Non-Duality: The Way of Liberation Part Three-Questions and Answers By Anthony Court "As a bee seeks nectar from all kinds of flowers, seek teachings everywhere. Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze seek seclusion to digest all that you have gathered. Like a madman, beyond all limits, go where you please, and live like a lion completely free of all fear." — Dzogchen tantra With this continuing series about non-duality I had planned to look at the Zen tradition this week, but having received a number of questions regarding this subject, I thought that this maybe a good time to stop and reflect on what is the nature of non-duality. (J. from Newport asked: Is this a Buddhist idea, and are you a Buddhist?) O.K., thanks J. for the question. Let me use your question to illustrate the nature of duality. From a relative point of view of communication, and understanding the question appears to be a reasonable one; however from the point of view of non-duality the question is pointless. Please let me explain. If I answered yes to your question, your conditioned mind would immediately bring up an image of what you think a Buddhist is. Therefore, all the past ideas and limited, conditioned impressions would colour anything that is said in this article. Were I to say no, then this answer may be understood differently. The answer would emerge only from your own individual understanding of what you think a Buddhist or Non-Buddhist is. So from the perspective of non-duality the question is meaningless. All langue is dualistic, hence all the confusion in the world. For example millions of people call (label) themselves as Christian, but of all those millions of people, not any two would probably have the same understanding, so is it any wonder that there appears to be nothing but conflict and violence on the planet? The very nature of duality is confusion. What many so-called spiritual seekers do, is, after many years of suffering and unhappiness they find themselves a religious, or spiritual path of some kind, but in reality all they have done is to seek an antidote for their unsatisfactory feelings, and to some extent this may work for a while, but deep down the there is still the subtle suffering of the samsaric world which manifests as anger, depression, anxiety and so on. The root cause has not been addressed. J. had your original question been: Do Buddhist methods, and practice point to the non-dual state? Then, I would have said yes. I do not (like millions of others) consider Buddhism to be a religion; to me it is a science of the mind. It starts with the only possible questions that must be answered before any spiritual search is undertaken….what is the nature of reality, and what is the nature of mind? To start from any other viewpoint is doomed to not only failure, but a continuum of subtle anxiety, unease and a constant feeling of unsatisfactoriness. To blindly accept a belief, or religion is madness, one must investigate. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that the church believed that the Earth was the centre of the Universe. Copernicus, of course, proved this not to be true. As Eckhart Tolle said, “the history of man is the history of madness”. Religion has, and still is at the forefront of violence and war (nothing much has changed it the last few thousand years) Yesterday I heard someone defending their religion, saying that it was a peaceful one, well, this peaceful religion “wiped out” Buddhism in India (a fact many have forgotten) and is responsible for most of the current world wide conflict. All the horrors of the
world conflicts and violence stem from monotheistic religion (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam etc.) and monotheistic religions are dualistic; dualism by its very nature produces conflict. So why are monotheistic religions the cause of so much havoc? The answer is simple; they separate humankind from “what is” or reality. There is God (a creator), and there is human kind, (the created) so here we see instant separation! This fundamental creation by the human mind stops the realisation of “oneness” of all things, and separates and divides creating a dualistic state where all connection to the nature of reality is lost. Buddhism, Taoism and other traditions have no creator God; they are neither theistic, nor atheistic. They are non-theistic. These traditions do not talk of sin and guilt, but of ignorance of the natural state of reality, and of mind. And it is from this ignorance of the natural state that all conflicts arise. In this state of ignorance we fail to see everything as a unified whole, and start to “label” things as “good and bad” “right or wrong” “them and us” this dualistic separating and dividing is the root cause of all suffering. “Waking up” to this understanding is the liberation of the human condition. How can there be conflict when everything is one (you)? Many today have rejected organised religion for a new (new age) type of spirituality, but unfortunately the beliefs of this new spiritual movement are just more of the same incredulous ideas which have little or nothing to do with reality. How many times have I heard that on December the 21st 2012 the world will either end, or we will all become enlightened multi dimensional beings of light etc, etc? Listen, most new age people I know can’t handle the dimensions they already have, let alone adding more. These beliefs are infantile, and only bring temporary comfort. Do you really think that some golden age is just around the corner, and that crime and violence will suddenly end. If you think 2012 is going to usher in the new age of enlightenment I suggest you take a stroll down Wind Street in Swansea on a Saturday night then ask yourself “Are all these drunken people going to turn into beings of light?” Also the participants of the Jeremy Kyle Show are unlikely to join Mesa in the immediate future, and mankind is unlikely to grow up (wake up) any time soon. Someone stated recently on the internet that “atheism has killed more people than religion” well is that true? Hardly! What this person was talking about was the political ideology of the Communism of Mao and Stalin, but this no different. It is just another form of belief, as is religion. Alan Watts once said “There is an up universe, and a down universe. Everyone wants the up universe and nobody wants the down universe” but you can’t just have one side of a coin, so religion gets around this by creating good and evil, so the good of course is God, and the evil the Devil that is pure dualistic thinking, which abdicates any idea of personal responsibility. (G. of Swansea asks: What do you mean by “waking up”?) Thanks G., lets take the words (remembering all words are dualistic) Enlightenment, Awake, Self Realised. We come across these words frequently in spiritual literature. I believe they all point to, or mean the same thing which is a shift from the conditioned state into the natural non-dual aware state, which is beyond all conceptual thought and conditioned existence. This is our natural, primordial state which is beyond concepts and ideas. It is the “ground of all being” from which the appearances of the universe arises and return. I know how difficult this is to understand, but really it’s very simple. We all see ourselves as separate from world. This fabricated and conditioned idea we have of ourselves is fictitious. This is what Eckhart Tolle calls the “egoic mind” It is not real, but it certainly feels so. If through meditation, and contemplation, this false mind is truly
seen for what it is, it can no longer continue to function. This unreal self and identification with it collapses. In the same way as belief in Father Christmas collapsed when you are at an age to realise the impossibility of such a person. But, we have invested so much in our self image, and who we think we are most of us would prefer to continue playing our spiritual games, than face the voidness of being. So, all of you who think you are on a spiritual path, take some time out to consider where do you think it is leading too? One of my Tibetan teachers, in most of his teachings, would stop as say… “If you could really see this, you could wake up now” So G., waking up is the realisation that you are already “awake”. In Dzogchen (see last issue) it is said that you are already enlightened, in the same way that the Sun is always shining, but the clouds of obscuration’s and ignorance are in the way. Clear away the clouds, and discover you natural state, shining like the Sun, free of all self delusion. To carry on the spiritual games is just buying time for the egoic mind to carry on surviving. (S. of Neath asks could I recommend some books or websites to look at?) Yes of course. Firstly I would like to recommend a book that I have recently discovered, and I have to say that it is probably the best book on “spirituality” that I have ever read. (My own person library consists of nearly 4,000 books on the subjects we have been discussing). This book is called No Self, No Problem by Anam Thubten it’s available from www.wisdombooks.com and of course Amazon. For non-duality information try www.nondualitypress.com www.scienceandnonduality.com also www.nonduality.com for an insight to Science and Buddhism try www.mindandlife.org and www.alexberzinarchives.com Also go onto YouTube and type in non-duality as there are plenty of talks and interviews with many non-dual teachers. A final word on the subject until next time, having glimpsed this natural state I have come to realise that breaking out of our dream like existence is difficult, as we do not realise that we are asleep in the first place. However, there is great hope with this view, because, as awakening slowly happens, the idea that we are separate from everything will be seen by more and more people for the illusion that it is, and they will begin to live in a harmonious way. But this change can only take place if you ask “What is my true nature-who or what am I?” and question everything anyone tells you. (Finally S. also from Swansea asked: What do I think will happen on 21st of December 2012?) Hi S., I think it will probably rain. Anthony Court- www.anthonycourt.com
Published on May 1, 2012
"As a bee seeks nectar from all kinds of flowers, seek teachings everywhere. Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze seek seclusion to...