The other shore may be this shore

A central metaphor in Buddhism is the image of a river, with humanity standing on one bank, and liberation or nirvana on the opposite bank: the near shore and the farther shore.

On the near shore is all our confusion and doubt, all our suffering and dissatisfaction (what Buddhists called samsara, meaning “wandering” - as in the forever “wandering” or becoming mind); while on the farther shore is supposed to be a mind free from limitations, free from suffering and becoming (nirvana).

For Buddhists the whole purpose of the Buddha’s teaching was to help humanity move from this shore to the other shore, with his teachings being the ferry used to cross.

However, a later Buddhist, Nagarjuna, famously said that nirvana is samsara; meaning this shore is the other shore: i.e. that this shore, when rightly understood, is in fact the other shore.

But what Nagarjuna really meant by a correct understanding of this shore remains elusive, because he still apparently (and so contradictorily) accepted the Buddha’s teachings (the Buddhist ‘path of deliverance’) as being necessary for crossing the river to the farther shore.

Enter Krishnamurti (from today’s extract of the day).

Questioner: “I understand what you say verbally, but I can’t stop groping and longing, for deep within me I do not believe that there is no way, no discipline, no action that will bring me to the other shore.”

Krishnamurti: What do you mean by “I do not believe there is no way”? Do you mean a teacher will take you by the hand and carry you over?

Q: “No. I do hope, though, that someone who understands will directly point to it, for it must actually be there all the time since it is real.”

K: Surely all this is supposition. You had that sudden feeling of reality when you heard the temple bell, but that is a memory, as you said, and from that you are drawing a conclusion that it must be there always for it is real. Reality is a peculiar thing; it is there when you are not looking, but when you do look, with greed, what you capture is the sediment of your greed, not reality. Reality is a living thing and cannot be captured, and you cannot say it is always there. There is a path only to something which is stationary, to a fixed, static point. To a living thing which is constantly in movement, which has no resting place how can there be a guide, a path? The mind is so eager to attain it, to grasp it, that it makes it into a dead thing. So, can you put aside the memory of that state which you had? Can you put aside the teacher, the path, the end - put it aside so completely that your mind is empty of all this seeking? At present your mind is so occupied with this overwhelming demand that the very occupation becomes a barrier. You are seeking, asking, longing, to walk on the other shore. The other shore implies that there is this shore, and from this shore to get to the other shore there is space and time. That is what is holding you and bringing about this ache for the other shore. That is the real problem - time that divides, space that separates, the time necessary to get there and the space that is the distance between this and that. This wants to become that, and finds it is not possible because of the distance and the time it takes to cover that distance. In this there is not only comparison but also measurement, and a mind that is capable of measuring is capable also of illusion. This division of space and time between this and that is the way of the mind, which is thought. Do you know, when there is love space disappears and time disappears? It is only when thought and desire come in that there is a gap of time to be bridged. When you see this, this is that.

Q: “But I don’t see it. I feel that what you say is true, but it eludes me.”

K: Sir, you are so impatient, and that very impatience is its own aggressiveness. You are attacking, asserting. You are not quiet to look, to listen, to feel deeply. You want to get to the other shore at any cost and you are swimming frantically, not knowing where the other shore is. The other shore may be this shore, and so you are swimming away from it. If I may suggest it: stop swimming. This doesn’t mean that you should become dull, vegetate and do nothing, but rather that you should be passively aware without any choice whatsoever and no measurement - then see what happens. Nothing may happen, but if you are expecting that bell to ring again, if you are expecting all that feeling and delight to come back, then you are swimming in the opposite direction. To be quiet requires great energy; swimming dissipates that energy. You need all your energy for silence of the mind, and it is only in emptiness, in complete emptiness, that a new thing can be. (Eight Conversations, First Conversation, 1968)

So what I take K to be saying is we have no need of an opposite, no need for ‘what should be’, no need of a farther shore. There is only this shore, whatever we are at present - the ‘what is’ - that needs to be seen. And so to be choicelessly aware of the near shore is all that matters.

What do others think/feel about this?

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The Other Shore,

Have already discussed the seeing (insight) of the false in the falseness of becoming:

  • "Ah, wait, wait, there it is! When there is the realisation the activity has always been from the centre, and the centre cannot possibly reach the other goal, the other side, other dimension, whatever you like to call it, across the river, it says, ‘All right,’ finished. I don’t think…
    “So I have come to that point when I realise completely, when the mind realises completely there is nothing you can do.”
    K, Seminar 6 Brockwood Park, England, 18 Sept. 1979

After which, there is a deep understanding deep in one’s blood, deep in one’s bones, that all “becoming” is an illusion, isn’t real, a pleasant form of “magical thinking”, an idea upon which the majority of people work for… something the society we live in is based upon: the yellow brick road, progress, getting “better”, “improving” one’s self, etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile, the house is burning…

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There is the ending of particular thoughts via awareness, moment by moment as they arise.
But why would this awareness arise in the first place? and why would awareness “wipe away” thought?

Enlightenment or clarity, would be seeing clearly what this shore is - which changes our relation to the world, or our relation to experience - like going on holiday without actually leaving home (this shore)

Why do you say that this shore is ‘intelligence’? In the previous sentence you said

So this shore is simply ‘what is’. What is is whatever is. If there is intelligence, then that is what is. If there is the movement of consciousness (with its contents of fear, pleasure, suffering, etc), then that is what is.

We do not require an opposite to what is. Only a (choiceless) seeing of whatever is.

Maybe. But if this shore is confusion, a lack of clarity, then this is what needs to be seen, correct? - not what the seeing of confusion might lead to.

Right. So then what is, is.

If what is is the movement of becoming (i.e. the movement of consciousness with its contents), then that is what is.

If what is is insight, freedom from becoming (i.e. the emptying of consciousness of its contents), then that is what is.

Passive or choiceless awareness of whatever is - which is non-action with respect to what is - is all that is required.

Or put it this way. We are always comparing where we are (or what we are) to where we think we ‘should be’ (or what we think we ‘should be’).

This ‘should be’ - which is encouraged by society, by religions, by gurus, and by our own desperate desire to achieve - is a fixation on the farther shore, and blocks us from seeing what we are, the ‘what is’.

As K says in the extract:

This wants to become that… In this there is not only comparison but also measurement, and a mind that is capable of measuring is capable also of illusion.

So when we cease comparing ourselves incessantly with ‘what should be’ - which is really a form of insensitivity - then there is a possibility of no longer deluding ourselves with respect to what we (presently) are.

There is no judgement and no comparison in seeing or being aware of what we are.

Yup. But what is, there is a possibility of both Intelligence and psychological thoughts co-exist.

There is a possibility of Love and Conflict co-exist.

Why don’t we see such possibility?

There is a possibility that, there is just one-shore, where both Intelligence and Inhumanity co-exist holistically.

Why do we believe that, Intelligence cannot exist where there is presence of psychological thoughts?

It’s like when you said to me, “people’s sufferings is K’s sufferings”. If there is sufferings/self in all humanity, how can there be an “Ending of self/etc.” which K point out??
It’s just ended for Buddha, but the compassion also exists hand-in-hand with self in whole world.

If not, then Buddha never Love and compassionate and Intelligence, as ‘self and sufferings’ never ended in whole humanity?

Isn’t there possibility of sufferings and Intelligence coexists holistically in universal mind??

Like, the universal mind, has no ‘specific quality’ (like Love/Intelligence as static), but includes all Love and Conflict within itself.


That doesn’t “sound” right, sorry, the part of “what is” being insight, no, sorry.
Also, sorry to say, but phrase “freedom from becoming”, that too is not quite right.
One must be free to see. Freedom is always at the beginning.

Yes, that sounds right, “sounds” right in the sense, one says (repeats) in one’s mind the statement, and it sounds right.

If there is insight, there is insight (whatever one means by insight). K has said that in this insight the contents of consciousness are emptied. He has also said that when this happens (the emptying of the contents of consciousness), there is another, completely different kind of consciousness.

A mind caught in the process of becoming is not a free mind.

That is, the freedom to see. Without seeing, seeing is merely an idea to be achieved.


Whether it is to be achieved or not is not the issue, the primary issue. The primary issue is the “idea” surrounding seeing. As long as one is valuing “ideas”, values the “idea”, there will be resistance as to dropping “ideas” per se, in fact negating “ideas”. Always to recall, there are facts and “ideas about facts”. You see, seeing or observing or listening to a fact is where it’s at. Which comes back to the basic issue, knowledge, psychological knowledge… that is. So what is an idea? How does an “idea” arise?

Here, knowledge creates thought, and thoughts formulate ideas, so to speak. (Not sure that one is expressing this well.) So we are back to knowledge.

So, again, as long as one values knowledge, psychological knowledge, there will be resistance to dropping that knowledge.

Since freedom is understood to be at the beginning, the beginning is to look at knowledge. One looks around in the world, and sees what knowledge has done in the world. That’s where it starts. So, it’s up to you, to begin or not to begin. :grin:

This present state of being, this “unknowing”… oy, but, at least, everything is a discovery. [chuckles]

Hmmm, you know, one must be really fed up with all this “knowing” business…

Is this psychologically accurate? When a person feels hate, they are - at the moment of hating - hate. Correct?

So it makes no sense to say that they are also ‘love’ (in that moment). Love is clearly not hate.

All we are asking is if there can be a seeing of this hate (the what is), non-judgmentally. In the seeing of hate, the hate might be transformed (or dissipated) - but the transformation (if it occurs) is only then a by-product of seeing, and is not relevant to the simple seeing of hate without its opposite (the opposite being what should be, i.e. the projected idea of ‘love’).

I don’t quite get this. The primary issue is surely just seeing, rather than the ‘idea’ of seeing?

When we talk of “psychological knowledge”, we are not merely speaking about the knowledge of science, art, literature, politics, philosophy, cooking, etc, right? By “psychological knowledge” I understand primarily the movement of conditioning, of consciousness (and its contents).

That is, is psychological knowledge different from the movement of one’s conditioning, the movement of reaction springing from one’s conditioning? These reactions (of conditioning) are the contents of human consciousness - fear, pleasure, suffering, etc; contents that one shares with all human beings (according to K). It is not ‘my’ consciousness, it is human consciousness (consciousness is its contents).

So the seeing of these contents as they arise is primary, not an ‘idea’ of seeing. The projected ‘idea’ of seeing is not seeing - it is a future goal, a ‘what should be’, something against which the mind measures itself. But if the mind is not measuring itself against the ‘idea’ of seeing, then there is only what is actually occurring in the present - whatever that may be.


The other guy is just confusing this thread, hatred… hmmmm… when one is to understand that, it is interesting to see it in light of opposites, there is rejection (hatred) and acceptance (attachment to what one likes). And in rejection, there is both anger and fear. It is in the understanding of all of that, that hatred dissipates.

Yes, precisely. And because a fact has no opposite, any movement away from it must be an idea, an image, a ‘what should be’, which is non-fact.


There is the whole “idea” of seeing as being awareness and attention, so much so that this idea becomes just a kind of circular notion. So one ends up observing this thought and that thought, but the thoughts are still there, right? One is saying, and one is saying this quite emphatically, and sorry to have to save this, but one can spend one’s entire life observing one thought and another, and at the end of one’s life, there will be still be thoughts arising.

Btw, you are so jumping around with expressions (eg. in “contents”, “movement of one’s conditioning”), pls be specific. It is becoming difficult to follow. Stick with knowledge, psychological knowledge, because knowledge creates thought!!! [Edit: generates is better word.] Does one see how knowledge creates thought? This is important, because unless that is understood…

You meet someone, you get to “know” them, and so then you have “thoughts” about them, when you meet them again. There is thinking about them, because of the knowledge you (not you specifically, speaking generally) have, and that knowledge - of course, it is never complete, it is always being added to. So, that knowledge is “the problem” so to speak. And everyone does this, and everyone is full of thoughts like that… and it is this problem (so to speak) that is the source of all the conflict in the world. So this thinking process, the centre of which is the “I” is the conflict. So always back to knowledge…

Yes, exactly, :slightly_smiling_face: However, see above, re: knowledge… because there is a tendency to move away, because of knowledge.

No doubt about what you say James.

But, you are speaking only fragmentary not holistically.

If you say, seeing of hate, Love arises, do you say only ‘Love is’, when the other person hate you?

Isn’t there love and hate both present in such situations, when Inhumane person meets Buddha?

If you say fragmantarily, ofcourse, right hand (Love) cannot be left hand (hate).

But, holistically, both are hands of one shore/mind. If you separate love and hate, then Love cannot be hate. But holistically, both coexists. (Holistic means not individual experience of person, but whole humanity/living beings).

Love might be there in Buddha person, but holistically, self and Love coexists. Isn’t it?

If you speak about parts/individual experience, then there is only going round and round and round, but holistically, there is not just love, but hate and conflict also, isn’t it?

So, you want to speak only experience of one-side or holistic?

It’s the same way Nagarjuna says.

Nagarjuna points holistically, whereas K and James points experience of individual persons.

Human cruelty, greed, psychological suffering, violence as in war, torture, all are an anomaly in Nature. There’s little if anything in Nature to compare with what a disaster we are to ourselves and our neighbors. Big brain gone wrong “because it could” said Bohm. We put ourselves in ‘prison’ and K saw it and set as his goal, ‘to set man free’. He pointed out the fix we were in but we had to pull ourselves out of the traps we set unwittingly for ourselves. Hatred has no place in Love. That’s obvious.

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For me, these are all different words for the same thing. Different people seem to resonate to different words, so in communication I find that sometimes it is helpful to use two or more words for the same thing, so that the communication is as inclusive as possible. But if we both agree to the same meaning of a word, then we can keep to one word.

You introduced the word “knowledge” - I cannot remember using the word in the OP - so I was attempting to relate your use of this word to what was already being discussed. I would prefer to stick to the word consciousness (and its contents), or the word conditioning. But you have introduced the word “knowledge”, so I was attempting to address that.

By what is, I mean simply whatever is going on in the actual present. And what is happening for people is generally a movement of consciousness (although, of course, it doesn’t have to be - it might be a flower, an insect, a bird singing, the movement of leaves in the tree).

So I was saying that by consciousness I mean psychological knowledge - not merely the knowledge of mathematics, geography, or how to drive a car, etc. Suffering is knowledge, fear is knowledge, pleasure is knowledge - but this is not how most people use the word “knowledge”, which is why I felt the need to explain.

From this background of human conditioning or consciousness (whichever word one prefers), thoughts and feelings arise. One meets another person, and one quickly forms an image of them based on one’s background conditioning. This image is now part of one’s consciousness, as one of its contents. If one is not aware of this fact (which requires the seeing of it), then the image will inevitably interfere with next perception of the other person.

But one cannot negate this image of the other through will, through effort, or because one has been told that having an image of another person is wrong or harmful. One has to just see the fact that one has an image, without any expectation that this seeing will dissolve the image. The seeing is the important thing, not the result that may come about as a result of seeing.

If thoughts, images of the other, reactions, etc are still there, then that is what is. To give importance to a projected (non-actual) state in which all thoughts and images have come completely to an end, and to then attempt to measure oneself (in the present) by this projected thought-free state, is a form of comparison that blocks us from seeing what is.

If there truly is such a state of complete emptiness - as K has suggested there is - then such a state must come about naturally, through giving attention to whatever is happening in the present. It cannot come about through will, effort, or careful persuasion. It can only come about in freedom.