I Am Not

The Negative Path

The Buddha alone seems explicitly to have preached the doctrine which declares that the universal presence knows no I. Here the impersonality of pure consciousness, inaccessible to the process of identification, represents the plenitude of the void

The innovation hereby involved lay in avoidance of the intrusion of the I-concept, which occurs elsewhere every time ultimate reality is identified with Atma or I-Reality. Both visions are true vision, but that of the Buddha obviates an immense obstacle.

The words 'I am not' are senseless. Is this not a clear intimation that they should be true?

Pure consciousness is, is what is, nothing else is - so I am not.

When we shall have digested that may we not hope that at last we shall find that indeed we are not?

Having searched for the truth in the guise of 'I Am', perhaps we shall find it in the guise of 'I Am Not'.

We have said that we are it, but we cannot be it - for there are no we. We have said that it is we, but it cannot be - for the same reason. There being no we, there is only it, unknown to itself. Nor can it be - for there is no thing. That must be why it is called the void, and the void must be void just because nothing is and there is no one to be.

And the universal presence is at the same time a universal absence - for there is nothing to be present and nowhere for a presence to be.

(© RKP, 1963)

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