17 March 2011

A long time ago I studied under Zen Master Seung Sahn Soen Sa when he lived in the states. I also stayed as a guest at his temple in Seoul when I visited Korea in the late 90s.

Seung Sahn had a pet peeve, it was students who attained Nothingness and saw the void nature of all things, even that time was empty, and then they stopped there. They became “rogues” and did just as they wanted without consideration for others, because they saw themselves and others as non existent, so whatever actions came from them was considered alright, even while not resolving the illogical inconsistency of no longer feeling like a person, yet continuing to act in the same old ways as before. (For I might ask the question, "Just because you no longer feel a personal, or that you exist, does that mean the personal or ego is not still there?")

He would say, “You now know Empty; is that all?”, implying there was something to discover beyond Nothingness and the Void and oneness, and which was a return to living as a human in the world lived in by all others, the apparent world of life and death, and to do so with a sense of compassion and integrity.

He gave students many koans relating to life "after" the initial awakening to nothingness, which he considered half way, or 180 degree awakening, versus a 360 degree return to the marketplace.

Robert too spoke of those who only understood that nothing ever existed, and they did not exist, yet who continued to live in the apparent world, either not caring, or deliberately exploiting it without caring how ones actions affected others. He called them “cold fish.”

I am afraid several famous Jnanis fit into this category, but I am not going to name names because I'll get comments from a dozen defenders.

I have mentioned that there are two stages to awakening.  The first was to see that you do not exist and never have existed.  Seeing that, you see the world too has never existed, and you are free.  It is all a matter of mind and the mind is only a collection of thoughts, which aren't really your thoughts anyway, and which one might call a collective or cultural network of thoughts. I write about this as my first awakening experience.

The second awakening is when you see that all of consciousness and the states of consciousness are not you and have nothing to do with you.  You are that which notes the coming and going of consciousness and the forms of consciousness. This I have thoroughly explored on the blue site of http://itisnotreal.com as well as on the link called my second awakening experience. This knowledge or awareness has no attributes and really no existence as an entity of any sort in this world.  It is utterly beyond phenomenology.

However, there is a third awakening too. The third is an ever increasing love for all sentient beings, wanting them to be safe and prosper, and also wanting to create a better world. This can come instantly, or over a period of time, knowing that the world is unreal, a creation of mind, but beginning to see the suffering and pain of others as real after all, and it causing a rise in you of a need to end that suffering. This is the Mahayana ideal of the Bodhisatva, versus the Hinayana ideal of the Arhat. The second Bodhisatva vow: Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them all. The Bodhisatva relinquishes the peace of Arhat "blowing out" until all beings are saved from suffering.

Those who have only mastered the first one or two awakenings laugh and scoff at this, saying it is dualistic thinking, saying who is there to do anything? But they can only say this as long as their hearts have not opened.  They still exist only in Jnana, they remain Jnanis rather than returning to the world as Bodhisatvas with love and compassion. Look at Rajiv; he he has mastered both, Jnana and Bhakta. 

This marriage of both is the final goal, and it is far more fulfilling than just Jnana or Bhakta. When your heart opens, dualism and non-dual are reconciled in the same person. Nondual, you might say is a visually based understanding, while dual is visceral.

I prefer to transcend this limitation of non-dual and find the powerful thread of love everywhere, holding and permeating the universe. You see, every teacher has a different message. Robert used to say his was closer to Ramana's than Nisargadatta's, but each realized being has his or her own. So, if you like this message, you feed feral cats and the homeless and prompt politician's not to cut Social Security or Medicare. You adopt a homeless cat off the street or go into a shelter and adopt a dog.

Draw a circle of compassionate action around yourself, as big or small as you care to make it, and within that circle, create a kinder world.


  1. Dearest Master Edji,
    This is the best part of your teaching. It makes us feel compassionate towards other beings and also make us understand that it's not like alive dead body after liberation, which is a very absurd idea, but mind tries to tell me sometimes that it's like that and as you know, it is mind defense mehanism because it wants to survive.

    Edji, you give us courage and strenght on this difficult path. You are a true guru! and that's why I feel so blessed to have you and Master Rajivji!

    Love you!
    I bow,

  2. Consciousness is like an unimaginably huge symphony orchestra, playing all the notes, all the time, all at once. Mind is like a composer/conductor who comes along and chooses various notes and puts them together in a linear fashion so they can be experienced and appreciated as a song or melody. Is that song going to be harmonious or discordant? Will it be a happy or melancholy tune? Bach or ZZ Top?

    It's entirely up to you. I don’t think the whole of Consciousness knows or cares what’s being done with all the vibrations at all the frequencies it is radiating. But that doesn’t mean that we as apparently separate minds shouldn’t care. In fact, maybe the truth is that we are the way Consciousness can care, and thereby we make something meaningful out of that apparently meaningless radiation.

    I hope that if and when the time comes for each of us, we will be willing and brave and selfless enough to make that Bodhisattva vow. In the meantime you can keep feeding the cats, because it makes you and them happy. You can give the five bucks to the woman on the corner, because you know the money isn’t real anyway. And you can let that driver who just cut you off into your lane, without flipping him off, because it is so easy to forgive something that didn’t really just happen. Thus a more peaceful and happy world is built.

  3. What a profound blog entry. This should have been a Satsang. You truly are the most amazing being I have ever met. I love you so much, my whole world is bursting in flames of joy.

  4. I'm confused. We're constantly told the world is all a dream and nothing - absolutely nothing is real. But, now pain and suffering are real after all.

    Why is the bed I'm sitting on an illusion, but pain and suffering not? Isn't it all part of the illusion?

    I went through a phase of being lucid in my sleeping dreams. I can clearly remember punching people who annoyed me, knowing there would be no repercussions.

    So, I can understand there being jnanis who act in much the same way after awaking.

    I guess I must be a cold fish, too.

  5. It does not matter what you are told. Transcend that. It is all about you and your understanding here and now.

    If you are in the Jnana tradition, you must see the unreality first, completely, all the way, and then let the love develop.

    Just be easy on yourself. If you feel confused, just go within, into the emptiness. then learn to love yourself.

  6. Edji,

    I just watched the whole process of what is going on in me and put some notes down.

    A wave comes over me. It's a heat wave and my first thought is - that's Edji, he is with me. Great joy arises, thrill spreads throughout my body. I start witnessing the wave getting stronger and stronger. It is first felt in the navel area or solar plexus but it moves upward and stops in my heart area. I start feeling an increasing love and gratitude for your presence. That quickly grows into an ecstatic feeling, almost climaxing. There is great pressure in my heart and a push for an opening. The energy remains there and my heart is full and throbbing. Like an incomplete orgasm just waiting to be awaken again to fulfill itself.

    Then a second wave comes, a stronger one. My whole body now participates. It is flooded with ecstatic sensations. I become hot. And again, and again. It becomes almost unbearable. Involuntary my breath stops in an attempt to sustain the height of the Orgasm, to make it continuous. It is a miracle, the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.

    Occasionally, there would be a complete orgasm. Great relief which spreads all over my body. Peace then envelops me. I am now in meditation. My thoughts slow down. The focus is now on my third eye area. My whole head feels very tight, as if I have a helmet on it. I then start sinking, down, down into stillness (although I do have random thoughts). At this point it is mostly watching or feeling of my body tingling in a pleasurable way. I am at rest.

    Great Love, T.

  7. Ahh, you had Shaktipat even without any touching. Just a look. The rarest of the rare.

    Advaita does not recognize the guru as a doer, even though remarkable things happen everywhere as with you. It is consciousness itself that appears to be reaching through and expressing through our entire satsang family.

    Try to get your attention out of the Third Eye area as quickly as possible. Let your attention sink back quickly into the heart and then into the abdomen as quickly as possible. This is when the mind totally disappears and you can slip into Samadhi.

    You are quite rare. A bhakta in a Jnan tradition. Go figure.

    You have to realize, I did nothing. Consciousness has selected you for this particular path. I am grateful for your presence. You will be a great teacher some day.

    March 18, 2011

  8. This is beautiful post beloved Edji, very grateful that you shared it with us. One thing is very obvious that there are not going to be any cold fish here only heartful Buddhas, jolly good job sir!!

  9. Namaskar Edji,
    I feel like you have just written down my deepest desire and most intuitive knowing. I know nothing except that this is the only and highest truth and the only thing worth attaining.
    Pranams to you and Rajivji,

  10. Edji,
    I just wanted to let you know that the above experiance 'T' is having and the one you said is shaktipat has also happend with me several times, but with less intensity. Because you said in one of the Satsangs "Not to Pay too much attention and don't give importance to any experiance", that's why I was not paying too much attention to it and I thought it could be my mind creating it. The whole experiance is so sponteanous and very rapid sinking happens after that.

  11. Shaktipat is only a word. I could have "shaktipat-like" experience, because those who regularly use the term have all sorts interpretations and theories. It is not important. I was just very happy for T to have these experiences, and for you. But the intensity will pass, just as you state they have for you, giving way to a deep and calm happiness. But in the meantime, enjoy the energy processes. I didn't mean to take them away from you.

    In the end, all experiences are transitory. Realizing that uncovers and shows you to you.

  12. Well the truth is like you say there are no such things as a personal self but that does not necessary mean your heart is closed. I look at this life when I wake up in the morning is just another dream, a waking dream now when I have a normal sleeping dream I don't have the desire to save anyone as I know it's a dream when I am in it.
    I would think the same happens in a waking dream I know it's just another type of dream with dream beings, dream people, dream pets etc. Once we really see who and what we are none of this matters.
    I found that pure love can do many wonderful things, you can be awaken by only having pure love. The love does not go away once you are awaken if anything it increases.

  13. And how goes the rest of your day when you wake up realizing it is a waking dream?

    I ask this because then you say in a normal dream, you don't have a desire to save anyone because you are aware it is a dream when you are in it.

    Then you say,you think the same thing would happen in a waking dream, it is just another dream with dream entities and none of it matters.

    This sounds totally like an intellectual understanding only.

    In normal dreams are you really uncaring because you are aware it is a dream? You do constant lucid dreaming?

    I think most people do have caring in a dream, and do not realize it is a dream.

    You admit that you have not had a realization that your normal consciousness is a waking dream, but you suppose this is how life should be taken.

    Don't you see, this is only an idea for you. When you have the experience hat the world is unreal, what is its basis???? How do you realize the world is unreal?

    This few so called Jnanis explain. They don't lay out their experiential evidence for the unreality of the world or of themselves.

    Until you have that awakening, you are only speculating.

    There is no need to believe the world in unreal to awaken. The only need is to go within and eventually the evidence will present itself.

  14. To me it was and is other way around, firstly I wanted to save others, to help others. Secondly I came to Ramanas teachings unexpectedly and I have learned that until I have realized I do not have authority nor do I have permission to help and save others. And this strong wall of "i just can't" grown so big. So, as Ramana says "first realize your nature and see if there is anyone to be saved". Let's see :).

  15. So, do you just follow Ramana's pointer, or are you self-realized, find you don't exist, and therefore the world does not exist and nothing need be done? If the former, just yet another opinion heard that says you don't have to do anything but attend to yourself. So much resitence to helping others. Why do you think Robert taught? For his own ego? Or why did Ramana have an ashram? Or why did a billion Buddhists put others' lives ahead of their own? Becauase they are deluded?

  16. Hi Ed,

    I am not self-realized, and Robert tought, Ramana had ashram, billion Buddhists put others' lives ahead of their own because THEY WERE SELF-REALIZED like You. So, all of them has an authority and permission to save others. I am not just following "don't help others save yourself" but life itself showed me that I can't take action while there is a plank in my own eye. And since God takes care of everything, who am I to stand in His way anyway.
    That is all I am saying.
    But believe me as soon as I will realize my Self and will have authority to act, the suffering of this world will fear me and flee away like a ghost. Till then, practice is top priority, cultivating compassion and love is top priority.