About: ‘There is nothing to attain’
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Some people teach that there is ‘Nothing to attain’
I have read someone quoting the following sutra to support their point. They used the following quote:
Subuhti said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, when you attained unexcelled, perfect enlightenment, is it true that nothing was attained? … That is so, Subhuti. That is so. When I attained unexcelled perfect enlightenment, I attained absolutely nothing. That is why it is called unexcelled perfect enlightenment.” — the Diamond Sutra
Indeed, the jnani attains nothing. Nothing phenomenal.
The revelation of the Self is not an attainment of something. It is not attaining a state, powers, experiences; nothing phenomenal is attained. That is an important (interim) understanding but not the final teaching.
Yet, one should not be quick to conclude that, since there is nothing to attain, the teaching is: ‘There is nothing to attain’. The teaching goes beyond that. The teaching is about the revelation of the Self.
The revelation of the Self is not nothing. In fact, the revelation of the Self reveals everything. It reveals the reality of the Self as the only reality and it reveals that you, consciousness, are this universal reality.
Teachers who have not realized the fullness of the Self, teach that: ‘There is nothing to attain’.
They do so since that is how far they have reached. How can they teach what has not been revealed to them?
They also teach: ‘What one is, is here right now and there is nothing to find’.
Such teachers, not having arrived at the revelation of the Self, and not being able to deny their body mind experience, teach that reality is what appears right here and right now and that there is nothing to find.
Around such teachers, there is a flock of students who get satisfied with this so-called teaching since, they too, have not yet experienced the Self. They are glad to listen to a teacher state that their failure is actually a great understanding.
They join the clan and proclaim ‘there is nothing to find and all there is what there is right now’. But deep down they have not realized their freedom and they are not rejoicing in the revelation of the Self.
Such teachers also thumb their nose at folks who are in inquiry referring to them as avoiders and sensation seekers. They refer to awakening as a belief and as imagination. They do so since they are not ready to continue their journey. They have given up and they teach giving up. They say awakening is a belief. They do so since the revelation of the Self is not yet available to them. They teach giving up the search.
Prematurely giving up the search is not the revelation of the Self.
The revelation of the Self is grandiose. There is no higher revelation. Although this revelation is not a mind experience, it is far from being nothing. In fact, it is the revelation of the no-thing that is everything.
A teacher that is not established in causeless peace and happiness cannot teach it.
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Rita F: It is what it is. Those with eyes to see, see…and those with ears to hear, hear. I like this from Ramana:
Q: How long is the practice to continue?
Ramana Maharshi : Till success is achieved and until yoga-liberation becomes permanent. Success beget success. If one distraction is conquered the next is conquered and so on, until all are finally conquered. The process is like reducing an enemy’s fort by slaying its man-power-one by one, as each issues out.
Ron S: Magdi, you want to create another religion….
Magdi: God Forbid!!
Ron S: …hmmm, but that’s what all religions are basically all about – to tell people there is some higher goal, higher self to be attained, which can not be attained through logical reasoning and inviting them to push themselves in a leap of faith, to the unknown. Then, if they are persistent enough they may someday be granted this gift, if “the grace” comes upon them. Also, following and obeying gurus, etc. Simple definition of the religion, that is.
Loney S: Thank You so much Magdi … and yet, – it is seen that none of this is a mistake. There is just ONE – selfless self outfolding an appearant meeting with selfless self.
Magdi: I see what you mean Ron S.
You see, until the Self reveals itSelf in a glimpse, the interest in the revelation of the Self is absent. It is only when there is a glimpse (a partial revelation) in the Self (and in the illusion of separation) that the interest in the full revelation is awakened.
Your experience validates the inquiry.
If your experience does not, then it is a religion since you are following a new belief system. Many have experienced the Self, have had an experience of the Self but the separate me is not completely slain.
It is to those, who already have a glimpse of the Self, that my words address themselves. Their experience of the Self is their compass.
Ron S: … so you basically trying to tell people that you “have something wonderful” which they don’t and imply that they should be interested in it. Right?
Magdi: The wonder and revelation is that of the Self and not of any body mind.
The teaching ‘there is nothing to attain and all there is is this’ is an incomplete teaching.
Ron S: there is no such thing as incomplete teaching, Magdi.
Magdi: If you want to go to from NY to California and I guide you to Ohio and not further, you have not reached your destination.
Ron S: but in fact, there is no NY and Ohio anywhere in existence. You see?
…except in dream-appearance
Magdi: True. That is why suffering and separation are referred to as an illusion.
And yet, there is such a thing as an end to the illusion of separation. It is the end of the identification and the revelation of our innate freedom and causeless happiness that is California (in my metaphor).
Ron S: It is the “Me” that longs for causeless happiness. That is why it creates methods to attain it. But there is no need for that, because “me” can not change anything or bring about any change inside or outside, whatsoever.
Magdi: Although the “Me” is a dream impression, happiness is not. Happiness is our birthright veiled by the belief that I am a personal limited “me”. And thus the veil of unhappiness.
Freedom from the me-impression does not come from the me since the me is a dream identification that maintains the me in place and cannot lead to freedom.
It is the contemplation of the me, more precisely contemplating whether there is any evidence that consciousness is limited, separate and personal that reveals the me as a belief and not as a fact. And hence the liberation.
Ron S: You see….you still in the end shift toward the prescription, the method: “contemplation of the me”. Truth is, Magdi, that even this contemplation can not change anything.
Magdi: Contemplation can reveal the shadow. For example, if you believe that the magician is cutting the lady in half and your dad takes you behind the curtain and shows you the trick of the magician, your fears about the lady dying disappear.
When you inquire into the evidence that support the belief in a separate consciousness, you will see it is a trick of the mind that has no evidence and no reality.
Ron S: Ok I see what you mean. However, Im sorry but I have to be pedantic again… There is NO causality anywhere. If we admit that inquiry can bring about a dissolution of the illusion, we again cultivate idea of causality. Which is a misconception.
Magdi: When you peak into the living room and see your dad putting on the red pants and coat and the white beard, you realize that Santa is not real. Wont you agree?
Inquiry is part of the exploration. Also glimpses in the Self substantiate your inquiry.
Ron S: No amount of sophistry can prove that causality is real.
Magdi: You see, even without any inquiry, we have an inkling that the me character is not truly what I am. In deep sleep, the me is absent. In moments of understanding, the me is absent. In fact, the revelation of the Self is said to be a ‘journey from here to here’. And yet, this journey that is done without taking even one step is deeply transformative.
Ron S: True, with only the slight difference….there is no one who causes this journey (which is only apparent of course) and no one who arrives anywhere.
Magdi: Yes, there is no separate self. There is no separate reality.
Truth/Reality/Self/Consciousness/Brahman/Absolute is One. The revelation of wholeness/Oneness is a Self revelation. The Self knowing itSelf with no second.
Ron S: Yes this revelation may happen, BUT (big But!) there is no way or possibility to bring it about, by anyone, through any method, or inquiry, or action/non-action. And another big “But”- there is NO Self knowing itself. Such concept is entirely a product of a dream mind. It is mind wants to “know itself and everything”. This is a dream.
Magdi: You know you are conscious. Don’t you? THAT is not a dream. The dream might be the images that appear, like in your night sleep. Yet, You know you are. This knowingness cannot be denied. Your knowing that you are conscious is the evidence that consciousness knows itself.
No one tells you that you are conscious. You do not need to ask your teacher whether you are conscious. You know it intuitively. Consciousness knows itself. It is self knowing.
Ron S: No. That is the point! No one knows he is conscious. This guy here (Ron) used to believe that some time ago. But it was entirely a dream story. There is NO knowingness, anywhere. Only dream-mind requires knowingness. In reality things are just as they are, without anyone or anything knowing them.
Magdi: Are you saying there is no consciousness? Are you saying you are not conscious?
Ron S: Yes, absolutely! This is exactly what Im saying. Consciousness is a dream story of the mind.
Magdi: What is it that is dreaming the mind? Since you are mentioning a dream. What knows the dream?
Ron S: Dream is dreaming the mind. There is no entity behind it. It is Nothingness/Being, appearing as this dream. Nothing knows the dream. It continues, until it is not.
If there was something/someone “knowing” the dream, it could “influence” it. But this can not happen this way.
Magdi: If nothing knows the dream, then how can you talk of a dream? What is it that talks of a dream? When you wake up from the night, you speak of a dream because YOU were there dreaming it. If nothing knows the dream, then how can you speak of a dream?
Also, what is the problem with the dreamer influencing the dream? You influence your night dreams, don’t you? After all, no one other than you is making your dreams. They are made out of you. Thus, you are the sole influencer of your dreams. You, as this infinite field of awareness.
Ron S: He He, thing is… I don’t talk about anything. The talking happens, out of nothing. But there is no one here, who initiates it. There is NO causality for anything, remember?
Magdi: A dream without consciousness is like talking of a story without an author. There has to be an ultimate perceiver or author or witness of the story. If there is talking, what is it that knows there is talking (out of nowhere)? What is that knows that ‘I don’t talk’?
Ron S: Yes, there is no author anywhere. Only mind requires the existence of the Ultimate Author. There is talking but nothing knows this talking. It is just nothing, appearing as talking, out of nowhere. No cause and effect.
Magdi: What is that knows the talking? You keep saying nothing. By nothing, do you mean consciousness (knowingness)? or do you mean a concept of nothing/void? I refer to consciousnesses as whatever it is that ultimately perceives this perception. I refer to it as the ultimate reality that perceives this perception. This perception is not nothing. It may be a dream… but even a dream is not nothing. The images come and go, they change…. but the screen of consciousness is always there, no matter the image shape or size.
Ron S: No….really, nothing knows the talking, or anything else, for that matter. It is NOT Consciousness or knowingness. Such things are entirely imaginary construct of the dream-mind, which wants to survive and make sense out of everything. Problem with the mind is that for it, everything has to be only real OR nonexistent, unreal. But mind can’t grasp the fact that Beingness/Nothingness, is both real and unreal, simultaneously. And it has no causality in it, no volition of any kind and no intention of any kind.
Magdi: Whatever is simultaneously both real and unreal is ultimately unreal.
Like the weather
Like the pink elephant in your dream.
Ron S: Yes, there is nothing which is only real. It is mind that separates things as real-unreal. In fact there is no such separation.
Magdi: The mind appears in YOU. YOU is not a thing.
Things appear and disappear in THAT that is beyond the mind level, the true YOU. At some point it has to move to your direct experience.
The moonshine appears and disappears. The sunshine is eternal.
Ron S: Well,…both “mind” and “you” are imaginary constructs. There is NO true you vs false you anywhere. There is NO certainty (and no need for it) in Beingness.
Magdi: True, Being is wholeness. And yet, there is a distinction that is worthwhile noting: The pink elephant in your dream is not there when you wake up.The pink elephant disappears, you do not.
YOU ARE both in your night dream and in the waking state. The mind stays with objects that appear and disappear. The mind is like the moonshine.
Ron S: Even when you wake up, the waking state is not much different from pink elephant which your brain was dreaming. It is just different kind of a dream, but still a dream.
The point is, there is NO ONE who can bring about any changes in what is happening.
Magdi: Indeed, the night dream and the waking dream are dreams. Images on the screen. But the screen is not an image.
Ask yourself: What is it that perceives dreams? Dreams appear to WHAT? You imagine consciousness to be a transient mind event. And thus you dismiss it as dream.
Ron S: It is the same Nothingness, appearing as dream or as waking state.
Magdi: Yes. It is. This Nothingness is everythingness.
Ron S: The word “Consciousness” has an idea of an entity in it, as per English dictionary, this is why I dont find it useful.
Magdi: I see. By consciousness, I refer to the ultimate reality that perceives this image. I am very precise in how I use this term.
Ron S: No one can change things, Magdi. You are talking to nothingness.
Magdi: YOU, as consciousness are everythingness and not merely no-thingness. YOU are the entirety and wholeness. Not nothing. Consciousness is everything and everyone. It is one whole and seamless presence… Love and beauty. Such a wonder!!
Ron S: OK Magdi, lets continue … When I say Nothingness, it is NOT a void, where nothing exists. Nothingness is That which is ALL there is, but we call it Nothingness because it doesn’t have substantial “physicality”. As for the entirety and wholeness, yes, they are, but it is not me or you who are them. Wholeness exists without any entity or Self in it. It is NOT a Self, lets make it clear now. The word “Self” means a conscious entity, and implies the existence of other, at least grammatically. Thats why we say that Self doesn’t exist, but is entirely a construct of the illusory mind.
When we say that there is “Higher Self” or “Impersonal Self” it is nothing but an attempt by mind to preserve its existence. Mind believes it is “Self” and projects itself on the “Absolute”. Because mind can never imagine its own nonexistence. So, there is no such thing as “Impersonal Self” – it is mind’s fairy tale.
Magdi: Hello Ron. From your last post, you say that you refer to Nothingness (NOT a void) as That which is ALL. Meaning (Nothingness is) the One and only reality… That which is ALL. It could be that we are referring to the same ting using different words and getting confused in the language.
I refer to the what you call Nothingness as Self or Universal Consciousness… When I refer to the Self, I am not referring to any entity. There is no reality to any entity, whether personal or impersonal.
Teachers speak of impersonality only as a teaching tool to point to the illusion of personhood. They are pointers that help students to see how they are choosing to identify Consciousness (What you call Nothingness) with a limited body mind. This does not mean that there is a higher entity. This does not mean that there is an impersonal entity. That would be a misunderstanding.
Once again, the term Self refers to the Universality of Consciousness.
There is no conscious ‘entity’…Yet, undeniably, there is consciousness.
Meaning there is Self knowingness. Nothingness knows itSelf as the One and only Reality.
This Self knowingness is inherent to the Nothingness (Self) and it is veiled by the belief that Nothingness is a mortal entity or belongs to a mortal entity that comes and goes.
Once it is established that Nothingness (Self) is the reality and only reality, the reality of everything… the previous impressions of separation dissolve into this understanding.
This takes time since ignorance (illusion) is embedded in the body feeling system. The establishment of this understanding is unshakable peace, unwavering freedom and causeless happiness.
Until then, we are still on the path.
Ron S: We cannot call it Self or Consciousness because there is nothing conscious or self-i about it. The quality of self and consciousness are exclusively attributes of the mind, which is an illusion, along with these qualities.
Nothingness doesn’t know itself, it is only your dream mind which projects its own quality on the Nothingness.
Magdi: OK. We can all the reality of consciousness Nothingness or Everythingness as long as we are referring to the One and Only reality… Universal and not personal.
Self knowingness is not a mind attribute. It is not an ‘objective’ knowing. It is knowing as Being, as Sat.
Sat … Absolute Being.
Chit … Consciousness.
Ananda is bliss.
The revelation that Being is Consciousness (Self knowing) leads to Ananda.
Ron S: No, Magdi, self-knowingness is ONLY mind’s attribute. No one and nothing else except human beings are self-conscious. Mind projects its own quality on the Absolute, believing that Absolute has to be like it too.
Magdi: Human beings are not conscious. It is consciousness that is conscious.
You are attributing consciousness to a form. To a mortal body mind.
You are conscious of a body mind. A body mind is not conscious of you..
Knowledge does not belong to the mind. The mind is known. Ask yourself, what is it that knows the mind?
Ron S: No, the idea that “consciousness is conscious” is entirely a product of the human illusory mind. The mind cannot possibly imagine that Absolute can not be self-conscious. Mind created God according to its own image. What you refer to “what knows the mind” etc of the same kind, is ONLY a temporary expression of human mind’s activity, but it is not constant.
Magdi: Here, you are assuming that man is conscious. You are attributing consciousness to a mortal form, to a body mind. You are confusing sentience and consciousness.
If mind created God according to its image, then mind is a creator. In ignorance we refer to personal mind as the creator. In Buddhism they make a distinction between mind lowercase m and Mind capital M. The mind is created, Mind is creator.
Ron S: Yes it is “creator” but a mirage-creator. It’s creation is totally useless.
What they think in Buddhism shouldn’t be our concern. There is no upper and lower cases anywhere. There is NO distinction between anything.
Magdi: Even a dream is not nothing
Ron Shunyata yes but dream has no value or meaning in it
Magdi: Everything has value and meaning even though we do not comprehend it. It is just that we are confused about the meaning. In ignorance we believe the meaning is external and thus we divide the internal from the external. These are divisions of the mind.
In the end it is about peace and happiness. Not about any intellectual understanding.
Arie M: I’m always amazed how people can take up discussions with such a determination about being right about something that can’t really be put into words
Magdi: Arie, although the truth, the reality of consciousness is not in and of words, sometimes the exploration takes on the form of reasoning and using words.
Ignorance is made out of belief and bodily sensations. Believing that consciousness is limited to a personal body mind.
Words can be used to point to that.
In a genuine exploration there is no one who is trying to be right.
There is an openness and a shared interest.
There is love.
And that’s very beautiful.
Ron S: Magdi, if you noticed, I never divide anything especially “internal and external”, for such division doesn’t exist at all. When I say “there is no meaning” it speaks about not having an existential meaning, which leads to “self-realization” or Liberation. Simply because there is NO conscious entity anywhere to whom this may happen.
Magdi: Ron, Self realization or Liberation simply refers to the dissolution of the belief and feeling of separation.
Ron S: Correct, the only thing is that it can not be brought about through any effort or practice, or teaching.
Magdi: Who knows… Let’s keep all doors and windows open…
Ron S: Who can keep them open?…
Magdi: Good question. As the understanding deepens, there is a natural relaxation, openness… that is effortless, sweet and delicious.
Magdi: Ron S, you say: “It is ‘nothingness’ appearing as these words”. Thus, words (minds) appear out of this ‘nothingness’ and are made out of this ‘nothingness’, like ice appears out of water and is made out of water.
Would you agree to this rendering and metaphor? In case you answer is yes, then it seems to me that you use the tern ‘nothingness’ to refer to an absence of separate entities and yet you are not referring to ‘nothing’ since ‘nothing’ cannot be referred to.
Thus, could it be that the ‘nothingness’ you refer to is in fact not nothing and yet not a thing?
Could it be that the ‘nothingness’ you refer to is what the sages refer to as Self, Atman, Reality, Consciousness, Totality, Wholeness, Absolute, etc. ? These terms do not refer or imply an entity. It seems that the term Self or Consciousness evoke in you the impression that there is some entity and thus your disagreement with the usage of these terms.
Joe K: Ron, since you deny that you are in any way an “entity”, do you also deny that…at this moment…you are in any way human? Do you have a body or does your body exist in any way?
Magdi: Joe, I know you are addressing the question to Ron and not to everyone.
But if I may share my understanding and experience. Hopefully it’ll bring some clarity. My experience of my body is via sensations, memory, thought and perceptions. That is what I refer to as my body.
But what is also on board … that is not perceived as a sensation or as a perception, is the fact of awareness. Awareness of sensation, thought and perception. Upon contemplating my experience I realize that although sensations and perceptions keep changing, there is always awareness and that awareness is not changing. It is as if there are images on the screen and the images keep changing but the screen is changeless.
I do not deny the images, the sensations and thoughts. I simply recognize their changing quality. I also recognize the changeless quality of awareness. It is all quite fascinating.
It is as if my body (images, bodily sensations, perceptions) appears to me and also in deep sleep they completely disappear. So I ponder is there something that does not disappear? I find a present awareness, a presence that I cannot perceive through the senses. It is as if I know this presence, awareness, as my being… intuitively, but not as a sensual experience. And what is fascinating about this presence, is my experience of it being borderless, edgeless.
I hope I am not interfering in your question to Ron.