Did Krishnamurti ever talk about a unified truth-field?

While he may not have used the specific term “unified truth-field,” Krishnamurti’s teachings often pointed towards an interconnected and undivided nature of reality. He emphasized a holistic understanding that transcends the conventional distinctions between self and other, observer and observed.


The problem with this is that there are a great variety of different Buddhisms which, correspondingly, have different ways of articulating these matters.

For example, Pali Buddhism (which roughly corresponds with Theravada Buddhism) has a view which corresponds with the Mahayana two truth view, where ultimate reality refers to the nature of conventional reality, when conventional reality is perceived through the lens of the 4 noble truths, the 3 characteristics (impermanence, suffering, and non-self), and its own understanding of dependent origination, etc.

In Nikaya Buddhism (early textual Buddhism, which includes Pali Buddhism), the contrast between samsara (the cycle of birth and death) and nirvana can also be seen as reflecting an understanding akin to the two truths; where samsara represents the conventional realm of conditioned existence, and nirvana represents the ultimate goal, free from suffering and the cycle of rebirth.

The Udana scripture speaks of an unborn reality, which is distinct from the born, the transient phenomenal world, which is a kind of two truths doctrine (although it wasn’t called this by early Buddhists).

Then in Mahayana there is a whole variety of different ways of conceptualising the world.

Yogacara Buddhism talked about the 3 natures: the fabricated (or constructed), the other-dependent, and the perfect.

Madhyamaka Buddhism talked about the emptiness of phenomena, but even here this emptiness can be understood in different ways, which is why there are different schools (in Tibet, for example) which reflect these differences of approach.

The influence of Tathagatagarbha literature is also responsible for a different way of understanding the two truths doctrine. The teachings of Tibetan scholars like Longchenpa and Dolpopa (especially Dolpopa) permit a view of emptiness which is similar to the one you outlined above: a purely negative emptiness of phenomena (along the lines set out by Nagarjuna and Madhyamaka philosophers), and a positive emptiness of the kind referred to in Tathagatagarbha literature. In Tibet this difference is known as rangtong and shentong emptiness.

This distinction also exists in East Asian Buddhism, which was also influenced by Tathagatagarbha literature. East Asian Buddhism is generally a mixture of Yogacara, Madhyamaka and Tathagatagarbha views (as well as esoteric views), which helps to explain the diversity of explanations that exist in Tiantai and Huayan Buddhism, for example.

Hindu philosophers like Gaudapada and Shankara were also influenced by Mahayana Buddhism, which may help to explain how they created their own versions of the two truths doctrine: conventional reality, and absolute reality (i.e. Brahman). Or a triple layer view if one makes a distinction between absolute reality with qualities and without qualities. Or a quadruple layer reality if one adds the role played by thought in creating illusion (maya): nirguna paramartha, saguna paramartha, conventional reality (vyavahara), and the illusions created by “maya”.

So, as one can see, the way one divides up the world depends on one’s underlying assumptions, one’s philosophical framework for understanding, the texts one is conforming to, as well as one’s understanding of those texts and the philosophical framework.

As I have said already, for me the simplest way of approaching all this is in terms of

  1. the world we perceive through our senses, which refers to the way the world exists in the actual, common sense way that it does
  2. the world we create through our thoughts and concepts, through our imagination and thinking
  3. and the absolute truth of the world, the universe, in its ground (if such a thing can be realised).

But to approach this from the level of theory will always have its limits, it will always be limited to theory. Which is why the two truths doctrine is problematic. It already assumes an understanding of the absolute view which may just be an assumption in thought. Nagarjuna’s emptiness of a dependently originated world is a logical emptiness. It is emptiness at the level of reductio ad absurdam. He may have had his own insight into truth, but his arguments do not depend on insight but logic. And so his two truths are assumptions in logic, in thought. Similarly with all these other ways of splicing up the works.

The difference with what Krishnamurti proposed is that thought is the very reality that is being questioned. The universe may be empty, emptiness may be energy, etc - but thought is always limited, and so only a mind that is empty of thought can possibly realise a deeper truth (if such a truth exists). Science can explore the nature of matter and energy up to a point (through quantum mechanics, black holes, etc), but science is always provisional, theoretical, limited by the limits of our thinking and conceiving.

Can the mind ever go beyond thinking and conceiving? This is the question for me.

I think of “the mind” as “thinking and conceiving”, which is essential. But because the mind is confused and conflicted by its psychological content, it’s dysfunctional.

So I assume that when we ask if the mind can go beyond thinking and conceiving, we’re asking if it can be inactive, silent, so as to allow for choiceless awareness and direct perception.

Just to say briefly that the context of my reply to Rick was regarding the different theories and views that exist in Buddhism (and Hinduism) about reality and truth.

Obviously these theories exist at the level of thought, thinking.

What interests me here - and what disguises K from many of these philosophical approaches - is that while Nāgārjuna, for example, articulated his view of relative and absolute truth, or of dependent origination and emptiness, through thought, through logic, through reasoning, Krishnamurti questioned the nature of thought and thinking at its root in the mind, in the brain.

Therefore, no matter how interesting or persuasive Nagarjuna’s philosophy of emptiness may be from a logical or conceptual point of view, it is still, nevertheless, a construction of thought, thinking. It is probably an idle or merely speculative thing to ask, but if Nagarjuna had questioned thinking itself from the beginning, would he have proceeded to create the philosophical theory of emptiness that he ended up creating?

That is, philosophy, even Buddhist philosophy, is constructed out of theories: theories of interconnectedness, theories of emptiness and non-emptiness. Some of these theories may have originated from intuitive insights into the nature of things, but as they are articulated they owe a lot to our thinking and reasoning capacity, and ultimately to our knowledge (otherwise we couldn’t talk about them). So if we are questioning thought and knowledge itself, then the content of this knowledge is not the most important thing.

So when we are asking whether the mind can go beyond knowledge and thought, we are implicitly critiquing the value of knowledge and thought. We cannot transcend thought until we have understood the limits of thought, and where it has its right place, and where it has no place.

Clearly thought has a place in explaining things, in communication, in reproducing - as objectively as one can - knowledge, for various purposes. Knowledge and thought, reasoning and logic, etc, have their necessary place.

But if knowledge and thought are king, then it means that we are ruling out perhaps the most important areas of life: what we can discover through the senses (so long as thought does not interfere), what we can discover through relationship, what we can discover through awareness and attention, and what can be discovered through insight (if our brains can be in such a state as to be receptive to insight).

This is where the quietness of the brain, the silence of thought, becomes important. But - as you know - one cannot force the issue, one cannot compel or manufacture quietness and silence. There has to be a combination of natural sensitivity, order in one’s daily life, and clarity in one’s understanding of the place of thought. This is really what we are attempting to discuss on Kinfonet.

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The forum is not separate from life, it IS life.

Everything actual is life, so it goes without saying.

It’s quite easy to see a forum like this as an escape from ‘real life.’ The reasoning goes: To live in online forums and other social platforms is to live in a simulation of real life. But is it?

If you’re alive, everything you do is “real life”, regardless of what you think you’re doing or not doing.

Roger that.

“Therefore one has to find out whether there is an end to thought, an end to time, not philosophize over it and discuss it, but find out. Truly that is transformation, and if you go into it very deeply, transformation means never a thought of becoming, comparing; it is being absolutely nothing.”

JK, Krisnamurti Foudation Trust Bulletin 42, 1982, Brockwood Park, England.

“Your mind is conditioned right through; there is no part of you which is unconditioned. That is a fact, whether you like it or not. You may say there is a part of you – the watcher, the super-soul, the Atman - which is not conditioned; but because you think about it, it is within the field of thought, therefore it is conditioned. You can invent lots of theories about it, but the fact is that your mind is conditioned right through, the conscious as well as the unconscious, and any effort it makes to free itself is also conditioned. So what is the mind to do? Or rather, what is the state of the mind when it knows that it is conditioned and realizes that any effort it makes to un-condition itself is still conditioned?”

– Krishnamurti, New Delhi, 1956

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… what is the state of the mind when it knows that it is conditioned and realizes that any effort it makes to un-condition itself is still conditioned?

Wherever you turn, there you are!

Alternative snake metaphor:

The idea that a picture of a snake is a real live snake ceases to be entertained when the truth is known, though the picture’s snake-like appearance continues.

Division is the creation of thought. Without thought, there is no division.

But hold the presses: Without thought, there is no unity either.

When thought is absent, there is nothing nameable, measurable, fathomable.

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If there is no division, how can there not be unity?
Or if we are getting confused by words : If there is no division, how can there be division?

I’m thinking here of ‘unity’ and ‘division’ as conceptual constructs, symbols. Without thought, symbols are empty of meaning, right? (Without thought, meaning is empty of meaning!) Rather than saying unity and division don’t exist without thought, I should say unity and division have no meaning without thought. The may be thought to exist as sounds (spoken) and images (written).

Our brain is working very hard to deal with the confusion it is creating.

If the concepts and symbols are being used for the purpose of confusion, they are not in their right place.

The correct place of thought is practical (it moves from a to b)

Yes there is no unity nor division without measurement - without discrimination.
Without measurement/observation there is still apparently (theoretically from our point of view) something mysterious occuring - even if we just call it a multi-dimensional probability field :unicorn:

How do you know this?

When thought is absent, there is nothing nameable, measurable, fathomable.

Yes, but when there is the belief that everything is “nameable, measurable, fathomable”, it doesn’t matter what is true.

The conditioned brain believes that everything is nameable, measurable, fathomable in time, eventually, because its fundamental belief is that time is fundamental, and all that’s needed to solve every problem is the time it takes to do it.

Krishnamurti, however, experienced time as not being fundamental but flexible, and virtually non-existent. To K, when there’s complete attention, moment to moment awareness, time can slow down, speed up, and stop altogether.

Like thought, a sense of time is necessary, critical. So much so that K equated time with thought.

I think rick is making a logical statement : absent conceptualisation, there are no concepts.

Unity is fundamentally a concept? Unity is not part of fundamental reality. Experience it seems is relationship. Anything beyond experience cannot be experienced.

How do I know anything? (Do I know anything?) What does it mean when things ‘make sense’ within my worldview du jour? When X makes sense, is it a giveaway that X is not IT?

Thank you, you said it better than I could. Unity, the word, is a concept. What about ‘that which unity the word points to’? I.e. numina, things in themselves. The real ‘entities’ that cast the shadows lining the cave’s inner walls. What can be known about them? There’s a cul de sac that’s occupied many a philosopher for way too long.