022. James Braha

After thirty years of seeking liberation, James Braha had nearly given up on finding fulfillment. His mind began to change, however, when he encountered the Hindu/Vedic philosophy of non-duality. Upon reading “Sailor” Bob Adamson’s book What’s Wrong with Right Now Unless You Think About It, James immediately invited Bob to come from Australia to share his knowledge with Americans.  For five glorious weeks in the summer of 2004, Bob and his wife stayed with the Braha family at their home in Florida. Spiritual talk with arguably the greatest non-duality teacher alive continued from morning till night, as James’ dearest friends and spiritualists from around the country joined the investigations into the truth of reality versus the illusion of appearance.

James Braha’s Site

Sailor Bob’s Site

Interview recorded 5/19/2010.

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

Video also on Facebook in 20-minute segments.

61 thoughts on “022. James Braha

  1. Another interesting interview.

    The business about no Final Answer I agree on. But I disagree that Self realization should be seen as the goal. To me, this is one of the serious shortcomings of many teachers. As long as there is an idea that you’re done, you will be.

    The desire to further growth may indeed be a preference. But if one expresses this as pointless, that’s where it gets misleading. Thats where the much deeper profundity of the nature of reality can be missed.

    There is considerable deepening of ones relationship to That possible. Thus, I consider it a shortchanging to give people the idea thats it. As long as the world is seen as a dream and something other what is real, one has not seen a complete picture of reality.

    In fact, to say Self realization is Advaita is in itself a mistake. One can find an inner unity but that unity is separate from all of our experiences. This is not true advaita, not true non-duality. Non-duality is inclusive of everything, including the world. That is true Vedanta.

    Once That is lived right on the surface, the “dream” changes it’s nature considerably. One can look to Shankara on this question. Maya is only the dream when Rajas is dominant. When Sattva becomes dominant, Maya becomes the the ladder home, the play of God. One may still describe this as a dream, but it’s not the dream of illusion but the play of Self within Itself.

    I see discovering the world is a dream as a necessary step to overcome the ego delusion. But this does not mean it’s the correct final understanding.

    I also don’t consider the person to be a “false reference point” anymore. It is a reference point, but it is a means, by collapsing to a point at every point, that the Self can unfold every detail. As it is the Self, occurring within the Self, what is the illusion? The illusion is just in saying thats all I am.

    That’s how I now see it, anyway.

    BTW – I quite liked James first astrology book for the westerners that I got many years ago.

    Thanks, James, Rick.

  2. Thank you for your comments .

    My speaking is generally addressed to seekers at a particular level – those who see manifestation as the main (or only) reality. It is not necessarily the highest reality – if there be such a thing.

    Advaita is, indeed, inclusive of everything – even the dream or appearance. The appearance is neither to be favored, nor disparaged.

    The force of nature cannot be stopped. Any growth or deepening after “so called” realization will occur regardless of one’s thoughts on the subject – assuming “acceptance of what is” is occurring and seeking has stopped. Let the good times roll.

    I do not advise anyone to look at realization as a goal. My experience and my preferences are just what they are.

    The idea of looking for, or seeking, anything – including but not limited to growth or deepening – is generally not helpful. Yet, there is absolutely nothing wrong in spending every waking minute focused on spiritual evolution and experience. DIfferent individuals will have different preferences. As far as I can tell none is any better than any other.

    Again, thanks for your comments.

  3. Hi James

    Thanks for clarification. Apologies if i was a little grumpy – did not mean to suggest you were saying CC was the goal. I raised the issue because so many teachers talk in this general way, leaving the impression that’s it. With various qualities of Self realization like freedom and the end of the seeker, there can be a tendency to get a little stuck. For whatever curious reason, I’ve ended up supporting people after the shift, helping to correct some of this understanding.

    While I agree that the force of nature cannot be stopped, I have found the awakening process is a 2 way street. For example, I’ve met several people who were awake but didn’t know it. Once they knew it, their process was considerably sped up. They had, as it where, engaged it. Focused is the word you use.

    But I agree that seeking in itself is not helpful – it implies looking for something elsewhere. But within seeking is the engaging of the process, the focusing. This is what helps it along until a point where we finally let go of seeking.

    And yes, so many different preferences and varieties of awakening. Ricks interviews certainly help make that vivid.

    Thanks again for your feedback.

  4. How can someone go through all the podcasts at urbangurucafe and still talk about some progressive path? I think it is because the folks there speak from the absolute point of view: You are the awareness. On the other hand, Rick is probably talking about the person in the body, which is a relative point of view – the dream. Persons change and go through progress and degress, of course. The awareness is not perceivable and is beyond change. Changes are perceptions appearing on awareness. Awareness itself neither changes nor does it stay the same. It is impossible to define it. For change you need time, which itself is but a perception in awareness. The question for Rick is this: Are you the person in the body, which has many experiences and levels of experiencing, or are you the experiencing itself – the awareness, on which experiences, levels, persons (and all things) appear and disappear?

  5. Hi Brian,

    My time is limited now because I’m working, but I wanted to respond briefly, and include a response by Francis Lucille which I think pertains to the issue.

    The great Advaita teachers such as Shankara and Ramana Maharishi very much appreciated that people are at different levels of development and need different practices and approaches to progress from level to level. For instance, Shankara advocated karma yoga as a means of purification to make one eligible for gyana yoga. Ramana outlined four general stages of practice for various aspirants – selfless service (seva), meditation, self-inquiry, and direct realization through a mahavakya such as “That thou art”. Many Neo-Advaita people have realized half the equation and tend to emphasize it with fundamentalist zeal.

    Realization necessitates embracing paradox. On one level there is no person, only awareness. Now whack your thumb with a hammer and tell me if that’s true. “I” won’t feel your pain, “you” will. Ultimately, there are no levels, there is no progress, no one to progress, etc. But the living reality is that there are degrees of realization or clarity. We have personalities, and there is much room for growth in integrating our awakening to consciousness into our daily lives and relationships. I did an interview last night with Ted and Hillary Strauss (http://tedstrauss.com) which discusses this at length. It should be up within a few days.

    I have to get back to work now, but here’s that quote from Francis Lucille:

    “You share an intellectual (mis)understanding of the way which is often found in many neo-advaita teachings, a misunderstanding according to which nothing is good or bad, beautiful or ugly, intelligent or stupid. If we share this point of view, we shouldn’t see any difference in value between Buddha and Hitler, vegetarianism and the mass murder of cows, love and hate, tolerance and racism, a painting by Rembrandt and a centerfold of Playboy magazine, etc. This is obviously total non sense. Those who share these views should logically be able to eat garbage (or, close enough, dead animals:)?). Why not, since, according to Advaitic fundamentalism, there shouldn’t be any distinctions?

    On a more serious note, here is the logical explanation for your misunderstanding: when we make a statement, we should always be aware of the level at which the statement is made, which can be absolute or relative.

    At the absolute level, everything is unfolding as it should. This “unfolding as it should” includes the fact of ignorance appearing in the world, along with its train of cruelty, ugliness, disharmony and stupidity. However, at the relative level, at the level where there is black and white, day and night, wisdom doesn’t make one blind and unable to distinguish between ignorance and wisdom, cruelty and compassion, ugliness and beauty, stupidity and intelligence. The sage sees these distinctions at the relative level even more sharply than the ignorant. The difference here is that he/she doesn’t see an ignorant individual, or a cruel one, or a stupid one, and that he/she remains unaffected by ignorance and its manifestations, knowing perfectly that “everything is unfolding as it should”. He/she follows the inner light of Presence and, like the Buddha Gautama, Ramana Maharshi, Ananda Mai, Jean Klein and many others, acts from that intelligence, from that love, from that beauty, and not from some theoretical view of non-duality. The intellectual thinks non-duality, the sage is it, and, from being it, thinks it, feels it, perceives it and puts it into action.”

  6. “Ultimately, there are no levels, there is no progress, no one to progress, etc. But the living reality is that there are degrees of realization or clarity. We have personalities, and there is much room for growth in integrating our awakening to consciousness into our daily lives and relationships.”

    I disagree completely. What you call reality is actually a mental translation. In reality there is only one thing going on all the time: nonconceptual knowing. You cannot be anything other than that. You are not the knowing subject or known object. These are merely imagined. Yet you consider the imagined to be the living reality. Personality is a dead thing. Are you the person, or are you that which knows the person? It is an imagined object, just like everything else. Person cannot do or know anything. Awakening? How can awareness awaken to awareness? That’s absurd.

    You are looking on things from the perspective of a person. But if you investigate the facts in direct experience in this moment, your point of view just doesn’t hold water. It is all mental and it can be dismantled easily. You cannot attribute anything to awareness, let alone progress or levels. These apply only to perceptions. These various mental translations that we all agree upon are just for the sake of the dream. Reality right here and now is always nondual and cannot be grasped by the mind. Imagined personality cannot bootstrap itself from relative to the absolute, just because it does not exist in the first place. Therefore there’s no need to practice or do anything, you are already it. It cannot be realized by no one. The problem is not that we don’t “get it”. It is already so, it doesn’t need to be understood in order to be. Yet you can question your basic beliefs (“i am the body/mind/person”, “existence of time/causality/space”, …) and dismantle them one by one. What’s left is your true nature…

    “…we shouldn’t see any difference in value between Buddha and Hitler”

    No, we shouldn’t. It is not a goal to be achieved, it is already so and it is our direct experience in every moment. The awareness that you are right here and now does not convey any opinions for or against Buddha or Hitler, does it? Where are Buddha and Hitler when you don’t “think them”? The owner of the opinion is always the person, but you know the person and so you are not it. You are the space it appears on. It’s only a mental translation that seemingly binds you to it.

    “The intellectual thinks non-duality, the sage is it, and, from being it, thinks it, feels it, perceives it and puts it into action.”

    Everybody is IT, no matter what they seem to do, think or feel. Mental translation does not change the hard fact: There is not two.

  7. Still working, but if you have the time, read http://www.spiritualteachers.org/neo_advaita_article.htm. What you are saying is in direct contradiction to all the great Advaita teachers, including those I mentioned earlier, plus Nisargadatta. I agree there is not two, but I suspect that you’re the one who’s practicing “mental translation.” The true realization of the non-dual is a living experience, not a concept, and that living experience doesn’t dawn merely by understanding and repeatedly telling oneself that all is one.

  8. Comments on this issue from the BatGap chat (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BuddhaAtTheGasPump):

    I love the quote from nisargadatta near the end..and it pretty much reiterates what Francis said about distinguishing between the absolute and the relative; i.e. the fallacy of using the description of the absolute as a prescription for attitudes and behaviors to adopt in the relative – Carol

    Great article. “The fruit falls suddenly, but the ripening takes time.” I’d add to this that when the fruit falls it becomes self- evident that there was no ripening. But this certainly is of no help to those who experience themselves as unripe. There is the dharma of the path and the dharma of Realization. – Peter

    Naive of me but I had no idea this type of knowledge perversion was going on and that so many apparently buy into it. Oh well there is something for everyone I suppose. Sometimes immersing ourselves in a dirty pool is helpful so we learn not to do it again. – Jim

  9. Interesting discussion.
    The key to me is what is real? While we might have a high and mighty concept that it’s all one, what is the actual experience? If we ignore what we are experiencing and hold only to a set of beliefs, then we are just stuck in a different place than someone who thinks the physical world is the one reality.

    Yes, it’s true there is one reality. How are you experiencing that reality? Is That what is true for you right now? How can you make forward progress unless you are willing to look at what is here, right now?

    Concepts can help point in the direction you might look but to say we are all one has little real meaning unless the experience has begun. To take an absolute position when the entirety of life is not experienced as the absolute is a little premature.

    Brian – your opening question was to ask how you can listen to all those speakers and still think progressive? Direct experience. It trumps any belief or story. And there are an awful lot of speakers out there who have confused the inner unity of Self realization with Advaita. One give-away is all the talk of Maya. If the world is an illusion (and it is validly seen that way during the progression) then the world is not yet experienced as part of the one. This is NOT oneness. Shankara spoke of the 3 forms of Maya. Illusion is just one.

    There is a lot of noise and misunderstandings out there about basic teachings. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. In the direct experience. And even more so, in the becoming. Anything else is just a story.

  10. “The true realization of the non-dual is a living experience, not a concept, and that living experience doesn’t dawn merely by understanding and repeatedly telling oneself that all is one.”

    I am trying to suggest here that the experience doesn’t dawn at all. It is always present: You are aware right here and now. That IS the direct experience, no? No matter what you tell yourself, you cannot deny that awareness. What other experience are you looking for? It is always here and now. What are you waiting for to dawn on what? It’s not going to happen, the future is only imagined. It’s merely about recognizing what’s present now and what doesn’t change. All future time realization is just plain nonsense.

  11. Hi Brian
    While yes, it is true that non-dual awareness is always present, it is first experienced as dawning in our more local awareness. Then we discover it is already eternally present. And everyone is already awake.

    And yes, I do experience it as eternally present. But most people do not. If you deny what others experience, you deny an aspect of yourself. There is only one person here.

    I would however not say the future is nonsense but rather the future is right now. That is my experience. This may not be true for you but does this make it wrong? Can you describe the origin of the experience of time and it’s relationship to perception and awareness? Then do you even know what time is? Is your idea then that the future is just nonsense just a concept? Clearly you experience the passage of time. To say the future is nonsense means you are denying a part of your experience. That’s how you get stuck, not enlightened.

    Lets put this another way. Do you experience how awareness arises out of That? In deep samadhi we experience even an absense of awareness. So called Emptiness. Where is eternal awareness then? (and yes, you can experience awareness of an absence of awareness because awareness is aware at every point within itself)

    When you touch an object, do you experience the person touching and the object being touched? Do you experience all objects, your environment, the universe, and all experiences of every being to be inside of yourself?

    If you do not, you do not understand Advatia and we’re just arguing concepts. Advaita is Vedanta, the end of the Veda. All This is That. Not just some of it. Everything. Not just an idea of it. Direct experience. We are That.

    This is why I harp on process. If your mirror does not reflect the fullness of what is, even what is right now is just a sliver of what really is there.

    Nisargadatta: “You are right, the relative cannot result in the absolute. But the relative can block the absolute, just as the non-churning of the cream may prevent butter from separating. It is the real that creates the urge; the inner prompts the outer and the outer responds in interest and effort.” “You seem to want instant insight, forgetting that the instant is always preceded by a long preparation. The fruit falls suddenly, but the ripening takes time.

    Yogananda suggested it takes 12 years after awakening. Of course, the experience will vary 😉

  12. There is a very subtle point here. We hear someone we respect say something and we believe it to be true. It becomes a part of our story about the world. At essence, ego is a story of being separate and so when something becomes part of our story, it is a part me. We are identified with it. It is my truth.

    We then have filter for that information. We latch on to things that verify our story and filter our or reject things that don’t match. In fact, we can react angrily as we see those things as a threat to our story and thus to our sense of self.

    If a better story comes along, we’ll adapt and add on addendum. But only if it does not threaten the core story. Just makes it better. Its very popular in New Age circles to teach making better stories.

    This is why waking is difficult. We already are that. But it is a threat to the core of the story. So until we have enough experiences of the silence that underlies our experience, we’re not usually willing to let go and let Self be. The ego can get into all sorts of conflicts with itself. But It’s all concepts because the battleground is the mind. The red flag is the need to be right. The need for one thing to be true and another wrong.

    But is life every really like that? Are we ever really one thing or the other? Or is it more a spectrum?

    We may say things like truth and absolute. But this is just the mind holding onto something. We cannot win at this battle. We can only see though it and thus be willing to let it go. Then freedom can dawn.

  13. Advice from a friend:

    Trying to communicate with Advaita people is not only crazy making, but it isn’t really possible. They haven’t rotted enough to have ears to hear what we’re talking about. But in case you want to reply to him more fully, I’d say that if you ask the question that way, you’re viewing Being in duality: subject OR object. As if one was more “real” than the other. If one looks more “real”, then neither is yet real. “Ultimate” reality is TOTAL reality. Being is one thing: both subject AND object. But I’ll decline to respond to him directly. That’s like playing with a tar baby.

  14. (laughs) Well, Rick, I do sometimes try. And it’s not just Advaita folks – anyone deeply into their belief systems. Occasionally, I make a connection that has value for both of us, like a friend of mine who woke spontaneously after no practice or study. He’s very Zen-like in his minimalism. But we’ve found common ground even if at different ends of the spectrum.

    Sometimes, it’s very fascinating how people can come to interpret teachings. Brians’ comment, for example:

    “What you call reality is actually a mental translation. In reality there is only one thing going on all the time: nonconceptual knowing. You cannot be anything other than that. You are not the knowing subject or known object. These are merely imagined. Yet you consider the imagined to be the living reality.”

    I would say, yes, everything we experience is in the mind, but who’s mind? The error is when we think it is our thoughts and a separate reality is true. But when we step out of that, we discover its still going on. Does this mean it is false? Or that our perception of it and the doer has been false? Shankara speaks of Maya becoming a ladder to truth when sattva predominates.

    Similarly we could ask knowing what? What is there to know if there is nothing there? If there is something there, is it invalid? Or is it intended? Is it part of That knowing Itself?

    Without an experience, there is nothing to know. This is why That creates experiences to be experienced, to know itself in every detail. We could say it is imagination. But who is imagining it if you are not here? That to me is the more fascinating part – who is doing, dreaming, and creating. And we are none other than That.

    It’s also worth noting that even when the subject and object are found to be illusions, experiencing continues. That continues to flow within Itself. I would say the imagined is the thoughts in the mind of God. If we consider them an error, we miss the point of why we’re here and whats really going on.

    But that’s just my take. And that continues to evolve. Because that’s why I’m here. 😉

  15. “Can you describe the origin of the experience of time and it’s relationship to perception and awareness?”

    There is only awareness, nothing else. All else is thought (past is memory and future is imagination, which are thoughts going on in the present), but thought itself is awareness.

    Now I’ll borrow Greg Goode’s explanation from http://www.heartofnow.com/files/atmananda.html

    “Because a thought is never experienced to exist apart from the presence of Consciousness, it makes no sense that a thought actually exists in the first place. If it is never your experience that a thought exists outside of consciousness, then it makes no sense to carry around the notion that it really does exist externally. And because memory is itself another thought, it can’t prove the existence of another thought even within consciousness. One realizes that there’s no evidence that a thought existed other than the present thought. There cannot be two thoughts. If there can’t be two, then it makes no sense that the present thought is actually a thought in the first place. At this point, thought itself dissolves into consciousness.”

    Of course I experience passage of time. But it is not considered as a solid real thing existing apart from thought and thought is not considered to be a solid real thing existing independently on awareness.

    “Do you experience how awareness arises out of That?”

    No, I don’t. I dig Greg Goode’s model: Objects (and all ‘things’, including time) are thoughts and thoughts are awareness. That’s it. There is ever only one thing going on: Awareness and appearances of awareness. You and That and arising are awareness itself.

    “Do you experience all objects, your environment, the universe, and all experiences of every being to be inside of yourself?”

    But how do you define inside and outside? For that you would need a reference point, which itself is a thought. The whole idea of space and itside/outside duality is nothing but a thought arising in awareness.

    I really think that it is enough to use logic to destroy the notion of solid objects existing apart from thought, defuse the idea of time as being a real thing existing apart from thought and then point out the present awareness. On one hand you destroy the belief and on the other hand you show that the seeker cannot be anything other than awareness, since there is not anything else existing independently. At least it worked for me as far as the proof in the pudding goes…

  16. Hi Brian
    Well, I’m not sure we’re making progress here. The point of the questions was for you to consider what I’m asking not cherry pick questions to debate.

    I think you will find something deeper than awareness. What is it that is aware? And what is the point of being aware if it is not to experience?

    If there is only awareness, what happens when you sleep? Do you cease to exist? perhaps you are awake in sleep. What happens when you step deeply into being and become silence, without awareness?

    I don’t know Goode. I was asking what is true for you? Not what you believe but who you see yourself to be and what experiences arise out of that.

    From your notes, Goode is describing one stage on the journey of awakening. It may be a model that you relate to but is it real for you? And if so, are you willing to give it up when an even bigger perspective opens?

    If you don’t believe in stages, ask yourself if you became a teenager overnight. Awakening is the same way. Human growth is a process.

    What I mean by inside is inside. Inside your gut in fact. At a certain point, there is no longer an “outside” as all is contained within That. That which is aware.

    Awareness is a property of That and arises from That. To say that awareness is all there is is to miss the question of what is aware?

    Perhaps these questions don’t resonate. That’s fine. But stay open to what is real now and you will see the concepts evolve to explain what is true for you and new teachers show up who can support that.

  17. “What is it that is aware?”

    Is there something, or is it just another assumption? Just the same as we assume that there must be a person in the body, or that there must be a creator of the world, since it looks so well designed. Why can’t there be just a process of knowing, not the knower, or something that is aware/knowing? I don’t feel an urge to find something there being aware, since there is no proof of that thought having any relevance at all outside of consciousness and no proof that the thought actually points to some solid independent “something”…

    What is the point of being aware? Well, why introduce points at all? Is there really such a thing as a point, apart and independent from thought?

    What happens when I sleep? I don’t know what happens at all. I don’t sleep right now so you will have to ask me when I sleep, ok? I have no need to create some mental model of “what happens when we sleep”.

    “I was asking what is true for you?”

    There is undeniable awareness. That’s all (no proof of independent source/subject/objects). Apart from that, I don’t know what is true, I don’t know anything, really… But that not knowing is good enough to cut off the suffering, since there is no more need to be trying to find an answer in the mind. You are obviously trying to suggest that there is some more to be found, but I don’t believe in an entity or person with volition to decide to search or not search… It’s all a coincidental story. If it happens, it certainly does not have anything to do with that which I am.

    “If you don’t believe in stages, ask yourself if you became a teenager overnight.”

    That’s a lousy example which applies only on relative level, and since I am absolutely not a person, it doesn’t apply to me in any way, it is not relevant on absolute level. On the other hand, I think the main question is this: Is it useful to bring about the concept of gradual awakening when trying to point out the absolute aspect of reality to someone who identifies himself as a person? I think it is not necesssary and it is better to destroy it along with concept of time. It saves lots of time 🙂

  18. Hi Brian
    As I mentioned, no assumption. As I’ve said, it is possible to experience who we are, what is aware. And some other stuff you mention. (laughs)

    We’re talking in circles here so there is not much point in going into each thing you counter with.

    All I’m trying to point out here is to not think “this is it”. You have been satisfied with discovering there is awareness and not knowing anything is fine. But there is a much greater richness available if you continue down the path. If you reject what is being suggested, that is your choice. I make a fuss only because of what I know you may miss.

    If you think enlightenment is not organic like puberty, there is more to learn. There is no other thing here. It includes everything. Even illusion. Even the body. And the reason I talk about a process is the very real danger that someone like you will make wonderful progress, then find some satisfaction when they reach a rest stop and thus miss the real glory of the journey.

    It is like seeing someone quit school in grade 5. And sadly, there are teachers teaching how to quit there, against centuries of documentation of much more.

  19. Why go for another experience, since it is already here and now? It’s a matter of recognition. It is not possible to experience, it is impossible to not experience. All of what you percieve is what you are.

    All I’m trying to point out here is “this is it”, no matter what is thought or experienced. Every experience is valid and of the same value as the other. What you say about the school is all true on relative level. Once you realize the non-existence of free will, it all goes to free fall, though. Yes, there may be lifetimes of great awakenings, but those do not happen by you or to you. Get this one little person with free will out of the way, sit back and enjoy the journey. The whole universe will work for you instead. This relative story with all its awakenings and levels happens effortlessly. No need to pretend to guide it, control it. No need to alter, modify, or correct any expression that happens… Give up your will, surrender it to God and he will serve you.

    Get the illusion of the doer out of the way. The actions happen automatically, mind claims doership afterwards. Investigate the mechanism and see through the illusion…

  20. Rick – Your friend was right. (laughs)
    How can you debate someone who’s position is only that they’re right. No one is listening.

    Even when the position is completely inconsistent, when you can negate everything you disagree with, you can always be right. You can even throw in the other persons points to make them wrong. Handy.

  21. I really don’t get why you guys want people to believe that no world exist. Everyone knows it exist.

    Is the world the ultimate reality? No

    Does having better experiences and seeing galaxies and universes do anything? No

    The same people who see aliens are doing your interviews, just like Braha (the boring old Advaita guy).

    If experiencing experiences is “your” ultimate reality, then do it.

    The point of realization is to end SUFFERING :o) However, it seems to pain you guys to deal with the Advaita “thoughtless” stream.

    It’s kind of sad. You can have guest on that see aliens, or angels and they are without judgments. No doubts arise at all. Have a guy that says the same thing that all the great gurus have said, minus the passion for experiences, and out roll the judgments :o)

    Good thing there are no persons to take this personally :o)


  22. Hi Poe

    Again, we’re coming from a place that sees awakening as a series of broadly typical stages. At once stage, the world is seen as illusion. Maya. An illusion that doesn’t exist. Then it is later discovered to be none other that That. So it is found to exist, but not as it appeared to exist.

    More succinctly put with Shankara’s rules back on Bax’s interview:
    1st law – Brahman (Self) is real
    2nd law – the world is not real
    3rd law – Brahman is the world

    While there are many voices that stop at “the world is Maya”, they have not yet seen the whole picture. This is not just Rick’s opinion here. There is a lineage of sages going back thousands of years that speak of this. And many who have experienced it for themselves.

    These are not personal judgments, they’re objections to concepts that can get in the way of peoples journeys. In the fullness of their realizations. That’s why the objections. Rick is attempting to clear some misconceptions about the journey. The whole show is founded on that. To help people move forward.

    He is also trying to explain how the show difference from others.

    And please don’t add to the confusion about advaita. It means non-dual or one. Thoughtlessness is a state of mind.

  23. Hi Poe,
    I don’t get the impression that someone on this site wants people to believe anything. And who said that the world doesn’t exist? It exists, but only as an illusion. Illusion doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It exists, but not in any way your mind thinks. That’s all. Understanding this point thoroughly is enough to end the suffering, since mind stops all attempts to modify the perceived.

    Btw, what’s wrong with seeing or claiming to see aliens or angels?

  24. Hi David,

    I understand what you are saying. And why you are suggesting why Rick is giving these neo advaita ideas such a hard time, however, once realization has happened the outward seeking stops. The inner guru takes over. So, though his intentions are good, he’s affects can’t be realized, by the realized. So, he’s only confusing seekers. As a result, he’s only appearing to be bias.

    You’re totally right about thoughtlessness! I was trying to be clever, but, it was just being careless. Sorry about that.

  25. Hey Brian,

    Nothing is wrong with seeing aliens or angels. My point was that the these neo advaita ideas catch more flack. People are waking up using these neo ideas, but still they are treated as though they are to elementary to be taken seriously. However, seeing things are perfectly fine. Doing TM for decades, perfectly fine. Neo advaita concepts, BE CAUTIONS. That’s the feeling I get.

  26. Hi Brian

    The issue is that there are those who say that because it’s an illusion it doesn’t exist. And indeed, this can be experienced directly at certain points in the journey. Then it’s seen to be an illusion that obviously exists. Then that it is none other than Brahman.

    The idea that only one or the other is the truth is what gets us into trouble.

    I also disagree with your point. Suffering does not end when we understand the world is an illusion. Suffering begins to end when we experience what is actually real and see through our identification with the world. Then, the understanding dawns from the experience.

    Suffering ends when we become That permanently and fully.

    ie: understanding is the effect of being, not the cause of it.

  27. Poe – again, it is not concepts that wake you up. No one is waking up from neo ideas. Or any other ideas because it is not the mind that wakes up (at first).

    Indeed, concepts can be a barrier to waking. For some, the last barrier is their concepts of waking. This is why some teachers avoid concepts as much as possible.

    But the flip side of that is if we don’t have a map, we’re much more likely to get lost. We just have to be careful not to think the map is the world. 😉

    Advaita, good. Neo-advaita, distorted. Neo is not a traditional teaching. Its a new-ageified lazy approach. This is why Rick grumps about it. Again, read the article. It’s not a valid approach. It’s gonna get people stuck.

    (Mahavakyas and other such core ideas are a great help for a later stage.)

  28. Well, when you understand the world to be an illusion, you automatically experience what is real and you stop your identification with the world… There is nothing more to do, but understand. Then, the experience dawns from the understanding.

    The sentence “Suffering ends when we become That permanently and fully.” sounds very odd to me. It presupposes that there is a point in time when we are not That permanently and fully and that there is something need to be done in order for us to become That. Both are false. Understanding false as false is all there needs to be done. You are already That.

    Ramana Maharshi:
    There is no reaching the Self. If the Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not now and here, but that it should be got anew. What is got afresh, will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say, the Self is not reached. You are the Self. You are already That. The fact is that you are ignorant of your blissful state. Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this ignorance. This ignorance consists in wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge consists in the false identifcation of the Self with the body, the mind, etc. This false identity must go and there remains the Self.

  29. Hi Brian
    I’m just relating how many have experienced the process. I would suggest that the mind cannot grok what it has not experienced so while understanding will cause a shift in perception, it is the direct experience and shifts in being that will cause the actual understanding. Before that, it’s just concepts. Different concepts can indeed cause a change in perception but thats superficial if there is not an underlying change in being.

    And I fully agree – we are already That and have always been That. But that is not the perception of most people. I am describing how it is experienced. How we come to realize That.

    I fully agree with Ramanas statement. But that false identification is not usually released only by knowledge unless one is a pure Gyan yogi and has direct ongoing access to a guru.

    Understanding can be very useful so we don’t have concepts in the way of it. But I would suggest the value in reading Ramana is less in the words and more in the spaces between them. In resonating with who speaks behind the words. It would be exceptional to escape the wrong knowledge of the mind if we stay with the apparent meaning of the words.

    Just trying to take the big picture here. The deeper movement of awakening behind all the concepts of how it happens. You’re welcome to disagree, but I’ve seen this to be true for dozens of people.

    As one sage said, there are many ways home, but the path of discrimination is the most difficult.

  30. I am sorry David, but I don’t agree. First of all, the experience is already ever present. The mind is already and ever experiencing That. There is no need for some special experience to happen. The basic always present commonplace “dogshit awareness” is the experience that we are looking for. It can be pointed out very easily and indeed, it is the perception of all people – not most of them, but all. How hard is it to point out the awareness? It cannot be denied. How can you say that it is not the perception of most people? It is not about some special experience, because if it is not present right here and now, then it is not permanent and so it is not worth striving for, as Ramana says. It is the believed in mental translation that stands in the way, nothing more. The understanding is not just concepts, it is ment to dismantle concepts, not to add more of them. It is all based on finding holes in our mental model, so that it can collapse and the ever present awareness is revealed naturally.

    The concept of some “future event” experience or awakening is the carrot before the seeker, which keeps him on the treadmill in the first place. There is nothing more useful than to dismantle this belief. And so it is a very cheap and distorted message you are presenting here, my friend.

  31. Speaking of “dog shit awareness”, a dog’s essential nature is the same as ours – pure awareness. The dog’s nervous system just reflects it differently, and does not enable him to become Self-realized. Same with most people, except that the human nervous system can be refined to the extent that Self-realization may dawn. Which is why the great masters of Advaita – Shankara, Ramana and others – advocated practices for most people to bring them to the point where Realization could occur. They didn’t ask most people to merely accept the concept that “this is it”. The crux of my objection to neo-Advaita is that many of it’s spokespersons seem to be doing just that. I believe they are mistaken and are misguiding all but a small percentage of people to whom such advice might be relevant.

    I agree that seeking can become a trap. At a certain point one has to recognize that one is what one is seeking, and relax into that. But even after that has occurred and the sense of seeking has dissipated, one may still engage in spiritual practices, and they enrich and clarify one’s experience. For example, just this morning I was listening to Tony Parsons say that God is nothing more than a concept. Got news for you Tony. When you move beyond this fixation on the “nobody home” experience, which you eventually will, your experience will prove you wrong on that point.

  32. No Rick, the “dog shit” has to do with shit, not with the dog. It works with cat shit also.
    But anyways, for your entertainment, I suppose you haven’t heard the sweet story of enlightened cow. Here goes:

    His teaching was mostly to be in silent communion with the disciples. Naturally, very few people were benefited by him. But every morning he was sitting, people were sitting, and a cow would come and stand outside, putting her neck through the window, and she would remain standing there while the satsang lasted. It must have continued for years. People came and went, new people came, but the cow remained constant… and at the exact time, never late. And as the satsang would disperse she would move away.

    One day she did not appear, and Shri Raman said, “Today satsang cannot be held, because my real audience is absent. I am afraid either the cow is very sick or she has died, and I have to go and look for her.” He lived on a mountain in the south of India, Arunachal. The cow belonged to a poor woodcutter who lived near the ashram. Raman left the temple where they used to meet, went to the woodcutter and asked, “What happened? The cow has not come today for satsang.”

    The woodcutter said, “She is very sick and I am afraid she is dying, but she goes on looking out of the door, as if she is waiting for someone. Perhaps she is waiting for you, to see you for the last time. Perhaps that is why she is hanging around a little longer.”

    Raman went in and there were tears in the eyes of the cow. And she died happily, putting her head in the lap of Raman Maharshi. This happened just in this century, and Raman declared her enlightened, and told his people that a beautiful memorial should be made for her.

    It is very rare for human beings to be enlightened; it is almost impossibly rare for animals to become enlightened, but the cow attained. She will not be born again. From the body of a cow she has bypassed the whole world of humanity, and she has jumped ahead and joined with the buddhas. So once in a while — there are a few instances only — it has happened. But that cannot be called the rule; it is just the exception.

  33. Nice story. I had heard it before. If true, then in rare cases (Ramana’s word), it’s possible. Why rare? Because generally the nervous system of a cow doesn’t allow Self-realization. Neither does the nervous system of most humans, in its ordinary condition. But the human nervous system can be cultured through spiritual practices to become capable of reflecting That clearly. As some Zen teacher said, Enlightenment may be an accident, but practice makes you accident-prone.

  34. Hi David,

    Glad your back Rick 🙂

    I agree, it’s not the concepts that wakes anyone up, nor is it any practice, so why not neo advaita? People are using both the neo advaita ideas and the TM ideas to wake up.

    I don’t think you need a map to go to this place. What good can pointing to any direction be?

    The neo advaita may be a distortion of true advaita, but no translation is as good as the original. I’m sure you understand this because of you seem to be familiar with all these old text. My point is the old text still work. Neo advaita may seem lazy, but it’s working for people. Maybe advaita doesn’t have to be as difficult as it once traditionally was. By golly people seem to be waking up more and more easily. The use of advaita may seem lazy to an old fashioned seeker, but it seems to be very useful now-a-days.

    Neo advaita is not getting people stuck any more than TM is/was. Not true.

  35. Great story Brian. But you’ll note it is the exception.

    I’ll also note that awareness is not the common experience of all people. Maybe common at satsangs but not on the street. Many people are mostly immersed in their experiences of the world and oblivious to who is experiencing. They won’t know what you’re talking about if you ask who is aware.

    I taught meditation at one time. There were some who had never considered this. And some who had never noticed they had thoughts.

    This is why the question sequence Rick posted prior has Service at the end. There are some for whom even meditation is not possible.

  36. Hi Poe

    No, a map is not needed to get there. But I guarantee it’s very useful. What happens when you come to a crossroads? Several of the books Rick mentions on “Suggested Books” on the right go into why this is important. Segals book, for example, documents how she spent 10 years stuck in fear post-waking because she didn’t understand her experience and discarded any support.

    I understand your points. But I’ll say it again. Awakening should not be considered the goal. It is the opening of the door. There is much more beyond that. If you have some idea that it’s just a matter of integrating this shift, you can get stuck in an an early state and miss the advantages of fullness. The TM model does not have this issue.

    The stuckness that TMers face is in clarifying their existing understanding. The stuckness that neo-advaitists will face is in having a map thats distorted and ends too soon. That’s a much bigger hurdle. Both have the same issues with getting over their resistance to a new voice. But the second has a much bigger challenge.

    Thats what I’ve seen, but you are of course welcome to your own opinion.

    I’ll also comment that it’s one thing to awaken. It’s a very different thing to understand how you’ve woken. And yet another thing to see how that can be applied to help others on their journeys. Only the last make good teachers.

    Way too many voices out there are of people who have woken and adopted a model that seems to explain how they got there, without realizing it has gaping holes. They teach this as the “truth”. The test to me now is how many people are waking around those teachers and then progressing on into Vedantic experiences.

    There are quite a few teachers who speak well but have helped very few.

  37. Hey, David.
    Awareness is not the common experience to all people? That means that you don’t understand what I mean by the concept of awareness. Therefore let me explain: awareness as I understand it is the knowing that “I am”. That’s all. Now are there people who don’t know that they actually exist? I don’t think so, unless you believe in zombies. All that is to be done is point out to them that the knowledge “I am” is already undeniably present. With the destruction of the belief “I am this”, the work is done. Nothing spiritual about it, IMHO. Of course, it may be the case that most people don’t give a f@#!k about these things, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t aware.

  38. Interesting, but I’ve not found that so useful. I was referring to people being aware they are the experiencer. Yes, everyone is aware that they are. But what they think they are varies from this body to nothing and everything.

    I have never seen telling someone they are stopping the identification with “this”. But I can see it possible if they’re ripe. And I recall stories of sages who went off in caves for some years to discover the truth of it.

    But there is easier ways. And the above won’t make much difference for people on some kinds of paths, like that of the heart.

  39. Hmmh, going off to cave to discover the truth that you are not that which you are looking at? I guess you must become Einstein to realize that. Let’s call it the path of Einstein, then:

    “Let me remind you that the perceived cannot perceive.”

    Huang Po

  40. David,

    Segal was not a seeker at the time. I’m talking about a seeker, who is in the process of practicing TM or neo-advaita, coming to a crossroad. I think its ok. Segal didn’t know what was going on, but, she did eventually find someone to help her. She was also able to write a cool book about the experience. Was she really in fear? I can’t believe that. It would have been to exhausting to be in that much fear for so long, no? Either way, all turned out to be ok. That’s my point, being stuck is no different then having an itch on your leg. Nature will take care of its self in these cases.

    Isn‘t the point of enlightenment to end suffering? If not, what do you consider the point of enlightenment?

    Everyone has a problem clarifying their understanding. Not just TM people.

    How are the neo advaita folk path ending to soon? Do you think they won’t continue to develop? Where will a TM’ers map lead them?

    Each person has an opinion of how they woke up. But who do you think really knows?

    I don’t know if it possible to assign quality to teachers. Really it is a matter of opinion. Or do you have a standard? When Rick interviewed Igal Moria he said when he was with Marishi inner circle he noticed that there weren’t many enlighten people there, so please clarify what standards you are going by.

    What are Vedantic experiences?

    Who are these teachers that have help few? Are they all neo-advaita guys? Are there not any useless TM teachers?

  41. Ah but the perceived is none other than That so is also inherently awareness.

    This is the point I am trying to make. Huang Po was right at one stage. But more deeply, there is a higher truth.

    Truth evolves as our sense of self deepens. If we see it as one truth, we have lost the highest knowledge and beauty of it.

  42. Poe
    I disagree entirely. Segal had a long practice. She refused to believe what had happened when it was pointed out to her. It took 10 years before she was willing to listen.

    You like the book but don’t believe she was in fear? This is classic ego struggling not to let go.

    See my comment to Brian on why too soon.
    The TM map is based on Vedanta. Even if it might be misunderstood or held too rigidly, it will hold up much longer.

    It becomes clearer how awakening takes place when you more deeply become That. If you understand the larger picture of the process, you soon can see where a teacher is speaking from. This is not about quality, just where they will hold value for you.

    But I disagree that teachers don’t have variable quality. They are human like everyone else.

    The people around Maharishi were not the teacher. Some taught mediation but thats about all. All teachers are surrounded by the unawake. Thats often why they’re there. After they wake up, they often leave.

    Vedanta is end of the Veda. It includes knowledge of the Veda itself. Vedantic experiences are experiences of totality, true non-duality.

    I’m not interested in getting into saying this teacher or that is useless. I’m just saying the neo-advaita approach doesn’t meet my standards for a philosophy to recommend. I’m not picking on them – you raised the issue. There are only a few I recommend. Unless it reaches true unity, it is not the path I’d want to follow. Why start the journey with a car that will run out of gas?

    I tend to recommend teachers from Zen and Vedantic approaches.
    Theres not much more I can suggest to say.

  43. Of course perceivable is none other than That. But understanding “I am not this” is the end of the road. No more to be done. Once you realize that you are not perceivable, the idea of free will vanishes. There is nobody, nothing you can attribute a free will to. If someone has a free will, it certainly is not me, for I am not perceivable. Therefore all of the happening goes on by itself from then on, without effort or need of modification. Mind falls effortlessly into its natural state, since it no more tries to alter the perceived in false conviction that it can change it. Deeds happen, mind may claim doership aferwards, but always without effect. Who misses what? Many things may be realized, but these realizations do not belong to anybody. The concept of belonging is just that – a concept. If you understand it thoroughly, there is no need for further effort.

  44. Do you “understand” it while you’re fast asleep? If you lose awareness during sleep, you’re not Awake. Adyashanti says that Zen masters carried sticks to whack students who were too caught up with the notion that there is no person. Whack! Who felt that?

  45. David,

    So, a true teacher can only teach if they have experienced enlightenment via meditation? However, there are of course exception (Ramana, Tolle, Katie), right?

    TM will hold up much longer compared to what? Neo advaita?

    So you understand how awakening happens? And how to facilitate it in others?

    I think it’s impossible to experience true non-duality, because they will always be experienced through the instruments of a person. Please tell me if you think it’s possible to experience without this reference point.

    OK, no picking on those teachers. That’s fair, but explain what standard you feel aren’t being met by neo advaita, please.

    “Why start the journey with a car that will run out of gas?” All cars have the chance to run out of gas. Neo Advaita, as well as TM. Or, is there a sure shot?

    I recommend people follow there heart. I believe that true sincerity can’t go wrong. Do you think this is faulty advice?

  46. Hi Brian
    This is the essence of the whole point here.
    “I am not this” is NOT = to “I am That”
    I am not this but That is just the first step. NOT the end of the road. If you pull over then, you have missed the whole magnificence of Vedanta. You have not even begun to taste it.

    And you find out what has free will. And where what happens arises from. And it has nothing to do with personal mind.

    If you understand it thoroughly, you will not stop or think it’s over. I am not advocating a seeker here. This has indeed ended. I am advocating a looking. An inquiry, if you will. From whence does this arise? Who is doing if not I? And so forth.

    You are of course welcome to be satisfied. But you’re missing the best stuff. 😉

  47. Hi Poe

    You are welcome to say whatever you think, but please don’t put words in my mouth. I did not say this and I am not in the box you seem to think I am. TM has been my vehicle but I have my own outlook on all this. I am simply trying to explain the broader picture outside of TM and other boxes. The result is well past the practice.

    Anyone can teach if they want to. But if a teacher has not experienced what they teach, I would not consider it as valuable. How they came to experience that varies widely. And if they have the personal skills to be able to teach is another matter I’ve already touched on.

    The TM practice and model will hold up through a persons spiritual journey further than many others. This is not true of everyone of course, but in general, this is what I’ve seen. The understanding will have to be reevaluated periodically but that is part of the persons understanding, not the underlying value. Going to the original Vedic teachings would have greater value but they’re much less accessible.

    I’ll give an example of what I’m talking about. A friend of mine had a very deep Self realization. But he had no model of what was taking place. We took some time going over the process we’ve been talking about on another interview. He was then able to surrender more deeply into it and had his Unity switch the next day. He’s now giving satsangs and has helped a number of people to awaken.

    How awakening happens, I now understand as I’ve seen it happen dozens of times. How to facilitate it I’m still clumsy with.

    It is easy to experience true non-duality but hard to conceive of it. The trick is that at that point on the journey one is experiencing from the cosmic being, not the apparent person. The reference point has changed, just as it has in awakening. In fact, at a certain point, we are no longer even the point. We recognize ourselves to be that which contains all points.

    I’ve already spoken to neo-advaita enough. it does not hold up to simple tests like the 3 laws.

    yes, all cars will run out of gas. But some will take you to where you don’t need cars. And some require numerous tradeins. And some are lemons.

    Following the heart is good. Better if the heart is founded in being though and not ego. And when the heart awakens, there would be a very different conversation.

  48. Hey Rick
    Please explain your point in more detail. Do you expect that if there indeed was no person, then the body would not feel pain when beaten with stick? Why? What does pain have to do with this? It is perfectly natural that body feels pain when beaten, no? Does it somehow convey the information that there is a long lasting separate entity called person residing in/as the body? I don’t think so. I must be missing something profound here.

  49. I’ll concede that point. It might work on someone not very well established, but in someone who has completely ceased to identify with the body, perhaps no amount of pain would reestablish identification. As Maharishi put it, “Christ never suffered.”

    But let’s try this one. You said, “But understanding “I am not this” is the end of the road. No more to be done,” and you seem to imply that such understanding is fairly easy to arrive at. Are you suggesting that you and others who have arrived at this understanding are seeing the world from essentially the same perspective as Christ, Buddha, Ramana, and other great masters, or would you acknowledge that beyond the realization you describe, there might be many degrees of clarity or depth yet to attain? I suspect you wouldn’t, but as David has been pointing out, “I am not this” is a preliminary awakening. You know who you are (or aren’t), but you don’t know what “this” (the world) is. Or do you? Remember Shankara’s three points:

    1st law – Brahman is real (Self is)
    2nd law – the world is not real – doesn’t exist (the half truth)
    3rd law – Brahman is the world

    Do you see the world as Brahman, or do you just see that you are not the world (the body)?

  50. “I am not this” is NOT = to “I am That”
    Why not? Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your natural state, spontaneously and effortlessly.

    Question: What do you see?
    Nisargadatta Maharaj: I see what you too could see, here and now, but for the wrong focus of your attention. You give no attention to your self. Your mind is all with things, people and ideas, never with your self. Bring our self into focus, become aware of your own existence. See how you function, watch the motives and the results of your actions. Study the prison you have built around yourself by inadvertence. By knowing what you are not, you come to know your self. The way back to your self is through refusal and rejection. One thing is certain: the real is not imaginary, it is not a product of the mind. Even the sense ‘I am’ is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek. Just have a good look at it. Once you are convinced that you cannot say truthfully about your self anything except ‘I am’, and that nothing that can be pointed at, can be your self, the need for the ‘I am’ is over — you are no longer intent on verbalising what you are. All you need is to get rid of the tendency to define your self. All definitions apply to your body only and to its expressions. Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your natural state, spontaneously and effortlessly. The only difference between us is that I am aware of my natural state, while you are bemused. Just like gold made into ornaments has no advantage over gold dust, except when the mind makes it so, so are we one in being — we differ only in appearance. We discover it by being earnest, by searching, enquiring, questioning daily and hourly, by giving one’s life to this discovery.

  51. Rick: “Are you suggesting that you and others who have arrived at this understanding are seeing the world from essentially the same perspective as Christ, Buddha, Ramana, and other great masters, or would you acknowledge that beyond the realization you describe, there might be many degrees of clarity or depth yet to attain?”

    There may be degrees, but those are not worth striving for. Look for that which is permanent and does not change whether it is in Christ, Ramana, Hitler or Stalin. You are looking at the shape of the gold, while it is the gold itself for me, no matter if it is in powder or a beautiful ornament…

    Ramana Maharshi: “What is got afresh, will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for.”

  52. Hi Brian
    Why Not? Because ‘I am not this’ is the first discovery. Some experience it as ‘no self’. Somewhere in there we discover I am That. I am Self.

    But you’ll note there is a duality in this experience. There is Self and not-self, the world or Maya.

    We have yet to discover Thou are That and All this is That. Or, the third law: The world is Brahman.

    This is a much deeper realization than “I am not this”. If you refuse to see the possibility of it, you have lost the greater reality, I’m afraid. This is why some harp on this so much.

    But it remains your choice, oh yee of no free will 😉

  53. Brian said, “There may be degrees, but those are not worth striving for. Look for that which is permanent and does not change whether it is in Christ, Ramana, Hitler or Stalin.”

    What makes you think the further attainments David and I are referring to aren’t permanent? I’d suggest that there are many stages of development beyond the one you’re referring to, such as God realization, and each of them is permanent.

  54. Rick: “What makes you think the further attainments David and I are referring to aren’t permanent?”

    The word “permanent” as I use it, means “that, which has no beginning and end.”

    Ramana Maharshi:
    “That which is born must die; that which is acquired must be lost.”

  55. Call it a gut feeling, and call me cynical, but James does not strike me as truly realised. Perhaps in oneness, but not all the way there. The astrology, silver and gold investing, and weekend warrior waking with Sailor Bob (also not convinced) doesn’t help that feeling either.

  56. Not sure what James would say, but my attitude is that few if any people have reached a stage beyond which there is no possibility of further development. I wouldn’t say that involvement in “astrology, silver and gold investing, and weekend warrior waking” indicates one way or the other how “awake” one might be. I’d have a hard time accepting that a child pornographer was awake, in any sense of the word that I would find meaningful, but the activities you mention seem pretty innocuous.

  57. It does seem a bit silly now that I read it.
    But one of the most common and pressing questions seekers have is where to find genuine realised teachers, and how to know they are.
    Based on many examples, it seems what is said is not always a barometer. It seems what is done (occupation, activities etc) is not always a barometer. It seems how they act and treat people is not always a barometer. Nor is charisma, energy, looks, book knowledge, how softly they talk, how peaceful they may appear……. And yet, there is a teacher who directly or indirectly (does it really matter which?) acknowledges realisation, and there is a student who believes this to be true, and surrenders and acts and gives due to this very assumption/belief/conviction/hope. How nice if the universe made all genuine fully realised teachers turn glowing purple – so that there simply was no doubt!
    Rick, if I may, what (if any) reasoning do you use to gauge if a teacher is realised or not?

  58. The truth manifests itself in infinite multiplicity and remains forever hidden; yet, do not be fooled, the truth does not hide. Rather, it is hidden in super-simplicity within the manifestation it exists in, arises from, shows itself at all times from. The purpose of mind is to imagine truth so that truth will always be beyond it (for truth is ever before it). Such efforts of seeking bring one to the very ends of themselves, in time. In that way a path of living as the manifest forever leads back to the truth, the true substance (called non-substance), the absolute. This is the wisdom of truth. It tests itself. It proves itself. It rejoices in itself. It is purity beyond purity, yet common.

  59. referring to 1:15 to 1:18 Brilliant…”The intellect imagines duality for the sake of Devotion”…Indeed the Creative Intelligence Being No-thing did indeed project light/life in order to experience itself…although I can see how this can be interpreted as speculative and intuitive …this just happened to be one of things revealed to me in motion picture like clarity during my own personal kundalini awakening experience….Rick you are right on track by not allowing people to disregard the body as just an illusion for it is indeed a part of the whole… We are multi-dimensional Being… Life without end

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