What is Nonduality?

Definitions and Explications

In my view (which I admit is radical), denial is violence committed against oneself. The automatic use of force against oneself brews an inner hurricane of contrary reactions; "A house divided against itself cannot stand". Nonduality is, in my view, the logical point of arrival, after all such aggressions against oneself have been halted.
--Gene Poole

If our structural social forms are consciously rooted in the celebration of non-duality, they can be more energetic, more dynamic, more kind, more insightful. --Lex Hixon


Advaita (nonduality) does not mean "one" in the sense of eliminating all differences. The differences are present in the one in a mysterious way. They are not separated anymore, and yet they are there.
--Bede Griffiths


NONDUALITY: nothing exists completely separate or independent of anything else. --Christopher Chase


Nondualism is a mind that no longer needs to analyze reality into its essential components. Reality presents itself as a seamless unity. It is the movements of mind that define conflicts and differences that need to be resolved. --John Bird

Nondualism is not a mind of negation. It is a mind that no longer makes positive assertions, having come to realize that such assertions are the underlying creative basis of manifold existence. It is a mind that, out of its compassion for those who suffer, chooses to come to rest. --John Bird


Fully nondual awareness isn't against anything. This is what Blake suggests when he advises to look directly at this instant as it is, these particulars. Intellect can be contrasted with emotion, experience with nonexperience. "Nondual Reality" is beyond any of these categories. It's nonexperience and nonbeing as much as experience and being - thus, unspeakable. It's not nonconceptual apart from conceptualization, nor nonconstructed reality apart from constructions. Beyond cognition, yet cognizing; beyond constructs, yet contructing! This is *its* nature - and certainly *it* is no-it, and thus it "has" no nature -- it's nature is no-nature!! To say there is an intellectual grasp of it is silly, because the intellect cannot function in an intellectual way regarding nonduality. The intellect can recognize its limitations and focus on its "realm," allowing what is beyond itself to "be". In other words, the intellect can realize itself as constructed by something beyond itself and unknowable, used by That which it cannot use, know, or articulate.
--Dan Berkow


Nonduality is about the evolvement of thinking without boundaries... seeing the universe in all things, coming to understand the totality of all things and the deep interrelatedness of it all.
--Zenbob


"Nonduality" means, as the Upanishads put it, "to be freed of the pairs." That is, the great liberation consists in being freed of the pairs of opposites, freed of duality-and finding instead the nondual One Taste that gives rise to both. This is liberation because we cease the impossible, painful dream of spending our entire lives trying to find an up without a down, an inside without an outside, a good without an evil, a pleasure without its inevitable pain.
--Ken Wilber


In my view (which I admit is radical), denial is violence committed against oneself. The automatic use of force against oneself brews an inner hurricane of contrary reactions; "A house divided against itself cannot stand". Nonduality is, in my view, the logical point of arrival, after all such aggressions against oneself have been halted.
--Gene Poole


When you go beyond awareness, there is a state of non-duality, in which there is no cognition, only pure being. In the state of non-duality, all separation ceases.

Extracted from Nisargadatta Maharaj's I Am That. Thanks to Miguel-Angel Carrasco.


Defining nondualism is like adding legs to a snake.
---Dan Berkow


The very meaning of NonDualism is that God is not separate from creation, from All That Is but instead is identical with it.
--Dave Hodges


Nondualism: we're all the same. ...
--formerly shy


For me.... It simply means.... being one with your duality.
--tg


Nonduality could be called the journey to resolve the relation between you, the other sentient beings and the objects, for once and forever.
-- Jan Barendrecht


the 'Nondual' perspective does not _abolish_ "duality", it _resolves_ it instead.
--Gene Poole


In a nondual state there are no opposites. There is neither an awareness of being passive nor an awareness of being active; awareness without content comes near. In a nondual state there is no contradiction or paradox; common language fails in its ability to describe events from a nondual perspective. The sense of "I am the doer" is permanently absent as is the sense of "I am not the doer"; what comes near is "things being done" as there is no "feeling" of I and there is no experiencer.
--Jan Barendrecht


I see nonduality not as a destination or goal, but rather a quite marvelous "effect" of living a life of freedom.
--Melody anderson


Basically, non-duality is a continual correction of dualistic conceptions as they arise. It's a spontaneous process which, without judgment, playfully erases lines of division as they arise. You can't have a map without lines of division, certainly. Celebrating non-duality is pre-mapping or post-mapping. It doesn't negate mapping, because when you have a good map, there's the paper right behind it, giving it vividness and making it readable. How to get to this conscious state of being the paper? We have to be extremely careful about the language we use here. There are no energetics, no dynamics, no structures in non-duality. These come later. If our structural social forms are consciously rooted in the celebration of non-duality, they can be more energetic, more dynamic, more kind, more insightful.
--Lex Hixon


On the one hand non-duality implies that there is no becoming, there is no continuity to I, there is nowhere that psychological patterns can hold. This is true and valid for Now. Fron non-duality the current events are seen for what they are and released from their psychlogical pattern forming impact through the nature of the seeing itself. But what happens with past patterns, especially the wounding ones? There is some problem here because they cannot be seen as "non-existing thought patterns" by the one that was hurt, because he is not here anymore. So the wound and the wounded are tied up, and it seems that there is no way out. I found it very helpful to look at past wounds as non-separate from the entity that was hurt - and do nothing. Not even naming what is happening. This is sometimes very emotional, but somehow I have found myself emerging out of this a bit cleaner and lighter.
---Rony Mishal


This, for me, is the essence of nonduality. Addressing the distinction between "me" and "not-me." This is the same as the distinction between what is "my soul" and whatever is defined as "not my soul." I see your distinction between "me" and "the soul." Yet making this distinction hasn't resolved the issue in my mind. What would make your soul be yours and my soul be mine? What would separate soul from world? To me it's a question asked at the boundary. What is this boundary about? How was it set? How is the one who is on this side of the boundary other than the one who is on that side of the boundary? Who is the One who set the first (original or archetypal) boundary?
--Dan Berkow


Non-duality, in discussion, does become a belief system....and it contains all the elements of the cultural basket in which it is carried...in our case, the threads of western modalities on indivduality, personal power and self-worth, hierarchy, authority...etc. Of its nature, non-duality as a state of mind, is concerned with none of those things.....it is simply the natural state of being which does not compare, evaluate, divide, intellectualize or even understand; it simply throbs to the rhythmn of the universe, resonates with, not against....as a process of exploring that state of mind we find that resonating against points us toward resonance with....there are no oppositions...only the perception of opposition.

For me, these are timely posts....everytime I have close encounters over a protracted period with a non-dual state of mind...I know that a period of intense confusion and fear will follow....I think confusion is a state in which we are attempting to pay allegiance to two masters, or trying to hold two opposing ideas in our mind at the same time... ...For me, whatever form those ideas take is irrelevant...they are always of the same nature: a holding on to the belief systems of the ego, i.e., that "happiness" and peace are contingent on external situations...as opposed to the knowingness that peace and happiness are our natural state....and the willingness to abide in that place....which, as it rejects all the conventional norms of our cultural constructs, to understand, to know, to place oneself in the hierarchy...feels like a very scary thing to do. It is not. I think this is one reason I share my confusions and stories on the list....to deny confusion and fear gives it power it doesn't have; to dwell in it does the same; to reveal it to the light of day dissolves the attachments....it is always intersting to me to note how the list responds to these decidedly not enlightened sharings...One thing seems obvious; another's suffering is disturbing...we react in different ways....to ignore it, to judge it, to deride it, to ridicule it; some, to touch it lightly as if to gently send it on its way....to these I give thanks...although they have been off list....I wonder why?
Sometimes it feels like we have replicated the fascism of: if you are not like me, or I do not perceive that you are like me, then you are not worthy of my heartfeltness...non-duality is the sure awareness that you ARE like me; in fact, you are me; our differences are superficial; our samenesses are essential....meditative states...bliss states....is ths joining....the joining with essential sameness...that which permeates and connects this dual/body/physical reality to timelessness and sameness.
--Kristi Shelloner


There's no way *not* to live non-duality -- everyone is being lived this way all the time, even if we think we're not. This is the teaching of non-duality. Non-duality is not something that we must make true. It can't NOT be so.

Here are some slice-of-life descriptions of experience that you might call mine, say in the last week. And how the being lived has a certain sweet fragrance that isn't an experience. Skye and I once had a few wonderful slice-of-life exchanges like this, and I still remember them clearly.

Working, commuting on a crowded, hot, muggy, humid subway. Teaching computers, having to talk 8 hours a day some weeks. Friends breaking up. Girlfriend with Chicken pox. Friends living with AIDS, some smiling, some not smiling. Married couple, husband cheating on wife, telling everyone about it, she in pain. My eating too much too late, waking up with a stomach ache. Riding my bike through the city, no breaks, no gears, fixed-gear track bike, Zen-like motion connected to everything going on around. Taking dance-skating lessons, loving it but not being very good or having much time to practice. Weekly meditation meeting/satsang. Helping a friend buy new wardrobe. Attending the Buddha's Birthday celebration at a local Chan temple. Talking and corresponding with many people on the phone, in e-mail, in person, about non-duality. Going to the gym. Burning special Japanese incense. Not getting enough sleep. Paying bills. Reading Western philosophers who are similar to Nagarjuna in some respects. ....

The basic fragrance is an unbroken totally sweet miraculousness. Totally unaffected by the details of what happens. Things that happen are not really things at all, and do not happen by magic, or through a mechanistic scientific causal process. But a present miraculousness. Nothing left out.

It is not all pleasant, but it is all fine, perfect is-ness, because there's no other way for IS-ness to be. Good day, Fine! Bad day, Fine! No difference, no distance. The meditation and bike riding can be seen as metaphors for how everything is, smoothly connected and not separate from anything. Things that aren't pleasant aren't in any way more or less separate than things that are pleasant - the difference is the same as the color red versus green. None of it ever seems like an "I" or "you" is doing it, it's all very direct, clear, very here and immediate, "things as it is." There's no thought that things should be this way, or that they should be some other way. No thought ever of a Greg or any other entity striving or grasping or letting go of anything. No thought that anything needs to be maintained or chased after or watched or kept. No thought that this is separate from what-is. No thought that a gap exists or must be bridged. Everything taking care of itself, in a smooth, uninterrupted flow. And the flow isn't even a flow - it is just called a flow, the word arising in the context of this writing.
--Greg Goode