Francis Lucille : “… to experience suffering is a trap. I agree. It’s a self-created trap into which we have fallen. But, it is at the same time, also the trap and the ladder by which we can escape the trap. Because what suffering does to us is give us a desire to get out of it, the energy to get out of it.
That’s the ancient truth of the Buddha – the Four Noble Truths: #1 there is suffering; #2 there is a cause for it; and (#3) there is a way out of it – the ladder, right? If we were in the trap of ignorance, and if we weren’t experiencing suffering, there would be no incentive to liberate ourselves from the trap. So in a sense, the suffering we experience in ignorance is the beacon that indicates the exit. So from my vantage point, there is no problem with suffering ...
I define consciousness as that which is hearing these words in this moment. That has no states. That which perceives a state is not itself a state. That which perceives the states is itself not a state. That which perceives the phenomena is the noumenon, it’s not a phenomenon. [[ wiki: noumenon is a posited object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of ordinary sense-perception. ... generally used in contrast with, or in relation to phenomenon, which refers to anything that can be apprehended by, or is an object of the senses.]] So that which perceives a state is not a state. Of course if you read books on psychology, you will (read about) all kinds of states of consciousness. But here we’re talking apples and oranges then, because the way I define it is as that which perceives the states. And that which perceives the states - the perceiver-in-chief if you will - is not a state.
Questioner suggests that when you speak of a perceiver and the perceived, there is dualism.
Francis Lucille : I would agree with that. The distinction between the perceiver and the perceived is, if you will, a pedagogical one.
If it is your experience that there is only one reality, then you are perfectly happy, at peace, there is no suffering, there is nothing to be sought, and there is nothing to be taught.
So the teaching only emerges when there is a student who emerges. And the student emerges as a separate entity. So then the teaching has to take the claim made by the student, of being a student & therefore a separate entity, at its face value, in order to be able to communicate. So then the teacher tells the student, ‘OK, you believe to be a separate self. What does it mean to be a separate self? You are that which perceives, right? Because you claim you are the body here, that perceives the world around you. Or you claim that you are the mind, this private, separate mind that perceives the thoughts.
But if you look more closely, the thoughts - you are the perceiver of these thoughts; this world, this body – you are the perceiver of them. Therefore, just as you claim that that which differentiates you from the world is the fact that you are the perceiver of it, and the world is the perceived. If I take you at your logic, following your logic, it follows that you are not your thoughts, your sensations, your perceptions, but you are the consciousness – whatever that is – that perceives them.
But then if you look at this consciousness, that perceives them and which defines you, which is really your centrality, this consciousness is devoid of any qualities because all qualities are perceived. Therefore you cannot any longer make the claim that it is separate, that it is limited. And then, once this is understood, this paves the way, makes possible the moment there is the understanding that that which we are - this consciousness - is devoid of any shape or form, or name, that makes possible the realization that it is universal.
Because up until that moment, we were superimposing limitations onto it. At the moment we make this distinction between that which is perceived and that which perceives, that eliminates the possibility of any superimpositions, therefore of any limitations. That’s the theoretical aspect of it.
But that points inwards towards an experience, which is real. Because the experience of consciousness is not a thought, it is an experience. And that’s how it gets started. Up until that moment, you are not on the way. You are on the way to the way, but you are not on the way. The point of entry in the way is through this experience of consciousness divested of any superimpositions, because then it knows its autonomy, it knows its reality.
Then you are told, ‘Wait a minute, now that you know you are real – as consciousness – that you are not making it up, that you as consciousness are real, you also have another intuition, which is that there is only one reality. Because everything is interconnected, everything is part of one single reality, therefore, this consciousness you know now to be real, must be this reality. So it must be the same consciousness that shines in all beings. And it must be the same reality-consciousness that we perceive as this universe. So then that’s when really non-duality really takes all its meaning – non-duality means there are not two realities. It means there is only one reality. Therefore, whatever is perceived, is consciousness and consciousness alone – or – reality and reality alone.
So my definition of consciousness, if you will, would be the reality that perceives, that which perceives reality, that which perceives in reality, that which truly perceives the reality it perceives. And there is only one reality. But what is important is the experience of this reality. And the experience of this reality is more readily accessible from within as that which perceives, than it is from without as that which is perceived. So we experience it first as that which perceives, and then we understand that everything that is perceived is nothing else than it.
And therefore the words from the Koran ‘Wherever the eye falls, is the face of God.’ Everything we see is divine reality, divine presence. But we cannot readily and easily go there through the external path. The teaching in a sense is accomplished through the teacher seeing the student as God, or as this reality if you will. And that in a sense communicates itself. That awakens within the remembrance of the divinity of consciousness.
There is this beautiful saying by Rumi ‘The gaze of Shams Tabrizi (Rumi’s master) has never contemplated an ephemeral mortal thing without making it eternal.’ In the Indian tradition there is also the saying ‘To see all beings in the self, and the self in all beings.’ All of that is the same and it is really the essence of the transmission - for those who are open to it, which is of course the precondition.