The non-reality of nothingness

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Fri Dec 5 14:31:20 CST 1997

On December 1, Greg Goode wrote:

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

This is a wonderfully apt quote.  It may indeed express exactly what
Nisgardatta had in mind.  But note that, unlike Nisgardatta's texts, and
the way they are interpreted by some of his followers, this passage does
not  turn nothingness into an existent.

 >  It is not that which is conscious of the internal subjective
  > world, not that which is conscious of the external world,

In other words, it is non-dual.

>nor that which is conscious of both,

*qua* both

 >nor that which is a mass of
   >consciousness, nor that which is simple consciousness,

but consciousness nonetheless, and not a contentless or pure consciousness.

>nor is it unconscious.

Nor *beyond* consciousness.

>It is unseen by any sense-organ,

Clearly, it must be beyond the range of the senses as they are commonly
understood to function.

>not related to anything,

On the view that the Atman is--far from nothingness--an everythingness,
then there is nothing outside it to which it could be "related to".

 >incomprehensible by the mind, uninferable,
  >unthinkable, indescribable,

This would be true of both nothingness and eveythingness.  But, by itself,
it does not substantiate either.   At any rate this passage can not be used
to substantiate Nisgardatta's *experiential* nothingness.

 >essentially of the Self alone,
 >  negation of all phenomena,

as phenomena

 >the peaceful, all bliss and the
  > non-dual.  This is the Atman and this is to be realised.

My text has "discerned" instead of realized.  It's an important distinction
here.  Perhaps someone will comment on the Sanskrit.


Jonathan Bricklin
Brickmar at

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