RE: SECRET DOCTRINE deasls with the "sunyata" of Atman -- What are ABSOLUTENESS/ABSOLUTES ?
Nov 21, 2000 03:52 PM
Does Change imply No-change? How are they perceived?
As far as I can determine, we, thinking within the parameters of
limitation, cannot really perceive the SOURCE of any and all
limitations. Has the impress that has been placed by our
ENVIRONMENT and EDUCATION on our minds created in them an almost
Some examples: How can a fish 'think' of living on dry land in
the stifling excess of free oxygen.?
How could we think of living without break (with almost no
oxygen) in water?
How can LIGHT be perceived without eyes or the contrast of
How can "sound" be perceived without EARS or the contrast of
Is there such a THING as "NOTHING." (Sounds paradoxical.) Yet
both "nothing" and "all-things" logically coexist. Which
perceives accurately, itself or the other ?
We think/speak of REALITY as being ABSOLUTE and "ALL THINGS."
Also, we endow it with the qualities of the "ALL-GOOD," and of
"PERFECTION" or "EXCELLENCE" -- and may call it: "SPIRIT." This
amounts to saying the LAW of the UNIVERSE is an unquestionable
imposition on all living beings, including ourselves. And, we
ask: Is this just and fair? Suppose I want to live in some
In contrast we find that many use an analogy and call DARKNESS --
EVIL, and endow all CHANGING SHAPES with "illusion," hence
UN-REALITY because of CHANGE within TIME.
TIME is deemed to be in contrast with ILLIMITABLE DURATION.
The universal condition of LIGHT (in our UNIVERSE of LIMITATIONS)
is set by innumerable SUNS set in various combinations
throughout, and at the furtherest limits, as far as we can
visualize or discover, of our MEGA-UNIVERSE.
So light may be said to be UNIVERSAL. [ Perhaps (may I speculate
?) we actually live in that mysterious CENTRAL SPIRITUAL SUN
which then, includes the whole UNIVERSE ? I mean: light, heat,
sound, electricity, magnetism, etc... are all properties of
LIVING CENTRES OF FORCE -- INDIVIDUAL ENTITIES -- and the whole
are included in this immeasurable SUN of LIVING FIRE and LIFE. ]
And "DARKNESS" is only a shadow caused by the occasional
interposition of a solid and non-penetrable (to light) body in a
very limited and occasional set of eclipsed areas. From these
observed events arises the theories and practice of astronomy,
cycles, the return of EFFECTS (Karma) which were first
originated as CAUSES and this last would be true astrology.
Yet the fact of universal CONTRASTS cannot be denied. Something
innately changeless OBSERVES. These perceptions lead to
To my mind arises a factor which seems important: If
SPIRIT/MATTER are contrasts, as are also TIME/DURATION,
SOUND/SILENCE, LIGHT/DARKNESS, then, What is the entity or
faculty that perceives them and makes the contrasts evident to
Can we use the words: Perceiver, Witness, Consciousness, Mind ?
If as a quality it has to be changeless and stable (in order to
"see" accurately the contrasts given above, then does it not
derive from an entirely different level of the UNIVERSE ? And
how are we going to deal with the teaching of the 7 Principles
(levels, planes of perception, faculties, etc...) of our Universe
If this FACULTY is not subject to change, can we call it: IT?
ABSOLUTE ? REALITY? UNITY?
Can we say that being CHANGELESS, it has a record of all events
in its own immense PAST ?
Does this imply for us who can think along thee lines the dawning
of the faculty of perception, of reason, of inquiry into the
rules and laws of NATURE (our Universe) ?
We seem to pass out of the realm of physics into a sphere of
If we think our present embodied condition is one of Reality,
(yet always changing in space, time and energy) then this
"changeless" comes from what ? Is it the ABSOLUTENESS upon which
no limitations can be set ?
In the early pages Vol. 1 of the SD, HPB seems to draw our
attention to these things and states that it is essential for the
growth of human faculties to learn about them. She says that if
we trace ancient religions and creeds to their sources, we will
find that a community of wisdom of science, and a social ecology
called a "brotherhood of humanity" form the root concepts.
So often we get enmeshed in the specialized use of words by
scholars. Yet the average person can easily understand their
profound musings if the symbology of universal ideas is grasped.
Analogy, law and cycles are some of the root-ideas we need to
familiarize ourselves with in our lives and all around us in the
development of humanity.
D. T. B.
From: Philip Larson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, November 20, 2000 6:36 PM
Subject: [bn-study] Atman in Sunyata and the Sunyata of Atman
An attempt to reconcile the alleged difference between
Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta on the nature of the Self
by Bijoy H. Boruah Professor of Philosophy presented
at South Asia Seminar organized by Center for Asian
Studies, UT Austin.
Vedanta is metaphysically Being-oriented, specifically
the Being of Atman or the true individual self, which
is ultimately identical with Brahman or the Absolute
Reality. Buddhism is metaphysically oriented to
Nothingness or Emptiness, known as Sunyata, so much so
that Absolute Reality is identified with Absolute
Nothingness. What I wonder is whether there can really
be any substantive difference of specific content
between a metaphysic of Being and a metaphysic of
Nothingness, when both systems subscribe to an
ultimate reality conceived in equally metaphysically
absolutist terms. The metaphysical "sphere" of
absolute Being may coincide with that of absolute
Nothingness, and there may not be "internal"
content-specific difference between the two.
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