Summer of the Void

We have just completed our summer series on Voidness and all things Void. The methodology employed has been a systematic one incorporating Doctrinal, Hermeneutical, Exegetical, Spiritual, Experiential and Transcendental disciplines. You’d be hard-pressed to find any other comprehensive approach to the subject matter anywhere else on the internet. Our most recent segment, The Experience of No-self (and related sequential blogs), conjoined the experiential and transcendental components in the Read more [...]
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What’s in a Smile?

Few people would be able to survive intact the nature of the no-self experience that thrust Bernadette Roberts into the very core of Voidness Itself. Even those who are seasoned contemplatives and who have progressed from the torturous Dark Night of the Spirit into the peaceful unified whole of the divine embrace would not be able to withstand the form of assault that afflicted Bernadette on her path beyond self-discovery into something new and terrifying, but ultimately rewarding and liberating. Read more [...]
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The Void is Nothing to Fear

As Bernadette’s No-self excursion continued she was beginning to feel the ramifications for not having a “within” to turn to for solace… In time, this emptiness became increasingly pronounced and difficult to live with. Without an "inner" life or the slightest movement within, the seeing had become my life; I was totally dependent upon it, and without it, I had not a thing to fall back on. Suddenly I was aware that all life around me had come to a complete standstill. Everywhere I Read more [...]
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A Peculiar Gathering of Intensity

When the sense of self slowly wanes and eventually dissipates, only the emptiness is left which gives rise to the realization, When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. Yet for Bernadette this was not a bitter pill to swallow but just a quiescent sense of acceptance for whatever would follow: For a while I sat there mentally and emotionally stunned. I couldn't think about what had happened, nor was there any response in me at all. Around me there was only stillness, and Read more [...]
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An Interminable Stillness

A prominent part of a Contemplative’s mystical gear is silence. Bernadette asserts that this is fourfold in nature: a silence from within; a silence that descends from without; a silence that stills existence; and a silence that engulfs the entire cosmos. As part of her newfound no-self awakening, a silence in which there is nothing also needs to be included. True enough, the path of silence constitutes an unfolding of the Unknown—a numinous quilt that enwraps itself around an earnest disciple Read more [...]
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No-Self, the Anatomy of the Journey

Originally the subject matter of this series was planned to be included in our previous one, The Doctrine of the Void, but it was evident that the riches contained therein were just too many and therefore justified its own run.  Bernadette’s contemplative acumen began at an early age, but later coalesced into the monastic Carmelite tradition, one whose goal was centered in Absolute Union with the Godhead. It was within this framework that “loss of self” is automatically configured into Read more [...]
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The Experience of No-Self

The subject matter of this blog-series must be prefaced with a little personal anecdote. It was August in the summer of 1999 and I was just returning from a leave of absence and was pondering what lay before me by reading and reflecting upon a book I had just purchased from the old Border’s Bookstore. It was The Experience of No-Self by Bernadette Roberts (1931-2017). What I was reading was an amazing chronicle in the annals of contemplative mystical experiences. The author was a former Cloistered Read more [...]
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Voidness Visible

The Mandala is said to be the abode of the Essence of All Buddhas and whose fabric is of the Dharmadhatu. They represent, as does its Thangka cousin, Voidness made visible. All of this revolves around the Principle that all tantric meditations convey some experience of the void. Our next series in September is based on a contemplative’s personal experience of the void, or no-self, wherein voidness is all that remains when one’s superficial faculties subside and all that is left signifies Read more [...]
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The Purge

The initial inspiration for this series is based upon a book (The Doctrine of the Void as Propounded by St. John of the Cross and as Viewed in the Light of Thomistic Principles, 1955) by Rev. Leonard McCann (1908-1966). This was his Doctoral-Thesis based on the works of St. John of the Cross. What he provided in its pages are actual Bullet-Points incorporating the nature of the Void in relationship to the saints spirituality and works under each heading, for example, Memory and the Void, Various Read more [...]
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The Sixteen Voids of the Vajrayana

It’s been said that the teachings of the Vajrayana were first imparted to the gods and nagas before being conferred upon the human realms. This is based upon the transcendental gnosis of Voidness, which is firstly imparted to dharma realms that are not initially dependent upon corrupted phenomena and faulty thought-paradigms. This is based upon the principle of sarva-śūnya: Sarva-śūnya (all-void or perfect void) is free from all the three-fold impurities and is self-illuminant. It is called Read more [...]
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