Tuesday, June 7, 2011


This question sounds trivial or even ridiculous but I understand the underlying frustration. Countless writings, countless teachers, countless philosophies over two thousand years all in the name of enlightenment or insight or our true nature and there is no real consensus as to what we are searching for or even what the terms mean.

One school may speak of individual suffering, another the suffering of others, while others speak of social activism or insight through meditation or chanting and on and on and on. The variations and approaches are endless.

I cannot speak for any school or any individual for that matter since people can search for whatever they wish. And they do under whatever name that suits them. The question can be answered but it may not mean much to you. It will sound vague, even silly, too metaphysical. And that is because your mind operates dualitically, insisting that there must be a subject and object in everything. And it is precisely that conceptual thinking that blocks the insight you desire. Please see my earlier postings where I attempted to unwind the barriers of dualistic thought. Nevertheless, the common theme, the common goal of the most comprehensive and focused mystics, sages, and philosophies, can be expressed in maybe not 50 words or less but, not that many more if you insist. How about the following?

Awareness and reality are identical. Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. Awareness manifests every fact and quality of the entire universe. Absolutely nothing exists independently. Our awareness is an integral component of the universe. We believe that every object in the universe independently possess all the attributes and qualities that make them that object and our eyes see them or our minds think about them. Separately. Actually, those qualities exist only in awareness. Those qualities are awarness. Whether directly experienced or thought about. Has any object ever had a color or an appearance without a mind perceiving it? Colors, appearance, feeling, sound, anything is a mind object, is a manifestation of awareness. So are we saying objects or energy or matter does not exist? Of course not but the way we see and experince those objects is our awareness and our awareness is those abjects, like a universal partneship, where definition and experience are one. So are we also saying that if no awareness exisited, no object, in fact the universe itself would not exist? Of course not. The universe and every object in it would have no appearanc or no qualities or no definition, existing in its unmanifested, undefined nature beyond our perception and understanding. Remember, quantum theorists and others are already saying the deeper down and closer you look, nothing solid or fixed or definable is even there. As one sage put it, an indeterrminable flux. So awarness does not look upon the universe as a separate thing, awareness defines, colors, and manifests all that we know and all that we know is awareness.

Impossible to believe? You already know the old adage that when a tree falls in the forest with no one near by, it makes no sound. Sound requires a mind and awareness. That does not mean there is not a vibration or motion but vibration is sound only when it is heard. What about the room your are in. The objects have form and color and dimension and many other qualities. Turn out the light, and there is nothing. That does not mean there are not objects in there exisitng in some nature with relationships and compnents and structure and movement, but they have no color or appearance or qualities until they are seen. But what is so difficult to get, is that the sound, qualities and appearance do not exist independently within the objects but only within awareness. The sound, qualities and appearance are awareness and awareness is the sound, qualities and appearance. They are identical. They are non dual. Subject is object and object is subject. That is why we can truthfully say every object in the universe as we know it is your awareness and your awareness is every object in the universe as we know them. You cannot have one without the other because they are one, not two. When you separate them, that is dualism and that is how we live our lives.

If you instead live your life from a non dual perspective, everything changes profoundly. It is a gateway to insight and understanding. You are no longer a tiny, vulnerable mind and body gazing upon a vast, nearly infinite universe. You realize that what you are is the universe looking upon itself, experiencing itself, similar in a way that you look upon and experience your own dreams. And from that realization, the beginning of freedom and an end to suffering flows.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Many practitioners believe that the cause of suffering is attachment. Actually, the Buddhist sutras make it clear that the cause of suffering is ignorance. Attachment is clearly one of the afflictive emotions mentioned and some scholars believe that the reference to attachment was a shorthand reference to all of the problematic states of mind.

Although the analysis of ignorance as the cause of suffering is complex, in summary it means ignorance of our true nature, ignorance of the nature of your awareness caused by the distortions of a dualistic perspective.

To put it simply, when you believe all that you are is a mind and body and perhaps even a soul with you "in here" and everything else in the universe "out there", you will be forever locked in the conflict of you versus everything else in the universe as separate from you and that potentially can affect you.

Your dualistic belief in a separate self as the nature of your existence and awareness is the primary ignorance and the cause of suffering.

When you experience and truly know that it is not true, suffering ends. It is not that you do not experience pain or sadness or anger or any other of the countless things that hurt us, it is just that you know them to be just mind objects, arising like all else in your awareness, and that in the universal scheme they are not real. They are fleeting and impermanent, like images on a screen. And in the same way that even the most horrendous image cannot distort a screen upon which it is projected, nothing that arises or happens, absolutely nothing can ever affect what you truly are. Not that feeble bag of skin and bones and brain tissue you think you are, but Emptiness, the knowing, experiential quality of the universe itself that you and every living being is and upon which the universe itself manifests.

So when you encounter a religion or philosophy or way of life designed to lessen or end suffering, ask what it is talking about. If it teaches you how to be a better person or to show compassion to others or to take better care of yourself and the planet, that is wonderful and worthy of your time. But that does not end suffering. That teaches you how to remove or lessen or avoid the events or conditions that hurt you or others or the world and cause pain or the other endless unpleasant emotions or feelings you can experience. Your potential to suffer remains however, waiting for the right event to arise. And they do, endlessly.

Only when you know, only when you learn, only when you finally understand what you really are, will the ignorance be washed away and you will see that suffering, like all else, is not real and cannot reach you.

If this posting is of interest to you, please read the earlier entries regarding emptiness, non duality and no self and particularly "What Are We Really?". All of this may sound too poetic and metaphysical if you do not.

Friday, January 7, 2011


For all but the most dedicated practitioners, the search for enlightenment is often a search for happiness. An end to unhappiness, depression, and all the other maladies that affect us. And perhaps most of all, a quest somehow to survive, to cheat death, to be reborn or move to the next level. Many of us believe we will be somehow endowed with extraordinary powers to rise above the countless challenges of life. And that is what so many religions, philosophies, and programs offer you, ultimate salvation, however expressed or envisioned.

If that is what you seek, find a guru or mystic or religion or program or other sage who claims insights, understandings or perhaps direct links to God greater than your own and offers you whatever makes you feel better. Meditate, contemplate, chant, bow, spin, sing, dance, read, pray, deprive, indulge, whatever. It won't matter. It usually changes nothing.

That is not what we are doing here. That is not what a serious practitioner seeking insight or enlightened awareness is all about. instead, we ask simply what is this and what are we really. No goals, no preconceived notions, no desired ends looking for a justification.

The real question, the real quest, is how do those things you seek and everything else for that matter arise, how do you know them and everything else you will ever experience, how are you even aware of your misery or unhappiness or anything at all. What is the nature of your awareness, the process of your awareness....how does everything that is, including you, even arise? Focus if you want only on what has arisen and an entire universe of detail. There is enough there for countless lifetimes.

Or, as one insightful practitioner put it, " I awakened to know instantly, beyond doubt and beyond description, that the universe and all it's infinite complexity was a stage, a glorious play, and my awareness, the awareness of all beings, was at once the director, the audience and the very stage itself and that outside that theatre, far more awaited."

When you experience that level of insight and awareness, the pain, the suffering, the misery cannot touch you.