Robert said, “Of course you exist, you are speaking to me
You can never know what you are objectively, descriptively,
with attributes described by adjectives.
You are the witness of everything, including the world, your own mind,
your emotions, your wants and desires, even your sleep and dreams. Yes, you do know your own sleep. You know what is like. Dark, comfortable, relaxed, even though you
do not constantly witness the state of sleep all night long as if you are
awake. You do know what it is like when
you are coming out of it and going into it, and it just keeps getting deeper
In my awakening experience 22 years ago, I looked inside for
the 10,000th time, looking for the ’I’ who is experiencing water flowing from a
“Who is it that feels this water hitting my back,” I asked,
and peered deeply into my inner emptiness in the area of my heart. And what I saw, I had seen 10,000 times
before, just an unending internal emptiness, space, the Void, and entirely
subjective thing in the sense that it was within my experience of self, rather
than outside of my skin in the world.
For the first time, after asking that question 10,000 times
before over the previous 25 years, I saw that there was no entity to which the
word “I” referred. There was no ‘I’ to
which the I thought and I concept referred.
That is, the word “I” referred to an empty set. There was no ‘I’-entity inside of me
anywhere, in mind, body, spirit. There
Was Just the Void, just emptiness, and I realized for the first time I was that
emptiness. That is, the I-sense was illusory. There
was just emptiness and upon it a superimposed feeling of presence, along with
the concept that there was some core that the word “I” pointed to.
I was just the Void.
There was no Ed Muzika. Ed Muzika
was a name associated with form, my body, but there was no Ed Muzika inside as
an entity, a soul, a being. I no longer
felt like I had a sense of presence. There
is just crystal-clear emptiness everywhere and my mind was silent. I felt greatly afraid, because there was no
me. It was just emptiness. This was disconcerting I felt no one was in
control. I think this may have been the
same fear that Ramana Maharshi felt before his death experience of his personal
I called Robert who had left for Sedona two weeks
before. I said, “Robert, I do not exist,
all that there is. is emptiness. I am
Robert said, “Of course you exist! You are talking to me, aren’t you?” That was it.
That was the solution! I didn’t
exist as the mythical idea of Ed Muzika, as a soul, as a psychic entity of any
kind whatsoever. But I did exist as a
physical entity speaking in real-time to another physical entity, using terms
and words such that we perfectly understood each other.
Really, nothing had changed--much. I no longer believed in Ed Muzika as a
discrete consciousness entity, a soul, so to speak, but instead of being a
soul, I now used the word “emptiness,” or “nothingness” as a descriptor of who
I was. Yet, mostly I was exactly the
same person, but no longer thinking about myself as having a center, or a soul. I was emptiness, or emptiness was manifesting
itself through this body/mind entity. I
had exchanged my apparent soul, my sense of presence, for the experience of
nothingness, which felt like a hard, clear, vacuum, devoid of a sense of
presence. It felt like I did not exist,
at least as I had felt myself to exist before.
But to call this nothingness “ParaBhraman” or the “Absolute”
was out of the question. At that time, I
just would not have thought of re-engaging mind playing with descriptive terms
to describe my sense of existence, because I had none.
Many years later, I had quite a different experience, a
flip-side type of existence, where I did regain a soul, or a very concrete sense
of my own existence, in an explosion of inner energy, light, and bliss, feeling
endless love and internal energies flowing in me upwards from my gut, explosively
through my heart and into my head and beyond.
I felt a recognition of the divine within me, and also as me, as a
separate conscious process witnessing the birth of a God sensation within me,
like we were two entities, side-by-side, holding hands working through this
body mind apparatus. Such does time and
experience change our ideas of self. I
called this ltter experience the Realization of the Manifest Self.
So many experiences, so many final truths, so many
Then I read Nisargadatta and his teacher Siddharameshwar,
who both spoke of the existence of four bodies that constituted our existence
with the totality of our consciousness: the physical body; the subtle body of
energies, bliss, mind, emotions, aspirations, discrimination, touch, sight,
sound etc.; the causal body which was variously called forgetfulness, space, or
the Void; and the supra-causal body, otherwise known as Turiya which underlaid
the other three bodies, which all together constituted the totality of our
Variously described, Turiya was the witness of the of the
three bodies, the supporting body of the other three bodies, or as pure
knowledge, which itself was described as just being oneself without knowledge
of that self. There is just the knowing
that I was the witness of my body, the external world, the internal energies, bliss,
as well as the great void, or emptiness, and myself was unseen and unseeable
because I was the Seer.
Thus, at the basis of Nisargadatta and Siddharameshwar’s
philosophy of being, was a dualistic assumption, that the self cannot see or
know itself. Ultimately, they used many
analogies such as the eye cannot see the eye except by means of a reflection in
a mirror. They called this reflective
objective knowledge. But pure knowledge,
consciousness without an object, was not knowable, because by knowing it
becomes an object, and not part of the pure knowledge of self.
I thoroughly understand this point of view, but having
myself experienced two very different realizations under two entirely different
teachers and systems behind those teachers, it just became clear that there is
nothing at all that one can say about the self, whether this is the emptiness I
identified with the 1995, or the explosive, blissful, powerful, lighted energy
that I experienced as myself, and as God, in 2009, or lastly, the Turiya state
which was pure knowledge without an object, that pervaded all other objects in
new all other objects and bodies such as the physical, subtle, and the Void.
I knew too, that that self that could not know itself,
because it was the knower of all other attributes not associated with the self,
had no attributes, and no existence in the world. Thus, anything that said about it would be wrong. You can call it ParaBhraman, but that would
be wrong. It has none of the attributes
associated with that concept ParaBhraman which are listed as infinite numbers
in various Hindu scriptures. You cannot
say it is infinite. You cannot say it is
unborn. You cannot say it is
eternal. You cannot say it is
ephemeral. He cannot say it is without
time or is timeless. You cannot say it
is God or anything else because those terms belong to descriptions within the
existing universe that you see, hear, feel, touch, taste, and think about.
This is the self we meet when we are just absolutely quiet,
when we are resting in our chair, totally relaxed, sinking ever more deeply into
our sense of self. All that we can say provisionally
is that self appears to be boundless, it appears to be entirely peaceful, and
entirely without attributes, because any spoken attributes belong to the world
of perception, not to the dimension of the perceiver, the knower, the
seer. As soon as Nisargadatta opened his
mouth, he was telling lies. He even says
so himself, over and over, because words do not fit the ultimate reality which
is you, when you are totally withdrawn into you. There is no room there for words or
attributes. You are too dense for any
word to fit in. You are impervious to
having any attribute whatsoever, whether it be eternality, mortality, or
immortality, no terms whatsoever for you.
Only shut the fuck up, and be you!
When you are being you, totally, sunk into yourself, there
is no room for words. There is no room
for attributes. There is no room for
existence or nonexistence. These terms
just do not compute in that state of being.
Even the terms being and nonbeing do not apply here. The only terms that remotely touched the
state, are “rest” and “peace” and these only fit when you are sinking into
it. When completely in it, you become
everything witnessed, the totality of the manifest consciousness.
All the words that Robert Adams spoke were there to make you
feel rested, quiet, relaxed, and at peace.
Robert would say, “You do not exist; the world is not real, it is an
optical illusion; everything is predetermined; there is no free will; you are
peace that surpasses understanding; everything is unfolding as it should; there
is a power that knows the way, so just abide there; ignore the world, do not
react to it; your mind is your enemy, ignore it!”
All these words were there to get you out of your mind and
its preoccupation about planning, thinking, remembering, getting upset, saying
basically, “It is out of your hands, just relax and go with the power that
knows the way.” What happens when we
practice this, when we progressively detach from the world and refuse to react
to it? Theoretically, we get more and more
peaceful. We discover how much more
peaceful we feel we are not constantly distracted and bothered by thinking,
reasoning, planning, observing with the intent to understand. Just observing without intent, without an end
in mind, without a desire to understand, just be yourself. One gets ever more peaceful. This is what Robert’s messages were about,
making you slow the mind down and ignoring the mind and ignoring the
distractions of the world, and just more and more sink into yourself, even
though you do not know what yourself is, you just sink into your background,
into your source.
Of course, nothing is easy as it is presented by gurus and other
spiritual teachers. Hardly anyone has
the dedication, focus, and trust that would allow them to just progressively
rest into oneself. The mind always wants
to read books, go to workshops, listen to teachers, watch television, have sex,
have new kinds of foods, go on vacations in strange places far away. Almost no one knows that perfect peace, that
perfect rest, that comes with resting in one’s own self.
I do not mean the manifest self of explosive bliss, and
feeling the divine within. Nor do I mean
that no self of clear, cold, emptiness or Void that I experienced in 1995. But I do mean the self that realizes it is
not the world, is not the body, it is not the mind, it is not the bliss, it is
not the experience of God. Ultimately,
the realization is that everything in consciousness is apart from the self that
watches it. My experience was and is,
that the various states of consciousness, to me, wash over me, and I get
involved in them, but essentially I have nothing to do with them. They are a show that I watch. This is the experience that Robert called
enlightenment. This is the experience
that Nisargadatta would also acknowledge as enlightenment. This is the realization that whatever I am, I
stand apart from everything that is experienced, seen, touched, felt.
But that does not mean we can say anything about that self,
whether it is eternal, immortal, spacious, or compact. No attributes that belong as descriptors
within consciousness can be attributed to that which witnesses
consciousness. We cannot say it is
unborn, by saying that birth is only relevant to something happening in
consciousness, such as the birth of the body, but I am not that. Yes, you can say I am unborn, but as Robert
said, “Of course you exist, you are talking to me are not you?”
That is, your body will die, and with that
consciousness. One can say that the self
does not die, because death is something that happens in consciousness, such as
the death of the body or even the death of consciousness, but one cannot give
that attribute to the self. See you
cannot say you are unborn, that your self is unborn, because the term unborn
would refer to consciousness, but when consciousness ends, we have no idea
about the state of the self, just as we have no idea about the self in you that
functions as you presently. Nothing can
be said about it. You cannot call it God, eternal, purity, Parabrahman, etc.
And since nothing can be said about it, just about everybody
does talk about it and it’s miraculous attributes, transcendence, spaciousness,
sentience, omnipotence, omniscience, etc.
But these are all word games.
For example, often they say consciousness is infinite,
because it contains all the stars and galaxies which are vast distances away,
yet we can see them, we can contemplate them, we can think about them, and
therefore consciousness exists at that point of a distant galaxy. And since we are witnessing that distant
galaxy, we (the self) extends everywhere that consciousness is, therefore we
are as omniscient as consciousness, the self is as omniscient as the totality
of consciousness is. But you see, this
is only philosophical bull shit. We
cannot speak about that which we do not know in any meaningful way. If we do we are doing so just out of
entertainment because we cannot really describe the self at all, or name, or
describe any of its attributes, because descriptions only apply to
consciousness. We cannot meaningfully
say or refer to self, as the One Self, or the One Self Of All. That is purely metaphysical thinking,
creating a God so to speak. We cannot
call the self God, because the concept God has many attributes, and the self I
have been talking about has no attributes.
We cannot say it is deathless, because even though the word death
applies to something happening in consciousness, we cannot apply the attribute
of deathlessness to that which has no attributes. In fact, it may have a beginning and end, and
when our body and consciousness dies, that absolute no longer has our personal
entity with which to perceive whatever’s to be perceived. We just make up a truth only say there is
just One Self. This is a concept,
wishful thinking. We cannot say anything
about that which we do not know and cannot know.
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Many times you have heard me repeat Seung Sahn’s admonition,
“You must become as dumb as a rock.”But
why, you ask?”
Because it is a state wherein you forget everything you
know, you forget you have a body, you forget the energies in your body, you
have no thoughts, no likes or dislikes, no judgments, no desires, no
emotions. Attaining this is a
precondition to experiencing pure consciousness.
Let me give you a long quote from the book, “Master Key to
Self-Realization” by Siddharameshwar Maharaj, to show you I am not just pulling
this out of my arse.
“The third step in studying the self, is above and beyond
the Subtle Body, and is the Causal Body, or “ignorance.” The Causal Body That is a state of pure
“forgetfulness” where the quality of ignorance (Tamoguna) is predominant. Here in the Causal Body, there is no thought
as to the well-being of or of any relationship with either the gross Body or with
the Subtle Body. The Causal Body means
that there is no knowledge of anything.
It is like the state of deep sleep, but is not deep sleep. The Causal Body is difficult to understand;
however, it cannot be overstated that is very important to understand the
state. Those who proclaim to understand
the principle of zero, or Nothingness, or the Void, came to this state and
turned back saying there was nothing ahead.
“The Causal Body is the state of the unknowable or the Void
which is presented in the point of view of Western philosophers. This state is devoid of all thoughts,
imagination and doubts, and is often mistaken and taken by aspirants to be
samadhi, and thought to be the same as Brahman without concepts or
qualities. When this Void or state of
emptiness is reached, one is likely to get a false satisfaction and say, “Today
I saw Brahman.”
“The interval or pause between where one modification of the
mind disappears, and another one does not arise, such as the space between two
thoughts or the intervening pause before sleep sets in and waking state
disappears, is the state of pure forgetfulness.
This is what is described as the covering of bliss in the
Scriptures. In the Causal Body all
chaos, struggle and the infinite number of waves of thought have ceased. Therefore, there is a sense of peace in this
third body that is not found in the other two bodies. It is true that the aspirant experiences a
certain joy, but this is not the ultimate peace or even true bliss. One must understand this point of view very
well. This Causal Body is the natural
state of all gods, demons and every human being. The state of the Causal Body is the state of
“The chief sign or indication of the Causal Body is to
forget everything. For example, unless
one forgets everything he cannot get deep sleep. To say I was asleep, but I remember something,
is to really say, I never slept. To
really have deep sleep means not to remember a single thing. Similarly, to forget everything while in an
awakened state is to enter the Causal Body.
To be in a state where you do not know anything, is to also come to this
state. This is the natural state of a
In order for one to fully understand the state of human forgetfulness,
the method of studying the pause is prescribed.
If anything is very difficult, it is to be completely stabilized in the
state of forgetfulness, and to know it thoroughly. To achieve this is very important in one’s
spiritual progress, and takes a great deal of effort on the part of the
aspirant. The Saints have put a
particular emphasis on this point.
“The pause between two states is nothing but Pure
Consciousness. The state of the “mouni”
(a silent one), is such that he does not allow a single word to rise, or even
if it did arise, he does not allow the meaning to rise, but simply lets it slip
by. When the word arises, and is allowed
to impress its meaning on the inner mind, the world is born. Ignoring the word, and not allowing it to
carry any meaning for the mind, is the eradication of the world. When the word does not energize the mind,
what remains is the pure energy of consciousness. To experience this state continuously is
called the state of silence.
“The Causal Body, which is the nature of forgetfulness, is
nothing but a very deep sleep. However,
that which is described above, is the silence within that which is experienced
“knowingly,” or consciously, during the waking state. It is not the deep sleep state that comes
“unknowingly,” without conscious awareness.
Nothing is known in the state of deep sleep which comes “unknowingly.” However, the nature of the self can be known
by means of employing the method of knowing “Forgetfulness” which is
experienced while awake. This is the
difference between deep sleep and samadhi.”
The above quotes cover about 20% of the description of the Causal
Body found in Siddharameshwar’s book, how to enter into it, and the importance
of knowing nothing, knowing the Void empty of all objects, ideas, thoughts,
because thereby, one knows pure consciousness without objects, also called
being in the samadhi state.
Thus, Robert or I might say, “Shut the fuck up!” While Ramana might say you must learn how to
go to sleep while remaining awake by following the I-thought. On the other hand, Seung Sahn would say, “You
need to become as dumb as a rock!”
I cannot over emphasize how important having this empty mind
is, empty of all words, all ideas, all questions, all thoughts, all desires,
and to feel completely stupid, which goes so much against the grain of everyday
life for we seek knowledge in order to gain control or to reach a particular
end. In this state, we give up
everything, we surrender everything, and enter silence. But this is not the
end. There is one more step of entering
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Sharing some experiences...please guide as appropriate..
During last week while I was meditating and sinking
backwards towards navel centre .. gone deep into inner space ..and at certain
point of time experienced no body above naval ...this state remained for
Normally daily morning I sit for meditation for around 45
minutes before going for work....quickly gets engrossed deep in meditation & 45 minutes seems to pass within few minutes ...
On other hand at office as per my earlier behaviour during
excessive work pressures I still feel anxiousness, worries, restlessness during
completion of office tasks...at same time I observe above feelings as witness
but not able to control it .....though inner self guides .....pray God &
Guru's to give me strength to overcome this...
Sometimes I feel why I am spending so much time in doing
these worldly things...but then thinks this is ordinated for me & I shall
do my duty with full zeal & dedication ..things do not seems to be
happening as per our wish..but at same time
I believe this is my destiny and I shall flow with life & learn from
it... overall lot of time is spent in company job and at end of day...feels no
major progress happening on spiritual front...negative thoughts still pops up
during day to day working ... it makes
me depressed sometimes....
Robert used to say that real progress happens when you feel
none is being made. In the end, you will
see that this is your mind complaining, and its criticisms are
superficial. Don't place too much
emphasis on obtaining spiritual states or experiences. Just become more comfortable with your own
self no matter how mundane it appears at times.
Love your self and its daily, normal experiences. Don't strive to be in any quiet or peaceful
state. Just keep looking and feeling
I have repeatedly talked about the four bodies that
Nisargadatta and Siddharameshwar talk about, but Robert Adams hardly did ever.
The first body, is the dense physical body. It is the densest of all, and by dense, I
mean there is nothing about it that can be considered light or spacious, as is
the empty sky, or even water. It tends
to be hard in places and soft and places, but not permeable to air or water.
The next body, the subtle body, consists of all things
related to mind and consciousness. It
consists also of the energies that exist and manifest in the body, like
kundalini, Chi, healing energies, blissful energies, ecstatic states, awareness
of your physical body as an object within the field of consciousness, and the
spaciousness of one’s consciousness. It
also consists of memories, images, daydreaming, and dreams. It consists of thoughts, the mind, language,
and discrete forms such as trees or people seen within consciousness. This body is much less dense, because there
is a sense of space within it, and spaces in both the external world and the
The next body, the causal body, is experienced as the mind
and awareness disappearing, and that the self, the I am also disappears, and
one goes into “unconsciousness” or “unawareness” of anything, anyone, any
thought. There is no self-awareness, and
nothing to be aware of. It is entirely
forgetting all the qualities of the physical body and the subtle body, leaving
them behind, allowing one to enter Turya as something entirely new. This third body, the causal body, feels more
dense than the subtle body, as its darkness and forgetfulness envelops both
gross body and the subtle body and dries it away. It is not unlike sleep, but not quite as
dense as sleep, it is like being asleep, but just barely as after the loss of
consciousness, but remaining near the surface.
The fourth body is difficult to describe. I can say without any doubt that each of my
readers is experiencing Turya even now contained within the entirety of your
everyday mind and experience. Once you
experience Turya as the only state, after coming out of the causal body into Turya,
and once you have done this any number of times, so that you, really know what
the state is like, when you are awake, and fully returned to the world as a
person, you can become aware of the Turya state already existing in you, underlying
your ordinary mind of everyday affairs.
A bit it is like this.
Even now, when you think about it, you know what the experience of sleep
is like. You can remember what it is
like at night to slowly drift off into sleep and into unawareness. There is a darkness. There is increasing relaxation of the body,
and there is the disappearance of consciousness, a snuffing out of
consciousness, and a complete letting go into the dark wetness of the sleep
You can also become aware of what sleep is like in the
morning when you awaken. At first,
coming out of sleep, there is a gap, where there are no thoughts, and you are
aware, without being aware of the world, or of yourself. This is what Krishnamurti calls bare
awareness, which is awareness without thought, or without a central focus of I
am as a separate being.
If you want to, if there is any volition available to at
this point, you can turn around and go back into that darkness with no problem,
and return to full sleep. After you do this
many times, you know what the state of sleep is like by memory, and by feel. In fact, if you explore your everyday
experience, when you feel rested uncomfortable, you can detect the sleep state
within you, permeating your waking state or perhaps pushed off like into
another room, always available, but not yet while the waking state is in ascendance. Just so, after you realized Turya fully, you
can equally find it as an aspect of your experience of everyday life.
The key to understanding what Turya is like, is to
understand the phrase “not real,” because you will discover that compared to
the waking state, all the objects names and forms and language of the waking
state take on an entirely different appearance in Turya. In Turya there is no me and you; there is no
I and thou; there are no objects, but there is spaciousness. There is no distance between you and any
appearance that appears, such as of a window or the sky or bird. There is no separation between you and any
appearance within your experience in Turya.
You and everything else are of one substance, and yet despite having no
separation, the experience of Turya is of immense emptiness, and within that
emptiness, no objects exist, only appearances that are constantly changing,
changing, changing. Colors are more
vivid. Sounds are more potent. Nothing is adulterated by the intervention of
the mind that imposes concrete forms on the ever-changing appearances, and the
concrete forms themselves are nothing more than concepts based on words and
other concepts. One sees, hears, tastes,
touches, and smells all of consciousness directly without the intervention of
thought, and without the mind, no objects exist because no concepts exist. No forms exist because no names exist. In no mind you become everything, but
everything is no longer an external world or objects. Everything is you. Everything is I am. All boundaries have disappeared. And one is happy, deliciously happy. One is free of concepts, mind, obligations,
restraints imposed by the physical body.
How does one enter Turya?
In order to enter Turya, your mind has to stop completely,
because the mind cannot penetrate either the causal body or Turya. The mind is limited to witnessing the gross
physical body and the events and processes within the subtle body. Its function is to be a tool or in aid in
living life as a physical entity, is a physical body with senses in mind. It is powerless beyond the subtle body level
to know anything. The mind disappears entirely in the causal forgetting state,
and stays absent entering Turya, which is the banishing of the last elements of
the causal state. The causal state
itself, falls away, falls out of the brain, revealing the unity state of Turya
which is experience without form, which is spaciousness filled with
ever-changing appearances, and none of it has the reality or solidity of the
objects created by mind and concepts and what we call the everyday waking
The easiest way to enter Turya is through a very formal,
Zen-style sitting meditation, where you sit crosslegged as best you can, in
formal meditation posture, with an erect spine, facing a wall, and with eyes half
open, facing a wall, with a candle between you and the wall. The half opened eyes will prevent you from
going to sleep, and you will go into the causal body instead of sleep. You will feel your head growing heavy. Your brain seems to be freezing up, and
becoming like a solid rock. There is no
room for any thought to penetrate your brain.
You feel stupid. You feel
lost. Then suddenly, the bottom drops
out of your mind, and a totally disappear, leaving you in Turya. The causal state itself has gone. And is also taking your mind and body with it
for you no longer experience yourself as having a body. You are everything. In formal meditation your body entirely
disappears and you are not even aware of it.
As Douglas Harding would say, you have no head. That is, there is no experience of having a
body at all, let alone ahead or shoulder or torso or legs. You are now everything, and not localized to
a body. This is how I learned to enter Turya
hundreds of times, and to know it well.
However, most people do not experience it through formal
meditation. What happens is after years
of being interested in spiritual matters, they have spent a lot of time
investigating all aspects of the subtle bodies, the energies, the meditation
experiences, bliss, happiness and unhappiness, emotions, relationships, etc.
and they get filled up with these experiences.
They no longer seek out new experiences.
They are done with exploration of spiritual states, or even human
relationships, and they want to go deeper.
Thus they begin to experience life as if going into the causal state,
forgetting about all that has gone before, all their previous interests and
hobbies, all that has become meaningless and no longer an object of
desire. They may naturally go into the
various samadhi states, to the no mind states of the causal body.
But beyond all the samadhis is Turya, and the samadhi states
have led to the destruction of the primacy of mind in your life, and you drop
the mind as the lead actor in your life, and instead you let life act through
you. It is a losing of the primacy of
will and of mind. It is a total
relaxation of body and mind. You, as an
entity, are dissolving into emptiness in the totality of consciousness.
Bernadette Roberts has called this process that of losing
everything, losing the unity consciousness of Christ consciousness, and
snuffing out of the mind primacy, letting go to live out the will of God. This is an everyday life process which
consists of continuously letting go. You
might say it is a constant Sedona-method-like letting go of everything. It is a dying to your previous life as a
normal human being caught in the world, and it is a liberation from the trials
and tribulation of that world. All those
things that were important to you disappear in the causal body, and the
emptiness of the causal body, and the forgetfulness of the causal body, and are
not resurrected in Turya state. The Turya
state is a new world of utter rest, utter delight, utter peace, and the guide
to continuous unfolding of the Lifeforce or the divinity through you.
During a 1970 winter Dharma talk as Mt. Baldy Zen Center, Sasaki Roshi said, “Enlightenment
can be very boring.” I do not remember
anything else from that talk except that one line. Sasaki was infamously a womanizer,
whose exploits caught up with him during the last few years before his death at
age 106. During 1970-71 when I was there, everyone knew it and talked about it, yet it never got beyond amused talk for over 40 years. He died amidst a major scandal in the Zen world, pummeled by
numerous male and female moral scolds, and even resulting in a Buddhist call to found an international ethic board.
About seven years after the above talk, Maezumi Roshi was similarly involved
in a scandal regarding his sexual relations with multiple female students. I remember a very famous psychoanalyst, Harry
Brickman, one of Roshi’s students, who said to Maezumi, “What can be expected when
so many young women are throwing themselves at you?” I should note that Maezumi was quite
handsome, young, and very, very intelligent, which came across He openly admitted drunken angry outbursts and repeated apologized for his behaviors. through all of his
talks. On top of that, Maezumi was
incredibly sensitive and humble, which endeared him further to his students. I found his attitude quite refreshing compared to most famous teachers who tended to hide everything from fear of losing students.
When directly asked why he was involved with so many of his
female students, he made no excuses and took the entire responsibility himself stating that he had disgraced Zen by his actions. For example, in one of his bi-weekly Zendo talks, his non-excuse was, “Because I could.”
That is, the opportunity was there and he took it, and thereby disgraced Zen. This points to something deeper. The experience of enlightenment can become
boring, and as a result, a bored human being can turn to open sexuality as a
stimulus, and perhaps as an attempt to reenter human hood after leaving it
behind entering the Void.
I think it was about three years later when Maezumi gave a
talk in one of my Zen classes at the UCLA Extension. He said, “One’s attention ought to be in the world; that is where all
problems arise, and can be solved.” I
think Maezumi was kind of bewildered by the amount of criticism and scolding he
received, even within the Board of Directors of his own organization. He once said to me, “Why me? Sasaki is 10 times worse than I am.” I think Maezumi viewed sex with his students
as something naturally flowing out of the relationship between them. He was a good-looking guy, and women did seem
to be taken by him.
Another example is my own teacher Robert Adams, who became
“enlightened” at the age of 14, and spent many years in India deepening that
enlightenment, or as he said, “To make sure I had not missed anything.”
Robert to was a notorious womanizer. I remember that during one of my Thursday
lunches with Robert, one of his female students, Samantha, showed up at Follow
Your Heart, and pretended to accidentally bump into us there, and sat with us
for lunch. She said, “I just happened to
be in the neighborhood,” Even though Follow Your Heart was 40 miles from where
she lived. Every Sunday during Satsang, Sam would sit by Robert’s feet with her arms wrapped around his left
leg, head leaning on his knee, facing outwards towards the sangha, as if saying, “He is
mine.” Most of Robert’s students back
then knew of his inclinations, and only Mary Skene was constantly upset and openly voiced her criticism to Robert. After Robert died, she could not wait to find another teacher who comported better with her morality.
Robert used to say of his dog Demetri, that he kept Robert
stabilized in the world. I think even
more so, Robert’s relationships with women also kept him in the world.
I could go on and on about gurus and women, from Osho, to
J. Krishnamurti, to Franklin Jones, to
the Siddha yoga swamis of Muktananda’s lineage, and many others. All are notable for their multiple sexual relationships
with female students, and probably between female swamis and their male
students, but no one hears about them.
Almost all of these people are dead now so I feel no reluctance to discuss these matters. Karuna Dharma, my ordination teacher’s Dharma successor,
used to say to me, even regarding her own teacher, Thich Tien-An, “Why is it
that Zen monks cannot seem to keep their penises in their pants?” Yet Karuna herself, a lesbian, had a female
lover that lived with her.
Why is this? Is it
merely because they can, being surrounded by many women who want to sleep with
the guru, even just to see what it is like, or based on some suggestion that
they might benefit spiritually by the experience? Or is it there is something in sexual bonding
itself, in romantic love, that is such a powerful experience, such
a moving experience, that it brings renewed energy and life to an otherwise
orderly but empty existence?
From my own experience, falling in love with a female
student filled me with divine energy, which brought me out of the continuous experience of emptiness, which had
descended on me years before after my first awakening with Robert. I had felt dried up and spread this throughout the Void. By divine energy,
I mean I felt the explosion of the Life force within, that exploded from my gut,
shot upwards to my heart into my brain and upwards beyond my body into the
universe beyond. This was experienced as
an almost infinite power moving through the light of a thousand suns, exploding
within me and around me, feeling divinity, feeling God within. And through this experience of love for
another, I felt an overwhelming love for myself, as well as an identification
with that Life force, with that divine energy in me. I call this experience, and the understanding it brings, realization of the Manifest Self.
Identification with my body was transcended
and 'I' identified instead with the energy within me, the divinity within me, the
Life force within me, and lastly the sense of presence that is now always with
me, as me.
I had spent perhaps 14 years in emptiness, being aware of
the emptiness within, the imaginal emptiness within, which was the same as the speciousness without in the world. And
within that emptiness, all movement became discounted and dried out by the vastness
of that inner space. When realization of the Manifest Self came, the inner energies
came, bliss came, the Life force came, enlivening me, filling me with energy and
knowledge of the manifest level of self.
I do not imagine that all spiritual teachers with their
female student consorts, experienced\ an awakening of the manifest self through
that experience, but I know some for whom it did. But I know, the quiet inactivity of attention
turned inwards, towards one’s sense of self, towards the sense of I am, or of
watching the I thought emerge from and return to the great void, can bring one perilously close to a living death, and as Sasaki said, to boredom. One needs love of the world to keep one's practice moist, else one dries up.
Currently there is an enervating feminist, and actively
anti-male, anti-authority-figure attitude that pervades spirituality as well as
Western society. As a result, Gurus and
spiritual teachers have been constantly under attack for the merest suggestion
of impropriety either sexually, or in any other way. In 21st Century, Western spirituality, we
find that the feminine concept is being worshiped, the divine energy is being
worshiped, and sex and love are being worshiped, while the introversion of Zen
and self-inquiry of Advaita are relatively ignored.
It appears that the new morality and spirituality is for the
female to take the lead in the spiritual development of men. I certainly do not disagree with this trend; I find it quite agreeable. But I do find
it hypocritical of the audiences that this new trend plays to, to find
that men taking the lead in sexual relations now crosses a line, and can be
described as sexual abuse, and raise a hue and cry and a desire to punish the
man involved, whether teacher, or other authority figures. To this audience, sex should always be between equals
in terms of class, social position, and there should never be any
teacher-student or employer employee sex, because if there is, the teacher or
employer are at fault, whether man or woman, because it is an unequal relationship, and as such, there may be an element of coercion.
But take a look at our civilization. Male celebrities get inundated by followers
of the opposite sex, whether they be male football or basketball players,
actors, or celebrities for the sake of being celebrities. Female celebrities, actresses, singers, an
athletes, are subject to the same sort of adulation by men, and propositioning by men. I think one famous basketball
player, Wilt Chamberlain, bragged that he had bedded 10,000 women. Why is this?
Why do so many women throw themselves at celebrities and authority
figures, including spiritual teachers? And why is it, that when sexual
acts occur, male gurus are looked upon as fallen teachers, while male
celebrities received little or no criticism for the same acts? Are spiritual teachers supposed to rebuff
sexual advances by female students, unlike celebrities such as football players?
My point is, I think that there is an unrealistic
appreciation for what goes on in the inner lives of spiritual teachers. Although they may have attained realization
of ecstatic states, realization of the unity of consciousness, and feel a
compassionate connection with all life forms, all of this can become rather
dry, compared to the power of eroticism, which is very primitive, and of personal
love, which is very grounding in the physical world, and can come as a welcome
relief to someone who has been lost to the emptiness within for any long period
For example, once one has realized the causal body, and
explored it thoroughly, and then entered the spacious unity consciousness of Turiya, one can stay there long time, and one can have had
countless desires and habits melt away through that process, but ultimately
one returns to ordinary mind, consciousness with the resurrection of the mind that
disappeared in the causal body and in Turiya.
When that returns, once again you are a human being functioning in human
world, and even though you may totally understand the entire stretch of
consciousness in the mind, one once again has a body and a mind, which may be
more or less stabilized or steady, but is still subject to human desires and
winds blowing through one’s psyche.
Because it is emptiness, space, the void, and the
consciousness that illuminates the absence of objects and space itself, that
one can call it the real, or pure consciousness, while all the objects that occupy
that space, and are similarly illuminated, are called unreal, or mere appearances,
or reflected consciousness. But this is
philosophical. This is merely an
understanding, while the reality is that the samadhis and ecstatic states, come
and go, waxing and waning in intensity, and gradually receding into the
background or even becoming bothersome, and a distraction from one’s own inner
peace. In comparison to the continuous
experience of the subtle awareness of space, the power of sex to lend
distraction and to bring a physical life back into one’s purview, cannot be
Of course, all that I say can be applied equally to the much
rarer female teachers of Advaita and Zen.
Most female teachers focus on sublimating raw sexuality into some form
of divine love, which they keep talking about as the divine feminine. In a sense, this level of practice never goes
beyond the subtle body, the second body, while Advaita and Zen go to the fourth
body and beyond, to Turiya, where the distinction between subject and object
disappears into the unitary experience.
This very brief essay is written with the intent to create
an open ended dialogue regarding the subject matter of sex in spirituality,
especially the place in Zen, Advaita, and the energy yogas and Tantra, an investigation
of male psychology, female psychology, and what each wants out of a
relationship, if it can be so categorized as masculine and feminine needs and
goals, especially within spiritual processes.
I think it can be, but sometimes I think with this new movement that
supposedly dissolves the differences between men and women, this discussion
will be ignored.
We should note that the whole concept of the guru student
relationship has been so polluted and sullied by endless scandals, because we
have not investigated the dynamics that have created the supposed scandals,
along with a strong pejorative moral judgment that all kinds of sexual
activities and other activities have no place in “real” spirituality. I think this is utterly wrong. I think that the teacher/student relationship
found in Zen, tantra, Advaita, Sufism, and the energy yogas presents an area of
investigation that could reveal untold riches of knowledge about the human
condition, the nature of God, the divine, as well as fuel all individuals
search for enlightenment or God.
But I will bet, that none of these teachers are willing to
be honest and open about their own experiences or their own understanding of
the place of sexuality in spirituality and in their relationships with
students. Is it just there because they
can, because students of the opposite sex throw themselves at the teacher? Is it just opportunistic self-gratification
and sexual stimulation that makes the emptiness a little less boring? Or is the sexual drive an integral part of
spirituality, and the drive towards realizing the divine and one’s own self? My own view is that a more open sexuality, or openly romantic love between a teacher and his/her students, in the right environment, can benefit both parties, at least in terms of actualizing Subtle Body energies, awakening Chi or Kundalini energies leading to realizing greater depths of one's self-experiences, leading to their eventual transcendence. But, there are always the problems of jealousy, encouraged but unrequited love, and moralism that can destroy a sangha, as has happened so many times.
Every time I post an essay like this, I received broad
criticism from people who confuse religious morality, with real spiritual
development, and focus almost entirely on behaviors, rather than attain states,
and what they teach us about ourselves and the world. The worst of these seem to be Buddhist
moralists basing their criticism on official, Theravdin moral precepts. These have been almost totally absent in Zen
until late in the 20th century.
Zen entirely avoids moralisms on substitutes “appropriate actions,” or
right action. The criticisms are based
on the older, far more philosophical, and morality-centered Buddhism of Sri
Lanka, Thailand, and other South Asian countries.
For these southern Buddhist countries, spirituality is
almost totally of morality, and not self-realization, or no-self-realization,
or nirvana. It is following the moral
precepts, the 500 vows of a Buddhist monk.
The monk there is regarded as sort of the Superman because of taking the
vows and living up to them, becoming morally perfect, but to what end? There is no enlightenment, no
self-realization, no liberation from following these 500 rules. But the Buddhist moralists and Christian moralists
and Muslim moralists, do not really understand this. Liberation comes with self-realization, not
the pursuit of moralistic perfection in terms of behaviors.
Here is a bit of information that will help you understand
both Robert Adams and Nisargadatta a little better. Often they use different terms to signify different
kinds of experiences or states.
Nisargadatta talks about two different kinds of consciousness. One that could be best described as “bare
awareness,” which is consciousness that does not move, that lacks concepts,
that lacks mind. He also calls it “BalaKrishna,
“or “Baby Krishna.” Robert Adams refers
to the same state of bare awareness, BalaKrishna, as the gap which one
perceives when you first awaken in the morning between the sleep state, and the
moment that the mind floods into the brain.
This is awareness without awareness of either subject or object or of
Nisargadatta describes this well on page 97 of Consciousness
in the Absolute:
the gate for you to understand consciousness.
There are two aspects; one is conceptual, dynamic consciousness which is
full of concepts, and the other is transcendent consciousness. Even the concept “I am” is not there. Conceptual, qualitative Brahman, the one that
is full of concepts and is qualitative, is the outcome of the functioning of
the body. This consciousness is dead to
me; it is gone. I have transcended
that. So whatever is, is that other
consciousness, that one which is without concepts. I abide in the state where there is no mind.”
This is the same
state that Robert talks about. He was
always arguing against the mind, saying either that the mind is not your
friend, or the mind is your enemy. Seung
Sahn Soen Sa would say something very similar, and actually describe
subjectively, experientially, what that process is like to go from conceptual
consciousness, then becoming like a rock with a brain frozen and unable to
think, and then the breaking of the mind, entering the no mind state, or Turiya,
by way of passing through the state of unknowing otherwise known as the Causal
Body, with the inability to perceive, where body disappears, awareness disappears
and there is only conscious sleep before the mind breaks and you enter the
total space of the unity consciousness where all things are not separate from
you anymore. The entire world perceived
by you, is you. There is no longer a
barrier between you as the meditator and the external world. There is no longer duality between inside the
skin and outside. You are the totality
of manifest consciousness.
I described the
coming of these states of unity consciousness as I experienced them at Mount
Baldy in 1970:
“At some point in a
period of meditation, my "brain" would “freeze” and I would feel as
if I were going to sleep. My brain felt
like it became hard as a rock and so dense that no thought could
penetrate. I also felt that
simultaneously I was going deeper and deeper into myself, towards the center of
my awareness, but it certainly was not in any physical direction. It felt more like ‘I‘ was going deeper, but
not somewhere, such as towards the heart
chakra or my gut. Then I would totally
disappear. My awareness of myself, my I
am-ness, my body, the waking mind would all disappear into a kind of waking
sleep. My mind totally disappeared and I
could not remember who or what I was. I
could not even remember how to perceive.
“Then, all of a sudden, it felt like my mind
had been flushed down a toilet and a whole new reality appeared. I would
disappear as a body mind and awaken into a world of unity consciousness, where
I was totally empty space and filled with all the sights and sounds of the
world. I would hear the sound of a bird
flying overhead calling, and I would become that bird. I felt my body in motion along with the bird,
simply flying. Then I would hear the
sound of the wind, and I became the trees blowing in the wind. I became my experience of all things around
me, but I did not feel like I had a body, because there was nothing separate
from me such as a body, or the world. I
was immersed in everything, the so-called totality of consciousness.
“As Ken Wilbur would
say, there were no boundaries. This must have happened three or four times a
day for the entire time I was at Sasaki’s Zen Center during the winter of
1970-71. I never knew what to make of these experiences of unity-Consciousness,
except to enjoy them. It felt wonderful
to have such freedom to be all things rather than locked up in one small
body. I was utterly free, utterly
spontaneous being-ness. These states did
not last; they took maybe five minutes to get into, and lasted 15 or 20
minutes, then I returned to the human world. I asked myself was this the true
reality revealed, or just a special state-experience that meant little or
But you see, it was
just this state of no mind, of being one with everything, that Nisargadatta
points to. There is no longer an
individual. There is no longer a
personality. I identified, if one can
say I identified with anything, with the totality of everything that I
experienced. Thoughts would come
sometimes, but mostly rarely, and they were simple thoughts like, “My God what
is this?” I was so stunned by the change
from every day human consciousness, to this wondrous state of absolute freedom
from my body and my mind and unity with the world.
Nisargadatta goes on
to state that the consciousness that moved and was filled with concepts,
otherwise known as the mind, was dead to him.
He lived and endured as the total functioning of consciousness.
To experience this
no-mind state, this non-conceptual consciousness, the gap in its fullness, one
must be willing to be absolutely stupid, absolutely know-nothing. One’s brain feels heavy. Thinking becomes more and more difficult until
it is impossible. Within the darkness of
the causal body moves into awareness and you disappear as does the world. And then you drop through into Turiya, which
is the sense of I Am before the mind arises.
Then you dwell in the utter happiness of the no mind state as long as
you can in order to imbibe its flavor and formlessness from a universal viewpoint,
rather than as stuck in or pasted to a physical body.
It is not easy for
most Westerners to let go of understanding, to let go of concepts and knowing,
because people take such comfort in all of their wisdom and knowledge gathered
in books and from reading, and from television.
And you feel utterly stupid before the mind drops out, and you wonder
what is happening to you, because you are no longer in control, the totality of
consciousness is everything. As long as
you hang onto any knowing, any knowledge of the external world of your own self
as a psychological or physical being, you cannot enter the state.
More about this later.
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"It is not real" mean for Robert Adams, Ramana
Nisargadatta? July 10, 2017
All I can do is tell you about my own personal experiences,
not what I read. I can tell you that nothing exists the way it appears.
Everything is an appearance, and we get pulled into these appearances. We react
to them as if they were real, as a result of falling for a false premise, and
the false premise is that the world is real.
In fact, the world is not real and neither are you. What we
have to do is stop reacting to anything. And the only way to do that is to
discover who you are. When you discover your true nature, when you awaken to
your true nature, everything becomes perfectly clear. You're at peace. Your
feelings have been transmuted. You no longer feel what human beings feel. The
world comes and goes. One day the world is like this, the next day it's like
that. But what does it have to do with you? Nothing, you are free. You are not
the world. You are not your body, you are not your mind.
--August 30, 1990
The world is a totality of the five kinds of sensations,
namely sounds and the rest, and nothing else. All these are only mental
impressions. Hence, the world is nothing but the mind. Only when their minds are functioning does
the world appear to men. Therefore, the world in the waking state is mental, as
it is in dream.
The truth that the world is unreal is taught by the sages
only to him who aspires to attain the highest state by the quest of the Self.
It is not addressed to others.
(Editor: That is, it is a
teaching device used to help the seeker become aware of that which precedes and
succeeds his body and the world.)
All the divisions experienced in worldly life appear as real
only in relation to the body. (Editor:
the world is real if one accepts one’s body as real; from that viewpoint alone
is the world real and the objects therein.)
Ramana Paravidyopanishad, unknown date, paragraphs 120
The “I” which appears is unreal. How unreal it is I have proven. The moment the “I” is proven unreal, who is
it or who knows that the “I” is unreal?
This knowledge within you that knows the “I” is unreal, that knowledge
which knows change, must itself be changeless, permanent. You are an illusion, Maya, an
imagination. It is only because I know
that I am unreal, that I know you also are unreal. It is not like this: because I am real, you
are unreal. It is like this: because I
am unreal, everything is unreal.
—Consciousness in the Absolute— May 1, 1980
The concept that your experience of your body and your
experience of the world are illusory, is a very complex subject with many
different ways to explain it.
The simplest explanation is that stated by Raman in the
quote above. Without mind, there is no body,
no world, no existence. When mind
functions, the world is discovered as is your body. In sleep, when the mind does not function,
there is no you, no I Am sense, no body and no world. When you awaken, at first you are only aware
that you are awake. Then, some fraction
of seconds later, you become aware that you are a body, with an existence, with
a name and form, living in the world. Once awake, we accept the reality of name
and form, that I exist as a body in the world.
Not once do we think of investigating that I-thought or I-feeling in an
effort to “unpack” it into its various components in order to see if any of
those components exist in any way, or are just words that point to nothing.
As long as people identify with their bodies and consider
themselves solid and real, they will also experience all the objects in the
external world as equally real, meaning substantial, objective, solid. Until a person through meditation, self-inquiry,
or listening to the words of a self-realized person, has experiences of
transcending both body and consciousness, the phrase "neither I nor the
world are real," will lead him to try to understand the phrase "not
real" as some variant of negating the reality of one’s body, such as by coming
up with the analogy of a dream body. “My
physical body is like a dream body, existing only while aake.” Or one might
think in terms of space, that the space that contains the body is more real
than the body, and that the body is unreal in comparison. The same holds true for the concept of
consciousness, where we conceive of the body as being an appearance in
consciousness, but consciousness itself permeates all appearances and is
greater than any appearance. That is,
consciousness is everywhere and eternal, and is the substance within which
But until one has examined all levels of one's own
experience of oneself, from experiencing the physical body, to experiencing the
mental body, to experiencing the subtle energy body, to experiencing the great
void within, the emptiness that pervades everything, and even the experience of
not experiencing, will he or she understand how these three gurus use the terms
real and unreal, because then they will have the same exact knowledge as the
teacher. The same exact knowledge is
available to all who study the self.
In the short essay below I will try to cover all the
different approaches or ways to explain what is meant by the term unreal
applied to experience, to the body or to the world.
I want to most forcefully and explicitly state they do not
mean you should stop eating, or deny yourself shelter, or deny yourself
clothes, or not own a car, or not have a job because they are all unreal. They are not saying the world or your body
are not real, therefore live like a zombie totally bereft of feelings,
reactions, or needs relevant to sustaining your body. It does not mean that you should not protect
yourself financially and avoid scammers.
It does not mean you should not have insurance if people depend on
you. It does not mean that if someone in
your family or others in the community have desperate needs, you should not
help them because they are not real, that they are some sort of fake news. They do not mean that if there is a dire
political situation, such as a tyrant arising that will destroy the nation, you
should not insist that they be stopped.
By "not real," they mean that all external and
internal forms, such as your body, your sense of presence, your thoughts, your
emotions, your house, the tree outside your door, are all temporary, are all
ephemeral, all pop into existence, exist for a while, and then cease to
exist. No appearance is permanent. Therefore, every situation in your life is
temporary, a brief appearance that will pass, so do not get too involved in
relationship to them, for you, the perceiver, are always there, outside of
consciousness, outside of the world, outside of your body, existing only as an
observer, while your mind fills in the details of the situations surrounding
you, giving it meaning and drama.
Without the mind making up stories about your situation and your body,
you would be unperturbed by all internal and external events.
This is it. This is
their message. Do not be too concerned
about the external world, because everything in it is just momentary. The real you, to be discovered through
self-inquiry and meditation, is the ultimate observer, the witness, the
principle of knowing, of sentience, of cognition. You are the ultimate knower, seer, hearer,
smeller, taster, feeler, and ultimately of all knowing and sentience. As such you are beyond the physical and
mental worlds altogether, so turn your attention within and find this, which we
give the name That. That is the only
real because it is beyond all appearances of consciousness which are
effervescent, ephemeral, and passing. The
Real, is that which cognizes the unreal, the not real, the play of
But if you take "it is not real" literally, from
the viewpoint that you are human body, a thing, then “not real” means there are
no things, every-thing is only a dream, or a passing nightmare of
consciousness, and you could easily become a zombie, a homeless person, not
eating any meals because your body is not real, your hunger is not real, your
need to pee and to take a crap, are all unreal.
Your wife is unreal, your children are unreal, your mother and father
are unreal, therefore pay them no heed, no attention whatsoever. Ignore them and their problems, because they
are not real. And the naïve seeker then
expands this attitude to all things, shouting aloud “Nothing is real!” Like a crazed Facebook guru.
There is no need to buy insurance, because nothing is
real. Robbers are not real. Murders are not real. Tyrants are not real. Trump is not real. Hitler was not real. They are all just passing appearances, just
as is your hunger, or your thirst, or your feeling chilled or too hot. None of these are real, so just sit in one
place and observe the world, observe your body, observe your emotions and
thoughts, and take no heed of them. Just
turn your attention inside and find your true self, the only real, the only
The next important thing you have to understand with regard
to investigating your self-experience and its reality is: “it is not real” is a
teaching message from the teacher to the student who has not yet realized who
or what they are, or for other persons in the audience who may be suffering
from the loss of a loved one, debilitating physical disease, or psychological
or physical pain. This is a message to
look within instead of without into the world, and by looking within one can
find your own permanent truth of who you are.
However, after you discover who you are, the journey inwards has
essentially ended, because the division of inward and outward disappears, and
you discover you are the source of everything and that everything rests inside
of you including the world and your body.
That is, the message “it is not real” is meant for a student, or someone
suffering. It is not meant for someone
who has realized themselves as Self.
That person is fully aware of the rather trivial nature of the external
world and the body compared with the direct apprehension of one’s own self and
its eternal existence. But after
realizing the self, one just cannot continually turn within, because the
division between inner and outer is dead.
One is everything. By this I mean, wherever consciousness is, I am aware
of what it is showing. Whatever appears,
I am there as its witness, whether it be
my body, something felt by it, or a nebulae seen through a
telescope. I am the witness of it all.
Let me go into this a
little more deeply. After realizing through meditation or self-inquiry, that
the boundary between the external experiential world and one’s internal and
experiential sense of presence within an all-pervading emptiness no longer
exists, you become immersed totally in the vastness of consciousness: the
Void. That empty void is the background
or container of all experience, external of the world, and internal of the
various states of consciousness within.
This Nisargadatta calls the totality of the manifest consciousness. This is everything. This is all cognitions, all thoughts, of all
sentient beings with no separation into apparent individual entities. This is the life of the universe itself,
everything experienced by every sentient being everywhere, throughout
time. Identity within individual body or
an individual personality is lost.
Yet there is one more step that needs to be taken before one
becomes a Jnani.
Just resting in this experience of thoughtless now-ness,
just resting in one’s own sense of presence within the totality of experiential
existence and emptiness, is what Nisargadatta ultimately means by resting in
your sense of I Am. After doing this for
some time, something begins to happen.
You begin to escape from feeling totally immersed in your experience of
your body, the world and the totality of consciousness. Up till this time you felt yourself to be a
little cog within the vastness of the extension of your consciousness. You begin to be able to grasp or apprehend
consciousness as a whole, and all at once, as an object that you are
witnessing. After consciousness begins
to transition from self to object, how it affects you also begins to change,
because you see you are separate from it; it is not you. You begin to see that all the vagaries and
appearances within consciousness, all the various states such as sleep and
waking state, all the thoughts that you have, all the sights you see from mountains,
to valleys, to storms, to the ocean, all are not you. You are separate from all of them. You are not touched by anything in
consciousness, where before you thought you were a body that had
consciousness. Now you see that both are
“not-real” in the sense they are not self-sustaining, they depend on you
cognizing and being aware of them, both as separate apparent objects, and as
the ultimate substratum of universal consciousness. Everything depends on you, the source, the
witness. Without you sentience does not
Most emphatically, "It is not real" does not imply
ignoring injustice or abject stupidity or abject brutality in the world. "It is not real" means do not take
the world too seriously until it hits you in the ass, and you are forced to
take stock, just as you would be if you found you had a cancerous tumor, or
were having a heart attack, or a potential murderer was threatening your life.
Remember, all the while that Robert was teaching about the
world not being real, to take nothing seriously, and to turn all your attention
inside, he was in fact living as a family man, raising two children, as well as
fostering children. He had various jobs
as a handyman, teaching non-smoking classes, producing pirated audiotapes,
etc. It means that he had extensive
dental work done during the last year of his life at age 69 because his teeth
were so bad. He had a whole mouth
reconstruction during the last year of his life. Nisargadatta ran the family business of
selling cigarettes from the time he was 36 to the end of his life at 82. He spent many years speaking with friends and
other devotees of Siddharameshwar regarding the nature of reality, of
consciousness, of birth and death, while he worked on his final understanding
as expressed in his talks in 1978 to 1981, his final teachings, including those
To make this a little more real, pardon the pun, we must
realize these are the teachings of an 80-year-old man who has seen everything
and done everything. For him, the world
had no reality, no meaning. He had seen
and done everything. There was no more interest
in the world for him. He was through
with it. From that point of view, of
being a tired old man that is seen and done everything, nothing in the world
was of any value to him. Even his own
consciousness was of no value to him any longer. He repeatedly says in his last three years, he
was waiting to die, and get the whole thing over with, hopefully without too
much pain or trouble in the process of dying. He wanted to throw away the whole world and
consciousness because they disturbed his peace which he found in his deepest
depths. Compared to that peace that lay
closest to his soul so to speak, nothing was of any value. And in that sense it was not real to
him. He was selling this philosophy to
other people who were suffering, as did Robert.
In this sense, the phrase "it is not real" is a universal
solvent dissolving all suffering based on one's experience in the external
world including pain in the body, rheumatism, arthritis, heart disease, cancer,
poverty, lawsuits, and the scorching heat of the Arizona desert. They exhort others just turn within and find
that peaceful center and take refuge there in the deepest part of your Self.
Q: I really appreciate your continuing efforts to explicate
this fundamental issue, which is so misunderstood. I see it as the
"form" aspect of the form and emptiness dimension. So many
neo-Advaita influenced folks on Facebook seem to (sort of-mostly
intellectually) get the emptiness aspect. They then become so enamored of
emptiness that there is a "sleep and forgetting" of the real world we
all still live in where real suffering occurs and very, very few realize
experientially-in the marrow of their bones- that nothing is real.
Ed: Yes, so true. But emptiness itself is still
experiential, is still consciousness, and nothingness, the so-called real, is
the not knowing of nothingness, not the spaciousness of emptiness or the Void.
Robert always said you have to go beyond emptiness, because emptiness itself is
still consciousness, and itself is a fraud from an experiential point of view,
as a human.
Q2: Much needed
clarification. Edward Muzika could you please clarify whether or not the inward
and outward are 'different' in terms of how they are perceived in the statement
"the division of inward and outward disappears and you discover you are
the source of everything and that everything rests inside of you including the
world and your body." I understand that they are both a manifestation of
my consciousness, but if I close my eyes and go inward after being fully self-realized,
is the inward perception the same as with eyes open or different yet realized
as my consciousness. Do you ever meditate inwardly even though you fully
realize this fact about the inward and outward?
Ed: The experience
varies over time for most. The initial experience is of total emptiness within,
which is experienced as one with the space without. Then, for functional
reasons, the boundary returns. But after that, you are always aware of 1. the
unity; 1. all objects are permeated by emptiness all thoughts and forms are
transient; even consciousness is transient.
Then, later one re-realizes this in other experiences, such
as the realization that everything is consciousness, including the I Am sense,
the body, the external world, emptiness. Just variations of appearances in
Yes, after attending to duties in the external world, I will
invert, sink within to utter peace.
Q3: good post, but
this is where i take umbrage with the dead guru's. "all that changes or
passes" is also this that sees. this that is aware, this that is. simply,
if there is "no other", then even the so-called temporary things in
life is also a manifestation of This One. I am the dream, the dreamer, the ever
changing play. and even the dream is not "un-real", the old saying:
"To say- It is not real, does not mean it is devoid of
existence"........ but what I always end these rants with is, "this
is what i see so far, subject to change as this path seems endless.”
Ed: I have no idea about what you just said. If I were you,
I would focus more carefully and thoughtfully on expressing your intuition as
clearly as you can. I think you might find trouble doing that, but when you
can, you will understand your own internal confusion, which will allow you to
Q4: Can a pot be real without the clay, the essential
substance pervading the pot.. Pot is name and form that makes clay pot...Clay
can exist independently.. Can pot exist independently without clay. Can name
and form exist independently without the essential substance pervading the name
When world is described as unreal is from this point...World
strictly speaking like the pot, is name and form with an essential substance
pervading the world, which is the ultimate Truth...
Ed: This is strictly an analogy and is not at all an
explanation. The essence of all is like
clay. So what does that tell me? This explanation might send me to a beach or
a swamp looking for various kind of dirt or clay.
The explanation often given is that everything is consciousness including all
the appearances within consciousness.
But this is still just a concept.
You have to first have the experience that everything is consciousness,
which is a kind of awakening, rather than using well-worn analogies that really
do not help anyone understand anything.
Q5: I have always
wondered why only the permanent is Real, why not the transient and passing also
be Real. It feels like a kind of dogma we are told to believe in. Isn't Real
what exists whether forever or temporary? Why the duality?
Ed: Actually, when
you :feel" that which is beyond consciousness, all elements of
consciousness "feel" unreal. It is an expression about how the world,
one's body, and one's emotions and mind feel when you discover the source. Then
you are far more interested in the source, and the world seems useless in
Q5: useless? not what
you said above about caring for cats, opposing Trump, etc. and isn't Compassion
what blossoms after enlightenment?
Ed: You have not been
reading my posts and certainly you never really read this post. All is
explained here, above. Read it. Go to those before and after. Would you fail to
feed cats in a dream? Would you drown babies in a dream? Would you fail to eat
or pee in a dream because it was not real?
Q6: I think it
depends on your level of insight. If a revelation has come and you now see the
world as a substanceless image like a dream or mirage or even further nothing
but emptiness, dark infinity then it would be untrue to yourself not to voice
this. With God also, if you believe in God or not, its only a belief, you are
really an agnostic. You don't really know. But of you have seen the Oneness in
all things then there is a basis to assert the reality of God.
Ed: It is not really
that way. You "see" and apprehend all experiences, all of life and
consciousness in an entirely new way, because you can grasp consciousness as a
whole rather than being immersed in its hugeness. In a sense, you become bigger
than the entire world or consciousness, apprehending it/them as objects
depending on you for their existence. Only you are felt to be real, not the
objects you apprehend.
Q5: i have been
reading your posts and I know of your humanity. I just was reacting to the word
Ed: See, caught by
words. React to words and concepts. I am telling you how both Robert and
Nisargadatta felt about life and the world. They had no use for it.