At Kāḷaka’s Park
Kāḷaka Sutta  (AN 4:24)

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāketa in Kāḷaka’s park. There he addressed the monks: “Monks!”
“Yes, lord,” the monks responded to him.
The Blessed One said: “Monks, whatever in this world with its devas, Māras & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its rulers & commonfolk, is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in this world with its devas, Māras & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its rulers & commonfolk, is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathāgata, but in the Tathāgata1 it has not been established.
“If I were to say, ‘I don’t know whatever in this world… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that would be a falsehood in me. If I were to say, ‘I both know and don’t know whatever in this world… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that would be just the same. If I were to say, ‘I neither know nor don’t know whatever in this world… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that would be a fault in me.
“Thus, monks, the Tathāgata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn’t suppose an (object as) seen. He doesn’t suppose an unseen. He doesn’t suppose an (object) to-be-seen. He doesn’t suppose a seer.
“When hearing.…
“When sensing.…
“When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn’t suppose an (object as) cognized. He doesn’t suppose an uncognized. He doesn’t suppose an (object) to-be-cognized. He doesn’t suppose a cognizer.
Thus, monks, the Tathāgata—being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized—is ‘Such.’2 And I tell you: There is no other ‘Such’ higher or more sublime.
“Whatever is seen or heard or sensed
and fastened onto as true by others,
One who is Such—among the self-fettered—
would not further claim to be true or even false.
“Having seen well in advance that arrow
where generations are fastened & hung
—‘I know, I see, that’s just how it is!’—
there’s nothing of the Tathāgata fastened.”
1. Reading tathāgate with the Thai edition.
2. Such (tādin): An adjective applied to the mind of one who has attained the goal. It indicates that the mind “is what it is”—indescribable but not subject to change or alteration.
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Good video by Daniel M. Ingram:

Also, some recent writing by Daniel on Vipassana in DhO:

JC said "why the need to experiment with all sorts of practices? Why the need for the switch to Zen, Vajrayana, prayer, Catholic devotional practices, martial arts, magickal practices, and so on?

Why not just continue to observe exactly what's going on in the present moment and see the Three Characteristics?

Well, it could be enough, sort of. The Three Characteristics are profound, very profound, staggeringly profound, and not easily grasped in their entirety. It seems perfectly reasonable to grasp them in their entirety by observing them, but there is a problem, actually, that last line contains a bunch of problems that are not obvious until you see them clearly.

I will go by the words in that last line to illustrate the problem.

"Continue": there is no continuing. There is nothing to continue, no past that could be continued, no future to continue into, and this moment is entirely ungraspable. No sensation could ever actually grasp or continue. Everything is fresh but perfectly ephemeral. The notion of continuing, from a high insight point of view, is a serious problem. Instead, there has to be a deep non-grasping, a perfect and flawless appreciation of non-continuing, a deep never could be a continuing, a deep nothing could ever be continuing, a deep sense of not only discontinuity, but of the utter flowing, vanishing, empty transience of anything that seemed to be able to continue. One must figure out how to go beyond continuing, beyond grasping, beyond that strange mental illusion that such a thing could ever occur or have occurred.

"Observe": there is no observing. There can be no observing. There is nothing that can observe at all. Everything is just occurring where it is, naturally, straightforwardly. There is no observer. There can't be any observer. There never was any observer. Deeply understanding this is required. There never was any observation. Observation can't finally do it. One must figure out how to shift out of observing to just phenomena occurring.

The qualifier "in the present moment" is a problem in some way. This almost always involves some subtle or gross pattern of sensations that we refer to mentally when we say "now", or "the present", which are not actually stable, not actually a present, not actually anything but more empty transience, yet we make them seem like a stable present. This is very subtle, deep, profound. Even "the present" doesn't withstand scrutiny, and we must be careful with this sticky concept, as it can itself become a sort of a solidified thing, part of the illusion of continuity, observation, practitioner, etc.

So, while it is true that deeply comprehending emptiness, non-continuity, non-observation, and even non-present, can occur by just continuously observing this present moment, we must be careful, and sometimes it takes people shifting out of their trench of "good practice" to do something that is out from good practice and instead is just the unfolding empty wisdom dharma. Various people find various methods to make this subtle shift, and one size definitely does not fit all, so best wishes sorting out what will help you work out your salvation with diligence.


One could just say that each transient moment, however it is, naturally understands its ungraspable, discontinuous, emphemeral, non-existent, empty nature, straightforwardly, perfectly.

However, one must be careful not to idealize or intellectually reify any of those concepts and qualifiers, and instead this is something that is purely perceptual.

It applies to every transient moment, regardless of any other consideration of the specific qualities of that moment.

All that said, I did, as my last push, go back to the Three Characteristics and Six Sense Doors, just those, but at a level of extremely high precision, inclusiveness, and acceptance, and found that effective. Yet, the place I had gotten to that seemed to make it effective was a radical disenchantment and dispassion towards with everything “I” had attained, everything “I” was, everything “I” could become, everything “I” could experience, and how to arrive at such a place varies a lot by the person.

Also see:

Vipassana Must Go With Luminous Manifestation

Four Foundations of Mindfulness: The Direct Path to Liberation
Thusness's Vipassana
Mindfulness as Remembrance
Note: In addition to the forum postings below, I have also uploaded an archive of all his articles from Dreamdatum on spiritual growth and his personal spiritual insights (which was written in the period between year 2004 to 2008) before his website disappeared, available for download at:

Also, there is a very old e-book written by Longchen/Simpo during/before year 2004, which may also be of interest. However it is spoken from the understanding/experience of the I AM or Eternal Witness, and his understandings and experience have since changed:

Click to download in chapters.

How to use the articles (86kb)
Who are we? (113kb)
Article about our true identity and it's relation with the cosmos.

Are we just a body?
Articles about the human energy system.

Miscellaneous Articles(171kb)
Miscellaneous articles written from various perspectives and experiences.


Recently I have compiled some of the writings by Sim Pern Chong (who wrote by the pseudonym 'simpo' or 'longchen' in the past) as the forum seems to be disappearing. I shared the writings of Sim Pern Chong with the dharma teacher Daniel Ingram from the Mahasi Sayadaw lineage in 2007. Daniel replied me back then that he finds the author "writes well and I am impressed", and furthermore "find his writing to be of unusually good quality. I can find no fault with what he says. I like his straightforward and easy style." and that "if he is accurately describing where he actually is without exaggeration, then I would guess that he is either a late anagami or arahat, realizing that this is only a guess." (note: Daniel's definition of 'arahat' is based on the nonduality model described in his book or the elimination of all sense of duality, centerpoint and agency, and may or may not correlate with other definitions. Daniel Ingram also said in an interview with Tarin many years ago that he considers Thusness to be an Arahat/Arahant)

Similarly, Thusness commented in his 7 stages article that "Simpo (Longchen) is a very insightful and sincere practitioner, there are some very good quality articles written by him regarding non-duality in his website Dreamdatum." Since these are "unusually good quality" I think it's worth sharing.

Sim Pern Chong's writings back in 2007~2012:

Non duality is really the same experience as no-self state. It is also the same as no subject-object split. 'No subject-object split' means the illusion of an observer and the being observed is being understood and the sense of split dissolved.

Below is a description of how non-duality feels like.

I have noticed that non-duality has various depths and degrees. Certain times there are more mental thoughts, certain times less and this give rise to different degrees of vividness and sense of Oneness.

At times, sense of being at a location can be greatly diminished... instead what is being felt are all the sensations that made up 'here-ness'... For in truth, 'here-ness' is really made up of perceptions and sensations... For example, the sensations of pressure of the feet against the floor... they are just that..sensations. Likewise, the visual perceptions and hearing and so on so forth are just that.

For in truth, 'location-space', 'individuality-self', ' inner-outer', etc are impressions.

There is also a spacious or all-pervading quality to the experience of non-duality and this is what was meant as a sense of Oneness. At times, objects and surroundings can be 'de-cognated' ( that is ... freed from being perceived as such) and a free-ing joyful and vitalising feeling can be felt. This feels like the mind has finally comes to a must-needed rest from its incessant mental activities.

Also, in the deeper range of non-duality, there is an increasingly penetrating brightness. This brightness is the result of mind's deconstruction which allows for intense penetration into consciousness. The Brightness can be so intense that it is truly stunning.

Please understand that all along our existence has been non-dual. There is no attaining to non-duality... It is only the 'sense of self' that created the impression of duality. Even when the 'sense of self' is there, existence is still non-dual. We never live out of non-duality.

Also, there is another point to add...

Non-duality is NOT the same as a state of Witnessing Presence observing Phenomenality. An Eternal Witness Presence that is apart from Phenomena cannot be said to be non dual as there are 2 components here (witness and phenomena). I had this experience before. And now, I must say that true non-duality is distinctively different from this.

Non duality can only be effortlessly experienced when the 'sense of self' and the 'Eternal Witness' are correctly understood for what they are.


Enlightenment is a gradual process

This essay is not a definitive writing on this subject of enlightenment. The following is just an expression of my own experiences and findings.
There seems to be a notion that enlightenment is just one final state. Many also believe that when one has certain transcendental or mystical experience, that experience is final and complete. This assumption is perhaps popularised by the classic stories of enlightenment that are widely known. Also there is much granduer associated with this notion of Enlightenment which, in my opinion, is totally overhyped and uncalled for.
My opinion is that enlightenment is not just one 'standard' final state but is a gradual and progressive establishing of states of consciousness. The process is a succesive unfoldment and transformation, leading to increasingly clear understanding of the dynamics of consciousness. So perhaps, enlightenment as described by various persons and traditions can be referring to different states of consciousness.

I, myself have not reach the end of the road. But from years on a spiritual path, I can confidently say that enlightenment happens in a series or stages of self-realisations and self-discoveries. There are, in fact, more than one type of transcendental or mystical experience.

Almost all stages of enlightenment can be said to be associated with states of Presence. However, the Presence comes in various degrees of clarity and intensity. The degree of intensity is directly dependent on the level and depth of one's clarity as well as one's realisations/discoveries.
Usually there is a difference between an initial awakening and a later stabilisation of that stage.

Also, as one progresses along, the relationship or connections of oneself to the universe and existence in general also becomes clearer.

Below is an attempt to illustrate the stage-based characteristic of enlightenment:

When one first begin meditating, one may have an initial experience of all-pervading Presence. This Presence, is most often experienced when thoughts are momentarily suspended. This Presence which exists in the timeless Present Moment is our true characteristic or nature.

However such an experience can only be classified as an initial awakening to the true nature.. which ironically have no sense of being an individual self. This is because, after the meditation, the Presence seems to have disappeared. One cannot understand and find the connection of Presence to our everyday life. Because of that, one will have difficulties re-acquiring the Presence. And it takes many stages and series of realisation to understand the relationship of Presence to our phenomenal world. It can be said that the prolonged sustaining of Presence is dependent upon the stages and depth of realisation.

Also, during the earlier stages we may mistaken another state to be the pure pristine presence. For example, we may mistaken 'I AM' or the Eternal Witness for pure presence. This is because the thinking mind has created a seemingly constant image of Pure Presence. This image is the I AM or Eternal Witness, as it is commonly described. Basically, at this stage, the true characteristic of Presence is not being clearly understood.

Usually, in order to pass through the so-called 'I AM' stage, the person must move towards even deeper understandings of consciousness. These understandings may include realising that one's sense of self or personality is not the doer or controller of action. This realisation allows one to loosen the 'sense of self's compulsive grip and in the process, a state of NOWness can be experienced. By NOWness, I am referring to a peaceful state where the mind is not chasing after thoughts but rather is abiding in the Present Moment.
This stage may persist for sometime before the person realises the illusion of subject-object division. This stage involves discovering and recognising the hypnotic impression of there being an observer (which is oneself) and the being observed. Typically, this is where one begins to see through the illusionary nature of our phenomenal world. This entire band of realisation stage is often known as non-dual experience or non-duality. After the initial experiences of non-duality, the person may reach a even more profound realisation. This is the realisation that everything that is being experienced is truly spontaneously manifesting. This realisation is more subtle than the previous realisation and represents a major leap in understanding.

Also, in the further stages of the enlightenment process, there are experiences of increasing brightness to one's consciousness. This brightness is the result of mind's deconstruction which allows for intense penetration into consciousness.
While there may well be other stages not described here, nevertheless, one can still see from the above description that enlightenment is not so straight-forward after all.

One more thing to add. Realisations and karmic pattern clearing go hand in hand on the spiritual path.

For your necessary discernment. Thank you for reading.
If you are interested you may also wish to read about the series of realisations that I had on my path of enlightenment as well as other essays related to this subject of enlightenment. Click here for the articles.


Yep... I stayed at I AM level understanding for many years. It was Thusness who probed and guided me to move beyond that phase.


    realization: Oh yes Simpo, can I just ask how you realised the I AM years ago?

    Simpo: There are actually 2 significant events:

1. In the 1980s when i was a teenager, i sat down to meditate for the first time. I experienced great bliss. In this meditation, i experienced 'no ultimate right or wrong' aka non-judgemental and is soaked in a vast ocean of bliss for a few days. Haha... i thought i was enlightened. On hindsight now, i know that i was not. That is why now when people write about non-dual to meant 'no right/wrong' I know which stage they are at.

2.  In the 1990s, i join a meditation class that held sessions every Sunday at a Buddhist temple. I was learning one-point meditation. One afternoon when i was meditating at home, all the sensory impressions stopped including thoughts. I was in a state of 'No-thoughts'. One may think that when there are no thoughts, one must be unconscious. No there is no unconsciousness. Instead what was being experienced was pure Presence/awareness. However due to not understanding the nature of consciousness and reality, this awareness was experienced as an Eternal Witness/Observer. This is the pure experience of I AM presence.


In my case, the initial experience happened during a meditation which led me to the misassumption of 'I AM'. The experience is pure, but the latter interpretation of it was wrong.

In 'No-I' experience, one simply realised that there is no self in any experience even when consciousness is rolling own. There can be thinking, but there is no thinker.

On the other hand, in complete consciousness blank-out, yet awareness persists, there is not a single thought or any form of mental formation. Basically, there is no thinking, no mental image or any form of consciousness that we normally have. It will be distinctive because it is this experience that will allow one to see for the first time the difference between mental-mixed consciousness and pure presence.

Complete mental formation shut down and yet awareness still exist, it is not the same as sleep.

Personally, I don't see a point in maintaining witnessing even into sleep. It is really a desire to have that expereince of Presence.


Hi Criable and Jamber,

Thanks so much for the sharing.

Will like to just add a bit of my input. Nothing definitive as we are all exploring.

The visual effects and pixels that Jamber sees is not the luminosity that we are taking about. The luminousity is more an experiential clarity.

There is a significant difference between experiencing/understanding the luminosity before and after realisation of no-self.

Before the realisation of no-self, any pure awareness/consciousness experience will be interpreted as the Self. In another word, the experience will be ' I have an experience of the Self.'

After realisation of no-self, the awareness experience may not be experienced by a someone who is me. In another word, 'there is an experience, but it is not experienced by me'.

The difference is that the ego/sense of self/me/I is not an entity but a transcient effect of grasping that spell-bound awareness into a sense of an individual self having experiences. So the 'I' experience is a subtle 'ignorance' that tint an experience... and this subtle grasping can also be present in the experience of pure consciousness.


I think Eckhart Tolle may have been suffering alot and suddenly he 'let go' of trying to work out his problems. This results in a dissociation from thoughts which give rise to the experience of Presence.

To me,  'I AM' is an experience of Presence, it is just that only one aspect of Presence is experienced which is the 'all-pervading' aspect. The non-dual and emptiness aspect are not experienced.. Because non-dual is not realised (at I AM stage), a person may still use effort in an attempt to 'enter' the Presence. This is because, at the I AM stage, there is an erroneous concept that there is a relative world make up of thoughts AND there is an 'absolute source' that is watching it. The I AM stage person will make attempts to 'dissociated from the relative world' in order to enter the 'absolute source'.

However, at Non-dual (& further..) stage understanding, one have understood that the division into a relative world and an absolute source has NEVER occcured and cannot be... Thus no attempt/effort is truly required.


She (Supreme Master Ching Hai) is definitely at 'I AM' stage. She has not yet understood 'no subject-object split'. That is why she say there are 2 parts... body and spirit.

For one who realises non-duality (no subject-object split) there is no division of body and spirit. At non-duality realisation, body is not seen as entity but as perceptions and sensations that are 'not separated from environment'. In fact perception and sensation is the 'environment'.


This thread reminds me of one incident last month.

I was in one shopping center and i saw a shopfront advertising Prana and Arhatic Yoga course.

Well, naturally, i was curious and went in to have a look. I have a chat with one of the persons inside. I think she is a staff or student of the course.

I was looking through the brochures and ask her why the word 'Arhat' was used for the Yoga course. Another lady overhead the conversation and say that the course is pitching at the same level as the Buddhist Arhat.

Having browsed thru some of the brochures, I told her it is not the same. She seems to be in a hurry and asked me to check out their website.

I check out their website. Their teacher talk about I AM oneness realisation.

Indeed, it is not the same level of realisation as the Arhat. The teacher is at I AM level understanding. It is sad that the followers cannot tell the difference.

People are doing business and earning from it. So, i thought better not to disrupt their livelihood by telling them. Also, the chances of them believing what i say will be very slim...


Samsara is also not place.. this is not a typo error. You will not understand this until non-duality is experienced.

'Hereness', 'distance' and time are just impressions. They give the 'illusionary' impression of places. This also explains the nature of 'supernatural power' like clairvoyance and seeing things far away, etc.


The non-solidity of existence
This article describes a spiritual insight. It may be quite hard to understand.
The things that we experience are registered by all the sense organs. The eye sight registers vision, the ears register sound, the body registers sensations. These perception, sensations and experiences are not happening in some places. They are the experience of the arising of certain conditions. There is no solidity and physicality in the actual experience.

What we experienced is not universal and common to all. Here's an example to illustrate that: We know that as human beings, we see in term of colours. Some animals are however colour-blind, thus they see differently from us. But none of us, is really seeing the truth nature directly. The senses of different species of sentient beings experience things differently. So who is seeing the real image of an object? None.
Likewise, the various planes of existence are due to different conditions arising. In certain types of meditation, one is said to be able to access these planes of existence. This is because they are not specific locations. They are mental states and are thus non-localised. In these meditations, our consciousness changes and 'aligned' more with these other states or planes of existence.
All the planes of existence are simultaneously manifesting, but because our senses are human-based conditioned arisings, we only see the human world and other beings that shared 'similar' resonating arising conditions. But nevertheless, the other planes of existences are not elsewhere in some other places.
What we think of as places are really just consciousness and there is no solidity whatsoever. Even our touch sense is just that. The touch sense gives an impression of feeling something that is physical and three-dimensional. But there is really no solid self-existing object there. Instead, it is simply the sensation that gives the impression of physical solidity and form.
OK, that all I can think of and write about this topic. I will revise and improve this article where the need arises.
For your necessary ponderance. Thank you for reading.


Hi People,

I feel a need to clarify that emptiness (in Buddhism) is not the same as 'nothingness' or 'lack of meaning in life', lest it  gets misunderstood. Many people, even mystics and spiritual walkers from other paths, have this misunderstanding and therefore label Buddhism as pessimistic. This is far from the truth.

Emptiness is a realisation that needs to be experienced to be understood. It roughly encompasses an understanding that there is no solidity, no space, no time, no locality, etc. Looking at the way the world seems to be, it appear that there are distances, space and time and solidity.  But this is not what the truth is like. Everything is actually occuring 'simultaneously' (not accurate, but no better word for this) in a 'timeless' manner... but the conditions of experiences (sensory and consciousness data) normally will not allow us to penetrate through to experience emptiness.

Only insights can penetrate through the veil.

As for 'karmic lessons', karma is about desires/attachment operating in an unconscious manner. Because they are operating in an unconscious manner, we are not aware of their operations and therefore they continue to 'run the show'. So, karmic lessons and losing attachment are not different or opposing activities. Mindfulness practice helps in uncovering these unconscious desires/assumptions/imprints etc.


One thing will like to add is that the 'sense of self/I' is itself a chief karmic pattern. It make us see things through a referencing center. 'I' is the grasping/desire that creates a center where experiences are referenced to.

When the 'I' dissapears through recognition, experiences has no center. This does not mean that all is now a blank. One still can operate as per normal, but there is no 'center'. As 'I' is the grasping and the splitter of subject/object division, tension goes away together with it.


Please don't wait until the last minute to start a regime of spiritual cultivation practice. By that time, time will not be not their side and many will likely be too desperate to engage in any useful form of discipline to reach some kind of realisations.

Lately, i have seen too many cases of elderly people around me in dire straits. Many of them are not practicing buddhist and in the times of desperation seeks for whatever belief that will offer them a saviour. This is sad, had they been cultivating and reaching certain level of insights/realisation, death will not be such a fearful unknown.

What i was trying to convey is that a regimentation of practice inclusive of activities for concentration, insight practice and morality takes a long time to build up to see the results.

It can take years/decade to just get an initial glimpse of deeper reality or awakening. Please start the spiritual cultivation practice now. Don't wait.

Likeyou: "You mean by simple chanting? Praying?

Sorry bro....I am not sure."


Hi Likeyou,

By whatever means that will bring one to the experience/insight of the true nature of themselves or deeper reality.

I have not used chanting so am not familiar with it.

For me, meditation is a must have practice. The first glimpse of pure awareness that i had was through the simple one-point meditation/concentration.

What i was trying to convey is that a regimentation of practice inclusive of activities for concentration, insight practice and morality takes a long time to build up to see the results.


"Best to strive for enlightenment. End of story."

Realization: "So, the I AM may be realised via one-pointed meditation and does not have to come from investigation?"

Simpo: "It depends. I know of people who meditate the entire life and still never reach I AM.

If you can bypass I AM phase and realise no-self (straight) is the best.. dun need to waste time like i did.

To help a bit, when you meditate by focusing on the breathe at the tip of the nose, do not think that you are meditating. How do i explain it... dun think that there is a person (you) meditating. Also, just be aware of the breathe.. don't breath deliberately.

Also, the posture is very important, the spine should not be supported by a wall. A straight spine and neck posture will help. Perhap use a support to lift the buttock above the ground abit so that the buttock position is higher that the cross legs.

'I AM' will be experienced when the mind is not thinking about the past or the future or is having any kind of dreaming... but is abiding in the Present. Focusing on the breathe is a method to align the mind to the immediate Present moment.

There can be many ways to experience the I AM presence as long as the method can cut off grasping on the thoughts/content. When mind is detached from thoughts content, the only activities that is left is the automatic breathing action. 

You can experience I AM while not meditating and with eyes open too. Simply look straight ahead into open space and relax. An open space or field will be more conducive to experiencing it under such condition.

May you experience pure awareness soon !"


Tingling at the tip of the head could possibly mean that one is releasing/dropping enough mental activity to experience pure awareness/luminousity soon. Often, this will be accompanied by the automatic repositioning of body to straighten the spine. At the opening of luminosity and spaciousness, the eyes may open very wide to match the quantum leap in energy surge and luminosity.


Yah, Sir... that is very true indeed.

About the 'self/I', it is easier to identify it when we are alone... and is not interacting with others.

For my case, eating and walking are the easiest activties to be 'no-self'. There are just the actions without the 'I' there. Chewing is chewing, walking is walking...just pure action.

It is alot more difficult to see 'no-self' when we are interacting with others. This is because the very act of interacting with other implies there are others to interact with oneself. However it is possible.

I am just beginning to enter deeper into this phase... so can't be of much help. The key, that i see, is the daringness to drop the attachment of seeing others as separate. This is different from dropping all thoughts... because to maintain communication thoughts must be deployed. IMO, perhaps, before this phase can be maintained with any level of stability, a clear understanding of emptiness is firstly required. This is because the realisation of emptiness encompasses the insight that there is no-others. Without the clear insight of emptiness, it is very hard for the mind to be convinced that there are no one and no others.



I can remember some of my past lifes and can confidently say that certain things that happened (and how one respond to it) in life is due to what transpired in previous lifes.

Also, since we are at the topic of karma, will also like to share some opinions on Merit.

It may sound controversial, merit appears to be an influential factor regarding one's potential and level of 'smoothness' for gaining enlightenment.



The definition of merits and how to acquire them are not difficult to find. So, will not write about them.

Basically, my understanding is that the Dharma Teaching is the mechanism for leading Beings out of suffering and the rebirth cycle. So activities that promotes its right understanding and peoples' contact with the Dharma benefits ones' right understanding and progress along the path.

Likewise, activities that obstruct or confuse others with regards to the Dharma, will result in obstruction and confusion on the path.

We don't have to go far to see this effect. Already there are people patronising this forum who are experiencing the effect of confusing others with regards to the teaching, leading to their own confusion.


Thanks for the sharing.

This part described what i tried to do during 'I AM' stage very well....

"Attendant to b) is the notion that (first) she is apart from something (desirable); and (second) is driven, by ego motivation, to "attain" or "achieve" it. Subject proposes to "merge" with object. But subject does not comprehend that in a non-dual "merging" both subject and object dissolve. The subject, here, expects to remain an entity to which an (unusual) experience is to be added. It is a stultifying, frustrating pursuit, a deadening cycle of "arriving" and inevitably "departing". But because of the (temporary) suspension of "conceptual," egoic thought, it is sometimes presumed to be the "liberation" which is spoken about."

IMO, a real' I AM Presence' stage will reveal much about the non-local/all-pervading aspect of reality.... unlike a pseudo experience of visualising/imagining a light that overlight us. Sometimes, the I AM stage may also reveal the luminous/light aspect as well. But for my case, the luminousity aspect was experienced later. IMO, it depends on how that stage was experienced. IMO, Luminousity is experienced due to the deconstruction of perception. IMO, Non-locality is experienced due to the total suspension of mental formation/thoughts.

Non-dual will reveal the insight that all along the self does not exist in a concrete manner. It will first be experienced as if experiences are 'flat'... ha ha... i dunno how to describe. In non-dual, there is a gradual maturing process (consisting of distinctive stage of insights)... where the self aspect gets better understood. In the early stage, we may try to dissolve or get rid of the self. In the later state, we begin to realise that the getting rid act is also a sense of self. Later on stage, there is an 'immediate' realisation...which i dunno how to describe and best experienced for oneself.

Will like to add that although 'letting go' is not the actual non-duality experience, it is an important part of practice. Slowly and gradually, the practice of letting go helps in creating gaps for the insights to occur.


IMO, there is a difference between non-duality and no-self insight. Both experiences are quite similar, but the insight/understanding is different.

In non-duality, the realisation is that there is no subject-object division. In no-self, well... the realisation is that there is no medium agent of a self.

IMO, the arising and passing away experience stems from the insight of no-self. It do not result from the non-dual realisation.


Non-duality is more obvious when it is experienced.

No-self is a more subtle insight. There is a subtle 'switch'. It is this subtle switch that allows for the arising and passing away as the 'self' is not blocking the arising from passing away.


From my experience of no-self, when thoughts arise that are about passed events that happened... these past events will not be identified as belonging to 'me' ... in another word they are just recognised as thoughts/memories. This will enable the thoughts to dissolve (passing away) which could literally be 'seen'. Same goes with any mind contents such as thinking and planning for the future... they will be recognised as not belonging to 'me' and thus pass away.


Yep, AEN is correct.

In my case, the stabilise realisation of No-self (anatta) came after the early/initial insight of emptiness.

Before the stablisation of no-self, there was still substantial efforting in getting into the 'view'.

The irony is that once the no-self experience is stabilised, one will wonder why did one not see it in the first place. This is because it is so direct. It is as if one is beating around the bush for years just to see the most obvious and direct. However, on hindsight, all the years of practice is really just clearing enough obscurations (habit as well as conceptual conditionings).

My feeling is that the next stage is actually about the stabilisation of emptiness.

In my experience, the initial insights will come first. Then there will be followed by cycles that will revisit these insights until a stabilisation of each insight occurs.


Hi Dharmadhatu,

There are layers of obscurations preventing the actual dynamics of consciousness from being known.

Once you come to this stage, you will naturally understood what is it about.

Currently, the 'I', conventional way of understanding reality, conceptual thoughts, sense of solidity are blocking the experience as described.

In actuality, everything is happening at-one, in-sync with the entire 'universe'. When you eat, the whole universe vibrates (in the action of eating). This, i believe, is how a Buddha can be omniscent... able to know things that he wants as and when. ..for in actuality everything is interconnected in a holographic way.


"Hi Simpo, what is the 'view' that you were efforting to get into at that point? "

I am referring to the 'view' of no-self. Actually, the word view can be misleading but there is no way to describe it.

Put it another way, before the stabilisation of no-self... it is hard to see how the 'sense of self' is muddled in the contents/thoughts. One will have a tendency to apply effort to get into a particular preferred state. With the stabilisation of no-self, this effort is correctly understood as 'sense of self' efforting. Every effort that is being applied causes the arising of the sense of self. It is like a dog trying to bite its own tail... going around in loop.

"Also, what triggered off the insight into emptiness in the first place?"

There is no way to really trigger an insight into emptiness apart from deconstructing. But then deconstruction can also lead to other experiences... Also when the insight comes it will be when least expected.

Prior to insight into emptiness, there may be a strong luminosity experience... but one must not get attached to it and let it go. This may allow the other characteristics (eg emptiness) to shine through.

There is a distinction between experience and realisation. In the realisation, there is a knowing. In an experience, there is a misinterpretation. For example, these experiences can be quite similar to Kundalini arising... The main difference is that an experience can be a misinterpretation of what actually happened.

A misinterpretation of what actually happened will prevent further and deeper experiences.

For example, if one has an I AM experience and believe that there is an eternal witness/observer. ... he/she will not be able to have a non-dual experience. Thus the opportunity to directly understand/realise non-duality is severed by the misinterpretation caused by the I AM experience. This same thing applies to the realisation of emptiness and no-self.

Actually...all experiences are already no-self and empty... It is because this is so that liberation is possible.


Originally posted by Dharmadhatu:
i have read that the 2 most profound ways to clear karma in the Vajrayana is to practise Vajrasattva and rest in nature of mind.
My friends have increased their intelligence, cured diseases, removed destructive patterns that were unconducive to practice, increased clarity & strength of mind etc etc etc. through this practice.  It is a main way to clear obstacles on the path.  As Vajrasattva is the quintessence of all deities.  Simply to practice his mantra covers all the other Buddhas / Deities and Vajrasattva practice is also intimately connected to the bardo experiences.


Yes, I find Vajrasattva Purification to be very powerful. Incidentally, i have only discovered this method not too long the beginning of the year.
It is through 'interesting' means... It started, when i was concerned that someone i know might be going towards negativity and thus falling into woeful state in future life. As people dun always believe what i say... i thought maybe i should get a 'qian' from Guan Yin at the Bugis temple... and use the 'qian' paper as a physical message. So i told the person that i will be going to Guan Yin temple to ask Guan Yin about 'what her future life condition will be'. As expected... the qian is a 'bad' one. But more importantly is the message of the qian. It says that there will be no reward/good result due to lack of merits or something like that. and that the conditions in life is determined by ones' merits.
With that, i gave the 'qian' paper to the person. I went to search on the topic of 'merit' and chance upon Vajrasattva Purification... Next i recommend the Vajrasattva Purification to others and practice it myself. :)
What I have found is that with whatever practice, deep respect for the Teacher is very important whether you can see the Teacher or not. Without deep respect, there will be pride and no faith and thus understandings cannot be effectively transmitted.
Originally posted by "newbie":
What purification practice you do? The article didn't actually teach the purification practice and certain method needs initiation
Simpo: It is in the article. The article also gave a very detailed description of karmic dynamics.
Anyway a simpler article:
Also... read the meaning of the texts first .. and see if this is what you aspire towards. Again as i have stressed... to be effective.. there must be deep respect.
Plus... you cannot replace this with the other essential practices entailing insight practices, concentration and morality.

Originally posted by StriveOn:
Sorry guys, but I want to put up some tough questions here.
Did Buddha says we can purify our karma by reciting a mantra 100,000 times?
What did Buddha says about Karmic formations and what we should do?
Just want to keep on track...
Simpo: Actually.. i should not have bring up this practice as it raises too much confusion with certain people.
In a nutshell, the mantra and visualisation alone of course will have no power... one must understand the meaning. It is like a statement of intention and commitment.
Additionally, the world is not what you see as it is. For those who realises emptiness, one will also understand that space, time, distance and locations are just impressions. They don't exist in a solid and permanent sense. That means, the Enlightenment and Wisdom of Great Beings are still accessible as they are not restricted by space, time, distance and locations. The world/consciousness is really holographic.
No, these Being will not reduce your karma. IMO, it is more like by being attuned with Enlightened Being... and in the process one gets supported along the way. It is like as if an uncharged metal can be progressively magnetised when come in contact with a real magnet.

"To reject practice by saying, ‘it is conceptual!’ is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided.”

— Longchenpa

Also see: Right Samadhi

Many people have a very warped understanding of the so called "highest teachings" such as Dzogchen and Mahamudra, thinking that these teachings allow us to bypass or skip meditation training, or that it does not require "practice" and "meditation". This cannot be further from the truth.

Here are the words from Lopon Malcolm, a qualified dharma teacher who was asked by his Dzogchen master, Kunzang Dechen Lingpa to teach Dzogchen -

Malcolm (Loppon Namdrol) wrote:

    Rongzom makes the point very clearly that Dzogchen practitioners must develop the mental factors that characterize the first dhyana, vitarka, vicara, pritvi, sukha and ekagraha, i.e. applied attention, sustained attention, physical ease, mental ease and one-pointedness. If you do not have a stable samatha practice, you can't really call yourself a Dzogchen practitioner at all. At best, you can call yourself someone who would like to be a Dzogchen practitioner a ma rdzogs chen pa. People who think that Dzogchen frees one from the need to meditate seriously are seriously deluded. The sgra thal 'gyur clearly says:

    The faults of not meditating are:
    the characteristics of samsara appear to one,
    there is self and other, object and consciousness,
    the view is verbal,
    the field is perceptual,
    one is bound by afflictions,
    also one throws away the path of the buddhahood,
    one does not understand the nature of the result,
    a basis for the sameness of all phenomena does not exist,
    one's vidya is bound by the three realms,
    and one will fall into conceptuality

    He also added:

    Dhyanas are defined by the presence or absence of specific mental factors.

    The Dhyanas were not the vehicle of Buddha's awakening, rather he coursed through them in order to remove traces of rebirth associated with the form and formless realms associated with the dhyanas.


    Whether you are following Dzogchen or Mahamudra, and regardless of your intellectual understanding, your meditation should have, at base, the following characteristics:

    Prthvi -- physical ease Sukha -- mental joy Ekagraha -- one-pointedness Vitarka -- initial engagement Vicara -- sustained engagement

    If any of these is missing, you have not even achieved perfect samatha regardless of whether or not you are using an external object, the breath or even the nature of the mind.


    Even in Dzogchen, the five mental factors I mentioned are key without which you are really not going to make any progress.


Samadhi/dhyāna is a natural mental factor, we all have it. The problem is that we naturally allow this mental factor to rest on afflictive objects such as HBO, books, video games, etc.

Śamatha practice is the discipline of harnessing our natural predisposition for concentration, and shifting it from afflictive conditioned phenomena to nonafflictive conditioned phenomena, i.e., the phenomena of the path. We do this in order to create a well tilled field for the growth of vipaśyāna. Śamatha ultimately allows us to have mental stability and suppresses afflictive mental factors so that we may eventually give rise to authentic insight into the nature of reality. While it is possible to have vipaśyāna without cultivating śamatha, it is typically quite unstable and lacks the power to effectively eradicate afflictive patterning from our minds. Therefore, the basis of all practice in Buddhadharma, from Abhidharma to the Great Perfection, is the cultivation of śamatha as a preliminary practice for germination of vipaśyāna.


A perfect śamatha is nothing more than the first dhyāna, attended by five mental factors: vitarka, vicara, prithi, sukha and ekagraha. This is a universal definition.

The idea that it takes a year to develop this experience is ridiculous. If you understand what you are doing, you can develop this experience in as little as a single afternoon.

Since the mental factors of vitarka and vicara drop off above the first dhyāna, when one 's motivation is to engage in vipaśyāna, it is not appropriate to cultivate anything more than this.


Appearance is exactly where non-duality is found. Appearance arisen from the union of emptiness and clarity; this is the freedom place.

If you look for the ground of all phenomena you will not find anything at all. Precisely this looking and not finding is the ground of all phenomena. Train the mind to be like space. Then forget space.

Mind’s activity is a phenomena. Mind’s deep, a groundlessness. Phenomena and mind’s activity share in common the baseless groundlessness. Again and again rest mind’s hurried activity in the expanse of its ownmost non-doing.

Mind’s deep, a groundlessness, is Original Innocence. Phenomena, also groundless, are Bright Virtue.

If you understand these two you will swiftly master the Buddha’s twofold path of Shamatha and Vipassana.

~  Traktung Rinpoche, Original Innocence
Reality is entirely mute.
On its own, it's totally ineffable.
Nothing is conveying
From "its own side"
- any data, any information.
It's all construed
Set up
From the side of the mind
Through conceptuality.
Mind too
As well as these supposed mute objects
Are fabricated conceptually.
Conceptuality too is conceptually woven.
Outside conceptuality
Nothing is truly established.
Nothing is truly actualized.
However, neither are things
Outside of conceptuality
"Outside of conceptuality"
Too is established through language.
It's not all in the mind.
Despite the fact that
It is the mind
That is the great housebuilder.
The weaver of universes.
Of Samsara.
Of Nirvana.
The point of all this
Is to drop into a silence
That is beyond words.
And beyond the absence of words.
When the mind falls silent
Reality falls freely
Into an unfathomable abyss.
Into groundlessness.
Into voidness.
As voidness.
John Tan

John Tan André,

"When the mind falls silent
Reality falls freely
Into an unfathomable abyss.
Into groundlessness.
Into voidness.
As voidness."

Is that what u see when the mind falls silent? What abt the luminous phenominality u used to speak abt?

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· Reply · 18h
André A. Pais

André A. Pais John Tan the abyss and voidness here is not a blank. It is, as you say, luminosity. Undifferentiated - and thus without a ground - radiance.

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· Reply · 18h
John Tan

John Tan André, why the mind needs to b silent then? The luminous phenominality only manifests when mind is silent?

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· Reply · 18h
André A. Pais

André A. Pais John Tan
The point of all this
Is to drop into a silence
That is beyond words.
And beyond the absence of words.

Words are luminosity too, yes. But their meanings have to be seen through, otherwise luminosity will seem and feel solid. Solidity, duality, substantially, suffering, etc., are all established through deludedly applied language.

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· Reply · 18h
John Tan

John Tan André, u mentioned about the 3 tests of Chandrakirti in the other post, I supposed u r referring to the 3 definitions of conventionality? Any idea how is this luminosity related to the 3 definitions?

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· Reply · 18h
John Tan

John Tan I would say regardless of whether the mind is silent, conceptual or non-conceptual, things still appear solid, dual and substantial. The wisdom that sees through essence and characteristics penetrates far deeper than non-conceptuality. Ignorance is equally deep, non-conceptuality is not sufficient to put ignorance to rest.


· Reply · 18h
André A. Pais

André A. Pais John Tan, again:

The point of all this
Is to drop into a silence
That is beyond words.
And beyond the absence of words. ;)

I totally agree with you. Mere non-conceptuality is not enough. Newborn babies and animals are not Buddhas. We are not Buddhas in deep sleep.

By "all this" I mean thorough analysis, which results, I believe, in a silence that is not mere non-conceptuality and which can include, in fact, thoughts and concepts.

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· Reply · 17h
John Tan

John Tan André, imo ultimate analysis that conventional things are empty is the antedote for the conceptual mind to understand. The "taste" and recognition of "essence and characteristics" and emptiness must b brought to all levels, conceptual or non-conceptual, like how we recognized our childhood friends even after not seeing them for decades.


· Reply · 17h · Edited
Geovani Geo

Geovani Geo Andre. "The abyss and voidness here is not a blank. It is, as you say, luminosity. Undifferentiated - and thus without a ground - radiance."

When you say, "without a ground", what is it that is w/o the ground?

There is a subtlety here. Of course the ultimate Silence is groundless for there is nothing upstream of it. Otoh, "the mind that is the great housebuilder, the weaver of universes, of Samsara, of Nirvana" is grounded in that Silence. So when we say that "its all conceptually attributed" this "all" does have a ground, the Ultimate Silence.

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· Reply · 13h
John Tan

John Tan There never is/was any "ground" and if anything needs to be dropped to reach a point of silence, then it is a state that has entry and exit.

Silence or movement, both r appearances. The mind oscillates between the two poles as a result of non-recognition. The nature of mind and phenomena is empty and non-arisen, they have never deviated from their nirvanic quiescence.


· Reply · 8h
Geovani Geo

Geovani Geo John Tan, when you say, "silence or movement, both r appearances" you have attributed a significance to such silence that made it differ from nirvanic quiescencent silence that has no points of entry and exit. You are now speaking of the apparent manifested silence opposite to manifested movement.

Of course there is no ground when all there is is the ground, just as there is no silence that is not an appearance when all there is is such silence, which is the silence the OP seems to be referring too.

So, you have changed the nomenclature.

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· Reply · 4h · Edited
André A. Pais

André A. Pais Geovani Geo

>> When you say, "without a ground", what is it that is w/o the ground?

Reality is without a ground. What else could be without a ground?

>> Of course the ultimate Silence is groundless for there is nothing upstream of it.

That's the definition of ground (as source): that nothing is upstream of it. I don't agree with that. If nothing is upstream, no condition supports it. If the source is causeless, it is independent of everything else. It is useless then.

>> this "all" does have a ground, the Ultimate Silence.

I don't see any ultimate anywhere. In advaita, awareness (the Self) is ultimate. For me, that suffers from the same problem as the causeless source. Ultimate means independent. Independence destroys the functionality of interdependence. Thus it is said that independent or inherent existence is "an impossible mode / type of existence".


· Reply · 2h · Edited