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The Neo Guys
Okay, this really isn’t a fight or an argument but I have run into some Neo guys on the internet, and they seem to be speaking logic of the doer to me. I thought this a good opportunity to test my Vedanta knowledge. The ignorance of the world will always be trying to reassert itself it seems so I want to make sure there are no doubts about my self-knowledge to give it strength. I made friends with someone at Facebook (that’s probably my biggest mistake right there, but oh, well), a Sailor Bob Adamson disciple. He writes non-dual commentaries of the “Neo” kind… but his “followers” are glad to speak their “minds” (that to them, apparently, don’t exist ☺). If I had to learn from these people before I met you I would have been screwed because there is no teaching methodology and no qualifications to be taught! If I had listened them it may have caused me to think that non-duality was “bullshit” and to remain in ignorance for the rest of my life.
This all gives me SUCH gratitude for Isvara for sending me you… or sending you to me… however that worked. I have a big issue with half-truths and/or partial truths or incomplete truths!
Here is the statement that I wrote. I think it’s correct although maybe not as concisely written as I would have liked, and I still may be “in over my head” here. So… with no shame about my ignorance here it is:
It is through identification with ever-changing objects that the ever-free, unlimited self “becomes” (apparently) bound and perceives itself as limited, inadequate and incomplete. This identification is the cause of suffering because it is directly contrary to the nature of the self which is free of an identity. The self is actionless. Any objectification of the self created by a seeker to get “liberation” is by its very nature an action. Actions belong to the “doer” (individual).
Enlightenment is for the mind of the “individual” because the self knows the mind but the mind does not know the self; and the self is already the “light.” It was never in the “dark” to be illumined. It is the formless subject, the knower of all objects. It is self-illumining. Appearances to the contrary are produced by ignorance. “Enlightenment” could be said to be freedom FROM the “doer,” not freedom FOR the “doer,” so pursuit of any object, even one called “freedom” or the “self” is objectification and will not produce freedom, just more objective bondage.
Freedom is what we are, not something that can be obtained. You can get something you don’t have with action and you can get rid something you do have with action but you can never get what you’ve already got, even if you don’t know you have it (or that you are it!).
Here is one of his answers to my statement:
“The mind can understand only in terms of the mind. The Truth transcends the mind and so cannot be understood in terms of the mind. Truth cannot be understood from anything other than the Truth. Because everything other than the Truth is untruth.
“But the fact about Truth is that it is the Self. You are that always, and the question of obtaining it is wrong and does not legitimately arise. It is the activities of the body, senses and mind that obstruct your visualizing the Truth, your real nature.
“Truth being your real nature, it has not to be obtained from elsewhere, but the obstacles on the path have to be removed; and then the Truth, being self-luminous, shines in its own glory.”
To which I reply: Who is it that has the obstacles to be removed, where are these obstacles located and how would I know the truth if I hadn’t had prior experience that let me recognize it so I can discriminate it?
James: You should have added that the obstacles do not stand in the way of recognizing one’s self because the self is always present as the knower of the obstacles. His idea is called the vasana kshaya theory of enlightenment – get rid of your stuff and you are enlightened.
Mike: He also replied: “Body mind is an expression (manifest) of consciousness (non manifest) and the purpose it serves is this consciousness to become conscious of itself by realizing that it is what is observing the body mind, what sees, what hears and so on. Consciousness conscious of itself is joy itself, and true understanding and knowing. But it has to be realized, it has to happen, just focusing attention on what it has to be focused. Body mind activities don’t obstruct anything, those are nonsenses. That’s the game, play it or be played, eat or be eaten and die the same way you were born, i.e. : clueless. All information about it stored in memory is useless.”
Here are my thoughts: Who has to realize? How does elimination of the idea that I’m not my body equal knowledge beyond that statement? Where and what is it that “has to happen” and whom has to “play the game or else”? Can you speak as jiva but then simultaneously discount the existence of jiva? Am I projecting?
James: No, you are not projecting. You are pointing out the existence of the self prior to the doer.
His statement is based on the idea that there are two conscious selves. He does not understand that there is only one self and that it does not require a second self to realize it. He does not understand that it is one self apparently under the spell of ignorance that needs to realize its nature – by knowledge. You address this now.
Mike: Then I said, “All these things may be true in the context of pure consciousness but consciousness isn’t a “doer,” so any ignorance that could be covering consciousness and hiding it can only be hidden from the apparent person, the jiva, and can only be removed by the action of applying right knowledge to the mind in which the ignorance obtains until all the binding vasanas (conditioning) that created, sustained or prevent the ignorance from its removal are neutralized. Objects of the “world” being unreal (“real” being “what is always present and never changes”) does not render them nonexistent.
Ignorance within the mind of the jiva is the cause of its suffering because its apparent separateness is objectified by the nature of its experiences which are counterintuitive to the truth of its nature. Consciousness doesn’t need to know itself because ignorance is covers nothing. You have to be something other than ignorance to know that you are ignorant. That something is you, awareness.
It is the apparent jiva that needs to have the idea that it is separate from its nature removed. Only the jiva apparently suffers and is in need of “enlightenment” because it has somehow become ignorant of it’s true nature – whole and complete, limitless, non-dual, ordinary awareness. (consciousness/awareness being synonyms).
Consciousness as such can never be directly experienced by the jiva because the jiva has no sense organs that are capable of detecting. And since it isn’t anything other than consciousness it would be impossible for it to “back up” from itself to be “seen.” Furthermore, since the jiva is only ever experiencing itself as consciousness all the time anyway, how could it differentiate its nature from that which it has always experienced through ignorance? This is why seeking “experiences of the self” is ignorance in action. Consciousness isn’t a “doer” or “experiencer” although it appears to be when manifest in the form of jiva.
Apparent ignorance is a misidentification of the self with the “reflected self” in the mind of jiva. Therefore it is said that enlightenment is for the mind to elicit freedom (moksa) for the jiva from the jiva.
Although a jiva may become aware of its own divinity through removal of ignorance, removal of the ignorance does not remove the jiva from the existential world where it must continue to act, because it as no choice to act or not act, experience or not experience. The jiva is being done by Isvara, the macrocosmic mind.
If there was a choice, who would need ignorance removed? Being “real” or “unreal” then takes on a new perspective. What is both real and unreal are none other than the same reality (consciousness), which is one without a second, the non-dual whole. How can any part of a whole be removed or dismissed and the whole remain? The whole includes both the “real” and the “unreal.”
Application of knowledge requires some type of methodology, be it one like Vedanta that is taught or, in rare cases like Ramana, already present in the nature of an individual.
Truth of itself isn’t enough to set most people free because the object called “truth” is contradicted by the experience of the individual who takes what he experiences to be the only obvious reality. What he experiences is duality… himself and objects. But there is only consciousness, his self.
This is why there are millions of “seekers” who are aware of “consciousness” as an object but very few “finders” of consciousness as being their very subject and substrate. The direct experience of “reality” is only transformed through the removal of the ignorance that corrupts the natural non-duality of the self and is usually accomplished through a rigorously honest self-inquiry into the true nature of existence, not by finding an object called “consciousness” and forming beliefs about it.
It is possible that one may still have to “fake it till they make it,” so to speak, by taking a stand in awareness as awareness until such time that the mind subscribing to the logic presented within Vedanta’s proven methodology is assimilated.
This is where the much misused “faith” word comes up. Is it not true that a jiva’s suffering is caused by its “seeking”? It needs to accept the teaching “I am limitless consciousness” until it is understood and assimiliated by rigorous inquiry.
Knowledge without application is useless. All but few jivas have the contemplative nature of a sanyassi, so speaking of truth to an unqualified seeker with no methodology is a waste of time.
I actually withheld posting the last answer until I check my logic with you, and it really doesn’t matter anyway, except for verification of my own self-knowledge. I have no egoic interest in this. I only have a problem with people projecting their ignorance as knowledge onto others who are innocently trying to find freedom but only finding more ignorance. I don’t want to tell them they are wrong, which they are, I only wish to promote true knowledge by my own example. Let me know what you think, please. I hope you have time to respond sooner than later, but any response is good enough. ☺
James: Your understanding is very good, Mike, but the way you express it needs work. It takes time, usually many years, to express it clearly. Keep it up. It was the same with me when I set out to teach. In any case, I more or less rewrote it so you can compare it with your copy and see where the way you express it is vague and imprecise.