What is meant by 'immediate perception'?

What is meant by 'immediate perception'?

Hi Rupert,

Could you explain what is meant by ‘direct or immediate perception’, what Patanjali yoga sutras refers to as Pratyaksha? Unlike Advaita, Dzogchen teachings also state that ‘Reality’, or rather the nature of things, can be known directly by the open senses refreshed each moment. Why, for example, is the table perceived by the child whose senses are clear and open not the same table seen or imagined by the conceptual mind of the average adult?

A Zen teacher once startled me after I asked for an explanation of Zen koans by shouting ‘Drop your f***ing mind and come into your senses!’ I think he meant that literally!

Thanks,
Dave

 

Dear Dave,

I am not familiar with the term ‘Pratyaksha’, so will comment only on ‘direct or immediate perception’. Direct perception means perception that is free of the subject–object relationship. It is perception that is free of our seeming to be a knowing subject located ‘here’, inside the body, seeming to perceive a known object ‘there’, made out of something other than the knowing presence that I truly am.

In direct perception these apparent two, the knowing subject and the known object, collapse in knowing. Or we could say that that which knows the object, and the substance out of which the object is made, are identical. There are not two things.

Dave: Unlike Advaita, Dzogchen teachings also state that ‘Reality’, or rather the nature of things, can be known directly by the open senses refreshed each moment.

Rupert: In sensing there is no separate senser and no separate object sensed. The sensed is made of sensing, and sensing is made of knowing presence or ‘I’. If this is what is meant by ‘open senses refreshed each moment’, then Dzogchen and Advaita are in accordance.

Why, for example, is the table perceived by the child whose senses are clear and open not the same table seen or imagined by the conceptual mind of the average adult?

The child and the adult see in the same way, only the adult immediately superimposes the concept of an individual seer and a separate object that is seen, whilst the child remains as seeing, in which the conceptualised subject and object are non-existent.

This superimposition is so fast and habitual that the adult does not notice the pure seeing and truly believes the conceptual seer (the personal ‘I’) and the conceptual seen (the table) to be real experiences.

Thus the child tends to lead a life that is one with experiencing from moment to moment, whilst an adult tends to live in imagination, imagining themselves to be an entity inside the body and also imagining that there is a separate, solid, outside world.

With warm wishes,
Rupert

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