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Central Paradigm of Unity in Duality

There is a timeless universal insight carried and developed by Eastern Inner Science concerning human existence and the existence of the universe. This insight is so old that it might even have been connected with ancient western knowledge long before it flowered in the eastern hemisphere in India and later on in Tibet1. This encompasses the knowledge that our seemingly solid world in its deepest nature is subject to continuous becoming and cessation and that at its root anything is interconnected with everything else, in unity; and that everything which exists has a causal and interdependent nature. This means that each and every phenomenon only exists - in duality - because of the coming together of countless causes and components in every moment. In Sanskrit the interrelatedness of existence, is called pratītyasamutpāda and in Tibetan “Tendrel”. UNITY IN DUALITYsprings from the Eastern Inner Science carried by the Buddhist tradition‘s expression of this universal insight.

The specific view of UNITY IN DUALITY is best described by the central paradigm of the three interrelated unities of subject and object, body and mind and energy/potential field and matter. To understand these interrelationships in all their implications and to actualise them in one’s own personal experience is the core of Tarab Tulku Rinpoche’s holistic approach and his deepest concern.

 1. The Interrelationship of Subject and Object.

Within the Buddhist ‘science of mind’2 we find a precise analysis of the subject’s perceptive and cognitive tools, which correspond exactly and exclusively to their respective perceptive and cognitive object-poles (experience). On the one hand there are the five sense minds, which facilitate perception of the five sense objects, and on the other hand there is the so-called sixth mind, which serves for the cognition, feeling etc. of the respective object-poles3
    This means, that our perception and cognition of the object can never lead beyond the specific capacity of the respective perceptive and cognitive tools. Due to the specific characteristics of these tools the subject thus experiences the referential object in the particular form in which it is perceived (object-pole): without the perceiving sense-minds the sense-reality would not exist in this form, and without the cognitive sixth mind the cognitive reality would not exist in this form either. At the same time, without the referential object, the corresponding sense / sixth minds and their experiences (object-poles) can neither arise within. Therefore one can conclude that both on the sense level and on the sixth mind level, subject and object come into existence interrelatedness and simultaneously. This is a first cause and reason as to the interrelationship of subject and object.

Furthermore the degree of subtlety of the corresponding perceptive/cognitive tools determines the nature of the reality, which can be experienced. The more subtle the subject’s tools the more refined or subtle the level of the object. This is a second cause and reason for the interrelationship of subject and object.

Finally, according to one of the Buddhist philosophical schools4 subject and object spring from the same root. Due to an extremely subtle energy-imprint5 on the fundamental level of universal ‘mind’, there is a split into ‘self’ and ‘other’6, in this way bringing dualism into existence. From here on the dualistic split manifests in increasingly coarse forms until it reaches our level of subject and object. Thus the subtle energy-imprint on the fundamental level of consciousness is, on the one hand, the determining factor for the development of the different levels of ‘mind’ and ‘body’ (subject-pole) as well as, on the other hand, the experience of the respective objects (object-pole). This is a third cause and reason for the interrelationship and unity of subject and object.

For these reasons or due to these causes, according to UNITY IN DUALITY, the experience of the object is constantly referring back to the subject, both on the theoretical level as on the practical/experiential level7, whereby the respective perceptive/cognitive tools are the main point of consideration. The subject (mind) is thus seen as the key factor for the individual’s experience of reality.

2. The Interrelationship of ‘Mind’ and ‘Body’

The basic components of the subject are mind and body. From the physical body and ordinary mind these two aspects can be found in different forms of ‘embodiment’ and ‘mind-nature’ on increasingly deeper and subtler levels of the subject.

On the outer most level the subject possesses a coarse material body with five sense organs and five sense-powers. This sets the frame for a coarse mind that consists of the five perceptive sense-minds and the sixth sense mind. On this level of body and mind the subject is restricted to ordinary time-space limitation.

On a more subtle level the subject possesses a subtler body9, endowed with subtle body-senses. This ‘embodiment’ sets the frame for the five subtle sense-minds and for the sixth mind, which thus has special cognitive and intuitive abilities accordingly. In the dream state we naturally take on a subtle body, the so-called “dream-body”, but usually we do not have much aware of it10. Advanced practitioners of Tantric Buddhist practices develop through meditative training the ability to consciously use their subtler bodies. These different types of bodies have extended time-space limitation, which is being used for spiritual development for accessing reality at increasingly more profound levels.

On the most subtle level there is an extremely fine energy-based bodymind11. Even though in this bodymind one can distinguish an extremely subtle ‘embodiment-aspect’ and an extremely subtle ‘aspect of mind-nature’, ultimately both are inseparably united. According to the Tantric Buddhist view it seems as though this unity of body and mind is basic to all existence. On this level the time-space limitation is said to be widely extended.

Thus on all levels ‘mind’ stands in necessary interrelation to an aspect of ‘body’. The body aspect sets the frame for the mind’s experience. A subtler ‘embodiment’ therefore allows for a subtler mind functioning, which leads to a deeper experience of reality in terms of an increasingly more open time and space dimension.

3. The Interrelationship of Energy and Matter

Considering the deepest level of the ‘mind’ and ‘body’ interrelationship ultimately leads us back to the beginning of evolution. The interrelationship of energy and matter must be investigated on this level in order to really understand the interrelationship between ‘mind’ and ’body’ as well as between subject and object in all its implications. The understanding of the five, or respectively six12 so-called ‘element-origins’13, which in these ancient traditions are said to relate to the energy origin of matter14, is maybe a key to the understanding of the fundamental energy and matter interrelationship. The element-origins possess the respective functions of materialisation (earth-element-origin), cohesion (water-element-origin), maturation (fire-element-origin), movement and expansion (air-element-origin) and finally of the potentiality of all the forces (space-element-origin) as well as the awareness nature  (mind-element-origin).

The unfoldment from energy/potential field to matter, on this primordial level, has been described in the following way15. If an inseparable unit of four subtle element-origin-forces (earth-water-fire-wind-element-origin) meets another such inseparable unit, then something new comes into existence. Energy crystallises in an extremely subtle form aspect constituting the five so-called ‘sense-object-particles’, which now consist of nine ‘particles’ all together, including the element-origin. From here on this energy-matter-crystallisation unfolds on increasingly coarser levels up until that which we perceive as the five sense objects, and which forms our material world. At the same time the reverse process of enfoldment of matter back into its energy origin takes place incessantly. This process of simultaneous and continuous arising and cessation can be described as the fundamental pulsation or ‘breathing’ of the universe.

In this process of infoldment of matter into energy/potential field and unfoldment of energy/potential field to matter, even on the coarsest level of matter, the living energy of the ‘element-origins’ remains. The manifest universe in each moment is thus inseparably connected to its energy origin with energy continuously saturating matter in all its forms and varieties. This constitutes the fundamental interrelationship or unity of energy and matter.

It is implicit in the paradigm of the three interrelated unities of subject and object, mind and body and energy and matter that the interrelationship and unity of energy and matter forms the basis for the interrelationship and unity of the mind and body, which in turn forms the basis for the interrelationship and unity of subject and object. It is only due to the existence of the interrelationship between these three interrelated unities that everything is possible: i.e. the cause and effect nature of phenomena, their interrelated nature and all development of the inner and the outer worlds, including both personal development and spiritual development as well as any form of evolution, transformation and change.

Concluding Remarks

Unity in Duality implies the direct use of the timeless, universal knowledge at the core of the Buddhist Inner Science tradition, which is the insight of the interrelated relationships of all that exists, for personal development. This becomes possible through the specific preparation and presentation of this insight in the meta-religious and meta-cultural approach developed by Tarab Tulku. In the application and personal actualization of this insight we can return to a deeper, more natural and therefore more healthy experience of ourselves, and we can regain personal power over our life. We can all agree that a genuinely strong subject, that is holding its self-power without projecting on the base of vulnerabilities, can have a clear and transformative influence on society and thereby constructively contribute to the survival of the global environment and thus of mankind in the best possible way. 

1 See “Scientific Expedition to Various Countries”, Tibet 1990 (ISBN7-80589-002-1/z.1) by Gendün Chöpel about the origin of the Brahmans.
2 Tib. Sems-rig
3 A clear distinction of this is generally not experienced by the subject. In the subjective experience the sense-perception is immediately submitted to cognitive interpretation. This is then taken to be “the” reality. (further explanation: “The three disciplines of the Unity in Duality training”)
4 The Yogacara or Cittamatra school
5 Tib. Bag-chags
6 On this extremely subtle level ‘self’ is to be understood in the sense of a primordial identification of basic awareness with itself; and ‘other’ likewise in the sense of a primordial ‘experience’ of basic awareness pertaining to ‘other’.
7 However, it is important to notice that the Buddhist Inner Science is not comparable to idealistic philosophies.
8 According to Buddhist Inner Sciences the actual perceptive powers can’t be attributed to the physical sense organs, but rather to the energy-based sense powers (Tib. dBang-po) that are located with the respective sense-organ.
9 Tib. Yid-lus
10 An exception to this is when one masters the so-called lucid dream bodymind.
11 Tib. rLung-sems
12 The sixth ‘element-origin’ is due to a further differentiation of the fifth ‘element-origin’.
13 Tib. ‘Byung-ba
14 Tib. ‘Byung-gyur, where ‘Byung means “element-origin” and Gyur means “appearing from”.
15 E.g. in the Abhidharmakosa by Vasubandhu.