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May 05, 2010


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yes, this is precisely what i have been saying for a long time... that 'enlightenment' (and everything associated with it) is a myth.

which also means that 'unenlightened' is also a myth... as well as 'god-realization' and 'liberation', religion, spirituality, mysticism, and all the rest of the forms of seeking that people engage in.

they are all predicated upon a myth: the myth that something or other is not quite right, and therefore that something or other must be attained.

but was wei wu wei (terence gray) not all about mysticism? So i cant see how you can say 'bye-bye' to it?

Surely these concepts that you have imbibed and followed over the years, on nonduality, the One, void, nothingness, non-action - are all concepts of mysticism.

This is definitiely not science and Metzinger;s stuff is very iffy from a pure science viewpoint.

George, as I noted in this post:
There's a spiritual/philosophical and a scientific/logical way of looking at this. Both end up in the same place: There's no "self" in myself. No "ego" in my egocentricity. No "soul" in my soulful searching.

Yes, Wei Wu Wei uses Buddhism (and Taoism) to support his views. But reading his book I was struck by how closely those conceptions mirror modern neuroscience. That's why I included quotes from some writers who are familiar with neuroscience (and neurophilosophy).

There's no little man/woman or person inside our head. Searching for a "me," an ego, a self, a soul, we don't find one. Here neuroscience and Buddhism/Taoism agree.

It's true that there are mystical and metaphysical sides to the Eastern faiths. But these aren't necessary. Quite a few modern Buddhists view the teachings in a thoroughly physical/natural fashion.

How does the brain work? How does the mind work? How do subjectivity and objectivity work? These are the subjects that Wei Wu Wei tackles, though he uses the language and style of spirituality, rather than science.

My point is simply that we can explore the nature of our own consciousness without any recourse to "mystical" concepts. These can point us to some interesting hypotheses and questions, such as Ramana's oft-repeated "Who am I?" Or Zen's "Am I?"

Dear friends,

Back in '68 or so I had a transformation of my outlook and view of things. It was profound and yet simple and obvious...so obvious that I thought some people were putting me on when they apparantly didn't "see" as I did. To me, it seemed people were playing this game of being asleep when they were really awake.

Because of the conditioning of society and the apparant overwhelming "sleepiness" of it I guess you could say that maintaining my "wakefullness" gradually eroded, although the memory of what that wakefullness was like remained with me.

Occasionally I would slip into wakefulness and this continued to occur to varying degrees throughout my life. Oddly, the shock of 911 somehow rekindled this wakefullness to the forefront.

One of the aspects of this wakefulness is a diminished sense of "I-ness" and an increased sense of the cliche' word..Oneness. Another aspect is seeing that everything is happening exactly as it should be. Cycles and patterns are seen in their entirety in a moment. Nothing is out of place. All is well. There is a sense of affinity or harmony.

Interestingly, I came upon one of Wei Wu Wei's books in '68 at about the same time Sant Mat came my way. Wei Wu Wei's writings seemed to confirm my experience and really spoke to me, but somehow the magical allure of Sant Mat dogma influenced me to think that there could be more, that Wei
Wu Wei was just at a preliminary stage within the realm of mind. After all, he never spoke of inner spiritual regions with islands inhabited by innumerable exalted souls (dweeps of hansas) or a magnificent rotating cave (banwar gupha) or a purifying spiritual lake (mansorovar). Wei Wu Wei did not offer to place an astral replica of himself within my third eye, nor did he offer to take on my burden of karma and administer it in the most efficacious manner. He did not prohibit consuming muffins made with eggs or drinking a glass of beer on a hot day. He offered no practice or method.

So, I bit into the Sant Mat hook and played the guru-disciple game for a few decades until I saw the new guru, Gurinder Singh, in San Francisco in '91 and realized that Sant Mat was no longer for me. Satsangis seemed to be in an irrational trance about this turbaned man on the stage. I was no longer in that trance. The Sant Mat skin gradually sloughed away.

Wei Wu Wei continues to be one of my favorite philosophical writers. His books remain on my rather limited bookshelf along with a few other favorites and classics such as "Techniques of a Professional Commodity Chart Analyst" by Arthur Sklarew while my Sant Mat books are mostly given away. A couple remain in a box in the garage for reference.

Classic Wei Wu Wei:

I only am as all beings,
I only exist as all appearances.
I am only experienced as all sentience,
I am only cognised as all knowing.
Only visible as all that is seen,
Every concept is a concept of what I am.
All that seems to be is my being,
For what I am is not any thing.

Being whatever is phenomenal,
Whatever can be conceived as appearing,
I who am conceiving cannot be conceived,
Since only I conceive,
How could I conceive what is conceiving?
What I am is what I conceive;
Is that not enough for me to be?

When could I have been born,
I who am the conceiver of time itself?
Where could I live,
I who conceive the space wherein all things extend?
How could I die,
I who conceive the birth, life, and death of all things,
I who, conceiving, cannot be conceived?

I am being, unaware of being,
But my being is all being,
I neither think nor feel nor do,
But your thinking, feeling, doing, is mine only.

I am life, but it is my objects that live,
For your living is my living.
Transcending all appearance,
I am immanent therein,
For all that is - I am,
And I am no thing.

tucson, thanks for the interesting story of how you found Wei Wu Wei and lost Sant Mat. I pretty much assumed that you were familiar with his books, given how similar your thoughts are to his.

I too now favor a naturalistic approach to life, rather than an abstract, conceptual, mystical viewpoint. I realize that a lot of people would object to "abstract" and "conceptual" being tied to "mystical," but I think this is valid.

There's what we directly experience, and/or can be proven, and then there's other stuff. Ideas like "God," "soul," "spirit" and such are just that: ideas. I like how Wei Wu Wei focuses on our immediate experience of subjectivity and objectivity -- though he delves into some fairly deep philosophical waters also.

All very good, however, until it is actually experienced, and maintained as such, it is nothing but a concept, and possible a very amotivational concept where individuals end up doing nothing and behaving badly for all the wrong reasons. For instance, I especially like when passive aggressive advaitists attack other people and then say, "who is offended, there is no-one there to offend," or similar claptrap. Advaita is meant as the end of a journey. People still have to take the journey to get there, in my non-opinion.

"Advaita is meant as the end of a journey. People still have to take the journey to get there, in my non-opinion."

--What would this journey be? From where to where? This is it. No beginning and no end. Nothing else to it. It isn't an experience but rather simply existence as it is now. There is nothing special required, no preparation or purification or refinement. It is simply realized or recognized...a simple, aha! This is it. It isn't conditioned by anything so it can't be influenced by anything that happens in time. Whether, when or how it happens is independent of occurances in temporality. Therefore, any action, pursuit or endeavor to reach it is pointless. You think there must be some advantage you can gain, but there is none. You hope to escape from yourself, but that's impossible. You want a way out, but none exists. That which is here now doesn't need a way out and will never find a way out because that which is here is infinite and eternal. You can't walk towards or away from it. You are being it now. No big deal. Go your merry way and just live.

joe, you said:

"until it is actually experienced, and maintained as such, it is nothing but a concept, and possible a very amotivational concept where individuals end up doing nothing and behaving badly for all the wrong reasons."

-- i have no idea what you are talking about here. could you be more specific? until WHAT is "experienced"? and WHAT is the "concept"? and who is "doing nothing", and who is "behaving badly"? behaving badly about what? also, who are these "passive aggressive advaitists"?

i don't get what you are trying to say. you mentioned advaita, as if advaita is some sort of final end of the road, or the achieved goal at the end of some journey. that's not advaita at all.

for advaita, there is no journey, no journeyer, no end or goal, none of that sort of duality.

advaita can only always be here and now. advaita is always already the case. it is not the object or the ending of any journey. it is not elsewhere. it is not an object, nor a place, nor a state to be achieved. tucson has expressed that quite well.

anyway, i don't see what was the point that you were trying to make here? perhaps you could explain yourself more clearly? thanks.

Tucson's response to Joe simply sounds like just like more claptrap. When the word 'you' is used what is it meant by 'you'?

I am often asked why do I attribute credibility (and not authority as Brian somehow liked to imagine and assume without obvious reason) to some (Hakuin, Meister Echkart, Spinoza, Dogen, etc.) and reject others (Tucson and Wu Wei Wei)? If you study their thoughts you will discover their views are inconsistent with the following statements for any reasonable interpretation (because both Tucson and WWW remain quite vague http://www.cog.brown.edu/~slomanlab/papers/self_deception_sloman.pdf) :

"Therefore, any action, pursuit or endeavor to reach it is pointless. You think there must be some advantage you can gain, but there is none"

Like we say, someone has to give .. to be wrong! Eckhart's idea of 'the birth of the son' cannot be squared with Tucson's affirmations.

It is also a question of integration: while it is possible to make sense of Tucson's narratives from Eckhart's or Spinoza's own narratives it is impossible do to the same starting with Tucson's narratives. One major reason for that state of affairs is that Tucson prefers to limit what the views and narratives of others can and cannot be ("You think there must be some advantage"). That makes any engaged and open discussion impossible since it is always Tucson and himself talking, as he never replies to its interlocutor’s views but to straw men views of his own.
Change and distinction does not have to be conceived only as a spatial process. Flex your imagination a bit and give up your limited views on what could be and could not be and then you might be able to engage seriously a discussion on these matters. Quantum physics has completely changed the way we had to think about certain realities. In a way, it looks like you are still stuck in a Classical world, and imposing your wrong views on others. The bottom line of your narratives is analogous to that of a psychoteraphist who would offer as sole therapy to the unhappy and unsatisfied patient the following: "You are unhappy? The solution is easy: simply be happy! No big problem! no big deal!" and the patient continues suffering ... the psychotherapist completely oblivious ... Why if this little story and the approach of this psychotherapist sound too stupid or naive to be taken seriously then it should not be the same for Tucson's narratives?

It is the endless search that keeps it out of reach. Does an artist achieve the perfect painting? Does the artist reach a goal? Maybe some artists do. But one who is an artist at the core of their being just paints because that is what the artist is..a painter or sculptor or musician or whatever. They can't help it. They don't have to search for what they are. They just do it..are it. It is an ongoing process of unfoldment without dimension or limitation. We are artists. We don't have to search for it because we are doing it, being it and yet when we look for what it is, there is nothing to be found in any objective sense.

So, what I'm saying is there is no creator or creation. There is only this infinite unfoldment outside of which nothing could possibly be. No matter where one looks, there one is and yet when one tries to see what one is it is impossible. We are the looking and the looking is the seen.

So, when it is understood that there is nothing to perceive, one remains as they are... doing/being whatever is happening now..the unfoldment. If there is anything we can say about what we are absolutely, it is total emptiness without a second. We can't say whether we are or are not. Certainly we are nothing conceptual.

One can't escape or be outside of This. Wherever one may go, there they are...This. Whether one stays still or moves about, no one moves and no one stays still. All one can do is be the totality of what they are, even in the realm of time and space.

There is no practice to be done because a practice or a 'way' arises out of the primary illusion of two-ness, separation, suffering which arises out of the first 'I' thought. This first idea creates time, space, a universe. As long as the 'I' appears to be real there will be a desire for liberation, but liberation could only be from something that doesn't exist. So how could one be liberated from it?

Don't listen to me or to anybody, not even yourself. Whatever is conceived can't be what you are. Recognize that everything is a lie, especially the one who recognizes everything is a lie.

If one goes around thinking 'I am withut form' or 'I am not' they are still in the realm of separation from their intrinsic nature. Who is it that has no form? See what I mean? Just see that what exists in no form exists in form also. Without a sense of difference and separation all is complete.

Playing concept against concept is like a game of tennis hitting the ball back and forth. It may be fun and interesting but this conceptualization hides the essence of life, and in this essence the conceptualizer disappears.

To approach this essence, words are useless. Stillness and silence enables all objects of perception to disappear into awareness of toatal potentiality which Wei Wu Wei and others call noumenon. There is nothing more to say in the stillness of emptiness which paradoxically is a fullness.

the Elephant, reading your comment I was struck by how the same criticism you apply to tucson could be applied to you. Meaning, I don't see you as responding to his thoughts in a conversational sense, but rather in a judgmental dismissive sense.

All we're doing here is talking about stuff that is deeply personal, subjective, and unprovable. Everybody has an opinion about what life is really all about (including whether "really" has any meaning in this context).

Today I came across an essay by Wittgenstein. See:

He said (and I agree):

"Thus in ethical and religious language we seem constantly to be using similes. But a simile must be the simile for something. And if I can describe a fact by means of a simile I must also be able to drop the simile and to describe the facts without it. Now in our case as soon as we try to drop the simile and simply to state the facts which stand behind it, we find that there are no such facts. And so, what at first appeared to be simile now seems to be mere nonsense."

You seem to be saying that there is something about enlightenment or self-realization that isn't nonsense. Tucson, by contrast, seems to be saying that all efforts along such lines are indeed nonsense, because there are no facts behind all the similies and metaphors supposed sages, mystics, and masters utter.

Two opinions. Two points of view. I just feel that the burden is on the person claiming that one spiritual narrative is more true than another to point to the facts that back up that claim. Which is you. Otherwise, all we're doing here is story-telling: you, tucson, me, everybody. Which is fine with me.

"I don't need books" then why you read?
"I don't need teacher" - then why you study and read other's writings? So that is contradiction. Bona-fide spiritual master is needed. Hare Krsna

"Along with religion. Spirituality. Mysticism. Self-development.
Bye-bye. All gone. Good riddance."

Are advaita (nonduality) and/or neoplatonism also gone?

Most mystical traditions appear to have in common the notion of an undifferentiated absolute reality that underlies our supposedly illusory differentiated reality.

You also mention Hofstadter and his 'strange loops' theory of consciousness or self, but what underlies this theory appears to be an attempted explanation of paradox and of percieving various abstractions of reality that loop in on themselves and sometimes import meanings on lower more simplified layers. Alot of this stuff with different layers of reality and limits to our conceptual knowledge and paradox is not that far off zen budhism or taoism imo.

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