by Greg Goode in

(The Direct Path Group is for discussions related to Greg Goode and Sri Atmananda's teachings related to Advaita Vedanta)

= How silent meditation helped me with nondual inquiry =
This is about how silent meditation helped me with nondual inquiry. Silent meditation is different from inquiry, and helps prepare one for doing inquiry. It helps in several ways, which I’ll say more about below.
There are various forms of silent meditation and various paths of inquiry. For example, Shamatha is recommended if one wants to realize emptiness via analytic meditation.
Personally, I found Zazen helpful for nondual inquiry. How can it help? It stabilizes the mind so that the mind doesn’t get off track or fall asleep during the inquiry.
Here is a very rough and schematic quasi-Vedantic account of how this works. It’s not a DP account, but something that we were taught in the Chinmaya Mission. Vedanta looks at the body/mind apparatus as composed of various layers or sheaths of active energy. At the grossest is the body. At a more subtle layer is the “emotional body,” then the mind as controller of its activities. And more subtle still is the intellect, the process of ratiocination, making connections and insight.
All activities engage all of the levels, but some activities have their center of gravity more on one level than another. According to the present scheme, Nondual inquiry begins largely at the energetic level of the intellect. But the insights permeate all levels. And nondual insights deconstruct the levels altogether.
In order that the intellect do its appointed job well, it needs to be somewhat calm. It cannot be jumpy or inclined to nod off into sleep.
For the intellect to be calm, the less subtle levels need to be somewhat calm as well. This is familiar - if there is emotional turbulence, it is hard to think.
There are activities that address each of the levels. Such as karma yoga or recreational dancing or athletics for the physical level. Bhakti yoga or art or singing or performing music for the emotional level. Raja yoga or study or concentrated meditation for the level of controlling the mind. And jnana yoga or mathematics or other kinds of coursing stuff out for the intellectual level.
The calmer the levels that are less subtle than the intellect, the calmer the intellect will be able to be.
This is where zazen helped me. It came in at the level of the control-of-the-mind level and smoothed things out wonderfully. Plus it gives a taste of silence. For me, it helped the mind stay with the subtleties of jnana yoga without a a rage of chattering thoughts, and without getting drowsy and falling asleep.
Zazen is taught at Zen centers. Phenomenally (not doctrinally) it is a process of keeping the mind extremely steady on a subtle object like counting or the breath. There are two things that could depart from that: a chatty mind or a sleepy one. Whenever you notice that either has happened, you simply go back to counting or following the breath.
Besides calmness and stability and subtlety, I noticed physically healthy things, like better digestion, more energy on the lower body and more closely focused in everything where needed.
One can do zazen earlier in the day, and then nondual inquiry later in the day. And nondual inquiry will be supercharged. Of course there are other preparatory activities that will help. This was just my experiences with zazen!


Hi Andrej, Here are some examples of which inquiries were helped by Zazen.... I did years of inquiries, mostly before I did Zazen. The main inquiry I did with the aid of Zazen was later and extremely subtle: I was looking into why Truth and Reality were widely held to be nondual whereas I experienced a very slight, benevolent duality between witnessing awareness and the arisings that seemed to arise from/to it. There was no suffering (I was at the so-called "transparent witness" gestalt). But even so, I was drawn to this issue for over a year. I happened to be doing Zazen at the time - I only realized later that it helped, and how it helped. How did Zazen help? I was already pretty good at focusing and keeping my attention on an object. My father had this too. He brought it his work home and did it at the large dinner table while the TV was on a few feet away and we kids were running around. It didn't bug him a bit! He taught this focus to us. We were a family of introverted artists, so it was easy. All my school, military and corporate experience helped with focus as well. But this topic (subject/object distinction) was very slippery. In a word, Zazen helped make the mind more open and subtle. It quieted the mind so that it was more open to subtle insight coming from unexpected angles, as opposed to the usual ones. And it helped the mind recognize patterns and formulations of a vaguer and more subtle type. Here's a physicalist-type example. Imagine putting a long hair in a phone book and then cover it with one page. Then shut your eyes and try to trace the hair with your fingertips


Kyle Dixon: 

Sitting has been invaluable for me in my life, with positive, long lasting effects. I really cannot recommend it enough. Also the more I sat, and the more stable my meditation became, the brighter my mind became, like increasing the brightness on a lamp. Energetically things became very coordinated, like Greg mentioned, and what I would call instances of transcendent insight would erupt spontaneously. Which were like precursors to larger events of the same species. Meditation if done right is just a fantastic supplement to any spiritual endeavor. It breathes life into the process and makes everything easier and more enjoyable.


See: Buddha's meditation instruction on mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati):



Soh Wei Yu shared a link.
  · 5h  · 
Although the AtR blog mostly writes on insight, and in a sense after the correct insights equipoise and post equipoise becomes mixed, still it is important not to neglect meditation and samadhi and sitting.
Just today, John Tan said,
“U must also practice sitting meditation and have quality time in anatta free from apprender and apprehended, experience whatever sensations as insubstantial and light, natural and luminous. Keep opening up as if inner radiance turns outer, convex turns concave.”
“Both (insight and sitting meditation) r equally important.”
“Yeah. 当下无心,very direct and very easy. When mind thinks and meddle with conventional, that is different. However after sometimes, when radiance and luminousity takes over, everything becomes radiance and energy.
Spend quality time in sitting until Ur radiance and calm abiding is integrated. Important.”
“In terms of radiance and purity, very fine, clean, immaculate, pellucid and crystal.. Free floating and insubstantial but there is no thoughts, concepts. Just pure radiance...this must be a very very quality, natural and calm and peace without any sense of apprender and apprehended. That is y u have to spend some quality time in it. Then u will understand your to penetrate 3 states and what to do automatically.”
P.s. was meditating earlier today at a park as usual on weekends or when im free. Weekdays i sit at home.
Read these:
On the importance of Both insight and calm abiding by Buddha:


A teaching by Zen Master Dogen:

Fukan Zazengi (Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen)

The way is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent on practice and realization? The true vehicle is self-sufficient. What need is there for special effort? Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from this very place; what is the use of traveling around to practice? And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. Suppose you are confident in your understanding and rich in enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way and clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens. You are playing in the entranceway, but you are still short of the vital path of emancipation.

Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice?

Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want to realize such, get to work on such right now.
For practicing Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Put aside all involvements and suspend all affairs. Do not think "good" or "bad." Do not judge true or false. Give up the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?

At your sitting place, spread out a thick mat and put a cushion on it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, first place your right foot on your left thigh, then your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, simply place your left foot on your right thigh. Tie your robes loosely and arrange them neatly. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching. Straighten your body and sit upright, leaning neither left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Align your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Rest the tip of your tongue against the front of the roof of your mouth, with teeth together and lips shut. Always keep your eyes open, and breathe softly through your nose.

Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking, "Not thinking --what kind of thinking is that?" Nonthinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

The zazen I speak of is not meditation practice. It is simply the dharma gate of joyful ease, the practice realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the koan realized; traps and snares can never reach it. If you grasp the point, you are like a dragon gaining the water, like a tiger taking to the mountains. For you must know that the true dharma appears of itself, so that from the start dullness and distraction are struck aside.

When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both mundane and sacred, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the power of zazen.

In addition, triggering awakening with a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout --these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking; much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing. Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views?

This being the case, intelligence or lack of it is not an issue; make no distinction between the dull and the sharp-witted. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is wholeheartedly engaging the way.

Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward is, after all, an everyday affair.
In general, in our world and others, in both India and China, all equally hold the buddha-seal. While each lineage expresses its own style, they are all simply devoted to sitting, totally blocked in resolute stability. Although they say that there are ten thousand distinctions and a thousand variations, they just wholeheartedly engage the way in zazen. Why leave behind the seat in your own home to wander in vain through the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep, you stumble past what is directly in front of you.

You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not pass your days and nights in vain. You are taking care of the essential activity of the buddha-way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning --emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.

Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way of direct pointing at the real. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning and is free from effort. Accord with the enlightenment of all the buddhas; succeed to the samadhi of all the ancestors. Continue to live in such a way, and you will be such a person. The treasure store will open of itself, and you may enjoy it freely.


Is Meditation Restricted to Sitting?

It is important to understand that post anatta, meditation is not restricted to sitting. However, it is still important to have a disciplined and consistent practice of sitting meditation and have quality time to meditate. John Tan sits two hours or more a day (he separates to two sessions - morning and evening), and attributes great progress to developing meditative composure and doing self-retreat.

"Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) is good. After your insight, master a form of technique that can bring you to the state of anatta without going through a thought process." - John Tan, 2013

“A state of freedom is always a natural state, that is a state of mind free from self/Self. You should familiarize yourself with the taste first. Like doing breathing meditation until there is no-self and left with the inhaling and exhaling... then understand what is meant by releasing.” - John Tan, 2013

“When we practice zazen our mind always follows our breathing. When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes out to the outer world. The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is also limitless. We say “inner world” or “outer world,” but actually there is just one whole world. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door. The air comes in and goes out like someone passing through a swinging door. If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra. There is no you to say “I.” What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,” no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door.” - Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

"You can meditate everywhere in all activities, meditation of non-dual is not restricted to sitting post anatta, this should be a moment to moment event for you. It is not about anatta insight, you need to complement what you lack for sitting meditation, equanimity is what you need to improve, don't waste too much time on FB [facebook] activities. Also do exercises, don't get energy imbalances." - John Tan

“Even up till longchen's (Sim Pern Chong's) stage [having realised non-duality], meditation is still very important except it should not be form and technique bound. So still sit and meditate. :) Spend quality hours in being naked... and let this continue till you experienced clearly what is the meaning of 'emptiness is form'. it can take 20-30 years. :P You must make it a habit, then you can progress fast. Even after experiencing non-dual, you must still work hard till it stabilizes. One should work harder after non-dual. :P So spend quality minutes in meditations. Don't just talk and ask for knowledge." - John Tan, 2007

John Tan:

“When you are luminous and transparent, don't think of dependent origination or emptiness, that is [the contemplative practice for] post-equipoise. When hearing sound, like the sound of flowing water and chirping bird, it is as if you are there. It should be non-conceptual, no sense of body or me, transparent, as if the sensations stand out. You must always have some quality time into this state of anatta. Means you cannot keep losing yourself in verbal thoughts, you got to have quality hours dedicated to relaxation and experience fully without self, without reservation." - John Tan, 2018

John Tan:

"After this insight, one must also be clear of the way of anatta and the path of practice. Many wrongly conclude that because there is no-self, there is nothing to do and nothing to practice. This is precisely using "self view" to understand "anatta" despite having the insight.

It does not mean because there is no-self, there is nothing to practice; rather it is because there is no self, there is only ignorance and the chain of afflicted activities. Practice therefore is about overcoming ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities. There is no agent but there is attention. Therefore practice is about wisdom, vipassana, mindfulness and concentration. If there is no mastery over these practices, there is no liberation. So one should not bullshit and psycho ourselves into the wrong path of no-practice and waste the invaluable insight of anatta. That said, there is the passive mode of practice of choiceless awareness, but one should not misunderstand it as the "default way" and such practice can hardly be considered "mastery" of anything, much less liberation."

There are a couple of articles on 'No Awareness' or 'Beyond Awareness'. It must be emphasized that this does not mean the non-existence of awareness, or the denial of awareness or luminosity.

Geovani Geo to me, to be without dual is not to subsume into one and although awareness is negated, it is not to say there is nothing.

Negating the Awareness/Presence (Absolute) is not to let Awareness remain at the abstract level.  When such transpersonal Awareness that exists only in wonderland is negated, the vivid radiance of presence are fully tasted in the transient appearances; zero gap and zero distance between presence and moment to moment of ordinary experiences and we realize separation has always only been conventional.

Then mundane activities -- hearing, sitting, standing, seeing and sensing, become pristine and vibrant, natural and free.” – John Tan, 2020


John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:02pm UTC+08
Why is he talking abt 靈妙覺體 [spiritual and marvellous body of awareness]
Soh Wei YuWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:03pm UTC+08
its just the luminosity?
Soh Wei YuWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:03pm UTC+08
what do you mean
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:04pm UTC+08
there is no deny of clarity or luminosity, it is the singling out of luminosity that is the problem.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:04pm UTC+08
Y is luminosity luminous?
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:05pm UTC+08
Is an irrelevant question

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:09pm UTC+08
There is no such [inherently existing] clarity

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:11pm UTC+08
Because of inherent thought, we understand 靈妙覺體 [spiritual and marvellous body of awareness] as standalone, singled out from DO (Dependent Origination) or otherwise we r understanding it as "interaction".
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:12pm UTC+08
Or if conceptuality is a problem then non-conceptuality must b the solution.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:13pm UTC+08
Or subsuming object into subject or subject into object...
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:13pm UTC+08
It is addressing this way of thinking, of understanding is a misperception.

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:15pm UTC+08
It is not to imply that there is no clarity...but what is clarity when it is not understood using this flawed mode of perception.

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:21pm UTC+08
In Buddhism, it is not how. It's always under what conditions such phenomena arises. So when this cause & condition persists, the phenomena will arise.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:35pm UTC+08
First is to bring out the point to ask why appearances "arises" in Awareness is the same as asking why is awareness aware in awareness teaching. Why so? For the convention we call awareness is only ever appearances.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:36pm UTC+08
Then address what is flaw mode of perception...
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:36pm UTC+08
As I hv given above.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:37pm UTC+08
So why does appearances appear to arise in Awareness? Because of ignorance

John TanFriday, September 19, 2014 at 10:12pm UTC+08
If Buddha ask ananda, where is mind...if mind is not outside, not inside, not in the middle, not within the body...then is he ananda going to think that Buddha doesn't dare to affirm where is the mind?

John TanFriday, September 19, 2014 at 10:12pm UTC+08
Then ananda will nvr know the meaning of DO.

John TanFriday, September 19, 2014 at 10:14pm UTC+08
And the problem of how inherent thought blinds one from seeing and having direct experiential insight of what is meant by freedom from extreme.

John TanSaturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:10am UTC+08

When u present to 不思, u must not deny (awareness). But emphasized how (awareness) is effortlessly and marvelously manifests without the slightest sense of referencing and point of centricity and duality and subsuming it here, now, in, out...this can only come from realization of anatta, DO and emptiness so that the spontaneity of (appearance) is realized to one's radiance clarity.


(4:20 PM) Thusness:    buddhism stresses more on direct experience.
(4:20 PM) Thusness:    there is no-self apart from the arising and ceasing
(4:20 PM) AEN:    icic..
(4:20 PM) Thusness:    and from arising and ceasing one sees the emptiness nature of 'Self'
(4:21 PM) Thusness:    There is Witnessing.
(4:21 PM) Thusness:    Witnessing is the manifestation.
(4:21 PM) Thusness:    there is no witness witnessing manifestation.
(4:21 PM) Thusness:    that is buddhism.


(11:42 PM) Thusness:    i have always said it is not the denial of eternal witness.
(11:42 PM) Thusness:    but what exactly is that eternal witness?
(11:42 PM) Thusness:    it is the real understanding of eternal witness.
(11:43 PM) AEN:    yeah i tot so
(11:43 PM) AEN:    so its something like david carse right
(11:43 PM) Thusness:    without the 'seeing' and 'veil' of momentum, of reacting to propensities.
(11:43 PM) AEN:    emptiness, yet luminous
(11:43 PM) AEN:    icic
(11:43 PM) Thusness:    however when one quote what buddha said, does he understand first of all.
(11:43 PM) Thusness:    is he seeing eternal witness as in the advaita?
(11:44 PM) AEN:    he's probably confused
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    or is he seeing free from propensities.
(11:44 PM) AEN:    he never explicitly mention but i believe his understanding is something like that la
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    so there is no point quoting if it is not seen.
(11:44 PM) AEN:    icic
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    otherwise it is just saying the atman view again.
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    so u should be very clear by now...and not to be confused.
(11:44 PM) AEN:    icic
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    what have i told u?
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    u have also written in ur blog.
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    what is eternal witness?
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    it is the manifestation...moment to moment of arising
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    does one see with the propensities and what is really it?
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    that is more important.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    i have said so many times that the experience is correct but the understanding is wrong.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    wrong view.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    and how perception influence experience and wrong understanding.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    so don't quote here and there with just a snap shot...
(11:47 PM) Thusness:    be very very clear and know with wisdom so that u will know what is right and wrong view.
(11:47 PM) Thusness:    otherwise u will be reading this and get confused with that.


(3:55 PM) Thusness:    it is not to deny the existence of the luminosity
(3:55 PM) Thusness:    the knowingness
(3:55 PM) Thusness:    but rather to have the correct view of what consciousness is.
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    like non-dual
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    i said there is no witness apart from the manifestation, the witness is really the manifestation
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    this is the first part
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    since the witness is the manifestation, how is it so?
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    how is the one is really the many?
(3:57 PM) AEN:    conditions?
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    saying that the one is the many is already wrong.
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    this is using conventional way of expression.
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    for in reality, there is no such thing of the 'one'
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    and the many
(3:58 PM) Thusness:    there is only arising and ceasing due to emptiness nature
(3:58 PM) Thusness:    and the arising and ceasing itself is the clarity.
(3:58 PM) Thusness:    there is no clarity apart from the phenomena
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    if we experience non-dual like ken wilber and talk about the atman.
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    though the experience is true, the understanding is wrong.
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    this is similar to "I AM".
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    except that it is higher form of experience.
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    it is non-dual.

Session Start: Sunday, October 19, 2008

(1:01 PM) Thusness: Yes
(1:01 PM) Thusness: Actually practice is not to deny this 'Jue' (awareness)

(6:11 PM) Thusness: the way u explained as if 'there is no Awareness'.
(6:11 PM) Thusness: People at times mistaken what u r trying to convey.but to correctly understand this 'jue' so that it can be experienced from all moments effortlessly.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: But when a practitioner heard that it is not 'IT', they immediately began to worry because it is their most precious state.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: All the phases written is about this 'Jue' or Awareness.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: However what Awareness really is isn't correctly experienced.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: Because it isn't correctly experienced, we say that 'Awareness that u try to keep' does not exist in such a way.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: It does not mean there is no Awareness.


(12:02 AM) Thusness: it is not that there is no awareness
(12:02 AM) Thusness: it is understanding awareness not from a subject/object view
(12:02 AM) Thusness: not from an inherent view
(12:03 AM) Thusness: that is dissolving subject/object understanding into events, action, karma
(12:04 AM) Thusness: then we gradually understand that the 'feeling' of someone there is really just a 'sensation' of an inherent view
(12:04 AM) Thusness: means a 'sensation', a 'thought'
inherent view
(12:06 AM) Thusness: how this lead to liberation requires the direct experience
(12:06 AM) Thusness: so liberation it is not freedom from 'self' but freedom from 'inherent view'
(12:07 AM) AEN: icic..
(12:07 AM) Thusness: get it?
(12:07 AM) Thusness: but it is important to experience luminosity

Session Start: Saturday, 27 March, 2010

(9:54 PM) Thusness: Not bad for self-enquiry
(9:55 PM) AEN: icic..
btw what do u think lucky and chandrakirti is trying to convey
(9:56 PM) Thusness: those quotes weren't really well translated in my opinion.
(9:57 PM) Thusness: what needs be understood is 'No I' is not to deny Witnessing consciousness.
(9:58 PM) Thusness: and 'No Phenomena' is not to deny Phenomena
(9:59 PM) Thusness: It is just for the purpose of 'de-constructing' the mental constructs.
(10:00 PM) AEN: oic..
(10:01 PM) Thusness: when u hear sound, u cannot deny it...can u?
(10:01 PM) AEN: ya
(10:01 PM) Thusness: so what r u denying?
(10:02 PM) Thusness: when u experience the Witness as u described in ur thread 'certainty of being', how can u deny this realization?
(10:03 PM) Thusness: so what is does 'no I' and 'no phenomena' mean?
(10:03 PM) AEN: like u said its only mental constructs that are false... but consciousness cant be denied ?
(10:03 PM) Thusness: no...i am not saying that
Buddha never deny the aggregates
(10:04 PM) Thusness: just the selfhood
(10:04 PM) Thusness: the problem is what is meant by 'non-inherent', empty nature, of phenomena and 'I'


(11:15 PM) Thusness:    but understanding it wrongly is another matter
can u deny Witnessing?
(11:16 PM) Thusness:    can u deny that certainty of being?
(11:16 PM) AEN:    no
(11:16 PM) Thusness:    then there is nothing wrong with it
how could u deny ur very own existence?
(11:17 PM) Thusness:    how could u deny existence at all
(11:17 PM) Thusness:    there is nothing wrong experiencing directly without intermediary the pure sense of existence
(11:18 PM) Thusness:    after this direct experience, u should refine ur understanding, ur view, ur insights
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    not after the experience, deviate from the right view, re-enforce ur wrong view
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    u do not deny the witness, u refine ur insight of it
what is meant by non-dual
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    what is meant by non-conceptual
what is being spontaneous
what is the 'impersonality' aspect
(11:20 PM) Thusness:    what is luminosity.
(11:20 PM) Thusness:    u never experience anything unchanging
(11:21 PM) Thusness:    in later phase, when u experience non-dual, there is still this tendency to focus on a background... and that will prevent ur progress into the direct insight into the TATA as described in the tata article.
(11:22 PM) Thusness:    and there are still different degree of intensity even u realized to that level.
(11:23 PM) AEN:    non dual?
(11:23 PM) Thusness:    tada (an article) is more than is phase 5-7
(11:24 PM) AEN:    oic..
(11:24 PM) Thusness:    it is all about the integration of the insight of anatta and emptiness
(11:25 PM) Thusness:    vividness into transience, feeling what i called 'the texture and fabric' of Awareness as forms is very important
then come emptiness
(11:26 PM) Thusness:    the integration of luminosity and emptiness

(10:45 PM) Thusness:    do not deny that Witnessing but refine the view, that is very important
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    so far, u have correctly emphasized the importance of witnessing
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    unlike in the past, u gave ppl the impression that u r denying this witnessing presence
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    u merely deny the personification, reification and objectification
(10:47 PM) Thusness:    so that u can progress further and realize our empty nature.
but don't always post what i told u in msn
(10:48 PM) Thusness:    in no time, i will become sort of cult leader
(10:48 PM) AEN:    oic.. lol
(10:49 PM) Thusness:    anatta is no ordinary insight.  When we can reach the level of thorough transparency, u will realize the benefits
(10:50 PM) Thusness:    non-conceptuality, clarity, luminosity, transparency, openness, spaciousness, thoughtlessness, non-locality...all these descriptions become quite meaningless.


(7:39 PM) Thusness:    it is always witnessing...don't get it wrong
just whether one understand its emptiness nature or not.
(7:39 PM) Thusness:    there is always luminosity
since when there is no witnessing?
(7:39 PM) Thusness:    it is just luminosity and emptiness nature
not luminosity alone

(9:59 PM) Thusness:    there is always this is the divided sense that u have to get rid
(9:59 PM) Thusness:    that is why i never deny the witness experience and realization, just the right understanding 


(2:58 PM) Thusness:    There is no problem being the witness, the problem is only wrong understanding of what witness is.
(2:58 PM) Thusness:    That is seeing duality in Witnessing.
(2:58 PM) Thusness:    or seeing 'Self' and other, subject-object division.  That is the problem.
(2:59 PM) Thusness:    U can call it Witnessing or Awareness, there must be no sense of self.

(11:21 PM) Thusness:    yes witnessing
not witness
(11:22 PM) Thusness:    in witnessing, it is always non-dual
(11:22 PM) Thusness:    when in witness, it is always a witness and object being witness
when there is an observer, there is no such thing as no observed
(11:23 PM) Thusness:    when u realised that there is only witnessing, there is no observer and observed
it is always non-dual
(11:24 PM) Thusness:    that is why when genpo something said there is no witness only witnessing, yet taught the staying back and observed 
(11:24 PM) Thusness:    i commented the path deviates from the view
(11:25 PM) AEN:    oic..
(11:25 PM) Thusness:    when u teach experience the witness, u teach that
that is not about no subject-object split
u r teaching one to experience that witness
(11:26 PM) Thusness:    first stage of insight of the "I AM"

(2:52 PM) Thusness: r u denying the "I AMness" experience?

(2:54 PM) AEN: u mean in the post?

(2:54 PM) AEN: no

(2:54 PM) AEN: its more like the nature of 'i am' rite

(2:54 PM) Thusness: what is being denied?

(2:54 PM) AEN: the dualistic understanding?

(2:55 PM) Thusness: yes it is the wrong understanding of that experience. Just like 'redness' of a flower.

(2:55 PM) AEN: oic..

(2:55 PM) Thusness: Vivid and seems real and belongs to the flower. It only appears so, it is not so.

(2:57 PM) Thusness: When we see in terms of subject/object dichotomy, it appears puzzling that there is thoughts, no thinker. There is sound, no hearer and there is rebirth, but no permanent soul being reborn.

(2:58 PM) Thusness: It is puzzling because of our deeply held view of seeing things inherently where dualism is a subset of this 'inherent' seeing.

(2:59 PM) Thusness: So what is the problem?

(2:59 PM) AEN: icic..

(2:59 PM) AEN: the deeply held views?

(2:59 PM) Thusness: yeah

(2:59 PM) Thusness: what is the problem?

(3:01 PM) AEN: back

(3:02 PM) Thusness: The problem is the root cause of suffering lies in this deeply held view. We search and are attached because these views. This is the relationship between 'view' and 'consciousness'. There is no escape. With inherent view, there is always 'I' and 'Mine'. There is always 'belongs' like the 'redness' belongs to the flower.

(3:02 PM) Thusness: Therefore despite all transcendental experiences, there is no liberation without right understanding.


Daniel M. Ingram:

"So you have these two extremes - both of which I find pretty annoying (laughs) - and uhm, not that they are not making interesting points that counterbalance each other. And then, from an experiential point of view, the whole field seems to be happening on its own in a luminous way, the intelligence or awareness seems to be intrinsic in the phenomena, the phenomena do appear to be totally transient, totally ephemeral. So I would reject from an experiential point of view, something in the harshness of the dogma of the rigid no-selfists that can't recognise the intrinsic nature of awareness that is the field. If that makes sense. Cos they tend to feel there's something about that's sort of (cut off?)..."

Interviewer: "And not only awareness..."

Daniel: "Intelligence. Right, and I also reject from an experiential point of view the people who would make this permanent, something separate from, something different from just the manifestation itself. I don't like the permanence aspect because from a Buddhist technical point of view I do not find anything that stands up as permanent in experience. I find that quality always there *while there is experience.* Because it's something in the nature of experience. But it's not quite the same thing as permanence, if that makes sense. So while there is experience, there is experience. So that means there is awareness, from a certain point of view, manifestation - awareness being intrinsically the same thing, intrinsic to each other. So while there is experience, I would claim that element (awareness) is there - it has to be for there to be experience. And I would claim that the system seems to function very lawfully and it's very easy to feel that there's a sort of intelligence, ok, cool... ...the feeling of profundity, the feeling of miraculousness, the wondrous component. So as the Tibetans would say, amazing! It all happens by itself! So, there is intrinsically amazing about this. It's very refreshingly amazing that the thing happens, and that things cognize themselves or are aware where they are, manifestation is truly amazing and tuning into that amazingness has something valuable about it from a pragmatic point of view."


5/24/2012 8:05 PM: John: But experientially same but just the degree of right understanding
5/24/2012 8:07 PM: John: Not exactly one mind
5/24/2012 8:07 PM: John: Do u feel everything as Self now?
5/24/2012 8:08 PM: John: As in that experience of I M powerfully present at this moment
5/24/2012 8:09 PM: Soh Wei Yu: yes presence, but as change
5/24/2012 8:11 PM: John: As if like Awareness clear and open like space, without meditation yet powerfully present and non-dual
5/24/2012 8:12 PM: John: Where the 4 Aspects of I M r fully experienced in this moment
5/24/2012 8:14 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Yeah
5/24/2012 8:14 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I think the four aspects is only fully experienced after nondual and anatta, especially effortlessness and no need to abide
5/24/2012 8:15 PM: John: This experience will become more and more powerful later yet effortless and uncontrieved
5/24/2012 8:17 PM: John: How so? If it is not correct insights and practice, how is it possible for such complete and total experience of effortless and uncontrieved Presence be possible?
5/24/2012 8:18 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I do not see it is possible without the proper insights and practice
5/24/2012 8:20 PM: Soh Wei Yu: In anatta every activity is it, is buddha nature, so no contrivance at all
5/24/2012 8:21 PM: Soh Wei Yu: No need to meditate to get anywhere
5/24/2012 8:21 PM: Soh Wei Yu: But meditation is still important to cultivate certain aspects like tranquility
5/24/2012 8:22 PM: John: Indeed and this is being authenticated by the immediate moment of experience. How could there be doubt abt it. The last trace of Presence must be released with seeing through the emptiness nature of whatever arises.
5/24/2012 8:22 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I see..
5/24/2012 8:25 PM: John: After maturing and integrating ur insights into practice, there must be no effort and action.... The entire whole is doing the work and arises as this vivid moment of shimmering appearance, this has always been what we always called Presence.


John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:46pm UTC+08

Btw, r experience (appearances), immensely crystal, brilliance and sharp..without any crystal that a sense of transparency arise?
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:47pm UTC+08

It must b a natural and effortless
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:49pm UTC+08

In normal circumstances, having enough rest and relax...without need to meditate...natural and relax
John TanWednesday  December 25, 2013 at 8:49pm UTC+08

Not when u r busy
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:49pm UTC+08

So crystal that there is always this sense of absorption
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:50pm UTC+08

Openness like space, clear and boundless
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:51pm UTC+08

In later phase, it must be even stronger than the initial phase (Soh: of anatta)
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:57pm UTC+08

U need to hv enough rest and if possible take more vege


Thusness wrote in 2012,

"I do not see practice apart from realizing the essence and nature of awareness. The only difference is seeing Awareness as an ultimate essence or realizing awareness as this seamless activity that fills the entire Universe. When we say there is no scent of a flower, the scent is the flower.... that is because the mind, body, universe are all together deconstructed into this single flow, this scent and only this... Nothing else. That is the Mind that is no mind. There is not an Ultimate Mind that transcends anything in the Buddhist enlightenment. The mind Is this very manifestation of total exertion... wholly thus. Therefore there is always no mind, always only this vibration of moving train, this cooling air of the air-con, this breath... The question is after the 7 phases of insights can this be realized and experienced and becomes the ongoing activity of practice in enlightenment and enlightenment in practice -- practice-enlightenment."

Thusness, 2012:

"Has awareness stood out? There is no concentration needed. When six entries and exits are pure and primordial, the unconditioned stands shining, relaxed and uncontrived, luminous yet empty. The purpose of going through the 7 phases of perception shift is for this... Whatever arises is free and uncontrived, that is the supreme path. Whatever arises has never left their nirvanic state... ... your current mode of practice [after those experiential insights] should be as direct and uncontrived as possible. When you see nothing behind and magical appearances are too empty, awareness is naturally lucid and free. Views and all elaborations dissolved, mind-body forgotten... just unobstructed awareness. Awareness natural and uncontrived is supreme goal. Relax and do nothing, Open and boundless, Spontaneous and free, Whatever arises is fine and liberated, This is the supreme path. Top/bottom, inside/outside, Always without center and empty (2-fold emptiness), Then view is fully actualized and all experiences are great liberation."

John Tan/Thusness, 2014:

"The purpose of anatta is to have full blown experience of the heart -- boundlessly, completely, non-dually and non-locally. Re-read what I wrote to Jax.

In every situations, in all conditions, in all events. It is to eliminate unnecessary contrivity so that our essence can be expressed without obscuration.

Jax wants to point to the heart but is unable to express in a non-dual way... for in duality, the essence cannot be realized. All dualistic interpretation are mind made. You know the smile of Mahākāśyapa? Can you touch the heart of that smile even 2500 yrs later?

One must lose all mind and body by feeling with entire mind and body this essence which is 心 (Mind). Yet 心 (Mind) too is 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable).. The purpose is not to deny 心 (Mind) but rather not to place any limitations or duality so that 心 (Mind) can fully manifest.

Therefore without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to limit 心 (Mind). without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to place limitation in its manifestations. You must fully experience 心 (Mind) by realizing 无心 (No-Mind) and fully embrace the wisdom of 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable)."

Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:35pm UTC+08

Im eating durian chendol in malacca
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:38pm UTC+08

Famous shop here v nice
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

The shop is playing jing kong fa shi vcd
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

He talls about an unborn undying ling xing - spirit
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

That which reborns in six realms he says is not the body but the ling xing spirit
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

It is that which goes to pure land
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:33am UTC+08

His view is more substantial view.
John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:36am UTC+08

Buddhism does not deny luminous clarity, in fact it is to hv total, uncontrieved, direct non-referential of clarity in all moments...therefore no-self apart from manifestation.
John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:36am UTC+08

Otherwise one is only holding ghost images.
John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:39am UTC+08

So understanding a spirit traveling in the 6 realms is diff from recognizing these realms are nothing more than one's radiance clarity. 
John tan:

“The Absolute as separated from the transience is what I have indicated as the 'Background' in my 2 posts to theprisonergreco.

84. RE: Is there an absolute reality? [Skarda 4 of 4]
Mar 27 2009, 9:15 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 27 2009, 9:15 AM EDT
Hi theprisonergreco,

First is what exactly is the ‘background’? Actually it doesn’t exist. It is only an image of a ‘non-dual’ experience that is already gone. The dualistic mind fabricates a ‘background’ due to the poverty of its dualistic and inherent thinking mechanism. It ‘cannot’ understand or function without something to hold on to. That experience of the ‘I’ is a complete, non-dual foreground experience.

When the background subject is understood as an illusion, all transience phenomena reveal themselves as Presence. It is like naturally 'vipassanic' throughout. From the hissing sound of PC, to the vibration of the moving MRT train, to the sensation when the feet touches the ground, all these experiences are crystal clear, no less “I AM” than “I AM”. The Presence is still fully present, nothing is denied. -:) So the “I AM” is just like any other experiences when the subject-object split is gone. No different from an arising sound. It only becomes a static background as an afterthought when our dualistic and inherent tendencies are in action.

The first 'I-ness' stage of experiencing awareness face to face is like a point on a sphere which you called it the center. You marked it.

Then later you realized that when you marked other points on the surface of a sphere, they have the same characteristics. This is the initial experience of non-dual. Once the insight of No-Self is stabilized, you just freely point to any point on the surface of the sphere -- all points are a center, hence there is no 'the' center. 'The' center does not exist: all points are a center.

After then practice move from 'concentrative' to 'effortlessness'. That said, after this initial non-dual insight, 'background' will still surface occasionally for another few years due to latent tendencies...

86. RE: Is there an absolute reality? [Skarda 4 of 4]
To be more exact, the so called 'background' consciousness is that pristine happening. There is no a 'background' and a 'pristine happening'. During the initial phase of non-dual, there is still habitual attempt to 'fix' this imaginary split that does not exist. It matures when we realized that anatta is a seal, not a stage; in hearing, always only sounds; in seeing always only colors, shapes and forms; in thinking, always only thoughts. Always and already so. -:)

Many non-dualists after the intuitive insight of the Absolute hold tightly to the Absolute. This is like attaching to a point on the surface of a sphere and calling it 'the one and only center'. Even for those Advaitins that have clear experiential insight of no-self (no object-subject split), an experience similar to that of anatta (First emptying of subject) are not spared from these tendencies. They continue to sink back to a Source.

It is natural to reference back to the Source when we have not sufficiently dissolved the latent disposition but it must be correctly understood for what it is. Is this necessary and how could we rest in the Source when we cannot even locate its whereabout? Where is that resting place? Why sink back? Isn't that another illusion of the mind? The 'Background' is just a thought moment to recall or an attempt to reconfirm the Source. How is this necessary? Can we even be a thought moment apart? The tendency to grasp, to solidify experience into a 'center' is a habitual tendency of the mind at work. It is just a karmic tendency. Realize It! This is what I meant to Adam the difference between One-Mind and No-Mind.” - John Tan, 2009, excerpt from Emptiness as Viewless View and Embracing the Transience
Excerpts from the AtR guide:

I noticed that many Buddhists trained under the doctrine of anatta and emptiness seem to be put off by the description of “I AM realization” as it seems to contradict anatta. This will prevent their progress as they will fail to appreciate and realize the depth of luminous presence, and their understanding of anatta and emptiness remains intellectual. It should be understood that the I AM realization does not contradict Anatta realization but complements it. It is the “original face before your parents were born” of Zen, and the unfabricated clarity in Dzogchen that serves as initial rigpa, it is also the initial certainty of Mind discovered in the first of the four yogas of Mahamudra (see: Clarifying the Natural State by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal). Calling it “I AM” is just another name for the same thing, and you should also know that AtR’s definition of I AM is different from Buddhism’s term “conceit of I Am” or Nisargadatta’s I Am. The I AM of AtR is a direct taste and realization of the Mind of Clear Light.


The view gets refined and the taste gets brought to effortless maturity and non-contrivance in all manifestation as one’s insights deepen.


As John Tan also said in 2011:


“John: what is "I AM"

is it a pce? (Soh: PCE = pure consciousness experience, see glossary at the bottom of this document)

is there emotion

is there feeling

is there thought

is there division or complete stillness?

in hearing there is just sound, just this complete, direct clarity of sound!

so what is "I AM"?


Soh Wei Yu: it is the same

just that pure non conceptual thought


John: is there 'being'?


Soh Wei Yu: no, an ultimate identity is created as an afterthought


John: indeed

it is the mis-interpretation after that experience that is causing the confusion

that experience itself is pure conscious experience

there is nothing that is impure

that is why it is a sense of pure existence

it is only mistaken due to the 'wrong view'

so it is a pure conscious experience in thought.

not sound, taste, touch...etc

PCE (Pure Consciousness Experience) is about direct and pure experience of whatever we encounter in sight, sound, taste...

the quality and depth of experience in sound

in contacts

in taste

in scenery

has he truly experience the immense luminous clarity in the senses?

if so, what about 'thought'?

when all senses are shut

the pure sense of existence as it is when the senses are shut.

then with senses open

have a clear understanding

do not compare irrationally without clear understanding”


In 2007:


(9:12 PM) Thusness:  you don't think that "I AMness" is low stage of enlightenment leh

(9:12 PM) Thusness:  the experience is the same. it is just the clarity. In terms of insight. Not experience.

(9:13 PM) AEN:           icic..

(9:13 PM) Thusness:  so a person that has experience "I AMness" and non dual is the same. except the insight is different.

(9:13 PM) AEN:           oic

(9:13 PM) Thusness:  non dual is every moment there is the experience of presence. or the insight into the every moment experience of presence. because what that prevent that experience is the illusion of self and "I AM" is that distorted view. the experience is the same leh.

(9:15 PM) Thusness:  didn’t you see i always say there is nothing wrong with that experience to longchen, jonls... i only say it is skewed towards the thought realm. so don't differentiate but know what is the problem. I always say it is misinterpretation of the experience of presence. not the experience itself. but "I AMness" prevents us from seeing.


This also reminded me of:

“It is not the contemplations that are important, it is the view brought to contemplation that makes the difference. For example, there is no actual difference between the Hindu Nirvikalpa samadhi and Vajropama samadhi in terms of its content, but the fact that one is accompanied by insight and the other is not makes the difference between whether it is mundane or liberative.” – Dzogchen Teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith, 2014


In 2009:


“(10:49 PM) Thusness:    by the way you know about hokai description and "I AM" is the same experience?

(10:50 PM) AEN:            the watcher right

(10:52 PM) Thusness:    nope. i mean the shingon practice of the body, mind, speech into one.

(10:53 PM) AEN:            oh thats i am experience?

(10:53 PM) Thusness:    yes, except that the object of practice is not based on consciousness. what is meant by foreground? it is the disappearance of the background and whats left is it. similarly the "I AM" is the experience of no background and experiencing consciousness directly. that is why it is just simply "I-I" or "I AM"

(10:57 PM) AEN:            i've heard of the way people describe consciousness as the background consciousness becoming the foreground... so there's only consciousness aware of itself and thats still like I AM experience

(10:57 PM) Thusness:    that is why it is described that way, awareness aware of itself and as itself.

(10:57 PM) AEN:            but you also said I AM people sink to a background?

(10:57 PM) Thusness:    yes

(10:57 PM) AEN:            sinking to background = background becoming foreground?

(10:58 PM) Thusness:    that is why i said it is misunderstood. and we treat that as ultimate.

(10:58 PM) AEN:            icic but what hokai described is also nondual experience rite

(10:58 PM) Thusness:    I have told you many times that the experience is right but the understanding is wrong. that is why it is an insight and opening of the wisdom eyes. there is nothing wrong with the experience of I AM". did i say that there is anything wrong with it?

(10:59 PM) AEN:            nope

(10:59 PM) Thusness:    even in stage 4 what did I say?

(11:00 PM) AEN:            its the same experience except in sound, sight, etc

(11:00 PM) Thusness:    sound as the exact same experience as "I AM"... as presence.

(11:00 PM) AEN:            icic

(11:00 PM) Thusness:    yes”

“"I AM" is a luminous thought in samadhi as I-I.  Anatta is a realization of that in extending the insight to the 6 entries and exits.” – John Tan, 2018


"The purpose of anatta is to have full blown experience of the heart -- boundlessly, completely, non-dually and non-locally. Re-read what I wrote to Jax.

In every situations, in all conditions, in all events. It is to eliminate unnecessary contrivity so that our essence can be expressed without obscuration.

Jax wants to point to the heart but is unable to express in a non-dual way... for in duality, the essence cannot be realized. All dualistic interpretation are mind made. You know the smile of Mahākāśyapa? Can you touch the heart of that smile even 2500 yrs later?

One must lose all mind and body by feeling with entire mind and body this essence which is 心 (Mind). Yet 心 (Mind) too is 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable).. The purpose is not to deny 心 (Mind) but rather not to place any limitations or duality so that 心 (Mind) can fully manifest.

Therefore without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to limit 心 (Mind). without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to place limitation in its manifestations. You must fully experience 心 (Mind) by realizing 无心 (No-Mind) and fully embrace the wisdom of 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable)." - John Tan/Thusness, 2014

p.s. Self-Enquiry (asking Who am I?) is a potent method to the initial awakening to one's Pure Presence-Awareness or "I AM realization". Also see:
What is your very Mind right now?

Also related: The Transient Universe has a Heart