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Being / Nonbeing

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Being / Nonbeing

Being, in all Its Forms is in Complete Eternal Inseparable Embrace with Its Eternal Partner, Nonbeing

The thoroughgoing understanding of emptiness reveals not only that the world and the individual soul are manifestations of Being, but also that the manifestation of Being doesn’t have the kind of existence we attribute to it. Being, in all its forms, is in complete eternal, inseparable embrace with its eternal partner, nonbeing. When we recognize the intrinsic emptiness of
everything, then the beingness recognizes not only that the world is a manifestation of Being, but also that the world is a manifestation of emptiness. We recognize that Being is the radiance of emptiness, and that this radiance has variegated colors and multifaceted forms that we experience as the world and as all the content of our experience. The emptiness that is the source of the freedom of the dynamism is of many kinds and degrees. There are different kinds of spaciousness—from nothingness and openness all the way to absence and nonbeing. The nonbeingness of Being opens up the presence of Being and brings a lightness, a freedom, an expansiveness, and a transparency to everything. We experience that the innerness of presence is its total unobstructedness because there is nothing in it to obstruct, not even a sense of medium. So that dimension of experiencing emptiness as nonbeing recognizes that space is not a medium.

Being, with all of Its Richness and Variety, is Born Out of Nonbeing

We see that the nature of the absolute is really the absence of being, the annihilation of presence. This discovery is actually not surprising, for all presence is nothing but the being of the manifest world. Presence emerges as the flow of the logos, as the outflow of being, whose field is patterned by the forms of the universe. And since being is a conscious presence that emerges from the absolute, the absolute must be prior to being and its contrasting background. Being, in other words, emerges out of nonbeing. The source is a mysterious nonbeing, a nonbeing that is not simply an ordinary nothing, but a metaphysical nonbeing that holds the potential of all possibilities of existence and experience. It is a breathtaking truth: the source and ultimate nature of all existence is nonexistence. Being, with all of its richness and variety, is born out of nonbeing. We begin here to understand the mysteries of Reality; we see that it does not correspond with the apparently obvious, normal perception of things. We begin to appreciate the stupendous mystery that is Reality, and the subtlety of truth, which can quicken the passionate love of the heart to inquire into the mysteries of Being.

Nonconceptual Reality that is both Being and Non-being and Neither

These considerations of the perception of duality and subtle conceptualization, amongst others, precipitate spontaneously the ultimate reality, the truly nonconceptual truth. Here, words will not say anything positive. Nonconceptual Reality is how things are. It is direct perception of reality without the involvement of the mind. It is both presence and absence, but also neither. It is neither self nor no-self, nor the absence of both self and no-self. It is both being and non-being and neither. It is everything and it is nothing. Whenever there is negation or affirmation there is conceptualization, and the true reality is gone. And hence we call reality as it is the Nameless; it cannot be named.

Recognition of a Truth that is Beyond Being or non-Being

The process of finding the truth continues further: At the final level, objective truth is independent of existence as a whole, independent of all manifestation. It is then what we call absolute truth. That means it is independent of what manifests—of the universe itself. This revelation of absolute truth, which is hard for the mind to conceive of, is the recognition of a truth that is beyond Being or non-Being. So to summarize: I have divided objective truth into four kinds, of increasing depth and subtlety: the relative, the essential, the nonconceptual and the absolute. You can differentiate the kinds of truth in other ways, but that’s one useful way of doing it. And we can say that truth changes according to your situation and perspective. Every perspective has truth, regardless how limited. And this means that it is possible to use a gradual method of investigation that will reveal more truth, deeper truth, more fundamental truth, as the investigation continues. As we have seen, inquiry invites the optimizing dynamism of Being and its guidance, which is its discriminating intelligence. The optimizing force will transform experience from one level to another, and the intelligence will discern the quantic movement of truth through these four levels. So if we follow the truth, the optimizing force will move understanding to deeper dimensions of truth. It will generally go from the relative to the essential, then to the fundamental or nonconceptual, and finally to the absolute.

Recognizing the Non-Beingness of Being

Recognizing the non-beingness of being does not lead to the disappearance of the individual soul; it leads to understanding that the individual soul doesn’t exist as we usually think it does. Then we discover that emptiness of being is true not just about the individual self, but it is true about the perceptions of the individual self. In other words, all that we perceive can be liberated from the ordinary conception of existence as a solid something that is really there. We plaster our beliefs and our projections over all manifest forms, all the world, all the universe that we see. And when the world is free from our ideas about it, we see it in its beingness, we see that everything is a manifestation of beingness in its purity and presence and luminosity.

The Absence of What We Call Existence

This nonbeing becomes even more profound as we recognize that the emptiness of self reveals that the individual consciousness, this living presence, is inseparable from the absence of presence. It’s like the beingness of the living presence has an eternal partner that is inseparable from it—its nonbeingness. And when we recognize and understand emptiness as the nonbeingness of Being, as the absence of what we call existence, we discover the emptiness that liberates the dynamism of Being. We usually think that the individual consciousness is a solid something that exists in the same way that an object exists. When we recognize that this isn’t actually the case, the dynamism of reality is free to manifest in other ways.

True Nature is Absolute Being and Absolute Non-being

True nature is absolute being, but also absolute nonbeing. It is both presence and absence of presence. It is both but not exactly, because these are conceptual elaborations of which true nature is innocent. We say it is both being and nonbeing, or neither, only because these are fundamental concerns for the soul. Being is the last thing the soul needs to surrender as she opens up to her true nature. As she does this she learns about nonbeing. She experiences the emptiness and ontological absence of her existence, and everything else in manifestation.

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