Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Person

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The word ‘person’ is used in this book in its misunderstood sense. It derives from the Latin word ‘persona’, which was the megaphone-mask worn by actors in the theatre to make themselves heard by the audience. It refers to all of those roles and attitudes with which the mind identifies (see 110 ) – we think we are a mother or father, brother, teacher etc; we believe we are lazy, clever and funny etc. All of these characteristics make up ‘who we think we are’ but in fact we are none of those things. These are all attributes of body or mind, whereas we are the essential ‘I’ that is mistakenly identified with these. Nevertheless, it is a commonly accepted term in everyday life so will continue to be used as such in this book.


In reality 'we' are already brahman, simply because brahman is all there is but 'we' think that we are separate 'persons'.


Subsequent to enlightenment, that 'person' is known not to exist as a separate entity at all; it is known that 'I am That (i.e. brahman)'.


Consequently, statements such as 'there is no person to become enlightened' are willfully ignoring the context in which these terms are used. At the level of empirical reality, which is all that the seeker initially knows, there is most definitively a person to become enlightened.


That which is most essentially ‘me’, who I refer to as ‘I’ without any qualification, is not a person; it is the Atman, which is also brahman. This is the fact revealed by enlightenment. Until such realization, the belief in a separate entity/person remains and need not cause any problem (linguistically, that is!) (Post-realization, there is obviously no problem in using the word since there is no longer any confusion.)


Extracts from the Book
Summary and Endorsements
List of Contents
1. From 'Foreword' - NonTraditional advaita
2. From 'Purpose of the Book (and Disclaimers)'
3. From 'Self-Ignorance'
4. The 'Person'
5. From the 'Scriptures'
6. From 'What Enlightenment is Not'
Page last updated: 07-Jul-2012