Absorbing Nocturnal Perception 36x36 oil on canvas
I first became aware of Khang Nguyen’s luminous visionary oil paintings when Carl Berg asked me to be the the juror for the Irvine Fine Arts Center “All Media 2012” show, for which I selected one of Khang's paintings and awarded him first prize. I love serving jury duty on these open call exhibits -- there's always very surprising artworks, things that have slipped through the cracks or otherwise circumvented the art world radar.
Limpid Moonlit Posture 36x36 oil on canvas
Khang’s work initially struck me as a very sophisticated and historically informed variation on Modernist geometric abstraction, but discovered in subsequent conversations that he is almost entirely self-taught, and that his imagery derives not from 20th century art historical (and blacklight scifi paperback cover) precedents, but from experiential phenomena encountered in the course of his yogic meditative practice.
Self-Organizing Field of Intuitive Utterance 48 x 48, oil on canvas
It was Khang's work in that Irvine show that sparked the idea for practice, Practice, practice, and it continues to epitomize the kind of spiritually rooted art practice that is so invisible to and in The Art World, and which pPp is designed to showcase. Here are some more of his paintings. Even more work -- plus information about his yogic discipline -- may be gleaned from his website at: http://www.intuitiveformation.com/yoga.html. Khang will also be demonstrating some advanced yoga asanas for the pPperformance Night on Wednesday April 6th -- more details to come!
Awareness Encountering Its Own Modes of Presenting 48 x 60 oil on canvas, 2013
"As an integral facet of my non-traditional spiritual and aesthetic practice within the schools of non-dual, intuitive discernment, my intimate engagement with visual art is an instrument for uprooting opaque settlements of the mind. Exploratory in nature, my artworks of architectural and geometric formations (yantra) are not considered means to individual self-expression, but reflect an investigation into the essence of perception, awareness, and existence. They probe the mystery of time, space, and being, which call into question preconceived notions concerning the nature of identity and reality.
Translated into visual terms from spiritual intuitions, these nonrepresentational formations depict the primal source from which all phenomena manifest, by which all things subsist, and to which all things reintegrate. By revealing the inner qualities and processes of perceptual awareness, the work of art acts as a conduit between limited perception and spacious awareness through which the beholder leaps into an expanded realm of existence. My work inquires how the viewer, upon closely contemplating visual relationships, can be incited to transcend external aspects of form such that a clear space for direct awareness into the basis of being becomes possible. This is fundamental to my investigation of visual media’s capacity to spontaneously evoke an immediate awareness of reality without dependence on any reasoning process."
Rendering Nascent Matrix 36 x 36 oil on canvas 2012
Moonlit Facets of Perceiving 48x60 oil on canvas 2013
Purple Robe Draping Night Cascade 60x48, oil on canvas, 2014
Steps of Time Free From the Past 60x48, oil on canvas
The myriad ways to view and come into contact with the fullness of reality can placed under two overarching perspectives, dual and nondual. The different ways these perspectives attempt to access totality are reflective of their contrasting perceptions of it. Language, knowledge, sense faculties, and subjective will and effort are present in both perspectives, however, the methods and aims by which they are employed are distinct. Both perspectives, ultimately, seek alignment with a deeper source as an attempt to overcome human limitations.
In dualism, the fullness of being and the multiplicity of finite existence are viewed to not participate in and emerge from a common, essential foundation. When the finitude of existence is viewed to not only be divided within itself but also from essential reality, various approaches emerge attempting to unite and overcome limitations. Effort and will of subjective experience, playing dominant roles in this approach, operate within the strictures of sensory experience and systems of knowledge and belief, religious or otherwise. The threshold to enter essential reality within a dualistic mode of perception is indirect, if at all possible, because it externally strives to achieve and become fullness.
Consummation of being is believed to be something that can be achieved in time and space through various frameworks of conceptual understanding and practice. The development of indirect methodologies, including certain religious practices and the scientific method, act as frameworks by which to have objective knowledge of an external reality, and/or function as something to have faith in because a reality other than what can be presently sensed is not yet tangible.
Within a pervasive common ground, from a nondual perspective, the ontological fullness of reality and the finitude of being exist in equally (McGinn 2003). In being simultaneously transcendent and inherent, far and near, this essential ground is not absent from but rather interpenetrates finite existence, and yet the totality of its depth cannot reduced to the collection of entities as a whole (Dogen 1995; Sells 1994; Suzuki 1907).
The ground from which finite existence dwells and emerges is the same ground in which divinity sources its own being, according to Meister Eckhart (McGinn 2003). Because of this commonality in the ground of the soul (in Christian mysticism) or an inherent field of fundamental awareness (in Ch’an/Zen Buddhism), recognition of the fullness of being is not something to be achieved or developed, but directly recognized via the inherent principle of the intelligent ground itself (Abe 1991; McGinn 2003).
In the immediate and spontaneous dropping away of conceptual perception, direct awareness of the fundamental field of being dawns, not culminates (Dogen 1995). When activities of the soul are no longer directed toward objects or enslaved to subjective will and reasoning, the soul’s clear mirror reflectivity as a pre-created nakedness is taken up by divine love (Porete 1993). In disclosing and conforming to the primordial ground of being, authentic self-constitution is possible (Bracken 1995; Heidegger 2010). Practices within non-duality use but do not depend conceptuality as the only way to perceive reality or as something to have faith in; instead, by using concepts to penetrate concepts, consciousness self-clarifies.
From an empirical dualistic perspective, David Hume, In Dialogues and Natural History of Religion, argues that tangible evidence that can be discovered in investigating the natural world as well as the faculty of reasoning are not capable of proving the existence of or justifying religious beliefs in a divine reality (Hume, 2009). In a related line of thought, Immanuel Kant asserts a noumenal reality that cannot be reached due to the imposition of the mind’s a priori concepts and limitations of sense faculties (Kant, 2001).
Certain figures within the nondual, mystical traditions of Christianity and Ch’an/Zen Buddhism, such as Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Porete, and Eihei Dogen, partially agree with Hume’s argument that the evidence for and access to a divine dimension cannot be substantiated by rational thought and sensory experience, as well as with Kant’s idea of the inaccessibility of a noumenal reality by means of a priori concepts and sense faculties.
Where there is complete disagreement, however, are the ways in which a supersensory reality can be known or proven and whether or not it can be accessed directly. David Hume remains within the limits of experience and rational thought as the basis for finding empirically supported knowledge of divinity, and Immanuel Kant within the limits of experience and innate, a priori concepts of the mind. Whereas nondual mysticism articulates a form of access to supersensory realms that is neither dependent on nor mediated by rational thought, concepts, and subjective experience (McGinn, 2003) (Sells, 1994) (Dogen, 1995).
Immanuel Kant, influenced by and further developed Hume’s understanding of epistemology, held a view related to Hume’s regarding the impossibility of accessing a supersensory reality by means of rational thought, concepts, and experience (Kant, 2001) (Tarnas, 1993). What is different in Kant’s thought from Hume’s is his idea of innate a priori conceptual constitution of the mind as the capacity to interpret and give meaning to experience, while Hume thinks all ideas are derived from experience.
Kant declares that because transcendent objects of the noumenal reality are mediated through the senses and a priori concepts and categories of the mind, they cannot be directly known as they really are but only as how they appear to human perception (Kant, 2001). This appearance is referred to as the phenomenal world, which does not exist independently from human perception, but is constructed by a priori concepts of the mind from impressions received by the senses from the outside (Kant, 2001).
How accurately this apparent construction of phenomena correlates to the actual source of their appearance can never be known, as Kant believes, since this transcendent reality can never be clearly perceptible. As a result of the inadequacy of concepts, rational thought, and senses to reveal the full nature of the noumenal world, human experience is confined within phenomenal appearances without any possibility of knowing whether the constructions of the a priori mind and sense faculties correspond to what is really out there. Whether or not there is a God or any other supernatural realms seem to not be the central concern for Kant since he believes they cannot be directly known.
In Kant’s notion of innate a priori concepts and categories as the tools by which the faculty of reasoning gives meaning to raw sense data, he recognizes that human language is limited to being metaphoric in nature (Tarnas 1993). Kant sees that the objects of reality along with their corresponding knowledge are not independent of the mind. They are recognized to be products of the mind by the processes of constructing and accumulating fragments of sensory and conceptual parts.
Simple linguistic parts and bits of sensory data serve as the resource used to build symbolic systems of increasingly higher levels of complexity and sophistication. If the wholeness of reality is not merely a collection of parts, the nature of human language and knowledge as the sum of conceptual components do not have the capacity to directly touch and represent the complete continuum of reality. In Kant’s a priori, rationalist position, there is the danger of taking the concept of a thing to be self-validating and independent of the thing of experience.
When ideas are not grounded in and proven by experience, then the only basis to justify their validity are the premises from which the conclusions are derived. Dogma, then, is not limited to just systems of religious belief, as reason itself can act as its own authority by conformity to its own conceptual and logical circuitry.
In contrast to Immanuel Kant’s belief in the existence of a priori or innate ideas that are independent of experience, yet can be applied to and shape experience, David Hume, being an empiricist, sees that all ideas are established from sensory experience, and from this posteriori basis he investigates the nature of divine reality and religious beliefs (Hume, 2009). He attempts to understand the basis of religious experience within the framework of human perception, reason, and natural causes without recourse to any religious doctrines on transcendent, divine, or supernatural dimensions. As believed by empiricists, all causes, which are the powers to create and influence all forms, are sourced in physical nature, not in a transcendent or immanent, intangible reality.
Hume’s central concern is to determine whether the constructed knowledge of and a religious belief in a divine creator as the ultimate cause of all forms can be supported by a rational basis solely by finding empirical evidence through the investigation of the natural world (Hume, 2009). One of his main arguments against the ability of empirical evidence to provide a rational basis to derive the knowledge of a divine ultimate cause is the problem of evil (Hume, 2009). The presence of evil in the natural world contradicts mankind’s conception of God.
If the conception of God is an all-powerful, perfect and benevolent being, then this being should have the power to prevent all destructive actions and bring justice to the natural world that is of his/her own design and image. Hume does not seek to understand divine nature through any form supernatural revelation, but rather remains within rational thought and experience to determine whether empirical investigation is sufficient to provide a rational basis for the indirect inference of divine existence. Even if there is adequate and non-contradictory evidence from the natural world to provide a rational basis for religious beliefs, still this is dependent on inference and interpretation and not a direct realization of divine reality in and of itself.
David Hume’s emphasis on tangible empirical evidence overlooks the nature of consciousness itself. In overlooking the central functioning of consciousness, as in the nature of consciousness itself and not just what it is conscious of, is to simply have objective knowledge of consciousness and its contents. Consciousness in not turning toward itself but toward knowledge about itself does not see how knowledge, along with other objects of perception, manifest from its own field (Dogen 1995). The field of consciousness remains in the background when the contents of consciousness are in the forefront of concern. As a creative source of all manifestations, this immeasurable pervasive intelligence has the capacity to generate and embrace all entities within itself but is not an entity in and of itself (Abe 1991; Bracken 1995; Suzuki 1907). Since it does not exist as the specificity of things, it cannot be discerned by modes of discrete measurement.
The activity of will is not truly free when it does not recognize consciousness unto itself and operate solely within the foreground of consciousness. As Marguerite Porete articulates in her “The Mirror of Simple Souls”, the soul’s will is enslaved when its concern is limited to and shaped by the surface contents of subjective experience (Porete 1993). Authentic activity of being is possible only if conscious perception has an inherent capacity to transcend the established connections of the mind such that it does not merely re-act past impressions.
The arising of spontaneous motivation and creativity is still possible but within a limited range if they are a result of the permutations of preexisting patterns of the mind still restricted within biological and psychological boundaries. Freshness of perception and action cannot be fully actualized if they are merely regenerated from preexisting conditions. In investigating the reality of material and dualistic views, which do not take into consideration anything beyond what the sense faculties can detect, is to extend the range of perception to include the tangibility of consciousness as the basis from which can tangible things arise.
In nonduality, the nature of non-conceptual recognition of the foundation of being is not the same as having objective knowledge of an otherness distant in time and place. Knowing in this form is to embody what is disclosed, and disclosing still, as and in itself (Dogen 1995). Purity of consciousness (in Ch’an/Zen Buddhism) or nakedness of the soul’s ground (in Christian mysticiam) does not lie in isolation from or eradication of forms of the world but in the penetration of them, which is to embody the underlying source from which they arise (Dogen 1995; Sells 1994).
Within Christian mysticism, Meister Eckhart, whose writings were influenced by beguine ideas, show a central concern for a direct experience of the ground of the mind from which all things arise, and not merely have objective knowledge of it (Bracken 1995). In having objective knowledge, there is a separation in being; the place of knowledge is distant from the place of the known. He points to an inherent grounding principle of the human mind as a capacity that can be embodied, transcending physical and conceptual boundaries (Sells, 1994). The ground of the mind, a bare receptive capacity through which finite existence can participate in commonality and equality with divine being, is where direct embodiment of the fullness of reality is possible.
In the various ways mystical traditions attempt to speak the unspeakable, conventional language is transformed. Language in ordinary usage points to and defines a circumscribed location of a knowing subject who is separate from its object of knowledge in temporal and spatial terms. Its orientation, however, is broadened in order to indicate both the relationships between objects as well as between locality and pervasiveness. The use of apophatic language to negate spatial and temporal limitations and dialectically synthesize opposing and exclusive categories is not to deny finite existence, but to affirm their fullness by expanding the range of consciousness to encompass their unitive ground of being (Abe 1991; Sells 1994).
This formless, yet not nothing, source of all forms can neither be detected by the sense faculties nor thought about because it is not a specific, differentiated “it”. Sensory experience, concepts, and rational thought primarily function to detect surface boundaries and differences and to construct corresponding systems of knowledge by the linear accumulation of conceptual components. Since this underlying principle is inherently not an object, it cannot be perceived and experienced in the same way as physical things.
This is not to say it cannot be experienced, but to experience in a way not recognizable where the location of the subject is identical to the location of the object, thereby not locatable (Dogen 1995; Porete 1993). Unlike the nature of material and conceptual processes, the wholeness of pristine awareness (in Eastern mysticism) or the ground of the soul (in Meister Eckhart’s Christian mysticism) cannot be arrived at by the accumulation of conceptual and sensory parts (Abe, 1991) (Dogen, 1995) (McGinn, 2003). The process of constructing knowledge in a developmental manner neither corresponds to nor is able to grasp its full dimensionality in temporal and spatial terms.
To look further at another facet of dualistic mentality, systems of knowledge and belief must remain in relative stability in order for the mind to interpret and orient itself in relationship to the world. In investigating the nature of certainty, knowledge, and belief, Wittgenstein argues that certainty in knowledge as the basis for beliefs, whether religious or otherwise, cannot be established independently from other forms of knowledge and beliefs (Wittgenstein 2007, 2009). Sets of beliefs, according to Wittgenstein, operate within a polarity principle where the evaluation of one set of beliefs can only be done by contrasting it to another set of beliefs (Wittgenstein 2009).
In other words, within a belief system particular sets of beliefs that are held to be certain act as a standard of measurement or framework by which other forms of knowledge, belief, and experience are evaluated. How specific forms of knowledge come to be identified with and believed in, according to Wittgenstein, originate in the process of socialization and particular life experiences (Wittgenstein 2009). The values and beliefs of society adopted by an individual, in many cases without examination, in early stages of life become a basis for measurement in succeeding stages of life. How an individual decides to either accept or reject new bodies of knowledge and belief depend on whether or not they are in agreement with this basis.
In systems of knowledge and belief absolute certainty is not possible, as Wittgenstein believes, because certainty is always relative to something else (Wittgenstein 2007, 2009). Bodies of knowledge and belief can only remain stable as long as their assumptions remain unconscious and are not subjected to examination by other bodies. The belief in the truth or certainty of a body of knowledge serve not only to shape an individual’s perception but also as a fixed and stable framework from which other bodies of knowledge can be contrasted to (Wittgenstein 2009).
In contrast to this approach where perception of the world is dependent on and shaped by the stability of conceptual and belief systems, practices within nondual mysticism aim to destabilize and uproot, rather than build up and reinforce, static conceptual models such that a primordial and clear understanding of reality can be actualized (Bracken, 1995; Dogen 1995; Heidegger 2010; McGinn 2003; Porete 1993).
Eihei Dogen, a 13th century Japanese Zen Buddhist, distinguishes between ontological and epistemological modes of understanding. “Drop body and mind”, he once notably said, meaning to dissolve conceptual models by which our understanding of existence is mediated, and to be in an unknown and receptive space of mind (Dogen 1995). To perceive by means of a conceptual system is to have an objective understanding of oneself in the world, which is to be in a mode of dualistic perception. In this dualistic state of perception, the knower, the known, the act of knowing, as well as the space in between are not recognized to be manifestations from a common field of consciousness. The place where the knower and act of knowing reside knows by means of distance and difference.
By overlooking a common field of consciousness from which distinctions manifest, this restricted range of perception can only detect separation. In penetrating modes of consciousness that operate within static and exclusive boundaries, there is an openness for a non-conceptual recognition and embodiment of an underlying field of consciousness to self-arise. Inherently it does not exist as circumscribed form, but is a common underlying field of consciousness from which differentiated forms of existence can arise within its infinite circumference. This underlying field comes to consciousness of none other than itself by means of nothing outside of itself. It is what it is conscious of. The source of its own existence is neither other than nor outside itself. To recognize this an underlying body of creative intelligence as the primary ground of existence is to no longer see that causality is restricted to external and material conditions (Dogen 1995; Suzuki 1907).
Clear, direct recognition can only arise authentically, that is to say, from the intelligence of the fundamental field of awareness itself (Dogen 1995). Subjective experience cannot make recognition happen by will or effort because it is operating within the limitations of conceptual and belief systems. This is not to say that effort and will play no part in unfolding the range of consciousness. Effort is instead aim toward investigating and clarifying limiting concepts, beliefs, and states of mind, not toward realization itself. Dissolving limitations cannot done by effort alone either, rather they dissipate spontaneously on their own to whatever degree, matching the depth of the investigation and insight.
In duality, the starting place of spiritual practice is subjective experience. Subjective experience begins from a point of incompleteness. All movements of finite forms are driven toward a point in the future to achieve and become consummate. It is a progressive movement to become something it is not presently embodying. Possibility of wholeness is not in the present but in the future. However, this ‘present moment’ of the underlying field of awareness is not the same as the temporal category of ‘present’ in relationship to the past and future. Points of time are not stretched into separate moments but are equally present in every moment of immediacy. It is an immediacy that “already begins” and is always beginning in wholeness, not toward wholeness in the future. Becoming wholeness, in nonduality, is not possible because consummation is not a distant destination to be arrived at through progressive movements toward it. Wholeness is recognized not as what is immediately present, but is presence in immediacy.
The ground of pristine awareness is not a process of becoming, though it is far from being a state of static perfection. Notions of time, motion, space, and change in their conventional, dualistic usage don’t quite capture its pervasive dynamism. The finitude of existence in its depth is the fullness of being, which as a pervasive intelligence in a “dance of stillness” is not a localized thing moving from one place to another (Neumaier-Dargyay 1992). Moving without leaving where it is, it is immediately present where it is moving toward; changing all-at-once without progressing one-by-one to become something else that it is not already is, what it is in the present is immediately what it is in the future.
Martin Heidegger, a modern secular thinker yet whose ideas were influenced by mysticism, explores a human capacity to be and act in authenticity. By uncovering the ground of existence as the principle for transcending surface conditions, authenticity of being is possible. Heidegger shifts attention away from finite beings whose specific contents and concerns are based on assumptions of the nature of existence and toward a more fundamental questioning of existence itself (Heidegger 2010). He makes an ontological distinction between finite beings who are defined and shaped by the world and an underlying primordial being who can be and act without conformity to unclarified structures (Bracken 1995).
This underlying primordial or basic structure of being is recognized by him as the source for human freedom and authentic existence. It can be discovered by questioning deep-seated assumptions and asking fundamental questions about the nature of being, not by coming to solid answers. In questioning historical knowledge inherited from tradition, for instance, Rene Descartes’s misconception of an objectivized subject who is isolated from the world, the light of attention can clarify and uproot conceptual structures that distort and darken perception. A question that is based on unclarified presuppositions is, In my lifetime how can I secure moments of pleasure and happiness? Whereas grounding questions are, What is the nature of identity and existence itself? What are emotions? What is time and is it a construction of perception or does it exist independently outside of it? The latter questions look past surface structures and at the basis of being itself from which subsequent structures are built. Investigating and penetrating deep-seated assumptions clarify the nature of being and make authentic existence possible, who in not being subjected to the imposition of any historical body of knowledge and beliefs, can constitute its own existence from an internal ground (Bracken 1995).
Marguerite Porete, a distinguished beguine mystical writer whose writings were declared heretical by the Christian church and the University of Paris, was burned at the stake on June 1st, 1310 in Paris (Sells 1994). During her time, Porete was called a “pseudo-woman” because of her engagement in theological investigation, which was a role seen strictly inappropriate for the female gender (Sells 1994). But in recent times she is regarded as the “high priestess of the free-spirit heresy who is skilled in concealing her unorthodoxy behind ambiguity and imprecision” (Sells 1994). By merging the mystical language of apophasis with the familiar language of erotic love, she transfigures the common notions of freedom, will, selfless love, desire, and divine nature itself.
Outside the circumference of the categories of reason, belief systems, and conceptual models, she speaks of an inherent nature of nakedness and simplicity as a reversion to the soul’s pre-created state where the acts of love, desire, and will are in unity and authenticity. In this state of pre-created simplicity where “she was before she was”, activities are ends in themselves rather than means (Porete 1993; Sells 1994). When seen as means, activities begin in incompleteness and work toward the achievement of union and completeness in the future. The accumulation of experiences and moments of time attempt to effect consummation.
Wholeness, to Porete, is a state, or even beyond states, of unreified love and communion that cannot be achieved by effort and will in time and space. The soul in its own nakedness, where activities are ends in themselves, act in intimate wholeness, already. Every up surging activity is recognized to be already occurring in and as the wholeness of divine love, not toward it. In this divine communion, she re-conceptualizes the Christian deity to be both male and female who speaks with a female voice (Porete 1993; Sells 1994). In the rapture of divine love, the self by itself is abandoned without any effort to self abandon. Desire has no object and neither sees self nor otherness in the clarity and simplicity of the soul’s mirror reflectivity. Lover and beloved are not outside each other as the categories of opposition are burned in the fire of rapturous divine love (Porete 1993). Here the clarity of the soul in its own depth and height recognizes inherent freedom from limiting modes and narrow concerns.
Disenfranchisement, violation, and subjugation are inverted and transfigured in Porete’s apophasis of will, desire, and categories of reason (Sells 1994). This pre-created state, where the self and its activities of security, control, and defense are abandoned, is an empowerment. Integrity is not based on the certainty of conceptual and belief systems, but on the nakedness of the soul itself to know and will in clarity and authenticity. Giving up limited identification, subjective will, and knowledge is not to be in a state of nihilism, passivity, or ignorance but to be like a polished mirror that can clearly reflect divine wholeness, including all modes yet at the same time be free from them.
Meister Eckhart’s mystical language aims to trigger a direct experience of the fullness of divine reality by accessing the ground of the mind through destabilizing rather than building systems of objective knowledge and beliefs (McGinn 2003). His ideas are neither something to believe in nor act as a body of knowledge by which to interpret the world. His discourse, instead, intend to provoke a spontaneous letting go of all activities of knowledge and will such that bare receptivity is possible. Through his dialectical synthesis of the opposing categories of transcendence and immanence, human existence is seen to not be irreconcilably separate from a transcendent, inaccessible divine reality.
The virgin ground of the human mind, as Eckhart sees it, is equal to and identical with the ground of divine being (McGinn 2003). Through this equality in the common ground, divine reality can be realized. “The eye that I see God is the same eye that God sees me.”, says Meister Eckhart (McGinn 2003). In the ground of the mind emptied of limiting concerns, the fullness of divine reality is received. The fullness of divine reality is birthed in the ground of the soul just as equally as it is birthed in the ground of divine being. This dialectic of fullness and emptiness echoes Marguerite Porete’s “Those poor in Spirit are then free of all modes.” and “This Soul has all and has nothing, knows all and knows nothing, wills all and wills nothing”. To be unconcerned with the activities of knowledge and will is not to not know and will, but to know and will in the clarity and fullness of being.
The dynamic disclosure of reality to a mind that is not reified within a closed system is always fresh, ongoing, and creative. In attempting to articulate a constant process of revealing outside of temporal categories, “before” and “after”, Meister Eckhart joins the grammatical divisions of imperfect or action-in-progress with perfect or completed action: “The Word always has been born and always is being born in the ground of the mind” (Sells 1994). In the bare receptivity of the mind, wholeness has always been disclosed and always is being disclosed. Static and stable systems of knowledge and belief have neither the capacity to relate to nor recognize this constant, fluid process of unfolding.
Systems of knowledge and belief act as standards of measurement, relativizing reality.
To hold sets of beliefs as the foundation by which truth in relativity can be ascertained overlooks the foundation of consciousness from which forms of relativity arise, but in and of itself is not relative to something else. Coming to consciousness of the fullness of reality cannot be achieved by constructing and perceiving through the lenses of conceptual and belief systems, but by questioning and uprooting deep-seated structures that limit and contour consciousness. Establishing the certainty of knowledge as a rigid and stable framework cannot measure the ground of consciousness since its nature is not another establishment. Its certainty does not depend on establishments yet its bare potentiality can manifest and be present in all establishments.
The mind in dualistic perception creates religion, along with other systems of knowledge and belief, which serve as a secure ground to have faith in because a reality other than what is immediately present is not directly perceivable. Before consciousness can come to a deeper recognition of itself, it must unrecognize itself. Systems of knowledge and belief that were once stable, in encountering contradictions and critical examination, become questionable.
By outgrowing the propensity to search for and depend on conceptual models as the only way to perceive, which can initially be a disorientating space, the mind can come to rest its faith and discover stability in its own nakedness. Faith from a non-dualistic perspective is the alignment of consciousness not with surface structures inherited from otherness, but with its own inherent capacity to embody in identity the ground of what it is holistically conscious of. Finite structures, in this view, are integrated into the all-encompassing ground from which they emerge since inherent clarity does not depend on eradicating them; moreover, they are recognized to be facets of clarity itself.
The sky-like nakedness of creative intelligence, not of void or nothingness, is its capacity to perceive in clarity and autonomy (Neumaier-Dargyay 1992). Awareness immersed in its own limpidity comes to consciousness not of a transcendent other but of what is innately present in the ground of its very being. In coming to - rather than becoming - its own sovereignty, consciousness in its own ground of being can perceive in clarity and fullness.
Abe, Masao. 1991. A Study of Dogen, ed. Steven Heine. State University of New York Press.
Bracken, Joseph. 1995. The Divine Matrix: Creativity as Link Between East and West. Wipf and Stock.
Dogen, Eihei. 1995. Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen. Trans. Robert Aitken, Reb Anderson and Ed Brown, ed. Kazuaki Tanahashi. North Point Press.
Heidegger, Martin. 2010. Being and Time: A Revised Edition of the Stambaugh Translation. Trans. Joan Stambaugh. State University of New York Press.
Hume, David. 2009. Dialogues and Natural History of Religion, ed. J. C. A. Gaskins. 1st ed. Oxford Paperbacks.
Kant, Immanuel. 2001. Basic Writings of Kant. Trans. Max Muller and Thomas Abbott, ed. Allen Wood. Modern Library.
McGinn, Bernard. 2003. The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart: The Man From Whom God Hid Nothing. The Crossroad Publishing Company.
Neumaier-Dargyay, E. K. 1992. The Sovereign All-Creating Mind: The Motherly Buddha. Trans. E. K. Neumaier-DargyayState. University of New York.
Porete, Marguerite. 1993. The Mirror of Simple Souls. Trans. Ellen Babinsky. Paulist Press.
Sells, Michael. 1994. Mystical Languages of Unsaying. University of Chicago Press.
Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro. 1907. Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism. University of Chicago.
Tarnas, Richard. 1993. The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View. Ballantine Books.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 2009. Major Works: Selected Philosophical Writings. 1st Ed. Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Wittgensten, Ludwig. 2007. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief, ed. Cyril Barrett. University of California Press.