Quora answer: Where can I obtain a digital copy of the song Annihilation in Allah?


Shaykh Muhammad ibn Habib of Morocco who died in the Seventies over 100 years of age who was a reviver of Sufism and Islam in his time from the Darqawi Tariqa. The following is one of the songs in his Diwan which is some of the most sublime sufic poetry ever written because it is very explicit about the nature of the Sufic path.

Annihilation In Allah
Oh seeker of annihilation in Allah, say all the time: Allah – Allah
And withdraw into Him from other-than-Him and with your heart – see Allah.
Gather your concerns in Him and He will be enough in place of other-than-Allah.
Be a pure slave to Him and you will be free from other-than Allah.
Submit yourself to Him and be humble and you will win a secret
Invoke Him with gravity and sincerity in the presence of the slaves of Allah.
Conceal it when He is manifested to you with lights from the essence of Allah.
With us, other is impossible, for existence belongs to Allah.
Constantly cut through your illusion with a pure tawhid to Allah.
So the oneness of action appears at the beginning of dhikr of Allah.
And the oneness of attribute comes from love of Allah.
And the oneness of His essence gives going-on with Allah.
Joy to the one who walks on the path of dhikr of Allah.
Believing in a living Shaykh who is a gnostic of Allah.
He holds constantly to His love, and sells his self to Allah.
He rises in the night to recite His word, longing for Allah.
And so gets what he seeks, of the power of knowledge in Allah.
Our gifts are from a Prophet who is the master of the creatures of Allah.
May the purest of blessings be upon him in a quantity as great as the knowledge of Allah.
And his Family and Companions and everyone who calls to Allah.

http://bewley.virtualave.net/habib.html

http://brislamic.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/the-diwan-of-shaykh-muhammad-ibn-al-habib/

http://kp0.me/GQunf5

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Posted March 26, 2012 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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Quora answer: What are people’s perceptions of sufism?

“From a traditional Muslim’s perceptions, there is a concern with Sufism that it is:
(a) distancing itself from the primary sources of Islam: the Qur’an and Sunnah, particularly in matters of how best to serve God;”

Rather than distancing itself from the Sunnah, Sufism embraces it totally if it is genuine and goes beyond the norm in devotion, humility, and attempts to develop a character that is like those that are described in the first community to the extent possible at the end of time.

“(b) The above two are what gives Islam its authenticity and uniqueness;”

True. But there is also a tradition of interpreting them that has been rejected by the Salifis, and that is heresy. So there are two extremes accepting only Quran and Hadith and making up Islam based on those alone rejecting the Mathabs, and pseudo-Sufis that think they can jettison practices and beliefs that are central to Islam.

“(c) Furthermore, only God has the knowledge of how He should be served and a human attempt to connect with God based on human thoughts rather than divine is likely to misguide individuals.”

But God has conveyed that knowledge through his Prophets and so we are not bereft of it. My point is that Sufism is only Ihsan which cannot be separated from Iman and Islam. If we get rid of everything that is not Ihsan that calls itself Sufism then we are close to the genuine article.

What are people’s perceptions of this? The key hadith is that where the Angel Jabil appears in public, as an intersubjective vision of the whole community, and questions the Prophet Muhammad, who then asks Jabril to answer his own questions, saying that the one who questions knows better than the one asked. In that Hadith Jabril (Gabriel) gives the definitions of Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. We learn from this that it is not God who is divided into three parts but actually genuine religion. It is not only Muhammad who sees Jabril but the whole community that encounters him as a living angelic sentient existent who is giving the message to us all, not just to one man. So the first instance of people’s perception of Islam was in this encounter between the Muslim community and the intermediary between the Absolute and the human messenger who is dependent on the Angelic Messenger who is dependent on the Absolute which the Angel bears tidings from. The whole idea that the Absolute be the source of messages delivered in time though angels to humans to a community in history is awe inspiring in itself. And somehow it is deeper than the idea that God has an avatar like Jesus, instead of him being a prophet.

So the first perception of Sufism was by the Muslim Community present with Muhammad when Jabril arrived without any signs of travel on him to confront not just the Prophet Muhammad but also his community. In that encounter Jabril mentions Ihsan, along with Iman and Islam, and the mention of all three, and their definition together with Jabil answering his own questions to Muhammad, is the first time and place that Sufism was perceived by anyone as being something named as part of the religion from the authentic source, the actual angelic messenger. Now that was an emergent event par excellence as it was a message from the out-of-time, i.e. the Absolute, to the in-time, i.e. the finite human beings of the Muslim community, via the endless time nature of the Angel. And from this encounter we learn something crucial which is that the Angel answers his own questions. This is the same Angel Jabril who came to Abraham, and to Mary mother of Jesus, and all other prophets with genuine revelations from the Absolute. Jabril is what Hegel calls Absolute Spirit. This angel is the intermediary between ourselves as finite in-time humans and the Absolute itself. And his appearance intersubjectively to the community of Muhammad in intimate conversation with Muhammad, who answers his own questions at the request of Muhammad, shows us that there is something angelic about reflexivity, and that the essential nature of the Angelic from the human perspective is seen in reflexivity, that appears in humans as self-consciousness as Hegel mentions which is a step below spirit itself.

Hegel says interestingly that the intermediary between self-consciousness and Spirit is Absolute Reason. Reason is Logos constrained by Logic and Experience. As Kant says Pure Reason outside of those constraints cannot be trusted and leads to rescission (technical term for the impasse of the antinomies and the anagogic swerve that takes us beyond nihilism). What is happening in the encounter of Jabril and Muhammad watched by his community of Muslims was that Jabril was speaking, i.e. using language, and thus transferring logos to Muhammad. He does this in a way that he asks what something is, and then is asked to answer his own question, and then he answers it with a definition and some examples. This practice of asking questions and giving answers in order to define things is called in philosophy dialectics which was engaged in by Socrates. Interestingly enough Socrates often answered his own questions, with the interlocutors asking him to do so, or merely agreeing to his statements so he will continue his discourse. Thus we see in Socrates the same behavior that is exhibited by Jabril in his public encounter with Muhammad, being carried out on the human level. Socrates also claimed to have a Daimon which guided his thoughts and actions. However, we are not saying that Socrates was a prophet. But merely saying that Socrates engagement with his community is an imitation before the fact of how Jabil acts in this famous hadith. So reason is controlled speech within constraints of practical experience and logic, but also in this case in the form of question and self-answer based on the response of the interlocutor.

Now the reasoned speech of the Angel to Muhammad but also those others who were present and listening and watching which defined Islam, Iman and Ihsan gave us the religion of Islam and included within that genuine Sufism as Ihsan within the context of Iman and Islam. This goes a step beyond the axiom of the Shahada. Instead it articulates the three realms: Mulk, Malakut and Jabrut. Islam is what is practiced outwardly in the world (kingdom on earth). Jesus said that the Son of Man was coming to dispense justice on earth and to establish a kingdom of God on Earth. That kingdom was the Muslim community around Muhammad who saw the Angel Jabril. Jabil explained that that this community was based on three tenets. There is the outward aspect of Islam rooted in the Mulk. There is then the inward beliefs that support those outward actions that exist in the Malikut and are manifest in the Mulk. Notice that the term of Angel in Islam is Malika which is from the same root as Mulk and Malikut, I believe. So we have the kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Earth joined in one body in this community of Muslims wandering between Mekkan and Madina in the desert. Finally, there is the Ihsan which exists in the Jabrut. This is called the realm of power and glory of Allah being manifest as a tajalliat (sending down). The Jabrut is the barzak (interspace) between Mulk and Malikut. Mulk can be thought of as being like the Nafs (Spirit) and Malikut can be thought of as being like the Ruh (Soul). Between these two complementary aspects of the human being which gives rise to Islam in the Mulk that shapes the Nafs, and Iman in the Malikut that refines the Ruh, there is also what is between them holding them apart yet together supra-rationally. That is the Jabrut or the realm of sending down as Tajalliat as power and glory of the manifestation of Allah where Ihsan happens where the witnessing by God overwhelms the witnessing of the human. It is at once a barrier between Man and Angel, and at the same time an interspace of its own with an independent standing, i.e. manifestation, which is still there when the opposites of men and angels vanish either through annihilation, cancellation, or rescission, i.e. via annulment. Tawhid tells us that this third realm cannot be present as long as the other two are present.

So in this situation there was all three types of annulment occurring at the same time that the reasoned speech of the Angel was being uttered and responded to by Muhammad in the presence of witnessses. At the level of speech the fact that the definitions of the three tenets were offered and by the one asking the questions shows the rescission being fulfilled that takes us beyond nihilism because based on those words we can make nonnihilistic distinctions, that is because the words are a message from the ground of the Haqq (reality/debt/truth). But also on the level of spacetime there is a cancellation, because Jabril arrived as a stranger with no signs of travel on him. So he begins by canceling our idea of the necessities of travel though time and space. But also Muhammad as human messenger and prophet, and Jabil as Angelic Messenger from the Absolute are physically embodied presumably in matter and light. But between them and annihilating them as opposites is the Jabrut as the Tajalliat of Manifestation itself occurring in the situation, and overwhelming it, and engulfing it in every way so that this is the major thing that was happening in the midst of the exchange viewed from a nondual perspective. Jabril who is a creature of light with sentience and reason but without sex and passion, and without will power of his own so he is able to convey an uncorrupted message. It is interesting that the basic opposites are Men and Jinn, and that Angels are the nondual between them. Yet in this case the Jinn are constrained so that they cannot interfere with the message, and the opposites in the situation is the representative of the barzak which is delivering the message from God who is merciful and compassionate. So this means that Jabril, Jabrut, and Ihsan are aligned in the situation we are discussing. Jabril embodies the interspace between opposites Men and Jinn. But there is another relationship between the Angel and the Man to which the Jinn have no access. In that encounter which is wholly nondual encounter with a nondual living sentient existent as Angel there is mentioned last the nondual between Outward Practice and Inward Belief. Notice that the rational logos takes place as a transmission between the outward and inward, Jabril embodied outwardly appears to Muhammad and his community to deliver a message which confirms and defines their belief. Actually this definition is a meta-belief because what is to be believed is part of a bigger picture that includes Islam and Ihsan. In the nondual speech in which Jabril answers his own questions at the behest of Muhammad there is outward annihilation of Muhammad and Jabril and when they vanish what remains is the Face of Allah, and everywhere you turn is the face of Allah. Everything is in annihilation except the Face of Allah. Therefore, in this situation there is a nondual entry of manifestation directly into history through the annihilation of the opposites man and angel, the highest sentient creature (not man) and the lowest (man) with the Jinn excluded. So in the moment the interspace between Men and Jinn mentions the Jabrut which is the interspace between Mulk and Malikut governed by Malika. And in that mention the definition of Ihsan is given which is reflexive witnessing of existence by manifestation, posed in terms of self-answered questions that define the tenets of Islam, Iman, Ihsan. And this is the advent of Sufism, which continues from then down to this day. So this social situation which is the primal encounter between men and an angel that is witnessed by a whole community not just a single man the Spirit is embodied with the manifestation of the Absolute between Man and Spirit. Man has Ruh. Every Ruh will taste death. Spirit and Ruh are opposites, as Nafs (Spirit) and Ruh (Soul). So we get this paradox that Spirit as Nafs (meaning air breathed) is identified with the Angel and opposite the Ruh as Soul (breathing of lungs, surging of the sea wave and tides) is identified with the Man. This means when the Nafs become Angelic the soul of Man shines forth unhampered. The Nafs become Angelic by approaching the nondual in every possible manner.

So this hadith which is the basis for the definition of Islam, Iman, Ihsan as the primordial religion expands upon what is found in the shahada which is the single axiom, the fundamental statement whose elaboration is given as Islam Iman and Ihsan. The Shahada is the statement of witnessing by the Human Being that is part of that community to which the Angel appeared that is now about a billion strong among the 7 billion humans alive today, which is about one tenth of the humans that have ever been alive. But that witnessing is witnessed by the witnesser. In other words Mulk, Malikut, and Jabrut appear embodied in the situation, and Annulment happens in the three realms, and the definition of religion is given as threefold as well specifying Ihsan which is genuine Sufism as the nondual interspace between mulk and malikut, nafs and ruh, Islam and Iman. This is the last point of the entry of the Absolute into history that is revelatory. Now Prophethood is broken up into seventy fragments and scattered amongst humanity with different humans who have taken the sufic path exemplifying one or another of those seventy fragments of prophethood. This intersubjective manifestation of Haqq within the confines of Sharia.

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Posted March 26, 2012 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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Quora answer: What is Sufism? How can I be a Sufi?

Sufism is not a mixture of Hinduism and Islam, the closest thing to that is the Sikh faith in my opinion. Hinduism has many gods and is polytheism and Islam on the other hand is a radical monotheism, so there is a fundamental incompatibility here between Islam and Hinduism. However, this is not to say that the Hindu’s do not have some ideas beyond polytheism that are similar to the idea of deity in Islam, for instance there is the Nirguna Brahman, or the God Head that is somewhat similar to the idea of God in Islam. However, since SHIRK is the greatest wrong action in Islam, this philosophical similarity in some respects is dwarfed by the idea that there are other gods that are expressions of the Godhead in Hinduism, those beliefs are believed to be in fundamental error from the point of view of Islam, so there is no possibility of overt reconciliation between the two faiths. Islam is also iconoclastic in the extreme and this is another point on which there is a radical difference.

Also there is a fundamentally wrong premise in the question, that links Sufism with the mixture of Hinduism and Islam. Sufism against what its Salafi detractors might say is not in general engaged in either Shirk or Idol worship, or the asking for intercession through holy men within Islam. This also is a misconception fostered by the Wahabis. It is in fact the Salafis that are the heretical sect because they are Karaja, those who say it is alright to kill other Muslims. Sufi’s for the most part are Muslims that are interested in the meaning of the practices that they follow in Islam, and pursue them with more rigor than those who are doing these practices for outward reasons. Sufism is rooted in the three main tenets of Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. Sufism emphasizes Ihsan,  inverse witnessing, i.e. God withesses you even if you do not witness Him, which includes the idea that what ever you witness is part of His witnessing, even though there is no connection between you and Him. What ever you witness is infinitely overwhelmed by God’s witnessing. And it is from that witnessing by God of our actions that meaning is generated for the practices of Islam and belief, i.e. Iman, is generated by this reciprocal witnessing. That is to say that we witness that our witnessing is overwhelmed by the witnessing by God of us and our actions. We could call this witnessing epiphanies of the manifestation of God, which are called Tajalliat (sending down of inspiration from God through knowledge and insight into his Sifat, or Qualities by which He is recognized and which are referred to by His myriad names.)

OK. Now that we have clarified the confusions that are inherent in the background of the question. We can go on to answer the specifics of the question.

We have already said that Sufism is merely a name for an emphasis on Ihsan, which is one of the three tenets of Islam which take together with Islam and Iman constitute the whole of religion, according to the Angel Gabriel who appeared as intersubjectively witnessed by the Mohammedan community in the prophet’s lifetime.

So the crux of the question left for exposition is how one can be a Sufi. And the answer to that is to pay attention to Ihsan and the meanings of the practices of Islam, not just to the beliefs and outward practices themselves. If you do that then you are a sufi in every sense of the word that is worthy of mention. That is of course a matter of personal attitude toward practice, and has nothing to do with anyone else than one self, necessarily.

But the road to doing that is immensely helped by reading about and understanding the admonitions of the great sufis throughout history. And it may be helped by keeping company with others who are similarly inclined. But since so much of what passes as Sufism, especially in the West has so little to do with the core of the matter, which is meaning, and witnessing of witnessing within practice, there is always a danger of getting caught up in a cult, or some other group that considers themselves to be Sufis, but are actually not following either the practices or have the correct attitude that would call forth the proper approach toward those practices centered on Ihsan. But the best way to recognize genuine Sufic teaching is to practice the core of it oneself within the auspices of Islam and Ihsan, and then hopefully that will give one a means of discrimination of genuine Sufism when one encounters it which is rare.

Another key point about Sufism is that it is more closely allied with Nondual religions like Buddhism, and Taoism than it is with anything in Christianity and Judaism. And so knowing something about Buddhism, Taoism and Nondual approaches in general will help in the recognition of genuine Sufism in others. Islam in general is a nondual heresy of the Western worldview, just as Buddhism is a nondual heresy with respect to Hinduism, and Taoism is a nondual heresy with respect to Confucianism. So this is another reason not to not mix up Islam with Hinduism. That is because it is more like the nondual heresy of Hinduism which is Buddhism. There are forms of Advaita Hinduism which is itself nondual, but they were based on Buddhism as reabsorbed into Hinduism though the auspices of Shankara who interpreted the Upanishads in a nondual way inspired by Nagarjuna’s exposition of nonduality which is one of the purist sources of the understanding of nonduality in any religion. Being a Western Heresy, even the Muslims and many Sufis interpret Islam dualistically and thus do not understand very well their own religion, which is better appreciated in light of global examples of nondual philosophies and religions rather than in comparison with either Christian or Judaic religions which are mostly monistic or dualistic rather than nondual. Nondual means the rejection of both monism and dualism. The radical twist that Islam produces on Judaic Monotheism is to apply a nondual approach to it, based on many insights derived from Quran and the sunnah of Muhammad.

As noted by Jami in the Precious Pearl the viewpoint of sufism is very different from that of either Muslim philosophy or theology. And that is because of the intuitive recognition by Sufis of the nondual strain that runs throughout Islam for those with Iman who can recognize the meaning of Ihsan, and they are rare. But the Sufic friends of God (Wahlia) have a long and noble tradition of resisting dualism and monism as the only way to relate to Islam for those with Iman. So another definition of Sufism the group of people who intuit the nondual nature of Islam within the practices and tradition of Islam itself, without any external basis for interpretation, such as Greek Philosophy and Theology. Unfortunately, Buddhism and Taoism have not been well understood by the Muslims who had Sufic inclinations, so the comparison was probably not made except by individuals who were either involved in Buddhism or Taoism prior to their conversion. Since these religions were seen as polytheistic and not distinguished from polytheisms by Muslim scholars this internal coherence between the various nondual ways has not been previously recognized. It is really only apparent to someone who is steeped in Buddhism and Taoism prior to conversion who can see clearly these linkages between nondual approaches to spirituality, and people who have this kind of fore-knowledge are also rare. So it is not widely known that these strains of similarity between all genuine nondual ways exists and can be used to interpret Islam, Ihsan and Iman the three tenants of the Western nondual heresy building on the Abrahamic tradition but turning it inside out by approaching it on the basis of nondual ways of thinking and acting.

So this brings us to another way to be a Sufi, which is to make non-nihilistic distinctions and to act in a way that is in concert with those nondual distinctions that one makes intuitively. Living a life engulfed by the wonder and awesomeness of nonduality permeating everything is tantamount to Sufism if it occurs within the limits of the practices of Islam and through the adherence to Ihsan. In this way Sufism is really little different from either Mahayana Buddhism especially that of Hua Yen, or Tien Tai, or even DzogChen, as long as one recognizes that sufism is even more radical than these in its pursuit of nonduality. Sufism posits even deeper non-dualities than any of these other essentially similar ways of approaching spirituality. Now when I say similar I do not mean that the practices or beliefs have anything in common, nor is the goals of these various spritualities the same. But what is the same is the nondual approach to life and spiritual practices, and that came from a fundamental rejection of dualistic and monistic ways of approaching spirituality.

Now what is nonduality as an approach. It is very simple it says Not One! Not Two!  but something else beyond what can be approached via logic and though either concepts or experiences. The best example of this in the West is the teaching of Meister Eckhart. In Hinduism the nearest thing is Advita Vedanta founded by Shankara or the Buddhism of Nagarjuna. In China it is expressed in Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism. Basically the way to think about it, is to take the Tetralemma which originated with the Buddha, supposedly according to Pali scriptures which says that Emptiness is something other than A, non-A, both A and non-A, neither a nor non-A. In other words the for logical operators and, or, nand, nor are surpassed in some aconceptual, aperceptual (as in apperception), aexperiential way. The nondual is neither a monism nor a dualism, nor a polytheism. Any dualistic or threefold, or higher fold distinction that you can make nonduality is always pointing back to a state prior to the arising of those distinctions. Plato called this non-representable intelligibility. Plato understood it very well, and it is in fact behind his use of irony. And in fact we can claim that Plato is the source of this kind of understanding in our tradition if read from a nondual perspective. Once you realize that there is an absolute limit to what the mind can comprehend and one orients toward that which surpasses all understanding, such that one cannot make dualistic distinctions (A monistic distinction is one in which the other myriad distinctions have been suppressed in favor of one particular alternative.) So in the sense that YHWH is seen as the God of the Jews and is differentiated from other gods of polytheism, then this is a monism. But Allah claims to be prior to the arising of all other gods, and his oneness is not conditioned by the one and the many of things. Tawhid is not oneness in relation to other numbers of things, but rather primordial uniqueness where there is no other to be compared or contrasted to. Tawhid is like Kant’s idea of the Singular as being the dialectical synthesis of Unity and Totality. Allah is claiming to be Singular in a primordial sense, i.e. prior to the creation of all existent things, including other gods created by men that obscure the Haqq (Right/Debt/Truth). However, the difference between primordial uniqueness and singularity of something like spacetime is that Tawhid points back or indcates the primordial uniqueness prior to and after all things, beyond either what is in-timespace or eternal, and every other duality or more complex sets of distinctions. In this sense radical monotheism is one that rethinks the One God as the primordial ground out of which everything we know as existing comes and which sustains all things, and which is where they will return on dissolution, and in this sense it is like the idea of the Nirguna Brahman, or like the Godhead described by Meister Eckhart.

Thus it is possible to use Buddhism and Taoism to critique Sufism, and Sufism to understand more fully Buddhism and Taoism in terms of the differences between these nondual approaches sustained in their own traditions. Many Cristian heresies came into Islam and mixed into Sufism in the East. So there are many practices of people who consider themselves sufis which really were spawned out of dualistic heretical constructs that reacted to Catholic Dogmatism and were forced to flee into Islam by the Inquisition. So there is a perspective that recognizes the similarity of all nondual ways, which then can critique the dualistic anachronisms within those nondualistic traditions, where they fell back into dualism or monism and were not true to their own insights, because nondual approaches are hard to hang onto. Sufism as a tradition is synchronistic, as was Buddhism and Taoism once they became traditions in their own right. Thus we must carefully separate dualistic or monistic intrusions into these traditions. But if we have a strong grasp on the meaning of nonduality as the axiom Not One! Not Two! Not Many! but some other matter or ground prior to any distinctions arising which engulfs all distinctions, then we will be able to differentiate the true insights of these various nondual traditions as they have accreted historically. What is ironic is that the engulfing of conventional or ungrounded distinctions by nonduality, allows one to make non-nihilistic distinctions. This is because that ground prior to distinction is precisely the place that nihilism ultimately takes you if you are disillusioned enough with monisms (dogma or ideological totalitarianisms) or dualisms, or polymorphisms of any kind. To have a monism a dualism has to arise and then  one of the duals must be suppressed, but it can never be suppressed completely and it always haunts the monism.

So in a way the best way to practice Sufism is to know something about Buddhism and Taoism and to look for that which it has in common with these other nondual ways and then to pursue that with as much focus as one can muster. Knowing something about DzogChen, Hua Yen and Tien Tai Buddhism cannot hurt either because they point beyond Buddhism and Taoism to something deeper that Sufism is also pursuing. The nice thing is that these sources are pretty much independent historically, and thus the cross contamination is minimal except for early attempts of the Chinese to understand Buddhism via Taoism. Because these different approaches to nonduality are rooted in different traditions it is easy to see what is similar between them and thus be sure that this is the genuine aspect of nonduality which is not contaminated by the later introduction of anachronistic dualisms implicitly.

The main difference between Sufism and the other nondual traditions is that Sufism is based on revelation, while the others are not in any overt way. And this is also helpful because one can surmise how far purification of the self can go without dependence on revelation, and what is contributed by revelation to that nondual approach.

Now there is also something else implicit in the question that needs to be addressed. You say What IS Sufism. How can I BE a Sufi. Strictly speaking you cannot BE anything except in the projection of illusions. Being only exists in Indo-European languages. Buddhism is specifically a rejection of Being though the concept of Anatman. And Chinese and Arabic are non-indo-european languages. So Being is not only something you cannot be, but itself is merely an illusion and to the extent you ARE anything it is an illusion. Buddhism, Taoism and Sufism talk about Existence. In Arabic Existence is what is found without any A priori or later projections. I.e. there is not any reading back of our own projections out of phenomena, which is the nature of illusion. However, for us Whatness as essence or natural kind is caught up in Being which provides the substrata or substance for the attributes of a species. By primordial ground we do not mean this substance which is imagined as an illusory continuity though the idea of Being. To truly, really exist as the same as a Sufi, Buddhist or Taoist is the most you can hope for beyond the presence and absence of phenomena, i.e. the visible and invisible, and any other duality. Aspects Truth, Reality, Identity and Presence are shared by Being and Existence. However, these aspects are beyond being fused or separated in nondual manifestation which is beyond existence. So the most you can hope for from any nondual tradition is to exist within a nondual state for as long as you can sustain it. You cannot be, essentially, a Sufi, and Sufism has no whatness in the normal sense of an essence which constrains and connects attributes that pervade something particular based on the substrate of Being. We exist with other created things, but God manifests. And it is that manifestation that defines His witnessing that encompasses our witnessing. When we say that existence as Wajud is what is found, then we mean what is found by God, not our finding of other things. Prophets are the ones who are found by God and who have epiphanies of His manifestation (sifat), like Moses for instance.

So hopefully this will help you orient toward Sufism. Don’t become a Sufi, or Buddhist, or Taoist, or one of their dualistic counterparts, but become a Nondualist recognizing the truth of the axiom Not One! Not Two! Not Many! and you are most of the way there, then it is must a matter of learning more about the tradition of nonduality that you are included towards. Acceptance of Music, Arts, and the emphasis on the exclusiveness of the Love of God are just outward manifestations of a much deeper reality and truth. Sufis are not swayed by outward differentiations of things, but only the inward non-nihilistic distinctions he can make based on the recognition of the most fundamental and radical (root) nonduality.

In Islam this axiom appears as the Shahada which states that: There is no god but Allah. And the Prophet is His messenger. In order to try to prove the case that I have been making lets think about this axiom as it appears in Islam. The gods of polytheism, or even monism of monotheism as separate things do not exist but only Allah manifests. In other words there is an indication of a Primal Ground of all things beyond existence, and that is given a specific and unique name, as well as other names that is a specific signature which make clear the sifat of Allah, i.e. the ways in which He manifests. He indicates the “essence” of Allah that holds together yet separate His “attributes”. However, these are Greek philosophical ideas that differentiate Essence and Attributes, and thus are suspect, so it is better to stick to the Arabic terminology. The so called Essence of God, i.e. the Godhead is called the Dhat in Sufism. Yet to the extent that we think there is a distinction or duality between Sifat and Dhat that is a cognitive mistake.

There is no god, only Allah.

Notice that god is singular, but implicitly suggests the many gods of polytheism that can be different and represented by idols. The commandment is that you shall have no other god before me. The operative word here is BEFORE. In other words any god that you can name or represent is after the primordial ground has been split by the first distinction. God as Ground of everything in manifestation prior to and exclusive of existence really cannot be associated with anything else, because in the that pristine pre-creation state which “exists as it did exist” there were no distinctions between things Other than Allah the unique and singular root of all things to which they return. So the first part of the Shahada can be linked to a statement of nonduality, because Allah manifests continually prior to, during, and after the existence that we perceive. And any god that we might conceive did not exist in that primal ground of all things to which all things return. This is essentially the idea of the Godhead of Meister Eckhart and Nirguna Brahman of the Hindus. Major place where this view is expressed is the Isa Upanishad.

Now the other part of the Shahada I left as Prophet because we can generalize and talk about any Prophet in their time as the one who is mentioned in the second part of the statement. The Prophet being the messenger of the Haqq to mankind, essentially is brining our attention to that nondual ground prior to all existence and after all existence not to mention both in-time and endless time. The primal ground is out-of-timespace. There is no pantheism, because from the point of view of the Absolute, the illusion of Being and the existence of created things never really happened. All that really and truly happened in Haqq was manifestation that engulfed and overwhelmed actual existence and the illusions of Being. What manifests is recognized to have necessary existence but that is just a side effect of manifestation with respect to existing things.

So the idea that we can get messages from the Primal Ground as it manifests as Absolute Spirit (Angel Gabriel) via other human beings that are part of our community is a fundamental recognition that human beings can be enveloped, overwhelmed, engulfed, awe struck, and immersed in that Primal Ground themselves without any mixture of transcendence and finitude (i.e. the normal duals we attribute to God probably wrongly). So what ever prophet’s name as a unique human being you want to plug into the Shahada, it is a fundamental recognition that this type of communication directly from the Ground of the Haqq is possible, and actually occurred in history. In other words there is historical grounds for what Hegel calls the advent of Pure Spirit and both the advent of Jesus as penultimate Prophet and Muhammad as last Prophet are just two examples of this kind of intrusion into history, not of the transcendent into finitude, but of the deepest possible nondual into the heart of unique human beings that come as messengers occasionally throughout human history. Thus if we apply the Hegelian idea of the intrusion of Absolute into history via human beings, as what makes us human together, then we get an amazing reading of the history of the nondual heresy of Islam with respect to the dualistic Western worldview which it challenges even within the historical interpretations of Islam by Greek trained intellectuals that resulted in dualistic philosophies and theologies.

So ultimately in some sense not only can you not BE as Sufi but all the nondual ways call into question your ultimate existence as a self, not to mention an ego, transcendental or otherwise. So from a nondual position you cannot be anything because you do not exist, necessarily but only accidentally as an aggregate of Tattvas or Dharmas in the sense of Heraclitian flux. You exist as a non-unified and non-total aggregate from that perspective. However, you are singular to the extent you are embedded in the singular timespace though your embodiment which is finite. However, you are whole which is the nondual between unity and totality as extremes to the extent you are a negentropic organism that is viable. And also strangely enough you belong to a worldview which is radically dualistic but cannot avoid having a nondual kernel beyond its nihilistic core, where the core is taken to be Logic which constrains rational logos, and the nihilism is that all sorts of nonsensical statements can be rendered logical in symbolic logic. But there are discontinuities between the logical operators and, or, nand, nor, and though this discontinuity logic is fragmented, and points toward the nondual of emptiness inwardly at the core of awareness. Non-dual emptiness is the antidote to nihilism, and once this homeopathic antidote is taken then the miasma of nihilism is cured, and we are able to make non-nihilistic distinctions even in this most nihilistic of all worldviews. So much so that it is willing to destroy the entire worth just to spite itself. The only way to allay that almost certain destruction of our earth by our  now dominant worldview is though nondual transformation of ourselves via nondual ways of approaching our human existence which is now threatening the existence of not just other species but also itself.

http://kp0.me/H0O9uO

http://www.quora.com/Religion/What-is-Sufism-How-can-I-be-a-Sufi

Quora answer: What is Sufism? How can I be a Sufi?

Sufism is not a mixture of Hinduism and Islam, the closest thing to that is the Sikh faith in my opinion. Hinduism has many gods and is polytheism and Islam on the other hand is a radical monotheism, so there is a fundamental incompatibility here between Islam and Hinduism. However, this is not to say that the Hindu’s do not have some ideas beyond polytheism that are similar to the idea of deity in Islam, for instance there is the Nirguna Brahman, or the God Head that is somewhat similar to the idea of God in Islam. However, since SHIRK is the greatest wrong action in Islam, this philosophical similarity in some respects is dwarfed by the idea that there are other gods that are expressions of the Godhead in Hinduism, those beliefs are believed to be in fundamental error from the point of view of Islam, so there is no possibility of overt reconciliation between the two faiths. Islam is also iconoclastic in the extreme and this is another point on which there is a radical difference.

Also there is a fundamentally wrong premise in the question, that links Sufism with the mixture of Hinduism and Islam. Sufism against what its Salafi detractors might say is not in general engaged in either Shirk or Idol worship, or the asking for intercession through holy men within Islam. This also is a misconception fostered by the Wahabis. It is in fact the Salafis that are the heretical sect because they are Karaja, those who say it is alright to kill other Muslims. Sufi’s for the most part are Muslims that are interested in the meaning of the practices that they follow in Islam, and pursue them with more rigor than those who are doing these practices for outward reasons. Sufism is rooted in the three main tenets of Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. Sufism emphasizes Ihsan,  inverse witnessing, i.e. God withesses you even if you do not witness Him, which includes the idea that what ever you witness is part of His witnessing, even though there is no connection between you and Him. What ever you witness is infinitely overwhelmed by God’s witnessing. And it is from that witnessing by God of our actions that meaning is generated for the practices of Islam and belief, i.e. Iman, is generated by this reciprocal witnessing. That is to say that we witness that our witnessing is overwhelmed by the witnessing by God of us and our actions. We could call this witnessing epiphanies of the manifestation of God, which are called Tajalliat (sending down of inspiration from God through knowledge and insight into his Sifat, or Qualities by which He is recognized and which are referred to by His myriad names.)

OK. Now that we have clarified the confusions that are inherent in the background of the question. We can go on to answer the specifics of the question.

We have already said that Sufism is merely a name for an emphasis on Ihsan, which is one of the three tenets of Islam which take together with Islam and Iman constitute the whole of religion, according to the Angel Gabriel who appeared as intersubjectively witnessed by the Mohammedan community in the prophet’s lifetime.

So the crux of the question left for exposition is how one can be a Sufi. And the answer to that is to pay attention to Ihsan and the meanings of the practices of Islam, not just to the beliefs and outward practices themselves. If you do that then you are a sufi in every sense of the word that is worthy of mention. That is of course a matter of personal attitude toward practice, and has nothing to do with anyone else than one self, necessarily.

But the road to doing that is immensely helped by reading about and understanding the admonitions of the great sufis throughout history. And it may be helped by keeping company with others who are similarly inclined. But since so much of what passes as Sufism, especially in the West has so little to do with the core of the matter, which is meaning, and witnessing of witnessing within practice, there is always a danger of getting caught up in a cult, or some other group that considers themselves to be Sufis, but are actually not following either the practices or have the correct attitude that would call forth the proper approach toward those practices centered on Ihsan. But the best way to recognize genuine Sufic teaching is to practice the core of it oneself within the auspices of Islam and Ihsan, and then hopefully that will give one a means of discrimination of genuine Sufism when one encounters it which is rare.

Another key point about Sufism is that it is more closely allied with Nondual religions like Buddhism, and Taoism than it is with anything in Christianity and Judaism. And so knowing something about Buddhism, Taoism and Nondual approaches in general will help in the recognition of genuine Sufism in others. Islam in general is a nondual heresy of the Western worldview, just as Buddhism is a nondual heresy with respect to Hinduism, and Taoism is a nondual heresy with respect to Confucianism. So this is another reason not to not mix up Islam with Hinduism. That is because it is more like the nondual heresy of Hinduism which is Buddhism. There are forms of Advaita Hinduism which is itself nondual, but they were based on Buddhism as reabsorbed into Hinduism though the auspices of Shankara who interpreted the Upanishads in a nondual way inspired by Nagarjuna’s exposition of nonduality which is one of the purist sources of the understanding of nonduality in any religion. Being a Western Heresy, even the Muslims and many Sufis interpret Islam dualistically and thus do not understand very well their own religion, which is better appreciated in light of global examples of nondual philosophies and religions rather than in comparison with either Christian or Judaic religions which are mostly monistic or dualistic rather than nondual. Nondual means the rejection of both monism and dualism. The radical twist that Islam produces on Judaic Monotheism is to apply a nondual approach to it, based on many insights derived from Quran and the sunnah of Muhammad.

As noted by Jami in the Precious Pearl the viewpoint of sufism is very different from that of either Muslim philosophy or theology. And that is because of the intuitive recognition by Sufis of the nondual strain that runs throughout Islam for those with Iman who can recognize the meaning of Ihsan, and they are rare. But the Sufic friends of God (Wahlia) have a long and noble tradition of resisting dualism and monism as the only way to relate to Islam for those with Iman. So another definition of Sufism the group of people who intuit the nondual nature of Islam within the practices and tradition of Islam itself, without any external basis for interpretation, such as Greek Philosophy and Theology. Unfortunately, Buddhism and Taoism have not been well understood by the Muslims who had Sufic inclinations, so the comparison was probably not made except by individuals who were either involved in Buddhism or Taoism prior to their conversion. Since these religions were seen as polytheistic and not distinguished from polytheisms by Muslim scholars this internal coherence between the various nondual ways has not been previously recognized. It is really only apparent to someone who is steeped in Buddhism and Taoism prior to conversion who can see clearly these linkages between nondual approaches to spirituality, and people who have this kind of fore-knowledge are also rare. So it is not widely known that these strains of similarity between all genuine nondual ways exists and can be used to interpret Islam, Ihsan and Iman the three tenants of the Western nondual heresy building on the Abrahamic tradition but turning it inside out by approaching it on the basis of nondual ways of thinking and acting.

So this brings us to another way to be a Sufi, which is to make non-nihilistic distinctions and to act in a way that is in concert with those nondual distinctions that one makes intuitively. Living a life engulfed by the wonder and awesomeness of nonduality permeating everything is tantamount to Sufism if it occurs within the limits of the practices of Islam and through the adherence to Ihsan. In this way Sufism is really little different from either Mahayana Buddhism especially that of Hua Yen, or Tien Tai, or even DzogChen, as long as one recognizes that sufism is even more radical than these in its pursuit of nonduality. Sufism posits even deeper non-dualities than any of these other essentially similar ways of approaching spirituality. Now when I say similar I do not mean that the practices or beliefs have anything in common, nor is the goals of these various spritualities the same. But what is the same is the nondual approach to life and spiritual practices, and that came from a fundamental rejection of dualistic and monistic ways of approaching spirituality.

Now what is nonduality as an approach. It is very simple it says Not One! Not Two!  but something else beyond what can be approached via logic and though either concepts or experiences. The best example of this in the West is the teaching of Meister Eckhart. In Hinduism the nearest thing is Advita Vedanta founded by Shankara or the Buddhism of Nagarjuna. In China it is expressed in Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism. Basically the way to think about it, is to take the Tetralemma which originated with the Buddha, supposedly according to Pali scriptures which says that Emptiness is something other than A, non-A, both A and non-A, neither a nor non-A. In other words the for logical operators and, or, nand, nor are surpassed in some aconceptual, aperceptual (as in apperception), aexperiential way. The nondual is neither a monism nor a dualism, nor a polytheism. Any dualistic or threefold, or higher fold distinction that you can make nonduality is always pointing back to a state prior to the arising of those distinctions. Plato called this non-representable intelligibility. Plato understood it very well, and it is in fact behind his use of irony. And in fact we can claim that Plato is the source of this kind of understanding in our tradition if read from a nondual perspective. Once you realize that there is an absolute limit to what the mind can comprehend and one orients toward that which surpasses all understanding, such that one cannot make dualistic distinctions (A monistic distinction is one in which the other myriad distinctions have been suppressed in favor of one particular alternative.) So in the sense that YHWH is seen as the God of the Jews and is differentiated from other gods of polytheism, then this is a monism. But Allah claims to be prior to the arising of all other gods, and his oneness is not conditioned by the one and the many of things. Tawhid is not oneness in relation to other numbers of things, but rather primordial uniqueness where there is no other to be compared or contrasted to. Tawhid is like Kant’s idea of the Singular as being the dialectical synthesis of Unity and Totality. Allah is claiming to be Singular in a primordial sense, i.e. prior to the creation of all existent things, including other gods created by men that obscure the Haqq (Right/Debt/Truth). However, the difference between primordial uniqueness and singularity of something like spacetime is that Tawhid points back or indcates the primordial uniqueness prior to and after all things, beyond either what is in-timespace or eternal, and every other duality or more complex sets of distinctions. In this sense radical monotheism is one that rethinks the One God as the primordial ground out of which everything we know as existing comes and which sustains all things, and which is where they will return on dissolution, and in this sense it is like the idea of the Nirguna Brahman, or like the Godhead described by Meister Eckhart.

Thus it is possible to use Buddhism and Taoism to critique Sufism, and Sufism to understand more fully Buddhism and Taoism in terms of the differences between these nondual approaches sustained in their own traditions. Many Cristian heresies came into Islam and mixed into Sufism in the East. So there are many practices of people who consider themselves sufis which really were spawned out of dualistic heretical constructs that reacted to Catholic Dogmatism and were forced to flee into Islam by the Inquisition. So there is a perspective that recognizes the similarity of all nondual ways, which then can critique the dualistic anachronisms within those nondualistic traditions, where they fell back into dualism or monism and were not true to their own insights, because nondual approaches are hard to hang onto. Sufism as a tradition is synchronistic, as was Buddhism and Taoism once they became traditions in their own right. Thus we must carefully separate dualistic or monistic intrusions into these traditions. But if we have a strong grasp on the meaning of nonduality as the axiom Not One! Not Two! Not Many! but some other matter or ground prior to any distinctions arising which engulfs all distinctions, then we will be able to differentiate the true insights of these various nondual traditions as they have accreted historically. What is ironic is that the engulfing of conventional or ungrounded distinctions by nonduality, allows one to make non-nihilistic distinctions. This is because that ground prior to distinction is precisely the place that nihilism ultimately takes you if you are disillusioned enough with monisms (dogma or ideological totalitarianisms) or dualisms, or polymorphisms of any kind. To have a monism a dualism has to arise and then  one of the duals must be suppressed, but it can never be suppressed completely and it always haunts the monism.

So in a way the best way to practice Sufism is to know something about Buddhism and Taoism and to look for that which it has in common with these other nondual ways and then to pursue that with as much focus as one can muster. Knowing something about DzogChen, Hua Yen and Tien Tai Buddhism cannot hurt either because they point beyond Buddhism and Taoism to something deeper that Sufism is also pursuing. The nice thing is that these sources are pretty much independent historically, and thus the cross contamination is minimal except for early attempts of the Chinese to understand Buddhism via Taoism. Because these different approaches to nonduality are rooted in different traditions it is easy to see what is similar between them and thus be sure that this is the genuine aspect of nonduality which is not contaminated by the later introduction of anachronistic dualisms implicitly.

The main difference between Sufism and the other nondual traditions is that Sufism is based on revelation, while the others are not in any overt way. And this is also helpful because one can surmise how far purification of the self can go without dependence on revelation, and what is contributed by revelation to that nondual approach.

Now there is also something else implicit in the question that needs to be addressed. You say What IS Sufism. How can I BE a Sufi. Strictly speaking you cannot BE anything except in the projection of illusions. Being only exists in Indo-European languages. Buddhism is specifically a rejection of Being though the concept of Anatman. And Chinese and Arabic are non-indo-european languages. So Being is not only something you cannot be, but itself is merely an illusion and to the extent you ARE anything it is an illusion. Buddhism, Taoism and Sufism talk about Existence. In Arabic Existence is what is found without any A priori or later projections. I.e. there is not any reading back of our own projections out of phenomena, which is the nature of illusion. However, for us Whatness as essence or natural kind is caught up in Being which provides the substrata or substance for the attributes of a species. By primordial ground we do not mean this substance which is imagined as an illusory continuity though the idea of Being. To truly, really exist as the same as a Sufi, Buddhist or Taoist is the most you can hope for beyond the presence and absence of phenomena, i.e. the visible and invisible, and any other duality. Aspects Truth, Reality, Identity and Presence are shared by Being and Existence. However, these aspects are beyond being fused or separated in nondual manifestation which is beyond existence. So the most you can hope for from any nondual tradition is to exist within a nondual state for as long as you can sustain it. You cannot be, essentially, a Sufi, and Sufism has no whatness in the normal sense of an essence which constrains and connects attributes that pervade something particular based on the substrate of Being. We exist with other created things, but God manifests. And it is that manifestation that defines His witnessing that encompasses our witnessing. When we say that existence as Wajud is what is found, then we mean what is found by God, not our finding of other things. Prophets are the ones who are found by God and who have epiphanies of His manifestation (sifat), like Moses for instance.

So hopefully this will help you orient toward Sufism. Don’t become a Sufi, or Buddhist, or Taoist, or one of their dualistic counterparts, but become a Nondualist recognizing the truth of the axiom Not One! Not Two! Not Many! and you are most of the way there, then it is must a matter of learning more about the tradition of nonduality that you are included towards. Acceptance of Music, Arts, and the emphasis on the exclusiveness of the Love of God are just outward manifestations of a much deeper reality and truth. Sufis are not swayed by outward differentiations of things, but only the inward non-nihilistic distinctions he can make based on the recognition of the most fundamental and radical (root) nonduality.

In Islam this axiom appears as the Shahada which states that: There is no god but Allah. And the Prophet is His messenger. In order to try to prove the case that I have been making lets think about this axiom as it appears in Islam. The gods of polytheism, or even monism of monotheism as separate things do not exist but only Allah manifests. In other words there is an indication of a Primal Ground of all things beyond existence, and that is given a specific and unique name, as well as other names that is a specific signature which make clear the sifat of Allah, i.e. the ways in which He manifests. He indicates the “essence” of Allah that holds together yet separate His “attributes”. However, these are Greek philosophical ideas that differentiate Essence and Attributes, and thus are suspect, so it is better to stick to the Arabic terminology. The so called Essence of God, i.e. the Godhead is called the Dhat in Sufism. Yet to the extent that we think there is a distinction or duality between Sifat and Dhat that is a cognitive mistake.

There is no god, only Allah.

Notice that god is singular, but implicitly suggests the many gods of polytheism that can be different and represented by idols. The commandment is that you shall have no other god before me. The operative word here is BEFORE. In other words any god that you can name or represent is after the primordial ground has been split by the first distinction. God as Ground of everything in manifestation prior to and exclusive of existence really cannot be associated with anything else, because in the that pristine pre-creation state which “exists as it did exist” there were no distinctions between things Other than Allah the unique and singular root of all things to which they return. So the first part of the Shahada can be linked to a statement of nonduality, because Allah manifests continually prior to, during, and after the existence that we perceive. And any god that we might conceive did not exist in that primal ground of all things to which all things return. This is essentially the idea of the Godhead of Meister Eckhart and Nirguna Brahman of the Hindus. Major place where this view is expressed is the Isa Upanishad.

Now the other part of the Shahada I left as Prophet because we can generalize and talk about any Prophet in their time as the one who is mentioned in the second part of the statement. The Prophet being the messenger of the Haqq to mankind, essentially is brining our attention to that nondual ground prior to all existence and after all existence not to mention both in-time and endless time. The primal ground is out-of-timespace. There is no pantheism, because from the point of view of the Absolute, the illusion of Being and the existence of created things never really happened. All that really and truly happened in Haqq was manifestation that engulfed and overwhelmed actual existence and the illusions of Being. What manifests is recognized to have necessary existence but that is just a side effect of manifestation with respect to existing things.

So the idea that we can get messages from the Primal Ground as it manifests as Absolute Spirit (Angel Gabriel) via other human beings that are part of our community is a fundamental recognition that human beings can be enveloped, overwhelmed, engulfed, awe struck, and immersed in that Primal Ground themselves without any mixture of transcendence and finitude (i.e. the normal duals we attribute to God probably wrongly). So what ever prophet’s name as a unique human being you want to plug into the Shahada, it is a fundamental recognition that this type of communication directly from the Ground of the Haqq is possible, and actually occurred in history. In other words there is historical grounds for what Hegel calls the advent of Pure Spirit and both the advent of Jesus as penultimate Prophet and Muhammad as last Prophet are just two examples of this kind of intrusion into history, not of the transcendent into finitude, but of the deepest possible nondual into the heart of unique human beings that come as messengers occasionally throughout human history. Thus if we apply the Hegelian idea of the intrusion of Absolute into history via human beings, as what makes us human together, then we get an amazing reading of the history of the nondual heresy of Islam with respect to the dualistic Western worldview which it challenges even within the historical interpretations of Islam by Greek trained intellectuals that resulted in dualistic philosophies and theologies.

So ultimately in some sense not only can you not BE as Sufi but all the nondual ways call into question your ultimate existence as a self, not to mention an ego, transcendental or otherwise. So from a nondual position you cannot be anything because you do not exist, necessarily but only accidentally as an aggregate of Tattvas or Dharmas in the sense of Heraclitian flux. You exist as a non-unified and non-total aggregate from that perspective. However, you are singular to the extent you are embedded in the singular timespace though your embodiment which is finite. However, you are whole which is the nondual between unity and totality as extremes to the extent you are a negentropic organism that is viable. And also strangely enough you belong to a worldview which is radically dualistic but cannot avoid having a nondual kernel beyond its nihilistic core, where the core is taken to be Logic which constrains rational logos, and the nihilism is that all sorts of nonsensical statements can be rendered logical in symbolic logic. But there are discontinuities between the logical operators and, or, nand, nor, and though this discontinuity logic is fragmented, and points toward the nondual of emptiness inwardly at the core of awareness. Non-dual emptiness is the antidote to nihilism, and once this homeopathic antidote is taken then the miasma of nihilism is cured, and we are able to make non-nihilistic distinctions even in this most nihilistic of all worldviews. So much so that it is willing to destroy the entire worth just to spite itself. The only way to allay that almost certain destruction of our earth by our  now dominant worldview is though nondual transformation of ourselves via nondual ways of approaching our human existence which is now threatening the existence of not just other species but also itself.

http://kp0.me/H0O9uO

http://www.quora.com/Religion/What-is-Sufism-How-can-I-be-a-Sufi

Quora answer: Why is quantum physics not deterministic?


There is something strange here that I would like to point out. Plato made the Divided Line the center of the Republic over 2000 years ago. Not enough thought has gone into this diagram which describes the core of the Western worldview. If we think about it a little more than an intellectual curiosity from antiquity then we realize that there are two kinds of lines that cross the divided line, there are those three through the middle and the two at the ends. Now the ends are called Limits, because there is nothing beyond them. The ones through the middle describe the ratio and they are intersecting lines, but not limits. Now if we look at the Divided Line its two main phases are Ratio and Doxa. If we ask what the limits of these two phases of the divided line might be then we can answer that the Ratio is limited by the Supra-Rational and the Doxa is limited by Paradox. Now here is the strange thing. Supra-rationality is a lot like super-position, and Paradox is a lot like entanglement. So why is it that in Quantum Mechanics which takes over at the limits of what we can know about the universe in terms of smallness of things, that we see phenomena like the limits of the Divided Line. That suggests that the phenomena we are seeing in QM is actually a projection. It is also interesting that the Divided Line is an interval and can be seen to have a relativistic phase structure with its central and two in phase points of reversibility. It turns out that Relativity and Quantum Mechanics apply to the physus (phusis) at the same time, i.e. supra-rationally. But on the other hand if we apply them both to the Planck scale we generate a bunch of paradoxes that are incomprehensible. Thus it seems that the two dual approaches to physics also reflect the structure of the Divided line, so that from the point of view of Plato’s understanding of our worldview Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics are merely reflections of the relation between the limits of our worldview, and not something physical, per se, but rather the way that a priori synthetic projections appear back to us through our intuition. In effect our intuitions concerning the physus are non-intuitive. It is not just a Divided Line in Euclidean Geometry as Plato thought, but a relativistic interval, with limits that are duals of each other, and these limits apply to the relation of the interval to its limits. I think this is an argument for the Athropomorphic Principle starting from the structure of the Worldview, and Experience in general as posited by Plato, and accepted by Kant and elaborated by Husserl, and exhausted by Heidegger.

http://kp0.me/GQbL3G

http://www.quora.com/Why-is-quantum-physics-not-deterministic

Quora answer: Who are Western philosophers of self-realization?


This is a difficult problem, because I don’t know of any, except perhaps Plato. My own opinion is that all philosophers are sophists, including yours truly. The Western tradition, despite Plato’s warning is basically Sophistry, and we do not see much self-realization in this lot. They were trying to describe everyday mundane experience, and particularly the role of science. They were not going beyond that into self-realization or any type of spirituality for the most part. The closest thing we have to a purely nondual spiritual master is Meister Eckhart. Mostly those who advocated nondual perspectives were killed off by the Inquisition if they arose. Meister Eckhart was careful to say that if you had a vision, or some other conceptual or experiential psychic phenomenon that you have not really begun the way to god that must go though the emptiness of God’s essence, in order to arrive at self-realization. If you want self-realization then you best bet is Buddhism, Taoism or Sufism, i.e. some non-Western nondual tradition. But Ironically this does not mean that the Western worldview does not have a nondual kernel. The core of the worldview generates nihilism, but due to the fact that the core is fragmented showing signs of discontinuities, like the lines in the divided line of Plato, means that ultimately in the kernel there is nonduality there. That is why it could spawn Buddhism and Islam as nondual heresies. And ultimately to these nondual heresies that are rejected by the Western worldview must return home, i.e. realize themselves in their source and origin which is in the kernel of the worldview.

Thus in a sense, in spite of the fact that all the Western philosophers are Sophists, whose only goal is to portray the essence of mundane consciousness or being-in-the-lifeworld, in fact they all together are pointing toward nonduality of the kernel of the worldview. And this was made possible because if read in terms of nondual understanding, Plato set the stage for this possibility. This is because in Plato’s dialogues, we really have a hard time to distinguish Socrates from the Sophists, yet all the various characters in the dialogues together point toward the nondual kernel of the worldview as the inherited wisdom of Egypt. So just as the distinction between the wise man and the fools cannot ultimately be made, all of the characters (who were actual people) in the Dialogues together point toward wisdom via irony.

The Western dualistic tradition was very effective at stomping out nondual heresies. So much so that it is hard to name anyone who made a fundamental indication of nonduality in the tradition. Now most heresies in the West were extreme nihilistic reactions to the nihilism of the worldview like Gnosticism for instance. An excellent exposition of this is in Morris Berman’s Coming to Our Senses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Berman

http://morrisberman.blogspot.com/

http://kp0.me/H25EK1

http://www.quora.com/Who-are-Western-philosophers-of-self-realization

Posted March 26, 2012 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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Quora answer: What does a koan do?

See first What is Koan? What is a Koan?

Having described what a Koan might “be”, now we can consider what Koan’s perhaps “do”. Now we did not mention in the answer to the prior question, that IS is an Indo-European linguistic anomaly and does not exist in non-Indo-European languages. So in a sense, there is no IS related to Koans. Rather the whole tradition of Chan/Zen is an attempt to come to terms with the Indo-European heresy of Buddhism within a context of non-Being that was natural to China as a non-Indo-European culture. China had its own nondual tradition called Taoism which talked about it in terms of Wu Wei, non-action (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei).

Wu Wei Non Action

Wu ji means Void. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuji_(philosophy))

“Wuji (literally “without ridgepole”) originally meant “ultimateless; boundless; infinite” in Warring States Period (476-221 BCE) Daoistclassics, but came to mean the “primordial universe” prior to the Taiji 太極 “Supreme Ultimate” in Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) Neo-Confucianist cosmology.”

Wu Ji Without Ridge Pole = Ultimate Void

“The word Wuji Chinese wuji  “limitless; infinite” is a compound of wu  “without; no; not have; there is not; nothing, nothingness” and ji  “ridgepole; roof ridge; highest/utmost point; extreme; earth’s pole; reach the end; attain; exhaust”. In analogy with the figurative meanings of English pole, Chinese ji  “ridgepole” can mean “geographical pole; direction” (e.g., siji  “four corners of the earth; world’s end”), “magnetic pole” (Beiji “North Pole” or yinji  “negative pole; anode”), or “celestial pole” (baji  “farthest points of the universe; remotest place”).

Common English translations of the cosmological Wuji are “Ultimateless” (Fung and Bodde 1953, Robinet 2008) or “Limitless” (Zhang and Ryden 2002), but other versions are “the ultimate of Nothingness” (Chang 1963), “that which has no Pole” (Needham and Ronan 1978), or “Non-Polar” (Adler 1999).”

I.e. Non-Dual.

The ridgepole allows the two opposite ends to be connected yet kept separate and creates a continuity that allows intermediate degrees between the two extremes.

Without the Ridgepole the tent collapses, What is Void is what is there when the structure of opposites collapses. Note Monism is the tent as a whole, and dualism is the separation and holding together of the two ends of the structure, and so the Non-Dual is neither monism, or dualism, but the collapse of both together.

It took a long time for the Chinese to understand the difference between the Emptiness of Buddhism and the Void (WU) of Taoism.

There is a difference between the “nothing there, blankness, non-duality” inside and outside the circle, even though they are ultimately the same, which is what the gap in the line signifies.

Zhou’s Taijitu diagram

The Void is pimordial, it is essentially empty spacetime. Then the first distinction is made, i.e. the Big Bang occurs from some single point, from an anomaly, a singularity. From that the the structure is created where All Things are seen as opposites which are structurally linked, i.e. held apart, held together, producing continuity between the opposites. From that we get the Yin (Visible effects) and Yang (Invisible Affects) out of which arise the five hsing, or five transformations, which is the minimal solid in the fourth dimension called a pentachora, which acts as a hypercycle that transfers causality from the invisible four dimensional realm into the visible three dimensional world with the symmetry breaking of time as a separate dimension which embraces all things.

Note that the Hyper-Cycle of the five hsing exists within the virtual control space of the Autopoietic Symbiotic Special System which we see in Acupuncture Theory.

The interaction of Yang (Celestial Invisible Affects) and Yin (Terrestrial Visible Effects) produces a binary unfolding heuristic to appear which allows one to pick the most basic opposite operating in a situation, and then the next most basic, and the least significant, and to assign Qualitative Value to each permutation of those three sets of opposites which is called the Trigrams, which is the building block of the Hexagrams in the I Ching. These complementary opposites that are manifest in nature is the spontaneous expression of the void within the realm of the ten thousand things. That is because visiblities and invisiblities are brought together in a supra-rational way without mixture, and so that the individual realizes that the opposites are all complementary to each other and that they include the person who picked the most relevant, significant and meaningful opposites to him, yet he is not separate from those opposites because he is part of spacetime too, and thus the opposites play across him as well as everything else. Thus our basic reality is the same as everything else, and everything is suffused with the original void in the discontinuities between the opposites which is the state prior to the setting up of the ridgepole, i.e. what allows us to see opposites.

Bob Seal Nondual Cartoons: http://advaitatoons.blogspot.com/

The basic duals in Chinese Society are those set up by Confucianism. Father-Son, Husband-Wife, Older Son-Younger Son.

The Court Taoists were ousted from the court, and Taoism became something one did after one retired from office. And thus an accommodation was struck between the Dualistic Confucianist doctrine, and the Nondual Taoist Doctrine and the myth was forged that Confucious and Laotze once met.

So into this milieu came Buddhism, which denied the existence of the Physical Universe accepted by Taoism, yet believed in the underlying nonduality of consciousness and so was inherently solipsistic striving for personal Nirvana. But at the same time came the Mahayana concept of all things being empty, which sounded a lot like the Tao. So initially the Chinese translated Buddhist concepts of emptiness with the same words used by the Taoists. But eventually the Chinese discovered that Emptiness and Void were in fact different. And so they developed other translations for Buddhist concepts that were different from those of Taoism. Once they realized the difference between these two types of nonduality, they went on to set up a ridgepole between them, and thus there was a kind of dualism between the inward and outward forms of nonduality represented by Emptiness and Void respectively.

Ultimately StoneHouse the hermit poet could write lines of poetry that went back and forth between these two types of nonduality in the same poem. But the question was then asked what is the nature of the nondual below the level of this duality between the inward and outward nonduals.

Ultimately the reply to this came from Hua Yen Buddhism and made most explicit by Fa Tsang (http://www.iep.utm.edu/fazang/). In this form of Buddhism Emptiness was interpreted as Interpenetration. In other words the inward expression of nonduality was connected to all things via their interpenetration. Hua Yen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huayan_school) developed in opposition to the Mind-Only Yogacara school that was introduced in to China and called Faxiang by Xuanzang http://www.iep.utm.edu/xuanzang/. This school made the inward outward distinction between Emptiness and Void clear by creating a Mind-Only version of Buddhism which was an extreme, i.e. a departure from the middleway take to even further extreme by the Lankavatra Sutra.

It is interesting that the first Patriarch of Zen particularly pointed at the Lankavatra Sutra as a basis of practice which became known as Chan/Zen. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma) By pushing Mind-only doctrine to its limit the specific difference between Buddhist Emptiness and Taoist Void is radicalized.

But from a theoretical point of view Hua Yen and Tien Tai Buddhism went beyond the limits of Buddhism per se by identifying a state beyond what was the limit of Emptiness in Buddhism. In Tien Tai it was a state that was the middle between Nirvana and Mundane Consciousness. For Hua Yen it was reinterpreting emptiness and interpenetration, and thus unifying Emptiness and Void.

We note that Fa Tsang and Hui Neng the Sixth Patriarch of Zen were contemporaries coming after the time of Bodhidharma and the introduction of mind only school into China. Chih I of Tien Tai was a little after the BodhiDharma but in the same general time frame prior to Fa Tsang. From the Timeline we can then see that First the Mind-Only school entered China, but very soon after than Chih I established a nondual between and beyond Emptiness and the Mundane Truth to reestablish the middle way beyond the two truths based on the interpretation of a single statement by Nagarjuna from a translation not from the original Sanskrit. So we can see there are divergent movement happening about the same time where the radical mind only transmission beyond the sutras enters China while at the same time the Chinese are exploring ways to return to the middle way beyond Buddhist dualities.

The fact that Hui Neng and Fa Tsang are contemporaries shows that these divergent ways are coming together in as much as Hui Neng redresses the radical dualistic nature of the Chan/Zen movement, while on the other hand Fa Tsang inteprprets emptiness as interpenetration thus bringing together theoretically Void and Emptiness and explaining their difference and sameness at the same time.

So the powerful return to the middle way by Hui Neng in the Chan/Zen Buddhist tradition, coincides with an interpretation that can give us the link between Emptiness the foreign nondual state and Void the indigenous nondual state. Hui Neng is seen as an ignorant wood cutter who none the less gets the transmission of enlightenment beyond the words of the sutras. Fa Tsang was a sophisticated intellectual who interacted with the Chinese Court explaining the nature of enlightenment as a hall of mirrors. Hui Neng’s rival said that there was a mirror in the mind and you had to keep polishing it to reach enlightenment. Hui-neng said there was no mirror and no polishing, showing the superiority of his insight. In other words there was some state like Wu Ji before the distinction between the two truths that generated the karma of polishing and the substance of the mirror. Fa Tsang on the other hand said that there was many mirrors that reflected each other like the Jeweled Net of Indra. And this interpenetration is the state which connects in inward emptiness to the outward void, since the one who is realized is reflected and reflects all things. And both of these pictures are attempts to be more specific about the nature of the third middle way between the two truths (emptiness and mundane reality) discussed by Chih I. The point is that perhaps in a Mind-only realm one can achieve enlightenment by stopping the mind through this continual polishing. But this idealism of emptiness in Yogacara only emphasizes more the difference between foreign Emptiness and indigenous Void. Yet this was enough to get those who followed the Bodhidharma out of studying sutras and into attempting to achieve enlightenment themselves in their own lifetimes. But this practice only made more stark the difference between the two nonduals, and it was about this time that Chih I formulated a way to return to the middle way beyond the two truths. And these two strands came together in the realization that this Third way between the extremes of the two truths could be thought of as interpenetration, while on the other hand the Mind Only School could be returned to a middle course though the realization of a state much like Wu Ji beyond the state of enlightenment possible through the mind only school. Eventually monks like Stonehouse could draw freely from the two nondual traditions and juxtapose these two different forms of nonduality in the same poem, distinguishing them clearly.

Now we have sufficient background to frame the question: What does a Koan DO. The first answer to this question is obvious. They don’t DO anything. The Koan is a direct pointing to the reality of existence as nondual through supra-rationality by the teacher to the student. The Koan is an existential singularity expressed in language as a means of transmission of enlightenment from one human being to another. Koans are like statements of impossibility that contrasts supra-rationality to paradox and absurdity which is the natural degenerate state toward which the mind tends as it is caught up in the nihilistic chatter of the world. If the student can be directly introduced to the nature of their own awareness, much like Garab Dorje introduced Manjushrimitra to the nature of his awareness developed by paradoxical Tantric practices beyond Buddhism, then a similar, if opposite, thing can be done by a Zen Master who points to the Mind-only nature of emptiness to a student in the transmission line of Zen. Both of these practices are rebounding from the limits of the Divided line toward the center. They are moving from extremes back toward the middle way and discovering there not just emptiness or void but rather a deeper nondual we might call ‘manifestation’. Manifestation is nonduality not adulterated by any duality, thus a deeper nondual than Emptiness and Void which were discovered not only to be different but also opposite in the way the one emphasizes the inward and the other emphasizes the outward.

Now a Koan as Logos must be placed in a context of Physus (phusis, which is Indo-european *bheu), and the nondual between these is Nomos (order) in the Greek Tradition. This is the fundamental distinction in the Western Worldview. Language is the emergent nature of consciousness that brings us communication between individuals and allows us to have culture and intersubjective dialogue and dialectic as well as providing the basis for our own conscious experience which is mediated by inward language. In the Koan there is an intersection between the nihilistic collapsing together of nihilistic opposites, the annihilation in physus, and the cancellation of nomos where we cancel on each side of the equation. The equivalent of annihilation in physus and cancellation in mathematics (the nomos) has no one word that is specific to it, but we might consider: abolition, abrogation, annulment, dissolution, retraction, revocation, undoing, invalidation, nullification, obliteration, or perhaps rescission (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescission) rescind, with later spelling recission. Here we will use ‘rescission’ as a technical term for the annihilation or cancellation in the realm of logos. All three together each in their separate realms we will call Annulment. In Logos whose physus-like core is logic, we get contradiction as the fundamental stopping of the logical progression of the syllogism, when this is intensified there is paradox, and when taken to a radical extreme there is absurdity. But all this is on the side of Doxa not Ratio. On the side of Ratio there is both representable and non-representable intelligibles which are the invisibility of concepts. We see cancellation of concepts in failed proofs, like the trisection of an angle, or the doubling of a cube, things that cannot be proved in Euclidian Geometry for instance because they result in contradictions. But in pure logic itself these contradictions are such that once one has been encountered then anything can be proven. Thus logic which embraces contradiction and thus motion immediately flips over into the nihilistic situation in which truth cannot be found of the type that can be verified, and so we need a higher truth, and that comes in dialectics which embraces change and motion in thought and discussion, and were we get something like Skepticism of Sextus Empiricus, as the state of contentment as long as the dialogue or dialectic keeps going. If it keeps going you continue to learn, and thus continue to accrue knowledge, but if it ever stops then you are left with Dogma or the complete negation of everything by the Academics, or so called Sophists. Academics like Nagarjuna negate everything. Skeptics on the other hand affirm too much, and thus you do not know where they stand. Dogmatists claim they know about the invisibles and make positive statements about them that cannot be proved. And so it went until Kant and his Critique that looked into the necessary conditions for the possibility of any experience what so ever and established transcendental idealism. Once Kant explained that the Rationalists and Empiricists were basically the same and sought a middle ground, then we saw that Pure Reason always resulted in antimonies and those basically annulled each others arguments. Antimonies start from the opposite assumptions and disprove the other argument. So once that occurs on both sides in the realm of pure reason there is no way to make a distinction between arguments. Pure Reason or logos under the auspices of logic engaged in a dialectic produces a rescission, a drawing back or withdraw from the abyss of meaninglessness when it runs into the antimonies. There is then an abrogation of the dual premises of the argument and we are left with a situation in which reason is unfounded or ungrounded, and we are thrown back into opinion. We cannot prove either side of the argument and so we do not know what to do so there is a retraction of our statements, there is a revocation of the acceptance of our arguments for the positions we took at first. We see this acted out in the Platonic Dialogues where both interlocutors of Socrates with opposite positions are both forced to renounce their starting assumptions and statements because they are both shown to be absurd. Those conceptual positions are invalidated by the questioning of Socrates. The hubris of the person taking a dogmatic stance is obliterated. And their reasons for taking that dogmatic stance are nullified. This is a process of self-nullification where through the argument of the dialogue they discover that their own position is unsupportable.

So if we admit that there exists a state of annihilation in the physus (particles and anti-particles for instance) and cancellation in mathematics (the nomos, order which is nondual between these duals), and a rescission of the arguments that undergo dialectical exploration in philosophical discourse and under questioning within the logos as constrained by logic, and that internal contradictions can be brought out which causes dogmas to self-annihilate or cancel themselves out. And this process can be seen as nihilistic in the sense that the extreme and artificial oppositions of stated positions lose their meaning in the process of being explored dialectically. And so nihilistic rescission of opposites are brought about by the application of pure reason to any set of concepts about invisibles.

Now annihilation (physus) , cancellation (nomos) and rescission (logos) are a fundamental reality in our own nature as we are embedded in nature. We call all three together at the same time Annulment.

When we negate something there are two types of negation. One creates the anti-X (directly canceling, annihilating, or rescissioning element) and the other creates the non-X (Other). So when we talk about emptiness or void as nonduals though negation it creates a dissonance. We could mean either of these kinds of negation.

Other emptiness
anti-emptiness

Other void
anti-Void

Now each of these are nonduals in their own right, but one is related to nature and the outward and the other is related to awareness and the inward. And we can imagine that they produce a Yin-Yang sort of standing wave that has a black spot in the white side and a white dot in the black side of the circle of opposites turning into each other.

So we can image that Other emptiness = Void and Other Void = emptiness.
In other words emptiness is Non-Void, and Void is Non-Emptiness.

And so even though these are nonduals in their own realm, they are duals with each other across the “domain wall” (two dimensional singularity)  that separates them.

Negation sets up for annihilation, cancellation and rescission, i.e. annulment. But these very real operations of logos, physus, and nomos which cause anti-x and x to vanish via mutual destruction is a different state than the state in which the negations of each other are still standing prior to their vanishing.

Emptiness and Void can only vanish if there is another deeper nondual state which has no duality, even the duality of nonduals within it.

Now what I would like to suggest for consideration, is that the Koan as a linguistic, and physical, and ordering singularity in speech, in a specific situation, in a specific conceptual ordering is a ‘matter’ that simultaneously performs this cancellation, annihilation and rescission, i.e. annulment. It does this by bringing the two limits of the Divided Line Supra-rationality and Paradox together yet holding them apart at the meta-level where the ridgepole is the line that is being divided itself. The ridgepole of the divided line can collapse, and when it does that in all three realms together though the real action of Annulment then there is a fundamental Anagogic Swerve by which our perspective on everything is changed and we call that profound change enlightenment. By creating this situation in which annihilation, cancellation, and rescission occur simultaneously as Annulment without interfering with each other then we are taken back to the primordial ground of our experience where the divided line itself has collapsed by its ridgepole vanishing.

Now, how this Annulment where multiple real vanishing operations occur simultaneously in different realms (physus, logos, nomos) is what we would call a very rare anomaly. In other words, we do not expect it to come about very often, but if there is a transmission from one person to another of the state then it might occur on its own if the recipient is highly primed to accept that transformation in their awareness. We note that this transmission effect is a dissipative ordering which is negatively entropic. And it is between two organisms the teacher and student and it is a reflexive social situation of mentoring and teaching. So annulment is a situation in which all the anomalous special systems can be brought into conjunction to produce the ultra-efficacy of the transmission process.

It should be noted that Dissipative Ordering Special Systems which embody negative entropy occur on the level of ordering, and in the dissipation of order there is a transformation of one order, that of the environment into the order of the expanding negatively entropic system. So there is an affinity between negative entropy and ordering or nomos. On the other hand, the Autopoietic Symbiotic Special System is at the level of living organisms that have two dissipative ordering systems in conjunction within them in a symbiotic relation. And so this balancing can be seen to have an affinity with physus (phusis) of the existential living viable organism. And finally the Logos occurs in the reflexive social situation between individuals in which the transmission is occurring. In their minds and between them they are exchanging representations in language. Those representations have meaning in the sentence as a whole. Those representations give us our sentience which is implicit in the Autopoietic system but is made explicit in the interaction through language. Language is something external in the world of nature as modulations of air by sounds, or in writing as marks on some material media. But words in language ordered by grammar indicate concepts which are invisible cognitions within the Autopoietic systems of the existential and viable organisms engaged in communication. The rational grammar is the nomos at the level of language. The sounds made in the physical world and their flow and unfolding over time is the physus. And the logos is the way we can mutually comprehend what is said to each other through the mutual constraints of logic that inheres within the stream of conversation giving rise to mutual understanding and intelligibility.

But the transmission itself is a dissipative ordering that is negentropic in as much as it transforms the order of the awareness of one person though contact with the other person which results in a transmutation of their state. We call what is transmitted in Buddhism the Dharma, but it is also a reflexive state of awareness of ones own awareness that comes from a signal of one human being to the other. Thus it is a semiotic affair, where one person is indicating the reality of existence, i.e. its utter nonduality to another. So what is being transmitted is a sign in all cases, and indication that is only comprehensible in a specific situation and context.

At the level of the sign, which Peirce says is threefold, i.e. composed of the sign itself, its object, and its interpretation. The interpretation is based on understanding its nomos, the sign is based on the logos, and the object is something in the physus. So the structure of the sign, is one with the three realms of experience that underlie the divided line. In other words DOXA is both opinion and appearance, and thus it shares its roots in physus and logos. The ratio is related to the nomos. Reason is the ordering of the logos (opinions) in relation to the physus (appearances). So as we go up the divided line we are going deeper into the nomos or the nondual (interspace or barrier) between physus and logos.

Now, how do we get annihilation, cancellation, and rescission to occur simultaneously in all three realms as annulment so the ridgepole of the divided line collapses and the positive and negative elements it defines and gives a place to vanish by mutual destruction which is natural in their own realms. Now we have to look at something mentioned elsewhere which is that the three realms are represented in terms of three intervals:

information/entropy = Logos = Emptiness (inward reality) Virtual reality of culture and society and consciousness existing in viable living beings. Reflexive Level

energy/matter = Physus = Physical Reality of what is existing in spacetime. Autopoietic Viable Living Level

space/time = Nomos = Void (outward reality) Dissipative Ordering Level (All orders occur in spacetime, and empty space has its own internal ordering that relates to mathematics.)

Note as I have shown elsewhere there are both anti-x and non-x forms of each of the two higher realms, and so the same thing is probably true of spacetime, there is anti-space or anti-time, and non-space or non-time. We call anti-time eternity, immortality, and we call non-time the Out-of-time which is pure discontinuity and what was there before the difference between in-time, and endlesstime.

On the other hand anti-space is what exists in other universes, and non-space is what exists in the multiverse. But on a more human level as seen by Plato talks about the Chora or Receptacle in two senses, as local space that receives matter, or an impression, but also as global space within which all things exist. Thus anti-space and non-space can be seen as the articulation of these two meanings of the Chora-receptacle/seat. And it is the ambiguity, vagueness, and amorphousness of the distinction between these two concepts that makes this an example of the third kind of Being, i.e. Hyper Being or Differance. At the level of the particular thing there is the space that it takes up which constitutes its interior, and then there is the relation between that interior space (which can be interpreted as empty), and the exterior global unoccupied space (i.e. Void) and then there is the surface separating inside and outside, and there is the locale within which the thing rests or moves as it travels along its worldline. So anti-space could be seen as the niche within which the thing with positive space resides, and non-space could be seen as the global container for everything which goes out infinitely beyond our finite horizon. In other words, you occupy a certain space and thus make it inward in a sense, but you dwell in a space to the extent that you can live there in a niche with what allows you to maintain your viability, and finally you swim in a sea of space that seems to have no shore. But of course the real inward is not the space you occupy, that is really outward too if you were to cut into it, but rather it is our awareness and consciousness that is our actual inward. On a similar note there is as Heidegger says between contact and touch. Thus there is the objective space of objects that may have contact by being adjacent with their surfaces meeting, but touching something is completely different for living things, and the ecstasy by which we project the world beyond ourselves is again something completely different. So another way of thinking of anti-space is the A Priori projection of the Space that we intuit back from things in the world that we experience. On the other hand the noumena would be seen as inheriting a non-space, something beyond our projections that we cannot access. Other scenarios can be imagined where we could give other meanings to anti-space and non-space. For instance, dream might be non-space but imagination might be anti-space. In Tantra for example we imagine something that is not there to the extent it takes on a life of its own. Then we see that imagined thing as empty. That imagined thing is really appearing hypnogogicly in an anti-space, while our dream appears in a non-space where other spaces arise and vanish again.

It may appear that we have gone far afield. But I think we can come straight back from the brink of irrelevance by saying that at the level of Logos there is entropy and neg-entropy and information and neg-information. Any communication of significance contains surprise and thus is negatively entropic. But we are not accustomed to thinking about negative information. Yet we are always worrying about conspiricies, lies, fraud, secrets, etc. At the level of the Logos it is information and anti-information, or knowledge and anti-knowledge that manifests  rescission in the Koan. Enlightenment when transmitted is probably the greatest possible surprise. So at the level of logos what is undergoing rescission is either information or knowledge. By reasoning about information we produce knowledge. When negative and positive givens, data, information, knowledge, wisdom, insight and realization canel then there is rescission within the logos. This is essentially the same as an Anagogoc Swerve within a nihilistic set of artificial extreme duals that are realized to be the Same, i.e. belong together, i.e. share the same ridgepole. Zizek calls this the Parallax View.

At the physical level of energy and matter, both there anti-X and non-X are rare phenomena. But in any situation there is potential energy, which is really stored up information about the situation in which something is in. And in the situation of student and teacher there is physical embodiment that places them completely enveloped in an energy/matter context as autopoietic viable living systems. Autopoietic systems are closed and are nondual combinations of cognition and living energy/matter transformations in exchange with the immediate environment. The closure of the Autopoietic system means that its surface is a domain wall, i.e. a two dimensional singularity. And what we know about these singularities such as with information on the surface of a Black Hole, there is a projection of the information on the surface into the interior or exterior spaces. Information is what crosses that surface of the Autopoietic system as perturbations. Thus there is not only the information passing through to be developed by the cognition of the system into knowledge, but there is also the information on the two sides of the singular surface. Now in terms of physical actuality of the communication between people the opposite of the sound of the voice is silence, and the opposite of the marks of the writing is the blank page where our behavior has left no traces. Thus from a behavioral point of view Wu Ji appears as Wu Wei which is non-action, which means going with the flow of the Tao, so that no traces are left. Non-action does not mean keeping silent or not writing, but rather it means not perturbing the stream of the flow of things with your own imperfections. If this can be done then there are fewer pertubations that threaten the autopoietic existential cognitive/living special system. It is acting as in Judo where one uses the energy of the opponent against him. That means in behavior canceling out the self/other distinction and thus harmonizing completely with one’s situation in which one is dwelling. So on the physical level we see this annihilation as complete fitting into ones environment such that karmic traces are not created and seeded for future frutification, like in the next instant, and thus embodying the Way and the Virtue that comes from immersion in the Way where Wu Ji permeates everything and manifests as Wu Wei. So we actually see the annihilation on the level of behavior which is synchronistic, psychoidal or in Flow and thus exhibiting a following of the Way and exhibiting primal virtues like humility.

At the level of nomos there is cancellation when one schema interacts with its anti-schema. The schema can be thought of as the logos of the physus. That is because it is a projection on the physus that is a priori that we read back in our experience. The Schematization permeates our experience. We project spacetime in terms of templates of understanding. And this schematization starts with the various implicate orders of spacetime at various scopes, and goes on to embody all our expectations about what will happen in our world with it implicate order and tacit knowledge. See Umberto Eco Kant and the Platypus. We expect all these schematizations to be satisfied and if they are not we are surprised. So at the foundational level of the nomos we would expect the koan to be a breaking of the norm, and even perhaps a departure from grammar, or at least a special use of grammar or rhetorical tropes in the service of expressing of indications nonduality, i.e. the order beyond order made up of one and many, or unity and totality. In fact it expresses the nondual between unity and totality which is wholeness. And that wholeness is expressed in spacetime as a synthesis that is projected a priori and then intuited by us in our experience. We unconsciously project these syntheses as the means of stabilizing what we know about our environment and ourselves. There is an inherent order in empty space, and there is an inherent order in conscious awareness even if nothing else is present. The anti-schema is a  canceling order, while the non-schema is what is not schematized, for instance what falls beyond the ten dimensions of our schematization of things in the world. The schema is a template of understanding, and so the anti-schema is a different and opposite template of understanding that can undergo emergence, so for instance they may be facticities, theories, paradigms, epistemes, ontoi, existences, absolutes.

So think of a situation in which the teacher and student are dwelling together, and a specific set of circumstances arise in which cancellation, annihilation, and rescission can occur simultaneously without interfering with each other. The teacher of deep nonudality indicates the presence of the special situation to the student though the words of the Koan or by some gesture or action. It is that kind of nondual teaching situation which is the perfect instance of what a Koan does via its own non-action of indication. In other words a Koan ideally or maybe better archetypally, causes positive and negative information, or knowledge produced by reason to become rescinded. At the same time at the physical level in the embodied situation a nondual flow of ultra-efficacy is attained in which the Way and our virtue manifests. And finally there is a cancellation of schemas usually implicate or tacit, and thus a transformation of our schematization of our world. When these happen together as annulment it is a transmogrification of our embodied awareness and we call that enlightenment as transmitted within Hui Neng’s middle way Chan/Zen dharma on the basis of emptiness being interpreted as interpenetration and thus belonging together with the Void as the Same.

The sign is the koan in speech, gesture or action. The object is the dialectical absolute reason acting itself out in the situation in which the ultra-efficient flow occurs which is the Way that brings out our virtue. And the interpretation for that is interpenetration that links Void and Emptiness together though a special kind of ridgepole related to that of the divided line.

What is strange about this is that it occurs though no effort, it is effortless, un-fabricated, non-elaborated, method-less, flowing like water into the optimal energy minima naturally like the surfaces of gigantic bubbles floating in the air. At each moment these thin films that separate inside from outside dynamically calculate the least energy and thus optimal surface automatically and naturally. And at each moment there is the potential for poping in whichthe difference between inside and outside collapses.


The photograph, taken by Richard Heeks, of Exeter, shows a soap bubble with one half still perfectly formed while the other shatters in a distinctive pattern of streaks.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5813506/Photographer-captures-moment-a-bubble-bursts.html
http://prints.barcroftmedia.com/bursting_soap_bubble/print/1893913.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1199149/Su

This is basically the relaxation of the Emergent Meta-System as it goes through its phases from creation to annihilation. So the Koan has as its basic structure the Emergent Meta-system. We see the annihilation but what occurs on the other side of that is creation of a new order within awareness after it is cleared by the simultaneous rescission, annihilation, and cancellation in all three regions of the worldview. With that the ridgepole of the Divided Line in the tent of ones world collapses, and instead of projecting Being one finds existence suddenly as empty and void as always already he same belonging together as always from the very beginning.

The monads in a swarm arise through the creation operator, but then they interact through mutual action operator to form  newperspectives which are new on the world and which give insight into the nature of things. These new viewpoints form constellations that then are ecstatic and reschematize the world forming new candidate possibilities for further annihilation.

Basically enlightenment is a string of annullments, i.e., rescissions, annihilations, and cancellations, which go on and continue and in the midst of which one stands as a sentient living creature. One goes on through and in-spite of these rescissions, annihilations, and cancellations each being unique to the situation and to the dismantling of the self that continue as long as one is within the enlightened state. To the one who is experiencing it there seems to be a continuing disaster, but at the same time all the nihilism falls away and meaning gushes forth from out of the EmptyVoid, or the VoidEmptiness, i.e. the deeper nondual of Manifestation. Eventually one comes to exist within those manifestations of annihilation, cancellation and rescission on an ongoing basis so that the ongoing of the annihilation, cancellation, and rescission or taken together the Annulment process itself goes on as a series of anomalous singularities each unique to the situation one encounters inside and outside oneself. There are meta-levels of annulment.  There is annulment, and then when the annullment changes there is annulment of annulment. But there is also going on in annulment that captures the various annihilations as if they were jewels on a string. But finally there is the going on of the going on of annulment, which is the meta-continuity in which the emptyvoid or the voidemptiness is filled again with meaning after all the extreme and artificial nihilistic opposites in all realms collapse.

What the Koan as rammified in the various realms simultaneiously does is transmogrify us. And we are never the same after that aconceptual and aexperiental happening within our lives and our lifeworld.

Now what we have described is ideally what Koans do, and we know that since nothing is perfect there are many degenerate cases and conditions that does not live up to this ideal model, but without the ideal model in mind it is difficult to know what is happening as it goes though variations to various different people and the same person over time. As Stafford Beer says Humans are Variety producers even in the esoteric realm of enlightenment.

The goal is to go beyond the supra-rational and paradoxical limits of the divided line and back to its primordial origin. But that comes from the annulment of the supra-rational and the paradoxical.

The Key point is that a Koan is not just a linguistic phenomena as a riddle or a puzzle to be solved. The action of the Koan is deep and exists on in all three realms of Physus, Logos and Nomos. The preservation of just the words does not do it justice. But like a homeopathic tincture, studying the anomalous ordering of the words and the described situation in which they are uttered allows us some insight into the total phenomena of transformation that the Koan as a sign indicates.


http://books.google.com/books?id=T4sJ5fK6_vYC&dq
The recorded sayings of Zen Master JoshuZhaozhou (Shi), James Green

So lets take an example Koan and see if we can make sense of it in the terms I have outlined above.  Definitely the nondual notion of the Way is here, by the fact that the Way is like the sky, wide open vast emptiness to which you cannot say yes or no to. So we are definitely talking about Wu Ji or Void here. However, the inward comes into play when it is said that to seek it is to deviate from it and that it is Ordinary Mind, no more, no less. This is in fact much like what DzogChen would say. Existence is the Primal Ground of Awareness that is nondual beyond the two truths of Buddhism. It is a version of Emptiness is Form and Form is emptiness, but it is grounded in the Void and not just the internal emptiness of the mind itself. Thus the relation between the concept of form is empty and emptiness is form appears in the fact that you cannot seek the way without missing it, (the name that can be named is not the real name of the nameless Tao) because we are always slipsliding away. The Way does not belong to knowing or not-knowing, it is nondual between these oppositions.

From the point of view of Logos the oppositions cited are Yes/No and Knowing/NotKnowing and Way/Deviation, Knowledge/Ignorance. These are the distinctions made within speech but they have no anchor, and the various interpretations of them cancel each other out causing rescission.
From the point of view of Physus or embodied becoming there is the difference in Joshu prior to and after this conversation in which he becomes enlightened. The words were actually spoken and they had deep transformative affects because of their meaning, they were not just words, but the were not silence either, rather they were conceptualizations pointing at the nonconceptual, the non-representable which is the nondual.

From the point of view of Nomos there is the ordering of direct showing that leads to enlightenment of Joshu at the hands of his master, during this conversation, in which he is introduced to the idea that the Way is like the sky, and that the seeking of it, or saying yes or no to it does not matter, or knowledge or ignorance do not matter with respect to the Tao. the Tao encompasses and overwhelms and works through ordinary mind. It is much like Hegel’s idea of absolute reason, every detail of the chatter and nihilism of everyday mundane mind works according to the Tao. So realization of the nature of the Tao is just a matter of being who you already are, but more genuinely and more profoundly.

The best way to see all this in action is to read the Koan backwards.

Last Joshu is enlightened in this conversation with his teacher, and thus he becomes a teacher himself and enunciates all the other Koans in the book. Joshu was famous for the startling nature of his koans. When he became enlightened his mind became like the Moon which is in the sky, reflects the light of the Sun, and is something you can only point at but cannot touch. It gives light, but the light waxes and wanes.

The very last thing that his master said to him before his enlightenment is to ask a question: “How can you say Yes or No to it?” It is a vast emptiness like the sky, or space. Knowing is having a concept, ignorance is not knowing. The Way is beyond knowing and non-knowing.

Kant points out that spacetime (as we understand it now) is a singular which is different from either unity or totality. There is only one spacetime. What Plato calls Chora which is both receptacle globally and seat locally. Everything we know is in it. And most of it is vacant. Even the things that appear to be solid are mostly vacant. This great vast vacancy is the Void, Wu Ji. What ever distinction you make in it is nothing because it does not support any writing on this medium. It is worse than trying to write on water or air. There is literally nothing there to write on that will hold a mark of distinction, as G. Spencer-Brown calls it. Spacetime is physical, even if there was nothing else in it but someone spinning they could still orient in it. Seventy percent of the energy that exists is in Spacetime itself. There is the virtual particles that are constantly created and annihilating. So at a level space itself is only creation and annihilation below the level of the conservation of energy. Negative energy is when two plates are placed in space close to each other and they are pushed together by the force of space itself and its intense energy expended in the creation and destruction of particles out of nothing and back to nothing. So we know now that at the most basic level Space has a fabric of annihilation that makes it up balanced by creation of the virtual particles that exist only momentarily only to annihilate each other again and again producing the seething flux of energy that is spacetime.

That which has no substance, is not even ether, cannot hold a mark or distinction, and therefore cannot hold information or knowledge is beyond all binary oppositions, and thus is nondual in itself. “How can you say Yes and No to it?” How can you produce distinctions between binary opposites and try to impose them on that nonduality. Let it just be non-dual, and realize that it is you, and you are just as nondual as it is because you are nothing but a perturbation of spacetime. How can you say yes and no to the nondual that overwhelms you and any distinctions you might make. It does not hold your distinctions in its medium, but rather holds the medium you choose to make your distinctions in as well as yourself.

Reading backwards and anachronistically we can see that with our current knowledge that spacetime, is energymatter at the level of virtual particles within the time limit for conserved particles. Creation and Annihilation are the opposites, and the particles created are opposites. And these produce the pressure that creates the negative energy. And it is particles and anti-particles that are created and destroyed. So negative matter and negative energy are implicit within spacetime as a non-dual singularity without substance. So we can see that the levels of spacetime and energy matter is all contained within the vacant singularity of space as Chora which is  receptacle globally and place or seat locally. And it is intrinsically nondual, pervading everything. This physical and spacetime picture we have today of virtual particles as a seething ocean below the cut off for conservation of energy has been augmented by the realization that even in the universe as a whole energy some energy is not conserved, and is in fact dark energy, because the universe as a whole is accelerating in its expansion. So both anti-energy and non-energy come into play in our conceptualization of the nature of the fabric of spacetime at the Planck level. It basically makes the nonduality incomprehensible, especially if you take into account that also at that level Quantum Mechanics and Relativity intersect to produce paradoxes and even absurdities. And when you also take into account the fact that spacetime is four dimensional, and the fourth dimension is the only one which does not have a set topology then it becomes clear that the real nature of four dimensional reality is truly incomprehensible. In order to understand anything at all we must keep Quantum Mechanics and Relativity apart. So they are like the antimonies and lead to rescission. Thus all in one we can see that our view today though physical science, the nondual nature of spacetime incorporates the three levels into a single conundrum that is impossible to comprehend, i.e. is beyond knowledge and non-knowledge. Our attempts at understanding the nature of the world is running up against severe limitations especially if we do not find the Higgs particle, and supersymmetries, and neutrinos really do go faster than light. We will have to go back to the drawing board to find a new model if the Standard Model collapses under the pressure of negative experimental results. So I think we can say that not only are all the three levels of Annulment covered but they are bound together as simultaneously satisfied by what we know of the physical world today. Physical Theory as has been said before by others is itself a Koan when we relate the theories to the bound intervals between spacetime and energymatter. It might also be that there is not even a complete separation between bosons and fermions, and that there are anyons, that fill in the spectrum between this fundamental distinction between particles that are moved by forces and particles that carry forces.

But the interesting part is if we go back further from the precipice of enlightenment and we see what Joshu’s master says before that about the mind and his search for knowledge and wisdom.

Joshu asks What is the way and gets the answer that ordinary mind is the way. Ordinary mind is that mindless chattering and nihilistic common enumerator of humanity. So this is the argument that we are all enlightened if we only knew. But Joshu asks if he can direct himself toward it, but he finds from his teacher that to approach or seek it is to deviate from it. It is only if one does nothing to try to capture it, that it can be grasped. It is basically like a Cat. To be around it you have to leave it alone. Joshu asks “If I do not seek it how can I know the Way.” And the answer is basically that you cannot know it, so stop trying. It is beyond both knowing and not knowing. Thus there is a blank wall one hits that is impassible. This impassable blank wall in ones self is emptiness. There is a contradiction that the only way to enlightenment is to give it up. And this is where we say that Buddhist enlightenment is a ruse that uses nihilism against itself. It gives a vague, amorphous, ambiguous goal of enlightenment for the Self to invest in. The Self invests in it, but eventually it realizes that there is no enlightenment, and that is what the comparison of enlightenment to ordinary mind means. It calls the bluff of the person who has invested everything in the goal of becoming enlightened, and when that goal is seen to be ephemeral as everything else in existence, then one’s self sinks below the waves as the wrecked ship sinks, taking all the attached vestiges of the ego with it leaving the self to create a new way of relating to the world. It is the nihilism of the artificial extreme opposites of seeing all live as Dukkha on the one hand and seeing enlightenment as a freedom from samsara on the other that collapse and then you must go beyond Buddhism. But what is beyond Buddhism is merely the other outward nondual of the singular of spacetime that implicitly is energymatter which is implicitly conceptpercept which are all caught up in Annulment, and so there is no foundation for experience in the outward either. The self is the one who wants to know what the Tao is, wants to direct itself toward knowing the Tao, wants to seek and find. These are all projections of the self and a bit of hubris that believes that one is good enough to become enlightened. So one gets caught up in the spiritual path, one sinks ones time and energy in it, leaves home, joins the Sanga, learns the Dharma, and seeks to be a Bodhisattva and asks questions like this of the master one has found. But all this seeking, is in vain and empty, because what one seeks cannot be found by seeking and cannot not be found by not seeking, but only by neither seeking nor not seeking, or both seeking and not seeking. Thus the tetrallema exhausts the logical possibilities and points toward the presence, identity, reality and truth of existence as emptyvoid and voidempty.

So reading this arbitrary first Koan in the book of Joshu which is the point of Joshu’s own enlightenment, one sees that the theory produced above does hold true for this particular koan. Annulment occurs in all the realms simultaneously, and emptiness is negated internally, but the Tao outwardly is seen to be impossible to comprehend, and it is accepting these inward and outward limits that leads to enlightenment when the ridgepole collapses.

So the theory I proposed can be said to apply to at least one Koan. Whether it applies to others or must be modified based on the failure to apply to some is yet to be seen.

It could be that this Annulment in three realms at once is the ideal, and that it may occur in one realm at a time instead. So there may be classes of Koans that record annihilations, cancellations or rescissions separately. It could be that other Koans merely indicate some nondual aspect of existence without portraying cancellations, annihilations or rescissions per se. In other, words we are describing the most radical case which is ideal in order to produce the outcome of perfect enlightenment. But there are many possible degerate cases that form a field. However, if we understand the epitome of the Koanic action based in Annulment then we should be able to understand the rest of the field based on that archetype.

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Interesting related references:

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kh%C3%B4ra

See F. Cook Hua Yen: Jeweled Net of Indra

See Fa Tsang’s commentary on the Awakening of Faith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fazang

The Rafter is the Whole Building, in Fa-tsang (Cook) http://advayavada.blogspot.com/2009/11/rafter-is-whole-building-in-fa-tsang.html
The Taoist Influence on Hua-yen Buddhism: A Case of the Scinicization of Buddhism in China Kang-nam Oh, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Regina  Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal, No. 13, (2000) Taipei: The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/HistoricalZen/Taoist_Influence_on_Hua-Yen_Buddhism.html

See A STUDY OF CHINESE HUA-YEN BUDDHISM WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE DHARMDHATU (FA-CHIEH) DOCTRINE Kang Nam Oh, McMaster University  http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/opendissertations/2232/

Tian-tai Metaphysics vs. Hua-yan Metaphysics http://faculty.fullerton.edu/jeelooliu/Tian-tai%20vs.%20Hua-yan.pdf

Dharmadhatu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmadhatu

The “Lankavatara” and “Platform Sutras” : contraries apart and polarities together http://sunzi.lib.hku.hk/ER/detail/hkul/3846406

http://www.quora.com/What-does-a-koan-do

http://kp0.me/H2eZR2