Mr. C: Hello Soh,


I have been practicing a lot of Self Inquiry during the past week. I’m reaching that thoughtless state and when I inquire “Who’s aware of this experience?” there’s no change. Is just this boundless space where there’s just awareness.

I read your journal and you describe being in a blank and asking “Who is aware of this experience?” and having a experience of being.

I wouldn’t say that the “place” I dwell it’s blank because it is very clear. And there’s a feeling of just being That. But at the same time I don’t feel anything really different in my perception of reality (beyond few thoughts and higher space awareness)

Am I missing something?

Thank you 
 
 
Soh replied: 
 
What you experience is good. Continue inquiring.
 
Session Start: Sunday, 25 October, 2009

(2:07 AM) AEN: just now it occurred to me that the places i've been are hazy like a dream, they come and go.... then i realised my thoughts also are like a dream, they come and go... when i dropped that theres only my own existence and presence left which is real and not hazy at all and doesnt come and go
(2:34 AM) AEN: then for a short while i was only aware of my own existence... until i got distracted :P
(5:16 AM) Thusness: not bad... 🙂 That is the beginning phase of I AM.
(5:19 AM) Thusness: first drop ur thoughts, drop all sort of mental chattering, drop everything, don't think of non-dual. Allow urself to be filled with only this sense of existence. This is the first phase.
(5:19 AM) AEN: icic..
(5:20 AM) Thusness: then u will realize what existence is. 🙂
 
Mr. C:
 
That’s good to hear. I’ll keep working 🙏🏼
You said to keep inquiring, but this advice from Jon about dropping everything and allowing to be filled with sense of existence, to do this I need to stop the Inquiry right?
 
 
To clarify, this state of Being is different from the blank state. If it is the blank state I should keep inquiring but if it is the Being (sense of existence) should I let go of Inquiring? 
 
 
Soh replied:
doesnt mean stop inquiry
i still inquired all the way to February 2010 when I realized I AM
inquiry is supposed to lead to the non-conceptual taste and realization of Existence, so its non contradictory
as long as there is slightest doubt what Existence is then continue inquiry. if you are just resting as Existence then just go into it 
 
 
Mr. C:
Yeah my question is during practice. If I should stop inquiring when I’m just at a state of Being, not a blank state but a very clear Existence.

Thank you Soh! 
 
 
Soh replied:
yes. the purpose of inquiry is not to keep repeating the question but to turn your attention to the Self
 
 
5. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 6: if or as soon as anything other than ourself appears in our awareness, we should simply turn our attention back towards ourself, the one to whom all other things (all thoughts, forms or phenomena) appear

Regarding your statement, ‘I keep doing the enquiry “to whom these thoughts arise?”, “to me”, “who am I?” but I don’t know what I should do more’, these words, ‘to whom does this appear?’, ‘to me’, ‘who am I?’, are a very useful pointer given by Bhagavan, but we should understand clearly what he meant by this pointer. He did not mean that we should repeat these words to ourself whenever anything appears, but that we should simply turn our attention back to ourself, the one to whom all other things (all thoughts, forms or phenomena) appear. That is, he did not say ‘ask to whom’ or ‘ask who am I’ but ‘investigate to whom’ and ‘investigate who am I’, as he wrote in the following portion of the sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:

பிற வெண்ணங்க ளெழுந்தா லவற்றைப் பூர்த்தி பண்ணுவதற்கு எத்தனியாமல் அவை யாருக் குண்டாயின என்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டும். எத்தனை எண்ணங்க ளெழினு மென்ன? ஜாக்கிரதையாய் ஒவ்வோ ரெண்ணமும் கிளம்பும்போதே இது யாருக்குண்டாயிற்று என்று விசாரித்தால் எனக்கென்று தோன்றும். நானார் என்று விசாரித்தால் மனம் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற்குத் திரும்பிவிடும்; எழுந்த வெண்ணமு மடங்கிவிடும். இப்படிப் பழகப் பழக மனத்திற்குத் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற் றங்கி நிற்கும் சக்தி யதிகரிக்கின்றது.

piṟa v-eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙundāl avaṯṟai-p pūrtti paṇṇuvadaṟku ettaṉiyāmal avai yārukku uṇḍāyiṉa eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum. ettaṉai eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙiṉum eṉṉa? jāggirataiyāy ovvōr eṇṇamum kiḷambum-pōdē idu yārukku uṇḍāyiṯṟu eṉḏṟu vicārittāl eṉakkeṉḏṟu tōṉḏṟum. nāṉ-ār eṉḏṟu vicārittāl maṉam taṉ piṟappiḍattiṟku-t tirumbi-viḍum; eṙunda v-eṇṇamum aḍaṅgi-viḍum. ippaḍi-p paṙaga-p paṙaga maṉattiṟku-t taṉ piṟappiḍattil taṅgi niṟgum śakti y-adhikarikkiṉḏṟadu.

If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have occurred. However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? Vigilantly, as soon as each thought appears, if one investigates to whom it has occurred, it will be clear: to me. If one investigates who am I [by vigilantly attending to oneself, the ‘me’ to whom everything else appears], the mind will return to its birthplace [namely oneself, the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought that had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, for the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace increases.

The verb he used here that I have translated as ‘investigate’ is விசாரி (vicāri), which in some contexts can mean enquire in the sense of ask, but in this context means enquire only in the sense of investigate. Asking questions is a mental activity, because it entails directing our attention away from ourself towards a question, which is a thought and hence other than ourself, so as long as we are asking questions we are still floating on the surface of the mind by attending to things other than ourself, whereas investigating ourself means being keenly self-attentive, which causes the mind to sink deep within and thereby return to its ‘birthplace’, the source from which it had risen, namely our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is our fundamental and ever-shining awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’.

Therefore what Bhagavan is pointing out in this passage is the direction in which we should send our attention. Instead of allowing our attention to go out following whatever thoughts may arise, we should turn it back towards ourself, the one to whom all thoughts appear. ‘To whom?’ is not intended to be a question that we should ask ourself but is a very powerful pointer indicating where we should direct our attention. Asking the question ‘to whom?’ may sometimes be an aid if it helps to remind us to turn our attention back towards ourself, but self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is not merely asking such questions but only fixing our attention on ourself alone.

Another point worth noting here is that what Bhagavan means by ‘thought’ is anything other than our fundamental awareness ‘I am’, so it includes all perceptions, memories, feelings, ideas and other mental impressions of any kind whatsoever. As he says in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை’ (niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai), ‘Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world’, and in the fourteenth paragraph, ‘ஜக மென்பது நினைவே’ (jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē), ‘What is called the world is only thought’, so when he says here ‘பிற வெண்ணங்க ளெழுந்தால்’ (piṟa v-eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙundāl), ‘If other thoughts rise’, or ‘ஒவ்வோ ரெண்ணமும் கிளம்பும்போதே’ (ovvōr eṇṇamum kiḷambum-pōdē), ‘As soon as each thought appears’, he means that if or as soon as anything other than ourself appears in our awareness, we should turn our attention back towards ourself, the one to whom all such things appear.

6. If we are vigilantly self-attentive, as we should try to be, we will thereby ward off both thoughts and sleep, but when we are tired we are naturally less vigilant, so we may then fall asleep as a result of our trying to be self-attentive

You ask, ‘Should I keep doing Self-Enquiry all day for hours in seated position? Should I continue the enquiry in bed as well before sleep? Or should I stop the enquiry from time to time to give some rest to the body?’ Firstly, self-investigation has nothing to do with the body, so we can practise it whether the body is lying, sitting, standing, walking or doing anything else. For the same reason, we do not have to stop being self-attentive in order to give some rest to the body, because being self-attentive cannot strain the body in any way. In fact, when the body and mind are resting is a very favourable condition for us to be self-attentive.

Regarding your question about continuing the practice in bed before sleep, that is also good, but since we are generally very tired at that time, we usually subside into sleep soon after trying to be self-attentive. There is no harm in that, because when we need to sleep we should sleep. There is no time and no circumstance that is not suitable for us to be self-attentive, so we should try to be self-attentive as much as possible whatever the time or circumstances may be, but we should not try to deprive ourself of however much sleep we may need.

If we are vigilantly self-attentive, as we should try to be, we will thereby ward off both thoughts and sleep, but when we are tired we are naturally less vigilant, so we may then fall asleep as a result of our trying to be self-attentive. As Sadhu Om often used to say, when we are sleepy we should sleep, because when we wake up again we will be fresh, and we should then make use of that freshness by trying to be vigilantly self-attentive.

I do not know whether anything I have written here is of any use to you, but I hope some of it at least may help to point you in the right direction.

7. What the word ‘I’ essentially refers to is only what is aware, so if we are just being aware of what is aware, we are thereby meditating on ‘I’

In reply to my first reply (which I adapted as the previous six sections) my friend wrote again about how he was trying to practise self-enquiry and the problems he was facing, in reply to which I wrote:

When you say ‘The practice of Self-Enquiry, especially in seated position (just being aware of awareness itself, not meditating in any object or form etc, simply just being, not even “I” in the “I am”) boosted my kundalini’, it is not clear to me what you are actually practising, because you say you are ‘just being aware of awareness itself’ but then seem to say that you are not meditating even on ‘I’. Meditating on ‘I’ means attending only to yourself, or in other words, just being self-attentive, so if you are not meditating on ‘I’, what do you mean by saying that you are ‘just being aware of awareness itself’?

In this context ‘awareness’ means what is aware, and what is aware is always aware of itself as ‘I’, so what the word ‘I’ essentially refers to is only what is aware. Therefore if you are not meditating on ‘I’, what is the ‘awareness’ that you are being aware of? Unfortunately ‘awareness’ is a potentially ambiguous term, because it could be taken to mean awareness in the sense of awareness of objects or phenomena, so when you are ‘just being aware of awareness itself’, are you just being aware of what is aware, namely yourself, or are you being aware of your awareness of objects or phenomena?

If you are being aware only of what is aware, namely yourself, then you are meditating on ‘I’. That is, what you are meditating on is not the word ‘I’, but what the word ‘I’ refers to, namely yourself, who are what is aware. If you are not meditating on what the word ‘I’ refers to, then whatever ‘awareness’ you are being aware of is something other than what is aware.

This is why Bhagavan gave us the powerful pointer ‘to whom’, about which I wrote in my previous reply. If we understand this pointer correctly, it is directing our attention back towards ourself, the one to whom all other things appear. In other words, it is pointing our attention back to what is aware, away from whatever we were hitherto aware of.

If you are aware of any phenomenon, such as the boosting of your kuṇḍalinī, your attention has been diverted away from yourself, so you need to turn it back to yourself, the one to whom all phenomena appear. If you turn your attention back to yourself and hold firmly to yourself (that is, if you just remain firmly self-attentive), whatever phenomena may have appeared will thereby disappear, because no phenomenon can appear or remain in your awareness unless you attend to it at least to a certain extent.

8. No matter what may distract us or seem a problem to us, let us not be concerned about them but just patiently and persistently continue trying to be self-attentive, unmindful of everything else

Regarding the boosting of your kuṇḍalinī you say, ‘By boosting I mean that I feel an energy in the spine passing through the chakras’, but the energy, the spine, the cakras and the energy’s movement are all objects or phenomena, so you should ignore all such things by trying to be keenly self-attentive. However much such things appear, they need not concern you. To whom do they appear? Only to you, so you should just persevere in trying to attend only to yourself.

Whatever may appear or disappear is other than ourself, so it should not interest or concern us. Such things distract us and become a problem for us only to the extent that we take interest in them or are concerned about them. Why should we be concerned about them? Our only concern should be to investigate and know what we ourself are. If we are not interested in or concerned about anything else, we will not attend to them, and hence they will not be a problem.

If we find ourself being concerned about such things and therefore distracted by them, that is due to the strength of our viṣaya-vāsanās, and the most effective means to weaken our viṣaya-vāsanās and thereby wean our mind off its interest in all other things is just to persevere in this simple practice of being self-attentive. Therefore, no matter what may distract us or seem a problem to us, let us not be concerned about them but just patiently and persistently continue trying to be self-attentive, unmindful of everything else.
 
 
 
.... 
 
Mr C: Yeah, it seems that I was still inquiring even when I was aware of Being. That's why I was feeling stuck.

I will now Inquire only there's something othar than "myself" appearing.

This pointer "To whom?" is really good. Short and direct.

Thank you!
Hey Soh, just wanna say that those last instructions made a huge difference.

Practice now is really sharp and asking “To whom?” has been the perfect inquiry to return to Being.

Outside formal practice the sense of self is expanding everywhere even though there was no “eureka” moment yet. There’s a feel of awareness being 360 degrees specially behind my head and shoulders. 
 
 
Soh: (thumbs up) 
 
Told someone something similar today: 
 
[5:19 PM, 8/4/2021] Mr. W: Trying to find the unfindable "me"...

"Where" the hell is this "awareness" if it is not inside my head?
[7:03 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: If you are trying to locate it in your field of experience thats like looking in the display for the screen. Looking for the experiencer in the experience. I AM realization is the realization of You, so you don’t look for You outside anywhere
[7:03 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Find out to whom does head and everything appear to/in
[7:05 PM, 8/4/2021] Mr. W: I suppose that's being aware of being aware?
[7:06 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: You can say so. Turn your attention around to realize what You/Awareness is
[7:11 PM, 8/4/2021] Mr. W: Yah, will focus on this
[7:11 PM, 8/4/2021] Mr. W: As in one of your recent comments... it's not an intellectual questioning yah?
[7:24 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: You need to investigate but investigation is not verbally repeating a question
[7:24 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Investigate means you distinguish what is you and what is not you
[7:25 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Then you turn away from the not you to realise you
[7:25 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: All these is done in a non verbal manner
[7:35 PM, 8/4/2021] Mr. W: I know the answer is the one that is aware of experience. But what is missing?
[8:06 PM, 8/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Realization comes with total certainty and direct taste
[8:25 PM, 8/4/2021] Mr. W: Okay, keep trying. Hope the Eureka moment happens sooner rather than later.
 
 
.....
 

As Jayson pointed out, with any of these perceptions, experiences you can simply inquire “who is the one perceiving?” Then look “there.”  Also can just notice the vantage FROM which you seem to be perceiving each experience and rest there.  Often this comes with a sort of stepwise inward moving experience but hold that description loosely. When you come to a truly contentless experience there will be nothing to do no where specific to look and an alertness to any arising thought or perception which will be immediately discounted as such. Once this is clear there’s not a lot more to do but stay with it, stay alert but don’t strain. There are a few expected “reactions” at this point one being physiologic fear/terror. If it comes and you remain in thoughtless clarity it will pass.  Practice this way and let me know what you find.  I’ve worked with a handful of people in exactly the way you are practicing in last couple weeks who all broke through.  You got this. But you gotta go where you no longer know where you are 😉

 

- Angelo Dilullo

 
14 Responses
  1. TheSynergist Says:

    Do some people skip the "I AM" stage entirely? Christian contemplatives don't talk about it much, from what I can tell.


  2. Soh Says:

    Most Christian mystics I know go through the I AM. Most mystics of any religion go through that phase.

    Jesus talked about it:
    "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." - http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2018/12/jesus-christ-cosmic-consciousness-alan.html

    Founding father of modern Singapore attained Self-Realisation (I AM) through his Catholic Father Laurence Freeman's teachings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RoSGUuAj1o

    Bernadette Roberts went through I AM phase before non dual: http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/07/bernadette-roberts-interview.html

    Father Thomas Keating taught: "beyond the spiritual level is the true self; and beyond that is the divine indwelling (which is God). St. John of the Cross says, „The center of the soul is God“. That last place is the only guarantee that you are coming from the authentic self. The true self is really a manifestation of the Unmanifest. And no one knows what the Unmanifest is except the Unmanifest itself and how it wants to manifest in our particular uniqueness."


    Meister Eckhart stresses on I AMness:

    Sermon 60 wrote:I have sometimes spoken of a light that is in the soul, which is uncreated and uncreatable. I continually touch on this light in my sermons: it is the light which lays straight hold of God, unveiled and bare, as He is in Himself, that is, it catches Him in the act of begetting. So I can truly say that this light is far more at one with God than it is with any of the powers with which it has unity of being. For you should know, this light is no nobler in my soul's essence than the humblest, or the grossest of my powers, such as hearing or sight or any other power which is subject to hunger or thirst, cold or heat, and that is because being is indivisible. And so, if we consider the powers of the soul in their being, they are all one and equally noble: but if we take them in their functions, one is much higher and nobler than the other.

    Therefore I say, if a man turns away from self and from all created things, then—to the extent that you do this—you will attain to oneness and blessedness in your soul's spark, which time and place never touched. This spark is opposed to all creatures: it wants nothing but God, naked, just as He is. It is not satisfied with the Father or the Son or the Holy Ghost, or all three Persons so far as they preserve their several properties. I declare in truth, this light would not be satisfied with the unity of the whole fertility of the divine nature. In fact I will say still more, which sounds even stranger: I declare in all truth, by the eternal and everlasting truth, that this light is not content with the simple changeless divine being which neither gives nor takes:

    rather it seeks to know whence this being comes, it wants to get into its simple ground, into the silent desert into which no distinction ever peeped, of Father, Son or Holy Ghost. In the inmost part, where none is at home, there that light finds satisfaction, and there it is more one than it is in itself: for this ground is an impartible stillness, motionless in itself, and by this immobility all things are moved, and all those receive life that live of themselves, being endowed with reason. That we may thus live rationally, may the eternal truth of which I have spoken help us. Amen.


  3. Soh Says:


    By the way as you already know, I see the I AM realization as important and tell others to start from there. It is good that it is pointed out in the Christian tradition.

    Compare this with Thusness Stage 1, the Ground of Being:


    "Like a river flowing into the ocean, the self dissolves into nothingness. When a practitioner becomes thoroughly clear about the illusionary nature of the individuality, subject-object division does not take place. A person experiencing “AMness” will find “AMness in everything”. What is it like?

    Being freed from individuality -- coming and going, life and death, all phenomenon merely pop in and out from the background of the AMness. The AMness is not experienced as an ‘entity’ residing anywhere, neither within nor without; rather it is experienced as the ground reality for all phenomenon to take place. Even in the moment of subsiding (death), the yogi is thoroughly authenticated with that reality; experiencing the ‘Real’ as clear as it can be. We cannot lose that AMness; rather all things can only dissolve and re-emerges from it. The AMness has not moved, there is no coming and going. This "AMness" is God.

    Practitioners should never mistake this as the true Buddha Mind! "I AMness" is the pristine awareness. That is why it is so overwhelming. Just that there is no 'insight' into its emptiness nature." (Excerpt from Buddha Nature is NOT "I Am" - http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/03/mistaken-reality-of-amness.html )


    Plenty of others I haven't quoted.

    Are there people who, for example, not going through Thusness Stage 1 skips to anatta? It is possible but very often they will miss out something and need another phase to bring out the luminosity aspect. See: http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2021/06/pellucid-no-self-non-doership.html

    Best IMO to go step by step (From I AM to non dual and anatta to emptiness).


  4. TheSynergist Says:

    Hi, Soh,

    Thanks for your helpful response!

    I think then I am a bit confused by this label "I Am." I have read all of Bernadette Roberts books, and she doesn't describe anything as "I am", not even in her first book "The Path to No Self"….instead she talks about a unity of self and God. She describes the center point as "the place where the self ends and God begins," or something like that. It's a similar phenomenon to what you see in other classical Christian contemplative writings, including St. John of the Cross and Eckart, which you just quoted — the stuff about the Divine Center. I never thought of this as being "I Am" because the "divine center" tends to be characterized as an absence of an "I"….it's God, not self. It relates to St. Paul statement in Galatians 2:20 about "I am dead, but Christ lives in me."

    I do agree that Keating might talk about "I Am", though he's a bit more integrative of other traditions than other Christian writers are. And yes, there is the Gospel of John quote, which Christians usually interpret (either correctly or incorrectly) to be a proclamation of Jesus' uniqueness rather than a mystical experience anybody can undergo. Perhaps Christians are worried about using the term "I AM" for exactly this reason — they don't want to claim equality with God.

    When you word it as "AM" rather than "I AM", it actually makes more sense, and seems more compatible with the Christian mystics. "Am" puts more focus on just pure being ness, rather than a "true self"….the being ness could be God rather than Self. Perhaps there is indeed this one experience, but people interpret it differently, with some people labeling it as "true self" and others as "God"….does that make sense?

    "Are there people who, for example, not going through Thusness Stage 1 skips to anatta? It is possible but very often they will miss out something and need another phase to bring out the luminosity aspect."

    Interesting. I'm mostly used to practicing w/ Theravada folks, where imho there is kinda a tendency to rush to Anatta and/or body contemplations (this is huge in the Thai Forest tradition). The preparatory stage of "brightening the mind," which is alluded to in the Suttas, gets neglected.


  5. Soh Says:

    Most, I think >90% of Thai Forest teachers went through I AMness. There is a lot of emphasis on luminosity in Thai Forest compared to other forms of contemporary Theravada. It is also known as the luminous and radiant Citta, the Poo Roo, so on and so forth. When Ajahn Chah uses the oil and water analogy to point at Citta, that is a pointer to the I AM. Ajahn Sumedho talks about an unconditioned consciousness, he is talking about I AM. Ajahn Maha Boowa went through I AM then collapse of witness into one mind. So on and so forth, I can list many examples but I think this should suffice.

    The brightness of mind is actually unfabricated, it is as Buddha taught in Phabhassara Sutta, the luminous mind's luminosity is merely obscured by adventitious stains. I AM realization is actually a direct realization of Mind's unfabricated Presence-Awareness.

    Few teachers in Thai Forest truly realise the Stage 5 sort of anatta but this is the case in all traditions as well. Examples of those who realise Stage 5 anatta in Thai Forest: Ajahn Brahmavamso - https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books6/Ajahn_Brahm_BAHIYA_S_TEACHING.htm , Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero - http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/search/label/Ajahn%20Nyanamoli%20Thero , Phra Kovit Khemananda - http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/search/label/Phra%20Kovit%20Khemananda

    What Bernadette Roberts went through is no different from I AM.

    http://www.innerexplorations.com/ewtext/br.htm

    "The contemplative seeks to go a step further and move from awareness of
    the center point of equilibrium of the affective system, to the still
    point or true center of being (I AM).

    Now the will is the center of the affective system, Roberts says, and
    the provider of energy for the affective system. Also, underlying the
    will is the still point or true center of being. So when the will does
    not move, or is free of desire, the affective system does not move, a
    state of desirelessness exists, and it is easier to access the
    still-point (I AM).

    This center or will, can be known independent of the cognitive system,
    which also touches the center of the affective system.

    Once the contemplative knows the still-point (IAM) and turns attention
    there, the movement of the affective system comes to a stop, and there
    is a sense of stillness and peace.

    The nature of this unitive state is union of human and divine will and
    power, so that will is now God's will, not contrary to that. Here is
    where one may become further tested by the world. Now situations arise
    that would test movement of the will, test the integrity of the unitive
    state. The requirement is for attention to be unceasingly on the
    still-point (I AM)."

    - https://www.nonduality.com/berna.htm


  6. Soh Says:


    Also, I AM is precisely what mystics call God. I AM, God, Pure Beingness, these are pure synonyms for the mystics. The same realization.

    Have you seen this article: https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/mistaken-reality-of-amness.html

    John Tan, 2006: "Like a river flowing into the ocean, the self dissolves into nothingness. When a practitioner becomes thoroughly clear about the illusionary nature of the individuality, subject-object division does not take place. A person experiencing “AMness” will find “AMness in everything”. What is it like?

    Being freed from individuality -- coming and going, life and death, all phenomenon merely pop in and out from the background of the AMness. The AMness is not experienced as an ‘entity’ residing anywhere, neither within nor without; rather it is experienced as the ground reality for all phenomenon to take place. Even in the moment of subsiding (death), the yogi is thoroughly authenticated with that reality; experiencing the ‘Real’ as clear as it can be. We cannot lose that AMness; rather all things can only dissolve and re-emerges from it. The AMness has not moved, there is no coming and going. This "AMness" is God.

    Practitioners should never mistake this as the true Buddha Mind! "I AMness" is the pristine awareness. That is why it is so overwhelming. Just that there is no 'insight' into its emptiness nature. Nothing stays and nothing to hold on to. What is real, is pristine and flows, what stays is illusion. The sinking back to a background or Source is due to being blinded by strong karmic propensities of a 'Self'. It is a layer of ‘bond’ that prevents us from ‘seeing’ something…it is very subtle, very thin, very fine…it goes almost undetected. What this ‘bond’ does is it prevents us from ‘seeing’ what “WITNESS” really is and makes us constantly fall back to the Witness, to the Source, to the Center. Every moment we want to sink back to Witness, to the Center, to this Beingness, this is an illusion. It is habitual and almost hypnotic."

    John Tan: "(1:36 AM) Thusness: do u feel like u r God?
    when one experiences "I AM", he feels like he is God
    (1:37 AM) Thusness: that sort of experience leh
    (1:37 AM) AEN: oic..
    (1:37 AM) Thusness: can that experience be ordinary?
    (1:37 AM) AEN: nope
    (1:37 AM) Thusness: it is transcendental" - http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2018/12/i-am-experienceglimpserecognition-vs-i.html


  7. Soh Says:

    "Christians usually interpret (either correctly or incorrectly) to be a proclamation of Jesus' uniqueness rather than a mystical experience anybody can undergo. "

    This is because most mainstream Christians are like blind men trying to interprete the words of Seers. How can they ever hope to understand what Jesus was talking about? Only the mystics know, and there are plenty in Christianity throughout history.

    If you take Jesus words in context and read the whole bible, it is clear that Jesus is a mystic that went through similar realisations. http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2018/12/jesus-christ-cosmic-consciousness-alan.html


  8. TheSynergist Says:

    Hi again, Soh —

    I think there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about the Thai Forest Tradition (must like with Dzogchen). Ajahn Maha Booa is pretty clear that the "radiant mind" or "original mind" is itself ignorance and that this must end….he's actually more clear about not reifying radiance than some Thai Forest masters are. I like his lesson to Mae Chee Kaew in the latter's biography:

    “If it [radiance] is truly Nibbāna, why does this refined state of the
    mind display a variety of subtle conditions? It is not constant
    and true. Focus on that luminous center to see clearly that
    its radiance has the same characteristics — of being transient,
    imperfect and unessential — as all the other phenomena
    that you have already transcended. The only difference
    is that the radiance is far more subtle and refined".

    As for Ajahn Chah, when he was asked if there was something beyond the 5 aggregates, he said, "Consciousness is not an individual, not a being, not a self, not an other, so finish with that -- finish with everything! There is nothing worth wanting! It's all just a load of trouble. When you see clearly like this then everything is finished."

    Ajahn Mun is a figure so shrouded in mystery by this point I don't know what to make of him.

    It's true that sometimes Thai Forest people use wonky definitions of stream entry, and I don't know if that's a translation issue or a misunderstanding of the suttas (there's a lot of anti-intellectualism in the TFT). It's like the want to make the first stage of Enlightenment about realizing a separation of mind and body, which is indeed rather "I Am"-ish. But it's not like they don't talk about the anatta of all 5 aggregates in other contexts, it just seems like more of an advanced insight.

    I honestly have never been able to "get" Ajahn Sumedho, but I know he's spent the past few years studying with Ajahn Ganha, whom Ajahn Brahm is convinced is an Arahant. So I'm willing to remain open minded about him, even though I agree that his wording seems distractingly eternalistic. He's said that his wording is a "skillful means," but it seems to me like it leads to confusion.

    I'm not entirely convinced that what the Christians speak of with the "unitative" realization is actually quite the same as "I Am" realization, though I think they are touching on the same "phenomenon" (for lack of better word)….the "pristine awareness." Christians tend to emphasize that humans cannot ever be the same as God in their essence, just united in their energies. It's a subtle distinction, but perhaps important. And I agree with you that Christians have largely lost track of the mystical aspect of Christianity, though the Eastern churches are better than the Western ones in this regard.

    Thank you, again, for your input! I'm trying to cultivate stillness and see for myself what paradigm I related the most to.


  9. Soh Says:

    No, actually I am very familiar with writings of Ajahn Maha Boowa, Ajahn Chah, etc.

    What Ajahn Maha Boowa calls the radiant mind but still reified as a knower, that is equivalent to the I AM stage. This means he equates anagami with the I AM phase. Then he relates the collapse of the Witness into nonduality as arahantship. However he still retains the false view of Mind as unchanging and distinct from transient aggregates even if beyond the duality of knower and known. That is Advaita view. It does not go beyond One Mind. "The citta does not arise or pass away; it is never born and never dies" - Ajahn Maha Boowa.

    Ajahn Mun is also prone to eternalist views like Ajahn Maha Boowa.

    I do not equate these realisations with Buddhist awakening. Thusness Stage 5~7 is Buddhist awakening. Related: http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2020/08/insight-buddhism-reconsideration-of.html , https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/igored/insight_buddhism_a_reconsideration_of_the_meaning/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf%20

    Ajahn Sumedho on I AM:

    “The still point gives you perspective on the conditions, on the turning wheel, on the confusion, on the mess. It puts you into a relationship to it that is one of knowing it for what it is, rather than making a personal identity out of it. Then you can see that this knowing is your true nature – your real home – this pure state, pure consciousness, pure awareness. You are learning to remember that, to be that. It’s what you really are, rather than what you think you are according to the conditioning of your mind.”

    On Ajahn Chah and I AM:


    Session Start: Thursday, 31 May, 2007

    (2:47 PM) AEN: tibetan teachings seems to often say bcos the nature of our mind is luminous defilements can be removed.. like wanderer's saying the mind is not the dust, so can be removed
    (2:48 PM) AEN: even ajahn chah says "the heart is just the heart; thoughts and feelings are just thoughts and feelings. let things be just as they are! let form be just form, let sound be just sound, let thought be just thought. why should we bother to attach to them? if we think and feel in this way, then there is detachment and separateness. our thoughts and feelings will be on one side and our heart will be on the other. just like oil and water - they are in the same bottle but they are separate"
    (2:49 PM) AEN: then the buddha taught,
    (2:49 PM) AEN: Reply with Quote
    Luminous is this mind,
    Brightly shining, but it is
    Colored by the attachments
    That visit it.
    This unlearned people do not
    Really understand,
    And so do not cultivate the
    Mind.
    (2:49 PM) AEN:
    Luminous is this mind,
    Brightly shining,
    And it is free of the
    Attachments that visit it.
    This the noble follower
    Of the way really understands;
    So for them there is
    Cultivation of the mind.

    - Anguttara Nikaya
    (2:52 PM) AEN: wat u tink
    (6:29 PM) Thusness: think of?
    (6:42 PM) AEN: something like there is stain on ur window, u know stain is not part of ur window tats y u can clean it away


  10. Soh Says:

    (6:42 PM) Thusness: this is a wrong view in the absolute sense and not prajna wisdom.
    (6:43 PM) AEN: oic so tats said in conventional sense?
    (6:44 PM) Thusness: in the conventional sense, it should not be spoken that way too. The way ajahn chah puts it is no good. It becomes advaita.
    (6:44 PM) Thusness: with all respect, that is not what the buddha taught. :)
    (6:44 PM) AEN: oic
    (6:44 PM) Thusness: i will explain to u later...i go eat first.
    (6:45 PM) AEN: ok cya
    (6:46 PM) Thusness: u have posted Phagguna Sutta in simpo site. What is such a teaching important?
    (6:47 PM) AEN: uh bcos it concerns our nature?
    (6:51 PM) Thusness has changed his/her status to Idle
    (6:56 PM) AEN: just now i went to ABC, flipped through dalai lama's book and come across this chapter talking about mind's luminosity, then hhdl mentioned something like the window and stain and stain can be removed
    (6:56 PM) AEN: then later went palelai and got 2 bks from ajahn chah, one part also mention this
    (6:57 PM) AEN: like just now that part
    (7:00 PM) Thusness has changed his/her status to Online
    (7:01 PM) AEN: http://buddhism.sgforums.com/?action=thread_display&thread_id=248318&page=2 -- wanderer typed:
    (7:01 PM) AEN:

    (3) Know that your true nature has never ever been stained by such temporary defilements. Therefore such defilements are removable.

    You have to recognize that at that moment you are angry, but you are NOT anger.

    Knowing that you are NOT anger is important, because then anger is removable.
    (7:01 PM) AEN:
    Just like when there is a stain on your window, you know that the stain is not part of your window, that is why you will clean away the stain. If you don't believe that the stain is removable, if you thought that the stain were part of the window, then you wouldn't even attempt to clean it away.

    Likewise, when your anger arises, recognize the fact that you want to and you can actually remove anger is because it was never part of your true nature. Know that the stain is clean-able. The anger and all other defilements are removable. Your original nature (often referred to as Buddha Nature, or Tathagatha-garbha, or kham) is primordially pure and unstained.
    (7:02 PM) Thusness: u see this is how modern teachers teach about buddha's teaching.
    (7:02 PM) Thusness: if that is the case, then who need buddha's teaching at all.
    (7:02 PM) Thusness: and why the correction in the Phagguna Sutta?
    (7:02 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:03 PM) Thusness: what would buddha say in phagguna sutta if this was said in the phagguna sutta?
    (7:03 PM) AEN: there is no 'who', but conditions arise?
    (7:04 PM) Thusness: do not say that 'not me'...change it to 'no me'.
    (7:04 PM) Thusness: not me implies that there is a 'me', an 'I'.
    (7:04 PM) Thusness: there are few groups of practitioners.
    (7:05 PM) Thusness: one has not experienced anything at all, the I is an individual 'I'.
    (7:06 PM) Thusness: there are also those that experienced 'I AMness' but has not experienced infinite expansion of 'I'
    (7:06 PM) Thusness: there is another group that experienced the 'I' as the infinite I.
    (7:08 PM) Thusness: there are those that experienced non-duality but continue to be under the influence of propensities, unable to experience the breadth and depth of non-dual.
    (7:08 PM) Thusness: there are those that are completely one in non-dual, free of propensities of 'I'.
    (7:08 PM) AEN: oic..


  11. Soh Says:

    (7:08 PM) Thusness: why was the Phagguna Sutta taught?
    (7:09 PM) Thusness: because Buddha has realised the subtlety of imprints.
    (7:09 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:10 PM) Thusness: Even if one has experienced non-duality, it will not be easy for him to go beyond this 'seed' if he overlooked and continue to employ dualistic interpretation.
    (7:10 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:10 PM) Thusness: therefore Buddha corrected these practitioners.
    (7:10 PM) Thusness: even they have experienced no-self.
    (7:11 PM) Thusness: unknowingly, the re-enforced and create imprints.
    (7:11 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:11 PM) Thusness: Phagguna Sutta is the language of no-self and emptiness.
    (7:11 PM) Thusness: not only there is no 'I', there is no 'mine'.
    (7:12 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:12 PM) Thusness: not that 'thoughts' has no 'I', it is has no 'mine'.
    (7:12 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:12 PM) Thusness: this then is dharmakaya. First is non-duality, then it is the experience of dharmakaya.
    (7:12 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:13 PM) AEN: so dharmakaya is non duality without any propensities left?
    (7:13 PM) Thusness: when we say we are not 'thoughts', we are not 'feelings', we are not 'forms'
    (7:13 PM) Thusness: then does that mean that there is an 'I' that is not transient?
    (7:13 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:14 PM) AEN: wat u tink about the teaching of tathagathagarbha as being 'primordially pure and unstained' or something like that
    (7:14 PM) Thusness: there is a clarity that is untouched but it must be viewed in terms of emptiness.
    (7:14 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:15 PM) Thusness: if this tathagathagarbha nature is taught but without knowing emptiness, then it is erroneous views.
    (7:15 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:16 PM) AEN: pure and unstained shld be understood in terms of emptiness and self-liberation?
    (7:17 PM) Thusness: yeah
    (7:17 PM) Thusness: but stressing that pure and unstained should not be misunderstood as there is something behind.
    (7:17 PM) Thusness: it is from beginning pure and unstained.
    (7:18 PM) Thusness: we never lost our clarity.
    (7:18 PM) Thusness: even for a moment.
    (7:18 PM) Thusness: but when I said that, I do not mean that there is a clarity behind phenomenon.
    (7:18 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:19 PM) Thusness: pain is clarity, otherwise why is there pain. How is it that we feel it is so real?
    (7:19 PM) Thusness: isn't it clear.
    (7:19 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:19 PM) Thusness: when there is momentum, there is 'self', isn't this clear?
    (7:19 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:20 PM) Thusness: everything is as clear as it can be, as luminous.
    (7:20 PM) AEN: oic..
    (7:21 PM) Thusness: actually u just have to see manifestation, see conditions and that is all.
    (7:21 PM) Thusness: there is no need to look for buddhahood.
    (7:21 PM) Thusness: naked awareness is just this.
    (7:23 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:23 PM) AEN: no need to look for buddhahood as in
    (7:23 PM) Thusness: one can experience non-duality, understand non-duality thoroughly and yet still continue to reinforce the seed of 'I' due to our conventional language.
    (7:24 PM) Thusness: but when one uses language of emptiness and no-self as in the case of Phagguna Sutta, the deconstruction is every moment.
    (7:24 PM) AEN: oic..
    (7:26 PM) Thusness: then we will know that how true the dualistic language has bonded and moulded me into experiencing an 'I' and using the way of Phagguna Sutta to deconstruction the views of the world and together with the experience of non-duality, one experiences the true breadth and depth of non-duality.
    (7:27 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:27 PM) AEN: oh theres one part in ajahn chah's book that he mentioned his experience of deconstruction too
    (7:27 PM) AEN: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ajchah_lib/01_key.htm
    (7:27 PM) AEN: search 'space'


  12. Soh Says:

    (7:30 PM) AEN: btw ajahn chah speaks a lot on 3 dharma seals and vipassana
    (7:30 PM) AEN: but somewhere he also mentions about 'that which knows'.. sounds a bit like 'i am' lol
    (7:30 PM) AEN: i tink ajahn mun's lineage ppl also say tat
    (7:30 PM) Thusness: yes
    (7:30 PM) AEN: u also remember rite
    (7:30 PM) Thusness: it becomes advaita.
    (7:30 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:31 PM) AEN: he said 'Thus the Buddha taught to abide as 'that which knows' [2] and simply bear witness to that which arises. Once you have trained your awareness to abide as 'that which knows', and have investigated the mind and developed insight into the truth about the mind and mental factors, you'll see the mind as anatta (not-self).
    (7:31 PM) Thusness: there is nothing and no 'I' apart from manifestation.
    (7:31 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:31 PM) Thusness: no
    (7:32 PM) Thusness: buddha taught there is only the arising and ceasing, there is nothing apart from that. Just the correct and right view.
    (7:32 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:32 PM) Thusness: when we have the wrong view, we see things in the form of life and death.
    (7:32 PM) Thusness: when we have the right view, we see the unborn, uncreated.
    (7:33 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:33 PM) Thusness: ever manifesting.
    (7:33 PM) Thusness: buddha taught there is only the arising and ceasing, there is nothing apart from that. Just whether the view is correct or wrong view.
    (7:34 PM) AEN: back
    (7:34 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:34 PM) Thusness: when one is able to experience our nature as it is, the bliss experienced is different.
    (7:35 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:35 PM) Thusness: The experience and bliss of an eternal witness observing the transient and the full experience of just the transient is different.
    (7:36 PM) Thusness: the bliss and clarity of no-self is of a different dimension.
    (7:37 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:37 PM) Thusness: u must understand that buddhism does not deny clarity, luminosity.
    (7:37 PM) Thusness: but we must realise what clarity is.
    (7:37 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:37 PM) AEN: btw u read ajahn chah's bk b4? how u find them
    (7:37 PM) Thusness: yes i have read it b4. :)
    (7:38 PM) Thusness: i find that ajahn chah is proned towards "I AMness".
    (7:38 PM) Thusness: that is the trace of self is still there.
    (7:38 PM) Thusness: I do not know, since he is already (being claimed to be) an arhat. :P
    (7:39 PM) Thusness: i prefer u to read dharma dan...lol
    (7:39 PM) AEN: oic he did state tat?
    (7:39 PM) AEN: as in he's arhat
    (7:39 PM) AEN: i heard about it also
    (7:39 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:39 PM) Thusness: i do not know...
    (7:40 PM) AEN: i heard from e-sangha dunnu isit the same monk that criticised ajahn maha boowa... that ajahn mun and its lineage ppl, ajahn chah, ajahn maha boowa etc lean towards eternalism... then the other lineage like ajahn buddhadhasa lean towards nihilism or something like that
    (7:40 PM) AEN: oic but how u know he's arhat
    (7:40 PM) Thusness: i mean ppl say, not i know.
    (7:40 PM) AEN: icic
    (7:41 PM) Thusness: the teaching of buddha's is very profound and subtle.
    (7:41 PM) Thusness: we need to practice hard to validate what that is taught.
    (7:41 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:42 PM) Thusness: otherwise mostly we will misinterpret.
    (7:42 PM) Thusness: most likely
    (7:42 PM) Thusness: ehehehe
    (7:42 PM) AEN: icic..
    (7:43 PM) Thusness: a person must be able to experience the dissolution of the self to a great extent before the teaching of buddha can be fully appreciated.
    (7:43 PM) Thusness: that is even after he/she has experienced non-duality.
    (7:44 PM) AEN: oic..
    (7:46 PM) Thusness: but try not to comment on ajahn chah.
    (7:46 PM) AEN: yea
    (7:46 PM) Thusness: i do not want u to have another issue like lao tze.
    (7:46 PM) Thusness: :)
    (7:46 PM) AEN: hahaha
    (7:46 PM) AEN: oh ya is tmr lol
    (7:49 PM) Thusness: yes...lol
    (7:50 PM) AEN: btw ajahn brahm under ajahn chah u know?
    (7:52 PM) Thusness: yeah


  13. Soh Says:

    (7:52 PM) Thusness: heard of.
    (7:52 PM) Thusness: why?
    (7:53 PM) AEN: nothing much.. lol
    (7:54 PM) Thusness: but u know wat i meant right?
    (7:54 PM) AEN: yea
    (7:55 PM) Thusness: however it is okie to experience the "I AMness" first. :)
    (7:56 PM) Thusness: with the teaching and the experience of your teacher as guidance, moving into non-duality and the experience of dharmakaya.
    (7:56 PM) AEN: icic..

    Session Start: Thursday, 31 May, 2007

    (8:29 PM) Thusness: just meditated for 15 mins...ahaha
    (8:29 PM) AEN: lol
    (8:29 PM) AEN: icic
    (8:29 PM) AEN: so how was it
    (8:29 PM) Thusness: forgot to tell u the part on "even ajahn chah says "the heart is just the heart; thoughts and feelings are just thoughts and feelings. let things be just as they are! let form be just form, let sound be just sound, let thought be just thought. why should we bother to attach to them? if we think and feel in this way, then there is detachment and separateness.
    (8:30 PM) AEN: icic
    (8:30 PM) AEN: so wat u wanted to say
    (8:31 PM) Thusness: is very important.
    (8:31 PM) Thusness: that is the experience of the 2nd door.
    (8:31 PM) Thusness: our thoughts and feelings will be on one side and our heart will be on the other. just like oil and water - they are in the same bottle but they are separate"
    (8:31 PM) Thusness: this part is advaita.
    (8:32 PM) Thusness: so there is the 2nd door without the clarity of non-dual.
    (8:32 PM) Thusness: but the first part is very important in terms of experience.
    (8:32 PM) AEN: oic..
    (8:33 PM) Thusness: some is non-duality without second door.
    (8:33 PM) Thusness: but each door is to deal with a particular aspect of 'self'
    (8:33 PM) AEN: icic
    (8:33 PM) AEN: longchen now knows second door rite
    (8:33 PM) Thusness: yeah
    (8:34 PM) AEN: icic
    (8:34 PM) Thusness: but the depth of the experience, dunno.
    (8:34 PM) Thusness: eheheh
    (8:34 PM) AEN: oic
    (8:34 PM) AEN: how come second door will lead to 'things as they are'
    (8:35 PM) Thusness: did u read what i said in the post to amadeus?
    (8:35 PM) Thusness: on the immense clarity of isness?
    (8:36 PM) AEN: tink so
    (8:36 PM) AEN: cant remember now
    (8:36 PM) Thusness: Isness is not just letting the passing away and not adding and subtracting to the moment.
    (8:36 PM) AEN: oic
    (8:37 PM) Thusness: it is the immense clarity, aliveness and vividness of the moment.
    (8:37 PM) Thusness: the former is the passing away without clarity.
    (8:37 PM) Thusness: the later is the clarity those not to the level of non-duality
    (8:38 PM) Thusness: these 2 aspects must fuse into one to arise the realisation of self-liberation.
    (8:38 PM) AEN: icic..
    (8:38 PM) AEN: so the third is immense clarity of passing away
    (8:39 PM) Thusness: did u c what i wrote to amadeus?
    (8:39 PM) Thusness: on the post "when truth takes over"
    (8:39 PM) Thusness: i said still with all the vividness, it is gone.
    (8:39 PM) Thusness: but who can understand...ehhehee
    (8:39 PM) AEN: oic..
    (8:39 PM) Thusness: maybe watchit...lol
    (8:40 PM) AEN: watch it understands 2nd door and clarity?
    (8:41 PM) Thusness: not exactly, the experience is there.


  14. Soh Says:

    I have read many Christian mystics of past eras and contemporary ones that describe the I AM realization, so I have no doubt that it is commonly realised among Christian contemplatives now and then.