Monday, July 7, 2008

Life Within the Paradox is Non Dual

"Not effort or
the absence of effort,
neither choice nor the impossibility of choice,
neither self nor not self,
neither nothing nor something,
neither emptiness nor form,
neither unborn nor born,
the third thing..." - John Astin

The embrace of third alternative does not blot out any part of reality, or substitute it with a new shiny version - it very simply completes the picture. Nothing seems wrong anymore. When we are presented by the two opposites in a story, no longer do either of them scare or titillate us quite as much, as we naturally choose the third alternative.

The third alternative has its own flavor - it tastes like wholeness, and smells of paradox. It is a dimension of being that holds all paradox snugly in its unicity. It is not the solution to all our problems, we find out, but the inclusion of all our problems into that greater wholeness. This third alternative, according to Dr. John Astin, is non dual reality.

It is nothing you can take hold of conceptually, and it's not any particular experience (as opposed to any other experience). It is the awaring presence, the beingness, the IS-ness of this moment -- this that is undeniably present beyond all doubt, requiring no proof or belief, impossible to deny -- before and after and even during all the grasping and searching and experience-mongering. The words (presence, beingness, awareness, IS-ness) are only pointers. What they point to is nothing you can get hold of as an object. What is, is thorough-going flux, and yet it is always right here, right now. This awaring presence (or emptiness, or no-thing-ness) is pure subjectivity, your true nature. This is all there really is.

From here, there is no inside/outside, you/me, right/wrong distinction, there is only unity and perfection of all there is. Everything that comes into our experience leads us here, and from here, the beginning is the end which is the flow. Is this possible? Can we live from here?

What do YOU think?


Shenpa said...

Truth does have a way of living between things or in synthesis. Martin Buber wrote a wonderful book called Ich and Du or I and thou where he suggests that relationship between things is all there truly is. If life were an onion then the layers of the onion would be relationship and once all those layers are peeled away you are left with emptiness.

Evita said...

Molly - you have touched upon one of my favorite topics!

So yes, yes, yes this is possible and we can live from here and it feels amazing to live life from that essence and truth.

It is as you say unexplainable and cannot be proven to others who do not know what this is. It is felt and it is simply known.

But once you get a taste of living out of this dimension everything is different forever in a really great way - it is as if for the first time one can experience FREEDOM - true freedom that unbinds the body, mind and soul from the Earthly illusions.

Sydney said...

What you are discussion would be, from the little knowledge I have of Zen Buddhism, to be "Wu", or "Nothingness". That is, what is the ever changing point between past and future? It's an ever changing present that can never be held down and defined. If you've got a spare twenty minutes (it's worth it), check this video out:

A neuroanatomist has a stroke and notices the real differences between the left and right side of the brain. The left side sees itself as individual, hoping to keep itself alive, thinking in language, while the right side thinks in pictures and kinesthetically though the five senses, and sees that we're all just energy.

Both sides are necessary to function as a human being, but modern humans have drifted a little too far over to the left.

Trevor said...

Reality is paradoxical; it contains all the polar opposites in it. Seen in the right perspective they are not thought to be opposites, they start looking like complementaries. Hence the paradox is only from a lower world of thinking.

When you yourself reach the peak of no-thought, there is no paradox; you suddenly see the unity of all opposites. In the ultimate the day and night meet and merge, life and death meet and merge, summer and winter meet and merge - there is no difference?.

It is very difficult to understand intellectually because intellectually they are opposites. Intellect cannot conceive that they can happen together. But that is intellect's limitation.

When physicists for the first time discovered that the ultimate particle, the electron, which is the constituent of all matter, behaves very paradoxically, they were at a loss as to how to describe it.; it behaves as a particle and also as a wave simultaneously. A particle means simply a dot. A dot can't be a line simultaneously. A line means many dots, a single dot is not a line. A wave is a line.

For many years there was great controversy about how to describe it, because it not fit ordinary logic. Then they have to listen to reality. What can you do? If reality's behaving that mad way, we have to describe the way it is behaving, we have to put out logic aside; our logic can't be that important.

Finally they have decided that it is both together. Since that day, physics has become quantum physics. Since that day scientists have begun talking like mystics. They had no choice, they had to! And now no great physicist say that mystics are paradoxical; now they themselves know that you cannot avoid paradox when you encounter reality.


Juan said...

You've addressed the concept of dualism on different levels. It seems that when there is an issue that someone dislikes, the instinct is to battle it head on. There is no reason this is the optimal solution to any problem.
I was raised religiously, and even among Bible thumpers there are disagreements. Those are settled by reading scriptures AT each other until the other person is convinced that you are correct. I have seen this process many times, and I've never seen anyone change their mind.

It is easy to forget in an argument that you are trying to accomplish something, communication, and are not trying to win. (Can you win a communication?).

A seeming paradox in martial arts is how the circular martial artist defeats his 'foe'. The way is to become him, blend with his movements and energies. The worst way to take an attack is to stand against it like a rock, but to become it and redirect it, upon which defeating yourself.

ornamentalmind said...

Yes Juan, it seldom happens. Once, in a chat room about a decade ago I did, using analogy, get a, in my eyes, 'fundie' to change their view. And, this said, the very best dialecticians in the world are the Tibetan monks of the Gelupa sect. Their training includes many years of debate. In all cases, a conclusion rather than a 'give in' as you suggest happens in Christian debates, is the result.

Molly Brogan said...

Reality is paradoxical; it contains all the polar opposites in it. Seen with a non dual perspective they are not thought to be opposites, they start looking like complementaries.

I like Trevor's contribution: "When you yourself reach the peak of no-thought, there is no paradox; you suddenly see the unity of all opposites. In the ultimate the day and night meet and merge, life and death meet and merge, summer and winter meet and merge - there is no difference?. It is very difficult to understand intellectually because intellectually they are opposites. Intellect cannot conceive that they can happen together. But that is intellect's limitation." - Osho

To reach harmony in dialogue, does everyone have to agree on a viewpoint? Does there have to be a "right" way of thinking?

Pat said...

I don't think so. Only a recognition that there are spectra. All Osho's examples are either points or ranges on a spectrum. The seasons revolve therough a spectrum, the day and night revolve through a spectrum and, with reincarnation or an afterlife, life and death revolve. These are 'loop spectra'; but, when it comes to good and evil, it's sometimes more difficult to see the loop. Can there be an act so good that it's actually evil or an evil act that is ultimately good? It may take centuries for some acts to completely resolve in order to see the eventual outcome. Because of this, it's more difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to see a true outcome. So time factors into the equation. And time, itself, may be
a large loop, if Big Bangs and their subsequent universes are cyclical.

Juan said...

I'm sorry to sound so practical, but I think the answer is, it depends what the dialog is for. If it to reach an agreement, then you are to find common ground. Each person has an effectively 'right' viewpoint. People talk for different reasons, sometimes it is to come to an understanding, sometimes it is just to show concern. Sometimes it is to force their belief on others, or just to hear themselves talk. Those cases don't require, or want, a harmonious dialog.

Pat said...

Even cacaphony falls into the spectrum of harmony.

Juan said...

Getting back to 'the middle path'. This concept has Tarot card associated with it, Temperance. It's obvious meaning is harmony, but it's more arcane meaning is the combining of opposites, upon which something greater is formed. As Molly has said, this sounds paradoxal, only if you are caught in the duality mindset.

Pat said...

Indeed. The Waite deck's version is rife with symbology. The angel hold two cups, yes, but the fluid being poured from one into the other is combined, even if it were to have originally been two different fluids (the dilution of wine with water to make it more temperate). On the right, there's the two flowering irises that remind us to keep our two eyes open to the unity overall. And the angel stands with one foot in the water and one foot out, reminding us that the human mind is both conscious and subconscious combined. And, on the left, there is the one path that leads to the crown of truth.

Molly Brogan said...

I very much like the idea of the spectrum, and Juan's point is a good one. If you come into a dialogue looking for a particular point (or its opposite to argue against), you will miss all the other wonderful points in the spectrum. The same is true for any viewpoint. If you look only for me/not me, you miss everything in between and stay locked into the framework me/not me, which should be changeable, until it isn't.

Pat said...

"One can never look at black-and-white the same after one realises that white is a composite of all the spectral colours."
Roy G. Biv

Molly Brogan said...

"sounds paradoxal, only if you are caught in the duality mindset.

And this may be the crux of it. Embracing the paradox may bring us into the full spectrum, non dual viewpoint. The change is certainly huge, yet our minds seem to like to fall back into a this/that framework.

Lilavati said...

There was a god of wisdom in consternation. His name was Paradox. Fear him not and know yourself. That which seems to be may not be. Up is down and east is west. Good is to some evil, and evil to some is good. In time there seems to be space, and in space we find duration. And in space-time we find that time and space no longer exist. Know that knowing -- real knowing -- is not knowing. Know that all laws cannot enter the knowing of the mundane mind until they have been given to us by Lord Paradox.

~ richard rose

Kathy said...

"the awaring presence, the beingness, the IS-ness of this moment"

Requiring no proof or belief ... and words are by definition insufficient ... but good approximations here.

Nice post!

Carli said...

The paradox thing seems to be one of the most challenging concepts we play with in this form... To be able to hold in living, breathing awareness, in the moment, the perfect-imperfection of this living, breathing, experience...

Molly Brogan said...

It is not always easy to communicate our ideas and feelings without dualistic comparisons. I often catch myself, even in my quiet thoughts, and have to step into something of a more spectral nature to understand the limitlessness of it all. The important thing, I suppose, is catching myself. Molly

Lilavati said...

that which catches, and that which splits, and that which is the duality, and the inclusivity, and that which is not, as it is - that which is ... is ever and always the being of the OneSelf dancing in duality ..

om namah shivaya ...

the opening heart cannot split or define, falls helplessly into its own depths .... to live forever in a breath.

Sarah said...

"Everything that comes into our experience leads us here, and from here, the beginning is the end which is the flow."
Yes, I find it possible, I like the 'during' which is between the Before and after. what he calls the third alternative. ["the middle way"....]
As for the title "Life Within the Paradox is Non Dual"....I don't know about that...Pardox IS Duality
But the way he presents it...., Food for thoughts....

Cynthia said...

our body and mind are different entities
each has it's own continuum
the body is material substance - a physical entity....atoms and molecules...
see, hear, smell, taste, touch it
examine and analyze its chemical, electrical functioning....
the mind is very different
it is not the physical organ of the brain
it is that part of us that experiences, perceives, recognizes, emotionally reacts to our environment
"mind" does not refer to intellect, but to the entire cognitive and experiential aspect of us - our consciousness
not being composed of physical matter our mind cannot be quantified by scientific means...the mind cannot be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched.
while our body is atomic and physical in nature, the mind is formless and conscious - mere clarity and awareness - allowing for the arisal of objects and is involved with them.
if we sit quietly and allow the qualities of clarity and awareness arise we come to a new understanding of what the mind is.....
each time the Dalai Lama would say the word "mind", his hand went to his heart......

Lynn said...

Realistically, for me, one does waiver, as waves build, reach peaks, break, and rush to sandy shores.

From my perception, one's mind, and the circumstances of life, are constantly "changing." When one comes into alighnment, through/with the heart, one realizes, in the stillness of pureSelf, that love embraces all, light/shadow, unique/universal, choice/choiceless, mystery/faith, up/down, inside/out.

Such radiant posts. Thank you Molly, Cynnie, Heather, Inky, Sarah, Lisa, Ade, Kathy, Jo, Carli, and Nancy for sharing with me, from heart of hearts, day by day.

I love the context of Dr. Paradox. Through resolution of, reconciliation with perceived conflict, the clash of polarities, one learns lessons, experiences the harmony/dissonance as pure white sound, white light, white vibrations, white energy, which is fractured into all hues, including reflection of all light = white and absence of all light = space = pure black.

Chanting, allowing the "inner- intelligence" to move one, to inspire, learning to cherish each breath, to be super aware, paying attention, yet suspending judgment, this helps recreate the mind, reinvent OneSelf, allowing the mind to shift, and the heart to be at peace, beating, calmly, in sweet equanimity.

From the Youngloods Wave YouTube that shiva shared, on the Bhakti thread:

"Being at peace is creating peace."

Yes embraces no; love heals.

Jo said...

Oneness of good and evil

[善悪不二] (Jpn zen’aku-funi )

Also, non-duality of good and evil. The principle that good and evil are not sepa-rate and distinct, but are inherent in all phenomena. "Good" in Buddhism means that which benefits oneself and others, while "evil" means that which harms oneself and others. Good and evil are not two mutually exclusive entities but are two different functions of life. The principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life elucidates that all pos-sible conditions or states of existence reside within life at each moment. Life therefore simultaneously possesses the potential for both good and evil, and even when manifesting one, it is never devoid of the potential for the other.

Molly Brogan said...

An excellent point, Jo. If we allow that duality is more of a spectrum, we make that non dual leap. I attended a seminar in California a couple of years ago called Matrix Energetics. Although there was much there that I found strange, the basis of the method, I thought, was sound. That was that in every moment, there is infinite possibility and an infinite number of possible realities into which, we can posit our consciousness. We choose which, thus, creating our experience. Good stuff.

Jo said...

Three thousand realms in a single moment of life

[一念三千] (Jpn ichi- nen-sanzen )

Also, the principle of a single moment of life comprising three thousand realms. "A single moment of life" (ichinen) is also translated as one mind, one thought, or one thought-moment. A philosophical system established by T'ient'ai (538-597) in his Great Concentration and Insight on the basis of the phrase "the true aspect of all phenomena" from the "Expedient Means" (second) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The three thousand realms, or the entire phenomenal world, exist in a single moment of life. The number three thousand here comes from the following calculation: 10 (Ten Worlds) 10 (Ten Worlds) 10 (ten fac-tors) 3 (three realms of existence). Life at any moment manifests one of the Ten Worlds. Each of these worlds possesses the potential for all ten within itself, and this "mutual possession," or mutual inclusion, of the Ten Worlds is represented as 102, or a hundred, possible worlds. Each of these hundred worlds possesses the ten factors, making one thousand factors or potentials, and these operate within each of the three realms of existence, thus making three thousand realms.The theoretical teaching (first half) of the Lotus Sutra expounds the ten factors of life. It also sets forth the attainment of Buddhahood by persons of the two vehicles (voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones), which signifies the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds. The essential teaching (latter half) of the sutra reveals the true cause (the eternal nine worlds), the true effect (eternal Buddhahood), and the true land (the eter-nal land or realm of the environment). T'ient'ai unified all these concepts in one system, three thousand realms in a single moment of life.Volume five of Great Concentration and Insight reads: "Life at each moment is endowed with the Ten Worlds. At the same time, each of the Ten Worlds is endowed with all Ten Worlds, so that an entity of life actu-ally possesses one hundred worlds. Each of these worlds in turn possesses thirty realms, which means that in the one hundred worlds there are three thousand realms. The three thousand realms of existence are all possessed by life in a single moment. If there is no life, that is the end of the matter. But if there is the slightest bit of life, it contains all the three thousand realms.... This is what we mean when we speak of the 'region of the unfathomable.'" "Life at each moment" means life as an indivisible whole that includes body and mind, cause and effect, and sentient and insentient things. A single moment of life is endowed, as stated above, with the three thousand realms. The relationship of these two elements is not such that one precedes the other, or that they are simultaneous in the sense that one is included in the other. Actually they are non-dual or, as T'ient'ai put it, "two [in phenomena] but not two [in essence]." The provisional teachings stated that all phenomena arise from the mind, or that they are subordinate to the mind. The Lotus Sutra clarifies that the true aspect is inseparable from all phenomena, and that all phenomena, just as they are, are in themselves the true aspect. When T'ient'ai stated, "The three thousand realms of existence are all possessed by life in a single mo-ment.... But if there is the slightest bit of life, it contains all the three thousand realms," he is referring to the non-duality of "a single moment of life" and the "three thousand realms." "The three thousand realms in a single moment of life" is classified into two as the theoretical principle and the actual embodiment of this principle. These are respectively termed the "theoretical three thousand realms in a single moment of life" and the "actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life." The theoretical principle is based on the theo-retical teaching of the Lotus Sutra, which expounds the equality of Buddhahood and the nine worlds. Both, it points out, are manifestations of the true aspect. The theoretical teaching also reveals the mutual posses-sion of the Ten Worlds based on the principle that persons of the two vehicles, who were denied Buddhahood in the provisional teachings, also possess innate Buddhahood and can attain it. Strictly speaking, however, the theoretical teaching reveals only the hundred worlds and, multiply-ing by the ten factors of life, the thousand factors, and does not reveal their eternal nature. Only when supported by the essential teaching (the latter half) of the Lotus Sutra, can the theoretical teaching be said to expound theoretically, as a possibility, the three thousand realms in a sin-gle moment of life.On the other hand, the essential teaching reveals Shakyamuni's enlightenment in the remote past (the true effect, eternal Buddhahood), the eternal life of his disciples, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth (the true cause, the eternal nine worlds), and the eternity of the saha world (the true land). These explain the eternal Ten Worlds and the eternal three realms of existence, and thus "the actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life." Despite its comprehensive view, the essential teaching does not go on to reveal the practice that enables one to embody directly this principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. Though the sutra says, "If there are those who hear the Law, then not a one will fail to attain Buddhahood," it does not identify what the Law is. That is why Nichiren (1222-1282) defined the entire Lotus Sutra—both the theo-retical and the essential teachings—as representing "the theoretical three thousand realms in a single moment of life." In contrast, Nichiren embodied his life embracing the three thousand realms in a single moment, or the life of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, in the mandala known as the Gohonzon and established the practice for attain-ing Buddhahood. That practice is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon. In Nichiren's teaching, this is the practice for "observing the mind," i.e., observing one's own mind and seeing Buddhahood in it. For this reason, his teaching is summarized in the phrase "embracing the Gohonzon is in itself observing one's mind" or "embracing the Gohonzon is in itself attaining Buddhahood." He states in a 1273 letter known as Reply to Kyo'o, "I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart. The Buddha's will is the Lotus Sutra, but the soul of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" (412), and in his 1273 treatise The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind: "Showing profound compassion for those unable to comprehend the gem of the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the Buddha wrapped it within the five characters [of Myoho-renge-kyo], with which he then adorned the necks of the ignorant people of the latter age" (376).Nichikan (1665-1726), the twenty-sixth chief priest of Taiseki-ji temple, interpreted the above passage of volume five of Great Concentration and Insight from the viewpoint of Nichiren's teaching. Nichikan defined "life at each moment" as the life of the eternal Buddha, or Nam-myohorenge-kyo, which is inscribed down the center of the Gohonzon; he further interpreted "endowed with the Ten Worlds" as the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other figures inscribed on both sides of Nam-myohorenge-kyo in the Gohonzon. These represent the principles of the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, the hundred worlds and the thousand factors, and the three thousand realms. According to Nichikan, the sentence "The three thousand realms of existence are all possessed by life in a single moment" refers to the "region of the unfathomable," which he interprets as the object of devotion that embodies the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is not to be viewed simply as an external object but as something that exists in the life of a person with faith in the object of devotion. Without faith, the object of devotion endowed with the three thousand realms does not exist within one's life. This, Nichikan stated, is the ultimate meaning of T'ient'ai's doctrine.

Molly Brogan said...

Well, I think that there is a leap of faith from duality thinking to a non dual viewpoint, that includes that important "witnessing" or observing from a broader perspective so that what seems to be opposition can be seen as spectral and enjoyed as life's sacred gifts. Your post, Jo, sounds to me just like this, only in different words.

Ade said...

Non duality is the view and that which is viewing...neither of which happen from a point.

This viewing is what is right now, always has and is.
Done by no one...utterly pristine, clear and empty....untouched by its self, untouched, indescribable yet described.

...basically, simply this that you already are....One without a second.

Tiffany said...

I think –

I don’t know who the Doctor is… but, it sounds suspiciously like the tao… in its pure form – before interpretation and culture mingling…

Yes – its possible to exist there.

Will we exist there? That’s another question for each one of us to answer… but from what I see, its impossible at this stage in time.