103. Greg Goode

Greg GoodeGreg is a teacher of nondualism well known for a breadth of expression and a sense of humor. Inspired by Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, Greg is one of the pioneers, along with Jean Klein and Francis Lucille, of “direct-path” style nondualism, a very intuitive, holistic and immediate form of Advaita. It was through contemplation on the teachings of Sri Atmananda that Greg’s own search came to its peaceful conclusion.

Having studied Western philosophy at the Universität zu Köln in Cologne, Germany, Greg received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester. He studied Advaita Vedanta through the Chinmaya Mission, the Mahayana teachings of Pure Land Buddhism through Jodo-Shinshu, and studied Madhyamika Buddhism through the lineage of the pre-eminent scholar of Chinese Buddhism, Master Yin-Shun of Taiwan, P.R.C., author of The Way to Buddhahood: Instructions from a Modern Chinese Master.

Greg is the technical consultant for Philosophical Practice, the Journal of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association. He is also the author of Nondualism in Western Philosophy, Standing as Awareness, the forthcoming The Direct Path: a User Guide, and the forthcoming Emptiness and Joyful Freedom.

Greg’s website: http://www.heartofnow.com

Greg’s new website on emptiness teachings. From the “About” page:
“Emptiness teachings are widely held to be liberating. The purpose of this site
is to present the wide variety of these teachings in a way that will help make
them accessible and relevant. We will feature scholarly, experiential and popular
approaches to the emptiness teachings, and we will honor the diversity of traditions
from which they flow. Our goal is to highlight the power and appeal of these
teachings so that they may do their work.”

Interview recorded 12/24/2011

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

52 thoughts on “103. Greg Goode

  1. In the nonduality set Ramana and the Niz seem to be the often heard inspirations,reverenced and quoted.Greg stands alone it seems pointing out Krishna Menon’s excellent contributions.Both Greg and he are tops in my study and inquiry.

  2. “IF’ there isn’t more than one, there can’t be one.

    ‘IF’ – so, no certainty here.

  3. _Ingrid on January 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm said:
    “Hence One without a Second.”

    No..there isn’t (even One) – hence, One without a One.

  4. Excellent interview with Greg Goode. I like that he is open to many different ways of expression and communication. I’m also looking forward to the interview with Tony Parsons also. One other person I highly recommend is Richard Lang who was a student of Douglas Harding(www.headless.org).

  5. Yes Gerry, that is what I meant – One without a second cannot be therefore it is not. This term is often used in non-dual talk as a pointer but can be misleading with One or Oneness being understood to be an object of some sort. Question for you – Would Self -Awareness (awareness recognizing itself as No Self)be considered inherent nature?

  6. The phenomenal world having no inherent nature in itself therefore being empty and the Non-dual Self – being No Self – ie empty leaves Awareness standing alone. Inherent nature would seem to be Empty Awareness. Must look at some of these emptiness teachings !!!!

  7. Sorry Gerry posted the last one before I saw your reply. Will read it and get back to you. Appreciate it.

  8. @Julie. I met Jeannie at the Science and Non-Duality conference. She’s coming to my town this summer. I’ll interview her then. Thanks.

  9. Gerry – thank you for taking the time – am getting a sense of One Absolute Totality – unfolding Absolutely. Separation being a seeing of parts – rather than seeing the whole. Will sleep on this. Kind of you.

  10. Gerry, – Jacob Boehme – this too is very helpful. The origin of the self-will very interesting indeed. Will follow-up on that.

  11. All is One becomes all is None.

    I already lost my identity and realized I’m one with the One. Now this dude is even taking One away from me.

    Now I’m none with the None. (Don’t tell the Nuns).

    This bike-riding philosophizing wild man has a point.

    In a nondual world how can there be awareness and also arising? (Or the Witness and what’s witnessed?)

    Greg doesn’t answer how there can be awareness and also arising in a nondual world, rather, he brilliantly evaporates the question by saying there isn’t any arising. Because to have an arising, you’d have to have arisings, and that’s not the case.

    What is there then if there’s isn’t arisings? Only what is.

    (This thought, for me, goes nicely with the John Sherman/David Parrish practice of noticing what it feels like to be you, right now, just as you are. That is, noticing what is. A lot of questions, fears, and now even arisings, disappear in that moment.)

    Rick, I think you missed an opportunity here to have done this interview while biking, side by side, cameras mounted to handlebars, and wireless headsets handling the audio. Maybe next time, eh.

  12. I have a slightly different experience. When I view thoughts strictly as objects without going into the meaning, the whole thinking is then reduced to a flow of uniform arisings. There is nothing to distinguish one arising from another at that level, because that distinguishing would be yet another thought (if I am able to recognize it as that and not go into the content of it). Now as I get used to this way of viewing, after some time I start to recognize gaps between thoughts. So then experience becomes a uniform flow of appearances of gaps and thoughts. After some time it dawns on me that I don’t know what is gap and what is thought – the distinguishing between gap and thougth is another thought and if it is just looked at without going into its content, suddenly the whole flow stops and there is nothing to say about anything.

  13. Gerry, what you write is about it. The point is don’t try to do it directly, it will happen spontaneously once you realize the emptiness or go deep enough into enquiry of subject or object. For me, intensive self-enquiry is the killer.

  14. Great interview thanks Richard..
    I think it was quite open minded.. and it didn’t exclude sense of prayer! other worlds, persons etc..

    I wonder what was the book he read when he saw objects one side and awareness one side.. I couldn’t understand the name of the book. Can you tell?

    Thank you!

  15. On this question of non-doership (I say free will) vis a vis morality, I think there is zero correlation between belief in non-doership and morality.

    What happens when you realize there is no doership, and you give up your ideas of free will, is precisely nothing. No change. You do and don’t do all the things you did and didn’t do back when you thought you were the doer.

    Same actions. Different story about who or what is causing the actions.

    Some guru might not believe in doership, and may behave in a way you’d call immoral. Yet, there are many Catholic priests and Islamic terrorists who believe God gave them free will and also act in a way you’d call immoral.

    No correlation between the two.

  16. “Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive” Cheeky fellow this thief – thanks Gerry for Hsu Yun’s reference.

  17. Does the story has a plot.
    The story seems real, it comes in
    fragments, so convincing.
    but the story is not complete
    because it has fllaw( fallts),
    he takes that it has complete
    reason of causation.

    some writers follow it very
    closely but they write
    only a fraction-
    take Joyc or Purest( French writer)
    sorry it takes long to find the spelling).
    any way they try to write as
    much details as they can –
    the art is called fiction-
    and still not convincing replica.
    let alone the 20 lines we tell ourselves-
    Blanchot he is the only writer who
    has the theses that writing is
    process of dying.
    What i am bringing here is that
    I am talking about how I believe somthing
    so little- a shadow of memroy
    still controls my life.
    when i was 12 or so the languge
    teacher- even when i had doen
    nothing in the class room –
    semi dark room-
    he will shout my name topunch me-
    i hear my name as if it is somone else-
    my name has not stuck with me yet.
    the story was built slowly.

  18. Words arising and falling away here – doesn’t seem to matter anymore whether or not they are expressed. Unusual for a non-person/person who has a love of words! Must be the flavor of the day.

  19. I found Greg’s persona vaguely irrititating and cold. Perhaps it’s his intellectual style. When a person says that all words have no meaning and that language is completely incapable of conveying truth then they might as well just roll up their prayer rug and hobble off. We have a rich heritage of communication styles that have linked us as humans forever….i.e., art, literature, theatre, dance, science and on and on. To say that all of these beautiful ways in which we connect with each other are empty is to throw the baby out with the bath water. I also take issue with the use of the word “apparent” every time a statement about reality is made. Being too esoteric and unreasonalby attached to spiritual jargon can become pretentious and irrelavent in the conversation making it sound like life is an impossibly difficult thing to deal with/understand and only the Greg Goode’s of the world have the capabiltiy of “getting it”. Non duality doesn’t mean that we disengage with our ability to use all of our abiltiies…emotoinal, intellectual, spiritual, physical etc. to be whole and united with reality. This guy was all over the the map!!

  20. I think it’s best to use both left and right brain functions. A great muscian, actor, visual artist, dancer, scientist ect.combines both of these functions and are capable of creating a balanced and profound understanding/expression. Any philosophy or insight which becomes dogmatically driven by a narrow point of view is bound to fail. I think many spiritual traditions, as well as other disiplines, become dead in the water when they are too narrowly focussed. Greg seems to be a bit constipated in his thinking from my experience of him. He’s caught up in a spiritual background that is nilhistic and one which I hope we are moving beyond.

  21. Peace Pilgrim… 1908 – 1981… ~ “This is the way of peace… Overcome evil with good… and falsehood with truth… and hatred with love.” … She vowed to… “remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.” … never asking for food or shelter… she had no money and would accept no money… her only possessions were the clothes she wore … she didn’t even have another set of clothes to change… amazing saint…when prompted by one of her close students for her secret… she would always answer she had no secrets… then finally she said… i do have one secret… one day i utterly died to my-self… and then she remained silent as if she had said too much…


    Watch – Speaking to a College Class
    One hour – recorded at Cal State, Los Angeles in 1979… http://peacepilgrim.org/htmfiles/cc1video.htm

    Watch – Speaking to a College Class #2
    One hour – recorded in Los Angeles in 1979… http://peacepilgrim.org/htmfiles/cc2video.htm

  22. Thanks SL – same here, hence my reluctance to share this, but have found this environment to be a pretty understanding one.

  23. @ Pam Lind on January 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm said:
    “I found Greg’s persona vaguely irrititating and cold. Perhaps it’s his intellectual style. When a person says that all words have no meaning and that language is completely incapable of conveying truth then they might as well just roll up their prayer rug and hobble off…. etc”

    Pam … that’s not how Greg sounded to me at all… and that indeed he was very “flexible” and open… i felt he understood the proper function of language & its limitations in talking about non-duality… and that it is most effective in private sessions… my wife and i having attended some satsangs… and liked them… now have a private friend teacher… who addresses issues that could not easily be done in a satsang…

    so overall… we found Greg to be really balanced… grounded in non-duality within… yet not obsessed with what i call non-duality double talk… on & on & on…

    of course in that on & on & on… might arise a gem here & there… if one is patient… a gem as a pointer…

    also i appreciated Greg’s balance between intellect/philosophy & heart/devotion… but it is my personal view… that one can alwasy go more & more & more into the heart… which several of the interviewees said there is no limit…

    again from my personal view… when we say balance between intellect & heart… we are missing the secret & mystery of what heart really is… “ultimately” heart is that unconditioned “All” which embraces all … including the “conditioned” intellect & language…

    by “ultimately” … i mean to point to NOW…

  24. Hi Gerry,

    Yes, I agree, Greg’s personality wasn’t one that I’d be drawn to immediately so I’m sure that’s a part of what was going on with me. I also feel, especially in conversations around non duality or any other esoteric/spiritual topics, that there is a very subtle, dare I say, vibe which one does or doesn’t pick up on. I have many favorites and they all have slightly different takes on this game of life but to name a few….Krishnamurti (my first “guru” many moons ago. I’m not sure I’d be as patient with him now), Gangagi, Adyanshanti, John Sherman, Moshi, Issac Shapiro, to name a few. I’ve had a life long fascination with this subject and it’s so great to have so many available now over the internet.

    Thanks for your feedback…….Pam

  25. Yes Gerry the Balkesar video – reminded me of “the memory” Thanks for your explanation of a memory trace. There is the sense of having been all the elements of that “memory”. That’s the best I can do with it. What remains now is the memory and the sense of having been all that when it is thought about. The only place I as the body/mind/person appears is in the remembering/the memory.

    “Speak your truth.
    Listen when others speak theirs, too.
    When you let go of fear, you will learn to love others,
    and you will let them love you.
    Do not be afraid of dying.
    And do not be afraid to live.
    Ask yourself what that means.
    Open your heart to love, for that is why you are here.
    And know that you are, and always have been One
    with Me and all who live.”

  27. non-duality driving in India… enjoy…

    OUR PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA – PART II … from http://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1411184281/

    One the most shocking things Westerners experience traveling in India is the road traffic. They don’t follow any of the rules we have in the West – there are no sets of lights (except a few in the major cities), no one uses their turn signals to show that they are passing you by or are taking a turn – all you hear is constant beeping! Cutting just inches from each other, in front of pedestrians, pressing the breaks at the last second and driving against traffic while passing are things that happen every second (literally!). You have to be alert at all times and join in the game called “surviving at all costs”. Its participants are cars, dogs, rickshaws, buses, goats, trucks, cows, bicycles, tractors, horses, pedestrians, motorbikes, scooters, bullock carts, donkeys and sometimes elephants – all chaotically and harmoniously crossing each other’s path.

    But here is the amazing thing: Even after all we described above, nobody ever displays any anger or frustration towards other people’s behavior on the road and we have never witnessed a scene of road rage. Indian traffic should actually be considered the 8th wonder of the world! After experiencing a few rides on the edge of our seats, the obvious question that came to our minds was: “How come people and animals are not getting killed all the time on the streets”?

    We got an interesting feedback about the subject from our friend Paramatma, a genuine Western seeker living in India for the past 10 years. He said: “In the West we think horizontally with continuation (1, 2, 3 – a, b, c, etc..) whereas Indians think vertically, from the left side of the brain through the heart and intuition.” Accidents happen very rarely according to all the Indian drivers we asked and we ourselves never witnessed any. Most have their deities (Gods) attached to their vehicles, and Ganesha is a popular one because he’s the remover of all obstacles. Also, all drivers perform puja to the vehicle before each day of driving begins.

    Their apparent lack of fear of death on the road can perhaps be explained by their general lack of identification with the body, and thus they are not overly concerned with its cleanliness and comforts. You see them sleeping anywhere (on cement floors and wooden planks), taking their showers in the local rivers and of course no one is washing their hands before serving you food. Who knows?! The notion that “I’m not the body” may come engraved on their souls.

  28. I don’t know if it’s a server problem. Maybe slow server causes it to time out? Last time my friend in India fixed it by reducing the number of comments per page. I just sent him a note saying we’re having problems again.

  29. snow… you may want to look into LINUX MINT 12 OS… it’s free… and this version of LINUX is very stable so far… i have tried about 4 versions so far and this one is very very stable… and very close to Mac OS… LINUX OS’s are based on UNIX as is Apple Mac OS… no need to run virus scans… and for online finances Mac OS and Linux OS are recommended over windows…

    since LINUX OS is FREE… all you need to do is save your data… and reload or upgrade or try another version of LINUX … any time you want or need to…

    my wife bough a few used PCs… with good hardware… but messed up Windows OS… we replaced Windows with Linux… kept one and gave two away…

  30. Had a look at the Emptiness Teachings on Gregg’s site and although perhaps years of study would be required to fully comprehend this – I felt an intuitive sense of great beauty here in considering a lack of inherent existence, along with a dependent nature of existence that also has no inherent existence. No sense of Nihilism – due to the dependent nature of existence. Think I will enjoy the readings on his web-site is so far as I can understand them.

  31. yeh… i like that Greg’s Life includes heart & devotion… besides non-duality… perhaps he would agree with… Kahlil Gibran ~

    “Keep Me away from The Wisdom which Does not Cry…
    The Philosophy which Does not Laugh & …
    The Greatness which Does not Bow Before Children…”

  32. Thanks Anatol.

    “Whenever I come to the fountain to drink I find the living water itself thirsty and it drinks me while I drink it.”

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