View 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 in Tibet (1).
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 everything is interrelated with everything else, in unity; and that everything that exists has separate causal lines of existence, which at the same time are interrelated with all the other lines, and that every existent 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 DUALITY springs 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-object’, ‘body-mind’ and ‘energy/potential field matter’. To understand these interrelationships in all their implications and to actualise them in one’s personal experience is the core of Tarab Tulku XI’s holistic approach and his deepest concern.
The Interrelationship of ‘Subject’ and ‘Object’
Within the Buddhist science of mind’ (2) we find a precise analysis of the subject’s perceptual and cognitive tools, which correspond exactly and exclusively to their respective perceptual and cognitive experience (object-poles). On the one hand, there are the five sense minds that facilitate perception of the five sense object; there is also the so-called sixth mind, which serves for cognition, feeling, etc. of their respective experiences (object-poles) (3).
This means that our perception and cognition of the object can never lead beyond the specific capacity of the respective perceptual and cognitive tools. Due to the specific characteristics of these tools the subject thus experiences the ‘reference-object’ in this particular appearances in which it is perceived (object-poles): without the perceiving ‘sense minds’ the ‘sense reality’ would not exist in this form, and without the ‘cognitive mind’ the ‘cognitive reality’ would not exist either. At the same time, without the ‘reference-objects’, the corresponding ‘sense‘ and ‘sixth minds’ and their experiences (object-poles) can neither arise within. Therefore, one can conclude that both concerning the ‘sense minds’ and the ‘sixth minds’, ‘mind’ (subject-poles) and their corresponding experiences (object-poles) 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 perceptual and cognitive tools determines the nature of the experienced reality. The subtler the subject’s tools the more refined or subtle the ‘object’. This is a second cause and reason for the interrelationship of ‘subject’ and ‘object’.
Finally, according to one of the Buddhist philosophical schools (4) the ‘subject’ (oneself) and ‘objects’ (other entities) spring from the same root. Due to extremely subtle energy-imprints (5) on the fundamental level of ‘universal mind’ of dual nature from former infolded universes, there is a split into ‘self’ and ‘other’ (6) , in this way bringing dualism back into existence. From here on the dualistic split manifests in increasingly coarse forms until reaching our level of ‘subject’ (oneself) and ‘object’ (other entities). Thus the subtle energy-imprints 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-poles) as well as, on the other hand, the experience of the respective ‘objects’ (object-poles). 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 level (7), whereby the respective perceptual and cognitive tools are the main point of consideration, the ‘subject’ (mind) being the key factor for the individual’s experience of reality.
The Interrelationship of ‘Mind’ and ‘Body
The basic components of the subject are ‘body’ and ‘mind’. From the physical body and ordinary mind, these two aspects can be found in different forms of ‘embodiment’ and ‘mind’ on increasingly deeper and subtler levels of the subject.
On the outermost level, the subject is an expression of 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’ operating through the former means and the ‘sixth minds’ operating on the basis set by the physical body’s sense perceptions. On this level of body and ‘minds’, the subject is restricted to ordinary time-space limitation.
On a more subtle level, the subject is an expression of a ‘subtler body’ (9) , endowed with subtle body senses. This ‘embodiment’ sets the frame for the five ‘subtle sense minds’ and for the ‘sixth minds’ operating on this basis, which has special cognitive and intuitive abilities accordingly. In the dream state, we naturally take on a subtle body, the so-called ‘dream-body’, but as adults, we are not very aware of this embodiment (10).
Advanced practitioners of Tantra develop through meditative training the ability to consciously use their ‘subtler bodies’. These different levels of ‘subtle bodies’ have extended time-space limitation according to their subtlety. These ‘subtle body’ conditions are used for spiritual development for accessing existence at increasingly more profound levels.
On the most subtle level, there is an extremely fine ‘energy-based bodymind’ (11). Even though in this ‘bodymind’ condition one can distinguish an ‘extremely subtle embodiment’ aspect and an ‘extremely subtle mind’ aspect, ultimately both are inseparably united. According to the Tantric view, it seems as though such unity of ‘body’ and ‘mind’ is basic to all existence ‘body’ and ‘mind’. On this level, the time-space limitations are widely extended.
Therefore we can say that on all levels ‘mind’ stands in interrelation to an aspect of ‘body’ accordingly and visa versa. The ‘body’ aspect sets the frame for the experience of the ‘minds’. A ‘subtler embodiment’ allows for a ‘subtler mind’ functioning, which leads to a deeper experience and access to the ‘reference-objects’ in terms of an increasingly more open time and space dimension, which is one of the characteristics of a deep meditation state.
The Interrelationship of ‘Energy (potential-field)’
Considering the deepest level of the ‘body’ and ‘mind’ interrelationship ultimately leads us back to the beginning of evolution, the interrelationship of ‘energy (potential-field)’ and ‘matter’ must be investigated to 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 six (12) so-called ‘element-origins’ (13) , which in these ancient traditions are said to relate to the energy origin of matter (14) , or in the Tantras of body, mind, and existence altogether, is may be a key to the understanding of the fundamental ‘energy (potential-field)’ and ‘matter’ interrelationship. The element-origins possess the respective functions of materialisation (earth-element-origin), cohesion (water-element-origin), maturation (fire-element-origin), movement, expansion, multiplication (air-element-origin) and finally of the potentiality of these four element forces (space-element-origin) as well as the ‘awareness nature’ (mind-element-origin), the ‘principle of awareness’ and basis for perception.
The unfolding from ‘energy (potential-field)’ to ‘matter’ on this primordial level has been described in the following way (15) : If an inseparable unit of four subtle element-origin-forces (earth-water-fire-air-element-origin) meets another such inseparable unit, then something new comes into existence, i.e. energy crystallises in an extremely subtle form aspect constituting the five so-called ‘sense-object-particle’, which now consist of nine ‘particles’ altogether (2×4=8 element-origins, becoming one more complex particle, the no 9.
From here on this ‘energy-matter crystallisation’ unfolds on increasingly coarser levels up until that which we perceive as the five ‘sense objects’, which forms our material world. At the same time, the reverse process of enfoldment of matter back into its ‘energy origins’ and ‘potential field’ takes place incessantly. This process of simultaneous and continuous arising in form, ’matter’, and cessation to ‘potential-field’ 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 again to ‘matter’ or ‘form’, even on the coarsest level, the living energy of the ‘element-origins’ remains. The manifest universe in each moment is thus inseparably connected to its ‘energy origin’ continuously saturating ‘matter’ in all its forms and varieties. This constitutes the fundamental interrelationship or unity of ‘energy (potential-field)’ and ‘matter (form)’.
It is implicit in the paradigm of the three interrelated unities of ‘subject’-‘object’, ‘mind’-‘body’ and ‘energy (potential-field)’-‘matter’ that the interrelationship and unity of these two polar pairs form 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 existences, 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.
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 and spiritual 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 actualisation of this insight, we can return to a deeper, more natural and therefore healthier experience and version of ourselves, and we can regain personal power in and 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 Gendün Chöphel’s “Scientific Expedition to Various Countries” about the origin of the Brahmans, Tibet 1990 (ISBN7-80589-002-1/z.1).
2 Tib. Sems-rig
3 Normally the person doesn’t experience a clear distinction of this. In our experience, sense perception is immediately submitted to cognitive interpretation. This latter is then taken to be “the” reality. Further explanation: “The three disciplines of 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 awareness of basic reference with itself’, and ‘other’ likewise in the sense of a ‘primordial awareness of basic reference of 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 (wangpo) that are located with the respective sense organs.
9 Tib. Yid-lus
10 An exception to this is when one master’s the ‘lucid dream body mind’.
11 Tib. rLung-sems
12 The sixth ‘element-origin’ is due to further differentiation of the fifth ‘element-origin’.
13 Tib. ‘Byung-ba
14 Tib. “Byung” in “Byung-gyur” means “element-origin” where “Gyur” means “appearing from”.
15 In Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosa.