The non-reality of nothingness

Greg Goode goode at DPW.COM
Mon Dec 1 09:42:07 CST 1997

At 10:44 PM 11/26/97 -0800, Jonathan Bricklin wrote:
>Greg Goode, on November 24th,  wrote, in explaining Nisgardatta's term,
>> [...}When you have done all the stripping, you will have no
>>left in 'awareness.'  Everything personal has been stripped away.
>>Awareness is all that will be left, and this awareness is Brahman, or the
>This is the interpretation I believed, I just didn't believe Nisgardatta's
>believers believed it.  What follows is a little commentary (based on this
>interpretation) along with a few quibbles and questions:

Nisargadatta's view is not inconsistent with scripture, even though it might
not be based directly on his reading of scripture.  For example, Mandukya
Upanishad I.7:

   It is not that which is conscious of the internal subjective
   world, not that which is conscious of the external world, nor
   that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a mass of
   consciousness, nor that which is simple consciousness, nor is
   is unconscious.  It is unseen by any sense-organ, not related
   to anything, incomprehensible by the mind, uninferable,
   unthinkable, indescribable, essentially of the Self alone,
   negation of all phenomena, the peaceful, all bliss and the
   non-dual.  This is the Atman and this is to be realised.

   (trans. Swami Chinmayananda)

The Upanishad's Atman is Nisargadatta's awareness.

>No paper, no hole.  No consciousness, no beyond consciousness.

Yes, that is the Atman.

>> The supreme gives existence to the mind.
>>The mind gives existence to the body.  (34)
>What is gained by this sequence?

Who knows?  It is a single line, part of a dialog that had meaning in the
moment, an instantaneous communication between the sage and a seeker.
Ripped out of context, what meaning is left?

> To believe recent research in
>neuroscience, the mind is far more a creation of the body than has been
>previously believed.  The severed brain in a vat thought experiment has
>become totally discredited.

Not surprising, is it?  Everything is related to everything else.  Indra's
Net.  And it's all just appearance in consciousness, none of it ultimately
to be believed!!

>What is and is not meant by "mind" as
>Nisgardatta uses it?  At any rate, surely "the supreme," if it is the
>supreme, gives rise to both mind and body.

You raise an interesting question here.  It's less clear what Nisargadatta
means by 'mind' than by 'awareness' or 'supreme', but I bet Nisargadatta
would agree that the supreme gives rise to both mind and body.  Or "appears
to give rise," because simply "give rise" implies that what has arisen is

>>Awareness takes the place of consciousness [...]  (263)
>Only if you want to needlessly clutter how advaitin ontology gets
>translated into English.  The distinction between "consciousness" and
>"consciousness of self"  obviates the need for the additional term,

This is fine!  In fact most other writers, teachers, scriptures use
Consciousness instead of Awareness.  I'm not aware of anyone other than
Nisargadatta whose words come out into English this way....


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