We will discuss non-duality. Let’s observe trees standing side by side. As we look at a tree and follow it down to the root, where it meets the ground, our minds tend to perceive two separate trees. However, let’s reconsider the Pando forest. Across acres of land, we see numerous trees standing, seemingly ending at the ground. Some are tall, some are short, some are healthy, and others are plagued by disease or infested with bugs. At first glance, it may appear that there are many trees, but scientific research has revealed that it is, in fact, a single organism.
The Unity and Non-Duality of the Interconnected Organism
This interconnected entity consists of genetic clones, sprouting up from the ground. Whether it is an aged, thick-looking tree or a newly emerging sprout, it remains part of the same organism. There is no distinction; it is one entity. The changes that occur within this organism happen within the present moment. In the realm of non-duality, change does not require anything other than itself.
Certainly, in our minds, we can compare a small sapling we saw years ago with the immense tree it has become. However, within the Pando forest, whether it was a tiny seedling or a majestic elder, it remains one tree. The fact that it has grown from a small, sapling-like form to a towering giant does not create separation or dualism. The illusion of duality arises when we compare what currently exists, the ever-present non-dual reality, with a memory or an illusory mental construct.
Change within the Realm of Non-Duality: Unity Amidst Transformation
I am not suggesting that change does not occur. Change is evident and undeniable. What I am emphasizing is that change is not separate from non-duality. All change unfolds within the realm of non-duality. Thus, as time passes and the little sapling within the Pando forest grows into a colossal tree, it remains unified. It never becomes something other than itself; it never becomes two distinct entities. The apparent duality of young and old only exists within the mind’s illusory framework. It is no different from observing two trees in the Pando forest, one healthy and one sick, and labeling them as duality—healthy and sick, tall and short. These differentiations are mere thoughts, created within the mind to facilitate conversation. However, in essence, there is no true duality or separation. The entirety of the variation lies within non-duality and is not something separate from it.