Can Ignorance Return?
Seeker: James, I was wondering: If self-inquiry exists in duality, and everything in duality has limited results, then how does self-inquiry permanently remove ignorance?
James: Self-inquiry doesn’t remove ignorance, knowledge removes ignorance. Knowledge is the fruit of inquiry, so you need to inquire.
Seeker: Also, if ignorance is an object, then how does its removal facilitate freedom?
James: Bondage to objects is caused by ignorance, so when it is removed you are no longer bound to objects.
Seeker: Can’t the ignorance return after its removal, like other objects?
James: It can if the self is known to be an object. But it can’t if the self is known to be you. How can you forget yourself? You have to be there to forget or remember, and you are never not present. Self-knowledge is not memory-based. It is direct knowledge.
For years I have happily and diligently responded to communications on the topic of Self realization. Since the publication of my book, “How to Attain Enlightenment”— currently in its third printing —and the success of this website, the volume of emails has increased considerably. Unfortunately, owing to a busy schedule of teaching and writing, I am no longer able to answer all the emails I receive in a timely fashion. However, my wife, who is also a teacher, and several well-qualified teachers we have endorsed are available to answer emails on my behalf. I encourage you to send them your questions.
— James Swartz