neti neti

Reality vs. Unreality

108 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I believe this illustrates well the nuanced meaning behind a statement like, "the world is unreal." This leaves too much room for assumptions, the limitations of language strike again. A more accurate one-line expression would be something like... "The world's appearance has no reality unto itself apart from whom it appears to."

 

 

Quote

 

“People note the differences between the various types of ornaments, but does the goldsmith recognise the difference? He only looks into the fineness of the gold. In the same way, for the Realized Soul, the Jnani, everything appears to be his own Self. Sankara’s method was also the same. Without understanding this, some people call him a nihilist (mithyavadi), that is, one who argues that the world is unreal.

 

It is all meaningless talk. Just as when you see a stone carved into the form of a dog and you realise that it is only a stone, there is no dog for you; so also, if you see it only as a dog without realizing that it is a stone, there is no stone for you. If you are existent, everything is existent; if you are non-existent, there is nothing existent in this world. If it is said that there is no dog, but there is a stone, it does not mean that the dog ran away on your seeing the stone. There is a story about this."

 

A man wanted to see the King’s palace, and so started out. Now, there were two dogs carved out of stone, one on either side of the palace gateway. The man standing at a distance took them for real dogs and was afraid of going near them. A saint passing along that way noticed this and took the man along with him, saying, ‘Sir, there is no need to be afraid.’ When the man got near enough to see clearly, he saw that there were no dogs, and what he had thought to be dogs, were just stone carvings. 

“In the same way, if you see the world, the Self will not be visible; if you see the Self, the world will not be visible. A good Teacher (Guru) is like that saint. A Realized Soul who knows the truth is aware of the fact that he is not the body." -Ramana Maharshi

 

 

Edited by neti neti
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Oh, the world is real - objectively.

 

Our opinions of it are not always real - subjective.

 

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10 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Oh, the world is real - objectively.

 

Our opinions of it are not always real - subjective.

 

Object has no meaning without a Subject :)

 

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5 minutes ago, dwai said:

Object has no meaning without a Subject :)

 

I doubt the Earth would agree with that regarding the existence of its Moon.

 

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4 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

I doubt the Earth would agree with that regarding the existence of its Moon.

 

That implies that the Earth is a subject to the object Moon :) 

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11 minutes ago, dwai said:

Object has no meaning without a Subject :)

 

 

It is possible to simply be all objects, no subject necessary. 

 

Dao > One > Two > Three > 10,000 things.  Only at the layers of Two, Three and 10,000 things is the concept of subject and object.

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1 minute ago, dwai said:

That implies that the Earth is a subject to the object Moon :) 

Hehehe.  I expected a response similar to that.

 

What can I say?  My chair exists whether or not you believe I have a chair.  But then, I am the subject being aware of the chair.

 

You will likely get me into circular logic in this discussion but I still hold that reality exists without a subject recognizing its existence.  The Universe did pretty well for 13.6 billion years without man's assistance.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Marblehead said:

Hehehe.  I expected a response similar to that.

 

What can I say?  My chair exists whether or not you believe I have a chair.  But then, I am the subject being aware of the chair.

 

You will likely get me into circular logic in this discussion but I still hold that reality exists without a subject recognizing its existence.  The Universe did pretty well for 13.6 billion years without man's assistance.

 

 

 

There are 3 valid ways of knowing. 

  1. Direct Experience - MH knows he has a chair because he can see it, touch it and sit in it
  2. Testimony of a reliable witness -- Dwai knows MH is reliable and if he says he has a chair, Dwai knows he has a chair
  3. Documentation -- There is a picture of MH and his chair and Dwai has seen it, so Dwai knows that MH has a chair

 

Outside these three conditions, neither MH nor Dwai have any knowledge about MH's chair. Of the 3, the superior one of course is Direct Experience. 

 

As far as 13.6 billion years of Universe's existence is concerned - how did it matter to you if you didn't exist? The only thing you know for certain is that you exist and that you are aware. That's the only reason you believe what you do (irrespective of whether you believe there is an objective reality separate from subject or whether an object is real only in context of a subject). Even in your belief, you - the subject have to exist, in order for that belief to exist. ;)

 

 

 

Edited by dwai
grammar
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10 minutes ago, Jeff said:

 

It is possible to simply be all objects, no subject necessary. 

 

Dao > One > Two > Three > 10,000 things.  Only at the layers of Two, Three and 10,000 things is the concept of subject and object.

Neither the Dao, nor the One are objects :)

 

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Well, to declare it as real is just another side of the same coin. The object essentially doesn't exist without a subject to make that declaration. Thus, the pointer is intended to inspire inquiry into who's declaring.

 

For the Self-realized, classifications of real and unreal are as equally meaningless as the separation between subject and object. Even the concept of unity is groundless for one seeing only himself in apparent multiplicity.

 

This post simply attempts to illuminate what's being hinted at when such a one, seeing only himself, says "the world is unreal." He sees only the ever-present Self in all... The sole Subject, wherein worldly phenomena appears as a dream.


 

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Posted (edited)

55 minutes ago, dwai said:

Object has no meaning without a Subject :)

 

 

Ha, I wish I could have been so concise! :)

Edited by neti neti
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1 hour ago, dwai said:

Neither the Dao, nor the One are objects :)

 

 

Given that it emerges from the Dao, the One (or layer of the One) is an object.  But I would agree that the the Dao is not an object. :) 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Jeff said:

 

Given that it emerges from the Dao, the One (or layer of the One) is an object.  But I would agree that the the Dao is not an object. :) 

 

 

Upon inquiry, the One turns out to be not a thing either.

If you try to find the "One" you end up with emptiness...

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If I zoomed really close on my table I would realize that it isn't stable at all. Just some electrons, protons and neutrons moving really fast giving me the perception of a stable table. I see it stable, because that's the way my senses are designed to perceive it. But no matter how I perceive it, both sides are valid and true, aren't they?

To find truth it's more a perception of "this and that" instead of "this or that" I guess.

 

Quote

 

“In the same way, if you see the world, the Self will not be visible; if you see the Self, the world will not be visible. " -Ramana Maharshi

So, but is there really a difference between my self and the world? 

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9 minutes ago, phil48 said:

If I zoomed really close on my table I would realize that it isn't stable at all. Just some electrons, protons and neutrons moving really fast giving me the perception of a stable table. I see it stable, because that's the way my senses are designed to perceive it. But no matter how I perceive it, both sides are valid and true, aren't they?

To find truth it's more a perception of "this and that" instead of "this or that" I guess.

 

So, but is there really a difference between my self and the world? 

Keep zooming and you find that even the electrons, protons and neutrons are not immutable, solid, stable "things."

 

Appearance is often taken as reality but looking beyond or through appearances provides a different perspective.

 

Cicero wrote "esse quam videri" -- to be rather than to seem -- in his work "On Friendship," suggesting that most people are more interested in appearing virtuous than being virtuous.  Machiavelli turned the phrase around -- "videri quam esse."

 

Both my State and my undergraduate alma mater have that phrase as their mottos -- Esse Quam Videri.

 

It is not always an obvious distinction.

 

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44 minutes ago, dwai said:

Upon inquiry, the One turns out to be not a thing either.

If you try to find the "One" you end up with emptiness...

 

On this point, both the Tao Te Ching and I disagree with you (which is why it is differentiated in the TTC).  But, I would agree that your view is consistent with the normal Hindu view, and since I just noticed this is a Hindu forum discussion, I will now bow out...

 

Thanks for the discussion. :)

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3 hours ago, dwai said:

As far as 13.6 billion years of Universe's existence is concerned - how did it matter to you if you didn't exist? The only thing you know for certain is that you exist and that you are aware. That's the only reason you believe what you do (irrespective of whether you believe there is an objective reality separate from subject or whether an object is real only in context of a subject). Even in your belief, you - the subject have to exist, in order for that belief to exist. ;)

 

Well, it actually does matter that the universe existed before I was born.  If it didn't then my mother and father would not have existed and therefore I would not have been born.

 

Taken from this point of view, the last 4 million years matter just as much because evolution led to my mother and father having sex  which created me.

 

And we can take this back at least 3.5 million years when life on Earth first started.

 

So everything is relative.  And it is not subject to subjective thought.

 

 

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Unless, of course, it's all just a butterfly's dream.

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3 hours ago, neti neti said:

Well, to declare it as real is just another side of the same coin. The object essentially doesn't exist without a subject to make that declaration. 

 

Oh, No.  Sure, the object doesn't exist in your mind if you are not aware of its existence.  However, you, I nor Dwai have nothing to do with the existence of the Ten Thousand Things.  They exist without our help.

 

I think we are perhaps putting too much reliance on our individual mind.  

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3 hours ago, neti neti said:

 

Ha, I wish I could have been so concise! :)

Doesn't really matter.  Had you been then you would have been just as incorrect as he is.

 

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1 hour ago, phil48 said:

 

So, but is there really a difference between my self and the world? 

Yes, but you are still star stuff just like everything else.

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1 hour ago, Brian said:

Keep zooming and ...

 

But I can't live my life based upon that.  I must know the difference between an 18-wheeler and an ant.  An ant won't harm me much but an 18-wheeler will do me some serious harm.

 

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

 

But, I would agree that your view is consistent with the normal Hindu view, and since I just noticed this is a Hindu forum discussion, I will now bow out...

 

Thanks for the discussion. :)

Come on Jeff.  Someone has to keep our Hindu members attached to reality.

 

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35 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Come on Jeff.  Someone has to keep our Hindu members attached to reality.

 

😜

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39 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

But I can't live my life based upon that.  I must know the difference between an 18-wheeler and an ant.  An ant won't harm me much but an 18-wheeler will do me some serious harm.

 

An 18-wheeler has never hurt me or anyone I know but ants have bitten me and some sent my nephew to the hospital in anaphylactic shock.

 

No, I'm not suggesting we discard useful perspectives just because we learn they are not completely true.  On the contrary, our understanding should grow to incorporate all the aspects of reality we encounter.

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