Naked Awareness

The following is an excerpt from from Chapter Twelve of Russell Targ's The Reality of ESP: A Physicist's Proof of Psychic Abilities (Quest Books, 2012)

In a nonlocal universe such as ours, the accuracy of our psychic awareness is found to be independent of space and time. Such spatial and temporal independence is what we mean by the nonlocality of the space in which we live. The idea of entanglement of separated quantum particles that were once together is now well accepted by physicists. Schrödinger first described this idea in the late 1920s. He saw it as the main difference between the new quantum theory and the old classical ways of describing nature. Entanglement has been elaborated upon by physicist David Bohm as "quantum-interconnectedness," which I described in chapter 10. In the Indra story, we are told that:

"Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung so that it stretches out indefinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, there has been hung a single glittering jewel at the net's every juncture, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. If we now select any one of these jewels for inspection, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also re!ecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite."

This description of Indra's Net is what nonlocality looked like to the Buddhists around the time of Christ. We are the jewels in the net.

The Ten Buddhist Super-Powers (or Acceptances)

Patanjali was a Hindu philosopher and grammarian also living at the time of Christ. In his Yoga Sutras, he describes how we can get in touch with our divine nature by learning to stop our ongoing mental chatter. The opening line of his famous sutras says that "Yoga (becoming one with God) is mind-wave quieting."

In other words, stopping the mental chatter leads one to the divine. In his writings on "powers," Patanjali shows in detail the way to experience telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, intuitive diagnosis, and psychic healing. These abilities are all available to the meditative and quiet mind. But Hindus and Buddhists both strongly urge that we should not get attached to them, as they can become stumbling blocks to one's spiritual path, as any attachment can. Meditation is the path.

The powerful Buddhist text known as The Flower Ornament Scripture describes telepathy and precognition in 100 AD. In its chapters called "The Ten Super-knowledges of the Buddha," this Buddhist compendium teaches that there is no paradox in precognition or in communicating with the dead, because past, present, and future are all infinite in extent and dependently co-arising. Thus, the future can affect the past-and, since our awareness is timeless and nonlocal, it should not be surprising that we can and do experience manifestations of the deceased or communications from the future in precognitive dreams. We are told also that telepathy appearing as mind-to-mind communication is to be understood as part of ordinary life; we are just not usually aware or attentive to its presence. All of the forms of super-knowledge are manifestations of the quiet and spacious mind and should be expected to appear in our lives as the natural outcome of nonlocal consciousness.  The Flower Ornament Scripture does not consider any of these abilities to be supernatural; indeed, the idea is that nothing that appears in nature is supernatural.

In what follows, I will give you the flavor of the lyrical writing in this sixteen-hundred-page Buddhist transmission, written just a hundred years after the time of Christ. I present it not as scientific evidence for psi but rather to give you a feeling, and perhaps an experience, of the spaciousness of two millennia ago-the way of life that Naked Awareness Buddhist mediators and monks were experiencing. The following is from the Flower Ornament Scripture: The Avatamsaka Sutra:

"Offspring of the Buddha, great enlightening beings have ten kinds of super-knowledge:

By means of the knowledge of others' minds, great enlightening beings know the difference of the minds of living beings in a world system: good minds, bad minds, minds that go along with birth and death. . . . this is called the great enlightening beings' first super-power of accurate knowledge of others' minds.

"By means of the super-knowledge of the unobstructed pure celestial eye, great enlightening beings see sentient beings in worlds as many as atoms in untold Buddha-lands, dying in one place and being born in another. . . . They clearly see sentient beings with unobstructed eyes, seeing whatever deeds have been accumulated, whatever happiness or su!ering they have experienced and whatever languages they speak. "is is called the great enlightening beings' super-knowledge of the celestial eye.

"By means of the super-knowledge of instant recall of past lives, the great enlightening beings are able to know the events of past lives of themselves, as well as the lives of persons in countless worlds, over countless eons . . . how long they lived and what Buddha works they performed. "is is the great enlightening beings' third super-knowledge, the spiritual faculty of knowing past lives.

"Great enlightening beings, by super-knowledge of the eons of the entire future, know the ages of the worlds as numerous as the atoms in untold Buddha lands. They also know the whole future of worlds as numerous as atoms. . . .This is called the great enlightening beings' fourth super-knowledge, the power of knowing the ages of the entire future.

"There is also the super-knowledge of the great celestial ear; the super-knowledge of going anywhere; the super-knowledge of dwelling without attachment, motion, or action; the super-knowledge of understanding the speech of all beings."

To me it is clear that The Flower Ornament Scripture describes a spacious and unobstructed world in which we can experience the future, see into the distance, and diagnose and heal the sick. I equate all reference to "super-knowledges" with manifestation of psi. I hope that my Buddhist friends never tell me again that Buddhists aren't interested in psychic abilities. In what follows, you will see that the Hindu Patanjali is describing a similar world.

I have occasionally seen this world manifested through the eyes and activities of some of the world's great psychics, with whom I have been privileged to work. Western science had given us great accomplishments and shown us the far reaches of space. But it has shrunken our mental space down to the size of a coconut. I think it is past time for us to start questioning this reality and to claim the unobstructed reality that is available to us.

Patanjali taught that we obtain psi data by accessing the  akashic records, which contain all information past, present, and future. One accesses it, he said, by "becoming it," with a  single-pointed focus of attention. His writings provide us with a mental tool kit to  accomplish this. Patanjali tells us that in order to see the world in our mind, we must quiet our "mental waves" (chitta vritti in Sanskrit). We have learned to call these waves mental noise.

While the Buddhists say that all our troubles come  from making distinctions where in fact there are none, Patanjali taught that to be in control of our own consciousness we must learn to make distinctions among our mental states. As Shankara taught eight hundred years later in his masterwork, The Crest Jewel of Discrimination, the purpose of one's life is to learn to separate reality from illusion.

He was a pioneer in the nondual Hindu school of Advaita Vedanta -- emphasizing nonseparation. That is, if we cannot control our own mind, how can we hope to control our interactions with the outside world? Patanjali described five states of mental functioning and made it clear Naked Awareness that we should always know which state we are in. He said we must discriminate among right thinking, wrong thinking (errors), sleeping or dreaming, remembering, and imagining. These states correspond precisely with our concept for learning to separate the psi signal from memory, analysis, and imagination -- the principal sources of mental noise we encounter in remote viewing.

This material was reproduced by permission of Quest Books, the imprint of The Theosophical Publishing House ( from
The Reality of ESP: A Physicist's Proof of Psychic Abilities by Russell Targ, © 2012 by Russell Targ.

Teaser image by Bruce McKay, courtesy of Creative Commons license.