Trev Light Bown:- Jnana or awareness without conceptual constructions is declared to be Brahman. This awareness is unborn, without sleep or dream, without name and form and is omniscient. When there are no thoughts about objects, awareness rests in itself and attains equanimity. This is called contactless concentration or asparsha yoga and even the yogis are afraid of it.
“ That highest Bliss exists in one’s own Self. It is calm, identical with liberation, indescribable, and unborn. Since It is one with the unborn knowable (Brahman), the knowers of Brahman speak of It as the Omniscient. No Jiva (individual), whichever, is born. It has no cause (of birth). This is the highest Truth where nothing is born whatsoever. — Verse 3.47-48, Mandukya Karika.[21
Dear Trev Light Bown, The non-dualistic truth is a rational or scientific truth declared by Lord Buddha, Sage Sri, Gaudapada and Sri, Sankara centuries back but unfortunately the original essence of the rational nonduality is lost mainly because adulteration with orthodoxy with so many new add-Onns from different saints and sages time to time. It is very difficult bifurcate all the ad-onns. Thus it is better drop scriptures like Buddha and follow the path of reason.
The seeker has first indulge in deeper self-search without scriptures and understand assimilate the truth independently to realize the real non-dualistic essence, which leads to self-awareness. Thus, independent thinking, reasoning and judgment is very much necessary in pursuit of truth.
As one goes deeper and deeper in his self-search he realizes the Buddha was right in rejecting the religion and its concepts of god and scriptures. Thus the wisdom will by following any scriptures or instruction given in the scriptures. Scriptures are mere sign posts. The seeker has to realize the truth without the scriptures.
Self- Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is only is true knowledge and absence of duality is not Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana. Self -Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana cannot destroy the world but it eliminates the ignorance and exposes the unreal nature of the mind or the universe.
Sage Sri Sankara, in Bhaja Govindam says: - (Jnana Viheena Sarva Mathena Bajathi na Muktim janma Shatena) - one without knowledge does not obtain liberation even in a hundred births, no matter which religious faith he follows.
Thus it proves that religion is not the means to self-knowledge.
Sage Sri, Sankara:- VC-56 - Neither by the practice of yoga nor philosophy, nor by good works nor by learning, does liberation come, but only through the realization that Atman and Brahman are one in no other way.
59. The study of the Scriptures is useless so long as the highest Truth is unknown, and it is equally useless when the highest Truth has already been known.
60. The Scriptures consisting of many words are a dense forest which merely causes the mind to ramble. Hence men of wisdom should earnestly set about knowing the true nature of the Self.
VC- 61. For one who has been bitten by the serpent of Ignorance, the only remedy is the knowledge of Brahman. Of what avail are the Vedas and (other) Scriptures, Mantras (sacred formulae) and medicines to such a one?
62. A disease does not leave off if one simply utters the name of the medicine, without taking it; (similarly) without direct realization one cannot be liberated by the mere utterance of the word Brahman.
63. Without causing the objective universe to vanish and without knowing the truth of the Self, how is one to achieve Liberation by the mere utterance of the word Brahman ? — It would result merely in an effort of speech.
65. As a treasure hidden underground requires (for its extraction) competent instruction, excavation, the removal of stones and other such things lying above it and (finally) grasping, but never comes out by being (merely) called out by name, so the transparent Truth of the self, which is hidden by Maya and its effects, is to be attained through the instructions of a knower of Brahman, followed by reflection, meditation and so forth, but not through perverted arguments.
66. Therefore the wise should, as in the case of disease and the like, personally strive by all the means in their power to be free from the bondage of repeated births and deaths.
All the accumulated knowledge from religion and yoga and paths and theories are are obstacles in unfolding the mystery of the mind.
Even Upanishad says:
Katha Upanishad:- This Atman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas, or by intelligence, or by much hearing of sacred books. It is attained by him alone whom It chooses. To such a one Atman reveals Its own form. (katha upanishad ch-ii -23-p-20)
Mundaka Upanishad:- This Atman cannot be attained through the study of the Vedas, nor through intelligence, nor through much learning. He who chooses Ataman—by him alone is Ataman attained. It is Ataman that reveals to the seeker Its true nature. (3 –page-70
Mundaka Upanishad Upanishads by Nikilanada)
When the Upanishads say:- It is attained by him alone whom It chooses. To such a one Ataman reveals its own form. Then what is the use of indulging through our intelligence or our accumulated knowledge, when one is not chosen by the self, which is the soul, which is in the form of consciousness.
The seeker has to verify and accept the truth and reject the untruth. When Buddha verified Vedic religion, god and scriptures and found them they are not means for self-realization and rejected them. Then he was on his own and found the truth through deeper reasoning and got enlightenment. Without being judgmental about your views, I am expressing my views derived from deeper self-search.
Even in the Buddhism: - Buddhist teaching has itself become a kind of interactive and self-evolving process, much like its idea of pratityasamutpada. However, the end goal is still Nirvana, which is an experience ultimately beyond all concepts and language, even beyond the Buddhist teachings. In the end even the attachment to the Dharma, the Buddhist teaching, must be dropped like all other attachments. The tradition compares the teaching to a raft upon which one crosses a swift river to get to the other side; once one is on the far shore; there is no longer any need to carry the raft. The far shore is Nirvana, and it is also said that when one arrives, one can see quite clearly that there was never any river at all.
Non-Duality means not the non-existence of a second thing, but its nonexistence as other than consciousness. One must know it is of the same substance as the objects.
Non dual Truth is possible only in duality when the knower and a known both are present. Hence truth is one’s idea of a thing. Reality is the fact, the thing itself. Words are used for communication about the reality. Ultimate truth is beyond all doubt and contradiction. It is not assumption or idea but the Reality itself. Hence ultimate truth and ultimate reality are one and the same.
The scriptures and theories and teaching based on the ego are not the yardstick. Using them as yardstick to understand and assimilate the truth will lead one to all doubts and confusion. The seeker of truth has to discover the truth on his own by inquiring “what is mind?” and “what is the substance of the mind?” and move forward.
The ultimate truth is one without the second, the one is not in the sense half or two, but the one that remains forever One, without the second. The consciousness is all pervading. Everything is Consciousness and consciousness is everything.
There is no man but the mind. There is no universe but mind. There is no god but mind. There is no waking but mind. The man and his universe and his individual god and waking experience exist only when the mind exists. The mind exists because of ignorance. The ignorance is there until the illusion is experienced as reality. The mind is a myth. The world is a myth the waking experience is a myth. Deeper self-search reveals the fact that. The whole universe exists because of mind. Thus mind is universe. Mind is duality. Mind is waking. Therefore mind is not limited to man but mind is the whole universe. The formless substance and witness of the mind is consciousness.
Consciousness is that which knows everything, that which sees. Consciousness alone remains after one gets rid of all thoughts and ideas by identification with self. Consciousness is only the seer; it is not Brahman that is an error. It becomes Brahman only after an inquiry and reasoning.
Consciousness is in everyone, consciousness is in everything .Consciousness is one behind many. Consciousness alone is. It means the universe is the illusory form of consciousness.
Since not all people are aware of the fact that, they are an experience within another experience (waking or dream). The mind is an experience, which contains everyone and everything and the universe. Since one limits the mind to the physical entity, he forgets the fact that, his body and the universe are an experience, within waking or dream experience. It is impossible to unfold the mystery of his true existence without realizing the fact that, the self is not physical but the self is consciousness. If the self is not physical then it is erroneous to judge and conclude the truth on the base of the physical self or ego. Thus the truth has to be judged on the base of the true self, which is consciousness.
Until and unless one rectifies the seeking base from form to formless the truth will not be revealed.
As one gets convinced, certain, of the truth that the world is nothing but consciousness, and there is no second thing, then he gets firm conviction that, all the three states to be consciousness in the midst of duality. Realizing the truth in the midst of duality is wisdom.
The seeker has to practice thinking that he is neither the doer nor the enjoyer and his existence as a person is limited to the waking experience. Thus neither the waking entity nor the dream entity is the self. The true self is that which witnesses the three states as a whole. When he realizes the waking entity is not the self, then he will gradually realize the fact that, whatever is seen as waking or dream is only mirage created out of consciousness. Therefore when he realizes the waking experience is the mirage then he realizes the stuff from the mirage is made, which is consciousness to be real.
Nonduality does not need the support of any Scripture or Revelation like the Veda and Upanishads. Since it is based, not upon the varying theological fancies, which are as numerous as the sands of the sea, but upon reason, the common heritage of all mankind, irrespective of Colour or creed or clime.
Thus, self-knowledge is meant only for those who have intense urge, and courage to accept the truth with humility and reject the untruth. Since people start comparing with their scriptural knowledge, it becomes impossible to assimilate and realize the non-dual truth. Therefore, there is no need to convince anyone other than our own-selves to get the firm conviction.
All my conviction derived from inner revelation. I am quoting scriptures to highlight they are also saying the same thing. I am not trying to prove my conviction , but it is for every seeker who is in the path of truth to prove himself to know “What is truth, “and “What is untruth?” to assimilate the Self –knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana.