Thursday, December 24, 2009

Advaita and “De-”, Part One

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An Advaita forum focusing on Realisation, enlightenment, non-duality, Real Love, peace, freedom, Your original nature, abiding naturally, the Oneness, the Noneness, and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Here, there is nothing that is believed, so there is no one here who wants you to believe anything, either. Here, the invitation is to be free of all that you have been programmed, conditioned, acculturated, and domesticated to believe so that you can be free, period.

F.: One of the many ironies of the Advaitin teachings is the fact that, while inviting seekers to be rid of any notions about “uniqueness,” the teachings are unique in that they offer nothing—that they, in fact, offer…Nothing.

Another irony is that, while the prefix “ad-” means to “add something,” Advaita uses the prefix “de-” in order to present its pointers. The invitation is, therefore, to shift to a state of de-specialization, to de-accumulation, to de-personalization, to de-identification, to de-conceptualization, to decrease, to deflation, to deletion, and to detachment.

The prefix “de-”, meaning “from” or “away” or “away from,” is used by Advaitin teachers to point seekers in the direction of the exact, clear-cut steps along a “path” that would move those seekers away from their attachment to beliefs to a detachment from beliefs (beliefs which are not their own anyway but are the beliefs dreamed up by “others”);

away from the inflation of ego and egotism to a condition of deflation along the “path” to Realization; away from the notion that one is expansive and powerful and righteous and full of religious and spiritual knowledge (a.k.a., “learned ignorance”) to being devoid of all that;

and away from fighting or struggling or working to preserve false identities—and away from being driven to spread false ideologies and dogma—to the destruction of unjustifiable confidence and blind faith in all that is false.

The teachings do offer, ultimately, nothing. Here are (1) some of the questions that have been raised here during satsang by seekers who were trying to gain something or to add on something rather than to move "away" or "from" or "away from" and (2) the way that Maharaj would have responded:

“But what of my need to try to understand this world, to attain the skills to cope with the relative existence?”

Maharaj: “The world is nothing but the picture of your own 'I' consciousness.”
F.: Why would anyone believe that skill is needed to cope with a mirage?

“But you speak of this ‘form,’ this ‘space.’ I must add to my body of awarenesses an understanding of what this form, this space, really is.”

Maharaj: “Prior to taking this form, you were formless; spontaneously the form came, and when the form came there was a natural longing to return to the formless state. When you want to return to the formless, desireless state, then only you come here, to seek what you are.
F.: What persons have lost touch with, as a result of programming and conditioning and acculturation and domestication, are the nisarga (natural) longings, including the natural longing to return to the formlessness.

“But surely I must add on—that is, acquire—spiritual knowledge if there is ever to be any chance to Realize.”

Maharaj: “Whatever spiritual things you aspire to know are all happening in this objective world, in the illusion. All this is happening in the objective world. All is dishonesty. There is no truth in this fraud.”

“But I see others…they are before my very eyes. If Advaita can point to two levels of witnessing, should I not gain an understanding of what it is that I am witnessing?”

Maharaj: “If you are not, can others be there?”

“If you teach that there is truth, then surely there must be some truth to what I have been taught so far.”

Maharaj: “After the information given to you by the mother, that you are a boy or girl, all your further acquisitions are but hearsay.”

“Then why do you add to my daily practices the use of a mantra?”

Maharaj: “Both the mantra and the faith in the mantra will get dissolved."

“If you speak of a path, then surely I must accumulate some knowledge in order to progress along that way.”

Maharaj: “There is no progress.”

“If there are Advaita teachings, which there are, then surely I must gain an understanding of the Advaita concepts.”

Maharaj: “Go to zero concepts.”

“Well, once I experience Realization, will I not have gained an understanding of what I really Am”?

Maharaj: “Both experience and experiencer will disappear” and "You have no identity."

“You have advised that I stay with the ‘I Am’ and acquire an understanding of this Is-ness, the Amness, this beingness. Such an understanding would be in addition to what I already know.”

Maharaj: “When you are thoroughly knowledgeable, you will come to the conclusion that this beingness is also an illusion.”

“I was religious. Now I am spiritual. Surely there have been some things added via my spiritual practices that are necessary.”

Maharaj: “Whatever you have tried to understand during your spiritual search will prove false” and “When the birth is disproved, the great noble meaning of spirituality and the meaning of this world—everything—is disproved.”

“But to be free of the faith I have had in false beliefs, must I not now have faith in you, my guru…my teacher?”

(F.: All must happen in a particular order to move from identification with the "I" to abidance as the “not I,” to function spontaneously as a “no I.” That does not, however, suggest that the means is the end.)
Maharaj said, “I have no faith in anything which has ever been told, not even what has been told by the Vedas. Only my own experience.”

“But I thought the whole deal was about finding the True Self—finding what I really am.”

Maharaj: “From my angle, you are nothing and again "You have no identity."

And that is why the upcoming posts in this series, as with all pointers offered here, will focus on the “de-” and not on the “ad-.” Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)

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