Tuesday, June 28, 2005

DENNIS WAITE, Featured Columnist

Author of THE BOOK OF ONE (The Spiritual Path of Advaita)

F.: “Today, we're deviating again from our regular format in order to allow our site’s Featured Columnist Dennis Waite to address a question submitted by a site visitor. The reply comes from an advaitin who lives in England and hosts one of the major Advaita Vedanta internet sources on the web at http://www.advaita.org.uk/. Please see yesterday’s post for information on his book entitled THE BOOK OF ONE (The Spiritual Path of Advaita). We’re heard from both Andrea and Dennis previously and welcome both back to the site. Thanks, Andrea and Dennis.”

Andrea: Question...i understand that everything is a concept, that all that is really here is consciousness, god, brahman, whatever the label. And yet, isn't the mind also consciousness? Isn't the whole idea to witness the concepts, know that if they are coming from consciousness that there is some truth to them as well, and yet it is not the whole truth, therefore having the non-attachment to the concepts? For example i play a lot with vedic astrology and have yagyas (large pujas) performed for me and i know that i am just playing, having fun, opening more to the awakening and these practices are not the "whole truth." Does this make sense? Perhaps you have more to add to this. Thanks. Andrea

Dennis Waite: Hi Andrea again,

The only sensible purpose for the presumed person must be to discover who they are, to realise the truth, to understand the nature of reality.

Practically all of the words in the above sentence should really be put into quotation marks, in recognition of the fact that they are concepts and, as such, do not correspond with the way things actually are. The fact of the matter is that we cannot 'under'-stand reality, we can only stand 'as' reality. It is only the mind or ego that seeks, that wants to reach somewhere and get something. And the mind and ego are nothing more than concepts themselves so the whole idea is a non-starter.

Yes, the fact of the matter is that all 'things', including concepts, are nothing but Consciousness but until this is directly realised, we are in the position of the man seeing the rope but thinking it is a snake.

The Sanskrit word for 'truth' is satyam and this is also the word for reality. The only reality is brahman. Everything else in the world, including concepts, is mithyA. There is no English equivalent for this word. The metaphor that is often used to explain it is that of clay and pot. The clay exists before the pot is made. Whilst the pot is in use to hold something, it is still clay. And after the pot has been broken, the clay is still there. Advaita defines ‘real’ as being that which exists in all three periods of time (past, present and future), so that it is only actually the clay that is real by this definition. Yet whilst the clay is in the form of the pot, it would not be true to say that the pot does not exist. Clearly it has some reality but it cannot be described as real according to the definition. But neither is it false, since we can use it to carry water about, while the clay can almost certainly not. Its reality is entirely dependent upon the clay and, moreover, it is always clay and nothing but clay whether it is in the form of the pot or not. The pot has a 'dependent reality' and is said to be mithyA.

Similarly, the world did not exist a few billion years ago and will be swallowed up by the sun in few more. The reality upon which it depends is brahman. Brahman exists before during and after the world. The world, whilst it exists is nothing but brahman. Brahman is the only reality; the world is mithyA. And the same with concepts, emotions etc.

So, change the small 'i's in your question to big ones and say 'I am just playing... having fun', meaning I brahman, and you will be right!

Best wishes,
F.: "Thanks again to Andrea and Dennis Waite."
TOMORROW: THE THIRD DEGREE OF SEPARATION FROM REALITY: Religious and/or Spiritual Identifications, Part Eight

Sunday, June 12, 2005

DENNIS WAITE, Guest Columnist


[Today, this forum based in the U.S. will provide the opportunity for a questioner in Canada to receive a reply from a published author in the United Kingdom. The reply comes from an advaitin who will soon be approaching twenty years of Advaita study. He lives in England and his site is one of the major Advaita Vedanta internet sources on the web at www.advaita.org.uk. His book is the most masterful and all-inclusive source that I have found to date for those studying Non-Duality, so we welcome our Guest Columnist, Dennis Waite and our guest Andrea from Canada.]

Andrea: “Do thoughts create our reality? I have played with this for years and watched how 'my' thoughts created my so-called reality. Can you explain? Thanks, Andrea."

Dennis Waite: “Hi Andrea. You use the adjective ‘so-called’ reality regarding your thoughts so you obviously appreciate that the ‘true’ reality is not something that is at all relevant to your thoughts. It was, is and always will be the only, non-dual reality before the Andrea body-mind-personality was born and after it has died.

So who you really are (the non-dual Self, reality, Brahman, God, Absolute or whatever you prefer) is totally unaffected by any of that. At the level of appearances however, i.e. Andrea, the world and others, this Self is presumably identified with a body and mind and the mistake is made that ‘I AM this body called Andrea’. Whilst this error continues to be made, there will be the belief that you are limited by this body-mind. To this extent, the world of Andrea will appear to be your reality. If there are thoughts of fear, you will say ‘I am afraid’ and your world will become very small. If you are in love and your heart opens, all will seem well and the world very large and full of happiness.

So yes, you are right, in the normal state of man and woman our thoughts effectively create our reality. But this normal state is one of error, mixing up real and unreal and resulting in our effectively living out a dream.

Best wishes,

F.: “Dennis, You have shown again why I should prefer your direct and succinct style to my own! I also appreciate the sharper clarity in your point, 'in the normal state of man and woman our thoughts effectively create our reality. But this normal state is one of error, mixing up real and unreal.' Finally, what an excellent reminder (or 'de-mind-er'): either life happens in the stability of the Non-Dual Self or is marked by the ‘slings and arrows of the outrageous fortunes’ of duality: joyous sometimes, miserable sometimes; fulfilled on occasion, empty on occasion; free at times; imprisoned at times. Thank you, Dennis.”

To order your copy of Dennis Waite’s THE BOOK OF ONE (The Spiritual Path of Advaita), or to send a gift copy to a friend or relative, our guests may visit Dennis Waite’s website by using the link at the top of the page.

[Tomorrow, we continue our discussion of THE SECOND DEGREE OF SEPARATION FROM REALITY: Mind Identification, which results in the illusion that the personality is the real.]

COMING SOON at www.floydhenderson.com: A new book entitled From the I AM to the ABSOLUTE (A Seven-Step Journey to Reality), guiding readers through the Seven Degrees of Separation from Self and to the Reality beyond.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Challenges to Reaching Realization

"Most people will reach a point of frustration in their lives when they shout, 'I don't even know who I am!' They will be correct. Most don't know who they are, and most never will. The majority believe that they are (a) the roles they play and (b) the false identities they have assumed or (c) the things they have been told they are."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Defining Advaita Vedanta

"Advaita is merely a system or an approach that can lead to Realization. Realization is what occurs when one becomes aware of all that he is not and eventually "Realizes" Who/What He Really Is."