Tag Archives: reality


5 Jun

Suffering or non-suffering

27 May

Stop Our Ignorance and Suffering with Non-Dualism

23 May

Daily Life as Spiritual Exercise

18 May

Daily Life as Spiritual Exercise (1971), Durkheim writes,

When we speak of Transcendental Being and the transforming and liberating unity of the Ground, the question inevitably arises; is it not presumptuous to inquire into that which so obviously touches the deepest mystery of life and of man, and which is beyond all rational comprehension? Indeed, such inquiry is permissible only if approached with the utmost delicacy. Even so, we should not be diffident before this great mystery that our diffidence makes us blind and deaf to essential being…. Even so, we have happily, the right to remind ourselves that the mystery of the Ground of Greater Life constantly penetrates our little personal life, with its continuous summons and its power of renewal. …Divine Being stirs in our darkness, bestowing on us, when at last the depths begin to stir and the veil of conceptualization falls, its illuminating experiences. …The Great Experience—which leads to Metanoia, to a reversal of the old life and to a new birth—contains two elements; the experience of oneness, in the stillness of which all things are rendered down, and the encounter with the special way in which we as individual beings participate in Being as Greater Life, which drives forward with dynamic force into the ‘light of the world.

Veiled Reality: Affirmations of the Apophatic from Physics

6 May

Chapter 9 Veiled Reality: Affirmations of the Apophatic from Physics – The God
is No-Thing An Apophatic Assertion: An Introduction for Humankind’s
Transpersonal Actualization– revised -. Copyright Rodger Ricketts Psy.D.,2023.
All rights reserved.

We have seen that science supports the apophatic assertion that a
transcendent reality is beyond the normal range of human perception
and conceptualization. Yet, at the same time, the Transcendent is a
reality in the human life process. We have also seen that awakening or
transcending the ignorance of duality is a common experience of the
mystic. I will now highlight how the theoretical physicist Bernard
d’Espagnat argues that we cannot directly know the transcendental
reality or mind-independent reality:
When, in its spirit, quantum theory and Bell’s theorem are used as
touchstones, the two main traditional philosophical approaches,
realism, and idealism, are found wanting. A more suitable
conception seems to be an intermediate one, in which the mere
postulated existence of a holistic and hardly knowable Mind Independent Reality is found to have explaining power. […] This model considers Reality as not lying in space and time, indeed
being a priori to both, and it involves the view that the great
mathematical laws of physics may only let us catch some glimpses
on the structures of the Mind-Independent Reality.
(On Physics and Philosophy (2006) vol. 41)
D’Espagnat calls this model “veiled reality” to suggest that the
mind-independent reality, like the transcendental of transcendental
idealism, is, for the most part, unconceptualizable. “Veiled reality”
refers to a “world” independent of human perception, brain structure,
and the language of our minds’ participation in knowledge. D’Espagnat,
as well as others, also assert that we are directly involved in this
actuality; we exist in it. We are an integral part of the actual. We are
“swimming” in it. Reality is not a specific area of the universe that
exists separate from our senses. Our limitation is that we have the
capacity to delineate only an exceedingly small aspect of it.
As the Buddha taught, d’Espagnat explains that sense impressions
and sensations are genuine, as are our sense organs. In sight and color,
both the photons or waves, as well as the retinal cones are actual and
their interactions create our vision. The same is true of our other
sensations. This is the middle way of understanding our place in reality.
We do not have to seek our participation in it; we are a part of it.
However, in our dualistically based ignorance, we normally take our
cognitive representations, or pictures of reality, to be reality itself.
However, under certain meditative conditions, we can understand how
our subject/object dualistic world creates this illusion—the illusion that
is our ignorance

Chapter 4 The Unanswerable Questions

25 Apr

The God is No-Thing An Apophatic Assertion: An Introduction for
Humankind’s Transpersonal Actualization– revised

Copyright Rodger Ricketts
Psy.D.,2023. All rights reserved. Protected by international copyright

Chapter 4
The Unanswerable Questions

The apophatic tradition emphasizes the unity, wholeness,
interdependence, and interconnectedness of all things. In distinction
from the dualism of the answerable questions, there are intuitions and
experiences about realities that transcend the cognitive systems of
categories expressed in our human thought and language. They are
matters which, in St Paul’s words, “no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man conceived” (I Corinthians 2:9). Instead,
apophatic theology refers to the subject matter of these unanswerable
questions as mysteries, as real matters that are beyond human
comprehension and expression. Also, they recognize that the endless
pursuit of logical and rational thinking about these mysteries is
useless, creates suffering and makes it impossible to attain sublime
In the Majjhima-Nikāya Sutta no. 63, the monk Malunkyaputta
decided to ask the Buddha questions: “These theories have been left
unexplained by the Lord.” He asked them all dualistically. He
expressed them this way: “Is the world eternal, or not?” With the
questions almost binary in its dualism, the answers must be dualistic.
As they speak to relative reality, one reason often cited as to why the
Buddha would not answer these questions is that any answer,
regardless of what those answers were, would reinforce dualism: meyou, space-time, object, and subject. So, Buddha not only left his
answers “undeclared” (because, otherwise, they would be obstacles in
the monk’s path and practice) but also because they have no validity in
a non-dualistic perspective. Believing in the certainness and verity of
relative reality and duality is one of the dispositions that hinders the
ability to “awaken” (to understand the true nature of life and
While the sciences are left to do their own legitimate study of finding
out about the compositions of, and the workings of, the known
physical universe, the Buddha would not have endorsed any attempts
of physics or scientific cosmology as a new form of natural theology
leading “from science to God.” In his book Tao of Physics (1975), the
physicist Fritjof Capra says, “Both the physicist and the mystic want to
communicate their knowledge, and when they do so with words, their
statements are paradoxical and full of logical contradictions”
(Chapter 3, Beyond Language). Nor would the Buddha have supported
the endeavors of theologians over the centuries, who have developed
complex cataphatic systems of doctrine about many unequivocal
attributes of God. For the Buddha, all such dogmas come under the
heading of speculative views, the pursuit of which is unsuitable to a
final understanding of our immanent relationship with No-Thing.
It is remarkably difficult for human beings to overcome the fixation on
the illusion of dualism. Mostly because very little is promoted to
transcend the dualistic mindset, which is detrimental to interior,
mystical, and experiential faith. As Fritjof Capra explained,
In ordinary life, we are not aware of the unity of all things but divide
the world into separate objects and events. This division is useful and
necessary to cope with our everyday environment, but it is not a
fundamental feature of reality. It is an abstraction devised by our
discriminating and categorizing intellect. To believe that our abstract
concepts of separate ‘things’ and ‘events’ are realities of nature is an
Instead, the Transcendent is conceptually unknowable and beyond the
scope of the human cognitive apparatus. The non-dual state of
awareness or emptiness ceases to make artificial distinctions. And yet,
non-dualistic awareness subtly enhances feeling, experiencing, and
loving with unconditional kindness, truth, wisdom, and compassion.
Being, living, and experiencing without cognitive discrimination is
pure awareness. It is a transcendent awareness, an understanding, a
transformation of consciousness.
When we know transcendent reality deeply, all is a seamless unity,
despite the appearance or teachings to the contrary of the commonly
held assumptions and the mindset insisting that we live in a dualistic
creation. The challenge is to allow pure awareness in the present
moment, to allow the “simple” presence of the now, the only place
where we can be in the truth, immersed and infused with discovering
how to be fully embodied in life. Ancient Buddhist philosopher and
poet Ashvaghosha gave the name “sunyata” to “the void” or
“emptiness” when the futility of all conceptual thinking is recognized
and reality is experienced as pure “suchness.” As Bahá’u’lláh, the
founder of the Baháʼí Faith, explained in the Tablet to Hashim:
Immeasurably exalted is His Essence above the descriptions of His
creatures… Far be it from His glory that human pen or tongue should
hint at His mystery, or that human heart conceives His Essence.”
(GWB XCIV:192)

Chapter 2 The God is No-Thing An Apophatic Assertion: An Introduction for Humankind’sTranspersonal Actualization– revised

25 Apr

Chapter 2 The God is No-Thing An Apophatic Assertion: An Introduction for Humankind’s
Transpersonal Actualization– revised -. Copyright Rodger Ricketts Psy.D.,2023. All rights
reserved. Protected by international copyright conventions. No part of this chapter may be
reproduced in any manner whatsoever, or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, without
express permission of the Authorpublisher, except in case of brief quotations with due
acknowledgement. Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Chapter 2

Via Negativa and Via Positiva

In this chapter, I will highlight what more I learned about apophatic theology or
apophaticism. Those new readings introduced me to Western and other apophatic
writers, resulting in my defining the Buddha’s teachings as an example of an
apophatic perspective. There are clear similarities between the Buddha’s writing
and those of Angelus Silesius and other apophatic theologists. While there is
already some scholarship about this similarity, it is, unfortunately, rarely discussed
in mainstream Buddhist or theistic literature. This lack of discussion prompted me
to integrate relevant aspects of my previous writings on the Buddha’s teachings
with fascinating apophatic perspectives and to highlight what I believe are
important parallels.
In the past, I read some works of Christian mystics like Meister Eckhart
and the book The Cloud of Unknowing, but I was never specifically introduced to
the apophatic tradition. This past year, as I read the apophatic works of Angelus
Silesius and Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, I realized that the Buddha’s
teachings could be correctly considered apophatic. This realization opened a new
dimension of comprehension and relevance for me about what I had written in my
previous books and essays on the Buddha’s teachings. First, let us understand the
differences between cataphatic and apophatic theology or via positiva and via

Chapter 3

24 Apr

From my new book:

God is No-Thing;

                                 An Apophatic Assertion

        An Introduction for Humankind’s Transpersonal Actualization



Apophatic Considerations about Language

                    Can Human Language Define the Transcendental?

Using a primarily Buddhist and modern linguistic perspective, I will
highlight traditional apophatic considerations about language in this
chapter. Apophatic theology teaches that the transcendental is
ineffable or ultimately beyond description. Negative theology states
that since the human mind cannot grasp the infinity of existence, then
all words and concepts will fail to adequately describe it. Therefore,
human languages provide, at best, a hint of a description of
transcendence. Negative theology espouses the avoidance of making
affirmations about “God” so as to prevent placing “God” in a “cage of
concepts,” which not only limits humanity’s vision of the
transcendental but easily becomes an abstracted, dualism-based
ignorance of believing in permanence and separateness.
Nevertheless, cataphatic theologians make definitive statements about
the nature of God, such as God is omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving,
all-good, glorious, all-powerful, great, almighty, and so on. However,
in doing so, problems of theodicy and logic arise. For example, if God
is all-powerful, can “He” make a mountain which is too heavy for
Him to lift? In contrast, negative theology recognizes the limits and
failings of human logic to understand the sheer dimension of
transcendence. Therefore, in the assumptions of negative theology, it
is better to say what transcendence is not rather than to say what it is
because this places fewer limits on describing what (X) is.
Yet, clearly, negative theology is not a denial. Rather, it is an assertion
that whatever transcendental reality may be, when we attempt to
capture it in human categories and words, we inevitably fail. Some
theologians, like Saint Anselm, the eleventh-century Christian
theologian, famously wrote, “God is greater than anything that we
can conceive.” He also recognized that since human beings cannot
fathom the essence of God, then all descriptions of God are ultimately
insufficient, and conceptualization is useless. As the non-dualistic,
mystical experience cannot be stated in an abstract understanding,
apophatic theology maintains that one can never truly define the
transcendent reality in words. In the end, the believer must avoid the
dualism of words and concepts to best appreciate and experience the
nature of emptiness of non-dualism.
An awareness of the transcendental is possible, yet this awareness is
not based on cognitive constructions and dualistic logic. Being or (X)
is No-Thing, non-dualistic, prior to the subject-object division and,
instead, can be intuitively understood. While (X) is conceptually and
linguistically unknowable, and transcends all human
conceptualization, knowledge through silence, or negation of the
definitive, is intuitively possible in the silent and empty mind. As the
seventeenth-century German Catholic priest and physician Angelus
Silesius wrote, “God is a pure no-thing, concealed in now and here;
the less you reach for him, the more he will appear.”

A short video introducing my previous book The Buddha’s Teachings: Seeing Without Illusion 2nd Edition

8 Apr

My new book is now published on Amazon

30 Mar

I am very happy with this effort of my revision.