East embraces West, Non-Dualism embraces Dualism

{Simplicity is best, so no problem if you don't get this.  It is geared toward folks who are already familiar with the depths of Christian doctrine. It might seem like bookish theology, but it is really just simple observation of my (our) own nature, which anybody can do without opening a book. 

This essay was written on 8 May, 2010 for my friend Simon from the UK (in Kenya now), who asked  my thoughts about Non-Dualism and Christianity.  I place it in this website because it is part of understanding my thesis: that Thought of Credit and Debt is Knowledge of Good and Evil is Money is Religion. 

It is because people cherish the idea of ego-personality
that they cling to the idea of possession;
but since there is no such thing as an "ego",
there can be no such things as possessions. 
When people are able to realize this truth,
they will be able to realize the truth of "non-duality".
(Avatamsaka Sutra 34, Gandavyuha)

To sum it in a sentence: My Lower Nature is in a battle, but my Higher Nature knows that it is All Good}:
 
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Non-Dualism

 

I have a few self-proclaimed “non-dualist” friends who get combative toward “dualists”, which, ironically, shows that self-proclaimed “non-dualists” are really “dualists”! 

 

Eastern religion is often considered non-dualist while Western religion is considered dualist.  Eastern religion (like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism) is thought to go beyond good and evil, while Western religion (like Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is thought to be immersed in good and evil.  But it is dualistic thinking that sees this difference in Eastern and Western religion!

 

If you are truly a non-dualist, there is no self and other, as the Zen sages say, which means there is nothing to combat against.  Yet, at the same time, there is everything to combat against!  Paradoxically, if you are a true non-dualist, you must also embrace dualism as part of the Whole!  This is the essence of the Prajna Paramita ("Heart") SutraThis seems like a tricky mind-game, but let’s make it so simple anybody can understand it.

 

Shit

 

The disgust we feel looking at the pic to the right demonstrates our dualism.  I have a natural dislike for the shit that comes out of my own body.  All of my instincts tell me, “Shit is bad.  Get it away from me!”  That is dualism, and dualism is the essence of my lower nature.  The universe cannot function without dualism! 
 

But my Higher Nature knows that shit is good and pure, part of the cycle of life!  My Higher Nature knows that shit is food to bacteria and maggots, which convert shit to soil which is food for plants which are food for us.

 

Yes, my Higher Nature knows that it is good for my Lower Nature to see that shit is bad! 

 

Now it is clear that my Higher Nature knows that it is Good to believe in good and evil! 

 

People who play with their own shit because they think they are Non-Dualists, of a Higher Nature, are simply being stupid.  They will likely get sick.  By not embracing dualism they are betraying themselves that they are not non-dualists!  They are rejecting the Law of Nature! 

 

The True Zen Mind

 

There is a common Zen saying by Qingyuan:

 

"Before I came to practise zen, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. After gaining insight with the help of a good teacher I broke through appearances and saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have come to rest in emptiness I realize that mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers. "

 

Donovan does a song about this:
 

This is truly what I have experienced with Christianity.  When I studied Zen and compared it to Christianity, I saw Christianity as primitive, from the lower nature that is stuck in good and evil.  I thought I was in the higher nature, that I was a “non-dualist”.  Then I realized thought itself is dualism!  When I practiced Zen, let go of thought, like an infant, I could see beyond judgment and could no longer judge Christianity.  Then I saw Christianity, that it is All, duality and non-duality. 

 

The Old Man and the New Man

 

My Lower Nature is, in Bible lingo, the Old Man [Rom 6:6, Eph 4:22, Col 3:9], and must believe in good and evil – it is impossible for it not to.  Look within and see: the very nature of the brain, the very nature of thought, is dualistic!  Every thought is binary, dualism, self-and-other.   The brain is fooling itself if it ever, ever thinks itself a non-dualist!  The very nature of the Flesh is dualism!  The only way to reach non-dualism is to give up thinking, crucify the flesh!  Crucifying the flesh is embracing the Law of Nature:  flesh cannot live without combating, killing, and eating flesh.  All the infinite Universe is flesh crucifying flesh.  There is no other way.  At this very moment, cells in your body are killing and eating cells. (But this is half the story.  All flesh is also in utter cooperation and union with flesh.  It’s the eternal balance between Cooperation and Combat.  The dance of Duality and Non-Duality).

 

My Higher Nature is, in Bible lingo, the New Man [Eph 4:24, Col 3:10, Rom 13:14], and sees that All is good, that there is nothing but good. 
Then God sees everything that he has made, and indeed it is Very Good.” (Genesis 1:31)

 

“To the pure All is pure.” (Titus 1:15)

To say that one thing in creation is good is to imply that other things in creation are evil.  The New Man sees that no one thing or person is good, but that All are good.  In other words, all are One.  “Christ is all and in all.”

 

In the Gospels, the rich man (the Old Man, the Lower Nature) sees value and non-value, duality, self-and-other, and he calls Jesus good, because he sees an individual man.  Jesus then says to him,
"Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, God." ( Matthew 19:17). 
One!  Non-Dual!  This is the entire message of the Quran.
 
The rich man lacks the Eye that sees All, the Pure Eye, unclouded with evil, that sees All as Pure.  

 

The term non-dual is itself dualism!  Non-dual indicates there is another, a dual!  There is neither duality nor non-duality!

 

The One Mediator Between the Non-Dual and the Dual

 

Now, check this out, Simon!:

 

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are All One in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
 
There is neither Hindu or Christian, Muslim or Jew, Taoist or Buddhist...
 
Look at the Colossians version!:

 

“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the Old Man [Lower Nature!] with his deeds, and have put on the New Man [Higher Nature!] who is renewed in knowledge according to the Image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is All and in All.”  (Colossians 3:9-11)

 

Now we can look at the Galatians 3:28 passage above in its context and understand the deeper meaning:

 

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many [Duality], but as of One [Non-Dual!], "And to your Seed," who is Christ [Non-Dual!]. ... What purpose then does the law [Duality!] serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed [Non-Dual] should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for One [Non-Duality!], but God is One [Non-Dual!]. ... But before faith [Non-Duality] came, we were kept under guard by the law [Duality], kept for the faith [Non-Duality] which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law [Duality] was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith [Non-Duality]. ... For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ [the New Man, the Higher Nature!].  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are All One in Christ Jesus.   And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's Seed [Non-Dual], and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:16, 19-20, 23-24, 27-29)

 

Law is Duality.  Faith is Non-Duality.  The very definition of law is a system of cause-and-effect, credit and debt, positive and negative, duality.  Grace transcends law, beyond credit and debt, which is why Grace is Gratis is Free. 

 

Those who endure Christianity to the End will see that it is the ultimate in non-dualism because it embraces both dualism and non-dualism.

 

For there is One God [Non-Dual] and One Mediator [Non-Dual] between God [Non-Dual] and Men [Dual – Lower Nature], the Man Christ Jesus [Non-Dual, Higher Nature]. 

(1 Timothy 2:5)

 

What makes this such an enigma is that God is Non-Dual, Men are Dual.  But this can make no sense if there is not a Mediator between Non-Dual and Dual, making everything Non-Dual, meaning the Mediator is God himself!  This is meant to blow the dual mind, blow us into God (Non-Dualism)!
 
To think that the One Mediator is a single individual in time and space is to be deluded like the rich man, who thinks the individual, Jesus, or any individual, is good.  The rich man sees self and other, which is illusion.  He cannot see that "Christ is all and in all," "the Same yesterday, today, and forever."  Our lower nature, before it is cultivated by practice of humility, cannot understand that True Christianity is Pure Pantheism, Pure Universalism.  The impure cannot see that All is Pure.  That's a paradoxical statement, except that the impure does not exist, except as illusion.  In other words, become Real (Sincere) and you see All as Reality.  Real is Royal.  Become Real and You Rule.

 

The Great Commandment(s) are/is One Commandment

 

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked him, "Which is the first commandment of all?" Jesus answered him, "The First of all the commandments: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God [Hebrew Elohim, literally “gods”], the LORD is One.  And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."  So the scribe said to him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is One God, and there is no other but he.  (Mark 12:28-32)

 

We don’t at first grasp how deep this is!  How can you love God with All your being and love somebody else unless your neighbor is One with God and One with yourself?  We see that the Jewish scribe is enlightened, he totally gets it, by interpreting all of these words as this: “there is One God, and there is no other but he.”  The scribe quotes from Isaiah (45:5, 6, 14, 22, 46:9, 47:8,10), which literally says there is nothing besides God.   Jesus says that Only God is Good, and Genesis says that Everything is Good! (Gen 1:31).

 

The First Commandment is God.  The Second Commandment is Like God, the Image of God, the One Mediator between God and Humanity.  You can’t love God except through loving your Neighbor.  You can’t reach the Non-Dual except through the Dual.

 

Satan

 

This is also why Jesus says, “Love your enemies”.  On the lower level, the lion and the wildebeest are enemies.  On the higher level, they lie down together.  Lions and wildebeests must be in conflict for the survival of both their species.  The Hebrew word for enemy is satan.  Love your Satan.  St Thomas Aquinas said, “Evil has no substance, so why bother?”  St Augustine said similar (see quotes below).  On the lower level, Satan and evil are very real.  On the higher level, Satan does not exist, evil does not exist.  If he did, then Isaiah would be a liar, monotheism would be a lie.

 

True Monotheism is Non-Duality.  Polytheism is Duality.  Worry is Polytheism.  Faith is Monotheism:

 

Now see what Jesus says to Martha in a Brand New Light!:

 

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things [Duality]. But One Thing [Non-Duality] is needed, and Mary has chosen that Good part [Only One Good! Non-Dual!], which will not be taken away from her."  (Luke 10:41-42) [Compare Bhagavad Gita 2:41 quoted below]

 

The sublime Dualism of Eastern Religion:

 

Buddhism:

 

Westerners in their skewed view of non-dualism try to strip eastern religion of its dualism.  They try to make Buddhism not about morality, not about good and evil, and miss the whole point of Buddha’s principle message.  Gautama was in the forest meditating with his “non-dualist” friends, doing little else but sitting in the Lotus postion, trying to avoid participating in the world, thinking they were transcending the non-duality of life.  After years of asceticism, the Middle Path dawned on Gautama, and he discovered his Higher Self (The Awakened, the Buddha).  He found the Middle Path between Duality and Non-Duality.  He found that life was more than meditation, that meditation was only one eighth of the Eight-Fold Path of Morality. 

 

Yes, the heart of Buddha’s teaching is Morality, Duality, plain and simple, summed up in the Eightfold Path:

Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.  Westerners keep trying to eliminate the other 7 actions, regressing backward.

 

The Law, the Eightfold Path, leads us to Grace, Non-Dualism.  This is All of Buddhism in a nutshell.

 

Hinduism:

 

The Bhagavad Gita is said to be the summary of all Hinduism.  The very theme of the Bhagavad Gita is embracing dualism in order to become non-dualist!

 

The whole Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Arjuna (the Lower Nature) and Krishna (the Higher Nature), who are in a chariot on a battlefield between two armies of Good and Evil!  (Chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Gita sets the scene between the armies of Good and Evil, e.g., 1:21).  In chapters 1 and 2, we see that Arjuna thinks he’s something special, that he is somehow transcended above duality, and he wants to run away from the battle, from his responsibility, and escape the world (2:5,7).  But Krishna tells him that’s totally impossible, that there is not a living creature who can avoid duality, that even the body sitting at meditation is at work, in duality (3:4-5, 8, 33).


Never does a person enjoy freedom from action by not undertaking action,

nor does he attain that freedom by mere renunciation of action.

For none ever remains inactive even for a moment;

for all are compelled to action by the qualities inherent in nature.

(Bhagavad Gita 3:4-5)


Even a man of knowledge acts according to his nature. 

All creatures follow their nature.

What, then, will repression avail?

(Gita 3:33)


Krishna tells Arjuna that, if he is to know Non-Duality, he must act, he must do his duty, he must be moral!  He must fight the other army.  He must fight evil!  Only by seeing good and evil in his Lower Nature will he then realize his Higher Nature which sees that there is no good and evil.  He will then realize Non-Action, the Gita says.  


...Free yourself from the pairs of opposites. . . .

Action alone is the province, never its rewards.

Do not let your motive be the reward of action,

nor should you desire to avoid action.

Act, O Dhananjaya, without attachment, steadfast in yoga,

even-minded in success and failure.

Even-mindedness is yoga.

Work without attachment, being established firmly in yoga.

(Gita 2:45, 47, 48)


He will realize that it is not he who works but that it is Nature that works through him, which is the essence of the Bible. 


All action is entirely done by the modes of nature;

Man, deluded by the sense of "I," thinks, "I am the doer;"

But he, O Mahabahu, who understands the truth of the various modes of nature and their various activities knows that it is nature's modes that operate on nature's modes.

He does not claim to be the doer.

(Gita 3:27-28) [Compare Gita 5:14, 15:23, 18:60 and Deuteronomy 1:30, 8:17 in the Torah, and 2 Corinthians 3:5, Philippians 2:13, Galatians 2:20, Romans 7:17, and John 5:19, 30 in the New Testament]


And how does he realize this?  Over and over in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says he realizes this by acting yet giving up the fruit (reward) of all his actions.  Act for the sake of acting, for the sake of God, not for the sake of reward.  That’s pure morality.  His duty (the Law, Duality) is his spiritual path!


Cast all your acts on me.

With your mind fixed on the indwelling Atman [lit. Spirit],

and without any thought of reward or sense of "mine",

shake off your fever and fight!

To sum it all up simply:

The attitude in this matter,
springing, as it does, from fixed resolve,
is but One, O Kurunadana;
But for those who have no fixed resolve,
the attitudes are many-branched and unending.

(Gita 2:41) [Compare Luke 10:38-42 on Mary and Martha, quoted above]

 

Taoism

 

I’ll just quote the first two chapters of the Tao Te Ching.  They say it all perfectly:

I

The Tao that can be spoken is not the Eternal Tao [Non-Dual]

The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name [Non-Dual]

The Nameless [Non-Dual] is the Beginning of Heaven and Earth.

The Named [Dual] is the Mother of the countless things.

Ever Desireless [Non-Dual], one can see the Mystery.

Ever Desiring [Dual], one can see the Manifestations.

These Two [Duality] spring from the One Source [Non-Duality]

But differ in name;

This appears as Darkness,

The Gate to All Mystery.

 
II

 

Under Heaven All can see Beauty as Beauty

Only because there is Ugliness.

All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Therefore having and not having arise together,

Difficulty and easy compliment each other,

Long and short contrast each other,

High and low rest upon each other,

Voice and sound harmonize each other,

Front and back follow one another.

 

Therefore the Sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.

The countless things rise and fall without cease,

Creating, yet not possessing,

Working, yet not taking credit.

Work is done, then forgotten.

Therefore it lasts forever.


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Added July 1, 2010:


Saint Augustine, Zen Buddhist, non-Dualist:


Compare Saint Augustine's quotes with quotes from the Buddhist Prajna Paramita Sutra:


Those who find fault with any part of creation are bereft of reason...

  --St. Augustine (VII, 14)


Falsehood is nothing but the supposed existence of something which has no being.

 --St. Augustine (VII 15)


So we must conclude that if things are deprived of all good, they cease altogether to be; and this means that as long as they are, they are good.  Therefore, whatever is, is good; and evil, the origin of which I was trying to find, is not a substance, because if it were as substance, it would be good.  For either it would be an incorruptible substance of the supreme order of goodness, or it would be corruptible substance which would not be corruptible unless it were good.  So it became obvious to me that all you have made is good, and that there are no substances whatsoever that were not made by you.  And because you did not make them all equal, each single thing is good and collectively they are very good, for our God made his whole creation "very good."

  --St. Augustine (VII, 12)


For your Word is not speech in which each part comes to an end when it has been spoken, giving place to the next, so that finally the whole may be uttered.  In your Word all is uttered at one and the same time, yet eternally.  If it were not so, your Word would be subject to time and change, and therefore would be neither truly eternal nor truly immortal. . . .

You say all all at one and the same time, yet you say all eternally; and it is by this Word that all things are made which you say are to be made.

 --St Augistine (XI, 7)


They do not yet understand how the things are made which come to be in you and through you.  Try as they may to savor the taste of eternity, their thoughts still twist and turn upon the ebb and flow of things in past and future time.  But if only their minds could be seized and held steady, they would be still for a while and, for that short moment, they would glimpse the splendor of eternity which is forever still.  They would contrast it with time, which is never still, and see that it is not comparable. . . . But in eternity nothing moves into past:  all is present.

  --St. Aguustine (XI, 11)


"Without ever swerving from the realization of the truth that all things are empty of entity or self, he inspires all creatures to free themselves from the idea of self.  Emptiness means empty of all notions and assumptions.  When empty of all assumptions, the world is like a magical creation; the body is a wonder, and wisdom is a wonder.  They are magical by coming into existence and passing away.  Anything that has a beginning and and end in time is illusory and magical.  Only Nirvana has no beginning and no end and is by its nature Reality, undeluded, beyond illusion."

Subhuti asked: "How should an ordinary person be taught this truth?"

The Buddha answered: "By asking the person this:  'How can that which existed in the past become nonexistent now?'  This inquiry will lead to the realization that there is nothing that ever existed that is a premanent entity or an eternal self.  Then the questioner will see that there is both existence and non-existence."

 (Prajna Paramita Sutra)


It is a defect in language that words suggest permanent realities and people do not see through this deception.  But mere words cannot create reality.  Thus people speak of a final goal and believe it is real, but it is a form of words and the goal as such is without substance.  The one who realzes the emptiness of objects and concepts does not depend on words.  Perfect wisdom is beyond definition, and pathlessness is the way to it.

 (Prajna Paramita Sutra)



 

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