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Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:28 pm

Hi Georg,

Just a few more thoughts on what you just wrote. sorry I couldn`t get back to you soonrer. You said....
I do not have much to add. I still believe that both teachings cannot be compared 8-) : "To compare them basically implies to view emptiness teachings from the paradigm of Vedanta or view Vedanta from the paradigm of emptiness teaching."


Why ever not ? you can compare any two or more things. you can compare emptiness teachings to the teachings of Islam and the teachings of vedanta to Christianity etc.
I believe you are saying that you cannot compare the teachings of emptiness to vedanta because they lead to the exact same place or conclusion. But do they ? I don`t believe they do personally. It`s well and good to say that both teachings are based on the fact that reality is non-dual but, so what ? where does that get you. Anyone can say that..... and even the neo Advaitins do but, it doesn`t get them anywhere.
They are both incomplete teachings which leave out freedom for the individual. The self is already free and doesn`t need a teaching.

Vedanta teaches you with absolute perfect logic that you are limitless awareness and when that knowledge is fully assimilated, a shift in identity takes place and the old identity is demoted to one`s secondary identity. The seemingly new primary identity is then awareness and one takes a stand in awareness AS awareness. It is a shift in understanding only and not an experience. The old apparent identity is mithya and the real identity is satya.

Freedom is differentiating between the two at all times. it removes confusion between the two.
Emptiness teaching teaches all that is `not` but Georg, where is it`s teaching of satya ? The self...you ? How do you discriminate the real from the apparently real if the teaching of the real is left out ? If "all views" are let go of, what remains ? and how do you know ?Do you have an answer to this...I would like to hear it if you have.
You also said....
Can the human mind think nondualy? Without comparing certain views?
I suppose the human mind cannot think beyond duality. To expect that the human mind thinks nondualy is basically beyond the nature of the human mind.


The mind isn`t a thinker. believing that the mind has thoughts is the same as believing that there is time in a clock. only knowledge delivers freedom. What does it matter whether the mind can "think non dualy" or not ? What has that actually got to do with you ...awareness, and who knows duality and non duality ?
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:47 am

Hi Stan :D ,

nice to see you again :) I thought you would reply although my intention was to end this thread :lol: But to end this thread is probably impossible :) But I stay open for correction

to be honest I don't know what to write back. Since I don't know what your intention is behind your posts I don't really know what to write back.

" If "all views" are let go of, what remains ? and how do you know ?Do you have an answer to this...I would like to hear it if you have."

Before I can answer this, please let me know your intention behind the questions.
Is your intention to know more about a different paradigm, such as the emptiness teaching?
And do you want to know more about it by asking me (Georg)?
Or would you like to see that emptiness teachings are wrong and should be eradicated? That only one teaching, the true teaaching remains?

I mean I could easily write back and explain all the questions in detail but ...why? What's the point of doing so?
I see great value in both teachings (Vedanta and Emptiness teaching) and I am studying both even if it seems paradoxical to an outsider. I am totally fine if you have another opinion. I am also totally fine if somebody says "only emptiness teaching is true". And if somebody replies, "no, only Vedanta is true" I am also totally fine with that. I see no problem in following different paradigms.
If somebody studies positive psychology, the next Buddhist Tantra, the next Christian Mythics, the next .... so what? If you say that Vedanta is the only true teachings, ok. If somebody else replies "no, only Jesus can save you". Ok. How do you wanna know what is right and what is wrong?
"Well, my experience is definitely true, I am free now, do you understand? I am enlightened by the help of this teaching! And only my enlightenment is the true one! All the others are wrong and they might claim to be enlightened but they are not. Only my enlightenment is real based on - fill in the blanks - teaching. That is why only my teaching is true". So what? Every follower of any spiritual and religious teaching can claim that, so what?

"Emptiness teaching teaches all that is `not` but Georg, where is it`s teaching of satya ? The self...you ? How do you discriminate the real from the apparently real if the teaching of the real is left out ?"
Easy cheesy, Stan! That will be an easy reply :D I am having great fun here :lol: The answer is ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kupOnNcoIUY
As I tried to point out earlier: Emptiness teaching is based on a different paradigm. As a conclusion: Emptiness teaching does not focus on the self. It focuses on sathya but sathya in emptiness teaching is different from the Vedanta sathya = a different paradigm. It doesn't mean Vedanta is wrong, it just means it is a different paradigm.
E.g. Try to study Newtonian Physics and then try to read Heisenberg and his famous cat! Newtonian physics is great and of unbelievable value but it doesn't help to understand Heisenberg's cat... does this mean Newtonian physics is wrong and we shouldn't study it? nope. Newton'physics is great. So is Quantum physics. Both are superb and beautiful!

What is more to say? :lol: My intention is not to disturb anybody or to convince anybody of what is right and what is wrong. For what? All is fine. So, have a blast and enjoy life :mrgreen:

Isn't it a great post? What do you think?? I love it :D
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:44 am

Hi again Georg. :-)

I thought you would reply although my intention was to end this thread :lol: But to end this thread is probably impossible :) But I stay open for correction


Well, you gave me the option to end this thread but then I thought, actually, there`s more than you and me here....what if somebody else joins in ? so , rather than be selfish, I thought i`d better carry on. anyway, Georg might be feeling lonely. :lol:

to be honest I don't know what to write back. Since I don't know what your intention is behind your posts I don't really know what to write back.

You said at the begining of the thread.....
AS you said Georg,




I have not much knowledge about this emptiness teaching and I thought before spending considerable time on that teaching I ask around first what other think about it.
So, let's have a little discussion on emptiness teaching and vedanta.


So that`s what we`re doing. To zero in a bit more about "my intentions behind my posts" are to see if the emptiness teachings really lead to moksha. further, is moksha as defined by vedanta even the same thing in emptiness teachings...regardless of whether emptiness is a different paradigm to vedanta and vice versa. ie, freedom from dependence on objects. after all, there is only one reality.
I`m just interested in a mutual exploration of whether the emptiness teachings deliver moksha and if so how ? As you said....

Only my enlightenment is real based on - fill in the blanks - teaching. That is why only my teaching is true". So what? Every follower of any spiritual and religious teaching can claim that, so what?


Agreed but, that applies to the emptiness teachings also. :) At which point can you put faith in these teachings. What actually are they ? How do they free you ? These teachings seem to be the epitome of vagueness.
You said...

As I tried to point out earlier: Emptiness teaching is based on a different paradigm. As a conclusion: Emptiness teaching does not focus on the self. It focuses on sathya but sathya in emptiness teaching is different from the Vedanta sathya = a different paradigm. It doesn't mean Vedanta is wrong, it just means it is a different paradigm.


I ask you questions Georg as you make certain statements such as the above. so what if it is a different paradigm ? paradigms only work with objects and knowledge of them. they remain in mithya and mithya is mithya is mithya. It`s meaningless without satya, surely ? What is the difference between vedanta mithya and emptiness mithya ?

I tend to ask you more questions Georg as you don`t address mine nor reply to them. You seem to always switch to the same thing...emptiness teaching is a different paradigm. I`m more than happy to have answers...any answers from the emptiness`s platform or the vedanta platform/paradigm.
The youtube link you gave didn`t confer full enlightenment i`m afraid. :lol:

I mean I could easily write back and explain all the questions in detail but ...why? What's the point of doing so?


I presume you mean `answer` all the questions ? I`d be happy if you answered some of my questions and I don`t mean that in a `dharma combat` way nor am I trying to belittle people who find value in emptiness teachings. It`s just....how valid are those teachings when it comes to self knowledge. do they do the job ?

I imagine your answers would come from the link you provided...please forgive me if i`m wrong.

http://emptiness.co/adv_to_empt

Again, in the spirit of inquiry, i`ll have a go at answering the points that Greg Goode makes in the above but as a separate post addressed to no one in particular. just thoughts on what he said. As you said....

" My intention is not to disturb anybody or to convince anybody of what is right and what is wrong."

Take it easy. :-)
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Mira » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:06 pm

I know nothing of Buddhism...other than it always seemed very vague to me.
However, I came across this excellent satsang and thought it might be useful to folks reading this thread. I hope it's fine to post a satsang here. There is a discussion of emptiness towards the end of the satsang.


What Is Buddhism?
Sundari (Isabella Viglietti) - April, 2014

Tara: Good day! I am Tara.

I have being reading and going to satsangs for two years, but I am afraid the Neo-Advaita teachings are not deep enough.

My question is about the difference between Buddhism and traditional Advaita: are nirvana and moksa the same? I read that the difference is one of perspective. The Vedantic explanation – that of merging into the One – is a more objective, philosophical view. The Buddhist interpretation is more accurately a phenomenological description. But in each case the actual experience is the same.

I really appreciate your opinion! I want to continue in the Advaita Vedanta path and keep studying Ramana Maharshi’s teachings but I started doubting and questioning after my previous satsangs experiences.

~ May peace be with you!


Sundari: Hello, Tara. Your questions are good ones and very common with serious inquirers. Normally with people who write in for the first time (which I presume you have) we ask if you have read James’ book How to Attain Enlightenment. If not, we ask you to do so, to watch as many of the videos of his teaching as possible (there are many free ones on YouTube) and to read as many of the e-satsangs on the ShiningWorld website as possible. You will find that every question you could think of has been asked and answered, in every way possible.

As to your doubts about Neo-Advaita: while it teaches about awareness, it does not have a valid means of knowledge to teach what it means to be awareness. Its answer to this is to negate the existence of the apparent person and the doer – which just does not work because you cannot and need not get rid of the person. Freedom is understanding the truth of reality and how that translates into the life of the person – which means you are free of the person and as the person. The work required is called self-inquiry, and in order to undertake it the mind needs to be qualified and purified. This is explained in detail in James’ book and is very important. Neo-Advaita says that no qualifications are required, just get it! But alas, ignorance is hardwired and highly resistant, and there are no shortcuts to liberation, so most don’t just get it! Discriminating the real, the self, from the apparently real, the person and the world, is the most difficult thing for the mind because it is so subtle. You are fortunate to have found Vedanta.

As for Buddhism – what is Buddhism?

The problem with Buddhism is that no one really knows what it is – there are so many different traditions and opinions about what it really stands for that it is totally open to interpretation. Buddhism was born out of Vedanta and it is referred to as a “chip off the tooth of Vedanta.” Buddhism split off from and disagrees with Vedanta as a valid means of knowledge, so it is called a heterodoxy.

What does Buddhism really say? What does it mean by “self” ? Does it speak from the perspective of the apparent reality, meaning the person, or from the perspective of the self when it says that there is “no self”? No one seems to be sure about this. By contrast, Vedanta is not open to interpretation because the whole point of the teaching is to negate the doer, the ego, that interprets according to its own beliefs and opinions which are based in ignorance of its true nature as awareness, meaning that the doer interprets reality through the screen of the vasanas.

Vedanta teaches that in order to be free, two things have to take place: the interpreter of experience, the doer, has to be understood in the light of self-knowledge and then negated as only apparently real, even though it clearly does exist because you can experience it. The second thing is that the binding vasanas need to be rendered non-binding. The doer is only a problem when it is identified with its story, which is made up of and a product of its vasanas, the conditioning given to it by Isvara, the gunas.

For self-inquiry to work and self-knowledge to stick, the mind has to be prepared and qualified. This is where all the work takes place in Vedanta: understanding the true nature of the mind and how it relates to the environment it is a part of, meaning the nature of and the relationship between (1) the person or jiva, (2) the Total Mind or Isvara and (3) awareness. Without this firm understanding, ignorance remains no matter how many vipassanas or anything else one does to be free of suffering. This is why there are so many confused Buddhists around. Most popular interpretations of Buddhism do not have a complete teaching – and what it supposedly does teach is really not really clear. Possible exceptions to this are Dzogchen and Zen Buddhism which do teach non-duality but they still do not have a valid and complete teaching – they talk about awareness but do not teach what it means to be awareness. It is one thing to realise is that one’s true nature is awareness, but unless this knowledge is actualised, meaning that the doer and the vasanas are understood and negated, then self-realisation is most likely not firm. This is the problem with many teachings and teachers – even Ramana made statements that did not provide a teaching because he was not a proper teacher.

Vedanta is called a brahma vidya which means the “science of consciousness.” It is an objective and scientific analysis of the true nature of reality – and your experience, based on the facts. Like any other science, it is not personal and it has a methodology – which, if followed with great dedication and commitment, will provide irrefutable knowledge that is moksa, if the inquirer is qualified. Vedanta is simply the truth about “you.” Not your truth or my truth or anyone’s truth: The Truth.

This is why Vedanta is called apauruseya jnanam, meaning “not the philosophy or experience of one person” like a mystic or a prophet such as the Buddha or Jesus. It is not a belief system or religion either. Vedanta predates all known religious or philosophical paths because it is simply how things are and have always been, because it is the pathless path that underpins all other paths. It is an independent teaching or sruti, which means “that which is heard.” Vedanta is revealed to the mind of man, not thought up by man nor the result of any action on anyone’s part; this is why you can trust it. A qualified Vedanta teacher does not see himself or herself as a teacher because they know they are not the doer; he or she will not see Vedanta as their teaching, but see themselves as simply a vehicle for self-knowledge. A qualified teacher of Vedanta does not teach the ego or see inquirers as “other” because they only see – and teach – the self.

Vedanta teaches that you cannot do anything to get enlightened because the doer is the problem; no action taken by a limited entity can produce a limitless result, which is what liberation or moksa is. However, Vedanta is a complete teaching in that it is both a path of action, self-inquiry, and a path of knowledge. Although self-inquiry is an action, it is not the action itself that provides the results but only self-knowledge that removes ignorance, not the one doing the self-inquiry. And the result that self-inquiry produces is a limitless result because it produces freedom from the limitation of identification with the doer – which is moksa.

What does Buddhism teach? Does it have a teaching? Many Buddhist interpretations say that “no-mind” is the key to nirvana – but who is it that knows the no-mind or nirvana? If you know something, it can’t be you, can it? The knower and the known share the same identity as awareness but they do not exist in the same order of reality because the knower is the subject and the known is the object. The mind is an object known to you, awareness. One cannot get rid of the mind – and even if one could, there is no need because the mind is not the problem.

Identification with the mind is the problem. The mind is a product of the vasanas – and Buddhism does not address the conditioning that runs the mind and creates the mind, the gunas – and it ignores the Total Mind or Isvara, so it has no teaching. The best it has to offer with its gruelling methods to get rid of the mind is perhaps a certain calm and peace. But unless the conditioning that is there in the mind is understood, the vasanas are still binding and as soon as the peace wears off, which it will sooner or later because it is based on experience and not knowledge – the person, the mind, the vasanas and therefore the problems, are still there. So one has to go back to meditation or yoga or whatever one does to try to get rid of the mind. It never works, not for long.

Buddhism talks about the Four Noble Truths: (1) life is suffering; (2) desire is the root of all suffering; (3) the way to remove suffering is to remove the mind through the Eightfold Path; (4) this achieves a state of no desire called nirvana, which is a Sanskrit word that means “without flame.” But to answer this: if consciousness is all there is, there has to be someone there to know that the mind is gone, so why not concentrate on teaching who the knower is, instead of trying to get rid of the mind, which can’t be done?

The Four Noble Truths reinforce the idea prevalent in yoga that you have to do something to achieve the state which is enlightenment. In other words, it is a totally dualistic approach based on the idea that the self or awareness is something other than who you are and something that has to be gained because you don’t have it which, incidentally, is why desire is there in the first place: the need to make one whole instead of realising your true nature is wholeness.

What Buddhism does not address is exactly what Vedanta teaches, who the knower of desire is. There is no way you can get rid of desire as long as you are in human form because life is about experience, which is based on desire. There is nothing inherently wrong with desire; in fact, one needs a desire for freedom in order to be free of limitation. It is a question of knowing WHO desires WHAT. Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: “I am the desire that is not opposed to dharma.”

Buddhism says that all is emptiness – and what does it mean by this? It is true that all objects are not conscious – and an object is anything other than you, awareness – which includes thoughts, feelings, intuition, epiphanies, spiritual experiences, STATES of being as well as gross objects such as the body, a tree, etc. All objects are therefore inert – they arise from consciousness/awareness, depend on consciousness to exist and dissolve back into consciousness – but consciousness is always free of the objects. Just like the ocean and the wave depend on water to exist, but water does not depend on either the wave or the ocean to exist. All objects are made up of consciousness, but in another form – that of the apparently real. Only consciousness is real – “real” being defined by “that which is always present and never changes.” Awareness is not a state – it is the knower of all states, so consciousness is the fullness that knows the emptiness. Emptiness is not a problem when you understand that duality is not real, it is just a superimposition onto non-duality, which is the true nature of reality. This is what Vedanta offers: a valid, independent means of knowledge with which to understand the true nature of the mind and its environment, the apparent reality, which if the mind is purified and qualified, will remove not the mind but ignorance of its true nature.

The main problem therefore is that Buddhism teaches that enlightenment is based on experience and not knowledge, which is where it parts company with Vedanta. Vedanta teaches that only knowledge removes ignorance, not experience. This is because experience is an object known to you, awareness. It is not real and it always ends. Buddhism teaches that enlightenment is a state to be achieved by action. Vedanta teaches that you are not the doer and you do not need any particular experience to experience awareness because YOU ALREADY ARE AWARENESS and you are only ever experiencing awareness – you just don’t know it because you have an ignorance problem.

Vedanta teaches through irrefutable logic by getting you to examine the unexamined logic of your own experience that you cannot gain something you already have. There is no such thing as an enlightened person; there are only beings whose ignorance has been removed by self-knowledge, who have discriminated themselves, awareness from the objects that arise in them.

Buddhism teaches kindness and compassion for all beings, which is a very good thing because non-injury is the highest dharmic value. However, this has been extrapolated by many Buddhists to mean that one must do good because the world and people in it need saving. Vedanta teaches that non-injury means following your true nature and living in accordance with Isvara, which means that you see everything as non-different from you, awareness and therefore everything perfect the way it is. Isvara is in charge of the apparent reality and there is a reason for everything that no one mind understands; Isvara is the giver of the results of action, no matter what we do.

And there is no need to change anything because the apparent reality is not real; it is a play of the gunas that have created the belief in duality and this is the cause of suffering. Freedom is knowing the difference between what is real and what is only apparently real and never confusing the two again. Which means you will automatically not harm any part of the creation because you see it all as you, but that does not mean you have to change things or save anyone.

~ Namaste, Sundari
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:21 am

Hi Mira,

Your post with Sundari`s satsang nearly saved me the job of writing this post but, to coin a Tibetan Buddhist phrase,....." better not to start. Having started, better to finnish. " so here goes.



Some thoughts of what Greg Goode said in nonduality.org .....

http://nonduality.org/2014/05/12/5217-g ... adhyamika/



" Coming to Madhyamika with Awareness teachings in your background "

It seems that Greg is just such a person having started his inquiry into the self via "traditional advaita vedanta" as he called it. He describes some of his progress to realization here...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g1zwdTRxrU


"One of the most important points if you come to Madhyamika from an Awareness background is to realize the emptiness of awareness.
Why? Because in Buddhism, everything is empty, not just stuff other than awareness. But in Buddhism, awareness is empty too.
For such a person with such a background, this can create a paradoxical difficulty."


Personally, I can`t imagine why anyone would want to "come to Madhyamika from an awareness background"....assuming he meant a vedanta background, and the said person has access to unadulterated scripture and a competent teacher. I`ve never heard of a qualified vedantin turning away from vedanta as it`s such a logical and fast acting pramana. It would be a bit like trying to get rid of a headache by means of a migraine. just my opinion...

And that .." but in Buddhism, everything is empty, not just stuff other than awareness "... "awareness is empty too". well, knock me down with a feather ...
There must be another `awareness` that knows the first awareness then !
No wonder those Buddhist statues have those pointy heads made up of a pyramid of ever smaller heads.
Of course awareness is empty of any single thing in and off itself. it is purely the knower of every single thing. there wouldn`t even be standing room in awareness if it had to accomodate any objects. It`s why freedom is non dependence on all objects and.....awareness isn`t an object of course. I don`t see why he`s making such an unnecessary problem.



" But on the other hand, it is harder to realize the emptiness of awareness itself. And this difficulty is something we see in so many of these cross-path discussions."

How about trying to see who the realizer of the emptiness of awareness is ? Why try to treat awareness as an object. It can`t be done. It`s putting a head on top of a head again. The heads that get ever smaller never stop getting smaller. They never reach emptiness nor awareness as long as they remain heads.



" This difficulty comes from the fact that awareness does so much work in the awareness teachings. It becomes something quite NON-empty when seen from the perspective of the Madhyamika teachings. In teh awareess teachings, awareness is the sum and substance and nature and identity and truth and being of everything. It depends on nothing else. In some awareness teachings, awareness is not even said to be self-knowing (for that would be a dualistic relation.) It just shines in its own glory."

Again, why would you want try to view awareness from the platform of Madhyamika if you`re studying the self via the teachings of vedanta ? If you`re qualified, the teachings are perfectly clear and remove one`s personal ignorance.
If you`re not clear and/or enjoy comparing and exploring `paths`, then it`s a free world. each to their own. Greg comes from a largely philosophical background and i`m certainly not `knocking` him nor his very useful work on non-duality. it`s just that some of the things he claims to be vedanta teaching, do not conform with the scriptures.



" So when you come to the emptiness teachings, it can be very challenging and disorienting. It’s difficult for many folks new to the emptiness teachings to see the emptiness of awareness. It is hard to see awareness depending on anything else. But that is what one must do according to Madhyamika."

Case in point ! awareness must be seen to depend on something else ? there`s only one awareness whether you`re a Buddhist, Vedantin or anything else by definition.



" This difficulty is even harder to address if a person makes an equivalence in their mind as they cross paths, saying “awareness=emptiness, they are the same thing.”

No doubt true. Best not to make that equivalence. In fact, it`s even better not to mix Buddhism and vedanta at all. pic`n mix spiritual paths never work as one`s guiding principles are then based on past experiences. ie. ignorance. worse still, that ignorance is believed to be knowledge.




" Why is it so important to realize the emptiness of awareness? For two reasons.

One, in Buddhism, it is important to realize the emptiness of everything. Everything is inter-dependent. If we still have the conception of the inherent existence of anything at all, then to some extent we are still clinging and grasping."

Everything is inter-dependent in vedanta too but only in mithya. Awareness..`I`..am not a `thing`though... not an object.




" Two, and more important, is this. In the case of most awareness teachings, it is taught that the self is nothing other than awareness. “I am awareness.” So if I have the conception of awareness being inherently existent, then I will also have the conception that I am inherently existent. I won’t be able to realize myself as empty unless I realize that awareness is empty."



Actually, Why have the "conception`of awareness being inherently existent". That`s a realization. indirect knowledge and not direct, as taught in vedanta. Things exist but are not Real. I am what is Real. Always present and never changing. does this mean I am empty ? or do I know emptiness ? Why on earth would I want to think of myself as `empty` (of what) or emptiness ? emptiness has no meaning without fullness. try imagining emptiness without fullness and vice versa....it can`t be done as they can`t stand alone. One needs to go out on an affirmation and not a negation.

The " conception of awareness being inherently existent " is indeed a `red herring` so to speak. why, because that is assuming two different things but in vedanta we are taught and can confirm for ourselves, that awareness IS existence but not IN existence. They are one and the same. there is no seperation and no need to look for any emptiness to confirm it.

If we say existence instead of awareness and then ask ...is existence empty or emptiness ? does it make any more sense ? If you are existence, how can you be empty ? empty of what ? objects don`t exist by being objects primarily and having an existence as a result..rather existence `objects`... Existence is the reality and objects are just reality as form, a different order of reality. eg existence `trees`, existence `tables` and so on.

There is no such thing as non existence because otherwise, non-existence would have to exist . The buck has to stop somewhere. By the same token, there is no such thing as emptiness per se. otherwise emptiness would have to exist as something other than emptiness and that would have to be existence / awareness.

Emptiness is not a stand alone teaching apart from Buddhism. It does not have an independent and valid means of removing ignorance as it is experience based. Buddhism denies or won`t discuss Isvara, the Buddha apparently maintaining a `noble silence` when the subject is brought up saying it is a distraction. Why ? it is crucial in that it leads to the understanding that one is not the doer. Either the Buddha didn`t understand Isvara or it`s just plain denial. The Buddha might have understood but, what happened in between then and now ?

The other really big problem allied to the emptiness teaching is the notion of `no-self`. This Buddhist teaching has caused more heartbreak, confusion and misery than any other aspect of Buddhism I can think of. The amount of Buddhists who feel bad or guilty about having a self are legion. They know full well they have some sort of self but think they have to remove it in order to be enlightened.

I recall one of James` vids where he asked "does anybody here think that they don`t exist ? " There was one person who hit a brick wall with this and wouldn`t or couldn`t answer. It was quite distressing really. James asked " how do you know you don`t or do exist ? is it not self evident that you exist ? you know you exist BECAUSE you exist etc. To no avail. I don`t know how things went for this person later on.

Buddhism tells the seeker that he/she is not the doer and then immediatelly proceeds to instruct the doer to do multitudinous actions to gain liberation. It is a complete double bind and this whole aspect I find to be frankly adharmic. It`s rather like the neo-vedantans denial of the `lower self` and acting as if one can bypass it and live as the true / higher self . just `get it` ...no teaching for the poor `lower` self who is the one that needs teaching after all.

I think that`s enough `emptiness` thoughts for now. I`m begining to think like Georg, that to end this thread is probably impossible. :-)
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby georgschiller » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:23 am

Hi Stan,

I really enjoyed reading your reply about 10 days ago! I hadn't have the time to reply back. I attended James' seminars in Germany and played his "personal assistent". It was real fun :)
Anyways, I will try to respond as best as possible to your question. Please keep in mind that I am a student of Vedanta too. My knowledge of Emptiness teaching is based on Greg Goode's book "emptiness and joyful freedom".
Furthermore, all the tools in Greg Goode's book are really helpful but not necessary for any serious Vedanta student. There is nothing absolutely new in the tools. They are all great but after some serious study you will find the same tools in Vedanta too (they are just not emphasized in the same way as they are done in the Emptiness Teaching).

Anyways, coming back to the subject of this thread and replying to your question:
"my intentions behind my posts" are to see if the emptiness teachings really lead to moksha.


Well, depending on the defintion of Moksha I would say yes. If Moksha means freedom from the doer, and freedom from the Vasanas, then yes. Different teachings can lead to this realization. The question is however, what is the most eloquent, efficient and most appropriate teaching to you as a Jiva?
Maybe Vedanta is the best method for everybody, maybe not. I don't know the answer to that and I believe it doesn't matter for us inquirers. Even if Vedanta is the only true teaching, this knowledge would not change anything. On the contrary it would substantial pride and arrogance in us Jivas...

I`m just interested in a mutual exploration of whether the emptiness teachings deliver moksha and if so how ?

Now the interesting stuff starts. Well, how does emptiness teaching lead to Moksha?

1.) It explains Mithya. It explains that all objects here are lacking inherent existence. This is nothing new to us Vedantins. Vedanta basically says the same. Maya is empty of inherent existence. It has no existence of its own. It borrows its existence from awareness/existence.

2.) Emptiness teaching explains that everything is co-dependent. There would not be any humans here if there would not be Air here. Air however is co-dependent on space. The same goes for earth, sun, fire, and water, etc. Emptiness teaching is based on regressus in infinitum. Basically saying there is no beginning and no end to this co-dependence. The same says Vedanta! It says that creation is without beginning and without end. It is there always, only the state and the objects change (->Big Bang).

3.) ... there is probably more to this... I will make a post about it later...

What is the difference between vedanta mithya and emptiness mithya ?

Good question. I assume there is no difference. Everything is mithya. Freedom is understanding that everything is mithya.

The difference to Vedanta is that Vedanta focuses on Awareness/Existence. And emptiness teaching focuses on the lack on inherent existence of things. ... Again there might be more to this...
How this plays out in reality is the subsequential question (but also quite unrealistic since there is hardly any human being which has fully realized both teachings and even if how are we supposed to believe this person...)!

Vedanta says as soon as everything is realized there is only fullness...
Emptiness doesn't talk about fullness but reather of being free from rigid belies and ideas and letting go of stuff...
... This might be wrong.

Well, to sum it up:
Vedanta and Emptiness is pretty similar about Mithya. It agrees that duality is not real.
The only difference between the two teachings is about beyond Mithya. Vedanta says there is something beyond mithya which in essence we all are. At the beginning Vedanta gives this essence qualities but later on it explains that there are no such qualities. That awareness is beyond qualities, it is nondual.
Emptiness teaching does not talk about beyond, what's the cause of everything, etc. It talks about regressus ad infinitum which to some extent Vedanta would agree on. E.g. There are no "why" questions in Vedanta since it would only create opinions and separation.

P.s. please keep in mind that Emptiness teaching can be studied without Buddhism (see my new thread on why there is no such thing as buddhism or even the buddha...) and that emptiness teaching mostly comes from Nagarjuna (indian scholar). And please keep in mind that Vedanta is a full teaching with no real need for emptiness teaching (you know that already :)

I am sorry if this post is a little bit confusing. If you have more questions I am happy to share my limited understanding :)
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby georgschiller » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:27 am

Please keep in mind that for studying Vedanta and realizing freedom this whole thread and this post in particular is of no value! The following information is only of academic interest!

"All these may lead us to close our survey by saying that instead of considering Buddhism and Sankara's Advaita Vedanta as 'opposed systems'. let us claim that there are different phases of development of the same non-dualistic metaphysics from the Upanisadic period to the time of Sankara." http://www.unipune.ac.in/snc/cssh/ipq/e ... 25-3-6.pdf

Vedanta and Emptiness teaching cannot be seen as separate. They are co-dependent so to say. But they are not the same either. They are different but have enriched each other by their different thought currents
Without Vedanta (or Brahmanism as it was called at the time of the "Buddha") there would have been no Emptiness teaching and without emptiness teaching there would have been no Vedanta as we know it today.
The influence of Buddhist thinkers (such as Nagarjuna (2nd century A.D.)on Gaudapada (7/8nd century A.D. who was the writer of the Mandukya Upanishad (waker, dreamer and deep sleep) is substantial.
Products of this exchange of ideas is difficult to assess from my limited understanding but apparently things like no-origination, ultimate reality is pure awareness and Maya have been shaped the exchange of ideas (sources at bottom).

To make things complete: Nagarjuna (the philosopher) and Buddhist thought had a deep impact on what is now considered to be Vedanta. And vice versa!
Or in other words, for Shankara and Gaudapada to avoid Buddhist thought was impossible because of its deep impact on Indian thought. This does not mean Vedanta is Buddhism in disguise. Buddhism had been influenced by Upanisadic teachings although Buddhist thinkers hardly acknowledged this. There has been a constant exchange. Even modern 20th century Buddhism in form of certain Zen or Theravada schools incorporate the idea of Awareness even though it is contrary to Buddhist thought.

In my understanding both teachings have much in common as long as we talk about Mithya.
If we talk about sathya the disagreement evolves:

1.) In Vedanta awareness is absolute in which the apparent reality appears in. So, apparent reality is dependent on Awareness but Awareness is not dependent on objects/apparent reality.

2.) In Emptiness teaching objects are empty but this emptiness in turn depends on the objects. There is no inherent nature of existence, everything depends on something else. For example, awareness/existence is considered to be dependent on other things, such as Jivas. [i]Without jivas existence cannot be known. It has no independent nature of its own; ergo, existence can only be there as long as there are objects in it (In Vedanta following the idea of Maya (->Shankara and Gaudapada) agrees to some extent because creation never disappears).[/i]

= My Interpretation: Both teachings emphasize the relative reality of the world. However, in Vedanta awareness is independent of mithya (this can be called essentialism), in emptiness teaching awareness is dependent on mithya (this is commonly described as the 'middle path' or going beyond nihilistic and essentialistic paths).
Which of the two teachings is considered true (?) has and will always stay a mistery.
However, the big difference is that Vedanta is a complete teaching: easy to study, eloquent and quick to master once certain qualifications are met.
The same cannot be said about Emptiness teaching. There are many different schools and every teacher has a slightly different approach and understanding... this might be wrong.

Sources (many more to be found by the help of google search button):
"Some reflections on the relation between Sankara and Buddhism" http://www.unipune.ac.in/snc/cssh/ipq/e ... 25-3-6.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaudapada
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:03 pm

Hi again Georg,

Great to hear that you attended James` seminars in Germany...."personal assistant" no less ! good karma or what ?
Did you get chance to talk with him about Greg Goode & Emptiness ? If so, can we get the inside info on what was said .... can`t beat getting below the radar for the good stuff ! :lol:

replying to what you said earlier....

"my intentions behind my posts" are to see if the emptiness teachings really lead to moksha".
You replied..

"Well, depending on the defintion of Moksha I would say yes. If Moksha means freedom from the doer, and freedom from the Vasanas, then yes. Different teachings can lead to this realization. The question is however, what is the most eloquent, efficient and most appropriate teaching to you as a Jiva? "


Well, broadly speaking, that is the definition BUT, it depends on who we are talking about. The self has always been free from being a doer and having vasanas.
That is only part of the story as freedom is also for the `doer`, that small limited being we think we are...the jiva. What use is freedom if it is also not for the jiva who has to live in the apparent reality ? it needs to be happy here or freedom isn`t very free.
Enlightenment is only for the mind. when the jiva knows that he has always been `pure` awareness all along and just identified with the three bodies due to ignorance, he/she is free. Another definition is `freedom from dependence on objects`. all objects.
This does though depend on the teaching of satya and mithya. the separaton of the real from the apparently real. My beef here with the emptiness teaching here the absence of teaching of what the real is. How does the emptiness teaching lead to the freedom from dependence on objects if it doesn`t refer back to who or what is free ? It just can`t do it in my opinion. You can say ..well it`s a different paradigm but you can say that for everything instead of coming up with a clear logical answer.
I do agree that losing all sense of being the doer is the same as saying I am awareness.

Those vasanas you mentioned..."freedom from the vasanas". It`s not possible, neccessary and even desirable to be free of all vasanas. They don`t stand in the way of awareness. One only has to be free of `binding` vasanas. there are many `good` vasanas that are helpful for us. a vasana for inquiry, for example.


Even if Vedanta is the only true teaching, this knowledge would not change anything. On the contrary it would substantial pride and arrogance in us Jivas...


Not sure I follow this. if as you say the position is that vedanta is the only true teaching, why would it cause "substantial pride and arrogance in us jivas" ??

It does not compute. I agree that vedanta isn`t the best method for everybody as it only works for those who are qualified. Are you saying that we shouldn`t say that some people aren`t qualified ? maybe it would hurt their feelings or something ?


What is the difference between vedanta mithya and emptiness mithya ?


Good question. I assume there is no difference. Everything is mithya. Freedom is understanding that everything is mithya.


Interesting you should say this as earlier you said " Emptiness teaching does not focus on the self. It focuses on sathya but sathya in emptiness teaching is different from the Vedanta sathya = a different paradigm."
Satya is what is real, never changes and is always present. So what is the emptiness version of satya ? what is real in the emptiness teachings ?

You said " freedom is understanding that everything is mithya"... Yes, but that only applies IN mithya and how can that really be freedom ? There is a very big something being left out here and it is the knower of mithya ! it has to be so or objects could not be differentiated from satya. satya is prior to mithya and ever free from it or it could not know it to be mithya.

The difference to Vedanta is that Vedanta focuses on Awareness/Existence. And emptiness teaching focuses on the lack on inherent existence of things. ... Again there might be more to this...


I think it`s a bit more than that Georg. vedanta says that you are sat-chit-ananda...you are that. it as you know gives a full methodology and full set of tools to help you on your way to remove your ignorance about yourself. It doesn`t leave you on your own without a teaching for every phase. maybe i`ve got "substantial pride and arrogance" but, humour me, what does the emptiness teaching give you ? :lol:
Why should I care about the "lack of inherent existence of thing" when I am existence itself ! Do you not exist ? ...trick question warning. ;)

How this plays out in reality is the subsequential question (but also quite unrealistic since there is hardly any human being which has fully realized both teachings and even if how are we supposed to believe this person...)!


Who cares about mastering all teachings...are they even worth mastering. do they all even lead to the same place ?
"How are we supposed to believe this person..! " Same old, same old....discrimination between the real and the apparent. works every time. money back guarantee. :lol:

There are no "why" questions in Vedanta since it would only create opinions and separation.


That is not really the reason Georg ie "creating opinions and seperation". It`s just that there are no answers as to why for the jiva as he/she is a product of Maya and an effect cannot understand a cause. the cause is too subtle and no sense can be made out of it. That awareness seems to lose it`s identity and identify as the jiva so as it can find itself makes no sense at all and never will. it`s futile to go there for that reason.


From your second post....

In Emptiness teaching objects are empty but this emptiness in turn depends on the objects. There is no inherent nature of existence, everything depends on something else. For example, awareness/existence is considered to be dependent on other things, such as Jivas. [i]Without jivas existence cannot be known. It has no independent nature of its own; ergo, existence can only be there as long as there are objects in it (In Vedanta following the idea of Maya (->Shankara and Gaudapada) agrees to some extent because creation never disappears)


How is "awareness/existence considered to depend on other things (objects) when awareness is not an object ? the whole emptiness teaching of objects being empty and depending on other objects doesn`t apply to awareness. It`s not an object.
Furthermore, what can be known outside of awareness / you ?
If you (emptiness teachins) say that "awareness is considered to be dependent on other things", you are saying the complete opposite of what vedanta says. If and when "other things" change, then awareness would have to change and we know that is not so. awareness is unchanging and ever present.

You say that " without jivas, existence / awareness cannot be known. consider the teaching of the three states. In deep sleep, there is no jiva for you and all is well. No objects, and yet you experience bliss...lack of limitation. this is known.
Even before jivas existed, prior to the `big bang`, something prior had to exist for the big bang to `bang into`. Consciousness does not depend on matter. That is duality.

My Interpretation: Both teachings emphasize the relative reality of the world. However, in Vedanta awareness is independent of mithya (this can be called essentialism), in emptiness teaching awareness is dependent on mithya (this is commonly described as the 'middle path' or going beyond nihilistic and essentialistic paths).

Which of the two teachings is considered true (?) has and will always stay a mistery.



I don`t know why you say that vedanta "emphasises the relative reality of the world" ?
Emphasises over what exactly ? in what way ?
Vedanta emphasises that you are whole and complete,limitless, actionless, ordinary, unborn,non-dual,self-luminous and non-experiencing awareness ! it emphasises that the small limited you that you think you are is exactly that awareness ! furthermore it gives you the tools with which to remove your own self ignorance so you can live happilly in the apparent world. That is what vedanta emphasises. It is so all embracing that the word "essentialism" just does not apply. It is a word used by philosophers who just do not know any better and have not been properly taught by a qualified teacher. self realization is small potatos compared to self actualization. As far as I can see, the concept does not even exist in emptiness teachings.
Everything is emptiness ? try telling your vasanas that and see where it gets you.
Not you personally Georg, I know you and I are past all that. :lol:

However, the big difference is that Vedanta is a complete teaching: easy to study, eloquent and quick to master once certain qualifications are met.


Couldn`t have put it better myself Georg. What mystery ? good place for me to stop. :D
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby georgschiller » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:37 am

Hi Stan,

thanks for the very nice reply! It gave me some very important insights. It certainly resolved some deep doubts which makes me happy as a Jiva! Thanks! :mrgreen:

Yes, being the personal assistant of James was certainly something extraordinaire... I certainly didn't expect it... However, we didn't talk much about Emptiness and Greg Goode.

We talked about the teaching itself but mostly about the idea that spiritual people have to behave "holy". There seems to be some deep-rooted ideas in the spiritual world of what it means to be spiritual, enlightened andfree. In different words, we critized the whole Puritan, Victorian and Hippie morality of "healing and save the world by restricting our desires because of some 19/20th century invention of what it means to be morally correct", etc.

For example, the idea that we have to restrict ourselves in form of our diet (especially in form of vegetariansim, etc.) and do things even if it is not appropriate to our jiva and human nature seems to be wide-spread and even considered a qualification for "enlightenment". Essentialy, neglecting our personal dharma because of rules and conventions is causing unnecessary pain for the individual and the surrounding people.

Well, it is a little bit difficult to explain now what we have talked about in many short talks. My personal interpretation of what we have talked about: The idea of what constitutes a sattvic lifestyle is mostly based on what is considered to be morally-correct. Morally correct is just a very recent innovation and mostly based on leftish-save-the-world views.

We also talked about the wonder of life and how ridiculous life can become as long as we live in ignorance.
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:57 pm

Hi again Georg,

Thanks for your reply and telling us about some of your experiences and talks with James at the German seminar. I found it fascinating. I always enjoy the unexpected little conversations and questions that pop up on some of the vids. they can be so illuminating sometimes. it`s like finding little pearls unexpectedly underfoot.

Morally correct is just a very recent innovation and mostly based on leftish-save-the-world views.


I like that...`moraly correct` term. it makes me think of `politicaly correct`. I wonder if there is a direct connection between the two ? both of them imply at least a closed, rigid mind.
That " leftish-save-the-world-views " made me laugh. interesting that you brought the word "leftish" into it . I quite enjoy being `anti-left` as far as the jiva goes. That left v right paradigm, it`s so funny really. everyone gets so serious about their own side as if it`s all real ! Yay for the `righties` ! Ha ha ....
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:12 am

I like that...`moraly correct` term. it makes me think of `politicaly correct`. I wonder if there is a direct connection between the two ? both of them imply at least a closed, rigid mind.


Yes, it is the same I guess. Both are from post-ww2 or maybe from the 1970s, maybe earlier, I don't really know. Never really thought about it.

Another topic we talked about was accepting our ugly parts of the Jivas. By this I mean the parts which are considered to be wrong and forced by our post-modern culture to be hidden away. I mean really there are no ugly parts. Emotional hatred, violence,etc. is just what it is to make it good or bad is just an interpretation of our "mind" or of Ishwara so to say.

"One of Ramji’s favourite sayings is, “I let James wander as far as he wants to because he always comes back to me.” We don’t censure the jiva because we understand them. We follow dharma at all times because peace of mind is our primary goal. We have a non-dual relationship, thus we do not see each other as other, so we never project, demand, blame or diminish each other. We enhance and honour each other as people because we know we are not the person but awareness." Sundari: You Cannot Do Away with the Jiva (satsang)

In other cultures, mostly "primitive" hunter-and-gatherers violence and hatred are used for cultural practises, maybe even psychological transformation, etc.

In post-modern cultures we are afraid of our ugly parts. We like to hide them. Surpress them. Look away. But if we are serious about personal transformation (aka englightenment) then we should embrace all of what Ishwara gave us and not only the part we consider to be clean and healthy. If we really want to transform ourselves wholeheartedly then we need to look at the stuff we don't like about ourselves and start accepting and transforming them.

Edit: Maybe I overemphasized the word transforming. What I mean by transforming is accepting. Which basically leads to stop thinking about it.
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:15 am

HI Stan,

thank you for your patient replies on my posts so far. I really enjoyed them. When I go back now and reading them I can see how the knowledge of Vedanta was not complete at the various levels. Your patient replies certainly paved the way for serious assimilation!

In case you feel tired of replying then I am fine with it. So far all my questions got answered by your help! :D

1.) Criticism of Emptiness teaching towards Vedanta is based in duality.

I think that is an important point. A common critique by the Emptiness + Tantra teaching is to point out that Vedanta is being out-of-the-world or beyond-the-world. They say that Vedanta does not take this world serious. They say that Vedanta tries to escape this world by being - as awareness - unaffected by it.

From their understanding the subject is always dependent on the object. They see that the subject cannot exist without the object.

Response by Vedanta (see Sundari satsang below)
They obviously are stuck in duality. Of course, in duality you always have a subject and an object. In duality you also always have Maya and the creation, it never goes away according to the creation theory of Vedanta.

But awareness is not an object. If awareness is not an object it cannot be known by an object. Awareness is the subject. Awareness knows all objects. The mind or subtle body is an object in awareness. since the mind is an object it cannot know the subject. Awareness can know all objects. By itself it sees/knows only pure awareness. However seen must not be understood in terms of human eyes. The human body is just an object in awareness through which awareness apparently sees objects. But all objects are just reflected awareness, they dependent on awareness. There are no real objects to see for awareness because all there is is awareness. Awareness makes all of this possible in the first place. This is nonduality, there is nothing but awareness. That's why it does not need to objects to see.

So, in duality they are right a subject is dependent on an object. In a different order of reality (nonduality), there are no objects, the subject knows itself and is all there ever was.

It is as you wrote earlier:
the whole emptiness teaching of objects being empty and depending on other objects doesn`t apply to awareness. It`s not an object.


Furthermore,
If and when "other things" change, then awareness would have to change and we know that is not so. awareness is unchanging and ever present


2.) Enjoying Samsara

Emptiness + Tantra is based on the idea that we only have this world here and there is nothing beyond it. Furthermore "the material world [is] a wondrous garden of delights that we should enjoy with utter thoroughness." (source below)


I don't see why Vedanta should not enjoy the material world with its "wondrous garden of delights". Once Maya is understood, life is seen as a game. What we do once we realized nonduality is up to everybody. Why should Vedantins not enjoy, master the arts, etc.?

The only difference is that Vedanta knows that all delights are not of lasting happiness. Vedanta knows that the momentary delight of objects is due to the Jiva's conditioning. Lasting happiness can only be found by understanding that my true nature is awareness and that this is a nondual reality.


3.) Freedom

Yes, but that only applies IN mithya and how can that really be freedom ?


I am not sure how there can be real freedom IN mithya. I suppose they are content with suspending the question on satya. Their whole argumentation is based on the idea that we cannot ultimately know. That all what we know is ultimately empty of inherent existence. That is what they consider to be nondual. This space between knowing and not knowing, existence and not existence. (Edit: They accept existence so long as existence is seen to be dependent on other existence -> objects are dependent on another -> this is still duality.)

I personally see some value in the proposition that we ultimately cannot know (it certainly frees from rigid ideas and beliefs). On the other hand, if we have such a fine logical analysis provided for thousand of years by vedanta then it would be stupid to dismiss it. The whole point in emptiness and vedanta is ultimately accepting that what appears to be true. Go with it and see what the benefit of the teaching is.

I do agree that losing all sense of being the doer is the same as saying I am awareness.


Well, I suppose once we realize that we are not our subtle body then there is freedom in the emptiness teaching. Realizing that we are not the subtle body is based on the teaching that we are not independent. The three bodies are dependent on other things (such as five elements, society, environment, parents,etc.). Once there is the deep realization that we as humans are not real, are just a product of condtionings, culture, etc. we realize that we are not the jivas. This is my personal interpretation though.

4.) There is some value in the criticism that some Vedantins might focus too much of what is beyong Samsara.

When Swami Dayananda recently died his followers said he entered Maha Samadhi (endless bliss). However, without a jiva (subtle body) how are you going to experience samadhi? I personally believe they mean that everything will just be as it is and always has been.

Ultimately the goal of both teachings is Jivanmukti. A free jiva so to say. What is beyond this? Nobody really knows. Rebirth? no rebirth? a realms of enlightened beings etc.? Pure ever present awareness?

I personally like to suspend the question what is beyond because it is just a thought appearing in me anyways.

It is as you said earlier:
It`s just that there are no answers as to why for the jiva as he/she is a product of Maya and an effect cannot understand a cause. the cause is too subtle and no sense can be made out of it. That awareness seems to lose it`s identity and identify as the jiva so as it can find itself makes no sense at all and never will. it`s futile to go there for that reason.


What is your opinion on this?


citation from http://arobuddhism.org/community/an-unc ... ctive.html
For more information: Sundari: Can Awareness know itself? (Satsang)
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby JayJaya » Fri May 06, 2016 11:54 pm

Śūnyatā (Sanskrit; Pali: suññatā), translated into English as emptiness, voidness,[1] openness,[2] spaciousness, or vacuity, is a Buddhist concept which has multiple meanings depending on its doctrinal context. In Theravada Buddhism, suññatā often refers to the not-self (Pāli: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman)[note 1] nature of the five aggregates of experience and the six sense spheres. Suññatā is also often used to refer to a meditative state or experience.

Śūnyatā is a key term in Mahāyāna Buddhism, and also influenced some schools of Hindu philosophy.

OK I practiced Mahayana meditation called Maha Mudra, which is the method for realisation of Sunyata.

I would say the chief problem of all Buddhism is they say their is No Self. Enlightenment which is there big carrot in the sky equals Nirvana. Sunyata from what i gathered from the teachings and meditation i was exposed to was the final answer, You have no self nature. I had to walk away from this path after 15 years because it was a dead end. I found that i developed a believe that i didn't exist at all. That my experience that awareness was a constant background was denied, i convinced myself awareness was part of the changing experience.

This is part of Prajna-paramita Sutras: A Mahāyāna Buddhism Sutra
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form
Emptiness is not separate from form, form is not separate from emptiness
Whatever is form is emptiness, whatever is emptiness is form.

In thinking about this in light of Vedanta. I would say that the way emptiness is used would be the Casual Body, which contains the seeds (forms) of everything. So hence you get emptiness void is not seperate from form the subtle and gross body. This is a very messy corruption of Vedanta and very incomplete teaching. But even worse it is the goal of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Which means that it doesn't give a valid means of knowledge to understand your Real Self.

In a nut shell Emptiness and form is Mithya, I Limitless. Unfathomable, Eternal Awareness is what is Real. At best you would say I exist As a different order of Existence then Mithya which isn't seperate from I but it is only an appearance which changes from emptiness to form. I am always free of all the apparent changes.




Without going into long story, it seems that there is a few teachers of the western elk that have had exposure to Advaita in bits and pieces from various sources! Then they cobble together other teachings i.e. Buddhism. This gives a shiny new kind of packaging that attempt to show all these spiritual paths are the same. This maybe appeals to a western consumerism mentality of getting a new product to keep it all exciting.

There really isn't anything new under the sun as the expression goes. Until their is a complete understanding and a recognition of TheTruth (Limitless Nondual Awareness), Maya holds the kings positions so distortion is the name of the game.

To conclude this rather boring expose, I would add something of value.

That until i came across James Ramji's teaching of Vedanta, i didn't find a complete teaching that was available for my intellect to remove my doubts. It does require much work to prepare the ground before a complete understanding can bear the fruit and there is no getting around this. In my experience Vedanta is a true means of Self Knowledge and James is a excellent teacher. So why shop around!
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby georgschiller » Sat May 07, 2016 9:48 am

Hi JayJaya,

thanks for freshing up this thread.

Your post basically summarized this thread.

What I like to point out is that Buddhism and Vedanta are very broad terms.

Advaita Vedanta is certainly the most dominant version of Vedanta, however, there are many different schools of Vedanta (plus many other philosophical schools of Hinduism)

Buddhism is the same. There are so many different schools of Buddhism.
Some of them even accepting Nondual awareness (e.g. Dzogchen, a few Zen and Theravada schools, etc.)

Of course, from our perspective it is easy to disregard the other Vedanta schools, the other philosophical schools in Hinduism and Buddhism as a whole; however, this is only possible because we have James Swartz as our teacher.

Without James as a teacher it would be much more difficult (or even impossible) to even understand and praise Advaita Vedanta.
How many of us came to Advaita Vedanta via Swami Dayananda or Chinmaya?

What I am trying to say is that it is easy to disregard other spiritual paths and schools as incomplete and unfortunate; however, this is only possible because we got the fortune of coming across James etc.
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Mira » Sat May 07, 2016 1:17 pm

Hi JayJaya,
Welcome to the forum. Great first post.
I am currently reading a wonderful book called Wandering in the Himalayas by Swami Tapovanam (guru of Swami Chinmayananda--who was our Ramji's guru). Here is what Swami Tapovanam has said on the subject (pg 83):
The great teacher Sri Buddha also holds that this world which changes from moment to moment is not real, it is only a reflection and the Thing of which it is a reflection alone is real. Sri Buddha was not an atheist. He never denied the Reality. There is nothing in his words of teachings to show that he considered Truth to be non existent like the horns of a hare. He could not have held the foolish view that something came out of nothing. It is true that some of his disciples misunderstood him and misinterpreted him. His idea was that the truth which cannot be designated by a name, or described in words and of which one cannot even say is existent or non-existent is like Non-existence. This idea is quite in agreement with the Upanishads. An object which cannot even be talked about is as good as non existent. But it is not non-existent in the sense that the son of a barren woman is non-existent. This subtle idea, Sri Buddha's contemporaries and even his disciples failed to catch.


So even great jnanis and Vedanta scholars like Swami Tapovanam appear to have grappled with the emptiness/void teaching of the Buddhists.
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Sat May 07, 2016 3:26 pm

Hi JayJaya !

Welcome to the forum. I just loved your first post ! I too toiled in the spiritual salt mines as a devoted Buddhist. Hinayana, Tibetan, Pure Land and Zen as a monk. So glad to be out of that hall of mirrors. There are some beautiful teachings there but ultimately, also frustration in the end. I never once met any Buddhist teacher who could teach the self....and I met many good ones.

I hope we will have the pleasure of your presence going forward. please feel right at home. :-)
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Mira » Sat May 07, 2016 5:15 pm

Hi Stan,
Good to 'see' you in the May Newsletter. I've never received notifications about new posts. But it's easy enough for me to check if there are new posts by clicking on the forum tab. So it has never been an issue. Thanks for all your efforts on the forum. Mira
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Sun May 08, 2016 12:07 am

Hi Georg,

Having spoken to you earlier today on the facebook site, I would like to repeat my apology for not answering your november post. I didn`t see it, as I was relying on the email notification of new posts. I found out today that the notifier is malfunctioning and I, and possibly many people aren`t getting the new post emails.
I`m trying to figure out what else I might have missed and will be getting in touch with Dan, our web guy for his advice about this problem. I`m curious if other people have had the same problem.

thank you for your patient replies on my posts so far. I really enjoyed them. When I go back now and reading them I can see how the knowledge of Vedanta was not complete at the various levels. Your patient replies certainly paved the way for serious assimilation!

In case you feel tired of replying then I am fine with it. So far all my questions got answered by your help!


Thanks for the kind words Georg. I never `feel tired` of replying to you...nor anyone else, come to think of it. :-) I don`t really think that i`m replying to a `person` but rather clarifying and resolving a doubt or doubts for my own benefit mainly. That `another person` is apparently involved is an added bonus for it raises bhakti for the person and the joy of clarity of mind brought about by the vedanta teachings. that it is sometimes quite hard work is actually part of the bhakti !
I think most people posting here are consciously or unconsciously doing the same thing.
Frankly, I love it !

I suspect that the points raised in your post have been much clarified by now...6 months later....without input from me. :D
I would like to answer this point of your`s though....

4.) There is some value in the criticism that some Vedantins might focus too much of what is beyong Samsara.

When Swami Dayananda recently died his followers said he entered Maha Samadhi (endless bliss). However, without a jiva (subtle body) how are you going to experience samadhi? I personally believe they mean that everything will just be as it is and always has been.
Ultimately the goal of both teachings is Jivanmukti. A free jiva so to say. What is beyond this? Nobody really knows. Rebirth? no rebirth? a realms of enlightened beings etc.? Pure ever present awareness?


I really don`t think Swami Dayananda would have said that he would "enter Maha Samadhi" at the point of death. He knew he was `Unborn` long ago...there was nowhere to enter to ! where is he not, as Awareness ? People love these romantic notions of Maha Samadhi because they think Swami Dayananda was a person. Quaint, but untrue.

Freedom for the jiva is of course a main aim for vedanta as it is the jiva that has the suffering and wants to be free. BUT, it is also freedom FROM the jiva ! the notion that awareness is limited in some way...thinking it is `jivaness` if you like as an identity. There is only one jiva. so if ignorance is removed, awareness carries on being perfectly limitless and jiva can live free , enjoying itself in the world, knowing it`s true identity is limitless awareness.
Rebirth, enlightened beings....just one big drama in the end.
You said....

" What is your opinion on this ? "


http://arobuddhism.org/community/an-uncommon-perspective.html

Well, I waded through all the pages of this Dzhogchen path and in the end, I couldn`t give you a better answer that what our new friend Jay Jaya wrote in his first post !
For example....

I would say the chief problem of all Buddhism is they say their is No Self. Enlightenment which is there big carrot in the sky equals Nirvana. Sunyata from what i gathered from the teachings and meditation i was exposed to was the final answer, You have no self nature. I had to walk away from this path after 15 years because it was a dead end. I found that i developed a believe that i didn't exist at all. That my experience that awareness was a constant background was denied, i convinced myself awareness was part of the changing experience.


This is part of Prajna-paramita Sutras: A Mahāyāna Buddhism Sutra
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form
Emptiness is not separate from form, form is not separate from emptiness
Whatever is form is emptiness, whatever is emptiness is form.

In thinking about this in light of Vedanta. I would say that the way emptiness is used would be the Casual Body, which contains the seeds (forms) of everything. So hence you get emptiness void is not seperate from form the subtle and gross body. This is a very messy corruption of Vedanta and very incomplete teaching. But even worse it is the goal of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Which means that it doesn't give a valid means of knowledge to understand your Real Self.


Absolutelly ! The Buddhas followers can understand what the self isn`t and can proceed to indirect knowledge...there is a self ( unborn,uncreated) but then hit a glass ceiling. The prajnaparamita sutra is beautiful...it leads you to the ultimate point and stops. It never says...and this is what you are...you are this !
There is no satya/mithya teaching. How can you do inquiry without it....it`s a dead end.
The Buddha also did away with Isvara...another essential part of the knowledge needed for COMPLETE self knowledge. I spent years in Buddhism as layman and zen monk until I was sure that the teaching would not give me self knowledge. It`s not hard to know you`re not a cat or mountain or any other object but so what ?

There really isn't anything new under the sun as the expression goes. Until their is a complete understanding and a recognition of TheTruth (Limitless Nondual Awareness), Maya holds the kings positions so distortion is the name of the game.


And...
That until i came across James Ramji's teaching of Vedanta, i didn't find a complete teaching that was available for my intellect to remove my doubts. It does require much work to prepare the ground before a complete understanding can bear the fruit and there is no getting around this. In my experience Vedanta is a true means of Self Knowledge and James is a excellent teacher. So why shop around!


Amen to that JayJaya. I couldn`t agree more !

Great to catch up with you Georg....I`ll try to not leave it so long next time Ha ha .....
ps sorry about the formatting in the second half. it`s past midnight now and tamas is setting in !
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Sun May 08, 2016 1:59 am

Hi Mira,

Thanks for your kind words. Hopefully there will be some major improvements and changes starting next month. lots of things in the planning stage and it depends on how soon Dan, our web guy, can get back to working for shiningworld again.

I read your earlier post to JayJaya and was struck by something Swami Tapovanam had to say about the Buddha and Buddhism.

It is true that some of his disciples misunderstood him and misinterpreted him. His idea was that the truth which cannot be designated by a name, or described in words and of which one cannot even say is existent or non-existent is like Non-existence. This idea is quite in agreement with the Upanishads. An object which cannot even be talked about is as good as non existent. But it is not non-existent in the sense that the son of a barren woman is non-existent. This subtle idea, Sri Buddha's contemporaries and even his disciples failed to catch.


If indeed the Buddhas contemporaries and even his disciples failed to catch the subtle essence of the Buddha`s teaching, then what exactly is Buddhism ? and how valid is it for attaining moksha ?

I think it`s a constant problem when the teaching of just one man or woman and their experience is taken as the foundation of a teaching or religion.
We don`t have this problem with vedanta of course as the scriptures are the base for the teachings. Furthermore, they have never to this day been altered.
Lucky for us that we don`t have lots of schools and sects to navigate ! If the Buddhists would have had the sattya / mithya teaching, they would have cracked it.
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Re: Who knows about Emptiness Teaching and Greg Goode?

Postby Stan » Sun May 08, 2016 2:32 am

@ Mira and others.... re New Post notifications.

At the bottom left of a topic page, there is an option to subscribe or unsubscribe to the topic in question.
If you tick the box to subscribe, you should automatically receive notifications of a new posting for that topic in your email inbox. no need to click on the forum except to see if a new topic ( not post ) has been posted. I hope that makes sense.
It seems to work pretty well....most of the time !
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