How the Brain Works ~ A Treatise by Namron Soar ~ Oh-1 Digital Press ~ Wednesday November 20th 2011 ~ Chapter Fifteen ~ Enlightenment/Figmentalism ~ ID 4732
So what happens when humanity learns to harness these new skills? Well before that happens the general Western and European societies will have to become accustomed to the things that many of the older civilizations already know but perhaps even they have been perverted by modern materialism and have failed to heed their elders. It seems that few ever even talk about Enlightenment and it’s no wonder because in each of the religions quoted below there are vastly different ways of saying basically the same thing. Not only that the Deities involved in each one have had their experiences and pronouncements embellished over the years and in many cases have been elevated to God-like state and Westerners cannot see past this interpretation. What we will do here is quote the various passages from a variety of ancient systems (religions) in the way that they have been translated into English and explain how they agree with Figmentalism on this very important matter. Make no mistake this is very important to finding out how the Mind (Brain) works.
What is Religion?
According to common opinion: Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and world views that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.
*According to Figmentalism: Religion is divided into two main categories that do not agree with the common opinion of religious classifications. They are; those that espouse true Enlightenment and those that don’t. The main ones that don’t are Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism and Islam which all have varying forms of resurrection (the rebirth or reanimation of all souls) at a time determined by God/Allah. True Enlightenment understands reincarnation and accepts that we do not have the ability to cease to exist, yet the interpretation varies greatly. Enlightenment in Figmentalism is: We are the Spirit. There is no god other than us. We are all one and individuality is an illusion as is life itself. An enlightened person does not believe in anything, they understand what they are as part of God within an illusory universe that they themselves create second by second.
Mind versus Brain
These two terms are not completely interchangeable although the line between the two has previously been blurred in foregoing chapters and will be clarified here before we get into the various belief systems. Your physical brain does not exist within your cranium yet we go about our daily affairs as if it did and necessarily so. It is, however, the Sphere (Ch 6) in which you exist and whatever apparent physical nature that may have. You could call it your environment but you have limited control over it. Happenstance occurs there and you may alter some parts of it as you make decisions but you cannot fully control it. Your mind, however has no known location and is completely controlled by you and this is important when you consider what people believe about God. If you are Enlightened you will understand that you can think anything that you want because You are God but if you believe in an exterior God the way the misguided do then you may believe that He/She controls part of your thinking. Many of these poor souls believe in a Devil personality too and that He/She also takes part in their thinking patterns.
Maya means ’illusion’ (Buddhism)
Maya (Sanskrit), in Indian religions, has multiple meanings, usually quoted as "illusion", centered on the fact that we do not experience the environment itself but rather a projection of it, created by us. Maya is the principal deity that manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. For some mystics, this manifestation is real. Each person, each physical object, from the perspective of eternity, is like a brief, disturbed drop of water from an unbounded ocean. The goal of enlightenment is to understand this - more precisely, to experience this: to see intuitively that the distinction between the self and the Universe is a false dichotomy. The distinction between consciousness and physical matter, between mind and body, is the result of an unenlightened perspective.
In Fig: You will see this ’In Figmentalism’ note, where applicable.
In Fig: The above is very accurate and it’s interesting to note that the word ’Maya’ precedes the Mayan people and means exactly what they knew all along.
Pritscher (2001: p. 16) attributes a salient view on nondual realization to Loy, an author of a work on comparative philosophy of nondual theologies i.e."According to David Loy, when you realize that the nature of your mind and the Universe are nondual, you are enlightened."
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."
In Fig: Loy is quite correct in recognizing Western reticence toward nonduality but he fails to realize that all religions have the understanding somewhere in their histories, but at least calls them "Systems" as opposed to ’Religions’.
"Dependent origination" or "dependent arising" (from Sanskrit; prat tyasamutp da, Pali; paticcasamupp da, Tibetan, Wylie; rten cing ’brel bar ’byung ba; Chinese; pinyin, yuánq) is a cardinal doctrine of Buddhism, and arguably the only thing that holds every Buddhist teaching together from Theravada to Dzogchen to the extinct schools. As a concept and a doctrine it has a general and a specific application, both being integral to Buddhist philosophy. The first, which may be considered the general or universal definition - which is emphasized in Mahayana Buddhism (particularly the Hua Yen school) - states that all phenomena are arising together in a mutually interdependent web of cause and effect. The interdependence and mutual conditioning of phenomena is, according to Buddhist philosophy, a critical dimension of the universal natural law which makes liberation possible. The Buddha applied this general truth of causal interdependence to the problem of human suffering and formulated a twelve part chain showing the causal relations between the psychophysical phenomena that sustain dukkha (dissatisfaction) in worldly experience. This specific application of the universal truth of mutual interdependence is an analysis and explication of the second Noble Truth. It is variously rendered into English as "dependent origination", "dependent arising", "conditioned genesis", "dependent co-arising", and "interdependent arising".
Causal dependence provides structure to the universe in Buddhism. Effects automatically proceed from their causes in an impersonal law like manner. Thus an intelligent agent, like a Creator, is not necessary. In fact it is impossible for such an uncaused principle to interact with our universe which runs on causal dependence. Due to the law like behavior of causation, ’Prat tyasamutp da’ gives rise to every other doctrine in Buddhism including rebirth, samsara, dukkha, sunyata etc. Dependent origination provides that sentient beings are mere conceptual constructs designated upon bundles of causes and conditions, that is aggregates. It is important to note that the root cause of dukkha in the famous Twelve Nidanas is ignorance (Avijja) of dependent origination, and not craving (Ta ha).
In Fig: The interdependence of all things and events is not really addressed and perhaps it should be since it seems to be the foundational connection to many Eastern systems. It’s interesting to note that the diety of god is obviated entirely.
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 realizing that the duality of a self/subject/agent/watcher/doer in relation to the object/world is an illusion.
In Fig: Laws of Reality #1 "All beings, creatures and things are part of a single entity."
Entitic Science #15 "The Entity appreciated deity but claims none."
Jains do not believe in a creator deity responsible for the manifestation, the creation, or the maintenance of the universe. The universe changes in the course of time governed by the laws of nature with no necessity of a coordinator or regulator. Jains believe that there is life in parts of the universe other than the Earth.
Jainism has extensive classifications of various living organisms including microorganisms that reside in mud, air and water. It teaches respect for all forms of life and encourages minimizing harm to other living beings by practicing five major ethical principles.
According to Jain beliefs, the universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. Therefore, it is shaswat (eternal) from that point of view. It has no beginning or end, but time is cyclical with progressive and regressive spirituality phases. In other words, within the universe itself there will be constant changes, movements and modifications in line with the macro phases of the time cycles.
In Fig: Laws of Reality #6 "Time is a concept and can have no beginning nor end".
Shinto teaches that everything contains a kami ("spiritual essence", commonly translated as god or spirit). Shinto’s spirits are collectively called ’yaoyorozu no kami’, an expression literally meaning "eight million kami", but interpreted as meaning "myriad", although it can be translated as "many Kami". There is a phonetic variation kamu and a similar word among Ainu kamui. There is an analog "mi-koto".
There are currently 119 million observers of Shinto in Japan, although a person who practices any manner of Shinto rituals may be so counted. The vast majority of Japanese people who take part in Shinto rituals also practice Buddhist ancestor worship. However, unlike many monotheistic religious practices, Shinto and Buddhism typically do not require professing faith to be a believer or a practitioner, and as such it is difficult to query for exact figures based on self-identification of belief within Japan.
In Fig: Belief in an exterior God is supplanted by enlightenment and simple ’Understanding’ as opposed to ’Believing’
Written in Sanskrit Advaita Vedanta is the extreme type of atheism, which supposes that there is completely no difference between soul and God, thus putting soul on place on God, and ultimately rejecting Him, but doing this in cheating way. It is considered to be the most influential and most dominant sub-school of the Vedanta (literally, end or the goal of the Vedas, Sanskrit) school of Hindu philosophy. Other major sub-schools of Vedanta are Dvaita and Visishtadvaita; while the minor ones include Suddhadvaita, Dvaitadvaita and Achintya Bhedabheda. Advaita (literally, non-duality) is a system of thought where "Advaita" refers to the identity of the Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman).
The key source texts for all schools of Vedanta are the Prasthanatrayi, the canonical texts consisting of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras. The first person to explicitly consolidate the principles of Advaita Vedanta was Adi Shankara while the first historical proponent was Gaudapada, the guru of Shankara’s guru Govinda Bhagavatpada.
In Fig: I’m not sure about the translation of the word ’cheating’ in the foregoing and since I did not translate it, cannot comment but would disagree with this sentiment. It is understandable for an individual to resent the imaginary god that he/she once worshiped but better to denigrate those that taught the nonsense in the first place.
Advaita Vedanta (Sanskrit a, not; dvaita, dual) is a nondual tradition from India a central tenet of Hinduism. 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 an upanishad favoured by subsequent proponents of Advaita Vedanta. Gaudapada (c.600 CE) furthered this philosophical theory that was later consolidated by Sri Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century CE. Most smarthas are adherents to this theory of nonduality. Further to this, Craig, et al.. (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":
Nondualism versus solipsism
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.
In Fig: Entitic Science #9 "There are no other Entities since another could not be recognized." which is solipsism on a Universal level.
"Nondualism", "nonduality" and "nondual" are terms that have entered the English language from literal English renderings of "advaita" (Sanskrit: not-dual) 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 BCE-c.546 BCE) and Heraclitus (c.535 BCE-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".
Nondualism versus monism
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. Other forms of monism including attributive monism and idealism are similar concepts to nondualism. Nondualism proper holds that different phenomena are inseparable or that there is no hard line between them, but not that they are the same. 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.
Alain Daniélou (1907-1994) opines that "nondualism" is "dangerous" as it "rests" on "monism":
and further mistakenly states: "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."
In Fig: Many philosophers and theologs have tried to have their way with either monism or non-duality by clouding the relationship or discrediting both out of hand. They both simply mean "We are the Spirit and everything that god is."
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion which holds the view of non-dualism. A principal 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 one’s true nature or self, which is the same as God’s.
Dechar (2005: p. 5-6) identifies that the terms "Tao" and "Dharma" 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 Universe. 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."
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).
In Fig: This ends the quotations from the vast majority of the older Eastern systems and shows simply that there is no belief in an exterior god in any of them.
A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles is an expression of nondualism that is independent of any religious denomination. For instance in a workshop entitled ’The Real World’ led by two of its more prominent teachers, Kenneth Wapnick and Gloria Wapnick, Gloria explains how discordant the course is from the teachings of Christianity:
"The course is very clear in that God did not create the physical world or universe - or anything physical. It parts ways right at the beginning. If you start with the theology of the course, there’s nowhere you can reconcile from the beginning, because the first book of Genesis talks about God creating the world, and then the animals and humans, et cetera. The course parts company at page one with the Bible."
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 interprets 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." 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."
In Fig: there is no father, Entitic Science #14 "The Entity appreciates gender, is neither, but both."
Jewish traditions and Hasidism
Michaelson (2009: p. 130) identifies that nonduality was unambiguously evident in the medieval Jewish textual tradition which peaked in Hasidism: "As a Jewish religious notion, nonduality begins to appear unambiguously 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."
Michaelson (2009) explores nonduality in the tradition of Judaism.
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.
In Fig: The above has been lost or taught out of Judaism, or perhaps is only part of the ancient fundamentalism. Judaism is considered non-enlightened and a somewhat corporate religion believing in an exterior god.
Jesus himself utters deep nondual statements, such as this, from John 17:11(kjv)- Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. . .14b . . . because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. . . 21 That they may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. And this, from Luke 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
In Fig: The above are errors that the Christian Church was unable to misinterpret, perhaps thinking that they could be explained away. Catholicism and Christianity are both non-enlightened by the virtue of pretending a non-mythical partly-human prophet.
Christian Science is Enlightened
Christian Science has been described as nondual. In a glossary of terms written by the founder, Mary Baker Eddy, matter is defined as illusion, and when defining ’I, or Ego’ as the divine in relationship with individual identity, she writes "There is but one I, or Us, but one divine Principle, or Mind, governing all existence" - continuing - ". . .whatever reflects not this one Mind, is false and erroneous, even the belief that life, substance, and intelligence are both mental and material."
Griffiths (1906-1993) form of Vedanta -inspired or nondual Christianity, coming from the Christian Ashram Movement, has inspired papers by Bruno Barnhart discussing ’Wisdom Christianity’ or ’Sapiential Christianity’. 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". 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."
Gnosticism (from gnostikos, "learned", from gnosis) is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism (especially Zurvanism, and Neoplatonism.
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.
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.
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.
In Fig: Gnosis is valid enlightenment.
Sufism and Irfan are the mystical traditions 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 Reza Aslan writes, "is to create an inseparable union between the individual and the Divine."
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.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad 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."
In Fig: This last one about Islam is quite a surprise but it seems that all religions at least have a history of understanding true enlightenment. One would have to ask why so many have gotten away from it.