transcend the domain of consciousness

Calligraphy by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh


The Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that “The Pure Land is Now or Never” to wake us up to the insight of our eternal Essence that is never sullied by any experience in the “domain of consciousness”, as Nisargadatta calls it. This insight is never the result of long years of study. This doesn’t discount the value of prolonged contemplation on Truths from the perennial philosophy, as such practice can serve to get all the mind- and emotional-rubble out of the way. Most of us are very attached to certain forms and colors of the big activity of total manifestation and uphold our identity through them. Often we are not even aware of the depth of our identification. Such practice of deep contemplation can help to loosen such attachment and the resulting identification.. And yet, even decades of ‘clearing the rubble’ in no way result automatically in the insight that Thich Nhat Hanh points us to. His statement, for me, is useful as it opens us up to the immediacy of deeper realization that is never dependent on any outer circumstances and is always ‘available’ to each of us right now.

Below I have included some statements by Nisargadatta which express his view of Reality. Since we are ensconced in the realm of consciousness and our fundamental belief is that ‘all is consciousness’, it is very difficult for our minds to take in what he has to say. In a nutshell he tells us that Reality is not something outside of us that we can recognize and ‘know’ as we would know an object as the ‘seen’, for us being the ‘seeing’ subject. We can only let go of the delusions within the domain of consciousness. The state of consciousness is per definition the state wherein Awareness is aware of content, which is perceived and understood to be an object. Awareness, in this state, is deluded in that It sees Itself as one of the objects that make up the content of consciousness, and further is deluded into believing Itself to be the limited subject in a relationship to a particular (limited) object.

Other sages, such as Ramana, also state this view of Reality, for example here in Verse 3 of the Forty Verses on Reality:

“‘The world is real.’ ‘No, it, is a mere illusory appearance.’ ‘The world is conscious.’ ‘No.’ ‘The world is happiness.’ ‘No.’ What use is it to argue thus? That State is agreeable to all, wherein, having given up the objective outlook, one knows one’s Self and loses all notions either of unity or duality, of oneself and the ego.”

To “give up the objective outlook” is to be the One Subject and to recognize all ‘objects’ in consciousness as within that One Subject.

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