User:B9 hummingbird hovering/Blog/Personal Weblog/Nonduality

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If you happen upon this weblog sandbox and are interested in corresponding with or befriending me, please refer Internet Cyber Register for appropriate channels and forums, particularly my preferred email address in small print. It may take me in excess of 20 years to finish this work but by the grace of that which is divine and divinely pragmatic, nothing in this world will obstruct me come what may: friendlessness, absence of family, lovelessness, homelessness, loss of health and wellbeing, poverty. The code will be published in an appropriate open, free, accessible and reputable forum for peer review in time. I have not sought to plan an overt structure as this engenders insidious bias but a natural structure has and will continue to grow organically as the project projects. I am hopeful that a clear, intelligible and intuitive structure(s) and/or themes will gracefully present themselves.

May these loci as gossamer threads of germane discourse ensue as seed-beads caressed with heartful love as benevolent and sensate action on a threaded rosary of sublime and auspicious living!

Until that hallowed point, this endgame will continue as an embedded discourse, ie. a mess and a muddle but no less informative, instructive and indeed edifying for that. Blessings B9hummingbirdhovering (aka Beauford Anton Stenberg).

Maṇībhadantānkuśa: Bejewelled Ankush of Ivory; or alternatively: Nonduality, Transpersonal Psychology, Subjectivity and the Human Condition: an embedded narrative[edit]

Maṇībhadantānkuśa: Bejewelled Ankush of Ivory; or alternatively: Nonduality, Transpersonal Psychology, Subjectivity and the Human Condition: an embedded narrative is the working title of this engaged, reflective investigation. I define terms as I value precision and I also understand that ambiguity has its usage and place. My endeavour at precision is not to close the openness of what I write, but to assist the comprehension and thereby the reception of this overview. This work is twofold, it is a cursory exploration of "nonduality" in the wisdom traditions of the World's peoples and I have chosen selectively and with purpose. Incidentally, it will identify a global development that is not real in any true sense as is just the construction of the works of a number of academic specialists such as historians, anthropologists, linguists and archeologists. That said, the development is real and there is no contradiction. This work is also the fruit of my reflection of human spiritual thought and praxis and my experience of that value.


A note on the Sanskrit title, Bejewelled Ankush of Ivory: Maṇībhadantānkuśa. Full Sanskrit title: Maṇībhadantānkuśa: Śrīmaharatnaikacittatvasaṃtānasvasaṃvedanaṃ; English: The Bejewelled Ankusha of Ivory: The Great Precious Glory; The Continuum of the Apperceptive Reflexivity of the Inclusive Nature of the Heartmind. Sanskrit written works, like Tibetan works following them, often have many names: one often contains a metaphor or analogy and another that conveys its meaning. Maṇībhadantānkuśa: Śrīmaharatnaikacittatvasaṃtānasvasaṃvedanaṃ. In the artifice of giving this English work a Sanskrit title I am following an ancient lineage and positing this work within that lineage. The Bejewelled Ankusha of Ivory: The Great Precious Glory; The Continuum of the Appercetive Reflexivity of the Inclusive Nature of the Heartmind. Citta essentially means both "heart" and "mind" or the most essential, heartful, cordial and pure aspect of our consciousness and being. Heartmind is a gloss of Bodhicitta principally from English renderings of Zen works, but the rendering has been adopted by other Buddhadharma traditions, particularly some teachers of Dzogchen and Mahamudra. I like its simplicity and its accessibility and subsequently, it is my favourite rendering for the "pure and perfect mind" (citta) of "awakening" (bodhi). Citta in the title is affixed with "eka" as "total", "one", "unitary and contracted with "tattva" or "principle", "nature", "essence" or "truth" so the "Inclusive Nature of the Heartmind". "Śrī" may be understood as the iconographic "glory" that is the halo and aura often depicted in art in many traditions as well as what is felt in truly good people in whom this heartmind or however else it is understood or codified in the various precious traditions of the World is manifest when we are open to the experience. Sometimes this holiness transforms people who are not even consciously ready for the experience. "Samtana" or continuum is both the Mindstream of which I have written about on Wikipedia as well as the the "flux" of all materiality, not even diamonds are forever as they are not timeless. I claim many of these traditions as mine simply as I am a Human in the current fulcrum of global culture, but I hold that in the system and development of human spirituality in a fashion many of these traditions have impacted on each other specifically in identifiable ways as well as indirectly in ways both known and unknown. This is what I term Systems Theology: a theology informed by Systems Theory and Cybernetics. Which is curious considering that Systems Theory and Cybernetics were informed by the Buddhadharma teaching of Pratītyasamutpāda of Śākyamuni (fl c.400 BCE).(Beauford the citation for this may be in the Permaculture Bible.)[1] The essence of the teaching understood as Pratītyasamutpāda isn't peculiar just to the Buddhadharma. The Doctrine of Flux has been associated with Heroclitus (c. 535–c. 475 BCE)) by Plato (428/427 – 348/347 BCE) and Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) as affirmed by Craig (1998: p.694).[2] It is written with no other purpose than this is of interest and of value to me and though I entertain that very few would find it of value, it is written as an offering to my Human family. It makes me feel that Humanity and I as a part of that class of sentient beings have a purpose even if my experience of my present generation and times is one of inanity, selfishness, cruelty and isolation from true intimacy and love with ourselves, each other and our environment and manifold living beings. This is understood as terror.

This terror is not new and I have no delusions of a once-upon-a-time Golden Age yet I have a real appreciation of how significantly the Human cultures are progressing in terms of their spirituality, inclusion and heartfulness which is being brought into line with material prosperity which is yet to be extended to all. I have no particular interest in esotericism and secret knowledge in truth. I have no particular interest in the exclusivity of such traditions even though many such traditions have been areas of my protracted study, contemplation and meditation. "Inclusive" is a practical, pragmatic and ideological inclusion. The living world is both beautiful and terrible, often simultaneously. Humans partaking of this beauty and terror are in my experience more terrible than beautiful. Beauty is understood as heartfulness. "Nature" may be understood as at once the fullness of our potential a well as actuality. "Reflexive apperception" will be dealt with throughout the work if the reader is aware and attentive of their presence in the experience of reading this work as well as specifically in due course and it is implied in the title by the material of the ankusha being "ivory" and in "svasamvedanam". The "ankusha", the "elephant goad" or "elephant hook" is chosen for personal, historical, meditative, inclusive and iconographic purpose and edification. As a practical tool of human endeavour it has roots in the "goad" of Egyptian iconography. Though it may be pereived as a tool of subjugation and domination this has both appropriate and inappropriate applications and employment. It is a metaphor for directing focus, attention and endeavour.


"Nondualism", "nonduality" and "nondual" are revisionist terms that have entered the English language from literal English renderings of "advaita" (Sanskrit: nondual) subsequent to the first wave of English translations of the Upanishads commencing with the work of Müller (1823 – 1900), in the monumental Sacred Books of the East (1879), who rendered "advaita" as "Monism" under influence of the then prevailing discourse of English translations of the Classical Tradition of the Ancient Greeks such as Thales (624 – c. 546 BCE) and Heraclitus (c. 535–c. 475 BCE). The first usage of the terms are yet to be attested. The English term "nondual" was also informed by early translations of the Upanishads in Western languages other than English from 1775. The term "nondualism" and the term "advaita" from which it originates are polyvalent terms. The English word's origin is the Latin duo meaning "two" prefixed with "non-" meaning "not". Wiktionary (May 2010) ventures the etymology and offers a definition of "Nondualism" thus:

Transpersonal Psychology[edit]

Caplan (2009: p.231) conveys the genesis of the discipline of Transpersonal Psychology, states its mandate and ventures a definition:

"Although transpersonal psychology is relatively new as a formal discipline, beginning with the publication of The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology in 1969 and the founding of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology in 1971, it draws upon ancient mystical knowledge that comes from multiple traditions. Transpersonal psychologists attempt to integrate timeless wisdom with modern Western psychology and translate spiritual principles into scientifically grounded, contemporary language. Transpersonal psychology addresses the full spectrum of human psychospiritual development -- from our deepest wounds and needs, to the existential crisis of the human being, to the most transcendent capacities of our consciousness."[3]


Subjectivity as collapse of subject-object into a continuum of perceiver-perceived is a key theme in many nondual traditions as it is in contemporary perceptual theory. Subjectivity qua Consciousness is the conundrum and delimitation of the Human Condition.

There is no God, as I was taught in youth,
Though each, according to his stature, builds
Some covered shrine for what he thinks the truth...
There is no God, but we, who breathe the air,
Are God ourselves and touch God everywhere.

An extract from Sonnets (1915) of Masefield[4] (1878-1967) and I entreat my reader to please be gender inclusive rather than exclusive whilst reading it. There be Theism in Pantheism be under no illusions!

Human Condition[edit]

"Sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head; and this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."
Shakespeare -- As You Like It (2.1.13)

The term 'Human condition' has been employed at least since 1933 and I have as yet been unable to establish the first attested usage. Like "nondual" and its inflections, it may not as yet be documented. We each know what constitutes the human condition but often culture conceals it from us. I will state it simply here. We are an individual, no-one is identical not even an identical twin. We are in general socialized within a society of individuals, some with similarities some with dissimilarities. Many groups or communities are identified and recognized due to shared similarities eg. family, location, ethnicity, trade, hoby and culture. There are good people, bad people and people of complex alignments and agenda. There are different cultures and different polities, different political systems, different judicatures and legislatures, different laws, different countries, different cultural practices, different religions and faith systems, different values and mores. As a result there are sometimes war, conflict and strife between individuals, between communities, between individuals and communities, between other species, etc. We need water, food and air to sustain life. We tend to live in a dynamic continuum of competition-cooperation. We are embedded in complex systems organic and inorganic. Many of us establish relationships with different species. We live on Earth in the Milky Way. Depending on our locality and culture we need certain kinds of clothes and shelter. For the most part we establish interpersonal relationships. We learn unique knowledge and experiences that further individuate our individuality so that no two people have the same knowledge, skill and experience set. There is the additional texture and natural drive of sexuality and the creative impulse. We use, create and modify and innovate tools and technology. We each undergo the trial of disease and the surety of death. Generally, we have the complexity of emotions, the ability of rationality, the propensity to learn. Curiously, human memory and experience is and are designed to fade. We as a class of organism have a fractal ordering: five sections (four limbs and head) that for the most part branch into five sections (fingers and toes). We as a species tend to perceive our experience in similar ways but there are marked divergences and varietal differences. There are various rites of passage, many with celebrations and festivities. In sum, the human condition is a complex.

Embedded narrative[edit]

The classic model of the embedded narrative is the Arabian Nights wherein Scheherazade narrates stories embedding narratives to enthrall a King and thereby forestall her death. Scheherazade as the principal narrative voice, conveys narratives in complexities sometimes to the order of eight embedded narrative levels. Though the different narrative orders are discreet they bleed into one another and reflect and refract one another through various literary devices. The usage of "embedded narrative" in this investigation of nonduality partakes of this as each thematic section is an embedded narrative but the denotation is more purposeful in this context. I employ the term with its broad usage within critical theory: every text is embedded in a narrative as it too holds embedded narratives. It is the discourse of deixes, that a text as a technical term in critical theory (eg. picture, song, book, house, etc., indeed anything which conveys meaning) always points within itself, out of itself and other texts point to it by their very nature as texts: intertextuality as an interpermeablility. Any spiritual tradition worth its salt must grapple with these themes of beauty and terror. It is my understanding that the most profound, practical and beautiful wisdom traditions of the World are increasingly understood as "nondual" traditions. To live in this world we must deliver terror as a daily matter of course as plants and animals are living. If we truly need to deliver terror be heartful in so doing, this is honourable pragmatism.

Ideology and discourse[edit]

There are more things in Heauen and Earth, Horatio,
Then are dream't of in our Philosophy.
~ Hamlet Act 1. Scene V, Shakespeare

'Open Discourse' is a technical term employed in discourse analysis and Sociolinguistics which is contrasted with 'Closed Discourse'. The concept of open and closed discourse is associated with the overlay of open and closed discourse communities and open and closed communication events. Key to open and closed discourse is access to information, equity of access, open access, quality of discourse and mechanisms and modalities of discourse control: overt, covert, implicit and incidental. As a conceptual filter and cultural construct, ideology is a function and mechanism of discourse control. Channel and signal of communication event and register of communication control discourse and therefore, determine degree of social inclusion and social exclusion and therefore, efficiency of communication event. Open and closed discourse operate on a continuum where absolute closure and complete openness are theoretically untenable due to noise in the channel. Nature of channel, signal, code, replicability, recording, transmissibility, cataloguing, recall or other variable of a communication event and its information control and context of transmission-as-event, impacts on its entrance into open discourse; where open discourse is sustained discourse.

Van Dijk (c.2003: p. 357) holds that:

"Although most discourse control is contextual or global, even local details of meaning, form, or style may be controlled, e.g. the details of an answer in class or court, or choice of lexical items or jargen in courtrooms, classrooms or newsrooms (Martin Rojo 1994).[5]

Ideology as discourse control is very important for awareness in the human as it constitutes a conceptual and perceptual filter of experience.


A "fact" is a bubble in a spirit level.

This exploration of nonduality as critical discourse analysis is founded upon the Nondualism article at Wikipedia, an article significantly improved by me (circa May 2010). But there are differences of opinion about the quality of my edits and contributions not to that article in particular but whether I have actually improved Wikipedia at all. After being linked with cults-in-the-pejorative, a baseless assertion mind you, I named the demon of my somesay-peers "bland stupidity" as was my experience of the them "the Mob" in question. By grace, I am not constrained in this Wikimedia Project so I will continue here presently. This work as declared above, was founded upon the work of others and their contributions may be ascertained by mining the History Tab at the appropriate page cited. I thank them for their contributions. I have left Wikipedia for the time being due to a Mob hiding behind Wikipedia's noble ideal of consensus. Unfortunately, consensus is flawed for very similar reasons as the charge made by classical and contemporary critiques of Democracy. In general, an individual cannot avail against an unfavourable Mob. Might and numbers are not necessarily right. Hence, I will continue my discourse here. This is excellent, as here I may critique my sources with my own voice and be more creative than I may be by the conventions of an Encyclopedia. It is not as immediately discoverable as Wikipedia, but Wikiversity is thoroughly indexed in time.

Now discourse necessitates a dialectic or a debate, whether this discourse happens as a verbal or textual dialogue or otherwise is irrespective. I also wish to associate the dialectic of scientific method: hypothesis, antithesis, synthesis. Where the synthesis as product in turn becomes a hypothesis and the refinement is ever-set in motion. A girlfriend of mine advised her Mother said a fact is a bubble in a spirit-level and this metaphor conveys a continuity of refining. These are all analogues of nonduality. Synthesis as monism is just nonduality from a different perspective.

"This historical pattern - famously redeployed by Mark - involved the idea of historical progression by contraries. A first condition - hypothesis - begets its opposite, or antithesis: a reaction against the first condition. From these emerge a third: a synthesis of the first two. As this synthesis fulfils itself it begins to show the germ of its own opposite, and the pattern is repeated, slightly differently. Hegel himself envisaged this chain-sequence as being ultimately circular."[6]

Nautilus shell

It most definitely is circular when viewed in two dimensions but is more appropriate when the model is transported into three dimensions and become spirallic such as the nautilus shell and an unfurling fern frond, which both follow the Fibonacci sequence famous in sacred numerical lore. And this both introduces and necessitates a discussion on Rose Windows and Sacred Geometry.



"Truth like water takes the form of the vessel within which it is housed..."
Srimati Sarasvati, personification of the Sarasvati River and goddess of the Arts and Learning

Fauteux (1993: p.1) discussed the iterating dialogue of Freud and Rolland that yielded what became known as the 'oceanic experience'[7]:

Some people will take offense at the suggestion that religious experience is a return to primitive psychological processes. Others will say it is obvious. Their differing views can be traced back in this century to the debate between Sigmund Freud and the French philosopher Romain Rolland.[8]

Albrecht (2007: p.51) holds:

"At the basal region of your brain, your spinal cord enlarges to form the medulla oblongata, and above it a bulbous structure called the pons, two structures that regulate and control the most primitive aspects of life: breathing, heartbeat, arousal, and primary motor control. This portion of the system is sometimes called the brainstem, considered by scientists to be the most ancient part of the brain, evolutionarily speaking. We share this primary type structure with reptiles, birds, and probably with the dinosaurs."[9]

Dharmic Traditions: Ekayāna of Dharma[edit]

Seeing the truth beyond the words of the following quotation through the employ of essence-function and the pragmatism of the Buddhadharma, the concepts of 'God' and 'soul', etcetera, may be provisionally engaged as upaya. Underhill (1911: unpaginated) in her Preface to the Twelfth Edition of her seminal Mysticism[10], drawing on the work of Von Hügel, conveys the "freedom and originality", (indulging in a tangential aside, both technical terms in Dzogchen that will be explored later in this text) that arises from the interpenetration of 'institutional authority' and 'mystical authority' of direct experience, states:

First, that while mysticism is an essential element in full human religion, it can never be the whole content of such religion. It requires to be embodied in some degree in history, dogma and institutions if it is to reach the sense-conditioned human mind. Secondly, that the antithesis between the religions of “authority” and of “spirit,” the “Church” and the “mystic,” is false. Each requires the other. The “exclusive” mystic, who condemns all outward forms and rejects the support of the religious complex, is an abnormality. He inevitably tends towards pantheism, and seldom exhibits in its richness the Unitive Life. It is the “inclusive” mystic, whose freedom and originality are fed but not hampered by the spiritual tradition within which he appears, who accepts the incarnational status of the human spirit, and can “find the inward in the outward as well as the inward in the inward,” who shows us in their fullness and beauty the life-giving possibilities of the soul transfigured in God.[11]

In declaration at the outset I have a strong sense of God qua the Ground-of-Being as an interpenetration of Personalism (Saguna Brahman; Samboghakaya) and Impersonalism (Nirguna Brahman; Dharmakaya). I do not consider one of these to be ascendant or primary. This does not confound my understanding of theurgy and my working with archetypes and tutelary deities as the imaginary friends of childhood writ large for spiritually developmental adulthood. To the untrained and uninformed sensibility, the wrathful yidam of Buddhism and Bon sadhana appear as demons and monsters, this quotation of Nietzsche's informs the interpenetrating reciprocity of iṣṭhadevatā and sadhaka, and the coalescence of the two kinds of Śūnyatā:

He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.

Kipling's 'The King's Ankus'[edit]

Embossed cover from the original 1895 MacMillan edition of The Second Jungle Book. Illustrations based on sketches by J. Lockwood Kipling (father of Rudyard Kipling).

As a child my exploration of the Dharma may have commenced with the Ankus. This may be a romantic notion, and the romance or rasa of 'reptilian-brain' (technically the Basal ganglia) endocrine feelings and sentiment or electrico-chemical sediment or instinctive hormonal-pulse in the bodymind system of the human mindstream are important in the Dharmic Traditions but more on that later; but the Ankus is the first iconic cultural artifact from the Dharmic Traditions that I remember, remembering. The Dharmic Traditions comprise the Sanatana Dharma, Sikha Dharma, Buddha Dharma, Jaina Dharma, etcetera. Historically, this is what these traditions were known as in their indigenous tongue where 'tradition' is an English gloss of words in the Sanskrit lexicon such as 'parampara'. Now this is somewhat lauding the Sanskritic great and learned tradition but many of the other indigenous tongues have worthy 'dharmic' literatures in their own right and rite. The semantic field for 'tradition' in the indigenous Dharmic tongues is and are vast. I prophesy a great frank female French scholar from without the bastion, auspice or ken of the academic ivory-tower in the fabled not too distant future will unpack these for the discerning English reader. In Western academic scholarship the cult of Grecian or Hellenic -Isms has superseded "Dharma" and rewritten them namely as Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism etcetera which is flawed and unfortunate and betrays that the traditions are fundamentally systemic and related. This is the principal reason why I prefer the rubric "Dharmic Traditions". This will become the standard.

Now back to the discourse of the Ankus. I first remember sighting and herewith cited in the movie, Jungle Book (1942) originally black and white trailblazing 'merchant ivory' film noir, later doctored, polychromatically stained, technically technicolored. It is downloadable from The Internet Archive, I need to watch it again and take detailed notes. But then in truth I need do nothing and am not required to do anything as 'knowing' arises naturally and unbidden in my mindstream. At the Positive Living Centre I happened upon the The Second Jungle Book of Kipling's in print and by the grace of goddess Serendipity it had this preeminent story enfolded within it. I mention the Positive Living Centre sited in Melbourne Australia as they feed me, an Avadhut. Feeding an Avadhaut is THE most holy activity that can traditionally be done in the Dharmic Traditions. Importantly, ANY Avadhuta is sacred in ALL the Traditions. An Avadhuta transcends the tradition even whilst they are positioned within it. Now the Positive Living Centre are not formally a part of the Dharmic Traditions but wise Indian women get their children to brush my corporeal form. Ancient traditions are living traditions and are invested in me. I mention them as I honour them and they do good work. Some people consider me egoic and prefer a 'teacher' less learned but more lauded which just offsets their institutionalized stupidity and penchant for the cult of prestige which I identify and defame later. The Avadhaut are fundamentally dejected and neglected and it is from this as much as anything else that is the origin and wellspring of their power. That and the sanctity, trial and burden of being set apart and singled out. The archetype of the scapegoat of which the Avadhaut partakes has an ancient heritage more significant than the quasi-historical sacrifice of Christ's the 'christos' or 'annointed-one' somesay circa 2000 year odd blood-rite. I could frame this now but it is not required and is easily discoverable. Let us keep to the order of ceremonies and the matters at hand.

Many consider Second Jungle Book superior to the first and that the King's Ankus the jewel of the suite of Jungle Book stories and amongst Kipling's greatest works. I knew it would naturally appear in my lifepath when timely. The amazing thing is, in the movie the Ankus is not ivory, but in the story a part of it is and it is bejewelled with a magnificent ruby and attendant turquoise. I named this exploration the Bejewelled Ankusha of Ivory before I knew that the original Kipling ankush from the short-story was ivory. That has profound significance for me as my intuition in my journey has been absolute. The timeless quality of the ivory Ankus of this work will be made apparent in time. The Kipling story gives the appellation "blood drinker" to the Ankus which brought blood blessing of Heruka clearly to mind. The mind is well-blooded, let us not forget. The English term 'to bless' is etymologically rooted in both 'sacrifice' and 'blood'. Ancient wisdom is encoded in etymology and semantic fields. The ivory nature of the Ankus in this work is key and that it is in Kipling's and other evocations of this tale betray that he either had a keen appreciation of the traditions of the Dharma or that he was accessing the Akasha or that I am attributing qualities to his work that are not there. The sum may be true, none or some. The Introduction to the World's Classics edition Oxford University Press (1987) by W. W. Robson states that this story is the best, the most accomplished out of both Jungle Books. For a time Kipling was considered one of the greatest writers of the language by both scholars and the general reading public, well so Robson relates. That the Ankus is ivory powerfully reinforces my appreciation of my intuitive guidance, the 'blessing' (Sanskrit: adhishthana) I had prior, during and subsequent to my entwinement, the pointing out instruction to the primordial nature of mind by the naga and that "we be of one blood ye and I" of all sentient beings and phenomena, lifebood, whether breathing, or living, sentient or falsely considered inanimate. Yes, I am a pantheist, panentheist and animist but not just delimited and compromised by these, but for me stated simply, there is nothing that is not animated by the grace of 'creative intelligence' (Sanskrit: prakriti). If this confounds you, Sanskrit and the Dharma just embrace the intention apart from the tradition, imbibe the salience beyond the measured letter of the words.

An ancient paradigm as the present darling of the Academy'[edit]

Nondual can refer to a belief, condition, theory, practice, or quality. The academic disciplines that study Nondualism in its spiritual permutations and cultural evocations are Transpersonal Psychology and the Anthropology of Religion and Theology amongst others. Though nondualism proper has historically been glossed as "monism" and its variants as "qualified monism" with which it may appropriately or inappropriately be conflated, the nomenclature "nonduality" is now a pervasive paradigm in Western scholarship throughout diverse academic disciplines. Importantly, such paradigms that transcend either/or constructions are pertinent given Quantum superposition theory and the models of light as simultaneous wave-particle constructions that we determine through the intent of our subjectivity.

Traditions of monism according to premier contemporary discourse invested in such works as McEvilley (2002) for example where it should be stated the absence of the term "nondual" and its inflections are conspicuous. Well it has been employed in relation to the Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta but not elsewhere. Maybe, this is to be lauded. That is yet to be determined though discourse analysis. I searched in the parts of the texts that are discoverable in Google Books and you may do so as well. Monism is to be found or even more adroitly, we now perceive its traces in ancient Egypt, ancient Persia and ancient India; in the Classical traditions of ancient Greece and ancient Rome; in several major world religious traditions; and indigenous traditions such as the Navajo; in a number of philosophers such as Martin Buber, Hans-Georg Gadamer[12] and Jacques Derrida[13], and various mystics within orthodox and heterodox traditions or arising outside of any tradition, amongst others.

Michaelson (2009: p.130) writes:

"Conceptions of nonduality evolve historically."[14]

Present "darling" of the "Academy"? So many "spiritual" books, teachers, traditions and texts tout "nondual" of late. I venture it is often ungrounded, unspecified and rarely made clear exactly what is nondual. Academy? Those who can spell and in whom are invested prestige, a prestige attributed. Is such prestige well founded and sound? We each have to determine that for ourselves.

Why is the paradigm of nonduality so valuable? Well said simply, it is very difficult with certainty to determine where any entity ends and where any entity is or where any entity begins or even to define what an entity is. Defining anything is problematic in truth. Do you end at your skin? At your range of sight? At your range of hearing? At your range of experience? At your range of knowledge? At your social-interactions? At your last breath? At the last beating of your heart? Where do we begin in the sense of the personal 'entity'? At the union of zygotes? At our first breath? At our first heartbeat? At birth? When your eyes first focus? Contemplate it. Do we begin with the origins of DNA? The origins of the Universe? When contemplating the nature of your perception as you are aware of it be aware of notions such as qualia? What is the universal if any in an entity such as a dragonfly perceived by a human as different to a dragonfly perceived by a canine as different to a dragonfly perceived by a bird? Unpacking qualia, colour, in the last or final analysis is determined by subject yes? Not by object or atmosphere nor by refraction of light and this is just one example. The subjectivity interpenetrates and informs the perception event, the cognition event of that perception event, and then the attribution of meaning to the said wave of embedded processes. Maybe there are no events but a seamlessness? It is counter-intuitive, but it may be affirmed with certainty *chuckle* that the subject and the object are not distinct.

A note on sanctity and profanity, a fun profundity[edit]

Since early youth I have been a person (and we have already established the problematic notions of persons and entities) who goes into altered states of consciousness with minimal cue. As a child I called it phasing. I went into such a state when I wrote the first version of the Trance article on Wikipedia which I created. The content emerged from me spontaneously as the fruit of a lifetime of research and endeavour. I pray that it will be appropriately cited in the years that come.

This phasing is not necessarily day-dreaming, there is no fancy. There is just union. One of my favorites as a child was gnat-vision where I would be entranced by the Darśana of the pulsing chaotic-order of a sphere-swarm of gnats. I also have been unable to be hypnotized in the "formal" sense though my Mother by birth but not by quality tried and tried. What has that got to do with anything? I am not going to explain everything. I affirm with no prejudice and with no fear that I am as holy and as profane as any other human being that has ever graced our world in the full history of this gracious Blue Planet Earth. That said, my style of profanity though wanton and sensual has never been evil. Sensuality is a source and wellspring of spiritual power. Indeed, a fun profundity. This comely import will be cumulatively nailed and nailed with an even and decided precision as a matter of course in the relentless ebb and flow of interpenetrative, embedded discourse. There is a folk saying within the International Dzogchen Community that a Dzogchenpa's realization is determined by the number of sexual contacts/partners they have accrued in their life-path. This is amplified with the fecund Nath (where the end phoneme is an aspirated T as there is no "th" sound as in English "path" within the Sanskrit garland of phonemes) and the ancient traditions of the Avadhaut. Let us name the demon of puritanical nay puratyRRRanical tyranny exactly that. Forget what you may have read or have heard, holiness in all its evocations in ancient Mother India has never been the sole domain of the bodies-sexed-male, that is if we qualify the Vedic Agnihotra and Purohit Brahmanical rites, but throughout the manifold diversity for the most part our blessed women and shining third-gender were evident in the field of sacred play. Sanyassin were of all genders and their attributed continence qua celibacy is of recent construction and not universal in the manifold Sanyassin traditions. That said, even in the ancient Indian tradition sanctity was not the sole domain of any particular aspect of the Varnashram Dharma or without. "Nath", as different to the Sampradaya, is simply a Sanskrit term for a "master" of multiple spiritual traditions. Something curious happens when you are a master of multiple traditions. What do you intuit that may be? Many of the ancient Avadhaut texts have not even entered English discourse. Why? Prudish scholars etic and emic and they have been lost to the archives of history. This will change. Avadhaut is the plural for Avadhut. The wonders of nondual praxis!

A Swarm Of Gnats

Many thousand glittering motes
Crowd forward greedily together
In trembling circles.
Extravagantly carousing away
For a whole hour rapidly vanishing,
They rave, delirious, a shrill whir,
Shivering with joy against death.
While kingdoms, sunk into ruin,
Whose thrones, heavy with gold, instantly scattered
Into night and legend, without leaving a trace,
Have never known so fierce a dancing.

Hermann Hesse as rendered in English from the German by James Wright[15]

Etymology and an introduction on the fly[edit]

I have been unable to source the first attested usage of "nondualism", "nonduality" and "nondual". They may as yet be undocumented. But I hold that they are revisionist terms that have entered the English language from literal English renderings of "advaita" (Sanskrit: nondual) subsequent to the first wave of English translations of the Upanishads commencing with the work of Müller (1823 – 1900), in the monumental Sacred Books of the East (1879) which he edited, wherein "advaita" was rendered as "Monism" under influence of the then prevailing discourse of the Classical Tradition of the Ancient Greeks commencing with the "monism" of such as Thales (624 – c. 546 BCE) and Heraclitus (c. 535–c. 475 BCE). Muller and many of the other learned and lettered of those times were versed in many languages and Greek and Latin were mandatory to be considered "cultured" and "finished". I have never read any of my forebears state that Indian literature, wisdom and philosophy, its very "memes", entered English discourse by way of the lens of the Classical Tradition and the cultural mores of the Victorian society then prevalent. But this is being stated by me clearly and stated here. Hence, the necessity of revisionism. Whether stated clearly or documented, this has been happening constantly. Knowledges and disciplines constantly interpenetrate and redefine and mutually inform and qualify. This complexity is now happening at a rate neverbeforeseen by our Humankind through facility of the Internet and the dawn of open discourse as accessible discourse. Finally, the manifold discourses are being made available to the general populace most of which are not interested or even aware that they are becoming available. Traditionally, by whom was information mediated? Contemplate that. Contemplate agendas and embedded values. The "Orient" and its perceived cultural tokens were considered wealthy and therefore prestigious. Note, the unholy constructions of the Other which the discourse of nondualism nails as unfounded. I will talk on the discourse of prestige later. I am writing conversationally. I venture it is more intelligible to most of my potential audience to employ such a voice and register. I mention discourse often don't I? I will explain the value of discourse analysis very soon.

Knowledge as part of the human condition is always grafted upon knowledge already evident. Study the history and mechanism of human metaphorical construction and my point will be somewhat clear. The human brain is made in such a way, that is in the way that we construct metaphors ~ an ancient foundation upon which have been established annexations. We construct as we are constructed. Curious, yes?

My conjecture upon "nondual" and its inflections may or may not be correct, but it is better than any source I have yet encountered. That is saying something. We have to build knowledge somewhere and I have declared the foundations unsure. This entails a very important point, knowledge is never factual. What we call facts are arbitary units of meaning founded upon other units of meaning. In truth facts are very unstable and this is clearly evident when reading a textbook in any discipline of over 100 years ago. The first usage of the terms are yet to be attested. It is highly probable that the English term "nondual" was also informed by early translations of the Upanishads in Western languages other than English from 1775. The term "nondualism" and the term "advaita" from which it originates are polyvalent terms. The English word's etymology is the Latin duo meaning "two" prefixed with "non-" meaning "not".

Language is functional and creative, purposeful. There are no true synonyms in any natural language. If you are unsure what that means contemplate it. I tender there is sound wisdom in that point, sage. "Nondual" is neither especially aesthetic nor creative. That is clearly evident yes? Hence, I declare it to be functional. New terms enter a language for many reasons; for example, technological change and cultural appropriation and necessity, amongst others. New terms are often memes that are valuable such as loan words. I venture why would the English language have even had the construction or necessity for the term "nondual" when there are so many other attested, established, beautiful terms already in the historical lexicon. Neither "nondual" nor its derivatives are available in my Shorter Oxford on Historical Principles; hence, they are new words. I love a sound point of entry.

What is nondual exactly?[edit]

Pritscher (2001: p.16) attributes a salient view on nondual realization to Loy (b.1947), an author of a work on comparative philosophy of nondual theologies i.e. Loy (1988)[16]:

"According to David Loy, when you realize that the nature of your mind and the [U]niverse are nondual, you are enlightened."[17]

The experience of a human being's outer world, that is the sum and suite of experience perceived 'outside' their body with the five senses informs ones interiority, one's mind. That said, similarly within the imaginal and cognitive realm of mind when we conjure or envision a visionary or imaginal experience with eyes shut and ears sealed to external stimuli, we may still employ all five senses, e.g. we remember or imagine an event that entails the five senses through the faculty of our mind. According to our faculty for example, we hear and perceive the imaginal as a 'real' experience in mind. Our mind doesn't discriminate either between an internal or external event: we salivate the same if we imagine a delicious meal as if we perceive one that is not imaginary. Interiority of thought and exteriority of thought in relation to the projection and reach of the sensory apparatus are conventions that each human being has by and large been calibrating since they first began to walk, see, touch, hear and taste/smell. The calibration becomes a living convention and we forget, never know or denigrate this knowledge and its wisdom and value. A wonderful aside is taste and smell, they are not different senses but by convention in English we construct them as different sensory domains.

In reprise, one's interiority consciousness one's subjectivity is a reciprocity with that which is exterior to our imaginal realm, the ontological separation of interior and exterior though counterintuitive is an illusion of the convention of our body-senses-mind calibrated or embodied experience within the bodymind system. Our interiority structures the interpretation of our experience. Our exterior socialization and experience in the world colour our interiority. Our consciousness events are determined by our experience of the world, coloured and flavoured by our cognitive propensity and sensory facility. How similar is the cognitive propensity and sensory facility of the Human?

The Mind and memory as a reservoir for objects of experience and reflection upon living embodied experience is our Universe, that is we have bodily calibrated conventions that are mental constructs, formations or ideations, that are qualified and constituted by subtle names and formative patterns. The Sanskritic tradition knows these as 'names-and-form' (namarupa). For the subjective human, our respective Universe is the Mind: in the most broadest denotation Mind and Universe mutually evoke and qualify. The Universe denotes the totality of the external world that may never be experienced in sum, an unknowable and an indefinable. Defining any object in a subjective or cavalier attempt at objective view is fraught with insurmountable obstruction. Defining anything definitively is futile. This is counter-intuitive as well but contemplate it. Where does something begin and end, what is its context what are its processes what is universal about it independent of our experience. An awareness of such complexity and unknowability and undefinability may truly awaken a person who has lost their sense of awe in their lived experience. The world is alive with mystery wherever we look but we close mystery by explaining it away, often very unsuccessfully.

Our Universe is our experience and knowledge of it. Therefore, in no uncertain terms Mind and Universe thoroughly interpenetrate. Interpenetrate is a particularly Chinese flavoured nondual language. This interior-exterior imagination-actuality isn't some metaphysical hocus-pocus some wordplay with no value or referent in the world: make no mistake. Is it possible to have an interior thought of something that has not been established from the building blocks of external experience? If I change my understanding of a concept, that change might not necessarily change the materiality the physical fabric of my World or of THE World as such but it changes my response, interpretation, knowledge and value of that materiality and physicality. Due to our subjectivity if we change our perception of our experience, our experience changes necessarily. What we understand as material and physical substance is problematic from the perspective of Human consciousness, as our experience is fundamentally subjective. Our subjectivity is the great qualifier of all our experiences 'in' the World. Where the 'in' really happens in the mind. This nonduality of the perceiver and perceived of that which is being apprehended by the apprehending sentient being is key to many nondual traditions and it is through this nonduality that other nondualities are mediated. Indeed, it may be due to the very nature of the nonduality of perceiver-perceived that all other types of nondualities in our experience of the World are evident.

Loy (1988: p.3) contrasts his view of the historicity of nonduality in some of its evocations in the experience of the peoples of The East and The West as follows:

"...[the seed of nonduality] however often sown, has never found fertile soil [in the West], because it has been too antithetical to those other vigorous sprouts that have grown into modern science and technology. In the Eastern tradition...we encounter a different situation. There the seeds of seer-seen nonduality not only sprouted but matured into a variety (some might say a jungle) of impressive philosophical species. By no means do all these [Eastern] systems assert the nonduality of subject and object, but it is significant that three which do - Buddhism, Vedanta and Taoism - have probably been the most influential."[18]

Nelson (1951: p.51-52) cites Radhakrishnan's The Principal Upanishads (1953) where Radhakrishnan renders a passage of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (verse 1.4.16) which demonstrates a theme that one becomes transpersonally identified with, or nondual to, or develops qualities associated with that to which one is engaged, worships or holds holy and though it is translated with a male pronominal it may be understood as not being gender-specific:

"Now this self, verily, is the world of all beings. In so far as he makes offerings and sacrifices, he becomes the world of the gods. In so far as he learns (the Vedas), he becomes the world of the seers. In so far as he offers libations to the fathers and desires offspring, he becomes the world of the fathers. In so far as he gives shelter and food to men, he becomes the world of men. In so far as he gives grass and water to the animals, he becomes the world of animals. In so far as beasts and birds, even to the ants find a living in his houses he becomes their world. Verily, as one wishes non-injury for his own world, so all beings with non-injury for him who has this knowledge. This, indeed, is known and well investigated."[19]

Transpersonal psychology[edit]

Theriault (2005) in a thesis explores comparative non-dual experience and the psycho-spiritual mechanisms that bring the awareness about.[20] Lewis (2007) in her thesis explores a number of specific women's experiences on their journey to wholeness and healthfulness in the nondual path of Tantra post-sexual trauma and identifies common themes.[21]

Nondualism versus monism[edit]

The English usage of the term "monism" is first attested in the work of Wolff (1679 - 1754) as relates Hegeler (2009: p.165):

The terms monism and dualism are not yet two centuries old; the former was invented by Christian Wolff as a contrast to- the latter, which, according to Eucken, appears first in Thomas Hyde's book "Historia Religionis Veterum Persarum," 170o, as a designation of Zoroaster's religion. In the same sense, dualism is used by Bayle and Leibnitz. But Wolff applies the term generally to any theory that reduces existence to two independent substances, while monism to him is that doctrine which takes the unity of existence for granted. Wolff rejects monism and classes himself among the dualists.[22]

So it is useful to note that the construct of the term "monism" was established at its outset in a relationship of mutual exclusion with Zoroastrianism which was in turn understood as an example of "dualism".

The Greek language has two words for "one": hen and monos. Hen is the numerical "one" that precedes two, three, and so on; monos means one alone, unique, or the only one, as in the term "monotheism."[23]

The philosophical concept of monism is similar to nondualism. Indeed, the terms are used as congruent by many scholars. Some forms of monism hold that all phenomena are actually of the same substance, Substance Monism, where the substance is the substratum. Other forms of monism including Attributive Monism and Idealism are similar and sometimes overlapping concepts to some nondualisms. Nondualism proper holds that different phenomena are inseparable or that there is no hard demarcation separating them in the final analysis, but not that they are the same or identifiable. The distinction between these two types of views is considered critical in Zen, Madhyamika and Dzogchen, all of which are nondualisms proper. Some later philosophical approaches also attempt to undermine traditional dichotomies, with the view they are fundamentally invalid or inaccurate. For example, one typical form of deconstruction is the critique of binary oppositions within a text while problematization questions the context or situation in which concepts such as dualisms occur.

Daniélou (1907 – 1994) opines that "nondualism" is "dangerous" as it "rests" on "monism":

"The term "nondualism" has proved, in many instances, to be a dangerous one, since it can easily be thought to rest on a monistic concept. The Hindu philosophical schools which made an extensive use of this term opened the way for religious monism, which is always linked with a "humanism" that makes of man the center of the universe and of "god" the projection of the human ego into the cosmic sphere. Monism sporadically appears in Hinduism as an attempt to give a theological interpretation to the theory of the substrata.... Nondualism was, however, to remain a conception of philosophers. It never reached the field of common religion."[24]

Though I can't speak for Daniélou and say definitively why this is "dangerous". I understand this argument would be the position of absolute Dualists, for example Madhvacharya (1238-1317), who are reputed to have held an inseparable distinction between a supreme creator and the created, and would find monism qua advaita abhorrent. My personal view of duality and nonduality as a nondual system and mutually iterating is informed by Ramanuja (1017 – 1137) as not only is it the most practical way of being in the World but also is commensurate with my living experience and realization. I hold that pure Advaita is perceiving from the Absolute Truth whereas pure Dualism is perceiving from the Relative Truth. None are right nor wrong if their heart is filled with love as they can abide in Mystery. I don't necessarily embrace all the bells and whistles of any of these traditions as theology does not stay fixed in time. I should also state here that my direct experience of Absolute Truth is that which partakes of Dipolar theism and this is the rationale why we all incarnate so that the unmoving is moved through us. My understanding of "Dipolar theism" is that deity is the nonduality of Being-and-Becoming. "Us" is to be understood as any not in the position of the Absolute. That said another way, the manifold iterate the unmanifest; the unmoving enjoys the becoming of the play of diversity. There is a reciprocity between the Two Truths.

Macranthropic Monism[edit]

McEvilley defines and discusses Greek/Latin Macranthropos and Greek Pantheos as related conceptions. Macranthropos is a contraction of the Greek and Latin prefix "macro-" meaning "large" and "inclusive" and the Ancient Greek "anthrōpos" or "ἄνθρωπος" meaning “man, woman, human being”). Pantheos is a contaction of Ancient Greek "πᾶν" or "pan" meaning "all" and Ancient Greek "θεός" or "theos" meaning "deity, a god, a goddess, God". Pan is also the fecund Ancient Greek deity of Nature and it is from the construction Pantheos that English owes the term Pantheism. McEvilley constructs an adjectival declension of "macranthropos" as "macranthropic" and employs it to qualify monism. The first attested usage I could find on the Internet for a declension of "Macranthropos" was "Macranthropy" in the revised and enlarged Bollinger edition(1964: p.408), an English rendering by Willard R. Trask of Eliade's (1951)[25] seminal work from the French and it is contextualized thus:

"The homologizations between the human body and the cosmos, of course, go beyond the shamanic experience proper, but we see that both the vrātya and the muni acquire macranthropy during an ecstatic trance."[26]

To extrapolate further, Macranthropos is an inclusive anthropomorphism of all-that-is (and the is-not in the sense of space-as-container) as a "Cosmic Person" whereas Pantheos doesn't necessarily though may anthroporphize the totality of all-that-is (and the is-not in the sense of space-as-container), but this totality is understood as a unitive deity that may be intuited as being without human attributes and this abstraction is important. This is-not aspect as a compliment of all-that-is is implied in a conception of totality but is rarely explicitly stated; making this explicit clarifies the possibility of a substantive conception or material bias. This all-that-is & is-not substance as unity is the monad, the very stuff of "Substance Monism" (which includes non-stuff) which may be further abstracted or qualified with attributes according to human conception. In context, both Macranthropos and Pantheos are understood as the all inclusive deity. Pantheos with its makeup of "theos" denotes that it is worshipful and worthy of veneration which Macranthropos does not necessarily entail in its etymology.

It should also be stated that personification doesn't necessarily imply anthropomorphism (but may): it is in this rarefied denotation that Pantheos may be a personification but not an anthropomorphism. Some may start and make exception at this distinction and proffer how can there be personality without human characteristics? This is in part salient but also ignorant of the human capacity for metaphorical extension. Can we conceive of a possible world where personality is an attribute of the non-human? Yes, it is not a significant challenge. Indeed, it is a stock narrative device and ancient storytelling technique employed in Allegory. It may be conjectured that Humanity through its humane faculty its empathy does indeed perceive personality or attribute personality to the non-human and this may be a natural psychological attribution if not vain fancy. But this may also be understood as an experience or perception not as attribution; hence taking place prior to conception or the birth or forming of concepts, indeed the subtle cognition of an experience or intuition given form in language or other signification such as iconography by way of the function of metaphorical extension.

Substance Monism or Material Monism[edit]

Substance Monism stated simply where the type of monism posited is that all that is and is not (which is understood to denote a complete set of possibility and actuality) is fundamentally the same stuff or non-stuff, the substrate.

Material monism is a Presocratic belief which provides an explanation of the physical world by saying that all of the world's objects are composed of a single element. Among the material monists were the three Milesian philosophers: Thales, who believed that everything was composed of water; Anaximander, who believed it was apeiron; and Anaximenes, who believed it was air.



Thales of Miletus (Ancient Greek: Θαλῆς) (circa 624-546 BCE) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher of the Classical Hellenic tradition.[27] According to Bertrand Russell, "Western philosophy begins with Thales."[28] Thales attempted to explain natural phenomena without recourse to mythology and mythological thinking and was formative in this influence. Almost all of the other pre-Socratic philosophers follow the lead of Thales in this endeavour to proffer an explanation of ultimate substance, change, and the existence of the World -- without recourse to mythology and mythological thinking. Those philosophers were also influential, and eventually Thales' rejection of mythological explanations became an essential tenet for the scientific revolution. Thales was also the first to define general principles and set forth hypotheses, and as a result has been given the nomenclature the "Father of Science".[29][30]


From Wikipedia and needs to be rewritten:

The apeiron is central to the cosmological theory created by Anaximander in the 6th century BC. Anaximander's work is mostly lost. From the few existing fragments, we learn that he believed the beginning or first principle (arche) is an endless, indefinite mass (apeiron), subject to neither old age nor decay, which perpetually yields fresh materials from which everything which we can perceive is derived.[31] Apeiron generated the opposites, hot-cold, wet-dry etc., which acted on the creation of the world. Everything is generated from apeiron and then it is destroyed there according to necessity.[32] He believed that infinite worlds are generated from apeiron and then they are destroyed there again.[33]

Attributive Monism[edit]

Nondualism versus solipsism[edit]

Know you appear
Vivid at my side,
Denying you sprang out of my head,
Claiming you feel
Love fiery enough to prove flesh real,
Though it's quite clear
All you beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear,
From me.
~extract of Sylvia Plath's 'Soliloquy of the Solipsist'

Nondualism superficially resembles solipsism, but from a nondual perspective solipsism mistakenly fails to consider subjectivity itself. Upon careful examination of the referent of "I," i.e. one's status as a separate observer of the perceptual field, one finds that one must be in as much doubt about it, too, as solipsists are about the existence of other minds and the rest of "the external world." (One way to see this is to consider that, due to the conundrum posed by one's own subjectivity becoming a perceptual object to itself, there is no way to validate one's "self-existence" except through the eyes of others—the independent existence of which is already solipsistically suspect!) Nondualism ultimately suggests that the referent of "I" is in fact an artificial construct (merely the border separating "inner" from "outer," in a sense), the transcendence of which constitutes enlightenment.

Metaphors for nondualisms[edit]

"Buddhism has refined various methods to observe consciousness from the first person perspective for two thousand years. Therefore it is meaningful to bring the explanation models of Tibetan Buddhism into a cross cultural dialogue."[34]

Simulacra and Simulation[edit]

Baudrillard (1929 – 2007) Simulacres et Simulation (1985) seminal work in the French was rendered into English by Glaser as Simulacra and Simulation (1996) & an Internet copy may be viewed at Scribd Glaser's translation dated 1996. It is through his work that Simulacrum takes on a different meaning and especially that used in iconography by Beer (1999) which is important. This is very thematic as it links with representationalism and facticity. Facticity is the unknowable first of which the simulacrum is facsimile without original: that holy grail objective truth that the subjective never accesses, except as fabled by some nondual traditions by 'direct perception' (S: pratyakṣa) through divine grace. It should be stated here that there are different types of direct perception and this will be discussed as this is key to some aspect of nondual experience. I want to mention phantasmagoria and sky-flowers here and the City of Gandharvas and Tulpa and the famous analogies of the Buddhadharma....

Beer (1999: p.11) employs the term 'simulacrum' to denote the formation of a sign or iconographic image whether iconic or aniconic in the landscape or greater field of Thanka Art and Tantric Buddhist iconography. For example, an iconographic representation of a cloud formation sheltering a deity in a thanka or covering the auspice of a sacred mountain in the natural environment may be discerned as a simulacrum of an 'auspicious canopy' (Sanskrit: Chhatra) of the Ashtamangala.[37] perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena approaches a cultural universal and may be proffered as evidence of the natural creative spiritual engagement of the experienced environment endemic to the human psychology.

Shakyamuni employed ten traditional similes in explanation of 'phenomena' (Sanskrit: dharmas) these are known as the "Ten Similes of Illusory Phenomena" (Wylie: shes-bya sgyu-ma'i dpe-bcu) and these inform the import of Baudrillard's "simulacrum":

The ten similes which illustrate the illusory nature of all things are: illusion (sgyu-ma), mirage (smig-rgyu), dream (rmi-lam), reflected image (gzugz-brnyan), a celestial city (dzi-za'i grong-khyer), echo (brag-ca), reflection of the moon in water (chu-zla), bubble of water (chu-bur), optical illusion (mig-yor), and an intangible emanation (sprul-pa).[38]


Enuma Elish[edit]


"What difference is there, then, between God and primigenial chaos?"
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

Egyptian iconography and art is mesmerizing isn't it? There is a unique quality to the visual experience of it that is capturing and defining but difficult to pinpoint. Egypt iconographic representationalism is patently different to other forms of human art and cultures and is particularly recognisable in its depiction of the human form, amongst other stock representations such as feathers and papyrus-reeds, etc. In general in the ancient Egyptian visual depiction of the human form there is a multidimentional collapse of perspectives. To contemporary understanding post Renaissance Europe informed by the representations of the human form in the Classical period of Greece and Rome, Ancient Egyptians had a particular sense of perspective of the human form. As a peoples they were magnificent engineers, with feats that persist in baffling our contemporary construction methodologies but a contemporary school child of primary school age with a particular flourish and artistic skill may represent perspective and dimensionality in visual representations with more apparent sophistication that these great ancient engineers. There is a progression of the general status quo of aptitude of the Human yes?

The Egyptians ingeniously represented multidimensionality in a two-dimensional medium. A stepping stone of visual and representationalism problem-solving. Looking at the depictions of Egyptian numinous beings, we see both their shoulders and torso as though from a direct encounter, stated differently, that is a front-on view dimensionally collapsed upon legs and lower body as well as face in dimensional profile. Human perception and ability to represent that visual experience is constantly evolving. Visual representation is a metaphor for the development and iteration of the Human. We are a race in progress. The theology of the Human and their experience of Divinity and that which is Numinous is similarly a work in progress.

Nonduality as a theological paradigm has become pervasive thoughout nominally non-theological dimensions. But from a nondual worldview all that is in and of the world ever-qualifies and mutually informs as we as a species refine our appreciation of manifold interconnectivities and subtle relationships of our lived experience. I don't really have any sense of historicity or progression with Ancient Egypt and its relationship with other cultures of the Ancient Near East. I am not an expert in anything in particular and have no special knowledges, this is just a play in the experience of the Human and my reflection upon matters of interest to me. If it is of value to someone, that is a miracle in and of itself.

The rationale for evoking the experience of Egypt in the evolution of the experience of the Human and our theology I hope will be intuitively grasped by my audience. I will hint at it henceforth: the primordial waters 'mythologem' to employ a term introduced into English by Kerényi (1897 – 1973) is salient. This primordial waters motif is the mythological root of human mythological imagination that through the process of abstraction and metaphorical extension was reduced, distilled or refined to the concept of a 'material monism'.

Neith depicted with Egyptian goad in her right hand

McEvilley identifies the Hymn of Amun-Ra as the first documented origin of the idea of monism. Now I don't know whether this Hymn of Amon-Ra is at Hibis Temple definitively or even whether it is the first documented example of monism. No, the metalink above is not necessarily the Hymn of Amon-Ra cited by McEvilley. In context, the Hymn to which McEvilley makes reference is cited drawn from Pritchard (1909 – 1997) in ANET (1955: pp.365-367) which in context appears to be drawn from the great temple of Karnak but this is open as the context is ambiguous. There is a large Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak but it is yet to be determined if the Hymn to which McEvilley makes reference is from Karnak or Khageh Oasis. This will require further direct investigation of ANET. The Egyptian texts in ANET were rendered in English from Hieroglyphics by Wilson (1899 - 1976) and not by Pritchard, but McEvilley did not give direct credit.

Hibis Temple in Khargeh Oasis preserves the longest monumental hymns to Amun-Re ever carved in hieroglyphs. These religious texts, inscribed during the reign of Darius I, drew upon a large variety of New Kingdom sources, and later they served as sources for the Graeco-Roman hymns at Esna Temple. As such, the hymns to Amun-Re from Hibis are excellently suited for studying Egyptian theology during the Persian Period, on the eve of the supposed "new theology" created by the Graeco-Roman priesthood.[39]

Why do I feel I need to include Amun-Re? Well Amun may be understood as the archetypal origin of the motif of Nirguna Brahman or Dharmakaya and Ra as the archetypal origin of the motif of Saguna Brahman and Sambhogakaya. This is in the typological and generic sense of first documented auspice for this dichotomy of sacred thought. I am not saying that they directly influenced each other. But for any scholar to argue that pervasion of influence is not a possibility would not only be unsound but untenable.


The Ancient Egyptians envisaged the oceanic abyss of the "Nun" ("The Inert One") as enveloping a sphere in which life is encapsulated, representing the deepest mystery of their cosmogony.[40] In Ancient Egyptian creation accounts the original mound of land issues forth from the primordial waters of the Nun.[41] The Nun is the source of all that appears in a differentiated world, encompassing all aspects of divine and earthly existence. In the Ennead cosmogony Nun is perceived as transcendent at the point of creation alongside Atum the creator god.[42] In Egyptian mythology, Nu ("Watery One") or Nun ("The Inert One") is also the deification of the primordial watery abyss. In the Ogdoad cosmogony, the name nu means "abyss". Nu was shown usually as male but also had aspects that could be represented as female or male. Naunet (also spelt Nunet) is the female aspect, which is the name Nu with a female gender ending. The male aspect, Nun, is written with a male gender ending. As with the primordial concepts of the Ogdoad, Nu's male aspect was depicted as a frog, or a frog-headed man. In Ancient Egyptian iconography, Nun also appears as a bearded man, with blue-green skin, representing water. Naunet is represented as a snake or snake-headed woman. The consort of Nun was sometimes understood to be Neith. Neith had a more rich and divergent attribution and iconography than Nun, but also shared in the personification of the primordial waters originating in the Ogdoad theology, in this capacity Neith like Nun had no gender.

  • Beauford excursion to secure ANET texts as they are not available on the Internet.

Akkadian Empire[edit]

A map of c2300 BCE locating Akkad and Egypt visually, unfortunately legend does not identify rationale for colour-usage.

I didn't even know there was such an empire! It is included as two terms from the Akkadian language were identified by McEvilley as being in the Rig Veda and one of them is regarding "primordial waters". I don't really have any sense of historicity or progression or relationship of the Akkadian Empire with Egypt as yet... but that will come. I don't yet know how the Akkadian terms temporally related to the Egyptian iconography and hieroglyphics and the greater Ancient Near Eastern religion's archetypal mythos of the "primordial waters". Now this is all just disembodied unless I affirm that on Earth life is understood by Science as originating in cellular form in water so this may be a profound intuition of our ancient kin that we have vindicated. Ancestral memory? Cellular memory? Cellular memory unlike genetic memory has received rather fanciful treatment in fiction and sensationalist media but is also a useful concept as evidenced through its citation in a recent reputable work on the science of memory (2007).[43] Or just a bloody good guess? Humans are mostly salt water, so we just adapted to carrying the primordial waters with us upon land. This isn't really so far flung when we remember that in general the Human genome bifurcation that makes a human unique is structured that certain chromosomes from the mother are matrilineal and certain chromosome from the father are patrilineal and both lineages go right back to the first progenitors. The most popular Human ancestry tests are Y chromosome (Y-DNA) testing and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing which ascertains direct-line paternal and maternal ancestry, to the Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, respectively. Refer The Seven Daughters of Eve (2001). I make this divergence as an aside to affirm a magnificent aspect of human genetics that appears was intuited by the Ancient Near East creation myths and it is poignant to remind the reader and myself that we carry ancient code directly in our genetic constitution.

The following is extracted from the Wikipedia article verbatim and needs to be rewritten and specified: The Akkadian Empire (2334 to 2083 BCE) was an empire centered in the city of Akkad (Sumerian: Agade , Arabic: أكد, Assyrian: ܐܵܟܟܵܐܕ , Hittite KUR A.GA.DÈKI "land of Akkad"; Biblical Accad) and its surrounding region (Akkadian URU Akkad KI)[44] in Ancient Iraq,[45][46] (Mesopotamia). The Akkadian state was the predecessor of the ethnic Akkadian states of Babylonia and Assyria; formed following centuries of Akkadian cultural synergy with Sumerians, it reached the height of its power between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC following the conquests of king Sargon of Akkad, and is sometimes regarded as the first manifestation of an empire in history.[47]

Nondual awareness[edit]

There are different types of nondual awareness. This is a playful gathering of some of them and they will be thematically discussed and contrasted in due course.

Trikālajña or "knower of the three times [past, present and future]":

Chalcas the wise, the Grecian Priest and Guide,
That sacred Seer whose comprehensive View
The past, the present, and the future knew.
Pope's The Iliad of Homer

The 'knower of the three times' along with the 'knower of the three worlds' are epithets of many saintly people and divinities, including Shakyamuni and is also poetically attributed by Pope to Chalcas, a sage and seer in his licentious creative construction and poetic adaptation of Homer's Illiad.

An English rendering of the Mahabharata relates the story of Janaka:

"Mention is made of a verse sung (of old) by Janaka who was freed from the pairs of opposites, liberated from desire and enjoyments, and observant of the religion of Moksha. That verse runs thus: 'My treasures are immense, yet I have nothing! If again the whole of Mithila were burnt and reduced to ashes, nothing of mine will be burnt!' As a person on the hill-top looketh down upon men on the plain below, so he that has got up on the top of the mansion of knowledge, seeth people grieving for things that do not call for grief. He, however, that is of foolish understanding, does not see this. He who, casting his eyes on visible things, really seeth them, is said to have eyes and understanding. The faculty called understanding is so called because of the knowledge and comprehension it gives of unknown and incomprehensible things. He who is acquainted with the words of persons that are learned, that are of cleansed souls, and that have attained to a state of Brahma, succeeds in obtaining great honours. When one seeth creatures of infinite diversity to be all one and the same and to be but diversified emanations from the same essence, one is then said to have attained Brahma."[48]

Craig, (1998: p.476) convey a 'stream of consciousness' or 'mindstream' as a procession of mote events of consciousness (C) with algebraic notation C1, C2 and C3 thus to demonstrate the immediacy of nondual awareness:

That nondual awareness is the only possible self-awareness is defended by a reductio argument. If a further awareness C2, having C1 as content, is required for self-awareness, then since there would be no awareness of C2 without awareness C3, ad infinitum, there could be no self-awareness, that is, unless the self is to be understood as limited to past awareness only. For self-awareness to be an immediate awareness, self-awareness has to be nondual.[49]

Nisargadatta (1897 – 1981) is reported by Powell (1994, 2006: p.97) stating thus:

...When a stage is reached that one feels deeply that whatever is being done is happening and one has not got anything to do with it, then it becomes such a deep conviction that whatever is happening is not happening really. And that whatever seems to be happening is also an illusion. That may be final. In other words, totally apart from whatever seems to be happening, when one stops thinking that one is living, and gets the feeling that one is being lived, that whatever one is doing one is not doing but one is made to do, then that is a sort of criterion.[50]


National Park Service 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC fire.jpg

Auden's poem September 1, 1939 written on the date of its title covers many themes that I hold to be dualistic: war, division, hate. For sin to function is necessitated separation, compartmentalization and duplicity. Dualism also isn't all negative and malign, it is the way things appear but is not how things are. Duality as different to Monism or the 'One' or the 'Singular' in practice is often a gloss for Plurality, Variegatedness and Multiplicity. We tend to perceive objects and we reify these which we objectify from the position of our subjectivity. This subject and object dichotomy is constructed in the English language in grammar and is therefore inherited from the languages that historically influenced English. I question if this subject-object dualism is really natural and a human cultural universal but proffer that its origin is founded in language. Any language that tends to have the format of a Subject, Object Verb creates such a distinction. As an aside 'action' (S: karman; T:las), 'agent' (S: kartṛ; T: byed pa po) and 'activity' (S: kriyā; T: bya ba) entered Sanskritic philosophy from Sanskrit Grammar (refer Williams, 1998, ISBN 8120817141, p.38).

Traditionally, Madhavacharya held a Dualist or Dvaita position and we cannot really understand the historicaly positions of Advaita and Vishishtadvaita without a historical understanding of the position of which he is an exemplar. In this article as Monism and Dualism have become considerably polyvalent and also to mean more as the semantic field of Nondualism has expanded though the exploration of this article. I will have to meditate more on how to convey this. It conveys all binaries or bifurcations that constitute the discrete positions or possibilities within a universal set, eg. Good and Evil. Is the binary of Good and Evil culturally relative? Is it a characteristic of living that Humans and other creatures with such facility and are so positioned within the predation cycle, that must use tooth, nail and knife and this eclipses kiss, caress and spoon? That is somewhat cheesy but I am going to leave it for now. I have talked about Capitalism elsewhere. The image of September 11 holds a certain salience with the duality and the liberal-democratic values enshrined by the Statue of Liberty which is a representation of the goddess Liberty and together this image is a powerful and complex statement upon Liberal democracy. The proper nomenclature for the Statue of Liberty is Liberty Enlightening the World (French: la Liberté éclairant le monde): I pose Liberty Enlightening the World? The binary established is Liberal democracy versus Terrorism, but they should be understood as mutually conditioning and informing. Pointedly, war as constructed opposition with requisite tension in duality is a study in nonduality as it progressively yields through victory and its converse and the resolution of opposition and the transformation it yields. The battle of war with its interpenetration is a metaphor of nonduality, a very model of flux.


James R Ballantyne

White (1998: p.17) identifies sources of Samkhya or Indian dualism within the Rgvedic hymn Puruṣasūkta (10.90) the title of which has been rendered into English as 'Hymn of the Man' and in the mythopoeic narrative of Prajāpati within the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad:

"This dualistic approach, which finds early expression in the Rgvedic "Hymn of the Man" (10.90), is restated time and again in later texts, sometimes taking on sexual valences (to describe a universe in which all is ultimately two), such as in a Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad myth which depicts Prajāpati as splitting into male and female halves to incestuously reintegrate "himself" through all manner of human and animal forms. This is the mythic foundation of Sāṃkhya, literally the "enumerating" philosophy, the earliest of the Indian Philosophical systems."[51]

Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition (May 2010) states that "Samkhya" is:

"one of the six orthodox systems (darshans) of Indian philosophy... Samkhya adopts a consistent dualism of the orders of matter (prakriti) and soul, or self (purusha). The two are originally separate, but in the course of evolution purusha mistakenly identifies itself with aspects of prakriti. Right knowledge consists of the ability of purusha to distinguish itself from prakriti."[52]

Samkhya qua doctrine may be traced to the older Upanishads, the Samkha Darshanam attributed to Kapila, the no longer extant Samkhya Sutra, Sāṁkhya Kārikā and the Sāṁkhyapravacana Sūtra amongst other primary resources. Samkhya qua tenet system was subsequent to many of its doctrines. Kapila, the legendary seer, is considered the founder of the system of Samkhya. Samkhya doctrines were formative for the later philosophies of the Sanatana Dharma and the Dharmic Traditions and World religions and philosophies that have responded to them particularly non-dual positions as is the import of this extended dalliance. The Samkhya may be identified as important for the general psycho-spiritual and theological development of the Indian peoples and as such important for global Systems Theology. Textual support apart from the older Upanishads and that which is attributed, associated or inspired by Kapila is the Mahabharata (specifically the Mokshadharma sections that is Book 12, Chapter 48 (or XLVIII) and the Bhagavad Gita) and the Samkhyakarika of Ishvarakrishna composed prior to 500 CE.[53] Samkhya as a Dvaita or Dualist system may be founded on the hard split between Purusha and Prakriti. These are technical terms in this tradition and we are going to need to identify the understanding of them in this tradition as different traditions understand their relationship and even what they constitute very differently. Samkhya is a dualistic philosophy and postulates two eternal realities: Purusha, the witnessing consciousness, and Prakriti, the root cause of the material substance and the natural world, composed of the three gunas. Purusha is often glossed "Soul" and Prakriti is often glossed "Nature". This additional conceptual overlay is helpful but also in itself problematic.

The exact nature and constitution of the Puruṣa in the Sāṃkhya philosophical view is important to understand, Dasgupta (1992: p.239) holds that it is without attributes but its nature is "cit" and contrasts it usefully with both the general Jaina understanding (in general Jīva, but Puruṣa amongst other terms are also employed) and the general understanding of the Vedānta (in general Ātman, but Puruṣa amongst other terms are also employed):

"Unlike the Jaina soul possessing anantajñāna, anantadarśana, anantasukha, and anantavīryya, the Sāṃkhya soul [puruṣa] is described as being devoid of any and every characteristic; but its nature is absolute pure consciousness (cit). The Sāṃkhya view differs from the Vedānta, first in this that it does not consider the soul to be of the nature of pure intelligence and and bliss (Ananda). Bliss with Sāṃkhya is but another name for pleasure and as such it belongs to prakṛti and does not constitute the nature of soul; secondly, according to Vedānta the individual souls (jīva) are but illusory manifestations of one soul or pure consciousness the Brahman, but according to Sāṃkhya they are all real and many."[54]

In this quotation I intuit that Dasgupta in making reference to a (as different to THE) Vedanta view of the 'soul' (jivātman) in its fullness as Brahman qua "Saccidānanda". Therefore, Dasgupta may be interpreted as glossing "saccit" (that is sat & cit) as "pure intelligence" which is unconventional but not untoward.

The 28th aphorism of the Samkhya Darshanam has a clear statement as to the separation and division of the internal and the external, as rendered by Ballantyne (1813 – 1864) in 1885:

"Also [in my opinion, as well as in yours, apparently], between the external and the internal there is not the relation of influenced and influencer; because there is a local separation; as there is between him that stays at Srughna and him that stays at Páṭaliputra." Aphorism 28

The Mokshadharma section (Mokshadharma Parva) of the Mahabharata is the second part of Book 12 which has three parts on total: where each of these three parts has numerous chapters. Book 12 is an interpolation into the older parts of the Mahabharata.

Section 48 (XLVIII) of the first part of this Book 12 includes the following about the Sankhyas, the followers of the Samkhya Darshan:

"Thou always conscious and present in self, the Sankhyas still describe thee as existing in the three states of wakefulness, dream, and sound sleep. They further speak of thee as possessed of sixteen attributes and representing the number seventeen. Salutations to thy form as conceived by the Sankhyas!"[55]

Challenges to Cartesian dualism[edit]

Brown (2006: p.19) charts the lineage of philosophers, namely Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), Husserl (1859 – 1938), Heidegger (1889 – 1976), Sartre (1905 – 1980), Merleau-Ponty (1908 – 1961), and Levinas (1906 -- 1995) who challenged the entrenched Cartesian dualism of a hard split between "body" and "mind" and hence, embraced different views of nondual 'bodymind' or body-mind continuum thus:

"Like the writings of Nietzsche, the writings of phenomenologists Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Emmanual Levinas have been recognized by many as providing alternatives to a Cartesian-dualist and Enlightenment-subjectivity worldview. If Nietzsche's response to Cartesian dualism, enlightenment subjectivity (i.e., Kant), reductive materialism (i.e., Marx), and reductive idealism (i.e., Hegel) is not the only nineteenth-century response, it is one of the most effective."[56]

Philosopher and Buddhist, Günther (1917 - 2006), stated:

"What we call 'body' and 'mind' are mere abstractions from an identity experience that cannot be reduced to the one or the other abstraction, nor can it be hypostatized into some sort of thing without falsifying its very being."[57]

Nondual religious and spiritual traditions and teachings[edit]

I feel it important to define and unpack "spiritual". I choose to employ the term "spiritual" as "religious" is too loaded with ties to a particular spiritual tradition. Unfortunately, the term "spiritual" tends to denote something immaterial due to its etymology. Within this article it must be understood that spirituality is always embodied in the experience of the human within the Human Condition and is therefore subjective, but not immaterial. The term "spiritual" is employed to denote that mystic impulse, mystic propensity and mystic predisposition as qualities of certain individual's experience and way of being in the World. Consequently, this work is informed by Underhill (1875–1941) who published her seminal work (1911) foregrounding the focus of mysticism scholarship as praxis and from the experience of praxis or 'practice' rather than mere theory.[58]

Myths are not other than science[edit]

Midgley (2004: p.1) challenges the separation of 'science' and 'myth':

We are accustomed to think myths as the opposite of science. But in fact they are a central part of it: the part that decides its significance in our lives. So we very much need to understand them. Myths are not lies. Nor are they detached stories. They are imaginative patterns, networks of powerful symbols that suggest particular ways of interpreting the world. They shape its meaning. For instance, machine imagery, which began to pervade our thought in the seventeenth century, is still potent today. We still often tend to see ourselves, and the living things around us, as pieces of clockwork: items of a kind that we ourselves could make, and might decide to remake if it suits us better. hence the confident language of 'genetic engineering' and 'the building-blocks of life'.[59]

The auspice Science now subsumes innumerable disciplines, sub-disciplines and interdisciplinary fields of human inquiry that have markedly divergent, shared and discipline specific technical lexicons within their specialty that often make the knowledges enshrined inaccessible to unrelated disciplines let alone the lay, non-academic or general populace. Therefore, the necessity of popular science. Popular science may be understood as functional myths as may hypotheses.

Darwin was reputed to be a gifted storyteller if not a fanciful scally-wag or even an abject liar when young. Not different to a number of children in truth. But this skill has been noted to have assisted in the perpetuation of the mythos of his scientific hypotheses and contributing to their longevity. Find source.

A good story or yarn a resonant myth a powerful pitch is also mandatory to secure research funding is fundamental to garner confidence in value of any prospective project.

Nonduality also partakes of mythic discourse... not just the Pharoah is divine, the narrative of divinity is increasingly opening to others, and this has become an ever-growing theme in nondual traditions: we too may partake of divinity and it is not something Other than us reserved to an elite or a privileged. There is a Scientific discipline that studies holiness. Actually, there are numerous intersecting and cross-fertilizing disciplines that do so. One really has to wonder why quality information the discourses of true value are not made available to all people.

Gaia hypothesis may be understood as a mythic narrative of nonduality of Humanity with their lived environment informed by such disciplines as Deep Ecology.

Midgley (2004) reminded me of the value of myths and also their danger, respect and honour a myth if it is determined to be of value but do not be caught by it. Do not be caught by the metaphor.

Herein I tender resides value and wisdom, value in understanding the shared discourse of nondualty and myths. Nonduality is a powerful conceptual tool that embraces causality. Exercise: Pick two arbitrary things or concepts far apart in time, discipline and area of knowledge and then do various kinds of brain storming to chart their relationship, to find ways they interpenetrate, inform and intersect. Put various terms in an Internet Browser and document what is returned and employ that to iterate search parameters and as a springboard for further brainstorming. A study in nonduality. Often if we identify how thing are different that also helps us identify how they are similar as a byproduct. Dualities entail one-another. Entailment theory may be informed by concepts such as apoha and the colour wheel and human perception. Opponent process isn't really what I was looking for. There is an optical illusion. You stare at a simple icon outline of a sun-yellow buddha for a long time and memorize the colour and quickly look away or shut your eyes, I forget which but then you see its 'colour compliment' in the eye of the mind, a violet buddha. Refer Wolfe (1997).[60]

Wolfe mythically evokes the the effect of "simultaneous contrast" of complementary colour in Human perception and embeds a quotation from Itten (1888 – 1967) of the famed bauhaus school:

Not only are the rays that carry and give color not colored, but every single color perceived in nature hides within itself the diametrically opposite color in the color wheel; hence, simultaneous contrast. Johannes Itten, famed Bauhaus teacher, tells us: "Simultaneous contrast results from the fact that for any given color the eye simultaneously requires the complementary color and generates it spontaneously. The simultaneously generated complementary occurs as a sensation in the eye of the beholder. It is not objectively present. It cannot be photographed."


File:Performance poster.jpg
"Performance" poster where Jagger in character states: "Nothing is real, everything is permitted", quoting the Old Man of the Mountain
"To the sanctified, all things are sanctified, however for those living in iniquity and unbelief nothing is sanctified, as even their frame of mind and conscience is unclean." Titus 1.15

What blurt is this about virtue and about vice?
Section 22, Line 464, Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
"There is a curious turning point where a bad reputation becomes a good one, because it has been especially naughty."
Beauford Anton Stenberg aka B9HH (NB: I remember there being a quote with this sentiment by Oscar Wilde but I haven't yet been able to source it so wrote my own.)

Nondual traditions have been referred to as morally ambiguous. A nondual stance would be that moral 'rules' are for moral 'infants'. The idea that there is some certitude in a fixed moral code is fallacy. A cursory survey of history and different peoples will substantiate my point. Who determines moral code and why and by what mechanism is it perpetuated and transmitted through time? These are important questions in relation to nonduality. Importantly, morality is culturally constructed. Some say a moral code is sanctioned by Godhead and divinity but then there are markedly different moralities so sanctioned. Indeed, there are many moralities. What happens when different moralities collide? Moral, immoral and amoral need to be extrapolated and defined. That said, some people hold that nonduality requires that there is no Absolute Goodness or Absolute Evil. But there is evil in the world let us be under no delusion. There is also goodness. I tender that most people experience evil in some form in their lifetime and how this experience is understood and integrated is key to their spiritual success or failure. Can there be spiritual failure? Well that necessitates a rationale for why we are in the field of experience and why there is even a field of experience in the first place. The terror I have talked of earlier that must be visited upon other living entities by humans to continue living when done in full conscience, mercy and heartfulness is other than evil. Well, that is how I perceive it. This to me is a presentiment of the salience of saying grace and prayer and thanksgiving. I have seen a cat torment a mouse and wondered whether that was evil. But then, not all cats torment their prey. Well I pray that mice are not so tortured. What humans do to other species in animal testing is inhumane indeed inhuman. In regards to grappling with evil I have meditated on the cases of young children with seemingly all the graces of a loving and the auspice of stable homelife and honourable parenting that have lured other children to their violent death. How is the murder of a child by a child to be understood morally? Who is culpable? Child, parent, society, victim, situation or a complex?

Most spiritual personages I am aware of have had a nemesis, great loss, suffering or pain which has quickened their sanctity. I want to mention the The Screwtape Letters here and the Book of Job and Simone Weil. They are unrelated and I don't even yet know what I want to say about them but they will be discussed in morality and nonduality.

"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight." C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters, extract

I find it interesting that Lewis in the process of writing The Screwtape Letters underwent a transition from an atheist or agnostic to a theist. I hold that neither a theist nor atheist stance is inherently moral or amoral or even immoral. I find the function of spirituality and its affect on morality very interesting. In Wilde I find a very interesting case of complex morality especially given his same-sex sexuality and historical love-affair that due to societal mores and double-standards brought about his defamation and the end and ruination to a glorious talent. As an allegory The Picture of Dorian Gray is very powerful and has many teachings but I find the skin-deep of beauty and that appearances are not always as they seem to be key. Morality similarly is often about appearances rather than reality. Inner morality is more important than outer morality and therefore intentionality is key. The Star-Child I find an important teaching on duress and suffering and how all favour and being spoiled harden the heart. I find the sacrifice in The Nightingale and the Rose a beautiful tale of sacred morality on the behalf of the nightingale and it also conveys how transient goodness is and how persistent that which is other. The The Pearl (novel) conveys a teaching similar to the ruby and ivory ankus in the King's Ankusha of Kipling that I mentioned at the outset. I have resolved to tell stories here as there is a truth that is conveyed in narrative that is never really imparted when directly conveyed.

Sexuality has often been demonized in western cultures, especially certain forms of sexuality. I tender that if you want to control a person and successfully curtail their sexuality then you can easily control anything else about them. Social control and sexual control have a shared and protracted history. When birth control was not generally available (even though many women in different cultures practices indigenous and folk medicine that fulfilled this function), the economics of mouths to feed offset by the input of another set of helping-hands as a possibility in the future, sexual control is easily understood as a social necessity. I would also like to declare that monasticism and continence of the sexual impulse is unnatural. Though, sexuality as a sacrifice of going with out through continence or engaging in the sexual acts as sacred are both manifestations of honouring sexuality as a sacred rite. Lust, may be understood as an unhealthy sexuality but defining exactly what this is is problematic as people have different sexual requirements. Lust as one of the Seven Deadly Sins has a significant history within the cultures of certain forms of Christianity and hence pervades their literature and cultural forms and social mores. Therefore, it is a legacy to the modern world as English is not only the lingua franca but is approaching a common language for the contemporary global community. 'Lust' was one of the first English glosses for tṛṣṇā (Sanskrit), one of the three fires of the Buddhadharma attributed to Shakyamuni and these are also known as one of the three poisons or klesha.

Karma has entered popular spirituality throughout the world from the Dharmic Traditions. I don't know if I 'believe' in karma. Karma has been and continues to be a justification for disparity and inequity that is culturally constructed and socially perpetuated. Just as it was done in Mother India with the caste system. Now the caste system wasn't all demonic in that it also was the medium for the transmission of skills as well as a social support system for the infirm, unwell, aged and those children without parent and guardian. I find a valuable analogue to Karma in the history of the Caucasian peoples to be the memes of Orlog and Wyrd.

Cammell's 1968 film Performance (film) had Jagger in character intone "Nothing is real, everything is permitted" as the wisdom of the Old Man of the Mountain, as Hassan-i-Sabah.[61] The Old Man of the Mountain may have been a title of the head of the assassins as Rashid ad-Din Sinan is known with this appellation. Marco Polo mentions the Old Man of the Mountain (and the assassin's creed upon consumption of hashish?) is similarly found rendered into English in the novel Alamut (1938 novel) thus:

"There's a strange double edge to the maxim that nothing is real and everything is permitted, as I just showed you with the pathetic example of my son. For those who by nature aren't meant for it, all it means is a heap of empty words. But if someone is born for it, it can become the north star of his life. The Carmatians and Druzes, to which Hakim the First belonged, recognized nine grades that their novices had to fight their way through. Their dais courted new adherents with tales of Ali's family and the coming of the Mahdi. Most of these converts were satisfied with simple legends like those. The more ambitious ones pressed the dais for more answers and were told that the Koran is a kind of wondrous metaphor for higher mysteries. Those who still weren't satisfied had their faith in the Koran and Islam undermined by their teachers. If somebody wanted to press even further, he learned that all faiths are equal in their accuracy or inaccuracy. Until, finally, a small, elite handful was ready to learn the highest truth of all, based on the negation of all doctrines and traditions. That grade required the greatest courage and strength from a man. Because it meant that he would spend his whole life without any firm ground beneath his feet and with no support. So there's no need to worry about our principle losing its effectiveness, even if a lot of people find out about it. Most of them won't understand it anyway."[62]

Some people, actually many, may balk at my employ of assassin wisdom in a spiritual context. But the Assassin like Shaolin Monks and the Bushido Code of the Samurai whilst not necessarily nondual paths, hold the nondual truth that fighting and violence may be compassionate and just and contextually appropriate when left with no other recourse. Moreover, Padma Translation Committee's rendering of an embedded quotation of one of the famed "Twelve Vajra Laughs" (drawn from the Pile of Jewels Tantra; Wylie: Rin-po-che spungs-pa' rgyud which is numbered as one of the seventeen tantras) cited in the Nelug Dzö one of Longchenpa's "Seven Treasures" (Wylie: mDzod bdun) is clearly an example of the technical twilight language of Atiyoga and the pedigree of the skillful doctrine of the mindstream:

Listen further, O Vajra of Speech! Behold the nature of phenomena, empty and all-pervasive timeless awareness. How marvelous — it is unborn and abides timelessly, coemergent with being itself. Even if a person were to seize a sharp weapon and slay all beings at once, that person's mindstream would still be free of benefit or harm. Ha! Ha![63]

Svecchācāra (IAST; Sanskrit: स्वेच्छाचार) is a Sanskrit word and important in the Nath Sampradaya.[64]

'Svecchācāra' means: acting as one likes, arbitrariness, acting without restrain.[65]

Woodroffe (1951: p.440) defines 'svecchācāra' and associates it to notions of Antinomianism and that it is evident in the Upanishads and the Tantras:

"Lastly, the doctrine that the illuminate knower of Brahman (Brahmajnani) is above both good (Dharma) and evil (Adharma) should be noted. Such an one is a Svechacari whose way is Svechacara or "do as you will". Similar doctrine and practices in Europe are there called Antinomianism. The doctrine is not peculiar to the Tantras. It is to be found in the Upanishads, and is in fact a very commonly held doctrine in India."[66]

Woodroffe (1951: pp.440-441) also goes on to state that:

"In Svecchacara there is theoretical freedom, but it is not consciously availed of to do what is known to be wrong without fall and pollution."[67]

Svecchācāra is important in the Nath Sampradaya evocation of their realized ideal, of the Avadhuta; as Mahendranath states:

"Sveccha means one's own wish or free will. Svecchachara means a way of life where one acts as one wishes and does what is right in one's own eyes. Doing one's own Will. The concluding Sanskrit expression in the Avadhoota Upanishad is "Svecchachara Paro."
The term "Paro" means a mysterious or secret pattern to that action done by one's own Will. In other words, we do our Will but with discretion, not making it too obvious, nor to harm or hurt other people. Yet this is also a typical Nathism; a complete reversal of Vedic morals and philosophy."[68][69]

Mahendranath and Aleister Crowley were intimates. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" (AL I:40)

This term is employed in the closure of the Avadhuta Upanishad.[70]

The term 'svecchācāra' also appears nine times in the Mahanirvana Tantra first translated into the English from Sanskrit by Woodroffe (1913).[71]

Svechchhachara, “following one's own [true] will” is also evident in the Kali Tantra 8.19.

Shashibhusan Dasgupta (1976: p.63) to his third edition (1969) reprint (1976) of his seminal text on five sahaja traditions entitled Obscure Religious Cults first published in 1946, holds that:

In the post-Upaniṣadic period a free spirit of religion, leaning mainly to the subjective side, characterises the early epic literature of India, particularly the Mahābhārata. There are stories in the Mahābhārata, where the teachings of true religion are being received from people belonging to the lowest class of the social order. In the Anuśāsanika-parva of the Mahābhārata [Chapter 108], where Bhīṣma is explaining to Yudiṣṭhira the really sacred places of pilgrimage, we find that the mind with the transparent water of purity and truth, when associated with the lake of patience, is the best of all places of pilgrimage. He whose body is washed with water, cannot be said to be the really cleansed one; he, who has controlled all his senses, is the really cleansed one, and he is pure within as well as without. To dive into the water of the bliss of Brahma-knowledge in the lake of the pure heart of all bathing, and it is only he, whom the wise recognise as the real pilgrim.[72]

CVIII = Chapter 108

Tradition: an uncommon or a common trade[edit]

What is being traded in tradition? Individuality, pregnant possibility, ill-informed constructs, knowhow and/or wisdom? This isn't the right spot for this but something important came to mind, and it needed to be captured. I need to mention the discourse of the Great Tradition of those with 'prestige' and the Little Tradition of the 'common' folk (Robert Redfield, Peasant Society and Culture, 1956: p.70):

In a civilization there is a great tradition of the reflective few, and there is a little tradition of the largely unreflective many. The great tradition is cultivated in schools or temples; the little tradition works itself out and keeps itself going in the lives of the unlettered in their village communities. The tradition of the philosopher, theologian, and literary man is a tradition consciously cultivated and handed down; that of the little people is for the most part taken for granted and not submitted to much scrutiny or considered refinement and improvement.

This overly simplistic diachronic view of Redfield is of its time and problematic but it inadvertently highlighted the importance of prestige in subsequent discourse and this was of profound importance. The little tradition became one of prestige in its own right, as the hegemony of standard speech variety over dialect became moot. Refer: [131]

Anthropology and the varieties of experience. We chunk the auspice term of "Sanatana Dharma", "Dzogchen", "Christianity" for example around like that actually has some quantifiable denotation and a shared consensus at that. Remember the problematics of 'entities'? Is a spiritual tradition invested in its mythos,its transmission lineage, its iconography and semiology, its theology and philosophy, its technical lexicon, in the soil of its point of origin, in its textual tradition, in its ritual, in the florescence of its culture, in the cultural tokens and ornaments of mind and what appears to those said minds which the foolish objectify? Is there ever a Golden Age? Is a neo-Tradition really new? What is new about the New Age except on the large poor scholarship? Most New Age artifacts are really repackaged ancient knowledge unattributed at worst, or vain fancy at best. All of this play shares in the discourse of nonduality as there is nothing in truth new under the Sun except maybe a new narrative archetype and a new technology or a newborn. That said, is an aggregated recombination ever really new? We are the stuff of the cauldron of timelessness (Swimme & Berry, The Universe Story, 1992).

Itten (1974: p.11) one of the former teachers of the bauhaus school holds that:

Learning from books and teachers is like traveling by carriage, so we are told in the Veda. The thought goes on, "But the carriage will serve only while one is on the highroad. He who reaches the end of the highroad will leave the carriage and walk afoot."[73]

Philip Almond (The British Discovery of Buddhism, 1988: p.13):

Buddhism, by 1860, had come to exist, not in the Orient but in the Oriental libraries and institutes of the West, in its texts and manuscripts, at desks of the Western savants who interpreted it. It had become a textual object, defined, classified, and interpreted through its own textuality.... By the middle of the century, the Buddhism that existed "out there" was beginning to be judged by a West that alone knew what Buddhism was, is, and ought to be.[74]

Berthrong (1994: p.133) conveys what I understand as the importance of an inclusive theology that includes many voices to inform our "emerging world of global thought" which he calls a "pluralistic vision of theology":

For any major religious tradition there are many lineages, many stories, many theologies and philosophies. From inside the pluralist vision of theology, the sooner that we learn to do theology honouring this pluralism, the better off we will be in terms of the emerging world of global thought.[75]


I just realized that now I am no longer required to keep apples with apples but may integrate thematically according to my premise. Whatever that may be. But there is something key, very visible, very humane, very real and very wonderful in the example of the divine stigmata. Now to convey something salient in relation to the compassionate manifestation of the stigmata embodied in sainthood through a personal anecdote that is so very unrelated but so very apt. I came to this realization by the way of a small child at an empowerment who I through a serendipitous happenstance encountered as I was seated, tying my shoelace in the liminality of a doorway. His eyes for no reason that I knew just started to well with tears as his eyes searching met mine and I responded in kind, an empathic bridging, a transpersonal very humane compassion. An open channel.

A young Padre Pio adorned with the divine stigmata.

The God of traditional Christianity is defined by one exegete, namely Aquinas (ca. 1225 – 1274) in his Summa Theologica which may be respectfully rendered into English with no disservice as omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. The devil or adversary is an opposing character, but as a general convention is given as subordinate to God. In one simplistic estimation, the Christian faith thus considers God and the Adversary to be two distinct, opposing "personalities", though unequal in power and prestige. The Adversary becomes the constructed nexus of all that is wicked by consensus and personally by a given individual. This partakes of the discourse of psychological projection, the postmodernist construction of The Other, attribution of falsehood and the Jungian Shadow. Traditional Christianity, with its emphasis on the struggle between good and evil, is decidedly incompatible with nondualistic thinking. Some mystical varieties of Christianity are non-dual, as are some varieties of Judaism. Both are Abrahamic Traditions. Now why the stigmata? Well this is first documented with St Francis whom I have always loved. What is the psycho-spiritual mechanism embodied here? What is bloody going on? I feel there is a salient discourse that may be brought into play from Vajrayana. The generation stage and the completion stage. This characterization is rather minimal and not truly representative but employed for a purpose. The generation stage is where a sadhaka creates a charged nexus of holiness thoughout diverse sensory, creative and experiential channels whether imaginal or 'internal' that is through creative internalized imaginative visualization within the mind or 'external' through the generation of an 'external' mandala outside the mind *chuckle* for example. The sadhaka generates an arbitrary loaded 'prestige' construction of holiness. Vajrayana Buddhists qualify this construct as being nondual to Shunyata and then merge the plasticity the Prajna of their psyche with it. My personal practice has been the construction of little crystal mandala or medicine wheels and though I have worked with archetypal personalities such as deities through such conduits, my favoured have always been natural phenomena such as flora and fauna and the Classical Elements which I gloss 'processes'. Indeed, where I have worked with Dharmic and non-Dharmic deities, my key point of entry in beginning working with them has been their divine accoutrement, tools or weapons and their mount or steed for example. Though this sounds iconic, my preferred mode is aniconic. This is a positive spin on the terror and openness of Existentialism and the Human Condition and that we are most effective and spiritually mature when we choose what gives our life and the experience of living meaning.

Ferrer & Sherman (2008: pp.156-157):

A participatory spiritual universalism does not establish any a priori hierarchy of positive attributes of the mystery: Nondual insights are not necessarily higher than dual, nor are dual higher than nondual. Personal enactions are not necessarily higher than impersonal, nor are impersonal higher than personal. And so forth. Since the generative dimension of the mystery is undetermined and dynamic, spiritual qualitative distinctions cannot be made by matching our insights and conceptualizations with any pregiven or fixed features. By contrast, I suggest that qualitative distinctions among spiritual enactions can be made by not only evaluating their emancipatory power for self, relationship, and world, but also discriminating how grounded in or coherent with the ongoing unfolding of the mystery they are. Moreover, because of their unique psychospiritual dispositions, individuals and cultures may emancipate themselves better through different enaction of the mystery, and this not only paves the way for a more constructive and enriching interreligious dialogue, but also opens up the creative range of valid spiritual choices potentially available to us as individuals.[76]

Two Truths[edit]

  • excellent source on two truths, comparative treathment of buddhadharama and advaita vedanta (p.177) by key scholar.... I don't necessarily agree but they will be good as grounding [132]

My first exposure to a Two Truths doctrine of sorts was in the The Birth of Tragedy rendered into English from the German by I remember not who: the Two Truths of sorts being the Dionysian and Apollonian.

I have found the discourse and the meme of the 'Two Truths' (satyadvaya) to be both of value as well as obstructive and obscuring. The meme is evident in varieties of the Sanatana Dharma and varieties of the Buddhadharma and numerous other traditions as well I intuit:

"Though the notion of two truths (satyadvaya) is implicit in Buddhism from the beginning, as it is in Vedanta and, indeed, in any philosophy or religion that holds to a norm distinct from the everyday, Madhyamika alone makes the distinction into its crucial thought."[77]

The Nyingma, a development of the Madhyamaka amongst other accretions, innovations and consolidations, integrate the two truths as a living experience as reputably did Ramanuja. They may have identified the interpenetration or coalescence of the Two Truths around the same time. I have found it powerful and useful to embrace the Two Truths as two perspectives of one Truth. That way the nonduality and interpenetration of Relative and Absolute is very present and not Other. Relative is dual vision, dual experience, duality and an experience of dualities. Some will make the sound charge that in this world we cannot escape dualities as they constitute the field of experience. I have had the personal experience in states of consciousness, of a boundless unity. Which is why I can't seem to live life blinded by dualities as I perceive do so many of my 'peers'. I am not interested in winning, fame or materiality and I am also somewhat impractical from a relativistic view as a direct result of my experience of nonduality. This isn't to say that I don't experience heat and cold, night and day. These states reveal to me that there is diversity and duality in experience. But my personal experience also has demonstrated that there are mechanisms or filters of experience that may alter and render void the duality of experience. Be it boon, bane, vain fancy or grace, I cherish the many different states of consciousness with which I have been blessed and as a result nothing is as important to me as being engaged in spirituality as a lived experience to honour my realization.

I find it a useful tool, given the nomenclature 'nonduality', to gloss the process of living and abiding in the Absolute, 'yoga' (communion): a dynamic engaged darshan as lived experience in the World and throughout all states of being or consciousness in a play of equalibrium to dualities, resolving their bitter-sweet into the one-taste of equanimity and surrender.

Thurman (1976, 1991: p.3) in his introduction to his rendering of the nondual Mahayana text Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra states as he perceives it that:

There are basically two kinds of theory about ultimate reality: nihilism and "absolutism." Of course, intellectual history abounds in theories vastly different in detail, but all share one or the other of these basic postulates about reality. They either deny it altogether or they posit some sort of ultimate entity, substratum, or superstratum that serves as foundation, essence, container, or whatever, of the immediate reality. And this absolutism, while appearing to affirm something ultimately, actually negates the immediate reality in favour of the hypostatized ultimate reality. For if "God," "Brahman," the "universe," "the void," "nirvana," "pure mind," "the Tao," "pure being," and so forth, make an ultimate reality beyond the imperfection of our world, the spiritual man must naturally strive to escape this imperfection to reach his ultimate and eternal well-being. However widely the absolutes posited may differ, they all impel us in practice to negate our immediate reality.[78]

The gendered bias is somewhat forgiven in the quotation given the initial date of publication but the summary is sound in respect of two kinds of "absoluteness" posited: first, a nomenclature for an ineffable as a positive value, eg. Tao, Brahaman etc.; second, an absence as anti-nominal attributed a nomenclature "nihilism". Well the two types or kinds of absoluteness sound reasonable to me given the representative sample of the discourse I have studied, which is of course partial. Any sample can never be representative. That said, there is always an aspect to any discourse to which we may never be privy: a book we never read, an article to which we never have access, a point we never understand or a key piece of information we never even know we don't understand, or the representation to which we are exposed has no real correlation with what it purports to represent or significantly misrepresents.

To call nihilism a kind of absoluteness is a bit curious but I hold that holding no position is still the stance of a position. Somewhat like a zero as a placemarker in the decimal system. Nagarjuna historically contented with exactly that point and (he asserted that) he held no assertions, (he opined) no opinions and (held the position of) no position or view.

There is a pervasive theme apparent to me in many varieties of nondual tradition that I have ascertained through cultural traces, cultural artifacts and representations: that a true and full awareness of our present reality, is that to which we are to awaken and not to some otherness, some other reality at the end of the breathless body in this life. I have experienced other realities in this life so, I know that 'ordinary reality' is really a value judgment and partakes of consensus reality discourse as well as the prestige of the 'common ground' of experience. Such assertions as to common ground is very tenuous and unprovable, but even as each of us if we have legs that move stand on one Earth, you hopefully discern the point. I know that truth is only invested in my experience of the world as Subjectivity and I have long-since ceased seceding my power and authority to Other, to do so would be in my estimation a duality. This is not to render anybody impotent, but, truth is nowhere other than where I am. Reader, you too should embrace this if you are ready for the fullness of it. Not my truth but the orientation of your own Subjectivity. I research in order to qualify my experience and to define my spiritual knowing and as I have a calling to do so, not out of the drive or need of a seeker. There is nothing to seek.

Though in my heart of hearts I do hope there is a purpose to this whole play of living and there is somehow justice and a reckoning for the disparity I perceive in my human world. I have experienced the surety that this is so but this may be just the particular endochrinal chemical alterations worked upon my bodymind and that was in the sealed samadhi of One. Back to critiquing Thurman. He is perpetuating constructions of Otherness of "God", "Brahman" the "Universe", "The Void", "Nirvana", "Pure Mind", "pure being". A few of these terms are numbered amongst the technical lexicon of Buddhadharma varieties but there are discourses where they are all placed in awakened experience in body in this reality so Thurman's bias to his Buddhadharma tradition and his perception of that tradition is to be declared. Well this is my reading. There is an untenable fallacy in positing the fullness of the experience of these ineffables that are unknowable outside of direct experience that are given a nomenclature in their native traditions and then that nomenclature appropriated by a colonized and colonial, partiality. Especially when they are not the prestige lexicon favoured by the writer who writes with agenda. In regards to a denotation of "God", "Brahman" the "Universe", "The Void", "Nirvana", "Pure Mind", "pure being", how has Thurman determined and established the signified of the said signifier? I respect Thurman, but all this is too open. Maybe I have too many critical tools and uncertainty is too apparent to me. I have contemplated at different times throughout my life each term Thurman has isolated as a gloss of the Absolute. I am confident his meaning of them, my meaning of them and yours dear reader are shared though very different. What is individuality in one analysis if not a colonization of the individual mind and experience of a person with cultural constructions and cultural tokens that are not native to the individual and are annexations from without? Memes, the discourse of memes.

Legge (p.47) rendered an extract of the purport to the commentary of Hexagram 1 "Heaven" (乾 Ch'ien: 'The Creative'), I Ching, thus:

"The great man is he who is in harmony in his attributes with heaven and earth; in his brightness with the sun and moon; in his orderly procedure with the four seasons; and in his relation to what is fortunate and what is calamitous with the spiritual agents."[79]

Ancient Traditions[edit]

Amun the ineffable

Studying McEvilley (2002) has in a way conveyed the possibility of how much significant cultural exchange and influence may have happened between Egyptian, Persian, Mesopotamian, Hellenic, Roman and Indian cultures, amongst other ancient peoples not herewith mentioned. People move around and their ideas, technologies and innovations travel like wildfire especially through the watery winds of trade, currents of ocean and the earthy cloven trail and blistered foot. Ideas, technologies and innovations may also take place concurrently and without diffusion. McEvilley's work is the fruit of 30 years research. There are problems with it, but that said, there is no work without flaw and no work on the historicity of global spirituality could be informed without being aware of the matters to which McEvilley is conversant. In charting nonduality, I wouldn't have anticipated that I would include Egypt, Sumer and other non-Indian ancient cultures but following McEvilley (2002), I intuit that would be not only naive but grave omission. As I am going to chart nonduality, I have to also chart Monism as "monism" was how the term "advaita" was first translated into English.

Classical Traditions[edit]

Michaelson (2009: p.130) identifies what he perceives to be the origins of nondualism proper founded in the Neoplatonism of Plotinus within Ancient Greece and employs the ambiguous binary construction of "the West" [as different to 'the East', refer Saïd's utilization of the discourse of 'The Other' in Orientalism (1978)]:

"Conceptions of nonduality evolve historically. As a philosophical notion, it is most clearly found for the first time in the West in the second century C.E, in the Neoplatonism of Plotinus and his followers."[80]


Ramana Maharshi

Advaita (Sanskrit a, not; dvaita, dual) is a nondual tradition from India, with Advaita Vedanta, a branch of Hinduism, as its philosophical arm. Advaita may be rendered in English as 'nondual', 'not-two' or 'peerless' and though there are monist themes in the most recent sections of the ancient Rig Veda (Mandala 1 and Mandala 10), that is, the sections that were finalized or interpolated last; nonduality finds its first sophisticated exposition in the "Tat Tvam Asi" of the venerable Chandogya Upanishad (6.8.7)[81], an upanishad favoured by subsequent proponents of Advaita Vedanta. Gauḍapāda (c.600 CE) furthered this philosophical theory that was later consolidated by Sri Shankaracharya in the 8th century CE. Most smarthas are adherents to this theory of nonduality. Further to this, Craig, (1998: p.476) hold that the nonduality of the Advaita Vedantins is of the identity of Brahman and the Atman where the identity is "objectless consciousness, as awareness nondualistically self-aware":

Advaita Vedānta is a scripturally derived philosophy centred on the proposition, first found in early Upaniṣads (800-300 BC), that Brahman - the Absolute, the supreme reality - and the self (ātman) are identical. The identity is understood as an objectless consciousness, as awareness nondualistically self-aware. Arguments in support of the view that nondual awareness is the sole reality are developed by classical and modern Advaitins, from Gauḍapāda (c.600 AD) and Śaṅkara (c.700 AD), in hundreds of texts. Some of these are suggested in Upaniṣads.[82]

Vaishnava traditions of Advaita[edit]

Chaitanya and the Avadhuta Nityananda depicted leading sankirtana in medieval India

Chaitanya (c.1485-c.1533), a mystic saint of medieval Bengal in India, disseminated a form of monotheistic devotion to Krishna that also suggested an admixture of monistic theism. For Chaitanya, Krishna is the sole supreme entity in the Universe, and all other conceptions of god are manifestations of Him, including the ineffable Brahman.

Advaita does not equal Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta is for the most part Shaivite or is often identified as having Shaivite leanings and is a specific tradition within the Sanatana Dharma but many other traditions within the Sanatana Dharma have Advaita or nondual aspects, cults, teachings and texts, the Vaishnavas and their Avadhuta literature e.g. Uddhava Gita and Hamsa Gita, the teachings of Ramanuja, etc. Vaishnava-Sahajiya cult, etc.

"Modern-day Orissa was a place of rich ferment of varied religious and philosophical traditions between the 15th and the 17th century AD. The Buddhist Tantric tradition which prevailed between the 8th–11th century AD had a powerful influence on later Vaisnavism. Later Nāthism became popular on the soil. At various points of time Saivism and Sāktism also left their impressions on the Orissan land. Fourteenth to 16th century was a critical period in Orissan literary history where the language of literary Oriya matured. So also did its religious and spiritual tradition, growing into a rich amalgam of diverse faiths and spirits unified primarily by the cult of Lord Jagannātha at Puri. The poetry that emerged showed diverse influences and experiments in terms of both thoughts as well as forms. They also showed refinement in terms of assimilation of various religious and philosophical beliefs and resulted in a fairly evolved form of Vaisnavism that was unique to Orissa."[83]

Simhadeba (1987: p.317) affirms that the first record of Jagannatha in literature is by the Mahasiddha Indrabhuti, the Vajrayana adept of Buddhadharma, in his famed work, the Jnana Siddhi:

"N. K. Sahu emphasises Indrabhuti, the Raja of Sambhal (Sambalpur), who has been assigned to have ruled during the dark period of the history of western Orissa by the author to have been the propounder of Vajrayana Buddhism. He was the first Siddha to identify Buddha with Jagannath and he was the worshipper of Jagannatha whom he prays at several places of his famous work Jnana Siddhi. In Sanskrit literature Jagannath as a deity is unknown before Jnana Siddhi, Jagannath mentioned in the Shantiparva of the Mahabharata of Bangabasi edition and even in early publication of Bangabasi edition is an interpolation as this is not found in the Poona edition of Kumbakonam edition ...".[84]

Ramanuja (c. 1017 – c. 1137 CE)[edit]

There are three texts on Ramanuja @ the Internet Archive

"According to Ramanuja, Brahman is the Self of all. However, this is not because our individual personhood is identical with the personhood of Brahman, but because we, along with all individuals, constitute modes or qualities of the body of Brahman. Thus, Brahman stands to all others as the soul or mind stands to its body. The metaphysical model that Ramanuja thus argues for is at once cosmological in nature, and organic. All individuals are Brahman by virtue of constituting its body, but all individuals retain an identity in contradistinction to other parts of Brahman, particularly the soul of Brahman."

Bhagavata Purana[edit]

Daniel P. Sheridan has documented the Advaita tradition of the Bhagavata Purana. Sheridan (1986: p.136) introduces the nondual or advaitic themes to the Bhagavata Purana thus:

The Bhāgavata, according to its own account, is a treatise on the meaning of Brahman (āśraya), which is the support and refuge of the devotees. All its other topics and characteristics are devoted to explaining the ramifications of Brahman. Brahman is above all the Supreme Deity, Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa. Yet in the very first verse of the Bhāgavata, Brahman, the highest reality, is connected with the universe: "Him from whom is the creation, etc. of the universe." In the first canto Sūta declares the non-dual nature of this absolute reality: "Those who possess the knowledge of the Truth call the knowledge of non-duality as the Truth; it is called Brahman, the Highest Self and Bhagavān. The Bhāgavata thus clearly appeals to the non-dualist tradition of Vedānta as the framework for its assertions about the non-dual nature of the Absolute, who is identified with Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa.[85]

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.27.11

mukta-liṅgaṃ sad-ābhāsam
asati pratipadyate
sato bandhum asac-cakṣuḥ
sarvānusyūtam advayam

Sheridan renders this verse into English and discusses it contextually according to his experience.

Celtic Traditions[edit]


I read The Owl Service (1967), I happened upon it for 50 cents or thereodd and purchased it and from so doing with the serendipity of happenstance I found the following which smells nondual yet I will need to go deeper. My intuition never fails me in matters of research. I have learnt to trust in the process and get out of the way and let it unfold.

Not of mother and father
Did my Creator create me
But of nine-formed virtues,
Of the fruit of fruits,
Of the fruit of the primordial God,
Of primroses and blossoms,
Of the flower, wood and tree.
Kat Godeu , Beauford source who rendered in English...

Graves, following Nash, accepted that the poem is a composite of several different sections, among which he named a Hanes Taliesin (History of Taliesin) and a Hanes Blodeuwedd (History of Blodeuwedd).

The following is how the passage is rendered in the Skene version, drawn from Book of Taliesin within the Four Ancient Books of Wales (1868)(complete @ Sacred Texts though Mary Jones of the Celtic Literature Collective has provided a lovely free site with valuable annotations) :

Not of mother and father,
When I was made,
Did my Creator create me.9
Of nine-formed faculties,
Of the fruit of fruits,
Of the fruit of the primordial God,
Of primroses and blossoms of time hill,
Of the flowers of trees and shrubs.
Of earth, of an earthly course,
When I was formed.
Of the flower of nettles,
Of the water of the ninth wave.[86]

Philip Shallcrass in 'A Priest of the Goddess' within Pearson & Samuel (1998) states:

"Having conceived of a supreme, non-dual reality and dubbed it Brahman, Hindu philosophers realised it was not accessible to the human mind and personified it as Ishvara, Creator and Lord of the Universe, viewing all other gods as manifestations of aspects of Ishvara. The name I give to non-dual, ultimate reality is Celi, a Welsh word meaning 'creator', or 'deity'. I see each of us as containing a spark of this essential spirit, a spark that connects us with all the rest of creation, for every other being also contains this same undifferentiated spiritual essence. And here I refer not only to human beings, but to all our relations, animal, vegetable, mineral and spiritual. In common with many Pagans, I am a pantheist, seeing spirit in all things."[87]

Orphic Mysteries[edit]

I have secured primary resources as well as English translations.

Today I have remembered the primacy of poetics and I am contemplating having Nonduality and poetry as a theme.

Orphism (more rarely Orphicism) (Ancient Greek, "Ορφικά") is the name given to a set of religious[88]

Yantra, Mandala, Rangoli[edit]

"You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation's hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children."[89]

Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 5, that it is much more difficult to focus on God as the unmanifested than God with form, due to human beings having the need to perceive via the senses.[90]

Yantra function as revelatory conduits of cosmic truths. Yantra, as instrument and spiritual technology, may be appropriately envisioned as prototypical and esoteric concept mapping machines or conceptual looms. Certain yantra are held to embody the energetic signatures of, for example, the Universe, consciousness, shta-devata. Though often rendered in two dimensions through art, yantra are conceived and conceptualised by practitioners as multi-dimensional sacred architecture and in this quality are identical with their correlate the mandala. Meditation and trance induction that generates the yantra of the subtle body in the complementary modes of the utpatti-krama and saṃpanna-krama are invested in the various lineages of tantric transmission as exterior and interior sacred architecture that potentiate the accretion and manifestation of siddhi.

Khanna (2003: p.21) in linking Mantra, Yantra, Ishta-devata, and thoughtforms states:

Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially 'thought forms' representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations.[91]

Yantra is an aniconic temenos or tabernacle of deva, asura, genius loci or other archetypal entity. Yantra are theurgical device that engender entelecheia. Yantra are realised by sadhus through darshana and samyama. Yantra, or other permutations and cognate phenomena such as Mandala, Rangoli, Kolam, Rangavalli and other sacred geometrical traditions, are endemic throughout Dharmic Traditions. Some Hindu esoteric practitioners employ yantra, mantra and other items of the saṃdhyā-bhāṣā (Bucknell, et al.; 1986: p.ix) in their sadhana, puja and yajna [92].


Nathamuni (c.900-950)[93] was a Vaishnava scholar who founded the Sri Vaishnava tradition. He is notable for collecting and codifying the 4,000 verses of the Alvars known as the "Naalayira Divya Prabhandham" in the Tamil Language. Nathamuni systematized the Sri Vaishnava theology in Sanskrit after collecting the Tamil verses of the Alvars. He was engaged in significant active dialectic with Buddhadharma proponents.

In the following Werner (1993: p.86) identifes the dynamic between the personal deity and the bhakta or devotee which are are ostensibly a dualism as there is required a separation to have a relationship though the mystery of the loving reciprocity unites and binds them in nonduality according to their devotion:

Thus the supreme ideal of bhakti is a state of reciprocal love between Kṛṣṇa, who is the Lord himself, and the devotee who is in His power, a state in which each member of the loving relationship feels spiritually deficient and void without the other and find his fulfilment only in the other.[94]

'I am Thine', 'Thou art mine' and 'Thou I am', these are the developmental modes of devotion according to Madhusūdana, an authority on both nondualism and bhakti. It should be stated that this closely charts the mysticism of Buber in I and Thou.


Whicher (2003) in Whicher and Carpenter (2003: pp.51-52) challenges the "dualistic" historical paradigm of Yoga scholarship founded in a separation of "puruṣa" and "prakṛti" thus:

"It is often said [by Western scholarship] that, like classical Sāṃkha, Patañjali's yoga is a dualistic system, understood in terms of puruṣa and prakṛti. Yet, I submit, yoga scholarship has not clarified what "dualistic" means or why yoga had to be "dualistic". Even in avowedly non-dualistic systems of thought such as Advaita Vedanta we can find numerous examples of basically dualistic modes of description and explanation."[95]

Rājarshi (2001: p.45) conveys his estimation of the historical synthesis of the School of Yoga (one of the six Āstika schools of Sanatana Dharma) which he holds introduces the principle of "Isvara" as Saguna Brahman, to reconcile the extreme views of Vedanta's "advandva" and Sankya's "dvandva":

"Introducing the special tattva (principle) called Ishvara by yoga philosophy is a bold attempt to bring reconciliation between the transcendental, nondual monism of vedanta and the pluralistic, dualistic, atheism of sankhya. The composite system of yoga philosophy brings the two doctrines of vedanta and sankya closer to each other and makes them understood as the presentation of the same reality from two different points of view. The nondual approach of vedanta presents the principle of advandva (nonduality of the highest truth at the transcendental level.) The dualistic approach of sankhya presents truth of the same reality but at a lower empirical level, rationally analyzing the principle of dvandva (duality or pairs of opposites). Whereas, yoga philosophy presents the synthesis of vedanta and sankhya, reconciling at once monism and dualism, the supermundane and the empirical."[96]

Sikh dharma[edit]

"Modern scholarship has demonstrated how Sikhism has--through the Sant tradition--been influenced by the devotionalism of Hindu (Vaiṣṇava) Bhakti, the hath-yoga of the Nāth tradition, and the mysticism of Sufism."[97]

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion which holds the view of non-dualism. A principle cause of suffering in Sikhism is the ego (ahankar in Punjabi), the delusion of identifying oneself as an individual separate from the surroundings. From the ego arises the desires, pride, emotional attachments, anger, lust, etc., thus putting humans on the path of destruction. According to Sikhism the true nature of all humans is the same as God, and everything that originates with God. The goal of a Sikh is to conquer the ego and realize your true nature or self, which is the same as God's.

An important nondual text which is held to be a guru by Sikhs is the Guru Granth Sahib.

  • Mandair, Arvind (2005). 'The Politics of Nonuality: Reassessing the Work of Transcendence in Modern Sikh Theology' in Journal of the American Academy of Religion, September 2006, Vol. 74, No.3, pp. 646-673.

Sant Mat[edit]

Sant Mat (Devanagari: संत मत) was a loosely associated group of teachers that became prominent in the northern part of the Indian sub-continent from about the 13th century. Theologically, their teachings are distinguished by an inward, loving devotion to a divine principle, and socially by an egalitarianism opposed to the qualitative distinctions of the Hindu caste system, and to those between Hindus and Muslims.[98]

The sant lineage can be divided into two main groups: The northern group of Sants from the provinces of the Punjab, (Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh), who expressed themselves mainly in vernacular Hindi, and the southern group, whose language is archaic Marathi, represented by Namdev and other Sants of Maharashtra.[98]

Schomer & McLeod (p.216-217):

"In the Maharashtrian tradition, the Sants are not only thought of and referred to as Vaishnava bhaktas or Bhagavatas, but are specifically identified as Varkaris, the devotees of Lord Vitthala of Pandharpur. According to R.D. Ranade, the Sants of Maharashtra all belong to the Vitthala-sampradāy: "not that the followers of other sampradayas are not Sants, but the followers of the Varkari Sampradaya are Sants par excellence." Furthermore, though the Sant tradition as a whole is sometimes thought of as propounding nirguṇa bhakti, i.e. bhakti having as its object the quality-less, invisible, all-pervading supreme Reality, this formulation is more appropriate to the northern Sants than to the Sants of Maharashtra. The Varkaris are to a certain extent saguṇa bhaktas in that they are devoted to at least one visible mūrti, that of Vitthala, considered a svarūpa ('spontaneous manifestation') of the Godhead. It is indeed the popular cult of Vitthala that gives the Maharashtrian Sant tradition as a whole its characteristic Vaishnava flavor. The popular cult of Vitthala as a young cowherd boy merges into the cult of Krishna as cowherd, and Vitthala himself is identified with Krishna-Gopal.

Ultimately, however, it is not the Vitthala icon that grants salvation, but devotion to the Name of God, the invisible, all-pervading Godhead. It is this ardent devotion to the divine Name which is the rallying point of all the Sants, both northern and southern. This is well exemplified in two sākhīs attributed to Kabir in the Ādi Granth collection of the 'sayings' (bānī) of the 'Bhagats'. The sākhīs present a brief dialogue between two Maharashtrian Sants -- Namdev (Nama), the tailor (śimpi) and his contemporary Trilochan:

   O Nama, māyā has deceived you
     said his friend Trilochan:
   Why do you keep printing cloth
     instead of meditating on Ram?
   Said Nama: O Trilochan,
     with your mouth, invoke Ram,
   With your hands and feet, do all your work,
     keeping your soul fixed on Niranjan.

Such an utterance, put by Kabir in the mouth of his illustrious predecessor Namdev, points to the convergence of the spiritual attitudes of the northern Sants and the Sants of Maharashtra. Whatever their particular religious tradition, the Sants are seekers of the 'Pure' (nirañjan), the Absolute, a Godhead which transcends their own traditional allegiances. This spiritual attitude tends to blur not only the distinction between nirguṇa and sirguṇa, but also the traditional distinction between Shaivism and Vaishnavism. In Maharashtra, as well as Gujarat and later on, in Karnataka, it is possible to follow step by step the gradual merging of the Shaiva faith into the nonsectarian Vaishnava bhakti of the Sants."[99]

Kashmiri Shaivism[edit]

File:Trident Yantra of Parama Siva.jpg
The trident (triśūlābija maṇḍalam), symbol and yantra of Parama Shiva, representing the triadic energies of parā, parā-aparā and aparā śakti


Abhinavagupta (Kashmiri_language: अभिनवगुप्त) (approx. 950 - 1020 AD[100][101]) was one of India's greatest philosophers, mystics and aestheticians. He was also considered an important musician, poet, dramatist, exegete, theologian, and logician[102][103] - a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture.[104][105]

He was born in the Valley of Kashmir[106] in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen (or more) teachers and gurus.[107] In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of which is Tantrāloka, an encyclopedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Trika and Kaula (known today as Kashmir Shaivism). Another one of his very important contributions was in the field of philosophy of aesthetics with his famous Abhinavabhāratī commentary of Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni.[108]

Jain dharma[edit]

  • Digambara
  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments
  • Khajaraho thru Daniélou (1907 – 1994) and the photography of his lover that brought the temples to the World

Buddha dharma[edit]

Though popular discourse both etic and emic as well as the discourse of scholarship with which it intersects, employ the term "Buddhism" for the Buddhadharma (and often employ the term uncritically), it is salient to be mindful that the Buddhadharma is not a monolithic tradition[109] but a continuum of a number of sub-traditions and praxis-lineages (or sadhana-lineages), many of which tout a number of nondualities proper in various sub-traditions and 'vehicles' (Sanskrit: yana); refer Wallace (2007: pp.106-107).[110]

Nonduality as Shunyata and Prajna[edit]

Huntington & Wangchen (1995: p.119) hold where 'emptiness' is a gloss of Shunyata (Sanskrit) and 'wisdom' is a gloss of Prajna (Sanskrit):

With the actualization of emptiness, manifest in wisdom as an effect, the bodhisattva gains access to the nondualistic knowledge of a buddha. It may be that this concept seems particularly abstruse because it is associated not so much with a way of knowing as with a way of being, for we have seen the justification underlying claims to knowledge of this type is necessarily immersed in a certain form of life...a kind of nondualistic knowledge is present wherever a particular epistemic act is embedded in an intuitive awareness of the unique context through which two apparently discrete phenomena are intimately related, as is usually the case, for example, when we speak of a cause and its effect.[111]

Further to the coincidence or nonduality of Shunyata and Prajna within the 'Pure-and-perfect-Mind' (Wylie: byang chub sems[112]; Sanskrit: Bodhicitta), Günther & Trungpa (1975: p.30) state that:

We cannot predicate anything of prajna except to say that when it is properly prajna it must be as open as that which it perceives. In this sense we might say that subjective and objective poles, (prajna and shunyata) coincide. With this understanding, rather than saying that prajna is shunyata, we can try to describe the experience by saying that it has gone beyond the dualism of subject and object.[113]

Buddhadharma (general)[edit]

All schools of Buddhism teach No-Self (Pali anatta, Sanskrit anatman). Non-Self in Buddhism is the Non-Duality of Subject and Object, which is very explicitly stated by the Buddha in verses such as “In seeing, there is just seeing. No seer and nothing seen. In hearing, there is just hearing. No hearer and nothing heard.” (Bahiya Sutta, Udana 1.10). Non-Duality in Buddhism does not constitute merging with a supreme Brahman, but realising that the duality of a self/subject/agent/watcher/doer in relation to the object/world is an illusion.[114]

Within the Mahayana presentation, the two truths may also refer to specific perceived phenomenon instead of categorizing teachings. Conventional truths would be the appearances of mistaken awareness - the awareness itself when mistaken - together with the objects that appear to it or alternatively put the appearance that includes a duality of apprehender and apprehended and objects perceived within that. Ultimate truths, then, are phenomenon free from the duality of apprehender and apprehended.[115]

In the Mahayana Buddhist canon, the Diamond Sutra presents an accessible nondual view of "self" and "beings", while the Heart Sutra asserts shunyata — the "emptiness" of all "form" and simultaneously the "form" of all "emptiness". The Lotus Sutra's parable of the Burning House implies that all talk of Duality or Non-Duality by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is merely Skillful Means (Sanskrit upaya kausala) meant to lead the deluded to a much higher truth. The fullest philosophical exposition is the Madhyamaka; by contrast many laconic pronouncements are delivered as koans. Advanced views and practices are found in the Mahamudra and Maha Ati, which emphasize the vividness and spaciousness of nondual awareness.

Mahayana Buddhism, in particular, tempers the view of nonduality (wisdom) with respect for the experience of duality (compassion) — ordinary dualistic experience, populated with selves and others (sentient beings), is tended with care, always "now". This approach is itself regarded as a means to disperse the confusions of duality (i.e. as a path). In Theravada, that respect is expressed cautiously as non-harming, while in the Vajrayana, it is expressed boldly as enjoyment (especially in tantra).

Williams & Tribe (2000, 2002: p.73):

It was the Buddha who declared that karman is intention, a mental event. In so doing, Gombrich comments, the Buddha 'turned the brahmin ideology upside down and ethicised the [U]niverse. I do not see how one could exaggerate the importance of the Buddha's ethicisation of the world, which I regard as a turning point in the history of civilisation' (Gombrich 1996:51). Thus the Buddha turned attention from physical acts cleansing the pollution resulting from 'bad karma' --such as acts of physical asceticism, or the Brahmanic actions of purification, which typically involve washing, or ingesting 'the five products of the cow' --to 'inner purification', mental training.[116]

Buddhadharma or Hindudharma? Symbols are so slippery

Now, this is wonderful but also a misrepresentation. The ritual specialist of the Brahmanas were accomplished in interior visualization. Case in point, as a matter of course it was mandatory that there be one Brahmana who in the interior of his mind, they were all men to my knowledge, I have not known of a women in such ritual. But then I am sure there were women's traditions but I have not been privy to them. Though I will mention Rangoli etc. Now back to the point. The one Brahamana would visualize perfectly the whole ritual in the interiority of his mind at the time the ritual was simultaneously being enacted in the world by others. It was a failsafe. Also, understood that the 'dreaming' Brahman was dreaming the action into being. Somewhat like the dreaming Lord dreams the world into being and all activities and sentient beings. But it is understood in the tradition that the real ritual is the interior offering. That is the salient point. Actually, that is not quite it. The interior offering seals the exterior offering. No, the interior offering makes the outer offering a sacrament. That's better. Need to find quote. One does wonder how there was synchronization between the visualizer and the enactors, but then mythic time is timeless so maybe absolute synchrony was not required.

Textual example of a nondualism in the literature of the Buddhadharma: Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra[edit]

Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra (IAST) (Wei-mo-chieh ching) This text has nondual themes which it gives the Sanskritic nomenclature "Reconciliation of Dichotomies" (yamakavyatyastahara).

Korean Buddhism[edit]

Park (1983: p. 147) identifies essence-function as an East Asian Buddhist strategy to convey nonduality:

Since the t'i-yung or "essence-function" construction is originally used by East Asian Buddhists to show a non-dualistic and non-discriminate nature in their enlightenment experience, it should not exclude any other frameworks such as neng-so or "subject-object" constructions. Nevertheless the essence-function construction must be distinguished from the subject-object construction from a scholastic perspective because the two are completely different from each other in terms of their way of thinking.[117]

Park (2009: p.11) holds that:

"...the terms mom and momjit are familiar to all Koreans, and have their roots in ancient history. Although I translated them in the introduction as "essence" and "function", a more accurate definition (and the one the Korean populace is more familiar with) is "body" and "the body's functions". The implications of "essence/function" and "body/its functions" are similar, that is, both paradigms are used to point to a nondual relationship between the two concepts. There is a subtle but crucial difference, however, between the two models, "essence/function" and "body/its functions". The term essence/function (which is often translated by East Asian scholars into the Chinese term t'i-yung) has a rather abstract, philosophical tone, connoting an impression of being somewhat removed from the nitty-gritty details of everyday life. My primary interest, however, is in the human being's personal understanding and experience of nonduality."[118]



Gross (2009: p.207) a leading Feminist theologian identifies the nondual import of yab-yum iconography where His ever-so-skillful 'method' (upaya) really enjoys Her ever-so-spacious 'wisdom' (prajna), a wisdom where wisdom-in-reciprocity enjoys method; where His-Her enjoining is coincident in 'great bliss' (mahasukha):

...a vital point must be made, especially given that the yab-yum image is always said to be an image in which the partners are in sexual union...[t]hough it may seem paradoxical and difficult to understand, this image, nevertheless, is not literally about sex, as in sexual intercourse. It is about nonduality, which is visually represented by the yab-yum icon.[119]

Indigenous Americans[edit]

Burrus & Keller (2006: p.71-72) in their work of transdisciplinary theological colloquia, convey the casestudies of Indigenous Americans which sing-a-song of nondual gender and nondual biological sexual designation and the natural spectrum of possibility:

However objective it may seem, even the scientific framework for defining the "two sexes" is a cultural construction. As Judith Butler has shown, the dominant American ideology of the body affirms the existence of two sexes, two genders, and two basic sexualities that are treated as naturally distinct. But biological sex is not ideologically independent of the other terms; our culture defines our genetics, object-oriented genital joining, and other gender practices in binary fashion in order to identify us dualistically as either male/masculine or female/feminine (where "normal" males and females are heterosexual). Violations of these norms are deemed unnatural. So doctors have tended to define genetic sex dualistically, as XX or XY, and to label violations of the genetic dualism (such as XXY and XO people), including "mismatches" between genetics, hormones, and appearance, as "diseased." But as Anne Fausto-Sterling describes, there is a spectrum of such deviations, naturally occurring bodies with non-dual genital combinations and diverse physicals expressions. Hidden among the males and females living in America are so-called "true hermaphrodites," who possess both ova and testes, "genetically male" (XY) people with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome who look like and are usually raised as women, "genotypically female" (XX) children whose genitalia are virilized at puberty, and "genotypically male" (XY) children who are anatomically female or androgynous at birth but at puberty develop testes, a fused scrotum, and secondary male sex characteristics.[120]

Though the inclusion of nondual bodies, genders and sexual designations and other biological florescence, are by definition qualified for inclusion in this article and such inclusion is rarefied, especially when understood as as embodying a syncretic and wholistic ideal, a "a one-sex/body, multi-gender model that reflected ancient gender norms" and which is metaphorically apt in many spiritual nondual traditions as Burrus & Keller (2006: p.71) state:

...the dominant ideology of the body in the premodern West was a one-sex/body, multi-gender model that reflected ancient gender norms for the distribution of power. Only with the rise of Western medicine and genetics has sex been conceived as dual and ontologically stable--male and female.[121]



Dzogchen is a relatively esoteric tradition to date but I have been engaged in bringing its traditionally closed discourse into the open in a way that is respectful of the tradition and its transmission restrictions. Times change and I hold that the discourses of nonduality are key for the growth and harmony of our global peoples. Dzogchen is concerned with the "natural state", and emphasizing direct experience. This tradition is found in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, where it is classified as the highest of this lineage's nine yanas, or vehicles of practice. Similar teachings are also found in the non-Buddhist Bön tradition, where it is also given the nomenclature "Dzogchen" and in one evocation the ninth in a nine vehicle system. The nine vehicles in both the Bonpo and Buddhadharma traditions are different but they mutially inform. In Dzogchen, for both the Bonpo and Nyingmapa, the primordial state, the state of nondual awareness, is called rigpa.

The Dzogchen practitioner realizes that appearance and emptiness are inseparable. One must transcend dualistic thoughts to perceive the true nature of one's pure mind. This primordial nature is clear light, unproduced and unchanging, free from all defilements. One's ordinary mind is caught up in dualistic conceptions, but the pure mind is unafflicted by delusions. Through meditation, the Dzogchen practitioner experiences that thoughts have no substance. Mental phenomena arise and fall in the mind, but fundamentally they are empty. The practitioner then considers where the mind itself resides. The mind can not exist in the ever-changing external phenomena and through careful examination one realizes that the mind is emptiness. All dualistic conceptions disappear with this understanding.[122]


'Ground [of Being]' (Tibetan: གཞིWylie: gzhi)[123] (pronounced: zhi) is an essential cultural token of the Dzogchen tradition of both the Bonpo[124] and the Nyingmapa.[125] It is a seminal conceptual point and focus of praxis foregrounded in the Dzogchen literature (particularly the Seventeen Tantras) and sadhana (Sanskrit) lineages and may be apprised as a memetic conduit for the continuum[-of-being] to enter into the concept-less Dzogchen nondual 'awareness', 'rigpa' (Wylie: rig pa; IAST: vidyā)[126], Dzogchen-as-process where the praxis albeit 'natural' (Wylie: lhan skyes; IAST: sahaja)[127] and 'effortless' (Wylie: lhun grub; IAST: anābhoga)[128] has the sense of 'spontaneity'.[129][130] The Gankyil is the polysemic teaching tool employed in the Dzogchen tradition to iconographically signify the triune of the Ground, a symbol of primordial nonduality.

The Gankyil is the polysemic teaching tool employed in the Dzogchen tradition to iconographically signify the triune of the Ground, a symbol of primordial nonduality. Throughout the Seventeen Tantras, the principal tantras of the Nyingma Dzogchen doctrinal view on the Sugatagarbha qua 'Ground' (Wylie: gzhi), the triune of 'essence' (Wylie: ngo bo), 'nature' (Wylie: rang bzhin) and 'power' (Wylie: thugs rje) is foregrounded. Where essence is openness or emptiness (Wylie: ngo bo stong pa), nature is luminosity, lucidity or clarity (as in the luminous mind of the Five Pure Lights) (Wylie: rang bzhin gsal ba) and power is universal compassionate energy (Wylie: thugs rje kun khyab), unobstructed (Wylie: ma 'gags pa).[131]

Goodman & Davidson (1992: p.14) render the triune of the Ground as 'facticity' (Wylie: ngo bo), 'actuality' (Wylie: rang bzhin) and 'resonance' (Wylie: thugs rje) and in so doing place this esoteric cultural token of Dzogchen-as-praxis within the wider technical language of contemporary philosophical discourse in the English:

"Process-oriented rdzogs-chen has as its pivot the notion of gzhi which means both ground (the static, sort of steady-state) and reason (the dynamic, the intensity with which the unfolding of the initial pure potential occurs). As such pure potential (gzhi ka-dag chen-po) it is discussed in terms of a triune dynamics, referred to as facticity (ngo-bo), actuality (rang-bzhin), and resonance (thugs-rje). This English rendering of highly technical terms constantly employed in the original Tibetan sources has been chosen in order to avoid any essentialist associations, so much more so as the texts themselves repeatedly state that ngo-bo (facticity) has nothing to do with nor can even be reduced to the (essentialist) categories of substance and quality; that rang-bzhin (actuality) remains open-dimensional, rather than being or turning into a rigid essence despite its being what it is; and that thugs-rje (resonance) is an atemporal sensitivity and response, rather than a distinct and narrowly circumscribed operation."[132]

In their annotations to this paragraph, Goodman & Davidson (1992: p.147) identify that they draw the sense of 'resonance' from the work of Jantsch (1975)[133] and further define thus:

" is resonance (thugs-rje) with its fluctuations as high-level excitation (rig-pa) and low-level excitation (ma-rig-pa)--in cognitive terms: understanding (rtogs) and lack of understanding (ma-rtogs)--that stochastically determines the final outcome of the process."[134]

Günther (1984) provides a definition and discussion of facticity in relation to the Dzogchen Ground.[135]

I have yet not sourced a suitable definition of facticity in relation to my experience of the Essence of the Base.

Ngakpa tradition[edit]

Caplan (2009: p.163), with an indirect quotation, conveys her understanding of the view of a contemporary Ngakpa who holds duality and nonduality to be nondual:

"Ngakpa Chögyam, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher from Wales, offers a perspective on nonduality that includes all of life as a direct expression of the nondual core of truth. He explains that nonduality, or emptiness, has two facets: one is the empty, or nondual, and the other is form, or duality. Therefore, duality is not illusory but is instead one aspect of nonduality. Like the two sides of a coin, the formless reality has two dimensions -- one is form, the other is formless. When we perceive duality as separate from nonduality (or nonduality as separate from duality), we do not engage the world of manifestation from a perspective of oneness, and thereby we fall into an erroneous relationship with it. From this perspective it is not "life" or duality that is maya, or illusion; rather, it is our relationship to the world that is illusory."[136]

Bonpo Dzogchen[edit]

Svabhava (Sanskrit; Wylie: rang bzhin) is very important in the nontheistic theology of the Bonpo Dzogchen 'Great Perfection' tradition where it is part of a technical language to render macrocosm and microcosm into nonduality, as Rossi (1999: p.58) states:

"The View of the Great Perfection further acknowledges the ontological identity of the macrocosmic and microcosmic realities through the threefold axiom of Condition (ngang), Ultimate Nature (rang bzhin) and Identity (bdag nyid). The Condition (ngang) is the Basis of all (kun gzhi)--primordially pure (ka dag) and not generated by primary and instrumental causes. It is the origin of all phenomena. The Ultimate Nature (rang bzhin) is said to be unaltered (ma bcos pa), because the Basis [gzhi] is spontaneously accomplished (lhun grub) in terms of its innate potential (rtsal) for manifestation (rol pa). The non-duality between the Ultimate Nature (i.e., the unaltered appearance of all phenomena) and the Condition (i.e., the Basis of all [kun gzhi]) is called the Identity (bdag nyid). This unicum of primordial purity (ka dag) and spontaneous accomplishment (lhun grub) is the Way of Being (gnas lugs) of the Pure-and-Perfect-Mind [byang chub (kyi) sems]."[137]


Zen is a non-dual tradition. It can be considered a religion, a philosophy, or simply a practice depending on one's perspective. It has also been described as a way of life, work, and an art form. Zen practitioners deny the usefulness of such labels, calling them, "The finger pointing at the moon." Tozan, one of the founders of Soto Zen in China, had a teaching known as the Five Ranks of the Real and the Ideal, which points out the necessity of not getting caught in the duality between Absolute and Relative/Samsara and Nirvana, and describes the stages of further transcendence into fully realising the Absolute in all activities. Nondual themes are very strong in the literary work of Dogen (1200 - 1253).[138]

  • Shobogenzo, and particularly Discourse of the Mountains etc... and Deep Ecology... theme of nonduality: subject as context

Indigenous traditions[edit]


Detail of Dance to the Berdashe, painted by George Catlin

Burrus & Keller (2006: p.73) further to the greater cultural context of mainland America and the diverse two-spirit cultures of the Indigenous American peoples, convey the spiritual view of the Diné or Navajo peoples in relation to the ideal that "all humans were spiritually androgynous":

...eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Navajo had a three-sex, multigender system that included the nádleehí, a "two-spirit" (bi-gender) person who had one of three anatomical birth-sexes (male, female, or androgynous), but was identified by a combination of masculine and feminine gender-attributes. Because Native Americans typically thought birth sex matured over time and defined gender primarily based on work preference, "two-spirit" people included non-dually sexed persons; born-males who adopted women's work, manners, and speech patterns; born-females who took up men's work and mannerisms; or those born either male or female who combined elements of women and men's cultural roles. Finally, the Navajo did not denounce the nádleehí as unnatural because gender or sex practices did not fit an individual's birth-sex; rather, they thought that all humans were spiritually androgynous, so they treated the nádleehí as a special but natural gender.[139]

South Pacific[edit]

For e.g. Hawai'i, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand, etc.



  • to affirm this edit as I hadn't logged in I had to enter the text "teamocean". sublime

Will-o'-the-wisp of Wayfinding: Process Thought as orientation within Systems Theology[edit]

Tuesday, May 18, 2010: I awoke with the hypnagogia of the names Whitehead (1861 – 1947) and Kerényi (1897 – 1973) resonant as sound-forms in my mind. I interpret this as direct instruction that they are to be included in this exploration. Both names are familiar to me by the way but I have not encountered them in any specifically nondualist mode of thought, nor am I familiar with either of their body of work nor inquiry to my knowledge so this is curious. I found the following quotation by Berthrong (1998: p.149) on Whitehead and nonduality which makes reference to a conclusion in the work of Loy (1988), a text to which I do no have reference so this is wonderful:

One of the provocative features of Western process thought has been its apparent ability to link modern philosophy, science, and technology. What is more, it also claims that these linkages would include material taken from outside of the classical North Atlantic intellectual world. While there is nothing novel in trying to link philosophy and theology in the praxis of classical, medieval, or even early modern Western thought, there is something subversive about the mixture of non-Western and Western material in the eyes of many contemporary philosophers. But if Whitehead expresses a nondual vision of reality, such as discussed in great detail by David Loy (1988) in terms of Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist Asian thought, then the conjunction of theology and philosophy is not hard to understand. Loy argues that all nondual philosophies are closely allied to soteriology because the typical nondual strategy is not only to thematize how we describe and perceive reality but to suggest that we can overcome the errors of dualistic thinking. Most nondual thinkers, according to Loy, develop methods for human beings to deconstruct their false perceptions of reality. Better thinking is one key to better living. Whitehead also argued that one task of philosophy was to help us live better and better still.[140]

There was an uncited paragraph in Process_philosophy (May 18, 2010) thus:

Whitehead enumerated three essential natures of God. The primordial nature of God consists of all potentialities of existence for actual occasions, which Whitehead dubbed eternal objects. God can offer possibilities by ordering the relevance of eternal objects. The consequent nature of God prehends everything that happens in reality. As such, God experiences all of reality in a sentient manner. The last nature is the superjective. This is the way in which God’s synthesis becomes a sense-datum for other actual entities. In some sense, God is prehended by existing actual entities.

I don't understand these terminologies but I find it pointed given Valentinus' triune, Allogenes' triune, the Gankyil and now Whitehead's there is import here. A resolved system: a monad yet a trinity, as a triune. Different aspects of that which is aspectless: divisions within the indivisible. I need to find more of this triune of Whitehead in context so I understand his lexicon. Just as point of entry and as interpretation and attribution, I am going to venture an unfounded conjecture as to what this paragraph is pointing:

  • First, the primordial nature the Being, is the wellspring of the potentiality of all that was, is and will be, it is hidden and unknowable.
  • Second, the second nature is "consequent" upon the first, it is Becoming, that is it emanates from the First which is not lesser nor decreased from the emanation and there is no real division between the First and Second as they are monad. The Second constitutes what appears to our experience, indeed is the stuff of our experience-of-god. Experience or consciousness qua sentience is prehended by God as our sentience is of God though the First as hidden and unknowable is untouched by sentience.
  • Third, is the sentient-being who though Third is as synthesis of First and Second. Nonduality-in-communion apart fromwhich is the dual.

Wilmot (1979: p.53) interprets and conveys his understanding of Whitehead's conception of an "entity" a category of which God in Whitehead's lexicon is reputed to partake and the discourse upon which Wilmot draws is Process and Reality:

Inasmuch as God is an "actual entity" of a unique kind it will be well to review, however briefly, the structure of an actual entity. In his analysis of this category, Whitehead identifies three phases of the epochal process of becoming. In the first place, each actual entity arises out of the "objectifications" in the actual world relative to it as its "efficient" cause or causes, and, in this sense, "has the character 'given' for it by the past." But each specific process of concrescence arises by virtue of the "subjective aim" at "satisfaction" which it receives from God as the principle of concretion, and has the subjective character which constitutes its "final cause" or "lure." And thirdly, it has what Whitehead described as its "superjective" character, by which it achieving its "satisfaction" (i.e., completing its own process of becoming) it becomes new data, qualifying the transcendent creativity in successive concretions, and remains as an element in the content of creative purpose. This means that actualities beyond that satisfied superject will be enriched or impoverished accordingly.[141]

So in the first sentence of the paragraph abovecited, God is identified as an entity. But the entity-hood of God though being an "entity" is not being discussed as it is "unique". In this instance only "entity" is being discussed and though this has import for God there is an implication or entailment of a qualification that is not stated per se. That is comprehended from the complexity of the embedded clauses within the first sentence: the relationship of which may be misapprehended if the reader is inattentive. Though God is an entity the entity-hood of God is "unique" in contradistinction to other entities and as such is "transcendent", "exclusive" but also "unitive" and "inclusive": which all partake of the semantic field of "unique". An "entity" which is a unitive structure is also parsed into "three phases". The term "epochal" is important which qualifies "process" as though process in general implies gradation or tiers, epochal identifies the procession of time-events. 'The entity arises out of "objectifications" in the actual world relative to it' is an interesting technical lexicon which partakes of the discourse of embedded causality and systemic arising. Personality is a "character 'given' by the past" conditioning. The "final cause" or "lure" smacks of entelechy. The "superjective" as no longer subject as it has fulfilled its purpose or charge God-given, qualifies the transcendent with the "datum" of lived-experience. I find it very interesting that the system from which the "Superject" arises may be both "enriched" and "impoverished" through the onflow effects the fruit, actions or qualities of "satisfaction"-qua-entelechy-fulfilled.

Now, this may be all heresay and interpretation of Whitehead and of no value, but then maybe not. As we do not have the direct words of Whitehead: unless the words in double quotation marks within Wilmot are inferred as those of Whitehead. Though extrapolated out of context and without definitive lexical key it is all representation approaching misrepresentation. But then it is still at best analysis and most pristine, representation. But it is definitely an exercise in process thought whatever that is.

Now, I intuit Process Thought holds stock in the synthesis of divergent and dissonant narratives and discourses. The value of this exploration as partaking of such discourse synthesizing divergence is what is denoted by the English term "nondual" and its inflections: deconstrucing as it is being constructed, embodying as it is disembodied: historicity ahistorical: there is value in Process Thought in the global field of play where the different geographies of texts conjoin in fertile muddy terrain and orient -- mutually inform and iterate -- and disorient -- confuse and confound. But there is the will-o'-the-wisp of wayfinding of Systems Theology by implication of the systemic arising of text within context. In furtherance of that, I proffer that all texts are embedded in context. Text becomes context: context becomes text. Intertextuality as deixes, indices and interstices. Context is always open as text: open in the denotation of no closure, no certainty, no definitive understanding. The ambiguity of openness is the boon/bane of signification. Context contextualizes the closure of text but never succeeds. The closure of every text is extrapolation. Nay, conception as definitive closure is interpolation. The narrative discourse and wheels within wheels of the Arabian Nights.

There is value in confusion for the Human as this is a fertile opportunity in the process of prolem-solving for the establishment of new neural connectivity.

Nonduality as psychoactively induced experience[edit]

The following was extracted from Wikipedia and is just as a springboard and will be rewritten:

In 1968, Wasson proposed that A. muscaria was the Soma talked about in the Rig Veda,[142] which received widespread publicity and popular support at the time.[143] He noted that descriptions of Soma omitted description of roots, stems or seeds, which suggested a mushroom,[144] and used the adjective hári "dazzling" or "flaming" which the author interprets as red.[145] One line described men urinating Soma; this recalled the practice of recycling urine in Siberia. Soma is mentioned as coming "from the mountains", which Wasson interpreted as being brought with the Aryan invaders from the north.[146] However, Indian scholars Santosh Kumar Dash and Sachinanda Padhy noted that both the eating of mushrooms and drinking of urine were proscribed, using as a source the Manusmṛti.[147] In 1971, Vedic scholar John Brough from Cambridge University rejected Wasson's theory; he noted the language was too vague to determine a description of Soma.[148]. In his 1976 survey, Hallucinogens and Culture, anthropologist Peter T. Furst evaluated the evidence for and against the identification of the Fly Agaric mushroom as Vedic Soma, concluding cautiously in its favor. [149]

Venus von Willendorf

I feel it important to have this section as important to enter the discourse.

The relationship of Amanita muscaria and the Venus of Willendorf that iconically resembles the fungi has recently been published and well-received.

Stephen R. Berlant has suggested a possible connection with a mushroom cult, based on visual similarities between the figurine and typical young Amanita muscaria mushrooms, a natural psychotrope.[150]

The The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970) was first printed in the the heyday of the hippy and flowerpower counterculture and its reception by the majority of his peers destroyed Allegro's academic career. In November 2009 it was reprinted in a 40th anniversary edition with among other inclusions, a 30 page addendum by Ruck of Boston University with new linguistic evidence that supports Allegro's theories. Ruck states in that addendum that:

"The concerted and biased attempts to destroy Allegro's discoveries have failed. The confirmatory evidence is mounting in his favor. The critics can now raise their voices again. Let us hope that they do, since the matter is not settled, but they should be advised to do so with more careful consideration. This book that many have prized in secret is now available again. It demands the serious consideration of theologians, mythologists, and students of religion. No account of the history of the Church, both West and East, can afford to leave the poor despicable fungus unconsidered, nor the role that entheogens in general have played in the evolution of European civilization."

The Beat Generation,

Ginsberg (1926 – 1997) was an initiate into the Ganachakra and though I have not found a source to demonstrate this, it is untenable that he was not. He was a disciple of Trungpa (1939 – 1987) (who was an initiating adept in the Kagyupa and Nyingmapa traditions, in both these traditions the Ganachakra is a central rite):

"This submission to Trungpa Guru, this Surrender is it correct, a transfer of God failure debasement to a living Being so at least the Adoration Devotion is to a Real Entity not an Image--And Merwin's War is it mine, 'gainst the vulgar drunken Guru Sangha?--Am I a fool? (Notebooks and journals)"[151]

The Ganachakra rite with its sacrament of alcohol amongst other offerings (particularly sexual union which was later transmuted from an outer rite to an inner visualized one so those with monastic vows did not break samaya, but the Ganachakra was the fruit of Anuyoga and the Mahasiddha traditions), with its iconoclastic antinomian ethos founded in the doha-poetic Mahasiddha tradition would have resonated with him. After an accident Trungpa gave back his monastic vows which was quite common in the indigenous Nyingma tradition which was for the most part householder and lay, or non-monastic and non-authoritarian though there were monastic traditions post rise of the Sarma. Trungpa drank, smoked and fucked as and whom he pleased like a true Mahasiddha.

Conner, Sparks, Sparks, Mariya (1997:p.160) hold that:

Ginsberg, Allen (1926-) Gay poet of Russian Jewish heritage, luminary of the Beat Movement and the Hippie Movement, now one of the most honoured poets of the US. Best known for his 1956 epic poem Howl, he has been deeply inspired by the writings of the English mystical poet William Blake (1757-1827) and by Tibetan Buddhism, as well as by periods of vagabondage and visionary experiences triggered by peyote. Actively involved in the anti-war movement during the US's conflict with Vietnam, he composed, in 1966, "Wichita Vortex Sutra," as an incantation meant to aid in ending the war. In a 1972 interview with gay activist and writer Allen Young, Ginsberg described a ceremony of UNION which he had celebrated privately with poet Peter Orlovsky in 1954 in a cafeteria in downtown San Francisco. "We made a vow to each do everything we wanted to, sexually or intellectually, and in a sense explore each other until we reached the mystical 'X' together, emerging two merged souls. We had the understanding that when our...erotic desire was ultimately satisfied by being satiated (rather than denied), there would be a lessening of desire, grasp...craving and attachment; and that ultimately we would both be delivered free in heaven together. And so the vow was that neither of us would go into heaven unless we could get the other one in - like a mutual Bodhisattva's vow... So we held hands, took a vow: I do, I do, you promise? yes, I do. At that instant we looked in each other's eyes and there was a kind of celestial fire that crept over us and blazed up and illuminated the entire cafeteria and made it an eternal place." In this interview, Ginsberg also spoke of his concern that the emerging gay liberation movement was not addressing certain issues, among them aging, death, sexual and/or relationship addiction: "An element in the gay lib struggle and metaphysics that I don't think has been taken up is that of disillusionment with the body. I'm not trying to be provocative in that - just the age-old realization of...[the] grinning skeleton, with the spiritual lesson behind it, of detachment from neurotic desire. I think there's a genuine eros between men that isn't dependent on neurotic attachment and obsession, that's free and light and holy and lambent...If there's too much of a neurotic grasping to gaiety, to gayness, even to gay lib, then it makes everything too tense, and the lightness of love is lost. So the gay lib movement will have to come to terms sooner or later with the limitations of sex." Typical of Ginsberg's (proto-) Queer-Spiritual poetry is his beautifully composed "Elegy for Neal Cassidy" (1968), in which he chants: "Tender Spirit, thank you for touching me with tender hands / Sir spirit, give me your blessing again, Sir Spirit forgive my phantom body's demands, / Sir Spirit thanks for your kindness past."[152]

Nepal, is one of the few remaining cultures where both shamanic and tantric techniques are still alive and in full practice today as a native tradition. The result of eighteen years of field research, Müller-Ebeling, Rätsch & Shahi (2002)[153] presents for the first time a comprehensive overview of Himalayan shamanism that is based on the knowledge and experience of the different tribes from that region. Included are original statements from the various ethnic groups and reproductions of 135 color thangkas, which function as visual guides to the specific practices of the tantric tradition. In addition to the thangkas, the work is generously illustrated with numerous photographs of different shamanic healing ceremonies, ritual objects, and culturally significant plants that have never been published before. The book also contains a wealth of original recipes, smoking mixtures, scientific tables, charts, and descriptions of more than 20 plants whose psychoactive properties and uses by shamans have never before been researched or documented.

Dowman & Downs (1985) in their English translation and annotation to a work attributed to medieval work attributed to Abhayadatta clearly identify the relationship of Ganachakra and medicine:

"This is to exclude the homeopathic, alchemical bdud rtsi chos sman and similar herbal panaceas distributed by the Lamas during Long-life (T. tshe-grub) and Ganacakra (tshogs 'khor) rites, because their efficacy depends as much upon sympathetic magic as upon the potency of the constituent herbal and other organic and non-organic substances."[154]

"The broad definition of entheogen used here is: "plants or substances capable of producing visionary experiences which are used for magico-religious or psychospiritual purposes." The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others. The research of these scholars has established that these plants were definitely used in Vajrayana (within limited contexts) and that they were used in a manner largely consistent with their use in Saivite and shamanic traditions."[155]


Nonduality: householder/lay, monastic/cloistered, hermetic/solitary retreat[edit]

“Everyone strives after the law,” says the man, “so how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?” The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you..."

Franz Kafka, 'Before the Law' rendered into English by Ian Johnston

This section is interested how the discourse of nonduality has informed and qualified the social experience of the Human. Historically culturally specific examples in different times and places. Gender, sexuality, sex. Vows: taking vows and giving them back.


Sacred-profane_dichotomy Durkheim (1858 – 1917) Eliade The Sacred and the Profane Is what is secular to some sacred? Is what is sacred to others secular? Is this dichotomy real? Who determines what is sacred? How is what is sacred determined? Are there varieties and gradation of the sacred and holiness? Is there a field of related elements that is profane in all cultures? profane as human cultural universal?

  • Morality, immoral, amoral
  • left handed / right handed
  • human cultural universals
  • situation-specific morality as different to rules...
  • rules are for those who lack awareness like young children... do adults need the imposition of a colonizing morality? whose morality is it then? is a morality contextual? morality as approprateness and inappropriateness...
  • time, place and circumstance...
  • morality in nondual traditions is often the subject of contentation with dualist traditions... puritanical/tyrannical
  • morality as function of Jungian Shadow
  • shamefaced as virtue (this is counter-intuitive in English)... shame as positive experience

Human aspects[edit]

People have different personalities and propensities and through living form unique though in large-part often shared worldviews. People change and their needs and aspirations and relationship to their world and their spirituality changes throughout their life. This section is an ongoing meditation on nonduality in different evocations in different ways of being Human. Essentially this is in regards to the social and societal aspects of the Human intersect with "nondual" (nondual as experience, teaching, nondual as traditions). A person, being Human participates in a particular family, genetic heritage, kinship system, friendship networks, employ and trade, information and knowledge exchange, etc. Certain people choose to congregate, whilst others choose otherwise. Some people do not choose but there are advantages or influences which determine which choice is appropriate. Some people may not have a choice, a compulsion. Why are these choices made in context? What are nondual spiritual disciplines or practices done in private or solitary? What are nondual spiritual disciplines enacted in community or in public?

'Fuga mundi' (Latin): "Flight from the world", an aspect of desert and/or monastic spirituality that stresses the monastic life as a separation from the cares and concerns of the secular life. see also Extra mundum nulla salus. [134]

What is secular life? Is secular in contradistinction to sacred? The sacred/secular distinction is informed and challenged by the discourse of nonduality.

Many "Westerners" who buy packaged nondual spirtuality, customized and priced for their consumption. Now the language choice was not dispassionate but provocative with purpose. Marketing exploits duality. Here is something that is valuable or desirable or worthwhile and you do not have it but we may furnish it. So there is a fundamental tension between the marketing of nonduality. Marketing is a study in duality and the manipulation of perceived lack. There is an exploitation whether intentional, overt or covert of people's need or desire for exoticism. This exploits a duality in Westerners who through the modern demands of contemporary society feel very "secular" as viery different and other to that which is "sacred". A prestige is given by the "secular" personage to the "sacred" personage? Is this duplicitous? I rarely use the term "exploit" and "dominant" but they need to be dissected I feel. Devil's Advocate.

Householder life[edit]

The Mahasiddha and Ngakpa provide historical examples of nonduality in both families and in trade, "in the world" and otherwise.

Nyingma had strong householder traditions indeed, the strength of the Nyingma due to their political decentralization and non-monastic institutionalization in certain times of their history was a demonstrable strength. Many transmission lineages held by monastic institutions would not be unbroken if it was not for householder lineages.

Nondual texts in the Mahayana were very popular with householders, they may be the product of householders or may have been propagated by householder lineages and communities hence their transmission through time.

Nondual traditions and teachings hold salience for the contemporary world and its challenges and innovative responses to the Human Condition. Most people in the world live in what we call householder situations and householder is just as valid just as holy as any other situation.

That said, most householders would consider a monastic as de facto holier than a non-monastic which just isn't defensible.

Institutional life[edit]

What is an institution? Institutionalized Zen & Gelukpa. Monasteries. Tradition as institution. Institution as a place of shelter that has specific power structures and specializations. Institution as community. Institution as closed community. Institution as open community. Who control access to institutions? What bonds people in an institution?

I imagine that cloisted life would be rich, a hothouse opportunity and nexus of efflorescence of culturally specific cultural tokens, etc. People being people. Some people would be close and intimate, others distanced and estranged. There is a social-security and reciprocity in Institution. Distribution of work and specialization of engagement.

Institution becomes fixed with traditions.Tradition facilitates transmission through time of knowledge. Knowledge in an isolated environment becomes may become insular. Not enuff new challenges to diversify and respond and grow. Develop dependency on culurally specific symbols that bind the institution and they become reified and normalized and preferred. Tradition has a sense of timelessness. Tradition also has a developmental aspect. Tradition is different in different places and times. Is a nunnery/monastery always an institution?


Short term, fixed period, long-term, permanent retreat. Can a person be on retreat whilst being in the world that is in the so called "secular" world? Is what is secular to some sacred? Is what is sacred to others secular?

Does the "secular" world drive the "sacred" away or does the "sacred" person become positioned as different or other than their society?

Bhagavad Gita: as English discourse, discourse as pervasion[edit]


Though the Gita on the face of it may be viewed other than as a nondual text, through the divine person being identified as the Divine Personality Krishna as different to the personality of Arjuna and all the other personages on the battlefield of Kurukshetra as lesser-deities (deva and ashura) or indeed at the last analysis as jiva, there are many views of their entwined relationships and status within the Greater Tradition. Nondualism and Bhakti are not mutually exclusive as some Bhakti traditions outwardly and vehemently maintain. Some Bhakti traditions place an emphasis on bhakri rasa-prema relationship with the Divine Person (however that is envisioned) and some hold that such a relationship precludes the unity of advaita understood or misunderstood as "monism". That said, the Gita has many indigenous commentaries and a famous nondual commentary by Shankara that was very influential in the indigenous tradition. The importance of this point and not only the possibility but value of nondual bhakti will be examined in due course. In delaration this is my personal view and realized experience where Personalism and Impersonalism are nondual and really only academic and philosophical constructions and partial descriptions of a whole that is unknowable except by grace or revelation though may be intuited though intellectual inquiry as championed by the Adi-Avadhuta Dattatreya. It has often been misunderstood or underemphasized by English and Western scholarship that Shankara was actually part of the Bhakti movement. And as the Bhagavad Gita is principally a Vaishnava and/or Krishnaite text, it should be noted that there are Vaishanva traditions of nonduality and qualified nonduality.

Banerji (1971, 1989: p.600) gives a brief overview of the English discourse of the Gita

"The Bhagavadgita appears to have exercised deep influence on European literature. Coleridge (1772-1832) read this work in translation. In some of his poetical compositions, there are trances of the influence of the Gita. Wordsworth (1770-1850), in some poems, e.g. Tintern Abbey and Immortality Ode, reveals ideas very similar to those of the Gita. Matthew Arnold's 'disinterested endeavour' is a literal translation of Niskama Karma of the Gita. In recent times, Yeats and Elliot appear to have been influenced by this work. The Spanish poet, Himeneth, was inspired by it. Huxley repeatedly stressed the universal value of this great work. His Perennial Philosophy should be particularly mentioned in this connection. He has pointed out close similarity between certain basic ideas of the Gita and those of Christianity and Islamic doctrines. William Blake's (1757-1827) writings testify to the study of the Gita. Eliot, in his Dry Salvages and Burnt Norton, shows familiarity with the doctrines laid down in the Gita. M. Taylor, in his Tara, refer to the above Indian scripture. Keats (1795-1821) in his Endymion, reveals his acquaintance with the Gita."[156]

Bhagavad Gita 14.22-25:

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
prakāśaṁ ca pravṛttiṁ ca
moham eva ca pāṇḍava
na dveṣṭi sampravṛttāni
na nivṛttāni kāṅkṣati
udāsīna-vad āsīno
guṇair yo na vicālyate
guṇā vartanta ity evaṁ
yo 'vatiṣṭhati neṅgate
sama-duḥkha-sukhaḥ sva-sthaḥ
tulya-priyāpriyo dhīras
mānāpamānayos tulyas
tulyo mitrāri-pakṣayoḥ
guṇātītaḥ sa ucyate

Prabhupada renders Bhagavad Gita 14.22-25 thus:

"The Blessed Lord said: He who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present, nor longs for them when they disappear; who is seated like one unconcerned, being situated beyond these material reactions of the modes of nature, who remains firm, knowing that the modes alone are active; who regards alike pleasure and pain, and looks on a clod, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is wise and holds praise and blame to be the same; who is unchanged in honor and dishonor, who treats friend and foe alike, who has abandoned all fruitive undertakings-such a man is said to have transcended the modes of nature."

Essence, Nature, Spirit: a unitary, unitive, unifying Numen[edit]

"Or come we of an Automaton
      Unconscious of our pains? . . .
      Or are we live remains
Of Godhead dying downwards, brain and eye now gone?
Thomas Hardy, Nature's_Questioning, extract

A representation of the Holy Ghost as a dove

In many nondual traditions there is a related though somewhat individuated concept but when understood in the broadest denotation and connotation of their usages without sectarian bias cover a comparable semantic field. To my knowledge no comparative study unifying these concepts has been undertaken but I am going to mention them here as they all share a commonality in my experience: Holy Ghost of my Grandmother, Paramatman of the Upanishads and particularly my experience of the Bhagavata Purana, Buddha Nature (and its many synonyms) of the various Buddhadharma traditions such as Zen, Mahayana Buddhism, Emerson's Over-soul for example.

"Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence."

"He who sees the In-
-finite in all things
sees God."
Blake, There is no natural religion extract

16Don't you know that you are God's shrine and the Spirit of God lives among you? 17If anyone ruins the shrine of God, God will ruin him. For the shrine of God is holy, which is what you yourselves are. 18Let no one deceive himself; if anyone considers himself to be wise among you in this age, let him become foolish, so that he might become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness alongside God; for it has been written, He catches the wise in their trickery. 20And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are empty. 1 Corinthians 3:16-20

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaḿ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.11


Third Karmapa

Dhatu "realm" or "element" is the "Buddha-nature". This verse is from the no longer extant Mahayana Abhidharma Sutra and it is found within a number of texts which attest to its veracity such as Asaṅga's Mahāyānasaṃgraha, the Nyingpo Tenpa (de bzin gsegs pa'i sin po bstan pa'i bstan bcos) of the Third Karmapa and in the Ratnagotravibhāga. Why it is important is that though the Buddha-nature may be understood as being in all phenomena (dharmas) and all sentient-beings it may also be understood as being the common-ground of all dharmas and all sentient-beings. Stated differently, as the the Buddha-nature is the realm without beginning and it envelops and permeates all, the Buddha-nature is One: a Monad, it is the Common-Ground (samāśrayaḥ)[157] of all-dharmas (sarvadharma):

anādikāliko dhātuḥ sarvadharmasamāśrayaḥ/

tasmin sati gatiḥ sarvā nirvāṇādhigamo 'pi ca//
The realm without beginning is the base of all the dharmas: it being so,
there is every destiny, as well as the attainment of Nirvana.[158]

Abrahamic traditions[edit]

Jewish traditions and Hasidism[edit]

Michaelson (2009: p.130) identifies that nonduality was unambigously evident in the medieval Jewish textual tradition which peaked in Hasidism:

"As a Jewish religious notion, nonduality begins to appear unambigously in Jewish texts during the medieval period, increasing in frequency in the centuries thereafter and peaking at the turn of the nineteenth century, with the advent of Hasidism. It is certainly possible that earlier Jewish texts may suggest nonduality -- as, of course, they have been interpreted by traditional nondualists -- but...this may or may not be the most useful way to approach them."[159]

William Blake[edit]

God becomes as
we are, that we
may be as he
Blake, There is no natural religion extract

I had an intuition I would find "nonduality" associated with Blake (1757-1827). I was correct. When we get to nonduality being discussed in relation to Blake I feel it needs to be said is this a colonial pervasion of advaita upon other discourses, other possibilities, or is nonduality as a term approaching an experiential awareness that approaches a human cultural universal? It is only natural in the Human Condition that if we have a new cultural paradigm, a new conceptual or experiential tool and in this example that is "nonduality", that the paradigm will permeate other disciplines and discourses, as this embedded narrative demonstrates. That it will become a paradigm that will become fashionable to perceive and filter, that our new "term" or "technology" recasts our understanding and appreciation of history as we actively reflect. It gives me pause to consider that a Sanskrit philosophical term in literal English translation through revisionist discourse is now associated with an English Pre-Romantic or Romantic period unorthodox Christian-influenced artist-mystic.

I am surprised that nonduality and Blake is not a new association. George Frederick Wingfield Digby in his work Symbol and image in William Blake (1957: p.116) mentions:

"The Tantra shows the way back to purity and unity by means of the use of images. For duality is the nature of consciousness, and yet reality is non-dual. Consciousness must therefore find the means to transform itself. The seer and the seen, the experiencer and the experience, must again achieve unity..."

I can't figure out how to sort out this reticulum of sections... but I know it will take form in time as themes emerge rather than arbitrary designation according to physical locality, chronology or outer tradition and/or social affiliation

"In Blake's earliest engraved work, "All Religions are One," the nondual state appears as the Poetic Genius..." (p.2)

Freeman (1997) in her dedicated work on Blake gives "nondualism" a headline mention. Freeman (1997: p.32) identifies that although evidence is currently scant whether Blake read Wilkins' (1749 – 1836) first English translation of the Bhagavad Gita, Blake was significantly inspired enough by its translation and Wilkins' endeavour to use this as the subject of one of his representational artworks, unfortunately no longer extant:

"Although there is scant evident that Blake had direct exposure to such works, it is probable, though as yet unconfirmed, that Blake read Sir Charles Wilkins's translation of the Bhagavad Gita, the most influential text of Eastern nondual philosophy. In his descriptive catalog Blake lists a now-lost portrait of Wilkins translating the Gita: "This subject is, Mr. Wilkin, translating the Geeta; an ideal design, suggesting for the first publication of that part of the Hindoo Scriptures, translated by Mr. Wilkin" (E. 548). Blake links the Poetic Genius to the east, as Ezekiel tells the narrator of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "The philosophy of the east taught the first principles of human perception....[W]e of Israel taught that the Poetic Genius (as you now call it) was first principle and all the others merely derivative" (E. 39, pl.12). From Blake's association of the Poetic Genius with Eastern thought, one can infer that Blake's attraction to Eastern philosophy was its nondualism.
Although these references suggest a direct influence of Eastern thought on Blake, it is not presented here as the source of Blake's nondual vision."[160]

Although Blake's use of English is non-standard and famously so, it is worth noting that there was considerable diversity in the English language historically and especially so due to the florescence of different speech communities prior to standardization through the ascendance of particular 'prestige' speech varieties and their codification, availability and dissemination through the medium of the "dictionary". It is curious that if Blake had actually read Wilkins' literary work of the Gita prior to his crystallization of the translation-process as art, he would have spelt Wilkins' name correctly instead of incorrectly as "Wilkin"; but then, maybe not.

Entwine Frye and Fearful Symmetry and Avatamsaka and interpenetration.

'William Blake' painted by Thomas Phillips

Meister Eckhart[edit]

My first exposure to Meister Eckhart was through the non-critical translations of Fox (1983)[161] and Suzuki (1957)[162]. I don't know which edition of these texts either as it was a long time ago. Much later, but still four years from the current now, I was also aware of him through Otto. I now understand that most English renderings of Meister Eckhart are little more than loose paraphrases verging on misattributions that are more the ideology and partisan view of the 'translator' than that held by the historical Eckhart. Fox resides in this category, as does Suzuki. I am not denigrating their work, but highlighting that it is interpretative translation as different to critical. That distinction also becomes problematic as each translation is a product of its time written for a particular audience and for a particular reason with overt or covert agenda. I would like to reserve judgment on Otto as he was a very literate man, meaning literate in many languages, and may have read the originals and performed his own translations into English. Fox performed his own translations as well into English from the German, but I don't know whether he went back to the Middle High German source texts. It all becomes nebulous. That said, I still would like to discuss Eckhart but the 'Discourse of Eckhart' and what the historical Eckhart actually thought and felt in respect to his relationship with the divine are to be understood as differing and therefore, problematic for any understanding of a "fact" or "truth". But then truth and the factual are problematic anyway. I have been unable to source reputable source material for Eckhart and it appears that this is the state of play. Primary source material attributed to Eckhart are in Latin and Middle High German. Eckhart and the linkage with nonduality may be tentatively pinned upon Suzuki in his association of Eckhart with Mahayana Buddhism with the variety being a 'peasant tradition' of Japanese Zen. I should probably deal with Suzuki as the main study and view Eckhart through him but I will rest upon that. I will necessarily have to discuss Suzuki elsewhere particularly in Zen which I haven't even really begun. I have mentioned him in parsing in relation to the Wikipedia article of the Dzogchen ground. The Dzogchen triune appears to have its grounding in the Awakening of Mahayana Faith which general Buddhist tradition ascribes an an original Sanskrit composition of Ashvagosha, though now the original is long lost. A number of scholars but importantly Buswell in his work on the Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha consider the Awakening of Mahayana Faith a Chinese production. This will be all the more interesting when these two Absolute triunes that of the Awakening of Mahayana Faith and that of Dzogchen are treated by scholars on common ground, which as yet they have not been.

From Wikipedia: Eckhart expressed himself both in learned Latin for the clergy in his tractates, and more famously in the German vernacular (at that time Middle High German) in his sermons. Because, as he said in the defense he gave at his trial, his sermons were meant to inspire in listeners (the non clergy) the desire above all to do some good; he frequently used unusual language or seemed to stray from the path of orthodoxy. His unorthodox teachings made him suspect to the Catholic Church during the tension filled years of the Avignon Papacy, and he was tried for heresy in the final years of his life.

It is fascinating that this tradition of misattribution starts from Pfeiffer (1815 - 1868) whose gathering of Eckhart held many unattributed writings in a similar manner and style. Many of these have been contested by subsequent scholarship but have permeated through popular Eckhartian lore in English.

The early translators of Eckhart into English, Evans () and Blakney (), draw heavily upon Pfeiffer for their source material.

Field (c1909) renders Eckhart thus:

"The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God's eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love."

A rendering of Eckhart with similar import in another quotation was famously promulgated by Hegel in a series of lectures from 1824 (Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion Vol.1: pp.347-48) in similar wording:

"The eye with which God sees me is the same eye by which I see Him, my eye and His eye are one and the same. In righteousness I am weighed in God and He in me. If God did not exist nor would I; if I did not exist nor would He."

This has been identified as a "quilt quotation" and "Hegelian interpolation" by Magee (2001: p.25), that is a fabricated patchwork of threaded elements sewn together that had been sourced from different Eckhart sermons.[163]

This hints at something that I want to say but don't know how... but it is something like this: Religious people and religious texts are not insular and fixed they are institutions and a dynamic. They are perpetuated and promulgated by a series of factors. The success of this marketing as institution determines how the branding of them enter and maintain their place within the general discourses of various communities to whom what is communicated holds worth. That which is deemed to hold worth is also transformed in the experience of a particular individual that invests it with worth and this is what is attributed as a tradition that is traded through time.

"...the doctrine that Eckhart, following Aquinas, expounds is fundamentally the perennial "doctrine of nonduality." (p.148)


Acts 4:32, King James
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

"The conclusion I have reached is that in each religion there is a movement which culminates in advaita. In Hinduism and Buddhism it is obvious, but it is equally true in Taoism and Sikhism. Islam and Judaism are the main problem. They are both deeply dualistic--God separate from the world and humanity, good and evil, heaven and hell. But in both religions the mystical tradition--in Sufism and the Kabbala--transcends the dualism and reaches pure advaita. In Christianity I see a gradual movement from the dualism of its Jewish origins to the non-duality of the Fourth Gospel, where Jesus prays "that they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me and I in thee--that they may be perfectly one"--in other words a pure advaita sharing in the inner life of God."[164]

Griffiths' (1906 – 1993) form of Vedanta-inspired or nondual Christianity has been given the nomenclature 'Wisdom Christianity' or 'Sapiential Christianity'.[165][166] Barnhart (1999: p.238) explores Christian nondual experience in a dedicated volume and states that he gives it the gloss of "unitive" experience and "perennial philosophy".[167]

Further, Barnhart (2009) holds that:

"It is quite possible that nonduality will emerge as the theological principle of a rebirth of sapiential Christianity ('wisdom Christianity') in our time."[168]

The Catholic Church, for example, teach in their Catechism that evil - and any manifestations of it - exists in the sense that "only the whole of the Christian faith can constitute a response"[169]. That is, the search or struggle for ones truth is in a sense a search for non-dualism. Sin is a manifestation of erring from that search, Jesus represents hope to find/follow that search and the unity of the Holy Spirit represents divine faith (regardless of brand) in all of us. Perceiving the devil is a corruption of faith and a descent into dualistic thinking. The Holy Office have historically struggled to maintain a non-dualistic message through the times of the w:Galileo affair and Protestant Reformation. The politics surrounding the papacy of Pope Pius XII and his 1943 papal encyclical Mystici Corporis published during World War II are also characteristic of this struggle. See also Hitler's Pope and The Myth of Hitler's Pope.

Saint Francis of Assisi (c.1181 - 1226), often called the "most Christ-like" of the Catholic Saints with his gift of spirit of the divine stigmata, embodies a nonduality with his beloved scapegoat, sacrificial or eucharistic Christ, the Lamb-of-God, as Egan (1991: p.217) making reference to Canticle of Brother Sun which may be viewed as a nondual ecological testament[170], states:

In September 1224 on Mount Alvernia, he [ that is Saint Francis] received that "final seal" (Dante), the first documented stigmata in Christian history. He bore now the wounds of the crucified Christ not only in spirit, but also on his body. During two more years of increasingly painful illness, Francis composed his classic hymn, Canticle of Brother Sun, which expressed profound Christian love for God and creation. Francis's participation in the hierarchical, sacramental Church never wavered. He had embraced fully the crucified and eucharistic Christ whose wounds he wore on his person. Having renounced the world, he wanted only to have, to know, and to be totally like Christ crucified. In this way, he found all things in God and God in all things.[171]

A Course in Miracles or ACIM is a modern day Christian non-dualistic teaching that is not inclusive of physical reality. Physical reality is denied valid existence all together accept as a wrong (or evil) mis-thought. This tradition states, "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God."[172]

Christian Science is very similar to "ACIM" above. In a glossary of terms written by the founder, Mary Baker Eddy, matter is defined as illusion and when defining individual identity she writes "There is but one I, or Us, but one divine Principle, or Mind, governing all existence".[173]


Nag Hammadi

Robinson, Smith & the Coptic Gnostic Library Project (1996: p.536) in regards to the Nag Hammadi codices affirm:

"The present collection of texts from Nag Hammadi shows us that what we call Gnosticism can range between a hierarchical monism to strict dualism."[174]

Since its beginning, Gnosticism has been characterized by many dualisms and dualities, including the doctrine of a separate God and Manichaean (good/evil) dualism. The discovery in 1945 of the Gospel of Thomas, however, has led some scholars to believe that Jesus' original teaching may have been one accurately characterized as nondualism.[175]

An English rendering from The Gospel of Thomas that showcases a nondual vision of reconciling opposites which are also preserved, that is "make the two one":

When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same...then you will enter [the Kingdom].[176]

The Gospel of Philip also conveys nondualism:

"Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal." [177]

Codex XI: 3[edit]

I find the "triadic monism" of Allogenes of interest given the Gankyil and as an offset for Valentinus' (c. 100 - c. 160) trinity before it was appropriated and transformed by the discourse of prestige qua institutional power (?) of the Holy Roman Church (?):

The main issue at stake in interpreting Allogenes is the origin of its unusual combination of gnostic motifs and philosophical triadic monism. Did this philosophy develop within a gnostic community as greater philosophical sophistication forced it toward new affirmations, possibly resulting in some influence on Plotinus and Porphyry? Or is the Neoplatonism a conceptual veneer, adopted without roots in gnostic mythology? The answer must lie somewhere between these alternatives. The new sophistication must have been triggered by some kind of active philosophical interchange, although the dominant motivation continues to be religious and the forms of speech remain those of initiation and revelation.[178]

Valentinus professed to have derived his ideas from Theodas or Theudas, a disciple of St. Paul. Valentinus drew freely on some books of the New Testament. Unlike a great number of other gnostic systems, which are expressly dualist, Valentinus developed a system that was more monistic, albeit expressed in dualistic terms.[179]

A Course in Miracles[edit]

A Course in Miracles is a an expression of nondualism that represents itself as independent of any religious denomination. Really? How can any book not partake of the tradition, that is, how can it be other than of Christian discourse as it employs the popular mythic language and symbols of Christianity? That said, Miracles as a New Age reparation of popular Christian dualism, fulfilled a function in time. Upton understands the Course as Neo-Gnosticism (2005: p.221).[180]

Upton (2005: p.221):

"There is a great deal of profound truth in A Course in Miracles: the uncompromising sense of God as Absolute Truth and Love; deep insight into the convoluted games the ego plays to escape this Truth and Love; an understanding that the subject/object mode of consciousness cannot directly witness Absolute Truth; the doctrine of one and only choice which is completely free, that between Truth and illusion; the primacy granted to forgiveness in the process of 'metanoia', that total change of mind by which Truth is chosen and illusion dismissed; the doctrine--entirely true in one sense--that humanity never really fell into sin, never entered into the illusion of separation from God.[181]

Upton's praise of Miracles positions it as appropriate in this discourse and his reservations will be mentioned in due course as well. I will endeavour to find other voices to provide texture.

A Course in Miracles presents an interpretation of nondualism that recognises only "God" (i.e. absolute reality) as existing in any way, and nothing else existing at all. In a book entitled The Disappearance of the Universe, which explains and elaborates on A Course in Miracles, it says in its second chapter that we:

"don't even exist in an individual way - not on any level. There is no separated or individual soul. There is no Atman, as the Hindus call it, except as a mis-thought in the mind. There is only God."[182]

This amazes me, Renard has built their reinterpretation of their understanding of the Christian tradition informed by the Atman of the Puranas and the Buddhadhara discourse of Pratityasamutpa and Shunyata and the flux of Heraclitus and then not only do they not give due attribution, but misrepresent the tradition that they have appropriated. Class act really. This citation was already in the Nonduality article prior to my editing it so its inclusion here is welcome, but I would not have necessarily gone looking for it and I am not going to dismiss it out of turn. As I have a story about The Course in Miracles and I bought the very expensive book when I was very young circa 14 and lent it to my Aunt on the day of purchase who subsequently lent it to her friend without my express permission. Her girlfriend never returned it. My Aunt didn't remember lending it when I enquired a year later why she hadn't returned my book. She didn't apologize as she didn't remember borrowing it nor lending it. My Aunt was not generally absent minded in my experience and her girlfriend was a very good friend of many years. So, this is curious. I am not sure why but I feel it is important that this section stays and I am going to explore Miracles further. I have learned to trust my intuition and it has been repeatedly vindicated and If I chose the book as a child it was appropriate. I just didn't need to read it.

A verse from the course itself that displays its interpretation of nondualism is found in Chapter 14:

"The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First."[183]


Michaelson (2009) explores nonduality in the tradition of Judaism.[184]

Judaism has within it a strong and very ancient mystical tradition that is deeply nondualistic. "Ein Sof" or infinite nothingness is considered the ground face of all that is. God is considered beyond all proposition or preconception. The physical world is seen as emanating from the nothingness as the many faces "partsufim" of god that are all a part of the sacred nothingness. Sometimes the faces are referred to as colored spheres "sphirot" that are the same as chakras in eastern traditions. sphirot are seen as eminations or fruit of the tree of life in the sacred garden of paradise. The tree exists and emanates through many, sometimes infinite, stages or levels of reality. All is considered one nondualistic whole. nothingness and somethingness are considered one united and inseparable thing. Duality is seen as an illusion of brokenness or contraction and enlightenment is the act of inner restoration or repair "tikkun" of god's unity.


"Whithersoever ye turn there is the Face of God." (Quran 2:115; rendered in English majestically by Seyyed Hossein Nasr)

Islam and Sufism is not an area of my current knowledge so I am going to enjoy this meditation. My first contact with Sufi mysticism was in dancing, not whirling dervishes but circle-dancing in a round as well as I am somewhat familiar with the poetry of Rumi in English translation. I find it interesting that Islam, Advaita Vedanta and Vaishanvism had significant interaction in Medieval Bengal. Vaishnavism also has 'advaita' or nondual traditons and texts and these have not really been foregrounded in Western scholarship to my knowledge. I will repair this in my humble way within this discourse. This is only from my personal knowledge stated here without current investigation. I felt I would just add this as a declaration. Also, I know that the Bhakti movement of which Shankara was a part was incited into its devotion through the impetus forded through the fervor it encountered in Islam. No culture is an island in the river of time.

Al-Fatiha and the transignification of resurrection[edit]

"I shall tell you a great secret my friend. Do not wait for the last judgement, it takes place every day."
- Albert Camus, from 'La Chute (The Fall)' (1956) (NB: unsure if Camus rendered this in English from the French or if this is a gloss from an unnamed, unspecified translator, need to investigate and credit as appropriate.)

The Al-Fatiha the "Opening" of the Qur'an is a prayer constituted by seven pith verses. The verse which concerns us is the fourth and the central verse of the seven:

1:4 مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّي
Māliki yawmi d-dīn
Master of the Day of Judgment

The following large extract is from the masterwork of Nasr (2007: p.18) and particular concerns the abovecited verse:

The next verse, "Master of the Day of Judgment," concerns the flow of time at the end of which there is death and a meeting with God. To be aware of our human condition is to realize that we are on a journey in this life, which ends with death followed by resurrection, and that we are destined for the unavoidable meeting with God, which means that although we die, we are also immortal. The profound reality of our consciousness cannot be eradicated by the accident of bodily death. The verse speaks not only of the Day beyond all days, but also of Judgment. This eschatological assertion is of the utmost significance for our life here on earth. It reveals the grandeur of the human state and the fact that actions in this life on earth have consequences beyond the life of this world.
Now, these are matters widely accepted by people of faith everywhere. The Sufis take a further step, however, and seek to die and be resurrected here and now and to experience the encounter with God while still here in this world through spiritual practices and by climbing the ladder of perfection. In the deepest sense those who have already achieved the goal have already died, been resurrected, met the Master of the Day of Judgment, been judged by the Supreme Judge, and rest in the Paradise of Divine Proximity. The Prophet of Islam was once asked about death and resurrection. The Prophet answered, "Look at me; I have died and been resurrected many times."[185]

Now, I cite this for its salience for an English Christocentric audience for its interest in reframing the centrality of Christ and the Christian resurrection and body theology and making of every pure and accomplished Sufi a master on a comparable platform as that of Christ. Thematically, I wish to evoke Plath's poem Lady Lazarus and Cummings' poem i thank You God for most this amazing with it's:

...(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings...

Sufism (Arabic تصوف taṣawwuf, meaning "Mysticism") is often considered a mystical tradition of Islam. There are a number of different Sufi orders that follow the teachings of particular spiritual masters, but the bond that unites all Sufis is the concept of ego annihilation (removal of the subject/object dichotomy between humankind and the divine) through various spiritual exercises and a persistent, ever-increasing longing for union with the divine. "The goal," as Aslan writes, "is to create an inseparable union between the individual and the Divine."

Wahdat al-Wajud (Arabic: وحدة الوجود) the "Unity of Being" is a Sufi metaphysical philosophy emphasizing that 'there is no true existence except the Ultimate Truth (God)'. Or in other phrasing that the only truth within the Universe is God, and that all things exist within God only. All of His creations emerge from `adim (عدم non-existence) to wujood (existence) out of His thought only. Hence the existence of God is the only truth (Haqq), and the concept of a separate created Universe is falsehood, Arabic: (Batil).

Ibn Arabi is most often characterized in Islamic texts as the originator of the doctrine of wahdat al-wujud, however, this expression is not found in his works and the first who employed this term was perhaps, in fact, the Andalusian mystical thinker Ibn Sabin.[186] Although he frequently makes statements that approximate it, it cannot be claimed that "Oneness of Being" is a sufficient description of his ontology, since he affirms the "manyness of reality" with equal vigor. [187]

The central doctrine of Sufism, sometimes called Wahdat-ul-Wujood or Wahdat al-Wujud or Unity of Being, is the Sufi understanding of Tawhid (the oneness of God; absolute monotheism). Put very simply, for Sufis, Tawhid implies that all phenomena are manifestations of a single reality, or Wujud (being), which is indeed al-Haq (Truth, God). The essence of Being/Truth/God is devoid of every form and quality, and hence unmanifest, yet it is inseparable from every form and phenomenon, either material or spiritual. It is often understood to imply that every phenomenon is an aspect of Truth and at the same time attribution of existence to it is false. The chief aim of all Sufis then is to let go of all notions of duality (and therefore of the individual self also), and realize the divine unity which is considered to be the truth.

The expression wahdat al-wujud is built from two words - wahda and wujud - both of which were important for Islamic throught from early times. Islamic theory and practice is grounded in the shahada or the giving witness that "There is no god but God," an expression often called kalimat al-tawhid, the "statement through which God's Unity is declared." The basic sense of tawhid or the declaration of God's Unity is that everything in creation derives from God, who is One Reality. The word tawhid comes from the same root as wahda, as do other related and often discussed terms such as ahad and wahid ("one") and ahadiyya and wahdaniyya ("oneness" or "unity"). Alrady int he saying of 'Ali we come across areference to four different meanings for the apparently simple statement, "God is One." [note, diacritics need to be added and italics as well as proofing][188]

Al-Ghazali (1058 - 1111) important for the dialogue and acceptance between 'orthodox' Inslamic Sunni praxis and soteriology and that of the 'mystical' Sufi... need to cite and ensure correct. NB: Beauford, refer book downloaded from Scribd regarding the impact Ghazali has had on Western thought and Western Philosophical thought as a point of entry.

Rumi, (1207–1273), one of the most famous Sufi masters and poets, has written that what humans perceive as duality is in fact a veil, masking the reality of the Oneness of existence. "All desires, preferences, affections, and loves people have for all sorts of things," he writes, are veils. He continues: "When one passes beyond this world and sees that Sovereign (God) without these 'veils,' then one will realize that all those things were 'veils' and 'coverings' and that what they were seeking was in reality that One." The veils, or rather, duality, exists for a purpose, however, Rumi contends. If God as the divine, singular essence of all existence were to be made fully manifest to us, he counsels, we would not be able to bear it and would immediately cease to exist as individuals.

Ali-Shir Nava'i

Ali-Shir Nava'i (9 February 1441 – 3 January 1501) wrote Lisan-ol-tayr (لسان الطیر or "Language of Birds", following Attar's Manteq-ol-tayr منطق الطیر or Speeches of Birds), in which he expressed his philosophical views and Sufi ideas. Lison ut-Tayr ( The Language of the Birds ) - An epic poem that is an allegory for our need to seek God, whatever our excuses may be. The story begins with the birds of the world realizing that they are far from their king and need to seek him. They begin the long and hard journey with many complaints, but a wise bird encourages them through admonishment and exemplary stories. It was written in 1498-99, and consists of 3598 couplets. In the introduction Navoi noted he wrote this epic poem as a response to "Mantiq-ut Tayr" by Fariduddin Attar and used the pseudonym "Foniy".

Asma Path[edit]

The Asma Path (Arabic: asmāʾ, names), an online contemplative community (jamāʿa) that hold to the 'Oneness of God' (Tawḥīd). God has no partners (shirk). Anyone drawn to the Ṣūfī background or context of the Baháʾí Faith may enter this Ṣūfī path (ṭarīqah). It is: informal, service-oriented (“engaged”), postmodern (“emerging”), without any clergy, and NOT an official Baháʾí activity.

Poetry and nonduality[edit]


"What a lovely thing a rose is!….There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion…It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers".

-- Sherlock Holmes extracted from: Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, [The Adventure of] The Naval Treaty; London: 1894.

I have been reading Orphic Hymns today amongst other works through the inspiration of McEvilley and I feel the importance of moving away from the mechanization of sections established through chronology or locality. This Intranet and metameditation is going to get significantly more chaotic before order manifests. I don't want to force a structure and therefore, my creative flow until themes and an organic way of ordering the material traces of nonduality emerge. I was following an intelligible order based upon distinctions according to Western scholarship such as Ancient, Classical, etc. But that was a vestige from the Wikipedia Nonduality article. The changing fortunes of the wheel are given significance through an understanding of the incarnation and re-embodiment lineages.

So much Dharma discourse that has entered English lacks the poetry of the original. This is a significant flaw. The Vedas are hymns with rhyme, rhythm, meter and assonance. The Upanishads and Puranas are poetry as much as they are story and thereby philosophy as the narratives and stories are embedded, interpenetrate, delimit and offset oneanother. Somewhere on my learning Tibetan weblog here at Wikiversity when I noted elements of Sanskrit for my excursion into Tibskrit and apprenticeship with the Jigme Lingpa's Longchen Nyingtik Ngondro, that poetry is one of the traditional disciplines for a person to be finished, in the classical Victorian sense as well as the soteriological of the Dharma.




Gunther (1973: p.5) relates the following awakening-story of Saraha the Brahmin (also known as Rahula) who outwardly contravenes Vedic injuction apportioned to his 'class' in consuming intoxicants and cavorting with youthful forward buxom-forefold nay fourfold pretty-upfront wenches bearing intoxicants, so primed he has a visionary trance or pure-vision wherein a quest is entrusted from a Natha which he fulfills and thereby wins wisdom hard-won from a craftsmaiden-arrowsmith of the marketplace:

Once when this Brahmin Rahula was roaming in his district and came to a garden, the four Brahmin girls approached him with cups of beer and begged him to drink them. Although he protested he succumbed to their entreaties and drank the four cups of beer in large gulps. He had four particularly pleasant sensations and, as had been prophesied about him, he met the Bodhisattva Sukhanatha face to face. Blessed by him he was exhorted: "In this city there lives a mysterious arrowsmith woman who is making a four-piece arrow. Go to her and many beings will profit by it." With these words the vision disappeared.
Through the sustaining power of his vision the mystic awareness of the coemergence of both transcendence and immanence was born in him. Thinking that he would have to act after this instantaneous realization of spiritual freedom, he went to the big market place and there he saw a young woman cutting an arrow-shaft, looking neither to the right nor to the left, wholly concentrated on making an arrow. Coming closer he saw her carefully straightening a reed with three joints, cutting it both at the bottom and at the top, inserting a pointed arrowhead where she had cut the bottom into four sections and tying it with a tendon, putting four feathers where she had split the top into two pieces and then, closing one eye and opening the other, assuming the posture of aiming at a target. When he asked her whether she was a professional arrowsmith she said: "My dear young man, the Buddha's meaning can be known through symbols and actions, not through words and books." Then and there the spiritual significance of what she was doing dawned upon him.[189]

The arrowsmith was in 'one-pointed focus' (Sanskrit: ekagraha-drishti), a dynamic flow meditation with support, wherein specifically she is crafting an arrow and sporting the Tao of the craft-master wherein through drishti which extends through samyama into nondual pratyaksha wherein subject, object and action are nondual. It was in this nondual darshan that she gave her Mahamudra transmission to Rahula prophesied by the 'Master-of-Bliss' (Sukhanatha).

There is further import not conveyed by Gunther who is translating into English from the Tibetan. The arrow metaphor and motif in recurrent in Saraha's teachings and is visually foregrounded in his Tibetan iconography, where as pictured herewith he is often depicted with an 'arrow' or 'dadar' (Tibetan: mda' dar). Further to this, the comment of Simmer-Brown (2001: p. 359) as follows is sage:

The word for arrow is mda', which is identical in pronunciation to the word for symbol, brda'.[190]

Homonyms are often exploited in humour and in adverting and are pervasive throughout manifold spiritual traditions as teaching tools. Hononyms are as a general rule speech-community specific and may not even be intelligible in different dialects. Homonyms are generally lost in the translation as are other poetic and literary device so important for an accomplished work. Saraha was a famed Marathi poet and singer of songs, a Mahasiddha. The enumerations of 'three' and 'four' repeated are twilight language for the wheel-of-joy in its three-fold and four-fold emanations. Importantly, the Four Joys (S: caturananda; T: dga'ba bzhi) are an experience of Mahamudra.[191]

Northrop Frye[edit]

Circle dances[edit]

This is another area of cultural practice that I intuit has some import for nonduality and a resolution of plurality into unity or establish a sense of the mystical relationship of the many to the One.

The Mystery of that which sustains[edit]

"Let it here be noted that the Greek fables originated in spiritual mystery and real vision, which are lost and clouded in fable and allegory..."

Blake, A Vision of the Last Judgment, extract

To fully embrace this discourse an awareness of Humanity as embedded in the Web of Life a reticulum of dynamic evolving systems organic and inorganic is required.

One factor that is not so visible in such analyses of nonduality that I have so far encountered is a grounding in the spiritual disciplines and praxis that institute such an experience. Well, as yet, this has not been published and presented in text. This is just a meditation and file note the salience of which is drawn from my own personal experience, research and realizations. Hopefully, it is clear why I open with Christian traditions for English speaking peoples as to ignore them or to treat them tangentially is distorting historicity. It is only a recent phenomenon that other cultures are no longer presented to English speaking peoples by way of Christan mores, recent in this context is a play of a hundred years. There were portents and precursors far earlier than this, but they were not commonplace.

Allen (1848 – 1899) in his work of 1897, identified Christ as partaking of the mythos (such would be known later by Jung as "archetype") of the Corn God (1897, 2000: pp.136-137) states:

"The earliest known rite of the Christian Church was the sacramental eating and drinking of bread and wine together; which rite was said to commemorate the death of the Lord and his last supper, when he eat and drank bread and wine with his disciples. The language put into his mouth on this occasion in the Gospels, especially the Fourth, is distinctly that of the corn and wine god. "I am the true vine; ye are the branches." "I am the bread of life." "Take, eat, this my body." "This is my blood of the new testament." Numberless other touches of like kind are scattered through the speeches. In early Christian art, as exhibited in the catacombs at Rome, the true vine is most frequently figured; as are also baskets of loaves, with the corresponding miracle of the loaves and fishes. Multiplication of bread and wine are the natural credentials of the corn and wine god."[192]

"And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."—John 12:23-25.

I feel it important to remind myself and my reader that it is the Holy Grail which is the vessel of Christ at the Last Supper, and that this partakes of the mythos of the Drinking Horn and the Horn of Plenty, as well as the Sacred Quest and Sacred Feast. Also, in the Bible the word "corn" is used to refer to cereal crops such as wheat and does not solely denote "corn" proper. In this passage corn should be understood as being grain:

"Israel then shall dwell in safety alone; the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew" (Deuteronomy, 33.28 This divine substance was something special, refined.

If we tentatively put aside the very involved interiority of John and his mystical language and its manifold representations into English, let us just be aware of the association of Jesus with the corn that yields fruit upon its death. Death yields life. Food is key in human society for without it we do not have the energy to maintain our bodily processes and the constituents of our bodies disband. Subsistence is in essence a mystery. Imbibing is nonduality as praxis. Mindful eating was a teaching of the Shakyamuni Buddha.

The cornucopia (Latin: Cornu Copiae) is a symbol of food and abundance dating back to the 5th century BC, also referred to as the food of worship and holiness, Horn of Amalthea, harvest cone, and horn of plenty. Animals horns were often used anciently by many peoples as storage devices for food and water as well as ritual instruments, eg. Drinking horn. It is poignant that the horn is secured from sacrifice and that it yields plenty. There is an interesting myth as to its origin which has the reciprocity between species as key.

Food in the form of sheaf of corn is one of the few grounded elements of the Eleusinian Mysteries available to modern scholarship. The Eleusinian Mysteries are the most famous of what is known as the Greco-Roman mysteries. Another mystery cycle is known as the Mithraic Mysteries and it this rite animal sacrifice and feast were central.

And it is within this context that the rite of Christ though not set as he was Semitic, but it is through the Romans that the textual tradition as they interpreted it was transmitted. Hence, Christos the savior partakes of the Corn God, Eucharist as "blood on the corn" the archetype of the dying god. Also Christ as the Lamb-of-God partakes in the ancient practice of scapegoating. The rite of the Blót for the Norse wherein "blood" as "blessed" terms which entered the English from the Norse and are etymologically related terms, as are similarly related terms from the Greek "sacred" and "sacrifice". Christ and the Last Supper. The Agape Feasts.

The Ganachakra Rite with its liturgy and group-practice incorporates aspects of the Generation Stage and Completion Stage as part of the rite.

"In the Shaivite tradition, the God's companions are described as a troupe of freakish, adventurous delinquent and wild young people, who prowl in the night, shouting in the storm, singling, dancing and ceaselessly playing outrageous tricks on sages and gods. They are called Ganas, the 'vagabonds', corresponding to the Cretan Korybantes and the Celtic Korrigans (fairies' sons). Like the Sileni and Satyrs, some of them have goat's or bird's feet. The Ganas mock the rules of ethics and social order. The personify the joy of living, courage and imagination, which are all youthful values. They live in harmony with nature and oppose the destructive ambition of the city and the deceitful moralism which both hides and expresses it. These delinquents of heaven are always there to restore true values and to assist the 'God-mad' who are persecuted and mocked by the powerful. They personify everything which is feared by and displeases bourgeois society and which is contrary to the good morale of a well-policed city and its palliative concepts."

The rite of the meal and its symbology and liturgy of the Freemasons. The Freemason's were and arguably are still, a Mystery tradition.

"The early Mason was accustomed to elaborate and extensive Feasts that might encompass several days. To give you an idea of the magnitude of a Feast, a partial bill of fare for a banquet (50 people) in 1506 included the following: 36 chickens, 1 swan, 4 geese, 9 rabbits, 2 rumps of beef tails, 6 quails, 50 eggs, 4 breasts of veal. The meal would be enjoyed in a formal gathering where the master would preside over the ceremonies attending the meal and direct a series of toasts."[193]

The harvest has so many rich metaphorical associations in the Biblical tradition but let us just be clear in understanding how primary, how fundamental, the harvest of food is and embodying it as a sacred act. I tender that the Mysteries have always been part of the Human Condition as part of the rite of sacred play and that they just change name and form.

One of the problems of being where we are presently is that we reify history as actuality and I find it mindful to meditate on all the unknown contacts between cultures that have been made since time immemorial which have influenced each other. Just as each person, if they meditate on how chance meetings and individuals they don't even know have shaped their life and worldview.

  • NB: B9HH this book is new at State Library of Victoria: Bowden, Hugh (2010). Mystery Cults of the Ancient World. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. ISBN 9780691146386

Deep Ecology[edit]

Earth qua Gaia

But ask the animals, and
       they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and
       they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth,
       and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will
       declare to you.
Job 12:7-8

I have always wanted to write on Deep Ecology and now it is presenting itself.

Economy and ecology as nondual: the textured and checkered discourse of Capitalism and the System[edit]

Capitalism isn't a monolithic entity. Capitalism isn't an evil that is being done to us. We collectively assent to the convention. Humanity instituted this system and it has been valuable in providing advanced technology and significant material comfort. This technology and comfort is disproportionately distributed. This inequity is always and evermoreso receding and being addressed and redressed, sometimes pure tokenism sometimes deep egalitarianism. Inequity to the environment is being addressed and is informed by the discourse of embedded narratives, embedded systems. Capitalism like money is a cultural convention, a cultural construction. Capitalism and our economy may both be modelled on organic systems which is curious and very important to note. They are dynamic evolving adaptive systems. Feedback models, Bateson. The interdisciplinary nous of Permaculture with its ecological principles interpenetrated with the education model, the unity of the artist-craftsperson and the Industrial pragmatism of the bauhaus where 'form (ever) follows function' and the subsequent qualifications as per design discourse and designing for integration would significantly address all areas of environmental concern. This must be qualified with the need of Humanity to integrate with as well as preserve wild nature: wild nature of both the natural world and our own primordial nature: integrate nature and culture, informed by Transpersonal Psychology to redress spiritual crisis through the discourse of science.

I would like to say that in my experience Capitalism and Democracy breed specializations, compartmentalized knowledges. In my experience both Capitalism and Democracy create a wealthy and intellectual echelon that is an overlapping but not a discrete sets. Capitalism still thrives on industrialization where workers, the powerhouse of the system do menial tasks, unengaging work that perpetuate dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction that is never quenched by acquisition. The workers who are in general lower-paid as well as many of those who have the higher-paying jobs and managerial power have very little time in truth as they sell their time, the stuff of their life for what they perceive as their gain. Their specializations in their work function tends to ensure that they are not informed as to the richness of the world, a world that is dynamic and ever-diversifying and they are unaware for the most part of the manifold rich discourses that are available. Popular culture which is fundamentally disposable for the most part and necessarily so at it must always and evermoreso churn to keep the wheels of acquisition and desire in motion, and keen the feelings of envy and lack which fuels the drive for acquisition. Democracy of all kinds to function as a form of legitimate governance requires the constituency to be informed on matters of concern. Time and quality information are mandatory to provide the humus forming valid cognition in the ecology of mind based upon sound discourse. Democracy is in general Representative Democracy and it must be outlined that we now have the means for Pure Democracy. We may even design and implement more workable and equitable systems if we truly set our endeavour to do so.

I perceive the key to redress as an intention issue a matter of human heartfulness and one of integrated interdisciplinary design. Sustainable city

Using the body metaphor and the body as an organic system, a living system that is a dynamic evolving adaptive system, Loy () demonizes unresponsive Capitalism as cancer metastasized upon the body of Gaia:

Capitalism made more sense a couple [of] centuries ago when the Earth seemed infinite and capital was relatively scarce. Today the obvious metaphor is cancer on a planetary scale. Cells become cancerous when they mutate into uncontrolled growth and spread throughout the body to disrupt its healthy functioning. Unfortunately, that is not a bad description of our collective situation now.

"Greed is not a virus that has infected the economic hard drive; it has become the software that runs our economy."
"Greed also takes two forms, according to our means. “In a consumer society there are two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy” (Ivan Illich)."

The ultimate irony is that money in itself is literally worthless: whether pieces of paper or numbers in bank accounts, money has value only because it is our socially-agreed medium of exchange. A $100 bill is just a piece of paper. We can’t eat it, drink it, ride on it, etc. We forget that money is a social construct — a kind of group fantasy. The anthropologist Weston LaBarre called it a psychosis that has become normal, “an institutionalized dream that everyone is having at once.”

Deep Ecology discourse[edit]

The supposed "footprint of a xian", a little pond in Guangzhou's Temple of the Five Immortals

'Tis refreshing to old-fashioned people like me
To meet such a primitive Pagan as he,
In whose mind all creation is duly respected
As parts of himself--just a little projected;
And who's willing to worship the stars and the sun,
A convert to--nothing but Emerson.

Robert Lowell, A Fable for Critics extract

  • World as lover, World as self... extract handwritten notes on J Macy from oldskool notebook
  • Uddhava Gita from the Bhagavat Purana
  • Dogen and Zen metaphorical extension
  • subject as context, subject and context become self-reflexive, Zen

Loy, David (1997). Loving the World as Our Own Body: The Nondualist Ethics of Taoism, Buddhism and Deep Ecology.

Īśopaniṣad, verse 6
yas tu sarvāṇi bhūtāny
ātmany evānupaśyati
sarva-bhūteṣu cātmānaḿ
tato na vijugupsate

Jizang (Chinese: 吉蔵; Pinyin: Jízàng; Wade–Giles Chi-tsang) (549–623) was a Chinese Buddhist monk and scholar who is often regarded as the founder of the Three Treatise School. He is also known as Jiaxiang or Master Jiaxiang (嘉祥, Chia-hsiang), because he acquired fame at the Jiaxiang Temple. Jizang was a Chinese author of Persian origin who wrote "Plants Become Buddhas" (草木成佛Chinese: caomu chengfo; Japanese: somoku jobutsu) and this was very innovative and controversial in the Tang Dynasty. NB: Beauford the Chinese characters of the title in sequence denote: grass , tree/wood , become , buddha . (This may be the primary resource: )

The Middle Way[edit]

The Doctrine of the Mean (Chinese: 中庸; zhōng yōng), is at once a teaching tool and way of being as well as one of the books of Neo-Confucianism. The composition of the text is attributed to Zisi (or Kong Ji) the only grandson of Confucius. This is a text on the teaching of "everything in moderation", including on the rare occasion moderation as well *heheheheeh*.

Chung-nî said, "The superior man embodies the course of the Mean; the mean man acts contrary to the course of the Mean."


"The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea", from Myths and Legends of China, 1922, E.T.C. Werner.

"You can also read about Taoist immortals in the Taoist Canon, the collection of books that form the scriptures of Taoism. Personally, I've never been thrilled by the way the immortals are portrayed in these biographies. The entries read like articles from an encyclopedia and the characters appear dull and remote. After reading one, I always felt that I learned about the immortals rather than from them. On the other hand, in the operas, radio plays, and stories told by my grandmother and the Banyan Tree Park storytellers, the characters came alive. At the end of each story, I felt that I had not only met the immortals but had learned from them."[194]

In ancient times, the 'feather men' (; yu ren) were flying 'immortals' (; Xian), whose bodies were covered with a coat of feathers. Yu literally means "feather". Yuren it is an alternative designation for a Taoist priest.

The belief in sprites (jing) is founded on the conception that as living beings age, they accumulate spirit (jing).

Mountain gods were less purposefully evil than amoral, self-centered and egocentric.

"All mountains, whether large or small, have gods and spirits."[195]

Ge Hong (283-343), rendered in English by unknown translator

The following is an English rendering from an extract drawn from the Tonggyong Taejon:

"I have a divine spell; its name is a mysterious medicine: its shape is a circle [two bows put together] or the Great Ultimate."[196]

Dechar (2005: p.5-6) identifies that the terms "Tao" and "[D]harma" are etymologically rooted by identifying the etymon "da":

"The word Tao has no exact English translation, but it relates most closely to the Western idea of wholeness, to the unknowable unity of the divine. When used by the Taoist philosophers, Tao became the Way, the path or cosmic law that directs the unfolding of every aspect of the [U]niverse. So Tao is the wisdom of the divine made manifest in nature and in my individual life. The Chinese word Tao has an etymological relationship to the Sanskrit root sound "da", which means "to divine something whole into parts". The ancient Sanskrit word dharma is also related to this root. In the Buddhist tradition, dharma means "that which is to be held fast, kept, an ordinance or law...the absolute, the real." So, both dharma and Tao refer to the way that the One, the unfathomable unity of the divine, divides into parts and manifests in the world of form."[197]

Taoism's wu wei (Chinese wu, not; wei, doing) is a term with various translations (e.g. inaction, non-action, nothing doing, without ado) and interpretations designed to distinguish it from passivity. From a nondual perspective, it refers to activity that does not imply an "I". The concept of Yin and Yang, often mistakenly conceived of as a symbol of dualism, is actually meant to convey the notion that all apparent opposites are complementary parts of a non-dual whole. The Tao Te Ching has been seen as a nondualist text; from that perspective, the term "Tao" could be interpreted as a name for the Ultimate Reality (which, as the Tao Te Ching itself notes, is not the reality itself).



The ba gua (Chinese: 八卦; Pinyin: bā guà; Wade-Giles: pa kua; literally 'eight symbols') are eight diagrams used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken," representing yin or yang, respectively. Due to their tripartite structure, they are often referred to as "trigrams" in English.

Lao Zi[edit]


Ziran (Chinese: 自然; Pinyin: zìrán; Wade-Giles: tzu-jen; Sanskrit: Sahaja) is a key concept in Daoism that literally means "self so; so of its own; so of itself" and thus "naturally; natural; spontaneously; freely; in the course of events; of course; doubtlessly" (Slingerland 2003, p. 97; Lai, p. 96). This Chinese word is a two-character compound of zi (自) "nose; self; oneself; from; since" and ran (然) "right; correct; so; yes", which is used as a -ran suffix marking adjectives or adverbs (roughly corresponding to English -ly). It is worth mentioning that in Chinese culture, the nose (or zi) is a common metaphor for a person's point of view (Callahan, 1989).

The word 'ziran' first occurs in the Daodejing (17, 23, 25, 51) and refers to the structure of Dao, which cannot be referred back to anything else. It is generally accepted that the philosopher Laozi, author of the Daodejing, coined the term. Ziran is a central concept of Daoism, closely tied to the practice of wuwei, or effortless action. Ziran can be seen as the positive side of the Dao, with wuwei opposing it as the negative.



tzu-jen (refer above) is a key concept in Mencius, he may be the earliest!

Charnel Ground[edit]

A Dancing gana, Dashavatara temple, Deogarh

'Charnel ground' (Devanagari: श्माशान; Romanized Sanskrit: śmāśāna; Tibetan pronunciation: durtrö; Tibetan: དུར་ཁྲོདWylie: dur khrod)[198] is a very important location for sadhana and ritual activity for Indo-Tibetan traditions of Dharma particularly those traditions iterated by the Tantric view such as Kashmiri Shaivism, Kaula tradition, Esoteric Buddhism, Vajrayana, Mantrayana, Dzogchen, and the sadhana of Chöd, Phowa and Zhitro, etc. The charnel ground is also an archetypal liminality that figures prominently in the literature and liturgy and as an artistic motif in Dharmic Traditions and cultures iterated by the more antinomian and esoteric aspects of traditional Indian culture. My review of the literature and culture of Dharmic nondual traditions has time and time again pointed to the charnel ground, cremation ground, site of sky burial, cemetery, bodily relics, stupa and crypt.

Though a charnel ground may have demarcated locations within it functionally identified as burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria it is distinct from these as well as from crypts or burial vaults. Specifically, a charnel ground is an aboveground site for the putrefaction of bodies, generally human, where formerly living tissue is left to decompose uncovered. This unsanitary practice is now known to foster disease and generally runs counter to an orderly and well-governed nation-state.

Throughout Ancient India and Medieval India, charnel grounds in the form of open air crematoriums were historically often located along rivers and many ancient famous charnel sites are now 'sanitized' pilgrimage sites (Sanskrit: tirtha) and areas of significant domestic income through cultural tourism.

In the Himalaya where tillable topsoil for burial and fuel for cremation is scarce and a valuable commodity, the location of a 'Sky burial' is identified with a charnel ground.[199]

The Sutrayana tradition of the 'Nine Cemetery Contemplations' (Pali: nava sīvathikā-manasikāra) of the Satipatthana Sutta demonstrate that charnel ground meditations were part of Early Buddhism.

'Cemetery contemplations', as described in Mahasatipatthana Sutta (DN: 22) and the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (MN: 10):

"...have as their objects a corpse one or two or three days old, swollen up, blue-black in colour, full of corruption; a corpse eaten by crows, etc.; a framework of bones; flesh hanging from it, bespattered with blood, held together by the sinews; without flesh and blood, but still held together by the sinews; bones scattered in all direction; bleached and resembling shells; heaped together after the lapse of years; weathered and crumbled to dust.

At the end of each of these contemplations there follows the conclusion: "This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, cannot escape it.

Similar are the 10 objects of loathsomeness (asubha q.v.)."[200]

On the face of it or alternatively the cosmetic level, the charnel ground is simply a locality often chthonic where bodies are disposed of, either by cremation or burial.[201] Though the charnel ground is to be understood as a polysemy and metaphor it must be emphasized that holy people as part of their sadhana and natural spiritual evolution grappling with death, impermanence and transition did historically in both India, China and Tibet as well as in other localities, frequent charnel grounds, crematoriums and cemeteries and were often feared and despised by people who did not understand their 'proclivities' (Sanskrit: anusaya).

From a deeper structural significance and getting to the substantive bones of the Vajrayana spiritual point of view however, the charnel ground is full of profound transpersonal significance. It represents the 'death of ego' (Sanskrit: atmayajna), and the end of:

  • attachment (Sanskrit: Upādāna; Tibetan: len pa) to this body and life
  • craving (Sanskrit: Tṛṣṇā; Tibetan: sred pa) for a body and life in the future
  • fear of death (Sanskrit: abhiniveśa)
  • aversion (Sanskrit: dveṣa; Wylie: zhe sdang) to the decay of 'impermanence' (Sanskrit: anitya).[202]

It is worth noting that 'attachment', 'craving', 'fear' and 'aversion' abovecited in bold font are somewhat standardized and hence less-rich lexical choices for the semantic field represented by the four of the 'Five Poisons' (Sanskrit: pancha klesha) they denote.

Prior to spiritual realization, charnel grounds are to be understood as terrifying places, full of 'roaming spirits' (Sanskrit: gana) and 'hungry ghosts' (Sanskrit: pretas) indeed localities that incite consuming fear. In a charnel ground there are bodies everywhere in different states of decomposition: freshly dead bodies, decaying bodies, skeletons and disembodied bones.[203]

Simmer-Brown (2001: p.127) conveys how the 'charnel ground' experience may present itself in the modern Western mindstream situations of emotional intensity, protracted peak performance, marginalization and extreme desperation:

"In contemporary Western society, the charnel ground might be a prison, a homeless shelter, the welfare roll, or a factory assembly line. The key to its successful support of practice is its desperate, hopeless, or terrifying quality. For that matter, there are environments that appear prosperous and privileged to others but are charnel grounds for their inhabitants--Hollywood, Madison Avenue, Wall Street, Washington, D.C. These are worlds in which extreme competitiveness, speed, and power rule, and the actors in their dramas experience intense emotion, ambition, and fear. The intensity of their dynamics makes all of these situations ripe for the Vajrayana practice of the charnel ground."[204]

Ganapati, Maha Rakta

Tibetan representations of Ganesha show ambivalent or richly different depictions of him.[205] In one Tibetan form he is shown being trodden under foot by Mahākala, a popular Tibetan deity.[205][206] Other depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, sometimes dancing.[207] This play of Ganesha as both the "creator and remover of obstacles" as per his epithet as well in the two Vajrayana iconographic depictions of him as that which consumes (Maha Rakta) and that which is consumed (danced upon by Vignantaka) is key to the reciprocity rites of the charnel ground.

Ganapati, Maha Rakta (Tibetan: tsog gi dag po, mar chen. English: The Great Red Lord of Hosts or Ganas) is a Tantric Buddhist form of Ganapati (Ganesha) related to the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. The Sanskrit term 'rakta' holds the semantic field of "blood" and "red". This form of Ganapati is regarded as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.

"...beside a lapis lazuli rock mountain is a red lotus with eight petals, in the middle a blue rat expelling various jewels, [mounted on his rat 'steed' (Sanskrit: vahana)] Shri Ganapati with a body red in colour, having an elephant face with sharp white tusks and possessing three eyes, black hair tied in a topknot with a wishing-gem and a red silk ribbon [all] in a bundle on the crown of the head. With twelve hands, the six right hold an axe, arrow, hook, vajra, sword and spear. The six left [hold] a pestle, bow, khatvanga, skullcup filled with blood, skullcup filled with human flesh and a shield together with a spear and banner. The peaceful right and left hands are signified by the vajra and skullcup filled with blood held to the heart. The remaining hands are displayed in a threatening manner. Wearing various silks as a lower garment and adorned with a variety of jewel ornaments, the left foot is extended in a dancing manner, standing in the middle of the bright rays of red flickering light." (Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrup, 1497-1557)[208].

Vignantaka trampling or dancing upon Vinayaka

This form of Ganapati belongs to a set of three powerful deities known as the 'mar chen kor sum' or the Three Great Red Deities included in a larger set called 'The Thirteen Golden Dharmas' of Sakya. The other two deities are Kurukulle and Takkiraja.

In depictions of the six-armed protector Mahakala (Skt: Shad-bhuja Mahakala, Wylie: mGon po phyag drug pa), an elephant-headed figure usually addressed as Vinayaka is seen being trampled by the Dharma Protector, but he does not appear distressed. In Vajrayana and cognate Buddhist art, He is depicted as a subdued god trampled by Buddhist deities like Aparajita, Parnasabari and Vignataka.

The Tibetan Ganesha appears, besides bronzes, in the resplendent Thangka paintings alongside the Buddha. In "Ganesh, studies of an Asian God," edited by Robert L. BROWN, State University of New York Press, 1992, page 241-242, he wrote that in the Tibetan Ka'gyur tradition, it is said that the Buddha had taught the "Ganapati Hridaya Mantra" (or "Aryaganapatimantra") to disciple Ananda. The sutra in which the Buddha teaches this mantra can be found here[135].

The 'pastime' and 'play' (Sanskrit: lila) of dancing and its representation in charnel ground literature and visual representations is endemic: Ganapati as son of Shiva, Ganapati as Lord of Gana, the demonic host of Gana, dancing ganesha, dancing gana, the dance of life and death, what is dance but a continuum of forms, dancing is energetic, dancing is symbolic of spiritual energy in iconography, particularly chthonic imagery of Dharmic Traditions. Energy moves (and cycles) between forms as does dance. The 'wheel' (Sanskrit: chakra, mandala) in all its permutations and efflorescence is a profound Dharmic cultural artifact enshrining the energetic dance of the Universe. This is particularly applicable in the iconography of Nataraja and the 'wrathful deities' (Sanskrit: Heruka) of Vajrayana which are depicted with a flaming aureole, a flaming wheel. This resonates with the deep symbolism of the mystery rite and folklore and folk custom and high culture of circle dances which approaches a human cultural universal. Namkhai Norbu, a famed Dzogchen master in the Bonpo tradition and the Dharmic Traditions of esoteric Buddhism has revealed a number of terma (Tibetan) of circle dances such as the 'Dance of the Six Lokas of Samantabhadra'. The dance is a restricted initiatory rite and its process may not be disclosed as so doing would be a contravention of 'commitments ' (Sanskrit: samaya) but it may be affirmed that the rite is enacted on a colourful mandala of the Five Pure Lights and the 'central point' (Sanskrit: bindu) of the dance mandala is illuminated with a sacred candle known as the 'garbha' (Sanskrit) within the International Dzogchen Community. This terma dance is all clearly applicable to the charnel ground when taken as the 'wheel of becoming' (Sanskrit: bhavachakra) which generally is demarcated by six distinct 'places' (Sanskrit: loka).

Dattatreya the avadhuta, to whom has been attributed the esteemed nondual medieval song, the Avadhuta Gita, was a sometime denizen of the charnel ground and a founding deity of the Aghor tradition according to Barrett (2008: p.33):

"...Lord Dattatreya, an antinomian form of Shiva closely associated with the cremation ground, who appeared to Baba Kina Ram atop Girnar Mountain in Gujarat. Considered to be the adi guru (ancient spiritual teacher) and founding deity of Aghor, Lord Dattatreya offered his own flesh to the young ascetic as prasād (a kind of blessing), conferring upon him the power of clairvoyance and establishing a guru-disciple relationship between them."[209]

Barrett (2008: p.161) discusses the sadhana of the 'Aghora' (Sanskrit; Devanagari: अघोर)[210] in both its left and right-handed proclivites and identifies it as principally cutting through attachments and aversion and foregrounding primordiality, a view uncultured, undomesticated:

"The gurus and disciples of Aghor believe their state to be primordial and universal. They believe that all human beings are natural-born Aghori. Hari Baba has said on several occasions that human babies of all societies are without discrimination, that they will play as much in their own filth as with the toys around them. Children become progressively discriminating as they grow older and learn the culturally specific attachments and aversions of their parents. Children become increasingly aware of their mortality as they bump their heads and fall to the ground. They come to fear their mortality and then palliate this fear by finding ways to deny it altogether. In this sense, Aghor sādhanā is a process of unlearning deeply internalized cultural models. When this sādhanā takes the form of shmashān sādhanā, the Aghori faces death as a very young child, simultaneously meditating on the totality of life at its two extremes. This ideal example serves as a prototype for other Aghor practices, both left and right, in ritual and in daily life."[211]

  • Vetala (Sanskrit)
  • Shaivites
  • Practitioners of Anuyoga. The Anuyoga class of tantras of the Nyingmapa is understood as the "Mother Tantras" of the Sarma Schools, this class of literature is also known as "Yogini Tantras" and there is a voluminous Shaivite or Shakta Tantra by the same name, Yoginitantra.
  • In the dance of reciprocity that is the beauty and cruelty of the Mystery of living and dying, the rite of Ganachakra is celebrated, indeed all forms participate in the Ganachakra, there is nothing in the Three Worlds (Triloka) that is not a charnel ground...

Beer (2003: p.102) relates how the symbolism of the khatvanga that entered soteric Buddhism (particularly from Padmasambhava) was a direct borrowing from the Shaivite Kapalikas who frequented places of austerity such as charnel grounds and cross roads etcetera as a form of 'left-handed path' (Sanskrit: vamamarga) 'spiritual practice' (Sanskrit: sadhana):

"The form of the Buddhist khatvanga derived from the emblematic staff of the early Indian Shaivite yogins, known as kapalikas or 'skull-bearers'. The kapalikas were originally miscreants who had been sentenced to a twelve-year term of penance for the crime of inadvertently killing a Brahmin. The penitent was prescribed to dwell in a forest hut, at a desolate crossroads, in a charnel ground, or under a tree; to live by begging; to practice austerities; and to wear a loin-cloth of hemp, dog, or donkey-skin. They also had to carry the emblems of a human skull as an alms-bowl, and the skull of the Brahmin they had slain mounted upon a wooden staff as a banner.These Hindu kapalika ascetics soon evolved into an extreme outcaste sect of the 'left-hand' tantric path (Skt. vamamarg) of shakti or goddess worship. The early Buddhist tantric yogins and yoginis adopted the same goddess or dakini attributes of the kapalikas. These attributes consisted of; bone ornaments, an animal skin loincloth, marks of human ash, a skull-cup, damaru, flaying knife, thighbone trumpet, and the skull-topped tantric staff or khatvanga."[212]

Sadhana in the charnel ground within the Dharmic Traditions may be traced to ancient depictions of the chthonic Shiva and his chimeric son Ganapati (Ganesha) who was decapitated and returned to life with the head of an elephant. In certain narratives, Shiva made the Ganesha 'lord of the gana' (Sanskrit: Ganapati). Such depictions of Shiva, Ganesha and the ganas are evident in literature, architectural ornamentation and iconography, etc. In the Indian traditions of Tantra the charnel ground is very important. In must be remembered that the seat of Shiva and his locality of sadhana is the sacred Mount Kailasha in the Himalaya. In some non-Buddhist traditions of Ganachakra such as the Kaula the leader of the rite is known as 'ganapati', which is a title of respect. The Eight Great Charnel Grounds are important in the life of Padmasambhava. This is one definite way the importance of the charnel ground in sadhana entered and became replicated in the Himalayan Dharmic Tradition. The charnel ground is a particular place that holds powerful teachings on impermanence and is important for slaying the ego. In this, the charnel ground shares with the tradition of dark retreat that was foregrounded in some Himalayan practice lineages.

Simmer-Brown (2001: p.127) conveys how great Mahasiddha's in the Nath and Mantrayana Buddhadharma traditions such as Tilopa (988–1069) and Gorakṣa (fl. 11th - 12th century) yoked adversity to till the soil of the path and accomplish the fruit, the 'ground' (Sanskrit: āśraya; Wylie: gzhi)[213] of realization - worthy case-studies for those with spiritual proclivity:

"The charnel ground is not merely the hermitage; it can also be discovered or revealed in completely terrifying mundane environments where practitioners find themselves desperate and depressed, where conventional worldly aspirations have become devastated by grim reality. This is demonstrated in the sacred biographies of the great siddhas of the Vajrayāna tradition. Tilopa attained realization as a grinder of sesame seeds and a procurer for a prominent prostitute. Sarvabhakṣa was an extremely obese glutton, Gorakṣa was a cowherd in remote climes, Taṅtepa was addicted to gambling, and Kumbharipa was a destitute potter. These circumstances were charnel grounds because they were despised in Indian society and the siddhas were viewed as failures, marginal and defiled."[214]

Dyczkowski (1988: p.26) holds that Hāla's Prakrit literature poem the Gāthāsaptaśati (third to fifth century CE) is one of the first extant literary references to a Kapalika where in the poem the Kapalika, who is a female, anoints and besmears her body with the crematory ash from the funeral pyre of her recently deceased lover.[215] This is a literary allusion to the anointing of 'sacred ash' (Sanskrit: bhasma; vibhuti) especially associated with Shiva who applies it all over His body.

Dyczkowski (1988: p.26) relates how Kṛṣṇa Miśra (c 1050-1100) casts the character of a Kāpālika in his play, the Prabodhacandrodaya and then quotes verbatim a source that renders the creed of this character into English thus:

"My charming ornaments are made from garlands of human skulls." says the Kāpālika, "I dwell in the cremation ground and eat my food from a human skull. I view the world alternately as separate from God (Īśvara) and one with Him, through the eyes that are made clear with the ointment of yoga... We (Kāpālikas) offer oblations of human flesh mixed with brains, entrails and marrow. We break our fast by drinking liquor (surā) from the skull of a Brahmin. At that time the god Mahābhairava should be worshipped with offerings of awe-inspiring human sacrifices from whose severed throats blood flows in currents.[216]

In Vajrayana poetry, literature and song paraticularly that of the 'songs of realization', charnel grounds are often described as containing "rivers of blood", "poisonous waterfalls", and depicted as localities containing dangerous wild beasts. The two truths doctrine though iterates this view and when perceived differently, charnel grounds are peaceful places of beatific solitude and this chthonic symbolism and Twilight Language and iconography accrues a rich polysemy. When perceived differently, the charnel grounds are places of 'peace' (Sanskrit: shanti), pleasant groves, populated by wildflowers and fruit. Songbirds, tame lions and tigers, and the vast open vault of the sky, fruit and flowers are often used in Vajrayana iconography and poetry and Beer (1999)[217] explains their symbolism and how they are understood in the tradition in fine detail. They are all included in depictions of the charnel ground.

The Upa-yoga scriptures first appeared in 'Mount Jakang Chen' Tibetan: རི་བྱ་རྐང་ཅནWylie: ri bya rkang can (alternate names: Riwo Jakang, Mount Jizu) and the charnel ground of Cool Grove Tibetan: བསིལ་བའི་ཚལWylie: bsil ba'i tshal.[218] Cool Grove is also known as 'Śītavana' (Sanskrit).[219]

Gray (undated: c2009) provides an excellent survey of chthonic charnel ground accoutrement motif such as skull imagery in the textual tradition of the Yogini tantras.[220]

Baital Pachisi


In the charnel grounds of Vajrayana, there are no social conventions to conform to and no distractions to be seduced by for the siddha.[221] Dakas and dakinis gather there to celebrate ceremonial tsok 'feasts' (Sanskrit: ganachakra). The lion's roar of Dharma discourse resound as do the liturgy and the specific 'hourglass drums' (Sanskrit: damaru) of the chödpa and the light of the inner 'joy of bliss' (Sanskrit: ananda) radiates and this dynamic movement is represented iconographically by the 'bliss-whirling' (Sanskrit: ananda-chakra).

In his Manual on the practice of the Longchen Nyingtik, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche holds that:

"Right now, our minds are very fickle. Sometimes you like a certain place, and it inspires, and yet with that same place, if you stay too long, it bores you. […] As you practice more and more, one day this kind of habit, this fickle mind will just go. Then you will search for the bindu interpretation of the right place, and according to the classic tantric texts, that is usually what they call the “eight great charnel grounds”. So then, you have to go to a cemetery, especially to one of the eight cemeteries. There, under a tree, in the charnel ground, wearing a tiger skin skirt, holding a kapāla and having this indifference between relatives and enemies, indifference between food and shit, you will practise. Then your bindu will flow. At that time, you will know how to have intercourse between emptiness and appearance."[222][223]

In the life in which a pratyekabuddha attains the fruit of their 'path' (Wylie: lam), they are naturally drawn to charnel grounds. "When reflecting on the bones found there, the pratyekabuddha inquire "Where do these bones come from?"[224] This samyama (Sanskrit) on the bones awakens knowledge of their many lifetimes of investigation into the 'Twelve Links of Dependent Origination'. These twelve links then unfold in their mindstream as a 'blessing' (Sanskrit: adhishthana), in both forward and reverse sequence and on that foundation they yield 'realisation' (Sanskrit: siddhi).[225]

The charnel ground, cremation ground and cemetery is evident as a specific region within wrathful Indo-Tibetan sand mandala iconography. As the anthropologist Gold (1994: p.141) relates in his comparative study drawn from his professional fieldwork into the symbolic universals of the sacred circles and sand-paintings of the Navajo and Tibetan peoples, parses the sacred precinct and motif of the charnel ground as a locality in the symbolic grammar of the Indo-Tibetan 'fierce yidam' or 'wrathful deity' (Sanskrit: heruka) sand mandala:

The third concentric ring [from the circumference] is optional, in that it is only used in mandalas representing the reality of deities of fierce power. It represents the charnel grounds wherein bodies are cut up and offered to birds of prey as a "sky burial." This ring signifies the cutting away of the bones and flesh of illusion on the way to the primordial ground at the mandala's center. In some mandalas, it is positioned outside of the Mountain of Fire ring.[226]

The region of the charnel grounds in many wrathful mandala often hold eight specific charnel grounds where certain key events take place in the life of Padmasambhava.[227]

Blood is thematic in Charnel Ground iconography where it may be understood as lifeblood, a symbol of viscous 'compassion' (Sanskrit: karuna) of 'sacrifice' (Sanskrit: yajna), and attendant with the symbolism of blood, bones ground our shared humanity and solidarity in the wider Mandala of life and the ancient lineage of 'ancestors' from which all sentient beings are of lineal descent.

The tradition and custom of the 'sky burial' (Tibetan: jhator) afforded Traditional Tibetan medicine and thangka iconography such as the 'Tree of physiology' with a particular insight into the interior workings of the human body. Pieces of the human skeleton were employed in ritual tools such as the skullcup, thigh-bone trumpet, etc.

The 'symbolic bone ornaments' (Skt: aṣṭhiamudrā; Tib: rus pa'i rgyanl phyag rgya) are also known as "human skeleton" or 'seals' are also known as 'charnel ground ornaments'. The Hevajra Tantra identifies the Symbolic Bone Ornaments with the Five Wisdoms] and Jamgon Kongtrul in his commentary to the Hevajra Tantra explains this further.[228]

The important Varnamala (or 'garland of bija phonemes' in Twilight Language is iconographically represented by a 'garland of severed heads or skulls' (Sanskrit: Mundamala).

Beer (1999: pp. 277-278) relates how Padmasambhava received the siddhi of the kīla transmission from a gigantic scorpion at the charnel ground of Rajgriha:

The sting of the scorpion's whip-like tail transfixes and poisons its prey, and in this respect it is identified with the wrathful activity of the ritual dagger or kīla. Padmasambhava's biography relates how he received the siddhi of the kīla transmission at the great charnel ground of Rajgriha from a gigantic scorpion with nine heads, eighteen pincers and twenty-seven eyes. This scorpion reveals the kīla texts from a triangular stone box hidden beneath a rock in the cemetery. As Padmasambhava reads this terma text spontaneous understanding arises, and the heads, pincers, and eyes of the scorpion are 'revealed' as different vehicles or yanas of spiritual attainment. Here, at Rajgriha, Padmasambhava is given the title of 'the scorpion guru', and in one of his eight forms as Guru Dragpo or Pema Drago ('wrathful lotus'), he is depicted with a scorpion in his left hand. As an emblem of the wrathful kīla transmission the image of the scorpion took on a strong symbolic meaning in the early development of the Nyingma or 'ancient school' of Tibetan Buddhism...".[229]

The 'Eight Great Charnel Grounds (Sanskrit: aṣṭamahāśmāśāna; Tibetan: དུར་ཁྲོད་ཆེན་པོ་བརྒྱདWylie: dur khrod chen po brgyad)[230] 'The Most Fierce' (Tibetan: གཏུམ་དྲགWylie: gtum drag)[231] 'Dense Thicket' (Tibetan: ཚང་ཚིང་འཁྲིགས་པWylie: tshang tshing 'khrigs pa)[232] 'Dense Blaze' (Tibetan: འབར་འཁྲིགས་པWylie: 'bar 'khrigs pa)[233] 'Endowed with Skeletons' (Tibetan: ཀེང་རུས་ཅནWylie: keng rus can)[234] 'Cool Forest' or 'Cool Grove' (Sanskrit: Śītavana; Devanagari: शीतवन; Tibetan: བསིལ་བུ་ཚལWylie: bsil bu tshal)[235] 'Black Darkness' (Tibetan: མུན་པ་ནག་པོWylie: mun pa nag po)[236] 'Resonant with "Kilikili"' (Tibetan: ཀི་ལི་ཀི་ལིར་སྒྲ་སྒྲོག་པWylie: ki li ki lir sgra sgrog pa)[237] 'Wild Cries of "Ha-ha"' (Tibetan: ཧ་ཧ་རྒོད་པWylie: ha ha rgod pa)[238] Dudjom et al. (1991: p.626 History) relates how "earth, stone, water, and wood" gathered from The Eight Great Charnel Grounds and auspicious objects such as the flesh of a seven-times-born Brahmana and 'relics' (Sanskrit: Śarīra) of the Tathagatha amongst other items were used to sculpt a statue of 'Yangdak Heruka' (Wylie: yang dag heruka; Sanskrit: Viśuddhaheruka)[239] modelled on Zurcungpa (1014CE - 1074CE; alt. Zurcung Sherap-tra)[240] holding the aspect of the yidam after a vase empowerment was given to the sculptors by the "master" (Zurcungpa):

"The sculptors displayed great devotion, so first of all the master gave them the vase empowerment of the glorious Yangdak Heruka. They prepared a mixture which combined relics from the Tathagata's remains; the flesh of one who had been born as a brahman seven times; earth, stone, water, and wood from the eight charnel grounds; a variety of precious gems; and sacramental medicine refined by the awareness-holders of India and Tibet."[241]


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