Aspects of Not-Being. I

It is less what one is that should matter, than what one is not.

To acquire knowledge should not be our first aim, but rather to rid ourselves of ignorance - which is false-knowledge.

The qualities we possess should never be a matter for satisfaction, but the qualities we have discarded.

If Charity (compassion), Simplicity, and Humility are desirable as attributes that is because they depend upon the elimination of qualities that have been discarded.

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Behind the Conditioned is the Unconditioned. Behind Being is Not-Being. Behind Action is Non-Action (not inaction). Behind Me is Not-Me. 'I am Not-I, therefore I am I': the Prajnaparamita Sutra said it a thousand years ago. Transform 'I' into 'Not-I' and then 'Not-I' will become 'I'. Only God is 'I' (I am only 'I' in so far as I am God or the Absolute, i.e. my Principle).

Does not one of our elementary errors lie in imagining that we 'do' things, for it seems to be equally probable that things 'do' us? We believe that we perform an endless series of actions, but the truth may be that an endless series of actions performs us. We think that we manipulate events, but are we not rather manipulated by events? We think we go to meet that which we experience, but that which we experience may come to meet us. It is perhaps an illusion that we 'live': we are 'lived'.

'Take Life as it comes,' we say - that is be aware that it is life that comes to us and not we who go to life.

What we call 'life' is only things that happen. The patent (acquired) personality reacts to 'life' with states of mind. The latent personality should be unaffected by 'life': it need not 'do' and is content to 'be'.

The Buddha-nature is the unconditioned nature.

It is not for us to search but to remain still, to achieve Immobility not Action.

We only exist in the instant: we do not exist as a continuity, as we suppose. Our apparent existence from day to day, year to year, is an illusion; but we exist in each instant between the ticking of the clock of Time, each instant not one of which are we quick enough to perceive.

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Action and Non-Action. I

Non-Action on the plane of Being becomes, by articulation, Correct-Action on the plane of Existing.

Correct-Action may be anything from violence to what we regard as inaction - for inaction is inevitably a form of action.

The majority of our actions are Incorrect-Action. We are mad monkeys eternally doing unnecessary things, obsessed with the necessity of 'doing', terrified of inaction, glorifying 'doers' almost uncritically, regardless of the havoc they cause, scorning 'non-doers', equally uncritically, blind to the prosperity that follows in their wake, the former being the normal result of what is Incorrect-Action, the latter being the normal result of inaction that is Correct-Action.

But what we regard as action is really reaction, the reaction of our artificial and impermanent ego to the non-ego, to external events. We react from morning to night: we do not act.

That, I think, is the explanation of the Taoist doctrine of Non-Action. Explanation is necessary because translation from the Chinese ideograms does not reveal the difference between Non-Action that is noumenal and inaction that is phenomenal.

The dynamism of inaction in a given circumstance can be greater than that of action in the same circumstance. Inaction that is dynamic requires vision and self-control - for action is easier to us than inaction. It is the dynamism of inaction that identifies it as Correct-Action.

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We are brought up to believe that in all circumstances we should 'do'. Rather than face inaction we spend hours drinking spirits or consuming narcotics. Therein we are reagents only: we 'do' but we know not how to BE.

Correct-Action should be normal to the man who has realised his state of Satori, for his ego, dissolved or integrated, is no longer in a position to react. In consequence all his actions should be Correct-Action.

But Correct-Action must be possible to us also in both its forms. Action based on affectivity, positive or negative, action based on reasoning, dependent upon the comparison of the opposites, and thereby relative, involving memory, manifestations of the illusory ego, is unlikely to be correct - for they are not action but reaction.

It would seem, therefore, that Correct-Action can only be spontaneous - the product of the split-second that outwits the fraud of Time.

Note - The term 'Correct-Action' is an approximation only, as would be the French 'l'Action Juste'. Two additional terms could follow it in brackets in order to develop its meaning more fully. These words are 'necessary' and 'real'. One may read, therefore, each time, 'Correct, Necessary, Real Action', and 'Incorrect, Unnecessary, Unreal Action'. But the more technical term 'Adequate (and Inadequate) Action', when understood, is still better.

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The dynamic inaction referred to above is a form of Adequate-Action which on the plane of Being is Non-Action. But negative inaction, which is a mode of our habitual action, and which is reaction, partakes of the unreality of that. Both action and inaction, in our normal forms of manifestation, are on the plane of phenomena and have no real existence.

There are, therefore, two forms of Action, real and unreal, each of which has an aspect which we regard as inaction.

(© RKP, 1958)

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