Happiness appears as desire when it is veiled; desire is revealed as happiness when it is fulfilled.

The Collapse Of The Search

Would it not be the case that the more one believes or feels there is something positive to be gained from the teachings, the more one has to take a position as an entity capable of receiving and benefiting from teachings?

Rupert,

Thanks for your clear exposition of your perspective of advaita.

If I understand your message correctly, advaita presents “seeming” teachings, that “seem” to be provided to an “apparent” entity, which entity is a constellation of beliefs and feelings, but not an actuality.
 
Is this a correct understanding of your statements? If so, then it seems to me that there is nothing to be gained from any of these teachings.
 
Would it not be the case that the more one believes or feels there is something positive to be gained from the teachings, the more one has to take a position as an entity capable of receiving and benefiting from teachings?
 
You critique as a contradiction a situation where the belief that there are no separate entities goes along with thoughts and feelings that there is a separate entity.
 
Yet one would have to assume an existing sentient entity to have the contradictory thoughts and feelings, in order for an actual contradiction to be taking place, which could be addressed by teachings, would one not?
 
Dan

 

Dear Dan,

Dan: If I understand your message correctly, advaita presents “seeming” teachings, that “seem” to be provided to an “apparent” entity, which entity is a constellation of beliefs and feelings, but not an actuality. Is this a correct understanding of your statements?

Rupert: Your description of an ‘apparent entity’ being a ‘constellation of beliefs and feelings,’ is a correct understanding.

However, I would like to modify your description of advaita. Advaita, as I use the term, means non-duality. It refers to the experiential understanding that there are not two elements (a knowing subject and a known object, world or other) in our experience, but rather one seamless totality.

If we look for the substance of this totality we find Knowing Loving Presence. That is all there is. It is this Knowing Loving Presence which, as it were, takes the shape of thinking, sensing and perceiving and seems, as a result, to become a mind, body and world, but in fact never becomes or is anything other than itself.

So teachings, seeming or otherwise, are not inherent in advaita. However, if Knowing Loving Presence takes the shape of a question such as ‘What is the nature of experience?’ or ‘What is two plus two?’ this same Knowing Loving Presence may well take the shape of a corresponding answer.

When a question appears it is Knowing Loving Presence that takes the shape of that question in the form of a thought. When the thought ends, Knowing Loving Presence simply remains as it is. When the answer appears, it is again this ever-present Knowing Loving Presence that takes the shape of an answer, for instance, a description of some sort or simply the word ‘Four.’

The answer is never provided to an entity. It is provided to the question. However, even this is not quite right. The answer is provided to that which asks the question, that is, Knowing Loving Presence. Of course Knowing Loving Presence is not asking a question, as such. It is taking the shape of a thought such as ‘What is two plus two?’ So it is just an image to say that Knowing Loving Presence asks a question.

It is Knowing Loving Presence that takes the shape of the ‘what-is-two-plus-two’ thought. When that thought ends, Knowing Loving Presence remains as it is for a timeless moment (timeless because the mind is not present). Then, without becoming anything other than itself, Knowing Loving Presence takes the shape of the ‘four’ thought. The thought ‘four’ is not the understanding of the answer. It is the expression of the understanding. The real understanding took place in the timeless, transparent interval between the two thoughts. ‘Four’ is just the shape this Presence takes in response to its previous shape as the question 2+2.

We know this from experience. Understanding is always the same experience. It is the experience of Presence knowing, being and loving itself. This ‘understanding’ can be modulated to fit any question, but the real content of the answer is not a thought. It is Presence. Presence only knows itself.

Dan: If so, then it seems to me that there is nothing to be gained from any of these teachings.

Rupert: Even if it isn’t so, there is still nothing to be gained or lost by a separate entity from these or any other teachings. How could a non-existent entity gain or loose something?

However, it may happen (and I have no idea how) that if the teaching (in whatever non-dualistic or dualistic form it may appear) comes, as it were, straight out of the heart of this Presence, it will bring with it the taste of its origin. It is this taste that is recognised, as it were, by the listener (which is, of course, Presence). In other words, there may be a resonance, followed by a dissolution (fast or slow, complete or incomplete) of the previous layers of belief and feeling that seemed to stand in the way of this recognition.

Dan: Would it not be the case that the more one believes or feels there is something positive to be gained from the teachings, the more one has to take a position as an entity capable of receiving and benefiting from teachings?

Rupert: It is rather the other way round: If one takes the position of being an entity one is, by definition, in constant search of receiving and benefiting from whatever he or she thinks will relieve the unhappiness that is inherent in that position. To begin with it will be objects in the world. Then sometimes these worldly objects are exchanged for spiritual objects. Sooner or later, in some cases, the searching entity itself and its attendant objects, collapse.

It is not the search that leads to the collapse and subsequent recognition. It is the recognition that leads to the collapse and simultaneous end of the search.
 
Dan: You critique as a contradiction a situation where the belief that there are no separate entities goes along with thoughts and feelings that there is a separate entity.

Rupert: A belief always comes in the form of a thought. I think it is fairly obvious that if we think we are a separate entity we cannot, at the same time, legitimately think that we are not a separate entity. These two positions are contradictory.
 
Dan: Yet one would have to assume an existing sentient entity to have the contradictory thoughts and feelings, in order for an actual contradiction to
be taking place, which could be addressed by teachings, would one not?

Rupert: No. The apparent separate entity does not have thoughts and feelings. It is a thought and a feeling.

However, once Presence has taken the shape of an apparent entity, it then thinks and feels on behalf of that apparent entity. That very same Presence takes the shape of the teaching which becomes as it were, a mirror in which it looks and sees its original face.

It is Presence that dresses up, as it were, as the separate-entity-thought-and-feeling. The teaching is simply Presence’s way of undressing itself and returning to its naked, open simplicity.

With kind regards,

Rupert