The Brahman Experience-Seat Of Freedom

The Difference Lies In Getting There Continues
Winter ’80

The Upanishads teach that liberation will not be found “in outward
movement into the world.” It is the inward journey into the self that
permits liberation. According to the teachings of the Upanishads, it
is the longing for meaning and purpose, plus a desire to end human
restlessness and suffering that leads a person down the path toward enlightenment.

The Bhagavad-Gita, gives us another approach to liberation. “He who
knows Atman overcomes sorrow,” and here, overcoming sorrow means
practicing yoga. The Gita tells us that the final liberation, the
state where the self-imposed boundaries of individuality are
transcended, is the goal of yoga. In the Upanishad’s the yogi is
called away from society, but in the Gita, in order to progress
spiritually, the aspirant is called to duty, in honor of society. The
practices of Karma Yoga and/or Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of duty and love,
respectively), if done whole-heartedly, bring liberation. In the
Bhagavad-Gita the god, Kishna, told Arjuna, the warrior prince, that
his “jiva self,” his mind-body self, was not his atman. But, if he did
his duty, if he met the Pandavas, his cousins, on the battlefield
(while remaining unattached to the “fruits” of his actions), then he
would realize his atman and win release (moksha). It was no longer
necessary, taught the Gita, to renounce the world to achieve Brahman.
It should be noted that although the Gita emphases the practice of
Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, it was not critical of other forms of
yoga, e.g., Hatha, Laya, Raja, etc. In that regard, its teachings
remained consistent with the earlier Upanishadic teachings.

To the best of my knowledge, yoga was not a necessary part of the
Buddhist tradition. To attain nirvana, the practices of disciplines,
both mental and physical, were necessary, however. All dharma’s led to
the eightfold path, the last of the Buddha’s four noble truths. In
addition to “right knowledge,” the eightfold path called for ethical
behavior and meditative disciplines. Although some would argue that
the concepts of permanence and immortality were anathemas to the
Buddha, when it came to self-realization, the rejection of illusion,
the elimination of cravings, and the avoidance of narcissistic
preoccupations, the teachings of the Buddha were quite similar to
their Upanishad counterparts. But something else of interest brings
these two traditions together, something not generally talked about.

Brahman, as the innermost essence of reality and the cause of all
diversity, is the source and ground of being, yet it stands absolutely
transcendent to being. As the vitality of the cosmos, Brahman’s
dynamic self-expression is an affirmation of the Absolute manifested
in both the individual and the world. For the sage, the claim that
Brahman and atman are one is an identity claim, but, at the same time,
Brahman remains the ground of being while being transcendent to being.
How can this be? The enlightened look to the self, to others, and to
the whole universe and rejoice in Brahman—”Tat tvam asi (That art
thou).” But what is “thou?” For the most part, in both Hinduism and
Buddhism, “thou” is left as a paradox. It is not within the grasp of
language, but it is not out of reach of the self, either. The
comprehension of self (atman in Hinduism, not-self in Buddhism)
implies the comprehension of the universe as a whole—moksha in
Hinduism, nirvana in Buddhism. Knowledge and being are identical here,
and, I believe, by taking a closer look at Nishida’s self-awakening
philosophy, we will better understand why this is so.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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3 Responses to The Brahman Experience-Seat Of Freedom

  1. ElizOF says:

    You’ve done a terrific job in sharing your studies of the sacred texts with us. Keep it up! 🙂

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! My journal, however, will now move in another direction. In order to get a sense of the spiritual significance of this new direction one needs to have a sense of the spiritual significance of the aesthetic religious traditions as discussed above (ultimately this movement is circle shaped). I hope I can communicate what I want/need to communicate by moving in this new direction. Encouragement is always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks again. Take care.

  2. bwinwnbwi says:

    “The enlightened look to the self, to others, and to the whole universe and rejoice in Brahman—”Tat tvam asi (That art thou).” But what is “thou?”

    Self-consciousness (epistemological emergence) opened up the human world-historical-process where we are now looking through the prism of determinism, locality and continuity and discovering the “fuzzy world” of quantum mechanics, a world where the deterministic motions of mass points no longer exist. Short story here: The same logic/structure (b~b~bb) that separates/connects the person I am to the person I become, also separates/connects (at the ~~b structural level) all conjugate variables (ontological emergence). In terms of metaphor, the logic that separates/connects reaches around (the double slit experiment) and bites its own “tail”—Cosmos Wholeness, i.e., the head (b~b~bb) and the tail (~~b)!

    To wit: the “I” of God/affirmative ideal and the “I” of you and me/affirmative ideal are, indeed, one in the same (Meister Eckhart). Jesus said: “Split wood, I am there. Lift up a rock, you will find me there” (Gospel of Thomas saying 77b). Tat tvam asi (That art thou).

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