Tag Archives | Belief

What is the Universe?

“There is no reality but God,

says the completely surrendered sheik,
who is an ocean for all beings.”
~ Rumi
“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same. ….
The source is within you
And this whole world is springing up from it.”
~ Rumi
“The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage! Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves, but they are like heat haze.”
~ Buddha
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Nothing perceivable is real. Your attachment is your bondage. You cannot control the future.
There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Objective reality does not exist” …. “the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”
~ David Bohm
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,

where we’re microcosmic macrocosm mirrors.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Q. What is the Universe?

A. The “Universe” is a word – an idea –
symbolizing Humankind’s perception of a space/time/causality “reality”.

But, space/time/causality
is an illusionary relative reality
of apparently separate forms and phenomena;

An ever impermanent appearance of
ONE eternally imminent Ultimate Reality.

An Ultimate Reality which is Infinite Potentiality
beyond space/time/causality;

An Ultimate Reality beyond conceptuality –
unimaginable, incomprehensible, and inexpressible;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
appearing and disappearing
as ephemeral forms and phenomena,
from infinite space/time perspectives;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
expressing and experiencing


Ron’s audio recitation of What is the Universe?

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What is Ego?

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“I hold three treasures
 close to my heart.

The first is love;

The next simplicity;

The third, overcoming ego.”
~ Lao Tzu
“When I let go of what [I think] I am,
I become what I might be.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama
“A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies. The opposite is also true. The sun of truth remains hidden behind the cloud of self-identification with the body.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj


Q. What is ego?

A. Ego is what you think you are –

If you don’t self-identify with Universal Awareness, Nature or Divinity.

And your body is your ego incarnate.

As you learn what you really are,
you’ll change what you think you are –

Until without thinking what you are
or who you are,

You just ARE.

Here are some helpful quotations:

“When you think or speak about yourself, when you say, “I,” what you usually refer to is “me and my story.” This is the “I” of your likes and dislikes, fears and desires, the “I” that is never satisfied for long. It is a mind-made sense of who you are, conditioned by the past and seeking to find its fulfillment in the future. Can you see that this “I” is fleeting, a temporary formation, like a wave pattern on the surface of the water?”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

“As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it …it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind. …..As long as you are identified with your mind, the ego runs your life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

“As long as the egoic mind is running your life, you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled. Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

“Ego could be defined as whatever covers up basic goodness. From an experiential point of view, what is ego covering up? It’s covering up our experience of just being here, just fully being where we are, so that we can relate with the immediacy of our experience. Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well being, unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience.”
~ Pema Chodron

“The individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. When this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name. Confusing names with Nature, you come to believe that having a separate name makes you a separate being. This is—rather literally—to be spellbound.
~ Alan Watts

“When the line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there is no stronghold left for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself not in a world but
as a world which is neither compulsive nor capricious.”
~ Alan Watts

“The ego says that the world is vast, and that the particles which form it are tiny. When tiny particles join, it says, the vast world appears. When the vast world disperses, it says, tiny particles appear. The ego is entranced by all these names and ideas, but the subtle truth is that world and particle are the same; neither one vast, neither one tiny. Every thing is equal to every other thing. Names and concepts only block your perception of this Great Oneness. Therefore it is wise to ignore them. Those who live inside their egos are continually bewildered: they struggle frantically to know whether things are large or small, whether or not there is a purpose to joining or dispersing, whether the universe is blind and mechanical or the divine creation of a conscious being. In reality there are no grounds for having beliefs or making comments about such things. Look behind them instead, and you will discern the deep, silent, complete truth of the Tao. Embrace it, and your bewilderment vanishes.”
~ Lao Tzu

“The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth. Understand this if nothing else: spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao are not randomly bestowed gifts, but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.”
~ Lao Tzu

Q: “How much “ego” do you need?
A: Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Ron’s audio recitation of What is Ego?
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Seek Relief From Belief!

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
~ Buddha
“[B]elief in any form is a hindrance. A man who believes in God can never find God. If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality. If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. … belief is a form of self-protection…” … “When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu

As conception is body/mind’s inception,
Its imprisonment begins with conviction.

We are shackled
by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.

So, seek relief
from belief;
and  get out of jail —

Let us end our universal malaise –
our chronic belief syndrome.

Believing is deceiving.

To know what’s so,
Question credo.

Follow your faith,
But “dis” your belief,
Lose your illusions, and
Drop your dogmas.

Follow dharma, not dogma.

Seek relief from belief,
And find clarity beyond doctrinairity.

Ron’s audio recitation of Seek Relief From Belief!

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How Can We Become Immortal?

True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self .. and all else will come with it.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
What is birth? Is it of the “I-thought” or of the body?
Is “I” separate from the body or identical? How did this “I-thought” arise?
Is the “I-thought” your nature? Or is something else your nature?
The “I” of the wise man includes the body but he does not identify himself with the body.
For there cannot be anything apart from “I” for him.
If the body falls, there is no loss for the “I”. “I” remains the same.
If the body feels dead, let it raise the question. Being inert, it cannot “I”.
“I” never dies and does not ask. Who then dies? Who asks?
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Q. How can we become immortal?

A. To become immortal,

BE more than a mortal.


What lives? What dies?

What exists? What persists?


That every thing and every phenomenon
that arises and appears on the screen of our consciousness

Is but a fleeting mirage projected in space/time,
by and within the Light of Eternal Awareness;

That nothing is permanent in the ever changing universe,
where all that appears, disappears.

Be aware:

That only Eternal Awareness
exists and persists beyond time.

So, to be immortal, don’t just be a mortal –

BE Eternal Awareness –


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What Is Life?

“What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
  It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”
~ Crowfoot, 1890
“Life is everything. Life is God.
Everything changes and moves and that movement is God. . .
To love life is to love God.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. 
If you’re alive, it isn’t.
~ Richard Bach

Throughout human history philosophers have speculated on perennially puzzling questions of life’s meaning, if any.

Especially following my 1992 retirement from legal practice,
I sometimes ‘channelled’ different theories about the meaning of life.

I share some with you now, not as spiritual truths but as mental speculations, in case you may – as I did – sometimes wonder why we’re here.

In reading them please remember that with a silent mind there are no questions and no answers – just choiceless awareness.

Life is a word – an idea – with many meanings which are mental, not fundamental.
As beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
the meaning of “life” is what we think it to be.

But beyond our space/time/causality “reality” Life is not mental,
but Transcendental:
Life is Eternal Mystery.

Life is awakened Awareness.

Life is infinite experience
Of Infinite Potentiality
From infinite perspectives.

What is death?
In space/time polarity/causality reality,
life implies death;
life is the opposite of death.

So to know the meaning of life,
we must know the meaning of death.
When we Know the meaning of both life and death,
we shall know no death –
only awakened Awareness.

Life is aliveness.

Life is an “in a body” experience.

Life is a continuous identity crisis:
An endless opportunity to transcend
entity identity.

Life is an idea game
in which we’re challenged
to make ideal
our ideas of what’s “real”.

Life is endless exploration of NOW.

Life is an experience/experiment in space/time.

Life is a semantic space/time sojourn.

Life is a round trip metaphoric journey,
on which we are destined to return to point of origin.
On return, we learn – we never left.

Life is a journey: an ego trip.
Life is a journey: a mind trip.

Life is a workshop for ego addicts; an ego trip.

Life is a healing/wholing gnosis process.

Life is a metaphoric metamorphosis process.
Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters —
we learn all that matters is

Life is a mind field –
a field of dreams,
where all we ever see or seem
is but a dream within a dream.

Life is a cosmic game of hide and seek.
Self hides in plain insight
and, knowingly or unknowingly,
we seek Self.
We seek and seek until we find
beyond the mind,
that we are what we seek –
that what we seek is the seeker.

Life is a learning laboratory
for discovering immortality –
experimentally and experientially.

Life is suffering;
Life is mystery.

Life’s miseries are mental,
while it’s mystery is Transcendental.

Life is a cosmic masquerade;
an endless comedy/tragedy/mystery drama.
The masquerade play continues with countless acts and scenes.

Each actor must participate in innumerable roles,
until each is ultimately unmasked,
with true identity revealed as
Common “I-ness”.

Life is a mystery school
in which knowingly or unknowingly
we are all students –
each learning about,
and  seeking to solve,
the same Mystery –
the mystery of Divinity.

Though we may never solve it,
we shall ever evolve it –

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Beyond Being: Infinite Awareness— Ever NOW

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”
~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)

Humans are but blips
in a boundless Ocean of Infinite Awareness.

Individuated humans are limited by thoughts:

Thoughts that create the “universe”;
Thoughts that divide Awareness
as a prism divides light.

Mind is matrix; consciousness is context.

“Human consciousness” is an idea –
a thought which seems to limit boundless Awareness.

But in Reality consciousness can’t be contained.

Time and space are mere modes of thought,
as are matter, energy, and spirit.

Time is how we measure Now,
and space is for the places where we
think we are in time.

So, in space/time, human body/mind/souls
are seemingly separate and circumscribed beings.

But in Reality,
we are ONE.

Beyond being:

Eternally boundless
Infinite Awareness –
Ever NOW.

Ron’s audio recitation of Beyond Being- Infinite Awareness— Ever NOW

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Wean Yourself ~ by Rumi

You were born with wings.
Why prefer to crawl through life?

~ Rumi
The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:
Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!

~ Rumi
Why do you stay in prison 
when the door is so wide open?

~ Rumi
I long to escape the prison of my ego
 and lose myself in you.

~ Rumi
You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
I am the ocean and its turbulent flood.

Come merge with me, leave this world of ignorance.

Be with me, I will open the gate to your love.

~ Rumi

Wean Yourself

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From any embryo, whose nourishment comes from the blood,
Move to an infant drinking milk,
To a child on solid food,
To a searcher after wisdom,
To a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo,
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

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From Role Life To Whole Life

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:”
~ William Shakespeare – As You Like It 2/7
In the theater of life, personality is not reality.
Reality is the whole, while personality is a role.
So, play your role passionately,
but don’t take it personally.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
~ Albert Einstein

William Shakespeare


In the theater of life we each play a role
with which most people identify themselves.

Each role is a mere bundle of thought forms:
Self identification ideas conceived in and from the past,
which we call our personality or life story.

So if we identify with a role,
we identify with and live in the past.

But life can never be lived in the past,
only in the present – the NOW.

And we can never be NOW
while thinking we are then.

So to live as the NOW
we must identify as the NOW –

As Eternal Awareness – Presence –

And not as our past personality role.

Identifying as Awareness,
we live authentically –

A Whole life, not a role life.

Ron’s audio recitation of From Role Life To Whole Life

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Belief or Faith?

“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal
“Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”
~ William Shakespeare
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
~ Mark Twain
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha

Q. What is “belief” and what is “faith”; and, how are they synonymous or different?

A. “Belief” and “faith” are words used by different people to communicate different ideas about trust or confidence in Divinity or Nature. In each instance their meaning depends on the intention of the person using each word, and the context of such use.

Sometimes the words are used synonymously. For example, English language bible translations from original Aramaic sometimes equate belief in Divinity with faith.

Thus in Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move.”

While in Mark 9:23 alluding to faith in Divinity he says:

“All things are possible for him that believes.”

But because there can be a significant difference between experiential intuitive trust in Nature or Divinity and ideological trust in religious dogma or secular ideas, for clarity in addressing this question we here distinguish between “belief” and “faith” and do not use them synonymously.

Both belief and faith may be founded on discrimination or rationality.
But though faith may be balanced with reason, faith transcends reason. Belief follows ideas from the past which may or may not support faith – but can never negate it, for faith is beyond belief.

So, faith is transcendental, while belief mental.
Faith is NOW; belief is then.

“Faith” means intuitive trust or confidence in Life, especially in the miraculous unknown,
whereas “belief” means adopting or accepting ideas of others that something or someone is true or exists.

Faith arises from experience, discrimination and intuition and promotes our life journey, while blind belief deters it.

“On life’s journey faith is nourishment,
virtuous deeds are a shelter,
wisdom is the light by day and
right mindfulness is the protection by night.
If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.”
~ Buddha

Dogmatic religious or other beliefs limit or preclude openness, spontaneity and authenticity;
and, they often follow and mask doubt and uncertainty.

“Irrevocable commitment to any one religion is not only intellectual suicide;
it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.
Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts

“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear”
~ J. Krishnamurti

Doubt and fearfulness preclude openness, spontaneity and authenticity.

Belief follows fear. Fear and faith cannot co-exist.

Fearlessness is openness. Fearfulness is closeness.

“Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—is the attitude of
allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”
~ Alan Watts

Faith in transcendental Power or Divinity, named or unnamed, follows the Heart,
while belief follows fear of the unknown. Fear and Faith cannot co-exist.

Faith follows That which benefits everyone and everything, but belief may be inconsistent with universal good.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all,
then accept it and live up to it.
~ Buddha

Faith follows intuition; faith follows the Way; faith follows the Self; faith follows the Heart.

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Death? Afterlife? Rebirth? ~ Easter Reflections on Resurrections.

“I tell you the truth,
no one can see the kingdom of God
unless he is born again.”
~ John – 3:3
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear?
When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
At my death do not lament our separation …
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
death, as men call him, ends what they call men
–but beauty is more now than dying’s when…
~ e. e. cummings
“The dewdrop belongs to the sea.
Separated, it is vulnerable to the sun and wind and other elements of nature;
but when the droplet returns its source, it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea.
So it is with your life.  United to God you become immortal.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Eternal Life is gained by utter abandonment of one’s own life.
When God appears to His ardent lover the lover is absorbed in Him,
and not so much as a hair of the lover remains.
True lovers are as shadows, and when the sun shines in glory
the shadows vanish away.
He is a true lover to God to whom God says,
“I am thine, and thou art mine! ”
~ Rumi

The Last Supper

As countless millions reverently commemorate the rebirth and resurrection of Jesus following his physical death by crucifixion, let us contemplate the deep significance of that story.  Whether we regard it as historic or metaphoric, the story raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

After birth, death of the physical body is inevitable and unavoidable. “No matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.” Uncertainty exists only about time of death, and about whether there is life after physical death.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, respected scientist, author and pioneering authority on death and dying, believed in survival of spirit after physical death, and used butterflies as symbols of the death process. Soon after World War II, she visited the children’s barracks at the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland. There, amazingly, she observed hundreds of butterfly images drawn by the inmate children on the walls, even with pebbles and fingernails. Spellbound by the sight of butterflies drawn on the walls, she wondered why they were there and what they meant. Twenty-five years later, after listening to hundreds of terminally ill patients, she finally realized that the imprisoned children must have known that they were going to die and intuitively were using butterflies as images of the physical death process. Dr. Kubler-Ross thus explained in The Wheel of Life, A Memoir of Living and Dying:

“They knew that soon they would become butterflies. Once dead, they would be out of that hellish place. Not tortured anymore. Not separated from their families. Not sent to gas chambers. None of this gruesome life mattered anymore. Soon they would leave their bodies the way a butterfly leaves its cocoon. And I realized that was the message they wanted to leave for future generations. . . .It also provided the imagery that I would use for the rest of my career to explain the process of death and dying.”

But if – like snowflakes – each of us manifests as an absolutely unique physical form, what is it about us that can survive death of that unique form, and be “born and reborn”?

“Reincarnation” is often understood to be the transmigration of a “soul” – viz. apparently circumscribed spirit – to another body after physical death. Though in Buddhism there is no concept of separate soul or individual self that survives death, Buddhists believe in rebirth. Like most mystics, Buddhists say that in addition to our physical body, we are enveloped by subtle astral and mental bodies, which survive death of the physical body and become consciously associated with successive physical bodies.

A detailed and compelling description of afterlife can be found in “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramahansa Yogananda, Chapter 43 – The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar .   There Yogananda credibly recounts a long discussion with his physically deceased Guru, Sri Yukteswar, who – like Jesus – resurrected to explain to his disciple Yogananda many details of afterlife.  [You can read that extraordinarily fascinating story at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_a_Yogi/Chapter_43

The Dalai Lama says that:

“We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”

Many psychics say that on physical death “we” survive and enter different realms. eg. http://www.victorzammit.com/Whenwedie/whatdoeshappen.htm

But ancient Vedic non-dualism philosophy (Advaita) has for millennia taught that this impermanent and ever changing world is an unreal illusion called maya or samsara; and, that “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”… .

These ancient non-dualism teachings were first brought to large Western audiences by Swami Vivekananda, principle disciple of nineteenth century Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, at and after the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago.

In an eloquent New York City lecture called “The Real and the Apparent Man”, Vivekananda equated maya or samsara with “time, space, and causation” and presciently predicted scientific confirmation of the ancient Vedic non-dual philosophy of One Infinite Existence. He said:

“According to the Advaita philosophy, ..this Maya or ignorance–or name and form, or, as it has been called in Europe, time, space, and causality–is out of this one Infinite Existence showing us the manifoldness of the universe; in substance, this universe is one. So long as any one thinks that there are two ultimate realities, he is mistaken. When he has come to know that there is but one, he is right. This is what is being proved to us every day, on the physical plane, on the mental plane, and also on the spiritual plane.”

“What then becomes of all this threefold eschatology of the dualist, that when a man dies he goes to heaven, or goes to this or that sphere, and that the wicked persons become ghosts, and become animals, and so forth? None comes and none goes, says the non-dualist. How can you come and go? You are infinite; where is the place for you to go?
“So it is with regard to the soul; the very question of birth and death in regard to it is utter nonsense. Who goes and who comes? Where are you not? Where is the heaven that you are not in already? Omnipresent is the Self of man. Where is it to go? Where is it not to go? It is everywhere. So all this childish dream and puerile illusion of birth and death, of heavens and higher heavens and lower worlds, all vanish immediately for the perfect. For the nearly perfect it vanishes after showing them the several scenes up to Brahmaloka. It continues for the ignorant.”

“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga

Revered 20th century Indian sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi – who was a renowned exponent of non-dualism – taught that self-realization reveals that this entire world of space/time/causality is illusionary maya or samsara; but that reincarnation exists until self-realization. Thus, responding to the question: “Is reincarnation true?”,  he said: “Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.”

But the Dalai Lama says he practices death and rebirth eight times daily. And, as Tibetan Bodhisattva of Compassion, he’s planning to return until all sentient beings are liberated from suffering.

If you had the option of a one-way exit pass to ‘heaven’, would you volunteer as a Bodhisattva to come back to this crazy world?

Whatever our ideas about death, afterlife or rebirth, may we – in this life on our precious planet – realize together our common dream for a better world, where everyone everywhere is happy.


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