wise, imo.

I'd also go so far as to say that such common "wisdom" is in sync with the Buddha's dhamma.

:thumbsup:


I think those views, now further believed to be wisdom, are nesting mirages.
Although granted they are probably far better than the alternative :coffee:

Nevertheless we probably need to recognise that the description you provided could be said of a happy go-lucky, peace loving attitude and the "hippie" stance of the 60s was another manifestation of this. To equate this as the "wisdom" and intellectual position of the Buddha, is probably to simplify and dilute the Buddha's teachings a bit too much I think.

It is easy to do this when one picks up attitudes and phrases here and there and tries to merge it into the world view that one finds most affinity with - in this case, unity.

Personally I say to each his/her own - nothing wrong with using what is useful for one's life and however it needs to be - but to represent it as the truth of the Buddha's teaching without penetration into those for oneself, is maybe a bit too much as we then have the potential to mislead others that this is all the Buddha's teaching is about.

Best wishes,

Abu
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Re: Non-duality

Postby christopher::: » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:37 am

Respectfully, Abu, I'm not too worried that the views i present on Buddhist forums are going to be leading anyone astray. We are all doing this, all the time, presenting our povs on this and that. I teach about dualistic and holistic logic in my University classrooms, without mention of Buddhism. We're studying American culture and history, and this is a theme there, a BiG theme.

Last week I talked about the Salem Witch hunts, and we watched scenes from the Crucible movie. Tomorrow I'll be showing scenes from Disney's version of Huck Finn. Just picked out a good scene where when talking about slavery, Jim says to Huck, "Just because everyone believes something is right, doesn't mean that it's right."

I won't be talking about Buddhism, or the dharma, but still believe that this topic is in sync with what the Buddha taught. For me, that's what Right Livelihood is all about.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Non-duality

Postby floating_abu » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:57 am

christopher::: wrote:Respectfully, Abu, I'm not too worried that the views i present on Buddhist forums are going to be leading anyone astray.


I can see you are not worried :) However, there was a Buddha, and there are established/recognised Masters for good reason as we can see. i.e. many of us have got it wrong.

christopher::: wrote:Just picked out a good scene where when talking about slavery, Jim says to Huck, "Just because everyone believes something is right, doesn't mean that it's right."


A good quote. Does that include yourself?

Best wishes,

Abu
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Re: Non-duality

Postby christopher::: » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:49 pm

floating_abu wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Just picked out a good scene where when talking about slavery, Jim says to Huck, "Just because everyone believes something is right, doesn't mean that it's right."


A good quote. Does that include yourself?


Of course, I think (though I could be wrong).
Isn't that to be expected?

A related article...

Enlightenment Therapy: NY Times article

:juggling:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Non-duality

Postby Individual » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:03 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Christopher: Do Buddhist teachers hold the same nondual notions as Hindus?


What exactly are the "non-dual" notions held by Buddhist teachers? Do you understand Guenther's point?

...With regard to Mind & Body, Self & Other, Life & Death, Craving & Aversion, Suffering & Joy, and Reality & Appearance.

There was a recent sutta somebody here quoted that seems relevant. Here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

A layperson argues with a monk about whether the Buddha taught two feelings (pain & pleasure) or three (pain, pleasure, & neither). When the Buddha hears of it, he says that he taught both.

Now, Tiltbillings, you want to say that the Buddha didn't teach non-dualism or have any non-dualist ideas. Recognizing notself and dependent-origination, it is entirely arbitrary to say, "X is absolutely nothing like Y". In some ways, we are both comparable to apples and oranges.

But as the Buddha says in the sutta above, people will argue if they hear views they don't want to accept.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Non-duality

Postby Dharmajim » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:09 pm

Good Friends:

Mother Teresa has come up twice on this thread as an examplar of non-dualism. The view is that she saw God in all beings and because of this Mother Teresa is an example of a Christian non-dualist. I disagree with this conclusion and in the interest of possibly furthering the discussion I'm going to take a few moments to offer a different understanding.

Simply seeing that there is a commonality among all people, or among all things, is not sufficient to qualify someone as a non-dualist. For example, I can say that all humans are made of atoms and molecules, but I don't think from that assertion it follows that I'm a non-dualist. In some forms of Buddhist contemplation we learn to see all people as impermanent and suffering and causally arisen; that is to say we begin to perceive what all people have in common. However, I don't think that it follows from this that those engaged in such contemplations are non-dualists.

Seeing the light of God in all beings is widespread in Christian literature. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, was famous for this; it is the entire basis for his tradition. There are many other examples. Yet I don't think it follows that Mother Teresa, or George Fox, are non-dualists because of this.

Central to a Christian view are certain pivotal differences between humans and God. First among these is that God is uncreated while human beings are created. This difference is unbridgeable and essential. The light of God in the individual is comprehended by Teresa and Fox as the grace of God guiding the individual towards the uncreated. The light within is not, in this sense, an essence or a true self, because the true self of humans is created, limited, impermanent, while the true self of God is uncreated, unlimited, and eternal.

The tradition of advaita comprehends the limited nature of human beings as illusory (variously defined) while the true self is the same as the eternal and unchanging Brahman. Therefore, "Thou Art That"; meaning human beings are not really limited and mortal. They are really unlimited and immortal, just like Brahman.

Christianity, and monotheism in general, rejects such an equivelency on two grounds. First, it diminishes the grandeur of God (see Saint Anselm) and second, it mistakenly exalts the ego of humans. An Orthodox Priest, a good friend of mine, put it succintly: "This is the start of wisdom; There is a God and I am not he." I'm waiting for some traditional Christian to author a book with the title "I am Not That" (a little joke there).

I think it is a mistake to conclude from the idea that everyone has some aspects of their existence in common, that anyone who holds that view is, therefore, a non-dualist. The crucial, and I believe distinguishing, view of advaita is that this commonality is the only genuine reality. It is possible to argue for the commonalities of people without concluding that these commonalities are the only genuine reality and if one does not draw that conclusion I would say that one is not a non-dualist.

Sincerely,

Jim
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Re: Non-duality

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:18 pm

Imho, the thing that makes Buddhism radically different from other religions is that even when thinking of dharma kaya, for example, shunyata is always lingering in the background of teachings as a context. The subtle difference between "not two" and "one" reminds me of saying "not-self" rather than "no-self." For me at least, it was easier to wrap my mind around not-self when getting familiar with Buddhism.

Best,
ND
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Re: Non-duality

Postby floating_abu » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:48 pm

christopher::: wrote:
floating_abu wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Just picked out a good scene where when talking about slavery, Jim says to Huck, "Just because everyone believes something is right, doesn't mean that it's right."


A good quote. Does that include yourself?


Of course


Doubtful :namaste:
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Re: Non-duality

Postby floating_abu » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:19 am

Dharmajim wrote:Good Friends:

Mother Teresa has come up twice on this thread as an examplar of non-dualism. The view is that she saw God in all beings and because of this Mother Teresa is an example of a Christian non-dualist. I disagree with this conclusion and in the interest of possibly furthering the discussion I'm going to take a few moments to offer a different understanding.

Simply seeing that there is a commonality among all people, or among all things, is not sufficient to qualify someone as a non-dualist. For example, I can say that all humans are made of atoms and molecules, but I don't think from that assertion it follows that I'm a non-dualist. In some forms of Buddhist contemplation we learn to see all people as impermanent and suffering and causally arisen; that is to say we begin to perceive what all people have in common. However, I don't think that it follows from this that those engaged in such contemplations are non-dualists.

Seeing the light of God in all beings is widespread in Christian literature. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, was famous for this; it is the entire basis for his tradition. There are many other examples. Yet I don't think it follows that Mother Teresa, or George Fox, are non-dualists because of this.

Central to a Christian view are certain pivotal differences between humans and God. First among these is that God is uncreated while human beings are created. This difference is unbridgeable and essential. The light of God in the individual is comprehended by Teresa and Fox as the grace of God guiding the individual towards the uncreated. The light within is not, in this sense, an essence or a true self, because the true self of humans is created, limited, impermanent, while the true self of God is uncreated, unlimited, and eternal.

The tradition of advaita comprehends the limited nature of human beings as illusory (variously defined) while the true self is the same as the eternal and unchanging Brahman. Therefore, "Thou Art That"; meaning human beings are not really limited and mortal. They are really unlimited and immortal, just like Brahman.

Christianity, and monotheism in general, rejects such an equivelency on two grounds. First, it diminishes the grandeur of God (see Saint Anselm) and second, it mistakenly exalts the ego of humans. An Orthodox Priest, a good friend of mine, put it succintly: "This is the start of wisdom; There is a God and I am not he." I'm waiting for some traditional Christian to author a book with the title "I am Not That" (a little joke there).

I think it is a mistake to conclude from the idea that everyone has some aspects of their existence in common, that anyone who holds that view is, therefore, a non-dualist. The crucial, and I believe distinguishing, view of advaita is that this commonality is the only genuine reality. It is possible to argue for the commonalities of people without concluding that these commonalities are the only genuine reality and if one does not draw that conclusion I would say that one is not a non-dualist.

Sincerely,

Jim


Dharmajim

I think your reasoning is congruent and strong and thank you for adding your voice to this community.

Two points:

1. If there is such a thing as non-duality then my own understanding of it is: it's just things as they are. To bring it out perhaps one might say -- "Not two, not one"

It also reminds me of T'seng Tsan: "To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality."

Assertion and denial might be a bit too much.

But this is a discussion board and so we discuss --

To be honest I am neither a fan nor a critic of the so-called non dual approach teachings. If it helps the student, it is a good teaching. But when I say help my own bias is it is a pointer of practice - which is not just a position, rather it is ongoing practice which can facilitate an embodiment of insights and realisation that are most oft wordless, but are genuinely transformative. That transformation is similar to the pointers offered by Lord Buddha and in my own view the standard is liberation - liberation.

Even lacking this, I have no issue with non-duality on its own as a pointer - and certainly encouragements to reflect on the connectedness of human/earth/living beings is widespread amidst Dharma teachers.

Personally, my bias is to go beyond it as an attitude only - the pointers I would be most familiar with are those which encourage practice (meditation/reflection/attention/kindness) and to that end teachers only hint and speak of what is possible in the language that is available- so that the student forges ahead to know for themself. ie they are encouragements for us and also verify the truth of Lord Buddha's teachings so many years ago.

I think Buddhism does not "not have" (if we have to call it this for the purposes of this discussion) non-dual aspects, but when mixing with this and that tradition, this and that point, sometimes things do get a bit watery. And in that case I empathise with reservations about these so-called non-dual teachings. And certainly I agree it's not enough to just believe oneself into liberation, as some quotes in the beginning posts seemed to indicate. It is undoubtedly possible to point however.

2. Language by nature is dual, and to a degree limited - and so are our insights. I prefer keeping an open mind on most things and let practice take care of the rest. I concur with your points that seeing commonality does not equate to non-dual however, and again thank you for some salient points all round in this thread.

Abu
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Re: Non-duality

Postby pink_trike » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:13 am

floating_abu wrote:
christopher::: wrote:When put into practice "wisdom" can be helpful and effective. Any worldview that sees all life on our planet as part of a unified whole- all people as sisters and brothers, animals and plants as part of one family- is wise, imo.

I'd also go so far as to say that such common "wisdom" is in sync with the Buddha's dhamma.

:thumbsup:


I think those views, now further believed to be wisdom, are nesting mirages.
Although granted they are probably far better than the alternative :coffee:

Nevertheless we probably need to recognise that the description you provided could be said of a happy go-lucky, peace loving attitude and the "hippie" stance of the 60s was another manifestation of this. To equate this as the "wisdom" and intellectual position of the Buddha, is probably to simplify and dilute the Buddha's teachings a bit too much I think.

It is easy to do this when one picks up attitudes and phrases here and there and tries to merge it into the world view that one finds most affinity with - in this case, unity.

Personally I say to each his/her own - nothing wrong with using what is useful for one's life and however it needs to be - but to represent it as the truth of the Buddha's teaching without penetration into those for oneself, is maybe a bit too much as we then have the potential to mislead others that this is all the Buddha's teaching is about.

Best wishes,

Abu


Imo, Christopher is right on the money - what he said is supported by the Dharma, modern science, and many premodern integral views of the phenomenal world. . To disassociate these things from the Dharma view perhaps reflects a narrow understanding of the teachings - and a lack of understanding that these things, although not explicitly stated in the Buddhist teachings, are definitely implicit.

I'm curious if you were actually there during the "happy go lucky" sixties? If so, you must have missed the great awakening of wisdom that took place. :anjali:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Non-duality

Postby floating_abu » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:54 am

pink_trike wrote:Imo, Christopher is right on the money - what he said is supported by the Dharma, modern science, and many premodern integral views of the phenomenal world. . To disassociate these things from the Dharma view perhaps reflects a narrow understanding of the teachings - and a lack of understanding that these things, although not explicitly stated in the Buddhist teachings, are definitely implicit.

I'm curious if you were actually there during the "happy go lucky" sixties? If so, you must have missed the great awakening of wisdom that took place. :anjali:


Dear pink

Thanks for your comments.

The only difference that I point out is one which is adopted as a mental construct (attitudes/thoughts/learnings from society) and one which sees the veracity of "all this" through the insights of practice. The latter would be what Ajahn Chah was talking about for example when he was quoted above. i.e. The way I see it he was not pointing for students to adopt a particular attitude/outlook/to point out what he had learnt, but rather to encourage students to see the truth of what he was saying through a meditative practice (of attention).

As I said to Dharmajim (or was it just to myself :) ) the output is congruent perhaps but the process is slightly different. With the latter ie. that sustained through a devoted and determined practice a much more sturdy and genuine change occurs. This is not to undermine the good efforts and attitude of anyone - and good/healthy attitudes are very very welcome as far as I'm concerned [no-one being apart from Buddhism regardless] -- but just to suggest a slight recognition that it is still in the realm of construct (conditioning) and it is thus still amenable to change, to deterioration, to influence. Again, nothing wrong with the output, but the process is important - for a practitioner. For a practitioner. An example is gold - there is one which is forged genuinely through the heat, and it is of solid melt, and whilst it is the same in design as a gold plated version, and all shine just as brilliantly and beautifully and are as welcome in the jewel of the universe's shine, I could not say there is no difference - from where I sit as someone who is interested in gold making.

And as I did say to Dharmajim: "Even lacking this, I have no issue with non-duality on its own as a pointer - and certainly encouragements to reflect on the connectedness of human/earth/living beings is widespread amidst Dharma teachers...I think Buddhism does not "not have" (if we have to call it this for the purposes of this discussion) non-dual aspects, but when mixing with this and that tradition, this and that point, sometimes things do get a bit watery."

So my points are mainly about process/output, and also that some presentations of those elements of Buddhist teaching in a certain way can lead students to think it is just a change of attitude. A change of attitude is a lovely thing, and certainly part of it, but I guess it's just not all of it - as far as I can see for reasons partially outlined above.

As a student of Dhamma, for us there is still the matter of consciousness, nama-rupa, vedana etc. ie. Buddhism whilst highly congruent with world peace, interrelatedness, compassion and wisdom as outputs, in terms of process points to that which is not merely within the realm of thought/construct and thereby conditioning. ie. there is a bit more to it but again not incongruent with the above attitudes. And the wisdom of the Buddha is in knowing the world - including the construct of the world, so again its expanse is a bit larger as I see it.

And this is why the points you raise to me are fair and valid and I can only point out I don't disagree that it is implicit - as I said in my point to Dharmajim.

Each age is capable of great wisdom, and I hope we are yet to embark on a new one.

Bows.

Best wishes,

Abu
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