Sunday, 10 June 2012

Better Far Off than Near, Be Ne'er the Near.

There seems to be some restlessness in the "nondual community", if it can even be referred to in that way, with some teachers who are insightful to a degree that does not tolerate the seeker or teacher enlightened only to the degree of glimpses.  Dig around in traditional Eastern enlightenment practices such as Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Jainism (part of Hinduism), and, of course, the darling of the Western interpretation, Advaita Vedanta (again, part of Hinduism).  One will find that various stages of enlightenment are named and described.  Arahant (Buddhism), Turiya or Nirvikalpa (Hinduism) or Reaching the Source (Zen Buddhism) are usually what is described as the "highest" level.  Both self and teacher are forgotten, not just Oneness is apprehended, but the nothinginess that is what truly is (hence the title of this blog).  Most of these traditions describe reaching the last stage as Nirvana, a concept at least a little familiar to the West. (Note that this last stage in Zen is not the final stage; after it comes Returning to the Marketplace.) The restlessness seems to be impatience with teacher/seekers at some "earlier stage" that are presenting themselves in an annoying fashion at Nonduality meetings as further along than they are, suffering from delusions of grandeur, or as egoless when ego is evident. 
I gather this is de rigueur for seekers, "jumping the gun" in this way. Some seekers apparently get a big glimpse and immediately start to teach with little foundation for it.  There's a lot of lovey-doveyness around, which is probably stage two or three of most of these traditional practices, where the illusion of subject/object has been noted, and the awakening human is infatuated with the Oneness of it all. I suppose I describe the absolute Source (or whatever) with the blog title phrase:  "nothing exists, despite appearances."  This is simply the phraseology that seemed closest at the time. It's a poor description, as they all must be, concepts never being what they describe. It all seems to unfold just as it must. This includes some teachers' impatience with the Advaita circus, and desire for only those who realise what stage they're at (thus displaying a little humility) to ask for their help.  
There is little difference, if any, between meeting the realised sage that seems to transfer some kind of energetic awakening by his mere presence (the purported goal of satsang) and a nice chat with the guy you meet by chance on a walk to the shops. There is no importance to attending a nonduality gathering and ascertaining which teachers/speakers are frauds, what stage everyone is at, whether one person is further along than someone else, who's in it for the money, who's in it for the fame, who's in it for the glory, or who's in it to try and help (most of them). It makes absolutely no difference whether there actually ARE stages of enlightenment or not.  All of these things are fascinating stories and judgements, but that's all they are.  Each and every apparent experience, or lack of experience, or shoe-tying incident, or bodily elevation to Nirvana are entirely equal, worthy, valid and ultimately non-existent, if we're operating on the premise that reality is illusory.  This includes superseding reality in some nifty beyond-beyondness way.  It includes even the lack of an experience, and complete return to the Source.  No matter how important our mind with its love of hierarchy makes it, or how hard we work for these magnificent achievements, everything that is or isn't is the same thing (or lack of "thing").  Nobody (or no non-person) is doing any "better" than anyone "else".
What I notice at these Nonduality gatherings is a lot of sufferers that need reassurance, teachers that are doing the best they can at whatever stage they may (or may not) be at, and a fair few seekers who are neglecting friends, children, long-tolerant spouses, their education, their bills, etc. for this dream of True Beyondness and the Absolute Best way to Be, or not Be. I couldn't say what stage I'm at.  Probably either completely stage one, if that, totally ego-enmeshed and deluded, or a full Bodhisattva who has been to Nirvana, done that, and chooses to remain human in order to help others.  Or something in between.  It doesn't matter one whit which one it is, or isn't.  They are all the same thing.
I keep saying "favourite movie" but this time it's really, really true.  I first saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on a long plane ride, and ended up watching it three or four times.  Brilliant premise - there exists a company that can wipe certain persons from your memory.  Clementine decides to do this with Joel, her ex-boyfriend, and Joel follows suit in a fit of pique.  However, mid-procedure,  Joel decides he doesn't want to forget Clementine and does his best to hide her memory as they are busy wiping her out.  (Spoilers follow!)  In the end, they find out about each other and the procedure, after having met again, after the memory wipes, by chance.  They know why the relationship didn't work out.  But they don't care.  They decide to go through it all again.  This is the scene where they decide to do this, and the whole film is the most glorious celebration of the value of getting things wrong.  Watch the film, if you haven't - it's also satisfying to see Jim Carrey in a non-gurning role.


an3drew said...

is that your painting? it's absolutely brilliant, and in a size of about 6ft x 2ft would be really great on a wall !

Les Collins said...

Truly enjoyed this blog! Shines a clear light on the inherent comedy of the whole circus. (A sorely needed perspective!) "Better Far Off"- INDEED! Far too subtile and slippery near the top edge. Better to just watch and enjoy the Show-- start believing you're a skilled surgeon who can fix those delicate inner workings, and you'll be in it up to your neck in it in no time! Great point that everything/everyone is your teacher, which means that 'If everything is spiritual, nothing is spiritual (in particular, that is).' All is just OK, just as it is, "Despite Appearances."
Thanks, Les

an3drew said...

"The restlessness seems to be impatience with teacher/seekers at some "earlier stage" that are presenting themselves in an annoying fashion at Nonduality meetings as further along than they are, suffering from delusions of grandeur, or as egoless when ego is evident. "

do you need a translator?

in english : o )

"non-duality is full of phonies both at the teacher and student level"

well i can tell you zen is just the same

in christianity at least there i some real world focus on actually doing what you say, tho how helpful it is to implement the insane i can't say ;o)

it's all a big trap except for the occasional glints of diamond sparkle that come through : o )

but basically its a scene of contagious ill health and poverty, it's pathetic to see people coming up and dropping kopeks into a tin can at karl renz's recent  russian  talks

longgone1 said...

There's always going to be a circus around any spiritual or non-duality path ... It's due to the ego or vestiges of ego at whatever level and dualistic seeing.
Everyone is at different stages and one can definitely percieve that ..
It would seem to be like we are all mirrors for each other & some are more polished clean than others. The rubbing of the egos together does a lot of the polishing.
However one can't get round the problem by saying we are all the same and all the levels are the same in non-dual vision. We know that intellectually but can only experience it when our own mirror is spotlessly clean ! : )

an3drew said...

longgone, stages of what going to where?

questions answer more than flat out statements, you don't seem to have any, only certainty about how you think things are!

why not take a small mirror and smash it, could be a good experience ;o)

an3drew said...

the only honest movie about the "spiritual" scene : o )


No One In Particular said...

Hi an3drew, yes it's my work, although not a painting, I took a picture of my front room window from where I sit at my computer and Photoshopped the living Bejesus out of it. I love all the Living Dead films, especially the first one.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Les, thanks for comment, sorry it took a while to "take hold" on Blogger. Always enjoying the show.

No One In Particular said...

Hey longgone 1, perhaps it's not a problem after all.

an3drew said...

i don't watch horror movies, mainly because they make me afraid of the dark which is not helpful to spending time outside at night

but that one has always made a big impact on me

it's very hard to understand what happens in the spiritual scene, endless repetition of cliches like they are doing something and it seems to make more sense in terms of the living dead and zombies

huh, i though that picture had something to do with computers and tv : o )

it's really good and has commercial potential imo

that picture is creative and the spiritual scene is the antithesis of creativity !

an3drew said...

where people get stopped in the so called "spiritual search" i think is they do not accept that love is an illusion !

to understand this you have to have a very different brain

and a traumatized life with a stong inclination to make sense of it all

unexpectedly this is not the usual human lot ! ; o )

an3drew said...

the last of the mohicans




die !

an3drew said...

nada te  turbe  - taizé

Gillian said...

I know the stage I'm at - fed up of the whole damn shebang! So many 'spontaneous awakenings' and 'beautiful risings' drawing me like a moth to a flame, or a spider fatally entangled in it's own frustrating web! I may feel differently tomorrow - or later, either way, I don't seem to have a friggin' choice!!!

Anonymous said...

Eternal Sunshine was on the telly last night so I caught it again. What a brilliant piece. Charlie Kaufman is one of my favorite screen writers - just enough poking at the gossamer fabric of perception without stripping it of all human-ness. Kind of a sweeter version of David Lynch or PK Dick. I do have to see Synecdoche, New York again though, a bit baffling but will undoubtedly reveal itself.

Happy Independence Day! (whatever that means). Richard III plays in the park starting on Friday too. Bloody mayhem.


an3drew said...

gillian, imo the surest mark of authentic inquiry is using your own words and not repeating cliches ! ?

suzanne foxton exposes her own life in an objective way, what is that telling you?

advaita and zen are the same, everyone develops little patters that they permute and repeat carefully hiding their own lives

it doesn't work !

the endless rubbish i have read in advaita/non duality and zen, you wouldn't believe they were real people rather than spamrobots : o )

one of the big things to realise is the voynichy nature of standard quotes like "the moth is drawn to the flame"

like actually it's such a half and half mixture of sense and meangless nonsense that it's not simply useless but a counterproductive way of looking at things, because in fact it's not looking but obscuration !

of all the blogs across the advaita unoierse this is the only one to permit reasonable discussion of these matters!

people want "protection" for their need to rabbit on their pathetic little intellectual investments !

of course, wasting one's precious free attention on bad movies is another approach :/; o )

Anonymous said...

I think the restlessness comes from people going to non-duality satsangs for year upon year and getting nowhere. After a while all the stock non-duality clichés that are presented wear thin. The non-duality satsang scene was an interesting experiment, that promised much and delivered little in terms of people truly knowing their own mind.

What is needed is an education in the nature of mind. An education that is standardised and has a result. Like going to college. A solution that works for everybody who takes it on and sticks with it. Fortunately this mature solution is now available with Balanced View.

No One In Particular said...

Whew, busy-ness arises, sorry it's taken me so long to update.

Well, Anonymous, all I can say is wonderful! Somebody's finally got THE answer.

an3drew said...

Risiera di San Sabba was an answer?

No One In Particular said...

I don't know if it was an answer, an3drew...more of a question.

an3drew said...

anonymous, if balanced  view  works why can't you have a name?

it looks to me like a pretty slick machine to take cash from middle aged women

why are the most stupid, vacuous and talentless people involved in  “the spiritual scene”?

teachers who can't cope with criticism, indeed so proactive in avoiding it it's not funny, and students who are some amalgam of emotional retardation, stupidity and cowardice?

balanced view guru candice o'denver   persuading  the disciples not to have children to keep the money for for the balanced view
pot  : o ), but actually i can see her point, a good 50% of todays women shouldn't breed, GO CANDICE : o )

an3drew said...

a search on candice o'denver is interesting, she has a pretty powerful marketing machine, spam posts everywhere

i feel basically she is talking rubbish and wonder where these supporters come from and then i thought, well this is the new jehovah's witnesses

i am going through this in a zen board at the moment, you just sorta stand in front of them stupified, they are so wilfully ignorant : o )

Anonymous said...


just passing, love your blog
just a question (I think you'll say there is no answer or you don't know, it can't be grasp by the mental, all there is is this etc.) I'm asking it

is there an apparent karma ? apparent continuity after death of the body ? an apparent mental which would still arise (for noone of course) "after" death
only the body of a jnani would be free from the identification in other incarnation (does it make sense, sorry lack of vocabulary in english)

that seems to be the idea for "REAL ADVAITA", these guys are not kidding, this is some serious stuff - somehow, neo advaita would dismiss the relative level ?§ (I don't know what it means but ..)