Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
Fourth seminar from a series of six entitled “When the illusion of individuality ends.” Krishnamurti asks:” What is the quality of the mind that is no loner self-centred?”
Q: What takes place in the mind that sees that it is part of the whole? What is right action in this world? Is individual action right action? As an individual whatever action I do must be destructive, pleasurable, violent. When we discover the truth that we are an integral part of this enormous humanity what place has individuality? Is there an action that is not born out of the idea of the individual? I can only find out if I am not living in an illusion. When you drop the illusion of individuality do you still carry the memories, the structure, your past in your mind or have you lost the remembrance of sorrow? Is your individuality dead? Then what is action?
The recording linked below is a dialogue between Krishnamurti and some British fellows. If you listen to the recording you will hear Jiddu ask the same question as above: “When the illusion of individuality ends, what is the quality of your mind?” The British fellows don’t understand what he is asking. They refer to the physico-psycho-social development of the individual, insisting that because it so constructed, it is irrefutably real. Krishnamurti asks the same question over and over again: “but what is the quality of your mind when you realize you are not an individual?” The Westerners totally fail to understand the question, or they give up, saying, “If you’ve never had the experience, how would you know?”
The problem is that Westerners tend to split reality into two forms: objective reality, constructed by science and cultural convention, and subjective reality, or the personal, experience of reality. In traditional Indian cosmology, so I’m told, there is no objective/subjective split. Everything is subjective experience. Everything is phenomenal reality. The dharma has little or nothing to do with statements or factual truths about a scientific “objective” reality. It is entirely about the subjective or phenomenological experience of reality, even of the material reality that is “out there.”
Can you and I, then, bring about in ourselves without any outside influence, without any persuasion, without any fear of punishment- can we bring about in the very essence of our being a total revolution, a psychological mutation, so that we are no longer brutal, violent, competitive, anxious, fearful, greedy, envious and all the rest of the manifestations of our nature which we have built up the rotten society in which we live our daily lives?
Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known,15
and can we be patient with ourselves and compassionate with others as we struggle to transform those things?
Shaun, based on teachings of Pema Chodron.