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Pure Consciousness Has No Path

By Bob O'Hearn on Saturday October 15th, 2016

The Paradox of Inherent Perfection

The Masters employ methods to tear away any lingering remnants of borrowed support, leaving the disciple with nothing to fall back on, no comforting religious consolation or conceptual crutch to cling to. This teaching by Ma Tsu is one effective method that is used.

Monk protests: “But Master, yesterday you said that Mind is Buddha.”

Ma Tsu: “That was like offering yellow leaves to a child and telling him it is gold — just to stop his crying.”

Monk: “And what about when the child has stopped crying?”

Ma Tsu: “Then I say, Not Mind, Not Buddha, Not things! ‘The Mind is the Buddha’ is like medicine. ‘No Mind, no Buddha’ is the cure for those who are sick because of the medicine.”

Mind is Buddha, or is it?Mind is Buddha, or is it?

Plunging into the Unknown

The purpose is to fully plunge the student into the Unknown, or “the Realm of the Real Dharma”, as Huang Po poetically calls it, beyond philosophies and partial realizations, and into the direct realization of the two-fold emptiness of self and phenomena.

The late nondual Sage Ramana Maharishi, proclaimed that the final truth consists of the fact that there is no path, nor any such thing as progress. In other words, There is simply the unfathomable expanse of spontaneous presence, pure unborn awareness, regardless of any intermittent mental content which might appear in that sphere of being.

Sage Ramana MaharishiSage Ramana Maharishi.

Pure Consciousness has No Path

Recognizing the empty nature of both the dreaming, as well as the dreamer, both the seeking as well as the seeker, is considered by the sages to be liberation, though paradoxically, there is nobody being freed or bound. There is simply awakening to that which has always been the case, even as we daydreamed. As the modern Dzogchen adept Chogyal Namkhai Norbu noted: “If everything arises from pure and total consciousness, then pure and total consciousness has no need of a path to tread to reach itself.”

This challenging realization forces the aspirant to let go of all gaining ideas, along with all the interpretive dualities of the intellect that represent fixation, reification, and solidification of perception associated with “the search”, thus opening them to direct and immediate re-cognition of the prior freedom of the Real. And what is “the Real”? The late great master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche pointed to its essential realization when he noted:

Confronting pure consciousnessConfronting pure consciousness

Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.

The Truth Staring Us in the Face

Of course, such appealing notions as inherent perfection are easy for beginners and casual practitioners to misconstrue, especially when they hear that there is nothing that needs to be done, and no effort is necessary, because ‘enlightenment’ is always already the case. However, if we do not want to fall into that trap, all we need do is take a good honest look in the mirror at our own character.

The Truth Staring Us in the FaceThe truth staring us in the face.

Are we free, for example, from greed, envy, hatred, ignorance, and pride? Do we always live a life characterized by integrity and loving kindness? If not, then there is still work to do, even though, paradoxically, it is also true that there is no doer, and nothing to be done.

If we rely on the verbal, conceptual mind to make sense of that seeming contradiction, we will just end up going this way one day, and that way the next, while getting nowhere in the process. That is why we practice, to go beyond conditional second-hand reason and logic programs, and recognize the truth that is always right here, staring us in the face.

Forgiveness and Healing

In that conscious process, we don’t need to point some accusatory finger at ourselves, or wring our hands in self-concern, but simply wise up to exactly who ‘that one’ is that we have taken to be ‘me.’ Who is this character believed to be either perfect, or in need of some serious adjustments?

Forgive yourselfForgive yourself.

Another good example of the paradox being considered here is the common phrase: “We must forgive ourselves first, and then forgive everyone else.” Of course, in this human drama, forgiveness is not only appropriate but critically necessary for our relationships and personal happiness. If we carry around unresolved traumas, wounds, regrets, and resentments, we will always be fueling an internal conflict, and never achieve psychological healing and mature adaptation to the stage of balanced and un-contracted emotional adulthood.

On the other hand, from the point of view of the higher wisdoms, there is actually nothing and nobody that needs to be forgiven, since at the absolute level, all is indeed perfect just as it is, and without qualification. Moreover, even conceiving the existence of a self, some solid and enduring character that requires fixing or forgiving, can be an impediment to fully awakening to the truth of our prior nature, which has never required modification or remedial attention.

All is perfect just as it isAll is perfect just as it is.

Pure Perfection

Echoing the previous comment from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, another contemporary Dzogchen Master, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, puts it this way:

From the very beginning everything, whatever appears and exits, has never been anything other than pure perfection. There has never been a single day, a single moment when everything was not complete purity, pure perfection. It’s not that everything has to be brought to a state of purity at some point, but rather that it always was and is.

Indeed, the paradox of our prior freedom and inherent perfection is that we all may be perfect in the ultimate sense, and yet the eminent Zen Master Suzuki Roshi makes a pertinent comment in this regard: “You are all perfect the way you are, and you could use a little improvement.”

Zen Master Suzuki RoshiZen Master Suzuki Roshi.

Certainly, if we were to spend some time reviewing the day’s headlines in the news, we might recognize that Suzuki was being rather kind and generous in his assessment. Moreover, if we examine our own life and relations, including our thoughts and behaviors, most of us might readily acknowledge that “a little improvement” would probably be comparable to taking the first few steps up Mt. Everest.

What are We Really Made of?

How then to explain this paradox? One possible angle of vision would include the recognition that we are both human animals, with all the positive as well as negative attributes that the human incarnational circumstance implies, and yet we are also immortal spirit, forever free, awake, and unconditionally loving. As light being souls, we choose to inhabit human creatures in order to experience the kinds of adventures and challenges characteristic of the human species.

We are light being soulsWe are light being souls.

For one example, experiencing ourselves in the physical sphere, with all of its puzzling and even harsh circumstances, allows us to test ourselves, to see “what we are really made of”, so to speak. Such experiences thereby serve to enhance our levels of self-awareness in our expanding soul evolution, as well as bring more information back to our soul group in the spirit realm.

Most of us enter into the virtual reality of this 3-D realm in the same way one might engage a video game. The trick, however, is that we generally assume a kind of amnesia about our true nature for the duration of the game, in order to get the full impact of the experience. In doing so, we take the human identity to represent who and what we really are, and this (mistaken) identity is rarely questioned in the midst of the adventure. By fusing with the human bio-vehicle, we thus become subject to its complications, which include less than perfect qualities.

Are we living life like a video game?Are we living life like a video game?

Characters in a Dream

If we apply our innate soul power to improve the host, we will likely see the development of soul-like qualities, such as compassion and expanded consciousness. However, if we choose instead to not interfere, and just remain a detached witness/observer to the human’s life, then the human will follow its animal course, which is often filled with violence and selfishness.

Again, all we need do is review current world events, characterized as they are by blood lust, interminable conflict, blatant self-interest, and outrageous inequality, to recognize what kinds of choices are being made these days, in terms of efforts to effectively train the animals with which we are identifying.

There is more to this story, however. Ultimately, we are not only not the human animal, but we are not even the soul being. In reality, we are dream characters in the Mind of Source, being lived by Source in a drama of unfathomable love. It is unfathomable, because it is beyond the human capacity to comprehend, and so is typically misunderstood and misrepresented by the religions that humans have created to provide explanations for the Mystery.

Are we characters in the mind of Source?Are we characters in the mind of Source?

A Thirst for Experience

Source wants to explore Itself, in much the same way we want to explore our own breadth and depth by incarnating as humans, for example, among the countless possibilities we may and do choose. Thus, in our role as immortal souls, we afford Source the perfect vehicles for such exploration, and as such, we are in a sense co-creators of a movie entitled ‘Infinity.’

In any case, as dream characters, there is nothing in need of forgiveness or improvement. Just as we are, with all our seeming faults and foibles, we are perfectly fulfilling Source’s desire to know Itself, in all the possible permutations of Itself which It can manifest. Source does not need to improve or forgive us, any more than we need to enter back into last night’s dream to improve or forgive our own dream characters, once we have awoken.

We are fulfilling Source's desire to know ItselfWe are fulfilling Source’s desire to know Itself.

It was, after all, a dream. There is no judgment, no blame or punishment — only a thirst for experience, in whatever way it might happen to present itself, or in whatever form it might happen to manifest, as we enter into the compelling illusion of time and space as shards of Source’s own divine light, playing our parts perfectly.

This is Perfect. That is Perfect.
From the Perfect springs the Perfect.
Take the Perfect from the Perfect
and only the Perfect remains.
~ Nityananda Bhagavan

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

Words By Bob O'Hearn

Originally posted on The Conscious Process

 

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8 Responses to Pure Consciousness Has No Path

  1. What a brilliant article and excellent explanation of the non-dual philosophy! If it appeals to you check also http://www.mooji.org, a modern day teacher and enlightened guru who has much wisdom to share. It’s all been recorded and available on utube. He was a disciple of Papaji whose master in return was Sri Ramana Maharshi, mentioned in this article.

  2. Excellent. As in our nightly dreams, we can observe in silence and non-action and allow Soul to direct our Lives for the Highest best and Good, but this takes huge faith and trust. Just Be confident, faithful, optimistic, trusting and loving…

  3. A fascinating exposition. If I may ask an honest question: the notions expressed above about infinite creation apart from matter seem to originate and be confirmed more or less exclusively by the testimony and experience of ‘the enlightened ones’. Is there any other way of confirmation?

    For myself, the primacy of living in love calls loudly. To experience beauty is wonderful, transient and ‘imaginary’ as it may be. To love is more satisfying to me.

    I cannot apprehend ultimate reality in my present position on Earth without leaving my profession and probably my family to pursue meditation or whatever external renunciation is necessary to achieve the necessary state of ego stillness. Ive seen what I thought might be glimpses of the BIG ONENESS via psychedelics, when I was young. But even at that time I distrusted myself. Perhaps the window was real, but without the proper ‘payment” (e.g. life committed to self realization) my soul could not make much of the apprehension. Like beginners luck!; it runs out quick when the pressure is on!

    So I ask again: how do we know that there is re-incarnation, self perfection, the all being of Brahma, the whatever other seemingly spiritual men and women. Do we take their word for it, because it rings a bell of truth in our souls?

    An honest question. Or at least it feels honest to this as yet probably quite underdeveloped soul(?) I surely hope there is, because I’d hate to think that this animal life of a few moments is all there is!!!! But if so, fine. I spent years devoted to Jesus; today I affirm his teachings and try to live them, but I dont make a judgement about if he’s God or the Messiah,or a perfected being, or even if he really lived and whatnot.

    Perhaps this whole Earth is just an accident of random nature, and our consciousness is just the artifact of a really complicated biological neurological machine! That can imagine the infinite, and even experience something that then is called infinite.

    I welcome the visitation of wisdom and love. Im old enough (or still sufficiently superstitious) to be sober about the possible consequences inviting perfection to visit, but Im getting old and dont care if it means I have to then watch my patuddie.

    All Wisdom is Welcome

  4. I always feel little bit down when i hear people use ”masters” to give them the truth to words.
    There is no way a human can understand all this poetic expressions of higher consciousness.
    People look up to such claims, like singers look up to the big artist on the high payed ones.

    But we don’t need any master religion or claim to me made from anyone else to understand and blend into life.
    What most people forget is that an expression in words coming from an so called enlightened being, is still colored by his capacity of expression.
    Most of the time, it is just old rubbish polished over by their attempt to find enlightenment by a path already walked by others.

    Like the songs on the radio that instantly hit you in your feelings, there are also songs that do not.
    Is that the fault of the artist?
    When some song becomes a hit, hundreds of people sing and post the song along on youtube.
    But is that the same as the one original ?

    No.. People think God is impersonal, and thats why they can’t connect. God is not impersonal about you. and not about himself.
    He is your father and mother. If he was capable of having a body, he would do the same.

    Build a house for protection, chopping wood for warmth.
    Killing a chicken for Food, and shaving the sheep for clothing.

    If you really want to understand reality and live higher consciousness. Then you have to see yourself as a child of God.
    Stop listening to this old enlightenment story like there is nothing to achieve and there is no need for work on yourself.
    This is something the mind can’t deal with.
    Stop speaking in riddles, that seem to have wisdom.
    But seek the ordinary, the life that you already have lived till far.
    Do not transcend the past, the past is your mother.
    In there lies all clues to what your experience of reality was, your beliefs and your needs.
    It was your scraping against God that caused you suffering.
    Now unleash all the scraping and your pain, your anger your fear and your suffering to reality again.
    The suffering is against GOD himself. Against life itself, against your first girlfriend, your friends on the street.
    Your teachers on school, What was YOUR experience of it?

    Come forward as a human being, not as God and not as enlightened.

    Integrate all aspects of human growth, on every level of age.
    Become a baby, Child, teenager, women, father, mother, whore, sinner.
    And everything you can think of in between and what you have experienced in life YOURSELF!

    Then learn the lessons from the resistance you have had in every age of development.
    Integrate the resistance, by thinking the past up in your mind, making images of it. and releasing the emotions and bodily feelings with it.
    Integrate it with your eyes open, make your house and bed a motherly cosy place.
    Like a mother welcoming all her child pains and misconceptions of the world.
    So you do need not to meditate away from this world. Integrate your personal suffering ( that is only energy stored up in pictures)
    With normal reality again, The world that you see with your eyes open.
    Find a way to blend those 2 worlds again, and you life will become personal and impersonal at the same time.
    By shifting between experiencing the past in your mind and body, and by feeling the surroundings around you as safe and comforting.
    then you will achieve permanent higher oneness or enlightenment. It is not enlightenment, it is the PURE ACT of you putting NO pictures loaded with thoughts and emotions over your surroundings.

    When you feel that your past is welcome to haunt you, and the future is not important anymore.
    Then you can become as life is. Unfolding but standing still at the same time.
    The past is the world you life in, your house and your mind is build in the past. Are you going to kill the past? then you have nowhere to go.
    Love the past, take it in. Be the past. and when you have really become your past instead of running away from it.
    now then you have catched up with life again and you will experience life as it is expressed now and you will start creating with it instead of blaming your surroundings for having no control over your life. But is bullshit!
    Go outside today and sit in the middle of the street when cars come bye.
    And look if you do not have power. If you have lucky people will see you and stop, if you are unlucky you are dead. But you are dead already so what is there to loose? Risk your mind and expose it to reality again, let it grind away and absorb all the dust. Inhale and burn it inside.

    The standing still part is the formless God, nothing to achieve or realize. Pure consciousness
    He is the white paper on a canvas what we call the universe or earth itself.

    The moving part is the expression of God in worlds. Like a brick layer he builds house after house.
    Every brick even as important as the last one. And enjoyable to do. that is your Identity self. ( not the human self )
    Your identity is also in the Expressed world, not in a lower world but in a permanent expressed spiritual world.
    It’s your ”duty” to pull your original expressed godself(Child) into your human body. It’s your joy to express YOURSELF through your body on earth.
    Then you are creating the same way as God can, namely through a higher level down to a lower one. BUILDING A WORLD OF FORM!

    We have a human body to express ourselves in. Did you not realize that it is made of bones? of cells that communicate?
    Of blood that runs through your vains. This is your small personal energy mover.
    This is your ultimate power in this world.
    You have a body ( that is a energy machine ). To act in this world like you are God himself.
    You can alter reality by every move your make.
    You can build, explore and feel everything what reality is made up off.
    You can hear the sounds of different parts of wood falling on the street. And distinguish between all of them.

    You need to begin to separate yourself from the influence of people telling you what life is about. And you need to be willing to question every thing you think of reality as real.

    Only in keeping on asking for reality you will become a Child of God.
    Innocence, Pure and Loving.
    Then you will fulfill as above so below.
    You create from your Expressed Godself ( that is eternal ).
    Into a world of form that is created for growth. which is not eternal but transcends itself.

    In this age enlightenment is out. and society is in.
    We know we are God-send. We have enough people focused in the past on God himself.
    We have money on the bank account so to speak.

    Build the society that you dreamed of as a child, and i will tell you. That is what God himself would have done when he was here.
    Because what is there to do anyway?

    Or you transcend everything so you can leave this world behind. ( old way of enlightenment ) been there done that.
    Or you can Enjoy this world, not transcending it but expressing YOURSELF in it and building it into a more transparent one.

    Now it’s time to be about our father business to build a world of form together as One.

  5. Absolutetly brilliant! Wonderful to know your point of view, definately food for though perhaps to many people who are hungry and want to partake a bit. Thank you for sharing your consciousness

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