Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Continuing from my last post and comments, from the ongoing Batchelor thread:

From Integral Spirituality (Wilber, Integral Books, 2006) Chapter 5, "Emptiness and view are not two":

"'Without a conceptual framework, meditative experiences would be totally incomprehensible. What we experience in meditation has to be properly interpreted, and its significance—or lack thereof—has to be understood. This interpretative act requires appropriate conceptual categories and the correct use of those categories'.... Notice that 'cognition' is actually derived from the root gni (co-gni-tion), and this gni is the same as gno, which is the same root as gno-sis, or gnosis. Thus, cognition is really co-gnosis, or that which is the co-element of gnosis and nondual Sanskrit, this gno appears as jna, which we find in both prajna and jnana. Prajna is supreme discriminating awareness necessary for full awakening of gnosis (pra-jna = pro-gnosis), and jnana is pure gnosis itself. Once again, cognition as co-gnosis is the root of the development that is necessary for the full awakening of gnosis, of jnana, of nondual liberating awareness" (112-13).

The first part was quoting Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche (a Kagyu tulku) from Mind at Ease (Shambhala 2003).* Another part of the quote is this: "Meditative experiences are in fact impossible without the use of conceptual formulations" (112). Wilber adds on the same page: "Meditative experience per se--that simply does not exist."

* Interestingly, one of his more recent books is The Influence of Yogacara on Mahamudra (Nasmse Bangdzo, 2010).

The Stanford Encyclopedia Philosophy entry on Gorampa is instructive. While I might disagree as to the nature of the actual ultimate, I appreciate the necessary progression through the nominal ultimate, a point I've been hammering above. The distinction then becomes what is real or ontologically ultimate, which is where rangtong and OOO diverge. (While the latter two might converge on points they still differ, as I've been critical of aspects of rangtong as well.*)

"One begins by correctly identifying and understanding the conventional truth. Then, through logical reasoning and meditative practices, one gradually begins to realize that this so-called truth is merely conventional and that it is based entirely on concepts that are rooted in ignorance; in this way one comes to a conceptual understanding of the nominal ultimate. Through more analysis and practice still, one eventually leaves behind the mere convention and directly experiences the ultimate truth, which does not depend on ignorance and concepts. In other words, when one realizes the nominal ultimate, a distinctive feature of this realization is that, even though it depends on concepts (and thus ignorance), it can be used to negate concepts and ignorance."

* Perhaps I might call my view rangtOOOng? Or maybe pOOOntong?

This last notion of pOOOntong reminds me of two earlier posts in the differance thread, starting here and a following post 3 down, re-printed below:

I referenced this book, Shadow of Spirit, in another thread. Chapter 19 fits in this thread: "Woman and space according to Kristeva and Irigaray" by Phillipa Berry. A few excerpts:

"One way in which Heidegger’s emphasis upon openness and the clearing has left its mark in the work of Kristeva and Irigaray is through their shared interest in a highly ambiguous spatial category which was used by Plato, but which also has evident affinities with the pre-Socratic thought that so fascinated Heidegger: the category of chora" (255).

"In deciding to focus upon this particular Platonic term, Kristeva was apparently rejecting a post-Platonic philosophical emphasis upon ideas in a fascination with the absence of form, or with that emptiness which precedes but is the necessary precondition of all forms of representation. This emphasis, while derived from Plato, has clear affinities with pre- Socratic thought: specifically, with the emphasis upon a primordial void or apeiron,found in the thought of Pythagoras and Anaximander" (256).

"She may have been thinking of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in particular, for these systems place great emphasis upon the attainment of a paradoxical, non-dual model of knowledge which is also a knowledge of emptiness; this illumination coincides with the discovery of the illusory nature of the subject–object dichotomy. In this context, the void (sunyata) is identified with ‘absolute reality’ and held to contain all dualities and polarities; specifically, to unite the opposites of form and emptiness. It should be noted here that this fullness of the Buddhist void seemingly approximates more to a Derridean différance than to a Hegelian Aufhebung or sublation of difference" (258).

In the referenced chapter above Berry notes that both Kristeva and Irigaray's concern is to explore the space between the secular and sacred--and the inner and outer, and all opposition, for that matter--a theme being explored in the Habermas thread. It is in these gaps that K and I find the feminine as empty space itself. And both do so from a reading of Heidegger's later notion of the Abgrund, the groundless ground of nothingness and openness within the clearing of Lichtung. H notes that Lichtung is an "open center" in the midst of opposition and from which that latter depend, but is itself not part of that categorization. (Also discussed in the Levin threads.) The center is aka alterity "in the midst" and considered sacred. And it is this meaning that K and I carry into their chora.

"Thus rather than simply representing the repressed opposite term either of idealist philosophy or of social reality, Kristeva argued that chora is always asymmetrically ‘other’ to what Lacan called the symbolic order – that is, to any philosophic, cultural or social construct" (256).

Within this feminine space resides an ecstasy which breaks all boundaries while bonding all manifestation in love. They emphasize its sacred, feminine embodiment which grounds the spatial (and the spiritual) in the temporal (and the earthly) flesh. Hence, that empty space between a woman's legs is indeed the portal in which we experience ecstasy and for a moment, at least, dissolve all boundaries in the throes of love. Holy, wholly, holey indeed.

1 comment:

  1. With reference to my last two posts, pOOOntong posits (yes, as in positive) that the so-called nominative ultimate is used to "negate concepts and ignorance" but does not "eventually leave behind the mere convention and directly experiences the ultimate truth." Through differance and/or transcendental deduction one comes to "approximate...the Buddhist void" but its withdrawn nature is not directly experienced via meditative presence. This may approximate Faber's subtractive affirmation, though I'm not familiar with it so not sure. It is though akin to Zizek's affirmative negation of negation,* which Caputo finds akin to differance.



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