Unknowability of the self.

Allan Curry un824 at FREENET.VICTORIA.BC.CA
Sat Jun 21 14:58:25 CDT 1997

Dear All,

This post comes closest to the what I would say is true.
I hope you will read it closely and comment (on or off the list)...

Srinivas Sista writes:

>>Sure, the mind can create a dream world from its own resources but
>>that does not prove it does not draw on something "out there" to
>>create its representation of the waking state world. Does it?
>Who decides? And I wonder what kind of "proof" you are expecting.
>Either you believe yourself(perception,inference) or somebody else
>(including books,people,shruti,..etc) or a combination of both. There
>is no proof beyond these. The point here is, as long as you choose to
>believe, it doesn't matter which one it is. You are still in the realm
>of beliefs :-)

hmmm... you are right. Proof, perception, inference, etc. only
pertain to the dualistic relative world of appearances. Whatever is
truly outside that cannot be proved, demonstrated or even described.
Yet if this were true, how would anyone ever know there was such an
unknowable thing? I can think of only one answer to that -- knowing
itself is that unknowable thing! Whenever any thing is known, the
knowing of that thing is not itself known. The knowing of one thing
cannot therefore be compared with the knowing of any other thing.
All knowings may be identical or they may be a set of similar knowings.
That will never be known. At the very least they all share at least one
identifying characteristic which is their being completely unknown and yet
undeniably present. As far as I know this is the ONLY characteristic which
is continuously present in experience. To the extent we are the knowing
of experience we are not in the set of findable things. The search for
self cannot therefore end by finding any thing but only by understanding
that the self is not *in* the set of findable things.  If the universe is
defined to be the set of knowable things then we (as knowing) would neither
be in that set nor would we be nothing.  Knowing is the limit of the world.
There is no other limit than that and in my opinion, we all are that, no
one more or less.  Transcendence (ie. Turiya state, etc.) is just ordinary
knowing which is always the case but without an object. When objects
re-appear, knowing is still present as always. Know what I mean?!

Does this agree with Sruti or not?

- Allan Curry


Perhaps I did Bankei a disservice in saying he doubted his enlightenment.
It's been a few years since I read "The Unborn", but I'm certain that
he did travel Japan for years looking for a master to verify his attainment.
I assumed he must have therefore doubted it, but maybe he had a different
reason for seeking such a verification?  It is traditional to do so, I think,
(if enlightened people still care about traditions...)  Was he enlightened?
You bet he was!  He sounds a lot like Ramana Maharshi. He didn't talk much
about Buddhism. He said he didn't have to because he could point out the
truth to people directly. My failing memory of him probably is laughable but
I doubt if anyone familiar with Bankei would say he was "some kind of a joke"...

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