The Absence of Belief

“I would define a ‘true sage’ conceptually as a human organism in which the sense of separation as the author of their actions is gone. It is a human being for whom the belief – and it is a false belief – that they are the centers of the universe, the authors of their thoughts and their feelings and their actions – that belief is absent in a True Sage.

And this is not a belief on the part of the human organism that they are not the authors of their action, it is the absence of the belief that they are. So it is not the presence of the belief that they are not, but the absence of the belief that they are. There are a lot of people running around with the belief that they are not the authors of their action and that belief is simply another belief.”

Wayne Liquorman

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About Sitara

Sitara was born in 1954, she became a disciple of Osho in 1979. In 2002, she met Dolano and from then on,discovered Western-style Advaita teachings, especially those of Gangaji. After reading Back to the Truth by Dennis Waite in 2007, Sitara started to study traditional Advaita Vedanta (main influences being Swami Paramarthananda, Swami Dayananda and Swami Chinmayananda). She teaches several students on a one-to-one basis or in small groups (Western-style teaching inspired by Advaita Vedanta). Sitara is highly appreciative of Advaita Vedanta while at the same time approving of several Western Advaita teachers. She loves Indian culture and spent many years in India.

31 thoughts on “The Absence of Belief

  1. Dear Sitara,

    Thank you for the quote. Assuming you concur with it, would it be correct to say that one must start with the belief, ripening to conviction through reasoning, that they are not, and then (through vichara / self-enquiry?), the belief falls away and absence remains?

    Best wishes


    • Yes, Venkat, this is how realization naturally grows.
      In the very very beginning mumukshutvam needs to be there as well as a certain degree of shraddha.
      Based on this the normal human belief – that you are the author of your thoughts, feelings and actions – is utilized to build a solid character foundation consisting of the remaining virtues enlisted in chatushtaya sampatti (shraddha and mumukshutvam being already two of them).
      At some point the information is introduced that you are not what you always assumed yourself to be: someone who is the author of your thoughts, feelings and actions. This information turns into another belief – or, as I prefer to say, it is trusted by the seeker who takes it as a working hypothesis with which he/she delves deeper into shravana/manana/vichara (for a Western student you cannot separate these three).
      And through shravana/manana/vichara eventually this working hypothesis or belief will fall away and absence of any belief remains, or, as we say in Advaita Vedanta, the working hypothesis is replaced by knowledge. This knowledge is the knowledge that is talked about in your quote of Michael James. He calls it direct knowledge, I prefer to call it immediate knowledge.

  2. Wayne’s comment I feel leads into one of his biggest topics, which is that there is no such thing as free will, and that everything is predestined. My teacher, Swami Dayananda, as far as I know, would not agree with that statement. But rather than get into a (sometimes endless and IMO seemingly pointless) debate about free-will versus predestination, it might be better just to talk about the one belief that is true the hallmark of self-ignorance.

    Again IMO, and according to the teachings of Vedanta as I understand them, that belief is not that one is the author of one’s actions per se, but rather that one’s existence is one with, dependent upon, and a product of the individual body/mind/sense organs complex. In other words, that ‘I’ exist only as a separate person, and that the body/mind and their functions define me. They alone are my identity. (Some may perhaps believe in an individual soul which transmigrates, or goes to an eternal heaven after death, but again, the belief is that I am a separate individual.)

    One of my Vedanta teachers calls this belief, ‘a firm conviction.’ This belief manifests as the ahamkara, the ‘I’ maker thought; and it is this belief itself that goes away when the recognition of the Self as one’s true identity is gained. This belief of course is not replaced by another belief. This belief (self-ignorance) is replaced by self-knowledge, and therefore not a belief.

    I have never heard the three words sravana, manana and vichara linked together, though I would say that sravana and manana form vichara. Rather I have heard sravana (listening to the teachings), manana (clearing doubts), and nididhyasana which is often simply translated as contemplation, but which is further explained to be something which can only be done once one has recognized the Self as one’s true identity. After having gained that recognition most people require some time to fully integrate that recognition into all aspects of their being. Therefore sitting with that recognition is a useful practice in order to gain ‘nishtah,’ i.e. stability in jnanam.

  3. Dhanya,

    When you say that this belief, the ‘I’ maker thought, goes away when the recognition of the self as one’s true identity is gained, I wonder if this is something that has happened to you or whether it is something that you have surmised, deducted, wished to be true, or just read about. I understand the formula and progression that Advaita has outlined, but as you know, an intellectual understanding is not the same as actual experience. It would seem to me that your whole existence as a ‘person’ would be shattered with a dissolution of what you term ‘the I maker’ and the sense of separation that we feel. Whether we believe or not, convicted or not, self knowing or not, would be trivial compared to the dissolution of one’s self.

  4. Dear Dhanya, I do not know much about Wayne and whether he is just talking or whether he actually knows what he is talking about. I just took the quote by itself.

    As far as I know Wayne belongs to Neo-Advaita which means he speaks from paramarthika point of view only – at least Neo-Advaitins make an attempt to do that (which in the end is not possible really). As I see it, and I am sure that all the Swamis and you would agree, absence of free will is a simple fact from paramarthika point of view. So the quote may serve as an inspiration but not as a basis for teaching, which should lead the seeker to the authentic understanding (or if one prefers, “subjective experience”) that the very basis of free will does not exist, meaning the seeker is lead from vyavaharika viewpoint to paramarthika viewpoint.

    I do not see a basic clash between Wayne’s statement and Advaita Vedanta. He just takes Vedanta’s definition of the common human error – ‘I’ exist only as a separate person, and that the body/mind and their functions define me – and extends it to its natural consequence, i.e. with this error you will be taking yourself as the author of your actions.

    You: “I have never heard the three words sravana, manana and vichara linked together, though I would say that sravana and manana form vichara.” I agree. I just added the word “vichara” because Venkat mentioned it in his comment.

  5. Dear Sitara & Dhanya

    As an aside, Michael James, in explicating Sri Ramana’s atma-vichara / self-investigation, would I think include contemplation, nididhyasana in its definition. Since Bhagavan’s guidance was to focus attention, as often and as much as possible, on our essential self-conscious being, stripping away (drg drsyam and neti, neti) all other perceptions / thoughts (seemingly ‘external’ or ‘internal’)

    Best wishes,

  6. Namaste Anonymous, In your comment you wrote: “It would seem to me that your whole existence as a ‘person’ would be shattered with a dissolution of what you term ‘the I maker’ and the sense of separation that we feel. Whether we believe or not, convicted or not, self knowing or not, would be trivial compared to the dissolution of one’s self.”

    I once heard Swami Dayanandaji say that the most important word in the teaching of Vedanta is the Sanskrit word ‘iva’ (pronounced like the Western name Eva). The word iva means ‘as though.’ When the ahamkara thought is recognized to not be one’s true identity, then the ahamkara thought becomes ‘as though.’ So for a jnani (a person who has recognized the Self as his/her true identity) there is still an ‘as though’ ahamkara. This as though ahamkara is often compared to a burnt rope lying on the ground. The shape of the rope is still be there, but it no longer has the power to bind.

    Of course this is from an idealized perspective, because for many people, even having recognized the Self as his or her true identity, the ahamkara thought, or firm conviction, can at times seem to be pretty much in place. So this is where, in particular, the use of nididhyasana comes in–sitting with that recognition which one has gained.

    In your comment you referred to “the dissolution of one’s self.” Here it depends upon what you mean by the word ‘self.’ One’s true Self has never been the body/mind/sense organs complex. One’s true Self is ever present, never gets dissolved or shattered. Ajnanam (self-ignorance) is taking one’s ever present true Self to be the body/mind. So these two things, which are present at exactly the same time and in the same place–the never changing Self–and the ever changing body/mind–need to be separated out from each other, as it were; and the one (the body/mind) seen to never have affected the other (the changeless Self) in any way. So this is where the inquiry comes in, and the use of various teaching methodologies, which prove to the student that the Self is independent and ever free of the body/mind.
    At first the student with sraddha may accept the words of the teacher and teaching on this subject, but after sometime, he or she recognizes directly that this is so.

  7. All this reminds me of the famous Heidegger quote; ‘Language is the house of Being’.

    While we need language to communicate with each other, the language cannot communicate the actual experience of anything. It is all a reflection, a memory, so to speak, an image. Language is never the thing, and attempts to enter into some kind of ‘understanding’ or ‘realization’ through language can never be accomplished. We only ‘think’ we understand or ‘know’ something.

    Any attempt to analyze what we call our self, transcend it, alter it, what have you, is only within this framework of language. It doesn’t matter what we ‘think’ about it, or whether we think in Vedantic terms, Buddhist terms or any other terms. The result is only an intellectual arrangement. While this arrangement may feel necessary to us, it is not giving you an experience of a true Self. You can ascribe whatever connotations to the true Self as you like, but it is only idealized language that you are experiencing. That Self or true nature that is spoken about is not our business. No amount of pounding on the door will open it. This should tell you something about ourselves and the effort we make in vain to be something, to know something, to want something. It reminds me of what Jesus supposedly said, ‘blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ And, let’s not forget Dogen’s quote:’ To study the self is to forget the self’. All words, and powerful words, but they can never convey the meaning or experience of what they point to. The Time-Being thinks and wants to become something. The Time-Being thinks, ‘one day, I will understand’. Can you see the irony in this?

  8. The following is a quotation about Shankara and Heidegger on language and reality whose import is quite different from what is written above:

    Natalia Isayeva, in her book – ‘Shankara and Indian Philosophy’ – finds a parallel between Shankara and Heidegger with respect to language and meaning, in particular the later Heidegger, with his interest in, and focus on, the etymological and hermeneutical approach (‘rather than a purely scientific one’). That is, language not as a determination of reality, but as its own self-revelation (“the word is a hint and not a sign in the sense of simple signification”). Not trying to provide the ever elusive Being with a fixed definition, but seeing the word as an indication, a pointer. This demands from a person – following Isayeva – “and not only from a poet, but from a philosopher, an ability to listen and to hear what is being prompted and suggested by language”. Similarly, “the Vedic sayings of paramarthika level relating to the identity of atman and Brahman, which abound in metaphors and parables”, should be seen in this light, she suggests.

    Isayeva notes in this respect the same attitude of Shankara towards language: “Indeed one cannot, according to Shankara, ‘see the witness of seeing… or think the essence of thinking’. And still, there is something inherent in the very nature of language, something that helps to reveal reality without giving it an exhaustive definition… according to Shankara we are always trying to catch this being at its word, to apprehend it through fragments, through scraps and broken phrases, where one can still discern the echo of the true word, unpronounced and ineffable.”

    In a foot-note, in relation to ‘Being’ as expounded by Shankara and Heidegger, Isayeva remarks on “an essential aspect, rather important for both teachings – that of the philosophy of language, of the ontological role of language in the creation and self-revelation of the world.”

  9. Knowledge about reality.

    “Those who, perchance, even though they be women, will become firm in conviction with regard to the nature of the Ultimate Reality that is birthless and uniform, they alone are possessed of great wisdom, or in other words, endowed with unsurpassing knowledge about Reality, in the world. And nobody, no other man of ordinary intellect, can dip into, that is to say, that thing, namely their path and their content of knowledge – the nature of the Ultimate Reality. For it is stated in the smriti [“that which is remembered”], ‘As it is not possible to sketch the flight of birds in the sky, so even the gods get puzzled in trying to trace the course of one who has become identified with the Self of all beings, who is a source of bliss to all, and who has no goal to reach.”

    Shankara – Commentary on Gaudapada’s karika (Ga.Ka. B., IV 87-98)

  10. Martin, perhaps what you quote is true, for Shankara, or Gaudapada. But, right here and now, it is the words and language that we use to fabricate our illusory world view with. If we cannot agree on this, discussion seems pointless. Language always points to more language. The finger pointing to the moon is still a finger pointing to the moon. We are looking at the words, the descriptions, and hoping somehow that they will magically transform us if we are worthy enough. It’s all based on ‘me’, knowing, wanting to become, to attain something. We learn this through our various societies. Language creates the sense of a being, a self. It’s all cultural and so are the mystical and intuitive experiences, revelations, that we all have. To me, this is knowledge of reality, not some special ‘state’ of union with anything. What is, seems perfect to me. Please don’t take offense at what I’m saying. It seems to me, the only reality is the one right at hand and not the one coming tomorrow or through more practice.

    BTW, where do you live in Spain?

  11. Anonymous: “Language always points to more language. The finger pointing to the moon is still a finger pointing to the moon.”

    Martin: On the contrary, language points to what is beyond language, in the same way as knowledge (expressed in words) is not just an assemblage of words, but has a referent which is other than language, that is, a state of affairs. A type of language whose purport is metaphysical: reality or an aspect thereof (e.g., Being, Consciousness), is the ‘finger pointing’, while its referent is the ‘moon’. Please note that that reality is beyond words, beyond language.The idea is, precisely, not to be fixated on the finger. Thus, to say that “language always points to more language” is meaningless.

    Besides, what is the nature of language… or of sticks and stones (or human bodies) if you are a materialist? It is not clear what you mean by ‘reality’. I’m sure everyone here will be asking the same question.

    “Language creates a sense of a being, a self”, as you say; and it can lead someone to understand what that self is when it is the utterance of one who knows (or that is in the scripture/shruti). Or do you think that everyone is cut the same size?

    In fact, the ‘mystery’ of it all is that language itself is reality, even if it is employed in relating a mythological story; but one has to have the capacity of, or the preparation for, seeing that.

  12. I would say that language ‘tries’ to point to something that is beyond language. But, how can it? Language only knows language. It is only concerned with information and imagination and is not the thing itself. Imagination uses language to formulate all kinds of things, it’s still only thinking. Thinking can never know anything but itself. This is the main reason in Zen practice you are told not to get lost in conceptual thinking.

    You were the one who mentioned ‘Ultimate Reality’ in your quote. Language and culture introduce this concept into us. It’s only a concept. What is real to you is how you are functioning, not the ‘concept’. How can reality be any different than this very moment? Knowledge has nothing to do with it. Knowledge is a result of analysis of past experience, memory, etc. By coming into contact with someone who is wise, they can help you see this, the way you function and believe that you are a ‘person’. They can’t help you see anything else because this is all that is necessary to see. You don’t need to prepare anything to discover this, you just have to pay attention. But, most of the time we don’t. We’re too busy chasing concepts and losing ourselves in what we think we want. People need problems to figure out. The Time-Being loves a good story.

  13. Anonymous,

    For someone who doesn’t believe in language you do use language a lot!

    “By coming into contact with someone who is wise, they can help you see this”. Pray how, if not through language??? As much as I can appreciate UG, in practice he never said anything substantially different from JK, in spite of his overblown critiques.

    I don’t disagree with your points on over-conceptualising, though it seems to me that it has become a bit of a dogma of you. So what exactly do you believe – apart from there is no ego – which I don’t think you will have any objection to in this forum??

    You seem to be very insistent on (implicitly) promoting some experience of no-self that you have had, and challenging others as to whether they have had that experience. So tell us more about this experience, and what that has taught you.

    Best wishes


  14. Venkat,

    My point about language is to only illustrate its limitation in helping you to achieve ‘understanding’ about anything other than the temporal, the everyday kind of things and experiences that we need to know in order to live in a society and survive. It’s not through the mind that we come to any resolution of who or what we are.

    When I said someone wise could help us see this, I wasn’t talking about something other than understanding what language and thought are. Within this context, there is the possibility of understanding what is apparent. I didn’t say that a wise person could help us see God and understand Ultimate Reality. Perhaps a wise person could steer us away from ‘misunderstanding’ and show us where our illusions lie. This is not the same as drawing out a ‘path’ towards ‘freedom’ or ‘Self’.

    UG and JK had a great similarity up to a certain point. If you ever spent time with either of them, the difference was very apparent. But neither one of them are important in this discussion.

    Pardon my dogmaticness. I admit to a certain reluctance to accept what I see as false. It may be a weakness of mine and an old habit developed from years of seeking.

    I’m not sure I believe in anything. Nothing seems to stick any longer. I hear people speaking about various ‘insights’, ‘realizations’, ‘understanding’, etc. It all seems so hollow to me. The naming of every single type of experience and mind activity along with the organization of levels of understanding and ‘states’ of mind that Vedantins (or any other group of seekers) arm themselves with seems deadly, totally unnecessary to do. So much analysis and self-sorting. Certainly, this can bring no real peace to you. I feel a deep rejection of all of this. I can’t say anything else. It’s not directed at anyone personally. There really are some very nice and intelligent people posting here with good intentions. But, keep in mind, we are talking about Belief, a topic near and dear to us all.

  15. So, anonymous, mind is the only instrument we have to analyse, discriminate and understand our own conditioning, illusions and limitations. This in itself is no mean feat – to use mind to go beyond mind. But this is where the journey can only start.

    Thereafter, the complete dropping of ego, enlightenment, whatever, is by definition, outside ‘our’ control. I take the perspective that these discussions may – or may not – help to challenge, clarify and illumine whatever has been understood to date.

    Ultimately one cannot refute Sri Ramana’s pointer – the only certain knowledge we have is of existence – consciousness. Everything else (including multiple jivas / persons) is nothing more than conjecture.

  16. Yes, you use your mind to see its own limitation, not to go beyond it. There is no beyond it, and there is no being stuck in it. I don’t know anything else. I don’t know what existence is and I don’t know who I am.

  17. Anonymous, you say “I admit to a certain reluctance to accept what I see as false. It may be a weakness of mine and an old habit developed from years of seeking.”

    It needs a lot of courage to trust. Trust what? Trust you own longing to go beyond the point of view that you have adopted in the course of all those years of vain seeking. If this longing is still there, it is worth gathering courage once more and trying out different viewpoints. If, on the other hand, this longing has died out there are two possibilities.

    Either you are truly at peace. Then everything is fine. If you are truly happy with “I don’t know what existence is and I don’t know who I am”, why not relax and stop struggling to discuss things that cannot be discussed (following your own logic).

    If you cannot really contend yourself with it, dig out this longing that you have buried much too early and uncompromisingly follow it wherever it may lead you.

  18. Sitara,

    I don’t have a sense of ‘problem’ regarding all of this. I am not walking in any direction so I don’t need to tell myself ‘to go’. What I’ve been talking about is just apparent to me. Why would I have to do anything to ‘further’ myself. Being, becoming, realizing, is all in the mind. It’s a cultural programming that is deeply embedded. Struggling and trying to do something about it is part of this programming. You do it until you can’t do it anymore. You stop believing in it. You recognize it for what it is. This puts into motion ‘other factors’. What those ‘other factors’ are I couldn’t tell you. The programming is still there, but there is no problem with it. It’s just the way it is.

  19. “Being, becoming, realizing, is all in the mind. It’s a cultural programming that is deeply embedded. ”
    Definitely. Yes. In Vedanta we say that it is mithya.
    “You do it until you can’t do it anymore. You stop believing in it. You recognize it for what it is. This puts into motion ‘other factors’. What those ‘other factors’ are I couldn’t tell you. The programming is still there, but there is no problem with it. It’s just the way it is.”
    As you are convinced that this is all there is then for you this is all there is.

  20. I didn’t say that ‘this is all there is’. I said, ‘It’s just the way it is’. I mentioned ‘other factors’, giving a hint that this was not an ‘end’ to anything. Life continues without having to figure anything out. Things happen spontaneously. There’s no agenda. It’s simple, but for those who seek, it is never enough.

  21. Dear Anonymous:

    It is now clear that some of us at least in this site have a few points of convergence with you, in this exploration we are doing together. Sitara has pointed this out, while quoting you about the overwhelming impact of culture on all of us: “the cultural programming that is deeply embedded”, as you wrote. I think it is important to clarify a few concepts (even if to finally get rid of concepts, if need be); you acknowledge the usefulness of language in communication, while realizing its limitations – that it can be a trap in the sense of indoctrination and more indoctrination, all of it mithya, that is, finally untrue (as she said). Venkat also wrote: “the only certain knowledge we have is of existence – consciousness. Everything else (including multiple jivas / persons) is nothing more than conjecture”. Evidently you have found something important in this connection, though so far you have not come forward with it, keeping a hidden card up your sleeve. Before going forward I would like to make a few points about language and about mind:

    1. MIND – Venkat said something important: “mind is the only instrument we have to analyse, discriminate and understand our own conditioning, illusions and limitations. This in itself is no mean feat”. Can you deny this? In other words, mind can be used to discover the extent of our conditioning by that very mind, and through the use of language; but it can also undo itself, as it were, and that is because there is intelligence in it. There is the title of a book which I have always retained in my memory: ‘Mind the Healer, Mind the Slayer’. It is the same thing with the proverbial horn used to remove another horn stuck in the flesh, and then discard both of them. Same thing with language and with mind. You can ‘use concepts to keep pointing away from concepts’ (Peter Dzubian). In order to ‘go beyond’ thought-philosophy-mind you have to exhaust them, their possibilities; you have to be good at them. You have to be a good philosopher to finally get rid of philosophy. At the end there may be only silence (when there is nothing else to say or think). I don’t think you can deny this.

    Even if you cannot go beyond the mind, as you say, what is the problem? We could call it consciousness, as the Yogacara school of Buddhism has it in effect (‘Mind only’); the mind is all it contains, truths, untruths, half-truths, everything.

    2. LANGUAGE – I demonstrated to you that the function of language is to go beyond itself, contrary to what you seem to hold; language is an instrument, and it is so powerful (actually mind is) that it can deconstruct itself. Language and mind go together, the former being subservient to the latter. Mind can be used for discovery (e.g. laws of nature) and also for demonstration or deduction (these are the two types of logic as pertaining to science). You cannot deny this either. Venkat gave an apt saying from Ch’an (Zen): ‘Not knowing the deep meaning of the way, It is useless to quiet[en] thoughts’.

    3. DISCOVERY – You have said that everything happens spontaneously (“Things happen spontaneously. There’s no agenda. It’s simple, but for those who seek, it is never enough.”), and that is a real discovery, an insight or intuition. Why do you, however, discard intuitions and insights as something not significant or relevant (probably you don’t like these words due to the capricious use that has been made of them)? Otherwise this would be an inconsistency, and you would have to use some synonym or other. Evidently you know something that most people don’t know, and this is obviously something important, whether you found by yourself or from some ‘wise person’, as you put it.

    I mentioned ‘deconstruction’, and this, again, is very much related to our discussion. You have clearly done your work – deconstructing language (by mind and language) and its product, ‘ego’ – and likely you are not the only one to have done so, to have carried out such feat. So far you sound to me as JK, not more, not less, though you seem to rest importance to that. Was Krishnamurty the first sage or guru to discover that ‘the seeker is the sought’ and the like (he was constantly repeating himself, not giving credit to any previous thinker or teacher, and discounting all philosophies, doctrines, teachers just as you do. I don’t deny that he was useful to a few (or perhaps many). But it is impossible that he was the first, or the only, thinker to have thought those thoughts, to have made that discovery. If you can say something more – you avowed: “you stop believing in it [the programming]. You recognize it for what it is. This puts into motion ‘other factors’. What those ‘other factors’ are I couldn’t tell you. The programming is still there, but there is no problem with it. It’s just the way it is” – if you can say something more, I for one would be grateful. This might be a good time to do it.

    To finish, something more about the trap of language and its deconstruction: From the viewpoint of Advaita Vedanta the problem lies in ignorance, whose mechanism, the way it works is superimposition. Superimposition conceals and distorts reality. There is then the need to completely transcend language and its misleading use, which is deeply entrenched in it; this is your topic, and your discovery, I say confidently. Deconstruction then is desuperimposition. The way Shankara dealt with this has no comparison with Derrida, who did not go far enough. If you are interested, I would refer you to one or two small books. What is important is not how many books one has read (or teachers one has followed), but the kind of books one has read and assimilated. And this may take many years.

  22. Dear Martin, I appreciate the time put into your response. You write very well and clearly. Please keep in mind that I am not a teacher and have no system or program with which to elucidate any path towards ‘understanding’. In this respect, I try to speak from my own experience and choose my own way of expressing this.

    Of course I agree that mind is the only instrument we have to approach our conditioning. We can change our behaviour and attitudes and break old habits, but only replace these with more conditioning, perhaps calling it a more ‘positive’ outlook. The idea that there is something ‘beyond’ this and that mind can apprehend this is another concept that seekers have argued for. For me, this is not possible and represents a kind of illusion that has pervaded religious thinking. One has to include ‘all’ concepts as being the extent that mind can know and apprehend, but never go ‘beyond’. How can it go beyond itself? How can anything go beyond itself. Coming to this point, is a letting go of the effort to ‘know’ anything ‘beyond’ and an apprehension of what is. The sense of problem begins to dissolve.

    Yes, language and mind go together. Both are conditioned and can only apprehend what is and not what is ‘beyond’. We have no way of knowing anything beyond this. This is not to say we are ‘stuck’ somewhere. This is an important recognition that opens something else. A host of intuitive information is at hand, but is this not more of the same ‘cultural conditioning’ perhaps on a deeper level? The process of recognition of what is still works. These insights and intuitions are there and so is the rest of the conditioned mind. What faculty am I to use to ‘measure’ anything? This is why I say things are happening spontaneously. You can’t hold on to anything. No information is going to take you ‘beyond’ all of this. It is more like being immersed in it without a struggle or an attachment.

    JK was the first person I ever encountered who spoke in terms that I could relate to. His message was clear up to a certain point. Of course, he couldn’t have been the first to understand all of this, but he was unique in his approach for the times. I don’t hold him up as an example to be followed. I struggled with him and I struggled even more with UG. Any time you try to duplicate what a teacher or teaching says, you are essentially cheating yourself. Their message becomes part of the conditioned cultural mind even if they warn you about this! So, we remain lost in language until that spark of recognition burns brightly.

    What are ‘other factors?’ Maybe UG explained it better than anyone, ‘the harmonious functioning of the body in its natural state’. The body is a key element in all of this, Martin. I notice a deep disconnect with it in systems like Vedanta and other ‘non-dual’ approaches by the way the concentration is on mind. I think there is a deep mystery to this body that most people are missing because of chasing concepts.

  23. Dear Anonymous:

    I see you have been thoroughly conditioned by U.G. (not a good company, in my opinion) despite his (?) and others’ warning: “Their message becomes part of the conditioned cultural mind even if they warn you about this!”. Then you say: “so, we remain lost in language until that spark of recognition burns brightly”. Does that mean that that intuition was seeing as for the first time what U.G. was pointing at, namely, ‘the harmonious functioning of the body in its natural state’?

    Either the mind provided you with some more conditioning or, if you had a spark of ‘recognition’, this was a truth outside or beyond the previous contents of your conditioned mind, that is, something new. It doesn’t matter if that intuition is only in the mind, since the ‘mind’ can be all things (same as consciousness, which can be taken as its synonym). The mind can hold truths, half truths, errors, fantasies, etc. – is that not so?

    You can deny that the mind can hold truths, but then why using the term ‘intuition’ or ‘recognition’? To me, those ‘other factors’ that have evidently conditioned you to such an extent, that is, U.G.’s teachings, have not done you any good. That is hard and fast materialism, a philosophy which has always existed in India, but with few followers, as I believe. Reminds me of what Plato, the greatest Western philosopher, wrote; ‘Tell me, is it the arm, or the man, which makes the stick twirl in the water?’.

    I already said something about J. Krishnamurty – and I hope I was not too unfair (or plain wrong). Here are my, and others’, opinion concerning OSHO and U.G., and I couldn’t say who was the better, or the worse, of the two, and in which respects.

    On OSHO, someone wrote: “This is not b.s. new-agey stuff; it is the essence of great spiritual writing.”… “… the most original thinker that India has produced: the most erudite, the most lucid, and the greatest innovator”… “pure and charismatic figure, rejecting all rational (sic) laws and institutions, proclaiming his subversion in front of any hierarchical authority. On the other hand, Bob Mullan, sociologist: “Without doubt he is an eclectic usurper of truths, and half truths, of the great traditions. Frequently also suave, flawed, false, and extremely contradictory….. sharp commercial instinct in marketing strategy, to which he knew how to adapt his teachings so as to satisfy the changing wishes of his audience… his potpourri of doctrines from several religions was most damaging, because Osho wasn’t a mere amateur philosopher”.

    To that I added my opinion: ‘Favourable opinions seem to have predominated concerning this guru (or pseudo-guru). Obviously, whatever he said or wrote that was (intrinsically) true cannot be questioned, but whatever came from him (in my opinion) has to be taken with a grain, or two, of salt.’

    As to U.G., I wrote (in 2009): ‘After reading [in ‘StillnessSpeaks’] the article on U.G. Krishnamurti, one wonders how is it possible that anyone (including the author of the article) can take the man seriously. A non-thinker who “thinks”, or rather, a “thinker” who does not think. A second and “improved” version of J. Krishnamurti, who taught humanity (or so he believed) to think, who discovered single-handedly what no other thinker or sage had discovered in the whole history of humanity (i.e.,“the thinker is the thought”)? U.G. does it again! Here is an un-rationalist who turns out to be not only, and by definition, an ilogician besides being a materialist, but also a philosopher of the absurd – since he reduces everything he touches to the absurd. It would be all right, of course, if it all is meant as a joke. His are at best half-truths, and at worst simplistic pseudo-arguments and blatant self-contradictions.

    The gall, the pretence, the arrogance of this reductionistic peripatetic author – called by the author “a unique teacher” – are without measure. It would be easy to demonstrate one by one the string of such contradictions in what he says, but, is it worth the time?’

  24. I thought I made it clear that neither one of the Krishnamurtis is relevant to the conversation. One bumps into many people who say this or that when one is seeking. The whole point of what I was saying is that they all must be seen as part of the conditioned cultural mind. Following anyone’s words is not going to change much except give you some insights and experiences, which are by its nature, the same as the conditioned mind. Until you let all this be what it is, you will have the ‘problems’ you are illustrating, accepting or rejecting, right vs wrong, etc. Your own ‘knowledge’ is choking you, Martin.

    We should stop now, Martin, because you are really on the wrong track here and have made many wrong assumptions about me from the very beginning of our conversation when you thought I was some kind of a Buddhist. The only thing you are doing right now is putting me into some kind of classification in your own head based on the assumptions that you already hold concerning such people and views. There is no value in this. Sorry to have disturbed you.

  25. I am not disturbed, and, yes, we must stop this. I don’t take this, though, as a complete waste of time, for you have finally been unmasked, despite all your denials and attempted escapes. Too bad you did not ackowledge this. Whether you are a disenchanted nihilist, or what not, it no longer matters. A wise person, you certainly do not sound to me.

    I am sorry to say that ‘you’ are a veritable nest of contradictions, and I think that many have most likely seen this. You seemed for a time to hold a trump card up in your sleeve, but it is now clearly visible, and is… nothing but smoke, as your high-sounding words: “Until you let all this be what it is, you will have the ‘problems’ you are illustrating” are no more than mere pretentiousness. I spent many hours trying to get something positive, reasonable, and intelligible out of you, and that is why I am now expressing myself in this way.

    You didn’t say a word about my “allegations” concerning U.G., OSHO, and J.K., as if that bothers you, touching a sensitive fibre, but ‘you’ – that is, not you, but ‘your’ mental make up – is so far as un-logical and flawed as U.G.’s. Birds of a feather…

  26. The only thing that is unmasked is your use of logic and ‘information’ to solve a non-existent problem in yourself. A case of mind wanting an answer, to ‘know’ and feel satisfied with itself and the knowledge it thinks it has. This is your personal ‘bone’, not mine, Martin. Sorry that your view has turned into a ‘witch-hunt’. But this is usually what happens when you are carrying around ‘a religious or philosophical view’ and it is threatened. The attack begins. I never held myself up as the picture you are painting. I told you I don’t know anything beyond mind not being able to go ‘beyond’ itself. I will leave you to your concepts about what you ‘think’ is going on. I’m also not interested in commenting on what anyone else said. It is irrelevant. You are just spinning your wheels, Martin.

  27. Dear anonymous

    I am confused by the nature and purpose of your interventions – didactic and dogmatic, rather than exploratory and discursive.

    You seem to accept that mind is the only tool we have to be able to realize its limitations and conditioning, but then jump to the meaninglessness of language and the uselessness of relying on the mind. And then talk about the need to open oneself up to ‘intuitive information and insights’ and flashes of recognition. But where exactly does this intuition and recognition happen, if not in the mind? You yourself have discounted any consciousness beyond the mind.

    I’m afraid that you are not actually engaging in rational dialogue but appealing to some kind of mystic insight, “other factors”, which is useless for everyone else because it cannot, by your definitions, be replicated or approached in any way.

    You say: “Life continues without having to figure anything out. Things happen spontaneously. There’s no agenda. It’s simple, but for those who seek, it is never enough.” Seems to me to be simultaneously self-satisfied and other-disparaging?

    Without starting down the path of ‘seeking’ as you put it, there is no way you will come to the understanding of mind’s conditioning and the falseness of the ego.
    So what would you have people do? Continue their ego-full lives in the world without questioning? Most do, and of course that is fine. Though I would tend to concur with the Socratic ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. So are you trying to advocate that for those who are trying to figure out the meaning of life and existence, they should not bother? Presumably that can’t be the point you are making since you seem to have spent time thinking about this, and have declared your own experience of ego-death.

    Finally you keep saying that “I don’t know anything beyond mind not being able to go ‘beyond’ itself” . . . but then tease us with “I try to speak from my own experience and choose my own way of expressing this” and talk about “other factors”. Sounds like you are trying to convince others (and yourself?) that you have had an experience or understanding that others haven’t . . . In a mind that you keep saying doesn’t exist, using language that you say is meaningless, and to an audience that cannot apprehend what you say through rational thought. So why bother with the many interventions? Who are you trying to convince and about what?

  28. You’re entitled to believe what you want and interpret what I said any old way. It’s always going to be like this unless we program ourselves to use the exact words and meanings that others use. This is sort of what you have agreed on already, Vedantic language and a system to explain everything. No need to disparage what I said. It’s childish. You also are putting words in my mouth and getting the wrong idea of what I’ve written about. But, that’s language for you. Let’s move on.

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