Soh: Hi, i think this will interest you on the various stages of awakening and depths of nondual awareness and its nature, anatman vs brahman etc : http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

Also, the 'not-born' etc of the Nibbana suttas is not talking about a metaphysical essence, as explained in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-deathless-in-buddhadharma.html



Mr. B: Hello, I believe the link you've sent about six stages of experience is rather skewed to Zen Buddhism, while my personal practice is skewed to Theravada Buddhism.

It's very centered in the idea of Sunyata, while Theravada Buddhism doesn't place much emphasis on it. Our form of meditation and contemplation is more towards developing samadhi and investigation on mental afflictions (kilesa).



Soh: it is very relevant to theravada, and it is what truly awakened practitioners of theravada, mahayana and vajrayana go through. for example

ajahn brahmavamso criticised that in theravada, a lot of high monks actually realised the poo roo (I AM) but fall into eternalist views no different from hinduism. ajahn brahmavamso went through I AM himself before the anatta realisation he spoke of (such as in https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books6/Ajahn_Brahm_BAHIYA_S_TEACHING.htm )

many teachers in the thai forest tradition teach and realise the I AM (even if they dont call it by that name, it call the radiant citta, which they see as unchanging and separate from the transient aggregates. its the exact same realisation)

i can name many names, i think almost all of them lol

even ajahn maha boowa who claimed to be arahant, i would say, have not overcome subtle eternalist views. his journey was more from I AM into one mind, nondual awareness but still seen as unchanging and distinct from aggregates. thats like from thusness stage 1 then end up in stage 4 but not stage 5 anatta

personally i've been through the 7 stages myself and thusness is my mentor



Mr. B: I've only heard of Ajahn Maha Boowa who teaches eternal citta, but Ajahn Chah doesn't

Q: Is this mind you are talking about called the 'Original Mind'?

Ajahn Chah: What do you mean?

Q: It seems as if you are saying there is something else outside of the conventional body-mind (five khanda). Is there something else? What do you call it?

Ajahn Chah: There isn't anything and we don't call it anything -- that's all there is to it! Be finished with all of it. Even the knowing doesn't belong to anybody, so be finished with that, too! 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.



I see, wow 7 stages, may I ask how long did it take?

I think I'll give it a shot man, thanks

Last week I just came to realize that I didn't contemplate on anatta as much as how I contemplate to anicca

I'll take your words for it and will start to use it for my practice, thanks




Soh: hmm would rather not like to comment on ajahn chah, my impression of his writings is he is skewed more towards I AM ( http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2021/09/nondual-clarity-vs-dissociation.html ) and although he spoke of anatman its actually more what i call the 'impersonality' aspect ( http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2021/07/this-is-impersonality-aspect-not-anatta.html )

however it is true that some of those students of his, like ajahn brahmavamso, and another one here ajahn nyanamoli thero http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/search/label/Ajahn%20Nyanamoli%20Thero has realised anatta

also it doesnt mean someone doesn't realise anatta means their teachings are not valid. they can still be very helpful and important. in fact i often suggest and advise people to go through the I AM first. it brings out the luminosity aspect of mind

"I see, wow 7 stages, may I ask how long did it take?" - i realised anatta (stage 5) about 6 years from the time i knew of john tan, although i have attended dharma talks for a few years prior that

the following 6 and 7 is just extending that insight to all phenomena, another few years

i'm not however claiming to be fully enlightened, i'm not an arahat or buddha by scriptural criterias

i often tell people that most people's idea of stream entry is wrong. there's a lot of confusion about what stream entry is. it requires insight into anatman and dependent origination. means at least thusness stage 5 and above.

this is well explained in one of the top voted threads in the stream entry subreddit 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

http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2020/08/insight-buddhism-reconsideration-of.html

but even within that subreddit there is very much a lack of clarity. i only liked that thread i pasted lol



Mr. B: Wow this is a very long read. I'll get back to you once I've finished reading them.

May I ask specifically which text brings you to view Ajahn Chah as belonging to the "I AM" perspective?




Soh: overall many excerpts.. there are some excerpts in the link i pasted above so you'll see what i mean




Mr. B: But the thing with Ajahn Brahm is that he have a very controversial view of jhana, and I don't think I want to start talking about the jhana wars lol




Soh: like the oil and water for example and many others

yeah

i dont follow ajahn brahm style on jhanas

he overfocused too much on developing jhanas first before insight. while it may work for him and some monks, it does not suit most lay practitioners.

but he teach it as if that approach is the only way or best way

but i think he realised anatta

as in [i don't agree with the notion of] very very deep jhanas as necessary prerequisite for insight

but i'm not saying jhanas are totally unimportant either, in fact it has its place even in mahayana and vajrayana - http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2018/09/dzogchen-meditation-and-jhana.html




Mr. B: I was taught that 1st jhana is important before starting vipassana




Soh: it helps to have a stable shamatha as foundation




Mr. B: True.



Soh: ok i gtg.. one last link i want to share, when it comes to vipassana part, the insight is impt  : https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/12/vipassana-must-go-with-luminous.html




Mr. B: Hmm i see. Anyways, thanks for the great recommendations man




Soh: You’re welcome :) p.s. im soh, co author of the blog




Mr. B: Ahh I see, no wonder you're so fond of the website lol




Soh: Lol




Mr. B: Mind if I ask some questions if I happen to have any obstacles or uncertainty about these practices?




Soh: Sure

 

 

 

 

Mr. B: Thanks for sharing this

http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html


It's really beautiful. I now realized the reason why I stopped contemplating on Anatta;

It's because I understood it already lol. I think due to 0 exposure to Hinduism, my Bhante have set me on the fifth stage ever since the beginning. I remember shortly after listening to his talk, I then contemplated, on who is the do-er, if there is anatta, on who experiences if there is anatta.

I then started to research, on what is being reborn, if there is no atta.

The moment I realized it's all just a series of phenomenas, and the nature of all phenomena is actually emptiness, as well as the fact that there is no fundamental self that can be found in them. I found peace and assurance.

Really glad someone out there realized this too. I believe many have reached this level of realization, but most are unable to put it into words. Then again, thank you for sharing this. Throughout reading the entire thing, I just felt gladness, with a slight grin on my face "Hmm, this guy gets it". Again, thanks.




Soh: no, actually anatta realization is incredibly rare

what you had is more of an inferential understanding

what john tan and i are talking about is direct realization

i've had inferential understanding of anatta four years before the realization of anatta took place

the experience following anatta realization is night and day

i wrote:

http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2021/04/why-awakening-is-so-worth-it.html

Why awakening is so worth it

From time to time, people ask me why should they seek awakening. I say, awakening will be the best thing that happen in your life, I guarantee it. It is worth whatever effort you put into it. You won't regret it. Or as Daniel M. Ingram said, "Would I trade this for anything? Maybe world peace, but I would have to think about it. Until then, this totally rocks, and missing out on it would be barking crazy from my point of view."
What is it like? I can only give a little preview, an excerpt of what I wrote taken from the AtR guide:
"Personally, I can say from direct experience that direct realization is completely direct, immediate, and non-intellectual, it is the most direct and intimate taste of reality beyond the realm of imagination. It far exceeds one’s expectations and is far superior to anything the mind can ever imagine or dream of. It is utter freedom. Can you imagine living every moment in purity and perfection without effort, where grasping at identity does not take hold, where there is not a trace or sense of 'I' as a seer, feeler, thinker, doer, be-er/being, an agent, a 'self' entity residing inside the body somewhere relating to an outside world, and what shines forth and stands out in the absence of a 'self' is a very marvellous, wondrous, vivid, alive world that is full of intense vividness, joy, clarity, vitality, and an intelligence that is operating as every spontaneous action (there is no sense of being a doer), where any bodily actions, speech and thoughts are just as spontaneous as heart beating, fingernails growing, birds singing, air moving gently, breath flowing, sun shining - there is no distinction between ‘you are doing action’/’you are living’ and ‘action is being done to you’/’you are being lived’ (as there is simply no ‘you’ and ‘it’ - only total and boundless spontaneous presencing).
This is a world where nothing can ever sully and touch that purity and perfection, where the whole of universe/whole of mind is always experienced vividly as that very purity and perfection devoid of any kind of sense of self or perceiver whatsoever that is experiencing the world at a distance from a vantagepoint -- life without ‘self’ is a living paradise free of afflictive/painful emotions, where every color, sound, smell, taste, touch and detail of the world stands out as the very boundless field of pristine awareness, sparkling brilliance/radiance, colorful, high-saturation, HD, luminous, heightened intensity and shining wonderment and magicality, where the surrounding sights, sounds, scents, sensations, smells, thoughts are seen and experienced so clearly down to the tiniest details, vividly and naturally, not just in one sense door but all six, where the world is a fairy-tale like wonderland, revealed anew every moment in its fullest depths as if you are a new-born baby experiencing life for the first time, afresh and never seen before, where life is abundant with peace, joy and fearlessness even amidst the apparent chaos and troubles of life, and everything experienced through all the senses far surpasses any beauty previously experienced, as if the universe is like heaven made of glittering gold and jewels, experienced in complete gapless directness without separation, where life and the universe is experienced in its intense lucidity, clarity, aliveness and vivifying presence not only without intermediary and separation but without center and boundaries - infinitude as vast as an endless night sky is actualized every moment, an infinitude that is simply the vast universe appearing as an empty, distanceless, dimensionless and powerful presencing, where the mountains and stars on the horizon stands out no more distant than one’s breath, and shines forth as intimately as one’s heartbeat, where the cosmic scale of infinitude is actualized even in ordinary activities as the entirety of the universe is always participating as every ordinary activity including walking and breathing and one’s very body (without a trace of an ‘I’ or ‘mine’) is as much the universe/dependent origination in action and there is nothing outside of this boundless exertion/universe, where the purity and infinitude of the marvellous world experienced through being cleansed in all doors of perception is constant. (If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern. - William Blake)
You know all the Mahayana Sutras (e.g. Vimalakirti Sutra), old Zen talks about seeing this very earth as pure land and all the Vajrayana talks about the point of tantra as the pure vision of seeing this very world, body, speech and mind in its primordial unfabricated purity as the Buddha field, palace, mandala, mantra and deity? Now you truly get it, you realise everything is really just like that when experienced in its primordial purity and perfection, and that the old sages have not been exaggerating at all. It is as much a literal and precise description of the state of consciousness as it is a metaphor. As I told John Tan before, Amitabha Sutra’s description of pure land resembles my living experience here and now. “To me it just means anatta. When what’s seen, tasted, touched, smelled are in clean purity, everywhere is pure land.” - John Tan, 2019. "If one is free from background self, all manifestations appear in clean purity in taste. Impurities from what I know come from mental constructions." – John Tan, 2020

This is a freedom that is free from any artificially constructed boundaries and limitations. And yet, this boundlessness does not in any way lead to the dissociation from one’s body, instead one feels more alive than ever as one’s very body, one grows ever more somatic, at home and intimate as one’s body. This is not a body normally conceived of, as the boundaries of an artificially solidified body that stands separated from the universe, dissolve into energetic streams of aliveness dancing and pulsating throughout the body in high energy and pleasure, as well as sensations of foot steps, movement, palm touching an object, where the body is no longer conflated with a constructed boundary of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, ‘self’ or ‘other’, where no trace of an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’ can be found in one’s state of consciousness - there’s only one indivisible, boundless and measureless world/mind - only this infinitude of a dynamic and seamlessly interconnected dance that we call ‘the universe’. This is better than any passing peak experiences be they arisen spontaneously, in meditation or through the use of psychedelic substances. And yet, despite experiencing life to it fullest every moment without any veils, in complete openness and utter nakedness, nothing gains a foothold in consciousness, for as vivid as they are, they leave no trace just as a bird leaves no tracks in the sky, an empty and lucid display such as a gust of wind and the glittery reflections of moon on the ocean waves - appearing but nothing ‘there’ or anywhere. All these words and descriptions I just wrote came very easily and spontaneously in a very short time as I am simply describing my current state of experience that is experienced every moment. I am not being poetic here but simply being as direct and clear as possible about what is immediately experienced. And this is only a figment that I am describing. If I were to tell you more of what this is like, you would not believe it. But once you enter this gateless realm you shall see that words always pale in comparison."
Labels: Anatta |

also

there are different faces and degrees of self/Self http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2020/04/different-degress-of-no-self-non.html



Mr. B:

Hmm I see. Yea the realization you had and mine is as clear as a day. I think what you experience is what Sakyamuni Buddha said in Vimalakirti Sutra that if you just realize it, this place we're living now is actually Sakyamuni Buddha's Pureland.

Is there any post you have to direct inferential understanding of anatta to the realization of anatta? Or is there any specific technique I should try out?




Soh:

usually i recommend going through all the 7 stages as elaborated in the AtR guide in my blog

but specifically on anatta, i just posted today on the DhO forum:


Soh Wei Yu, modified 8 Hours ago.
RE: How to experience non-self?
Posts: 42 Join Date: 2/13/21 Recent Posts
You are only experiencing the non-doership aspect of no-self but there are more faces of self/Self and it is not yet the realisation of anatta. See http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2020/04/different-degress-of-no-self-non.html

My suggestions on how to realize anatta:

1) Practice Vipassana according to this instruction by Daniel Ingram: https://vimeo.com/250616410

2) Read and contemplate on these two stanzas of anatta: https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html

3) Read and contemplate on Bahiya Sutta, the key to my own breakthrough - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2008/01/ajahn-amaro-on-non-duality-and.html (comments section comments by PasserBy/Thusness is also great), http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2010/10/my-commentary-on-bahiya-sutta.html

by incredibly rare i mean statistically, in my estimation, only a small percentage of any teachers and practitioners have any direct realization. of those that had any direct realization, about 90% are only at the I AM level. about maybe 10% are at the one mind level, and about 2% or less are at anatta and further levels. so it is rare statistically

yet, in the AtR community, about 40+ people had went through the stages and had direct realization.

this is not a contradiction but perhaps due to the directness and the pointers like the two stanzas and two nondual contemplations and so on

had to clarify cos i dont want to give the impression that its hard or near impossible for normal folks like myself




Mr. B:


Haha I see. Don't worry about that, I'm not afraid of any level of difficulty. No matter how difficult it is, if it's essential to enlightenment, I'll do it, since I'm hell-bent on arhatship.



Soh:

👍

“Understand no background first, no container - all those that I told you. What is the true meaning of no-self. There are those that talk a lot about no-self, but there is no correct understanding. [One attempts to understand anatta inferentially and] just say change, no permanent self, and so on and so forth, but there is no true understanding. Like when you begin, what is no-self to you? It is always no inherent existence, impermanence, this and that. Get it? There is no real understanding. There is thinking, no thinker. What does this mean? So now you know. There is no background, then you practice insight meditation - knowledge, practice then realisation. There is correct knowledge, but there is no quality practice therefore the realisation isn't there yet, and then comes the intensity of realisation. Opening of wisdom eye is just a shift of perception. It is just like you know how to enter a pathless path, and can experience clarity immediately. But then even after non dual, you must go through a period of stabilizing first.” - John Tan, 2007

<-- and i already understood this intellectually in around 2006-2007, yet it took another 3 years before I went through the I AM realization (february 2010), then nondual (aug~sept 2010) and then anatta realization (october 2010)

as in understood no background, no agent, anatta etc

intellectually in 2006

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