(Excerpt from A Course In Consciousness,
Chapter 12. Nonduality, Religion, and Belief)
Stanley Sobottka Emeritus,
Professor of Physics, University of Virginia
There is an enormous difference
between the natures of the teachings of nonduality and those of
religion... Mankind creates its gods in its own images, and each
religion then justifies its actions by claiming it speaks for God.
The more vengeful and punitive is the god, the more vengeful and
punitive are the people who believe in it... It is no accident that
the most peaceful religions are the ones, like Buddhism, that have
no concept of god.
Religions by their very nature are often divisive and exclusionary
because the fear of another religion can be even greater than the
fear of death. When a religion claims its god to be the only true
one, its believers may endeavor to eliminate a competing one by
trying to convert, condemn, or kill its devotees...
Since Truth transcends concepts, Truth cannot be conceptualized.
Nonduality as a teaching contains many concepts, but all of them
are meant to be pointers to Truth that can only be verified by direct
In addition to the fact that spiritual beliefs cannot be true, no
mere conceptual system can ever satisfy the yearning for wholeness
which is the compulsion behind all spiritual seeking. Only direct
seeing can satisfy this, and in the end, only direct seeing can
lead to the realization that the individual does not exist. Because
the intuition is constantly pulling us towards this realization,
any practice based only on mentation rather than on inseeing must
strive to ignore this pulling. Furthermore, any belief system is
constantly being challenged by competing belief systems. The result
is that any belief system, in order to be sustained, requires constant
effort at defending it, reinforcing it, and shoring it up. This
effort invariably strengthens the sense of separation that the belief
system is supposed to dissolve.
The sage views the world as a lucid dreamer views his or her dream.
Both see that the dream is not real, are disidentified from it,
and just witness it. The difference is that the sage witnesses from
pure impersonal awareness while the lucid dreamer still thinks of
him/herself as the dreamer.
Questions? Send them to Professor Emeritus at firstname.lastname@example.org