Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

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the key master
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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by the key master » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:55 pm

And what is 'false awakening'?
False awakening, as alluded to above, would be performing a meditation which causes the thinking mind to be still, then afterward believing oneself enlightened based on such experience. To be dependent on a "technique" for inner peace is to be a slave to circumstances. To live free is to realize Truth through and through, not based on a particular experience, but here and now in the constant motion of living reality, in the totality of life hereinafter. So, one who experiences a "false awakening" not only possesses a conditioned mind, but actually believes the conditioned mind controls what is and will be.

As Fenn appropriately points out, "The utterly conditioned body/mind will never successfully be free from vasanas, appetites, predispositions. "
Its the absence of judgment and expectation in outcomes that differentiates an "enlightened person" from one who simply believes oneself as such. Once one realizes one's true nature, a new approach/perspective to life becomes "possible". Seemingly, this perspective deepens through experience, as we "grow in Presence over time". With Self Realization then, its not necessarily about going beyond conditioning, at least not for the mind, but seeing conditioning as conditioning. Then you don't have to remain as the Silent Witness, you realize you are the Silent Witness, as you watch the particular destiny of mind-body play out in the divine theater of human experience. Relatively the body mind isnt going anywhere, just the vesting of identity in it.

WW said,
The neo-advaita approach seems to lead to a life of denial. "There is no doer", "there is nothing to do", "things just happen", are common themes of this teaching. This seems to neuter volition and creativity, and gives license to negativity without review. Life is rich with opportunities, but without some perspective from an active living self, many possibilities for growth of consciousness go unfullfilled.
Thank you for these words WW. As you previously stated in a separate post, "There is still wood to chop and water to carry". And thank you again James for starting this thread, as well as to all who have participated in it. I've been sitting around the last week waiting for things to happen. And every day seems to get "worse" than the next. I noticed yesterday I started to resist thought again, and my emotional body became very uneasy. Telling mind to "do nothing" in terms of Self Realization does not also apply to the human experience, at least not the totality of it. Rather, its about realizing on the level of Being and mind that the mind is nothing but a tool with a pile of conditioning. To realize Truth conditioned "beliefs" must go, but seemingly not the conditioning of the mind itself. I still find certain humans physically attractive and certain humans not so much, and thats exactly the same as its always been. No need to judge such things...

James said,
We could say there is an appearance of a doer, until the time when there no longer appears to be one. The relative merging with the absolute.
Yes, Ive heard this before, Ive said this before. I now understand this with mind. Seemingly this realization had already occurred through the emotional body, but I never quite thought it all the way through. I suppose this is the reason I was resisting thought recently. Muchas gracias. Some thoughts have come back, and Im ok with it again. :D

Jason

sevenworlds
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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by sevenworlds » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:21 am

Tony-S-Ma wrote:We can inquire whether Eckhart Tolle has higher degree of merging with the Absolute than U.G. Krishnamurti? The answer seems to be yes.

The next inquire can be whether Jesus has higher degree of merging with the Absolute than Eckhart Tolle?


Are you sure about this? What makes us hold those like Jesus, Buddha and Krishna as the ultimate? Nostalgia and notoriety seem to be key factors, because the passing of time seems to reinforce certain values that are comforting to the mind. Once it is repeated enough times that Jesus was full of love and compassion, it is very east to distort and not see the whole picture. Then we can start adding levels based on these values. The loving and compassionate ones are top of the tree, the angry ones slightly lower, and so on.

I don't see anything else other than mind/thoughts. Even what I call mind/thoughts are a thought themselves. So when that is seen so clearly it shatters, is there any other instrument left? I don't see anything else there. The whole thing is too simple, we want it more complicated. Once it is seen, what expresses expresses. Why would this creation of infinite potential want to create 6 billion Jesus'? UG Krishnamurti constantly laying into J. Krishnamurti's teachings is devotion itself in action.

the key master
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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by the key master » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:56 am

I said,

"Some thoughts have come back, and Im ok with it again."

And now I the see why the thoughts have come back, because "I" came back. Jeez. Going away for a while...peace, love, and many thanks yet again...

Tony-S-Ma
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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by Tony-S-Ma » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:30 am

sevenworlds wrote:
Tony-S-Ma wrote:We can inquire whether Eckhart Tolle has higher degree of merging with the Absolute than U.G. Krishnamurti? The answer seems to be yes.

The next inquire can be whether Jesus has higher degree of merging with the Absolute than Eckhart Tolle?


Are you sure about this? What makes us hold those like Jesus, Buddha and Krishna as the ultimate? Nostalgia and notoriety seem to be key factors, because the passing of time seems to reinforce certain values that are comforting to the mind. Once it is repeated enough times that Jesus was full of love and compassion, it is very east to distort and not see the whole picture. Then we can start adding levels based on these values. The loving and compassionate ones are top of the tree, the angry ones slightly lower, and so on.

I don't see anything else other than mind/thoughts. Even what I call mind/thoughts are a thought themselves. So when that is seen so clearly it shatters, is there any other instrument left? I don't see anything else there. The whole thing is too simple, we want it more complicated. Once it is seen, what expresses expresses. Why would this creation of infinite potential want to create 6 billion Jesus'? UG Krishnamurti constantly laying into J. Krishnamurti's teachings is devotion itself in action.
Are you sure of anything you say? Are you sure "Lie repeated thousands of times will become truth?" Are you sure mechanical drilling works on everybody? Are you sure other people have not experienced what you are experiencing now? Yes, Love and Compassion are easily and often misinterpreted in the dualistic state.

What/who doesn't see? What you are experiencing is the classic trap of Void which is one of the defense mechanisms of ego. Of course, you can easily dismiss this as just another useless thought. People on the path of negation often fall into Void.

Someday, you will get over this. Love and Compassion of The Self will not leave you in that Abyss of no-thingness :D Chinese Zen literature has many cases like yours. Of course, in your state, reading/studying more is not very helpful because you (or your ego) have got it.

Ego is not mind, and is beyond mind in term of "intelligence". It can get there before mind does :lol:

The classic Hinduism story that Krishna willed himself to be a cow and stuck as a cow until another god rescued him is about Void. It is not complicated at all: ego fools one by going down a step on the evolutionary ladder of consciousness. For those who are tired of artificial living, living by instinct alone is pretty refreshing. To get out current state of consciousness, one either goes up or down on the Jacob's Ladder.

sevenworlds
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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by sevenworlds » Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:53 pm

It is you who describes it as "Void" and the "Abyss of no-thingness". It is not a Void to me nor is it a state of no-thingness. You also say I "have got it". How can I say I've got it? Got what? If I even try it slips through my fingers. These are all your interpretations.

You seem to be keen on dividing life up into segments. Artificial living, living by instinct, going up or down the ladder, ego beyond mind, and so on. It's all unnecessarily complicated.

I know nothing of Jesus or Buddha other than what I've read or been told. It's all second-hand information, most likely distorted over time. Based on that, I don't know how we can claim they were somehow more superior than those we have seen in modern times. If you see past the name and form of the teacher, what else is there to see?

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by James » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:26 pm

As Andy mentioned, author Dennis Waite has an excellent article on this subject:

Traditional Versus Neo-Advaita

The word ‘neo’ means ‘new’ so that ‘Neo-Advaita’ is an impossibility. Advaita means ‘not two’, referring to the non-dual reality that always was, is and will be - unchanging because change would necessarily be from one thing into another, which would be contradictory. There cannot, therefore, be an ‘old’ and a ‘new’ Advaita, only the one truth.

Having said that, Advaita is a concept, a philosophical term in a language which is necessarily dualistic, devised for use in this world-appearance in which ‘we’ seem to exist. This concept is intended to refer to the non-perceivable reality that underlies the appearance. And, to the extent that language is able to point to this reality (rather than ‘describe’ it, which is impossible), the words used by both traditional teachers of Advaita and by modern, ‘neo’, satsang teachers are essentially the same.

The approaches diverge, however, as soon as any attempt is made to rationalise the apparent world and ‘my’ seeming place in it with this non-dual reality. Traditional Advaita refers explicitly to a phenomenal level – vyavahAra – in which there appears to be objects and people, some of whom become seekers, following a path towards self-realisation. Neo-Advaitin teachers attempt to deny all of this, insisting upon the reality and only the reality – there is only ‘perception’ or ‘stories’; there is no one, no seeker, no doer and no path. There is nothing that could be done to lead a non-existent seeker towards something that already exists here and now.

The teaching of traditional Advaita is gradual. It begins from where we believe ourselves to be. It acknowledges an identification with the body-mind organism, desires and fears etc. and aims to educate and undermine this belief gradually, using unarguable logic and a variety of devices aimed at reducing the dominion of the ego. In contrast, Neo-Advaita attempts to force the truth of the matter upon an unprepared mind at the outset (denying indeed the very existence of a mind), offering no process of gradual discrimination or logical development. It says ‘this is it’ and that is that! The bewildered ego is possibly left with an intellectual acceptance that it doesn’t really exist but, in fact, it remains as strong as it ever was.

Every few months or so, an old friend of mine appears in my dreams. We talk, go places together and all seems perfectly normal. The only problem is that this friend has been dead for over thirty years. Of course, my waking ego is well aware of this but the dreaming ego is not. Nothing seems untoward in the dream. If a dream character were to come up to me and say: “Look here! This can’t be your friend because he is no longer alive.’, I would probably reply something to the effect of: ‘Rubbish! Look – I can see him right here. Do you think I can’t recognise him? I talk to him and he answers me in a perfectly intelligible manner. How can he possibly be dead?”

One of the metaphors used in classical Advaita in respect of enlightenment is that of the dream lion. The idea is that we continue along quite happily in the dream state, accepting all of the events as real no matter how silly they might later seem to the waker, and nothing in the dream serves to awaken us to the ‘reality’ of the waking world. But, should we come across a lion in the dream and it sees us, turns and charges, then we are very likely to awaken. It is said that, in a similar way, an event in our waking ‘dream’ can serve as a dream lion to awaken us to the true reality.

Now it seems to me that the teacher of Neo-Advaita is rather like the character in the dream who comes up to me and says that I must be imagining the person to whom I am clearly talking because he is dead. The information does not tally with my experience. It seems that no matter how much such a teacher talks about how things ‘really are’, how there is no person, no seeker, no liberation and so on, it is never going to make a difference because the everyday experience continues regardless and clearly refutes such assertions.

In contrast, the teaching and practices of traditional Advaita function like a dream termite, burrowing away almost imperceptibly at the foundations of our grand illusion until the whole edifice of ignorance is so riddled with knowledge-holes that it all comes tumbling down. It functions within the context of our actual experience gradually negating, for example, all of the things that we imagine ourselves to be. It provides exercises to discover that we do not act or do not originate our thoughts and so on. All of these things are artificial devices that are themselves part of the illusion but they work, slowly but surely, to loosen the grip of our misunderstandings.

The reality about which both teachings speak is the same – there is only one. And Neo-Advaita may even be better at this, since its adherents use the language of modern society and shun Sanskrit terms that may be confusing to western minds. But this seems to be all that Neo-Advaitins do. They deny the level of appearance in which everyone (probably including themselves) is trapped. They assert that there is nothing that can be done to remove the ignorance because ignorance itself is simply ‘part of the story’.

Traditional Advaita, in contrast, claims that the ignorance can be dispelled by knowledge, enabling the illusory snake to be seen for what it always was – a rope. And they claim that the mind can be prepared to accept this knowledge through practices such as the renunciation of the ego via bhakti yoga or the reduction of the ego’s power in the desireless action of karma yoga.

The attraction of Neo-Advaita is undeniable – there is nothing to do because there is no doer, no revelation to be discovered because this is it, here and now. We can stop seeking because there is no seeker and nothing to be sought. There is no need to learn Sanskrit, to spend a lifetime (or many lifetimes) studying with a teacher. Gaining more knowledge will not help, only hinder by virtue of deluding the ego into thinking it is making progress. Indeed, seeking itself serves only to reinforce the ego. Everything is already fine as it is. We just need to accept this.

But this is simply the restatement of the truth. It is the dream guru telling the dream disciple about the waking state. ‘The dream is fine’, he says. ‘It is simply an appearance in mind; both you (the dreaming ego) and the (dream) world are nothing but the mind itself’. True though all of this might be, it does not help awaken the dream disciple into realisation of the truth of the waker. It does not allow the waker to dissolve into the waking dream so that the dream world may simply be enjoyed as an elaborate construction in which Consciousness, the true Self, can never be affected. To that extent, it is ultimately of little value to the seeming seeker who wants precisely that – to enjoy the waking dream knowing that ‘he’ does not really exist, will never die etc. (Of course, in reality, nothing is of any value, as the Neo-Advaitin will be quick to point out, but then all of this discourse is at the level of appearance.)

There are also two significant dangers regarding the Neo-Advaita ‘movement’. Firstly, there is the clear possibility of charlatans who, having read a little or heard the fundamental elements of ‘descriptions’ of reality, can devise a few ‘routines’ of their own and then advertise themselves on the circuit. Providing that they are good speakers/actors, it is certainly possible to make a living from deceiving ‘seekers’ in such a way, without ever giving away their true lack of knowledge or the fact that they are no nearer any ‘realisation’ than their disciples.

Secondly, seekers themselves may be deluded into a belief that some specious realisation has been obtained when, in fact, all that has happened is that they have come to terms with some psychological problem that had been making life difficult. The ending of such suffering could well be seen as a ‘liberation’. Of course, such a thing would not be at all bad – it simply would have nothing to do with enlightenment. Indeed, such people might well go on to become teachers in their own right, not charlatans in the true sense of the word, since they genuinely believe that ‘realisation’ has taken place.

The use of the language of non-duality (e.g. avoiding use of the word ‘I’) cannot be relied upon to mean that the ego of such a speaker is dead. Indeed, an ego can quite happily put up with non-reference to itself when it thinks it is ‘realised’ whilst everyone else is not! (And conversely, of course, there is no need or desire to avoid the use of the word ‘I’ in the absence of an ego.)

This is not to say that these dangers do not also exist in traditional Advaita but it might at least be argued that someone who has spent many years studying scriptures, reading and attending classes etc. must at least not be in it just for the money! Also, several thousand years of traditional teachings have emphasised that preparation, in the form of acquiring knowledge of the truth, is of value. Such characteristics as renunciation, discrimination and self-restraint etc. are also advocated, topics which are most unlikely to be mentioned at the meetings with any Neo-Advaitin teacher. And is it surprising that many of the attendees of Neo-Advaita satsangs are simply not interested in any of this? Why bother to listen to all of the preparatory stuff when you can get the final message straight away? ‘Don’t bother telling me about arithmetic, I want to learn quantum mechanics!’

Finally, of course, the message given by the Neo-teachers is not the ultimate truth anyway, which can never be spoken of. The claim that ‘everything is a story’ is itself a story. I can only quote again, the message from Greg Goode that I used at the end of ‘The Book of One’:

“In Advaita Vedanta, there are various reductive stories and theories that are taught in a certain clever order. Each one reduces attachment to the previously-cherished metaphysical view. The ladder’s rungs get kicked out one by one. The goal is not to hang out on the highest rung (e.g. “It's all Consciousness” is one of the highest rungs in that teaching, and a sticky one) but to be free from the ladder. What actually gets said and believed about the nature of a ‘what’ is nothing but another ‘what’.”

Dennis Waite

Taken from: http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/tr ... dvaita.htm
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by randomguy » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:38 pm

It seems that no matter how much such a teacher talks about how things ‘really are’, how there is no person, no seeker, no liberation and so on, it is never going to make a difference because the everyday experience continues regardless and clearly refutes such assertions.
Quite right, it is the same with any philosophy that is not questioned and verified as true from within. What truth is there except what is felt from within? Eliminating habitually believed thoughts can only help to feel the heart's will. Question all thoughts, and feel what is true, in my experience, those are the habits of value. It seems like accepting a simple principle on faith can circumvent inner verification.

But what a quick an easy path to Zero accountability. I can see it's allure.
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
- Basho

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by samadhi » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:16 pm

OK, I did some investigation into this 'neo Advaita' thing and explored a number of websites by neo Advaita teachers, as listed on advaita.org.uk. I'm not particularly impressed. I like the essence of Advaita, and feel it is a very helpful pointer. But what I find missing from a lot of people that might be labelled 'neo Advaitists' is HEART. I see it in a number of people that post on this forum. They've got the essence of the realisation, but are cold, almost nihilistic with it. Perhaps the ego has sensed that the ship is sinking and has quickly morphed into a new guise; the ocean. I can't say for sure. Now, this could just be a conceptualisation on my part, but if so I feel it's a healthy one and I'm keeping it: I don't think true awakening can happen when love is not present; love for all of life, all people and all creatures.

What I see as 'missing' in a lot of these advaita-adherents is the important ingredient of compassion. I recently heard of UG Krishnamurti and was rather shocked when reading about his journey to 'awakening'; this could just be the way I perceived it, but it seemed like a rather self-serving, self-focused grasping toward something. Without compassion, without the burning desire to help alleviate the suffering of others, what purpose does awakening have? To me, that's where Buddhism incorporates an important missing ingredient: heart. The realisation of emptiness, the wisdom -'awakening' - aspect is there, yes, but first it is stressed that 'bodhichitta' must be cultivated and nurtured and that is the aspect of heart, compassion and the deep desire to be of service. The bodhisattva seeks enlightenment not merely for self, but in order to be of service to all beings. Some nondualists would scoff at that and say that the suffering of others isn't ultimately that important because ultimately it's all illusory. And that, to me, is just sad. You can recognise life as an ultimate illusion, but in relative terms it is real and those who simply don't care and aren't interested in helping alleviate the suffering around...well, in spite of how they might tell themselves and others about how 'awake' they are, I think they've probably just traded one kind of sleep for another. Just my two cents...going back to silent mode, now.

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by karmarider » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:44 pm

I don't identify with any tradition of spirituality, so I'm not defending Neo-Advaita. The term Neo-advaita is ironic; but then so is the negative Advaita, not-two, and non-dual, and even Buddhism, since Buddha was very careful to avoid building up any sort of "-ism" in his lifetime. I'm sure there are many who are helped by spiritual traditions--and there are many who can fall into the trap of comparisons, attacks, divisions, and hierachies--just ego concepts.

Neo-advaita lacks "heart"? So does Zen, C'han, Tao, zazen, and Allan Watts. Heart methods have worked very well for me, but perhaps the "heartless" message is exactly what may be needed for someone clinging to 'beautiful' concepts. Compassion rises naturally with awakening; awakening is of the heart; but who's to say who needs what to "get there"? No, the "noble" goal of helping humanity is not needed to awaken; it is wonderful if you lean this way, but it is no closer to awakening than talking a walk.

What is Dennis Waite actually saying here? He first acknowledges Neo-advaita is pretty good at pointing to reality. Then he points out "two dangers"; the first is of charlatans, and second is of false awakening. In what tradition do these two dangers not exist?

I'm not on either side of this discussion. I'm trying to point out that the rising cultural tide against Neo-advaita is the very same energy that Neo-advaita is being accused of. One might say it's "heartless."

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by samadhi » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:37 pm

karmarider wrote: Neo-advaita lacks "heart"? So does Zen, C'han, Tao, zazen, and Allan Watts. Heart methods have worked very well for me, but perhaps the "heartless" message is exactly what may be needed for someone clinging to 'beautiful' concepts. Compassion rises naturally with awakening; awakening is of the heart; but who's to say who needs what to "get there"? No, the "noble" goal of helping humanity is not needed to awaken; it is wonderful if you lean this way, but it is no closer to awakening than talking a walk.
Very good point actually. I always felt that compassion was a natural part of awakening, I guess I just wasn't necessarily seeing it in certain people that claimed to be awakened. Maybe it is a natural arising; maybe it more easily arises in some people than others due to certain dispositions? Maybe the heart practises (loving-kindness meditation, etc) are helpful for people that tend to be more closed off. I don't know. I guess all I can do is speak for myself, using my own experience.

I also didn't mean to blanket 'attack' Neo Advaita. Just didn't resonate with some of the teachers' websites, but that could equally apply to many teachers of classical Advaita or other traditions. I think it's important to avoid being dogmatic or believing one particular path to be the only path. Maybe some people gravitate to what's being described 'neo advaita' and maybe they'll get more from that than other traditions? None of my business, I guess. For myself, I have decided to stick to only the teachings that most resonate with me and which feel true to what's in my heart. All anyone can do...

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:44 pm

Love and compassion may not be necessary to awakening but they are aspects of the growth of charactor. By this I'm not referring to egoic charactor, but to qualities of awakened perspective. One may be awakened out of the mind based identity, but who can say this is the end of the road - that there is nothing left to realize and express? We may recognize the temporal nature of form, and perceive from a perspective not attached to it as identity, but that awakening does not negate purpose of being in form.

WW

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by karmarider » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:36 am

samadhi wrote: For myself, I have decided to stick to only the teachings that most resonate with me and which feel true to what's in my heart. All anyone can do...
Sums it up very nicely! I don't know of any other way.

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by karmarider » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:39 am

Webwanderer wrote:...but who can say this is the end of the road - that there is nothing left to realize and express? WW
You're right, we can never know. Living is "better", more "natural" with awakening, that's about all I can say from my experience.

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by Sighclone » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:11 pm

There are many paradoxes in nonduality, especially regarding doing or not doing something to wake up. To quote briefly from "The Sacred Mirror," which I will review in depth later: (this is from page 54 in Pete Fenner's essay)
One of the most delightful paradoxes is that at the end of the nondual path we relize that we haven't travelled any distance -- that no path has been traversed and that we haven't attained "anything." But we also realize that if we hadn't believed that there was a path and made the effort we have made, we wouldn't have arrived at the point we are at. Even though we realize that our struggle and commitment has been pointless, in the absence of this effort we sould still be drifting in the illusion that there actually is somewhere to go and something to achieve. Without doing what we didn't need to do, we wouldn't realize that we didn't need to do it.
Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Neo-Advaita/Pseudo Advaita and False Awakenings

Post by Glycine » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:11 pm

Without doing what we didn't need to do, we wouldn't realize that we didn't need to do it.
What a nice phrase! Thank you, Sighclone!

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