Update: a guidebook is now available as an aid to realize and actualize the insights presented on this blog. See https://app.box.com/s/157eqgiosuw6xqvs00ibdkmc0r3mu8jg

‘If you want to 明心 (comprehend Mind) reading some zen and awareness teachings will help [Soh: also, advaitic and self-enquiry materials will help]. If you want to 见性 (see [empty] nature) you need to explore deeply into emptiness and MMK (Mulamadhyamikakarika of Nagarjuna). If you want to have a feel of 自然之道 (the Way of self-so/naturalness/spontaneity), read about 老子 (Lao Tzu) 道德经 (Tao Te Ching), 列子 (Lieh Tzu) 冲虚经 (Chong Xu Sutra) and 庄子冲虚经 (Chuang Tzu’s Chong Xu sutra)。Go read about them, it will help you a lot.’ - John Tan, 2019

‘All these teachings are not pointing to the same things at all. All of them have a different purpose and intent but can be integrated. Therefore do not think that Brahman = Emptiness = Tao. Brahman is not talking about Emptiness, Emptiness is not talking about Tao. Don’t agree with notions that all teachings point to the same ultimate.’ - Soh, 2019

Lately I have successfully guided a few people. As of now, more than 30 people have realised anatta through encountering this blog, myself or Thusness, a feat rarely achieved by dharma teachers. (Buddha had thousands of enlightened students but that's another story) This is only possible due to the use of modern technologies that allows easy access worldwide and the unique clarity of Thusness's writings (I'm sure Thusness will be quite displeased with me for stating my opinion openly, haha).

However in the future I do not foresee that I will have time to do personal coaching. It is also not fruitful to neglect one's practice, as a deva addresses the following verse to Ven. Ānanda as Ven. Ānanda had been spending too much time teaching Dhamma to laypeople, "Coming to the bower at the root of a tree, placing unbinding in your heart, do jhāna, Gotama, don’t be heedless. What use is this chitter-chatter to you?". This is why recently I have compiled a list of articles so that the essentials are covered and sufficient for one's personal contemplation, and do not require any personal coaching. Personal pointing can be of benefit (like what Liberation Unleashed is doing), but that will take time, effort and responsibilities.

You are welcome to join our Facebook group Awakening to Reality to discuss anything related to this blog, or request for guidance from others who are ahead of you on the path. For other general discussion of Buddhadharma (teachings of Buddha/Buddhism), you can also join the Dharma Connection facebook group. I have also updated Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment with further clarifications towards the end of the article as I found that many people who read that article continue to misunderstand those stages.

Plenty of words and discussions are pointless, sometimes (in fact, often times) just one stanza is enough to trigger one's awakening if taken seriously in one's practice. Bahiya attained liberation upon hearing a single verse of Dhamma from the Buddha. As Buddha said in the Dhammapada, A man is not versed in Dhamma because he speaks much. He who, after hearing a little Dhamma, realizes its truth directly and is not heedless of it, is truly versed in the Dhamma. However, as Thusness pointed out before, unless one has directly realized the truth of anatta, and one's view and practice is completely refined, pointers from good teacher(s) and/or clear dharma books are still necessary. Only after direct realization of anatta (Thusness Stage 5) does it become "safe" to explore on one's own, "because after anatta, one is able to see what is meant by direct, gapless and pure, and he is on his own to mature this experience, until the next phase comes" (See: The Path of Anatta by Thusness), and "all practitioners must experience for themselves and not read". (One can still read, but it takes secondary role in one's practice) On another occasion, Thusness said, "Only after seeing the 6 phases of insights, you can then be said to be safe to explore on your own. The actual experience cannot be communicated." And as Thusness commented about Simpo (Sim Pern Chong) after he had certain breakthrough realizations, back in 2007, "given enough time, whatever he said will be like Buddha. But he need not read what that is taught by Buddha. However by reading it, it may help him and speed up his progress.", "...longchen (Sim Pern Chong) has realised the importance of transients and the five aggregates as Buddha nature, time for unborn nature. You see, it takes one to go through such phases, from "I AM" to Non-dual to isness then to the very very basic of what Buddha taught... can you see that? The more one experience, the more truth one sees in what Buddha taught in the most basic teaching. Whatever longchen experience is not because he read what Buddha taught, but because he really experience it."

We are blind at the start, pointers from good teachers and books bring us to the right track, and once we're in the right track, we will have to boldly walk forward ourselves. Unfortunately very clear teachers and clear books are hard to come by, so I try to provide a list of good resource that can be of help. I seldom read dharma books nowadays, though I have read plenty years ago. Even back in my army days (compulsory national service, about 8-9 years ago) I read thousands of pages of Buddhist scriptures, thousands of pages of dharma books, thousands of pages of non-Buddhist texts. It has been of help along my journey. But nowadays, I am more interested in actualizing my insights in living experience.

Many have awakened to anatta through reading this blog and contemplating accordingly, without personal coaching. And what I can advise is already documented in my blog articles, Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind and my e-book, and I think I have covered all the essentials quite thoroughly. If you have realized anatta through this blog, do write to me, I might even post your story up. Always good to hear an inspiring story.

After reading those articles and Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind and my e-book, if you still have doubts that need to be clarified, you're welcomed to contact me. However if you have not read through those articles and/or Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind and my e-book, please do so first, as otherwise I will simply be directing you to the existing articles that addresses your questions. Perhaps try doing a search on this blog to find your answer.

Someone asked me for book recommendations. What books you should read depends on where you're at, what practices you're doing, what realization you're aiming for.

If people ask me for advice on where to start, I usually recommend self-inquiry with the aim of attaining Self-Realization (the doubtless realization of I AMness). If you're still trying to attain I AM realization, focus on the books listed under the Self Inquiry sections. If you feel like you're having glimpses and experiences of the I AMness/Witness, do note that there are differing degrees and having glimpses and experiences are not the same as having the direct realization and complete certainty of I AM/Self. See I AM Experience/Glimpse/Recognition vs I AM Realization (Certainty of Being) and the first point in Realization and Experience and Non-Dual Experience from Different Perspectives by Thusness - anything short of the unshakeable and doubtless certainty of Being is not the I AM realization but more like a glimpse or experience. Self-inquiry will lead to the realization. I had glimpses of I AM experience for 3 years prior to the doubtless and unshakeable Self-Realization in February 2010 after less than 2 years of self-enquiry, which I detailed in my e-book, after which the Self/Presence/Awareness was no longer 'maintenance state' or passing glimpses for me and the certainty of what I am was never lost, I no longer felt the 'lose it/gain it' syndrome.

If you have realized I AM, focus on the four aspects of I AMness and other advices in Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind and my e-book and the two types of nondual contemplation.

If you're already past I AM and/or nondual but aiming for anatta realization, just focus on Bahiya Sutta contemplation and its related articles, read The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh especially the chapter on 'There is Knowing in the Wind' and 'Each Action is its Own Subject', The Breakthrough by Ajahn Amaro (mentions Bahiya Sutta in it) as well as MCTB 2nd Edition by Daniel Ingram, focusing more on post 3rd Path practice with the aim to attain MCTB 4th Path (meaning don't do noting, as noting is more suitable for lower stages in MCTB, you need a more direct apprehension mode of contemplation, like the way Daniel M. Ingram describes Vipassana here or how practice and contemplation is described in Gesture of Awareness).

If you think you already realized anatta, more often than not, you haven't. Most people who say they realized anatta are only having a more minor realization of non-doership or having experience of no mind, or are unable to distinguish between Thusness Stage 4 and 5. It is also common to fall into the disease of non-conceptuality, mistaking that as the source of liberation and thus clinging to or seeking a state of non-conceptuality as the main object of practice, whereas liberation comes only through the dissolving of ignorance and views (of inherent existence) that cause reification, by insight and realization. See: The Disease of Non-Conceptuality

Hence, do go through all the links in the comments section of Thusness Seven Stages of Awakening and read the article carefully before making a diagnosis on where you are as it is very common to think that one is there when one is not.

If you truly realized anatta and are wondering how to progress, read Advice for Taiyaki and +A and -A Emptiness (On the two experiential insights involved in Thusness Stage 6)

Also, it is very important to understand that having a conceptual understanding of no-self, dependent origination and emptiness is very different from direct realization. As I told Mason Spransy in The Importance of Luminosity, it is very possible to have the conceptual understanding of Thusness Stage 6 but lacking in direct realization. Days after that conversation he had certain breakthrough (see: Suchness / Mason Spransy). As Thusness pointed out in Purpose of Madhyamaka, if after all the analysis and contemplations of Madhyamaka (Buddhist emptiness teachings taught by Nagarjuna) one is unable to realize that the mundane is precisely where one's natural radiance is fully expressed, a separate pointing is necessary.

If you have attained all Thusness 7 Stages, do note that it is not a finality but the beginning of endless actualization. Have you perfected all elements of the Noble Eightfold Path? If your insight is clear, how about samadhi ("right concentration")? Furthermore, wisdom is just one aspect of practice. Another equally important aspect of practice is compassion or metta, which you can read more on your own from other sites, beginning with Metta Sutta. This blog hasn't dealt as much in topics like samadhi and metta/karuna, compared to topics on insight and wisdom. This is not because meditation, samadhi and metta/karuna are less important subjects, but there are resources out there that deals with these subjects quite thoroughly. Having a daily and disciplined meditation practice is important (refer to books under Mindfulness Practice/Meditation below). On the other hand, the insights and wisdom presented here by Thusness are very rare, and the clarity on the distinction of View, Realization and Experience can hardly be found elsewhere, therefore I have placed more effort to present these insights/wisdom aspect of the practice. As Thusness pointed out to me, there has to be a balance between insight, samadhi and compassion, in the sense that all these aspects are important in one's practice. Thusness is also deep into Yoga and energy practices and sees that as important for further progression in one's practice after insights, however it is beyond the scope of this blog at the moment, as I myself am not at the level of expertise like Thusness. It is important to have an "integral" approach to practice rather than skewing towards insight.

Regardless of where you're at, I still recommend reading the 'General Buddhadharma' books to get a rough understanding of Buddhadharma, even if one hasn't realized it yet.

Lastly, if you can find a spiritual community and living teacher, it can be of immense benefit for you. Thusness adviced before to "find a good teacher that has gone through the various phases of insights, at least until phase 5 of insight. However [in phase 5] one might still miss certain point [disregarding Dependent Origination]". Realistically speaking, it is quite hard to find someone who has at least realized Thusness Stage 5. That realization is very rare. For example, I searched around in my country and did not find any, though I can find lineage teachers at the I AM and Non Dual phases of insight (Stage 1 to 4). However, it should be known that whether the teacher has the exact same understanding of dharma, or whether he/she is coming from a very deep level of realization, there are always things that can be learnt, and a community of practitioners can be of a great help and encouragement to one's practice. Therefore I hope you will not have too much of an expectation for a dharma/meditation teacher, such as an expectation for a teacher to be fully realized. If there is someone who can help you grow spirituality, then seek their guidance. But you yourself must have clear understanding of dharma, have right views, and not be misguided. So read through this blog and the book recommendations. Group practice of sitting meditation can often be beneficial, it is something you have to experience for yourself. Refer to the book Meditation Now or Never by Steve Hagen for advice on how to find a good and qualified meditation teacher and practical advices on meditation. You need to overcome the common issues of 1) motivation, 2) monkey mind, 3) drowsiness. Mindful awareness is key, it solves dullness or drowsiness. Tranquility and release is key, it solves monkey mind. Consistency and discipline is key, getting habituated to a consistent practice solves the issue of motivation, especially when one tastes the higher state of bliss and clarity from meditation. I currently practice Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) and Satipatthana (Four Foundations of Mindfulness) while actualizing my insights like how Suzuki Roshi describes. This actualization is not confined to sitting but continues in everyday life (also see: What is Total Exertion?). See also: How silent meditation helped me with nondual inquiry

"The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation."


“Do not waste time but practise zazen (zen meditation) as if your hair were on fire.”

Dogen Zenji

“The reason why we delay practicing is because we always think that we have more time. When you wake up in the morning, you should always say to yourself, “I am still alive – I did not die. I should finish this great work. There is no tomorrow.””


Happy New Year and may you attain Nirvana and realize all appearances are fundamentally in Nirvanic quiescence - the unity of two truths.

Try to buy these books from a local Buddhist or spiritual bookstore. Support them, as they certainly need your support more than soon-to-be-trillionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Not that I have anything against Amazon, but I would rather support the local less well-off small businesses. Wouldn't you?

Not in any particular order -

General Buddhadharma

Buddhism Is Not What You Think by Steve Hagen (see some excerpts in https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2010/04/buddhism-is-not-what-you-think.html
Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen 
What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

Mindfulness Practice/Meditation

Why do I need meditation training?
Meditation Now or Never by Steve Hagen
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Sun My Heart: Reflections on Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight by Thich Nhat Hanh
Quietening the Inner Chatter

On Theravada/Vipassana

Gesture of Awareness: A Radical Approach to Time, Space, and Movement by Charles Genoud (excerpts can be found here)
Mastering the Core Teachings of Buddha 2nd Edition by Daniel M. Ingram, available in hardcopy for purchase, or online for free: https://www.mctb.org/
The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, translated by Bikkhu Nanamoli and Bikkhu Bodhi
"Udana" and the "Itivuttaka": Two Classics from the Pali Canon by John Ireland -- Bahiya Sutta is in this
The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations Paperback –  by Gil Fronsdal
Measureless Mind by Geoff - https://www.scribd.com/document/274168728/Measureless-Mind
The Breakthrough by Ajahn Amaro
In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (The Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi
The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya (The Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Early Buddhism's Model of Awakening

On Zen

Flowers Fall by Hakuun Yasutani
The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing by Ted Biringer
Zen Cosmology by Ted Biringer
Living By Vow by Shohaku Okumura
The Mountains and Rivers Sutra by Shohaku Okumura
Infinite Circle: Teachings in Zen by Bernie Glassman
Hakuin on Kensho: The Four Ways of Knowing, Edited with Commentary by Albert Low
Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist by Hee-Jin Kim
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Hearing with the Eye: Photographs from Point Lobos by John Daido Loori
Yasutani-roshi's Introductory Lectures on Zen Training -

Eight Gates of Zen by John Daido Loori
The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza by John Daido Loori
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Suzuki Roshi
Man on Cloud Mountain | Shodo Harada Roshi in America

On Mahamudra

Poems of Mahamudra in the blog Luminous Emptiness and its comments
Clarifying the Natural State by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal  (some excerpts in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2008/11/few-excerpts-from-clarifying-natural.html)
Pointing out the Dharmakaya by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
Crystal Clear by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (a commentary for Clarifying the Natural State)
Essentials of Mahamudra by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
The Royal Seal of Mahamudra by Khamtrul Rinpoche III (some excerpts in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2015/12/self-liberation-by-khamtrul-rinpoche-iii.html)
Mahamudra: The Moonlight -- Quintessence of Mind and Meditation by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (note: a new translation can be found called Moonbeams of Mahamudra and it also includes another text by the ninth karmapa, check it out here)
Garland of Mahamudra Practices by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen
An Ocean of the Ultimate Meaning: Teachings on Mahamudra by Khenchen Thrangu
The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra by Dalai Lama (Author), Alexander Berzin (Author)
Lamp of Mahamudra by Tsele Natsok Rangdrol

On Dzogchen

Way of Bodhi by Yogi Prabodha Jnana and Yogini Abhaya Devi
Dzogchen vs Advaita, Conventional and Ultimate Truth by Kyle Dixon (also see linked articles inside)
Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness by Padmasambhava
Buddhahood in This Life by Malcolm Smith
(also check out the interview at http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2017/11/podcast-with-malcolm-smith-on-dzogchen.html)
The Self-Arisen Vidya Tantra (vol 1) and The Self-Liberated Vidya Tantra (vol 2): A Translation of the Rigpa Rang Shar (vol 1) and A Translation of ... (vol 2) (The Seventeen Dzogchen Tantras)
by Malcolm Smith
Books by Tsoknyi Rinpoche
A Garland of Views: A Guide to View, Meditation, and Result in the Nine Vehicles with a commentary by Jamgon Mipham (Padmasambhava's Classic Text) 

On Madhyamika

How to See Yourself As You Really Are by Dalai Lama (Greg Goode has some good chapter summaries for this book in https://greg-goode.com/article/dalai-lama-summaries/)
Greg Goode on Advaita/Madhyamika
The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way by Nagarjuna/Jay Garfield 
Nagarjuna's Middle Way: Mulamadhyamakakarika (Classics of Indian Buddhism) by Mark Siderits, Shoryu Katsura

Seeing that Frees by Rob Burbea (see: A Summary of Seeing that Frees by Rob Burbea) 

Introduction to the Middle Way: Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara with Commentary by Ju Mipham

Ocean of Reasoning: A Great Commentary on Nāgārjuna's Mulamadhyamakakārikā by Tsong khapa, Translated by Geshe Ngawang Samten and Jay L. Garfield
In Praise of Dependent Origination by Tsongkhapa
Emptiness Yoga: The Tibetan Middle Way by Jeffrey Hopkins
A Sun That Never Sets

On Tibetan Buddhism

Jamgon Mipham by Douglas Duckworth
The Dharma's Gatekeepers: Sakya Pandita on Buddhist Scholarship in Tibet by Jonathan C. Gold
Mipham's Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness: To Be, Not to Be or Neither
A Garland of Views: A Guide to View, Meditation, and Result in the Nine Vehicles - Padmasambhava's classic text with a commentary by Jamgon Mipham

On Chittamatra/Yogacara

Distinguishing Phenomena from Their Intrinsic Nature with Commentaries by Khenpo Shenga and Ju Mipham (The Dharmachakra Translation Committee)

Mahayana Sutras (Scriptures)

The Heart Sutra (The most famous Mahayana sutra today. Short and brings out the essence of emptiness succinctly.)
The Diamond Sutra by Red Pine (This one triggered the awakening of 6th Ch'an Patriarch Hui-Neng)
The Lankavatara Sutra by Red Pine (This one was brought to China by 1st Ch'an Patriarch Bodhidharma, Thusness likes it very much)
The Samdhinirmochana Sutra by John Powers (Another sutra Thusness recommended 10+ years ago)
All the Sutras and Tantras as translated by 84000
Lopon Malcolm: "The most highly revered Sūtra in India was the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 lines."
The Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines
Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra
Non-Arising of Phenomena is the Most Vital and Definitive TeachingThe Mahayana Model of Awakening


A New Buddhist Path by David Loy
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing In The Bardo by Chogyam Trungpa (Author), Francesca Fremantle (Author) (comments by Soh: I posted some excerpts of this book in my article Fearless Samadhi)
Nonduality by David Loy
A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber (comments by Soh: I like what Ken Wilber writes, but I also find that the critique on Ken's metaphysical beliefs very valid as well - http://www.integralworld.net/visser99.html and furthermore, Ken Wilber mischaracterized the teachings of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, an issue I pointed out in A Common Wrong Explanation of Hinayana vs Mahayana)
This Is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience by Alan Watts
The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
A Process Model by Eugene T. Gendlin
Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis by David Loy

Books for People Seeking Self-Realization (Realization of I AMness) and/or are Practicing Self-Inquiry

Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind
My e-book has a chapter on Self-Inquiry: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-e-booke-journal.html
The Direct Path to Your Real Self
Who am I? by Ramana Maharshi
Some Writings on Self-Enquiry and Non-duality by Ken Wilber
Essentials Of Chan Practice (Hua Tou/Self Enquiry) by Ch'an Master Hsu Yun
All books by Eckhart Tolle (perhaps start with The Power of Now – this is always the first book that I pass to friends and relatives if they show an interest in spirituality, as it is easy to read, inspiring and practical – it is a #1 New York Times bestseller that sold millions of copies)
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer (if you like Eckhart Tolle's books, read this one too. It is another #1 New York Times Bestseller in a similar vein and also sold over a million copies. This book also teaches about Self-Enquiry ala Ramana Maharshi)
True Meditation by Adyashanti
All books by Ramana Maharshi
Sri Ramana Maharshi - JNANI 2018
Sailor Bob with John Wheeler, Feb 2012 
The best non duality teachers: Meeting with John Wheeler Part 1
The Way of Liberation by Adyashanti (free PDF here)
All writings/books by Ch'an Master Hsu Yun
All books by John Wheeler (See writing: Awakening to the Natural State: Guest Teaching by John Wheeler. Also: A sample of John Wheeler's book 'You Were Never Born')
The Simple Feeling of Being by Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber - I Am Big Mind
Descartes: Reviving the West's Greatest Modern Vedantist
Numinous Awareness Is Never Dark: The Korean Buddhist Master Chinul’s Excerpts on Zen Practice
What Am I? A Study in Non-Volitional Living by Galen Sharp

Advaita Vedanta

Standing as Awareness: The Direct Path by Greg Goode
The Direct Path: A User Guide by Greg Goode
After Awareness: The End of the Path by Greg Goode
Anything by Ramana Maharshi, Rupert Spira, Ramesh Balsekar and Nisargadatta Maharaj


Anything by Tony Parsons
Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse
Anything by Jeff Foster

Comments: Neo-Advaita is good at pointing out nondual ala Thusness Stage 4 and in Tony Parsons' case more like Stage 5 especially recently, but I do not agree with their 'nothing to do' philosophy and neglecting conditionality/karmic propensities.

And as Thusness wrote before, "People that have gone into the nihilistic understanding of 'non-doing' ended up in a mess. You see those having right understanding of 'non-doing' are free, yet you see discipline, focus and peace in them.
Like just sitting and walking... ...in whatever they endeavor. Fully anatta."

Christian Mysticism

Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic by Adyashanti 
Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the 21st Century by Marcus J. Borg

Dream Yoga and Practices

Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep by Andrew Holecek and Stephen LaBerge
The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Mark Dahlby
Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and Michael Katz

Yoga and Energy Practices

Yoga in the Kashmir Tradition: The Art of Listening
Yoga Unveiled by Godfrey Devereux (http://www.satcit.com/ebooks for PDF or http://www.satcit.com/books for paperback)
Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar
Open Heart, Open Mind: Awakening the Power of Essence Love by Tsoknyi Rinpoche


The Wonder of Presence and The Silent Question by Toni Packer
Anything by Joan Tollifson
Books by Judith Blackstone
Actual Freedom: Richard's Journal by Richard Maynard ( http://actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/orderformpaypal.htm )


Toni Packer is an ex-Zen successor-in-line of Zen Master Philip Kapleau, Toni was later influenced by anti-authoritarian/iconoclastic spiritual teacher J Krishnamurti and left her tradition. She founded the Springwater Center. Toni Packer was able to express the non-dual insight of anatta well along with mind-body drop. Like J. Krishnamurti, she placed emphasis on 'choiceless awareness'.

Joan Tollifson was a student of Toni, as well as a follower of other neo-Advaita teachings/teachers.

However, besides the great insights expressed in Toni and Joan's books, my main criticism of their approach is similar to what Thusness wrote before,

"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."

In 2013, Thusness said, "Anapanasati is good. After your insight [into anatta], master a form of technique that can bring you to that the state of anatta without going through a thought process." and on choiceless awareness Thusness further commented, "Nothing wrong with choice. Only problem is choice + awareness. It is that subtle thought, the thought that misapprehend (Soh: falsely imputes/fabricates) the additional "agent"."

“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.”

For those who have not yet gone into one mind, Judith Blackstone has some good techniques for accessing non-dual awareness and transparency, although more from the perspective of one mind.

Related: Bahiya Sutta, Dispassion and Spontaneous Perfection
Practice Before AND After Anatta
Non-Doing and Actualization
Non-Meditation and Daily Activities

Update: a guidebook is now available as an aid to realize and actualize the insights presented on this blog. See https://app.box.com/s/157eqgiosuw6xqvs00ibdkmc0r3mu8jg


Lately there's been some postings on non-arising (-A). Here's something on the other aspect, +A - total exertion with the car/driving analogy.
Thusness: (Total exertion is a) Key experience in my journey. Soto Zen emphasis is different from empty clarity but I see both are equally important.
The post by Jundo Cohen seems quite similar to something I wrote about a year back: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2017/12/what-is-total-exertion.html 

Partial Excerpt from Zen teacher Jundo Cohen (see full post here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SotoZenGlobal/permalink/10156894347920692/ )

Further (and this is where I get all "Dogen" on ya ... Drivin' a Dodge Dogen on Genjo Koan Blvd.), as one sits, one may soon realize that driver and road and car and wind and sun and cow and mailbox and path ahead and present and beyond are all ONE! You drive the road as the road drives you, as the sun and silo drives the road and the driving drives driving ... the whole universe driving. Even trash and crash and coming on the on ramp of birth and leaving from the exit of death and flat tires and bumps ... all Buddha Highway. All Buddha driving Buddha, the whole trip Buddha all Along! The hard borders that separate driver and driven and drive and driving, inside the wind screen and outside ... and the wind itself ... all soften or drop away. I will slightly modify Dogen's famous passage from Shobogenzo Zenki:

[L]ife is the manifestation of the Whole Works Driving ... There is nothing at all, not so much as one time or one phenomenon, that is not together with the Driving. Even be it a single thing, a single mind, none is not together with this Driving .. Life is like when one drives a car: though in this car one works the wheel, the shift, and the pedals, the car carries one, and one is naught without the car. Riding in the car, one even causes the car to be a car. One should learn this precise point. At this very moment, the car is the world is the road-even the sky, the blacktop, and the passing scene all have become circumstances of the car, unlike circumstances which are not the car. For this reason driving is our causing life to drive, the drive causing us to be ourselves. When driving a car, the mind and body, object and subject, are all drivings of the car; the whole earth and all of space are both drivings of the car. We that are the drive, life driving that is we, are the same way. ... That the whole road appears has nothing to do with beginning and end ...

Though talking about those ox carts, Dogen said something like this in Zazenshin, a wonderful image of the relativity of motion and stillness, for is it the car moving or the road or is the whole world or the mind moving ... all ultimately stillness moving?

Now, when it is said, "the car doesn't go", what does that mean by the car's "going" or the car's "not going"? For example, is the road flowing by the car's "going", or is road's not flowing the car's going? We can say that flowing is road's "not going", and it should also be that road's "going" is not its flowing. Therefore, in investigating the saying, "the car doesn't go", we should approach it both in terms of "not going" and in terms of not "not going"; for it is time. The saying, "[the car] doesn't go" is not saying simply that it does not go.

As we sit still in Zazen, the whole world is turning. Oh, and we do not need a seatbelt on a Zafu ... and the gas tank is always full. Hit the road! :-)

Does that convey the experience a bit?

It is worth the trip. The high school driving coach can only show you so much, and your job is to actually now get out there and drive! Drive a little each day, beyond long or short distances or fast and slow time, beyond coming or going or here and there and any other destination but THIS. "Zen driving" is moving yet perfectly still. This moment of pedal to the metal is all distances and all time, here and there and everywhere.

Gassho, J
Someone wrote:

If I'm alone in the forest, or my room, I find that anatta comes more naturally. The presence of other people takes me "away" from the view of "mere luminous activities".
But I've seen through it a couple of times (which feels rather peculiar), removing the personal aspect of the appearance of another person.
Any thoughts or suggestions on this?

I wrote:

The penetration of wisdom into all activities and the three states takes practice, so you might need to give yourself some time.

As practice progress, anatta and not only anatta but maha total exertion becomes natural. There must also be a certain degree of fearlessness (for boundless opening without reservation to any given situation/encounters) and non-attachment, then let this penetrate into sleep, then even if you face "monsters" (enough to scare the shit out of ordinary people), such experiences can transform into nondual bliss and clarity as I wrote in fearless samadhi https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../fearless... , otherwise there can be a habitual self-contraction. The Tibetans describe this as not letting the appearances turn into 'enemies' or 'others' but rather recognizing all appearances to be one's empty radiance, this is important even in death and bardo.


Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:38pm UTC+10

facing all kinds of stuff in life and yet experiencing the three characteristics of self-liberation like you said, "non-duality, non-attachment and fearlessness" is how i understand dong zhong xiu (practice amidst movement) now
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:39pm UTC+10

yes but with the direct and intuitive knowledge that there is no you facing anything, it is the entire universe facing it.
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:40pm UTC+10

it is like all the phases of ur insights actualized in this conventional world
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:41pm UTC+10

means when say talking to my children, it is neither me nor him....it is one activity
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:41pm UTC+10

like i talk to you
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:42pm UTC+10

it does not mean that soh does not exist
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:43pm UTC+10

it is just no thusness or soh, only the question on hand that makes up the situation...
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:43pm UTC+10

or when u talking to ur teacher, no teacher or student relationship...just a single activity...get it?
Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:44pm UTC+10

i see..
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:45pm UTC+10

teacher is not teacher, student not student...teacher becomes the student, the student becomes the teacher, the teacher is the teacher, the student is the student, no teacher, no student...all as one activity...
Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:46pm UTC+10

maybe thats what guru yoga is about :P
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:46pm UTC+10

i am not sure about guru yoga...lol
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:47pm UTC+10

everything interpenetrates, everything interdefines, there is no everything...
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:48pm UTC+10

when eyes are open...the spontaneous presence of scenery...no seer, no seeing, no seen...seer is the seeing is the seen...just this, the entire movement.
Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:49pm UTC+10

John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:50pm UTC+10

this must be your moment to moment encounter in mundane activity
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:52pm UTC+10

deconstruct self, deconstruct physical, deconstruct external, deconstruct internal...be free from all arbitrary definitions and stories...then whatever experience is neither physical nor mental nor spiritual...just direct, non-conceptual as it is state of self arising...
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:55pm UTC+10

be free from all arbitrary thoughts and definitions...don't let 'yourself' be troubled by all these so that this activity is unobstructed and uncontrived in clean purity...then experience will be transparent and total.


He wrote:

  Soh Wei Yu thank you. I find John's words there particularly poignant! 🙏

This investigation of anatta with others is getting interesting... Thank you all for the input. ❤️

I wrote further:

“Birth is just like riding in a boat. You raise the sails and row with the pole. Although you row, the boat gives you a ride, and without the boat no one could ride. But you ride in the boat and your riding makes the boat what it is. Investigate such a moment.”

- Dogen

When u cook, there is no self that cooks, only the activity of cooking. The hands moves, the utensils act, the water boils, the potatoes peels …here there is no room for simplicity or complications, the “kitchen” went beyond it’s own imputation and dissolved into the activity of cooking and the universe is fully engaged in this cooking.
30 years of practice and 23 years of kitchen life is like a passing thought.
How heavy is this thought?
The whereabouts of this thought?
Tastes the nature of this thought.
It never truly arises.

~ Thusness

My E-Book has just been updated with new contents and a new cover page.

At some point, after getting familiarized with the realization and experience of +A and -A, during meditation or practice the experiential taste suddenly syncs into one. That is, the taste of total exertion where a given phenomenon is a seamless exertion with all other interconnected phenomenon, and the non-arising, illusory nature of presencing syncs into one.

Dependent arising thus non-arising, non-arising thus dependent arising.

This is to see the unity of the two truths from the perspective of experiential insight.

When this is, that is. Neither this nor that arises. Dharma is - illusory, unborn, indestructible, and seamlessly connected, great and boundless activity.

While writing this I was reminded of this video - maybe not saying exactly the same thing as what I'm saying, but nonetheless a good video:

And as Thusness pointed out, what I just wrote is similar to what the Chinese text I showed him previously was saying:



(2009-06-16 23:47:38)






Through being aware that all phenomena are not different, that is, spacelike emptiness and illusionlike dependent origination, one is free from ignorance.

~ Pawo Rimpoche