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 




.....................



    Ng Xin Zhao
    What's ATR?
    What other books would you recommend?
    On my to read list is:
    Enjoying the Ultimate
    Thich Nhat Hanh
    Sun My Heart
    Thich Nhat Hanh
    From Here to Enlightenment
    His Holiness The Dalai Lama
    1


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao Awakening to Reality it’s a fb group, which started off as a blog site.
    Possibly the group with the most serious practitioners mostly lay.
    1


  • On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao tbh before anatta insight I read very little, coz my teacher advice me to practise more than I read.
    It was at a point when I couldn’t link my experiences to any insight that i started reading/ searching for answers. So I couldn’t advice…. The books above I read after anatta insight. I think it’s better to consult a teacher becusse everyone’s mind work quite differently and they know us better ?


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin ZhaoAlso anatta is a non conceptual insight.
    Don’t know about others but for me It feels like a complete energetic shift , a flip inside out. The beingness that you feel now in your body, is flipped outside and become boundless , very hard to explain. It’s hard to miss, very obvious.
    For me I note till one day I realise sounds become non dual for me, i didn’t do anything it’s like a natural progress. Everyday I ask “who am I “ as well 🤣🤣one day the hearer is gone, just the sounds. The body sensation,taste smell and lastly sight. Vision took me awhile.
    It was one day when I sit and contemplate the bahiya sutta and meditated after that that I saw the fake self so clearly playing catch up with sensations. I kept letting go the fake self for 2 days because it is so damn obvious and one night during dinner it just left mid eating. Second day i had a peak experience when bliss was extremely strong and it stabilise after awhile.
    Looking back it’s just a lot of boring noting, contemplation, meditation, seeking the self, feeling the energy of the self, seeing it clearly in samadhi, letting it go again and again until the mind just let go. It’s out of control I think.
    Also alot of acceptance of my shadow side, trauma etc every thing has to be accepted, good bad ugly beautiful, like dislikes are all accepted and seen in love. all concepts have to go. Everything needed to be loved. Sounds very woo woo but it plays a huge part.
    Then the I just left. Just like that. It’s only the start though, and I can only share from my limited perspective, not a teacher perspective , so I only can make sense from my perspective 🙂


  • Ng Xin Zhao
    Yin Ling How about mind? Only mind objects, no mind?
    SuttaCentral
    SUTTACENTRAL.NET
    SuttaCentral
    SuttaCentral


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao mind cannot be found experentially.


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao this teaching is still from a self view, Buddha is using a self to teach those who have no realized non self. It’s a raft 🙂
    1


  • Ng Xin Zhao
    Stream winning corresponds to which stage?
    How about the path to stream entry?
    And wouldn't Buddhists practitioners straight away dismiss any sort of "I am" experience?
    Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
    Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao sutta stream entry possibly stage 5 and above. Stage 5 is anatta insight but it is not linear.
    What do you mean by path to stream entry?
    Yeah only stage 5 and above is really Buddhism insight, below that it’s a progress. Just that most pp traverse those places and it gives them a context to not fixate but to move on and refine insight.
    Soh Wei Yu am I right ? 😂😅


  • [insight] [buddhism] A reconsideration of the meaning of "Stream-Entry" considering the data points of both pragmatic Dharma and traditional Buddhism
    REDDIT.COM
    [insight] [buddhism] A reconsideration of the meaning of "Stream-Entry" considering the data points of both pragmatic Dharma and traditional Buddhism
    [insight] [buddhism] A reconsideration of the meaning of "Stream-Entry" considering the data points of both pragmatic Dharma and traditional Buddhism

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Thai forest emphasizes going through I AM at least initially but maybe not burmese and other forms of theravada.
    For example ajahn brahmavamso described anatta insight but went through I AM first.


  • Soh Wei Yu
    Ajahn brahmavamso on I AM:
    “When the Body Disappears.
    Remember "con men," "con women" as well. These con men can sell you anything! There's one living in your mind right now, and you believe every word he says! His name is Thinking. When you let go of that inner talk and get silent, you get happy. Then when you let go of the movement of the mind and stay with the breath, you experience even more delight. Then when you let go of the body ,all these five senses disappear and you're really blissing out. This is original Buddhism. Sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch completely vanish. This is like being in a sensory deprivation chamber but much better. But it's not just silence, you just don't hear anything. It's not just blackness, you just don't see anything. It's not just a feeling of comfort in the body, there is no body at all.
    When the body disappears that really starts to feel great. You know of all those people who have out of the body experiences? When the body dies, every person has that experience, they float out of the body. And one of the things they always say is it's so peaceful, so beautiful, so blissful. It's the same in meditation when the body disappears, it's so peaceful, so beautiful, so blissful when you are free from this body. What's left? Here there's no sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. This is what the Buddha called the mind in deep meditation. When the body disappears what is left is the mind.
    I gave a simile to a monk the other night. Imagine an Emperor who is wearing a long pair of trousers and a big tunic. He's got shoes on his feet, a scarf around the bottom half of his head and a hat on the top half of his head. You can't see him at all because he's completely covered in five garments. It's the same with the mind. It's completely covered with sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. So people don't know it. They just know the garments. When they see the Emperor, they just see the robes and the garments. They don't know who lives inside them. And so it is no wonder they're confused about what is life, what is mind, who is this inside of here, where did I come from? Why? What am I supposed to be doing with this life? When the five senses disappear, it's like unclothing the Emperor and seeing what is actually in here, what's actually running the show, who's listening to these words, who's seeing, who's feeling life, who this is. When the five senses disappear, you're coming close to the answer to those questions.
    What you're seeing in such deep meditation is that which we call "mind," (in Pali it's called Citta). The Buddha used this beautiful simile. When there is a full moon on a cloudy night, even though it's a full moon, you can hardly see it. Sometimes when the clouds are thin, you can see this hazy shape shining though. You know there is something there. This is like the meditation just before you've entered into these profound states. You know there is something there, but you can't quite make it out. There's still some "clothes" left. You're still thinking and doing, feeling the body or hearing sounds. But there does come a time, and this is the Buddha's simile, when the moon is released from the clouds and there in the clear night sky you can see the beautiful full disc of the moon shining brilliantly, and you know that's the moon. The moon is there; the moon is real, and it's not just some sort of side effect of the clouds. This is what happens in meditation when you see the mind. You see clearly that the mind is not some side effect of the brain. You see the mind, and you know the mind. The Buddha said that the mind released is beautiful, is brilliant, is radiant. So not only are these blissful experiences, they're meaningful experiences as well.
    How many people may have heard about rebirth but still don't really believe it? How can rebirth happen? Certainly the body doesn't get reborn. That's why when people ask me where do you go when you die, "one of two places" I say "Fremantle or Karrakatta" that's where the body goes! [3] But is that where the mind goes? Sometimes people are so stupid in this world, they think the body is all there is, that there is no mind. So when you get cremated or buried that's it, that's done with, all has ended. The only way you can argue with this view is by developing the meditation that the Buddha achieved under the Bodhi tree. Then you can see the mind for yourself in clear awareness - not in some hypnotic trance, not in dullness - but in the clear awareness. This is knowing the mind
    Knowing the Mind.
    When you know that mind, when you see it for yourself, one of the results will be an insight that the mind is independent of this body. Independence means that when this body breaks up and dies, when it's cremated or when it's buried, or however it's destroyed after death, it will not affect the mind. You know this because you see the nature of the mind. That mind which you see will transcend bodily death. The first thing which you will see for yourself, the insight which is as clear as the nose on your face, is that there is something more to life than this physical body that we take to be me. Secondly you can recognise that that mind, essentially, is no different than that process of consciousness which is in all beings. Whether it's human beings or animals or even insects, of any gender, age or race, you see that that which is in common to all life is this mind, this consciousness, the source of doing.
    Once you see that, you have much more respect for your fellow beings. Not just respect for your own race, your own tribe or your own religion, not just for human beings, but for all beings. It's a wonderfully high-minded idea. "May all beings be happy and well and may we respect all nations, all peoples, even all beings." However this is how you achieve that! You truly get compassion only when we see that others are fundamentally just as ourselves. If you think that a cow is completely different from you, that cows don't think like human beings, then it's easy to eat one. But can you eat your grandmother? She's too much like you. Can you eat an ant? Maybe you'd kill an ant because you think that ants aren't like you. But if you look carefully at ants, they are no different. In a forest monastery living out in the bush, close to nature, one of the things you become so convinced of is that animals have emotions and , especially, feel pain. You begin to recognise the personality of the animals, of the Kookaburras,(Australian bird) of the mice, the ants, and the spiders. Each one of those spiders has a mind just like you have. Once you see that you can understand the Buddha's compassion for all beings. You can also understand how rebirth can occur between all species - not just human beings to human beings, but animals to humans, humans to animals. You can understand also how the mind is the source of all this.”
    WEBCACHE.GOOGLEUSERCONTENT.COM
    Ajahn Brahm - Meditation: The Heart of Buddhism
    Ajahn Brahm - Meditation: The Heart of Buddhism
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Ajahn brahmavamso on anatta insight:
    Excerpt from
    The Final Part of Bāhiya's Teaching
    "Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: in the seen will be merely what is seen, ... in the cognized will merely be what is cognized. Practising in this way, Bāhiya, you will not be 'because of that'. When you are not 'because of that', you will not be 'in that'. And when you are not 'in that', you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."
    What does it mean "you will not be 'because of that'"? The Pāli is na tena. Tena is the instrumental of the word for 'that'. Na is the negative. It means, literally, "not because of that, not through that, not by that". It means in essence, you will not assume that there is a self, a soul, a me; because of, through, or by; the seen or the heard or the sensed or the cognized. The Buddha is saying that once you have penetrated the truth of sensory experience, by suppressing the Hindrances through Jhāna, you will see that there is no 'doer', nor a 'knower', behind sensory experience. No longer will you be able to use sensory experience as evidence for a self. Descartes' famous "I am because I think" is refuted. You will not be because of thinking, nor because of seeing, hearing or sensing. In the Buddha's words, "You will not be because of that (any sensory experience)".
    When the sensory processes are discarded as tenable evidence for a self, a soul or a me, then you are no longer located in the sensory experience. In the Buddha's words, "You will not be 'in that'". You no longer view, perceive or even think that there is a 'me' involved in life. In the words of the doctor in the original series of Star Trek, "It is life, Jim, but not as we know it"! There is no longer any sense of self, or soul, at the centre of experience. You are no more 'in that'.
    Just to close off the loophole that you might think you can escape non-existence of a self or soul by identifying with a transcendental state of being beyond what is seen, heard, sensed or cognized, the Buddha thunders, "and you will be neither here (with the seen, heard, sensed or cognized) nor beyond (outside of the seen, heard, sensed or cognized) nor in between the two (neither of the world nor beyond the world). The last phrase comprehensively confounded the sophists!
    In summary, the Buddha advised both Bāhiya and Venerable Mālunkyaputta to experience the Jhānas to suppress the Five Hindrances. Thereby one will discern with certainty the absence of a self or a soul behind the sensory process. Consequently, sensory experience will never again be taken as evidence of a 'knower' or a 'doer': such that you will never imagine a self or a soul at the centre of experience, nor beyond, nor anywhere else. Bāhiya's Teaching put in a nutshell the way to the realization of No-Self, Anattā. "Just this", concluded the Buddha "is the end of suffering".
    DHAMMATALKS.NET
    Ajahn Brahmavamso - BĀHIYA'S TEACHING
    Ajahn Brahmavamso - BĀHIYA'S TEACHING
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Ajahn brahmavamso criticising teachers who get stuck at I AM:
    From Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond
    The Buddha’s Word on the One Who Knows
    Even some good, practicing monks fail to breach illusion’s last line of defense, the knower. They take “the one who knows,” “the original mind,” “the pure knowing,” or some other descriptions of the citta as the ultimate and permanent reality. To be accurate, such concepts belong to the teachings of Hinduism and not to Buddhism, for the Buddha clearly refuted these theories as not penetrating deeply enough.
    For instance, in the first sutta in the first collection of Buddhist scriptures, the Brahmajāla Sutta, the Buddha described in detail sixty-two types of wrong view (micchā diṭṭhi). Wrong view number eight is the opinion that the thing that is called citta, or mind (mano), or consciousness (viññāṇa) is the permanent self (attā)—stable, eternal, not subject to change, forever the same (DN 1,2,13). Thus maintaining that “the one who knows” is eternal is micchā diṭṭhi, wrong view, says the Buddha.
    In the Nidāna Saṃyutta, the Buddha states:
    But, bhikkhus, that which is called “mind” [citta] and “mentality” [mano] and “consciousness” [viññāṇa]—the uninstructed worldling is unable to experience revulsion towards it, unable to become dispassionate towards it and be liberated from it. For what reason? Because for a long time this has been held to by him, appropriated, and grasped thus: “This is mine, this I am, this is self.”…
    It would be better, bhikkhus, for the uninstructed worldling to take as self [attā] this body…because this body…is seen standing…for [as long as] a hundred years, or even longer. But that which is called “mind” and “mentality” and “consciousness” arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night. (SN 12,61)
    However, just as the hard scientific evidence mentioned earlier cannot dislodge the view that it is oneself who is the doer, so even the hard scriptural evidence of the Buddha’s own teachings is unable on its own to dislodge the view that “the one who knows” is the ultimate entity, the attā. Some even argue that these Buddhist texts must have been changed, solely on the grounds that the texts disagree with their view!
    Such irrational stubbornness comes from bhavataṇhā, the craving to be. Bhavataṇhā is so strong that one is prepared to let go of almost everything—possessions, one’s body, and one’s thoughts—as long as one is finally left with something, some tiny spot of existence, in order to be. After all, one wants to enjoy parinibbāna, thoroughgoing extinction, having worked so hard to get there. Bhavataṇhā is why many great meditators are unable to agree with the Buddha and make that final leap of renunciation that lets go of absolutely everything, including the citta. Even though the Buddha said that “nothing is worth adhering to” (sabbe dhammā nālam abhinivesāya) (MN 37,3), people still adhere to the citta. They continue to hold on to the knower and elevate it to unwarranted levels of mystical profundity by calling it “the ground of all being,” “union with God,” “the original mind,” etc.—even though the Buddha strongly refuted all such clinging, saying that all levels of being stink, the way even a tiny speck of feces on one’s hand stinks (AN I,18,13).
    One needs the experiences of many jhānas, combined with a sound knowledge of the Buddha’s own teachings, in order to break through the barrier of bhavataṇhā, the craving to be, and see for oneself that what some call “the citta,” “mind,” “consciousness,” or “the one who knows” is only an empty process, one that is fueled by the craving to be and blinded by the delusion of permanence, but which is clearly of the nature to cease absolutely and leave nothing at all remaining (...)
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  • Yin Ling
    Soh Wei Yu wow you are so resourceful 😱thanks!


  • Soh Wei Yu
    Yin Ling just copying pasting… this is also why i prefer to just talk online cos copying pasting is much faster. 😂
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    So actually the I AM realization is a valid and important realization of the luminous mind in my experience but the insight into its nature should mature afterwards.
    From the AtR guide:
    I noticed that many Buddhists trained under the doctrine of anatta and emptiness seem to be put off by the description of “I AM realization” as it seems to contradict anatta. This will prevent their progress as they will fail to appreciate and realize the depth of luminous presence, and their understanding of anatta and emptiness remains intellectual. It should be understood that the I AM realization does not contradict Anatta realization but complements it. It is the “original face before your parents were born” of Zen, and the unfabricated clarity in Dzogchen that serves as initial rigpa, it is also the initial certainty of Mind discovered in the first of the four yogas of Mahamudra (see: Clarifying the Natural State by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal). Calling it “I AM” is just another name for the same thing, and you should also know that AtR’s definition of I AM is different from Buddhism’s term “conceit of I Am” or Nisargadatta’s I Am. The I AM of AtR is a direct taste and realization of the Mind of Clear Light.
    The view gets refined and the taste gets brought to effortless maturity and non-contrivance in all manifestation as one’s insights deepen.
    As John Tan also said in 2011:
    “John: what is "I AM"
    is it a pce? (Soh: PCE = pure consciousness experience, see glossary at the bottom of this document)
    is there emotion
    is there feeling
    is there thought
    is there division or complete stillness?
    in hearing there is just sound, just this complete, direct clarity of sound!
    so what is "I AM"?
    Soh Wei Yu: it is the same
    just that pure non conceptual thought
    John: is there 'being'?
    Soh Wei Yu: no, an ultimate identity is created as an afterthought
    John: indeed
    it is the mis-interpretation after that experience that is causing the confusion
    that experience itself is pure conscious experience
    there is nothing that is impure
    that is why it is a sense of pure existence
    it is only mistaken due to the 'wrong view'
    so it is a pure conscious experience in thought.
    not sound, taste, touch...etc
    PCE (Pure Consciousness Experience) is about direct and pure experience of whatever we encounter in sight, sound, taste...
    the quality and depth of experience in sound
    in contacts
    in taste
    in scenery
    has he truly experience the immense luminous clarity in the senses?
    if so, what about 'thought'?
    when all senses are shut
    the pure sense of existence as it is when the senses are shut.
    then with senses open
    have a clear understanding
    do not compare irrationally without clear understanding”
    “...There is nothing underneath everything, in the state of I AM, it is just I AM. The rest of the 5 sense doors are shut. Everything else is excluded. It is called I simply because of the koan, nothing else.
    What’s experienced is similar to hearing sound without the sense of hearer. So keep the experience but refine the view.” - John Tan to someone in Awakening to Reality Discussion Group, 2019
    In 2007:
    (9:12 PM) Thusness: you don't think that "I AMness" is low stage of enlightenment leh
    (9:12 PM) Thusness: the experience is the same. it is just the clarity. In terms of insight. Not experience.
    (9:13 PM) AEN: icic..
    (9:13 PM) Thusness: so a person that has experience "I AMness" and non dual is the same. except the insight is different.
    (9:13 PM) AEN: oic
    (9:13 PM) Thusness: non dual is every moment there is the experience of presence. or the insight into the every moment experience of presence. because what that prevent that experience is the illusion of self and "I AM" is that distorted view. the experience is the same leh.
    (9:15 PM) Thusness: didn’t you see i always say there is nothing wrong with that experience to longchen, jonls... i only say it is skewed towards the thought realm. so don't differentiate but know what is the problem. I always say it is misinterpretation of the experience of presence. not the experience itself. but "I AMness" prevents us from seeing.
    ……
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    In 2009:
    “(10:49 PM) Thusness: by the way you know about hokai description and "I AM" is the same experience?
    (10:50 PM) AEN: the watcher right
    (10:52 PM) Thusness: nope. i mean the shingon practice of the body, mind, speech into one.
    (10:53 PM) AEN: oh thats i am experience?
    (10:53 PM) Thusness: yes, except that the object of practice is not based on consciousness. what is meant by foreground? it is the disappearance of the background and whats left is it. similarly the "I AM" is the experience of no background and experiencing consciousness directly. that is why it is just simply "I-I" or "I AM"
    (10:57 PM) AEN: i've heard of the way people describe consciousness as the background consciousness becoming the foreground... so there's only consciousness aware of itself and thats still like I AM experience
    (10:57 PM) Thusness: that is why it is described that way, awareness aware of itself and as itself.
    (10:57 PM) AEN: but you also said I AM people sink to a background?
    (10:57 PM) Thusness: yes
    (10:57 PM) AEN: sinking to background = background becoming foreground?
    (10:58 PM) Thusness: that is why i said it is misunderstood. and we treat that as ultimate.
    (10:58 PM) AEN: icic but what hokai described is also nondual experience rite
    (10:58 PM) Thusness: I have told you many times that the experience is right but the understanding is wrong. that is why it is an insight and opening of the wisdom eyes. there is nothing wrong with the experience of I AM". did i say that there is anything wrong with it?
    (10:59 PM) AEN: nope
    (10:59 PM) Thusness: even in stage 4 what did I say?
    (11:00 PM) AEN: its the same experience except in sound, sight, etc
    (11:00 PM) Thusness: sound as the exact same experience as "I AM"... as presence.
    (11:00 PM) AEN: icic
    (11:00 PM) Thusness: yes”
    “"I AM" is a luminous thought in samadhi as I-I. Anatta is a realization of that in extending the insight to the 6 entries and exits.” – John Tan, 2018
    Excerpt from (a must read!) No Awareness Does Not Mean Non-Existence of Awareness http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../no-awareness-does... :
    “2010:
    (11:15 PM) Thusness: but understanding it wrongly is another matter
    can you deny Witnessing?
    (11:16 PM) Thusness: can you deny that certainty of being?
    (11:16 PM) AEN: no
    (11:16 PM) Thusness: then there is nothing wrong with it
    how could you deny your very own existence?
    (11:17 PM) Thusness: how could you deny existence at all
    (11:17 PM) Thusness: there is nothing wrong experiencing directly without intermediary the pure sense of existence
    (11:18 PM) Thusness: after this direct experience, you should refine your understanding, your view, your insights
    (11:19 PM) Thusness: not after the experience, deviate from the right view, re-enforce your wrong view
    (11:19 PM) Thusness: you do not deny the witness, you refine your insight of it
    what is meant by non-dual
    (11:19 PM) Thusness: what is meant by non-conceptual
    what is being spontaneous
    what is the 'impersonality' aspect
    (11:20 PM) Thusness: what is luminosity.
    (11:20 PM) Thusness: you never experience anything unchanging
    (11:21
    PM) Thusness: in later phase, when you experience non-dual, there is
    still this tendency to focus on a background... and that will prevent ur
    progress into the direct insight into the TATA as described in the tata
    (11:22 PM) Thusness: and there are still different degree of intensity even you realized to that level.
    (11:23 PM) AEN: non dual?
    (11:23 PM) Thusness: tada (an article) is more than non-dual...it is phase 5-7
    (11:24 PM) AEN: oic..
    (11:24 PM) Thusness: it is all about the integration of the insight of anatta and emptiness
    (11:25
    PM) Thusness: vividness into transience, feeling what i called 'the
    texture and fabric' of Awareness as forms is very important
    then come emptiness
    (11:26 PM) Thusness: the integration of luminosity and emptiness
    (10:45 PM) Thusness: do not deny that Witnessing but refine the view, that is very important
    (10:46 PM) Thusness: so far, you have correctly emphasized the importance of witnessing
    (10:46 PM) Thusness: unlike in the past, you gave ppl the impression that you are denying this witnessing presence
    (10:46 PM) Thusness: you merely deny the personification, reification and objectification
    (10:47 PM) Thusness: so that you can progress further and realize our empty nature.
    but don't always post what i told you in msn
    (10:48 PM) Thusness: in no time, i will become sort of cult leader
    (10:48 PM) AEN: oic.. lol
    (10:49 PM) Thusness: anatta is no ordinary insight. When we can reach the
    level of thorough transparency, you will realize the benefits
    (10:50 PM) Thusness: non-conceptuality, clarity, luminosity, transparency,
    openness, spaciousness, thoughtlessness, non-locality...all these
    descriptions become quite meaningless.
    ….
    No Awareness Does Not Mean Non-Existence of Awareness
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    No Awareness Does Not Mean Non-Existence of Awareness
    No Awareness Does Not Mean Non-Existence of Awareness

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  • Ng Xin Zhao
    There's 8 individuals, 4 pairs of persons, as in the chantings for the ariya Sangha. path to stream entry, fruit of stream entry, path and fruit each for once returner, non-returner, arahanthood.
    The person on the path of stream entry is guaranteed to attain to the fruit of stream entry before death.
    The path of stream entry has 2 types, the Dhamma follower; the faith follower:
    “Mendicants, the eye is impermanent, perishing, and changing. The ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind are impermanent, perishing, and changing.
    One who places faith in these teachings and resolves on them thus is called a faith-follower, one who has entered the fixed course of rightness, entered the plane of superior persons, transcended the plane of the worldlings. He is incapable of doing any deed by reason of which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal realm, or in the domain of ghosts; he is incapable of passing away without having realized the fruit of stream-entry.
    "One for whom these teachings are accepted thus after being pondered to a sufficient degree with wisdom is called a Dhamma-follower, one who has entered the fixed course of rightness, entered the plane of superior persons, transcended the plane of the worldlings. He is incapable of doing any deed by reason of which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal realm, or in the domain of ghosts; he is incapable of passing away without having realized the fruit of stream-entry.
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  • Ng Xin Zhao
    Soh Wei Yu "I AM" in ATR is just nimitta experience then. The Pa-Auk tradition also has nimitta.
    Sutta for that should be MN128.
    SuttaCentral
    SUTTACENTRAL.NET
    SuttaCentral
    SuttaCentral


  • Soh Wei Yu
    Depends, some people report seeing white light and so on. I had those experiences before also. But such experiences are not what I call the I AM realization
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    The luminosity is not necessarily a visual kind of brightness
    But a very intense but formless presence-awareness that is sometimes likened to ten thousand suns but not literally
    “Someone asked me about luminosity. I said it is not simply a state of heightened clarity or mindfulness, but like touching the very heart of your being, your reality, your very essence without a shadow of doubt. It is a radiant, shining core of Presence-Awareness, or Existence itself. It is the More Real than Real. It can be from a question of "Who am I?" followed by a sudden realization. And then with further insights you touch the very life, the very heart, of everything. Everything comes alive. First as the innermost 'You', then later when the centerpoint is dropped (seen through -- there is no 'The Center') every 'point' is equally so, every point is A 'center', in every encounter, form, sound and activity.”
    The Transient Universe has a Heart
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    The Transient Universe has a Heart
    The Transient Universe has a Heart
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    • 23h

  • Yin Ling
    Soh Wei Yu crudely it feels like everything knowing itself 🤣
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Yin Ling after anatta yes
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  • Yin Ling
    Soh Wei Yu oh ya I didn’t progress through I Am first so cannot relate.


  • Soh Wei Yu
    I AM is more like this:
    “Right now, as you read this, you exist and you are aware that you exist. You are undoubtedly present and aware. Before the next thought arises, you are absolutely certain of the fact of your own being, your own awareness, your own presence. This awareness is what you are; it is what you always have been. All thoughts, perceptions, sensations and feelings appear within or upon that. This awareness does not move, change or shift at any time. It is always free and completely untouched. However, it is not a thing or an object that you can see or grasp. The mind, being simply thoughts arising in awareness, cannot grasp it or know it or even think about it. Yet, as Bob says, you cannot deny the fact of your own being. It is palpably obvious, and yet, from the time we were born, no one has pointed this out. Once it is pointed out it can be grasped or understood very quickly because it is just a matter of noticing, ‘Oh, that is what I am!’ It is a bright, luminous, empty, presence of awareness; it is absolutely radiant, yet without form; it is seemingly intangible, but the most solid fact in your existence; it is effortlessly here right now, forever untouched. Without taking a step, you have arrived; you are home. No practice can reveal this because practices are in time and in the mind. Practices aim at a result, but you (as presence-awareness) are here already, only you don’t recognize it till it is pointed out. Once seen, you can’t lose it, and you don’t have to practice to exist, to be. This is, in essence, what Bob pointed out to me in the first conversation I had with him.
    Once I saw this, I felt very clear and free immediately. Later, some thoughts came up, some old personality patterns, some old definitions of who I thought myself to be. I seemed to lose the clear understanding of my nature as presence-awareness. The next day, I talked to Bob about it. He said, ‘Let’s have a look. Do you exist? Are you aware? What is illumining the thought that you have lost it?’ Then I realized that thoughts of suffering were only passing concepts being illumined by the ever-present awareness. I hadn’t lost anything at all. The awareness that we are is never obscured! Suffering seems real because we don’t have a clear understanding of our true nature. Instead, we believe the passing thoughts, such as ‘I am no good,’ ‘I am not there yet,’ ‘I am stuck’ or whatever the thought may be. Eventually we understand that we are not those thoughts. Once our real self is pointed out, the suffering loses its grip.
    Bob pointed out that there is no person here at all. The person that we think we are is an imaginary concept. There are thoughts and feelings and perceptions, but they are not a problem. They just rise and fall like dust motes in the light of the presence-awareness that we are.
    The closest that the mind can come to representing who we are is the thought ‘I am’. But that thought is not who we really are. Whether that thought is there or not, we still exist. We know the thought ‘I am’. That thought is the start of the false sense of an individual, a separate ‘I’. Because we didn’t know any better, the mind attached other labels to this ‘I’ thought, such as ‘I am good,’ ‘I am bad,’ ‘I have this problem,’ and so on. But those thoughts don’t have anything to do with us, because the very ‘I’ thought itself, the sense of separation, is not actually who we are. Once you see the falseness of the ‘I’ thought, that what we are is not an individual person at all, the identifications and ideas of a lifetime all collapse because they are all based on a false premise.” - John Wheeler, https://awakeningclaritynow.com/awakening-to-the-natural.../
    By turning the attention to the mind, immediately there are doubts. More thoughts rush
    in to question the questions, confirm or contradict other thoughts. A maddening cycle...
    Notice when thoughts are paused there are no doubts; the certainty of (doubtless) Being
    is obviously present; the unquestionable FACT of EXISTENCE. Notice that the Being is
    ALWAYS presently shining, effortlessly and spontaneously. Stay with that undeniable
    non-conceptual confidence. Your Being has always been present for every single
    experience. That natural cognition in which all experiences arise is not a person.
    Be as you ARE and not what you imagine yourself to be.
    ~ Jason Swason, May 8, 2010
    Awakening to the Natural State: Guest Teaching by John Wheeler – Awakening Clarity Now by Fred Davis
    AWAKENINGCLARITYNOW.COM
    Awakening to the Natural State: Guest Teaching by John Wheeler – Awakening Clarity Now by Fred Davis
    Awakening to the Natural State: Guest Teaching by John Wheeler – Awakening Clarity Now by Fred Davis
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    • 22h

  • Ryan Burton
    Ng Xin Zhao Nimitta arises in the mind's eye, but the insight or experience of I Am and "I Am Everything" is certainly different. You could have nimitta arise and have mastery of the Jhanas, but still possess identification as a person. I Am & I Am Everything insight as described in the ATR map and by other teachers like Brahm earlier in his life, Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta ends identification with thought or as a person in time. The practitioner will identify as the background witness of phenomena at this stage. This is also the major insight emphasized in the Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Mun. Nimitta acts as basis for jhana, but is dependent on the level of concentration the practitioner is able to maintain. I Am Everything is a permanent and radical shift since it's an insight and is not dependent on the level of concentration you need to enter jhanas or experience nimittas that are clear and stable enough to act as a basis for jhana.
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  • Yin Ling
    Soh Wei Yu nice, very nice thanks


  • Tyler Jones
    Soh Ryan Yin don't know if you caught Ng's reference to to MN2 Sabbāsavasutta, but might be useful to say something about why asking "who am I" as in self inquiry doesn't contradict the Buddha's explicit instruction in that sutta. My guess is because you are deliberately not answering the question with the conceptual mind.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Tyler Jones Yes Buddha's emphasis in many of those suttas are on giving rise to the insight of anatta and dependent origination. Then in that case asking 'who am I' is not a skillful means to do that. Rather that question is only for the preliminary discovery of the luminous essence of mind, it is not yet realising the empty nature of mind (anatman) that serves as a basis for liberation or entering the noble path.
    This is why I wrote that self enquiry is in fact a flawed mode of enquiry, yet it is taught as a mere skillful or expedient or provisional means at the beginning. http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../flawed-mode-of...
    Flawed Mode of Enquiry
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    Flawed Mode of Enquiry
    Flawed Mode of Enquiry

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    • 19h

  • Soh Wei Yu
    <-- I also quoted MN2 in there


  • Yin Ling
    Tyler Jones ya saw that reference. My 2 cents is, Buddha always has “graded teaching” depending on his audience , from the first defilement it can be known clearly that his audience in this sutta have not realised anatta, so it’s a “provisional” teaching, not “ultimate” teaching, so to speak. However it does not contradict as this teaching brings us to the ultimate- anatta, as we can see at the end of the paragraph for the first defilements.
    Defilements also posit a self, as defilements depends on something that is seen to be good or bad to a “me”, and then the “me” push and pull. When non self insight arise, matures and deepens, defilements is drop.. hence my reply that it is a raft to cross over, but not thrown away if one has not cross.
    I also find it true in experience. With anatta, the insight make dropping of defilements much easier.
    Self inquiry into “who am I” does not ignore defilements, but a parallel practise to see our true nature, which is the destination of our practise or rafts.
    Just 2 cents from my understanding ! Correct me if I’m wrong
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Having said that, the anatta insight does not contradict to realization of (luminous)
    Mind. Just that after anatta, that Mind is also not reified into a self/Self. You can also ask "What is this Mind" and have similar realization. This is also a koan that John Tan gave: https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../what-is-your...
    What is your very Mind right now?
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    What is your very Mind right now?
    What is your very Mind right now?
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  • Tyler Jones
    I sometimes muse about the possibility of a modification of AtR's presentation so it is not so immediately off-putting to Theravdins, Gelupas, etc.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Tyler Jones Yes possibly it should be reworded.
    But for someone who goes through I AM without any religious background, the description should be immediately intuitive. Putting it in Buddhist jargons may be less effective on those people. So there are pros and cons


  • Soh Wei Yu
    In fact the 7 stages was written to a non-Buddhist at the I AM phase and reading that triggered his breakthrough.
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  • Yin Ling
    Tyler Jones why would it be off putting to theravadin/ gelupas?
    I throught there’s a strong Gelug presence in ATR🤣


  • Soh Wei Yu
    Yin Ling Maybe the term "I AM". also that term has different meaning for different people


  • Soh Wei Yu
    Yin Ling For Theravadins I'm sure people might relate it to Asmi-māna (conceit of I Am) which is not what it's talking about.


  • Soh Wei Yu
    The reason it is called "I AM" has to to do with the koan.
    “...There is nothing underneath everything, in the state of I AM, it is just I AM. The rest of the 5 sense doors are shut. Everything else is excluded. It is called I simply because of the koan, nothing else.
    What’s experienced is similar to hearing sound without the sense of hearer. So keep the experience but refine the view.” - John Tan to someone in Awakening to Reality Discussion Group, 2019
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  • Tyler Jones
    Yin Ling because the question "who am I" presumes there is an true self, as does the terminology "realizing I AM", and orthodox Gelug and Theravada will immediately dismiss anything saying this as not true Buddhism. If they dig deeper they see it's provisional, but that requires them overcome their immediate dismissal. Not a lot of Gelugpas on AtR actually, people there are more sympathetic to non-Gelug presentation.
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  • Tyler Jones
    I assumed the terminology IAM was reflecting the fact that John's understanding developed over many years, and when he was in Stages 1-2 territory he was really into Vedanta.


  • Yin Ling
    Tyler Jones oh got what you mean now. Yeah they might think that way. Shrug. Hard to please everyone in buddhism, too many sects 🤣This path really needs an open and discerning mind. Also intelligence and intuition. I don’t know. I don’t really know 🤣🤣


  • Soh Wei Yu
    Actually not just Gelug and Theravada. Many people in Zen, Nyingma, Dzogchen also will be dismissive of I AM just because they see the word "I AM". It will be misunderstood. By any Buddhists, really. Because anatta is a central doctrine for all Buddhist traditions and not just the Gelugpas or Theravadins.
    They may not understand this point:


  • Soh Wei Yu
    Kenneth Bok: Presence is this I AM?
    John Tan: Presence is the same as I AM. Presence is the same as… of course, other people may disagree, but actually they're referring to the same thing. The same authentication, the same what... even in Zen is still the same.
    But in later phase, I conceive that as just the thought realm. Means, in the six, I always call the six entries and six exits, so there is the sound and there’s all these…
    (continued in that link)
    ATR Meeting 28 October 2020
    DOCS.GOOGLE.COM
    ATR Meeting 28 October 2020
    ATR Meeting 28 October 2020
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Or this:


  • Soh Wei Yu
    John Tan's reply on something Malcolm wrote in 2020:
    “This is like what I tell you and essentially emphasizing 明心非见性. 先明心, 后见性. (Soh: Apprehending Mind is not seeing [its] Nature. First apprehend Mind, later realise [its] Nature).
    First is directly authenticating mind/consciousness 明心 (Soh: Apprehending Mind). There is the direct path like zen sudden enlightenment of one's original mind or mahamudra or dzogchen direct introduction of rigpa or even self enquiry of advaita -- the direct, immediate, perception of "consciousness" without intermediaries. They are the same.
    However that is not realization of emptiness. Realization of emptiness is 见性 (Soh: Seeing Nature). Imo there is direct path to 明心 (Soh: Apprehending Mind) but I have not seen any direct path to 见性 (Soh: Seeing Nature) yet. If you go through the depth and nuances of our mental constructs, you will understand how deep and subtle the blind spots are.
    Therefore emptiness or 空性 (Soh: Empty Nature) is the main difference between buddhism and other religions. Although anatta is the direct experiential taste of emptiness, there is still a difference between buddhist's anatta and selflessness of other religions -- whether it is anatta by experiential taste of the dissolution of self alone or the experiential taste is triggered by wisdom of emptiness.
    The former focused on selflessness and whole path of practice is all about doing away with self whereas the latter is about living in the wisdom of emptiness and applying that insight and wisdom of emptiness to all phenomena.
    As for emptiness there is the fine line of seeing through inherentness of Tsongkhapa and there is the emptiness free from extremes by Gorampa. Both are equally profound so do not talk nonsense and engaged in profane speech as in terms of result, ultimately they are the same (imo).”
    Dalai Lama - "Nature - there are many different levels. Conventional level, one nature. There are also, you see, different levels. Then, ultimate level, ultimate reality... so simply realise the Clarity of the Mind, that is the conventional level. That is common with Hindus, like that. So we have to know these different levels...." - Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book
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  • Yin Ling
    Soh Wei Yu this is good. Surprisingly Dalai Lama said this.


  • Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book
    Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book
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  • Yin Ling
    Soh Wei Yu oh this one. I got, buy but I haven’t read 🤦🏻‍♀️ ok I will read
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  • William Kong
    I feel that JT's rationale behind the name "I Am" should be given higher visibility, since it gives greater context to the stage. I thought it was also more due to Advaitic teachings - as the phrase "I Am" means different things to different teachers/students, the confusion puts an unnecessarily obstacle to those trying to learn the stages.


  • Ng Xin Zhao
    Soh Wei Yu is there a Pali canon sutta mapping to the 7 stages? I don't feel so confident to read the 1200+ pages book of ATR without seeing that it is from Buddhism.


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao I don’t know if John Tan would have time/ willing to comment😄


  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao but eventually listen to your Intuition and don’t need to feel forced doing anything you don’t feel like doing.
    Listen to your teacher. In your lineage.
    Non self insight is super obvious. It is quantum but it is a yes or no. One is either there or not. Very clear. The clearest insight I have ever have. Things know itself, no self knowing. Vivid, empty, holographic, formless awareness not apart from form. Beautiful shimmering moment to moment. Zero holding. No awareness. No mind, it just is. Constant flickering. It is like in the bahiya sutta, clear as day.
    All the Buddhas teaching will come alive, no need to think anymore. It speaks to you.
    If there’s doubt, one is not there. It’s not anatta. That’s all I can say but I’m not a teacher 🤣🤣🤣


  • John Tan
    Yin Ling Should not over emphasize the 7 phases of insights. Those r just some very casual sharing with a friend probably 2 decades back. They r no replacement for Pali canon of course.
    The 1200 pages are Soh's summary of his spiritual journal for maybe past 20 years, mainly conversations with me and some other teachers. To be frank, given Soh's exposures and interactions in the spiritual circle, the volumes of books he read and most importantly his sincerity, I do think it is a sincere compilation but may not be congruent. It can be a good reference. So just take it for 参考 (reference).
    Glad that it helps u see through the notion of "self/Self" ...😝
    And Happy CNY!
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  • Yin Ling
    John Tan thanks John. Happy CNY!
    I have benefitted greatly more than I can imagine. Mainly reading through just to feel the depths and subtlety of the buddhas teachings already put one to their knees, and then realise, if don’t start now, really no time left 🤣
    Thanks again!
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Ng Xin Zhao I would say that the I AM can be mapped to the luminous mind taught in the Pali sutta, and you find Ajahn Brahmavamso and many other teachers also
    related them that way.
    Also, the first four stages of the 7 phases are not restricted to Buddhism. It can be found in other religions. Only the anatta and dependent origination as emphasized in the pali suttas are unique Buddhist insights. Therefore anything before anatta and dependent origination is not considered Buddhist form of enlightenment.
    The Buddha taught different methods to different people. If we look at the first two suttas he taught to his first 5 monks, it was first the four noble truths and this led someone to stream entry, and then the second discourse was on anatta, and this led all five monks to arahantship. So we can see the emphasis of his teachings even in the first two discourses, and the key in liberation is anatta rather than atman, and also the suffering, cause, end and path that ends suffering. It is entirely based on dependent origination and release without recourse to an essence.
    On the other hand, the Buddha learnt meditation under two Samkhya teachers prior to his enlightenment. The Samkhya teachings lead to the realization of Atman. So the Buddha clearly has attained these states under those teachers prior to his awakening, although he abandoned those teachers as he was dissatisfied with those earlier realisations and attainments. I personally think he has gone through atman as infinite consciousness, followed by 'absolute as nothingness and non percipience' which are the last two formless jhanas. Even today you find modern Advaita teachers like Nisargadatta who teaches one to reach atman as infinite consciousness, followed by the atman/absolute as nothingness and non-percipience. I think from Buddha's
    experience with them he has a clear understanding of Samkhya teachings and also refuted such views in suttas like MN 1 https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/MN/MN1.html later on.
    MN 1  Mūlapariyāya Sutta | The Root Sequence
    DHAMMATALKS.ORG
    MN 1  Mūlapariyāya Sutta | The Root Sequence
    MN 1  Mūlapariyāya Sutta | The Root Sequence
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    But it is the wrong understanding that he rejected, not so much the luminosity that is realized and experienced.
    The Buddha said, "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind.[9] "
    On the fourth jhana, Buddha
    said "Again, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity. He sits pervading this body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the pure bright mind. Just as a man might be sitting covered from the head down with a white cloth, so that there would be no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the white cloth; so too, the bhikkhu sits pervading this body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the pure bright mind. This is the fourth development of noble five-factored right concentration."
    And even after liberation, this is what is to be experienced,
    “‘This question should not be asked in this way: Where do these four great elements—the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, and the wind property—cease without remainder? Instead, the question should be asked like this:
    “‘Where do water, earth, fire, & wind
    have no footing?
    Where are long & short,
    coarse & fine,
    fair & foul,
    name & form
    brought to an end?
    “‘And the answer to that is:
    “‘Consciousness without surface,2
    without end,
    luminous all around:
    Here water, earth, fire, & wind
    have no footing.
    Here long & short
    coarse & fine
    fair & foul
    name & form
    are all brought to an end.
    With the cessation of (the activity of) consciousness
    each is here brought to an end.’”
    That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Kevaṭṭa the householder delighted in the Blessed One’s words.
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  • Ng Xin Zhao
    Soh Wei Yu so some of the first 4 (no. 2, 3, 4) stages also map to experiences of Jhanas or formless jhanas?
    How about 6, 7? Do they map to once, non returner?
    Or is it better to use like 16 insight knowledges as taught in the vipassana schools which uses Abhidhamma/commentaries?

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    The I AM and nothingness when deep into a state of samadhi may be related to some of the jhanas. That's my opinion.
    I have not read the commentaries or visudhimagga, but I am not so impressed by the nanas as explained by teachers like Daniel Ingram. For reason explained in https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../vipassana... , basically they are describing states rather than actual insights.
    But he was able to at least describe the anatta realisation which most Vipassana teachers I know fail to do so
    , unfortunately he placed it as '4th path' or literally arahantship. I would not say such a realisation constitutes arahantship for reasons explained in 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 and http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../insight-buddhism...
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  • Yin Ling
    Ng Xin Zhao for me , it’s hard to compare, but all serve their purpose. I wouldn’t compare. I would see what I need and then take it as raft.
    Sohs document explains the insight and view in Buddhism very clearly. When I first met this document, it gave me a context to explain all my experiences that I got through noting/ vipassana that I don’t understand. I was noting intensively for a year plus already, map to Daniel’s third path, which I also don’t agree his correlating to the sutta.
    The Mahasi / Daniel Ingram teaching is dry vipassana, brings one to a lot of experiences but no strong teaching of insights. One does get the experiences, I got all kind of weird experiences, all kind of energies release, the nana is clear too, cessation also clear, one cannot deny that as untrue.. So many experiences happens but I couldn’t correlate to insight, to the Buddha’s teaching, I keep cycling through the insight stages till I’m so fed up😂.
    The jhanas on the other hand are fabricated state of absorptions, there’s always an object in jhanas to focus on, but they are states one could go in and come out, i practise them for a few months purely jhanas but I also do not know how to correlate them with insights so I gave up going up and down the jhanas. But one understand consciousness better through jhanas, what is perception, what is nothingness, what is formless, what is form, Piti, sukha, equanimity, boundless consciousness, everything has a taste, it also trains concentration.
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