Yes, to the greatest extent. What greater admiration can there be than that of Beauty itself? Love, for Plato, is the attraction all creatures have for a variety of things, and in man it is the love or craving of the soul for the beautiful. The mind of man ascends from love of the physical to the intellectual love of absolute Beauty (Symp. 210 a – f). The higher eros is what does that, being irresistibly attracted by what is beautiful. Cf. ‘Therapeia’, by R.E. Cushman, a wonderful book.

Addendum: From the perspective of Advaita Vedanta (and, why not? from every philosophical and esthetic perspective – Aesthetics being a branch of philosophy) Being or Existence (satya) is the most lovable, and it is equivalent (another name for it) to the Spirit or Atman inherent in Nature, i.e., in all forms of life including man*. One can trace a parallel between the Platonic and the Shankarian or Advaitist traditions.

  • As a generic, inclusive, word ‘man’ is, of course, old, passé
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Advaya lll

To the Eastern ways of liberation the most important discrimination possible is the one between ‘the two levels of reality’: between the level of the timeless, the discrimination less, the always-present (Reality with capital R), and the level of the manifesting, which continuously is changing, with birth, growth, decline and death. A multitude of definitions is possible for this second level, varying from ‘total illusion’ to ‘temporal reality’.

The order in which both levels are mentioned here is not arbitrary. Although of course terms like ‘first’ and ‘second’ level are ultimately not true, one can still say that it is essential for the realisation of one’s true nature to first dedicate oneself totally to what is always true, to what is ‘always already the case’: called ‘first level’ here. The fact is that if you continue to focus your attention to the particulars of the individual simultaneously, this will form a hindrance to the view of your nature that is always present. Continue reading

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Why the name Advaya? ll (Philip Renard)


The term advaya (or its equivalent, pu-erh in Chinese, fu-ni  in Japanese and gnyis-med in Tibetan) is being used explicitly in a few traditions which, because this explicitness, could be together called ‘the one advaya tradition’, ‘the one direct way of liberation’. These traditions are:

In the first place, a few Buddhist ways of direct teaching, namely Zen (originally called Ch’an) from China and Japan, and Dzogchen and Mahamudra from Tibet. Next to these are two traditions from India: Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism. It needs to be mentioned that in many original texts of both Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir shaivism, the term advaya has been used more frequently than its synonym advaita.

These traditions distinguish themselves by strongly emphasising, more than other traditions do, the non-conceptual as the ultímate truth, and the necessity of the immediate experience of this truth. In this respect, the mentioned Buddhist traditions are in fact more related to the ‘induistic’ Advaita than to the more dualistic schools within Buddhism. Continue reading

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Plato’s Cave

From Quora  Question: ‘Can we step out of Plato’s Cave?’


X  As I remember, Plato spoke of the few that escaped into the bright light of day, becoming (at least temporarily?) blinded. That, by itself, has to have some (metaphorical) meaning. But if the question is rhetorical, the answer is a conditional ‘Yes’ — by leading the life of a philosopher (‘lover of wisdom’), following the path of philosophy. That is a lifelong process or journey, in Plato’s terms.

Y  Plato mistakenly thought we could get a Truth by purely mental means and a priori principles.   Not so.  We have to look at, touch, feel, smell, taste and handle reality.

X  Sorry to disagree. First, we don’t know what were his oral doctrines to selected disciples (the 7th letter says something in that regard, while putting down the written word). Second, his ontology was non-dualist rather than a scalar one: all the lower steps or stages being incorporated stepwise in the higher ones, till getting at the Good as a first principle (supreme arché) – each step or degree of being a reflection of the one above. This would result in contemplation of a unity or oneness – one reality. When Socrates spoke of Diotima, his mentor, he did so reverently and reservedly, signifying or suggesting something secret – a spiritual transmission (one might Google: Plato’s secret doctrines, which I have not done).


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Inviation in satsang & the ‘holy sequence’ II – Philip Renard


Why the name Advaya?


This site is called Advaya. This is a Sanskrit term, which

means ‘non-duality’. This term has been used very often in

texts of both Mahayana Buddhism as well as Advaita Vedanta,

from the beginning of the Common Era. Because the

term advaya has been used by both of these non- dualistic

movements, it is highlighted on this site: as a fundamental

starting point for a possible insight in the underlying unity of

both approaches – and in fact the unity of all religious and

philosophical approaches, despite their different vocabulary. Continue reading

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Inviation in satsang & the ‘holy sequence’ – Philip Renard

Philip Renard, a Dutchman, is perhaps not so well known in the Anglo-Saxon world as other sages from India and the West, but he is a master of spirituality, that is, a sage, in his own right. He has only a few publications in English, and a book by him is forthcoming.


On the invitation in satsang,
and the ‘holy sequence’
The invitation in satsang is always the same.
It could be summarized as follows.
Recognition of your true nature is possible as soon as you are
to allow a gap between one thought and the next,
right in the middle of an inner story or perception,
Even though this gap is only the entrance,
looking from this gap you can see
that seeing itself is in fact something great:
it shows that you yourself are the knowing, seeing
principle, which continuously, from within, bestows light on
Without this self-illuminating principle you cannot know or
experience anything.
From the gap mentioned you can also see
that it is inseparable from the things which arise in it –
that in fact everything is inclusive.
There is thought as well as no-thought. Mind as well as
no-mind. Continue reading

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Appearance and reality

Can appearance itself be doubted?  (Discussion in QUORA)

The question is not about the relation between appearance (things) and noumenon (thing in itself). It concerns only the appearance ITSELF. That means, I’m not asking about whether appearance is capable to reveal the noumenon, rather whether the trueness of appearance can be doubted.

For example, while I’m licking honey, it tastes sweet to me. I’m not asking whether the honey itself is sweet, rather ‘it tastes sweet to me’ can be doubted.

Tom McFarlane. As long as there is some kind of judgment involved, no matter how subtle, there can be doubt. And, as long as there is a characterization of an appearance as being this or that, there is judgment, which can be doubted. And this will always be the case since no experience is a perfectly pure appearance, free of all interpretation or judgment. So, for example, if you lick some honey and have the experience of it tasting sweet, that involves identifying ‘it’ and ‘sweet’ and ‘tasting’ and putting those together in a judgment that can be doubted. If you strip away or suspend all interpretation and judgment, then what is left is not any appearance at all, but the simple naked fact of awareness itself, about which nothing can be affirmed or denied. Continue reading

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