What Is Nonduality? Responses from the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009

Science and Nonduality Anthology, Volume 1
Interviews of participants at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009.

3-DVD set, 21 interviews, 600 minutes

The following are excerpts from responses to the question, What is nonduality? They are found on Volume 1 of the DVD set:

What Is Nonduality?

Peter Fenner:

I can’t give you a definition of it because there’s nothing to define. That’s the definition. It’s the one and only thing that can be defined, in a way, by its absence. The nondual awareness: we can’t say what it is, we can’t say where it is. In fact, it’s going beyond existence and non-existence. That’s what it means to be nondual. If we say it exists, that’s in contrast to it not existing, that’s not nondual. If we say it does not exist, that’s in contrast to it existing. So here you can already feel that we’re way beyond the mind. The mind does not know what we’re talking about. … I don’t know what I’m talking about at this point, and that is one of the ways we can point to nondual awareness.

Stephen Wolinksy:

There’s no such thing as nonduality … Nonduality is just a word, it’s a pointer. But once you have nonduality, you have duality. So the question is, is there such a thing as nonduality prior to the word nonduality?

Rupert Spira:

Nonduality as the phrase implies, literally means not two. There are not two things. It makes reference to the presumption deeply embedded in all cultures, that experience is divided into two things, one, a knower, and two, the known. … The term duality makes reference to these two apparent things, a knowing subject, which is considered to be this body, or in this body, and a known object — other, person, world — which is considered to be outside myself and separate from myself. The term nonduality indicates the true nature of our experience, which, if we make a deep exploration of our actual experience, we find there are not these two things. There is just one. … not two. … That leaves what there is truly, completely open, unnamed, untouched, but yet absolutely present in every experience.

Vijay Kapoor:

Nonduality would be not the absence of duality. It is something which transcends duality. … In our experience we have youth, we have old age, we having the waking state, dream state, we have lots of different dualities, male, female… What we find is the very basic consciousness has no duality. It is independent of time. … Consciousness has no dependence whatsoever. … The very content of duality does not have duality.

Rabbi Hoffman:

If you name it you’ve already changed it. Our basic idea about nonduality is … an infinite light with no end that has no differentiation in it, no light or dark, no positive or negative, … or any of these dualities. … We don’t supress any question. We pray our questions. Our doubts are very holy. Out of a good question comes a lot of thinking. … The question is, “What motivated the creation of the universe?” Because there was no room in this nonduality for the so-called narcissistic ego that could choose to rebel against the nonduality and assert its individuality selfishly against the nonduality. This is the puzzle of Torah. We start from there then we go on to celebrate the existence of both. What we’re interested in is the conversation between the duality, or the left brain thinking — the “I” that strategizes — and the right side, which feels part of a unity without any differentiation. How do you give way to both sides and create a conversation between the two? What we believe is that G-d is the name of the one that cannot be named. How do you create G-d as the oscillating tension between the two that exist in the conversation. My operant metaphor for that is somebody walking a tightrope.

Science and Nonduality Anthology, Volume 1
Interviews of participants at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009.

3-DVD set, 21 interviews, 600 minutes

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