22 | CR Book VIII, Chapter 3 - Book IX

may get at it. One can get at the self only in the degree to which one
becomes oneself. This is a matter of actual doing and living. And as far
as cognitive processes can help towards that goal, concrete statements,
direct demonstrations, magical rituals and symbols, myths, metaphors
and riddles, visions and eye-opening koans, dharanis and mantras,
although less easily and unambiguously understood, may be at least as
effective as general propositions. By looking at the self, or talking about
it, we get away from it.* It cannot be seen, only lived. To know about
oneself, is to cease to be oneself. To know oneself, one requires a unity
of subject and object, in which the object as an object is lost. Vimalakirti's
silence was deafening like thunder. The unmentalised knowledge that
arises when there is no separation between knower and known defies

[1940 Note on negative propositions]

Chapter 3 - A study of relations leads to the same result. A thing is
essentially bound up, it is identical with its conditions. Its separateness
can scarcely maintain itself against the conditions of its existence, and
against its relations, which are the conditions of its understanding.
The relatedness is essential to that which is related, we speak of "relativity".
The relative is that which is not on its own, but only in a certain
context, or dependance, or only in relation to other things. All objects,
as the y appear to us, are relative to our physical, biological and social
organisation, and to each other.

Relations are either real or unreal. If they are not real, if they are
merely mental, subjective, super-additions to reality, things have really
nothing to do with each other, and nothing belongs to anything. Separate
objective units would not exist. Practice would rule supreme over a chaos.

If relations are real and internal, i.e. if they are included in the
internal and essential constitution of a thing, they break down all
boundaries. All things point beyond themselves. The concrete things
related would not be the same if the relations were absent. Nothing is
contained within itself. Everything is led outside its own boundaries,
from one to the other, without end. Each quality, or object, nothing in
and by itself leads us, when its meaning and significance is understood,
into relations with other "objects" (or "terms") which in their turn
are made up by a cobweb of relations. It is gratuitous to assume that
relations must exist in something (spatial metaphor) or belong to
something. It is impossible to show how they can. Everything is related
to everything else, positively or negatively. There is the dilemma that
we cannot know the nature of a thing apart from its distinction from
others, and that we cannot know its distinction from others apart
from a knowledge of its own nature. A thing is what it is not by itself,
but in relation to other things, which are in the same predicament.
Everything is connected with everything else, has to do with it, and
belongs to it, somehow. Things do not only exclude, they also include
and condition each other. The unity of the related is more or less inti-
mate, but we cannot define degrees of intimacy without reference to
our practical desires. And we may be strangers in the world.

[1940 Chapter 4 - Reifications]


Everything tends to be one, but things are somehow separated, they
have a certain margin of independence, they are something of their own.

*Book I, Chapter 2 - Book II, Chapter 5