Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Nondual Level

By Ken Wilber 

In the previous causal level, you are so absorbed in the unmanifest dimension that you might not even notice the manifest world. You are discovering Emptiness, and so you ignore Form. But at the ultimate or nondual level, you integrate the two. You see that Emptiness appears or manifests itself as Form, and that Form has as its essence Emptiness.

In more concrete terms, what you are is all things that arise. All manifestation arises, moment by moment, as a play of Emptiness. If the causal was like a radiant moonlit night, this is like a radiant autumn day. What appear as hard or solid objects “out there” are really transparent and translucent manifestations of your own Being or Isness. They are not obstacles to God, only expressions of God. They are therefore empty in the sense of not being and obstruction or impediment. They are a free expression of the Divine. As the Mahamudra tradition succinctly puts it, “All is Mind. Mind is Empty. Empty is freely-manifesting. Freely-manifesting is self-liberating.” The freedom that you found at the causal level—the freedom of Fullness and Emptiness—that freedom is found to extend to all things, even to this “fallen” world of sin and samsara. Therefore, all things become self-liberated. And this extraordinary freedom, or absence of restriction, or total release—this clear bright autumn day—this is what you actually experience at this point. But then “experience” is the wrong word altogether. This realization is actually of the nonexperiential nature of Spirit. Experiences come and go. They all have a beginning in time, and an end in time. Even subtle experiences come and go. They are all wonderful, glorious, extraordinary. And they come, and they go. But this nondual “state” is not itself another experience. It is simply the opening or clearing in which all experiences arise and fall. It is the bright autumn sky through which the clouds come and go—it is not itself another cloud, another experience, another object, another manifestation.

This realization is actually of the utter fruitlessness of experience, the utter futility of trying to experience release or liberation. All experiences lose their taste entirely—these passing clouds. You are not the one who experiences liberation; you are the clearing, the opening, the emptiness, in which any experience comes and goes, like reflections on the mirror. And you are the mirror, the mirror mind, and not any experienced reflection. But you are not apart from the reflections, standing back and watching. You are everything that is arising moment to moment. You can swallow the whole cosmos in one gulp, it is so small, and you can taste the entire sky without moving an inch. This is why, in Zen, it is said that you cannot enter the Great Samadhi: it is actually the opening or clearing that is ever-present, and in which all experience—and all manifestation—arises moment to moment. It seems like you “enter” this state, except that once there, you realize there was never a time that this state wasn’t fully present and fully recognized—”the gateless gate”. And so you deeply understand that you never entered this state; nor did the Buddhas, past of future, ever enter this state.

In Dzogchen, this is the recognition of mind’s true nature. All things, in all worlds, are self-liberated as they arise. All things are like sunlight on the water of a pond. It all shimmers. It is all empty. It is all light. It is all full, and it is all fulfilled. And the world goes on its ordinary way, and nobody notices at all.

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