The Advaita Trap – A One-Act Play

You may watch this play in cartoon form on YouTube!


A and B are walking together in their local park. It is a beautiful sunny day.


A: “Hey, look over there. Do you see it? What a beautiful tree!”

B: “STOP RIGHT THERE! There is no ‘tree’! There is no ‘beauty’! Both ‘tree’ and ‘beauty’ are merely concepts appearing in space-like, ever present awareness! Don’t settle for mere concepts, A! Don’t buy into the ignorance of the mind! End seeking once and for all, here and now! All words are merely pointers! Discard the pointers!”

A: “Er…. yeah. Of course. I get that. I was just saying…”

B:”STOP! There is no ‘I’ to ‘get’ anything! And nothing to get! And no ‘saying’!”

A: “Yes. I know. I SEE that.”

B:”WHO sees that? WHAT is there to see? WHO sees WHAT? There is nobody there seeing! Ask yourself the question ‘WHO SEES’?! There is only clear, space-like seeing with no person doing anything! There is no duality! There is only non-duality! Duality is an illusion! Only non-duality is real!”

A: “I was just saying….”

B:”WHO was saying? WHAT is there to say? And to WHOM?”


A: “Look, are you going to let me speak at all?”

B:”WHO would let WHO speak?…”

A: “Jesus, B, I knew you were going to say that! You know, you’ve become so predictable since you got into this Advaita stuff. Look, all I wanted to say is that the tree over there is… lovely. Beautiful. NICE. And yes, I know that ultimately those are just concepts, and the word is not the thing, and there is no separate ‘tree’, blah blah blah. But can’t I just say that it’s a beautiful tree? Am I allowed to say it? I mean, come on, it’s beautiful, don’t you think it is?”

B:”No! There is NOBODY HERE who thinks! You are lost in a world of ignorance! You have not yet woken up to your true nature!”

A: “Wow. Okay, okay, you seem pretty worked up about this….”

B:”No! There is NOBODY HERE getting ‘worked up’! ‘Worked up’ is merely a conceptual overlay appearing in awareness! It is all simply your perception, a projection of your own ignorance. There is still the belief that you are a time-bound self…”

A: “Okay! Okay! Whatever, B. I give up. I just thought it was a nice tree. I wanted to share something with you. I don’t know. Just to share something. Something.. beautiful. That’s all. No more, no less. If you don’t like that, fine. I give up…”

B:”You’re referring to the past! There is NO past! Only the eternal present! Only NOW!”


A: “B, can I be honest with you? Since you’ve, well, in your own words, ‘recognised your true nature’, all the joy seems to have gone out of you. I’m sure you’ve found some clarity in one way or another, but it’s almost like you’ve lost the ability to, well, relate as a human being to me. You always seem to feel the need to shoot everything and everyone down, even when they haven’t actually asked for your help or advice. It’s like you always need to play the teacher. You’re trying to teach me when I don’t need to be taught.”

B:”That’s what the seeker always says! But the seeker’s ignorance must be destroyed with the machine gun of Truth!”

A: “See? There you go again! I’m trying to talk to you in a down-to-earth, ordinary human way, just as a friend, not asking for help but sharing, and it’s like just can’t HEAR that anymore. What’s happened to you?”

B:”There is no person here! Do away with this ignorance that I am a person and that you are a person, and be free!”

A: “As I said, you’re no fun anymore. There used to be a time when I could talk about the beauty of trees. We talked, and it was fun, enjoyable, and totally innocent. Now I feel like it’s wrong. Like you see it as wrong. Like it’s not allowed in your non-duality… system. Like if I’m not using the same language as you, if I’m not saying the things in the same way as you do, you get on your high horse and start preaching. And get angry. And nobody enjoys being around an angry preacher. And even worse, an angry preacher who then denies that they are angry and that they are preaching!”

B:”Ah, your feelings are hurt! Poor little hurt ego! A sure sign you are stuck in ignorance! If, like me, you had completely recognised your true nature, there would be no hurt! Getting hurt is a sign of WEAKNESS, which is ego! Stop being a baby! Drop the hurt little ego and SEE! Be fearless like ME! Stop complaining, don’t take it all so personally! Remember, my pointers are impersonal!

A: “B, listen to what I’m saying. I’m not saying my ego is hurt. I’m not saying I’m seeking. I’m not saying I need a teacher. Listen to what I’m saying. I’m saying that you seem joyless and angry to me these days. It’s like you feel the need to teach me all the time, when I haven’t asked for a teacher, and I don’t need one. I was just saying that it’s a beautiful tree, it’s such a simple thing, and you can’t seem to hear that anymore. What’s happened to you? I thought seeing your true nature was supposed to bring freedom? And simplicity? But it seems that you’re angrier and more arrogant than ever. Can you hear what I’m saying, B? As a friend to a friend, can you hear it?”

B:”NOBODY hears!”

A:”Good grief. ‘It’s a beautiful tree’. So simple. Can you not hear that anymore?”

B: “NOBODY hears! NOBODY’S here! Nobody! Nothing! No-one!!”

A: “I know, B, I know! You say that about ten thousand times a day. Nobody here. Pure awareness. Everything’s a concept. The illusion of duality. I get it. I see this nonduality thing. I see the truth in those pointers. I see that I am totally free and unbound. I see the miracle of life. But I never, ever feel the need to talk about it. I never feel the need to convert anyone. I never feel the need to teach or preach. I feel free to just live an ordinary life. I feel so free, that I even feel free to say ‘it’s a beautiful tree’! Yes, for me, that’s part of the freedom. The freedom to say ordinary things in an ordinary way! The freedom to use words like ‘I’ and ‘me’ and ‘tree’, the freedom to talk about time and space, although in an ultimate sense they are only concepts. Still, there cannot be anything wrong with saying those words, can there? There cannot be anything wrong with anything, can there? Yes, I get it, I really do, there is nobody here, there’s no tree and no beauty, in an absolute sense, I GET IT, but still, IT’S A BEAUTIFUL TREE! Can’t that be as true as its opposite? In the end, can’t ‘tree’ and ‘not tree’ be… equal?

B:”If you say ‘I get it’, there is the assumption that there is somebody there who gets it…”

A: [Sighs] “You know what? I’m leaving. I hate to say it, but you’re no fun to be around anymore, B. You used to laugh. You used to take things lightly. You used to enjoy walking in nature. WE used to enjoy walking in nature. Together. Looking at these trees. Chatting like equals. It never used to be a problem. These days, it feels like a problem when you’re around. I don’t feel that we’re equals anymore. It’s like you see everybody as beneath you. You see everybody as desperate seekers, while you are the only one who is free. Can’t you see, that’s a huge projection on YOUR part?”

B: “There is no projection, only space-like awareness. Anything you say is YOUR projection.”

A: “Okay. Goodbye B. Sorry, but I’m going. Enjoy your space-like awareness. On your own.”

[Walks off]

B: “Fine! FINE! Walk off! See if I care! WHO cares? WHO CARES? There’s nobody here who cares! See how carefree I am! NOBODY CARES! Nothing and nobody to care about! It’s all YOUR projection! Your suffering is your problem, not mine! There are no problems in this eternal presence! You are still lost in separateness! I can’t help you! But THERE IS NO SUFFERING HERE!”


B: “Only few will hear this message! Most people will walk away! You’re not the only one! Many others have walked away too! This will never, ever be a popular message! I am here to destroy your seeking, not to comfort you! From the beginning of time only few have truly heard this! People are simply not ready to confront their true nature! All those egos run a mile when confronted with my clarity! They are all afraid of this teaching! Afraid to hear the truth! Afraid to no longer be joyless, lonely seekers! Afraid to let go of all their concepts and come to deep, permanent rest in spacious awareness! Afraid to be free and peaceful, like me! Afraid of my brutal, uncompromising love!

B stands alone, for a long while, looking at the tree.

B (secretly thinking to himself): My goodness, what a beautiful tree…

[Based on a true story! Yes, I used to be B!]