X. Belief is not the same as knowledge or understanding. Concepts and ideas are not reality itself – they are pointers to reality (a ‘finger pointing at the moon’); they are things of the mind to begin with, but it is un-logical to think or say that any one of them has, or can have, no contact with reality – directly or indirectly.
Y. We never really grasp what these teachings are talking about except in our conditioned mind.
X. 1) If you believe that, then your mind is truly conditioned and cannot know things (the content of the teachings, or what they are about) as they are. 2) But that is also a) an unsupported dogma; b) a fallacy – the fallacy of equivocation: mistaking one thing (e.g. knowledge) for another (belief or conditioned mind), or vice versa. If you studied AV more deeply, you would come to [that] understanding, which is not just conceptual or ‘intellectual’ and, rather than being merely conditioning is the result of sustained study and reflection.
Y. Letting go of ideas includes letting go of ’emptiness’. If you discover this emptiness, its reification is almost certain except in the cases of very deep realization. Why? Because of the latent tendencies of consciousness (not separable from mentation and all other sensory perceptions and modes) to re-create from habit energy. The letting go of all ideation continues. There is no thing called consciousness to hold on to or live inside of. It is all dependent origination. There is nothing that is uncaused that you can separate out from anything. It is impossible. There is just the stopping of all effort to change or transform what arises because the very nature of what arises is the same as this emptiness, which is not empty. It is free of all extremes including non duality and oneness. It is a realization of no position, no attachment, no grasping. It is beyond imagination. There is no easy way to discuss it. Maybe it’s better to say nothing at all…
… I find that you keep reducing our chat to a debate of Advaita vs Buddhism. This is not my intention. I am trying to speak from my actual experience and not throw in all the quotes of various scriptures, etc. After all, it is only through our own direct experience of the way things are that will have any meaning for us. Quoting the Buddha will not make me more right or more certain about some things if I don’t actualize them. I can even quote other sources that point to the same thing, but I don’t see the point. l don’t need to convince you of any of this. It’s not possible. An intellectual understanding will not suffice in these matters. It has to be in your bones.
X. You don’t quote or refer to the Buddha and Buddhism but, clearly, have been much influenced by and owe much to them (a conditioning which you now seem to deprecate?). Apart from the realization or not of the truth of how things are, how can you dismiss quotations – from whatever source – if they serve as illustrations of what one is talking about? I know, experience is all, and all is experience, but whose experience? The Void? Fine; Consciousness? Fine also. (what’s the difference? – Consciousness is also empty (of phenomena), provided one is not attached to words). Words and concepts, though, have a very useful purpose, though some people deny that! … the most useful being to finally do away with themselves. And that is what right thinking (right livelihood, etc.) and good philosophy do.
Y. … everything I’ve been saying about ’emptiness’ refers to the sense of existence, personal or absolute… even this sense of True Self or consciousness/awareness is also seen to have no independent existence. And, this is why Buddhism and Advaita disagree.
… I don’t say that Advaita has no value, but in my own contemplation of all this, Advaita and Self Realization, doesn’t go to the very core of existence. It still puts forth a reference point, self and consciousness. I have no philosophical problem with the concept of Brahman, but anything short of that just doesn’t seem complete to me. I think we both can admit that this is a monumental realization that neither you nor I have come to with any decisive transformation of our own being and neither one of us speaks with any authority at this level. So who is right or wrong, at this point, is neither here nor there. We are putting forth opinions of which we think make sense to us at whatever level of understanding we are at. My opinions are just that. It’s a conversation, not a demand for you to think like me. And, I’m not deprecating any influence on me, but I know very well that none of them are the thing itself.