Non-Duality



On The Doctrine Of Non-Duality



René Guénon, EDH


If one does not accept this limitation [the distinctive character of dualism is to stop at an opposition of two terms] and would like to resolve this opposition to which dualism so obstinately holds on to, one could present different solutions; [here René Guénon describes first why monism cannot resolve this issue, then presents another alternative:]


[This is on the contrary a doctrine,] which places itself at the point of view of metaphysics and which has therefore not received any denomination in occidental philosophy, which is ignoring it. We will call this doctrine "non-dualism" or better still "the doctrine of non-duality", if (one wishes) to translate the Sanskrit term adwaita-vâda as exactly as possible, a term which has no common equivalent in any European language. ...


[The doctrine of] Non-Dualism does not pretend that one of the two terms [of soul or matter] could purely and simply be reduced to the other; [instead] it considers them - one and the other - simultaneously as a unity of a common principle of a more universal order, and in which they are also contained, no longer as opposites, but as complementaries, by some sort of polarization which does not all affect the essential unity of this commom principle.


This way the intervention of the metaphysical point of view has the effect to immediately resolve the apparent opposition, and by the way - [because] here the philosophical viewpoint proves its helplessness - only it allows to really do so. And what is true for the distinction between soul (mind) and matter is also true for whatever [other distinctions there are] among all those which one could establish (even) among the more or less special aspects of Being, which are of indefinte multitude. EDH129


If one is then (by the way) able to consider simultaneously all the indefinity of the distinctions which are in this way possible, and which are equally true and legitimate from their respective viewpoints, [then] one finds oneself no longer enclosed in a system which is limited to one of those distinctions to the exclusion of all the others; and this way non-dualism proves to be the sole type of doctrine which is able to respond to the universality of metaphysics.


The different philosophical systems can generally attach themselves (with some or other kind of relationship) either to dualism or to monism; but only "non-dualism" is susceptibel - of which we have just been indicating the principle - to immensely passing beyond the reach of any philosophy, because only it is properly and purely metaphysicsal in its essence; or in other words, it constitutes an expression of the most essential and fundamental character of metaphysics itself.

EDH130o


[In the text follows here ... a chapter on dualism]



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