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Is there an absolute reality?

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Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/6/09 3:32 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/6/09 5:25 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/6/09 7:59 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/6/09 8:33 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Trent S. H. 3/6/09 12:39 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/6/09 12:48 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Kenneth Folk 3/6/09 1:58 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/6/09 3:35 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Kenneth Folk 3/6/09 3:52 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Kenneth Folk 3/6/09 4:02 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/6/09 4:11 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/6/09 4:23 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? triple think 3/7/09 10:55 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/8/09 10:19 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/8/09 10:19 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Jackson Wilshire 3/8/09 10:59 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? triple think 3/8/09 12:49 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/9/09 3:34 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/10/09 9:03 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/10/09 9:24 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/10/09 1:04 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/10/09 3:11 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? triple think 3/10/09 6:09 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/10/09 9:13 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? tarin greco 3/10/09 9:28 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/10/09 10:10 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/10/09 10:13 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? triple think 3/10/09 10:53 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? tarin greco 3/10/09 11:41 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Hokai Sobol 3/11/09 5:26 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/11/09 6:43 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? tarin greco 3/11/09 6:56 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/11/09 7:30 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? tarin greco 3/11/09 8:41 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/11/09 8:52 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/11/09 10:27 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? John Finley 3/11/09 10:49 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/11/09 12:05 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? tarin greco 3/11/09 12:20 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Kenneth Folk 3/11/09 1:10 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Kenneth Folk 3/11/09 1:14 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/11/09 1:48 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/11/09 2:39 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Trent S. H. 3/11/09 4:45 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/11/09 5:00 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/12/09 7:17 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/12/09 7:27 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/12/09 10:46 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Hokai Sobol 3/12/09 12:10 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/12/09 12:13 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/12/09 8:01 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Trent S. H. 3/12/09 8:33 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/12/09 10:13 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? C4 Chaos 3/18/09 3:47 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Chris Marti 3/23/09 12:06 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/23/09 4:25 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/23/09 4:26 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/23/09 4:28 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/23/09 4:32 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/23/09 6:57 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/24/09 6:50 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Trent S. H. 3/24/09 1:13 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/24/09 3:11 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/24/09 3:49 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/24/09 3:56 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/24/09 4:29 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Trent S. H. 3/24/09 4:35 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/24/09 6:24 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/25/09 1:37 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Trent S. H. 3/25/09 5:27 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/25/09 5:59 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/25/09 7:04 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/25/09 7:52 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/25/09 10:46 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/25/09 11:15 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? tarin greco 3/25/09 11:35 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/26/09 5:22 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Daniel M. Ingram 3/26/09 5:36 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Antonio Ramírez 3/26/09 10:26 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/26/09 11:06 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/26/09 4:52 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/27/09 12:08 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? tarin greco 3/27/09 12:33 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Kenneth Folk 3/27/09 1:37 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/27/09 2:15 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/27/09 2:20 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/27/09 4:59 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/27/09 10:03 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Gozen M L 3/27/09 10:09 AM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? Wet Paint 3/27/09 12:56 PM
RE: Is there an absolute reality? John 11/24/15 2:33 PM
Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 3:32 AM
Author: garyrh
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

I have started this thread due to and interesting discussion that got off topic in the "Imagine" thread. The thread is here http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/1120626/Imagine.

It occurred to me that the posing of the question "Is there an absolute reality?" strikes at the core what enlightment seeks to answer, hence I have started this thread for discussion.

From a dual perspective one will argue reality from the point of view of the observer or object. If you take the observers perspective there is no absolute reality. If you take the objects perspective there is an true reality to be discovered out there. From a non-dual perspective there is no reality.

The dual / non dual concept is simple but if overlooked can be the basis for a lot of confusion.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 5:25 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gary,
Thanks for starting this thread. I'm interested to see what people think about this.

As for me, I would state the non-dual position differently from your formulation, which was:
"From a non-dual perspective there is no reality"
...as I would put it this way instead:
"From a non-dual perspective there is only Reality."

This may seem like a rather grand and abstractly philosophical position, of course. But it does have practical ramifications for one's mode of Dharma practice.

Gozen

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 7:59 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Hi Gozen,

I am questioning whether the reality you descibe "really" exists?
Tell me something about this reality beyond the fact that it is an "ultimate reality" (whereby the word is defining itself).

For example you could start by answering whether there are any observers or objects?

Thanks
Gary

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 8:33 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gary,
There is a luminous field of unbroken light. There is one mind or being or person. Unbroken light and one mind are not-two. Only One.

This is Reality.

We may feel that we are not part of this Reality, that we are separate from it. You know how we can feel "I'm just some guy and my life sucks but what can I do about it?" That sense of loneliness. It might even feel more extreme, with feelings of abandonment and betrayal.

That is the felt sense of separateness or duality. We might call it "only two."

How does one get from "only two" to Only One?

Philosophy alone won't do it. The forms of practice described here on Dharma Overground (and elsewhere too, of course) that have been developed over millennia for precisely this purpose have been proven to work, to heal the **apparent** split so that the always present Reality becomes one's own.

By "one's own" I mean this: Non-dual Reality becomes as plain and obvious as the nose in front of your face. No question about it. No doubt. Just This.

Gozen

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 12:39 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
It really depends what you call "reality" or even "absolute reality." Using "reality" in this context is mostly fine, because people probably have a pretty good idea what you're asking, but at the same time, it can cause confusion that may impede practice or imbalance a person's humanity in numerous ways.

If I may be so bold, I think the question you are really asking is this: "is there a more fundamental way of perceiving the world that can be attained by anyone,?" Or possibly "what is the most fundamental or "pure" way of seeing the world?" These go along well with the discussions you'll find on DhO.

The question of "REAL-ity" is a whole nother can of worms. One of many positions you could take on this would be to say that "anything which is causal is real, and is therefore part of an individual or group's reality." That covers many bases, but is not flawless either.

Anyhow, the disconnect between Gozen and myself during our discussion is, I believe, akin to the difference in these two sets of questions I briefly mentioned here.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 12:48 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Hi Gozen,

I am mindful of making this too academic so I am happy to hear the ramifications for Dharma practice of holding a position that there is no ultimate reality.

To continue the discussion the most obvious questions I have:-

To the mind being or person you speak of; what makes this Reality more "real" than another?
To the dreamer dreaming is their reality less real than an awake reality?
Of the various awake realities is one more real than another?
If all is one (and not one of unity) how and in what manner does this "ultimate reality" exist without an observer?

When one wakes up one does not say I am more awake now than I was when I was asleep. You are simply just awake and the dreams are gone!

Thanks
Gary

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 1:58 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I always find it helpful to define terms. The word "ultimate" comes from the Latin "ultimare," which means "to be final, come to an end."

Although anything experienced is arguably real, this "ultimate" word can give a direction to our discussion. I believe it was Jed McKenna who wrote that ultimate reality "is that which cannot be further reduced." This is useful; if we move in the direction of simplicity, on the assumption that true wisdom is simple, what is the simplest thing? I think of it as going upstream. Things get simpler and simpler until you finally arrive at the source. You cannot go further upstream than the source, so you have arrived at the simplest thing. What does that look like? Of course, each of us must find out. Meanwhile, it is sometimes helpful to suspend disbelief and entertain the possibility that those who have gone before us might be telling the truth about what they found there. The consensus is, as Gozen points out, "not two."

This in no way negates the importance of chopping wood and carrying water. Indeed, having deeply internalized the ultimate reality of not-two, there is nothing left to do but get out the axe and the bucket.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 3:35 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Hi Kenneth,

If we go with the idea we are heading for a "not two" reality, can you elaborate on what becomes final or what comes to an end?
Can you not say your view of reality as real comes to and end, hence there is no "real" ity?

Thanks
Gary

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 3:52 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gary,

I wouldn't necessarily say that we are "going for" a not-two reality, but just that that is where we end up if we follow our own minds upstream. You could challenge my initial assumption, i.e., that we are looking for the simplest thing, and you'd have a good case. After all, why should we value simplicity over complexity. But all of that is very theoretical. For whatever reason, mystical practice does seem to lead inexorably upstream, and "ultimately" reaches the source.

I wouldn't say that your view of reality comes to an end. It just gets more realistic, ha, ha. And more integrative. The ten thousand things are seen as not other than the unitive whole. So, "ultimately" there is no conflict between ultimate and relative reality.

Kenneth

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 4:02 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Well, this is the best part. "It knows itself." No observer is necessary. In fact, the apparent observer of our everyday experience is an extra bit, superimposed on the unitive whole for what reason no one knows. That's part of the fun, I suppose. But when the sense of observer goes away, there is still knowing. So knowing never goes away. If it did, you wouldn't know about it. :-)

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 4:11 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

This is about as an absolute a reality as you are going to get emoticon. So I'll go with the consensus until, I, in reality know otherwise.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/6/09 4:23 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Certainly adds a new twist to "know thyself". I guess the unitive whole also knows the apparent observer and maybe that's why we are motivated on this path.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/7/09 10:55 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I think of it as like a mist of the subtlest oil that permeates everything and knows. It takes a while to chart how much all it knows.

MN 1 Mulapariyaya Sutta The Root Sequence
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.001.than.html

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/8/09 10:19 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gary,
After Kenneth's most useful replies to the questions you directed to me, I could simply say "Yes!" and let it go at that. However, I'll take a crack at direct responses to your questions as well:

Q1: To the mind being or person you speak of; what makes this Reality more "real" than another?
A1: I used the terms "mind or being or person" to stand for what we otherwise could call Primordial Awareness. This is not an individual mind or person, but the Universal Consciousness that underlies all minds and beings and persons. We are each particularized instances of Primordial Awareness (struggling to know Itself).

Q2: To the dreamer dreaming is their reality less real than an awake reality?
A2: All experiences are real. A dream, a day at work, a flight in higher realms, bliss without sensory components, are all real experiences. What is unreal is the typical belief by the experiencer that he or she is identical to the experience itself. Just as in meditative inquiry we need to "penetrate the object" to understand its impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and essential emptiness, so we must also penetrate ALL experience itself. Primordial Awareness is not an experience, nor does it depend on conditions for its existence. So its characteristics are the precise **opposite** of those that pertain to experience: Primordial Awareness is permanent, satisfactory and (in a highly-restricted, most specialized sense) self-like (or we could simply refer to it as Full, rather than empty).

[continued...]

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/8/09 10:19 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Q3: Of the various awake realities is one more real than another?
A3: Again, I choose to use the singular, capitalized term Reality as a signifier for the Nirvanic ultimate. Clearly, however, I haven't convinced a lot of people around here to do the same ;) So, sticking with your usage, I'd say: It's not about reality; it's about you. You (meaning any individual) may be Awake to one degree or another. Reality takes care of itself. (And, in fact, to be fully Awake is to be Reality completely.)

Q4: If all is one (and not one of unity) how and in what manner does this "ultimate reality" exist without an observer?
A4: As Kenneth said "It knows itself." Remember, we are talking the language of spiritual practice here, not quantum physics. Don't confuse our terminology and usage with the Copenhagen Interpretation of collapsing the wave function through observation so in order to obtain a definite result for Schrodinger's Cat and other similar experiments. We're talking instead about what millennia of spiritual Realizers have known and taught about "what it's like" to be Awake. In our terms, the notion of a separate observer is an illusion. A persistent illusion perhaps, but one that can (and must) be "seen through." That's when OUR version of paradox (not the physicists' version) kicks in. Being Awake does not change anything in your life, but it changes everything **about** your life.

Gary: When one wakes up one does not say I am more awake now than I was when I was asleep. You are simply just awake and the dreams are gone!
Gozen: After Awakening, the dreams continue. But they are lucid dreams; you KNOW you are dreaming. And you spend enormous amounts of time trying to help others to see this too. Why do that, if it changes nothing in the dream? Because it leaves the pain but eliminates the suffering. And it makes bliss far easier to access.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/8/09 10:59 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gary,

Have you read Ken Wilber's "The Spectrum of Consciousness"? I think he answers a lot of the questions you have here, and in great detail. He certainly has a way with words.

It's available to read for free at Google Books...

http://books.google.com/books?id=Wvw9pzzp1C0C&printsec=frontcover

~Jackson

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/8/09 12:49 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
In reality one man's mushrooms are another man's medicine. This article probes the mythical mushroom patch.

To Quote:
Cosmology and meditation: from the Agganna-Sutta to the Mahayana. (Buddhism) by Rupert Gethin
http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-EPT/rupert.htm

"The classic Theravada scheme of eighty-nine or 121 "consciousnesses" (citta) begins with unskillful consciousnesses at the bottom, followed by consciousnesses that concern the mechanics of bare awareness of the objects of the five senses, and then by skillful sense-sphere consciousnesses; next come the various formsphere and formless-sphere consciousnesses that constitute the jhanas, or meditation attainments; finally, we have the world-transcending (lokuttara) consciousnesses that constitute the mind at the moment of awakening itself.(30) The basic structure of this hierarchy of consciousness parallels quite explicitly the basic structure of the cosmos:"

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/9/09 3:34 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I like this discussion.

Very simply and from a basic, down-to-earth, and simple point of view, these sensations now are aware where they are, and the sensations towards the apparent center that seem to be perceiving those sensations are also just aware where they are. Further, these are all transient, causal, happening on their own, natural, and ordinary.

Perceiving these simple truths directly again and again reveals the completeness of those assertions at the level of natural perception, and thus what was always true becomes obvious.

In this way, this is it. The language of ultimate reality can easily create a seeming divide between the obvious here and now and some ideal of something profound. However, it is actually something very straightforward about what is happening in ordinary, sensate reality that reveals what has been called ultimate reality and other names, and it is true that seeing this ordinary, straightforward thing about our current sensate reality is profound in its way, but one should be careful not to get to far out there with ideals about Reality and ultimate reality, and instead ground down in the simplicity of ordinary investigation of whatever happens, even esoteric things like altered states and visions, etc., all of which are just sensations manifesting now, simple, transient, aware where they are, causal, natural, etc.

In short, as others have said: practice, but practice perceiving this ordinary sensate world with great clarity, precision and inclusiveness so that these simple truths become even more directly obvious than they already are and lock in as your baseline level of perception.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 9:03 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Thank you, Daniel, for contributing to this discussion.

You bring the necessary balancing perspective to my talk about ultimate Reality. Listen up, folks! The danger in focusing exclusively on one side (Reality talk) or the other (many realities, all relative) is that this sort of heady debate may distract you from engaging the all-important, direct, personal practices that the Buddha (and every other genuine Teacher) enjoins upon us. You really can't "figure this stuff out" — you've got to engage the practices that transform the practitioner.

Daniel wrote:
"…the sensations towards the apparent center that seem to be perceiving those sensations are also just aware where they are. Further, these are all transient, causal, happening on their own, natural, and ordinary."

The sensations towards the apparent center are the process that **seems** to imply the presence of an ego entity. No such entity exists. However, the process is real enough, just as the sensations are. And these in themselves are aware. But they are fleeting, lacking in self-nature (i.e., they are caused by conditions), occurring as the result of natural processes, and completely ordinary.

In fact, even Bodhi (Enlightenment, Awakening, Realization) is completely ordinary, even though it is not conditioned or transient. How could it be otherwise, when it is just natural, and not fundamentally separate or different from anything else?

Gozen

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 9:24 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
allow me to add my two cents on this excellent discussion. but first, just wanted to say that i'm coming from this from a non-experiential perspective. in short, it's a conceptual view which i find very useful. then again, since we're using language, we can only discuss concepts and whatever we say about "ultimate reality" is not that. neti, neti as the old wisdom tradition would say emoticon

from a scientific perspective, i think using quantum model in describing ultimate reality is very useful. Shinzen Young's description is especially very insightful for me. here's how it goes...

in our current understanding of quantum physics, "reality" (e.g. light) has two different behaviors: as a particle, and as a wave. in Shinzen's lingo our awareness (or consciousness) also has these two qualities. however, most people are stuck at the "particulate" sense of self. meditation practice is one approach to experience the "wave" nature of the self. enlightened beings are those who can shift awareness between the "particulate" and "wave" nature of self, at will. however, there is still one step in the "reduction" into ultimate reality, and this is when the "waves" cancel each other out. i believe that this is the "cessation", the unborn, Nirvana, God, or whatever name we want to call it.

that said, Shinzen doesn't makes claim on the "ultimate" reality of the objective. this is only true for our subjective experience. in short, this is the ultimate view of reality from the first person. that's why some mystics could only describe it as "I am That".

~C

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 1:04 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

C4chaos - I would like to restate your "non-experiential perspective" qualification here, these conceptual discussions are not for everyone but I too find them helpful.

Earlier I considered all realities required an observer and therefore reasoned there could not be an ultimate reality in the objective. This view of no reality didn't fit the way things actually are and I then reasoned that reality requires a knower and not an aparent observer. "I am That" makes sense when there is a "knower" and no apparent observer.

Meanwhile do two enlightened beings experience the reality of the objective or the subjective? If we go with the subjective their reality is refined to know "their ultimate reality", if we go with the objective this whole universe is one big "knower".

Meanwhile it is back to practice so I can get the answeremoticon

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 3:11 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
good point. however, based on my conceptual understanding of "ultimate reality", as expressed by those who have experienced it, "ultimate reality" can never be described precisely because there is no observer nor a thing being observed (e.g. total cessation of perception and the thing being perceived). we can only describe the "after glow" or "trail of glory" of that ultimate reality. that's why nondual sages could only express it in a "neti, neti" (not this, not that) approach. in short, anything we could say about it is at best a pointer, a concept. and the best way to understand its ultimate essence is to experience it in the first person.

at least that's my understanding of whatever it is emoticon

~C

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 6:09 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
That's why it is the reality territory of mindful approach that is carefully investigated because what I call the "words fail" points are what they are, self explanatory but non-verbalizable. Nature of the unbeast. heh. So never take the 'this can't be understood' approach. It can and must be understood rightly. Step by step. Which is great if you think about it.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 9:13 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
c4chaos above refers to the "ultimate reality" described by the term Fruition, in which everything vanishes and reappears, which is not as interesting to discuss as the "ultimate reality" of the sensate world, as described above in various posts.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 9:28 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
actually, why are cessations considered a kind of ultimate reality? i dont get this. it just seems to be something that helps break duality, or like an aftershock of duality being broken or something.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 10:10 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
These are designated by tradition as much as anything else, thought I suppose I see their point. It is really just conceptual designations for things that are as they are, and it doesn't matter so much what you call them, just so long as people achieve them.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 10:13 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Further, Fruition is designated as ultimate to distinguish it from the "relative" attainments such as the formless realms to help practitioners who are working on stream entry. It also has something seemingly transcendent about it, as the non-experience is clearly beyond conditions, though its setup clearly is not. Further, it does somehow continue to write something good on the mind, and its entrance and exit hint at something extremely profound happening to reality and subject/object that smacks of ultimate truth. Thus, these designations are not all that bad as things like this go.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 10:53 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I'll try to put it a simple way. Most people are a mystery unto themselves, largely an unknown. To learn you, right observations of you must be made rightly. All of the knowns are examined on the sensate and physical levels. Functions are observed and probed until there is a comprehensive awareness of the available forms of consciousness and sensate conditions. Then these conditions of awareness are deselected in one manner or another in favor of more simplified and limited known conditions. When all of the necessary conditions are well accounted for and deselected from attention they all cease arising together. Being stops on a whole bunch of levels at once. That is one level of a functionally adequate full self accounting. Then the whole investigation continues again in greater detail with the newly sharpened minds eye. Gnosis then wants to happen on it's own. It finally relaxes on full awakening.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/10/09 11:41 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
yeah, agree with all those points. i guess im just dissatisfied with the 'ultimate' label. it seems to inevitably lead to language tossery, and a dogma builds up about how it cant be spoken about, etc.

actually, applying the ultimate reality label to anything seems to do that.. even when you turn around say 'it is just things as they are, sensations as they are', then folks just go ahead and codify and revere that, and things that seem to have significance or be special are shunned like poor unwanted bastard sensations.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/11/09 5:26 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Yes, "absolute" and "reality" don't go very well together, even for the rare awakened individual. Instead of "absolute", there is therefore "ultimate" as that which remains when everything is recognized to be contingent, dependently arisen etc., then there is "fundamental" as that which makes appearances be recognized as mere appearances etc. The traditional term was "lokuttara" meaning beyond the world [of dualistic appearances], i.e. transcendent, but Mahayana replaced that notion with "paramartha" or the "highest meaning" usually used with "satya" meaning truth, or simple that which is (sat). Another way to express this is "non-relative", and I find it quiet useful, since even some pretty profound experiential layers (such as bhavanga or alaya-vijnana accessed in dhyana) are still only relative, conditioned, non-ultimate. Further on, the term suchness or thusness (tathata) comes closest to conceptual neutrality, evoking a transparency, serving as a pointer and an activating signifier, inviting one to experience and understand for oneself, firsthand.

The problem with "ultimate" and "absolute" is definitely in their being easily constructed as something apart from what one is and knows at this very moment, or any moment. Still, there is a moment when only That remains.

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3/11/09 6:43 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
again the trouble in discussing anything "ultimate" or "absolute" is the limitation inherent in language. the moment we say something we're already in the relative "space". nothing wrong with that, as long as we're aware of the limitation.

that said, i find the Buddhist two-truths doctrine to be very useful: "absolute" and "relative" truths.

for the sake of discussion i'll riff on Kenneth's definition of "ultimate" which means that it *cannot* be further reduced. with this definition "ultimate" can only be assigned to the "absolute" truth (in which the subjective perspective is "Fruition").

"relative" truth is the never-ending forms (or formless) manifestations wherein the only constant "thing" are the three qualities: impermanence, suffering, no-self (which i prefer to roll up into one: just impermanence). and this is the beauty of the Buddhist notion of "dependent origination" or "interdependence".

the two truths doctrine are paradoxical, similar to the quantum qualities in string theory (e.g. light behaving as wave *and/or* particle). personally, i'm no longer bogged down by this conceptual paradox. what i'm lacking at the moment is the *conscious* experience.

~C

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3/11/09 6:56 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
no man thats not what he's talking about (fruition). what ken likes to call 'the simplest thing' is right here right now, not off in the non-experience of cessation, nor metaphysical abstractions about it. see, this misunderstanding is a clear example of why im not into calling fruitions 'ultimate' - cos they get confused with 'things as they are' and that leads to the idea that phenomenal experience can be 'reduced' into some kinda nothingness, which is *not* what vipassana is about.

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3/11/09 7:30 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
actually, i was riffing on what Kenneth and Daniel had mentioned on previous posts in this thread. this is an exact quote from Kenneth which i riffed on:

" I believe it was Jed McKenna who wrote that ultimate reality "is that which cannot be further reduced." This is useful; if we move in the direction of simplicity, on the assumption that true wisdom is simple, what is the simplest thing? I think of it as going upstream. Things get simpler and simpler until you finally arrive at the source. You cannot go further upstream than the source, so you have arrived at the simplest thing. What does that look like? Of course, each of us must find out. "

what does it look like? to answer that, one must experience "fruition" first-hand. well, at least that's my understanding. but in case my understanding is wrong, i'm more than happy to be corrected emoticon

in any case, the great Ramana Maharshi even went further: "That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real."

i'm still chewing on that emoticon

~C

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3/11/09 8:41 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
yeah he's not talking about fruition there, he means the simplest thing - things as they are, sensations as they are, uncomplicated by the knot of dualistic perception, subject/object suffering, centrehood, etc. which is to say not the world's absence but its immediacy.

..helpful?

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3/11/09 8:52 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
yes, helpful. but it still doesn't (and it won't) resolve the paradox of the nondual take on "reality." such as the Ramana Maharshi quote i've added above emoticon

what's your take on that?

~C

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3/11/09 10:27 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
The state of deep dreamless sleep is the same state as deep meditation. Primordial awareness for a practitioner is potential in both.

Ramana was hard-core about this. He also reported that, in the years before his Realization, he slept a lot and also sleepwalked. I suspect that these phenomena were indications that his neurology was naturally favorable for the type of spontaneous spiritual unfoldment he displayed later.

Gozen

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3/11/09 10:49 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
@c4chaos: "actually, i was riffing on what Kenneth and Daniel had mentioned on previous posts in this thread. this is an exact quote from Kenneth which i riffed on:

" I believe it was Jed McKenna who wrote that ultimate reality "is that which cannot be further reduced." This is useful; if we move in the direction of simplicity, on the assumption that true wisdom is simple, what is the simplest thing?"

If you've not seen Genpo Roshi's facilitation series on "Big Mind", you might find it useful - I thought it was very well done at a simple level: http://www.youtube.com/user/BigMindNetwork. It gave me a much better perspective on what it all boils down to.

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3/11/09 12:05 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
thanks for bringing up the "Big Mind" process. i actually participated in one of the Big Mind workshops. it's very different from traditional Zen or Theravada style. it incorporates a "psychotherapeutic" technique called voice dialogue which is not done in traditional meditation.

as i understand it, the "technique" of the Big Mind process is to *shift* to different aspects (or "personalities") of our awareness (e.g. controller, protector, damaged child, etc.) and then eventually shift to the non-seeking mind (aka the Big Mind).
i try to incorporate this in my daily sitting in conjunction with affirmation. for example, i mentally say "let me talk to the non-seeking non-grasping mind" before i sit in meditation.

i've heard of people who swear by the effectiveness of this technique (e.g. takes them directly to Big Mind). however, i have yet to prove its effectiveness on myself. probably because of my very thick skull. will keep an open mind though emoticon

~C

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3/11/09 12:20 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
hmm.. i dont know what my take on it is. right after i got 2nd path, i was conscious in deep dreamless sleep a lot, like pretty much all the time, but that stopped when i started getting into new territory a week later. i talked to an arahant about that who said yeah that happened for him too, and it came in cycles.

regarding sri ramana, you should remember that he was a concentration master as well as lived a hermetic lifestyle. so unless all our board arahants agree that being awake in deep sleep is their constant experience at all times, i'd just chalk that up to being an idiosyncratic trait and not necessarily indicative of anything. and actually, i dont really understand how the quote was related to the conversation. how is looking for something in deep dreamless sleep (instead of, say, a fruition) a way of seeing things as they are, or the simplest thing? as far as i know it, the reduction that ken was talking about isn't a reduction in strata of mind.

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3/11/09 1:10 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
C4chaos and Theprisonergreco,

This is good. We are defining our terms. Daniel and I have spent years defining, refining, and re-defining terms so that we can communicate precisely about dharma. We still spend much of each dharma conversation trying to agree on terminology. Language is the only tool we have to share our thoughts and experiences, so time spent working on language is eminently worthwhile. I’m glad we’re talking about this now.

Let’s establish two different ways to experience the absolute:

1. To see everything as one.
2. To see one thing as all.

Another way to say the same thing:

1. To go downstream into complexity, and see it all at once (Daniel’s favorite).
2. To go upstream, to the source, before the split occurs (my favorite).

The prisoner is correct that by “the simplest thing,” I do not mean cessation/fruition, as defined by the Mahasi school. I’m talking about being wide awake; the simplest thing is aware of being seen. But I’m not talking about # 1, as stated above. I’m talking about # 2. (By numbering them in this way, I am not establishing a hierarchy. They are equal in profundity. They are ultimately the same.)

Imagine being in a river delta, with all of the various strands of the river extending into the distance. The river appears complex. In order to see the unity of it, you’d have to take a very broad perspective; maybe you’d get in a spaceship and look down on the entire river, including the source, the main channel, and all its tributaries. This is seeing everything as one.

(continued below)

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3/11/09 1:14 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
(continued from above)

Alternatively, you could follow any one of the strands of the river upstream. Eventually they would merge into one channel. Farther upstream still, you find the source. At the source, the river has not yet diverged; it is one. This is seeing one thing as all.

It’s the same river, either way. The simplest thing is a perspective. You look at your experience before it splits into self and other. This is primordial awareness. Everything arises from it and passes cleanly away into it, leaving not a trace. It’s always present, but we are distracted by the apparent complexity of the downstream phenomena. To see the simplest thing, you simply follow your own mind upstream.

Kenneth

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3/11/09 1:48 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Kenneth,

thanks for the definition. glad that you clarified this because we'll just end up in circles without proper context.

in my posts on this thread, my context has always been your definition #2.

"2. To go upstream, to the source, before the split occurs (my favorite)."

this is similar to going back to simplicity. meaning, this is a process of "reduction". the reason i prefer this perspective is that it is the same approach of objective science and theoretical physics (e.g. reduction from cells, to molecules, to atoms, to quantum packets, strings, and who knows what). if we go in the other direction, then it becomes a "transcend and include" context.

in theoretical physics, a theory of "everything" is an equation which could fully explain and link together all known physical phenomena. so far, we've got M-Theory (or string theory) as the prime candidate (good luck with that emoticon) for physicists this is the description of the nature of physical (or objective)reality, whether we agree with them or not. on my part, i prefer to riff in parallel with the scientific context of reality. hence, my previous posts.

this is the reason why i like vipassana because it is science-like. it's a process of (subjective) reduction: reduction of sensory phenomena into their separate components (touch, sight, sound, feel, etc...). when viewed this way, then what is the best description of ultimate reality then? (for sure it's not an elegant mathematical equation emoticon) Shinzen Young describes it as the polarity of (positive and negative) "waves" canceling each other out: "the zero" which is nothing but contains everything. now, you guys tell me what corresponds to this in the Theravada developmental map emoticon

~C

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3/11/09 2:39 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Hi Kenneth,

Thanks for this clarification.

Can you expand on the "other" here, is it all other perceptions other than the "apparent self"? What perceptions are there not thru the "apparent self" when down stream past the apparent self ?
If we go up stream to where there is no "apparent self" from where does your experience come from? - Is it from the primordial awareness so at the point of the "apparent self" no other layers exist?

Is the vertical path all done at the moment there is no "apparent self"?

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3/11/09 4:45 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Gary,

When you are doing vipassana practice, focus closely on an obvious sound, like the ticking of a clock in the room. Give all of your attention to the click each time it comes around. Pay very close attention to the "click" and your reaction to the click. Keep this up for as long as you can until you can sense the delay between the "first click" and the mental echo which indicates "oh, there was a click."

No matter how quickly you try to react to the "actual click," the mental, linguistic echo WILL always lag behind the "actual click." The first click has no meaning, because you have not impressed meaning upon it. The first click is absolutely, utterly empty. It is only "the known." The mental-echo, which is composed of linguistic elements (picture, sound) is where duality arises.

I am not sure if you can sense this right now or not, to be honest, but the further realized one becomes (and the better your concentration) the more obvious this pre-impressed ground becomes. It may help to think about these two phenomena as being two different strata of consciousness-- a "pre-cognized, non-dual" consciousness, and a "relative, linguistic" consciousness. One is much more subtle than the other, and penetration of that most fundamental level is arhatship. Of course, there are many more strata than these-- it is just a conceptual tool.

Also, for the philosophers out there, the "actual click" is what Derrida called "the first guess," and the mental-echo/language-impression/relative-world is what he called "the second guess." I like the words he used. The "actual click" and the "mental echo" are technically not separable. You always take two guesses, the "second guess" simply has relative context, whereas the "first guess" is of absolute nature.

Helpful?

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3/11/09 5:00 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
that's exactly how Ken Wilber describes it: "Kosmos is built of perspectives." he even created an Integral Mathematics of Primordial Perspectives. very geeky.
see http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/appendix-B.cfm

still, others like Deepak Chopra would say that Consciousness is primary.

~C

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3/12/09 7:17 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
You're correct that being aware in deep dreamless sleep is not always the case for anyone, whatever their level of attainment. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes--most of the time--it doesn't.

And you're right again to dismiss the notion that one should be "looking for something in deep dreamless sleep." First of all, there is no "thing" to be found there. Second, the only possible discovery in dreamless sleep is realization of one who "looks". In other words, I am pointing to the possibility of Fruition occuring in dreamless sleep. I know of only one person who ever reported such an event. I would have been sketpical of her report except that her Teacher (who was also mine) confirmed her Awakening.

Gozen

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3/12/09 7:27 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Just to add a bit of Zen to Yabaxoule's excellent posting here: There is a Chinese Zen [Ch'an] term for this primary "thing" ("first click" in Yaba's example), which translates as "pre-word." It is a sort of tacit, preverbal knowledge before words and concepts arise, in which the knower and the known are continuous, non-separate, non-dual, or just simply One.

Gozen

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3/12/09 10:46 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
serendipitously, i was just listening to Christine Skarda's talk on "Perception's Illusion: The Origin of Suffering". this is the audio of her talk -- http://bit.ly/VtQwq --- on "Religion and Cognitive Science" conference at UC Berkeley - see also http://bit.ly/HCkfj

Skarda is a theoretical neuroscientist and a Buddhist nun (student of HHDL). see http://www.christineskarda.com/ - her story is fascinating and similar in ways with Ken Wilber and Shinzen Young.
check it out on Buddhadharma - http://bit.ly/mC9Ih

quotable quote: "There are no gaps. There is nothing to bridge. Reality is a seamless web."

enjoy.

here's to the seamless web!

~C

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3/12/09 12:10 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Serendipitously, as you are fond of saying ~C, I just today read the free-ebook by Skarda.

http://www.heumanwrites.com/christineskarda/pdf/The_Perceptual_Form_of_Life_%20ebook.pdf

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3/12/09 12:13 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
dang. that's too much serendipity already coz i'm actually reading it now emoticon good stuff!

~C

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3/12/09 8:01 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Just to up the ante a little...

The first click, meaning the original sensations, are causal, transient and empty.
The mental echo of that click is also causal, transient and empty.
Beware of making a problem of the normal functioning of the mind, which is to take mental impressions of objects. All the constituents of being, including all mental processes, are causal, transient and empty.

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3/12/09 8:33 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Dan,

Indeed-- as I mentioned, they are not even two separate things. I was hoping that the allusion would exemplify and make intellectually accessible how emptiness = form (and vice versa) on a micro sensate level.

Do you make any distinction between the two in terms of strata of mind; or "granularity" in terms of consciousness?

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3/12/09 10:13 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
They have different qualities from any ordinary point of view, but here things get interesting. It is actually hard to define mental qualities except in more physical or sensate terms. Thus, one will notice that when describing things that are "mental", one has to use essentially sensate or physical language to do so, and this is exactly the point. They are all part of the same field of manifestation, but mental impressions are more slippery, ephemeral, quiet, and malleable than the originals, though they also have the causal quality of participating in mental operations in a way that the original doesn't as well as being recallable, which is part of their function. In terms of strata of mind, it is much easier to perceive the original than to perceive the mental impression most of the time, and this is why Mind and Body is a distinct stage, as is Cause and Effect, as they imply that one has accessed a new strata of perception and thus can perceive mental impressions and these sorts of more subtle phenomena as objects.

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3/18/09 3:47 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
serendipitously, i just came across this NewScientist article - "Concept of 'hypercosmic God' wins Templeton Prize" see this link: http://bit.ly/HbD5r

here's a quote from the article:

****
So what is it, really, that is veiled? At times d'Espagnat calls it a Being or Independent Reality or even "a great, hypercosmic God". It is a holistic, non-material realm that lies outside of space and time, but upon which we impose the categories of space and time and localisation via the mysterious Kantian categories of our minds.

"Independent Reality plays, in a way, the role of God – or 'Substance' – of Spinoza," d'Espagnat writes. Einstein believed in Spinoza's God, which he equated with nature itself, but he always held this "God" to be entirely knowable. D'Espagnat's veiled God, on the other hand, is partially – but still fundamentally – unknowable. And for precisely this reason, it would be nonsensical to paint it with the figure of a personal God or attribute to it specific concerns or commandments.

****

bottom line: physicists who push the boundaries of their awareness come to a similar conclusion with mystics on the nature of reality. whatever that is.

~C

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3/23/09 12:06 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"In terms of strata of mind, it is much easier to perceive the original than to perceive the mental impression most of the time, and this is why Mind and Body is a distinct stage, as is Cause and Effect, as they imply that one has accessed a new strata of perception and thus can perceive mental impressions and these sorts of more subtle phenomena as objects."

Ah, that is wonderfully expressed.

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3/23/09 4:25 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Quotes from the Conclusion of Skarda's book:

"Realism is supposed to adhere to the nature of the world as it really is in itself, but realism is actually a perception-based view of the nature of the physical world in which perceiving organisms find themselves. Realism presupposes perceptual activity which articulates the objective independently existing reality of objects and events that realists would have perceptual systems copy out of the seamless web of reality. Nonperceiving organisms cannot be realists. Realism is not a viable viewpoint on which to base a perceptual theory."

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3/23/09 4:26 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"Does the creativity of perceptual functioning mean, however, that perceivers are trapped forever in their own subjective phantasy that hides from them the nature of physical reality? No, of course not. First, nothing exists in isolation in the seamlessness of the only reality that exists. Second, the fear of subjectivism misses the whole point of the use-based definition of subjectivity. For the New Model, subjectivism is an illusionary problem as it traditionally has been understood in science and philosophy.

"Subjectivity is not an independently existent state of affairs. Nothing can be "purely subjective" in the sense of being cut off from what is objective, as if the two conditions formed independent, isolated realms of existence. There is only one reality, the physical reality that I have described as seamless. In itself, physical reality isn't objective any more than the perceiving organism's own physiological functioning is subjective in itself. Objectivity is a form of use, just as subjectivity is a form of use; and what is more, the two forms of use can only be had by a system that contrasts the two forms of use in terms of its own functioning. The dualism of subjectivity and objectivity is the product of use and are not realms inside of which organisms can be trapped or outside of which they can exist."

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3/23/09 4:28 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"There are many additional ramifications of the New Model of perception. In closing, I want to mention only one: the implications for each of us as perceivers. When we think about ourselves in terms of the Current Model of perception, the tendency is to view ourselves as marvelouly complicated machines. Our attention focuses primarily on our own complexity as a system: the billions of neurons in our brains, the infinite possibilities for connectivity and change at the neural level, and so on. If we think about ourselves, instead, in terms of the New Model, the focus changes. We are confronted with the marvelous articulative creativity of perceptual functioning, the fact that by engaging in forms of use perceiving organisms create themselves as individual perceivers and their objective environment at the same time. It is not our complexity that stands out from this perspective, it is our creativity that is striking. From this perspective our physical complexity as a system is entirely in the service of the creativity of use which we embody as perceivers."

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3/23/09 4:32 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"Perception is truly a style of living, a style of engagement in the seamless web of physical reality. Each of us individually embodies this form of life. In the end, the purpose of this book has been to show its readers the marvelous nature of this organismic achievement. We and other perceivers are the great miracles of the universe. In the end, perceivers are that in the face of which we ought to stand in awe."

Questions from Gozen: What is that mode of being that exists as awareness without perception? Or, in the words of Franklin Merrell-Wolff, What is "consciousness-without-an-object"? Or, to put a finer point to my inquiry, What has Skarda not yet realized?

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3/23/09 6:57 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Gozen: Why do I suspect I am being setup, as you ask a question you know the answer to emoticon

Anyway here is my attempt at answering your question - Perceiving organisms do not copy the seamless web of reality. Awareness is of itself and independant of that seamless web of reality.

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3/24/09 6:50 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gary,
If I were an attorney, I'd say that in my profession, one never asks a question of a witness in court that one does not already know the answer to emoticon

I like your phrase "Awareness is of itself." This suggests -- correctly -- that Awarness (with a capital "A") is not dependent on conditions, including the impermanent and empty ones we call perceptions.

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3/24/09 1:13 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gozen,

Could you expand further on this? My initial reaction is to say that "awareness" is based on conditions; the condition of having something to be aware of, or something to reference this awareness. I may be misinterpreting what you're saying, or simply not understanding at that level of realization. In either case, I'd like to hear more :].

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3/24/09 3:11 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Can I put my two cents in here emoticon
By Skarda running with the assumption that perceiving organisms "copy the seamless web of reality" he can not deduce the concept Awareness (with the big A).
So what is Awareness? Gozen then addresses that Awareness is not dependent it is of itself. With the analogy of awareness being the light from the movie projector and reality the movie image. There is no addressing of what happens to the light when there is no image to project. What he does say is that the light is independent of the image. I suspect many will argue the light always exists even when there is no movie image because that would seem logical. I am not sure logic applys here and that one can know the answer to this question, so it will be interesting to see any response to your question.

On another topic Awareness has no time or space (these are part of the projected image) percieved reality has time and space (it is the image that is percieved).
In the tradition of Gozen emoticon here is my question Is there an absolute reality? or from the point of view of Awareness (if this is possible) does reality exists (is the projected image real)?

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3/24/09 3:49 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Yaba,
We're dealing with rather slippery terminology here. So I'll strive to avoid misunderstandings.

In traditional Buddhism, terms such as awareness and consciousness were used to represent one pole of a dual relationship between mental activity (awareness or consciousness) and the object of that activity (sensations and perceptions). So there is eye-awareness/consciousness and the object of eye-awareness/consciousness, and so forth for all the 5 senses plus thought (mental objects, if you will).

All of that arises from conditions. Therefore, it is transient, variable in quality (more or less unsatsifactory), and without essential nature (empty). Our task as practitioners is to see this in every "thing". But that's not all that is. Or, to put it another way, that's only one "point of view" on what is. Awareness (with a capital "A" and borrowing from Advaita) is from a totally different "Point of View" from which we recognize what the Buddha called (in the Udana passage from the Khuddaka Nikaya) the "Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed" without which "there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed."

This Awareness (or Consciousness) has no object; in Gary's fine phrase "Awareness is of itself". It is primordial and non-dual. It is the One, than which there is no other.

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3/24/09 3:56 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Yes, Gary, there is a singular, absolute Reality. Therein lies perfect freedom.

But we live and move in relation to other beings and things; this is not absolute. However -- and here is the great paradox of Awakening -- it is possible to have constant tacit knowledge of the absolute Reality (with which one is then perfectly Identified) while at the same time pushing a broom or cooking a meal or yelling at some guy who just cut you off in traffic.

It's wild! And it can be maddening. That's why Adi Da used to say that "Wisdom is the capcity for perfect madness. Only love can keep the wise sane."

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3/24/09 4:29 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Gozen thanks;
If the analogy still holds you are saying the projected image can experience or know the light.

I asked the question without knowing the answer! You have given me something to ponder.

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3/24/09 4:35 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I see, thank you both.

I think there is a very subtle mishap in the language or theory; would you agree with the following? Theoretically, the unconditioned suchness is ever present and proliferates all, is neither a part of all, etc, etc. Phenomenologically, however, the seeing of this suchness is dependent upon conditions bound up in form; eg: must be fully realized. In that way, the unconditioned suchness is in a subtle way come to be known through causality (conditions) and interpreted linguistically ("unconditioned" is itself a formation); hence emptiness being inseparable from form and thus we must reject an essential, metaphysical reality.

What do you think?

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3/24/09 6:24 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

This is an interesting discussion, just a two cents worth from a passer by.

Perhaps you may also want to examine the ‘strength’ of making a practitioner sink back to a background consciousness. We should never underestimate the power of this tendency. That is, given 1000 practitioners that have sufficient glimpses of the pristine-ness or even awaken to the non-dual nature of Awareness, the tendency for these practitioners to fall back to ’background consciousness’ remains surprisingly strong. It is not just a matter differing in views; it is a powerfully strong tendency, like a magical spell that has the capacity to distort ‘a moment of luminous clarity’ into something ultimate and prevents the seeing of its dependent originated nature.

With this latent tendency in action, when consciousness experiences the pure sense of existence, overwhelmed by the transcendental thoughtless moment of Beingness, consciousness will cling to that experience as its purest identity. Buddhism does not deny that experience, that luminous clarity; it just emphasizes that though that powerful non-dual presence is vividly clear and luminous, it is nothing real and substantial – empty.

Just my 2 cents, nothing intense. -emoticon

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3/25/09 1:37 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Yaba,
You said quite a bit here, and it's got some solid foundation. I could engage in some friendly disputation about some parts of it. But I'd rather focus on just one aspect where you touch on something very important for practice, when you say "seeing of this suchness is dependent upon conditions bound up in form." This brings up something that I'll call the "Paradox of Practice."

The reason we practice certain disciplines with the aim of attaining Realization is precisely in order to establish the formal conditions that foster Realization ("foster" but not guarantee). This is the "practical side" of that Paradonx.

On the "theoretical side," logic compells us to say that no action in the conditional realms can possibly eventuate in attainment of the Unconditioned. If we were not already ("always already" is a great phrase) inhering in the Unconditioned, we could not possibly attain to IT. (Using a physics analogy: It's impossible to accelerate a matter particle to the speed of light because the energy required would be infinite. Yet light itself travels constantly at that speed [within a certain medium; or at top speed in a vacuum]. So we can "realize" the Unconditioned only because we're always already there (even though this only becomes "true for you" when you "attain IT in practice").

Contradictory? Or paradoxical?

What do you think?

Gozen

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/25/09 5:27 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I'm thinkin' I agree. The reason I argue so often for the side I do is because it is such an underdog in these communities. I feel it's important to maintain a balance of perspective. Especially because so many incredibly intelligent folks will be completely turned off by the one sided trans-everything claims that sprout up like weeds. From a pragmatic point of view, it's my opinion that the unbalance turns people away, mystifies the dharma in a way that makes it scary or confusing, and so on.

Although one could argue that it's a bit Machiavellian, I think it is worth downplaying (by balancing) the Dharmakaya aspect. Not just to help encourage people to meditate and end their suffering, but also because it will make them much more balanced in their morality throughout their entire lives. Take Ramana Maharshi for example; he was quite obviously very realized, but the way he spoke completely through morality out of the window. From the perspective he was speaking from, it makes complete sense-- the problem, however, is that it's only one side of the story, and very few people live on that side.

Anyhow, I ended up getting up and walking away for a couple of hours after writing those, so I'll just leave it at that. Does that all make sense?

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/25/09 5:59 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

When it is realized that the 'background' is nothing more than a mere tendency to recapture a previous moment of experience, it will also be clear that the Awareness has always been the 'foreground' appearing as the transience phenomena. An arising thought, a subsiding sound...all are equally pure and pristine.

There is no 'this' that is more 'this' than that.
Although thought arises and ceases vividly,
Every arising and ceasing remains as entire as it can be.

The emptiness nature that is ever manifesting presently
Has not in anyway denied its own luminosity.

Although non-dual is seen with clarity,
The urge to remain can still blind subtly.
Like a passerby that passes, is gone completely.
Bear witness of this non-dual presence, its non-locality.

Nice thread and discussions. Gone! :-)

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/25/09 7:04 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I like ByPasser's points and agree with Yabaxoule. This should not get too complex, and adding in terms such as Awareness and Ultimate Reality and the like can cause complexities. I talk about this in a chapter in MCTB called No-Self vs. True Self. In reality there is no conflict.

Sensations arise. They vanish. This happened on its own. There are many perspectives one can take on this, many lenses, many emphases, but in the end, they all had those qualities, as did the lenses and emphases. One can spin it any way one wants to. One can look at the sensations that seem to make up Subject or Object or both. One can attend to the sensations that seem to imply a permanent Awareness: they all vanish.

Pragmatically, this works well. Those who haven't attained to Stream Entry who look at everything as being solid Awareness tend to get stuck. Those who are working through even the Anagami paths who focus on Awareness being permanent tend to get stuck for some period of time, and the tendency there to wish there to be such a thing can really gum up the seeing through of a very subtle process of creating continuity out of absolute transience.

While there are interesting points to emphasizing True Self teachings, they are more slippery then they appear, and without a good balance of No-self teachings and impermanence and suffering tend to cause difficulties. I hit about as hard as one can on the no-self end of things and it ended up revealing both sides of the equation nicely. Thus, it is hard for me to not advocate something similar.

Further, just to mainstream a sub-current, there is this debate here going back and forth between Gozen and Yabaxoule in which both are subtly or overtly saying that the other may not entirely know what they are talking about, and I would prefer that it happen even more directly, as it needs to be addressed in a more straightforward format, I believe.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/25/09 7:52 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hey Yaba,
Daniel seems to be calling for Dharma combat here!

OK, let's establish some rules.

First, no hitting below the Ground of Being.

Second, no gouging of the Third Eye.

Third, no wedgies on the subtle planes.

Fourth, bi-location, telepathic trash-talk, and calling for assistance from weakly god-like beings are all strictly prohibited.

Right, then, enough of that.

Seriously, I think that Yaba and I approach things somewhat differently, as indeed Daniel and I do as well. Just as people have different personalities, they also have their own preferred methods of approach to the Great Matter (Zen-talk for Big Dharma practice). This often leads to disputes and disagreements. Which can be quite healthy. In my own case, I've always had a penchant for aiming at the heart of the matter (whatever the matter might be). So I gravitated toward Zen rather than Theravada, because I was never much interested in cultivating the jhanas. Just so, after years of practice I now lean toward the True Self teachings after having thoroughly (and I do mean thoroughly!) explored the anatta/no-self teachings to the point of complete penetration.

So Daniel. So Yaba. Comments?

Gozen

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/25/09 10:46 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Hi Gozen,

I didn't get the impression Daniel was going in for Dharma combat, mind you if you start him he might be quite formidable. I read nothing about restricting the diversity of members to express an opinion. He has however expressed an opinion different to your own (I guess that might be combat).

Have I read too much into the last too words of his post?

It maybe hard for Daniel to give an opinion like us because his reputation moves ahead of him.
BTW I too have a leaning too Zen though not with your extensive experience.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/25/09 11:15 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

I agree fully with Daniel. Just this momentary senate reality that dependently originates and the mind conjure up objects, subject, here or now. In fact even ‘here-ness’ is nothing ‘here’ or nothing solidly ‘here’; it appears to be ‘here’, which in essence, is simply an impression form by sensations that appears to be ‘here’. Same applies to self/Self, no ‘selfness’ anywhere found other than this luminous transient happening that spontaneously manifests whenever condition is.

The mind is so deeply rooted in its subject/object dichotomy that it reifies the ‘pristine-ness and luminous’ aspect into ‘Self’ and its empty nature into the ‘transience’. Amazing power of the mind.

Anyway I am not a Theravada practitioner. Regardless of the path we take, whether by way of renunciation in Theravada and Mahayana or Tantra path of transformation or direct path of Zen, Dzogchen and Mahamudra, they only differ in path due to differing capacities and conditions of practitioners, the views do not deviate from the dharma seals and dependent origination as long as we are Buddhist practitioners.

Lastly, I believe many here are sincere practitioners that have gone through decades of diligent practices. We have all gone through cycles and cycles of frustrations, confusions, dark nights to arrive certain insights. All insights are equally precious so there is nothing to over emphasize, just for sharing purposes.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/25/09 11:35 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
hey, bypasser,

can you talk more about the pristine-ness of things? when they are experienced that way, what is it like that is different, whether from more common ways of seeing things, or this 'background consciousness' distortion you're talking about? some kind of every-day description - perhaps what it's like to be sitting there typing, or what it's like to go for a walk - would be nice.

also, how does one go about giving rise to it, or seeing it?

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/26/09 5:22 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Gary,
I wrote mostly in jest.

But, as you'll see from Daniel's latest Discussion thread today (Thur. 26 March), he does want Yaba (Trent) and myself to make any disagreements we might have even more explicit and open. This is actually what I understood his previous message to mean. Being the sort of guy I am, however, I immediately considered the humor potential of the situation and dashed off my Rules for Dharma Combat (please don't take them seriously!). And, just to be clear, I don't think much of the traditional Dharma Combat notion anyway. I prefer the usual Western debate form...but without the animosity.

On the other hand, not wanting to act merely in jest, I concluded my message with some serious comments about my views. I believe that most of the differences in approach to practice (including which traditions we choose to follow) can be accounted for by differences in personality. This is a topic I'd like to explore in a future Discussion.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/26/09 5:36 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I just posted a page called Assessing Each Other's Practice where these things can be hashed out. Hopefully it will be fun.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/26/09 10:26 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Now I'm curious emoticon What is the traditional Dharma Combat notion?

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/26/09 11:06 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Postrep,
Dharma combat in the Zen tradition is a debate between Buddhist practitioners (e.g. student and teacher, or two teachers) in which each tries to demonstrate their understanding of the Dharma.

One of the problems with it, in my view, is that the criteria for "winning" are rather unclear. Does the audience declare a winner by voting? If so, then the audience had better be composed of Arahats (4th Path) or at least Sakadagamis (2nd Path) if not Buddhas (5th Path!). And where is there such an audience? If the decision is rendered by a single Enlightened person, then OK. But anyone less than a Buddha may be in error at least some of the time.

You can find some records of Dharma combat, both ancient and modern, on the web. I think you may find them rather...underwhelming.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/26/09 4:52 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

Hi theprisonergreco,

The non-dual state is very very ordinary; there is 'no-beyond' stage to arrive at. It appears to be extraordinary and grandeur only as an after thought due to comparison.

That said, the spontaneity of pristine happening must still remain free, boundless and clear. For that is what it is and cannot be otherwise. The "extraordinariness and grandeur" that result from comparison must also be correctly discerned from the 'what is' of non-dual.

The 'background' consciousness is direct an experience of our inner most essence we called “Self”. It is a most direct, immediate experience of “I”; no thoughts, no concepts, nothing at all, just simply a pure sense of existence. Simply a sense of presence, before birth, this I; after death, this I. There can be no other, just this, I. Perfectly still, thoughtless, unmoved, unchanging I. This I’ is very real pristine, clear and alive. In fact more real than the real, nothing can be more real that this ‘I’. This is not the sort of observer observing something as the experience is non-dual. Just wholly ‘YOU’ as Existence itself. This is not a second hand form of knowledge and once a practitioner experiences that, he is absolutely certain and unmoved -- a very powerful experience as it contrasts so much with our ordinary discursive thoughts.

There is a limitation of words in the forum. For the details of some of the phases, you may want to take a casual read on the article http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html.

In summary, there is no denial of the experience of the Eternal Witness; it is a very important phase for non-dualists that start from the direct approach. It is just the right view of what this experience is all about, that is, it is non-dual, pristine yet empty.

That is just my 2 cents. Nothing authentic. -emoticon

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 12:08 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

Could someone kindly expand on the ‘pristine-ness and luminous’ in the statement made by ByPasser.
Much appreciated.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 12:33 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
bypasser,

thanks for the reply. i'd like to ask again, just to be clear: in the spontaneity of pristine happening, do you find this background consciousness? is it integral, or inherent, to the pristine happening?

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 1:37 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
ByPasser,

Although I found your post intriguing, you ended with:

"That is just my 2 cents. Nothing authentic. -emoticon"

If you are reporting your own experience, it is, by definition, "authentic."

If you are speculating, I would question your judgment in posting on a site explicitly dedicated to direct practice.

If what you are saying IS authentic in your experience, but you are invalidating your own experience by telling us that it is not authentic... why would you do that?

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 2:15 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

Hi theprisonergreco,

First is what exactly is the ‘background’? Actually it doesn’t exist. It is only an image of a ‘non-dual’ experience that is already gone. The dualistic mind fabricates a ‘background’ due to the poverty of its dualistic and inherent thinking mechanism. It ‘cannot’ understand or function without something to hold on to. That experience of the ‘I’ is a complete, non-dual foreground experience.

When the background subject is understood as an illusion, all transience phenomena reveal themselves as Presence. It is like naturally 'vipassanic' throughout. From the hissing sound of PC, to the vibration of the moving MRT train, to the sensation when the feet touches the ground, all these experiences are crystal clear, no less “I AM” than “I AM”. The Presence is still fully present, nothing is denied. -emoticon So the “I AM” is just like any other experiences when the subject-object split is gone. No different from an arising sound. It only becomes a static background as an after thought when our dualistic and inherent tendencies are in action.

The first 'I-ness' stage of experiencing awareness face to face is like a point on a sphere which you called it the center. You marked it.

Then later you realized that when you marked other points on the surface of a sphere, they have the same characteristics. This is the initial experience of non-dual. Once the insight of No-Self is stabilized, you just freely point to any point on the surface of the sphere -- all points are a center, hence there is no 'the' center. 'The' center does not exist: all points are a center.

After then practice move from 'concentrative' to 'effortlessness'. That said, after this initial non-dual insight, 'background' will still surface occasionally for another few years due to latent tendencies. Will talk about that next time. Limitation of words. emoticon

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
Answer
3/27/09 2:20 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

Means it just up to readers to experience themselves and see it fits into their practices. To a passer by, it doesn't matter. emoticon

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 4:59 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

To be more exact, the so called 'background' consciousness is that pristine happening. There is no a 'background' and a 'pristine happening'. During the initial phase of non-dual, there is still habitual attempt to 'fix' this imaginary split that does not exist. It matures when we realized that anatta is a seal, not a stage; in hearing, always only sounds; in seeing always only colors, shapes and forms; in thinking, always only thoughts. Always and already so. -emoticon

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 10:03 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Good points. The brightness of the present moment -- now and now and now -- is not an atomic-monadic self. I agree with you that the "mind" upon first apprehending this, tends to reify (essentialize and objectify) a "self" from it. There is no such one. Yet at the same time, it would not be correct to say in some ordinary sense "Therefore I do not exist". The non-self "I" of consciousness necessarily exists.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 10:09 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi BP,
I'll take your 2 cents! Again, I agree with most of what you say. But your usage of the term "experience" when referring to this realization can be quite misleading. It's truly an event rather than an experience. Experience is characterized by sensations and perceptions or at least mental activity. Realization has no such attributes; they arrive in its wake, and can manifest in slightly different ways for different people.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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3/27/09 12:56 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ByPasser

Indeed. No self is to allow the full blossoming of True Self. Just don't leave trace.

Like building a mandala that is so vivid, colorful and beautiful, is destroyed immediately after it is built. It is not just the 'Gone', it is also about the 'Presence'; therefore vividly present and instantly gone -- inseparable. We cannot choose one and forget the other.

Thorough 'touch' of this Reality also requires a practitioner to fully realize its complete tracelessness. All marks in whatever arises 'dualifies'.

RE: Is there an absolute reality?
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11/24/15 2:33 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Yes, the one who sees non-dual state or dual state, diffused awareness or combined awareness, half awareness,
nirodha, semi-nirodha or triple-nirodha is the absolute. You can never use any method to look back at him, but he
will always know you and your practice whatever you may be doing.

With you I mean conventionally speaking as the body.