Mind and Universe

Then our relationship is to extract all the benifits from the information which we have gathered so far.

Either truth is always there (or silence is always hidden behind the noise), or my dissapearance gives rise/causes silence.

Now you are saying that motive (desire) arises from data processing - which is a common description : the relation of consciousness and its contents, gives rise to emotion.

I feel that that after science, the next step is businesses.

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Yes, this is the classic Buddhist dilemma: either the unconditioned (nirvana) is always there, objectively (and I simply discover it); or the unconditioned (nirvana) comes into being when I am negated, subjectively (and I simply create it).

But obviously this dilemma exists from the point of view of a consciousness that is still thinking in terms of subjects and objects, time and space, here and there. You see?

But if the unconditioned (nirvana) is nothing - not an object, not a subject; not a thing - then it is no longer a dilemma.

Then it is either truth, or it is not truth (depending on whether the mind of the person ‘relating’ to ‘it’ is equally nothing).

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Quite evidently none of us in the forum have touched the source or the ground. It was already mentioned that we are merely discussing what K and other teachers had said and whether there was any difference at all between their various descriptions of the ground, Brahman, whatever. So if K has said the ground is without beginning of ending ( which again would mean every present) we are obviously taking it at face value and discussing it only.
So IT IS obviously a discussion of the hearsay. :slightly_smiling_face:

Even your below statement is nothing more than an intellectual understanding of nothingness. Unless you have directly perceived it.

If I might ask, have you listened to any of Krishnamurti’s discussions about this topic? We may simply be bumping heads without understanding where the other is coming from.

If you listen to the 2nd conversation in the Ending of Time series (linked to below), you can get a sense of some of the hesitancies that K had about these matters. This is what I have been unsuccessfully attempting to communicate to you.

So, for instance, they begin by saying

We are trying to find out what happens when the “I,” which is time, has completely come to an end. I believe the Buddha is supposed to have said “nirvana.” And the Hindus call it “moksha.”

So the assumption of the dialogue into the ‘ground’ is that the self, the ‘I’, has ended.

Then K goes on to say

In the ending of it, there is that sense of nothingness, which is so. And nothingness is this whole universe.

Then they ask if there is something beyond this nothingness, to which K replies that there is. Not as an object to be perceived, but nevertheless…

it is there…. Would you say it is? Not I perceive it, or it is perceived…. It is.
DB: You could almost say that it is saying it. In some sense, you seem to be suggesting that it is what is saying.
K: Yes. I didn’t want to put it—I am glad you put it like that! … We said nothingness, that nothingness is everything, and so it is that which is total energy. It is undiluted, pure, uncorrupted energy. Is there something beyond that? … I feel there is something beyond.

However, one of the things that K struggles with is that any attempted communication of the ‘beyond’ may not be possible.

Can that thing ever be put into words? … can that be perceived? And therefore be communicable?

This is when David Bohm introduces the word “ground”, to see if this can help communicate K’s insight:

K: I feel that is the beginning and the ending of everything. The ending and the beginning are the same, right?
DB: In which sense? In the sense that you are using the beginning of everything as the ending?
K: Yes. Right? You would say that?
DB: Yes. If we take the ground from which it comes, it must be the ground to which it falls.
K: That’s right. That is the ground upon which everything exists, space…. energy, emptiness, silence, all that is. All that. Not ground, you understand?
DB: No, it is just a metaphor.
K: There is nothing beyond it. No cause. If you have a cause, then you have ground.
DB: You have another ground.
K: No. That is the beginning and the ending.

And yet that isn’t the end of the story, because K then rejects that the ground begins or ends:

K: Would you say further there is no beginning and no ending?
DB: Yes. It comes from the ground, goes to the ground, but it does not begin or end.
K: Yes. There is no beginning and no ending. The implications are enormous. Is that death? Not death in the sense I will die, but the complete ending of everything? …
DB: are you going to say that the universal also dies?
K: Yes, that is what I am trying to say.
DB: Into the ground.
K: Does it convey anything? …
DB: So you could say the ground is neither born nor dies.
K: That’s right.
DB: Well, I think it becomes almost inexpressible if you say the universal is gone, because expression is the universal.
K: You see, I am just explaining: Everything is dying, except that. Does this convey anything?
DB: Yes. Well, it is out of that that everything arises, and into which it dies.
K: So that has no beginning and no ending.

So you see, the whole dialogue - indeed, the whole series of dialogues (in the Ending of Time) - is a balancing act of words and metaphors that are used tentatively, then discarded, then re-employed, then discarded again, in an attempt to communicate something that is beyond what can ordinarily be stated in the temporal and object-based language of thought.

Yes, I accept this. But, to be fair, I am not the one saying that truth or the ground is ‘always there’ or ‘ever-present’. So I feel the language of nothingness is more accurate when it comes to speaking of the ground.

Anyway, let’s be friends, hey? Maybe you are correct in believing that ekam sat vipraah bahudhaa vadanti - I am just conveying K’s way of articulating this stuff. I mean no disrespect.

Please don’t be annoyed by my saying that to be accurate, instead of saying

if I myself have not transcended (or negated) thought and time,

one should say, “if this brain…”, because I can’t do anything but retain its content.

Yes - the use of ‘I’ in the sentence was meant as a shorthand.

If psychological thought and time (or thought-time) has not come completely to an end in a particular brain - which implies emptiness or ‘sunya’ - then for that particular brain (which is the brain of humanity, of human beings, so not a personal possession) - for that particular brain, the word “truth” remains just a word without deep significance. Such a brain cannot say - at least, not with deep meaning or total honesty - that truth is.

I do understand the tentative attempts being made by K to explain in words that which is beyond everything. And I just put forward what I perhaps understood from the conversation. And even with your aditional inputs, the one thing that does stick out is that is something which is the origin of all, nothing beyond it and has no beginning and ending. As below.

Please do not think by repeating the same I am trying to be difficult or intransigent. It is just the sense I get from the K- Bohm conversation. If the ground is without a beginning and the end how does it not convey a sense of ever-presence?
If you have a different understanding of that please elucidate. I know what is being described perhaps cannot be expressed in such simplistic terms but I am just conveying my sense. That’s all.

The ground may well be beyond description etc etc but something is being attempted to be conveyed in the conversation by K and we are obviously referring to what we get/sense, is being conveyed.

Well as per the below K quote the ground is beyond even nothingness.

Of course we are friends. No disrespect taken.

But such a brain has direct perception. Isn’t that “truth”’?

The problem with extracts is that one often misses the context in which they originally appeared. So, for instance, in the very first of the 15 Ending of Time discussions between K and Bohm the word “time” is mentioned over 120 times. This means that this notion of time, its relationship to our thinking, and the problems it poses for religious enquiry, is front and centre of all that they are talking about.

So they begin their investigation into the ‘ground’ from the counter intuitive perspective of there no longer being time. And yet our thinking uses time as a basic assumption, because our thinking is time (psychologically speaking).

This means that they were attempting to explore something that cannot truly be put into language, a reality - a “movement” - which has no before and no after, which is not merely the mid-point (i.e. the present) of the past and the future - and so cannot be referred to in temporal terms (‘always’, ‘eternally’, ‘new’, etc), except metaphorically, figuratively.

K: The ending is the beginning, right? Now I want to go into that. You see, in the ending of all this—the ending of time, we will call it briefly—there is a new beginning. What is that? … Beginning implies time also.
DB: Not necessarily. I think we said there could be a movement which had no time.
K: That is why I want to make it clear.
DB: Yes, but it is hard to express. It is not a question of being static, but in some sense the movement has not the order of time.
K: Yes. So we will use the word “beginning” and deprive it of time.

The problem of referring to truth or the ground as ‘always there’ is later addressed by K explicitly:

K: We must be very careful also not to fall into the trap of saying that the universal mind is always there.
DB: How would you put it then?
K: They have said that God is always there; Brahman, or the highest principle, is always present, and all you have to do is to cleanse yourself and arrive at that. This is also a very dangerous statement, because then you might say there is the eternal in me.
DB: Well, I think thought is projecting.
K: Of course!
DB: There is a logical difficulty in saying it is always there because “always” implies time, and we are trying to discuss something that has nothing to do with time. So we can’t place it as being here, there, now, or then. (The Ending of Time, The Mind in the Universe)

Do you see the problem? In some of his discussions with Buddhist scholars K addressed this problem more generally, as you can see from the extract below:

K: Truth is timeless, it is not your truth, my truth, his truth—it is something beyond time. Thought is of time, the two cannot run together, that’s what I’m saying…. I’m just pointing out that thought has created such illusion, and has brought about so much deception, and it may deceive itself by saying, “Yes, I’ve seen the truth.” Therefore I must be very clear, there must be clarity, that there is no deception whatsoever. And I’m saying that deception exists, will inevitably exist, if I don’t understand the nature of [thought]…. I can’t go to truth, I can’t see truth. Truth can exist only, can be only, or is only, when the self is not. (Can Humanity Change?: J. Krishnamurti in Dialogue with Buddhists)

However, this creates the dilemma that macdougdoug mentions elsewhere on this thread: if I cannot say that the ‘truth’ is objectively ‘always there’ (meaning that I simply uncover it), this seems to imply that ‘truth’ is wholly dependent on the cessation of self (or on an attention in which there is no self), and so has no objective existence of its own! Which seems ridiculous.

The Buddhist scholar Walpola Rahula pointed out this same objection to K, and you can see how K answers it:

K: If [the state of] attention is not there, truth cannot exist.
WR: I don’t think that is appropriate. Truth exists but cannot be seen.
K: Ah, I don’t know. You say truth exists, but I don’t know.
WR: But that doesn’t mean that truth does not exist.
K: Jesus spoke of the Father in heaven, but I don’t know the Father, he may exist but I don’t know, so I don’t accept that.
WR: Yes, it is right not to accept that, but I don’t think it is correct to say that, without that attention, truth does not exist.
K: I said that without that attention truth cannot come into being.
WR: There is no coming into being.
K: No, of course not. All right, let me put it differently. Without that attention the word “truth” has no meaning.
WR: That is better. (Can Humanity Change?: J. Krishnamurti in Dialogue with Buddhists)

So the point is that our assumptions about ‘truth’ cannot be separated from the mind of the one for whom they are assumptions - do you see that? That is, if the mind is not free from thought (and psychological time) then any reference it makes to ‘truth’ must be false - like a person born blind talking about the colours of a rainbow. First the mind (or brain) must be free from thought-time, and only then can the word ‘truth’ have any real meaning. So saying that truth is ‘always there’ is false for anyone who has not genuinely freed the mind from thought - and even for the mind of the person who has freed themselves, it can only be indicated figuratively with very careful caveats in place.

The topic of nothingness probably requires its own thread. K talked about nothingness in his Notebook and then in different ways throughout the late 70s and 80s especially, both in India and with David Bohm, and each usage of the term has to be looked at with reference to its context; so what nothingness might mean in one particular context can be different from what it means in another. In the context of the Ending of Time discussions (which are in some ways a continuation of an earlier series of 12 discussions K and Bohm had together in 1975) the ground is to all intents and purposes nothing - not an object of thought, not a “thing”, indeed the “death” of everything, including the universal - but what K was wanting to get at in these particular dialogues was an aspect of the insight he had had in 1979, which he felt required a different, perhaps more ‘positive’ language to bring out. However, he continued the topic of nothingness not only with Pupul Jayakar in 1983 (as was mentioned in the OP, Why Are We Afraid To Be Nothing?) but also with David Bohm in 1984 (in a shorter series of discussions in Ojai, which are referenced in a book by Michael Krohnen, though they do not exist in audio in the public domain).

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We are fascinated by Absolutes - but it is difficult to escape Relativity.

Maybe Nothing, in an absolute sense, has no meaning.

Three extracts on the topic for your consideration.

K says that there is a state of absolute nothingness, and that that nothingness cannot be examined—because examination implies measurement, and there is no measurement of nothingness; full stop. You see, obviously, you can only perceive nothingness if your mind is also that. (Fire in the Mind: Dialogues with J. Krishnamurti, by Pupul Jayakar)

Suddenly everything became quiet, not oppressively and the voices went on; there was an eagerness and depth and a heightened penetration into nothingness. You were riding on it, it was carrying you; actually, you were not there, only that nothingness. It was not nothingness of being or not being. It was empty without the borders of time; there was no measure for space. It was immeasurably empty as the mind was. There was not mind separate from that nothingness; there was only that. It was there beyond all asking and seeking and recalling. (Krishnamurti’s Notebook)

Sitting on the shore watching the birds, the sky, and hearing the distant sound of passing cars, it was a most beautiful morning. You went out with the ebb and came in with the tide. You went out far and came back again—this endless movement of in and out and out and in. You could see as far as the horizon where the sky met the waters. It was a big bay with blue and white water and tiny little houses all around it. And behind you were the mountains, range after range.

Watching without a single thought, watching without any reaction, watching without identity, only endlessly watching, you really are not awake, you are absent minded, not all there; you are not you but watching…. Sitting on the beach watching the people pass by, two or three couples and a single woman, it seems that all nature, everything around you, from the deep blue sea to those high rocky mountains, was also watching. We are watching, not waiting, not expecting anything to happen but watching without end… Watching is tremendously alive, every moment a vacancy.

Those little crabs and those seagulls and all those birds flying by are watching. They are watching for prey, for fish, watching for something to eat; they too are watching. Somebody passes close by you and wonders what you are watching. You are watching nothing, and in that nothingness everything is. (Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal)

Now this seems to be pointing at perception absent concepts. Reality is not filled with the concepts I usually project.
Some of these descriptions could be of someone daydreaming - in the sense of not being caught up in the usual mental/psychological grasping relationship with sensation.

When I mentioned “ever- present” it was certainly not something within temporal domain, which I already mention. Obviously it can only be something timeless. Because one with no beginning and end can only be beyond time.

But I will stop here. We can go on and on with the contexts and subtle distinctions. Ultimately as we agreed it is more important to know ourselves in relationship than argue about things we do not have a direct perception of.

Yes - although I don’t think it’s completely fair to say that we have been arguing is it? (if you felt that way). We have been discussing the real difficulties involved in pointing - using ordinary language and thought (with its time-based assumptions) - to a reality or truth that may exist timelessly. It is intrinsically difficult terrain, right? - not merely tangentially difficult. If we found it all very straightforward there would probably be something wrong with us both!

And as neither of us are claiming to have had a direct perception of truth or the ground, taking too definite a stance on the matter - whether for or against - doesn’t make much sense.

Our concern is really to find out if it is possible to be free from suffering, or for the mind to be empty (of thought and time), correct? Unless this is dealt with first, any beauty over the hills is just inviting hope, and hope may not be the most intelligent response to our condition.

Sorry. Yes. “Argue” would not be the right word. “Discuss” would be the right one.

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Yes. As usual, it really depends on what we mean by nothingness.

The kind of nothingness - or emptiness - that Nagarjuna wrote about is what one might call a rational nothingness. He logically, relentlessly, pointed out how all our concepts are empty (or nothing) - even the concept of emptiness. The world of dependent causes and effects arises in emptiness, and only has meaning in relation to emptiness.

The kind of nothingness sometimes talked about in Hindu scriptures and in Mahayana scriptures, is apparently more of a meditative state of nothingness.

As I said, Krishnamurti’s use of the word nothingness would require its own thread to unpack - but from these comments here it seems that while he is primarily referring to the mind that is empty of psychological content (i.e. thought), he also seems to imply that this nothingness holds the objective world, the universe, in its embrace.

But one has to remember that elsewhere Krishnamurti has said that in this nothingness is compassion and intelligence (or this nothingness is itself compassion and Intelligence!), so it is not absolutely nothing in the literal sense of that word. Rather, as K often said, it is no-thing. Not a thing. Not thought, and not matter.

So what is it?

The answer (as I understand K to have expressed it) is:

Be nothing yourself, and you will find out!

If there is no division and judgement, all that can be sensed is embraced.