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  • Rudy Bauer

A Phenomenology: Being Beyond Good and Evil and Living within The Realm of Good And Evil

This paper is an ethical discussion about how action emerges from and out of timeless awareness through us into time. Our understanding reflects and is based upon what has been described as the two ways of knowing. The most primordial way of knowing is knowing  non- dualistically through awareness or what some call gnosis and others call jnana and still others direct perception. And the more common and ordinary way of knowing is knowing through our mind and the instruments of our mind such as feeling, thinking, sensation, memory and imagination. This knowing is the mode of knowing difference, singularity and dualistically. This is the mode of knowing me and you, us and them and this and that. This knowing of duality is the mode of knowing within appearance, knowing what is appearing both within and without, knowing both internally and externally.

Now because of our wonderful capacity for the skillful simultaneous union of these two modes of knowing we can know duality from within non-duality and within duality we can know non-duality. This sublime mode of knowing reflects the simultaneous union of the two modes of knowing.  This sublime mode of knowing reflects the very nature of creation which is oneness and difference. Through the simultaneous integration of the two modes of knowing we can experience both oneness and difference through our experience of appearance. Furthermore this sublime knowing is an action and so in respect to this knowing the Hindu Shavite masters would declare “knowledge is action”. This sublime form of knowingness manifests the action within duality while arising and emerging from within the dimension of non-duality. The action emerges out of non- duality into the dualistic experience and appearance.

This simultaneous knowingness is the power of compassion. Compassion self-arises from within non-duality of gnosis or jnana and manifest within dualistic appearance and the experience of self and otherness. This is the power of non-dual timeless awareness entering into the drama of duality within time.

Time is the unfolding of appearance, time is the unfolding of the pairs of opposites. The power of compassion is the power both of self-liberation and protectiveness. This power of compassion liberates us from evil within us and the evil within circumstances. As the great Christian prayer the Our Father invokes: “Deliver us from evil, now and at the hour of our death.” Compassion also gives the power of protection and protectiveness towards those vulnerable to evil and suffering. Compassion protects innocence.

The closer and the more our mind is integrated within this awareness field, this field of knowingness, the more our mind is infused by the sense, the implicit felt sense of non- duality, the inner heart essence. This integration of our mind within our awareness field overcomes and heals the primary developmental dissociation between our mind and our innate awareness. The more our dualistic mind is dissociated, separated from the innate relatedness of primordial non-dual awareness, the more our mind is felt to be a thing among things. And so our thoughts become things, our feelings become things, sensation is thing like, our drives are thing like, sexuality is a thing, and the world itself becomes a thing.

As we become thing like, our very humanness does not unfold into being. We do not become what we are.  We do not become “shepherds of being” as Heidegger called us.  The anima mundi disappears. The world as soul, the world as psyche disappears and only things remain.  Happily, whenever there is the manifestation of love there is the self-arising of non-duality within duality. Wherever there is love there is the self-arising of compassionate protection. ‘Ubi charitas et amour deus ibi est’. This means wherever there is charity and love there is God. And so the Christian medievalist would say “God is Love” and the ancient Greeks would say “Love is a God.”

Belief in the deities or belief in the archetypal dimension of human experience is not the same power as the experiential power of invocation. The power of invocation is the power to invoke or bring forth the archetypal realm and is the power of bringing forth the power of the archetypal into situations and within our embodiment and within our own circumstances. This is the power of magical realism. Through the power of invocation, the power of the archetypal dimension can manifest around you and through you. Our very oneness with the archetypal dimension can bring forth goodness around us and through us and to us. Just as the power of evil can come forth through us and around us and within us. The archetypal context and archetypal source when benevolent can protect us from suffering and infuse us with the light of awareness. We live in trans-lucidity.

Some think and restrict the archetypal realm to the interior world of the human psyche. They think within the Cartesian, Kantian philosophical framework of the basic division between subjectivity and objective world. Rather the archetypal dimension of human experience are fields of energy, light and information that inform both psyche and matter. The archetypal is continuity between inner and outer experience.  The archetypal dimension is manifesting both the experience within psyche and the phenomena of circumstance. The archetypal dimension is both non-dualistic and dualistic. The archetypal is both cosmological and personal.

Evil is not simply psychological but is cosmologically rooted and is constantly and unceasingly becomes psychological. Evil is suffering and evil is the infliction of suffering. The love of the infliction of suffering is evilness that is both personalized and archetypally manifested. Evilness is the love humans have for inflicting suffering in order to protect themselves from suffering. There is a pleasure humans have in inflicting suffering on others.  This pleasure is evilness.

Self-liberation is not earned but naturally given to everyone. This natural given-ness is hidden by political, cultural, religious, personal and archetypal obscurations. The darkness of ma rigpa (not knowing) is archetypal, cultural and personal. Collectively the unconsciousness is the obscuration of natural awareness which is the great compassion.

The ethos of compassion is the power to perceive through the union of mind and awareness simultaneously the immediacy of lived context and the lived immediacy of the self- manifestation of non-duality within duality. Non duality infusing duality and duality infusing our experience of non-duality, this is the true hermeneutic circle of self-liberation.

Self-liberation happens through the simultaneous experience of the presence of goodness and the presence of evilness and the intertwining of both. This intertwining is the alchemical mixture of both psyche and circumstance. The fire of self-liberation is the fire of the elements combining within appearance and experience. This is self-liberation within the momentum.

 As Lama Tharchin Rinpoche so often said, ‘how’ we relate to appearance directly influences self-realization and self-liberation.  Through our experience of goodness and evilness, and our experience of intertwining of both goodness and evilness there is ongoing intensification of liberating self-experience. The multidimensionality of this   experience of intrinsic relatedness of goodness and evilness and the experience of luminous awareness dissolves duality. Luminous Purity is the fire of awareness. The luminous fire of awareness frees us from the confinement of circumstances. The space of trans-lucidity allows us to live within the world engaged without being enslaved by its vicissitude, without being captured and possessed by the contained solipsistic mind and containing circumstances.

Within Dharmakaya, the infinity of pure potential space, there is only purity. There is only open unbound uncontained knowingness as ‘no thingness’ manifesting as everything and anything. In the experience of the dimensions of appearance of duality of Rupa form, there is the pairs of opposites. Without awareness, these extremes of the opposites cannot be held and without the base of the space of awareness self- liberation congeals. The radiance of appearance cannot be held. Primordial awareness both manifest everything and anything and self- liberates us within everything and anything.

Living and being in open spaciousness of luminous awareness frees us to be beyond good and evil. Being luminous in the trans-lucidty of awareness field is self-liberation within this realm of goodness and evilness, within intertwining of happiness and suffering. We experience directly the infinity in particularity, and the infinity in singularity and the infinity in momentariness.

The power of compassion is the power of the mastery of self-liberation and self-agency through action. The power of extension of the light of awareness cuts through phenomena and opens all phenomena so that we experience the trans-lucidity of phenomena, the lucidity of appearance.

The power of the innate awareness as light can free our person from configurations of our mind and configurations of compelling actions and situations. The light permeates everything absolutely everything is light. The power of extension of the luminous awareness can free others from compulsive mind and driven actions.  It frees us from the demonic!

Cutting through liberates phenomena, and seeing through liberates the light of phenomena to become visible and manifest.  Simultaneously seeing and experiencing the purity of all beings as Being itself and simultaneously experiencing the evilness and goodness intertwined within all beings of form. Evilness and goodness is not simply a function of rational responsibility as our perverted superego conjectures. Awareness metabolizes everything and anything. Dissolves everything into the light and is able to manifest experience through the light.

A great master of Dzogchen Yang Thang Rinpoche describes absolute compassion as the capacity of a person who is in timeless awareness in time, to extend the light of this awareness into a person’s presence into the present, into the person’s past, and into the person’s future. There are four times. The time of present moment, the time of the past and the time of the future, the fourth time is the time of timeless awareness. As a person becomes aware of their own awareness, this timeless dimension opens and becomes the experiential base of their existence. From within timeless awareness the power of extension can bring forth the light and the action of the light into time. Such a person is simultaneously in timeless awareness and in time and brings forth compassionate action from the place of timeless awareness into time. The power of timeless awareness is the power of self- liberation.

Good and evil is not simply a function of freedom of choice. The very cosmology of a person brings within itself goodness and evilness, love and hate, driven-ness, openness, happiness and suffering. The love of goodness and benevolence is given just as is the compelling-ness of the pleasure of evil and the pleasure of the destruction of the human psyche. There is the love of the infliction of pain on self and otherness. The love of Thanatos and love of Eros is the existential condition of humanness. The intertwining of Eros and Thanatos is the alchemical fire that liberates us or can destroy us. This understanding was Freud’s final understanding about human consciousness.

As Nagarjuna,  2nd century AD the most important Buddhist philosopher warns us over and over to be careful if you think you know what causality is. He said it is impossible to explain the relationship between cause and effect and also how cause and effect is related to human beings. He would say any view of causation leads to certain contradictions or absurdities. Nagarjuna argues that causal production is really impossible to think and apprehend. The understanding and belief that an effect is real inherent in a cause and then is produced by the cause is viewed from his school of Madhyamika as an absurd understanding. He would say you think you know about causality but you do not really know with your concrete operational mind. You should be careful if you think you know what karma is and how it unfolds.

Even Nagarjuna, in his brilliance, was incomplete in his understanding about emptiness. He understood emptiness without radiance, emptiness without luminosity. He understood awareness as emptiness without radiance. Nonetheless, his great philosophical step was to bring forth the cosmological dimension of emptiness as source.

The focus on mind as the knowingness of singularity and difference, and awareness as the knowingness of being opens for us ethos. True ethos is the simultaneous knowing through mind, and through awareness, the unfolding situation, unfolding of circumstances. The two modes of knowing are necessary for the ethos of compassionate action. It is true that gnosis as non-duality is beyond good and evil and the mind knowing difference is within the realm of good and evil. Of course self- liberation is simultaneously being in non-duality within duality and being in duality within non duality. Being beyond good and evil within the realm of great happiness and great suffering and in the realm of great happiness and great suffering while being beyond good and beyond evil. This is the experience of self-liberation which is actually the full realization of human being-ness.

The paradoxical process of self-liberation takes place within the one knower whose drama of self-liberation involves two profound modes of knowing. There is knowing which the unfolding process of compassion which is gnosis direct awareness in every situation. This non-dual knowing the experience the pervasive trans-lucidity of luminous being pervading the different dimensions of existence. The dimension of the flesh (Nirmanakaya) is the dimension of ordinary life. The dimension of apparitions, (Sambogakaya) is the archetypal dimension of existence. The pervasive dimension of (Dharmakaya) is the dimension of radiant potentiality.

Paradoxically and simultaneously within this one knower is the mode of knowing through mind, knowing the difference and singularity of phenomena. This mind knowing experiences about phenomena and about action.

The process is innately paradoxical. Being in the realm of direct knowingness a person experiences the purity of all phenomena. The purity of being manifesting itself as infinite beings. The being-ness of all beings is purity, the purity of being itself. At the same time within this one knower, there is the knowingness of difference and singularity. And within this realm of the same existence all phenomena contains the paradox of goodness and evilness. This mode of knowing experiences the manifestation of great goodness and great evilness within this Nirmanakaya realm, the realm of infinite actions of both goodness and evil cruelty.

By being in non-duality a person is better able to experience with clarity the character of goodness and character of evilness in dualistic experience. Non-dual awareness infuses the mind. Through this union of mind and awareness there arises a gnosis of mind just as there is gnosis of awareness. Through the directness of non-dual awareness the phenomena of goodness and evilness is unveiled and clearly perceived by the union of both mind and awareness.

The archetypal dimension is also perceived more directly and clearly including the very drama of manifestation. The luminous energetic elemental archetypal realm (Sambogakaya) is experienced with its compelling-ness of goodness and compelling-ness of evilness beyond what our minds can apprehend or comprehend as mind alone. The archetypal dimension is an intermediate area of manifestation between Dharmakaya and Nirmanakaya..This realm is unconscious for many people if not most,

In the unfolding of self-liberation the person experiences the luminosity and trans-lucidity of all phenomena including the archetypal energies becoming form and action. The demonic arises simultaneously as the beatific arises into formulation and forms of being .The depth of manifestation is often obscured and unseen as this invisible dimension becomes visible as a felt sense. Goodness is a felt sense and evilness is a felt sense.

If one is in mind alone then the full power of goodness and the full power evilness will not be experienced consciously but only as a resultant state. This means a person will only experience the result of goodness or the result of evilness but not the unfolding process of self-manifestation.

Goodness can compel us into beneficent states. Evilness can compel us into demonic states. Demonic states are pain states and beneficent states are bliss states. There is a contagion that is beyond the reflective mind. Goodness is a sphere of energy and evilness is a sphere of energy and both archetypal goodness and archetypal evil manifest corresponding experience and behaviors of goodness and evilness. This drama is not only individually, but familial, cultural and epochal.  

This manifestation manifest not only as the individual but manifest in time and places. Good times and evil times and good places and evil places are manifested. The great compassion arising from within timeless awareness manifesting in time and spaces. Timeless awareness manifesting actions that liberate goodness from the domination and possession of evilness. The great compassion liberates beings from suffering imposed by evilness. Compassion liberates beings from the passion of evilness.

Many spiritual traditions including eastern traditions by pass and foreclose duality. They foreclose the actuality of duality, the actuality of difference, and the actuality of ordinary reality. Ordinary reality is considered by many to be a delusion or illusion. This unhappy by passing of duality and foreclosure of duality, forecloses the power of the action of the great compassion to protect human beings within the world of difference. The great compassion is wisdom gnosis in action arising out of the non-duality of timeless awareness into time and place and cuts through evil, liberating us from evil. The denial of duality, is the denial of humanness and individuality. The denial of non-duality is the denial of divinity as oneness.  The denial of duality is a source of suffering just as the denial of non-duality is a source of suffering.


The Washington Center for Consciousness Studies and the Washington Center for Phenomenological and Existential Psychotherapy Studies

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Washington Center for Consciousness Studies

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