Liberation Is Paradoxical

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Moderator: From a participant in Oakland, CA, first time on the webcast, “Awareness is emptiness, experience is form. They are never separate except in so far as minds, the stations, labels, descriptions, and stories make them appear separate. How can I see through this once and for all?"

David: In the way that you asked the question, this sort of experience you desire which is to see through this once and for all time is actually asking to experience it twice. By definition, an experience cannot go on and on forever. Whatever is experienced is experienced dualistically. If you’re having an experience there’s a separation between the experiencer and the experience. Therefore, in some mysterious and paradoxical way ongoing liberation is and is not an experience. So, what must be grasped is the way in which it is an ongoing experience and at the same time the way in which it is not, which means you cannot speak about what ongoing liberation is. It cannot be communicated. It cannot be understood. It cannot be attained. It absolutely cannot be attained under any circumstances. Attainment by definition always means an addition into what is already there. Attainment always amounts to an accumulation of some sort or even a distinction which allows one to see what has come in now and was not there previously. This becomes a very subtle subject and all types of scriptures in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions especially have been written around this topic, around the mysterious nature of liberation, that it both is and is not. That is why it is liberatory, why it is liberating, liberative. It’s because it has no form. It’s not that it’s formless. It’s just that it has no form in the way that I described.

Another way to see this is that liberation must be just as much an experience as it is an understanding. Understanding and experience like is and is not cancel each other out, because as soon as you start to understand you’re drawn into self-reflection which is not outgoing experience. So, to say it’s equal in experience and understanding is to point once again to something ineffable, something that defies logic and description, but we only have logic and description at our hand to speak. So, this is also part of the problem.