Ultimate Reality

I want to make a few comments about something I wrote in the last post:

It seems to me that there is no other religious philosophy other than Buddhism that has such a concept where there is absolutely no separation between the ordinary person and the ultimate reality.  You cannot become God, Jesus, the Prophet – you can be Buddha.  Here, the ultimate reality is everything.

When we talk about an “ultimate reality” in Buddhism, we’re comprehending a different understanding of the term that that of other religions or spiritual philosophies.  An “ultimate reality” is not any one thing.  It is everything.  There is no separation because we are living the ultimate reality right now.  How we perceive it is the question.

You may read that emptiness is the ultimate reality.  That is misleading.  Emptiness is the “ultimate” nature of things, meaning that all things are empty, including emptiness.  But it does not mean that emptiness itself is anything like a force, or substitute for some mystical being.  There is no creator god in Buddhism.  Buddha was not divine, nor was he was prophet.  He was an itinerant philosopher and meditation teacher.  To compare Buddha with the others is a bit misleading as well.

I’m sure most of you caught my drift when you read the post.  Just wanted to make sure…

In Nagarjuna’s Philosophy, K. Venkata Ramanan says that it is through realizing that even the subtlest things are not ultimate in reality that one becomes free of clinging.  The philosophy of sunyata seeks to bring about this realization by laying bare the inconsistencies to which one is misled into thinking things are ultimate.

So, in Buddhism there is no ultimate reality.  At the same time, all of reality is the ultimate reality.

Ramanan quotes Nagarjuna:

The ultimately true nature of the Buddha and the ultimately true nature of all things are in truth but one reality, not two, not divided.  This ultimate reality is unmade, it will never be other than what it always is.

Reality is.  Just is.  Unmade.  Indeterminable.  Non-dual.  The ultimate reality is a whole, the whole of everything.  That is why everything is Buddha and anyone can be Buddha.

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2 thoughts on “Ultimate Reality

  1. Very nicely written. There is so much confusion “out there” about emptiness and ultimate reality. This is understandable considering that even scientific reality and quantum physics are hard to comprehend. I think it important to take the view that you have shared vice the hokey-pokey mystical view that is often voiced.

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