Someone wrote in DharmaOverground: "So lately I have been listening to a few Sam Harris conversations about his new book coming out called Waking Up. What he seems to be saying is that you can experience non-duality or no-self during meditation, but then that experience goes away. You can then bring it back up again in a later meditation, when you are again analyzing (trying to find the self) and not finding it. He says some people can live their whole life with a no-self experience.
My question is when you reach stream entry, is that just a momentary glimpse into no-self that then fades away? Is 4th path the experience of non-duality that is present at all times? While before that you have seen non-duality, but it's not always there unless you look for it? "

I replied: "I am not impressed with Sam Harris's depth of insight, which is not to say that his book was uninteresting. But he has clearly not realized 4th path yet. Yes in short, non-duality is the natural state all the time at 4th path. Anatta and non-duality is always already so, so it is a matter of how deeply this 'always already so' truth is seen and sinked in. There's no more entering nor exiting a state of non-duality when the realization has settled down.

Speaking from experience here, as I have attained MCTB 4th path, Seventh Stage of the Thusness Seven Stages, Tenth Stage of the Ten Oxherding Pictures of Zen, etc.

p.s. Daniel himself wrote, 'Finally, the Wisdom Eye cycles and insight cycles all converge, and the thing stays open from then on, which is to say that at that point it all seems the same whether or not the eye is open, which it actually was. That being seen, nothing can erode or disturb the centerlessness of perspective, and life goes on.', 'All these years later the field has never destabilized again, the wobble never recurred, and things never un-synced. I knew when it happened that my vipassana quest was over. I had the answer I sought, and it has held up, event after event, challenge after challenge, cycle after cycle.'"

Another person wrote:

"(long post)...That's because, reality is already Mind— your mind, right now. Perhaps you are not ready to hear this, but this is the nondual section, after all..."

I wrote:

"Interesting post, I would only add that this is to be extended to all sensory experiences, all colors, all sounds, all sensations.

For example, hear the arising of any sound attentively. Without Awareness (as some background), what is that? Hear attentively... how clear and vivid... hear the tone, the 'texture and fabric', that is mind. The 'texture and fabric' of sound. That too is Mind and no other. That is true non-duality :)" (Also it's to be seen that Mind is empty, and Mind-as-form is empty)

André A. Pais Tenth oxherding pic? Isn't that buddhahood??


LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 12h
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu The author didn't state that. Here's a good site on the oxherding poems and a good commentary:

I call 9th oxherding picture the realization and 10th the actualization

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · Remove Preview · 12h
André A. Pais

André A. Pais Soh Wei Yu but isn't the 10th pic, by definition, buddhahood? Otherwise, zen is left without it... 😊

And are you claiming to have attained it?

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 12h
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu No. The author is simply presenting his own journey.

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 11h
André A. Pais

André A. Pais Soh Wei Yu who's the author? Isn't you speaking?

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 11h
André A. Pais

André A. Pais You mean no to buddhahood, or no to you claiming it?

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 11h
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu I mean the Ten Oxherding Pictures are not talking about Buddhahood nor does it explicitly refer to it as such, but simply the experiential account of the journey of the author -- who is a Zen master of the 12th Century. Like Thusness 7 stages is an account of Thusness, etc. In fact they are quite similar. That 12th century Zen Master got stuck in the I AM and One Mind stages for a long time.

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 11h · Edited
André A. Pais

André A. Pais Soh Wei Yu it seems rather implied though. 😉

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 11h
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu It is a purely experiential account like the 7 stages and no reference to attainment of 'Buddhahood' is mentioned in his poems.

Better luck with Mahamudra Four Yogas as there are direct correlates by many Mahamudra masters with the bhumi systems


LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 11h · Edited
Robert Dominik

Robert Dominik Im not that familiar with Mahamudra but they are often equated with four Contemplations of Dzogchen Semde. These are more related to how meditation progresses from Shamatha through Vipassana. That said Dzogchen has the bar set pretty high - it is said that one needs to go through the bardo while alive to reach Buddhahood. And it makes sense. Nonconceptual insight regarding appearances and thoughts even at subtle levels does not dismantle karmic vision so it does not allow one to completely go beyond figures and shapes. Walls are still experienced as solid when somebody hits them with their hand. One is still bound by attachement to food. I agree with thay. Saying that Ingram's stage is final would turn Buddhism into subtler form of psychology but the extraordinary claim of complete release from cyclic existence would be unfounded.

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 57m
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu "Nonconceptual insight regarding appearances and thoughts even at subtle levels does not dismantle karmic vision so it does not allow one to completely go beyond figures and shapes. Walls are still experienced as solid when somebody hits them with their hand"

Actually non-conceptual insight does (in fact insight is the most crucial factor followed by its actualization), it's just a matter of how deep it has sinked in and how much obcurations has been released. When it is fully done, that's Greater Non Meditation. I think Daniel's 4th Path may have some similarities with Medium One Taste

LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 5m · Edited
Tyler Jones

Tyler Jones Soh Wei Yu, this is something I have wanted to ask you and John Tan about for a long time. In the Tibetan tradition, a distinction is made in all schools between what an Arya sees in equipoise and what an Arya sees post equipoise. In that tradition, an Arya for whom what is seen in equipoise is still seen post equipoise is a Buddha (although not necessarily a Supreme Nirmanakaya Buddha who is turning the wheel). Correct me if you understand the Tibetan tradition differently. I have always wondered if this wasn't relaxing the criteria for Buddhahood a bit, especially seeing as in early Mahayana tenth Bhumi was the same as being a Supreme Nirmanakaya, and there was no other, lesser meaning of Buddhahood. Even in the Suttas, the anatta was permanently realized at Stream entry, and the rest of the path to arhatship was exhausting taints.

So when you say your experience is anatta/emptiness all the time, do you experience a difference between equipoise and post equipose? If not, was there at some point or was it a permanent shift from the first time seeing it? And what do you perceive the work still to be done is?


LikeShow more reactions
· Reply · 5h · Edited
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu There can a period of instability in the beginning but didnt last long for me. I think the Mahamudra Four Yogas are a good presentation of the path. In it, equipoise and postequipoise start to converge at One Taste but all obscurations are only released fully at Greater Non Meditation. The work is done only when one reaches Greater Non Meditation which is Buddhahood, which the book says is actually pretty rare (even the great Masters usually reach a lesser level of Non Meditation)

As I posted this excerpt last month:

Actually completely separating postequipoise and equipoise is a little misleading after anatta and emptiness. It should be seen as a union. There is no entry and exit after that

See Mahamudra the Moonlight by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal:

Thus, at the one-pointed stage, there exists a possibility
of losing the meditation every time through a lapse of
mindfulness. When mindfulness is revitalized, the stream of
meditation is re-established, but true meditation will not
emerge here.
At the nondiscriminatory stage there exists a possibility
of losing the meditation through a lapse of mindfulness. But
once mindfulness is revitalized, meditation capable of
perceiving the nonarising [emptiness] of all things will
At the stage of one flavor there is no possibility of
interruption in the meditation, since the streamconsciousness
of realization continues during
postabsorption, even in the absence of sustained
mindfulness. A possibility exists that the meditator will
gain insight into the unity of appearance and emptiness
through perfect mindfulness.
At the nonmeditation stage, from the moment mindfulness
dawns, there is no separation between the meditator and
meditation as a complete cycle of awareness. Because it
encompasses every sensory appearance and every mental
cognition, there is no need to realize the meditation anew.
6. The difference between absorption and
Je Gomchung comments:
At the one-pointed stage there arise
Both appropriate equipoise and postequipoise.
At the nondiscriminatory stage there arise
Differentiable equipoise and postequipoise.
At the stage of one flavor there emerges
The union of equipoise and postequipoise.
At the stage of nonmeditation
There is an all-round absorption.
Je Gomchung comments:
In the one-pointed stage one will possibly lose the
And will not realize it exactly.
In the nondiscriminatory stage one will possibly lose
the meditation,
But one will [again] realize it.
In the stage of one flavor one will not lose the
And one will realize it.
In the nonmeditation stage one will transcend
The loss and realization of meditation.

the lower level of the one-flavor yoga, the meditator
realizes the essential nature of phenomena as primal purity.
Yet there still remains the clinging to his own
consciousness of certainty and to the inner sensations
[arising from meditative absorption]. During a period of
postabsorption the meditator might find himself ill at ease
when he attempts to transform each of the six sensory
experiences, which are violently disturbed by external and
internal conditions, into sublime experience. He will
occasionally perceive a solid appearance of duality.
Because of its impact on his deeper psyche, his dreams
will be briefly influenced by his mental delusion and
attachment. He will experience a sublime sensation of the
inseparable blend of his body, mind, and appearance.
However, there is a possibility of his losing the vigor of
appreciation with respect to the law of cause and efffect
and also of his faith and compassion diminishing.
On the average level of one flavor, the meditator will
achieve inner release from his inborn clinging to dualities
such as realization and realizer, experience and
experiencer. He will cut the root of that dualistic clinging
to perception and perceiver. Besides, the meditator, during
the period of postabsorption, will not experience much
solid clinging to duality, while the delusion in his dreams
will also diminish. It is said that such a meditator will gain
suffificient inner power capable of helping or harming his
fellow beings.207
On the great level of one flavor, the meditator will
realize nondual awareness, detached from any mental
clinging, which lasts throughout the cycle of a day and
night. This realized state cognizes all diverse appearances
as the manifestation of the unceasing power of mind’s
primordial purity and evenness. He will also achieve a
perfect union of absorption and postabsorption, which will
continue, like the flow of a river. Thus, while absorbed in
nondual awareness, he will cognize the inner sensations of
a few indeterminable appearances with some degree of
clarity. During his postabsorptive consciousness he will
perceive appearances in the manner of seeing an ephemeral
illusion, which is just a vision of emptiness. Even though
such postabsorptive perception is detached from any
clinging, it will occasionally contain some subtle dualistic
appearance originating from the stream-consciousness of
the meditator. He will either have some uninterrupted and
lucid dreams without any attachment or else will not
dream. At this stage the meditator will acquire some power
of supernormal cognition and will receive prophetic
directions from his yidam and ākin̄. In addition, his
jealousy will clear completely.
LikeShow more reactions
Labels: | edit post
8 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Aen,wats the difference of the state of compassion betwn realized folk and ordinary ones?How would u describe yr feeling/state of karuna pre and post realization?

  2. Soh Says:

    One marked difference is my complete inability to intentionally harm any living being or kill even a small insect, after my realization of anatta. This is so due to the complete and uninterrupted gaplessness with all beings where an ant is no distant than my own fingers or heart beat. There is also not much anger or jealousy anymore. Due to not apprehending self as an observer and not apprehending the display as 'others', there is also a sense of fearlessness, even when faced with seemingly fearful situations, as I discussed before.

    Other than that, I have brief experiences of intense love and bliss emanating from heart center during metta practice, but metta practice is not a primary practice for myself.

  3. Soh Says:

    There is however this desire for all beings to awaken to this truth that I have awakened to. And I will strive my best to awaken all beings to the best of my abilities.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    And .... no mountain retirements anymore....? Haha

  5. Soh Says:

    Hmm... Maybe when I'm older?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    How to (practice) let go/loosening what does not constitute "presence" ? Neti2 . Any advice? Wat do u think of Mchael Langford's letting go(AWA) technique?

  7. Anonymous Says:

    " one should never underestimate the art of letting go , very soon it will prove 2 b the most difficult undertaking of ones life .... "

  8. Soh Says:

    Michael Langford's letting go technique is still at Stage 2 as his understanding of Awareness is still dualistic -

    Once you reach Thusness Stage 5 and 6, your letting go is at the 6th level of dropping as written by Thusness. Spontaneous appearance and self-release. Seeing the very manifestation which is one's radiance as empty and non-arising releases whatever manifests (including propensities) on the spot.

    If you are trying to reach Self-Realization, I think Who am I? is a more direct path than Michael Langford's technique for reasons I outlined in my e-book, however there are still many good advices in his book.