Within non-duality, there is an ongoing debate on whether there is a self or no self. I believe this debate originated with the Buddhists or the Buddha himself. Among the invitees, some believe that all there is, is the self. However, the Buddha introduced the main teaching in Buddhism, which states that there is no self. People often argue that these viewpoints are mutually exclusive or contrary to each other, but that’s not the case. Both perspectives are pointers to the same understanding. One of the labels used for this is the self.

Now, there is beingness, consciousness, awareness of all the many things in the world. Most of it can be debated and questioned, but one thing we cannot debate is existence itself. Existence, being, and consciousness are undeniable. The fact that you are aware of this video is proof of that.

However, in the more subtle aspects of non-duality, I believe the teaching leans towards the idea that the self is not personal. This may have been the original teaching, that the self is not something you can identify with or acquire as an everlasting “me” that will exist forever. The Buddha’s main complaint against the common philosophy of his time was that everyone was grasping onto the self and trying to exist eternally. He taught that there is nothing to grasp, nothing to identify with, and ultimately, no self. His intention was to counteract attachments and fixations people had. The concept of self is a useful pointer, and I have used it myself. However, the notion of no self is also a valuable pointer. I have often said that enlightenment is a seeing through the illusion of duality, and this shatters the sense of a personal “me.” There is no me.

What I’m pointing to here is the identity, the ego, the small self, the doer, the thinker, or the witness—however you want to conceptualize this separate entity within the vast world. In non-duality, there is no other, no separation. There is only what is. The sense of a personal me then shatters or collapses, revealing something that is not personal, not something to be identified with.

You can delve further into these pointers, as Buddhism also talks about the void, which may be a closer pointer to the truth. It can be described as emptiness or nothingness. When people think of the void, they imagine absolute emptiness, but in reality, there is no absolute emptiness anywhere. Nothingness, on the other hand, means there is no thing. It is an experiential understanding of pure potentiality, where there is no thing, but it’s not exactly void. These two pointers, void and nothingness, are just two sides of the same coin. Even in Buddhism, it is said that emptiness is form and form is emptiness. For example, when you look at a bowl, it is an outside form containing emptiness, but it is the emptiness that gives the bowl its function. Form and emptiness are intertwined and necessary for the existence of what is.

In essence, you could say there is everything—oneness, nothingness, all are good pointers. They all point to the same understanding. Thank you.

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