Actual Freedom – Mailing List ‘B’ Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence on Mailing List ‘B’

with Respondent No. 22

Some Of The Topics Covered

goose in the bottle – ‘Original Face’ – Zen Buddhism – concept of a soul – immortality – consistency of air – actuality – the physical universe – an actual freedom lies beyond enlightenment

July 20 1998:

RESPONDENT No. 20: And the bottle does not simply vanish when nothing is done.

RICHARD: The bottle does not vanish whether one does something or whether one does not do something. This is contrary to the normal notion of cause and effect ... which is why it is used by the metaphysically inclined people. They wish to break the hold that thought has on one ... they posit that ‘I’ am a product of thought and ‘I’ create a non-existent bottle to be trapped in ... because an ‘I’ is trapped by its very nature. When faced with an intellectually impossible paradox, they say that thought (their ‘I’ as ego) gives up the ghost and – hey presto! – the goose is out of the bottle by virtue of the fact that the bottle did not exist in the first place. It is a matter of seeing that one is already free and one had to but realise this. Mr. H. W. L. Poonja of India was of the same opinion ... which is why he has been able to churn out several ‘spiritually awakened beings’ who fondly imagine that they have ‘got it’. They now know that there never was a bottle to break or vanish or get out of all along. It is all rather pathetic ... but there they go with their much-revered wisdom of the ages, eh? Perhaps it is more a conundrum than a paradox ... I would ask: Who is the gullible goose that precipitously feels they are now out? That is because this question gets one closer to the root cause of all human suffering ... Zen’s much-prized ‘Original Face’.

RESPONDENT: ‘No bottle to break’ is seeing the lack of any inherent existence of the bottle, conditioning or an ‘I’. Yet, we cannot say there is no bottle at all since the ten thousand things (suffering, me’s and you’s, doers, birth/death) appear to come and go. Not doing is not something an ‘I’ can do, it is just seeing there is no truly existent ‘I’ that could ever do anything.

RICHARD: Quite so ... an ‘I’ can never be ‘not doing’ no matter how inactive or detached it may try to be. An ‘I’ is ‘doing something’ by its very presence.

Now, what about ‘me’ as soul ... Zen’s ‘Original Face’ (the second ‘I’ of Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer (aka Ramana) fame). Can that be ‘dissolved’ in a like manner? That is, by just seeing there is no truly existent ‘Me’ that could ever do anything?

Or is another approach called for?

July 20 1998:

RESPONDENT: ‘No bottle to break’ is seeing the lack of any inherent existence of the bottle, conditioning or an ‘I’. Yet, we cannot say there is no bottle at all since the ten thousand things (suffering, me’s and you’s, doers, birth/death) appear to come and go. Not doing is not something an ‘I’ can do, it is just seeing there is no truly existent ‘I’ that could ever do anything.

RICHARD: Quite so ... an ‘I’ can never be ‘not doing’ no matter how inactive or detached it may try to be. An ‘I’ is ‘doing something’ by its very presence. Now, what about ‘me’ as soul ... Zen’s ‘Original Face’ (the second ‘I’ of Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer fame). Can that be ‘dissolved’ in a like manner? That is, by just seeing there is no truly existent ‘Me’ that could ever do anything? Or is another approach called for?

RESPONDENT: First we start with our experience of what we think is true, before it can be negated from exposure.

RICHARD: If this was all that ever happened then what gets negated through exposure is the concept – what one thinks to be true – and not necessarily the underlying reality.

RESPONDENT: ‘Underlying reality’ seems like a concept just like the notion of some ongoing ‘I’.

RICHARD: It does not ‘seem like a concept’ to the Zen people. The underlying reality – called ‘Original Face’ – is highly prized by them and they spend many, many years attaining to it. The rare few who do are recognised as being worthy of the highest approval, esteem, admiration and emulation.

*

RICHARD: But as you have already negated your ‘I’, by seeing the lack of any inherent existence of this ‘I’, you must be experiencing your ‘Original Face’ – or whatever you call it – as a result of having done so. So surely you are experiencing more than what you ‘think is true’?

RESPONDENT: Since there is no experience of an ‘I’ experiencing a ‘your Original Face’, those ideas just come and go as they do.

RICHARD: But an ‘I’ can never experience ‘Original Face’ ... what on earth are you talking about? What ideas ‘just come and go as they do’? I am referring to the ‘I’-less experience of living life ... which is known in Zen as ‘Original face’. Surely you know what we are talking about? This direct experiencing can only happen when the goose is out of the bottle ... you started writing in this thread as if you knew what was going on. If you are not experiencing this ‘Original Face’ yourself, can you not at least comprehend this simple point?

*

RESPONDENT: It must be observed as it occurs.

RICHARD: Indeed so. Where something exists, with all the mayhem and misery its presence causes, it has an inherent existence ... whether one has a concept of it or not. Not knowing of its existence – or denying it – is simply ignorance. And so the suffering continues unabated ... as it has down through the centuries.

RESPONDENT: Ignorance seems to be the beliefs in true existence, not a lack of knowing of the existence of something. What is it that seems to inherently exist?

RICHARD: What the Zen people call ‘Original Face’.

*

RESPONDENT: If there is an experience of a ‘me’, or a soul or whatever, that is what gets attention.

RICHARD: Unfortunately is has not ... so far. The Zen people have had the experience of the reality of their concept of the ‘Original Face’ for centuries now and give it the wrong sort of attention ... reverence and respect. The same applies to other cultures that worship the ‘Revealed Teachings’ of one who has realised themselves to be ‘The Self’ ... be they go under the name Avatar or Messiah or Redeemer or Saviour or Master or World Teacher or Whatever. Such adulation and adoration seems to prevent them from being able to see the obvious: they have been unable to see the connection between a rare few people being that and all the religious wars that inevitably follow the recognition of such people as being worthy of the highest approval, esteem, admiration and emulation.

RESPONDENT: If there is no concept of a soul, there is no need to dissolve anything.

RICHARD: Whoa up there now! First of all there is already a concept of a soul ... every culture has some word for it. Secondly, just because there is not yet a concept for something does not mean that it does not exist. Humans did not have a concept that the earth was a globe until relatively recently in human history ... even after Mr. Christopher Columbus’ epic voyage there was still disputation about the veracity of the earth’s globular nature. Yet satellite photographs demonstrate that this is so despite the lack of the concept. (Assuming, of course, that the once-flat earth did not suddenly decide to become round coincidental to Mr. Yuri Gagarin being shot into orbit). Are you not saying that all the suffering of 5.8 billion people is only because each and every one of them has not yet developed a concept that the soul is the root cause of human suffering ... even though it can be observed as an actual happening in daily life? Yet to go on and say that if such a concept is never made then there is no need to dissolve it is to bury one’s head in the sand. There is indeed a need to dissolve something ... what we are discussing is just what the nature of this something is. I am promoting the point that ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being – in fact ‘being’ itself – is the root cause of all anguish and animosity. As the ego ‘I’ can be dissolved by understanding the ‘Goose in the Bottle’ parable, my question was whether this applies to one’s ‘Original Face’ ... what I was asking is whether this ‘Ground Of Being’, as it is also known, can be dissolved in a like manner ... or whether another approach was called for. So to clarify: are you saying that the ‘Original Face’ does not exist? Or are you saying that it does ... but it is not the root cause of all human suffering?

RESPONDENT: Basically clinging to concepts or ideas, whether of an ongoing ‘I’ or some transcendent Self, fosters suffering.

RICHARD: I beg to differ ... it is the on-going ‘I’ which fosters suffering and not ‘clinging to concepts or ideas’. For it is ‘I’ who clings, when all is said and done. You are talking about detachment ... who is the ‘I’ that is doing the ‘not clinging’?

RESPONDENT: Without clinging to or depending on or acting as if there is some truly existing ‘I’ or soul, there is nothing to negate.

RICHARD: But there is this ‘I’ that is doing this ‘not clinging’ and this ‘not depending’ and this ‘not acting’. Therein lies the problem. We have already discussed this back at the beginning of this thread (at the top of the page) where you said: ‘Not doing is not something an ‘I’ can do’ and I said: ‘Quite so ... an ‘I’ can never be ‘not doing’ no matter how inactive or detached it may try to be. An ‘I’ is ‘doing something’ by its very presence’.

RESPONDENT: Keeping in mind that terms are only labels or pointers, ‘Original Face’ points to a state of mind where clinging to an ongoing anything is impossible.

RICHARD: This is because the would-be ‘clinger’ has vanished ... and not because of an act of ‘not clinging’. Then there is this ‘Original Face’ in all its glory.

RESPONDENT: If that pointer functions as an idea to cling to or depend on, then what is pointed to is obscured by that clinging.

RICHARD: What is pointed to is not obscured by clinging ... but by the ‘clinger’.

RESPONDENT: So I would say that soul or ‘I’ or Original Face or Self have an apparent existence, due to thought, but lack any inherently real existence. The apparent goose and bottle lack any inherently real existence.

RICHARD: So the Zen people spend years and years to get to where they can truly say ‘the goose is out of the bottle’ and this state – which they use the designation ‘Original face’ for – you say lacks any inherently real existence just like the goose and the bottle that was causing all the trouble in the first place?

Wow!

July 21 1998:

RICHARD: The underlying reality – called ‘Original Face’ – is highly prized by the Zen people and they spend many, many years attaining to it. The rare few who do are recognised as being worthy of the highest approval, esteem, admiration and emulation.

RESPONDENT: I have not heard it mentioned that Original Face is an underlying reality, something prized or something that can be attained. Where did you hear that?

RICHARD: Oh, it is something that I have known for years ... it is well known to practitioners of Zen. As I have no books on Zen to hand – and I last read Zen in 1983 or thereabouts – I am unable to be precise about where and when and from who I read it.

So I wandered out onto the Internet just now and copied and pasted the first reference that I came across (it even has the Japanese character for ‘Original face’).

‘Honrai no memmoku/ pen-lai mien-mu’

I am sure that this paragraph effectively indicates a highly prized underlying reality that can be attained ... unless you wish to be ‘Zen-Clever’ and deny all this as being worth anything at all in that back-to-front way they have of disparaging what they consider the most precious. If so, you are on your own as I am not interested in playing petty Zen games.

• [quote]: ‘This face, through endless kalpas without beginning, has never varied. It has never lived or died, appeared or disappeared, increased or decreased. It’s not pure or impure, good or evil, past or future. It’s not true or false. It’s not male or female. It doesn’t appear as a monk or a layman, an elder or a novice, a sage or a fool, a Buddha or a mortal. It strives for no realisation and suffers no karma. It has no strength or form. It’s like space. You can’t possess it and you can’t lose it. Its movements can’t be blocked by mountains, rivers, or rock walls. No karma can restrain this real face. But this face is subtle and hard to see. It’s not the same as the sensual face. Everyone wants to see this face, and those who move their hands and feet by its light are as many as the grains of sand, but when you ask them, they can’t explain it. It’s theirs to use. Why don’t they see it? Only the wise know this face, this face called liberation. Neither life nor death can restrain this face. Nothing can. It’s also called the Unstoppable, the Incomprehensible, the Sacred, the Immortal and the Great Sage. Its names vary but not its essence’.

*

RESPONDENT: I would say that soul or ‘I’ or Original Face or Self have an apparent existence, due to thought, but lack any inherently real existence. The apparent goose and bottle lack any inherently real existence.

RICHARD: So the Zen people spend years and years to get to where they can truly say ‘the goose is out of the bottle’ and this state – which they call ‘Original face’ – you say lacks any ‘inherently real existence’ just like the goose and the bottle that was causing all the trouble in the first place? Wow!

RESPONDENT: Nothing to do. No where to go. Nothing to attain. No goose or bottle from the first.

RICHARD: Yea verily ... and with no ‘Original face’ to attain you sure have got the game sown up.

Just one last observation: I have noticed that when you are writing about ‘fixing breakfast’ and things like that, I never see words about how enjoyable that is; how delightful that is; what fun that is; how marvellous that is ... or any other descriptive word that might indicate that life on earth is such a magnificent and wonderful experience that it is indeed a privilege to be here doing a mundane thing such as fixing this breakfast now.

July 22 1998:

RESPONDENT No. 20: Are you speaking about existing without self?

RICHARD: Yes, but not only without a self ... without a Self as well. One is well-advised to pay attention to those basic instincts that give rise to what the Christians coyly call ‘Original Sin’. ‘I’ and ‘me’, in any way, shape or form, am rotten to the core ... this is the source of all guilt and its band-aid solutions like love and compassion. Zen’s ‘Original Face’ has its genesis in the rudimentary self of the instincts. Eliminate those survival instincts and not only does ‘Original Sin’ vanish ... even the ‘Original Face’ disappears. Then – and only then – is there peace-on-earth guaranteed. This is because it is already always here.

RESPONDENT No. 12: Obviously what disappears can not be original face, which is nothingness nor does the ground in being drop away as it is the space that contains what is transient. What drops away is imagery. Whether it is called peace-on-earth that was already always there, or original face, or ground in being, the image is not what is pointed to. The image of being a flesh and blood body existing separately in time drops away ... no one ‘in’ a body, no one that ‘is’ a body, no one to get out of a body, etc.

RESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. The original face neither appears nor disappears, but is the very nature of all appearances.

RICHARD: This statement is somewhat at odds with what you wrote recently. Viz.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I have not heard it mentioned that Original Face is an underlying reality, something prized or something that can be attained. Where did you hear that?’

What is the difference between ‘underlying reality’ and ‘very nature’?

Are you playing an obscure game ... or is it that you do not know what you are talking about?

July 22 1998:

RESPONDENT: The original face neither appears nor disappears, but is the very nature of all appearances.

RICHARD: This statement is somewhat at odds with what you wrote recently. Viz.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I have not heard it mentioned that Original Face is an underlying reality, something prized or something that can be attained. Where did you hear that?’

What is the difference between ‘underlying reality’ and ‘very nature’?

Are you playing an obscure game ... or is it that you do not know what you are talking about?

RESPONDENT: It is not an underlying reality in the sense of being an object to be prized or attained. As I mentioned before: ‘I am not sure why you might think this is something that is prized or attainable. It seems more like the essential nature of all things (prized or attainable) rather than being some thing’.

RICHARD: Then why is ‘the very nature of all appearances’ or ‘the essential nature of all things’ exempt from being not a very nature ‘in the sense of being an object to be prized or attained’ in your mind? Why do you have one rule for yourself and a different rule for others? Surely you are quibbling over terminology ... to me ‘underlying reality’ conveys the same notion as ‘very nature’ or ‘essential nature’.

I am just trying to find out how your mind works.

RESPONDENT: The essential nature of an object is not an object. The nature of a self or any object is that it lacks any real substantial existence .

RICHARD: Yes ... but I was very clearly saying the same thing. Try this for size: For the Zen people, the underlying reality of an object is not an object. For the Zen people, the reality of a self or any object is that it lacks any real substantial existence. Is this not saying the same thing? Why this quibble over terminology?

RESPONDENT: Why do you think that this is something that is prized or attainable?

RICHARD: Because the Zen people spend years and years torturing their bodies (as in sitting Zazen) in order to attain it. This indicates to me that it is something that they prize highly ... what do you think?

RESPONDENT: That is not my experience of Zen practice. The notion of attainment or using practice as a means to an end is not encouraged and a lot attention is brought to exposing the dualistic nature of that kind of effort. Perhaps, what you say is true of some Zen people, as you say.

RICHARD: Not just some ... all. The goal is to realise one’s ‘Original Face’ ... to pretend that one is not aware of this is to be disingenuous. However, you are not the only person to experience the adoption of this stance of make-believe ignorance ... there are others that like to think that by feigning unawareness that they will achieve something. Just how they think this sleight-of-hand (or should I say sleight-of-mind) is going to be efficacious in bringing about the undesired/desired result remains a rather moot point. Nevertheless, such dissimulation is not unknown ... the Indian Buddhists too, indulge in a similar craftiness. They pretend that they do not desire Nirvana ... in the hope that they will thus achieve it. The Christians, believing that to be alive is to remain a sinner, obediently manifest a spiritual humility in order to be worthy of God’s Grace and admission into Heaven. Some Hindus maintain that by not enjoying the fruits of their labour they will gain the ultimate fruit of such labour ... called Moksha. The same sort of sanctimony holds true for many other religions and spiritual disciplines.

RESPONDENT: Why do you think that this ... [‘Original face’] ... has anything to do with the survival of a self?

RICHARD: This is because their ‘Original Face’ is their very own sublimated self ... much like ‘The Self’ of Indian Mysticism. It is narcissism in yet another cultural disguise.

RESPONDENT: Admittedly it is easy to see them in the same way, but it doesn’t seem that way to me.

RICHARD: Why not? Zen Buddhism is not all that different to Indian Buddhism ... and Indian Buddhism grew out of Hinduism. And Hinduism – in the form of Advaita Vedanta brought aspects of Indian Buddhism back into Hinduism. Thus, whilst Buddhists maintain that there ultimately is no personal self to be ‘The Self’ like some Hinduism does (‘Atman is Brahman’) they do have re-incarnation. Thus there is something apparently enduring of a personal nature (Skandhas) until one realises one’s ‘Buddha Nature’ and comes home, as it were. Sunyata, ‘The Void’ of Nirvana, equates – more or less – with the Brahman which has no attributes. Although both Brahman and Sunyata are seen not as a negation of existence but rather as the undifferentiation out of which all apparent entities, distinctions, and dualities arise. Thus, essentially, one realises that one is god (by whatever clever name) and that god is all that exists and everything is a manifestation of god.

It is much the same with Taoism. Essentially the three main religions of the East are all about realising that you are ‘That’ by whatever name ... and ‘That’ is the ‘essential nature’ of all things and appearances ... of existence itself. The same applies to Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti, who initially declaring himself to be god-realised in the twenties, merely substituted the word ‘life’ for the word ‘god’ and never changed fundamentally from his original position.

RESPONDENT: Unlike having an actual body that is supposedly truly existing, this original face has no independent existence at all.

RICHARD: There, you have just said it ... ‘supposedly truly existing’. Which means that nothing material truly exists ... the only reality is the ‘essential nature’. Which is a non-material nothingness. This is the standard solipsistic fare ... no wonder you and No. 14 are getting along famously. And so all the wars and rapes and murders and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse roll on unto the twenty-first century ... all because, as you maintain, none of it is ultimately real (your phrase ‘Life dreaming Life’ in another post equates with ‘Brahma dreaming Worlds’). Meanwhile, in the West, where at least lip-service is paid to things being ‘inherently real’, people revere suffering as being ‘good for the soul’, and look toward a peaceful life ... after physical death! Where in all this is humankind’s much-touted humanity?

Millions upon millions weep crocodile tears ... all the while too self-centred to actually care.

July 23 1998:

RICHARD: The goal is to realise one’s ‘Original Face’ ... to pretend that one is not aware of this is to be disingenuous. However, you are not the only person to experience the adoption of this stance of make-believe ignorance ... there are others that like to think that by feigning unawareness that they will achieve something. Just how they think this sleight-of-hand (or should I say sleight-of-mind) is going to be efficacious in bringing about the undesired/desired result remains a rather moot point. Nevertheless, such dissimulation is not unknown ... the Indian Buddhists too, indulge in a similar craftiness. They pretend that they do not desire Nirvana ... in the hope that they will thus achieve it. The Christians, believing that to be alive is to remain a sinner, obediently manifest a spiritual humility in order to be worthy of God’s Grace and admission into Heaven. Some Hindus maintain that by not enjoying the fruits of their labour they will gain the ultimate fruit of such labour ... called Moksha. The same sort of sanctimony holds true for many other religions and spiritual disciplines.

RESPONDENT: Why would you insist on there being a goal, when there are many teaching contrary to what you assert.

RICHARD: There are no teachings to the contrary ... even Zen acknowledges this when they say:

• ‘Everyone wants to see this face, and those who move their hands and feet by its light are as many as the grains of sand, but when you ask them, they can’t explain it. It’s theirs to use. Why don’t they see it? Only the wise know this face’.

Do you remember this passage? May I stress the sentences ‘everyone wants to see this face’ and ‘why don’t they see it?’ and ‘only the wise know this face’. This reads as:

1. ‘Everyone wants to see this face’ ... it is a desirable goal.
2. ‘Why don’t they see it?’ ... an instruction to see this goal.
3. ‘Only the wise know this face’ ... it is a goal worth attaining.

When I copied and posted it to you, you seemed to agree with it (allowing for your usual contradictory style of writing something then immediately negating it) for you said: ‘Wow! Thanks. I am not sure why you might think this is something that is prized or attainable. It seems more like the essential nature of all things (prized or attainable) rather than being some thing’.

I am happy to re-post the full article for your further perusal and enlightening comments:

• [quote]: ‘Honrai no memmoku/pen-lai mien-mu (original face) ‘This face, through endless kalpas without beginning, has never varied. It has never lived or died, appeared or disappeared, increased or decreased. It’s not pure or impure, good or evil, past or future. It’s not true or false. It’s not male or female. It doesn’t appear as a monk or a layman, an elder or a novice, a sage or a fool, a Buddha or a mortal. It strives for no realisation and suffers no karma. It has no strength or form. It’s like space. You can’t possess it and you can’t lose it. Its movements can’t be blocked by mountains, rivers, or rock walls. No karma can restrain this real face. But this face is subtle and hard to see. It’s not the same as the sensual face. Everyone wants to see this face, and those who move their hands and feet by its light are as many as the grains of sand, but when you ask them, they can’t explain it. It’s theirs to use. Why don’t they see it? Only the wise know this face, this face called liberation. Neither life nor death can restrain this face. Nothing can. It’s also called the Unstoppable, the Incomprehensible, the Sacred, the Immortal and the Great Sage. Its names vary but not its essence’.

RESPONDENT: It sounds as if your trying to understand all religions from a one size fits all framework.

RICHARD: Yes, indeed. Apart from cultural variations in style, all religions clearly state one thing ... and one thing alone: That this earthly existence is not the be all and end all of life ... there is something else (metaphysical) to realise.

RESPONDENT: How can you purify what has never been defiled?

RICHARD: That is a metaphysical concept and not an established fact. You are operating from a faulty premise and working backwards based on the assumption that it is a true statement. All of your posts reflect this fatal flaw in your reasoning ... none of your arguments are valid unless this concept is demonstrated to be worthy of being a basic premise. All the evidence clearly shows that no human has ‘never been defiled’ as we are all born with instinctual fear and aggression and nurture and desire.

RESPONDENT: Why do you think that this ... [‘Original face’] ... has anything to do with the survival of a self?

RICHARD: This is because their ‘Original Face’ is their very own sublimated self ... much like ‘The Self’ of Indian Mysticism. It is narcissism in yet another cultural disguise.

RESPONDENT: Admittedly it is easy to see them in the same way, but it doesn’t seem that way to me.

RICHARD: Why not? Zen Buddhism is not all that different to Indian Buddhism ... and Indian Buddhism grew out of Hinduism. And Hinduism – in the form of Advaita Vedanta brought aspects of Indian Buddhism back into Hinduism. Thus, whilst Buddhists maintain that there ultimately is no personal self to be ‘The Self’ like some Hinduism does (‘Atman is Brahman’) they do have re-incarnation. Thus there is something apparently enduring of a personal nature (Skandhas) until one realises one’s ‘Buddha Nature’ and comes home, as it were. Sunyata, ‘The Void’ of Nirvana, equates – more or less – with the Brahman which has no attributes. Although both Brahman and Sunyata are seen not as a negation of existence but rather as the undifferentiation out of which all apparent entities, distinctions, and dualities arise. Thus, essentially, one realises that one is god (by whatever clever name) and that god is all that exists and everything is a manifestation of god. It is much the same with Taoism. Essentially the three main religions of the East are all about realising that you are ‘That’ by whatever name ... and ‘That’ is the ‘essential nature’ of all things and appearances ... of existence itself. The same applies to Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti, who initially declaring himself to be god-realised in the twenties, merely substituted the word ‘life’ for the word ‘god’ and never changed fundamentally from his original position.

RESPONDENT: Again is seems the definitions above seem like an effort to fit into a preconceived pattern instead of accurately reflecting the teaching. The teaching of rebirth is not associated with a real enduring thing, but with the dependent nature of things. Sunyata teachings do negate any concept of an ongoing god or thing or one who realises as having any real independent existence.

RICHARD: No religion has ever been able to successfully explain why, if nothing really exists, then how come we are sitting here talking about this very thing. All religions – even the Sunyata of Buddhism – tacitly admit to earthly reality, whilst denying its existence, by this very talking/listening/answering. The fact that I am writing this and that you are reading this and replying back to me is your tacit acknowledgment that this is actually happening ... no matter how eloquently you may deny it.

RESPONDENT: Unlike having an actual body that is supposedly truly existing, this original face has no independent existence at all.

RICHARD: There, you have just said it ... ‘supposedly truly existing’. Which means that nothing material truly exists ... the only reality is the ‘essential nature’. Which is a non-material nothingness. This is the standard solipsistic fare ... no wonder you and No. 14 are getting along famously. And so all the wars and rapes and murders and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse roll on unto the twenty-first century ... all because, as you maintain, none of it is ultimately real (your phrase ‘Life dreaming Life’ in another post equates with ‘Brahma dreaming Worlds’). Meanwhile, in the West, where at least lip-service is paid to things being ‘inherently real’, people revere suffering as being ‘good for the soul’, and look toward a peaceful life ... after physical death! Where in all this is humankind’s much-touted humanity? Millions upon millions weep crocodile tears ... all the while too self-centred to actually care.

RESPONDENT: I don’t understand your logic.

RICHARD: No, I know that you do not ... you are too wrapped-up in your self-centred ‘essential nature’ to realise that by acknowledging the facticity of the results of animosity and anguish that then you can actually do something about the actual ending of malice and sorrow. As an actuality.

RESPONDENT: The wars go on because of the habitual beliefs that there are truly existing independent persons or countries, not because none of it is ultimately real.

RICHARD: What wars are you talking about? According to your philosophy, they have no inherent reality ... no real existence ... they only seem to be apparent ... they are only imputed wars.

That is what I mean about ‘crocodile tears’.

July 24 1998:

RICHARD: You are too wrapped-up in your self-centred ‘essential nature’ to realise that by acknowledging the facticity of the results of animosity and anguish that then you can actually do something about the actual ending of malice and sorrow. As an actuality.

RESPONDENT: The wars go on because of the habitual beliefs that there are truly existing independent persons or countries, not because none of it is ultimately real.

RICHARD: What wars are you talking about? According to your philosophy, they have no inherent reality ... no real existence ... they only seem to be apparent ... they are only imputed wars. That is what I mean about ‘crocodile tears’.

RESPONDENT: Yes.

RICHARD: Ah, finally a clear statement ... thank you.

July 24 1998:

RICHARD (to Respondent No. 23): Actual means ‘things’ ascertained sensately ... divinity (being heavenly as opposed to earthly) can never be apprehended by the senses. Thus the divine is not actual.

RESPONDENT: The term ‘actual’ seems to be key in describing your present ongoing state of mind: ‘actual’ existing in act and not merely potentially; not false or apparent; existing or occurring at the time. Would you say that ‘things’ ascertained sensately really exist and are not apparent?

RICHARD: Yes. No deep thought or penetrating insight at all is required to determine any ‘things’ self-evident factuality. There is a simple three-step experiment that will demonstrate the actuality of objective reality in a way that a thousand words would not:

1. Place a large spring-clip upon your nose.
2. Place a large piece of sticking plaster over your mouth.
3. Wait five minutes.

Now, as you rip the plaster from your mouth and gulp in that oh-so-sweet and actual air, I ask you: Do you still believe that it is thought merely imputing a reality to ‘things’?

Seeing this fact will set you free to live in actuality.

RESPONDENT: Would the actual be things that are impermanent, permanent or neither?

RICHARD: The form ‘things’ take is impermanent ... the matter they are made of is permanent. Things are material ... matter itself arranges and re-arranges itself endlessly into differing forms. This planet we all live on is matter that had a beginning as this particular form called ‘The Earth’; this form grows; this form ages and this form ends ... but only as this particular form (somewhat like this physical body). This planet’s matter re-arranges itself into another form when this solar system, as its particular form, implodes or explodes or whatever it does. This goes on for galaxy after uncountable galaxy ... this material universe’s space is infinite and its time is eternal. This physical universe endlessly re-arranges itself into multitudinous different forms ... just like the particular physical matter of the body does after physical death and did before physical birth. Because the universe is eternal – the universe is here now and it always has been and it always will be – it is therefore permanent. This universe never began and will never finish. It is truly the ‘Unborn and Undying’ ... I see no need to invent a metaphysical god to have these characteristics.

Except, of course, that ‘I’ wish to be Immortal.

Why do ‘I’ wish immortality? ‘I’ am a product of blind nature’s ‘software’ (not ‘hardware’) package of instinctual survival passions ... like fear and aggression and nurture and desire. These passions fashion an affective self that has been charged by blind nature with a survival instinct. Out of this an ‘I’ is formed ... sentient beings are not born with an ‘I’ ... they are born with a rudimentary self. (Which is a non-verbal awareness of bodily self as distinct from other bodies and the environment at large ... this can be observed in animals). Blind nature equips sentient beings with those instinctual passions as basic survival instincts. These passions can be observed in animal infants ... and in human babies before they can think and talk. Thus malice and sorrow are intrinsic and are not dependent upon conditioning as the ‘Wise Ones’ would have us believe. (These kind of things can be seen in the comfort of one’s own living-room via those fascinating National Geographic videos of the apes. These animals display passions and behaviour that is almost uncanny in their – albeit very basic – similarity to the human species.)

But as this is a ‘software’ package it can be deleted. This ‘deletion’ – psychological and psychic self-immolation – reveals the pristine actuality that has always been here all along ... it was overlaid with a ‘reality’ created by ‘I’ as ego (and the ‘Greater Reality’ was created by ‘me’ as soul). Without the ‘I’ as ego and the ‘me’ as soul there is apperceptive awareness. As this apperceptive flesh and blood body, which is made of the same ‘stuff’ as the universe, I am this material universe being able to consciously experience itself as a sensate and reflective human being. Thus infinitude experiences itself as me here and now.

It sure beats any spurious ‘Immortality’ in a specious ‘After-Life’.

July 25 1998:

RESPONDENT: The term ‘actual’ seems to be key in describing your present ongoing state of mind: ‘actual’ existing in act and not merely potentially; not false or apparent; existing or occurring at the time. Would you say that ‘things’ ascertained sensately really exist and are not apparent?

RICHARD: Yes. No deep thought or penetrating insight at all is required to determine any ‘things’ self-evident factuality. There is a simple three-step experiment that will demonstrate the actuality of objective reality in a way that a thousand words would not:

1. Place a large spring-clip upon your nose.
2. Place a large piece of sticking plaster over your mouth.
3. Wait five minutes.

Now, as you rip the plaster from your mouth and gulp in that oh-so-sweet and actual air, I ask you: Do you still believe that it is thought merely imputing a reality to ‘things’? Seeing this fact will set you free to live in actuality.

RESPONDENT: Who will be set free and who is there to live in actuality? Is it the ‘I’ that you say is an illusion?

RICHARD: Of course not ... an illusion cannot live in actuality. ‘I’ as ego is born out of the instinctual passions one was born with ... and ‘I’ as ego, along with ‘me’ as soul, is nothing but an identity. An identity is not actual ... but this flesh and blood body is. Thus in the above sentence I only used the second person pronoun so that you would take it personally. I could have said: ‘Seeing this fact will set one free to live in actuality’.

Of course, when I do use the word < one > on this List there is often some clever person asking who this ‘one’ is ... so it does not really matter much which word I use. I suppose I could say: < the speaker >.

RESPONDENT: How can an example that is common to everyone, point to a state of mind attained by three persons?

RICHARD: If only that were so ... the fact is that it is not ‘common to everyone’ at all. You are not the only person I have come across who maintains that existence here on earth is not inherently real ... all Eastern Mysticism is based on that premise. As for the rest of the world, apart from a few cynical atheistic materialists, they believe that peace – a better reality – lies on the other side of physical death ... so they only pay lip-service to the idea that life is inherently real anyway. In other words virtually everyone is saying: ‘There is something better than this material existence ... and it is immaterial’ (material equals physical and immaterial equals metaphysical).

Thus, for a person to begin the exciting journey into their psyche, in order to understand life, the universe and what it is to be a human being, they have to first know – as an actuality – that this being here business is genuinely happening. Otherwise, all philosophy – especially spiritual philosophy – has no choice but to be metaphysical. Which means that the ‘solution’ lies any where but here in time and any place but here on earth. The spiritual ‘be here now’ is a metaphysical dimension that denies the ultimate validity of the physical.

RESPONDENT: What truly existing ‘thing’ was your example supposed to illustrate?

RICHARD: Air ... as I wrote above ‘that oh-so-sweet and actual air’. Air is mixture of gases comprising the Earth’s atmosphere. The mixture contains a group of gases of nearly constant concentrations and a group with concentrations that are variable in both space and time. The atmospheric gases of steady concentration (and their proportions in percentage by volume) are as follows:

• nitrogen (N2): 78. 084
• oxygen (O2): 20. 946
• argon (Ar): 0. 934
• neon (Ne): 0. 0018
• helium (He): 0. 000524
• methane (CH4): 0. 0002
• krypton (Kr): 0. 000114
• hydrogen (H2): 0. 00005
• nitrous oxide (N2O): 0. 00005
• xenon (Xe): 0. 0000087

Of the gases present in variable concentrations, water vapour, ozone, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide are of principal importance. The typical concentration ranges of these gases (in percentage by volume) are as follows:

• water vapour (H2O): 0 to 7
• carbon dioxide (CO2): 0.01 to 0.1
• ozone (O3): 0 to 0.01
• sulphur dioxide (SO2): 0 to 0.0001
• nitrogen dioxide (NO2): 0 to 0.000002

Although present in relatively small amounts, these variable constituents are very important for maintaining life on Earth’s surface. Water vapour is the source for all forms of precipitation and is an important absorber and emitter of infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide, besides being involved in the process of photosynthesis, is also an important absorber and emitter of infrared radiation. Ozone, which is present mainly in the atmospheric region 10 to 50 km (6 to 30 miles) above the Earth’s surface, is an effective absorber of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun and effectively shields the Earth from all radiation of wavelengths less than 3,000 angstroms.

RESPONDENT: Would the actual be things that are impermanent, permanent or neither?

RICHARD: Because the universe is eternal – the universe is here now and it always has been and it always will be – it is therefore permanent. This universe never began and will never finish. It is truly the ‘Unborn and Undying’ ... I see no need to invent a metaphysical god to have these characteristics.

RESPONDENT: Now you are suggesting some permanent, unborn and undying thing called ‘this universe’ or ‘matter’?

RICHARD: Yes. Most scientists like to say that the universe started twelve to fifteen billion years ago (Big Bang) and has about another ten to fifteen to go before it ends (Big Crunch). They say it came out of nothing and will go back into nothing. This is not scientific talk ... it is metaphysical talk. Spiritual people say that the we came out of nothingness and will go back into nothingness. Virtually nobody is willing to see that this physical universe is already ‘it’ ... because to do so is the ending of not only ‘I’ as ego, but ‘me’ as soul. Blind nature’s survival instinct persuades them to seek immortality ... and deny physical death’s oblivion.

RESPONDENT: How is a permanent, unborn nature of all forms any different from the essential nature of all forms?

RICHARD: It is an enormous – and vital – difference. In actuality, physical nature – ‘things’ – is the ultimate ... and is in no way metaphysical. Your ultimate ‘essential nature’ is nothingness ... no ‘things’.

*

RICHARD: Without the ‘I’ as ego and the ‘me’ as soul there is apperceptive awareness. As this apperceptive flesh and blood body, which is made of the same ‘stuff’ as the universe, I am this material universe being able to consciously experience itself as a sensate and reflective human being. Thus infinitude experiences itself as me here and now. It sure beats any spurious ‘Immortality’ in a specious ‘After-Life’.

RESPONDENT: Now you suggest what I have previously said about the already always essential nature being obscured by notions of a ‘me’.

RICHARD: Except, as I have said above, your ‘essential nature’ is a metaphysical nature and not an actual nature. You are talking about an altered state of consciousness called Spiritual Enlightenment (wherein half of the identity dies) whereas I am describing an actual freedom (wherein the other half of the identity dies) ... thus this is beyond enlightenment.

RESPONDENT: Also now you suggest that an ‘I’ is an illusion (i.e. something that does not have any substantial true existence), which is different than: [Richard to No. 19]: ‘But I do not deny ‘self, soul, etc.’ ... you must be confusing me with No. 22. I fully acknowledge their very real existence and clearly state that the ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul are the source of all human problems. I have said this over and over again to the point of tedious repetition ... do you not read what I write?’ [endquote]. It sounds as if your point of view is evolving.

RICHARD: My ‘point of view’ is not evolving at all. I have always maintained, in all my posts, that whilst the ‘I’ is real – sometimes very real – it is not actual. I have also made clear – to the point of almost tedious repetition for some people – that I draw a sharp distinction between the those two words, as any dictionary gives ‘real’ and ‘actual’ the same meaning. As various peoples over the years tried to tell me that their god was real, I abandoned the word and settled upon ‘actual’, for no one has been able to tell me that their god was actual. If people stop using the word ‘real’ in the way they do, then I am quite happy to go back to using it. Its etymological meaning is as the word ‘actual’: truly existing.

So therefore, if god is real ... then the ‘I’ is real. However, just as any god is an illusion, similarly the ‘I’ is an illusion. Now, everybody’s experience of everyday life – called reality – is also an illusion. Therefore I talk about an actuality that this everyday reality – as a veneer pasted over – is obscuring. In order to escape from this reality – which is grim and glum – people seek a greater reality (what you call ‘essential nature’ other people call ‘greater reality’). As this is self-aggrandisement, I call it a delusion ... a delusion born out of the illusion.

I have been consistently saying this since my first post to this List five months ago.

July 28 1998:

RICHARD: Seeing this fact will set you free to live in actuality.

RESPONDENT: Who will be set free and who is there to live in actuality? Is it the ‘I’ that you say is an illusion?

RICHARD: Of course not ... an illusion cannot live in actuality. ‘I’ as ego is born out of the instinctual passions one was born with ... and ‘I’ as ego, along with ‘me’ as soul, is nothing but an identity. An identity is not actual ... but this flesh and blood body is. Thus in the above sentence I only used the second person pronoun so that you would take it personally. I could have said: ‘Seeing this fact will set one free to live in actuality’. Of course, when I do use the word < one > on this List there is often some clever person asking who this ‘one’ is ... so it does not really matter much which word I use. I suppose I could say: < the speaker >.

RESPONDENT: It does not take cleverness to point out that there is no one to be set free from the first and that the notion of there being such a one is illusory as you say elsewhere.

RICHARD: We have been down this path before, you and I, months ago. Just knowing that ‘I’ am an illusion does nothing to end the illusion. This ‘I’ appears very real and its actions in the world are obvious. Thus there needs to be a corresponding illusory death of this illusory ‘I’ that is as apparently real as its apparently real existence is. Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti – whom you like to quote – underwent such an illusory death of the illusory ‘I’ in 1922 ... and any other genuinely enlightened person can similarly point to a specific event on a specific date in their life.

*

RICHARD: For a person to begin the exciting journey into their psyche, in order to understand life, the universe and what it is to be a human being, they have to first know – as an actuality – that this being here business is genuinely happening. Otherwise, all philosophy – especially spiritual philosophy – has no choice but to be metaphysical. Which means that the ‘solution’ lies any where but here in time and any place but here on earth. The spiritual ‘be here now’ is a metaphysical dimension that denies the ultimate validity of the physical.

RESPONDENT: Are you now suggesting that this being here is not illusory as you say elsewhere?

RICHARD: Do I say elsewhere that it is ‘illusory’? Being here now in actuality is not a illusory ... and for the life of me I do not know where I would have said it was not. Unless you are confusing it with the spiritual ‘be here now’ ... I have said that as it is in a metaphysical dimension it is a delusion. I do say the real world – everyday reality for 5.8 billion people – is an illusion ... is this what you are referring to?

RESPONDENT: What truly existing ‘thing’ was your example supposed to illustrate?

RICHARD: Air ... as I wrote above ‘that oh-so-sweet and actual air’. Air is mixture of gases comprising the Earth’s atmosphere. The mixture contains a group of gases of nearly constant concentrations and a group with concentrations that are variable in both space and time.

RESPONDENT: It sounds like you have illustrated that there is no real independent body, since it is dependent on air (as well as sun, earth, food, water etc) and that there is no real independent thing called air since it is comprised of many other things (elements).

RICHARD: Which is why I say that I am not separate from the universe ... I am made of the very stuff of the universe. Literally, I am the universe experiencing itself as a sensate, reflective human being. I have written before that I come out of the ground in the form of carrots and beans and rice and so on and so on ... which is the very stuff of this universe. We do not come from ‘outside’ of the universe ... we are not placed ‘in’ here for some unknown reason by some inscrutable god.

RESPONDENT: Now you are suggesting some permanent, unborn and undying thing called ‘this universe’ or ‘matter’?

RICHARD: Yes. Most scientists like to say that the universe started twelve to fifteen billion years ago (Big Bang) and has about another ten to fifteen to go before it ends (Big Crunch). They say it came out of nothing and will go back into nothing. This is not scientific talk ... it is metaphysical talk. Spiritual people say that the we came out of nothingness and will go back into nothingness. Virtually nobody is willing to see that this physical universe is already ‘it’ ... because to do so is the ending of not only ‘I’ as ego, but ‘me’ as soul. Blind nature’s survival instinct persuades them to seek immortality ... and deny physical death’s oblivion.

RESPONDENT: How can the physical universe be unborn?

RICHARD: There never was a ‘Big Bang’ ... nor a ‘Creation’. This material universe is already always here now.

RESPONDENT: Is that like saying the physical body is unborn?

RICHARD: No. The physical body was born ... and will die. As there is no separation between me and this physical body – I am this body – then I did not exist until physical birth and I will cease to exist at physical death. I am only here now.

RESPONDENT: How is a permanent, unborn nature of all forms any different from the essential nature of all forms?

RICHARD: It is an enormous – and vital – difference. In actuality, physical nature – ‘things’ – is the ultimate ... and is in no way metaphysical. Your ultimate ‘essential nature’ is nothingness ... no ‘things’.

RESPONDENT: Essential nature doesn’t deny things apparent existence, they just lack any independent existence. How can a physical body be an ultimate anything when it is characterised by birth and death, dependency on air, sun, earth, water and made up of many changing smaller molecules?

RICHARD: Quite simply. It is because all those things – ‘air, sun, earth, water and ... many changing smaller molecules’ – are the ultimate. Look, I am the food I eat. This food comes out of the ground ... food is the very earth. The earth is this planet and – with all the other objects in space and the space itself – this planet is the universe. This planet is not separate from the universe, now, is it ... so why would I be? Literally, I am not separate from the universe ... and the universe is the ultimate.

Besides, when you say ‘essential nature doesn’t deny things apparent existence’, by ‘apparent existence’ you actually mean apparently existing (‘illusory existence’). I have seen how you switch the meaning of the word ‘apparent’ to suit yourself before this occasion.

• ‘Apparent’: meaning No. 1. open to view, visible; clear or manifest to the understanding; actually evident.

• ‘Apparent’: meaning No. 2. appearing as real to the eye; manifest to the senses or mind as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be factually valid; seemingly so.

*

RICHARD: Without the ‘I’ as ego and the ‘me’ as soul there is apperceptive awareness. As this apperceptive flesh and blood body, which is made of the same ‘stuff’ as the universe, I am this material universe being able to consciously experience itself as a sensate and reflective human being. Thus infinitude experiences itself as me here and now. It sure beats any spurious ‘Immortality’ in a specious ‘After-Life’.

RESPONDENT: Now you suggest what I have previously said about the already always essential nature being obscured by notions of a ‘me’.

RICHARD: Except, as I have said above, your ‘essential nature’ is a metaphysical nature and not an actual nature. You are talking about an altered state of consciousness called Spiritual Enlightenment (wherein half of the identity dies) whereas I am describing an actual freedom (wherein the other half of the identity dies) ... thus this is beyond enlightenment.

RESPONDENT: I am not suggesting anything dying or altered at all.

RICHARD: I know you are not ... I have said before this that you have worked out a remarkably effective way of dealing with the vicissitudes of life. But it has nothing to do with enlightenment.

RESPONDENT: It is just the already always lack of any actual independent physical thing.

RICHARD: Yet nothing is independent ... everything is interdependent. However, one can be psychologically autonomous, dependent upon no one or no thing for emotional support.

RESPONDENT: Also now you suggest that an ‘I’ is an illusion (i.e. something that does not have any substantial true existence), which is different than: [Richard to No. 19]: ‘But I do not deny ‘self, soul, etc.’ ... you must be confusing me with No. 22. I fully acknowledge their very real existence and clearly state that the ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul are the source of all human problems. I have said this over and over again to the point of tedious repetition ... do you not read what I write?’ [endquote]. It sounds as if your point of view is evolving.

RICHARD: My ‘point of view’ is not evolving at all. I have always maintained, in all my posts, that whilst the ‘I’ is real – sometimes very real – it is not actual. I have also made clear – to the point of almost tedious repetition for some people – that I draw a sharp distinction between the those two words, as any dictionary gives ‘real’ and ‘actual’ the same meaning. As various peoples over the years tried to tell me that their god was real, I abandoned the word and settled upon ‘actual’, for no one has been able to tell me that their god was actual. If people stop using the word ‘real’ in the way they do, then I am quite happy to go back to using it. Its etymological meaning is as the word ‘actual’: truly existing. So therefore, if god is real ... then the ‘I’ is real. However, just as any god is an illusion, similarly the ‘I’ is an illusion. Now, everybody’s experience of everyday life – called reality – is also an illusion. Therefore I talk about an actuality that this everyday reality – as a veneer pasted over – is obscuring. In order to escape from this reality – which is grim and glum – people seek a greater reality (what you call ‘essential nature’ other people call ‘greater reality’). As this is self-aggrandisement, I call it a delusion ... a delusion born out of the illusion. I have been consistently saying this since my first post to this List five months ago.

RESPONDENT: I see. You distinguish between real and actual things the same as between illusory and actual things. It seems very unclear considering their definitions.

RICHARD: Not so unclear when one considers that people say that their god is real to them. They use the word ‘real’ like some people use the word ‘apparent’. The word ‘actual’ is unambiguous ... it is a sensate word only.

RESPONDENT: In any case, since no thing labelled real or actual has any truly independent ongoing substantial existence, we can say that its existence is apparent.

RICHARD: And here you go ... proving my point so well. You use words in such a slippery fashion that you can fool most people some of the time ... but in the long run you are only fooling yourself. I actually exist as this flesh and blood body ... I am not seemingly here.

RESPONDENT: Clinging to the notion of some truly existing ‘me’ or some truly existing actual thing or physical body or physical universe seem to be an expression of the same fearful clinging.

RICHARD: Speaking personally, I am not ‘clinging’ to anything at all. This flesh and blood body is actual ... it is a fact, just like this physical universe is. There used to be a ‘me’ inside this body, clinging to the realisation that it was ‘essential nature’ (in the metaphysical sense) but it became extinct in October 1992. Simultaneously that much-prized ‘essential nature’ disappeared. It too was an illusion ... yet to you it is real.

Do you see what I mean about the word ‘real’, now?

August 18 1998:

RICHARD (to Respondent No. 23): I am not ‘enlightened’ ... an actual freedom lies beyond enlightenment.

RESPONDENT: Is the ‘actual freedom’ the ever-changing sensate world or is it the permanent nature of the universe (whatever that may mean)?

RICHARD: The ‘permanent nature of the universe’ is that its time is always now (this moment ‘hangs’ in eternal time just as this planet ‘hangs’ in infinite space) and its space is always here (infinity ‘extends’ everywhere at once). Thus the ‘ever-changing sensate world’ is the universe’s ‘permanent nature’ ... there is no separation between the immediate and the ultimate and the relative and the absolute. For example: where would you place eternity? After your physical death? Before your physical birth? If so, this would mean that eternity is in suspension whilst you are alive ... which is clearly nonsensical. Eternity is here now ... it is already always here. So too with infinity.

Thus, when ‘I’ – which is a fictitious fixed point – cease to exist, then I become apparent (become visible, become obvious) as this flesh and blood body. As this flesh and blood body is ever-changing, there is no separation between me and the universe. Which is why I say: I am this physical universe experiencing itself as a sensate reflective human being. Thus the immediate is the ultimate and the relative is the absolute. When ‘I’ – as a fixed point – disappear, I am already always here ... where I have always been. It was only that there was a loud-mouthed ‘I’ dominating and I could not get a word in edgeways.

To give an analogy, it is as if there was a ‘walk-in’ inside this body ... and it packed its bags and left, leaving me to be here as-I-am.

RESPONDENT: In what manner does it lie beyond enlightenment?

RICHARD: In order to become enlightened, the ‘I’ as ego dies. In order to become actually free, the other half of the identity – ‘me’ as soul – must similarly die. Then I am here now, as this flesh and blood body, experiencing this moment in eternal time and this place in infinite space apperceptively for all the waking hours of the day. In other words: I am the experience of infinitude.

(Infinitude is the quality or attribute of being infinite and eternal and having no limit and means the same as ‘boundlessness’ ... is an infinite extent, amount and duration ... as in an immeasurable expanse and an unlimited time).

The infinite character of physical space, coupled with the eternal character of time, produces a here and now infinitude that can be understood experientially by one who is apperceptive. To grasp the character of infinitude with certainty, the reasoning mind must forsake its favoured process of intellectual understanding through logical and/or intuitive imagination and enter into the realm of a pure consciousness experience (apperception). In a PCE – which is where there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ extant – the essential characteristics of infinitude are transparently obvious, lucidly self-evident, clearly apparent and open to view. It is understood experientially that this physical universe is infinite and eternal. It has no beginning and no ending ... and therefore no middle. There are no edges to this universe, which means that there is no centre, either. We are all coming from nowhere and are not going anywhere for there is nowhere to come from nor anywhere to go to. We are nowhere in particular ... which means we are anywhere at all. In the infinitude of the universe one finds oneself to be already here, and as it is always now, one can not get away from this place in space and this moment in time.

I will say it again this way: By being here now as-this-body one finds that this moment in time has no duration as in now and then – because the immediate is the ultimate – and that this place in space has no distance as in here and there – for the relative is the absolute. I am always here and it is already now.

And nary a god or demon to be seen anywhere at all.

August 19 1998:

RICHARD (to Respondent No. 23): I am not ‘enlightened’ ... an actual freedom lies beyond enlightenment.

RESPONDENT: Is the ‘actual freedom’ the ever-changing sensate world or is it the permanent nature of the universe (whatever that may mean)?

RICHARD: The ‘permanent nature of the universe’ is that its time is always now (this moment ‘hangs’ in eternal time just as this planet ‘hangs’ in infinite space) and its space is always here (infinity ‘extends’ everywhere at once). Thus the ‘ever-changing sensate world’ is the universe’s ‘permanent nature’ ... there is no separation between the immediate and the ultimate and the relative and the absolute. For example: where would you place eternity? After your physical death? Before your physical birth? If so, this would mean that eternity is in suspension whilst you are alive ... which is clearly nonsensical. Eternity is here now ... it is already always here. So too with infinity. Thus, when ‘I’ – which is a fictitious fixed point – cease to exist, then I become apparent (become visible, become obvious) as this flesh and blood body. As this flesh and blood body is ever-changing, there is no separation between me and the universe. Which is why I say: I am this physical universe experiencing itself as a sensate reflective human being. Thus the immediate is the ultimate and the relative is the absolute. When ‘I’ – as a fixed point – disappear, I am already always here ... where I have always been. It was only that there was a loud-mouthed ‘I’ dominating and I could not get a word in edgeways. To give an analogy, it is as if there was a ‘walk-in’ inside this body ... and it packed its bags and left, leaving me to be here as-I-am.

RESPONDENT: Since the ‘I’ or ‘me’ is an illusion or a fictitious fixed point, as you say, we can not also say that it truly exists, as if it is not an illusion. We can say that it exists in an apparent way, but it does not truly exist.

RICHARD: Agreed.

RESPONDENT: Since the true nature of this body and anything physical is timeless and impermanent and boundless and without separation, we cannot say any separate thing truly exists, as if it had some independent existence.

RICHARD: No, the true nature of this flesh and blood body is not timeless ... it is in time. Yes, the true nature of this flesh and blood body is impermanence ... it was born and will die. No, the true nature of this body is not boundlessness ... its apperceptive awareness is boundless. Yes, the true nature of this flesh and blood body is separation ... if by ‘separation’ you meant physically distinct from other bodies and the environment at large. You are mixing terminology there in a way that must be confusing for you.

RESPONDENT: We can say that it exists in an apparent way, but it does not truly exist.

RICHARD: Easy on the use of < we >, eh? You can say that if it pleases you to say so ... but I do not. This flesh and blood body is actual.

RESPONDENT: What I am suggesting is that seeing that the ‘I’ is illusory is but a first step in seeing the lack of inherent existence of anything and that the physical body lacks any independent separate existence due to the boundless nature of everything that you speak of.

RICHARD: You are extrapolating incorrectly from being told that the ‘I’ is an illusion into concluding that the flesh and blood body is an illusion too. If you truly were to see this ‘I’ to be illusory ... you would be fruitfully engaged in hastening its imminent demise instead of prattling on about ‘apparent’ existences.

RESPONDENT: In what manner does it lie beyond enlightenment?

RICHARD: In order to become enlightened, the ‘I’ as ego dies. In order to become actually free, the other half of the identity – ‘me’ as soul – must similarly die. Then I am here now, as this flesh and blood body, experiencing this moment in eternal time and this place in infinite space apperceptively for all the waking hours of the day. In other words: I am the experience of infinitude. By being here now as-this-body one finds that this moment in time has no duration as in now and then – because the immediate is the ultimate – and that this place in space has no distance as in here and there – for the relative is the absolute. I am always here and it is already now. And nary a god or demon to be seen anywhere at all.

RESPONDENT: You are negating your own definition of enlightenment that has nothing to do with any enlightenment that I have heard of.

RICHARD: I do not know what books you read ... but you do quote Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti. He understood enlightenment to be the demise of ‘I’ (circa 1922) ... like all other genuinely enlightened people.

RESPONDENT: It has nothing to do with becoming or a so-called ‘me’ or soul dying .

RICHARD: Okay ... have it your way, then.

Tell me: are you happy and harmless? Are you totally free from sorrow and malice? Do you never get angry? Do you never get sad? And – please – do not tell me that there is no ‘you’ to get angry or sad ... and that anger or sadness just ‘comes and goes’ (which is what you tried to tell me last time that I asked). If there is any anger or sadness ‘coming and going’ you can bet your bottom dollar that there is a ‘you’ in there somewhere.

RESPONDENT: It is seeing the illusory nature of a so-called ‘me’ or soul that is at once enlightenment and freedom from any birth/death or becoming.

RICHARD: You are on your own with this wisdom.

RESPONDENT: Due to this boundless nature (which you point to), we cannot say there is any truly existing separate thing such ‘as-this-body’.

RICHARD: Easy on the use of < we >, eh? You can say that if it pleases you to say so ... but I do not. This flesh and blood body is actual.

RESPONDENT: It seems like you would like this ‘actualism’ to be something special or new or different than enlightenment.

RICHARD: Right on, for once. It is indeed special ... because it is new and different.

RESPONDENT: Ah ... Nothing special.

RICHARD: Ah so ... something very special.

RESPONDENT: No becoming free.

RICHARD: Magnificently becoming free of the human condition.

RESPONDENT: No becoming enlightened.

RICHARD: Indeed ... going beyond enlightenment.

RESPONDENT: No attainment.

RICHARD: Agreed ... I can see that you have not attained anything.

RESPONDENT: No birth.

RICHARD: I do not know about you ... I was born in 1947.

RESPONDENT: No death.

RICHARD: I do not know about you ... but based on current estimates I can reasonably expect to die somewhere before 2028.

RESPONDENT: But apparently you have become actually free by virtue of a ‘me’ and a soul dying.

RICHARD: No ‘apparently’ about it ... it is actually so (and it was ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul that died ... not ‘a ‘me’ and a soul dying’).

There is no anger or sadness here.


CORRESPONDENT No. 22 (Part Three)

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The Third Alternative

(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)

Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.

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