Maps of the Universe (Part I): Kether, Nibbaana, and Tao
Since ancient times there was an effort to map the basic structure of this Universe.
Even a superficial comparison between the mappings of the Ancient philosophies would result in a book of considerable volume.
In this 'Little Purple Notebook On How To Escape From This Universe', there can only be some sketchy hints on the remarkable congruency between these Ancient philosophies and the differences that set them apart.
For the purposes of this notebook, attention is drawn to the structure of the structures themselves since these may provide the recipe for further explorations by the reader - no matter which particular system is chosen.
To begin with, there
are the 'Stanzas on Vibrations' which may have originated in the
area of today's Afghanistan on the Eastern side of the Caucasus and
which are considered
by some at the oldest known 'religion' or 'parascience'.
These stanzas formed the basic framework of the 'Vedas', Sanskrit hymns that can be traced to about 8,000 to 5,000 B.C.
These in turn built the foundation for Gotamo's ("the Buddha's") view of the Universe. His teachings, as recorded against his will in the Pali Canon, are about 2,500 years old by now.
In the same timeframe the philosophical ideas of Confucius and Lao-Tse found their expressions in China. Both philosophers, despite being clear and expressive opponents, were drawing from the existing I-Ching system of the mapping of this Universe.
On the Western side of the Caucasus the para-scientifical work known as the Kabbalah was formalized and became the basic philosophical doctrine of the Israelites, and having an impact far beyond its original environment.
An exact dating and locating of these origins of man's earliest philosophies is speculative and hardly feasible.
Excluding superstructural theories such as Joachim of Fiores' trinity system or Nordenholz' 'Axioms of Scientologie' (not to be confused with the 'Church' of the same name), it seems remarkable that there have not been any widely known attempts to map the structure of this Universe since several thousands of years.
This is a surprising and telling sign. It seems that modern technology and 'scientific thinking' did NOT provide any new clues to the actual _structure_ of the Universe whatsoever.
The most fascinating comparison of structural maps would probably be a comparison between the 'Stanzas of Vibration' and the 'Kabbalah' since these appear to be the most detailed of all.
For the purpose of 'Awakening' from the dream of life, however, Gotamo's view as preserved in the Pali Canon may yield more 'practical' results.
The word 'religion' comes from Latin 're-ligere', "leaning back".
To where would a Being 'lean back' other than to its point of origin?
This point of origin is called in Pali, the language Gotamo was using, 'nibbaana'. It is more widely known in its Sanskrit form: nirvana.
In the Kabbalah, this non-describable meta-sphere of all existence is denoted by the Hebrew word 'Kether' (lit."Crown").
Descriptions of this non-describable meta-sphere in Kabbalah and Canon are nearly identical. This is very surprising, to say the least, since their basic, common statement is that this meta-sphere cannot be possibly described by words. (Further explanations of this circumstance are given in other chapters of PNOHTEFTU).
One remarkable feature of Kether/Nibbaana is that no one who enters it ever returns.
The entering of the 'stream that leads to nibbaana' is the highest and ultimately _only_ goal of Gotamo no matter how often and radically this goal has been altered over time by 'Buddhist' thinkers.
It is a goal that is
'hardly comprehendable by an ordinary worldling', according to Gotamo,
and it is so clearly expressed in the Pali Canon that later 'experts' who
wanted to change this basic approach saw themselves forced to proclaim
that he (the 'Buddha') would have not told the truth to his disciples and
that he would have secretively taught another
This is an outrageous claim but nevertheless has become, implicitly or explicitly, the foundation of the vast majority of today's 'Buddhist schools'.
Kether, according to Dr.Bain's work 'The Keys to the Kabbalah', "represents the goal of all things", and, just like for nibbaana in the Canon, time does not apply: "In Kether, time is not."
The Kabbalah describes how the Universe unfolded from Kether through a series of 'emanations'.
In the 'Stanzas on
Vibrations', the basis of Indian Universal views, the meta-sphere of Nibbaana,
originally of unlimited potential and infinite frequency, split up in different
complementary wave patterns.
Such 'splits' of complementary frequencies are binary in form - a series of those splits therefore result in a multi-dimensional 'binary tree' as demonstrated by the Chinese I-Ching system which yields 64 basic spheres or 'emanations'. Here, in the Chinese system, the meta-sphere of Kether/Nibbaana is called the 'Tao'.
It should be noted that the superposition of complementary frequency patterns result in the _original_ frequency pattern _before_ the split.
Thus, Kether/Nibbaana/Tao is always part of the entire Universe _and_ none of it at the same time.
While, very surprisingly, the basic foundation of Israelite, Indian, and Chinese thought systems are described in an extremely similar fashion, the differences between these systems appear as soon as the 'emanations' or 'basic vibrations' are traced down the road towards the manifestation of the physical Universe.
This different view of the same 'thing' yields a different approach to realizing the goal of the returning to the metasphere of Kether/Nibbaana/Tao.
On the other hand, the different approaches of the realization of the 'goal' could have caused a different map of the Universe - it seems impossible to determine which resulted in which.
Gotamo, according to the Pali Canon, did not speak a lot about the 'objective' structure of the Universe but concentrated on the 'subjective' view on how the 'upper spheres' _appear_ to a wanderer on his way home to nibbaana.
It could very well be possible, however, that the Vedic view of the world was so deeply engrained into the minds of the Northern Indian people of his time (the 'ar-yans'), that he either did not see a reason to expound on this subject or that the recorders of his teachings on the 'First Council' assumed this knowledge to be common-place and not worth mentioning.
In the Chinese view, Yang, the male aspect, the spark that started it all, finds itself embedded in its complement, in Yin, the female aspect.
Thus, merging with the 'Tao' means a reconciliation of the basic emanations Yin and Yang in all its basic different combinations.
Similarly, the Indian guna-system, the first known system strictly based on triads, describes the resolution of superimposed and complementary qualities as the only way to reach fulfillment.
In the Kabbalah, 'Hokma ('Wisdom') is the Yang element and the first emanation symbolized by a straight line, and Binah ('Understanding') is the Yin element, the second emanation, symbolized by a triangle.
In Indian and Chinese thought alike, the notion of first or second emanation is not thinkable: by the appearance of 'Yang', 'Yin' as its complement has been created automatically and necessarily.
In praxis, both the Chinese (Taoist) and the Kabbalist's approach call for a direct experience of the different spheres of existence. Only the mapping of those spheres is structurally different: the Taoist approach is of a mathematical logic - the 64 basic permutations of Yin and Yang are a reflection of the binary numerical system - whereas the Kabbalah considers the main states of existence as seen from the human experience and then contemplates the transitions between these states.
Thus, the system of the Kabbalah is oriented towards functionality whereas the Taoist system leans toward systematical enumeration.
In this contraposition, the Kabbalah appears to be more on the 'Yin' side and Taoism more on the 'Yang' side.
In contrast, Gotamo's approach attempts a shortcut by a path of rational recognition of the 'non-self' components of personality. This extremely Yang-sided approach MUST be balanced through a 'Yin' development by practicing the boundless states of mind, notably the immersion and permeation in and of 'metta' (boundless friendship), 'karu.na' (literally 'caring' but for sad reasons mostly translated as 'compassion' - which is a _lower_ harmonics of the same state), and 'mu.dita' (sharing boundless joy with all sentient Beings).
The failure to develop this Yin-side led to the degeneration of Early Buddhist communities and to the counter-movement of the 'Mahayaana', which, in the process, went to the other extreme and resulted in a complete reversion of Gotamo's original teachings.
Most modern approaches have dropped the Yin-side completely and, perhaps as a necessary consequence, are not even addressing the goal of Kether/Nibbaana/Tao in any serious way.
For example, Hubbard's
'Bridge to Total Freedom' solely aims to restore the 'Power the Thetan'.
Even though, in theory, he defines 'thetan' as having 'zero wavelength',
his actual _descriptions_ are depicting a Being as a spiritual entity.
Such an entity, however, is not the
ultimate Being itself but, by definition, a manifestation within the Universe.
In his own words, a
'Cleared Cannibal is a Cannibal'. Ethics, for Hubbard, enters the picture
out of the need for optimal survival within this Universe and not as a
means for merging
with the origin. However, 'survival', as shown in the chapter 'Surviving One's Own Survival Instincts' is a classic implant which, when continued to be dramatized, will lead a person to enter a downwards spiral.
Any split of the 'whole', whether called Kether, Nibbaana, or Tao, results in a 'non-whole'. This is both the literal and conceptual meaning of the Pali word 'dukkha' which has often been quite incorrectly and misleadingly translated as 'suffering'.
It is obvious from the above that the entire world as a phenomenon is non-whole ('dukkha'). It cannot exist otherwise. To subjectively interpret this condition of non-wholesomeness as 'suffering' can only result in confusion and aberration.
How the re-union of a Being with its source is achieved, the "Path" which is taken, is not necessarily limited to one view of the world alone.
As long as one has clarity about the different structures of the paths and does not mix it all up, there is no reason that one could not explore the '32 Paths of Wisdom' of the Kabbalah, work on the harmonizing of Yin and Yang, reach the core of one's Being by stripping the layers of the "Nested-Self" with modern or ancient 'processing techniques', or break through the limits of experience by entering the boundless states of the mind.
In any case, it is
a profound and startling experience to witness the similarity of philosophies
once they have been stripped of verbal attributions and ideological interpretations