DQ: What about the aspect of formlessness, for example? How does simply pointing to the fact that Reality is everything help people break free of the illusion of objective existence and realize the formlessness of everything?
J: As I said, I am refering to literally all aspects of reality. What you are presenting is again simply another possible aspect of reality. So yes, it is certainly possible for reality to include the viewing of objective existence as an illusion. But that's just another example of "reality just as it is."
I have a feeling you may accuse me of using this technique to evade attempts to introduce other truths, but I see it as the most accurate and fundamental answer I can give.
I could address your question in a more rational/logical/argumentative way, for example I could say: "formlessness is a finite and limited concept/state, and reality is not finite or limited." but I am liable to get us into trouble, because really what I am pointing to is a realization.
Yes, you would have to be consistent here. The idea that "reality is just as is" is also just a limited concept, and thus in the same boat as the idea of "formlessness" is. However, if you accept that the idea of "reality just as is" can serve as a pointer to a realization (and I agree that it can be), then equally so, the second idea of "formlessness" can also serve as a pointer.
In other words, the reality that the "formlessness" idea points to is just as real as the reality that "reality is just as it is" points to - and just as importantly, each shed a different light on the same Truth.
I could go back and show you where I may disagree with certain ideas in your "The Wisdom of the Infinite" that lead to your idea of objective existence being an illusion.
I would love to hear your objections. To my mind, "objective existence" is a contradiction in terms.
I could argue "realize that your concepts and ideas are a part of reality, not a hold on reality." but in the end all we would be doing is exchanging our disagreements and this too would be reality as it is. Just more suchess. Do you see?
The truth of suchness doesn't undermine the fact that ideas can be true or false, or that people can be wise or deluded. However, clinging
to the idea of suchness and treating it as though it were the
one ultimate truth, can cause one to block out all the other various aspects of Truth, which are just as important to understand.
Now you hopefully understand where I'm coming from, I will enter into one of these arguments, because it still may offer some value. Firstly, and I think you can probably relate to this, I can and do operate from various philosophical viewpoints or levels, depending on what I am discussing and who I am discussing with. When I'm discussing evolution, for example, I would generally fall back to the empirical/scientific level.
My most fundamental understanding of reality, is what I call "suchness" or "isness", which I talked about above. Beyond that I have varying levels of less refined philosophical viewpoints, and these levels largely reflect the path I took to reach my final realization.
So just before the final realization, I viewed reality as being composed entirely of appearances, so this is the next level up from the most fundamental suchness. Then the next level would probably be something similar to idealism, which basically holds that my mind is the creator of all values and boundaries. Then there might be a relativism/post-modernist type view, then after that an empirical/scientific/materialist type of view.
The level that your idea of formlessness relates to, in my opinion, is the one where the mind is seen as creating all values and boundaries. So if I were operating from that particular viewpoint I would tend to agree.
It's more than that. It is realizing that nothing really exists at all, apart from what appears to exist in the moment. Even objective existence, or the solid-looking physical world, is a part of this equation. Understanding formlessness means perceiving the "void" out of which everything springs. It involves a major subjective reorientation of the way we perceive the world.
But, in my journey, as I began to move beyond that viewpoint I found some problems with this idea. One of the the central problems is: in a similar fashion to the fact that there is no way to get a glimpse beyond our own sense perceptions, there is no way to ever observe anything beyond the boundaries our minds create, the former rules out the possibility that a world existing beyond our direct sense perceptions can be perceived or proven, the latter rules out the possibility of knowing an undivided unity that exists beyond our minds, and also precludes knowing alternative ways that existence could be divided up other than exactly the way we observe that it is divided up.
The very notion of an "undivided unity" beyond our minds has no meaning, because by its very nature such a realm is the creation of a division between what is within the mind and what is beyond it. In other words, a boundary is needed from the outset just to bring this undivided unity into being, which automatically undermines its status as an undivided unity.
In short, there is nothing to see, in that regard.
So in my view you are essentially arguing a variant of the idea that there is a external independent reality beyond the senses and perception, with the associated problems that brings.
I have no idea what you mean here. I don't see the connection between what you wrote above and what you conclude here.
It doesn't matter how the world is divided up, or who is doing the dividing, the resulting forms will always lack inherent existence.
The problem I describe, which effects your formlessness idea, also relates to this post you made, and probably makes my points clearer:
David Quinn wrote:
"From my perspective, the "I" is nothing more than a conceptual construct, and thus the idea that we really do have an "I" is an illusion. The "I" exists in the same way that the lines of longitude and latitude exist - as a kind of arbitrary demarcation that we project onto reality. The seperation between ourselves and the rest of the world is not really there, and so any pursuit of the "I" will always end in failure. It is like chasing a mirage. "
I also see potential contradiction in the way that you say that the "I" is "nothing more than a conceptual construct". Which thus makes it "an illusion", an "arbitraty demarcartion", something that we "project onto reality" and "chasing a mirage". Yet everything from the infinite, to cause and effect, to every single idea you use is based on conceptual constructs. You appear to want to deny the validity of divisions by using divisions.
Yes, that's the trick for gaining wisdom - using conceptual divisions to undermine all conceptual divisions. But it does have to be all
of them, not just a select few.